bob.
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Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:47 am

I play similar to Strategy and I am rather successful until now as well (a bit more than 2 years passed). Though I had quite some trouble in Spain, but after I took Africa I transferred those legions and then I had an easier time.
Also Sulla seems to have few success against the Pontics, they still hold parts of Greece. Maybe because non-Romans have been strengthened with 1.01? In 1.00 he didn't seem to have any problems.
This is propably needless to say, but one thing that greatly helped me in Italy is placing as many garrisons as possible which means that no city can just be taken on the move.

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Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:55 pm

Yeah; you have to be a little careful in Spain. Hadrianus + 2 Legions can hold his own with a bit of luck, but he cannot stop everything, and if a big stack approaches, get out of the way. It's nothing to be worried about, though; once you can spare 2 or 3 Legions for the fight there, you'll almost certainly be able to roll back the Lusitanians. The main reason to remain active here and not give up the land is the 3VP location (which one should try and control as much as possible), and to make the reconquest as easy as possible.

I tend to spare garrisons only for the important towns myself; Neapolis, Rome, Tarentum, et al. But they're cheap enough that one can spam a few, if the economy is strong.
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Emx77
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Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:06 am

Image

I have finished campaign as Marius. It wasn't hard as I expected to be. In order to deprive Optimates from economic resources, my strategy was to conquer whole Italian peninsula, except Ancona, as soon as possible. Also, I started to build legions (primarily in Italia) and militia garrisons,. In Hispania, with one additional legion and lot of urban militias, I was able to hold almost all strategic cities. After taking most of Italian cities, Optimates' force in Ancona became active. The hunt after them started and it took me a year before this Optimates' force was cornered in Rhegium. It was large battle with 80K men on my side versus 22K Optimates. Cornering this enemy force wasn't easy task as they didn't have problem to jump from one fort 1 city to another. Eventually, Populares prevailed by sheer numbers. In Italy, I didn't notice AI to split his armies in a small chunks. Rather it kept units together in two stacks (larger and smaller one).

After I put Italy under control I started to prepare for Sulla counterattack. But Sulla never come. I made invasion at Greece and found that Sulla with his main force was around Dyrrachium (he had 12K-15K men). After a couple of battles I worn off his force, first down to 6K men and finally, at the end of scenario, he was left with just a few hundred men in Salonae. Some Optimates' units survived in Athen and in Southern Greece but practically Optimates weren't any significant threat anymore. Only end of scenario saved them from total annihilation.

In North Africa, I failed to start Numidian plot and that costed me a major victory as only objective out of my reach remained city of Cirta. In North Africa Pontiacs made massive amphibious landing (!?) in province south of Utica but they didn't do anything else.

I almost didn't use regional decisions. Once, I have used merchant and enslavement and that was it. I used mostly policies for money rising, rarely those for increase of NM. All in all, it was interesting scenario. I would just like to hear other opinions about three things:

1. Is it a normal Sulla not to counterattack Italy? I suspect this alleviated a lot of things for Populares, right?
2. What was Pontus seeking in Tunisia? How historically plausible was invasion of Tunisa from Pontus?
3. I mentioned this in another thread and i will repeat this here - I witnessed a lot of disengagements (where one force retreated before melee combat phase).

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Highlandcharge
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Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:46 am

Just a question Emx77, the forces that retreated before the Melee phase, were they weaker than the force they were about to fight?

Was there any rational reason why they would retreat?

Thanks

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Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:03 am

Emx77 wrote:1. Is it a normal Sulla not to counterattack Italy? I suspect this alleviated a lot of things for Populares, right?
2. What was Pontus seeking in Tunisia? How historically plausible was invasion of Tunisa from Pontus?
3. I mentioned this in another thread and i will repeat this here - I witnessed a lot of disengagements (where one force retreated before melee combat phase).


1. No. In like 1 out of 3 games Sulla does not counterattack in Italy. When he does it is a lot harder winning as POP yes. Harder but still doable. I played cat and mouse with Sulla in italy for more than 3 years. He "blitzed" all over Italy, from Cisalpina to to Sicily, never stopping. Since he never stopped he got worn down, never replaced his losses, and I won on attrition. I lost the battles but won the war - the opposite of Pyrrhus who won the battles but lost the war. I managed a Minor Victory in that game.
2. Good question.
3. I did not witness that at all - all my battles were quite bloody - something which served my POP plan of attrition since I enjoyed numerical advantage. This was pre patch though - might that be relevant?

Speaking of Pyrrhus of Epirus...I would love to see a scenario for that classic piece of military campaigning. Let us learn the meaning of the word "Pyrrhic victory" through experience.

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Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:57 am

In North Africa Pontiacs made massive amphibious landing (!?) in province south of Utica but they didn't do anything else.

Yeah, AI did the exact same when I last played as Marius. Really strange, especially because Sulla was demolishing them in Asia minor - and their best strategy was to land in AFRICA? Really, Mithridates?!?

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Jim-NC
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Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:04 pm

In my game, I have been able to take all of Italy, and am currently campaigning in western Greece. I am awaiting an Optimates counter attack in Italy (which apparently isn't going to happen). I just got several Optimate rebellions in my rear areas (Spain and Africa), which were events. I am trying to take Melita (which is proving to be very tough). I have so much money I don't know what to do with it at this point (I am several years into the game, Cinna has died). I have just captured a Siege engine from the Optimates, who apparently captured it from Pontus. Hmmm, I have an idea for that siege engine.

Sulla is blitzing Pontus, and winning a lot, but Pontus hasn't given up, and is taking back territories from Sulla.
Remember - The beatings will continue until morale improves.
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Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:34 pm

I have a follow on question to all the excellent discussion above. A good Marius player will take Rome very early and there is not a lot Sulla can do about it. I was curious about what would happen if Sulla headed back to the Italian mainland right after Rome falls. It's fairly straight forward to get Sulla to Senna Gallica, where three legions are locked. Once back, I noticed that the legions remain locked (just like they do if Sulla is kept in Asia Minor). Was there a historical reason that those legions were locked or is this a game balance issue? It seems to me that with Sulla returning, they would unlock and be available to him. Just curious...

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MarsRobert
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Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:43 pm

EMX77 - Thanks for your detailed post. Although I've sort of moved on from this scenario for the time being, I did ken two very important points from what you wrote that I think will help my game going forward. First of all, I often neglect spending money on urban militia, and on hindsight I think this may be the main reason why my cities always seem so vulnerable to 'end runs' by the AI. In fact I strongly suspect that end runs by Mithridates cost me a draw or maybe even a marginal victory in the Great Mithridatic War. Also, you mentioned the 'Numidian Plot' event, and this reminds me that I need to keep a close watch on the SPQR options so that I don't inadvertently miss something important when it becomes available.
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Paul Roberts
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Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:16 am

<Bringing back an old thread>

You guys make playing Sulla sound easy--that's not my experience!

Possibly I'm doing something wrong, but I find it difficult to secure Greece as Sulla. I'm playing against Athena (Tribune difficulty with the usual moderate bonuses), and the sheer size of the Pontic armies makes it difficult to take and hold the important locations. The Ponts have three or four leaders with decent stats, and these make a habit of running around where Sulla is not. While he chases one stack, the others siege cities elsewhere. Since it's nearly impossible to completely destroy a stack, and since reinforcements are plentiful, the game devolves into three or four years of whack-a-mole in Greece while Italy smolders.

I'm seeing this happen even with very high Opty morale. (More often than not, I can keep Rome away from the AI and prevent the morale penalty there.) Even so, Mithridates can sometimes beat Sulla on the battlefield when he outnumbers him greatly.

What strategies do you use to take and hold Greece while Pontics flood it from the south and the northeast with multiple stacks?

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Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:20 am

Things in this scenario have changes since the latest patch so that is why your experience does not match the one with the players playing this scenario with the old patch. :)

Haven't had the courage to delve into this game much so can't help you with advice here.

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Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:15 pm

Paul Roberts wrote:<Bringing back an old thread>

You guys make playing Sulla sound easy--that's not my experience!

Possibly I'm doing something wrong, but I find it difficult to secure Greece as Sulla. I'm playing against Athena (Tribune difficulty with the usual moderate bonuses), and the sheer size of the Pontic armies makes it difficult to take and hold the important locations. The Ponts have three or four leaders with decent stats, and these make a habit of running around where Sulla is not. While he chases one stack, the others siege cities elsewhere. Since it's nearly impossible to completely destroy a stack, and since reinforcements are plentiful, the game devolves into three or four years of whack-a-mole in Greece while Italy smolders.

I'm seeing this happen even with very high Opty morale. (More often than not, I can keep Rome away from the AI and prevent the morale penalty there.) Even so, Mithridates can sometimes beat Sulla on the battlefield when he outnumbers him greatly.

What strategies do you use to take and hold Greece while Pontics flood it from the south and the northeast with multiple stacks?


It's true, the Pontics are very strong now. Apart from their huge army that can hold Athens very easily if they concentrate the troops from Greece there (and since Athens is a HUGE supply base you can keep em there indefinitely) you also have a huge navy that the Romans have no chance against.
The thing is that historically IIRC the Romans actually defeated the Pontic navy but as far as I can tell in the game this is basically impossible. Even with the Egyptian fleet and all other Allied fleets unlocked, I think Pontus' fleets will still be better than the Roman + allies side. Without the Egyptian fleet (90 % chance of it to stay locked) Pontus should have a 2:1 advantage. This allows you to escape from port cities, blockade Roman ports when you besiege them, move troops to and from Greece, harass Romans by landings in their rear etc.

I can't say much about the AI as I have played one game with Sulla with the latest patch but there the Pontus AI moved ALL its troops from Greece + Mithridates + a lot of troops from Asia minor into Macedonia and I could just block them, leave them there to die because of supply problems and after 2 years move in for the kill :bonk:

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Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:35 pm

Hister wrote:Things in this scenario have changes since the latest patch so that is why your experience does not match the one with the players playing this scenario with the old patch.


Most early reports of Sulla having it easy came from version 1.1 when Legions were so powerful that any other formation was useless. You now need to be a bit more careful. The Pontics have 2 huge problems - they are poor at siege work and only fight effectively if they can force battle in open terrain (otherwise the frontage rules mean only a small portion of their army can deploy). Use both to delay them. In particular, try to fight defensive battles in poor terrain, they will tend to lose substantially.

You can risk letting them siege a town for a while - just keep a very careful eye on the supply status as that is the most likely cause of an automatic surrender.

edit - just to add, I've found in a lot of AJE scenarios that if a particular faction is causing you problems its worth playing them against the AI. Best way to work out the weaknesses and where the likely problems are
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Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:23 pm

Pontics may be the strongest faction, but only if you are quite experienced. They have a few drawbacks that will trap any beginner player using them, and will also an experimented player to placate them.

The worst issue with them is supply. In my current game, all my mobile forces + fleets request between 1300 and 1500 in supply - the equivalent of 300 supply levels. That's about as much as Greece except the Adriatic part produces - though of course the supplies don't travel. Bottomline: you ll spend your time rotating supply wagons around, and being on the verge of supply deficiency

The second issue is that, with the exceptions of some highly experimented Pontic phalanxes, the Thracians and the Scythic war chariots, the Pontic forces are EXTREMELY lackluster. You will need an awful lot to beat a smaller force. I have found out that even clear terrain is not enough to win with number, except if you included those "elite" troops inyour force and they are well-led. You will have to wait for your opponent in defense in favorable land, most probably hills. Don't even try to attacj the Romans, though.

Finally, yes the Pontics have a powerful fleet, indeed, but remember that the best frontage at sea is 60 elements [5 units], a maximum quickly reached. After that, the leader bonus makes the difference [or exhaustion level], and guess who has the best naval leaders [Lucullus, and also Damagoras]. For this reason, I believe the Pontus has the advantage on sea at the beginning, but then it is balanced.

On land it is the opposite : Optimates have the advantage at first and must seize as much cities as possible [to deny supply] before the Pontics can regroup [which takes some time] and build new forces. After that, the Pontics are stronger... as long as they control the sea for surprise landing and supply shipping.

A fairly balanced campaign I think - what makes it easier for the Pontics overall is that the Populares are not kicking in their back-door...

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Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:54 pm

Thing is, the Pontics are arguably stronger in Greece from the start. After all, what they only need to win is to HOLD the territory they have, not conquer new stuff.
The army in Greece can since the latest patches very easily stop Sulla near Athens. The leader of the Pontics in Greece is actually really good, I don't have the exact numbers but either way very good compared to the other Pontic leaders.

Denying supply in Greece is impossible because Athens is enough. The whole goal as Pontus in Greece is basically to hold Athens.

And yes, Sulla can just not go to Greece - even better for Pontus, now they can fight Sulla in Asia minor where their supply is stronger and meanwhile wreak havoc in Greece!

About the fleet, the best Pontic naval leader again is not that bad and the naval advantage will only become more for Pontus after the first battles because when a huge fleet fights against a tiny fleet then the tiny fleet will lose units completely while the huge fleet only loses elements. That makes it very expensive for the ROmans to build new fleets. And basically it boils down to - it's just not worth it. At all. The fleet is nice but I wouldn't build it if it wasn't there in the first place.

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Emx77
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Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:27 pm

I'm Narwhal opponent in this scenario. I must admit he is an excellent player who managed to pull maximum out of Pontus Navy and numerous manpower reserves. He also knows engine well enough to pull tricks like hiding big PON army in Greece at the start of scenario (See post #6 in this thread). In our current game I decided to deal with Pontus first. In order to achieve that I even sacrified Italy by transfering all OPT legions from Ancona to Greece.

However, under current game version (1.02b) there is a ROE bug(s) which rendered my whole strategy of dealing with Pontus useless. Sulla's main advantage is his elite fast moving army. But ROE bug is forcing Sulla to stop at each level 1 fort alleviating his main advantage - speed and mobility. Ageod is aware of this and I'm sure they are working on a patch (more about ROE bug you can find in this thread). Untill then, strategy of attacking Pontus first as Sulla is obviously wrong one, especially if you are facing experienced player who knows what he is doing.

Just to be honest, there are some engine quirks which also worked in Sulla's favour. For example, sometimes I really have no idea how Sulla managed to pass Pontus huge stacks without fighting. On one occasion Sulla's army resided for two turns in same province with Pontus blocking mega stack without provoking battle. It's looks like moving units in AGE engine sometimes is more an art of magic then anything else. To get a feel for it, you need a lot of experience and a sixth sense. :neener:

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Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:35 pm

Emx77 wrote:
Just to be honest, there are some engine quirks which also worked in Sulla's favour. For example, sometimes I really have no idea how Sulla managed to pass Pontus huge stacks without fighting. On one occasion Sulla's army resided for two turns in same province with Pontus blocking mega stack without provoking battle. It's looks like moving units in AGE engine sometimes is more an art of magic then anything else. To get a feel for it, you need a lot of experience and a sixth sense. :neener:


Well I can say it now, the first time I was in defensive and my guys did not attack your defeated-then-passive stack. The second turn of you trying to cross was the only turn in the campaign or so where Mithridates was inactive :)

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Emx77
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Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:16 am

Narwhal wrote:Well I can say it now, the first time I was in defensive and my guys did not attack your defeated-then-passive stack. The second turn of you trying to cross was the only turn in the campaign or so where Mithridates was inactive :)


According to manual (p. 55): "A Force that enters a hostile region automatically assumes an Offensive Posture." Why then my stack didn't automatically assault yours? When I entered province under your control, Sulla's army switched to offensive posture. A Force with offensive posture will attack any opponent it detects in its region. (Manual, p. 52). Battle should have happened regardless your inactive stack as my stack automatically assumed Offensive posture, right?

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Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:00 am

That's not the case if you are in passive posture, and I thought that's what you did.

Alternatively, maybe neither of our commander was too keen in engaging combat :)

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Emx77
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Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:20 am

Narwhal wrote:That's not the case if you are in passive posture, and I thought that's what you did.


I can't remember exactlly but I'm pretty much sure I was in defensive posture. Nevermind, if I underestand manual correctly, even in passive posture, upon entering into hostile province stack should automatically switch to offensive posture. Again, "A Force that enters a hostile region automatically assumes an Offensive Posture" (Manual p. 55). I couldn't find anywhere that passive posture is exception to this rule.

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Narwhal
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Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:12 pm

Then Manual is wrong on this :) Force in Passive posture in hostile region never [in no AGEOD game] assumed offensive posture.

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Emx77
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Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:35 pm

Narwhal wrote:Then Manual is wrong on this :) Force in Passive posture in hostile region never [in no AGEOD game] assumed offensive posture.


I'm afraid you are wrong on this. Here is simple test (files attached):

Image

Sulla will enter Locridia in passive posture. His stack will not change military control of Locridia and will remain passive. However, immediately upon entering Aitolia, where Pontus army resides with defend posture, Sulla will automatically change his posture and attack. I reloaded this test a couple of times and Sulla wasn't able to pass Aetolia. It's just as manual says (frankly, it would be gamey that you can slip through just because passive posture). Files are attached and you can see it by yourself.
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arsan
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Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:05 pm

Hi!
I come here in search of knowledge, counsel (and probably psychological help too ;) )

I'm playing my first PBEM game on AGEOD's system as Sulla and i'm afraid playing against Athena has completely spoilt me :(

The fact is that i have managed to completely lose the game by turn 2!!! It must be some kind of record! :wacko:

Just look at this images (what remains of my proud 5 veteran legion Greece army, and the objectives page on the ledger)
[ATTACH]24833[/ATTACH]
[ATTACH]24834[/ATTACH]

As you see, things are completely hopeless for me. But honestly, i don't think i have done anything specially wrong. It was like this...

Turn 1
I move form Dyrrachium to Thebes on defensive posture to lose less cohesion, knowing that upon entering enemy controlled regions i will change to offensive. I engage the Pontic army that starts on Thebes and fight it to a stalemate (10k losses for me, 13k for them). Both remain on the province and i loss 1 Nm because one legionary element is lost (enemy lost 8-10 elements).
Ok, not a good start... i guess the enemy was on red/red. Still my army is on pretty good shape (2500 pw and green dots) The enemy shows yellow dots.

Turn2
Sulla army is ordered to attack on red/orange. My idea is to defeat and expel the enemy army from the region and then assault and take Thebes. I have a great leader, veteran legions against greek troops... my stack is 2500 pwr versus his 1800 pwr stack... i think it's feasible... well, i'm wrong...
What happens next is a row of 12 engagements during the same turn in which i completely exterminate the 45k Pontic army while losing 30k of my 35k veterans and finally fail to even take the city against the typical militia garrison.

As result of this battles (considered by the game as 8 defeats, 1 stalemate and 3 victories) i lost 22 NM points (to add with the -25NM for lossing Rome to the Populares :bonk :) while the Pontics earn like 40 NM points :blink: I guess they have armies to spare and losing 45k men is not a big problem... but still... :bonk:

Regarding the battles...
I can't understand how nobody (me or Pontics) withdraw or at least stopped engaging in battle day after day until nearly mutual extermination.
Funily enough, the Pontic leader has the "Hard to catch" ability... but still, i checked the battle results and he didn't event tried to withdraw once from battle until the 12th and last engagement, which ended in his complete destruction.
I'm sure my rival was using red/red orders but even on these they should have tried to withdraw eventually, don't they?

I'm completely perplexed, as in all the AJE games against the AI i have found very difficult to eliminate enemy armies as battles usually end with the losing side withdrawing pretty soon, maybe between 15% and 40% casualties.
This extreme battle results remind me of the old days of AACW (before it was tweaked) on which losses were catastrophic.

Do somebody know what happened?? is something i did? something my rival managed to do?? just bad luck? a bug?
Maybe adding fixed garrisons to an army make it impossible to withdraw? I saw garrison militia elements in the battle results, but i guess once engaged in battle they are not fixed anymore... don't they?

Regarding the scenario situation...
So...how would you take Greece with 6k exhausted men, mostly auxiliares and a 43 NM level?? Any advice is welcomed!! :thumbsup:
I can only think of... surrendering :(

Regards!
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arsan
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Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:24 am

Hi again!
I have a new piece of info that may be the reason for the fight to the death battles i have experienced.
My rival tells me that he was building some units on Thebes and that he added them to his army even when they were still on training...

Could this blocked units in training have some effect on the no withdrawal of the pontic army?? :confused:

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Franciscus
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Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:59 am

Can you post a save ?
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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loki100
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Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:47 am

arsan wrote:Could this blocked units in training have some effect on the no withdrawal of the pontic army?? :confused:


I've had similar in Wars In America when I added a locked unit to a stack (I was trying to improve the overall defense strength), when it lost the battle the entire stack was destroyed - not just the usual in battle/retreat casualties but eliminated.
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Emx77
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Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:22 am

In my current PBEM game I had similar situation. I ordered Sulla's army (red-orange order) to attack Populares mega stack in Rome province. I'm certain that my opponent merged whole bunch of city militia units with his main army. In a next couple of turns Sulla won every consecutive engagement, earning NM points in process. However, regardless Optimates being victorious, Populares mega stack didn't retreat from the province. To my knowledge, defeated enemy should retreat. In our case, battles occurred at start of the turn, lasted for a day or two, and then both stacks stayed in defensive posture in same province. It is unrealistic that they would stay there almost a month doing nothing just looking at each other. In situation like that, time worked for Populares, as they were reaping all benefit of Rome as supply and replacement base. On the other hand, Sulla's army started to wear off without replacements and with another Populares army approaching from north I decided to retreat to fight another day.

Also, I reported [color="#FFFF00"]weird battle outcomes and retreat mechanics[/color] almost a year ago but no one from official team tried to investigate what is going on (at least i didn't get any feedback). Stuff like this and [color="#FFFF00"]infamous red-red orders bug[/color] are gradually ruining my experience with AJE. :(

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arsan
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Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:58 am

Franciscus, i will ask the host for the rest of the turn files and post them here. :)

Thanks for the imput Emx77! i hadn't seen those threads before (just started playing AJE a couple moths ago).
Hope something can be done with the issue, as it seems like and engine problem that can affect all games :bonk:

Regards!

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Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:57 am

I'm not sure if this scenario has been toned down or not but playing my first game as Marius against the AI (on Normal) has gone rather well.

Currently just about to enter 83 with a 2:1 lead in VPs (Pontics are second) and I fully control Italy with all the Optimate starting forces there having been destroyed. In Spain I have just destroyed the Lusitanian stack (with the leader) and I am in full control of all the starting cities and Numidia is also fully under my control. Through the summer of 84 I made some advances into Illyria although lack of supply has stopped me here whilst I have just captured the pirate base at Melitia on my second attempt having come rather close to having my fleet and a large army destroyed by a rather angry Mediterrnean sea in a very misjudged attempt to take it in the depths of winter!

My starting strategy involved linking the forces under Marius and Cinna at Rome. Once Rome fell I roughly divided the forces equally under Marius and Cinna. Cinna stayed in the north to capture the Optimate cities here and mask Arminium. I made sure not to attack Arminium where the main Optimate force was located as this force is locked for 11 months and I did not want it activating prematurely. Marius I sent south to hunt the small Optimate forces in the region both of which were more or less eliminated by years end. At the same time I sent out my cavalry to secure military control of all the regions with a road with the aim of impeding the movement and supply of these Southern Optimate forces

At the start I also concentrated all my naval forces at Messena and used them to transport the leaders and light forces that start in Numidia and the 2 legions that start at Taranto to Spain. I also raised a legion in here. These forces once combined with the force that starts there were more than enough to go toe to toe with the Lusitanian forces and prevent them from making any in roads into my position here.

I extended the war in Numidia reinforcing the army there with one single locally raised legion. The AI basically aided my cause by starving itself to the point of destruction outside of Attica (I think!) enabling me to eventually destroy it entirely.

As another poster noted you probably need some luck in this scenario and for me (other than the AI suicide in Numidia) that was Sulla being severly curtailled by the Pontics in Epirius so there was never really a threat that he would return to Italy.

I am now hoping that I can get enough National Morale from a campaign against the Pontics in Epirius to get a sudden death victory. We shall see!

Just wanted to add the game is fantastic snd I can't believe its taken me so long to get round to playing it.

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Narwhal
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Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:12 am

As said by bob. if the Pontics hold Athenae with everything they have in Greece at the beginning, the Sullans cannot take the city [or if they do, it is a gamble and they will lose quite a few cohorts]. So the Sullans are now by far the weakest side in the scenario imo.

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