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Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

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Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by rittchard » Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:45 pm

Is anyone engaging in this latest game mode fad?

https://kotaku.com/a-guide-to-auto-ches ... 1835820155

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, this is a fairly recent game mode taken from MOBAs (I guess) but turned into a mashup of a card game and an elimination (last man standing) game. Talk about oddball combos! Anyway, it's purely a strategic game but using the character assets from MOBAs like DOTA and LoL. On your turn you can buy a piece or spend money to gain xp/level. Then you send your piece(s) into battle, but you have no control over the actual fight. If you get a certain number of the same piece they will advance to a more powerful version. When you level up you can add an additional piece into the fight. There's a little more to it but that's the main gist. You can get items for characters, and there are combinations that are more or less effective, etc. I don't know all the details. Matches continue until you are eliminated or are the last man standing, similar to a Battle Royale game.

It's an interesting mix, and it's definitely fun to build up a team of characters you like from a game like LoL, but... the overall game length I feel is too long for a casual game of this sort. Since you are not in direct control of the characters, a lot of time is spent just watching fights unfold or waiting for a countdown timer. I've only played a full game a couple of times but it generally takes more than 20 minutes to complete, and that's with me getting kicked out fairly early on. I would like to see the game balanced to make a full match end maybe twice as fast.

Anyway, curious to see what others think. There are definitely strategic elements that I am not grasping, but I'm not sure what that is yet.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by Sudy » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:46 pm

I've been playing DOTA Underlords for the past week. It's my first experience with the genre outside of watching some Youtube videos. I'm not sure if there's enough "game" here, and some of the advanced strategies I'm seeing touted online don't seem like fun. But it's a good diversion that I've been needing, and I do indeed find myself craving a game. I haven't tried LoL's TFT yet, but I have it downloaded. I agree that games run a little long (in Underlords, anyway). 30 minutes is a long time to have to ignore work/my wife/etc. these days, as there's no pause button. But it would be the same for most multiplayer strategy experiences, I suppose.

I usually finish third or fourth. I think I've finished first only once or twice, and I must have played a good thirty games. Dominated with druids/mechs last night when I got lucky with rolls.

Game length is just about right to play on the bus ride to work, but positioning units/etc. can be frustrating on a phone.
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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by Lorini » Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:31 am

I just play with bots, that way I can quit whenever and come back to the game later.
Steer into the drift.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by rittchard » Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:25 pm

I found one on mobile called Chess Rush which seems to finish fairly quick. They advertise around 10 minutes. There's only 8 players which is fine with me.

The only negative so far is, and I could be totally wrong, that I think either I am missing something completely or there may be cheaters. The last match I played the guy who won had like six 3-star units and two 2-star. No one else had more than a single 3-star. I don't know of any way to influence what you are getting so either he was phenomenally lucky or is cheating. I almost reported him but I don't know enough about the genre to know if perhaps I am missing some details.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by rittchard » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:43 pm

Chess Rush (mobile) - I played a lot of this over the weekend. It seems like the friendliest of the games I've tried, and if you play Turbo Mode, games should last about 10-15 minutes max. I think overall that's better for a game of this type.

Teamfight Tactics gives me a fun factor mostly because of nostalgia for the LoL characters. I've only played 2 matches, but they were in the 25-30 minute range IIRC.

All in all I feel like this genre, while growing on me, is misleading. By linking itself to Chess it seems like it's going to be more of a pure strategy game. In truth it's more like a puzzler with a large reliance on RNG. I'm sure there are plenty of nuances I am unaware of, but ultimately it seems to me that no matter how good you are strategically, there's nothing you can do to overcome bad rolls. If units never match up to what you have committed to, there's just not much you can do. I suppose a really good player might have contingencies and plan from the start to be able to make adjustments, but from what I can tell, there's just no way out of a series of "bad" rolls particularly in the mid to late game.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by LordMortis » Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:26 am

This post got me to look. The game (DOTA Underworld) has sucked me in. I play too much, given the commitment for 30 to 40 minutes at a pop and I just should not give that sort of time uninterrupted to a game after work or play too many times in a row over a weekend. :oops:

I keep playing but I still haven't learned the basic skills nor even who is ranged and who is melee. I just play for the stated synergies and tend to look for the best ones based on the first couple of rounds of heroes. I can reliably get to 2nd place if I can get any 2 heroes to a 2 star position relatively quickly. I have yet to find a way to get a first place finish.

I simply don't understand how so many times I am facing two 2 stars by round 5 while I can't reliably get to two 2 stars by round 10. Even when I see two like heroes and lock them on round 1, I just don't get there.

I also don't know what promotions mean other than I've spent too much time playing.

I've tried a bunch of different tactics. Leveling quickly to hunt for high level characters, Leveling slowly to be try to 3 star low level heroes, hording gold, blowing gold, hunting for rare synergies. I'm guessing nothing substitutes for learning the actually abilities and stats for all of the heroes... Maybe this weekend... or maybe I move on. I really can't beat the game experience it's brought for free though.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by Sepiche » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:04 pm

Tried Underlords the other night, but it was way too slow and random for my taste.

I can see the appeal though.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by rittchard » Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:10 pm

Sepiche wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:04 pm
Tried Underlords the other night, but it was way too slow and random for my taste.

I can see the appeal though.
I didn't like the genre too much the first times I tried it, but now I'm kind of hooked. But again I'm playing the faster mobile version mentioned above.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by Sudy » Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:12 pm

Enlarge Image

Got a rare win with a druids/savage team. Seems like most of my wins are with druid teams.

LordMortis wrote:
Tue Jul 09, 2019 11:26 am
I keep playing but I still haven't learned the basic skills nor even who is ranged and who is melee.
If you click on a unit on the battlefield it will display their damage range. Even once you know who's melee and ranged, this information can be helpful.
I simply don't understand how so many times I am facing two 2 stars by round 5 while I can't reliably get to two 2 stars by round 10. Even when I see two like heroes and lock them on round 1, I just don't get there.
I think it's just luck, to be honest. Anyone smart isn't rolling that early. I would be surprised if you're seeing teams with two 2-stars by round five that often, but I'm sure it happens. (One possibility is the druids synergy that buffs the level of the lowest-level druid if you have two+ on the field?)
I also don't know what promotions mean other than I've spent too much time playing.
I don't think they mean anything yet, other than their use in matchmaking. The naming/levelling convention for ranks certainly isn't intuitive.
I've tried a bunch of different tactics. Leveling quickly to hunt for high level characters, Leveling slowly to be try to 3 star low level heroes, hording gold, blowing gold, hunting for rare synergies. I'm guessing nothing substitutes for learning the actually abilities and stats for all of the heroes...
There are tables and tier lists out there, but as a novice player I've found that it's most important just to focus on levelling characters up and hitting whatever synergies I can. Also, don't be afraid to completely switch out characters/synergies, especially once you're comfortable checking the scoreboard and others' board, and you see that others are using the same ones as you (characters come from a shared pool).

But hoarding gold is almost always the way to go until you've hit 50, when interest is maximized. (You get 1 gold per 10 saved each round, up to a maximum of 5 per 50.... It makes no sense to save more than 50 gold between rounds.) You'll want to level when appropriate, but never level or roll yourself broke... building that interest per round is what makes it possible to roll in the endgame, and potentially get to levels 9 and 10.

Also, be aware that interest is calculated the moment each round's battle begins. So if you've got 41 gold and want to buy a 2-cost unit you don't actually need immediately, it makes more sense to wait until after the battle has begun. They you'll still get that extra gold for being above 40. Relatedly, if you've got spare bench space, especially in the early game, it can make sense to buy a few units you're not necessarily interested in just to see if you get more of them next round. If not, just sell them... you get full value.


As always, there's lots of good info on Youtube. I watch a lot of Savjz, though I don't know that he's particularly educative. This video and its follow-up by TinMan354 taught me a lot about positioning, but I haven't really absorbed it all yet.
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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by rittchard » Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:03 pm

OMG I had no idea there was anything like interest involved in these games lol! I just keep rerolling til I have nothing every turn. I don't know if the game I'm playing has it too but I'm guessing it does as sometimes I see people hoarding a ton of it and I keep wondering why.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by Sudy » Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:05 pm

Didn't manage first place, but I had to pivot out of knights this last game because two other players were in them heavily. Somehow, I wound up with the most three-stars of any game I've played--five. Was close to a sixth. I think it was probably my watered down synergies that kept me from doing better, but it was still kind of amazing to watch a three-star Puck and Dragon Knight work. The player who took first had an obscene brawny bonus... had a Beastmaster with something like 71 kills and over 6,000 HP.
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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by rittchard » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:49 pm

rittchard wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:03 pm
OMG I had no idea there was anything like interest involved in these games lol! I just keep rerolling til I have nothing every turn. I don't know if the game I'm playing has it too but I'm guessing it does as sometimes I see people hoarding a ton of it and I keep wondering why.
So... yeah there's definitely some form of benefit from saving money. Sigh lol. It hasn't vaulted me up to the top but it's definitely improved my gameplay. I really wish Dota Underlords would introduce a similar mode that sped matches up to 15-20 minutes max. I love playing this on a tablet or even my phone.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by Sudy » Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:03 pm

Tried my first game of Teamfight Tactics... was easy to apply most of the same concepts from Underlords, but I sure felt lost when it came to unit types and the interface. I know that familiarity will come with time, but I think Underlords is definitely a much better introduction to the genre, even if I maybe forget how confusing my early games were there, also. But things are a lot more stylized in TFT and it seems the interface just isn't built around easy recognition.

I do love the added complexity and twists though. I find Underlords getting a little stale, even if it's still addictive. In particular I find the bot "warm up" matches in the first few rounds to be wearing on me (though I guess they're there in TFT too, I just have more to look at to fill the time while I'm still learning the game).
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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by rittchard » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:13 pm

I've kind of "graduated" myself to Underlords now and I am kind of getting hooked. I'd still like it if the matches were shorter, but I find I can play a match on my ipad and still watch TV fairly easily. Really nice to have it on mobile and I like that I don't have to stay 100% focused the whole time.

One question I don't know if any you mentioned already, does actual physical positioning matter much? I notice most people have their full set in the corner. I usually just make a straight line or two of everyone. Sometimes I put casters in the back but I honestly don't know if it matters.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by Sudy » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:22 pm

This video and its follow-up by TinMan354 is a good primer. Apparently positioning can be pretty important. But I still struggle at times to know exactly what I should be doing with certain units, and knowing whether taking advantage of a localized buff is more valuable than ideal positioning.

But the obvious applies... tankier units out front, ranged in the back. Unless you're protecting ranged units from assassins, then you may want to station a tank at the back. On the other hand, you want to encourage a degree of damage against your units with good abilities, as their mana will charge faster. (E.g. Kunkka, Enigma, etc.) And units with "straight line" attacks like Keeper of the Light and Puck are best positioned in back corners, so they're more likely to hit multiple targets. But then, at the end of the game you often want to spread units out to avoid getting your whole team AOEd. There's a lot to take into consideration. :?
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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by LordMortis » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:25 pm

I think it can matter a lot. If you have a faster brain than I do, you can learn your opponents but on a more basic level, some units benefit from being next to other units. The Drow boosts everyone's attacks next to her. The level 1 druid heals units next to her. A pair of primordials can lock down units from getting at your weaker units. The Arc thingie can't replicate unless he has an open space. Some of your enemies have AOE that will nuke clustering. Exploding inventors want enemies to surround them.



I mostly just do standard D&D party order only I've learned to hug walls. Hugging walls seems to help you range strikers focus on less units. instead of everyone choosing someone different because the different guy is closer to your other unit.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by rittchard » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:48 pm

The thing is it seems like you have no control over what they will do once combat starts. So a lot of the bonuses like the ones where they have to be next to each other seem hit or miss. Or maybe it's my brain that's hit or miss lol. Or even something like which units will insta-teleport to the back lines. Is that something that is guaranteed to happen with a particular unit (like assassin class)? Because in that case it seems like you can place it anywhere and it wouldn't matter.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by LordMortis » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:23 pm

You have no control but you can put them in the best position to mitigate against your lack of control.

I was doing so at a minor level intuitively but Sudy's link shows there's a whole more I could be doing that I simply don't see from watching the matches. I had not idea that a zone of control could pull agro and you could divide that agro by setting back tanks diagonally. Now I want to go home and play and watch. That could change everything. I also never accounted for placing of AOE directional casters even though that should have been obvious. (I'm not the brightest nail in the drawer)

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by rittchard » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:03 pm

LordMortis wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:23 pm
You have no control but you can put them in the best position to mitigate against your lack of control.

I was doing so at a minor level intuitively but Sudy's link shows there's a whole more I could be doing that I simply don't see from watching the matches. I had not idea that a zone of control could pull agro and you could divide that agro by setting back tanks diagonally. Now I want to go home and play and watch. That could change everything. I also never accounted for placing of AOE directional casters even though that should have been obvious. (I'm not the brightest nail in the drawer)
I'm way worse off, I barely understand what you are talking about at all lol. It does beg the question how did they expect anyone to know about any of this when they don't even hint at these kinds of complexities in the tutorial? I also wish they'd provide a little more info within the game regarding combos and stuff, which the mobile game I was playing actually does quite nicely. All in all, though, I still feel like RNG has too much of an effect. No matter how strategic you are, it feels like a string of bad luck rolls can destroy you, particularly later in the game. It's disheartening when others are piling up 3 stars and in spite of everything you tried, you are stuck with a bunch of excess crap in your pool trying to roll for your first one.

All whining aside, though, I am finding myself getting addicted to this lol.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by Lorini » Thu Jul 18, 2019 7:41 am

I think once they start monetizing it (whatever that will look like) you’ll see more quality of life stuff added.
Steer into the drift.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by LordMortis » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:34 am

rittchard wrote:
Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:03 pm
All whining aside, though, I am finding myself getting addicted to this lol.
I play too much to try and learn and do better. I experimented with positioning and better mixing heroes irrespective of shared abilities based on the video. I performed terribly.

WRT luck, yeah, that's the biggest drawback and for me that's the luck of the hero draw. That's why I want to experiment and learn about position and the heroes strengths irrespective of shared abilities and their synergies with items, etc... To mitigate against the frustration of being 15 rounds and still only having 2 two star heroes even when trying to be flexible. Otherwise the next step for me is one of two directions. Quit or concede matches like 7 or 8 rounds in with "I got a bad draw, you got me, I lose" I hate to do the later when 7 other people are playing a game. You're hurting the fullness of their experience.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by rittchard » Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:22 pm

You know it occurred to me what traditional game this genre is the most like to me. In spite of it being named for "Chess" what it's actually more like is traditional mahjong. Not the matching solitaire game but the 4-player strategy game. There are a lot of conceptual similarities in that you are trying to build the best hand you can in terms of combinations and synergies, and need to keep adjusting based on what you draw. You can take risks in waiting for the right piece(s) or try to win with whatever you get. Often you need to sacrifice "offense" for defense, but making short term sacrifices can pay off in the long run.

I finally realized that was what was drawing me in more and more to the game. Well that and the fun special effects lol. But seriously the mental stimulation and triggers are very much like what a mahjong match is like. You may start out with a kind of plan in your mind, but that can get immediately blown apart with the opening draw (which in this game I consider the first 3 rounds). At that point you might think you've got a goal in mind, like you want to do engineers and warlocks or whatever (in mahjong it might be bamboos and number combos), but then as you get further along, luck and/or what opponents are doing may force you in an entirely different direction.

Last night I think I played my best strategic game thus far, and ended up in second place (my best placement in this game). I was in the middle to bottom for much of it, but I tried to play each turn more flexibly with last minute changes and moving things around. Eventually I had an all 2-star team and later 1 3-star with an open spot and started a win streak. When it finally came down to me and the last guy, I kept trying different adjustments with the last spot, but I just couldn't take him out.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by Baroquen » Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:34 pm

Well, I tried Underlords this morning. It's an interesting concept and it was kind of entertaining. I'm not sure it will last long with me, but was something different to play around with. It got me to take time out to come read this thread again, and do a little digging for articles & info. (I can't stand watching videos).

If I never got into LoL, is there anything worthwhile about TFT to try? Or pretty much the same with the LoL flavor?

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by rittchard » Mon Jul 22, 2019 2:09 pm

Baroquen wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:34 pm
Well, I tried Underlords this morning. It's an interesting concept and it was kind of entertaining. I'm not sure it will last long with me, but was something different to play around with. It got me to take time out to come read this thread again, and do a little digging for articles & info. (I can't stand watching videos).

If I never got into LoL, is there anything worthwhile about TFT to try? Or pretty much the same with the LoL flavor?
Yeah if you never played LoL there's nothing special about TFT, in fact it's harder to get into I'd say.

While I've been playing a lot more Underlords, I still have to re-iterate that the mobile Chess Rush (Turbo Mode) is my preferred/recommended way of playing the genre. It's very very similar but moves at a faster pace and ends quicker. Underlords has the advantage of Steam/PC integration, so that's definitely a plus given that I can play on my iPad or PC.

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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by Sudy » Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:47 pm

I had no previous experience with DOTA nor LoL. I maintain that you're best off starting with Underlords if you're new to auto chess. But you should absolutely give TFT a try once you've got the basics down. At first I found TFT overwhelming, but now I prefer it to Underlords.

Underlords is a cleaner experience, but IMO TFT is more interesting. Both mechanically and visually. Out of the gate Underlords is more polished... the interface feels right and the entire experience is very intuitive once you understand the game. TFT on the other hand, while a ton of design has gone into it, things aren't always where you expect them and some features Underlords has are missing. I suspect Underlords being developed also for mobile has a lot to do with the strengths but also the blandness of its interface.

Yet, TFT is just more interesting to me. The characters, while less visually distinct, seem more developed. The battle animations are more impactful, making the fights more satisfying to watch. Item combining adds an additional layer, even if it feels a bit confusing at first. There are more team composition options. You actually fight other players on the same board. You can chat (potentially a downside depending on the community, but I haven't had any bad experiences).

One big thing you'll notice and a potential downside is that you can wash out of a TFT game much faster if you're especially unlucky or play poorly. But I sort of don't mind, because it means the bad games end quicker. In Underlords I find that you can stick around for ages in games you're unlikely to win, and it just drags.

If Underlords has grabbed you in the least, I think it's worthwhile to at least try TFT to experience the things it does differently. Just expect the first few games to be overwhelming as you learn its characters and systems.
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Re: Auto Chess/Dota Underlords/Teamfight Tactics

Post by LordMortis » Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:23 am

I found that I would sit down to play once but then I would feel compelled to play more than once in a row and at a half hour + commitment a pop, if you feel compelled to play four games in an evening your evening is done. That's too much for something that is so luck driven. So I tapped out. The game could get its hooks in me easily. I could easily play round after round trying to learn and do better but the time required for that is just too much and the feeling at the end is not "I enjoyed myself" but "shit, I wasted a lot of time, what was I thinking?" In two short weeks I gave up more than one entire evening to this game that I shouldn't have and the feeling after was of guilt not relaxation or accomplishment or anything positive, so it's gone.

Too bad, because it scratches a lot of the right itches but the negatives in me that exposes are not good. My propensity to blow off things that need to get done for gaming and my feelings of a sort of negative charged nihilism when I feel compelled to spin gears for nothing for long periods of time.

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