Supply. I think you could make it so the player get a bit more involved. No micromanaging but some decision making by the player. Maybe choose supply center, not much more. It would also give the opportunity to cut supply lines in a clearer way than it is now.
If you institute a more detailed supply system I hope you will make it an optional rule. I very much like the current system which is simple and clean playing while still placing realistic constraints on the player. I agree that the actual commanders had to devote much of their attention to supply ("amateurs discuss strategy, professionals discuss logistics") but I would rather have the option to “retain my amateur status", and not have to bother too much with it.
Fewer battles. This have been debated before. Two opposing armies can fight a battle almost each week for a ridicously long time. This is my main beef with the game. Try to make each (big) battle have more impact on both armies with regard to readiness and the time it takes to prepar for the next one.
I'm ambivalent on this idea. The current system is certainly somewhat unhistorical in the rate at which battles take place, but it plays very well, and is a lot of fun. If the rate of battles was reduced to a historical level most of the game would be spent sitting and waiting to recover readiness, with very little action. I also think that the game rate of battles is not as unhistorical as it might at first appear. Although major battles were infrequent during the American Revolution, it was more common to have an ongoing series of encounters between the armies, such as took place in 1776 with the battles on Long Island, then New York, then the pursuit across New Jersey, followed by the American counterattack at Trenton and Princeton. Most encounters were not decisive.
This type of thing is modeled in the game by the common occurrence of having one side attack the other repeatedly, pushing their opponent back each time but losing readiness faster than the defender and stretching their supply lines. Eventually the attacker becomes exhausted, and the defender can then counterattack. I think this gives a pretty good feel for the nature and overall course of Revolutionary War campaigns, even if it is not accurate in all the details. As with supply, I think the current system is a type of “design for effect” that works rather well.
However, if the next game is going to be Napoleon in Italy, I think it might be appropriate to look at making battles more decisive. Napoleon’s “strategy of the central position” depended on decisively defeating first one army and then, in rapid sucession, decisively defeating a second army. This strategy was used during the Italian campaign, and I think the game should be able to reproduce it. It seems to me that Hussar Games has taken on a considerable challenge in trying to accurately simulate operational level Napoleonic campaigning (as opposed to the tactical battles), and I look forward with great anticipation to seeing the results.
Finally, I would put in a vote to upgrade the system for automatically resolving battles. The current system sometimes gives annomolous results where a superior army will be defeated by one which is decidely inferior. This was also the case in “1848”, but it wasn’t that much of a problem because the player was given an estimate of the outcome, and therefore had the information needed to make a decision. In “For Liberty” the player can assure more accurate outcomes by always playing battles out tactically, but the AI bases it’s decisions on the probable outcome of an automatically resolved battle which leads it to periodically make some very ill advised attacks, and sometimes to not attack in situations where it would probably be successful.
This could also be alleviated somewhat by improving the tactical battle AI, and I’m certainly in favor of any improvements that can be made. However, the current AI is pretty good and the difference in results between automatically resolved battles and tactical battles is not only because humans play more skillfully than the AI. I don’t know how difficult it would be to upgrade the routines for automatically resolving battles, but I do think it is worth considering.
All My Best,