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GraniteStater
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On Rivers and Who is Attacking or Defending

Fri May 18, 2012 8:46 pm

Some observations, perhaps more applicable to a new AACW, engendered by a current PbeM with Longshanks.



* [On Rivers]

(to LS) This has been a peeve of mine, particularly with the AI. I don't usually grouse about 'stuff', except where I was dead wrong about some movement once recently, but this one needs to be said, and, I didn't think of this beforehand, so it's not a complaint against your play. It is this: there should never be movement allowed across the lower Potomac. The game needs a 'Navigable River: Too Wide" designation. The AI is particularly egregious about this in the Chesapeake, floating a Corps or Army from the 'Tappahannock Peninsula' across to Salisbury, MD, fer cryin' out loud. One should need boats to cross the lower Potomac, Chesapeake Bay, Mobile Bay, the Great Lakes (possibly including St. Clair, except that Region incorporates the Detroit River, for example), Lake Pontchartrain, and some others. As a matter of fact, I'd just as soon see 'AutoRiver' transport canned altogether. A little research on how Morgan crossed the Ohio, etc., wouldn't be amiss. Obviously, the upper Potomac was crossed often, but, to illustrate the real problems, Burnside at Antietam had to use the bridge because, although there were fords downstream not too far away, the banks were too high; he could get infantry across, but not artillery or wagons; so they weren't really fords, as far as he was concerned. Thus, a a smallish creek that could be waded at points was, in effect, nigh impassable and a major obstacle. By extension, the lower Potomac and similar situations should be fuhgeddaboutit. (close email message)

REMARK I understand what the AutoRiver Transport function is for, but, in practice, it is much too easy for a player to run wild with it (let alone the AI perpetually sneaking Corps up the Wabash). I say this both as an offender and a victim. Perhaps there should be no AutoRiverTranspo, but, instead, a really cheap river transpo unit available that would be required. I can understand providing some functionality for the South, but I cannot recall a single significant riverine movement by CSA troops; the Union ruled the waves, and the rivulets. Again, historically, the pontoon bridge built in 1864 over the James by Grant still holds the distinction of being the longest military pontoon bridge ever built, AFAIK. There should be a similar rule/requirement in the game for major rivers and inland bodies of water.



* [On Showing Who is Attacking or Defending]

LS: sure it does! look at the combat stance of each side. The guy who is red or orange is the attacker.

GS: I don't mean the map view, nor necessarily the Posture & RoE. As far as I can tell, the actual engagement's 'profile' is not necessarily 'dictated' from these settings. Now, of course, we're talking about software and programming, so, to a large degree, of course it is 'mathematically' determined. However, this determination remains unclear to me, even though I've learned to 'study the icons' at the bottom of the Combat Screen.

To be specific, I use the full display, with the roll back & forth red 'n green semicircle. It represents the 'progress' of the battle. As a tech writer, the documentation is, ahem, somewhat unclear about this. Who's the green? The attacker (I assume so)? Red is the defender? OK, then who is who? Do the flags matter (methinks not, they are literally, window dressing)? Am I missing something on the ensuing Combat Report Screen (or Combat Screen)? I've never seen anything suggesting or stating who was the aggressor.

What if both sides are O/O? Is the force entering the Region the attacker? What about B/B? How about other combinations? Each stack can have 13 different Posture/RoE selections, thus, for two opposing stacks, 269 different and unique P/RoE interfaces for a particular fight. Some, of course, should result in no action. Then you have Evade, MTSG, weather, terrain, political conditions and how the Red Sox are doing. It's not a six sided die, nor a twelve-sided one, there's more to it.

I don't see an indication on the UI, during or after combat, on who was the attacker and who was the defender. Yes, most of the time it is not unclear, but sometimes, it is, at least to me.

So, is it me, or do I have a valid observation here?
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]
-Daniel Webster

[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]
-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898

RULES
(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.
(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.


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Longshanks
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Fri May 18, 2012 11:20 pm

I love ya like a brother, but you think too much! :cool:
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GraniteStater
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Sat May 19, 2012 12:56 am

One of these days I'm gonna get a chance to be at the design meetings.

Seriously, though, the first just irks me every time I see it. The ability to cross the lower Potomac or Chesapeake Bay, without loading onto TPs as we have them, is just plain nuts - no way, Jose. It's not good modelling, those water Regions should be coded right out for the crossing algorithm. As far as I know, with 'single' water Regions that touch two opposite shores, one can cross from Upper Canada to Ohio, no TPs needed. Sorry, ridiculous.

The second is me just asking if there is something that indicates who the attacker and defender are. Say you enter a Region on O/O, taking five days to do it. Now, the opponent rails somebody in and makes it on the fifth day and he's on O/O - who's the attacker?

One's a beef, the other's an honest inquiry.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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Captain_Orso
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Sat May 19, 2012 1:18 pm

I can answer ONE question. On the Battle-Clock™ in the middle of the Battle-Display™ your side is always on the left of the dial and the opponent's side on the right.

About "AutoRiver", it has always been my understanding that units crossing rivers are using locally commandeered transportation -- riverboats and ferries -- to cross. What the game doesn't take into account is the size of the force crossing a section of river or the location of that crossing. I would imagine that crossing for example the Potomac near Washington that the proximity to a large city would mean that there is a large amount of local river transportation to be commandeered. However crossing the Mississippi at a stretch with no larger cities in the area rather begs the question of where all the transports are coming from to be commandeered to cross a force the size of a corp or even an army.

Further, the concept of taking into account the generic transportation also begs the question of, when using rail or river transportation, how much would be needed to move a force of size-X and how long would it take to gather that amount into one location to afford the transportation of said force. To get an idea of what the issues with moving large forces per rail over any distance one should read the article provided in kezardinjnr's link in this recent thread: rail roads. Although it only provided an insight into a limited area of rail infrastructure of Union in the east, it shows what issues were prevalent during the era and the conflict.

As far as Posture and RoE are concerned, I've never seen a closer explanation to what actually happens during a battle. Even Major Tom's excellent Frontage Primer can say nothing about which leaders are chosen to determine frontage especially if one side has more than one stack in a region or if that plays any role at all or if MTSG is successful.

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GraniteStater
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Sat May 19, 2012 3:10 pm

Yes, the abstraction used to model RR&R works better with the RR, I think. The South is somewhat limited; the North much less so. The marshalling of locomotives and rolling stock is handled in the abstraction. The model breaks down a bit with riverine transportation; the 'pool' concept is more incongruent, methinks. Quite a few games have handled river crossings with a Navigable/non-Navigable distinction (which is in AACW, actually; if it lights up when moused over, it's navigable, both by the TP units and the abstracted transports); one may cross the latter, but not the former without some sort of provision.

As far as Attacker and Defender goes, well, it would be nice to know (along with not having all units in the Region shown in the Combat Screen; I would prefer just the participants), but it's certainly not a gamebreaker for me. It would help in assessment and analysis and decision making, but doesn't really impair the same.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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Stauffenberg
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Sun May 20, 2012 6:41 pm

GraniteStater wrote:To be specific, I use the full display, with the roll back & forth red 'n green semicircle. It represents the 'progress' of the battle. As a tech writer, the documentation is, ahem, somewhat unclear about this. Who's the green? The attacker (I assume so)? Red is the defender? OK, then who is who? Do the flags matter (methinks not, they are literally, window dressing)? Am I missing something on the ensuing Combat Report Screen (or Combat Screen)? I've never seen anything suggesting or stating who was the aggressor.

What if both sides are O/O? Is the force entering the Region the attacker? What about B/B? How about other combinations? Each stack can have 13 different Posture/RoE selections, thus, for two opposing stacks, 269 different and unique P/RoE interfaces for a particular fight. Some, of course, should result in no action. Then you have Evade, MTSG, weather, terrain, political conditions and how the Red Sox are doing. It's not a six sided die, nor a twelve-sided one, there's more to it.

I


I would kill, or pay for it, for some programmer to develop a nifty little add-on for the game engine here, essentially a "Combat Results Unpacker." A basic result indicating what happened on a time line, units and leaders positioned on the battlefield with frontages laid out, losses, and then a more detailed option for the fanatics to wade into the pages of calculations used to generate the vanilla (but wonderfully literate and understandable) basic combat log.

On the other hand it might damage the mystique of the game. One has all of these game mechanics and nuances being puzzled out years after its release, and to good effect; but still, at the center of it all, is this arcane oracle of a combat system. ;)

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GraniteStater
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Sun May 20, 2012 6:57 pm

Someone did make a tool, called Combat Results Reporter, or s. t. like that, but I haven't been able to get it to work right and haven't tried to use it in a long time.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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Chaplain Lovejoy
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Sun May 20, 2012 8:22 pm

An experience with generic river transportation across the Chesapeake: I, as USA, was shipping Gatling guns from, I think, Salisbury to Ft Monroe. They never made it; just disappeared. I found out a couple of game-years later that they had been captured, as I saw their icon on the CSA/AI side of a battle display. Somehow CSA intercepted and captured them en route. Ft Monroe was besieged at the time, but I had naval units all around the area. Did not see a CSA naval unit in the area at the time. Hmmm. I still wonder how CSA managed to intercept and capture my Gatling guns!
[SIZE="1"][font="Arial"]Places I've lived: 180, 314, 409, 418, 859, 1051.[/font][/size]

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GraniteStater
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Sun May 20, 2012 10:46 pm

It's probably on an episode of "History's Mysteries" on the H2 channel.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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Captain_Orso
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Mon May 21, 2012 11:12 am

Chaplain Lovejoy wrote:An experience with generic river transportation across the Chesapeake: I, as USA, was shipping Gatling guns from, I think, Salisbury to Ft Monroe. They never made it; just disappeared. I found out a couple of game-years later that they had been captured, as I saw their icon on the CSA/AI side of a battle display. Somehow CSA intercepted and captured them en route. Ft Monroe was besieged at the time, but I had naval units all around the area. Did not see a CSA naval unit in the area at the time. Hmmm. I still wonder how CSA managed to intercept and capture my Gatling guns!


While testing naval behavior a while ago I had a fleet of Union transports run into a fleet of CSA frigates and steam frigates. A battle ensued with minor results -- just a couple of hits on my transports. But after that small naval skirmish I couldn't find my Union transport fleet anywhere; and there were not that many unit in the game at all that they could get lost so badly that I should not have been able to find them, especially in the unit roster.

After lamenting my situation to Lodi -- good, ol' Lodi's had to put up with a bunch of my lamenting ;) -- I found my lost Union transports.. with the CSA fleet. They had been captured, lock, stock and barrel, without a notice anywhere. Thinking back, there may have been an indication in the battle report that I didn't notice -- it reports the number of companies captured and a sort of WS equivalent if for example a battery has been captured -- but I don't remember seeing that. I'll have to try it out again and see what happens.

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GraniteStater
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Mon May 21, 2012 1:13 pm

Thanks for the heads-ups, guys, good to know. In a similar vein, I have never had any luck intercepting AutoRiver Transpo with ironclads, gunboats, frigates, whatever - never even had an intercept, even when you would think I had the door slammed.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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Chuske
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Mon May 21, 2012 8:07 pm

Me neither. Athena in my latest AI campaign is running rings round me with river movements I can't block despite me having captured Richmond, New Orleans, Little Rock, Atlanta, Pensacola. I can't nail down Athena's remaining forces short of gaming her and leaving door open to some juicy target and then lay siege!

Its like this video, the cheeky AI rebs are like the guy in red and my union forces everyone else. If I could block river movement I'd have wrapped this campaign up ages ago...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDi83T4wEf8
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Captain_Orso
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Tue May 22, 2012 10:21 am

One thing I've noticed is if Athena is using generic river transport to slip past you, put up some entrenched artillery at key locations, where she is likely to sail by or where you'd like to prevent it, and set them to bombard -- don't use a leader in the stack, because when he goes in-activeated the artillery won't bombard. When she unsuspectingly sails past she will get smacked by the artillery. Rodmans and Columbiads work quite well for this if you really want to put the hurt on her, but even 6lb-ers can do some damage. My experience has been that she then will reduce the use of river movement greatly.

No idea where Athena is slipping past you, but I used to have her as the CS as long as she still had Prestonsburg KY, sneaking a small corp under for example Longstreet, into Prestonsburg and then motor-boating them up the Ohio to Pittsburgh. One solution to this was to post artillery along the Ohio at like Wheeling, Parkersburg, Ironton, Cincinatti, Louisville.

After getting better at the game I noticed that she wasn't doing this anymore even though I hadn't installed a single battery on the Ohio. What has changed is that I put her under much more pressure compared to previously. If she's got troops and time on her hands, she will get into mischief.

In general you will never catch and annihilate her mini-invasions. Just try to drive them out -- leave her an exit path -- and put more pressure on her to keep her from getting bad ideas again.

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Pocus
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Wed May 23, 2012 1:03 pm

There is no such thing as an 'attacking side' or a 'defending side', except if there is an assault against a city/structure.
Each stack is considered independently, and will thus get either the defensive modifiers from the terrain, or the offensive modifiers. So in theory, you can have on each side stacks which are the attackers and others the defenders...
But there are some provisions here to ensure logic. If you have attacking stacks, then they are pitted first against the others attacking stacks. And no defending stacks participate... except if the attacking stacks are numerous enough to start engaging the defending stacks. In this case, ALL defending stacks can participate (and will) in the battle, for a given side (passive stacks only respond to their attacker on the other hand).

Hopes it is clearer?

As for rivers that should not be navigable, they can perhaps be switched to coastal waters or something like that, but you'll have to lobby Lody if you want official fixes on that, as he is much more into the game than us, right now.
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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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GraniteStater
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Wed May 23, 2012 2:31 pm

Well, thanks for the response, and I think I understand the commentary, but it's still a tad unclear to me. It seems to imply that Posture/RoE is a major determinant. I guess I look at things like an entrenched stack that's been in place a while - if they're O/O, does that mean they attack intruders? Stuff like that. Maybe I don'tunderstand P/RoE as well as I should.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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Pocus
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Wed May 23, 2012 5:02 pm

yes definitively, your posture IS the major determinant to decide if you are one of the attackers or one of the defenders. That the RoE is the red one has no impact here, it can be 'attack at all cost' or 'defend at all cost'.

Also, you can be in attack posture in your territory or the one of your enemy, but sometime you can be forced to switch to attack posture, because your MC is not high enough. So the 'posture control' is done before the battle, to see if you can legitimately defends in an enemy region. If the code determines you can, then no problem. You defend in enemy territory!

MC is not the only determinant, you are also forcefully switched to attack if you cross a river or land on a beach.
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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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GraniteStater
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Wed May 23, 2012 8:29 pm

Yes, I'm aware of these considerations, but the multi-rock 'n roll among multi-stacks is a new insight, at least for me. A bit confusing, I must admit. I guess what I would want is "McDowell advances into Culpeper (looking for a fight) in overall command of three Corps, but is jumped by Jackson leading two Corps, and is repulsed. Union forces retreat in good order under heavy pressure."

P'raps a bit much to ask. The present arrangement is far from unworkable or incomprehensible; just a bit unclear at times.
[color="#AFEEEE"]"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"[/color]

-Daniel Webster



[color="#FFA07A"]"C'mon, boys, we got the damn Yankees on the run!"[/color]

-General Joseph Wheeler, US Army, serving at Santiago in 1898



RULES

(A) When in doubt, agree with Ace.

(B) Pull my reins up sharply when needed, for I am a spirited thoroughbred and forget to turn at the post sometimes.





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