DanSez
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Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:17 pm

I think this has been mentioned in other threads/places but would like to add here a few rules to limit leaderless stacks

1. without leaders, no units will be able to All Out Assault or Defend At All Cost (Red Buttons)
2. without leaders, no units may enter territory 51% or more enemy controlled.
3. if leader dies/wounded and stack now leaderless - unit takes most passive posture and routes to closest legal territory or friendly stack

Yes I understand, easy to write - hard to code. But this, or something similar, should be attempted for the new game.

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Ol' Choctaw
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Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:17 pm

DanSez wrote:I think this has been mentioned in other threads/places but would like to add here a few rules to limit leaderless stacks

1. without leaders, no units will be able to All Out Assault or Defend At All Cost (Red Buttons)
2. without leaders, no units may enter territory 51% or more enemy controlled.
3. if leader dies/wounded and stack now leaderless - unit takes most passive posture and routes to closest legal territory or friendly stack

Yes I understand, easy to write - hard to code. But this, or something similar, should be attempted for the new game.


I would disagree. That would mean that Colonels Lt. Colonels would need to be represented as every stack has a leader, just not a General. I would not mind seeing those men come up to General’s rank for an excellent attack or defense or some other important endeavor. But that would be just as hard to do.

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Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:57 pm

DanSez wrote:2. without leaders, no units may enter territory 51% or more enemy controlled.


Wouldn't this also mean that cavalry raids are no longer possible? And remove a useful feature that people got used to, to correct something else?

If you really see problems with leaderless stacks, aren't there other ways to correct the behavior, i.e. to balance / increase the command / combat penalties? For I don't see why officers below Brigade General should not be able to all out attack / defend at all cost, or do the other things you propose per se. I would however agree that very large, leaderless stack should have heavy penalties in battles, because that's the whole point to have proper Generals / HQs. But I've not enough experience with large, leaderless stacks to say if they need to be re-balanced or not. It may be.

@ Ol' Choctaw
While that's not really something I am suggesting, I would also not want to see all leaderless stacks crippled, but instead there could be a generic leader for each brigade / regiment, with the option to give him a proper name if you wish so, select a portrait and even promote him. That could add some flavor for some people, but it's probably something most people would not agree with, because it could open a can of worms with micro-management and historical accuracy. From the programming side of things it would probably not be such a big deal, if I'm not mistaken. But as I said it's not something I have ever thought of before. It's just an idea.

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Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:12 pm

Concerning recruitment, this is how I would rate the two systems side by side:

AACW

pros
+ very good overview over available units / options
+ since the orders are for the end of the turn, player can review and change orders any time during the turn, which allows to stay within budget limits without pocket calculator (!)
+ looks (way) better

cons
-- no control over exact placement on the map

RuS

pros:
++ exact control over placement on the map

cons:
- cannot undo reqruitment once it's made (players may therefore save / reload before they order anything)
- scrolling
- not easy to review units

If I add the plusses / minuses the system in AACW is somewhat better for me, and the new one could perhaps benefit from some things from AACW.

An finally, the "new" recruitment system works against the core philosophy of the game, that everything can be undone until the turn ends. But recruitment orders can not be undone. This has been a small problem for me in RuS, because I usually order units in large batches, not piecemeal.

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caranorn
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Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:20 pm

GlobalExplorer wrote:Well, this is how I would rate the two systems side by side:

AACW

pros
+ very good overview over available units / options
+ since the orders are for the end of the turn, player can review and change orders any time during the turn, which allows to stay within budget limits without pocket calculator (!)
+ looks (way) better

cons
-- no control over exact placement on the map

RuS

pros:
++ exact control over placement on the map

cons:
- cannot undo reqruitment once it's made (players may therefore save / reload before they order anything)
- scrolling
- not easy to review units

If I add the plusses / minuses the system in AACW is somewhat better for me, and the new one could use some things from AACW.


Just one thing, in the RUS system you can undo unit orders (though the force pool won't be recalculated before next turn, so if you only had that one unit you cancelled available to build you won't be able to order it for say another location before next turn)...

Also I'm not sure having the option to chose where to build a unit is a + in the AACW context. Supreme commanders in this conflict did not have that level of control. In reality what they did was make a call for volunteers/draft, maybe request some specialised units from one of the other state (respectively say that certain unit types won't be sworn in and therefore not counted against a state's quota etc.), all the rest would be based in part on where volunteer companies were raised, the rest is a matter of what the local governor preferred (so essentially Lincoln and Davis had less control than players currently have in AACW-I). But that doesn't mean I'm necessarily against giving players this ammount of control (possibly at the cost of some delay in completion if players wish this ammount of control)...
Marc aka Caran...

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Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:29 pm

Well, it was demanded by nearly everyone because it's really hard to find your units three turns later .. I think it's a valid point with AACW that AGEOD really needed to fix.

Also, since the states are so big, there was the possibility that a brigade, even an Army HQ, ended up in a front town, and be wiped out before it was ready. This was very annying where it happened. At least this could be fixed if a unit in training would be relocated automatically by the game when it happens, perhaps with the loss of one or two turns for the transfer. But that would still not solve any of the problems of finding new units when they are all over the map.

But this is mostly a UI issue. It's hard to come up with a better idea how the AACW UI could allow to specify where the unit is put, without completely redesigning it. Which is what I hope AGEOD will do for AACW2.

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GlobalExplorer
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Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:33 pm

caranorn wrote:Just one thing, in the RUS system you can undo unit orders (though the force pool won't be recalculated before next turn, so if you only had that one unit you cancelled available to build you won't be able to order it for say another location before next turn)...


sounds complicated .. I never tried

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caranorn
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Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:35 pm

GlobalExplorer wrote:Well, it was demanded by nearly everyone because it's really hard to find your units three turns later .. I think it's a valid point with AACW that AGEOD really needed to fix.

Also, since the states are so big, there was the possibility that a brigade, even an Army HQ, ended up in a front town, and be wiped out before it was ready. This was very annying where it happened. At least this could be fixed if a unit in training would be relocated automatically by the game when it happens, perhaps with the loss of one or two turns for the transfer. But that would still not solve any of the problems of finding new units when they are all over the map.

But this is mostly a UI issue. It's hard to come up with a better idea how the AACW UI could allow to specify where the unit is put, without completely redesigning it. Which is what I hope AGEOD will do for AACW2.


But losing forming units to the enemy would also be historic (certainly hapenned to the CS in West Virginia) ;-) . But again, I'm undecided on this issue these days, maybe we could make placement optional. That is an option selected before game's start. 1) random placement, 2) player controled placement at the cost of % of time to build delay, 3) player controled at no additional cost...
Marc aka Caran...

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GlobalExplorer
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Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:42 pm

caranorn wrote:But losing forming units to the enemy would also be historic (certainly hapenned to the CS in West Virginia) ;-)


Yes yes yes! But only if the game would even allow me to place my units where I think it's safe, when I already know which towns are too close to being attacked .. If the unit is still destroyed where I chose to place it, I would not complain. This can happen in RuS, too, and no one complains about that.

As I said, the AACW system is not bad, it is mostly a UI issue.

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Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:54 pm

What about a combination of the two UI's?

One panel like in RuS, to place units, just larger to prevent excessive scrolling. And another one like in AACW where all current placement orders can be comfortably reviewed, and cancelled during the turn?

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Pat "Stonewall" Cleburne
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Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:26 pm

This brings up the question of state by state recruiting (which I hope they're keeping). If they keep it, the RUS method would be unfeasible. Too much scrolling. I hope they lean more towards the AACW format than the RUS/AJE format.

I also strongly like the idea of giving the AI more money/cs/ws rather than making them faster when you increase difficulty.

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Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:53 pm

I would like the Replacement Feature changed. Regiments were more often made from scratch rather than keep existing regiments at full strength. Something that always annoyed me was smashing an opposing army one turn, and then the next turn facing the same amount of men all over again. I figure it would be more accurate for the system to look something like this:

1) No Replacements. Any losses on the battlefield are not replaced, low strength regiments can be disbanded to add any remaining conscripts back to the force pool. This would force you to be continually training new units to keep your armies at full, and would force you to maintain a reserve to ensure troops could be sent immediately to the front when needed.

2) New units are created at full strength, but locked with zero cohesion to prevent new units from having an immediate impact on the battlefield. They could unlock once 100% cohesion was achieved.

3) Combat stats and morale is tied (much more than it is right now) to experience rather than unit type. For example, all units could have a base attack, defence, assault etc., but as experience is gained, those units become much more effective fighters. Right now, at least against the AI, I find experience isn't a huge deal as units without experience fight pretty well against more experienced units. This would allow depleted units to have an impact on the battlefield, and force people to think about what they would rather have, quantity or quality.

Perhaps for some this is too much micro-management, but for me it would add realism and depth to the game, as there can now be multiple strategies. Become Robert E. Lee and train a small but effective corps of veterans that packs a punch, or go with 1864 U.S. Grant with a large, relatively untrained horde to throw at Lee, pounding him into submission. Offensive campaigns would now be much more taxing, as losses are not so easily replaced, but defensively you must be aware of slowly losing a war of attrition, with assault after assault on a besieged city.

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Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:08 pm

GlobalExplorer wrote:Well, it was demanded by nearly everyone because it's really hard to find your units three turns later .. I think it's a valid point with AACW that AGEOD really needed to fix.

Also, since the states are so big, there was the possibility that a brigade, even an Army HQ, ended up in a front town, and be wiped out before it was ready. This was very annying where it happened. At least this could be fixed if a unit in training would be relocated automatically by the game when it happens, perhaps with the loss of one or two turns for the transfer. But that would still not solve any of the problems of finding new units when they are all over the map.

But this is mostly a UI issue. It's hard to come up with a better idea how the AACW UI could allow to specify where the unit is put, without completely redesigning it. Which is what I hope AGEOD will do for AACW2.


It could be done with a RGD. A RGD that allow create a specific type of unit in a controlled region at your choose.
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DanSez
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Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:40 pm

GlobalExplorer wrote:Wouldn't this also mean that cavalry raids are no longer possible? And remove a useful feature that people got used to, to correct something else?


Yes, it would prevent single unit deep raids. Remember that the new map is going to have more territories which would make blocking those annoying little units much more difficult. To address your concern the answer is to have an small increase in the number of Generals to assign to smaller stacks.

You could have cavalry raids, but that would require the investment of a Leader. How many cavalry raiders do we need - two or three per Theater?

/*** Ol' Choctaw
As to the other concern about Red Button limits on Leaderless stacks - I think it is a gamey trick to unstack a division so you can assault a structure with leaderless elements when the stack leader is inactive. Is there another approach that could reduce working around the command structure like that?

Thanks for the feedback.

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Ol' Choctaw
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Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:29 am

The inactive leader has some historical facts behind it but there are also examples of subordinates carrying out the missions when their commanders were incapacitated or unwilling to act. So the workarounds are not really an exploit of the game system.

There were some leaders who were ill or just dead drunk before battles or just to worried about loosing to move and regimental commanders took it on themselves to attack.

That is how several of them made it to General.

I don’t know that Sibley was ever sober for an engagement. His Colonels fought the battles while he was passed out. Polk never kept his nerve and often refused to move his forces in battle. Floyd was a weak commander but his fears were infectious and caused the Ft. Donelson disaster. Forrest was a Lt Col that marched his men out rather than give up like the rest. Grant was absent from the battle and when he returned his efforts were minimal. 13,000 troops could have just walked out. There are many other examples. Troops don’t need Generals to act. It just helps (or sometimes hurts) their performance.

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Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:19 pm

I have 3 quick points.

1. There were no calvary brigades recruited, they were formed via regiments/companies as far as I've ever read.
2. Hunley is an event already.
3. The Union or CSA couldn't choose where to recruit troops per se, each state in the Union had a quoto eventually and they would raise them from wherever the reruits/conscripts were. However, I'd like to see where each state is limited based on its CS points as too how much it can raise. Raising all the troops in VA and MO is ahistorical.... I know because I've done it. :)

Charles

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Ace
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Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:49 pm

GlobalExplorer wrote:Concerning recruitment, this is how I would rate the two systems side by side:

AACW

pros
+ very good overview over available units / options
+ since the orders are for the end of the turn, player can review and change orders any time during the turn, which allows to stay within budget limits without pocket calculator (!)
+ looks (way) better

cons
-- no control over exact placement on the map

RuS

pros:
++ exact control over placement on the map

cons:
- cannot undo reqruitment once it's made (players may therefore save / reload before they order anything)
- scrolling
- not easy to review units

If I add the plusses / minuses the system in AACW is somewhat better for me, and the new one could perhaps benefit from some things from AACW.

An finally, the "new" recruitment system works against the core philosophy of the game, that everything can be undone until the turn ends. But recruitment orders can not be undone. This has been a small problem for me in RuS, because I usually order units in large batches, not piecemeal.


Actually, when comparing AACW to RUS recruitment, AACW is better in EVERY point. When, you order recruitment in AACW, you can actually feel Like Lincoln or Davis, demanding from the states to recruit brigades, without having control where they will appear. It has historical feel, not to mention how much more it is easier to use, you can review, change, balance, etc. I can understand why someone can be upset if his new recruits are overrun. Maybe, compromise can be achieved, so all the recruitment happens in state biggest city, with the most VP.

I agree with Charles, CS points should be spread across states. I only hope it wouldn't complicate the recruitment process.

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Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:06 pm

I don't know, from most of the comments I've seen, most players here would like to see city specific recruitment. There's really no reason why a brigade raised in Missouri should show up in Rolla or some other small town... St. Louis would be where the brigade would at least be organized and mustered. There's plenty of mid to large cities in the north and south to choose from.

Besides, there's been many occasions when I'd raise a brigade in a state that was being invaded, and the new brigade showed up in a city that came under siege, thereby basically wiping out the new unit before it could even get up to strength. Being able to choose which city units come from would certainly eliminate that problem.

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Pat "Stonewall" Cleburne
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Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:19 pm

Region specific recruitment adds a bit more micromanagement. I like some things to be abstracted. I'm playing Lincoln/Davis, not God. The only improvement I would make is having units form in 1-2 cities in the frontline states so you wouldn't have to worry as much about being overrun.

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Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:28 am

Ace wrote:Maybe, compromise can be achieved, so all the recruitment happens in state biggest city, with the most VP.


I think this is the best way, perhaps extending it to the two largest cities with something like a 75%-25% split for infantry and/or cavalry (artillery and ships would be restricted to just the top cities)

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Ol' Choctaw
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Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:31 pm

They were recruited in cities but trained in camps set up for that. How about if the player can set up camps to train them in, instead of cities? Rather like a depot…

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Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:39 pm

Ol' Choctaw wrote:They were recruited in cities but trained in camps set up for that. How about if the player can set up camps to train them in, instead of cities? Rather like a depot…


+1 vote on this.

Each state have 1 to start with and then allow the building of one or two additional recruitment/training facility per state. When it comes to building boats/ships - have a set Harbor Size plus maybe war supply production requirement and then the ability to select the city for building your ships instead of the surprise of your Ohio flotilla showing up on Lake Erie instead of the Ohio River.

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Pocus
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Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:02 am

We will probably use the recruitment system as done in RUS, ROP and AJE games, with its pros and cons. But troops will be limited per States rest assured.
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Pat "Stonewall" Cleburne
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Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:45 pm

Pocus wrote:We will probably use the recruitment system as done in RUS, ROP and AJE games, with its pros and cons. But troops will be limited per States rest assured.


Would it be possible to expand the number of units visible in the recruitment pane then?

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Pocus
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Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:55 pm

it really depends of your resolution, people in 1920x1200 can see a really large number. What we want is to provide filters so you never have to scroll much when checking a specific category, problem solved!
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I see the retreat issue has been raised before

Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:34 pm

First of all, AACW is a great game!! As has been said, it doesn't need a lot of fixing.

Not sure I'm qualified to give my wish list for AACW2, as my experience with AACW is still limited: have beaten the AI on VPs playing the Bull Run and Gettysburg scenarios, and am winning an April 1861 Campaign Game as the CSA against the AI (up to June 1862). (Latest patch, AI at Lieutenant level with big bonuses and more time for the AI.)

But here’s my wish list anyway:

+1 for the Chain of Command Chart
+1 for adding more historical events based on important figures

And in terms of playability:

1) Improved AI.

Athena is great, but as has been said, she still makes certain predictable errors. One of these is her tendency as the Union to fixate on certain positions (Fredericksburg, Springfield MO). She assaults these positions repeatedly and hemorrhages men. A human player would outflank these positions or attack somewhere else.

But the biggest problem (as has also been said) is the weakness of the Union AI in the West and Trans-Mississippi theaters. In particular, it seems to do nothing with its Mississippi river fleet. In my current game, it’s June 1862, and the Union Mississippi river fleet has never even appeared. Where is the Mound City, etc.? Where is Foote? Or Porter?

My CSA river fleet has been steaming up and down the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland rivers for 3-4 turns now, causing problems for Union formations (right now I have Sherman trapped on the south bank of the Ohio). I should have been blown out of the water by now (or at least challenged).

(It’s so bad that I'm wondering whether the Union has even received its river ironclads as reinforcements. Can someone confirm that the Union really receives its river ironclads in Cairo, together with talented admirals like Foote and Porter?? If not, this is a big OOB problem that needs fixing.)

My point: As a simulation of the Civil War, AACW doesn't work if the Union doesn't utilize its Mississippi River fleets. And the game is a heck of a lot less fun too.

2) Retreats

Aside from the problem of "impossible retreats" already covered in another thread, I find retreats in general to be a problem. Forces consistently retreat away from their supply bases instead of toward them, and this is the case (as far as I can tell) even when the logical line of retreat is NOT blocked by an enemy force, NOT blocked by an enemy ZOC, NOT blocked by an enemy naval force, and NOT interfered with by enemy Military Control. Indeed, my impression is that retreating forces always retreat to the worst possible neighboring region (from an operational point of view). When the Union AI does this, I can take advantage. When my units do it, it is frustrating.

Example: It is late 1861, and J. E. Johnston and his army are dug in at Fredericksburg to protect Richmond. The Union attacks there and Johnston retreats. But for some reason he doesn't retreat toward Richmond (his nearest supply source and the key objective). Instead, he retreats northwest toward Culpeper, leaving Richmond exposed. So McClellan marches to Richmond and captures it. Game over.

As the CSA, I now always fight with the Defend/Defend at All Costs posture. Because if for any reason I retreat, I almost invariably retreat away from my supply base and away from the cities I am covering, and not toward them.

Now there might be an argument for routing forces to run away in strange directions, but not for intact units retreating in good order. And even demoralized armies (like the Union army after First Bull Run) had enough sense to run back toward their supply base (Washington DC) instead of running southwest toward the Blue Ridge.

So shouldn't retreating forces move toward their nearest supply depot? Or back along the RR or river that feeds them supply? Or back toward the defined objective that they are protecting? (If they are not blocked, of course.) Maybe players could designate the regions they would prefer a given force to retreat into (although this would add micromanagement to the game). In any case, retreats should make some sense. There is no sense to them that I can see yet. If there is an algorithm for how the game selects the region to which forces retreat, I would love to know what it is. :-)

3) McClellan

As has also been said, McClellan's offense and defense values are too low. His problem was that he was always inactive (Brown Enveloped). So his initiative rating ought to be terrible. Other than that, he wasn't that bad. He wasn’t incompetent like Banks or Fremont. Banks or Fremont would have lost Antietam for sure.

ADDENDUM ON RETREATS:

I now see that this issue has already been discussed on the thread "Retreat" started by Runyan99 on 29 June 2009. All the info anyone needs is there.

Good to see that there is a game retreat logic and that it is moddable.

Still, I think the problem of illogical retreats is still there, and still serious. Still top of my list for improvement for AACW2.

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Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:58 am

To be able to instruct a unit outside the fort to retreat, if loosing the battle, to the fort(city) rather than to adjacent region, would be nice. Than the forts would be a nice investment. Now they are just dead weight, since you have to split your forces in a region to effectively use them.

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Pocus
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Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:04 pm

This can be done, if you use 'enter city' special order, a retreat will favor moving into the structure of the region.

As for retreat, there is indeed a complex set of parameters governing it now and so far, it seems fine, unless proved otherwise!
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Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:34 pm

Sorry if my first post was intemperate. Have had a chance to calm down.

Re retreats, once you have studied what the retreat parameters are, you can indeed plan around them, and they become part of playing this (great) game.

What is odd is when a battle occurs in a region which is NOT adjacent to a city, depot, or fort. In that case, it seems that the maximum "land paths" criterion kicks in, and so the force retreats to the nearest adjacent region with the maximum number of land links. The "land links" criterion of course makes sense (to prevent a force from retreating into a cul de sac, like a peninsula). But sometimes it leads to odd results. Has no one else noticed this?

It also seems suboptimal that the retreat logic only takes into account ADJACENT regions. If a depot is two regions away from a battle (i.e., Richmond is 2 regions away from Fredericksburg), then that depot is not taken into account. Determining a strategic line of retreat obviously means considering structures in the operational strategic area, and not just in regions adjacent to the battle.

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Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:11 am

Pocus wrote:This can be done, if you use 'enter city' special order, a retreat will favor moving into the structure of the region.

As for retreat, there is indeed a complex set of parameters governing it now and so far, it seems fine, unless proved otherwise!


Correct if I'm mistaken, but if I press enter city button, the unit will enter city even if there is no battle outside the town, loosing the entrenchments in the process.

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