time for a strategy article. Since I've been playing Tyranids in 40K alot recently, I've been mulling over target saturation techniques in wargames. Target Saturation is giving the opponent more than they can handle, providing them with so many valid targets that they cannot take them all out. There are a few rules to use this for victory.
For this to work, each of your units must be a valid threat to the opponent, even better if the threat-levels are equal. This basically comes down to list building- make sure that each of your units will be high on your opponents target priority check-list. For example, a unit of 10 infantry may not be a threat where a unit of 30 would be. Take the 30-man unit. having one specialist unit in an army places it higher up the threat scale- make sure that you take many units to deal with each threat, rather than just 1.
Your units need to be in the right place, relevant to each other, to be a target. having an anti-cavalry unit on the opposite side of the board to your opponents Knights means that they aren't dangerous, so it places all of your other units higher on their target priority. this is key for success- make sure that your units are positioned so that they are all equally dangerous. This doesn't mean they need to be in a line mirroring the opponent- having a Cavalry unit on the flank potentially means that the opponent can be flank charged, or holding back faster moving elements means that the opponent has to deal with them before they can close, if possible.
Keeping these two rules in mind will mean that you can position your forces in such a way that the opponent cannot deal with them all, and because each unit is a threat it doesn't matter which they destroy, you still have a tool for the job. In an ideal world, you are looking to launch 1 attack on turn 2 or 3, with all elements striking at the same time, to thoroughly overwhelm an opponent. Of course, ideal situations don't often happen, but the closer you can get, the easier victory will become.
Now, I'm purposefuly not dealing with specific examples because this a strategy available to every army, in every game. Romans will never outnumber an opponent, but by making sure that each unit is equally dangerous, it stops on opponent dealing with units piecemeal, or else taking out the dangerous unit to secure victory. Equally, horde forces that don't rely on a Deathstar ensure that they can overwhelm the opponent without being tarpitted (remember location).
Try it. Make sure, when building a list, that each of your units can, in some way, deal with the major threats you are likely to face. In historical games, that may be Cavalry, Chariots and Elite infantry. In Fantasy games, it is likely to be all of these plus Monsters and Magic. In Sci-fi games, you are more likely to worry about tanks, flyers and armoured infantry. The addition of a character can make all the difference, or else clever use of wargear and unit interactions. If you are using reserves, this helps keep them alive- don't place them in a location that makes them an obvious target, but do place them so that they bolster the assault next turn. And bear in mind that it doesn't matter what firepower the opponent brings- they have to deal with your units faster than you can get into lethal threat range, which shouldn't really be possible if you play it right.
This is the plan for my Tyranids at present- to make each unit as utility as possible, and to keep each unit alive by making the opponent unsure of where the danger is. I'll see how it goes over the next few games, and get back to you.
Comments, as always, are welcome.