PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (Full Version)

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jchastain -> PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 7:54:28 AM)

Gil and I are firing up a new PBEM game, so we thought we would share it with everyone. PBEM games are strictly strategic games, so this will focus on the strategic elements of the game. As is often done on Matrix forums, we'll have 2 separate threads - one for each side. We will not be reading the other's thread, so while we welcome comments on our approaches and blunders please do not discuss what you read in the other thread.

And with that brief intro, let's proceed to the game...

Here are the options we'll be using. It is a fairly advanced game, though we'll be using the historical generals that we know and love.


quote:

As this AAR was complete prerelease and the game has seen tremendous updates since, the comments below are taken from Gil's thread. Please check there for additional potential updates.

EDIT OF NOV. 30: Now that the game is available there is a new sub-forum devoted to AAR's. Inside you will find my detailed battle AAR "Battle in the Wilderness," which has some interesting screenshots (http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1289320). In addition, it would be worth visiting at least one of the detailed battle AAR threads started by Hard Sarge -- "AAR III" (http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1286095) or "AAR II" (http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1280248). (The second features some unfinished graphics, since it was composed during a stage of beta-testing when not all of the graphics had been added.)

EDIT OF APRIL 19: It should be pointed out that this AAR was played using a pre-release beta version of the game, and that countless changes (improvements all) have been made to the game via patch since then. So, while this AAR accurately reflects the game in general, the current version of "Forge of Freedom" has changed greatly.

EDIT OF OCTOBER 29: While reading this AAR between myself and jchastain is certainly recommended, be sure to look at the magnificent AAR that Grey Hunter has been putting together (which has the added virtue of being played on a patched-up version of FOF, rather than a pre-release beta version). Go here: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1472699&mpage=1&key=



[image]local://upfiles/9706/2B927E72560741819F2181BB7A2311FB.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 7:56:17 AM)

Here are the generals I'll be starting with. Not a terrible group, but they will still be significant outclassed by the other side.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/7BB70490D68F4DA4ACB32D0585CB514A.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 7:57:13 AM)

The starting default is for the cities to produce whatever they are best at...

[image]local://upfiles/9706/A1A1C09EAD1E425FAC5F367780A14DBD.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 8:01:10 AM)

I'll shift cities that produce even amounts of money or labor to produce money. At the start, I'll be spending a good deal of cash on diplomacy. I'll shift cities that produce even amounts of iron and horses to produce horses. I'll need some cavalry fairly soon to help track down the southern raiders that will soon be active along the borders and the North doesn't produce a lot of horses even with things shifted around. At the bottom of the page, you can see what will be produced and the current pool of each resource.

(oops - edit to add picture)

[image]local://upfiles/9706/6639F7698DA14629BDE568419DF4676D.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 8:07:07 AM)

As noted above, I'll spend some real money on Diplomacy. I'll hope to reduce this soon, but I don't want to let him get ahead or things can get ugly fast. If I see anything edging towards him, I'll increase my investment there to max right away since I'll know he's spending on it. Otherwise, these should creep up on my side and I will then be able to build a little cushion and then reduce spending.

The British sell some nice weapons, so I'll pour a little more there than on the continent for now because I hope to soon be buying weapons (and keeping them from doing likewise).

Even with shifting so much production to cash, you can see where this is eating up a lot of my income.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/F90DA44FDFE5407A80946DEE0F42698D.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 8:09:45 AM)

Eventually I want to make Harrisburg my center of iron production. I'd like to build an iron works since that doubles all base iron production and Harrisburg already proiduces a ton of iron. They take a long time to build though, so I want to get it going soon so that it will come on-line in time to do some good. As you can see, I don't have quite enough labor to buy it. I'll hold on to the majority of my resources for now and get it going next turn.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/BB32B9BB62674CCBADE0383E882176CD.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 8:10:35 AM)

Here's the military situation at the start of the game.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/12886C9C94B145A892D154824AB781AA.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 8:14:52 AM)

I'm not making any big moves. I need to pull my troops out of Kentucky in the hope of getting them to join the war effort with the Union. They tend to react negatively to troop incursions, so I'm just pulling out entirely. The troops in West Virginia will fall back to Wheeling in hopes of sieging the city next turn. Hopefully the army from Kentucky can make it there as well. The troops will need to settle down for the winter and very little will happen then, so I'm really just finding a comfortable spot to park myself. Other than staying in Washington to defend the city, most of the other parking spots are along the Mississippi where hopefully I can get organized and then have some mobility come Spring.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/026A88BCFA504EF6A7E16D45962197E0.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 8:16:29 AM)

I am going to try to bully a few brigades out in the far West. More than anything, my army is pretty green and can use the experience so I want to take advantage of the numerical mismatch.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/7DDAC55C790A4D51A4C78923EB364607.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 8:20:54 AM)

Since I don't really expect anything to happen in Washington, I can reduce the supply priority there. I am still at risk of disease and perhaps should have spread out a bit, but I decided to take the change just in case Robert E goes nuts and starts looking for a fight. I can't afford to let him wipe out half my army. The forces along the Mississippi will likely see real combat before the rest, so I won't cut their supply quite yet. But that washington army is just sitting there and likely won't do anything anytime soon so it should be fine. Let's look back at the Nation screen with the financial summary and you'll see just how expensive supplies are and how much money I can save by reducing my expense through the winter.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/24A07E8359554B428C8711CAE65D8095.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 8:24:04 AM)

I will move my Navy to sea. As much as anything, I want to guard the coast and keep him from doing anything cute. But I also might as well begin to blockage Norfolk and Richmonds and see if I can cut his income a bit. Meanwhile, there are a few cities in New England with multiple brigades standing guard, so I'll move a few of them down to provide extra manpower in the Annapolis forts. If the Rebs are sieging Connecticut, I've got bigger problems than just having 1 instead of 2 brigades in that fort. However, Annapolis is at real risk.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/A38B0C3C80FE43948FAE88144509BB18.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 8:24:55 AM)

There is a statistics page, so we'll be examining that as we go forward. For now, it is blank.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/584CB548890446D79BF66791F14C5EF2.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 8:27:46 AM)

At the end of my turn, I am able to promote one of my generals up to 4 stars. I decide to go with Keyes out West. While that army isn't nearly as big as the Potomac Army in Washington, it is more likely to see combat soon so I want someone at the helm. One of the things I really like that was added during the beta is the note that shows you the location and command of the selected officer. As you get further into the game and have a large stable of generals, that is invaluable information.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/B21CA6193467452AB334BD31F797401A.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 8:32:09 AM)

And the turn is done and on its way to Gil. I won't keep posting this, but here's the screen I'll bne seeing a lot of over the next few days.

Also - just so everyone knows, this game will not proceed very fast. Work is staying pretty busy so I likely won't get more than a turn or two in each day. Also, I'll warn that we are still testing and I am therefore trying to use different strategies just to see how they work out. Even without that, you shouldn't expect my decisions to be routinely good - I'm not half the general Hard Sarge is. But what the heck, it ought to be a fun ride and all comments are welcome.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/02938AE9B34C438DBAD28ACDFDEB4C7E.jpg[/image]




AU Tiger -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 8:41:16 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: jchastain

And the turn is done and on its way to Gil. I won't keep posting this, but here's the screen I'll bne seeing a lot of over the next few days.

Also - just so everyone knows, this game will not proceed very fast. Work is staying pretty busy so I likely won't get more than a turn or two in each day. Also, I'll warn that we are still testing and I am therefore trying to use different strategies just to see how they work out. Even without that, you shouldn't expect my decisions to be routinely good - I'm not half the general Hard Sarge is. But what the heck, it ought to be a fun ride and all comments are welcome.



Since you are the "bad guys" I recommend you retreat all forces to the Canadian border to prevent incursions from that quarter!




marecone -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 9:00:50 AM)

Very nice. We have seen somenew screens. Keep them coming.
Thanks




regularbird -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/9/2006 5:51:42 PM)

Why does FOF start in Nov 61?  There were several battles prior to this date.  Does the player have the option of beginning earlier than Nov 61?




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/10/2006 7:01:50 AM)

Regularbird - I responded to your question in the discussion thread.

OK, on to the second turn.... Let's begin by examinging the event report for the turn. It scroll through 2 pages so the top half is attached.

Not a lot happened. We promoted Keyes and since he is from Maine, the govenor was pleased. I impressed horses in 2 cities and both succeeded. Had they not succeeded, the city would go into unrest and produced nothing so there is some risk in taking people's property but I was careful to only choose two cities with low risk (both had a 10% risk if you look above). Anyway, it worked out for me. The governors took some hits, but we'll worry about that later. For now, we need those horses.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/32F87A69E5434F33AACF31C3652FBD66.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/10/2006 7:08:10 AM)

In the second half of the event report, you'll see that the rebs are indeed causing trouble with their raiders and have been destroying my supplies. Not much I can do about that yet. 2 new generals are available. There's no one of significance but I'll need to place them. And I have some reinforcements that were shuffled out to my units - which are actually in pretty good shape.

The real disappointment is in the political report. I made some fairly significant investments in diplomacy and nothing paid off. At least he didn't make any progress either. The good news is that we're about to start getting some uplift in our diplomatic efforts from the Governor of New York. He's asking for us to build him a hospital in return, but governors know that political pork doesn't happen overnight so we don't have to worry about that quite yet.

All-in-all, it was a pretty dull turn which is a good thing since I didn't do anything bold and I'd hate for the drama to be generated by the other side.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/F072F652B1A14AEABE15E75CCF64FC4A.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/10/2006 7:11:13 AM)

OK, I can afford that ironworks now so I'll go ahead and build it in Harrisburg as planned. It will take it a year to come on line, but hopefully that will be good timing for when I'll be needing to start ramping up production of siege artillary to crush enemy forts. There is already one iron works in place there. That doubles the production of the mines. With this new one, they will be tripled - so each will produce 6 iron instead of the typical 2. I'll want to place a couple more mines here just to take full advantage of this investment, but that can wait a turn or two.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/C75A4216BBF6404381B4B58F277D91DA.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/10/2006 7:17:56 AM)

Next, let's work on getting some cavalry to deal with the raiders and to provide some support to the infantry. The horse supply rose nicely with the production shift and impressment, so we can buy a cavalry unit. In the advanced game, production is reduced as population is reduced, so we'd like to build it near where we want it, but we definitely want to build it someplace where it won't adversely affect key resource production. For example, now that I am concentrating iron production in harrisburg, that's likely not where I want to be building new units. His raiders are in southern illinois, so let's take a look at Springfield and we'll see that it has some population available and its production isn't very high so that's likely as good a place as any to build my cavalry unit.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/AC490D9EB110423EA9261F370AED9F94.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/10/2006 7:20:02 AM)

I select to build the cav. My resources are listed across the top and what it costs is listed in-line. You can see that I can afford it, though it will consume the majority of my horses just to produce this one unit.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/C9F80324B6734BEB92F5AC0F3051812F.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/10/2006 7:22:28 AM)

I know I am going into a lot of detail here, but the intent is to show the game and not just my actions, so you can now see the cavalry unit in the queue at Springfield. See the little cav symbol at the bottom just above where it shows my money? The little yellow lines to the left of it show how many more turns before it will be ready, so I can check back on its progress at any time.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/CEDC446389B148B6815F3B5D35D7D4FB.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/10/2006 7:25:37 AM)

You can see the resource hit in the screenshot above but just to keep it in the same format as above to make it easy, here is the city list again. Note that "men" dropped from 2/2 to 1/2, and that caused production of both money and horses to fall from 3 to 1. I thought about conscripting a bunch of troops, but I'm not sure it is worth the economic hit to pull in a bunch of low quality troops. For now, I'll focus on buying higher quality units and keep the economy humming.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/7348A8CFAC06459DA7A3D3B4914252BB.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/10/2006 7:27:34 AM)

OK, let's look at the overview of troops and see where we stand now. I don't see anything worrisome at first glance.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/2B8F0188840C482FAE9794D10E7CCBC7.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/10/2006 7:28:39 AM)

The army in Rolla didn't make it to Westport as I had hoped, but it's just as well since he slipped out anyway.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/E44AB602C9CD4B9F9EE1AB5618FD78BB.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/10/2006 7:33:41 AM)

Only 1 brigade down there, but I'll try to move south and see if I can chase him out of Mo.

Note the movement line is yellow, so it isn't a given that I'll make it down there. Obviously the terrain is a bit rough and though you can see the yellow dot meaning a general is attached, you don't see a name above the army so he isn't of high enough rank to command it. Anytime a container is on the strategic map, you'll see the name of the commander. Look at Keyes' army at the bottom right. Since we gave him 4 stars, he's in command of that army and therefore his name is displayed to show that it is his army. Anyway, that is a long winded way of saying the Rolla army doesn't have a general of sufficient rank to command an army and therefore cannot benefit from any intiative bonuses. Whether or not we will make it to Black River is uncertain, but we'll give it a shot.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/CE19B40D9579490C94CA5982F6BAD1BD.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/10/2006 7:38:11 AM)

Looking at West Virginia now, the Kentucky army made it to Wheeling, but the divisions did not. We'll try again but once again it is rough terrain and we're uncertain if we'll make it. At least we have an army there and can begin the siege.

Also, notice Lee is now commanding the ANV. No surprise there, but it is worth keeping an eye on his movements.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/7BD0CC73AD2D4EC296F7672D0FAC88A4.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/10/2006 7:42:33 AM)

OK, now it is time to start improving the army. Keyes and his Army of Illinois is the most likely to see heavy combat in the near future, so let's take a look at them and see what they've got. 7th and 8th divisions each have 2 special units, with the latter having much better quality (experience) troops averaging 2.65 versus 1.99. The best brigade in the army is the Scotch and they are stuck with improvised weapons - we'll need to fix that though the options are pretty limited at this point.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/56EC908F27764BF38BDBD96CB8EA3175.jpg[/image]




jchastain -> RE: PBEM AAR - Long Live the Union! (11/10/2006 7:48:07 AM)

We went ahead and bought Minie Rifles for the Scotch. That's not great, but it is a lot better than what they had. They are head and shoulders above any other unit, so we'll likely upgrade tham again when we get access to something better. In fact, they are so much better than the others that it is likely worth giving them some more firepower, so we'll buy them some attributes also. We'll spend a little of our iron to give them a brigade artillary upgrade. That will give them some more firepower since they'll have some staying power on the battlefield. And then I'll also get a medical upgrade which will reduce their casualties in battle or if hit with disease. I've invested enough in them that I want to keep them around.

The highest quality unit in the 7th is not a unit destined to be legendary but the rather the plain ole 93rd. I'll go ahead and get them soem minie rifles as well. There is still a lot of junk weaponry out there, but that's the best I can do about it right now.

[image]local://upfiles/9706/B80EE2F24E0A4D4A9835E2B98D02C21E.jpg[/image]




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