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Thread: I Am Siam - A V2 Minor Strategy AAR

  1. #41
    Strategy GuidAAR Rensslaer's Avatar
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    So... In my recent mini-update, I explained my thinking about why I should not immediately declare war against Burma. Not right away, anyway... Not immediately, as opposed to in several months or so, which... Well, you'll see.

    First, I want to point out some strategy tidbits. That is, after all, what this AAR is meant to dwell upon. Smart (and not so smart) strategy in gameplay. And to have some fun along the way, but to learn something.

    Over the course of the next few peaceful months, I had a couple of minor decisions to make.

    One was whether to accept an offer of Alliance from Dai Nam (Vietnam). No -- they're a target, and I do not want to Ally with them.



    And an Event. The options are... Well, the options themselves are more or less irrelevant from a strategy standpoint (a roleplaying standpoint is different, and I've definitely played games when paying more attention to roleplaying than to smart strategy!). What's important is what the consequences of each choice are.

    As I recall, the choices were between losing 21 research points and gaining 21 research points plus some few POPs gain 3 CON and 1 MIL. Now, I suppose 21 RPs is small change (you're looking at a total choice difference of 42 points -- -21 vs +21). But for a country the size and level of development of Siam, that 42 points is literally a difference of about a month and a half of research time.

    I am so utterly dependent on research for survival against the big dogs (eventual civilization) that I don't want to take the chance. Especially since I happen to know this event (or one similar) will come up again in another province. The added 3 weeks of research is worth it to me, and I know I can dispel the Militancy, at least (at least I think I can... Watch me fail (lol!)).



    Peacetime considerations have allowed me to back off some on my earlier stress on the Budget. I've built a Treasury up to above 1,000 pounds, and would like to keep it there. My daily balances are around breaking even, which is fine with a balance like that.

    I'm backing off on taxes, so that my POPs can have a little relief. Now we're at 75% for the poor and 50% for the Middle class. In one of my feedbacks earlier one of the readers pointed out that the effective tax is what matters, which is true (15% now for poor, 10% for middle), but the "marginal" effects of lowering taxes still allow more of my people to get the goods they want. Ideally, I'd prefer all my POPs be able to buy all their life and everyday needs, but none of their luxury needs (because that increases CON). But that's hard to balance, since different POP types have different needs and abilities to buy and gain income. This will do for now.

    Education, Administrative and Defence budgets all increase by about 5% over where they were. I don't remember if I'd lowered tariffs before, but now they're down at 10% instead of 15% (or even 20% I'd had them at earlier).

    So... What shall I do strategically? I want to expand and gain Prestige, eventually. Where and when do I have an opportunity?



    By the spring of 1838, I've convinced myself that it's time to take on Dai Nam. This, of course, comes along with Cambodia, so I prepare a holding line in the north (ready to plunge into Vinh) and a major strike force to sweep through lightly defended Cambodia.

    Then I get to second guessing myself... I don't actually see any of Dai Nam's troops because of Fog of War. But I know I have 9,000 Cambodians, and there must be plenty of hidden Dainamese troops out there, too. My military score is 6, and since the beginning of the game (quite recently, must be, or else I forgot) they've increased from about 9 military score to 11. Is this too risky?

    Ultimately, I decide that it's not the prudent time to take on Dai Nam. I'll come back for them later when I'm stronger. I begin marching my troops toward Burma, instead. Then.....



    All right. Looks like I'm taking on Dai Nam anyway. Just as well that I have troops pre-positioned on their border. May I be able to turn this into a "surprise reversed" scenario (any Star Fleet Battles fans out there???)?

    An unexpected happenstance is that Dai Nam's satellite Cambodia hasn't been called into the war yet. This may be to my advantage, by shortening the possible front. I immediately order my nearest (medium strength) army into Vinh, while moving my other armies to support (the southern army) and to attack north.



    Now... We have here an illustration of the dangers of Fog of War. Had I any ships, I might have deployed one into the Gulf to see where his armies were (I probably would have done this before war started, since I was planning to invade him). It's important to carefully watch your armies when they're approaching Fog of War, because you're never sure what's there.

    I happened to face the nightmare scenario, which I couldn't have avoided if not at the very slowest creep-speed. The inset shot on the left is what I see on July 1 -- nothing except a northern army marching toward Vinh, expected to arrive on the 6th (time enough for me to become the defender). ...



    Then, like in a movie where a Mack truck emerges from an alley just as you're driving past... Suddenly not only are there 24,000 enemy troops in Vinh (with another 6,000 on the way), but I'm outnumbered 3:1 and I'm the attacker into difficult (-2 Terrain) territory! This is destined to go badly. And there's nothing I can do for it.

    I start building a new Infantry unit -- all my other units are Irregulars. This is part of a modernization program I'll continue as I can.



    It was a slaughter, and a major setback. I lost 9,000. I was happy to see (and surprised, frankly) that I'd taken 4,000 of the enemy with me (mostly because of my new General's +4 attack score and the enemy's -1 defence). But the fact remained, I had just lost 1/3 of my entire army!!! Not a good way to start a war.

    The enemy, of course, advanced. They split, with one of their armies returning to defend the northern approaches. The other 3/4 moved forward into my mountainous border regions (an unwise thing, all in all, but still...).

    I began balancing my forces in a defensive formation. No sense using my typically aggressive strategy anymore. I was most definitely on defense now. I'm hoping the Attrition the enemy should expect will help me even the score so they can't get past my defensive lines. I've placed 6,000 troops in each province. At my tech level I can't dig in, but I can sit in the mountains and/or jungles of my territory and wait for the enemy to come against me.



    So we've arrived at a coda, of sorts. What's to happen next?

    Cliffhanger... Sorry. Get used to it!

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  2. #42
    Remember Carcosa! Fiftypence's Avatar
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    So we've arrived at a coda, of sorts. What's to happen next?
    You curse yourself for not accepting Dai Nam's alliance?

  3. #43
    Strategy GuidAAR Rensslaer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiftypence View Post
    You curse yourself for not accepting Dai Nam's alliance?
    No... This is just as well. It's a setback. Soldier on!!
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  4. #44
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    Defend, hope that the terrain on your side of the border will make up for the lack of troops. Perhaps let the Vietnamese advance into your territory a few provinces, let them thin out their lines and then start picking them off one by one. I don't know enough about combat in V2 yet, but the situation doesn't look dire - yet.

  5. #45
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    I am surprise that you can afford an army of that size.

  6. #46
    Major Thormodr's Avatar
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    Dai nam Dai!

    Hee hee. Looks like you have an interesting war on your hands. A very determined Pho anyway.

  7. #47
    I'm thinking that was a painful loss, especially for an uncivilized country.

    What are your plans as far as war goals go? Territorial acquisition? Humiliation? This 'defensive' stance you keep talking about is clearly misinformation.

    Also, what are the Cambodians doing? Invading or looking enviously at your provinces?

    I look forward to the next installment.
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  8. #48
    Strategy GuidAAR Rensslaer's Avatar
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    In the last update, you'll remember Siam just lost 1/3 of its army because of an ill-timed bit of luck, slaughter having ensued. I rebalanced my forces defensively, and waited.

    The victorious enemy split also, one marching forward into the Siamese border mountains, the other moving back to Thanh Hoa to defend the approaches to the capital. This unit, then, marched forward against Vientiane, where they believed they would have an advantage.

    Unknown to them, they walked into a small-scale version of the same ill-luck I'd had before, as my force doubled just as they attacked.



    My mountain defenses were good, and Gen. Nithithada's organization bonus stacked up well against their Gen. Nguyen's disadvantage on attack and organization penalty. They lost 1,000 more men than us, in an even fight with two brigades on each side. My luck continued as we were able to force them to retreat into Savannakhet (my mountains) instead of back where they'd come, thereby opening a gap (which allowed me, I shall foreshadow, to stick my neck in!).

    I sent one brigade ahead to begin a siege in Thanh Hoa (my typically aggressive style), while the other hung back defensively, and followed later.


    Meanwhile, my other four brigades converged upon Savannakhet, where the enemy was already making a strategic withdrawal to protect their homeland from my marauders, while leaving a small screening force behind.

    Our revenge for our earlier defeat was taken upon these few defenders. Unfortunately, the main enemy force -- thankfully reduced in strength by attrition and by their screening force -- moved inexorably toward our advance units in the north!



    The whole of the Dainamese brigade at Savannakhet was slain, for little loss on our side. We moved forward, but not in time to save our men at Thanh Hoa. The battle there involved serious casualties on both sides -- Gen. Saovabha being no slouch on defense (+2 bonus) -- and nearly a full brigade of the enemy fell. But losses on the Siamese side were heavier, and a chastened remnant fell back upon Vientiane, where they would hold the mountain passes.



    For all the confidence Dai Nam had, to have started the war, they were not doing so well. The Siamese were hardly winning, but their armies were rampaging through Vinh, and had even moved south into Hue.



    Dai Nam's army -- all we knew remained -- descended to push us out of Vinh. Battle was joined, and the enemy began taking more casualties because of the surrounding jungle. But this battle was still at nearly two-to-one. We tried to hold...



    Besides the obvious error of rushing ahead into enemy territory at Thanh Hoa, can my readers identify one or two more strategic errors I've made? One will be corrected, in time, while the other is irrectifiable. Look over the last two screenshots.
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  9. #49
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    I'm not sure - if you lose the battle and are pushed out of Vinh into Vientiane, you leave Savannakhet uncovered, but that's all I can see, and I don't even know how bad that could be.

  10. #50
    Major Thormodr's Avatar
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    Very interesting war so far. I only beat up Dai Nam and liberated Cambodia after Dai Nam got carved up by China and lost half of its territory. So they were pretty weak in my game.

    Looks like they are a handful normally. Might be kind of fun to play Dai Nam now that I think about it.

  11. #51
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    I would hesitate to call it an "error," but I might have moved the southern occupation force in Hue to assist in the major battle at Vinh. As Stuyvesant mentioned, you could also be talking about leaving Savannakhet open, but I hardly see that as a big problem - this looks to be turning into a war of attrition (literally and figuratively), so I would almost send a written invitation to them.

    Speaking of which, what is Siam's mobilization pool like and have you used it? I think the leading side in this war is whichever side can sustain losses for longer in terms of both manpower and money. Is there any way to tell whether Dai Nam is using Regulars yet?
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  12. #52
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    No errors, blame the generals.

  13. #53
    Strategy GuidAAR Rensslaer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyJoe View Post
    Great AAR. I look forward to your future war against the UK and/or China.
    Thanks! Welcome, TonyJoe! I'm... looking forward to it too! One way or another.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Defend, hope that the terrain on your side of the border will make up for the lack of troops. Perhaps let the Vietnamese advance into your territory a few provinces, let them thin out their lines and then start picking them off one by one. I don't know enough about combat in V2 yet, but the situation doesn't look dire - yet.
    You are substantially correct, and this is perhaps what I should have done. It's not what I did, because I'm often pretty aggressive. I'll talk about this more soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    I am surprise that you can afford an army of that size.
    Beware! I am Siam!

    Quote Originally Posted by Thormodr View Post
    Dai nam Dai!

    Hee hee. Looks like you have an interesting war on your hands. A very determined Pho anyway.
    Interesting and challenging, indeed! And a great strategy lesson for do's and don't's. I was going to try to expand upon your Pho pun, but it quickly turned into a "project" which I don't have time for.

    Quote Originally Posted by fj44 View Post
    I'm thinking that was a painful loss, especially for an uncivilized country.

    What are your plans as far as war goals go? Territorial acquisition? Humiliation? This 'defensive' stance you keep talking about is clearly misinformation.

    Also, what are the Cambodians doing? Invading or looking enviously at your provinces?

    I look forward to the next installment.
    Painful, yes! War goals... Well, at first, survival -- hold them at the border. The way the game works, once I start to make progress against them (IF I begin to make progress), then I may choose a new war goal (as the defender I have none right now). I could cut my losses and accept a White Peace, which would mean they've failed to accomplish their goal and they will suffer a loss of Prestige. However, if I do turn the tables, I'd ultimately like to add territorial concessions. Cambodia, for now, is sitting quietly, watching to see if they should join the war.

    An update was posted at this point, so comments below follow the newer update. At the end of that update, I asked readers to see if they could identify two errors I'd made, in addition to the obvious one shown earlier...

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    I'm not sure - if you lose the battle and are pushed out of Vinh into Vientiane, you leave Savannakhet uncovered, but that's all I can see, and I don't even know how bad that could be.
    Savannakhet should be okay, because unless I'm totally destroyed in that battle, I can just retreat there. But you're "warm" in identifying one of the mistakes that I made... I really shouldn't have advanced into Vinh in the first place, as I exposed myself to a powerful army in enemy territory. In hindsight, I should have predicted the battle you saw at the end of that update, and I should have instead remained in a defensive position for another round of combat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thormodr View Post
    Very interesting war so far. I only beat up Dai Nam and liberated Cambodia after Dai Nam got carved up by China and lost half of its territory. So they were pretty weak in my game.

    Looks like they are a handful normally. Might be kind of fun to play Dai Nam now that I think about it.
    Ahh, yes! Quite fun! On the whole, they have the potential to develop along similar lines as Siam, with approximately equivalent strengths. In fact, if you look at the provinces carefully, they may have an advantage in population and income, which allows them to build large armies. They're not as strategically positioned, though -- not sure how well I'd do if I were playing Dai Nam instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Miscreant View Post
    I would hesitate to call it an "error," but I might have moved the southern occupation force in Hue to assist in the major battle at Vinh. As Stuyvesant mentioned, you could also be talking about leaving Savannakhet open, but I hardly see that as a big problem - this looks to be turning into a war of attrition (literally and figuratively), so I would almost send a written invitation to them.

    Speaking of which, what is Siam's mobilization pool like and have you used it? I think the leading side in this war is whichever side can sustain losses for longer in terms of both manpower and money. Is there any way to tell whether Dai Nam is using Regulars yet?
    Miscreant, Welcome! Your reply hints at what I just noted to Stuyvesant -- I should have stayed in Savannakhet and "invited them" to come to me in my good defensive location. And you are also very "warm" on the other mistake I made. Yes, I could've/should've brought my guy from Hue in to help at Vinh.

    But in retrospect I should never have had him in Hue in the first place! He was isolated and exposed, and once Vinh fell (foreshadowing again) he was trapped. I should have foreseen both, my defeat at Vinh, and this entrapment, but I didn't. Lessons learned!

    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    No errors, blame the generals.
    Always.... No executions for failure, though -- not like the Carthaginians!

    Thanks again, everybody, for reading and commenting! Any other "lurkers" out there who might want to say hi?

    Another update in the works...

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  14. #54
    Part Time Warp aldriq's Avatar
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    Great attention to detail, as always from you, which comes in handy to learn the ropes of a new game. I guess you'll recover from those mistakes quickly enough
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  15. #55
    Great AAR. Regarding the UK: hire an English Teacher and put her in your court so that they won't touch you (referring to "The King and I")

  16. #56
    Based on the screenshots, it looks like you made a small error in rushing into Vinh with too small a force. Their armies still seem awful big to be attempting an invasion (as you alluded to in earlier comments).

    How's the financial situation going? If you're fighting a war and expanding your army's numbers of regulars, I'd imagine you're a good ways in debt by now. I have a hard enough time keeping from hemorrhaging money while at war early with a Great Power.

    I look forward to your impending glorious victory.
    "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver" --Proverbs 25:11

    WritAAR of the week: Feb. 12, 2006, Sep. 19, 2006
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  17. #57
    I suppose I should stop lurking and say Hi and that I'm really enjoying this AAR, I'm certainly learning alot. Anyway back to lurking

  18. #58
    First Lieutenant matt12th's Avatar
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    I like how your highlighting the fighting, Vicky 2 fighting is much more nailbiting than Vicky I. Rock on, teach them who runs SEAsia!

  19. #59
    Strategy GuidAAR Rensslaer's Avatar
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    In recent feedback, I explained the answer to the question I had posed, which was what 2 mistakes had I made, other than rushing into Thanh Hoa before I had the standing power to hold it.

    First, I mentioned that I really shouldn't have advanced into Vinh in the first place, as I exposed myself to a powerful army in enemy territory. In hindsight, I should have predicted the battle you saw at the end of that update (the one which continues at the beginning of this update), and I should have instead remained in a defensive position for another round of combat. I basically repeated my mistake from Thanh Hoa, being over-eager to advance into enemy territory.

    Secondly, in retrospect, I should never have had my brigade-size army in Hue in the first place. He was isolated and exposed, and once Vinh fell (foreshadowing a little to mid-update) he was trapped. I should have foreseen both, my defeat at Vinh, and this entrapment, but I didn't. Lessons learned!

    Back to the battle at hand. At Vinh, even though our army is only half the size of the Dainamese army, they are taking equal casualties.



    For a while, I considered the possibility that I might actually win -- Gen. Ton's Organization was being depleted very quickly. But eventually it became apparent we would lose, and so I waited out the "flag" (the thing in the upper left corner of the battle screen which says you can't retreat) and as soon as I was able to retreat, I did. They took a thousand more casualties than we did, which is nice.



    I immediately assumed a holding position in Savannakhet. But the Dainamese started chasing my army which had been in Hue (which, forseeing a chase, I'd sent south to try to avoid defeat). Seeing this, I first advanced with a brigade, hoping it would cause the enemy to halt and defend, but they didn't see me as a sufficient threat. We were set to arrive after that army had left, so we just continued to march (i.e. no battle would result because we would arrive too late to catch him).



    The enemy caught up with our southern army and destroyed it easily. But we had taken a position in Vinh, and I dispatched reinforcements to return to the province where they'd just left.



    Then I thought to myself. here I am repeating the same mistake a third time!!! I don't have the staying power to fight in enemy territory right now. They have an army that's larger than ours. That army will be heading back in our direction any day now. I don't have time to take control of the territory before they arrive. And the result of that battle won't be any different from those before! So... (note the image below is taken the same day as the one above -- I definitely changed my mind 180 degrees).



    So I sent all of my armies out of enemy territory. The one from Thanh Hoa I used the "advanced movement" orders (see the Manual) so that it wouldn't take the most direct path -- the most direct path being one that would take it into Vinh at about the time the enemy army would arrive.

    The new plan is to have all my armies lurk in waiting for Dai Nam's invasion at Savannakhet (if I saw they were aiming toward Vientiane, I would move). Dai Nam must come, because they declared the war, and they stand to lose alot of Prestige if they cannot meet their War Aims, right? So, bolstered by confidence of a winning plan, I waited....



    Savannakhet, as we know from our previous battle, is a mountainous province where the defender has a significant advantage, especially if I use Gen. Phya Saovabha, who has advantages on defense (and on offense - Gen. Nangklao Nitithada's advantages are all on attack). When the enemy appears, he's been reinforced with more brigades.



    My other brigades from Vientiane are moving south, and arrive just after the battle commences. The battle, all in all, is about the same odds as the battle in Vinh. The key difference is that I'm on defense, in defensively strong territory, and with a defensively strong general. Our first round of battle shows about a 3:1 casualty ratio.



    By the second round of combat, I'm achieving nearly 6:1 casualties! By the third round of combat, the enemy's strength has been reduced to fewer than our own, which just compounds their trouble. They still don't have all their brigades in combat (see the battlefield display -- one infantry in the second rank). And their Organization is being lost faster than ours.



    By the very end of the year, I've destroyed 75% of their army (more than 12,000 troops) for the loss of only 3,000 of our own!

    This rebalances the whole war. The enemy main army was obviously reinforced by an army from the south. I don't see any other armies at all (surely they exist, but how large are they?).

    The possibility exists that we now hold the upper hand in the war. This is what a sure strategy brings -- staying on defense while defense brings advantage, instead of frittering away troops in weak, futile aggressive attacks.

    As a player, I am generally very aggressive, so it's hard to get myself to hold back (as you've seen, since this war started!). But I have to recognize my relative strength, which until now has been less than my enemy.

    Now.... On the offense, for keeps!
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  20. #60
    Colonel badger_ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rensslaer View Post
    ..... They still don't have all their brigades in combat (see the battlefield display -- one infantry in the second rank).
    where is that shown? Is it where there's the little "x" in the middle of the second row? I always wondered what that stuff meant

    thanks for the terrific AAR!

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