principes romanes
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What does Veteran Activation Actually Do?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:08 pm

I'm hoping to set out a bit better how Veteran activation status actually works. The idea for Veteran activation is fairly straight forward, as the tooltip in the options screen indicates: All leaders appear active when giving orders, but there is a chance they go inactive which cancels some orders and imposes some penalties. The tooltip does not indicate what the penalties / cancelled orders are.

This is what I think it does:
- If inactive, all(?) special orders are cancelled
- If inactive and in offensive posture in friendly territory, will revert to blue/blue orders (presumably the same if given assault orders)
- If inactive and forced into offensive posture in enemy territory, I don't actually think it becomes orange/blue. I assume this is because there is already a combat penalty from being inactive.
- If inactive and given assault orders in enemy territory, will revert to offensive posture (and not assault)
- If inactive, presumably will have a movement penalty - does anybody know what it is? I assume this applies in both friendly and enemy territory.
- If inactive, I assume there are combat penalties. Do they only apply in offensive/assault posture? What is the penalty?

I haven't played with the other activation rules, but how do the penalties compare to the penalties on the other three activation settings (which really should have names - maybe called low penalty, medium penalty, and big penalty activation settings?)?

Depending on how bad the penalties are for being inactive on Veteran activation, it may be that Veteran activation is more forgiving to weaker generals than 'big penalty' activation. Sure, you may not know when your very poor generals actually have an added penalty, but they do usually complete most of the orders you give them.

Not quite related, but what is the activation roll? Is it a 1-6 roll, with less than or equal to strategic rating resulting in being active, including a -1 on the roll if the leader was active the previous turn? (In which case, very off topic, but a strategy rating of 7+ doesn't seem like a huge improvement over one of 6).
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loki100
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Re: What does Veteran Activation Actually Do?

Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:34 pm

My understanding is that veteran is really the 'harsh' activation rule but with additional uncertainty. So if you fail, its most likely a formation will be fixed for the turn and a small chance that it will be mobile but with a huge malus. If it lacks Military Control in the province it will be forced into that inefficient attack stance that affects any 'inactive' stack in enemy territory (ie yes you flip to attack but you pick up a huge malus).

The key difference is that when setting your turn orders you don't know who will be inactive. This is not all bad. For eg you sometimes need an active leader to make certain organisational orders (create divisional command etc) and under veteran you can do this but not under harsh. May make it easier to sort out say the early game Army of the Potomac than it is under harsh when you can be stuck without divisions/corps till some officers wake up.

But the various penalties for failing activation, and the likelihood are identical between harsh and veteran.

Startegy of 7 can help if CinC, remember you hand out a % of your CP value to any subordinates in command range and 7 will give a higher value than 6 in this context. But agree that 7 doesn't help the individual stack commander, it has the same chance of passing as a 6.

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Durk
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Re: What does Veteran Activation Actually Do?

Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:59 am

“- If inactive, presumably will have a movement penalty - does anybody know what it is? I assume this applies in both friendly and enemy territory.
- If inactive, I assume there are combat penalties. Do they only apply in offensive/assault posture? What is the penalty?”

You should play the middle of the other three settings to see what movement penalties are incurred. These are the same penalties and then you can judge the impact upon various units in various terrain. The movement penalty is terrain dependent for the most part, though control may have minor impact. Combat penalties do not apply if in regions which sufficient control if on the defensive.

“I haven't played with the other activation rules, but how do the penalties compare to the penalties on the other three activation settings (which really should have names - maybe called low penalty, medium penalty, and big penalty activation settings?)?”

It is well worthwhile playing the other activation penalties. Some players prefer the no penalty as it provids the player maximum control. Medium activation is much like veteran activation, without the bonuses loki100 mentions. Hard activation or big is favored by players who are into serious realism. It can be frustrating because if you are not activated you may be locked; that is totally unable to move. You will truly sympathize with Lincoln. Additionally, with both medium and hard activation, if you are not active you must pass two rolls, one to activate at the end of turn and the other to check for activation at the beginning. So once a low initiative leader is locked, it may be a long time before they are once again active. With Veteran Activation there is no roll to see if you are activated, so a bit less change of being inactive.

“Depending on how bad the penalties are for being inactive on Veteran activation, it may be that Veteran activation is more forgiving to weaker generals than 'big penalty' activation. Sure, you may not know when your very poor generals actually have an added penalty, but they do usually complete most of the orders you give them.”

The penalty for being in assault mode and then becoming inactive outweighs any benefit with regard to conducting an offensive. But organizing, as above, is easier.

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Gray Fox
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Re: What does Veteran Activation Actually Do?

Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:15 am

A while back, I posted in a discussion about what to do with Generals not being active. My solution was to have two Generals of the same rank present in a region eligible for stack command of a Corps in a vital battle. The chance that both Generals would be inactive was quite small. The active commander got the command. The other posters were displeased with this obvious solution and shortly thereafter, "Veteran" activation status was added to the game. The irony with Veteran status is that it forces you to have incompetent commanders who don't obey your orders no matter what and you, as overall commander, are similarly incompetent in finding a solution to this situation. Green commanders in 1861 are just as likely to sit through a battle as supposedly "Veteran" commanders 3 years later. So Veteran status insures that you and your PbeM opponent both have a command problem beyond your command.

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Cardinal Ape
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Re: What does Veteran Activation Actually Do?

Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:06 am

Inactive commanders can use some special orders, but not all of them. I don't know each one, but I know they can't evade combat, nor can they destroy depots or forts.

The movement penalty is 35%. Its the same across all activation settings.

The combat penalty is hidden under the hood. Its not obvious what it could be, or even if there is one at all (I don't think there is.) There is no blanket -25% chance to hit or any other such thing. As far I can see in the combat logs the only thing it might be is an increased chance of elements failing their quality checks at the beginning of each round of combat. Failing the quality check results in the element losing some of their initiative and rate of fire values. If it is that, the chance seems low enough to not really matter.

I think the only difference between veteran activation and the small penalty setting is knowing who is currently active and who is not. Like Gray Fox said, its mainly there to prevent you from swapping out commanders to bypass the system of dealing with insubordinate generals. Also, you can bypass the problem of not being able to form divisions with inactive generals that happens in the small penalty setting. Calling it blind activation instead may have been better...

On the harsh setting, when your forces get locked there is nothing you can do to change it. No swapping generals. This can led to very frustrating situations, like say, where an army on the verge of starvation decides that its cool with spending another turn camping out in snowy mountains... Mac refusing an order to attack I can deal with, but when my troops refuse to fed themselves it drives me nuts. What really pours salt in the wound is that you can't disband an inactive force out of spite.

charlesonmission
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Re: What does Veteran Activation Actually Do?

Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:23 am

Good discussion. I'm playing the 1864 scenario with principes and asked him about this. We've had 3 turns on Veteran and I've not seen a single unit with a general that didn't move when expected to move. I remember in ACW units with generals would be locked down a turn and they wouldn't move. Has anyone actually seen generals with units actually not move on Veteran Option?
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Captain_Orso
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Re: What does Veteran Activation Actually Do?

Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:48 pm

There are four Activation Rule settings:
- No Activation Rules
- Normal Activation Rules
- Hardened Activation Rules
- Veteran Activation Rules.

No Activation Rules: All Leaders are always activated, and therefore never incur movement nor combat penalties for being inactive.

Normal Activation Rules: At the end of each turn Leaders check for Activation. The status is displayed at the on Leader Unit counters on the map (and counter tool-tip in the Stack Panel) in the planning phase. If a Leader is active (it has a beige, opened envelope on its counter), it operates normally during the coming turn execution. If a leader is inactive (it has a brown unopened envelope on its counter), it a has -35% movement penalty, cannot set Posture to OP, and its defensive power is reduced by the enemy MC in its region, down to -35% power at >= 35% enemy MC in the region.

Hardened Activation Rules: The same as Normal Activation Rules, except as follows:
- Inactive Leaders cannot be given movement orders at all.
- There is a small chance that a leader may become inactive at the start of turn execution, which may cancel movement orders; if in a region with <100% MC, the chances of becoming immobile are lowered inversely to the friendly MC; in other words, it is not likely to be active in one turn, and move into enemy territory, and then the next turn get locked there. I don't recall if neighboring regions are also evaluated for this.

Veteran Activation Rules aka Hidden Activation Rules: The same as Hardened Activation Rules, except all Leaders appear to be active at the start of each planning phase. Their true status is revealed during turn execution, with all consequences applied.

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Re: What does Veteran Activation Actually Do?

Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:53 pm

Hmmm, the combat penalty is only on the defensive? Seems weird. I did only test attacking with inactive commanders.. I'll have to try that.

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Durk
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Re: What does Veteran Activation Actually Do?

Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:48 pm

charlesonmission wrote:Good discussion. I'm playing the 1864 scenario with principes and asked him about this. We've had 3 turns on Veteran and I've not seen a single unit with a general that didn't move when expected to move. I remember in ACW units with generals would be locked down a turn and they wouldn't move. Has anyone actually seen generals with units actually not move on Veteran Option?


Veteran Activation is like the middle normal activation. Units are never locked with Veteran Activation. Otherwise, it is exactly like the middle activation choice. The only differences are that with Vet Activation units are never inactive at the turn's beginning and the penalty for not being activated not is carried over to the next turn.

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Gray Fox
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Re: What does Veteran Activation Actually Do?

Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:53 pm

Grant or Lee lowers his binoculars after seeing a problem developing in battle for his best subordinate just a few miles away beyond a woods. He writes an iconic Operations Order that is sure to save the day. Then he gives it to a lowly private who rides off and gets lost in those woods. Something real world like this is what the Inactive status is supposed to reflect. Crap happens! My only problem with so called Veteran status is that you are powerless to do anything about it. Ever. That's just not how it works in the real Army where I came. Some butts were meant to be kicked because people were going home in boxes. Broke things get fixed. That's my take on it.

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