DavidG3276
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Who is the target audience for the Civil War II game?

Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:22 pm

I have played war games for a long, long time. Does anyone remember Avalon Hill's "Kriegspiel"? As the direct descendant of a Union soldier, I am fascinated by the Civil War and have spent a good deal of time reading about it. However, I have tended to stay away from AGEOD games because of the emphasis upon details. For the same reason, I have avoided games by Gary Grigsby. I understand that other gamers want to be able to micromanage. In my opinion, it's a case of "Different strokes for different folks". Consequently, I would be very interested in the thoughts of those who have played this new game. Can one turn down the complexity when playing it? Can you complete a game in a few hours? How good is the artificial intelligence? Thanks in advance for your help.

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ajarnlance
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Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:56 pm

It depends on what you're looking for. Personally I love the detail if it relates to the warfare aspect, which is what this game does an excellent job of doing... it is a very challenging (excellent AI), realistic journey into the military aspects of the civil war. I find the details (for example the well researched commander traits) add to the immersion and the game is very addictive for me. If you are looking for more of an economic or political simulation then other game companies may be better. What I love about AGEOD games is how faithfully they produce historically accurate WAR games that "feel" right. Civil War 2 is their best game so far in my opinion. They have definitely made an attempt to make this game more user friendly and more accessible BUT you will still need determination and patience to learn all the many wonderful facets of the game. The manual is lacking but for me it is a journey of discovery that rewards you with hours of entertaining war gaming, but it will take more than "a few hours". The forum here is very helpful too! Hope that helps!!
"I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than the dissolution of the Union... and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation." Robert E. Lee (1807-1870)

Check out my 'To End All Wars' AAR: http://www.ageod-forum.com/showthread.php?38262-The-Kaiser-report-the-CP-side-of-the-war-against-Jinx-and-PJL

DavidG3276
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Thank you for your reply!

Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:36 pm

I appreciate your quick and complete reply. Since I do not have the time to spend becoming familiar with all the bells and whistles, I think I'll pass on this game for now.

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Citizen X
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Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:54 pm

I haven't bought CW 2 yet. But what I loved from the other games was the detail. It gives you so much options. I don't like to think about it as micromanagement. It means depth, which one shouldn't try to completly dive into, because you just can't. For me strategy means to see a path to victory (if you might say so) and to see it through, despite of the many opportunities of failure (that some of you will surely be taking) and the efforts of the opponent. There is only very few games on the market that are for strategists in that sense. Most of the games give quick reward with nifty gimmicks and stunning graphics and then come with the long regret of actually having bought an empty package, from the strategical challenge point of view.
But if you ask me what kind of audience should buy this, then it is for those you like to buy something that has the scent of love on it that the developers have invested in it.

(Was that enough candy, Phil?)
"I am here already.", said the hedgehog to the hare.

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loki100
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Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:00 pm

DavidG3276 wrote:I appreciate your quick and complete reply. Since I do not have the time to spend becoming familiar with all the bells and whistles, I think I'll pass on this game for now.


A different way to look at this is you can play just by concentrating on organising your armies (reasonably well), use 'power' as your basic guide to relative combat efficiency and take a common sense view of supply and replacements. You will miss out on some of the depth that is here, but there is nothing wrong to this format and you'll have fun. You can then delve in deeper as that becomes second nature.

At this level, you realise just how sound are the basic design concepts in the game - what should work, does work, so there is a bit of playing by common sense.
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Taillebois
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Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:28 pm

That'a how I play Loki.

I think that AGEOD games appeal to newcomers would benefit from another, easier, level of play. I tried to get some people I know interested in the games by giving them the "AGEOD Military Strategies" 3 pack (I bought three copies for 10 pounds at retail so it wasn't a major act of charity). The initial reaction was "Great, I'll give it a go." But two weeks later everybody said "Whoa, looks pretty but can't understand it."

To the OP - there are some free demo versions for AGEOD games to try out.


PS thanks for your and Narwhal AARs - which show me that I will only scratch the surface of these games.

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Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:33 pm

A less complex Civil War game which I think is an overlooked gem of a game is Gary Grigbsy's War Between the States, available through Matrix Games. They are part of the same family of companies at AGEOD, so I think it is okay to recommend that game.

HOWEVER, I think you should give Civil War II a close look. It took me some time to get comfortable with AGEOD games. I tried them, left, came back, left, never really got hooked. I kept thinking I had to understand everything going on in the game to play it. I finally realized I don't. As loki100 said, you can have a great time with the game, or any AGEOD game, just by learning the basic elements and not getting frustrated over trying to learn everything that is going on at once. I finally focused on the flow of the game rather than the detail, and I really began to enjoy the game. I think that works very well playing against the AI -- and that is my only opponent -- though I would probably get destroyed by a good human opponent. Then gradually I've learned more of the detail as I've played more.

I also think that starting with one of the less complex AGEOD games will give you a better understanding of the more complex games, which build more detail and complexity onto the basic design.

The game is just not as complex as it seems if you just stick with the basics at first and don't worry about trying to learn it all at once.

RebelYell
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Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:40 pm

I have never done miniature wargaming but I think AGEOD delivers that aspect also.
I love to shuffle my troops and think how they will march to battle and sometimes even follow some individual units more closely trough the war. :love:

RebelYell
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Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:52 pm

Now that I think about it, the leaders are also a source of some role-playing.
I would maybe expand the gaining of traits or make it an option.
I have clear favorites that I will support forward in their career.
Especially the Western theater is an exciting game of "what ifs" for the Confederate player.

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MikeV
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ACW titles

Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:52 pm



I tried it, but found that (much like other Grigsby titles) it's overly complicated but just not much fun. I may be a grognard, but I also want this new-fangled computer thingy to relieve me of having to micro-manage all those details and calculations ... :bonk:
Long ago, my favorite tactical ACW titles were the Talonsoft "Battleground:" series (ah, the joys of computerized cardboard chits on hex maps :p apy: ).
My favorite strategic ACW title was The Road From Sumter to Appomattox (RFSTA, for fans).

This latest AGE-based edition is a good version of the latter. All that's missing is a usable tactical system (sorry, the "battle planner" just doesn't do it for me :fleb :) .

Oh, and a good "fuzzification" of the precise internal numerical quantities. In my (not-so-humble) opinion, the most important thing to learn about good generalship (after understanding the difference between leadership and mere management) is making decisions in the field based on uncertain, incomplete, and conflicting information (knowing that your force of combat power "128" is facing an enemy force of combat power "127" just doesn't represent the "fog of war" that every general since Menes has had to face).
:dada:
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RebelYell
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Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:01 pm

MikeV wrote:I tried it, but found that (much like other Grigsby titles) it's overly complicated but just not much fun. I may be a grognard, but I also want this new-fangled computer thingy to relieve me of having to micro-manage all those details and calculations ... :bonk:
Long ago, my favorite tactical ACW titles were the Talonsoft "Battleground:" series (ah, the joys of computerized cardboard chits on hex maps :p apy: ).
My favorite strategic ACW title was The Road From Sumter to Appomatox (RFSTA, for fans).

This latest AGE-based edition is a good version of the latter. All that's missing is a usable tactical system (sorry, the "battle planner" just doesn't do it for me :fleb :) .

Oh, and a good "fuzzification" of the precise internal numerical quantities. In my (not-so-humble) opinion, the most important thing to learn about good generalship (after understanding the difference between leadership and mere management) is making decisions in the field based on uncertain, incomplete, and conflicting information (knowing that your force of combat power "128" is facing an enemy force of combat power "127" just doesn't represent the "fog of war" that every general since Menes has had to face). :dada:


I would like to get the info from the enemy stacks as men and guns, that would bring more "fog of war" as you dont know their true combat power.

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MikeV
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Fog of war

Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:06 pm

RebelYell wrote:I would like to get the info from the enemy stacks as men and guns, that would bring more "fog of war" as you dont know their true combat power.


That would be OK, especially if incorrect. It would also be interesting to get "false positive" reports (one reason McClellan was so paralyzed IRL was because he believed he confronted all these illusory forces larger than his). Both could be tied to the leader's ratings and/or the intel value of the stack(s). :cool:

Some old board games had "phantom" unit chits for this purpose. Perhaps the best example was Panzer Group Guderian's (PGG, for fans) use of "unknown strength" chits for the Soviet units: neither side knew the quality of those units until they had "seen the elephant." I also recall that the board game Terrible Swift Sword (TSS, for fans) had a "seeing the elephant" table for use upon a unit's 1st combat.

RebelYell
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Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:10 pm

MikeV wrote:That would be OK, especially if incorrect. It would also be interesting to get "false positive" reports (one reason McClellan was so paralyzed IRL was because he believed he confronted all these illusory forces larger than his). Both could be tied to the leader's ratings and/or the intel value of the stack(s). :cool:


But his would have to be only for the player or players, I dont think any AI can handle it, but it would be a great option in the settings.

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Narwhal
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Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:14 pm

What I like about AGEOD games is the Freebox of actions. They give you an army, a starting situation, now good luck and win the war :

- No "missions'
- No "production centers", which would be obvious objectives
- No "no one can go here" tiles, which would focus the actions artifically into a few axis only
- Total freedom of making and remaking your forces. Want a small "light force" to scout ahead r use difficult terrain ? 5 clicks and it is done. A massive army ? 1 click and one drag & drop. 2 equally strong army ? 6 clicks and 1 drag & drop, etc... That's extremely flexible.

I did not play AACW 2, but that's what is grand in their other games I played - you have a situation, thousands of possibility - what's your decision, commander ?

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MikeV
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Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:15 pm

RebelYell wrote:But his would have to be only for the player or players, I dont think any AI can handle it, but it would be a great option in the settings.


Agreed, if only because there are other ways to make the AI behave this way. My idea is that the "audience" for sims like this one are folks who want to learn what it was like to be confronted with the same set of issues those dead white guys faced, and which actions work out better than others ... fundamentally, it's a training/learning tool that's "fun."

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John S. Mosby
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Sat Oct 19, 2013 4:10 am

DavidG3276 wrote:Can you complete a game in a few hours?


Ah...no, I don't think so.

If you want to sim the entire Civil War in a few hours, this is definitely not the game you're looking for. However, I think you should give this a closer look so you can be fully aware of what you're walking away from.

But if you don't have the patience or desire to engage in the complexity, I understand. Some folks prefer checkers over chess for a similar reason.

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Narwhal
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Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:11 am

You know, checkers is exactly as complex as chess. And not "solved" either.

It is one against one, no randomness.

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Franciscus
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Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:20 am

loki100 wrote:A different way to look at this is you can play just by concentrating on organising your armies (reasonably well), use 'power' as your basic guide to relative combat efficiency and take a common sense view of supply and replacements. You will miss out on some of the depth that is here, but there is nothing wrong to this format and you'll have fun. You can then delve in deeper as that becomes second nature.

At this level, you realise just how sound are the basic design concepts in the game - what should work, does work, so there is a bit of playing by common sense.


Agree completely. I always thought, and continue to believe, that all Ageod games can be extremely enjoying using for the most part simply common sense - in a wargame setting, of course.

Even now, even being part of the team that is doing AJE and its expansions, I do not know by heart all the details and rules, but never felt one must know everything to have a really good time

Granted, this vs AI - because I am not very interested in "winning at all costs", as most (?) multiplayer gamers supposedly are.

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minipol
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Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:07 pm

Ha, I remember "The Road From Sumter to Appomattox", my favorite CW game before ACW I en CWII came out.
I like both games of Ageod better as they are more immersive.

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Chaplain Lovejoy
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Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:48 pm

DavidG3276 wrote:Does anyone remember Avalon Hill's "Kriegspiel"?


I do. Owned it.

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