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ajarnlance
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An army and a Corps walk out of a siege unharmed.....

Mon Dec 01, 2014 5:42 pm

This is ridiculous and needs to be changed asap... I have been laying siege to a French army and a French Corps inside Aachen for a couple of turns... waiting patiently for the surrender event. This turn I notice that there is nobody left inside Aachen... an entire Army and a Corps just walked out... tens of thousands of men... without taking a single hit... this is supposed to be realistic... historical... accurate...??
I have attached game files below. Here are screenshots... the log tells me that I had only a 32% chance of engaging each force.. even though I have two huge armies (one with 6-3-3 Mackensen) parked outside the city.. thousands of men just stroll back to the French lines... their chances of evading my besieging armies should be miniscule.. maybe a very small stealthy force could try but still it would be difficult... instead it is 68%.. this is absurd and makes sieges a joke.. if I had known this I would have assaulted and killed them all last turn.
besieged garrisons should be trapped with no way to escape. historically there were only two outcomes to sieges... the besieged garrison surrendered or the city was taken and usually sacked. this is unbalancing the game. 20,000 men, artillery, supply wagons, aeroplanes and other telegraph equipment don't sneak out of a siege... i say again.. this is a joke.

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Game files:

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Attachments
Replay_ENT.zip
(1.21 MiB) Downloaded 39 times
Lance-Joseph-Paul-PBEM.zip
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LJ WF1.png
French leave Aachen.png
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Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:39 am

The title of this thread sounds like the beginning of a joke.
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Altaris
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Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:17 am

I'll take a look this week as I get time. I agree this isn't WAD. Might have to do with Patrol values of units not being high enough, these were reduced at one point to keep MC from changing as quickly as other AGEOD games, but may have made it a bit too easy to sneak units out of situations like this. Should be relatively easy to fix by making infantry elements had bad Evasion values.

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Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:42 am

It looks like the 2130 power French stack is in Aachen as well, yes? If so, they broke the siege. I've had this happen in CW2 as well. You would expect the interlopers to be required to attack and force the besieging force out of the region in order to lift the siege, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way.

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Wed Dec 03, 2014 7:30 am

Merlin wrote:It looks like the 2130 power French stack is in Aachen as well, yes? If so, they broke the siege. I've had this happen in CW2 as well. You would expect the interlopers to be required to attack and force the besieging force out of the region in order to lift the siege, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way.


Nope, the French stack is not in Aachen.

What I did is I split my two armies trapped in Aachen down to individual units. Set them on G/G and evade combat, and marched them through the beseiging army and south, without a man lost or shot fired.

I had to wait until the trapped troops where starved and decreased in strength to boost their chances of evading before skipping town. But I got my boys out. 35 units. 16 of those half strength infantry.

It was pretty stupid so I didn't think it would work. But I tested a bit with my raiders, and once about six supply carts wandered into enemy territory without getting touched. So I figured if I'm going to lose them anyway, I'd see if I could walk them out.

The Germans had about 1700 CP sitting on Aachen anyway so I wasn't going to be able to relieve the Aachen by force, so I gambled, and in this case, got lucky.
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ajarnlance
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Wed Dec 03, 2014 8:49 am

Altaris wrote:I'll take a look this week as I get time. I agree this isn't WAD. Might have to do with Patrol values of units not being high enough, these were reduced at one point to keep MC from changing as quickly as other AGEOD games, but may have made it a bit too easy to sneak units out of situations like this. Should be relatively easy to fix by making infantry elements had bad Evasion values.


Decreasing evasion values won't really fix the problem IMO. The fact is that besieged forces should not be allowed to escape sieges at all... it just never happened historically... I'm not talking a few individuals slipping out of a siege here. We're talking infantry divisions, artillery, supply wagons... they should have ZERO chance of walking out of a siege. The French walked an entire Army and a Corps out of Aachen without even a scratch. All you have to do is break your forces up into individual units and set them to passive posture. This is a serious flaw in the game mechanics. The only way those forces should escape is if a relief force makes the besiegers retreat out of the region. I have also noticed that it is way too easy for forces to evade period in this game. This was the era of trench warfare but we have cavalry raids happening behind the lines like it was the American Civil War.. and they are difficult to catch. As Jinx says above, even supply wagons can wander into enemy regions and escape unharmed.

PS nobody broke the siege in Aachen... the only thing that is broken is the game mechanics regarding sieges. This is a huge loop hole that ruins the game and it needs patching.
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Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:27 pm

Your insisiting on armies never walking out of sieges doesn't really help you as we do have an important WWI case of this exactly happening. The Belgian Army with 5 of its double sized infantry divisions as well as cavalry and artillery walked out of besieged and partially invested Antwerp because the Germans had failed to block the supposed passage behind the Scheld. Not to mention a large number of third line troops as well as civilians escaping to the neutral Netherlands. So armies could indeed escape a siege by walking out. Whether that should be possible in your example is another question.

P.S.: Splitting an army into separate units to effect an evacuation seems rather gamey to me.
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Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:22 pm

caranorn wrote:P.S.: Splitting an army into separate units to effect an evacuation seems rather gamey to me.


Agreed. Like I said, it was a stupid idea and it shouldn't have worked. We made a house rule to not be able to do that again. The only reason I personally accepted this tactic was because it was a miss slip of a click that sent both armies into Aachen in the first place. Trapping them.
In my opinion, it is far to easy to accidentally send armies into garrison and the only real clue one has is two little white splotches on the little tab.

Also we accepted it because the failed game mechanics I suffered in Cattaro, where I won three major British victories without gaining any MC (although one battle even boosted my NM!) A feature that has been repeated in a french landing in Africa.
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ajarnlance
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Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:15 pm

caranorn wrote:Your insisiting on armies never walking out of sieges doesn't really help you as we do have an important WWI case of this exactly happening. The Belgian Army with 5 of its double sized infantry divisions as well as cavalry and artillery walked out of besieged and partially invested Antwerp because the Germans had failed to block the supposed passage behind the Scheld. Not to mention a large number of third line troops as well as civilians escaping to the neutral Netherlands. So armies could indeed escape a siege by walking out. Whether that should be possible in your example is another question.

P.S.: Splitting an army into separate units to effect an evacuation seems rather gamey to me.


Actually I didn't know about that.... I have learned something new.. thank you. However, you must agree that this is the exception to the rule... thousands of sieges have taken place over centuries of warfare and instances like the one you mention are very rare indeed.
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Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:34 pm

Some cities, especially large 'modern' ones, may be harder to surround then others, like when they have canals and rivers going in and out.

Like Antwerp, or Stalingrad in WWII, that was never isolated. And Leningrad was able to open supply lines at times.

The city where I live, Groningen, from the Middle Ages to the Newest Times could only be besieged from the South, unless completely independent expeditions getting there from the North would be started (because it is situated on a narrow sand ridge through a marshy environment that could be flooded completely. During the Dutch Revolt that took many years. Without that, only direct assault would be an option, as supply and reinforcements could always enter the city.

These situations are not trivial to simulate with the Ageod engine.

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Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:16 pm

It's a problem of abstraction. Why do you think a siege is 100% airtight? It's not. I think it's ok to have sometimes stacks escape a besieging, as the Antwerp example showed, but it should happen with lower probabilities. Artillery and supply units should lower this probability, cavalry only units should have this higher. This is how I imagine it. Slower units lower, faster units faster.

But 68% chance of catching up in this example is way to high. A 1700-power stack is huge in EAW. And it happened twice!!
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Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:42 pm

Kensai wrote:It's a problem of abstraction. Why do you think a siege is 100% airtight? It's not. I think it's ok to have sometimes stacks escape a besieging, as the Antwerp example showed, but it should happen with lower probabilities. Artillery and supply units should lower this probability, cavalry only units should have this higher. This is how I imagine it. Slower units lower, faster units faster.

But 68% chance of catching up in this example is way to high. A 1700-power stack is huge in EAW. And it happened twice!!


It should be pretty air tight.. examples of large numbers of troops... whole divisions/ corps and armies sneaking out of sieges are very rare. Remember that the percentage chance you are referring to is the chance to engage the forces escaping a siege... it is no guarantee that the force will be destroyed... in fact if the escaping force is in passive/passive posture it will prob. take a few hits and then retreat to a friendly region. The 'escape siege' loop hole is also unbalancing the game. As the CP my most vulnerable cities to siege are in my colonies... the forces in these cities cannot escape because there are no friendly regions adjacent... so I will take some morale hits for sure. But if every time I siege a city in Europe the garrison walks I lose any chance of surrender and a corresponding morale gain.
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Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:53 pm

Jinx wrote:Nope, the French stack is not in Aachen.

What I did is I split my two armies trapped in Aachen down to individual units. Set them on G/G and evade combat, and marched them through the beseiging army and south, without a man lost or shot fired.

I had to wait until the trapped troops where starved and decreased in strength to boost their chances of evading before skipping town. But I got my boys out. 35 units. 16 of those half strength infantry.

It was pretty stupid so I didn't think it would work. But I tested a bit with my raiders, and once about six supply carts wandered into enemy territory without getting touched. So I figured if I'm going to lose them anyway, I'd see if I could walk them out.

The Germans had about 1700 CP sitting on Aachen anyway so I wasn't going to be able to relieve the Aachen by force, so I gambled, and in this case, got lucky.


As a spectator that's pretty funny, though I imagine it would be really frustrating for ajarnlance. It definitely shouldn't be possible.

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Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:55 am

I don't have any control over whether units can walk out of a besieged structure or not (this is handled engine level). However, I will look at Patrol/Evasion values and see if anything can be done here to resolve the issues you are having. With properly set Patrol/Evasion values, ZOC should be able to keep units in sieges locked in place and unable to leave the region.

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Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:32 am

Okay, reviewed the turn files, definitely an issue due to ZOC. German forces in Aachen are generating around 270 points of ZOC, while the French infantry units have an evasion of 3 (and supply wagons an evasion of 2). When split out into individual units, they also get a +3 bonus to evasion (this is a hard-coded rule which says any unit under the CP limit of a 1-star general gets a +3 evasion bonus). So they are able to retreat to adjacent regions with either 270/6 = 45% or 270/5 = 54% MC (or it's something roughly along these calculations, the numbers are slightly off but based on the Wiki this is how the calculation is conducted). Eifel falls into this category, it is 100% WE controlled. If Eifel were, say, over 60% CP controlled, there would've been no escape route open.

So, there are a couple of different solutions:

1) Engine code change to "lock" a unit inside a structure under siege (Pocus will have to speak to the ease with which this could be implemented)
2) Evasion values of infantry/artillery/supply should be lowered (I think this should be done anyway, it's pretty hard to hide an infantry regiment during this time frame). But this wouldn't completely alleviate the issue you're seeing, Eifel would still be a viable retreat route
3) The +3 evasion bonus could be removed by either removing the hard-coded behavior (again, a Pocus question), or by setting 1-star generals to 0 CP limit (but this would require some coding changes for generals like Lettow).

Going to loop Pocus into the discussion, get his thoughts. One thing this does bring up is whether the escape route is viable or not. In this case, it's essentially a siege where there is an escape route via Eifel which has not been cut off by the enemy, which is at the heart of your problem. Again, I think you have a valid argument whether they should've been able to break out of the city in the first place, but barring that, the ZOC rules do allow for a valid retreat to Eifel.

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Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:30 am

So, there are a couple of different solutions:

1) Engine code change to "lock" a unit inside a structure under siege (Pocus will have to speak to the ease with which this could be implemented)
2) Evasion values of infantry/artillery/supply should be lowered (I think this should be done anyway, it's pretty hard to hide an infantry regiment during this time frame). But this wouldn't completely alleviate the issue you're seeing, Eifel would still be a viable retreat route
3) The +3 evasion bonus could be removed by either removing the hard-coded behavior (again, a Pocus question), or by setting 1-star generals to 0 CP limit (but this would require some coding changes for generals like Lettow).



Thanks for your analysis Altaris. I agree with all three of your proposed steps above.

1) Totally agree. I think the only way to be sure that forces don't walk away from sieges is to lock them in... they should only be able to escape if a relief force pushes the besieger out of the region.
2) Yes, evasion values seem to be too high overall for this time period of static trench warfare... I routinely get cavalry raids behind my lines on the western front and it feels more like the American Civil War than WW1.
3) This should help reduce the overall evasion problem.
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Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:53 am

ajarnlance wrote:Thanks for your analysis Altaris. I agree with all three of your proposed steps above.

1) Totally agree. I think the only way to be sure that forces don't walk away from sieges is to lock them in... they should only be able to escape if a relief force pushes the besieger out of the region.
2) Yes, evasion values seem to be too high overall for this time period of static trench warfare... I routinely get cavalry raids behind my lines on the western front and it feels more like the American Civil War than WW1.
3) This should help reduce the overall evasion problem.


I agree that evasion values across the board (land and naval) are too high at the moment.
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Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:02 pm

I was actually surprised by Ajarnlance report. I thought the code handled the situation. In fact the code handle that if you are engaged in battle and you were besieged, you are put back into the structure... But it did not handle that if you make a sortie, then you can escape with the evade fight special order...

I don't think it is good as it is, even if there are historical examples it seems that you can sortie and escape the enemy
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Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:00 pm

ajarnlance wrote:It should be pretty air tight.. examples of large numbers of troops... whole divisions/ corps and armies sneaking out of sieges are very rare. Remember that the percentage chance you are referring to is the chance to engage the forces escaping a siege... it is no guarantee that the force will be destroyed... in fact if the escaping force is in passive/passive posture it will prob. take a few hits and then retreat to a friendly region. The 'escape siege' loop hole is also unbalancing the game. As the CP my most vulnerable cities to siege are in my colonies... the forces in these cities cannot escape because there are no friendly regions adjacent... so I will take some morale hits for sure. But if every time I siege a city in Europe the garrison walks I lose any chance of surrender and a corresponding morale gain.


That's why I said it's a problem of abstraction. You probably have in mind medieval sieges with trebuchets and rotten cows thrown over a city! :p
In reality and in this modern abstraction a siege is simply cutting off the major routes and bombarding one side of the city with your artillery. It should be rare for the defenders to sneak in or out, but not entirely impossible. This should NOT be airtight. The sizes of towns, cities, and fortifications are huge in respect to other eras.
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ajarnlance
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Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:26 pm

Kensai wrote:That's why I said it's a problem of abstraction. You probably have in mind medieval sieges with trebuchets and rotten cows thrown over a city! :p
In reality and in this modern abstraction a siege is simply cutting off the major routes and bombarding one side of the city with your artillery. It should be rare for the defenders to sneak in or out, but not entirely impossible. This should NOT be airtight. The sizes of towns, cities, and fortifications are huge in respect to other eras.


I see what you mean now.. so sieges shouldn't be 100% but with a slim chance of breaking out... whole armies escaping should be rare though. Which movie was that where they catapulted a dead cow over the castle walls.. was it Monty Python and the Holy Grail? ;)
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Thu Dec 04, 2014 1:31 pm

Pocus wrote:I was actually surprised by Ajarnlance report. I thought the code handled the situation. In fact the code handle that if you are engaged in battle and you were besieged, you are put back into the structure... But it did not handle that if you make a sortie, then you can escape with the evade fight special order...

I don't think it is good as it is, even if there are historical examples it seems that you can sortie and escape the enemy


In the case I experienced the enemy didn't sortie ie join a friendly relief force in battle with the besiegers. They just set passive posture, split into individual units, divisions etc.. and walked into the next region. The log said I only had a 32% of even engaging them in battle (I had 1700 combat power besieging Aachen) and even then they would probably have evaded into friendly territory. I agree that it needs changing... it unbalances the game because you can't get a morale boost from the surrender event if the garrison has walked away. Thanks for taking a look at this! :)
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Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:33 pm

Another historic example from the ACW would be Fort Donelson. The Confederate force under siege was supposed to attack the Union and then retreat out of the region. In game terms the sortie failed (lost the battle (again in game terms, historically it was more of a draw) and the army withdrew back into the fortification to surrender soon after...

Why am I bringing up this example? Because Altaris's 1) proposal would make a sortie with following move order impossible (cannot issue move orders to a locked unit). It would also make the historic Antwerp evacuation impossible (it already mostly is in EAW due to Antwerp having no land connection to western flanders (essentially the historic escape route behind the Schelde)). While offhand I cannot think of any other cases of armies trying to evacuate from a siege without an outside relief force I'm pretty sure other cases existed. Therefore I think locking units under siege cannot be the solution...

As to 3) I'd also disagree as that rule is intended to portray colonials, light forces, raiders etc. In EAW it would be important for any operations in Africa, Arabia, Persia and probably even the eastern front.

The problem here is a gamey move, possibly suplemented by having too high an evasion rating for regular infantry, artillery and supply. Not sure this warrants a change to the game, if it does I expect tweaking ratings would be the better approach.

P.S.: Note that Aachen to Eifel doesn't seem like such a bad move to evade an enemy force (the city of Aachen is just sitting off the rough ground (the Hürgenwald of WWII fame) and would probably be difficult to invest from the southeast). Though in the end that kind of detail cannot be portrayed in a game...
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ajarnlance
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Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:36 pm

PJL wrote:I agree that evasion values across the board (land and naval) are too high at the moment.


+1. I have also noticed in the log that my chance of engaging subs in the Baltic box is a big fat ZERO... and the CP have no tech for ASW... seems pretty severe... no chance now or ever of catching Entente subs???
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Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:35 am

For AAR purposes, the garrison surrendered with honors of war and marched home. An honorable surrender agreed by the commander on the spot.

Trying to sortie and evade away is a breakout. Friendly territory nearby with loose control mattered in the game and should, whether to an organized mass or those escaping in small parties in bad weather when pickets and patrols tend to draw in and full advantage can be taken of terrain. There is also besieger overconfidence in the siege.

A broadbrush approach to changes to evasion, detection or patrol risks compromising one of the engine's finer mechanisms absent in other game designs.

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