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.
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