Learning from Prussia - a Rise of Prussia AAR against a real player - for beginners

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Narwhal

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couple of game play questions if you don't mind.

First those 10,000 cav, presume they'd stand no chance against a balanced force in a pitched battle so would you be looking to use them to mess up the Russian supply lines?
Second, about winter. In general does the game force the mindset that the best thing to do is to huddle up in a nice warm city and wait till it all gets nicer? Or can you use depots and wagons to do something useful?

many tbanks again - I'm really enjoying this as an AAR and as an insight into the game.

2. The best thing to do in winter is to huddle up in a nice warm city and wait. Several reasons for this, which in combination will stop any military operation :

- Units will move much more slowly in the snow, and horribly slowly in a slow+poor winter combination. Guns and supply trains cannot move in many places in those conditions... and you NEED supply because...
- your units will receive damage from frostbite if they have no supply. Not a lot, but it adds up. If the weather is poor (blizzard), your units will receive a lots of damage. Supply will cancel a large part of the damage but at cost of, well, supply... so if you are out of supply in winter, your troops will take damage from frostbite, damage and cohesion loss from hunger, and move more and more slowly (weather + low cohesion), so you won't reach a safe place next turn... an horrible vicious circle that can really DESTROY armies (especally in the Birth of America game, due to the size of the wilderness, but even in RoP an army trapped in winter on the wrong side of the front is dead),
- your troops will also lose a lot of cohesion while moving, which means after one turn of being slow (just winter), they will be HORRIBLY slow the following turn (low cohesion + winter) and almost stopped after that (low cohesion + winter + probably no more supply). If they attack, they'll find in defense a full cohesion army. Dangerous...
- As for sieges, winter will chew through your supplies faster than the siege will chew through their

Limited operation in winter is possible, though, either fast raid of cav, or because you try to put "supply depot" on your way, like I tried. Most often than not, it fails, though, as happened to me. If Prag had not been as strategic for me, I would not even have tried.
 
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Narwhal

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Offensive opperations in winter can be very tricky. Forces in a region with snow but without a structure (city, fort, depot) at the start of a turn will during the turn resolution recieve hits due to hars weather. Those hits can be mitigated by supply wagons (thus costing you food). Also winter can block moutain passes (meaning that no supply or forces can travel through those regions - the good thing for prussians that there are no passes on the dresden-prague road along the elbe - one of the reasons Prague Gambit 56 can work).
Even an army in a region with a structure but NOT within the structure can suffer some losses if the winter is really horrible (blizzard). Not too bad usually, though. That's why Baris prefers to keep his army in Prag... even though he risked a surprise attack from me.
The Dresden Prague pass is blocked for guns and supply trains if there is snow + bad weather.
 
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Anazagar

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Even an army in a region with a structure but NOT within the structure can suffer some losses if the winter is really horrible (blizzard). Not too bad usually, though. That's why Baris prefers to keep his army in Prag... even though he risked a surprise attack from me.

That has never happened to me.

The Dresden Prague pass is blocked for guns and supply trains if there is snow + bad weather.

There is no pass there so it can't be blocked - I have never seen those triangles with red crosses there.
 

Narwhal

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Check message #31 for an instance of the pass "blocked" for guns and other heavy stuff, and armies automatically switching for another "possible" way.

I have seen units outside of structure suffering hits this very campaign too, but very minor (4-5 hits). I think that sort of hits "go through" supply trains, but not sure.
 

Stuyvesant

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Not having the game, I don't have any particular questions or comments, but I continue to enjoy the read. Looking forward to the treatment of battle(s). I have sneaking suspicion that my RUS strategy of blindly tossing all available units against the enemy is sub-optimal. :p
 

Narwhal

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We have had « logistical » problems in our games, so we are only in early June – which means I don’t want to post much more as to not give too much information on my anti French/Russian/Swedish strategy.

So, a quick update, as announced, on troop production.

Beginner’s corner : Giving troops to Father Prussia.

Rise of Prussia has three ways of giving you new troops, all of them making perfect sense, but two of them making little sense in their combination in my humble opinion. This is the product of the “history” of the AGE engine, and was “corrected” in the following game based on the AGE engine (Revolution Under Siege).

The first way to produce new troops is to build them from scratch. To create a new troops, you have to launch the “troop production” mode, which is in the lower left corner, as you can see in the next picture :

Cration2.jpg


This mode allows you to produce troops in the “green” areas (national cities) by sliding the unit icon in the place you want them built – that’s what I am doing next picture.

Cration.jpg


Each unit takes (a LOT of) time to produce, and you can only produce that much units in the same place at the same time – which means you will have to spread out production between the different places of the game, and between the different countries you control (Prussia, Hannover,…).

Creating units also cost resources. They are 3 ressources used to produce troops in Rise of Prussia : Conscripts, Money and War Supply. Prussia only lacks conscripts, have an enormous amount of money and sufficient war supplies. Austria has a lots of conscripts, but is shorter on cash. This means the Prussian will build elite troops, while the Austrian will build poorer quality troop, with the occasional elite dudes.

I try to show where to find your current stock in the following picture :

Productio-1.jpg


The same screen also shows the production by city (only cities produce) – NOT the piles which are local stocks of supply and ammunition, but the sort of circle ; the icons might be too small though. As you might maybe see, even Berlin does not produce much.
Overall, this source of troops is fairly marginal, maybe 10000 – 15000 men a year when it will have ramped up fully – at the end of the campaign I migh have doubled my starting troops this way. It is useful to produce artillery, though.


The second source of troops is replacements – replacements for units already existing but “damaged”. Here is my list of “available” replacements :

Replacement.jpg


Each of this square is an “element” (the most basic component of a unit – most “faces” next to a leader have at least 4 of them. For instance a “Hannover Light Infantry” element can only be replaced by Hannover Light Infantry element. If you only have Prussian Light Infantry or Hannover Regular Infantry,you are out of luck. Note that an element of Hannover Light Infantry can replace 2 half-strength (50% wounded) Hannover Light Infantry elements.
How do you get new replacements for your elements ? Well, there are three ways
- Wait for the twice-yearly “recruitment”, which replace them a little
- Pay through the “special action” ledger
- Buy Depot Bataillon in the “recruiting new troops” mode. Those are slow to produce but will convert some War Supply, Conscripts and Money into fresh cannon fodder.
Note that this is not indicated in the manual

Here is the picture for “special action” ledger – with me almost clicking on the “Get Prussian Light Inf” option, which I really won’t do.

Replacement2.jpg


And here is me selecting a Depot Bataillon :

Depotbtn.jpg


To replace wounded / destroyed elements, your units needs to be in one of your city, with a depot AND an extensive amount of supply (NOT war supply, supply is a different concept altogether, and actually one of the most important of RoP).

As you can understand, (almost) disconnecting the Replacement from the “New troops” makes little sense – it means that in some cases I cannot build new units (no more conscripts) but have bazillions of available “replacement” waiting for some of my dudes to drop down. This is due to the way new troops was handled “historically” in AGEOD games (replacement system + events only, no “building”) and this will go I believe.

Note that there is a very cryptic and hidden system that actually convert available replacement into “conscripts” resource when you have too much available replacements for a category of units.

Finally, the last way to get troops is … events. Here is the example of an otherwise minor and uninteresting event.

Even1.jpg


Those events are – compared to Birth of America for instance – fairly rare. They only happen at the beginning of the game (historical events), or when the “game” wants to be sure a large city got at least a militia garnison (case here of Hamburg, I took two turns ago when that screenshoot was taken).
 
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Stuyvesant

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Echoing loki's sentiments here. Many thanks for the continuing education. :)

Personally, I find the event-driven reinforcement a bit confusing (at least in RUS, really my only AGEOD experience so far). You end a turn and all of a sudden there are 20,000 new troops in one of your cities. Coming from a EU/HOI/Vicky background, where you have some starting units and build the rest, it makes it hard for me to know if I should plan on expanding my army, or simply wait for the reinforcements. Oh well, I do very much like the fact that building sizeable forces is a real option in RUS, so I gues that counts as an improvement in my book. :)
 

Narwhal

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Part XV : All the pieces are in place

Late March starts with bad news : Sweden joins the war, and want part of Prussia back :
Swedenatwar.jpg


Note that while the translation of the game from French to English is overall good, there are some… mistranslation. “Crier” means “to shout” in French, but “cry” in English… not exactly. I may be wrong.
Still better than my English 

Anyway, let me sum up the situation faced by Prussia, with the help of Powerpoint.

Simplemap.jpg


Note that while Hannover is large on the map, it is not that good. I will make a point on Hannover (and Hessen) later.


My objective is to take the two Swedish ports, thus taking Sweden out of the war, with overwhelming forces before the French and Russian arrive, as you can see in the next screenshoot where I organize the few forces I have around Berlin :
Situationaunord-1.jpg

For this plan, I plan to commit :
- The Prussian forces available in the North
- The Hannover armies, as soon as possible, and until they are needed to stop the French.
- The Brunschweig troops
Brunschweig troops are brought North. The heavy stuff would slow my armies too much, so I take them by boats, while the soldiers will go on foot :

transportbateau.jpg


Finally, as my commanders up there are not the best ones, I decide the send Henrich von Prussen to organize the defense. I selected him because his special “Master of Defense” skill will be useful against the French or the Russian attack, while his other skills will be great to take down the Swedes.
You can see the “detailed” stats of Henrich here :
Henrich-1.jpg

Note that most stats are “non-applicable”, Henrich being a commander and not a combat unit.

Finally, on the Austrian front, the depot is built and my troops carry on their march on Prag :
VersPraguewithZieten.jpg


Note that as usually, the mustachio guy, Zieten, only has an handful of hussars under his commands.
 

loki100

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thats an awful lot of enemies. Presume you hope that they remain badly co-ordinated so you can pick them off one at a time. Is that why you're keeping the bulk of your army on the Austrian front?

and, as ever, thanks for this, its a real master class in the game mechanics and player decision making (I've printed out your 'how to build stuff' post so I've got it to hand)
 

Anazagar

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So you've decided not to abbandon Koeningsberg - that's an interesting choice. What's your genereal plan up there??
 

Narwhal

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Actually, I don't want to show Koeningsberg because the Russian attack on it has not occured yet in the game I am playing, and I want to keep a capacity to surprise my opponent.
 

Rensslaer

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Narwhal, thanks for this excellent AAR! It's interesting to see the game -- I don't have it, but it has some interest to me. And your telling of strategy and implementation is great too.

Rensslaer
 

Narwhal

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Narwhal, thanks for this excellent AAR! It's interesting to see the game -- I don't have it, but it has some interest to me. And your telling of strategy and implementation is great too.

Rensslaer

Thank you, Rensslaer. I would not carry on the AAR if no one was answering, even to say they appreciate the AAR. Actually, I started the AAR on gog.com, met a stunning silence, and then moved here (the fact that I started to post on the 24th of December did not help, I believe).

I should update a lot starting tomorrow ; most "strategy" I did not to show to Baris too early are springing as the Russian and French armies are trying to steamroll me now. I currently take between 10 and 15 pictures a turn now, so expect lenghy posts as soon as Hannover joins the war (in a couple turns at most).
 

Narwhal

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Part XV – Early April - A new front opens

Early April sees a lot of change, with the doubling of the size of the game map : all the Western Front is now opened.

This is a quick look at the Western Front, with in bonus a glance at my Westernmost garnison, the one who will receive the bulk of the French attack the first (in all likelihood) : Wesel. It is protected by Johann von Loen, an otherwise unnoticeable garnison commander.

FrontOuest-1.jpg


As I can now order the forces of Hessen and Hannover, I have 3 new armies under my command :

- An Hanoverian army (20 000 men, 4 000 horses, 75 guns) in, well, Hannover. It is led by Johann Imhoff, a very poor commander : 3-1-1 only and a leader easy to anger, which gives him a malus in command points (command points are used to control larger units without malus – I will do a point on this very soon).

Hannovre.jpg


- Another Hanoverian army (13 000 men, 6 000 horses, 120 canons) is in Minden and led by Von Zastrow. This group is of better quality overall than the one in Hanover, and Von Zastrow is a good commander… compared to the other Hanoverian generals : he has 4-1-2 for stats. 4-1-2 would be much below average for a Prussian general.

Minden.jpg


- Finally, Hessen has its own army in Kassel, in the heart of some forest whose name I never knew. The army is of average size (13 000 men, 5000 horses, 100 guns) and its leader, Wutginau, is a poor general with only 3-1-1 for stats. Kassel is an outstanding defensive position, though : the forest prevent large groups from using their numbers in battle, there is only one road from the HRE position to Kassel and few supply available for an attacker.

Wutginau.jpg


In addition to these troops, Hannover has quite a lot of cavalry scattered around their Electorate.

Overall, Hanover troops are fairly numerous (second in number after Prussia for me) but of poor quality, both in term of commanders and in term of rank-and-file soldiers. The Hessen ain't any better : poor quality troops led by poor generals, but still their number is very welcome. Brunschweig, you might remember, offers a very limited number of troops, but those troops are really elite.


Due the threat caused by the Swedes, I also have new troops in Prussia : the (event-created) Frei Batalione, who are elite light infantry [Edit thanks to Anazagar - I mixed stuff up].

FreiBatalione.jpg


[More edit thanks to Anazagar :] In addition to these Frei Bataliones, many Landwehr poor quality militias appear in my cities, good to protect against an early attack of Sweden : remember that Berlin has no wall, a strong army may just storm it.
Example here of Stettin, which really is the city the closest to the Swedes (militias are “light blue”, and with a “M” in their icon).

Stettinestsolide.jpg


The plan on the Swedish front has not changed – I told it the previous turn. I just decided between this turn and the last one not to go through the forest North of Berlin – where ambushes are possible, but to concentrate my forces in Lubeck as soon as possible and then march on the Swedish ports. I hope to be able to do it before the French attack. Not much of a change of plan since execution had not started.

PleinNord-1.jpg


Zastrow’s army will be committed, as I count on his relatively faster movement (he is active, while Johann Imhoff is not, and has a better command on his men). I also plan to use the Prussian-Brunswickian army West of the Elbe.

Nord.jpg


The army is not quite ready yet (the officers are there, but they do not command troops directly, since as you can see on the screenshoot they have neither Green nor Purple bars). There are two regiments of soldiers I did not attribuate to any leader in this group.

On the Austrian front, there will be a battle next turn. I decide to attack the city of Prag. I will have to cross a river, which will put me at a disadvantage in the battle, but I am confident in the power of my three columns representing close to 60 000 men together. I don’t want to give my opponent time to gather the reinforcement he could not bring during winter.

In the East, Wedell and von Schwerin will move closer to Olmutz, but not attack him : there are not powerful enough to rout an army led by von Daun. But by being so close to Olmutz, I hope to either incitate my opponent to keep his armies, or at least commander, in Olmutz so they don’t support Prag, or to be able to siege quickly Olmutz if von Daun and his army actually leave for Prag.

PlanPrague-1.jpg


Finally, I am asked whether I want to protect Wesel or not. Sometimes, the game let you make multichoice decision, and most of those choices have important effect in the game. I can either abandon Wesel, and thus get some troops “safe”, pay to reinforce Wesel or let the situation as it is. As I need to gain as much time as possible while my Hanoverian column are in Northern Germany crushing the Swedes, I decide to reinforce Wesel (which is actually the best decision in most situation anyway, in my opinion).

DonotevacuateWesel.jpg



That’s all for now. Almost all the cards are in there, and there won't be many new events giving me free new armies. The Austrian player, though, will have an even unlocking his french army very soon (don't know when), and an event giving him control over the Russian troops. After that, we will be mostly on our own (the English might intervene, though).

Next turn… a BATTLE, and not a tiny one.
 
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Stuyvesant

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Hi Narwhal, I'm still reading, I just often don't know anything intelligent to ask. :)

Your Western front looks awfully empty, but I take it that, as Prussia, you'll never be able to properly defend everything at the same time, so concentrating on one foe at a time seems like the best (if not outright only) choice.

What kind of forces can you expect to face against the Swedes? Anything like the numbers the Austrians, Russians or French can throw at you, or something more modest?
 

loki100

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this is developing very nicely ... ie very nicely for the reader, not so sure its so nice for you stuck in the middle of that lot heading your way.

so you're going for your enemies 1 by 1? but still leaving your best forces facing off the Austrians?
 

Narwhal

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I have three objectives for 1757 :

- Going as deep as possible in the Austrian lines, because starting 1758 I will be overwhelmed there, so I need every land between them and Berlin I can get.
- Getting rid of the Swedes before they become more than a nuisance.
- Stopping the Russian dead at Königsberg.

According to the situation in 1758, I will reallocate forces between the different fronts, i.e. as I will probably not carry on attacking in Austria, I might "free" one or two corps to fight against the French. If the Swedes are out of the game, that's more forces to stop the French... except if I need them against the Russian.

Stuyvesant : The Swedes are not a powerhouse, as they have according to my estimation (never played Austria) about 50 K troops, of poor quality, with terrible commanders. As you will see later, Baris tried to solve the commanding issue by sneaking somehow better Austrian commanders.

The Swedes are more a thorn in my side, all the more since they can attack / raid Berlin and its surroundings, or attack Hannover from the North.
 

Anazagar

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Two notes

1) Swedes with the imperial forces in pommerania shouldn't exceed 30k (at least not in 57) plus unless your opponent sends a 3 star army commander (for me it's usually charles de loarinne) to them they will face severe command penalties and very poor leadership.

2) Frei Battalione should not be mistaken with Landwehr troops. Frei batalione are the Prussian response to grenzers and as such are good addition to the Elbe armee - I usually add them to the elite infrantry hevy brigades as to increase the number of men they have and improve their overall combat pefrormance and I try to build all that I can.
 

Narwhal

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Two notes

1) Swedes with the imperial forces in pommerania shouldn't exceed 30k (at least not in 57) plus unless your opponent sends a 3 star army commander (for me it's usually charles de loarinne) to them they will face severe command penalties and very poor leadership.

Thank you for this information. I actually met no more than that during my attack [and my opponent did send someone else than Charles de Lorraine]

2) Frei Battalione should not be mistaken with Landwehr troops. Frei batalione are the Prussian response to grenzers and as such are good addition to the Elbe armee - I usually add them to the elite infrantry hevy brigades as to increase the number of men they have and improve their overall combat pefrormance and I try to build all that I can.

My mistake in the description. I always assumed that the "Landwehr" were all the militias and hussars, while the "Frei Battalione" are the 4 Light Infantry Brigades I receive. Am I right ? In any case, I tend to use the 4 Light Infantry in ambush position in the forest as long as the Swedes are a threat, then use them as skirmisher in the Hessen Forest. Is it those you mix with your heavies ?
 
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