Military Strategy

I keep running across players who have what I consider a rather skewed vision of military strategy, when it comes to MEPBM. They opine that it is better to fight on the enemy’s territory and lose a battle, rather than fight on your own territory and win a battle.

It seems to me that these players don’t understand the principle of being defeated in detail, so I’d like to go into it – in detail (a pun there).

Suppose you have 1000 HC facing 1000 HC, everything equal (command rank, morale, equipment, relations, tactics…). What will happen is mutual destruction.

But what happens when 1000 HC face 500 equivalent HC in two battles? Is it the same mutual destruction? Far from it! The 1000 HC loses about 25% of its troops in the first, battle, then 35% of its remaining troops in the second battle, leaving it with with about half of its original troops. This doesn’t even take into account that in losing two battles, you have:

  • potentially had one or both commanders killed or captured
  • increased the command rank, morale and troop training of the enemy army.

It makes a HUGE difference to fight battles where you have gathered enough troops to win. I would NEVER advance on the enemy unless I knew I was going to win.

Of course, one exception to this if sending out blocking armies, who’s purpose is to buy time for reinforcements or other resources to come into play. But even here, you ideally want to send the minimum number of troops necessary to accomplish their task, knowing that they will do little or no damage to the enemy.

In particular, in 1650 games, again and again I see initial Mordor troops move to 3124, take it, and then MOVE FORWARD to 3024 to face SG/NG troops that crush them!! Those DS troops are being thrown away to no purpose. Instead, it is better to pull back to 3224 and await the CloudLord and Blind Sorceror reinforcements. The combined Mordor troops can defeat the combined Gondor troops but only if in one pitched battle. If you split your forces and let them be defeated in detail, well, this is how Mordor gets lost, again and again.

One man’s (passionate) opinion.


I think what you say about 1650 also applies to the game in general. Axiom: never pick a fair fight. If you can help it, only fight when you’re expected to win.

Just a little addendum. It’s sometimes worth moving against a bigger army to block the bigger army or weaken it so that it then can’t take one of your pop centres.