If you have been in the Advance Wars community for very long, you have probably been exposed to two different concepts of game theory. Here, we will explain what these concepts are, and which one you should listen to.
Game Theory Edit
All video game communities are dominated by their multiplayer game theory, and Advance Wars is no exception. The difference is that for a very long time Advance Wars had no multiplayer gameplay to speak of. Various clones have been used over the years to remedy this, but the most successful by far was Advance Wars by Web (AWBW). AWBW's community continued to be a dominant force even in the AWDoR era, but serious attempts at playtesting AWDS finally damaged this dominant concept of game theory. This concept, and the one beginning to replace it, are the subject of this analysis.
The Map-Based Concept of Game Theory Edit
This is the game theory that existed in Advance Wars through AWBW. The map-based concept of game theory is exactly what it sounds like: basing your entire game theory upon a particular style of map. In AWBW's case, this was done by settling on a map style the community at large deemed to be "good." We see a polarizing effect with this gameplay: game balance is crafted around a particular style of map. As a result, the only way to challenge the consensus is to play on a different map style. The moment you do that, you are discredited for using inferior maps to get your results. As we will soon see, however, the map-based concept can only survive as long as a single group has access to map-making norms.
The Faction-Based Concept of Game Theory Edit
This is the newer game theory concept, and the one we see beginning to win out. "Faction" in this case refers to Advance Wars' COs. This concept is focused on looking at a number of map styles and seeing how well CO effectiveness carries over. This is what has led to the tier list described by The Idiot's Guide to AWDS. What we begin to see from using this method is that COs employing certain game concepts can be grouped and moved around together, as their core gameplay elements carry over from style to style in roughly the same manner. It is also relative: the more map styles a CO can be effective on, the higher they are ranked. This avoids the divisiveness of the map-based concept, since it allows bottom tier COs to have maps they're good on while still being bottom tier, since you need a very specific situation for them to be effective. Likewise, it allows top tier COs to have situations where they are bad, as it requires an equally specific situation to reduce their effectiveness. It also allows game theory to be challenged, as you are free to use any map style you choose, and the only requirement is to prove that a CO is effective or ineffective on a large variety.
It is clear that the faction-based concept of game theory is vastly superior to the map-based concept. It does not require a narrow focus on map style, and encourages exploration and creativity on the part of the players. While its predecessor tends toward elitism among the community, faction-based game theory is accessible to anyone who takes the time to catch up on its history and practice; a better community builder.
|General||Game Theory Methodology|
|Advance Wars: Dual Strike||AWDS Tag Theory - AWDS Unit Guide|