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nuclearslurpee

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The sudden declaration of war by the Soviet Union on the Anti-COMINTERN Pact delivered to all capitals by 7 January had come as something of a surprise to all sides; not least to the forces of the Wehrmacht and Stavka. A miscommunication between Stalin and Litvinov had led the latter to send the note advising of the state of war to all the members of the Pact, which later scholarship believed was to be limited to the European powers. Thus, it was something of a surprise for the Far East theater of the RKKA to suddenly be subject to an all-out attack from Japanese forces.
This is an utterly Soviet turn of events and will surely give El Pip a chuckle whenever he pops on in.

Oberkommando Ost initiated their first tentative attack orders. These were against two of the most lightly held locations on the line: Brzesc Litewski,
What.
What.
WHAT.


Brzesc Litewski...Brest Fortress...the famous "Hero Fortress" of Barbarossa...
Lightly held?!?!!

This is utter heresy and I demand a redo. :p


The battle for Brzesc Litewski continued for the rest of the month
Much better.

Nice to see this is still going, slowly but surely, although I cannot help but notice a distressing lack of slick graphics telling me the composition of the Red Navy, which is clearly the most important thing to know here and the omission of which should be considered a cardinal sin. No, I do not care that the last update did in fact have such a graphic, I demand another one! ;)
 
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El Pip

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This is an utterly Soviet turn of events and will surely give El Pip a chuckle whenever he pops on in.
It is definitely very on brand for this AAR, the Soviets making sure to be distracted to make things even easier for Germany. Should anyone ever say "Mr Pip I find HOI3 on Very Easy Mode far too challenging, what can I do to make the game even easier?" I shall point them at this AAR.

Nice to see this is still going, slowly but surely, although I cannot help but notice a distressing lack of slick graphics telling me the composition of the Red Navy, which is clearly the most important thing to know here and the omission of which should be considered a cardinal sin. No, I do not care that the last update did in fact have such a graphic, I demand another one! ;)
I too noted the lack of graphics and was perturbed by it. Slick graphics and an unfeasible number of computers being played at once are the Raison d'être of this work, what is left if they are not present?
 
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Surt

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What.
What.
WHAT.


Brzesc Litewski...Brest Fortress...the famous "Hero Fortress" of Barbarossa...
Lightly held?!?!!

This is utter heresy and I demand a redo. :p
I'm sure the Soviet historians are able to correct that in the official history!
 
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Vanslyke

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My dear Wraith11B, i really enjoy this AAR.

The writing is very good, funny at times and the replies make for a fun and agreable reading. The efforts in including pictures and graphics are to be commanded.

Hooking up 5 computers together is quite an impressive accomplishment. Some would call it insane, i prefer to say it’s dedication…

Keep it up and i’m looking forward to the next post. I hope the waiting won’t be to long.

Vanslyke
 
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RustyHunter

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Just figured I'd let you know I've caught up and following along. Keep up the good work, it's been an entertaining read!
 
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Bullfilter

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Was just wondering whether there has just been a long summer break, or something more enduring has interrupted the story. Hope it is not the latter. We’re here waiting for when you may feel like restarting. And if the previous wonderful (but no doubt time consuming) format was getting to be too much, the more recent shorter update was excellent too. Anyway, just noting that this one is not forgotten by your devotees. :)
 
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Wraith11B

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A welcome update! So it’s the big league now:
It is! The Main Event!
The Soviets are toast. Buttered (and battered) on both sides.
Indeed, if not for God (me) being fickle and deciding how long it should take.
Here we go. Onwards to Irkutsk and beyond!
Banzai!
Just started and the toll mounts already. It will get much worse ...
Indeed.
Are all those units really needed to defeat the British or can some be send east already?
They're working their way east. The fighting was tough in the Isles, and I think that yes, they needed to have them.
This is an utterly Soviet turn of events and will surely give El Pip a chuckle whenever he pops on in.
I'm sure he'll lament the inability of HoI3 to properly model how the Japanese and Axis actually worked and that there isn't a NAP between Moscow and Tokyo to prevent something silly like this.
What.
What.
WHAT.


Brzesc Litewski...Brest Fortress...the famous "Hero Fortress" of Barbarossa...
Lightly held?!?!!

This is utter heresy and I demand a redo. :p
You know, you might get your wish! See my response to Bullfilter below.
Much better.

Nice to see this is still going, slowly but surely, although I cannot help but notice a distressing lack of slick graphics telling me the composition of the Red Navy, which is clearly the most important thing to know here and the omission of which should be considered a cardinal sin. No, I do not care that the last update did in fact have such a graphic, I demand another one! ;)
Well, that might be coming in the next update! You'll have to see.... (or, alternatively, refer to the table of contents because it's right there. Your choice.)
It is definitely very on brand for this AAR, the Soviets making sure to be distracted to make things even easier for Germany. Should anyone ever say "Mr Pip I find HOI3 on Very Easy Mode far too challenging, what can I do to make the game even easier?" I shall point them at this AAR.
Quite! Very easy. If anyone says that they feel that they need to play on VE, show them this and tell them it was on Normal, they'll be fine.
I too noted the lack of graphics and was perturbed by it. Slick graphics and an unfeasible number of computers being played at once are the Raison d'être of this work, what is left if they are not present?
I believe I mentioned before that I was going to tone them down to try and get through the story arc of this disaster. I might produce them every so often but they are fairly consuming in resources (precious precious time) that I was trying to avoid spending on a game I'm not even playing anymore. I do have a future project that I want to work on.
I'm sure the Soviet historians are able to correct that in the official history!
I'm sure...
My dear Wraith11B, i really enjoy this AAR.

The writing is very good, funny at times and the replies make for a fun and agreable reading. The efforts in including pictures and graphics are to be commanded.

Hooking up 5 computers together is quite an impressive accomplishment. Some would call it insane, i prefer to say it’s dedication…

Keep it up and i’m looking forward to the next post. I hope the waiting won’t be to long.

Vanslyke
Glad to see people joining in! My apologies for not responding sooner. My time was absorbed by a (now ex-)girlfriend and so I've more time to devote to the proper arts of a Gentleman... writing of an alternative history war.
The AAR that keeps delivering!
And I hope it continues to do so!
Just figured I'd let you know I've caught up and following along. Keep up the good work, it's been an entertaining read!
Thank you!
Was just wondering whether there has just been a long summer break, or something more enduring has interrupted the story. Hope it is not the latter. We’re here waiting for when you may feel like restarting. And if the previous wonderful (but no doubt time consuming) format was getting to be too much, the more recent shorter update was excellent too. Anyway, just noting that this one is not forgotten by your devotees. :)
Not forgotten, just restricted on time. I do have it open right now to write up the next "phase" of action on the front. An update cometh soon!

Also, just because I feel like mentioning it, I've built two new towers, but also needed to replace one of my laptops (the problem child one that I've rebuilt several times now. Fuck that piece of garbage). So I'm up to seven computers. My intent is to work on a bit of a mix of HPP and BICE--I'd really like to use some of what BICE did with the military (ie, naval changes to single vessels, smaller air wings, the division designer changes, but without all of the 8000 different ground unit types) and the HPP events etc. My hope is that I can guide several nations (probably the UK, GER, FRA, POL, SOV, ITA, and JAP to start) to a more reasonable alternate history than this wehraboo wet dream.
 
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nuclearslurpee

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Also, just because I feel like mentioning it, I've built two new towers, but also needed to replace one of my laptops (the problem child one that I've rebuilt several times now. Fuck that piece of garbage). So I'm up to seven computers. My intent is to work on a bit of a mix of HPP and BICE--I'd really like to use some of what BICE did with the military (ie, naval changes to single vessels, smaller air wings, the division designer changes, but without all of the 8000 different ground unit types) and the HPP events etc. My hope is that I can guide several nations (probably the UK, GER, FRA, POL, SOV, ITA, and JAP to start) to a more reasonable alternate history than this wehraboo wet dream.
Having attempted to do something vaguely similar (across multiple different mods, actually), I will point out that one of the big challenges tends to be getting the AI to go along with it in a coherent fashion. Maybe this is only a secondary concern when you play all of the majors yourself, but it is a concern as you do want passable AI performance from the minors. It can also be a good bit of work to redo all of the starting OOBs but this may not be too hard to automate once you work out how you want to do it for each power.

Smaller air wings actually works fairly well and I've implemented it into HPP myself. The main problem I found is actually that the AI will "overbuild" air wings relative to historical amounts, even though the actual gameplay is better IMO. Depending on how you implement the change, "fixing" this from a flavor perspective may require rewriting all of the name lists to represent smaller formation sizes, e.g. Gruppen instead of Geschwaderen.

BICE-style division designer I've tried to implement into the RandomHOI mod, minus the graphical changes as I don't know how to do those yet. I think the 8000 different unit types problem is helped considerably by eliminating all of the special stuff - numerous unique units, flavor HQs, and so on. This at least makes the unit list manageable. Vanilla HoI3 provides a decent starting point here as you have regular and SP versions of most brigade types. If you want historical realism then you really want three versions - horse-towed, truck-towed, and SP, similar to how HPP has done their consolidated support brigades - but that is more work and complexity. Getting the AI to build good divisions with this change is also challenging in my experience.

From the BICE perspective you can also probably slim down the unit count by consolidating the number of elements. Something like having line regiments, ART, AT, AA, ENG, and then a "Division HQ" brigade which contains the recce, transport, etc. that BICE makes you build separately. This way you also can avoid dealing with the complexity of changing the INF "regiment" sizes by techs to model binary/triangular/square divisions.

As far as playable nations I would probably suggest to have China be a human player rather than Poland. For a "reasonable alternate history" I think China is critically important to keep Japan occupied, otherwise they can turn their full attention against the Allies in the Pacific because human Japan will wipe out AI China every time.

And of course no mod will be complete without a strategic modifier which increases the Italian supply draw in North Africa so they can have water to boil their pasta. ;)
 
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Vlad_Dracul1989

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As far as playable nations I would probably suggest to have China be a human player rather than Poland. For a "reasonable alternate history" I think China is critically important to keep Japan occupied, otherwise they can turn their full attention against the Allies in the Pacific because human Japan will wipe out AI China every time.

Competent human Japan you mean. Smart human China killed dumb human Japan many times before :D

Good to see another AAR kept alive, by the way. A lot of hiatuses in these plagued years...
 
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Wraith11B

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Having attempted to do something vaguely similar (across multiple different mods, actually), I will point out that one of the big challenges tends to be getting the AI to go along with it in a coherent fashion. Maybe this is only a secondary concern when you play all of the majors yourself, but it is a concern as you do want passable AI performance from the minors. It can also be a good bit of work to redo all of the starting OOBs but this may not be too hard to automate once you work out how you want to do it for each power.
Fortunately, one of the plans is to employ a trick I started using towards the end of the playing in this AAR: Loading a save, sending the minor's military as an "expeditionary force" to the overlord nation, saving that and then cutting and pasting the relevant modded sections in the save game file. That way, I don't wind up with crazy loops like what happen(ed/s) in this game.
Smaller air wings actually works fairly well and I've implemented it into HPP myself. The main problem I found is actually that the AI will "overbuild" air wings relative to historical amounts, even though the actual gameplay is better IMO. Depending on how you implement the change, "fixing" this from a flavor perspective may require rewriting all of the name lists to represent smaller formation sizes, e.g. Gruppen instead of Geschwaderen.
Yep, I've considered this. I think the BICE mod uses small airwings, and something I wanted to try was to have a restriction of a specialized Strategic Resource be required for a nation to be able to build and research aircraft. If I was redoing this game, that's something I'd build into it, but since they won't let me try to give HoI3 the DH treatment... well... shit happens.
BICE-style division designer I've tried to implement into the RandomHOI mod, minus the graphical changes as I don't know how to do those yet. I think the 8000 different unit types problem is helped considerably by eliminating all of the special stuff - numerous unique units, flavor HQs, and so on. This at least makes the unit list manageable. Vanilla HoI3 provides a decent starting point here as you have regular and SP versions of most brigade types. If you want historical realism then you really want three versions - horse-towed, truck-towed, and SP, similar to how HPP has done their consolidated support brigades - but that is more work and complexity. Getting the AI to build good divisions with this change is also challenging in my experience.
Yep, that's what I was going to do. I don't know why there really needs to be a "bicycle" unit, or multiple levels of militia, etc.; I do like the HPP version of the various levels of supporting arms, though I would like to have it a bit more like BICE with the detail of the various sub-units... I don't know if that would really help anything to be fair. I've not played with it too much to see what the deal is.
From the BICE perspective you can also probably slim down the unit count by consolidating the number of elements. Something like having line regiments, ART, AT, AA, ENG, and then a "Division HQ" brigade which contains the recce, transport, etc. that BICE makes you build separately. This way you also can avoid dealing with the complexity of changing the INF "regiment" sizes by techs to model binary/triangular/square divisions.
For sure. One thing I wanted to do that I didn't think about until halfway through the first year was the elimination of the "Elite" infantry type for the majors. Between the "Guard" and "SS" for the Soviets and Germans, the various mountain units for the French and Italians, and the Rangers and Gurkhas of the Americans and British, not a whole lot of difference. Besides, the first two were basically nothing more than titles assigned to whole divisions and higher echelons, whereas the others were battalions or smaller. The largest operation by the Rangers was in regimental strength of three battalions in Italy. The rest were single battalion elements; the Gurkhas seem like there have been whole divisions of them, but mostly in regimental size. I guess the old "Fox and the Lion" mod had a battalion structure, I might liberate some ideas from them.
As far as playable nations I would probably suggest to have China be a human player rather than Poland. For a "reasonable alternate history" I think China is critically important to keep Japan occupied, otherwise they can turn their full attention against the Allies in the Pacific because human Japan will wipe out AI China every time.
This gets into some of the house rules I intend to impose on myself: first among them being that I have a limit as to how many divisions can be engaged on a human v. AI nation at once, as well as a restriction on how many ships can be operating. I also intend on not permitting air assets to upgrade, but require new aircraft units to be built (thus I don't magically turn a bunch of Ju52s into Me323s without actually building those aircraft... or I'll increase the upgrade cost. I wanted something that might mimic the HoI4 system within the constraints of the HoI3 system.
And of course no mod will be complete without a strategic modifier which increases the Italian supply draw in North Africa so they can have water to boil their pasta. ;)
I was just about to say... where is the pasta rule?!
Competent human Japan you mean. Smart human China killed dumb human Japan many times before :D

Good to see another AAR kept alive, by the way. A lot of hiatuses in these plagued years...
Yes, quite a few. I'm glad to still be plugging away at it. I mean, let's be frank, I've only been at this for what, two and a half years? @El Pip would call that the first quarter of 1936! ;)
 
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Vanslyke

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Instead of going with a mix of HPP and BICE, i was wondering if you had considered giving a try to the Downfall mod by Paglia.

i’ve played a few games with it, and all i can say is that he did a tremendous job to make for a pretty well balanced game.
What i like about it, is that it does not fundamently change the Vanilla game; just enough to improve it, but not too much as to make you learn a new game. Personnaly, i really enjoy the end result.

Anyway, it may not be your cup of tea, but i just thought about mentioning it.

Glad to see you come back to this great AAR. The wait is coming to an end.
 
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El Pip

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Yes, quite a few. I'm glad to still be plugging away at it. I mean, let's be frank, I've only been at this for what, two and a half years? @El Pip would call that the first quarter of 1936! ;)
If that, maybe end of February 1936 if you are really rushing it.
DYAEiOu.gif


While I would never wish to take anything away from the incredible (and, let us be honest, slightly mad) achievement of getting 7 different computers running 7 nations in a HOI3 game, could I ask what it is you wish to achieve from this? Obviously it would be a technical feat for the ages, but if you control all the sides then strategic or operational surprise is impossible, unless you decide in advance what other nations will, or will not, know about. Given how important intelligence was in so many theatres (Kursk, Midway, Case Blue, Battle of the Atlantic, many others) that seems a hell of a task and I think you end up drifting close to a fairly well "scripted" game. To be clear I think this is an entirely correct and appropriate approach for any AAR that aspires to more than just showcasing how bad Paradox are at programming an AI, but it would seem to negate the purpose of running so many nations simultaneously.

In any event you can be assured I will be an avid reader of this or any other future project, I'm just curious as to the thinking behind it all.
 
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Wraith11B

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Essentially, I want the actual challenge: there was no doubt as soon as I unpaused in this game of how basically perfect the Axis could be. It became even less so because of how bad the AI treats itself. As you pointed out repeatedly, a Germany that builds a bunch of high end battle cruisers would have caused an absolute explosion in Whitehall, and there would not be a way to hide that. Conversely, the Soviets attacking while I'm wrapping up Great Britain was a surprise, but was not as much of a challenge.

More than anything, I'd really like to have a game where I'm not spending quite so much time cleaning up and apologizing for the mess that the AI leaves me. Towards the end when I was playing the game, it was absolutely a drudgery because of how much I had to troll through to get stuff even back to a reasonable level.

This feeds into the slight alterations that I'd like to work in to account for things like the intelligence war, and some of the other things. Handicaps that keep me from absolutely just running away from things. It will likely take awhile, but I hope that it is something that people don't become disillusioned with quite so quickly as this effort.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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But what's the point, aside from proving it can be done? Both sides playing perfectly, the allies and soviets should still win, and in fact maybe win a bit quicker, because either North Africa doesn't happen at all because Italy's is smart enough not to bother, or they try and get anhiliated at sea...
 
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nuclearslurpee

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But what's the point, aside from proving it can be done? Both sides playing perfectly, the allies and soviets should still win, and in fact maybe win a bit quicker, because either North Africa doesn't happen at all because Italy's is smart enough not to bother, or they try and get anhiliated at sea...
I imagine the point is to produce a more interesting story rather than a challenging game and an example of player success against the odds. Frankly with HoI3 we passed the "challenging game" point a while back when people worked out how to do Latvia or Luxemburg world conquests, really all that is left is to tell a good story.

With Wraith's style in particular I think this would be a very strong format as it allows the same intense focus on technological and doctrinal developments, times seven countries instead of 2-3, but these developments are assured to have meaning rather than culminating in an admittedly flat "and then Germany stomped everybody, the end".

At the same time there is still surprising scope for surprises even for the player. This requires some discipline to roleplay every country realistically, e.g., Britain should not invade Germany in 1936 over the Rhineland because the player knows this is when Germany is weakest historically. Or operationally, one side should not have preternatural prediction of where the other will launch a tank offensive and reposition their AT guns in advance, rather such intelligence should be come by honestly (i.e. using spies). Done well, each of these becomes a mistake in historical retrospect, which offers the authAAR the chance to build their world by exploring the in-universe causes and effects leading to those events. It is not the same kind of surprise as when the AI magically does something halfway competent, but it is still an engaging narrative done well.

Such an approach is common in games which allow this kind of multiple player country/race/faction setup, Aurora for instance has spawned many AARs of this sort.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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I imagine the point is to produce a more interesting story rather than a challenging game and an example of player success against the odds. Frankly with HoI3 we passed the "challenging game" point a while back when people worked out how to do Latvia or Luxemburg world conquests, really all that is left is to tell a good story.

With Wraith's style in particular I think this would be a very strong format as it allows the same intense focus on technological and doctrinal developments, times seven countries instead of 2-3, but these developments are assured to have meaning rather than culminating in an admittedly flat "and then Germany stomped everybody, the end".

At the same time there is still surprising scope for surprises even for the player. This requires some discipline to roleplay every country realistically, e.g., Britain should not invade Germany in 1936 over the Rhineland because the player knows this is when Germany is weakest historically. Or operationally, one side should not have preternatural prediction of where the other will launch a tank offensive and reposition their AT guns in advance, rather such intelligence should be come by honestly (i.e. using spies). Done well, each of these becomes a mistake in historical retrospect, which offers the authAAR the chance to build their world by exploring the in-universe causes and effects leading to those events. It is not the same kind of surprise as when the AI magically does something halfway competent, but it is still an engaging narrative done well.

Such an approach is common in games which allow this kind of multiple player country/race/faction setup, Aurora for instance has spawned many AARs of this sort.
I think it would be interesting to really see how balanced the countries are etc.
 
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Wraith11B

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But what's the point, aside from proving it can be done? Both sides playing perfectly, the allies and soviets should still win, and in fact maybe win a bit quicker, because either North Africa doesn't happen at all because Italy's is smart enough not to bother, or they try and get anhiliated at sea...
I imagine the point is to produce a more interesting story rather than a challenging game and an example of player success against the odds. Frankly with HoI3 we passed the "challenging game" point a while back when people worked out how to do Latvia or Luxemburg world conquests, really all that is left is to tell a good story.

With Wraith's style in particular I think this would be a very strong format as it allows the same intense focus on technological and doctrinal developments, times seven countries instead of 2-3, but these developments are assured to have meaning rather than culminating in an admittedly flat "and then Germany stomped everybody, the end".

At the same time there is still surprising scope for surprises even for the player. This requires some discipline to roleplay every country realistically, e.g., Britain should not invade Germany in 1936 over the Rhineland because the player knows this is when Germany is weakest historically. Or operationally, one side should not have preternatural prediction of where the other will launch a tank offensive and reposition their AT guns in advance, rather such intelligence should be come by honestly (i.e. using spies). Done well, each of these becomes a mistake in historical retrospect, which offers the authAAR the chance to build their world by exploring the in-universe causes and effects leading to those events. It is not the same kind of surprise as when the AI magically does something halfway competent, but it is still an engaging narrative done well.

Such an approach is common in games which allow this kind of multiple player country/race/faction setup, Aurora for instance has spawned many AARs of this sort.
Basically, I'd imagine that by running the game at Very Hard difficulties, combined with slight edits to the costs/efficiencies would combine to create actual tradeoffs in terms of nations and their strategic planning. As we have seen, it's nothing to hold off the last decision to declare war as Germany after building twelve massive battle cruisers, and then having the Royal Navy courteously steam right in to die gloriously in the Kattegat... only to send the rest of the fleet to die off of Papua New Guinea.

There's still room for a level of what ifs in this game. Playing suboptimally (unlike what I have done here, much as I thought I was doing well, but let's be realistic) creates a hopefully interesting story for you guys. We're all jaded a bit because of how great all of the authors here have been with their works.
 
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RustyHunter

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Honestly, as long as @Wraith11B has fun, I'm not too bothered. I've still liked this AAR even if it is an Axis stomp just for the amount of effort put into it, detailed graphics, and extensive research.

An AAR where you play both sides would be unique, and I think proper restraint would lead to it being an interesting and more believable read.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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Honestly, as long as @Wraith11B has fun, I'm not too bothered. I've still liked this AAR even if it is an Axis stomp just for the amount of effort put into it, detailed graphics, and extensive research.

An AAR where you play both sides would be unique, and I think proper restraint would lead to it being an interesting and more believable read.
I think there has to be a great deal of dedication and passion for this...ordeal...should Wraith11B choose to do such as thing to themselves, I'm sure we will all honour the sacrifice by watching.
 
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