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Thread: The New AARlander Edition 2

  1. #1
    The Article Beggar Derahan's Avatar
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    The New AARlander Edition 2

    Greetings dear reader, I'm proud to announce to people that the new AARlander is still going ahead and we are now releasing our second edition in this post (Obviously!). I've seen that reading views from the first edition and was quiet surprised that so many actully took time to read it, even though it is over two months i am surprised. So to say that i will have the goal to release each edition of the AARlander on the 2nd day of every other month as it seems now. This edition is late by 6 days, i know but sadly paradox forums is not my entire life and the other life comes knocking on the door now and then with school, friends, family etc. It shall be fun to see how this second edition is meet by the paradox public, maybe we can even perhaps have more viewers this time! It's paradox forums folks, anything is possible!

    I would like to give my thanks to the former editors of the AARlander and the former participants and writers for the AARlander as well for their magnificent work they have done previously. Secondly many thanks goes to moderator Qorten for giving his approval of this second edition and thanks to the mods Eber and Mr. Capitalist for brining up the idea for a new AARlander along with Qorten also. Thirdly i would like to give my biggest and warmest thanks to the writers of this AARlanders edition and for making it possible for me to post this even at all, Gela1212 and Loki100, many thanks to the two of you for contributing and making it possible!

    To you reader yet agian, if you find this interesting please send me a PM if you want to participate and you will get a spot for the next edition, that i promise you! And if you like it even more, please tell people about this so that it may get better know to people around the forums, we don't cover the whole area as the paradox employers does! And if you feel like it and it is a great help for us as well, leave your comment about our work here: The AARlander Feedback Thread
    Best regards,
    D.



    Last edited by Derahan; 08-02-2012 at 17:38.

  2. #2
    The Article Beggar Derahan's Avatar
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    An Examination of Hidden AARs in Victoria 2
    by Gela1212

    Let me start this simply. There are a lot of AARs out there that die – we all know that. Just a quick look around any game's AARLand will reveal a place littered by the corpses of dead literature. Why? It could be a lack of writing skill, a lack of determination, a lack of time, or any of the above.

    Those are, of course, the most common reasons. In fact, they're the reasons I've never finished an AAR. After a while, one gets tired of it. You take a break, come back, then write some more – but that's only if you have fans who want to read the next chapter. There's plenty of AARs that are hidden away with few fans, but are in fact great pieces of work betrayed by a low view count or low amounts of comments. Whenever the writer takes his break or hiatus, he comes back to a dead scene. Instead of continuing, he may just start over with a new piece of work.

    As such, I'm issuing you a challenge: Go out and read an AAR you have never looked at twice before. You don't have to read much, just the first few updates. See if you get hooked.

    Along those lines, I'm reviewing a work that doesn't have a huge amount of fans, but is very good. This is The Republic of the Golden Lion: A Venice AAR by Heroicnoodles. Now, onto the show.

    The Beginning/Hook: 6/10

    This isn't the work's strong suit. The beginning leaves a lot to be desired, and it doesn't interest you (hence why my challenge says to read several updates!) right away. In fact, it overuses info dumps right away. However, the first few chapters do one thing great – they don't move too fast. Now, that might seem to conflict with another piece of common critique, that AARs don't move fast enough. However, let me explain why.

    You see, with an AAR (especially one like this) the very first sentence is plunging you into an alien world of character's ambitions or the writer's thoughts and decisions. If they move too fast, it can create a sense of exclusion – you feel like you're missing a first part or an earlier chapter. When the reader can move at just the right speed, the narrative neither drags nor nauseates. Golden Lion has achieved this speed.

    After a little while, the story starts to thicken and becomes far more interesting.

    Overall: 8/10

    An eight out of ten! It seems my attempt to be as dull and uninformative as possible is succeeding. Now, let me soapbox a bit about some minor details that lead to this high-average score. Noodles uses pictures with precision and accuracy. They strike right to the heart of the matter, and never confuse the reader. Almost every picture in the work helps to aid understanding. The only ones that don't are the pictures of people and places, but those are necessary in a history-book style AAR.

    One cool thing is that the author gets creative. He uses different literary devices and, at one point, even tells the story in a poem! The reader is consistently surprised by something. Although this will probably run out, it's still makes for fun reading at the beginning.

    Though it's not actually the writer, so I probably shouldn't credit him for it, the game itself is very interesting. Venice isn't a frequent option either, so all in all it's a very unique experience. I mentioned it before, but this is a history-book style AAR. I think it's done well, but the format lends itself to slow spots, so there's a bit of a warning for you.

    Lastly, I did not choose this because its title is very similar to one of my own projects! You can't prove anything! Well, unless you use the post I left in the AAR's thread. Er. Actually, never mind. Just go read this thing about Venice.

  3. #3
    The Article Beggar Derahan's Avatar
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    Hoi3 - The Small Countries
    Loki100

    The conventional view of the HOI3 time line is, at least from about 1940 onwards, a clash of major powers. Even important pre-war states such as France, Italy, Hungary et al only appear in this narrative as either subordinate actors or the location where the clash between Germany, the Soviet Union and the US/UK took place.

    Which makes the emergence of a strong trend on the HOI3 board for AARs that aren't using one of the main powers all the more interesting. This has long been a feature of EU (take a one province minor, a weak state in the Americas or the Far East) and reach for regional if not global domination. Equally, Victoria, in all its incarnations, has made the playing of minor countries, forgotten by the conventional narrative sweep of the time, a major part of both enjoyable game play and superb AARs. From my (time-limited) experience on the AAR-forum, it hasn't really been traditionally a major part of the HOI series.

    So I'd like to review three very different AARs that take countries so 'minor', most histories will only mention them in passing if at all. The first is mnplastic's Luxembourg AAR. Yep, Luxembourg, since San Marino and Lichenstein are missing due to map scale you don't get much more minor. Now mnplastic has some previous in this respect with great AARs (and great feats of arms) with those well known power houses Poland and Lithuania, but even so, this was bold.

    Its game play, in fact it has some of the gamiest strategies I've ever seen in a HOI AAR (keep your transports at 0-org as they will then retreat rather than be destroyed) and just why it is important to cross a province border at 1am ... (did I mention that Luxembourg starts by building a fleet?).

    So off starts a merry journey via a quick conquest of the Netherlands and onto the re-emergence of a Burgundian empire spanning most of the Southern Oceans. Islands are occupied and abandoned, South Africa and Australia crumble while Europe is left in the chaos of early war. All told in an engagingly jaunty style. The delight is in watching a real mastery of gameplay (something that done in an AAR on one of the majors would leave me utterly disinterested) and a willingness to bend game mechanics to his advantage. It certainly refutes the conventional wisdom that WW2 was really about the major powers.

    A second small country AAR is by eqqman. Now he too has previous with Albania, Hungary and the Guangxi Clique but even so Xibei San Ma is pretty small and weak.

    The Xibei one couldn't be more different to mplastic's or indeed eqqman's other AARs. Its a combination of a very atmospheric history book treatment delivered mostly by a series of letters and diary entries by Terry, an American observer sent to Xibei. On the way we are treated to a set of well chosen photographs and some superb scene setting contemporary videos on topics as obscure as Hockey or as well know as the 1936 Olympics. We're now just reaching late Spring 1937 with the shadow of war with Japan looming on the horizon.

    However, it appears that eqqman is ambitious, an early post includes a note of the 'modifications', these include:

    "The division names are extended to make it unlikely that the generic name will be used (`1st CL`, etc.). The capital ships have had some of their duplicate names removed (example: "Ying'Swei" appeared twice in the listing for Aircraft Carriers, Battlecruisers, and Light Cruisers)
    Added entry for Escort Carriers in the list of names, since it was missing
    Added entry for Super-heavy Battleships in the list of names, since it was missing"

    Not bad for a nation yet to face the Japanese onslaught and an awful long way from the sea.

    But before you think that HOI is all about taking small, weak, marginalised, nations and correcting the errors of conventional wisdom, just check out El Pip's attempt to save Slovakia in June 1944. Our President Tiso is faced with the prospect of 2nd Ukrainian Front sweeping in from the east, the Americans heading for Berlin via Bratislava and the scary discovery that when Slovakia split from the Czechoslavakia, they forgot to take any scientific knowledge beyond 1900. The outcome is as yet unclear but the early signs are discouraging.

    So there you are three AARs with countries its easy to overlook when clicking on the map to select your preferred option at the start up tab. Each in very different ways an enjoyable engaging read and one of the many reasons when wandering around AARland to be eclectic in your choices.

  4. #4
    The Article Beggar Derahan's Avatar
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    AGEOD and Multiplayer AARs
    Loki100

    On the bulk of the forums, multi-player AARs are a small fraction of the total output. One reason may be that gathering the information needed for a good AAR is difficult within the Paradox 'real-time' model or it may just be that single player allows the author more control to cast the narrative into History Book, Narrative, Comedy or Game-play as they wish.

    In any case on the AGEOD forum the situation is almost reversed. Of the 19 AARs recorded in the library, 8 are multiplayer. If the 7 AARs based around Pride of Nations (a very different beast to the rest of the AGEOD games) are discounted then 8 out of 12 AARs for Revolution Under Siege (RUS), Rise of Prussia (RoP) and Wars in America (WiA) are multiplayer. I don't think this is because the Athena AI is weak, it will give you a challenging game and its perfectly possible to lose to it (ok its perfectly possible for me to lose to it. I think its more a product of the game turn resolution model where you send orders to the player 'hosting' the game and they are then executed with no further player interaction.

    This means you don't all (RUS has a 3 player option, PON 8 or more, I'm not sure quite how many with the latest patch) the players on line at the same time and its a lot easier to gather the information that you will need to sustain an AAR as a result. The other reason is that the games encourage a rather devious manner of play, something that is great fun against a human opponent. They all have a rock/paper/scissors aspect and the ability to really pull off a dramatic move (or fall flat on your face if your opponent second guessed you).

    Anyway this is meant to be about AARs not the game systems. In the main this has led the existing crop of AGEOD AARs towards gameplay. I think there's a couple of reasons here. One is that you have the element of reporting the beating the living daylights out of a human opponent. The other is the games are different to Paradox's and so far there has been a real commitment amongst the AAR authors to explaining mechanics and why certain tactics or strategies are to be recommended.

    Beyond this there are roughly now 2 models of writing slowly emerging. The bulk are written in a single voice from one of the participant players. Bornego's superb, and just finished, Revolution under Siege AAR, Who put the stranded admiral in charge, is an example of this. All the updates are from his perspective but there is a lot of information about the plans and logic of his ally (the white faction that starts in the Caucasus region) and of the Reds.

    An alternative is to have both players more or less alternate posts. I've finished one and another is ongoing, both use WiA. The idea is to present the plans and view of events from both players (it must be said that not all posts are exactly honest in their reportage). The hope is that readers can see the campaign develop from the plans and schemes of the players and there are time periods were what one player saw as critical the other overlooks or ignores (sometimes for propoganda purposes).

    A half-way house version is to be found in Narwhal's earlier Learning from Prussia where the posts are all from Narwhal's point of view but his opponent contributes frequently to explain his thinking and why he took certain actions.

    So if MP AARs are your interest, you could do worse than wander over to the AGEOD forums. So far they are largely gameplay but I think that is an inevitable consequence of trying to report the key element to a MP game, which is, at the end of day, doing over your opponent. Having said that, the wealth of detail in the AGEOD games would make them a superb vehicle for both history book and character driven narratives.

  5. #5
    The Article Beggar Derahan's Avatar
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    Death and Taxes mod
    Derahan

    I can’t hold it back but this is my favorite mod for Eu3 so I decided to make an article about it for this purpose. For starters, thanks to Lukew for the great mod, now I can say that the mod combines many features from other modifications that have been released for the Eu3 public, though I don’t know if they use anything from the other “two” most popular modifications, of course I am talking about Magna Mundi and MEIOU, both of which are great modifications but this is about Death and Taxes.

    So where to begin? Well Death and Taxes uses a new map for the mod, which enhanced the game experience for the player with new provinces and therefore, to many players happiness, more provinces to conquer! The map was provided by Omer who has been working on the Devlet-i Ali Osman modification. But perhaps the greatest feat that comes with a new map and provinces are of course new countries, which I believe all players see as enhancing for the game, there is also more formable nations, for example there is the old kingdom of Lotharingia, of which I personally know nothing about.

    And of course we all love those little things that make our gaming experience and life so much better, well, Death and Taxes has a whole lot of them. The first of them is clearly the extended timeline. Now that is not a tiny thing, its huge and yes it is very efficiently extended filled with the history between so it is not a huge gap of history between 1356 and 1399, that’s roughly 40 years more to use for conquer, which we, most of us at least, love to do.

    One of the other big bonuses are that Japan is really the Japan that it was back then with many more daimyos, although there isn’t that many and some are bigger than others, its more than the regular 4 from DW which could tend to be boring. Now this alone set the stage for a great game to be played as a daimyo, unite Japan and then go for conquering the world. Or you could jump across the ocean and take control of one of the small Chinese states and battle for power over china with the other smaller Chinese states and against the now weakening Mongol Khanate.

    And the last of the things I shall unravel to you is that there is lots of new and more decisions for all countries, there is plenty to go around and I can only say that this is really good, who doesn’t love to enact more decisions that limit the free movement of your subjects? Then there is also an enhancement to the sliders which makes each slider more powerful, and this time, yes it has happened, it can be worth to go decentralized! I’m utterly serious about this. They have also enhanced the National Ideas so that you must have some slider positions for some national ideas; let’s say that if you move all land slider you don’t get to pick any naval ideas.

    Last and probably least. All of us know that the meteor sighted event which we all hates, well, the Death and Taxes has expanded the options! Sorry but there is still the -1 stab hit for all but the options are much more funny, let’s take my personal favorite, “Paradox hates me” is my favorite of them all and I always chooses that, Oh the irony!

    Well, a great reviewer I am not but I might get better the more I do this. Anyways cheers for this time and good health to everyone!

  6. #6
    The Article Beggar Derahan's Avatar
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    A Historical Day
    Jemappes – Blood and Glory
    Derahan


    The sun begun to rise above the horizon, the wind smelled fresh and as far as they eye could see, the fields were flooded by a mass of soldier clad in rags, uniforms and half-rags/half-uniform. Across the field was a ridge; fortified by the enemy, on the field were the French. The tricolor fluttered in the wind above the French, immense sounds was heard as the canons on each side fired their deadly ammunition against the other. Screams was heard as the cannonballs hit the fragile human bodies and crushed them to mush. The sun had risen entirely above the horizon now and another sound was heard, the French begun to march, slowly step by step they marched across the fields towards the ridge and the Austrians and the village of Jemappes.

    It’s the 6th of November 1792 and the French revolutionary wars are raging through Europe. Less than two months ago the war had turned to the favor of the French after the battle of Valmy where General Kellerman and Dumouriez had defeated the Duke of Brunswick and stopped the Prussian invasion of France. Now two months later, General Dumouriez is hell bent on capturing the Austrian Netherlands and spread the revolution beyond the northern French border. The Austrians had dug-in themselves on the Cuesmes Ridge between the village of Jemappes and the village of Ceusmes. Some 14,000 Austrians and 56 guns were entrenched on the ridge. Facing them was the French revolutionary army consisting of some ca 40,000 men and 100 guns.

    The sounds of thousands of marching feets were heard for miles across the low lands as the French made their way across the field towards the entrenched-on-the-ridge Austrians. The order of attack came, the attack signal sounded and the soldiers formed the “Colonne d’attaque” or the attack column, the trade mark of French revolutionary infantry. The soldiers charged against the Austrian position, smoke rose from the battlefield, soldiers fell down dead and wounded and covered the ground. After an hour the attack was canceled and the French made their way from the ridge, unable to claim it for France in the attack. General Dumouriez was not lucky in this first attack and ordered his soldiers to rest.

    The first attacks failed, they were described as “Ill-coordinated but enthusiastic”. Dumouriez ordered his soldiers to rest after the attacks at dawn. He waited till noon and then ordered the lines of French soldiers across the field yet again against the ridge. With the drums ringing and the flutes singing the soldiers went towards the Austrians. Soon the battle over the ridge would continue and more French lives would be sacrificed to gain glory for their leader and the revolution. A huge attack column was formed and forced straight at the Austrian center where the bloodiest battle of the day would be fought.

    The French soldiers breached the Austrian lines through the center and established a foothold on the ridge while fresh troops poured into the gap and strengthened the French forces while the Austrians tried and failed in sealing the gap that the French column had ripped in their defense. The French had begun to outflank the Austrian right and threatened to cut off their means of escape across a sole bridge over the Hain river which they had behind their backs. The Austrians retreated rather than being outflanked and surrendered the day to the French forces of Dumouriez.

    This was the first offensive victory for France in the whole of the Revolutionary wars; it helped to boost the morale of the population of the country. Though the French lost roughly twice as many soldiers as the Austrians did, they won the battle and the day. The city of Mons fells the day after and Brussels fell after a battle on the 14th of November 1792. Ironically the Austrians would kick out the French in 1793 only for the French to return in 1794 and take the low lands once and for all.

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