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Thread: "The Mightiest Empires Fall": An Austrian RoP PBEM

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    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    "The Mightiest Empires Fall": An Austrian RoP PBEM

    Ok, as promised in the last one, this is a restart. I hate not finishing things off so this one will be continued till the bitter end (ie the point of concession of defeat in the game). However, I've learnt one lesson which is that (imho) MP suits a game play/game reporting style of AAR so thats what I'll stick with this time. As before, it'll primarily be in my voice and report the game more or less as I saw it, though I have no doubt that Narwhal will comment/expand on issues etc as it all progresses.

    Now from the last game, we've learnt a bit and come up with some modifications that suit us or address problems we encountered. Some of this is house rules, some have been modded. These include:
    1. No bateaux to pass under a fort or through a sea province under blockade
    2. No using Hussars/Cossacks to take MC (using the attack-retreat on contact orders) unless led by an officer (last time I'd riddled Prussia like a swiss cheese with this stunt)
    3. No exploitation of the manpower bug
    4. We've heavily modded the leader death chances. The base die roll is 10 times higher and the individual chance to die for brigadiers is 15, 2/3 star is 5. After a discussion we left Fred & Daun as unkillable (they can be wounded) as loss of either will really unbalance the game. Unlike all the other AGE games, officers are just not a constraint in RoP (indeed from about 1758 onwards you can't even be bothered to promote people), this should cure that.
    5. Narwhal found that the 'Northerner' trait for the Swedes was acting oddly. It meant that in Pommerania they were hampered but if I put them in say Hannover they got very enthusiastic. We've modded out the trait to remove this, and I've agreed to some restraint as to their deployment.
    6. Of the game options, we have historical attrition, activation that gives a malus to combat & movement

    There may be more but those are the main ones. Not too intrusive on the game, or hard to remember when putting together orders (we discussed more complex things such as limits on multinational forces etc), but they address things we felt were unbalanced one way or another. Thanks to Narwhal both for the research and coding. If the leader loss rate becomes too extreme, we'll mod back to a mid-point between these changes and the default settings.

    As may be clear, I'm sticking to the Austrians. As may be equally clear, we both have some new ideas about how to do severe harm to our opponent (in the pregame emails Narwhal told me he'd given up on the 'Prag gambit', well, as we say in Glasgow "aye right")

    Oh, and if you're interested, the title is from Robert Burns' poem "To Ruin", he wrote a group of quite gloomy ones at the end of his life and if I'm feeling suitable literary, I'll use lines from them as chapter headings (failing that I can always disinter the Empress of gloom, Emily Dickinson)

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    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Last edited by loki100; 05-07-2012 at 22:17.

  3. #3
    Lt. General Narwhal's Avatar
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    I can already say it starts with a massive Prussian blunder, and no taking back this time
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  4. #4
    Good luck to both of you!

    Agreed leader death chances are too low in RoP. But strangely, I have never had too many generals in this game. Moreover, I have learned from RUS that even small tweaks to the Leader death chance may have dire consequences. Besides, sometimes one simply gets unlucky. I had a spell of incredibly bad luck recently and started a Siberian PBEM with seven dead leaders in the first three turns (including two of my best corps commanders - Kappel and Pepeliaev). I hope you get spared from something like this: just image the Prussian player losing Keith and Heinrich in the first year.

  5. #5
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Narwhal View Post
    I can already say it starts with a massive Prussian blunder, and no taking back this time
    well it may have been a blunder but its got the potential to pay off rather well for you

    Quote Originally Posted by Bornego View Post
    Good luck to both of you!

    Agreed leader death chances are too low in RoP. But strangely, I have never had too many generals in this game. Moreover, I have learned from RUS that even small tweaks to the Leader death chance may have dire consequences. Besides, sometimes one simply gets unlucky. I had a spell of incredibly bad luck recently and started a Siberian PBEM with seven dead leaders in the first three turns (including two of my best corps commanders - Kappel and Pepeliaev). I hope you get spared from something like this: just image the Prussian player losing Keith and Heinrich in the first year.
    Well in the war they did lose Keith by 1758, if I understand properly it was one reason why both sides bogged down by 1759 as they lacked the leadership to sustain any real manouvers. We'll keep it under review, but the first short battle has seen at least one of my brigadiers (out of 3 engaged) killed whereas last game I only lost 2 in the entire game.

    I think we are too bloodthirsty, by 1758 we both have armies with lots of chiefs and a real shortage of indians

  6. #6
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Set up and overview

    Well some of you may have seen this map before, but it does set out the opening position for both sides very clearly.



    In effect, the Prussians are in an arc to the north and east of Bohemia, led by one of history's greatest generals. The Austrians have 3 corps in and around Prag, one of which, led by Picolomini is locked for the first two turns.



    Now I know a fair bit about those Prussian columns as:



    And, finally here's the goals of the game.



    Note there are 176 turns to go, so in theory neither of us needs to rush. In practice, Narwhal has a real advantage to the end of 1757, at that stage if I've survived more or less intact he has a problem of pressure from multiple fronts and the possibility of an increasing desparate campaign to fend me off.

    Now this only becomes a threat if I can keep all my main armies (Austrian, French. Russians) more or less intact and solve the problem of getting the Russians past Koenigsberg. I have minor but important forces in Bohemia and Sweden. None of this lot, apart from the Austrians, will appear till Spring of 1757, and the Austrian field army will double about then. In the short term, that army at Prag is it for me.


    (apols this is a bit horrible but its the only in-game view of the complete map, RUS has a really useful little overview but the one in RoP is really only of use to navigate around with)

    This influences strategy quite substantially. For the first 18 months, to me, any gains in terms of cities are a bonus, what I am committed to is not to lose any of my main armies. Narwhal ideally would like to take out at least one. Now, I can't just retreat and evade, so the balanced approach with the Austrians is never to fight (especially Frederick, Keith, or 'little' Fred), unless I am on the defensive. Then I will tend to 'lose' the battle, but hold my ground and from experience the loss ratios tend to be around 1.2:1 against me. At that rate, unless the defeat leads to something worse (such as being forced to manouver out of supply), I will survive.

    For the French its worse. They lack the very good defensive leaders I have, particularly von Daun and von Bilberstein (note he starts in Picolomini's corps), so are very vulnerable if hit by Frederick and Prussian troops. They tend to lose at about 2:1 (which I can't sustain), so are a much more fragile force. The Bavarians and Swedes are worse, the group of HRE formations I gain in early 1757 are somewhere between the Austrians and the French in terms of competence.

    You'll note I've ignored the Saxons. Well they start trapped in Pirna and are doomed if the Prussians surround and besiege the camp. Some more appear in 1758 in France and are similar in value to a typical HRE formation.

    If I reach late 1757, then I need an offensive strategy and broadly I need 4 columns (Saxony, Hannover, E Prussia and Silesia). By that stage the Prussians will be balanced between trying to land a knock out blow on one and having to fend off steady incursions into their heartlands.

    One other wider conceptual bit. Austria is cash poor/manpower rich, so my ability to reinforce and/or replace is heavily limited by the money I have. Prussia is cash rich/manpower poor. The balance for Prussia is the substantial British reinforcements that come in via Bremen. So taking/holding Bremen becomes quite an important goal in its own right.

  7. #7
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Opening Moves - September-Mid October 1756

    So the war opened with the now rather standard moves of Prussia investing Pirna, the Austrians forming up in defend at all costs stance in Prag. In our email discussions we'd agreed that the 'Prag gambit' was dead as by the time the Prussians arrived they only had one real chance to shift the Austrians (& that with an early Pirna surrender). Naturally I trusted Narwhal about this.

    Well, he didn't stop to take out Pirna so by the end of September, this was the situation.




    Now this was interesting. Fortunately Picolomini has just unlocked so his army was re-organised and ordered to Prag. Even if the Prussians attack over the river, he should be in a position to arrive by 'marching to the sound of the guns' (ie a corps that are in the same army and in adjacent provinces will usually enter a battle after the second hour).



    But I've never had the chance to play with the Saxons before. I decide I want to do two things. One is to catch Frederick's attention and the other is to run away. The units aren't that great but the supply wagons and artillery would be a nice bonus.

    So I send a cavalry brigade to take back Dippoldiswalde, another runs off up the mountain side towards and turns south. The infantry I organise into two columns. My goal is to hit Dresden and then move to either Chemnitz or further west (I forgot that a very useful depot at Erfurt is locked at this stage of the game). With hindsight, they should have all run up the mountains (I think).



    The outcome was a partial success. They actually won a battle at Dresden (and any Prussian killed by the Saxons is a real bonus), Frederick abandoned dreams of wintering in Prag and turned back and drove in the cavalry at Dippoldiswalde (I'd expected this so they had retreat on contact orders)



    Now there is a huge negative side to all this. Killed in battle, all those Saxons are a potent source of VP gains for the Prussians and lost NM (national morale) for me. I hadn't realised but there is a nice balancing event that fires, giving me +10 on NM on balance. I guess on the assumption I'll lose it when the Saxons meet their ends. Well my goal is that they do not get the chance to die in battle ... its time to run.



    As the Austrians this is a huge shock. Usually after the early bloodbaths, my NM is down in the 90s, and by 1758 can be in the 60s (in turn this adversely affects your combat performance) due to the need to fight bloody, hold at all costs, battles in order to weaken the Prussians. This seems ... wrong ... nice but wrong - but I doubt it will last.

    Oh, and when the turns are processing you sometimes see enemy moves in other regions. I think I have seen the mobile force that starts at Koenigsberg moving west across Poland. If so, that is yet another threat to the Austrians in early game, but of course means that taking Koenigsberg itself will be a lot easier later on.
    Last edited by loki100; 20-05-2012 at 10:18.

  8. #8
    Great update! It's refreshing to see a pure gameplay AAR again.

    I like Narwhal's improved Prague gambit a lot. It's beautifully aggressive! Don't worry about Saxony, push as hard as possible for Prague. A shame he didn't press the attack. It may have worked.

    In earlier versions, the Saxony surrender event was pretty screwed up. Shortly after the Saxons unlocked, the surrender event would fire regardless of the situation. I am not yet familiar with the new changes. But it could be that your nice Saxons are going to lay down their arms before the Prussians can squish them.

    Bilberstein as corps commander and an all out-defense of Prague, these two decisions should help save the city. I am honoured you are following my advice from your last AAR.

  9. #9
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bornego View Post
    Great update! It's refreshing to see a pure gameplay AAR again.

    I like Narwhal's improved Prague gambit a lot. It's beautifully aggressive! Don't worry about Saxony, push as hard as possible for Prague. A shame he didn't press the attack. It may have worked.

    In earlier versions, the Saxony surrender event was pretty screwed up. Shortly after the Saxons unlocked, the surrender event would fire regardless of the situation. I am not yet familiar with the new changes. But it could be that your nice Saxons are going to lay down their arms before the Prussians can squish them.

    Bilberstein as corps commander and an all out-defense of Prague, these two decisions should help save the city. I am honoured you are following my advice from your last AAR.
    aye, in truth straight reporting of the game and plans seems a far better fit to PBEM than trying to dress it up as something else.

    In this case, it looks like the event means if the Saxons get out, then they are safe even if Pirna later falls, its still a struggle to extract anything useful though (as the next post will cover).

    Ach, I'm always grateful for any advice, thing is with Von B, is its not obvious that he is promotable unless you know to look and his is exceptionally valuable as a corps commander due to his traits

  10. #10
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    "Thy cruel woe-delighted train": mid October-end December 1756

    So by the end of October, the Saxons are split into three groups. A cavalry brigade running off into Bohemia, another cavalry brigade, an infantry brigade and the fixed garrison at Pirna and the two main columns at Dresden.

    Now the problem is that the main column, I think due to the supply wagons can't go beyond Dresden, so that is ordered up the hills, the weaker column to swing around to Chemnitz



    Should note at this stage, I'd forgotten that all the land to the west is locked this early on, so I am very vulnerable to winter snows closing the pass into Bohemia

    So as feared, the Prussians massacre the force trapped at Pirna, killing and maiming my officers on their way, as well as recouping a healthy chunk of the NM they lost by event earlier. Still that is 1200 dead Prussians ... useful in itself



    But the main problem is if the snow arrives, blocking the pass



    Damn ... well both columns can escape via Mitteweida instead.

    In the meantime, far to the north, Prussians are spotted at Elbing, presumably retreating from Koenigsberg



    The next few turns saw the column with no guns/wagons escape, but Rutowski and the main force kept on getting caught. It was in the most passive of combat modes so no real losses but this slowed its retreat rather badly. Should stress if they starve I lose no NM/VPs except for the price in VPs of blowing up the supply wagons at the end (don't care if the guns are captured, they are not that important)



    even so by the end of December, the smaller column was safe (I reorganised and combined a lot of the battalions that had suffered badly from attrition) and the main column had a reasonable chance to get out.



    If it does, I gain three useful things:
    1. Rutowski can ease the command malus of the Bavarian/HRE forces when they unlock;
    2. the wrecked infantry battalions will be useful for rear area security and to garrison any fortresses I capture (saves putting in fresh useable units to that role);
    3. the supply wagons will really help, and the guns will be nice.

    That depends on the force led by Ferdinand not interfering, but it would be high risk if I put a reasonable force onto Loboswitz.

  11. #11
    Historically plausible Dewirix's Avatar
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    Looks like you're off to a good start. I take it that failing to prevent the break-out of the Saxons is the "massive Prussian blunder" that Narwhal spoke of.

    Given the manpower problems Prussia normally faces, and what you've said about the effect the escape has on Austrian morale (or lack thereof) and consequent fighting capacity of your troops it's all looking pretty rosy in Vienna right now.
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    Hey, any Saxon not automatically dead in Pirna adds to your battle rolls, so that must be worth celebrating! Not to mention that Freddie himself doubled back from Prag to administer a stiff beating to Pirna (I think that might've been the error - no need to send the top dog himself to take care of such a menial task), which means that Prag, at a stroke, was conflict-free for several precious turns.

    Looks like the bonus in NM you temporarily gained was quickly annihilated when Pirna suffered the same fate: -11 NM, ouch.

    I'm hoping you can hike those troops (and those precious supply wagons) over the mountains and into safety. Either way, you've tied up quite a few Prussians while those Saxons stumbled their way across the... what are those mountains anyway? The Harz mountains?
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  13. #13
    Wow, your updates just keep coming. You are spoiling us!

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Looks like the bonus in NM you temporarily gained was quickly annihilated when Pirna suffered the same fate: -11 NM, ouch.
    Luckily, NM doesn't matter that much in RoP. It gets balanced by events. In the bigger picture every Saxon soldier that escapes from Pirna is a major gain for the Austrians. Even if some get killed on the way, Austria still stays ahead.

    By the way loki, why didn't you split the Saxon columns into smaller pieces? It looks as if you lost a lot of time because of inactive leaders. In such a situation it can make sense to send the brigades with active leaders ahead on their own. Moreover smaller stacks will increase your evasion value making it harder for Narwhal to catch them. Secondly, you could have send one of the crappy corps commanders from Prague to help with the Saxon leadership problem (Kolowrath or Piccolomini or both - as far as I can tell, you had no need for them at Prague anyway). If you have three corps commanders rather than just one, chances are at least one of them is active.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dewirix View Post
    Looks like you're off to a good start. I take it that failing to prevent the break-out of the Saxons is the "massive Prussian blunder" that Narwhal spoke of.
    It must be. Narwahl just gifted a small corps to the Austrian army. They may be low quality and their leaders suck but it tilts the balance further against Prussia nevertheless.

    I still wonder if it wouldn't have been the better choice to press the attack against Prague and ignore the Saxons for the time being. Granted it would have been highly risky, but I think it had a fair chance of succeeding (Friedrich's army combined with Schwerin's men is more than Browne can handle - at least if all these troops attack at once). If Prague would have fallen, the Saxons would have been left in an isolated position as easy targets.

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    Historically plausible Dewirix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bornego View Post
    I still wonder if it wouldn't have been the better choice to press the attack against Prague and ignore the Saxons for the time being. Granted it would have been highly risky, but I think it had a fair chance of succeeding (Friedrich's army combined with Schwerin's men is more than Browne can handle - at least if all these troops attack at once). If Prague would have fallen, the Saxons would have been left in an isolated position as easy targets.
    Makes sense to me - if ignoring the Saxons is the price you pay for getting to Prague early, you might as well go all in and try to capitalise on your advantages. As it is, loki still holds the city and has the Saxons to play with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewirix View Post
    Makes sense to me - if ignoring the Saxons is the price you pay for getting to Prague early, you might as well go all in and try to capitalise on your advantages. As it is, loki still holds the city and has the Saxons to play with.
    But in such case the Austrian player could retreat his austrian armies to Koeniggratz (because fighting all of Prussian might with what you have in 56 is suicidal) and the Saxons to Eger/Bavaria (possibly making a detour to capture dresden/lepzig). It ends with Prussians holding Prague of course but the extra 20k saxon troops should make up for that.
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    Lt. General Narwhal's Avatar
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    Indeed. I misread the "new rules" and thought having 100% MC on the three "roads" to Pirna was enough to trigger the surrender, and thus I could carry on toward Prague for a strike at the third turn.

    Should have tested before in SP

    Then, I should NOT have turned back and have tried for Prague, as the Saxons were isolated anyway, but you have to remember that they have supply trains, and Dresden only has a first-level fort - while Prague has a level 3 forts, so there is high risk Dresden is taken (maybe with an hook to Leipzig), my supply is cut and Prague is not taken. In winter. At which point I lose. I COULD, and maybe should, have attacked Prague, kill some Austrians, and then come back to wipe out what was left of the Saxons.

    Overall, Anazagar is right. Bad move is hard to catch back.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dewirix View Post
    Makes sense to me - if ignoring the Saxons is the price you pay for getting to Prague early, you might as well go all in and try to capitalise on your advantages. As it is, loki still holds the city and has the Saxons to play with.
    Well, I can assure you that he did not play with the Saxons for long.

    The overall result is that I got a free fortified camp, a free supply, some losses, and no "converted Saxons" troops ; while Loki100 has a few more leaders, and a few depleted elements he saved for garrison duty. And some supplies, he told me, but I don't believe it
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  17. #17
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewirix View Post
    Looks like you're off to a good start. I take it that failing to prevent the break-out of the Saxons is the "massive Prussian blunder" that Narwhal spoke of.

    Given the manpower problems Prussia normally faces, and what you've said about the effect the escape has on Austrian morale (or lack thereof) and consequent fighting capacity of your troops it's all looking pretty rosy in Vienna right now.
    Well the debate below adds to this, but yes, that was Narwhal's mistake ... now we're in early March 57 in game and I'm not sure it was game changing but at the time I thought it was deliberate, a one off strike to shift me from Prag before I could gather everything together. Actually it would have failed in that as Picolomini had unlocked and, at the worst (ie an attack over the river), would still have been in position to march to the sound of the guns ... but it scared me witless (I was just glad that I've learnt the hard way playing Narwhal never to be sloppy about setting stances of supposedly safe, rear-area units

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Hey, any Saxon not automatically dead in Pirna adds to your battle rolls, so that must be worth celebrating! Not to mention that Freddie himself doubled back from Prag to administer a stiff beating to Pirna (I think that might've been the error - no need to send the top dog himself to take care of such a menial task), which means that Prag, at a stroke, was conflict-free for several precious turns.

    Looks like the bonus in NM you temporarily gained was quickly annihilated when Pirna suffered the same fate: -11 NM, ouch.

    I'm hoping you can hike those troops (and those precious supply wagons) over the mountains and into safety. Either way, you've tied up quite a few Prussians while those Saxons stumbled their way across the... what are those mountains anyway? The Harz mountains?
    Yes they are the Harz, the famous Brocken spectre was in reality a poor Saxon soldier who died of exhaustion and frostbite. I am actually ok for NM even so, I even, & I've never seen this before, had the message that my NM was reduced for balance (its usually the other way around). Not least, I've been spared the usual slaughter at Prag in 56 (though I suspect its on the way in 57). Equally the 3-4,000 dead Narwhal had in chasing them down are a huge gain to me.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bornego View Post
    Wow, your updates just keep coming. You are spoiling us!
    Luckily, NM doesn't matter that much in RoP. It gets balanced by events. In the bigger picture every Saxon soldier that escapes from Pirna is a major gain for the Austrians. Even if some get killed on the way, Austria still stays ahead.

    By the way loki, why didn't you split the Saxon columns into smaller pieces? It looks as if you lost a lot of time because of inactive leaders. In such a situation it can make sense to send the brigades with active leaders ahead on their own. Moreover smaller stacks will increase your evasion value making it harder for Narwhal to catch them. Secondly, you could have send one of the crappy corps commanders from Prague to help with the Saxon leadership problem (Kolowrath or Piccolomini or both - as far as I can tell, you had no need for them at Prague anyway). If you have three corps commanders rather than just one, chances are at least one of them is active.

    It must be. Narwahl just gifted a small corps to the Austrian army. They may be low quality and their leaders suck but it tilts the balance further against Prussia nevertheless.

    I still wonder if it wouldn't have been the better choice to press the attack against Prague and ignore the Saxons for the time being. Granted it would have been highly risky, but I think it had a fair chance of succeeding (Friedrich's army combined with Schwerin's men is more than Browne can handle - at least if all these troops attack at once). If Prague would have fallen, the Saxons would have been left in an isolated position as easy targets.
    They were split down into active units, its just not clear in the screenshot, but I kept the wagons in a large group just in case.

    I can understand why Narwhal turned, and the fall out has produced an *interesting* situation in N Bohemia, but I really expected him to go for me in any case. I've since wished I'd run up the mountain with the Saxons earlier, but in truth I went for Dresden in the expectation that I might, just, have time to take it back and go on a wierd rampage in Saxony (grab all those unfortified cities) to force him to divert at least one corps to cleaning up the mess.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dewirix View Post
    Makes sense to me - if ignoring the Saxons is the price you pay for getting to Prague early, you might as well go all in and try to capitalise on your advantages. As it is, loki still holds the city and has the Saxons to play with.
    ... the number of Saxons I have to play with is a state secret at the moment, there is a lot of misinformation being passed between us in emails, but Narwhal needs to come and find out ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Anazagar View Post
    But in such case the Austrian player could retreat his austrian armies to Koeniggratz (because fighting all of Prussian might with what you have in 56 is suicidal) and the Saxons to Eger/Bavaria (possibly making a detour to capture dresden/lepzig). It ends with Prussians holding Prague of course but the extra 20k saxon troops should make up for that.
    Well, I would have still fought for Prag and made him pay, even if I lost a lot in two rounds of 'hold at all costs', I'm pretty sure that the trade off is not too bad and that I could still have escaped with most of the survivors in southern Bohemia

    Quote Originally Posted by Narwhal View Post
    Indeed. I misread the "new rules" and thought having 100% MC on the three "roads" to Pirna was enough to trigger the surrender, and thus I could carry on toward Prague for a strike at the third turn.

    Should have tested before in SP

    Then, I should NOT have turned back and have tried for Prague, as the Saxons were isolated anyway, but you have to remember that they have supply trains, and Dresden only has a first-level fort - while Prague has a level 3 forts, so there is high risk Dresden is taken (maybe with an hook to Leipzig), my supply is cut and Prague is not taken. In winter. At which point I lose. I COULD, and maybe should, have attacked Prague, kill some Austrians, and then come back to wipe out what was left of the Saxons.

    Overall, Anazagar is right. Bad move is hard to catch back.

    Well, I can assure you that he did not play with the Saxons for long.

    The overall result is that I got a free fortified camp, a free supply, some losses, and no "converted Saxons" troops ; while Loki100 has a few more leaders, and a few depleted elements he saved for garrison duty. And some supplies, he told me, but I don't believe it
    Well you'll find out just how much I got out later I think. One real gain is Rutowski, now he is rubbish 2-0-1, but has the HRE command trait. So that helps in bringing the HRE/Wurtemburg/Bavarian battalions I get in early spring 57 actually into the game. They would be slaughtered up against a main Prussian army but are a nice threat in being and/or a column to take a few cities were its nice and quiet.

    We need to olay out what I suspect will be Narwhal's attempt on Prag before I can do too many more updates as I don' t want to reveal that much with nice clear screenshots of my OOB, but a post will be up soon (I'm editing a student's PhD whose approach to boring things like consistent layout is rather lax)

  18. #18
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    A short digression into mapreading

    I'd like to use this update to discuss not so much my detailed plans for an offensive but my understanding of how to read the map presented by Rise of Prussia from the Austrian perspective.

    I'm going to concentrate on how it looks if I want to move off the defense and into Prussia, now first I need to survive 1757 which is always a challenge. Not least as Narwhal is equally keen to land a killer blow, preferably on the Austrians but if not then one of my other main armies.

    However, by doing this now, it may help put some of my moves into a better context. In effect, I have five armies, some of more use than others.

    The Austrians with two fronts (one may stay inactive) of Saxony and Silesia;
    The Bavarian/HRE forces who tend to support the Austrians;
    The Swedes who are pretty useless (but I have now worked out how not to lose them at the start), but are a threat to N Prussia later in the game;
    The French again with 2 related fronts (and again I may not use both) of towards Kassel in S Germany and across the Rhineland towards the River Weser in Hannover;
    The Russians, first stop Koenigsberg, then into Eastern Prussia
    So I'll break the game map down into 4 parts of the Rhineland, Saxony, Silesia and E Prussia.

    Rhineland


    The main French army goes into the Rhineland (arrives from Brussels near Wesel in about April 1757. Now on the assumption that the Prussians don't manage to concentrate one of their own armies on this sector, in effect you can take that block of cities from Dortmund-Munster-Lippstadt-Paderborn and, hopefully Minden in 1757 or early 1758.



    Its at Minden it gets difficult. I find with the French, by this stage you've annoyed Freddie and are close enough for him to pay you a visit. The only solution is to make sure you are in a cluster of mutually supporting corps. This brings two issues. One you need to spend some supply wagons on building up the depots (say Wesel-Munster-Minden) to keep this large force in supply. The other is that from Minden, you have two targets and threats.

    Bremen is hugely important as if the Prussians lose that, they lose all the British reinforcements. Equally at any time, a large British army can spawn there. Hannover is important as a VP city and a source of Prussian/Hannoverian manpower. You need to split to take them both.

    If you take both, the next step is the Elbe.

    Saxony

    Unless the Prussians are off wailing on the French, this is likely to be closely contested. In effect up to Torgau, its relatively easy as you can only really be attacked from 1 direction and you can keep the army together. Supply is easier here – bigger depots – and you can use the Elbe to shuttle supply wagons up and down.



    Its at Torgau there is a big choice, go for Magdeburg (a level 3 fort) and link with the French, or onto Berlin. And depending on the layout of the whole map, in theory you can be attacked from any of 4 directions. Even if its going ok, you don't want to engage in a campaign of manouver and you really do not want to be in the position of having to attack to redeem a strategic mistake.

    Silesia


    Some say to ignore this area, but I think there is scope to take some useful ground often with no resistance, or to divert forces from the Rhineland/Saxony and to block off one threat to an advance into Saxony.



    Also Breslau and Glogau are valuable VP and manpower producing cities. Plus, you can link up with the Russians and make an additional pressure point on Berlin.

    E Prussia

    As with Silesia this is pretty linear stuff. Just not easy. Take Koenigsberg, take Kolberg, threaten Stettin. Supply is a problem but the cities in Poland all act as permanent depots (for both sides), so you can traverse Poland using them as safe havens.


  19. #19
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Oooh! Maps!

    Nice to get a sense of the different theatres and of your thoughts on how you'd like to make use of them. I don't have any intelligent comment - but that's alright, seeing as this is all 'ideal' speculation and the whole thing will be b*ggered to hell when Narwhal starts reacting to your moves.
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    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Oooh! Maps!

    Nice to get a sense of the different theatres and of your thoughts on how you'd like to make use of them. I don't have any intelligent comment - but that's alright, seeing as this is all 'ideal' speculation and the whole thing will be b*ggered to hell when Narwhal starts reacting to your moves.
    pretty much exactly right, as Bornego said in his RUS AAR, its useful to have a plan and some idea, but in truth you have to operate in much shorter spans and to the context of the game

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