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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Narwhal

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Another decisive victory : your AAR is in Nov 1760 while mine is only in May 1760 ;)
 

loki100

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Interesting point about the Russians. If you still had some Swedes to call upon I reckon that you could do a lot more than simply stalemate the Prussians in the east. I'm assuming though that the Russian troops are of a much lower quality than the Prussians?

Liked the Potemkin reference ;)

As for the Scottish units, I'm not sure how accurate the graphic is. Following the 1745 Jacobite rebellion, the Act of Proscription was passed which prohibted - amongst other things - the wearing of Highland dress. This wasn't repealled until the 1780's (I believe).

Now, I'm not sure if this applied to military regiments or not - after all the government did have the genius idea of rounding up loads of Highlanders and forming them into regiments to throw against enemies of the Crown, and letting them retain their traditional dress IF they signed up would make a lot of sense if it was banned everywhere else. However, I'm just speculating here and could be completely wrong.

Regardless, Scottish regiments have always been completely badass, so you should worry about them :)

If I still had the Swedes, or even a Russian army holed up at Koenigsberg, I think 1761-2 could be when I won the game ... its really why I now appreciate this is not a game you can hustle (which is my standard HOI3 tactic) but have to take your time over.

As it is, it looks like the AI shares my impression that Bohemia is where it'll all be at in 1761 (I'm now very glad I semi-anticipated by moving those French units into E Bavaria).

At this stage there is at least one Scottish battalion in French service (a sort of Gds formation), so the scope for a clash is there. I think it was Ramilles (in the War of Spanish Succession) that Scottish regiments in French and British service actually met on the battlefield, not sure if there were any incidences in the Seven Years War though.

I can't decide whether my response should be: 'c) transgender' or 'Kilt! For all that's holy, kilt, not... that other word.' So I'll try to procure my cake and consume it as well. :)

Good update. This rhyme to the game, of campaign season followed by wintering, still throws me off, used as I am to the non-stop campaigning of Paradox games. It's interesting to see, though, how you have to abandon certain objectives and make for safe places (and how your enemy does the same). Good luck with the next campaign season!

Overall 1760-1 seems to have been (in game) a really bad winter, so I'm very glad that for the most part I've hunkered down in my fortresses. In effect if you try to actively campaign in winter you either take attrition hits or you run down your supply stocks. Its only a good idea if you really can see the resultant advantage, otherwise the system does encourage that very seasonal nature that European warfare had at this time. So a campaign could be to enter a region, besiege the fortress and hope to complete that before winter drove you off again.

I rather think it is due to option (c) drunk.

Loads of progress over the last few updates, you've gained a reasonably comfortable position. Quite a change from mere months ago. From what I've seen thus far RoP seems an especially bruising game when attempting to learn it, even in comparison to other Paradox titles. I think I would have suffered complete defeat long ago, thus very well done. Hopefully you can push on and make some ground towards the controlled objectives in the coming year.

Very intrigued to read of a possible Harry and Astarte V2 AAR as well. A fitting setting for them both, I think it would make for a great AAR.

Its a very subtle game (I love Baris' use of the bateaux) with lots of in-game tricks and techniques that just take play time to amass. The tutorial bits are good, but some quite critical stuff like supply and reinforcements (I'd have been utterly lost without Narwhal's tutorials) are just not well explained. It also, to me, capture the slightly chess like nature of pre-napoleonic warfare in Europe, which means you have to play with a very different mindset to a Paradox game (where EU3 for eg, tries to cover everything military style from late medieval to napoleon).

Does the idea that Queen Victoria is but Astarte's latest disguise grab yuur attention?
 
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loki100

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Gathering for the Bohemian Party: January-February 1761

For most of these 4 turns, winter was pretty complete and at times quite severe. So not a lot of action to report. I was glad my forces ended up more or less where I wanted them in late Autumn so I have very few attrition hits. The AI is moving about a bit more.

It really does look like the AI shares my assessment that Bohemia is key for 1761 as the Hannoverian-British army is mostly arriving over there to reinforce the Prussians. This makes me very glad I moved those 4 French corps into E Bavaria as otherwise I fear I'll be overwhelmed (once the next layer of not very good fortresses are lost, Wien is there's for the taking)

So:



Very roughly the Prussians are in 3 groups.

1 - is the traditional Prussian army which I still reckon is in the 80-100,000 range
2 - is a strange gaggle of Hannoverian and Prussian units (incl Cumberland), no idea how strong and not, at this stage, sure where it is going. It could be aimed at Frankfurt, or to contest Bavaria, or go to Bohemia
3 - off picture is another 2 corps up around Dresden-Leipzig, say 50,000, maybe a bit more, as the snow allows, these filter down into Bohemia

on my side

A - 3 decent sized French corps, around 70,000 (a 4th of 20,000 is back at Wurzburg, it can defend the Rhine/Bavarian or join the move into Bohemia)
B - 2 corps (one the Bavarian army which is a mess) say 25,000;
C - Daun and Nadrasdy, say 40,000 and my best units;
D - heavily reinforced garrison (includes those that escaped from Koenigratz), should be a very hard siege if they want to clear out E Austria.

In addition, there are scattered Prussian, Hannoverian units all over the north, I have 4 French corps (70-80,000) in the Rhineland, effectively unopposed.

I'm also got the 3 brigades of Swiss and about 8 battalions forming up in the rear.



so not a lot happened ... not that it was expected to



By late Jan, their force #2 becomes a bit clearer as to strength but not at all clear as to intent, it looks like they want to move to Bavaria but the blocked passes stop them (this must be costing them supplies and/or attrition hits)

By early Feb, the snow very briefly lifts from Bohemia



The main Prussian army is now off on the east, I'm not sure if again its going for Bavaria or looking for .... well I'm just not sure. I decide to stay snug and warm, but take the 2 corps at Tabor out of the fort (they are still protected from winter) with retire orders, just in case of a large attack.



nope, nothing happens



by late Jan, Fred plus a couple of formations moves to menace Tabor. Now I've since worked out my 2 Austrian groups are too far apart to support each other, so this causes a bit of a panic.

I want to reunite them (for obvious reasons, given what is pilling up around Prag), but I'm not sure where and in any case I don't want losses due to moving in winter.

In the end I decide to order one corps to poke at Freddie and then fall back, if he's only got a weak force, it'll be a useful win, if he has aggressive plans, it may give me the initiative and if he wants to retreat to Prag, it'll delay him.



Ok, so my army is not yet good enough to beat Freddie himself when he has superior numbers



which this confirms. My reinforcements are good as I can draw them down quite quickly as I have a decent stock of EPs

Early March:



NM is even (I would have been so happy with those figures at the start of 1760), and this shows my hopes & fears for 1761. At best, I can regain Bohemia and make some inroads into Hannover and Saxony. At worst, I could lose the rest of Austria.

I think scattered around Bohemia and in S Saxony are some 150,000+ Prussians et al. I don't think any more all of these are that good, the militia that Fred has is one clue, there are also a lot more Hannoverians mixed in.

I have 70-90,000 French and about 75,000 Austrians, but they too are scattered & it depends a bit on if I move that 4th French corp in or leave it back to protect Frankfurt &/or Bavaria.

Now my first task has to be to reunite the 2 Austrian groups, but if I do so in the centre, then there is a big gap to the French, if I do so on the West (at Tabor), the road to Wien and my eastern fortresses is wide open. Also Iglau, where Daun is, is an excellent defense spot, Tabor is open terrain

The Prussians have a central position, so at least in theory could hit the French in W Bohemia before they could link up with the Austrians.

.... this promises to be fun :cool:
 

TheExecuter

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Interesting tactical dilemna...I'd say you want to bring your Austrian and French forces closer together...try to cover Wien and Bavaria...the further Freddy diverts to the east, the better your chances of seizing Bremen and Hannover. Prague is out of the question this year, I think. Your goal should be to 'hold' the Prussians in Bohemia and possibly push them towards Hungary...

Don't get too ambitious just yet...

How long until you can rebuild the Russian army?
 

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How long before winter lifts in Bohemia and the Prussians (and especially Freddie) can start to make serious trouble for you? Or am I still overestimating their power? Hm, if Freddie is off with just some 20,000 troops, you should be able to either concentrate and crush him, or (less dangerous, as you won't have to vacate all your defensive positions to gather the Freddie-killing giant army) pick at some of the other columns that are not led by Freddie's genius.

There is nothing major to capture in Bavaria, right? It's simply about keeping the Prussians out (and away from Wien), correct?

By the way, off on a tangent, what the hell is Julius Caesar doing with the Prussians (in your second screenshot)?!?
 

Narwhal

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Impressive ! Your picture of the situation is very clear, and it is interesting to see that the location of the action change due to mlitary developments and alii
 

morningSIDEr

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.... this promises to be fun

Fun/terrifying/intriguing all seem applicable! The winter went well enough for you, although it was always going to be rather quiet, hopefully you can now cause some true casualties to Prussia.

Does the idea that Queen Victoria is but Astarte's latest disguise grab yuur attention?

Consider my interest well and truly whetted.
 

loki100

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Interesting tactical dilemna...I'd say you want to bring your Austrian and French forces closer together...try to cover Wien and Bavaria...the further Freddy diverts to the east, the better your chances of seizing Bremen and Hannover. Prague is out of the question this year, I think. Your goal should be to 'hold' the Prussians in Bohemia and possibly push them towards Hungary...

Don't get too ambitious just yet...

How long until you can rebuild the Russian army?

I'm finding this game utterly addictive, I was off rock climbing on sat pm & kept on thinking about what to do in Bohemia ... but with hindsight I think you're right, Prag will be hard to retake as long as there is a big Prussian force around. Its a level 3 fort, so at best 4-6 turns to be able to attack, and at the moment if the two armies clash in a single big battle I'll lose. I need to stay dispersed till I've badly weakened them.

A long while with the Russians. Now when I get new reinforcement batches to draw down I'm prioritising the Austrians and the French, so its even slower. The best I know hope for is to hold Koenigratz/berg with them, with only one supply train left there is not much I could do in any case.

I think you were quite wise to be cautious over winter.

And it seems that Freddie has recovered from his wounds!

yep, and looking for revenge ... I seem to vaguely recall that was the 'plot' (if it had a plot at all) of Jaws IV?

How long before winter lifts in Bohemia and the Prussians (and especially Freddie) can start to make serious trouble for you? Or am I still overestimating their power? Hm, if Freddie is off with just some 20,000 troops, you should be able to either concentrate and crush him, or (less dangerous, as you won't have to vacate all your defensive positions to gather the Freddie-killing giant army) pick at some of the other columns that are not led by Freddie's genius.

There is nothing major to capture in Bavaria, right? It's simply about keeping the Prussians out (and away from Wien), correct?

By the way, off on a tangent, what the hell is Julius Caesar doing with the Prussians (in your second screenshot)?!?

winter is variable. Most years March is largely clear, but as below, this time the snow hangs around. Equally you can get caught by a sudden late autumn snow - it all adds to the fun of judging when to go into winter quarters or if you can gamble on starting early or finishing a bit later.

yes, in terms of VPs etc, Bavaria is a non-event. But there are few decent forts there so it doesn't really delay either side in moving through. In this case, to me, its just the route from the Rhine to Bohemia.

ah, yes, well spotted. Obviously the Prussians are resorting to necromancy to improve their leadership?

Impressive ! Your picture of the situation is very clear, and it is interesting to see that the location of the action change due to mlitary developments and alii

it is a very dynamic game isn't it ... even SP, and the AI is not as astute as a human player is no fool either. If I make another big mistake I can see myself back in deep trouble, if I'm cautious I think I'll make it to the end of the game (& prob lose as the VP situation is so bad)

Fun/terrifying/intriguing all seem applicable! The winter went well enough for you, although it was always going to be rather quiet, hopefully you can now cause some true casualties to Prussia.

Consider my interest well and truly whetted.

Yes, the winter was brilliant - as nothing happened then by definition nothing bad happened. Actually I needed that break as quite a lot of reinforcements have flowed into my brigades and I have about 4 more French and 1 more Austrian brigade of fresh troops raised and trained.

The thing I love about this game, is the sheer amount of thinking and planning you can put into it ... especially when its all on a knife edge
 

loki100

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Lets build snowmen instead: March 1761

Well for the first time, winter spread over March, especially in Bohemia so really very little happened, I didn't want to risk undoing all those reinforcements with marches in the snow and it seemed as if the AI agreed with me.

So, while little happened, I've done a lot of thinking (& in the end the AI may have decided things for me). My logic is:

a) If I bring the French and Austrians together and the Prussians come together, they will win, even if their army is no longer as good as it was in 1767, they have better generals;
b) from this, I need the AI to split up in pursuit of multiple targets, ideally into 3 - one bit trying to take the Eastern fortresses, 1 bit pushing on Wien, 1 bit over in W Bohemia
c) So best is to construct two armies. One Austrian-Bavarian (I may as well use this despite the ropey nature of the brigades, it has had almost no replacements, so there is no gain to keeping it out of battle). I'll move to join Daun and Nadrasdy at Irgau and abandon Tabor. Irgau is central, so if the Prussians split up I have the option to whack one or other wing, is in woods behind a river and controls the direct route to Wien;
d) the French will try to reach Tabor or to cut the Prussian supply line north of Prag. This is a gamble in that I can be defeated in detail but it allows me more chance to continue winning lots of small battles till the total numbers favour me.
e) My forces on the Rhine seem to be unchallenged, so that should net me at least Breman and Hannover.



which is the only snow free sector, so one corps with most of the guns goes off to start to siege Bremen and the rest move up to support



I catch a couple of isolated English forces, small but handy victories



as this confirms

Late March and the snow keeps everyone at home in Bohemia, so here's the position in the north-east



In effect, my remnant Russian army at Koenigsburg matches the only Prussian force in the region (& in any case next turn that wanders off down the Elbe). With no supply wagons there is nothing I can do except hold Koenigsberg.



& here's the NM position, in effect it fluctuates around being equal which is ok for now. The VP situation only comes into play at the game end, so if I don't win an outright victory, I'll lose.



& again, not much happened, except for a nice steady flow of reinforcements.

In April, the snow has cleared and it looks like the AI has come up with its own variant of my (a), its split into two - one is off into Bavaria and one is organising around Prag ... so my 2 armies are matched by 2 equal sized armies ...

:eek:
 

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The thought of Astarte (with her, shall we say, 'carnal' tendencies) taking the form of Victoria (whose bulldog-like visage in Vicky 1's artwork is about the only visual frame of reference I have)... Lucid thought fails me, though <Shudders> covers it pretty well in body language. ;)

Anyway, back to the AAR: since you're now facing two Prussian armies (vs. your two armies), I'd say figure out which army does not contain Freddie and try to whack that one. Other than that, my advice will be limited to the 'Good luck' variety.
 

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Oooh. Sounds like both sides are gearing up for a battle royale!

Interestingly, I read "Battle of Syke" as "Battle of Skye" and wondered whether I had missed an amphibious warfare segment ;)

yep I was wondering how I'd invaded Skye as well ... if I interpret the next set of moves by the AI properly its quite clever, block the passes from Bavaria into Bohemia so it only has the Austrians to worry about.

The thought of Astarte (with her, shall we say, 'carnal' tendencies) taking the form of Victoria (whose bulldog-like visage in Vicky 1's artwork is about the only visual frame of reference I have)... Lucid thought fails me, though <Shudders> covers it pretty well in body language. ;)

Anyway, back to the AAR: since you're now facing two Prussian armies (vs. your two armies), I'd say figure out which army does not contain Freddie and try to whack that one. Other than that, my advice will be limited to the 'Good luck' variety.

Even worse actually, if you look at the pictures of the early Vicky, she wasn't that bad looking

I agree with your analysis, the problem is (as above) it looks like the AI has come up with quite a neat blocking strategy ....
 

loki100

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Feints and Threats: April 1761

So this month was one of lots of threats and manouvres and little concrete action.

Best to start on the important region:



The Prussian army is a bit split up but I still think its effectively two large blocks, one operating in Bohemia and the other a sort of menace to the French.

With this in mind, I decide to abandon Tabor in favour of concentrating the Austrians at Iglau. I know this creates a potential gap to the French but first they have to reach Bohemia and I think the AI is planning to block the passes ... (nasty, clever AI)

That 4th French corp at Wurzburg, I first order up to the main group then next turn back as a small Prussian force approaches Fulda. I think I do need something hanging back to keep my supply lines clear.



This perhaps makes it clearer why I'm abandoning Tabor. If Fred & Keith (sounds like a certain 1960s-date rock band) move on it, I can't hold it in any case.

Every turn at the moment, esp in Bohemia I'm wondering if I've done the right thing and press 'play turn' with some trepidation.



that recovers Lippstadt, which helps ensure French control over the Rhineland and makes it easier to concentrate for attacks on Bremen and Hannover.



& nothing else really happens, except a lot of movement:



The Prussians have indeed blocked the main (only) road into Bohemia and Fred/Keith are concentrated back at Prag. For the moment, I'll accept the French are stalemated (& see if the AI is silly enough to attack) and keep to my plan to concentrate at Iglau. I really want the AI to commit itself and hopefully break up its forces before taking any chances.



this looks more complex than it is as I have supply wagons rattling around to and from Munster as well as those Swiss formations arriving. In effect I'll deploy about 40% of the French army to Bremen (with the better siege guns) and 60% to Hannover. Around Hannover I have lots of cavalry brigades out scouting and taking military control just to be sure there is not something nasty lurking.

If Bremen falls early enough, at least one of those corps in the north can then go to Hamburg and the other rejoin the main army at Hannover.



at least that clarifies some things, it looks like the Prussians are trying to take out the western side of Bohemia/Austria.



again, overall its still a bit of a standoff, but very tense, and something has to happen soon ...

Not least as:



Here's the Prussian position in Bohemia at the end of April. They are split up but given the speed they move at, they can also recombine. I think they want Pilsen and maybe down to the Danube.

I need to think long and hard about two options:

a) do the French gamble that is only a small screening force (I think some of the units there a while back are now in Bohemia proper) & try to force the gap into Bohemia?
b) do I take the better Austrian units and gamble on overwhelming one or the other of those Prussian corps?
 

TheExecuter

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Ouch!

That last screenshot does not bode well for you.

Freddy and Keith are concentrated, with interior lines, facing a widely separated French / Austrian presence...and Cumberland is on his way to reinforce Freddy.

It looks like Freddy is intent on holding the French at the pass and destroying the Austrian army. In effect, the Prussians are still concentrated (enough) to reinforce either wing of their armies, while your armies are completely isolated. This is bad...very bad.

You need to force the pass into Bohemia, I think...or at least have the AI THINK that you are going to force the pass, and force Freddy to react to the French army. Otherwise, he will concentrate on Daun and destroy him.

Losing in the Bavarian passes is a setback, but not disaster.

Losing Daun's army is a disaster. It must NOT be allowed to happen.
 

Stuyvesant

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Can't really add anything to the incisive analysis by TheExecuter. :)

I will say that things in Northwestern Germany are looking good for you, but it's only a secondary theatre, while Bohemia/Austria is the main event. Still, I've learned my lesson in the past and I'll refrain from being pessimistic until either A) Freddie demolishes all Austrian armies, or B) you've lost control of all victory cities or C) the clock runs out on the game. ;)
 

Narwhal

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Remember that starting next year, you will lose your allies one after the others :)
 

loki100

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Ouch!

That last screenshot does not bode well for you.

Freddy and Keith are concentrated, with interior lines, facing a widely separated French / Austrian presence...and Cumberland is on his way to reinforce Freddy.

It looks like Freddy is intent on holding the French at the pass and destroying the Austrian army. In effect, the Prussians are still concentrated (enough) to reinforce either wing of their armies, while your armies are completely isolated. This is bad...very bad.

You need to force the pass into Bohemia, I think...or at least have the AI THINK that you are going to force the pass, and force Freddy to react to the French army. Otherwise, he will concentrate on Daun and destroy him.

Losing in the Bavarian passes is a setback, but not disaster.

Losing Daun's army is a disaster. It must NOT be allowed to happen.

I think this advice is spot on ... the only thing that comes up in the next couple of turns is the possibility the AI is following a 'France-first' strategy, but its incredibly tense and I keep on changing my plans and panic every time I press the play turn button.

Can't really add anything to the incisive analysis by TheExecuter. :)

I will say that things in Northwestern Germany are looking good for you, but it's only a secondary theatre, while Bohemia/Austria is the main event. Still, I've learned my lesson in the past and I'll refrain from being pessimistic until either A) Freddie demolishes all Austrian armies, or B) you've lost control of all victory cities or C) the clock runs out on the game. ;)

agree with this too, I can run amok up there (& may as well) to no real outturn if I get beaten in Bohemia ... I still don't think I'll win (& I don't exactly deserve to), so my goal is to ensure I remain playing an active role to the end (ie its not just a case of the Prussians carrying out a sequence of seiges)

Remember that starting next year, you will lose your allies one after the others :)

well that really cheers me up, actually if its the Russians and the Bavarians who drop out I don't lose very much to be honest, neither are exactly contributing any more
 

loki100

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waiting and hoping: May 1761

Well these two turns were tense ... not least in that I must have changed my critical set of orders 3 times and each time I pressed 'play' it was with a real degree of trepidation.

Here's Bohemia in early May with the main Prussian forces marked out



So what to do ... well I end up opting to do nothing but huddle around Irgau - its central and a good defense spot, I want to see what the Prussians do first before making a move myself



and here's the situation at the passes, that Prussian army has more power than mine, so again, I decide that to do nothing is a good plan



up on the Rhine I move to commence the siege at Hannover and get a small victory into the bargain



& not much actually happens, it looks like the main Prussian army is taking out the towns and forts on the west side of Austria and splitting up a bit.



on the passes, that big army has split up a bit (one section is now besieging Eger, but Cumberland is moving into the region - I think they want to destroy the French.

So I move up that corps I've had wandering around (it'll take a while to arrive but it'll be useful) and decide that its now or never to beat that Prussian-Hannoverian force at Hof



I actually forgot to take any screenshots of Bohemia in turn, so this is actually for early June. Fred has gone missing again and the only powerful Prussian force in the region is Keith. So rather cautiously I decide to move against Keith with Daun et al, I need to distract the Prussians from feeding on the French somehow



just to confirm my suspicions, the Prussians actually attack the French as I was preparing to attack them (remember they have a movement bonus). Its not exactly decisive stuff but I do win.



and this gives me Bremen, and takes out a British brigade that had arrived there a while back



so, still nothing decisive, and at least I've survived a bit longer. I'm now rather worried for the French but I can maybe hit Keith and do some damage ...



So the NM is slightly in my favour, but my real priority is to gain some control over the campaign in Bohemia, especially with the Prussians heading off to the Danube and now menacing the French