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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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loki100

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The 'move to the sound of the guns' is automatic (actually it's a check that will determine wether a stack of a neighbouring province will enter the fight), you don't have to order synchronized moving for that. In the case of an offensive action it helps, of course, when all columns arrive at the same time.

But hey: Congrats to your first victories against Freddie. :)

ah that explains the mechanism, its actually quite handy as you can spread a large army out a bit

A stalemate against Great White Freddie? Wow - well done you!

I know, I'm so proud ...

So does a good general really improve an army's chance of success (hence explaining your fear of GWF)?
My sense from reading this and other AARs (and reading the praise heaped on high-level generals, as well as the scorn on lowly ones) is that, yes, good generals really make a ton of difference.

Stuyvesant is right. Much more than in most Paradox games, its a bit like in CK when you send out your *15 marshall to duff up some *6 numpty. But its not just the basic stats. Fred is 6-4-3 and Daun 4-4-6. So apart from strategic activation changes it should be that Daun is either as good or, on the defense, much better. Its all the other traits that come into play as:



so basically Fred brings a huge set of boosts to forces under his command, they fight better, on a lesser frontage etc etc



now Daun isn't too bad, but its nowhere near the same set of advantages, but on the defense, in good terrain his very tough ... as will become clear very soon

Careful with the Russians. In my current PBME game I managed to lose the whole Russian army to attrition before they even got to the scene :D.

that is scaring me witless to be honest. I've lost so much to attrition so far and if this campaign goes wrong I'll end up with the Russians in the same state as the Swedes. So far, I've managed it by sending the supply wagons back but I need to take Kolberg before winter or they are all dead.

Looks like good progress, but I'll guard my optimism, knowing how quickly things can turn around in this game. The absence of Prussia's star generals is troubling...
Promising stuff. Good to see your Russian forces finally nearing their destination. Hopefully the year can continue in this current form, although I get the feeling your forces won't let you down and will be acting with customary incompetent inertia soon enough!

well being pessimistic is a good frame of mind for this game. And yes, they do indeed go inert at the utterly critical moment ....
 

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There shall be blood: July 1759

So July rumbles around. Now I'm tending to do the game play in 2 turn blocks, as it takes a bit of time and some reflection between moves is a good idea. So at the end of June, I became reflective.

My idea was ... Freddie's a bit of a cuddly whimp really, so I'll send another 2 corps away from Dippoliswade to really do one on that corps upsetting the Prag brewing industry



one can join the Bavarians and the other will cut their retreat route. I can wreck a Prussian corps for hopefully minimal losses.

In a similar optimistic frame of mind



I reckon I can both siege Munster and whack that Hannoverian-British unit again

what can go wrong with such majestic plans?



hah, if thats the best you can do, should have stayed in Prina



Yes, easy ...



oh sh*t



so thats me NM down, and most of my corps commanders wounded ... and due to last turn's moves the Austrian army is scattered all over the place.



yep, the NM is down

at least Freddie's army is a bit of a mess too



So what to do, well I decide to hold my current position, if I fall back to Lebowitz, I'll probably get caught in less good defense terrain. I'd like to recall those two corps I sent off, but one has gone to sleep, so I bring one back (though it'll take 15 days to arrive)



over in France, the French have slowed down a bit so I'll concentrate near Munster and have a think about my next moves. Cumberland is definitely after Frankfurt.



well I broadly got away with it. Fred is obviously a bit bruised too as he hasn't attacked again ... and I'm now reinforced by a fresh corps (and about 8-10 battalions have been raised over the summer which'll help fill out the losses)



over in France, notmuch has changed, I've a few choices to make.

In the north, the Russians have started to besiege Kolberg... this has to fall before winter or ...

So all in all, I'm actually not that fussed about those two turns. The losses were equal, so in reality that favours me and Fred is obviously a bit bruised too. I'd like to lift the siege of Prag but that depends on the Bavarians being alert.

At worst, in August, Fred breaks my line at Dippolswade, if so I'm then in a running battle in clear terrain and that will go badly given my troops are slower and much more prone to just stopping where they are ...
 

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I'm just going to focus on the first nine days of your tussle with Freddie and say: great job! You got smacked around a bit after that, but casualties seem to run pretty evenly, which should favor you in the long run.

Is it a signal of the turning of the tide, that you can hold off Freddie? I hope so, but I know better than to make any assumptions yet. Still no sign of Keith, I notice...
 

loki100

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I'm just going to focus on the first nine days of your tussle with Freddie and say: great job! You got smacked around a bit after that, but casualties seem to run pretty evenly, which should favor you in the long run.

Is it a signal of the turning of the tide, that you can hold off Freddie? I hope so, but I know better than to make any assumptions yet. Still no sign of Keith, I notice...

Yes, I was quite enjoying the opening phase. Its where the way a game turn unfolds is so different to Paradox. You can see it all going wrong before your very eyes, and you can't intervene.

I think the extent that 1759 is marked down as roughly in my favour depends on the Russians taking Kolberg. Its a victory city in its own right so quite valuable, but more if I don't take it I'll lose the entire army once winter arrives. But given how dire it looked when the French got beaten up at the start of the year its not, at the moment, turning out too bad.
 

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Lets have a fight then .... August 1759

On the Austrian front, as Fred didn't attack in late July, I've managed to bring one of the corps I detached back. On this basis, I'll try and hold the current position, its good defensive terrain and I can't see how I gain by falling back (in that I can't outrun the Prussians so would need to leave and lose a rearguard)



as you can see some new troops are moving up which will also help and the 2 corps of the Bavarian army are near Prag, but too inert to actually get stuck in.

The 3 French formations below show the 3 levels of activation. If the envelope is white, they can do pretty much anything, push into areas of enemy military control, attack etc. If its orange, they can still move, but not into an area controlled by the enemy and the most aggressive orders available are to defend. Finally if they have that padlock thing, they can't do anything at all, except defend if attacked.



Over in France, I decide I'll gain more by whacking those isolated units than initiating a siege of a town I'll probably not take and most definitely couldn't hold.

The main army is recovering nicely, but I'll not go looking for a big battle till my NM perks up a bit.



Shows the Russians pilling up around Kolberg. I'm still just about managing the supply dynamics by shuffling supply trains back and forth. The worry here is that Keith, if he ever arrived, would put a dent into this lot and I have to complete this siege before winter.



well that was unexpected, Freddie broke contact at Dippoldiswalde and fell back to Prina. Inflicted some damage on him as he moved away.



Good to see that the albino monk continues to knock off Iberian Royalty ...



So this is the larger position on the Rhine. That small brigade nipped away from me at Dortmund but since its easy to take, I'll recapture it. That should annoy Cumberland, who is trying to take Frankfurt. I don't think it is that important, though it could next year give them a base to attack Koblenz (which would matter as its the route to and from France).

Elsewhere nothing much changed. Except the Bavarian army awoke so I ordered (at least I really did plan to order) them to attack Prag.



Freddie crashes back into my defense lines. With the extra corps, numbers are pretty even so this time I fend him off after a bit of a disastrous start. Watching the little battle clock, it was clear that the second and third times, he had problems bringing his full army to bear so I had 2:1 odds for most of the combat.

Now while this was ongoing I was wondering when the battle of Prag would start ... and



Ok Dortmund will be mine next turn, so overall on the Rhine 1759 looks like a stalemate.

Ah, I forgot to actually give any orders ... was so busy sorting out those new brigades and making sure the corps would move together, I actually forgot to tell them to move:



As it moves into autumn, I think that roughly the Rhine and Austrian fronts are a stalemate. I've inflicted some useful losses on the Prussians in Bohemia, but I can't push beyond Freddie to Dresden. On the Rhine, I now hope to get to winter without anything else going wrong and then let my NM recover over winter. I then think I can cover Cumberland and perhaps find a smaller force for an offensive of my own.

Its really only the Russians who are not matched by a local opponent. And they really do need to get on with that siege at Kolberg.

and at that stage, there will be a lull. I'm off visiting relatives in the Netherlands for next week, so very unlikely to be any updates (not least I have a mound of paying work to get done) .... have a happy easter and if you live in the UK hope your royal wedding evasion plan is as good as mine;)
 

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Ah, I forgot to actually give any orders ... was so busy sorting out those new brigades and making sure the corps would move together, I actually forgot to tell them to move:
No, no, no! You don't have to roleplay the Austrian incompetence/indecisiveness - that's what those pain-in-the-ass activation rules do for you!

It really is not very helpful that, on the rare occasion that you actually can move your troops, you forget to do so. :p Overall though, things appear to be under control. Another two rounds of going toe to toe with Fred and not getting totally annihilated is a good sign. You're definitely dulling Frederick's lustre a bit there, which is very welcome.

See you in a little while, once you're back from your trip and able to post again.
 

morningSIDEr

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I was just thinking things were going too well and then...


Couldn't put it better myself. A pretty good result over both updates though, you are at least matching Freddie if not always beating him and for now that is promising.

and at that stage, there will be a lull. I'm off visiting relatives in the Netherlands for next week, so very unlikely to be any updates (not least I have a mound of paying work to get done) .... have a happy easter and if you live in the UK hope your royal wedding evasion plan is as good as mine

I hope you have a great trip! I'm very envious myself, getting sick and tired of the wedding coverage...
 

loki100

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Excellent update loki. Your AAR makes me wanna fire up ROP again...

it really is a very intriguing game ... despite all the evidence to the contrary with all my mistakes, it really makes you think an awful lot about moves and so on ...

No, no, no! You don't have to roleplay the Austrian incompetence/indecisiveness - that's what those pain-in-the-ass activation rules do for you!

It really is not very helpful that, on the rare occasion that you actually can move your troops, you forget to do so. :p Overall though, things appear to be under control. Another two rounds of going toe to toe with Fred and not getting totally annihilated is a good sign. You're definitely dulling Frederick's lustre a bit there, which is very welcome.

See you in a little while, once you're back from your trip and able to post again.

well here's a quick update ... but yes given all the game imposed delays I could do without too much roleplaying as well


I was just thinking things were going too well and then...



Couldn't put it better myself. A pretty good result over both updates though, you are at least matching Freddie if not always beating him and for now that is promising.

I hope you have a great trip! I'm very envious myself, getting sick and tired of the wedding coverage...

one of the really good things about this game is the way your perception of how well its going changes, also the AI does seem more interactive than Paradox's approach, but then it is also really only looking at 8-12 elements that can move

unfortunately my escape plan was not perfect, most of the Dutch press is full of the damn thing too
 

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Its going quite well, really, September 1759

In early september, decide that retaking Dortmund is a good idea, and move to concentrate Army of France in that region. In effect, if Cumberland's main army turns up I can run off but I'll probably be strong enough to fend off a single corps



offers the chance to retake Dortmund in any case and to bring the 3 corps much closer together

Am taking a bit of a chance with Daun's main army. A lot of battalions need to recover manpower and organisation (or they'll be lost in any future battle), so send them back to recover



also the 2 corps of the Army of Bavaria are alert, so will, this time try to clear Prag

Cumberland attacks



If he only has about 72,000, I think that once the Army of Germany is back in shape I can handle him and have about 2 corps of French troops for my own offensive actions

and my Bavarians swoop



well odds of 3:1 really do help, but that was a nice victory



The main concern here is the total lack of progress at Kolberg. Also with the Russians I'd forgot I need to set units back to a passive stance so they could recover organisation after the march. So I do this sequentially for the formations besieging Kolberg.

I think that my Hussar squadrons meant the Prussians fell back away from their supply lines etc.



The only real problem is both parts of the Bavarian army decide its time for a well earned nap.



Here I order 2 corps to Munster, I don't think the siege will be sucessful but it seems both safe and a fairly aggressive move. The third corps can then capture Dortmund when it arrives from Dusseldorf.



Here's a typical view of one the damaged Austrian units. All the red is lost, at the moment it can recover via reinforcements which is a lot cheaper than a new build. So its worth pulling them out the line for the moment.



Not a surprise, but rather nice given the events of late winter.



Off map, pretty momentous events. On map, some small supply problems for the Russians, and again lack of progress at Kolberg. De Chevert could be promoted as a result of his victory.



Well I have the VPs but for the moment, I'm not sure its really worth it. I presume I can do this later if I want to.
 

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Looking at this AAR I see I've made horrendous mistakes in my PBME game. Maybe I can learn a trick or too from this and beat Frederick :).
 

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A mixed bad of results, which seems to be par for the course for this game! The Battle of Prag Fortress is a useful victory for yourself but it is very worrying that no progress is being made at Kolberg. I rather thought your forces would be good at siege work too, they have had plenty of practice at sitting around doing little!
 

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No unexpected or catastrophic defeats this turn, which counts as progress in my book. ;)

The Austrian way of war does seem to be to move very slowly, only attack with overwhelming superiority and allow for very frequent beauty naps. If you can continue to combine all those elements, gradual victory seems eminently reachable.

I do wonder how long Freddie will be willing to play along with that game. Haven't seen him in a while...
 

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Looking at this AAR I see I've made horrendous mistakes in my PBME game. Maybe I can learn a trick or too from this and beat Frederick :).

given what happens in the next post, my best advice is don't do as I do ... though one of my goals in this aar was to explore the game system and hopefully help others get into what is a very different (if you are used to Paradox) approach

A mixed bad of results, which seems to be par for the course for this game! The Battle of Prag Fortress is a useful victory for yourself but it is very worrying that no progress is being made at Kolberg. I rather thought your forces would be good at siege work too, they have had plenty of practice at sitting around doing little!

ah, the siege guns are with my most inert Russian general, In one of the patch notes (which is what I mean about the manual being less useful than it could be), I've found out you only make breaches if you have artillery present and/or a commander with the correct trait.

No unexpected or catastrophic defeats this turn, which counts as progress in my book. ;)

The Austrian way of war does seem to be to move very slowly, only attack with overwhelming superiority and allow for very frequent beauty naps. If you can continue to combine all those elements, gradual victory seems eminently reachable.

I do wonder how long Freddie will be willing to play along with that game. Haven't seen him in a while...

oh Freddie I'm afraid operates to a very different timescale to your average (& most of mine are very average) Austrian ...
 

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Freddie erupts: October 1759



With no progress at Kolberg, I'm becoming increasingly worried about losing the entire Russian army. Supply is just about ok, but once winter hits, it'll evaporate along with this lot.



On the Austrian front, the Prussian corps I bounced from Prag has split in two. Since the main Bavarian army snoozes after its earlier efforts, I decide to deal with the one nearer Prag first. Hopefully Pilsen will survive (in particular as I have a new depot battalion forming up there).



on the main front, spent a bit of time thinking about pulling back, but decide to hold the line one more turn and then hopefully winter will secure the route in any case



useful, it finishes off part of that Prussian corps



ok, that was bad news (must be the size of the NM gap), but I can cope with this (just about)



but I keep on getting hit and losing more and more, both manpower and NM



at the end I've lost 50,000. As you can see, by the final rounds, my losses were leading to masses of lost units as well as manpower.



So here's the bad news condensed. No progress at Kolberg, I've lost the beer supply at Pilsen and eveyone of those defeats at Dippoldiswalde cost 4-6 NM points.



which more or less summarises the disaster, especially as my goal this year was to rebuild my NM (& its going to get worse in late October). Actual combat losses are not too bad, but that ignores all my losses to attrition.



So, I'll retake Pilsen (hopefully), Fred's main army has some damage (But not a lot), only thing to do is retreat promptly. The force of already wrecked battalions can go straight to Prag. The rest to fall back behind the river at Lobositz.



Ok this was bad but expected as I broke contact. Again for so few losses I lost a mass of units.



a bright spot, as my French campaign develops far more than I ever expected



as I fell back at Lobositz, I got hit by an advancing Prussian corps.

At this stage, unfortunately, it gets rather silly, & for once its the system not me to blame. Daun et al now retreat to Dippoldiswalde where of course Freddie awaits and then back to Lobositz etc etc



again nice, but not really critical any more



so some nice things happened



but not many, this just fills line after line



and there goes the Russian army



and most of the Austrian as it'll now wander between the two Prussian forces till wiped out, taking my NM with it

At a guess by the end of 1759, I'll have no Russian army left (at best it'll take 2 turns to take Kolberg and the supply won't last), and the Austrians will be down to 2 effective corps, plus a number of badly battered battalions. One good thing is I'll have lots of replacements (you get back 1/3 combat and 2/3 attrition losses).

I can adopt the 'army in being' model and let Freddie take what he wants before Wien, trying to catch isolated forces and hope a series of fortresses will keep him amused.

On the French front, I think I can reorganise into two forces, one to screen/fight Cumberland and another to take some more fortresses. This will be badly hampered by the NM problem.

So I'm not sure if this is worth carrying on with. If the Russians had taken Kolberg then it would as I could use whats left of the Austrian army to harass Freddie and carry on my offensive on the Rhine and in the North East. With no Russians (& they'll be gone by end November as all their supply will be consumed coping with winter attrition), then no matter what I do on the Rhine, sooner or later Fred will take out Austria.
 

Stuyvesant

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Erm... I'm thinking very hard of something positive to say... This is rather a turn for the worse. To paraphrase your Queen, it's been an annus horribilis.

Ooh, speaking of the Queen, there's your silver lining: at least the Royal wedding is over! ;)

Personally, I'd like to see you continue, at least to confirm your dire medium-term predictions, but seeing how the game system works, I don't think it would be any fun. You appear to have reached a point of no return with the lose battles/lose NM/lose more battles due to low NM feedback loop.
 

loki100

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ah yes, I'd forgotten ... but maybe its time to arrange the (a) here's a Princess, (b) here's a bed ... dear Prussia combine a+b? More seriously its the NM loop that I think is now fatal, I regain about 1-2 a month, lose 4-10 in battles & so on
 

Obermotz

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Well, your NM will surely kill your ambitions. I can't see how you could recover it.

Oh and your problems with taking Kolberg probably stem from its fortress general which is a siege defender IIRC.
 

Stoertebecker

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Oh boy. That are some bad news.

Maybe it could help, in future games, if you put more than one 2-Star-Leader in Stacks that conduct offensive actions, so that you can hope that at least one is activated the next turn (leader activity is checked seperately for each leader: You have to seperate them from the stack to see if they are really active). It wouldn't have changed anything in Dippoldiswalde, though.

It's unlucky that your troops fled in the arms of another prussian army. One can probably solve those issues if one builds a depot in a region where you want to flee, as the engine considers it wise to flee in the direction of a structure. (Maybe it didn't help you, because the engine also favors the region, where your troops come from very much: The values are the following:

ctlRetreatAdjCity = 5 // Interest in retreating toward a region with a city (per level)
ctlRetreatAdjFort = 30 // Interest in retreating toward a region with a fort (per level)
ctlRetreatAdjDepot = 25 // Interest in retreating toward a region with a depot (per level)
ctlRetreatLandLink = 10 // Interest in retreating toward a region, value per land link
ctlRetreatPrevSubSpaceCoeffH = 250 // Coefficient applied to the interest if the region is the one where we are coming from
cltRetPenaltyPerNmySU = 4 // retreat penalty (in interest pts) for each nmy SU in retreating region)

Another good move could be to move the main part of those Cossacks to the west as fast as possible, to solve the supply issues in the east. (Which were a historical reason, why the russians had to abandon their campaign several times, by the way.)

Even if I would like you to have more luck with your operations, it's great that the AI is capable to win the game even against a player that doesn't make big mistakes. :)
 

morningSIDEr

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Really quite horrendously bad luck. As you've shown, the NM cycle seems impossible to break. I cannot truly see any way out, well not any successful way out of this but like Stuyvesant has stated, if you can continue at all, I'd appreciate that. I often find the most fascinating AARs are not world conquests but honest games which can be tales of woe. Whether you go on or not, and I rather hope you can, this AAR has certainly been a great read nonetheless.