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Thread: Manufacturing Italy: A PoN GC (... sort of)

  1. #1
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Manufacturing Italy: A PoN GC (... sort of)

    This will be a PoN Grand Campaign using the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont. My original goal was this would not cover all the grand campaign as I was planning to run till 1870 or so, really as an exploration of the economic model which is one of the more daunting aspects of the game. However, it is a rather addictive game and it will certainly last past 1870 and I may well see if I can play to 1920(but no promises).

    My goal was to try and build up the economy to support an army that can conduct military operations with some success. Diplomatically, this means war with Austria and that in turn means being friendly to at least 2 of France, GB and Prussia. The only problem is that they are not a natural set of allies between themselves. Equally it is very dependent on Austria attacking me as my alliance with my prime backer, France, is purely defensive. Well if I can't add Milan to Italy, there are other parts of the Roman Empire available.

    I've been finding I am getting turn resolutions of 2-3 minutes which is fine (but by 1860 this has dropped to 6-8 minutes so a lot of gameplay is around doing something else - recipes and ideas are scattered across the AAR), I suspect as I get better at reviewing my options, I'll do the orders for a normal turn fairly quickly. In combination in about an hour of play, I'm doing 3-4 turns (& that is with taking screenshots).

    Table of Contents
    1850
    Economics 101
    Introducing Time Series
    Still talking about economics
    Colonialism, Diplomacy and a crisis over my Summer holiday plans
    A fixation with coal and wood
    1851
    Jan-April, another coal shortage
    May-December, happiness, Turkey is stuffed and I have a shopping trip to Paris
    1852
    Jan-June, its all about coal
    July - December, its all so stable
    1853
    Jan-June, a short coal crisis and the question of missionary positions
    July-December, A Papal visit and other surprises
    1854
    Jan-June, the army and a new patch
    July-December, bits and pieces and new luxuries
    1855
    Jan-June, French expansion in N Africe, American expansion in Mexico
    July-December, Guns and Butter
    1856
    Jan - June, The Great Coffee Crisis, and first sight of the enemy
    A review of the potential unification events
    July-December, Coffee is back on the menu as is rubber
    1857
    January-June, Insulting Austrians is such fun
    July-December, A literary digression and a revolt in Libya
    1858
    January-June, Earthquakes and difficult Russians
    July-December, Waiting for Piombieres and watching the rebels spawn .. and insulting the Austrians
    1859
    January-June, waiting for Godot
    July-December, cowardly Austrians and warlike Americans
    1860
    January-June, in which the Chinese go fish mad and Garibaldi fails to take the biscuit ... or anything else
    July-December, if they won't come, I'll build it anyway
    1861
    January-June, Cavour gives up and I go exploring
    July-December, Cavour goes and dies ... not the most exciting 6 months
    1862
    January-June, the economy is booming and the population is happy
    July-December, I realise I am behind Belgium in terms of prestige
    1863
    January-June, more Danish questions
    July-December, the world (quite properly) loves me
    1864
    January-June, Kanbara and other things
    July-September, the end of Sardinia-Piedmont
    September: Italian Unification
    October-December: Hunting Garibaldi
    1865
    January-June, part 1: routine aspects
    January-June, Part II: Civil War and Colonialism
    July-December, Sewers and Colonialism
    1866
    January-June, unrest across the world and Garibaldi returns
    July-December, more unrest in Italy and Garibaldi is sent on a cruise
    1867
    January-June, making the Red Sea Italian
    July-December, in which Italy becomes bigger than Prussia
    1868
    January-June, featuring Garibaldi's latest goodwill tour
    July-December, it is so quiet, almost too quiet
    1869
    The Ottoman-Italian War: March-May 1869
    Seige of Thessaloniki, May-June
    Occupation of Bulgaria, July-September
    Stalemate, October-December
    1870
    Nothing but successs, January-March
    Nothing but success (for the Ottomans), April-June
    A tactical adjustment, July-September
    Attack and counter-attack in the Levant, October-December
    1871
    Italy gains the upper hand, January-March
    Slaughter at Adrianople, April-June
    The first battle of Istanbul, July-December
    1872
    Italy triumphs, January-June
    Overview and Austria backs down, July-December
    The Italian Economy
    The Population of Italy
    The Italian Empire
    The Italian Army
    1873
    Putting Austria in its place and a major colonial war, Jan-June
    Gari triumphant, Austria whacked about, July-December
    1874
    Digging a big hole in Africa, January-June
    Garibaldi's Med cruise - July-December
    1875
    Lost, one Ethiopian army and other discoveries, January-June
    Found, one large misnamed lake and other discoveries, July-December
    1876
    Domestic and Colonial Events, January-June
    The Second Ottoman-Italian War, March-June
    Istanbul falls, July-December
    1877
    Italy wins the war gracefully while Prussia acts like a particularly stroppy teenager, January-June
    Russia and Prussia insult the world, Mars is noted as a long term threat and preparing for war with Austria, July-December
    1878
    VE2 is lost in a supermarket, and war is declared on Austria, January-June
    The Austro-Italian War - Opening Battles, July-December
    1879
    A false sense of security, January-March
    Catanacio, April-May
    A short lull in the slaughter, June
    Italy advances, July-September
    Last edited by loki100; 08-03-2013 at 00:52. Reason: noting changed goals
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  2. #2
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Economics 101

    Ok, so lets have a look at the country, I have 6 provinces (one reason for choosing S-P than one of the more interesting countries), 5 on the mainland and the island of Sardinia. Here's Italy, soon (well in around 480 turns) it will all be mine.





    Now don't panic, that is actually quite clear so we'll start with a look at Piedmont, later to be home of FIAT and many dodgy referee decisions.

    For the moment, it has a population of



    and, more interestingly, an economy like:



    And, I'm building a railway (also around Genova)



    The local resources are



    So lets look at the information that pulls all this together. There are two main screens, one you access via the industry and commerce tab. It looks daunting but its quite easy to read:



    So if we track capital, it tells how it is generated and used



    Now the other screen you get by pressing B and this allows you to intervene (note you can have both open at the same time).



    Some of the information is repeated



    As you can see, that is the summary of the main screen, but you can use this screen to intervene. For example to order more coal (you may not get what you ask for but thats a different problem)



    If I wanted coal from somewhere else than those options I may need to build more merchant ships so as to open up the trade routes. Something to worry about later.

    and in turn that affects your capital stocks



    But to conclude, here's something you won't see every day



    So, thats little more than a wander around the main economic information. Next post will look at a few other screens and then we'll run a few turns and come back to review the economy.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  3. #3
    Ruler of Somewhere else Thandros's Avatar
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    Hmm most Interesting. Let''s hope Italy is Rapidly United under the Superior leadership of Sardinia Pedimont

  4. #4
    Historically plausible Dewirix's Avatar
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    You've got four AARs on the go now - stop showing off!

    I'll be following this with interest as I've yet to play more than a single turn of PoN, despite the fact that it looks like something I'd love if I put enough time into it.
    AAR in progress
    Yet this will go onward the same: the Yamato Destiny - Continuation of the last AAR in Victoria 2. Last updated 17th October 2012

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  5. #5
    Maybe you could make me finally buy PoN. The game looks very scary and I'm not a stranger to complex games. O_O

  6. #6
    M.I.A 2Coats's Avatar
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    Four....!!!!! I dont know how you do it!

    Damn... you've taken the nation I was going to start with! Looks like Ill have to go for FRA or maybe....
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  7. #7
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thandros View Post
    Hmm most Interesting. Let''s hope Italy is Rapidly United under the Superior leadership of Sardinia Pedimont
    well ... maybe. I did a test game for 2 years using S-P and made no real progress, but then if RoP is a game where you ain't going to win in 1756, its very clear the opening years of PoN (esp with one of the smaller nations) is going to be slow

    Quote Originally Posted by Dewirix View Post
    You've got four AARs on the go now - stop showing off!

    I'll be following this with interest as I've yet to play more than a single turn of PoN, despite the fact that it looks like something I'd love if I put enough time into it.
    As you may have gathered the RoP one is heading to a climax ...

    I've been the same with it. At the start, the feeling of not knowing what to do + the turn processing times + wrong countries was utterly baffling me. I'd love to luxuriate in a GC with the Ottomans, Austria, or, most of all, Russia as I think the game engine will end up really catching the dilemnas of those states. But every time I started with one, I was instantly lost. Decided against Belgium, as S-P seems to offer some chance to dabble in all the sub-elements, mostly economics, some diplomacy, some combat and has a nice closed definable goal.

    I'm finding the turn processing is now not too bad, its no worse than a normal turn in RoP which is a credit to the patching that has gone on so far. it'll be interesting to see if this changes as the game goes on or if a big war breaks out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Searry View Post
    Maybe you could make me finally buy PoN. The game looks very scary and I'm not a stranger to complex games. O_O
    Again, as above. I keep on opening it and panicking as I start with a state I really want to play. I decided on S-P as you can see almost all the country with the browser relatively zoomed it, so you have this feeling of some control and an overview. Russia, at the start, is quite terrifying, while with an Ottoman start I only realised I was at war with someone after 5 turms when I lost a city.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2Coats View Post
    Four....!!!!! I dont know how you do it!

    Damn... you've taken the nation I was going to start with! Looks like Ill have to go for FRA or maybe....
    Ach go for S-P, its interesting comparing the two Japan AARs, partly seeing the game unfold in different ways and partly the different play styles.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by loki100 View Post
    So lets look at the information that pulls all this together. There are two main screens, one you access via the industry and commerce tab. It looks daunting but its quite easy to read:

    Long time lurker here, but I feel the need to point out that are only losing 2 iron a turn, not 6. You are, however, losing 6 ammo and 6 supplies a turn. In peace time, you should turn off the convert ammo and convert supply (cities produce enough) in order to save money.

  9. #9
    Corporal Sedgewycke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killerdeath View Post
    You are, however, losing 6 ammo and 6 supplies a turn. In peace time, you should turn off the convert ammo and convert supply (cities produce enough) in order to save money.
    I found this out the hard way in my game. Couldn't keep my stocks up for all i tried until I realized what was happening. Now i'm building up a nice stack of each and my armies/navies still enjoy 100% supply.

  10. #10
    Oh my, we are getting spoiled by a series of PoN AARs.

    PoN's Grand Campaign (the word "grand" doesn't quite catch its dimensions) is a weird thing. It can be incredibly engaging (I love the colonial system!). But then there will always be stretches where there is very little to do. Basically you check the balance window, check the Industry and Commerce ledger and hit next turn.
    In the end, I always find myself starting a war with one of my neighbours out of boredom. Warmongering me! This can be quite fun provided you have enabled the extended claims option. Otherwise it will most likely remain a pointless exercise.

  11. #11
    God Emperor Soulstrider's Avatar
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    Good luck, the more PoN aar's the better. I bought the game but I am always too "scared" to play it.
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  12. #12
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killerdeath View Post
    Long time lurker here, but I feel the need to point out that are only losing 2 iron a turn, not 6. You are, however, losing 6 ammo and 6 supplies a turn. In peace time, you should turn off the convert ammo and convert supply (cities produce enough) in order to save money.
    Welcome to the forum ... and yes, I forgot to mention that. The only reason to use industry for supply/ammunition in peace time is if you can sell it, usually your 'free' production is fine to keep a reasonable sized army ticking over

    Quote Originally Posted by Sedgewycke View Post
    I found this out the hard way in my game. Couldn't keep my stocks up for all i tried until I realized what was happening. Now i'm building up a nice stack of each and my armies/navies still enjoy 100% supply.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bornego View Post
    Oh my, we are getting spoiled by a series of PoN AARs.

    PoN's Grand Campaign (the word "grand" doesn't quite catch its dimensions) is a weird thing. It can be incredibly engaging (I love the colonial system!). But then there will always be stretches where there is very little to do. Basically you check the balance window, check the Industry and Commerce ledger and hit next turn.
    In the end, I always find myself starting a war with one of my neighbours out of boredom. Warmongering me! This can be quite fun provided you have enabled the extended claims option. Otherwise it will most likely remain a pointless exercise.
    Having just played Ming in EU (I think the new patch will help a bit) which was akin to spending 40% of the game in a PU and 40% with a Regency Council, I've developed quite a taste for not doing very much. I find watching the 'B' screen change, and then checking in the messages, rather addictire, but I do get bored enough to start dabbling in diplomatic actions pretty soon

    Quote Originally Posted by Soulstrider View Post
    Good luck, the more PoN aar's the better. I bought the game but I am always too "scared" to play it.
    Hopefully this will demystify it a bit, I'm not claiming anything I do will be optimal as it won't, but if I can create a rataionale, that may help. As above, I find now, the turn processing time is ok, and I think my mistake before this (& an earlier quick test run) was trying to learn the basics with something as complex and lop-sided as Russia. S-P or Belgium are ideal as basically its easy after a while to see the whole country as things happen. Hopefully S-P is better as there will, at some stage, be a war or two.

    Well, my sea-kayaking trip ended early, ironically it was too wet (and far too windy for safety as we were planning some crossings of open channels), so here's an update I wrote on the ferry back the mainland
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  13. #13
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Economics 101, watching it all move at once

    So before, pressing the go button, lets have a look at a few other useful screens. I'll ignore the army options for now as they are more typical of other AGEOD games, I'll review them and the options in context.

    We can have a review of our population



    I'll come back to this later, but at the bottom is some particularly valuable information. My population, on average is 50% content and in the right hand corner I have information on their needs in terms of the 3 types of goods in the game (you have a variety of ways to satisfy each of these, but the best is via a mixture). I'll come back to this in a few turns as it is a useful tool to advise on tweaking trading and production strategies.

    Now I'm not going to build anything yet, but you build 'structures' in PoN the same way you build units in most other AGEOD games. In this case, I could build a nitrates quarry in Sardinia but I lack the capital to do so. You also build colonial events and some decisions in much the same way.



    And I could build a Vineyard in a lot of Northern Italy, now I do like a good Barolo, but that will have to wait



    Anyway, fascinating as all this is, lets move on. In this case most of my initial messages discuss the details of my economic efforts.



    And here's another useful screen, well more use for a power with a long range but it gives a quick indication of where my assets are. I'd spotted I was doing some trades with Uruguay and Argentina. Well the blue blob off the coast is the reason I have a presence in that particular maritime trade area so can sell and buy in the markets that are connected.



    And here is our trusty resource sheet. As you can see not only does it indicate likely changes in the next turn, you can also gain an overview of past changes.



    And in the B-screen, there is more information in the top row



    Note the useful advice on what I could build. I'll make use of that fairly soon (I'm assuming it is basically sound and at the moment I am not gearing up for war or to develop for a particular long term goal). Also note on the left hand side, a quick indicator of how content my population is.

    You can, rather usefully compare the costs of a considered structure with this information. At the least it'll tell you what any shortfall is and whether you can really afford it.



    Anyway, for the moment, I'm just going to cycle through a few turns. I'm interested to see the state of my economy once things settle down.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  14. #14
    M.I.A 2Coats's Avatar
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    Wonderfully clear as always Loki00. I guess you will try to raise pop contentment at some time.

    What about those provinces (Savoie) where national mix is less than 100%. Will you be trying to convert raise the mix of population to a higher degree? If so any ideas how?

    I guess at some point you will want to show us what your current transportation infrastructure is like and the state of your merchant navy.

    Looking forward to more updates.

    Im really starting to pine to play GB again. But playing an SP game to show different strategies is hard to resist!
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  15. #15
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    I'm taking a pragmatic view that at some stage Nice and Savoy may well be traded for French support, its not at the moment feeding into any unrest and its too early in the game to tell if local satisfaction is diverging from the national norm (3rd column in).

    At this stage, the navy is as at start, but later on I start building it up. Its a real struggle to acquire some imports, so the more trading areas I can operate in, the more chance I'll have to obtain what I need.

    Have to confess, I don't actually know what I'm doing .... so my goal is to try and set out my logic and if it goes wrong I can work back to the cause - which should at least help someone else avoid that particular problem
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  16. #16
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Still all about economics

    One aspect of the game is that industrial sites will close down if they lack input materials.

    Here, my factory is shut due to lack of chemicals



    So lets have a look at our trusty B-screen



    In this case, it looks like over demand for the limited stocks available

    So best to leave it for a few turns, hopefully it will sort itself out.

    Now one useful quick visual is along the top, where you can see your stocks of key goods. The final three images vary according to which map mode you are in (I was looking at this using the economic mode)



    Now, since I'm experimenting, but do want to build up my economy, I decide to build a new mechanic factory, as you can see you grab the structure and drop it (as you new military units in other AGE games)



    and then you can see it will be a year before it is operational

    Now in looking around, I noticed my money was dropping. A while back I'd decided to pay to speed up a particular research line (remember I am just trying out ideas).



    Well that has to stop.



    But I do decide to subsidise my imports (I'll repeat this later specifically about coal)



    And I decide to increase tariffs, this has some adverse effect on relations with my neighbours but the money will be handy in the short term.



    While delving deeper, lets have a look at my economy in more detail.



    this shows which sites and factories are closed and why, as well as the potential profit if they were open.

    In this case, I'm content that the ammunition factory is shut but re-open the mechanical factory. In turn, I then check for that the problem doesn't lie with my imports (which it doesn't).

    I found after a while, this page was worth checking every 2-4 turns. It seems that things get closed if there is a temporary lack of imports and it doesn't always re-open. Equally you can sometimes address the shortage by juggling around your trading patterns, or looking for domestic production chains. You can of course shut down plants that are taking up scarce resources so these are then used by plants you are more interested in.

    This is also part of my logic to trying this out with S-P. In effect all these screens can be dealt with at a glance rather than wading through multiple pages.

    Anyway, next post will be less economics and more about colonialism and diplomacy. One has to engage with the wider world.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  17. #17
    Angel of Death germanpeon's Avatar
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    Awesome! I may buy this game when I get a better computer.

    I eagerly await learning about how colonization works.
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  18. #18
    Lt. General Narwhal's Avatar
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    Nice attempt, Loki100.

    I tried to learn to play PoN with S-P, but eventually dropped off. I am learning a lot from the few posts you have already made. Even me, who likes complex games, did not dare go deep into PoN...
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  19. #19
    M.I.A 2Coats's Avatar
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    Informative as ever Loki00. I found that as GB its much, much easier to balance production (not economy) from structures.
    Looking forward to the next update.
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  20. #20
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by germanpeon View Post
    Awesome! I may buy this game when I get a better computer.

    I eagerly await learning about how colonization works.
    having got over my initial problem (not having a clue plus the long inter-turn times), I'm finding it quite addictive, I've never had so much fun buying timber since my last trip to IKEA (actually that may explain the game design decisions). I wouldn't make it your first AGE game though - WiA is more accessible and RoP/RUS are more focussed on combat and so on. I'm ignoring the military side in part as its not immediately relevant and in part as I am reasonably confident about it (at least about the basics of combat/supply etc)

    Quote Originally Posted by Narwhal View Post
    Nice attempt, Loki100.

    I tried to learn to play PoN with S-P, but eventually dropped off. I am learning a lot from the few posts you have already made. Even me, who likes complex games, did not dare go deep into PoN...
    My logic to S-P is it is small enough that you can watch the effects of your decisions. I've tried Russia and the Ottomans (both I am sure intrinsically far more interesting) but the sheer scale cuts across trying to learn how it fits together. Also if I create a decent record of what I did, I'm more likely to work out where I've made mistakes later on

    Quote Originally Posted by 2Coats View Post
    Informative as ever Loki00. I found that as GB its much, much easier to balance production (not economy) from structures.
    Looking forward to the next update.
    Yes, there is a huge amount of fussing back and forth over certain goods. Coal is one, timber for some reason is another, as it seems you have critical gaps in your industry. I think in that respect Belgium would have been easier as you start with a decent store of raw materials, but I guess even less to do than with S-P. I file GB in the nineteenth century under 'too complex for me', even in V2 I find it daunting.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

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