Regions in the game
For those who don’t know, the engine used in Pride of Nations is called the AGE engine, and was created a few years ago as a pure military engine. From that, we created quite a lot of new rules and features, so to get in the end this big boy that is PON!
But the roots and basics are still there. One of these basic features is that the game is played with regions. Seems rather straightforward don’t you think? Yes … and no! Because the region is not a monolithic game space!
Each region has a military control percentage for each nation. This control (abbreviated MC) represents the extent of land your military units control in the region. With such a simple but logical concept, a lot of things are derived, and when there is war, they really trigger a lot of cool effects. For example, as the percentage of MC represents the percentage of the region you control, logically, an enemy is prevented from entering a region you fully control, unless he is in offensive posture. That means that you can wait for him to arrive, behind your trenches, and have him assault you. Even more interesting is when a river crossing is considered. If you cross a river and you don’t have at least 10% control on the other side, then the game decides that you are in ‘opposed crossing’, meaning you suffer big penalties should combat happen. But if you manage to have more than that, then you are quite simply within a bridgehead, on the other side of the river, and thus you don’t suffer penalties.
Another example is the gain or loss of military control when a battle takes place. A battle is never forced on opponents in a region; unless one has only a meager percentage of control (in this case the game forces him to attack!). If there is a battle on the other hand, then the victor will eat away a bit of control from the defeated. Think Verdun-style battles here, lasting months for a few kilometers gained at the cost of thousands of soldiers. This is quite possible in the game (particularly the late game where army densities attain levels never reached before); you can see troops fighting each other for several turns, in the same region, without anyone retreating outside of it. What you’ll see, aside from a staggering amount of losses, is that the percentages of military control move one way or another, depending of the outcome of each battle.
Add to that trench bonuses or frontage limitation (a part of the engine for a few years) and the fact that fortresses and cities are separate place within a given region, and you understand that the game is quite capable of representing high density combat.
Last but not least, military control percentage allow us to simulate what we call the ‘front effect’. The ‘Front Effect’ happens when you are in a contested region and you want to move through the enemy lines toward a region where you have no or little MC. The game just checks the relative level of control, and is able to interdict you from passing through the enemy line, with this very logical rule. Now break the enemy ranks (a routed army doesn’t control a region), and you can push your advantage. Some units are also able to bypass the enemy lines more easily if trenches are not too dense and even if the front is not broken: cavalry for example. This example of blitzkrieg before its time happened in history, as in the Allenby offensive in Palestine in 1917.
In this example, the Boer fight the British army in a guerilla warfare making use of terrain, sneak manoeuvers, and others harassing tactics.