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Pocus
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Tomorrow is an anniversary date!

Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:01 pm

I won't offend you by telling you exactly what happened on April 12th, a long time ago...
AACW was out in April 2007. CW2 in September 2013.

In retrospect and with some patches under its belt, how would you compare it with AACW.
What are your overall thinking of the game?
What are the biggest cool things about the game and what would you have liked to see done differently?
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Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's law."

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Gray Fox
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Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:25 pm

CW2 is an attractive update to the original. Several years of player wisdom have made a positive difference as a great game matured into an even more interesting game. I miss some of the older minor mechanics (the clicking through elements in a unit feature) and not all of the new options make any sense (indestructible depots and redoubts that actually make defense more difficult).

I always wanted a great Civil War game and I have it now.

I love the Battle Planner, the music and the overall feel of the game. However, Athena needs to heed my advice about defending her capital
I'm the 51st shade of gray. Eat, pray, Charge!

RebelYell
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Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:00 pm

Biggest cool thing is that you guys post here and want to know what we think and use the player feedback to develop a great game even better. :)

Joe Meyer
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Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:13 pm

The American Civil War Game Club is preparing to incorporate this game into its sanctioned listings to join AACW as a separate platform. All of our in-house investigations echo the plaudits the game has received elsewhere, and we are looking forward to developing both a "Northern" and "Southern" following for what is a held as a very excellent and detailed strategic/operational simulation.

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Keeler
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Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:45 pm

Pocus wrote:I won't offend you by telling you exactly what happened on April 12th, a long time ago...
AACW was out in April 2007. CW2 in September 2013.

In retrospect and with some patches under its belt, how would you compare it with AACW.
What are your overall thinking of the game?
What are the biggest cool things about the game and what would you have liked to see done differently?



First, I would like to congratulate you and the entire AGEOD team for your fine work. I'm in and out for long stretches (and about to be out again for a while) but I go all the way back to 2007, and a little further if you count Birth of America. In that time the overall quality and depth of AGEOD games has improved, and while the output has increased the team has remained responsive and open to the community.

Overall, I think CW2 is a better game at this stage in its development. I can't speak to multiplayer, but the single player experience offers a deeper, more challenging experience. My thoughts on specific areas:

The Map

In most ways, I like the larger map. It remains surprisingly large and I am still discovering things about it after several months. However, at this point in the game's life much of it is underused. This is more of an observation than a criticism, and I suspect other areas will come into play down the road. Part of me wonders what the game would be like if there were a few more regions in northern Virginia. But I say that with the knowledge that this map already has more regions in in northern Virginia than all the other Civil War Strategy games combined.

Athena

It's a lot better, and the AI in AACW was already great. Less reckless overall now; the deep raiding is all but gone. On the other hand my stacks often wind up destroying lone cavalry brigades blundering into my defensive stacks especially in Virginia. At times she's too conservative, even when using the optimized settings. There are times when I feel like I should be attacked, and Athena sits on the defensive. For example, if a player is besieging the capital or a major objective the AI should concentrate her forces and attack. Athena still gets hung up on secondary and tertiary objectives such as coastal holdings, Fort Leavenworth, and the Far West. I typically see these areas with 1200 power stacks that could make a real difference on the main fronts. Another poster recently pointed out Athena doesn't seem to play for National Morale. I don't know if this is something programming can address, but it might be the next step forward for what is one of the best AIs out there.

Cards

Probably the most controversial change from AACW. Personally I like the idea of cards and the dynamics they introduce, but it's an aspect that needs to fleshed out and balanced.

User Interface

Again, steps in the right direction. I like the new unit recruitment system. As others have suggested, reorganizing how the units appear in the recruitment panel (so that they appear in order by state) would make things even better. Don't know if it's possible, but being able to assign a "go-to" location after completion would be nice as well.

One thing I think you should look into for the future is changing or clarifying certain terms. There can be confusion over terms like Stack and Unit, particularly when it comes to some unit abilities, even for veteran players. I think it stems from the fact that divisions can either be both units and stacks, and that some elements with special abilities can be found both in brigade units and as independent elements which can then be added to division units.

Leadership

Something I was hoping for and didn't see in CW2 was a bit more control over leader promotions. It can be hard to get any leaders to promote from combat experience, let alone the good ones.

Unit Recruitment

I wish integrated 6lb artillery still upgraded to 12lb artillery, at a cost. Or that there were more brigades without integrated artillery. This, in my opinion, is a step backwards from AACW.

Modding

I can't remember how it worked with AACW, but so far there hasn't been much modding support for CW2. I know this has been discussed previously, but I bring it up because it's probably what was (and is) most missed.


These are some thoughts and suggestions, and are not intended as criticism. This is a wonderful game, and I appreciate you taking the time to check with us.
"Thank God. I thought it was a New York Regiment."- Unknown Confederate major, upon learning he had surrendered to the 6th Wisconsin.

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ArmChairGeneral
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Fri Apr 11, 2014 9:27 pm

Modding
+1
I have an OOB, a set of leaders, some artwork and a good period map as a reference for structure placement, and am ready to start on a Texas Revolution scenario....

Overall
Love the reboot. I went back and played AACW recently just to compare, and aside from a couple of UI problems already mentioned by other posters I found that I very much preferred the new version. At first I did not like the new color scheme, but it has grown on me. (It is, nonetheless, sometimes difficult to see region borders.)

The tooltips and manual are not 100% accurate (not that they were in AACW) and especially for the RGDs are sometimes vague. This is not a problem for veteran players, but is probably bad for newer players. A more fleshed out CW2Wiki would help (although that is up to the rest of us, not the developers). A few of the newer concepts like Development Level are poorly documented.

I like the new raiding balance, auto-garrison and rail auto-repair have put raiding in its proper place IMO.

RGDs could use a bit of tweaking, some of them have dubious effects or heavily-restricted usage and never get played (Runner comes to mind, Road also).

I am a fan of the Far West, it reminds me a lot of WIA: small unit tactics in an area where terrain, supply and attrition matter a lot. Unfortunately the Sibley campaign appears almost unwinnable for the CSA. (I have only won once out of more than a dozen CSA attempts, and I have no idea how I got that one, it was back in 1.02. As the Union, I have won all but my very first attempt.)

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tripax
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Sun Apr 13, 2014 3:46 pm

I was actually very disturbed by this post at first, yesterday being the 150th anniversary of Fort Pillow (for bad or worse, not a happy anniversary). That said, congratulations AGEOD. I started playing AACW a few months before ACW2 came out, thinking the newer one would be less likely to work on my laptop. I liked it so much I had to get ACW2, and I love it. I find the Far West a very nice addition - even in the two theater April 1861 campaign I play out west a lot (home, sweet home). I've never modded much, but I am excited to maybe make a mod for the game, and quite enjoy how clearly the game seems designed for such work. In game, I like the level of modelling, I play my game like I'm reading a history and I am very rarely distracted by weird outcomes that seem impossible or unwieldy (as long as I don't cheat and look at Athena's hinterland, I mean, which always seems weird). I also like that there seem to still be a number of things I don't do right (some cards, some decisions, and even stack balance and troop usage), so that I can envision improving my play for a long time.

My favorite parts of the game are the connections between the game and history. I think that future events will expand this, and I'm looking forward to these. For instance, I could imagine irregulars such as Quantrill's in Missouri also appearing in West Virginia. Hopefully future unit and leader mods will, too.

One of my least favorite parts is how differently Athena plays than I think a human would. I like to imagine Lee always knowing what his opponent was thinking, and I never feel that way against Athena. But I think that is one of my favorite parts, too (and I'll try PBEM someday to see how another human plays).

clandini5
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Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:35 pm

With respect tripax I believe Pocus is referring to the anniversary of the bombardment of Fort Sumter, I admit I was a little stumped myself for awhile.
Cards: I like the addition of the cards they add both flavor and choices to the game.
Unit recruitment: I like the panel and I really like being able to place my units.
Counters: took a little getting used to (Bishop Polk really threw me for a bit) but I find them overall easier for my eyes to look at.
AI: I find the AI quite capable so far and challenging (always good for Single Player).

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soundoff
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Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:46 pm

Being totally brutal and honest I do not think that CW2 can hold a candle to AACW. More up to date in many respects it might be.....but to this player at least its a far poorer gaming experience. Qualifying my statement somewhat I freely admit that I only enjoy Pbem. Athena holds no attraction for me whatsoever nor does she offer much of a challenge once you get the hang of the game.

On the plus side the graphics are far far better and its a brilliant feature to be able to place where units are to be built. The additional regions are to be welcomed but as someone who plays against human opponents that's about it. The AI may or may not be more challenging than in AACW but on that I am unable to comment.

Areas of improvement I expected to be forthcoming in CW2 given the long history of AACW were a better naval game. It was so under developed in AACW and remains so in CW2. I'd hoped that retreat paths would have improved significantly even perhaps to the extent of players being able to specify where stacks should fall back to yet they seem to be as haphazard as they ever were.

Whilst the ability to place unit builds was most welcome the method of actually choosing which units to build was better implemented in AACW

The introduction of the cards I loathe and detest. The number and variety and in many instances the effects give the feeling of a 'sandbox' rather than a 'strategy' game. At times I feel its almost like playing 'snap' ...........you play a demo card and I'll play a habe card. You plonk a partisan down and I'll plonk a partisan down.

Given that the game engine has been in development for over 7 years now I had hoped for an easier way of putting divisions/corps together. Its far to clunky and I find if I really want to keep a handle on things I have to resort to pen and paper which in this day and age of computer development is criminal.

In the battle reports could also do with a deal more work to make them easily understandable and more detailed as all elements of divisions engaged are not shown .

I like the idea of the battle planner but in two player mode its not available. In similar fashion its about time the AGEOD engine made Human v Human play a little more secure than it is. With the loss of the ability to password protect what small amount of security there was has been removed.

Even though I've given CW2 a hammering I must confess to still enjoying the game although I am beginning to suspect that I get the most enjoyment from the AGEOD fraternity and those who through the medium of these boards I've managed to lock horns with.

If I ruffle any feathers or set any cats amongst the pigeons I apologise in advance. In my defence all I can say is that you did ask :love:

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tripax
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Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:57 pm

I'm not very familiar with AACW, having only played a few games before I decided to get the new one. Cards aside (which might be a big issue for some), why do you think AACW was better?

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jack54
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Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:36 am

I would love to see the single line scrolling window open up to show all options instead of 10 items and then needing to scroll to see the rest; Example the buildable unit, and the regional decision lists. Closer to the wood boxes in AACW.

As mentioned Organize Buildable units by state not size.

A side specific interface similar to the Mod made by Forum member Fred Zeppelin. I really like the way he incorporated North and South Flags, weapons, and money. (Picaron's wood interface Mod is also nice option to have).


and thanks for asking. :)


Edit: I think the tool tips are amazing... I like how it calculates conscripts and such at the top of the screen.

As for the game overall I really like the layers of detail. The maps is great... while originally quite intimidating; it's huge.
AGE games I own; RUS ,AJE, BOR, H:ToR, AACW, WIA, ROP,NC, CWII, Espana 1936, TYW
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soundoff
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Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:22 am

tripax wrote:I'm not very familiar with AACW, having only played a few games before I decided to get the new one. Cards aside (which might be a big issue for some), why do you think AACW was better?


Stupid me I missed the most important bit as to why I reckon AACW knocked spots off of CW2. When I first encountered AGEOD there was only BoA and this embryonic AACW which had an inspired system for deciding victory called NM. Apart from events which generally seemed quite sensible to this player at least NM always had to be fought for. Pluses and minuses were something you treasured or fretted over as they were key to the game. They were hard won on the battlefield and you were loathe to lose them. They were at he heart of the game engine. Then along comes CW2 and somehow they are suddenly nerfed. Supposedly they remain integral to the game. They ostensibly remain the means by which outright victory is achieved but now we have 'auto balancing'. Where the heck did that come from? because it was not evident or active in AACW unless NM fell to some very low number or war weariness set in. On top of that we have the ..... to me......daft situation where if you besiege a structure and the units inside surrender you lose/gain 1NM. How absurd. So I can fight an important battle and win handsomely and cause a few thousand casualties to the enemy and somehow its not worth as much as 640 militia surrendering to a 1000 troops that are besieging a small town. Or I could lose an undefended large city lets say somewhere like a Baltimore yet its not worth any NM yet a level 1 city defended by a single militia unit is? Its even worse when you consider that you often cannot do anything about sieges. Now you just send a semi decent unit to a structure wherein lies a locked militia garrison. Sit there for a few turns and hey presto you get a NM boost.

The same is true for the cards. The effects are totally over the top. +1NM for playing this or that card. Want to destroy a depot that your opponent has worked darned hard to construct in the face of stiff hostile opposition. No problem.... just play a card. And you can have a division defending and they still will not stop a few partisans. That's just so unrealistic IMHO.

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Pocus
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Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:07 am

Thanks you all from your honesty, praises and criticisms :)

The date refers to the bombardment of Fort Sumter which is, if not mistaken, the date kept as the start of the ACW.
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tripax
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Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:17 am

@Pocus - Ah, right. I kept reading sad stories on the 12th since it was the 150th anniversary of Pillow (being the 153rd anniversary of Sumter was secondary, round number bias).

@Soundoff/all - As a non-PBEM player (so far), I agree that it can be surprisingly easy to move NM (and that this is a demerit). I could see how much more frustrating that could be in PBEM. NM is super important for the economics of the game, even if NM victories are a bit harder now.

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Lindi
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Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:00 pm

For me CW2 are very good new map and very good picture for troop/leader. So for the new graphics is all good for me.

One thing I prefer of CW1 is fight rapport. I love see who dead in fight. But is really more hard to understand the fight or just not love the new rapport.

3 Suggestion :
1- Change format for number of dead... the old rapport are very good format for the nomber of kill / total
2- Give me more information in global fight rapport and keep the new rapport for detail area (for each round)
3 - When I play a fight in RoP I see in log the what he do in fight, but fight rapport (when new turn is load) not have that after, if you can give new area for that, for can read the log fight (retrait, round 1 only 2er Corps is in fight), that can really help and is very good to read.

Keep the new rapport for detail area, and use the old rapport for the global area.

RebelYell
General of the Army
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Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:06 pm

The battle report really needs some work, should be useful for future games so not wasted to develop that.

vonRocko
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Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:27 pm

I like the new game, but I prefer the old one. I'm not even sure why. The new one feels "ahistorical" to me. Like I said it is a good game, and it is my own mental hurdle I must get over.

minipol
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Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:27 pm

I played AACW and now CWII and I like CWII way better. I hope the changes make it into AJE.
The only things that bother me a bit:
- attacking multi entrenched positions against better generals and over a river don't always result in the expected big losses
- i've had 30.000 troops attack 6000 union troops south of richmond. The union boys were out of supply and it still took 6 turns to get them. When you have these kind of numbers, and lots of cavalry, you should be able to encircle the enemy faster and capture hem. My generals were better too.
- the union likes to do death marches in KY
-i agree with the comments on the battle screen
- union seemed to recover morale too quickly even with high casualties

To conclude, its one of the most addictive games I've played

Edit: I hope that maybe in the future more stats could make their way into an expansion pack. I posted it before in the improvements forum.

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Keeler
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Sun Apr 20, 2014 4:49 pm

Pocus, why were the corps name system and badge icons from AACW not incorporated into CW2? The files are in the CW2 folders. It's a little touch that missing from an overall better game.
"Thank God. I thought it was a New York Regiment."- Unknown Confederate major, upon learning he had surrendered to the 6th Wisconsin.

richfed
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Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:02 pm

Keeler wrote:Pocus, why were the corps name system and badge icons from AACW not incorporated into CW2? The files are in the CW2 folders. It's a little touch that missing from an overall better game.


Yes! I complained often that Divisions could use some sort of symbol similar to the Diamond & Star of Corps & Armies. Rather, we now have nothing.

Also, it was cool to see the NM & VP totals go up or down, in real-time, as a battle was fought.

Love both games, but I am playing CW2, so I guess that's the one I prefer!

khbynum
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Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:18 am

I've actually reverted to AACW. CW2 brought a much better main UI and admittedly better graphics, but other than that only the cards (trivial chrome, which distort game play), the expanded far West (interesting, but had absolutely no effect on the Civil War), changes in NM rules that emphasize game rather than simulation, and crashes. In other words, it looks better but really isn't.

Excuse me if I'm not impressed. I'll go back to Wars in America for a while, until they work the bugs out of this one.

PS. Please do not take this post as a blanket criticism of AGEod. I own WiA and all the AJE/BoR games and enjoy them all. I'm looking forward to the 2nd Punic War game and anything you do in the future. Monitoring my computer system functions this afternoon, I noticed that I have a number of games that make my GPU (= eyes) heat up, but only AGEod games seem to make my CPU (= brain) heat up.

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Ace
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Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:07 am

To all those who feel that new NM resilience system has too large impact on the NM, making it difficult to drive enemy's NM down, I made a mini mod in the modding section of the forum, nerfing NM autobalance quite a bit.

P.S.

I also nerfed the marines down a bit as well. So, thanks to ageod releasing database files, I've moded the game to include what I liked more in aacw and kept what I liked more in cw2 ;)

Cheers :wacko:

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