More Fog of War needed (Full Version)

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governato -> More Fog of War needed (4/25/2012 1:49:41 AM)

The current info screen gives the player full information on his opponents OOB. The number of guns, soldiers, tanks and planes. That is fun, but is very far from realistic.

I think that with advanced Fog of War that information should a) stay hidden or b) be limited to the figure obtained from units that the player has actually observed through combat, proximity to the front lines or recon. That would also make recon missions a lot more realistic. One would recon not only to find where the enemy his, but to have a rough
estimate of the size of the enemy forces. Finding where your opponent keeps his strategic reserves would become a priority.


In real life the East Front commanders had nothing close to the level of information that players currently have. I checked my sources and there are several egregious cases where the Wehrmacht severely underestimated the strength of the Red Army. These error greatly
affected Hitler's (and OKH) decision to go on the offensive in the Caucasus and then at Kursk.

People interested should check 'Foreign Armies East and German Military Intelligence in Russia 1941-45 by David Thomas * Journal of Contemporary History * Vol. 22, No. 2, Apr., 1987

(here is the LINK)

A few excerpts here:

Between July and December 1941, FHO (Foreign Armies East, the Intelligence branch of OKH) issued a number of inaccurate intelligence estimates, which nourished the overconfidence of OKH and the Fuhrer, and resulted in errors of German strategy and operational conduct at
decisive moments in the campaign.

For instance, in August , on the basis primarily of prisoner-of-war interrogation reports and wishful thinking, FHO described the will to fight and the battle worthiness of the Red Army as 'diminishing' (page 279). FHO concluded that: (i) 'The number of new formations had reached its maximum strength, and virtually no additional new formations need be counted; - In July 42 OKH was not overly worried by the failure of Operation Blau to capture significant number of prisoners. Famously the Red Army was declared 'too weak for ' far-reaching operations' (page 283).


Thus, in another FHO (report) dating to 23 March (43), Gehlen tendered these judgments: 'the Red Army had decided to revert to the defensive on the southern front in the face of German counter-attacks; on the basis of the high Russian losses during the winter, it must appear
doubtful whether the enemy was in the position at all to conduct a "war-deciding summer offensive".' FHO acknowledged that Soviet intentions after the mud season were still unclear.



One can easily see how having full knowledge of the size of the enemy's forces plays a large role. The AARs are full of detailed assessments of the enemy strength vs the loss rate. It becomes impossible to under(over) estimate the enemy. As a result the players will rarely bee too ambitious or too cautious in their strategic decisions. This stops the players from having to make risky decisions as the real commanders had to take, which is what makes a game like WITE fun and exciting.

I think it is a pretty serious (if subtle) flaw in the game mechanics that I would love to see improved upon. The players should be able to hide the detailed estimates of the enemy OOB at game start, and of course players should have the (default) option to keep the game as it is.

Any comments?




Klydon -> RE: More Fog of War needed (4/25/2012 3:18:20 AM)

Honestly, of the things on the list to fix, I would have this down fairly far.





AFV -> RE: More Fog of War needed (4/25/2012 4:10:57 AM)

My 7:1 attack turns into a 1.9:1 attack and fails, and we need more fog of war?

Not disputing your points really, but like Klydon, at best this would be way down on the list of things to do. Plus, I can easily play the whole game and never look at my opponents OOB. Its just not that useful, at least for directing where/how I push my counters around.




janh -> RE: More Fog of War needed (4/25/2012 9:17:10 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: AFV
My 7:1 attack turns into a 1.9:1 attack and fails, and we need more fog of war?


Do you really mean "Fog of War", or are you annoyed by the wide range of impact the dice rolls can have?

The latter is inherent to games, and even simulations would at some points invoke approximations and statistics, but perhaps with a little narrower outcome. I think that's is alright.

If you mean FoW, i.e. that your units/command misjudged the enemy so badly -- I believe that is just something that happens in war, and should be depicted here. Again dice effects, with a certain spread. But I think you don't mean the FoW effect, but the combat variations?


As for "more" FoW, I would favor some on the enemy force statistics on the overview screen. Also FoW on the leader-stats would be nice, and an option for some randomization at game start, so I may have to develop my own impression of the capabilities of leaders. Would be nice for WitW, but also for AE.





Flaviusx -> RE: More Fog of War needed (4/25/2012 10:09:55 AM)

The OP has a point. While the combat engine has a lot of variance at the tactical level, at the operational/strategic level there's very little fog of war in this game. The kind of intelligence failures he's alluding to aren't going to be found in individual combat results.





Blubel -> RE: More Fog of War needed (4/25/2012 10:33:08 AM)

There is also the point that I know exactly where the enemy railheads are. Furthermore the game conveniently tells me how many movement points each enemy unit is away from the railhead...




comsolut -> RE: More Fog of War needed (4/25/2012 10:41:51 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: governato

One can easily see how having full knowledge of the size of the enemy's forces plays a large role. The AARs are full of detailed assessments of the enemy strength vs the loss rate. It becomes impossible to under(over) estimate the enemy. As a result the players will rarely bee too ambitious or too cautious in their strategic decisions. This stops the players from having to make risky decisions as the real commanders had to take, which is what makes a game like WITE fun and exciting.

I think it is a pretty serious (if subtle) flaw in the game mechanics that I would love to see improved upon. The players should be able to hide the detailed estimates of the enemy OOB at game start, and of course players should have the (default) option to keep the game as it is.

Any comments?


Perfectly valid point. Fuzzy numbers would be more realistic.

On the other hand, seeing these numbers has allowed flaws in production/manpower to be corrected (mainly from the aars).




marty_01 -> RE: More Fog of War needed (4/25/2012 3:15:26 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: governato

The current info screen gives the player full information on his opponents OOB. The number of guns, soldiers, tanks and planes. That is fun, but is very far from realistic.



I agree. The level of strategic Intel seems much too accurate. This is perhaps – like some have said -- a low priority sort of thing. And frankly, I'm not sure I have ever gained much insight into my opponent’s in-game predicament by studying his overall strength levels. It becomes sort of an immersion thing for me. Or more accurately a loss of game immersion in the sense that it doesn’t feel like me playing Zhukov or Mainstein (or whomever) should have hyper accurate strength levels of the enemy. Tweaking this level of information seems like it should only involve a simple randomizer to add some (+/-) fluff to enemy strength levels. There is already a tally algroithim (or algorithims) buried in the code for counting this stuff. I think approximate numbers of enemy strengths -- manpower\AFVs\guns\aircraft -- would be more besser. (+/-) 50% or some such thing

Having said that, if we were "game designers for a day" and we decided we wanted some sort of fluff randomizer in the enemy strength counts, how is such a thing to be invoked – I mean aside from a talley followed by a fluff randomizer that adds or subtracts numbers from the final talley? Should the fluff randomizer value change on a turn-by-turn basis? If it does, than enemy strength counts are potentially going to fluctuate wildly each turn. That doesn’t make much sense either. Strategic level Intel assessments of overall enemy strength would not wildly fluctuate on a week-by-week basis. One turn our intell reports tell us the Russian Army is 6million strong; The next turn our intell is telling us it’s 4million strong; And the turn after that it's telling us it 6million again.




marty_01 -> RE: More Fog of War needed (4/25/2012 3:20:49 PM)

At the operational level (the level the game is supposed to be focused upon) I think the amount of information that becomes available via air recon missions is too much.  How does one ever pull off any sort of maskirovka with the amount of feedback players get from flying a bazillion air recon missions?  I think most who have studied modern military history can rattle off numerous examples of the failure of air reconnaissance (or even satellite intel for that matter) in identifying troop concentrations and the like.  I'd like to see the information made available from air recon to be toned down -- particularly in times of marginal weather -- mud, snow and blizzards -- and when enemy units are parked in potentially masking terrain -- light woods, wooded swamps, hvy woods, rough, cities\urban, mountains, etc.




Flaviusx -> RE: More Fog of War needed (4/25/2012 3:48:31 PM)

Marty, if it was up to me, I'd give each recon unit a small, fixed number of missions they can fly on any given turn. Recon spam makes operational FOW a joke.

We've tried indirect ways to ratchet this back, by increasing the losses of recon missions. Doesn't work. There's no subtle solution to this, you just need to put in a very obvious and hard coded limitation on recon spam.





janh -> RE: More Fog of War needed (4/25/2012 4:22:21 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: marty_01
I agree. The level of strategic Intel seems much too accurate. This is perhaps – like some have said -- a low priority sort of thing. And frankly, I'm not sure I have ever gained much insight into my opponent’s in-game predicament by studying his overall strength levels. It becomes sort of an immersion thing for me.


I am split over this, since it is kind of neat "progress meter" to see how you are hurting the opponent side. But to be honest, in reality both sides surely would have been blessed to have such detailed numbers.
Having them definitely has impacts; for example if you see during 41/42 (Axis) or 44/45 (Soviet) that you are pushing the enemy to the breaking point, you can start pushing harder and more recklessly.

The Wehrmacht knew rather well what forces they faced before Barbarossa, but by late August the numbers were quite "confusing" as you can learn from primary literature. Casualties and booty from the pockets wasn't immediately accurately known. OKW and OKH apparently believed the Russians at the breaking point by late August, assuming that could only afford another limited stand before Moscow, but realized that total Soviet casualty estimates (plus detected forces) already exceeded their initial guesses. I believe this is in part why they kept pushing so hard with all Heeresgruppen, despite the heavy casualties (that especially AGC) suffered by the continuous Soviet counterattacks, and despite slowly realizing that things couldn't be completed before Christmas (i.e. Wehrmachtsberichte first mention the need to study winter equipment requirements for "limited winter operations" by 8/30/41).

If you think of a future "War in Europe", where also Axis will hopefully have some choice in shaping its Armies between 1939 and 1941, and both Axis and Soviet force setups may differ strongly from history, not knowing the exact numbers or the growth rate of either side may influence the way you conduct your Barbarossa quite a bit...




Flaviusx -> RE: More Fog of War needed (4/25/2012 5:40:56 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: janh


The Wehrmacht knew rather well what forces they faced before Barbarossa


Not really. They knew what was in right front of them within about 100 or miles or so and not much else. The reserve armies where a mystery to them, nor did they have any clue about Soviet mobilization ability.




janh -> RE: More Fog of War needed (4/25/2012 6:07:41 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Flaviusx
Not really. They knew what was in right front of them within about 100 or miles or so and not much else. The reserve armies where a mystery to them, nor did they have any clue about Soviet mobilization ability.


That's right, they knew what was at their front, and I believe they estimated the Russian frontline forces to something like 132 infantry divisions, but I forgot the rest of the numbers. They even flew high-altitude recon prior to the outbreak of hostilities, amusingly -- who would have dared that?
What they also of course only could guess was their true strength (ToE-% in game terms) and the level to which they received modern equipment. Somehow I got the impression that they overlooked the new T-34 and KV tanks, or at least vastly underestimated their potential.

I think G&G should consider more scripting or editor options for randomized start configurations with the next titles, meaning not only specific placement, but also random addition or removal of units, and randomization of industry/manpower etc. The could add an interesting new GC mode with plenty of uncertainty and excitement for those who wouldn't mind a little more impact of "luck" (but also "fiction")...




Flaviusx -> RE: More Fog of War needed (4/25/2012 7:06:09 PM)

The new tanks came as a complete surprise to them. So did the numbers of tanks and mechanized formations generally, this was severely underestimated. Guderian came closest in guessing the numbers right, but even he was off by a factor of two. Standard German intel assessments were wildly off the mark. Mind you, these mech units were garbage and didn't last very long (10,000 AFVs lost in the first month alone and the mech corps were disbanded rapidly) but it was mostly unknown to the Germans.

These little known reserve formations and mech stuff is what Axis players blithely march through in three days to the Romanian border ingame during the first turn. LOL.





bjmorgan -> RE: More Fog of War needed (4/30/2012 8:26:54 PM)

The most interesting fog of war feature is that the CV of your own units is essentially a SWAG (silly, wilda**ed guess), at best.




ETF -> RE: More Fog of War needed (5/2/2012 11:59:03 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: governato

The current info screen gives the player full information on his opponents OOB. The number of guns, soldiers, tanks and planes. That is fun, but is very far from realistic.

I think that with advanced Fog of War that information should a) stay hidden or b) be limited to the figure obtained from units that the player has actually observed through combat, proximity to the front lines or recon. That would also make recon missions a lot more realistic. One would recon not only to find where the enemy his, but to have a rough
estimate of the size of the enemy forces. Finding where your opponent keeps his strategic reserves would become a priority.


In real life the East Front commanders had nothing close to the level of information that players currently have. I checked my sources and there are several egregious cases where the Wehrmacht severely underestimated the strength of the Red Army. These error greatly
affected Hitler's (and OKH) decision to go on the offensive in the Caucasus and then at Kursk.

People interested should check 'Foreign Armies East and German Military Intelligence in Russia 1941-45 by David Thomas * Journal of Contemporary History * Vol. 22, No. 2, Apr., 1987

(here is the LINK)

A few excerpts here:

Between July and December 1941, FHO (Foreign Armies East, the Intelligence branch of OKH) issued a number of inaccurate intelligence estimates, which nourished the overconfidence of OKH and the Fuhrer, and resulted in errors of German strategy and operational conduct at
decisive moments in the campaign.

For instance, in August , on the basis primarily of prisoner-of-war interrogation reports and wishful thinking, FHO described the will to fight and the battle worthiness of the Red Army as 'diminishing' (page 279). FHO concluded that: (i) 'The number of new formations had reached its maximum strength, and virtually no additional new formations need be counted; - In July 42 OKH was not overly worried by the failure of Operation Blau to capture significant number of prisoners. Famously the Red Army was declared 'too weak for ' far-reaching operations' (page 283).


Thus, in another FHO (report) dating to 23 March (43), Gehlen tendered these judgments: 'the Red Army had decided to revert to the defensive on the southern front in the face of German counter-attacks; on the basis of the high Russian losses during the winter, it must appear
doubtful whether the enemy was in the position at all to conduct a "war-deciding summer offensive".' FHO acknowledged that Soviet intentions after the mud season were still unclear.



One can easily see how having full knowledge of the size of the enemy's forces plays a large role. The AARs are full of detailed assessments of the enemy strength vs the loss rate. It becomes impossible to under(over) estimate the enemy. As a result the players will rarely bee too ambitious or too cautious in their strategic decisions. This stops the players from having to make risky decisions as the real commanders had to take, which is what makes a game like WITE fun and exciting.

I think it is a pretty serious (if subtle) flaw in the game mechanics that I would love to see improved upon. The players should be able to hide the detailed estimates of the enemy OOB at game start, and of course players should have the (default) option to keep the game as it is.

Any comments?

+1




terry1040 -> RE: More Fog of War needed (11/19/2012 11:39:25 AM)

Sorry for entering this debate rather late, but I think OOB FOW is a must have for a game like this.

Of course it is totally unrealistic to have the exact numbers of your opponents data, but you do want to have an estimate about your achievements in the war up to that point.
Therefore there should be some rather easy assessment based on recon, battles, bombardments, etc. which gives the player an estimate about the forces he is facing. Maybe even by adding some overall staff fuzziness, but it should not be excluded.

The way it is handled right now is just pure rubbish except if you are playing w/o FOW. With FOW option turned on you should either get fuzzyness & estimates of your staff (preferred) or nothing at all. The precision we get right now does indeed give you a way too good idea about your progress and recent reinforcements/developments/productions of your enemy.

Please change this. Maybe as an intermediate, just hide the enemy data when FOW is switched on.

Terry




terje439 -> RE: More Fog of War needed (11/19/2012 12:02:19 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Flaviusx

Marty, if it was up to me, I'd give each recon unit a small, fixed number of missions they can fly on any given turn. Recon spam makes operational FOW a joke.



Hear hear, would also welcome a change where the recon plane recons the hex targeted or the ones surrounding it, not as far as a couple of hexes away...


Terje




TulliusDetritus -> RE: More Fog of War needed (11/19/2012 8:12:28 PM)

A lOT more FOW is needed [8D]

Maybe I am a little bit biased as I'm on the offensive now and I would have liked my forces to become some sort of ghosts (behind the frontline) [:D] but still, plenty of WW2 examples show us the enemy (abstract) was caught pants down many many times.

Especially the Red Army. They were masters at hiding their massive reserves...




TulliusDetritus -> RE: More Fog of War needed (11/19/2012 8:14:40 PM)

Not to mention that we should consider having dummy counters... to simulate fake concentrations of force. Again, done many many times in the real thing. Deception is fundamental.




morvael -> RE: More Fog of War needed (11/20/2012 12:48:37 PM)

Speaking of FOW... It's so easy to spot German armor preparing for an offensive: I see places where 50+ bombers and 100+ transports dropped supplies :)

Why do I see this on F11, if it's 5-10 hexes west from the front?




gradenko_2000 -> RE: More Fog of War needed (11/23/2012 2:36:34 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: janh
quote:

ORIGINAL: AFV
My 7:1 attack turns into a 1.9:1 attack and fails, and we need more fog of war?

Do you really mean "Fog of War", or are you annoyed by the wide range of impact the dice rolls can have?

The latter is inherent to games, and even simulations would at some points invoke approximations and statistics, but perhaps with a little narrower outcome. I think that's is alright.

If you mean FoW, i.e. that your units/command misjudged the enemy so badly -- I believe that is just something that happens in war, and should be depicted here. Again dice effects, with a certain spread. But I think you don't mean the FoW effect, but the combat variations?

As for "more" FoW, I would favor some on the enemy force statistics on the overview screen. Also FoW on the leader-stats would be nice, and an option for some randomization at game start, so I may have to develop my own impression of the capabilities of leaders. Would be nice for WitW, but also for AE.

His point is that it doesn't really matter if you can see the enemy's OOB if the combar results can *at times* be so unpredictable.

If you can see that you have a 7:1 numerical advantage, but it doesn't translate to actionable intelligence, what would be the point of further hiding information that you're never going to pay attention to anyway?




governato -> RE: More Fog of War needed (11/26/2012 8:46:53 PM)

Glad that this thread restarted..I just wanted to add a good example of what more FoW could do (FoW = enemy force statistics, not individual counters here). I am talking about the AAR the between Farfarer and M60. Farfarer (playing the Axis) started a major offensive in 1943, pretty much willingly ignoring the evidence from the OOB that the Red Army was too strong. What happened was something close to the real offensive at Kursk. The Axis overstretched and the Red Army counterattacked. The Axis collapsed rapidily, but for a few turns the Germans had a chance at a big win. It was a fun, fluid game between two good players, probably my favorite AAR.

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2953368&mpage=8&key=

But for this to happen Farfarer had to ignore the extra info that the game gives us! But, if you check the opening of the thread there are links to historical sources showing how in the Summer of 1943 the German Intelligence underestimated the Red Army by 1 million men. That is why they attacked instead of turtling up, faulty data that made the offensive look 'feasible' (OK add a lot of Nazi hubris, but that is another story). With more 'strategic' FoW (which at its simplest is just making an option to hide the opponent's OOB) there would be more realistic games like Farfarer vs M60. One could add estimates of the opponent OOB based on the recon, but that is going to far for WITE. Maybe WITE2?




LiquidSky -> RE: More Fog of War needed (11/26/2012 9:27:58 PM)

It wasn't just the Russians who could hide strategic intent. The Russians were convinced that the Germans were attacking Moscow in the summer of '42. They thought the drive for Voronezh was just the southern push for Moscow, and that the rest of Case Blue was a feint.

But a lot of the 'strategic FOW' is meaningless. Anybody who knows how to read will know that the Russians are going to have a large strategic reserve. And know a lot closer to the real size of the Russian army.

And the Russians will know the extent of the German supply net, all without looking at a single number on the map. You can't hide history.

If you really want to 'mess it up' you can give the Russians some strategic decisions...such as getting less manpower reinforcements in exchange for higher morale, to simulate actual training. Give the Germans a free setup at start. Make Finland's involvement random. Allow the Russians to choose which winter is the harsh blizzard.

Now you will have strategic FOW.




janh -> RE: More Fog of War needed (11/27/2012 9:02:08 AM)

governato's example is a nice one, and bears some truth. Numbers alone don't tell everything in this game, sure, but Axis/Soviets can use them nonetheless as a rough orientation for the choice of strategy. Get the Wehrmacht to 2.8M men or below, and you can start pushing more recklessly. Get the Soviets to 3.8M and risking more by holding ground during blizzard 41 can become a feasible and sensible thing to do.

You could cloud the numbers, but soon a spreadsheet would pop up where players would enter the turn's losses, destroyed counters, and manpower centers, and people would keep track of numbers probably rather well. You'd also need to significantly "FoW" losses, probably all except captives. Which should be, as even today the total losses on both sides are a much-discussed and studied "unknown". Would make sense to me.

Another thing is the historically accurate setup. Just like in AE, it is a beautiful beast to have, and a quality mark, but it leads to predictable optimization of campaigning. After a few man-years of AARs, one knows when and where the units are used to be best effort, just like the Lvov openings. There are alternate starting scenarios for WitE, just like for AE now, that partly address this.

However, one concept that would be even better for "pure land-warfare where is attrition very important", would be some randomization just like in the old days of C64 games. I remember for example Rebel Charge at Chickamauga, where reinforcement times could be randomized by up to 6 hours, which made huge differences for your strategy during the two days of fighting. Similarly manpower pools, centers or the reinforcement/withdrawal schedules (and even amount of withdrawn units) could be randomized a bit. Then there'd be no waiting off and on for the withdrawal of SS units, and more uncertainty as to be (growth) power of the two Armies. Each side would be free to under- or overestimate, and strategies would become much more diverse I think...




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