Another question: you mention that you always prefer to attack an enemy rank-R piece with an R+1 ranked piece of your own. I wonder if that isn't too predictable. If the target piece is covered by an R+2 piece you'll lose your attacker for minor info.
Why not try and win the piece outright by attacking with an R+2 piece yourself? If it's doubly covered it's perhaps a bit risky, since it's likely covered by an R+2 and an R+3 piece. But for singly covered pieces it seems worth the risk.
Say you hit a sarge with a lieut and lose against a cap. Is this really preferred over attacking the sarge with a cap yourself, with the chance of winning the sarge outright, or losing the cap against at least a major?
Also, if you mix up the ranks of your "value bets", the opponent will have to mix up his defenses as well (R+2 or R+3 cover) and/or spend more scouting pieces on your incoming attackers. Or maybe you find that mixing up real attacks with pure bluffs is enough to be unpredictable, so that your actual attacks don't have to speculate on winning the piece outright?
You make very good points. I’ve been thinking about this since FKS wrote his comment on my first video: “If you see a piece that u know rule of thumb is u want to hit with 2 ranks higher instead of one. except for miners which u should always take with serg.”
I think when you start to play higher ranked opponents that it makes sense to vary your attack and become less predictable and more risky. My youtube channel is really targeted for all the bronze/silver players. I think they’d be much better off attacking one rank higher so they don’t get too far down. The problem is they don’t know how to play from behind and how to plan ahead. When they get too far down in their minds (it might only be a major or colonel or maybe 2 captains) then they start to think the games over. Attacking +1 rank is not an ironclad rule with me. Taking a guarded sergeant with a captain instead of a lieutenant at the start of the game is not that big of a risk. A lot depends on the game situation. Are you way ahead? Are you way behind? How many pieces are left on the board? How well do you play from behind? How well are you at planning attacks and counter attacks? How well do you know your opponent? How many pieces are guarding the piece you are attacking and how many of those pieces have moved? What opponent’s pieces are already revealed? What position on the board is the piece you’re attacking? Etc…
Attacking +2 in rank is not such a big deal with pieces ranked captain or lower, especially in the beginning of the game. I think deciding to attack +2 with majors/colonels/gens is a lot more risky. I wouldn’t advise it for beginners playing other beginners. Many of these players think the game is lost when they go down a major or colonel and they only captured a lieutenant and captain. Plus, beginners are more likely to have mar/gen up front, so you’re more likely to get the info you want just by attacking +1 rank without the added risk.
There are times when the game situation will dictate what you must do. Here’s a game where FKS is being marshall blitzed on his left side. https://youtu.be/GbCkSDG2ZHQ?t=4m38s He scouts a lieutenant in the middle. He has his choice to attack with a captain or major. He attacks with the captain, only +1 rank. Why? Because he knows the General is usually in the middle and it’s just not worth the risk to lose a major. He just wants to find the Gen. If he had found a captain on the far right side, it would make sense to attack that with a colonel, because the General is most likely near the center of the board when he's being marshal blitzed.
Stratego is a kind of a complex/weird game. I think when you get really good and start to play better players, you have to change your style of play and become more random( your setups/bomb placements/flag placements/attacks), less predictable(lots of bluffs) and more aggressive.