Quality vs. Quantity? (Full Version)

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RickInVA -> Quality vs. Quantity? (4/29/2011 3:40:16 PM)

Ah the age old question!

I am a new player playing the Union in an 1861 start. (Normal/Normal 1st Lt.) I'm very much enjoying the game, but I'm not sure that I am making the most of my resources. I have not yet moved into fighting the battles directly, so its been Quick Combat so far.

So here are some observations. Any comments, especially for those things where you laugh gently while reading and mutter "newb" under your breath, would be most welcome!

1) I can raise a good number of troops by Mustering. Is this a good idea? They all need weapons upgrades, which I don't seem to have that much of. A division of Blues with improvised weapons doesn't seem to win very often!

2) I need more horses. I never seem to have enough horses. By March/April 1862 I've built 10+ horse farms, but maintenance seems to take a toll. I'm assuming there is some seasonality to horse production?

3) As well as horses, I don't seem to have as much of anything as I would expect. Building a few containers saps a lot of resources. Building a ship? Ha! After building the first 5 horse farms I've split between Mints, Camps, and the occassional Armory. Should I be focusing on something else?

4) Should I leave my fleets in the size they start in or break them into many smaller fleets to blocade more ports?

5) Whats with these sieges? Never have so many died for so little! How is Grant supposed to get rid of that pesky rebel fort near Cairo?

6) I'm starting to think I should build some atrillery early and hang the cost.

7) And then the age old question, Quantity or Quality. Am I better off with 10 unts with Muskets or 5 with Springfields and some unit abilities? What does the AI do? From my conbat results I believe the AI Rebs go for Quality, which would explain the 2-1 casualities I've been taking!

8) Bonus: I can't help but feel that the Rebs have a good bit more manpower in the field than I would expect.

Can't wait to read some responses




Ugly Guy -> RE: Quality vs. Quantity? (4/29/2011 4:05:11 PM)

Rick - Hey welcome aboard for playing. I have a Union game going so far myself, I am about halfway through 1862, but I am playing on the same diffculty you are, so I will share some of my observations. See below for my comments.

quote:

ORIGINAL: RickInVA

Ah the age old question!

I am a new player playing the Union in an 1861 start. (Normal/Normal 1st Lt.) I'm very much enjoying the game, but I'm not sure that I am making the most of my resources. I have not yet moved into fighting the battles directly, so its been Quick Combat so far.

So here are some observations. Any comments, especially for those things where you laugh gently while reading and mutter "newb" under your breath, would be most welcome!

1) I can raise a good number of troops by Mustering. Is this a good idea? They all need weapons upgrades, which I don't seem to have that much of. A division of Blues with improvised weapons doesn't seem to win very often!

I usually always raise by mustering. Especially since you have alot of governors who support it at the beginning. If they support it you can muster to your hearts content and not lose any support from them. Beware that resource production is tied to available MP in a province, so if you muster from say your horse producing provinces, then your horse production will drop.

2) I need more horses. I never seem to have enough horses. By March/April 1862 I've built 10+ horse farms, but maintenance seems to take a toll. I'm assuming there is some seasonality to horse production?

No seasonality as far as I know. Building horse farms is good, but three things to maximize your production. 1) Make sure you are building horse farms in provinces that are set to produce horses. I know this sounds obvious, but I overlooked it my first game. 2) You can switch some provinces from iron production to horse production. This will cause a small support hit from the governors, but it is by far your fastest way to raise your horse levels. 3) Hope you get Kentucky, and if you don't, conquer it quickly. There are alot of horses in Frankfort and Lexington.

3) As well as horses, I don't seem to have as much of anything as I would expect. Building a few containers saps a lot of resources. Building a ship? Ha! After building the first 5 horse farms I've split between Mints, Camps, and the occassional Armory. Should I be focusing on something else?

I am a big believer in mints, camps, and plantations, even for the Union. You don't need to worry about ships all that much, as I haven't seen the Rebs blockade one of my ports. And you only get points if you blockade all of theirs (I think). So unless you are ready to blockade them all, I am not sure there is any sense in blockading some. I would just hold off ship production until around 1863.

4) Should I leave my fleets in the size they start in or break them into many smaller fleets to blocade more ports?

I did the later.

5) Whats with these sieges? Never have so many died for so little! How is Grant supposed to get rid of that pesky rebel fort near Cairo?

You should have started with some siege artillery in Washington. Ship that out west and give it to Grant to use. With both units in your army, you should tear through any fort in one turn. Also, unless you have siege artillery, have to take the fort really fast, or just have a penchant to fill some caskets, use encircle as your siege type. Everything else will bleed your army dry.

6) I'm starting to think I should build some atrillery early and hang the cost.

I think the early siege artillery is good enough. I wouldn't build any new artillery units. If you need artillery, I would just convert an existing infantry brigade to an artillery brigade. The earlier the better as you will lose less experience when you do so. It is slightly more on some minerals, but build time is zero, and you can use one of the many brigades with improvised weapons to do so.

7) And then the age old question, Quantity or Quality. Am I better off with 10 unts with Muskets or 5 with Springfields and some unit abilities? What does the AI do? From my conbat results I believe the AI Rebs go for Quality, which would explain the 2-1 casualities I've been taking!

Basically you want both. I found that the Rebs at this difficulty do field quite extensive armies. Especially out east. However, you have many good fort filled provinces to defend in as well. Stay on the defensive for awhile. Let the Rebs bleed themselves attacking you while you muster troops and build camps. Aim for 10k replacements per turn from camps (yes this will take awhile to build). Use any arms you get to upgrade your troops. By far the fastest way to upgrade your troops is to win battles. Your men will capture some arms from the Rebs when they win. By extension, avoiding losing battles. That will downgrade your troops weapons so fast you will have a hard time catching up. If you have an abundance of one resource, use it to build brigade attachments as a mineral dump, or switch off provincial production if the resource isn't that useful in that area (i.e. if you have a ton of excess labor). Sharpshooters are an excellent attachment if you have alot of leftover money, as is smokeless powder. If I have a ton of extra iron, I will do one brigade artillery attachment.

8) Bonus: I can't help but feel that the Rebs have a good bit more manpower in the field than I would expect.

It is because of the difficulty level. They probably have more than you do, and will throughout the game. Your goal is to build up decent armies and take advantage of the Rebs lack of camps to win the battle of attrition. In this game victories and defeats are somewhat self-sustaining. What I mean is that if you start to win, it makes it easier to keep winning in the future, as the enemy has less men, poorer weapons, and less towns to rebuild from. Conversly, the fastest way to lose in this game is to make two or three foolish attacks with your major armies.

Can't wait to read some responses





terje439 -> RE: Quality vs. Quantity? (4/29/2011 9:44:48 PM)

Ugly Guy allready posted, but I will post my takes on your questions as well.

1. Yes, as long as the governors allows it and there is enough population to manage to create a new unit. Espesially during the first year, after that I prefer to build them as those built have far better morale. Also at the start of the war when you need to boost the size of your armies, I would take garrison troops from the rear areas (Boston etc) and use those garrison brigades to gain some extra brigades. As the Confederacy I will usually field 3-4 full divisions with garrison troops alone. I tend to rename them though so they are not all called "garrison". I tend to go with 1st Virginia Volunteers, 2nd Virginia Volunteers etc. These units start with low morale, but that means they will gain morale quickly from combat, and your generals will usually also train them up to decent morale values quite fast.

2. When you start a new game ALWAYS start by looking at your income in resources and see what you have in excess and what you lack, then try to streamline everything. Sometimes you might even boost your total production number by switching stuff from one to another. Let us say you produce a total of 100 money/50 horses/50 iron/100 labour. And you have the following cities (numbers are money/horses/iron/labour)
a) 10/5/1/2 producing money and iron.
b) 5/1/1/2 producing horses and iron.
c) 6/3/1/2 producing horses and iron.
total 10/4/3/0
By changing a) to produce horses and iron and b) and c) to produce money and iron you end up with a total of 11/5/3/0.
So a total checkup of your economy is vital. Also make sure that cities with ironworks are the places you build mines.

3. Part kinda responed to in 2. When it comes to what to build, it is camps, camps, camps, economical buildings, economical buildings, research buildings. Everything else is just for when you can afford it.

4. Break them down as long as you play the AI. In a Pbem you might encounter an opponent that will try to build a fleet with an IC in it, if that happens, mwegw your units.

5. Sieges takes time and is costly, it is always best to use as big a force as possible for this as the defenders will be worn out much faster. A division taking on a fort by itself will get rather reduced before it is finished.

6. I hardly play the Northern Agressors, but artillery is at its peak efficiency in detailed combat. But if you can afford them, buy them.

7. Not neccessarily, the CSA starts with alot better quality units than the Northern Agressors. UNIT quality is a big thing in combat, low quality units will run off much faster than seasoned units. If you only play quick/instant battles, quality weapons are good, in detailed combat muskets can actually serve a purpose. The only units I will give upgrades are cavalery units. These I will give Quality horses/Quality horses to really boost their speed. Also, give weaponry to your best quality troops first. The reason for this is simple, better weapon=better firepower, better morale=better staying power in battle. So this way you ensure that your best weapons stay in the battle the longest. And cry, then curse and finally cry some more if Berdan's lads drop their weapons when they retreat!!

8. Yup, the AI muster and conscripts alot!

Terje





Ugly Guy -> RE: Quality vs. Quantity? (4/30/2011 2:50:19 AM)

As you can see from Terje's response, some of the tactics on upgrades depend on whether you plain on staying quick combat or going detail combat. I play extensively quick combat, while I believe Terje plays detail quite a bit. Make sure to look at the quick combat bonuses in the appendix if you plan on playing alot of quick combat, as the tool-tips reflect the detail combat bonuses which usually are quite different than the quick combat bonuses.




gamerincol -> RE: Quality vs. Quantity? (4/30/2011 4:59:03 PM)

ugly guy - thanks for the ongoing AAR I am learning alot from it. Terje thanks as well for your info here as well as your other works on playing as the south and the economy. I am playing and reading and playing and reading. I like detail combat so I get two or three turns in and learn some more and start over. Getting the hang of it all. Great game. Good to see some others playing and the boards getting active.

michael




Ugly Guy -> RE: Quality vs. Quantity? (4/30/2011 6:27:28 PM)

Michael - Glad you are enjoying the AAR. One of the reasons I started it was to try and be able to get ideas from other players on strategies they use. My own tactics have evolved over time, and I am also curious on how other people play. A few areas I am not sure on are research (are some areas more effective than others? Some seem obvious, but not sure about others) and brigade enhancements. Quick combat is also an interest of mine, but there is so much on it that I don't know. For instance, in the manual, it says that the "Target Practice" I research upgrade gives +25% attack and +1 Infantry. I am not sure what the +1 infantry means. I am wondering if it means a +1 on the quick combat volley roll for infantry units or maybe against infantry units?





terje439 -> RE: Quality vs. Quantity? (4/30/2011 10:34:42 PM)

Research.
You need to divide it in two separate examinations, one for the Confederacy and one for The Northern Agressors.

CSA:
Weapons research - Although this one seems almost critical, I would actually place it second to last, just above naval research. This is because you will not be able to afford those fancy weapons.
Main targets: rifle manufacture, light recoil, moisture proof cartridges.

Naval research - Not worth to expand, it is very rare that the Confederacy will build ships.
Main targets: Blockade Operations

Engineering research - Excellent research choice.
Main targets: As many as possible, almost no bad choices here

Logistic Research - Good research choice, there are a few essential targets here, but after these are achived this research loses importance.
Main targets: Invalid corps, extended service I & II, centralized railroads

Training research - Excellent research.
Main targets: All

Northern Agressors
Not alot of changes from the Confederacy, however you would likely want to add to the Naval research to gain the upgrades that makes ships cheaper as you want more ships to fully implement the Anaconda Plan. The Northern Agressors can also pay a little more attention to Weapons research as she can better afford to equip her brigades with those new improved weapons, espesially the improved Springfield rifle.





About the +1 Inf, unless memory serves me wrong (I am 80% sure I am right) this means you will get to add 1 more Inf brigade to the battle in quick battles. Somewhere in the manual there are given some max number of brigades that can take part in any battle on account of various factors like weather. The +1 Inf then gives you one "free" Inf brigade for all battles for the rest of the game.

Terje




Ugly Guy -> RE: Quality vs. Quantity? (5/1/2011 12:07:32 AM)

Thanks Terje. Now I wish there was a research option that expanded the number of upgraded weapons my army was allowed to have. I quickly cap out on the number of Lieges, Minie's, and Richmond muskets my army has. There seems to be alot of room with Enfields, but I can't even afford to subsidize British diplomacy that long, much less have enough money to by the weapons from them afterwards.

One suggestion I would have for a future FoF, would be to make the British and French weapons upgrades cost arms and not money. Presumably what my BR's are bringing in are armaments from Britain and France. Having to spend money on British arms seems rather awkward. Just an idea, but have the support limit for British/French/European weapons be based on the diplomacy level of each faction, but have the weapons purchased from arms and not money. This would enhance the realism, without placing a severe burden on the player by requiring them to plow money into diplomacy.

About the brigade limits, that does seem very useful, and would explain why the Union late game is able to bring in far more units into a battle than I am. If only I could research something that guarantees that my artillery batteries and cavalry troops make it into every battle.

Terje, any idea on how the game determines which units to leave out of a quick battle if my army in the battle has too many brigades? It seems like my cavalry is the first to be left out, followed by my artillery. I would really prefer my artillery to be last. The only way I can prevent this is by severing off a part of my army and moving it into an adjacent province that is not open to attack. By leaving my artillery in the artificially weakened main army, I can make sure it makes it into the fight, but at the cost of having to bring in a decent chunk of my army through the reinforcement option, which does have some drawbacks.




terje439 -> RE: Quality vs. Quantity? (5/1/2011 1:58:56 AM)

Sorry, no idea [:(]

Terje




RickInVA -> RE: Quality vs. Quantity? (5/1/2011 4:38:53 PM)

I appreciates all the information!

So how does manpower fit into all this? Production for instance. If I have a province that produces 6/4/1/3 with 6/6 manpower what will happen, if anything, to my production if I use the manpower to 4/6, 2/6 or 0/6?

I certainly understand the value of camps, but what is the most efficient way to build them? Multiple camps in latge pop areas (how many?), spread them around, is there a manpower level below which its not effective building a camp? What about the telegraph? Does that actually increase reinforcement (doubles into/out of, what does that mean)?

What difficulty level is supposed to model "historical"?

Oh, and what happens to the manpower of a brigade that you disband? (Found the answer to this)

What is the normal starting morale for a built Inf?

Thanks again for all the great information!




Ugly Guy -> RE: Quality vs. Quantity? (5/1/2011 6:19:25 PM)

The production MP relationship only exists in the advance game rules. Essentially the formula is production = .5 max production + ((current pop/max pop)/2)*max prod. So you will have as a base half the province's max resources. Then the other half is modified as a direct percentage of the province's current MP to max MP.

I am not sure how other people view camps, but my strategy on them is layed out in my AAR. Usually large quantities of camps in the same provinces. Sure, you lost the bonus regen from having extra MP after one year, but the 5 25% chances to reduce pop can devestate your large resource provinces in a hurry if you get unlucky. One game I had Wilimington (pop 3) out of men every year by just having one camp there. Bear in mind that a camp's effectiveness is men = 300 base +15*(current pop + (max pop - current pop)/2). I think the max is 500 but that could be old rules.

I am not sure what difficulty models historical.

If you mean quality by morale, it depends on how you requisition the infantry. Conscription and mustering both have different potential starting qualities for the troops they generate. I am not sure about regular construction, I checked the manual and didn't see anything in there.




olperfessor -> RE: Quality vs. Quantity? (5/7/2011 1:21:17 AM)

Muskets? If you play detailed tactical battles (Do it! Immense fun!), you will get plenty of answers to your questions. Here is one example: your nice, plump infantry units with improvised weapons or muskets will get torn apart by a single enemy cavalry unit with longer ranged weapons. Be sure that at least one division in each corps has longer ranged weapons or watch your casualty lists rise as you cannot fight back or conduct an orderly retreat. Watch artillery do its thing, and you will find them worth the cost. The rest you will have fun discovering for yourself.




RickInVA -> RE: Quality vs. Quantity? (5/8/2011 12:46:08 AM)

I have started to do some Detail Battles (which remind me of a game I don't remember the name of from back in the day of the battle of Shiloh) and they are great fun.

Skirmishers is one thing I'm not quite getting a handle on, as well as terrain. It often doesn't seem that defensive terrain is, well, very defensive. Forts seem to be the biggest joke ever. One little round thing that one garrison unit is in, that is generally on the other side of the map from my troops. Less than useful. I think I get a lot more benefit of having multiple forts from Quick Combat over Detail.

But I will ask: at what point is it effective to split large units? There seems to be some maximum frontage (which is very reasonable), but I'm not yet sure what it is, or if 2 units of 1500 are really better than 1 of 3000. And what about ammo? 2 units now have to be supplied with ammo. Not sure when this is most useful.

Thanks again!




olperfessor -> RE: Quality vs. Quantity? (5/8/2011 2:03:21 AM)

My experience with forts is that they can be very useful if manned by actual combat units (especially enemy units [;)], but nearly useless with a mere garrison. I suppose this makes historical sense, as garrisons were often cobbled together from people too old, too young, or too weak to function in regular units.

I have no certain understanding about splitting units, other than noting the value of flanking and trying to deny encirclement. I seldom split units, but that practice is intuitive, not based on solid experience.

I console myself about my ignorance and my inability to answer your question with the idea that much of the fun of these games seems to me to be having to do what real commanders have to do: make observations, surmise, formulate theories, and then test them in the next engagement.

Say hello to Virginia for me. I lived in Charlottesville three years, and enjoyed it.




Gil R. -> RE: Quality vs. Quantity? (5/14/2011 11:55:56 AM)

Good to see new players showing up still, so long after the game's release. Let me know if there are any mysteries the veterans haven't cleared up.




teddy -> RE: Quality vs. Quantity? (5/14/2011 12:11:33 PM)

Thanks, Gil.




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