- May 24, 2013
I do understand why they removed that confusing feature that would have convoys show up in the 'sunk ships' of specific naval units. I don't understand why they didn't replace it with something more accurate and less confusing.I think that's because the on-map unit of "transports" are different from the not-on-map "unit" of "convoys." Since transports don't count towards actually shipping things, convoys didn't count as actual ships.
Regardless, Paradox really doesn't do all that well in handling anything in the naval or air war, and the convoy system in HoI3 (and even in HoIs 2 & 4) are at best, kludge-y.
That's kinda disgusting... maybe the Corona virus will make some reconsider this practice... It's also not too soon to joke about the Corona virus. If things get much worse some of us might not be around to tell any jokes... Joke away, while you still can!At least no one was licking their fingers to rub on the ball to shine it, which is normal practice in non-pandemic times! And the beers afterwards were cold, but weren't Coronas! Too soon?
There will be no substantial change to the 'narrative stuff'. I'd like to say I'll be ramping it up a notch, but realistically, the current amount of narrative already takes plenty of time and effort to write. If I manage to save some time on the rest of the process, I'd rather move things along a bit more quickly.1. Always like the narrative stuff, whether it's 11 or the rest of the Committee. No need to change any of that, I reckon.
I think the fact of writing the summaries while I'm playing, battle by batte, means that the amount of text is directly correlated with the number of battles, and some overview gets lost.2. The Front (prose) summaries: pretty solid there, though the amount of info you now have to report on, with Barbarossa in full flight, makes too much detailed reporting start to turn into a wall of words and then a very complicated map with lots of numbers on it.
This is definitely an area where I can save a lot of time formatting, and reduce complexity to make the bigger picture easier to read.3. The battle summary lists that follow are perhaps getting to be too much for me (at least) to grapple with in any sensible way. In both TT and Q&D2 (especially, as it is Russia though on some far less crowded battlefields, but then encompassing a whole month at a time), I've started to cut back where I can on the level of detail, especially on smaller skirmishes. And not mentioning them all in the narrative description - maybe the larger or more interesting/pivotal battles, as other have mentioned.
I'm not so big on screenshots, but I keep track of a lot of data in my spreadsheets. I don't see myself do on-map summaries of the kind you're doing in Q&D2 here, but some more local visual elements could help convey more of the dynamics on the ground.The obsessive/complete record part of me may keep a screenshot of every battle's start and finish and, if a big one, progress shots, and tally them all in the spreadsheet, but not report them all in any detail, as I would in TT. Just a few (!?) exceptions.
Do you have any examples of map-illustrated WW2 accounts that you've drawn such inspiration from.Key Question to Self: does the extra detail really add to the story or general description of the outcome? Does it get too much to both write up and for readers to make sense of? If so, I try to find ways to cut it back or out. Giving more time to write narrative, less for the reader to wade through; just include the detail that describes the sweep of events clearly. I sometimes look at map-illustrated accounts of WW2 to recalibrate the amount of detail you really need (but then add a bit more in anyway, cos I can't help myself ).
I'm definitely going to keep maps of the same size, but reducing the amount of information on the map to make it more intelligible is probably the way to go.Example: Looking at the Northern German Front summary in the last chapter. The general format is good, but I'm wondering whether there's a bit too much wall of words followed by a map with over 20 battle reference points on it (ie that you need to then skip to and fro to situate). I do like the larger/smaller symbols to depict the size of battles. You know I love a detailed map and battle report, but I think I found it a bit hard to follow it all. A map is good for depicting movement visually: in history books, its usually Army level icons at most, with some arrows, front lines and the occasional major battle marker. It's the arrows that give the representation of movement easily.
The map was meant as a visual reference for the battles mentioned in the text before it, and the report list after it. Having both the text and the battle report list was meant to provide different levels of detail so that a reader would be able to skip the detailed battle reports without missing the big picture, or alternatively a more data-hungry reader could delve into the raw battle data for more information on particular battles. As has become clear to me, there are simply too many battles for even the more motivated and data-hungry readers to poor through all of the battle reports. That indicates the scale is wrong, which brings me to your suggestion:Then there's the triple-telling of info: once in the summary, more in the map, then the detailed battle report list following. It got the point where I just skipped passed the detailed reports, as I'm not sure they added anything more that really needed saying.
This seems like a great compromise. Breaking up the front into sectors, having a short paragraph describing what happened in each sector, accompanied by a map with a few arrows helping visualise that, and then a single tally for the entire sector.Suggestion: While you could break it up further, I think you've still got the problem of so much info to report (if you stay at that level) that it must take a lost of time and effort to prepare and it may still make the chapters unwieldy to write and then consume. One suggestion could be to largely retain your format, but to take the level of reporting up one. After all, in a story sense, Stalin and the Committee should perhaps be more interested in the larger scale and (in reality and when it's just the one poor scribe analysing and writing it all up) would probably be looking more at the Army to Army Group level. So in this case, you could try using broadly the same format, but reporting on sectors (perhaps each a little smaller) with a more general description and accompanying map. And instead of having a long list of battle results at the end, just putting in the summary stats: eg 21 battles, Ger won x, Sov y, total cas x & y. Same with air war stats, done by sector rather than the whole front?
Volume is the main challenge of this AAR, and I haven't made it easy on myself by collecting so much data as I go.In summary, I reckon it's a great AAR and if you decide not to really change anything, I won't mind at all. I worry more about your ability to sustain things (time and nervous energy + RL demands) with such a large and sweeping theatre to report on. And others have made some very good recommendations of other stuff that can help to organise or condense what you do decide to report. But the underlying issue is one of volume (for writer and reader). The same quandary I debate about with my AARs (not just the HOI3 ones, either).
That makes sense to me.I think this has a lot to do with the fact that the game is, on basic settings, too easy for the average veteran (true, in fairness, for any Paradox title), however the in-game difficulty settings are rather stark and uncompromising to play with, making the AI units just strictly superior to compensate for a poor AI.
I'll keep this in mind if I ever start an AAR where I control every single Division (probably of a smaller nation with fewer of them), sometime in the distant future, when 'Odin' has been wrapped up... (or possibly in parallel, though I doubt I'll have the bandwidth to pull that off anytime soon.)As an every-division micromanager myself, I personally appreciate the modded-in difficulty options in HPP which give the AI nations a range of indirect bonuses that enable the AI to resist more effectively at a strategic level without feeling overpowering "in the moment". I'd have a hard time going back and playing Germany, for instance, and running into a brick wall in France because of the difficulty (though I remember one Germany AAR where the authAAR kept pumping up the difficulty as the campaign went on, eventually being surrounded and losing horribly in a quite realistic manner).
I guess we're all just a bunch of masochists who intentionally let the AI screw up our games so we have something to whine and write about...Anyhow, I get the impression that the average authAAR these days doesn't much like playing a "hardcore" game, and prefers to use the AI HQs to keep the feeling of being a "real" commander while handicapping the player. Our authAARs seem to love narrative and detail more than hardcore gameplay - which makes for a just-fine AAR in my opinion!
Duly noted. I'll keep that in mind when I'm designing the new format for the GPW reportsI insist (so much as any mere readAAR might) that maps should always precede the wall of text they accompany.
I was planning on adding in a line in the maps showing where the front was 50 days ago when we got that far into the war. But maybe 30 days is a better time-frame.Related to this, you might find that your maps don't provide the level of detail you'd like, particularly when the front only moves a province either way between updates. It may be worth considering if the front updates should be e.g. monthly, so that there's more salient information per map/post even if the level of detail in the text is necessarily reduced.
If I'm looking at the front in sectors, I could bring back Commander quotes, in a similar way to how I used them in the winter war, to add somme spice to the mix.I might add the worthy consideration of replacing numerical detail with narrative, if you're worried about lacking the depth of content you're used to in a post. It may in fact behoove Odin and friends to begin collecting firsthand accounts of the fighting on the ground to assess conditions to aid their decision-making, rather in a similar vein to how historians will quote war diaries and divisional histories whilst discussing a critical engagement. This need not require introducing more characters as in the Odinatsat narrative, one can simply quote unnamed privates or dig into the reports to Stavka from the front commanders.
As stated above, the current amount of narrative seems about right to me, and adding personal accounts of soldiers on the ground will require significant amounts of research, even if I don't make them into fully fledged characters. I'd rather put this time into writing and researching the main narrative. Of course, I could always make a singular exception, but I don't think narrative beyond some quotes and the narrative intro will become a regular thing.
Thank you very much for writing such long-form feedback, it will definitely help me out in shaping the future of this AAR. I do wish all of you all the best in navigating the current pandemic and the associated quarantines and restrictions, have a nice day,