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

  1. #141
    I've never seen slaughter like that in this game. It's just appalling.

  2. #142
    Lt. General Narwhal's Avatar
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    Some comments as I "catch back" - for page 4

    Quote Originally Posted by TheExecuter View Post
    In WiA, using the green (passive) stance makes it more likely your forces will rout, I think. I prefer using the blue 'defend stance' with the 'green' level of defence in that situation...so that the unit does not flee in panic, but attempts an orderly retreat. Is this the same mechanic in RoP?

    Interesting thoughts on seizing military control with the use of the offensive stance...that'll be useful against the AI.

    They have different usages :

    - Green (passive) will mean that the unit will avoid combat altogether ; if the enemy is in offensive posture, it will not attack it ; if your army enters enemy territory, it will not switch to offensive posture. You will also have more evasion, so you may be invisible.
    If forced into battle, your army will probably rout, though.

    - Blue (defensive) means your unit will engage combat against enemies in defensive posture, and will switch posture as it enters enemy territory to offensive. In case of battle, the result depend on the RoE.

    Also note that units in green posture recovers cohesion very, very quickly.


    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    I can only judge by my own experiences in PBEM and SP but I find it hard to win with the Austrians. You can push Prussia back a fair bit but the dangerous bit is when your fronts are close but not integrated. At that stage, a large well led Prussian army can turn the tables very quickly. I suppose I'm also going on my own observation that I tend to lose most 'even' fights (even if I hold my ground at the end). Its good though that the game sustains such a variety of approaches and a degree of controversy over balance.
    After this game, I know believe that the Prussians and the Austrians are balanced in RoP, and both can win ! I will explain why a little later.


    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    My esteemed opponent has been doing a lot of naval activity off Stalsrund and I've just noticed he's taken the fort guns from the Oder fort to boost his siege.
    Let me advise everyone to use bateaux to transport "fixed" guns to wherever they fancy. Especially useful for the guns you received on the Oder.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dewirix View Post
    Nice to see the Russians on the move, but losing your siege train at Troppau must hurt some. That aside, Narwhal seems to have played these last few turns fairly passively, which would lead me to worry that he's up to something.
    Again, sorry to be disappointing !

    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post

    [1] – there is a 5% chance a force with no undepleted supply wagon will surrender regardless of siege progress. I think that happened here. Somewhat later in 1758, I have an incredible piece of luck with this as a fort that should have held at least 2 turns just surrendered, freeing up one of my armies at a critical stage.
    Actually, the rule is this one :
    - If, during a siege, the siege roll indicates a surrender, the surrender has 95% of chance of being converted to a breach if the defender as at least one not-empty supply unit.
    That's why I advise the Prussian player, who will be on the defensive, to buy those "fixed" supply units where there are no supply wagons. Well worth it.
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  3. #143
    Lt. General Narwhal's Avatar
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    Now my comments on comments page 5 - 6

    Quote Originally Posted by Fadi_Efendi View Post
    I've been lurking so far, so, in order to make amends, I am uploading two sketches of the siege of Minden and the battle of Dettingen I recently came across in the National Archives.
    Keep up the good work!
    Those are beautiful maps !

    Quote Originally Posted by Dewirix View Post
    Well, you weren't kidding about your recon assets. That's pretty much all of Germany you've got lit up in that first screenshot.

    I understand that you need to keep the concentrated Prussian forces concentrated on your main Austrian army, but a head-on attack doesn't sound like an appealing prospect.
    Actually, the evasion value of the Russian hussars is so high there is nothing the Prussian can do to hide anything if the Austrian player is patient and systematic enough, which is sad.

    At this point your situation looks very good. NM is in good shape and Prussia's advantage in VP will melt away quickly if nothing extraordinary happens. In fact, you could afford to sit back and play it safe now. It's actually Narwhal now who has to act in order to gain more VP.
    In our "culture" of playing, Loki and I, VP victory is seen as "cool, but not real cool", so we both go for total victory ! Made me lose a game in the war of 1812 as the Americans as I sacrificed more and more troops on assaults on Montréal .



    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    My plan now is not very elegant, but in effect the Austrians will become some sort of tar-baby, sticking with Frederick so he can't recover and can't intervene. In combination the 3 Prussian formations outside Saxony could stalemate the Russians but would be overwhelmed by the French. So he has to seriously damage the Austrians in some way to protect his core cities to the north. If he can't do this then Browne, and the spiritual fathers of 8th Guards Army, are going to hoisting the Russian Imperial Flag over the Brandenburg Gate by the end of the summer.
    Worked very well. By the end of the game, I could not move without stumbling upon some Austrians which I would usually destroy before retreating as more Austrians joins, so my army was completely immobilised.

    On the other hand, I kept received supply wagons that way - I think I hold like the 10 last turns only on a regular flow of captured supply wagons

    Quote Originally Posted by Bornego
    Narwhal, one question if I may, what made you put Wilhelm in charge at Leipzig? - ok, he has a high senority but there are always a few higher ranking army commanders in whose stack one can hide this least talented Prussian corps commander.
    Basically, he was leader of one of my column, and while the rest of my army was pushed South, he retreated to Leipzig, thus becoming "Chief of the defense of Leipzig". I changed him before the turn proceeded, though, so no harm in this.

    I always wondered what was the impact of the stats of the leader of a column when the C-i-C is in charge of the battle. As I understand, only the strategy rating (in which Whilhem is not worse than most other Prussian 2-star leaders) and the special perks have an impact - and thus there is no issue with having Wilhelm as leader of a stack, provided someone with higher seniority will be "leader" of the battles.



    ----

    Overall, I would say that one of my mistakes was in retreting to Saxony, instead of trying to wage war from Silesia, where supplies abound.
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  4. #144
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    43,000 French casualties in one battle...



    Wow.

    Good job Loki, and thanks for the comments on stances, Narwhal. The 'convert to offensive' on entering enemy territory is something I hadn't picked up on yet.
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  5. #145
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    So some quick(ish) responses

    Quote Originally Posted by hgilmer View Post
    Quite simply brilliant. I never realized you were so close on Strategic cities. Those two battles made me sure that Narwhal come back with NM so far in his favor.
    In a way that was my payback for putting some sustained effort into the Oder campaign. It looks pointless at the start with 3 level 2 forts of no value that you need to clear. But in this case, it meant I could effectively lose the final campaign in Saxony and pull off a win. As it was I was back to losing on VP and NM was very low, so if the war had gone into 1759 I fear I could have lost (even if just as a points defeat in the end)

    Quote Originally Posted by germanpeon View Post
    Congratulations to both of you for an excellent game and an excellent AAR! I've learned a whole lot about the game and had a blast all the while.
    glad you enjoyed it and thanks for all the comments - as every very much appreciated - it was though a lot shorter than I imagined, but that seems to be an inevitable outcome of the way we've settled on a 'big army' game, in turn that leads to make or break battles (esp with the Austrians as your slower post-battle recovery potentially makes a bad defeat very destructive)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dewirix View Post
    I have a feeling that the French and Austrians might be a bit annoyed that they've done all the fighting while the Russians have just waltzed across eastern Prussia and taken Berlin for little loss. If nothing else, it would create an interesting post-war political situation.

    I'll hold off on wider comments pending your wrap-up post, but those last few battles seemed out of keeping with the more measured pace of the rest of the game.
    The end was silly to be honest. Its a flaw in how we've come to play the game and its a flaw in the 'end of the world' mindset. Set in a longer time span, both sides would need their armies for something else, so would preserve rather than fling them away in a bid for total victory. As you allude to, Austria is now very poorly placed to impose its demands at the peace table and Russia is well placed to grab a lot.

    My instinct is Austria would get Silesia back (& not be too happy that two brutal wars ended with the situation of 1740 being restored), France might demand some fortresses on the Rhine but would have to largely settle for colonial gains, Russia would claim Memel and Koenigsberg and I guess de facto control over all Poland (to which neither Austria nor Prussia could object). So in many ways you could say that Russia is the only real winner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Searry View Post
    I've never seen slaughter like that in this game. It's just appalling.
    me neither, not in one day. I have seen multi-day fights produce those losses with both sides fresh and fully committed. In purely game terms, I didn't care all I wanted was to force Frederick to battle nowhere near Dresden while I cleaned up the VP cities along the Oder. Its the 'end of the world' mindset I mentioned above and completely out of keeping with the time period when Armies were very expensive and used with great caution

    Quote Originally Posted by TheExecuter View Post
    43,000 French casualties in one battle...



    Wow.

    Good job Loki, and thanks for the comments on stances, Narwhal. The 'convert to offensive' on entering enemy territory is something I hadn't picked up on yet.
    I hadn't grasped that point till this game. I saw the message about 'contradictory orders' and just assumed I'd made a mistake (even though I was sure I'd double checked), but it does put a force at some risk if you are not careful.


    So, from these comments, I still think there is something wrong with either/or the game or our gameplay strategy. Its a regular problem with PBEM that players find solutions that aren't meant to be there (& can mostly be dealt with by house rules) but that end in Saxony, to me, was a matter of simulation. Whether due to the attitudes of the time or the capacity of the armies, that type of sustained multi-day battle just could not happen. I don't know if the solution is to increase ammunition use or increase organisational loss (maybe especially if you adopt one of the more extreme combat stances) but one or the other would tend to lead to armies breaking off. The bigger alternative is to address the economic side of the game a bit more so that money, manpower and resources all become important as limits on actions.

    In the new PoN patch, there is a mechanism to increase ammunition usage in sieges, that applied to RoP might help given the importance of fortresses in this game (not least it would have slowed by Russian siege division if it had needed to wait longer to restock).

    Not sure, and its a pity as I still think RoP is my favourite AGEOD game (probably in part as it covers a period I find interesting, it was the first I bought and I actually have a clue what I am doing when playing it).

  6. #146
    Loki, I agree with you on the situation if this was real world and that kind of slaughter happened. Austria would be gutted for a long time, it seems, and I agree they would never have went for this kind of wholesale slaughter (just from a common sense perspective). If Russia is belligerent at the peace table, they could indeed really "rack up" as it were and get a lot of concessions and territories.

  7. #147
    Comte de Purchase Merrick Chance''s Avatar
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    But how do you fix the 'end of the world' mindset, which is prevalent in nearly all video games (especially strategy games with fixed endings?)

    I've had a game in Rome Total War where I knew I was nearly at 50 provinces so I went into 5 battles in a row which led to ~30,000 deaths on my side (note: I stopped playing Total War games then, at around the age of 15, and since then, my current game in WiA is the only one which has challenged me). Realistically this would have led to a to a total break in my country's political structure, but for me it meant I 'won'. The push at the end of the game for victory cities is inherent to the idea of victory cities and to the player's lack of care for the possible repercussions to your actions (and to the fact that you represent the whole coalition as an idealized Player rather than as 3 separate human monarchs). The Austrian and French generals simply wouldn't have followed their orders if they were assigned them.
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  8. #148
    That was one magnificient AAR!

    Congratulations loki100, you played this match masterfully. Especially the creation of a specialized siege corps filled with sappeurs and siege artillery is a neat trick. It is the perfect counter-agent against Narwhal's strategy of concentrating on one front while ignoring another. Of course, Narwhal made a major mistake when he let that relatively weak force roam around unmolested. But he probably only realized what was happening to him when it was already too late.

    Your use of lines of mutually supporting corps was the second factor in this victory. But, this strategy works even better for a defender. For example, it is possible to stall the French advance in the west with a line stretching from Lippstadt to the region north of Munster (and possibly even Osnabruck). The corps won't be too strong but mutually supporting ones can hold this line and it's almost impossible to outflank (in my current PBEM, the French are still stuck there in 1759).

    However, the final defeats in Saxony were probably avoidable. From your screenshots it looks as if you neglected to put your corps on the same posture. Repeatedly, you seem to have sent one corps into an enemy controlled region, which made it switch to offensive posture, but left the other corps on defensive posture. In consequence, the attacking corps didn't get support resulting in horrendous losses. The battlereports are misleading in this regard since they list all stacks involved but if some are on offensive posture, while others remain on defensive, only the former ones do the fighting.


    Quote Originally Posted by Narwhal View Post
    I always wondered what was the impact of the stats of the leader of a column when the C-i-C is in charge of the battle. As I understand, only the strategy rating (in which Whilhem is not worse than most other Prussian 2-star leaders) and the special perks have an impact - and thus there is no issue with having Wilhelm as leader of a stack, provided someone with higher seniority will be "leader" of the battles.
    No, all stats of column leaders are important. The strategic rating determines i.a. the likelihood for that column to engage as you want it to (the lower the rating the higher the chances that a march to the sound of guns is delayed or that even a column present in the right region may not engage in a battle round). The defensive and offensive stats of a leader influence the power rating of the units within his stack. The stats of the commander-in-chief only influence the stats of the units in his stack directly. Indirectly they improve (if he is good) the stats of his corps commanders.


    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    I have seen multi-day fights produce those losses with both sides fresh and fully committed.

    Whether due to the attitudes of the time or the capacity of the armies, that type of sustained multi-day battle just could not happen. I don't know if the solution is to increase ammunition use or increase organisational loss (maybe especially if you adopt one of the more extreme combat stances) but one or the other would tend to lead to armies breaking off.
    Every game has a point where a breach between simulation and reality becomes obvious. In AGEOD games, these points lie far from the surface but they are still there. You have adressed one of them. All AGEOD games struggle with one tough choice: either combat losses are horrendous (see RUS and to a degree ACW) or battles can last unrealistically long (see RoP and WiA). It depends on the battle stats of the units (in RUS for example units have very high offensive, defensive and assault ratings, this results in ridiculously high casualties). In RoP and WiA these ratings (and thus the probability to inflict hits) are much lower. The downside of this is that battles can last a lot longer. A second factor is how the damage is tuned between cohesion damage and real damage. High cohesion damage is a way to get stacks to break off combat. The third factor is unit size, in RoP all brigades have approximately the same size this is actually a mechanism that decreases the probability of losing elements (it's also a reason why HRE and Saxon units are a bit more fragile since their regiments contain relatively few elements which makes their brigades weaker and more prone to getting wiped out). In PoN and RUS, this can be a major problem, though, since units can vary considerably in the number of elements they contain. A stack containing few big units will fare a lot better than one containing a lot of smaller ones.

    Very long comment, sorry.

  9. #149
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    Great AAR, shrewdly played, even if the end turned into a silly killfest - but then, that's inherent in a game: you have a goal and an end, so no need (or even option) to care about what would happen next.

    I really liked seeing how the disparate fronts merged, as the Austrians kept the bulk of the Prussians engaged and the French and Russians marched into the Prussian heartland. It was nice to see it all come together.
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  10. #150
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    Congratulations, loki100! Your AAR is the newest recipient of the Weekly AAR Showcase. Come on by and greet your fans!
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