[SIZE="3"]General Details on Some Game Functions
Please do not hesitate to comment (even on typos) or questions.
Many thanks to Vonkraus for his hard work.
1 - List of key short-cuts used in the game, manipulating the playing pieces
- Del: cancel the last move made by the army or fleet
- Mouse wheel: zoom in / zoom out
- Click on mouse wheel: alternatively zoom in and out, both at 100%
- End: alternate zoom out and zoom in at 100%
- Page up: zoom in
- Page down: zoom out
- Left-click on sprite / unit: select sprite / unit
- Ctrl-click: select a sprite that is “hidden” behind another
- Tab: move to next map filter
- Right-click: unselect current unit / sprite (and returns to messages display)
- F1 to F4: shortcut to ledger pages. A click on the globe located above the mini-map also opens the ledger as per F1 key.
- C: center map on active sprite
- E/R/T/Y to browse backward or forward your armies or your fleets. Press CTRL additionally to skip moving units.
- S: sentry the selected stack (will be skipped by the browsing keys E/R/T/Y)
- CTRL-S: Remove all sentries orders.
- CTRL-C, with 2 weakened units: Combine them in a single one.
- Drag & Drop on another region: move sprite;
- Drag & Drop on same region: cancel the whole move;
- Drag & Drop on another sprite: either an interception (if the other sprite is enemy) or a merge (if the other sprite is friendly);
- Drag & Drop on city, port: enter city, board first fleet in port;
- Drag & Drop on a thumbnail: merge with the army or fleet the thumbnail identifies.
In the unit list of the Stack Panel:
- Ctrl-click: select/unselect multiple units;
- Mouse wheel scroll: move through the list of units;
- Right-click on detail window: opens the Detail window;
- Select a unit (or any one among a multiple selection), then drop on map or thumbnail: create a new army / fleet. This is used for disembarking in a coastal region without a friendly port.
- A, O, D, P: Change the stack to the corresponding posture
Operational orders (if applicable):
- Shift + T: Enter Town upon reaching destination
- Shift + F: Build Fort
- Shift + D: Build Depot
- Shift + S: Sortie from structure
- Shift + M: Force March
- Shift + A: Set an Ambush
- Shift + R: Raze Fort
- Shift + B: Burn Structure (land units)
- Shift + B: Bombard (naval units)
- Simple-click: go to region where event occurred (if relevant);
- Double-click: display messages content (if message is red) and opens specific message window;
- Mouse wheel scroll: to scroll up and down the message list.
- F9: Process the turn.
2. - Strategic Rating & activations
To correctly simulate some of the command and control issues of the period, each leader has a strategic rating, ranging from 1 (very poor) to 6 (very good). This strategic rating is rolled each turn with a 6 sided dice. If the result is equal to, or lower than the Strategic Rating then the leader is active. You always know when you play your turn if the leader is active (bright envelope) or not (darkened envelope).
If the leader was potentially active the previous turn AND has not moved, he gets a -1 bonus toward his activation roll this turn.
A non-activated leader can still move (this is to ease game play) but at 50% speed and he can’t switch to an assault/offensive posture and can’t perform special orders (entrenching, force march etc.). Basically he will only be able to slowly move troops.
An active leader has no such restrictions.
Now it has to be understood that it is the leader who is activated, not the troops under his command. If you detach an activated leader with some troops from the army that has a non-activated leader as the commanding officer (leader, based on seniority), they will perform without restrictions.
Some other considerations:
Leaderless troops suffer from the -50% speed penalty and full combat penalty as soon as one of the units in the army needs one command point (see below).
Naval leaders or embarked land leaders are always active. Naval fleets may have a delay in their orders, depending on the quality of the admiral.
The commanding officer (leader) of an army is not the best one available but rather is the highest ranked, most senior commander. See Gage (English side, 75 Campaign) in Boston for an example of a bad leader in command!
The Command Penalty is included to ensure that you can’t easily discard the bad leaders. ...the game rules are set so that it is slightly better (can, depending on circumstances, if you really want to attack e.g.) to have an army with a bad leader that is not under-commanded than to have one that is under-commanded with a good leader, and both of these situations are better than having no leader at all. The definition of “better” in this case depends on what you are trying to do. In the case where you have an overwhelming force that is lead by a very poor and/or slow leader besieging a small garrison, it is probably “better” to get that guy out of the area for a month so that you can order and execute the assault, then move him back in after the assault to move or command the troops in defense.
Each leader can command x units, that need to be commanded. Units that need to be commanded are:
• most of the regular regiments,
• supply units
Indians, rangers, partisans, embarked land units and some naval units (privateers) don't need command points.
A one star leader provides 2 CP
A two star leader provides 4 CP
A three star leader provides 12 CP
If your leader can’t command the entire army then the troops will suffer from a command penalty. This is simulated in the game by a reduction in speed and an increased chance to loose 1 Rate of Fire and have their initiative halved (you always keep 1 ROF though) in combat. These penalties are extremely dire: you fire second, and rarely!
3 - Military control
Each nation can exert military control over map regions. This control is acquired in 2 ways:
a) By having military units in the region, without any enemy units, the control percentage will increase. The more the troops (in terms of unit power) the quicker you will gain control. Cavalry and irregulars are better at this job than are regulars. If you are not besieged, you can leave the units inside a city/fort, if one is present. If you are besieged, then your units won't be considered for increase in control. In fact, the besieging force will steadily gain control as you lose it.
b) By gaining some ground when attacking an enemy in the region. Your army must be in an offensive stance for this gain to happen and then only if you take fewer losses in the ensuing battle than your opponent. This seldom happens in BoA, as there is not much frontal warfare, but the game engine can handle this situation. The 2 armies facing each other at Boston in the American Revolution scenarios, for example, can trigger this effect if one army beats the other.
Military control of a region provides has the following effects:
1) if you have 51% of better, you gain 2 detection points, even without any units in the region. You can spot regular units with this value but don't expect to see Indians or rangers.
2) In some special cases, if you lack sufficient control you will suffer from adverse effects.
A. you can’t retreat into a region with less than 5% military control. Blazing through enemy countryside can be lethal if you are defeated at some point in your campaign and your army must retreat.
B. If you have 10% or less control and land from a ship, you are considered to be landing on the beach against enemy fire. This is also true if you cross a river and there is a battle. Not enough control means not enough territory controlled and results in a small and vulnerable bridgehead when crossing rivers or making beach landings. In this case you will suffer from the crossing penalty.
=> Military control in BoA simulates the realities of the projection of military power in the 18th century. Cities and forts/fortresses (locations) should be thought of as a region within a region. When you are in a city/fort/fortress your supply and defenses might be improved but your ability to influence events 20 or 30 miles away in the region is limited or, if besieged, essentially non-existent. You either control the location or you don’t (0 to 100%, no sliding scale) while the control of the surrounding region (0 to 100% on a sliding scale) is determined largely by your army’s ability to move around in the region at will.
4 - Loyalty
The Loyalty rule only exists in the AWI (American War of Independence) scenarios only. For simplicity sake, there is only threshold value to be concerned with and that is 51% or more.
If you have 51% or more of loyalty, the region is loyal to you. This provide you with some benefits:
a) You generate 2 detection points in the region.
b) You don't need to garrison a strategic city or objective region with a regular or cavalry regiment to get the benefit of it.
c) the region is considered hostile to your opponent, thus disabling it as a potential apparition point for scripted events.
A regular regiment is a regiment of line infantry. Just pass the mouse over a regiment to get his nature on the tool tip. Militias are not regular troops, but Continental Army regiments, British foot regiments, Grenadiers and such are. Cavalry are not regular troops, strictly speaking, but are considered able to implement martial law in a city.
In the AWI, only 3 or so cities have initially more than 50% of loyalty toward the English. This means that the English player will have to spread his infantry to garrison towns.
Benefits of a strategic city:
i. you get one victory point (VP) each turn.
ii. You will get more militia levies from the Grand Region (Deep South is a grand region for example).
Benefits of a objective region:
i. you get a VP from it each turn.
The last and important benefit is also to fulfill your scenario victory condition...
Winning hearts and minds
There are basically 2 ways to shift the population’s loyalty in your favor. One is very slow one (martial law) and the other (capturing strategic cities) is faster.
Martial law is based on a percentage chance, depending of the sum of the police factors of your units. Cavalry are good in policing the population, as are regular infantry units. At most if the roll succeeds, you will get 1% toward you per turn. Don't expect that an iron boot will win you easily the population.
The best method is to capture strategic cities. This will impress your loyalists and demoralize the other side. A strategic town on capture will send ripple of loyalty checks across the map, toward the nearest regions but also toward all other strategic cities.
5 - Combat mechanic
The Battle Engine will be called BE hereafter.
The first step calculated by the BE is which armies are initially involved in the fight, and which ones are not. This is determined by the posture of the various armies and where they are in the region (in or outside of a structure).
The first armies to fight are the ones in Assault/Offensive posture, outside the structure. There are several priority criteria, for example non-moving armies are chosen first, and then those which are not too "busy" (already fighting).
If there are not enough opponent armies on offense, then ones on defense and finally ones in passive posture will be added to the fight.
A note on defensive armies: If one of your defensive armies is picked, then all others are committed (they do not engage themselves one by one), for a given region sub-location (outside structure or inside). This can lead to a multi-round commitment where at first only your armies in offensive posture fight, and then, if you are overwhelmed, your armies in defensive posture join the battle.
If there is no opponent outside the structure and you have an army in assault posture, then the same process is used except you will be fighting outside the structure.
Now that we know who will exchange blows we have sufficient information to have the BE decide if one side wants to retreat. This is done at the faction level, but each army, if the retreat is decided, will have to make a successful retreat roll to end the battle.
Next comes a 2-step process:
a) Decide if a faction wants to retreat. This is determined by the ratio of power of the fighting armies, modified by the aggressiveness of the Commander in Chief (the highest ranking, most senior leader in the battle), and if some entrenchments are set.
b) If the faction wants to retreat, then each army will roll for a retreat, the dice being modified by various parameters (how big or sneaky is the army, if you have some cavalry, if the opponent has some, etc.)
On to the battle!
Ok time, to actually fight. Well not yet... Before starting an hour of battle, the BE will pick a subset of your unit to actually fight. Why a subset? Because you can’t really expect to have 70,000 men actually fighting on a beach if you land or assaulting a fort at the same time or even firing all at once in a dense forest. This is where the Terrain Contingencies kick in!
Nine regiments of regulars can fight at the same time in clear terrain. Add to that a bonus for each point the Commander of the army has (either in offensive or in defensive, depending on the posture chosen) and another bonus based on the rank he has (so a 3 stars leader can always field a good amount of regiments in plains, even if he won't use clever tactics!). The 2 leader bonuses only apply on clear terrain.
The other terrain are simpler to deal with: there is only a TC amount to consider. Take wilderness for example: 3 regiments of regulars will fight at a given time there (the elements will be rotated after each hour of battle, so you can wear off the enemy), but 10+ Indians tribes/rangers/partisans can be engaged (that's theoretical, you will have a problem finding this number of units in your OOB, but it's to show that you can inflict very serious losses against an enemy in superior numbers, depending of the terrain).
If a unit is appropriate for to a terrain, only a few terrain contingency points will be used, so you can pile on more of them, or have some more room for costlier units (e.g. 3 Indians tribes + 2 militias).
Just use common sense, and it will work: dense terrain are not fit for regular units, but are the realms of lighter ones. A fort can't be assaulted by too many men at a given time, etc.
Each element (a company in BoA eg) chosen to fight for a given round (= hour) of battle has a range associated with it. Some terrain and climates reduce range to the point that the fight will only start at range 1 (very close contact but not assault range). On the other hand clear terrain and fair weather allow maximal range, and thus favors artillery and such.
Each element also has an initiative that can be improved by some abilities or by experience, and can be degraded if the army is under commanded. High initiative will help the element fire first, if at range, but not always as there is some luck involved too.
Each element has a Rate of Fire, the number of time the element can fire in a single round. There is a penalty of 1 if the element is under commanded, and another penalty if shaken. There is always have a minimal RoF of 1 (to prevent endless, bloodless ranged combat...).
Shaken: An element is considered shaken for a given round if it has sustained losses and fails a morale check. To pass a moral check you have to roll a 10-sided dice equal or less your TQ (troop quality). This is where some abilities shine, like Militiaman that gives +2 to the troop quality of militia. When the losses start to pile up moral checks are required, and this can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of the battle.
Elements are also excluded from acting in the following cases:
a) Ships without enough ammo (land units can still fire but with a penalty)
b) support element in close combat (artillery, e.g.)
d) embarked troops
Firing (or assaulting):
Each time an element acts (firing or assaulting) these parameters are determined:
Each point of ability in offense, defense or assault from a leader gives a 5% bonus. Subtract the appropriate ability value of the enemy leader (offense or defense or assault) from your leaders combined ability results the command bonus modifier. If the number is negative 0 is used instead. For example, if you have a leader with 3 in offensive ability and your element fires against an element commanded by a leader with a 6 defensive ability, your command bonus modifier is 0, not -3 x 0.05. Command bonus is also altered by the command penalty for under commanded armies.
Wind gauge bonus:
applies only to fleet combat and provides an advantage in combat for the side that gains this.
Battle bonus from an ability:
The battle bonus is a very versatile ability that can be given to any unit, not only to leaders, by the scenario maker. This ability can boost the fire value, assault, rate of fire, initiative, protection and/or troop quality. Some examples: Militiaman is a battle bonus ability, as is Artillerist or Cavalryman. These abilities can be tweaked to be restricted to some units, terrain, areas, etc… Cavalryman is a bonus only given to cavalry units in clear terrain for example.
Some abilities accumulate while others do not. In BoA these abilities have been set so that even if the leader having it is not the commander in chief, they work. This means that cavalry in Washington's army (an army commanded by G. Washington) benefits from the Cavalryman ability given by a subordinate leader that is also part of THAT army.
Terrain bonus and penalties:
Terrain can alter the fire, assault, troop quality and protection values of units. If your army is in defensive or passive posture, you get the defensive side of the terrain matrix. If your army is in assault or offensive posture, you get the offensive side. Note that some terrain still heavily favors some units, even in offensive, and heavily penalize some units, even in defensive. For example when you set an ambush, your party is in offensive, but still get huge bonus for irregulars in offensive and in forest/wilderness etc.
If you are the owner of the structure and the fight is taking place in it, you always get the defensive matrix and the attacker gets the offensive matrix. Tip: Set units in forts to offensive posture unless they are heavily out-numbered or leaderless.
Entrenchments give a bonus (2 points) of protection for each level (in BoA level is restricted to 1) and a penalty in assault to the attacker.
If your army is crossing a river or landing on a beach, you get a penalty.
Failed Retreat & passive penalty:
If your army attempted (and failed) a retreat or is in passive posture, you get a penalty (they do not accumulate though and, in this case, only the highest one is used)
Lack of ammo or food penalty:
Forced March penalty:
If your element is firing (not assaulting) an army with a supply unit that has some ammo left, or in a region with a depot with some ammo left, you get a +10% bonus to fire (fire x 1.1)
The base is the offensive fire, defensive fire or assault value, times 0.04 (4%), and altered by the various parameters. Each point of protection reduces the % chance by 4% too.
English regular (Fire 9) commanded by a leader with a 3 rating: 9 x (1 + 3 x 0.05) x 0.04 = 0.414 (41.4%)
If the element passes it’s roll against this probability the opposing element take a certain amount of hits equal to the damage value of the firing unit (ranges from 1 to 3). The receiving element doesn’t fire back immediately! It will fire only when it’s turn has come.
Assault is handled differently. To assault, the attacking element must pass a troop quality check, if failed nothing happens. What's more, the one who has the highest troop quality further reduce the probability of the opponent to score some hits. Finally, assault is a 2 sides affair: if the acting element assaults, the receiver always strike back.
=> When the range is close, troops with the highest quality have very big chances to inflict extreme losses. In BoA the English regular has a tendency to have a higher troop quality compared to the American militias, this is why American losses tend to be rather heavy if the English assault (if the battle is not too unbalanced in favor of the Americans that is...).
Finalizing the action:
If the element kills the defender, you get VPs and the attacking element gains experience. If a leader is commanding the winning element, a fraction of the experience thus gained is also given to the leader. If the defender was commanded, a fraction of the experience is subtracted from that commanding officer amount.
If you benefit from the Petty War rule and have lost an irregular, you give one additional VP to your opponent.
The battle proceeds like this, range by range, hour by hour, element by element, until one side successfully retreats, is destroyed or 8 hours have elapsed. Each hour enables some "unit rotation" meaning that battered units have a tendency to be replaced by fresh ones, if you have units in reserve (when terrain contingency prevents you from deploying and using all your army in a given hour).
6 - Fog of War (hereafter FoW), Detection and Hide Value.
When the region is shown in gray shading it means you have 0 detection points in the region. If the region is lighter in color it means you have at least 1 point.
Detection Points are generated in each region by 3 sources:
a) you have at least 51% in military control: you get 2 points.
b) you have at least 51% in population loyalty: you get 2 points
c) you have troops in the region: the troops with the highest detection rating provide points. Tip: Add Indians or rangers with a regular army, it can be useful!
These 3 sources are not cumulative, only the highest value source is counted.
Note that for case c) each group (an army or a fleet) has a detection value against land units, and one against sea units. The number shown to the left of the / is the land detection value they provide and the one to the right of the / is the sea detection value.
Once the sources are computed, the engine checks if to see if regions adjacent to a source can benefit from it, by using either the highest value between the regions, or the best adjacent source detection points minus 1.
A source does not contribute to the detection values in regions more than 1 region distant (i.e. only adjacent regions benefit).
Being detected, or not:
If a group is in a region with a structure (yours or enemy) and is not in passive posture, the Hide Value is 1, and nothing else is checked. This has been done to solve several problems, like a rangers in defensive posture outside a structure, who can go unnoticed but still be able to prevent the capture of the structure... or Indians besieging you, and being so stealthy that you can't even see who the offending besieger is, etc.
A group has the hide value of the unit with the lowest hide value in its rank.
If you have only leaders, +1
If you have 2 or less units (not counting leaders), +1. This is the number of units a one-star leader can command.
If you have more than 12 units (not counting leaders) -1. This is the number of units +1 more than a 3-star leader can command.
Being in a region with difficult terrain (wilderness, mountain, ...) +1
Harsh weather such has blizzard: +1
The 2 values (detection value and hide value) are checked against each other. If you have a detection value equal to the hide value, you detect the enemy, but with reduced accuracy; you may know that there are one or more leaders and maybe some troops, for example, but you may not know who the leader is or how strong or numerous the troops are. As excess detection points which you possess build, the accuracy of the intelligence information you will receive will increase.
The game recognizes four distinct levels of intelligence quality. Each one giving you more detailed information on the stack you spot. The level is computed simply by checking how many detection points you have above the hide value of the enemy army you are looking at:
-1 or less: you don't see the army (hide > detection)
0: little info
if leader, only the rank, if unit, only the type (regular, etc.)
1: some info
+Commander Name and title
Leader or unit name
2: more info
+ Unit general value shown
+ Leader rank shown
3: complete info
+ Unit specific value shown
+ Command Point usage
+ Leader values shown
7 - Supply rule
a) Supply sources and chips:
Supply is generated each turn by regions, with an amount expressed in supply chips (SC). A SC can be of 2 types: the full one, which holds 5 general supply points (food and water) and 2 ammo points, and the basic one, which hold only 5 general supply points. The countryside of a region, along with level 1 city/village (if not besieged) generate only basic SC. Full SC are generated by level 2+ cities (if not besieged), forts, depots and harbor (if not blockaded).
The amount generated, by structure level, is indicated in the structures files located in \BoA\GameData\Structures, the key being Supply =. Namely a depot generates 10 supply chips per level (depots can only have one level in BoA), port and cities generate 1 SC/level, etc.
There are no supply lines per se in BoA, although units can gather SC from adjacent regions as well as the region in which they reside. This simulates the prevailing conditions in 18th century America where there were no significant transportation networks between regions nor was there a steady flow of supplies of a magnitude sufficient to support an army. Supply was a major concern and, aside from portable supply that armies carried with them that are modeled by Supply Wagon units, units must forage in their neighborhood to remain supplied.
b) Getting supplies
Units, including supply wagons, must be periodically refilled with SC. To do so, units can draw supply chips from the region they are in, or the regions adjacent to them. These chips are then converted into supply and ammo points, to refill their stock. So the initial Continental Army before Boston in 75 is refilled by the rebel regions around Boston, for example. Or an English fleet can be refilled from a friendly coast (though refilling ammo from a coast is not possible). When ammo is needed, full chips are used first. If only general supply is needed, basic chips are used first. Supply chips don't stockpile from one turn to another and are lost unless there is a unit that can take them in (is not fully supplied) and convert them to supply. Supply wagons can hold quite a bit of supply and act like a portable stockpile. Note: Supply wagons are a moving stock of supply, not a source. Only friendly regions and structures are supply sources.
c) Using supplies
Each unit uses general supplies (food & water) each turn and ammo when engaged in battle. Land units use ammo once per battle while ships use ammo once for each round of combat they are engaged in. Each unit has a maximum stockpile of both general and ammo supply that it can carry. To check the status of a unit’s intrinsic supply level you can:
i.: check the regiment panel supply/ammo gauge of the army.
ii. Place the cursor over a unit: you get info on supply stock
iii. click on an element (bottom right panel) of a regiment: this opens the detail window where you get info about supply usage and current stock.
d) The 3 additional roles of Supply Units
Supply units can be seen as slow and unimportant in many situations. This is because, in areas where you control cities or harbors, those structures are sufficient to replenish all units without using up the supply unit. This is not the case in some severe conditions (advancing into hostile regions without any control of nearby cities, in winter, in mountainous regions, etc.) But supplies are useful for other things besides providing food, water & ammo. There are 3 important additional roles for these supply wagons:
1. An army with a supply unit that has at least some ammo points remaining gets a +10% offensive/defensive fire bonus for all units in any battle.
2. A supply unit with at least some general supply points will prevent your troops from surrendering in case of a siege.
3. A supply unit can absorb the hit points taken from bad weather by negating 1 hit point of damage per extra 5 supply points used (no limit on that, but it can dry up your wagon very quickly if the army is large and the weather is severe!). Note that the message that you will see lists the theoretical damage to the units due to bad weather, without taking into account this special "supply shielding rule". You will see the difference in your army though.