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Colonel Marbot
Lieutenant
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:00 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA.

Options and ratcheting up the AI challenge

Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:45 pm

Reading through some of the recent comments of the "Negative Nicks" … or "haters" as the kids call them on social media who once more started a round of bad-mouthing this game, gave me the motivation to start my third campaign game. (I successfully had completed two previous ones). The haters prematurely killed sales of this wonderful simulation and have ensured that a much needed DLC was never released. Civil War II got no such negative reception and has now gone through half a dozen updates, now? If only such updates were available for Wars of Napoleon, to further polish it.


I know that many are hesitant to change the settings and levels of play for their campaigns, but making some changes can make a world of difference to how challenging the game can be. To provide some background, Napoleon was a master strategist and brilliant at Grand Tactics. His weakness was in Grand Strategy, or rather who and when to go to war. It was the invasion of Russia and the constant drain of Spain which destroyed his amazing fighting machine. He also would have been well advised to come to some arrangement with England, and he needn't have alienated his natural ally the United States. If Napoleon had decided to merely maintain control of western Europe and Poland, he would likely have continued to defeat the Austrians, Prussians and the occasional Russian army coming west.


That being said, it is up to the player to decide if he will follow Napoleonic strategy, however, the game conditions do require taking Moscow, Madrid and London, and this will need to be pursued, but not necessarily at the time that Napoleon chose to do so.

Napoleon always trounced the Allies, at least up until his army was destroyed and replaced with younger soldiers and foreign components, so complaining that the AI does not fight well enough is probably quite realistic. In many cases it was a lack of supply or harshness of weather which caused him the greatest losses, and the first change to the options should be to turn off easy supply. Supply can be a nightmare in Poland and east and if you want the same challenges, this option is essential. I just learned a painful lesson in this latest campaign when I allowed Davout's III corp to come out of winter cantonments early, lay siege to Danzig and then cut off from supply when the weather turned again, literally evaporate at the gates of Danzig. And my efforts to rush Lannes and Murat to reopen supply was incredibly slow, difficult and costly.

Historic attrition is a setting that is also a big challenge when you are using the full supply rules. Since a lack of supply will increase attrition losses such as those sustained with low supply and in harsh weather.

Another setting is to turn up the difficulty level. I am playing Lieutenant on this game and along with that change, Took detection setting to medium (helping the AI). I also gave the AI additional calculation time. I mean, it takes 20 minutes for me to complete my side of a turn, given game cards, events, restocking my replacement pools and putting in diplomatic initiative. I guess it is only fair to give the AI more time to plot its move. With these settings, the AI is throwing me a regular number of curve balls, mostly in the way of very inconvenient counterattacks against, single corps.

With larger losses coming from the enhanced difficulty, enhanced AI and supply challenges, economics become more challenged as you are having to dedicate much larger amounts of resources to just replacing your losses.

Another setting is to impose the traffic rules which slow down units using the same route and really enforce the usage of Battle Squares and having parallel lines of march. Getting your troops to the battle field is a key element for victory and the traffic rules will make your job much harder.


One change I would not recommend has to do with AI aggressiveness, as I have found it can make the AI act rashly, rather than necessarily effectively.


Lastly, I would say that if you are not using the Battle Planner, you are losing a great deal in gameplay. It is picking the battle tactics that are optimal given the force balance of the artillery, infantry and cavalry, combined with the leaders skills and special abilities that give the battles flavor and can make a huge difference in the battle outcome. For instance, using a Grand Battery with Napoleon's Bounding Artillery option is a great one for minimizing French losses. If you have Murat commanding a battle with his cavalry reserve, you don't choose a infantry charge and instead try to envelop with his cavalry numbers.

Hope that some of you try cranking up the difficulty level with options. It can give you a much more realistic flavor to the game.

gwgardner
Brigadier General
Posts: 448
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:46 pm

Re: Options and ratcheting up the AI challenge

Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:31 am

Informative post. Sure hope it encourages others to try some solo games.

I actually have those settings pretty much in my current game. I'm trying something kind of odd, I guess, a long-term type experiment playing Prussia solo. I'm in December 1805 right now, France has defeated Austria, and in the middle of the winter is currently skirmishing with Russia and the British and Spanish are squabbling in Spain. Meanwhile I'm trying to figure out what to do as Prussia - so far pretty much nothing other than try some diplomatic efforts and some local improvements.

I've been hesitant to rile the French, Russians, and the rest of the German states by pursuing Prussia's objectives, but have to bear down on that soon.

I only play one or two turns a day, so it's going to take a while. I'll let you all know here eventually if it was a complete waste of time or actually an interesting effort.

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Colonel Marbot
Lieutenant
Posts: 133
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:00 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA.

Re: Options and ratcheting up the AI challenge

Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:52 am

Hi Gwgardner: It is good to hear you are still playing this.

I have never played he Prussian side, so by all means keep us posted on your progress.

Just imagining how I would play it, my quick thought would be to try and pick up points against Denmark and maybe an early Holland before it is annexed by Napoleon. Try to delay the war with the French, but when it inevitably comes, do everything I could to preserve those large Prussian armies. I guess I would try to hold the Elbe, counterattacking French beachheads, and when that becomes untenable, fall back to the Oder, then to a Warsaw/Danzig line, then the Vistula, making Napoleon pay for every surge eastwards, and then allowing Polish supply issues to make life hard on him. If I could sign an early peace, get out of the war with the loss of as little western territory as possible, and hopefully use a strong Cavalry force under Blucher to interdict the diplomatic conditions necessary for the creation of Westphalia and Poland. If you can hold on the Prussian army, allowing it to reorganize and modernize, you could cause some havoc and have some fun doing it.

gwgardner
Brigadier General
Posts: 448
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:46 pm

Re: Options and ratcheting up the AI challenge

Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:26 pm

Thanks for those tips and insights. I was floundering, other than the one goal of keeping the Prussian army in existence till it can modernize. Obviously I need to spend more time pondering the geographical realities and possibilities, relative to the other countries objectives.

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SMikh
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Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:55 pm
Location: S-Petersburg, Russia

Re: Options and ratcheting up the AI challenge

Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:14 pm

Hi Colonel Marbot and other gents! :hat:

I became a real AGEod "hard-core-fan" 1,5 years ago and now practice only "solo game" - I am playing all sides and only Grand Campaigns. :dada:
Those games are too good to waste time with AI ;) And reading this Forum I was wonder - I'm not the only one. :wacko:
Now I have started a several titles by "solo": BOA2, TEAW, ACW2, RUS, and WON (I hope super Title for "solo").
To be honest - most of the games just started (3-5 turns), except RUS (30% done, it's my favorite one).
And, Colonel Marbot , for all of my games I set exactly the same options for AI as you mentioned above. I think this setting get us the best experience and flavor.

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