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Short game Review and Feedback

 
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Short game Review and Feedback - 12/27/2007 3:31:56 PM   
Mowersben

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 12/24/2007
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What surprises me most about this game is how stable it is considering how little play testing it appears to have gone through. Not only is it stable but its really rather fun and surprisingly addictive. If the main issues are fixed this game could be one of my favorites simply because its an accurate, challenging and fun wargame that is not a hassle to play once you have worked out what is going on.

Furthermore the main issue I have with Matrix games and most strategy games is the often awful AI. The AI in this game is wonderful, sure its not a genius but with so many limp AIs this makes for a breath of fresh air. However, sadly despite all this good work the AI doesn't appear to know what the campaign objectives are which undoes alot of good work.

Interestingly enough most tactical battles end in a bloody "stalemate". I am not sure whether this was deliberate but if it was it would suggest that the authors are quite familiar with the most recent Napoleonic research. Winning a battle outright on the tactical map before one's forces become exhausted is very difficult because of the constantly falling readiness levels. This feature makes for surprisingly realistic outcomes, although there need to be some tweaks.

The political influence feature is fantastic, it provides a difficult decision almost every turn; allowing players to influence various military and political factors which effect one's military forces. This function should be in every wargame.

Unfortunately until this game is fixed its not worth investing time in; although the 1.05 beta patch makes a considerable difference to the overall game, as it was unplayable due to the ability to armies to magically regenerate. The main problem is that supply appears to be broken, as this is the core of the game its a huge show stopper.

The main problems I have discovered so far are listed below. It could well be that some of the so-called-problems are not problems at all but rather that the manual is so short on detail as to be effectively useless.


Operational level Map

Supply is broken: It appears that 30,000 troops could be in a village with no friendly village for half of Italy but they still get full supply because they are in a town. Thus sustaining a logistical trail is pointless. This effectively ruins the game because its impossible to cut off enemy forces.

AI doesn't recognize key point towns: Whilst the beta patch makes the scenarios playable the AI doesn't seem to know what the key objectives are. It doesn't appear to make any attempt to attack or defend them.

Objectives should be marked on the map: Its impossible to know what on earth one is meant to be doing. The objectives should be highlighted with their points value indicated. In the scenario notes the key objectives should be listed.

Objectives should be listed when a scenario is extended: When one opts to continue a scenario the new objectives should be listed so the player has a vague clue as to what he is meant to be doing.


Tactical Battles

Units that rally: Units appear to be remarkably stable after rallying. Is this a deliberate feature?

Cavalry charges are unrealistically ineffective: Even against tired units in line that are facing the opposite direction.

Square and Line versus cavalry: It doesn't appear that being in square or line makes any real difference to repelling cavalry. There really ought to be at least a noticeable difference, I no longer bother with squares, line formation is equally as effective.

Movement for cavalry is too costly: When you lose 2 points of readiness per turn just for moving and start with a reasonable 60 points and a battle lasts 30 turns its very hard to keep cavalry units effective, indeed its unrealistically punishing.

Units do not regain readiness: Even if a unit doesn't move for 25 turns it doesn't regain again readiness. Whilst I dont think a unit should regain readiness above its starting level it ought to slowly regain points over time to its starting cap.

Surrounded units do not surrender:There is no surrender function in the game. Enemy units do not surrender regardless of how long and badly they are surrounded. This is unrealistic.

Chasing broken units: If 2 fresh hussar units plow into a badly broken infantry unit they should inflict significant casualties/ captives; currently the system inflicts about 4 casualties and the broken unit is allowed to run off again. Its not worth pursuing fleeing enemy forces which is unrealistic and ahistoric.

AI moving guns next to units: The AI has a tendency to move guns next to enemy units where they are destroyed the next turn. It needs to learn not to do this.

Breaking units don't have enough effect on neighboring units When neighbouring forces break they appear to have a very minor effect

Frontage appears to play no part: Whether a unit is attacked from the front or behind it appears to have no impact.

Opposing Reinforcements arrive on top of each other : Opposing Reinforcements shouldn't arrive in the same part of the map, there should be at least 5 hexs between their arrival zones; they certainly shouldn't be arriving on top of each other.



< Message edited by Mowersben -- 12/27/2007 7:49:22 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: Short game Review and Feedback - 12/27/2007 3:41:24 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Mowersben,

Thanks for your feedback, I'll ask the developer to stop by and respond to these comments, both good and bad.

Regards,

- Erik

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(in reply to Mowersben)
Post #: 2
RE: Short game Review and Feedback - 12/27/2007 9:18:04 PM   
kafka

 

Posts: 153
Joined: 6/11/2004
Status: offline
good points

however after having played the full campaign

quote:

Breaking units don't have enough effect on neighboring units

 
I cannot confirm this, a breaking unit often did cause neighboring units to break too

quote:

Frontage appears to play no part


not sure about this, but I think that frontage does have a certain impact, however it might be to little

 




(in reply to Erik Rutins)
Post #: 3
RE: Short game Review and Feedback - 12/28/2007 1:05:50 AM   
Mowersben

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 12/24/2007
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Thanks Erik.

Kafka,

A breaking unit causes a -1 morale loss on a nearby friendly unit.
Nearly every other turn a general will be able to increase the morale of a unit by one point, alternatively 5 casualties causes -1 morale loss. It just doesn't seem equal.

Frontage does play a part but its so minor to almost be insignificant, indeed its hardly worth attacking from the rear apart from to avoid a potential out of turn fire phase.


< Message edited by Mowersben -- 12/28/2007 3:52:43 AM >

(in reply to kafka)
Post #: 4
RE: Short game Review and Feedback - 12/28/2007 6:59:12 PM   
HussarGames

 

Posts: 253
Joined: 10/18/2006
Status: offline
Thanks for the mini-review. Please find my answers below.

Supply is broken: It appears that 30,000 troops could be in a village with no friendly village for half of Italy but they still get full supply because they are in a town. Thus sustaining a logistical trail is pointless. This effectively ruins the game because its impossible to cut off enemy forces.

- This could be a bug, this is definitely not intended to be like this.


AI doesn't recognize key point towns: Whilst the beta patch makes the scenarios playable the AI doesn't seem to know what the key objectives are. It doesn't appear to make any attempt to attack or defend them.

- The AI has priorities for the towns. Maybe we could tweak it. If you can provide example saves, that would help a lot.

Objectives should be marked on the map: Its impossible to know what on earth one is meant to be doing. The objectives should be highlighted with their points value indicated. In the scenario notes the key objectives should be listed.

- Click on them and you get the objective value next to the town's name.

Objectives should be listed when a scenario is extended: When one opts to continue a scenario the new objectives should be listed so the player has a vague clue as to what he is meant to be doing.

- The manual explains the victory point system.


Tactical Battles

Units that rally: Units appear to be remarkably stable after rallying. Is this a deliberate feature?

- Units that have rallied pass the same morale check any other unit passes, there is no difference. When routed, units lose 6 morale points.

Cavalry charges are unrealistically ineffective: Even against tired units in line that are facing the opposite direction.

- I will let our historian reply to this.

Square and Line versus cavalry: It doesn't appear that being in square or line makes any real difference to repelling cavalry. There really ought to be at least a noticeable difference, I no longer bother with squares, line formation is equally as effective.

- A tweak maybe required here.

Movement for cavalry is too costly: When you lose 2 points of readiness per turn just for moving and start with a reasonable 60 points and a battle lasts 30 turns its very hard to keep cavalry units effective, indeed its unrealistically punishing.

- Like the above.

Units do not regain readiness: Even if a unit doesn't move for 25 turns it doesn't regain again readiness. Whilst I dont think a unit should regain readiness above its starting level it ought to slowly regain points over time to its starting cap.

- This works as intended in tactical battles.

Surrounded units do not surrender:There is no surrender function in the game. Enemy units do not surrender regardless of how long and badly they are surrounded. This is unrealistic.

- This is not true. Low morale units WILL surrender after a lost battle.

Chasing broken units: If 2 fresh hussar units plow into a badly broken infantry unit they should inflict significant casualties/ captives; currently the system inflicts about 4 casualties and the broken unit is allowed to run off again. Its not worth pursuing fleeing enemy forces which is unrealistic and ahistoric.

- Should be tweaked, yes.

AI moving guns next to units: The AI has a tendency to move guns next to enemy units where they are destroyed the next turn. It needs to learn not to do this.

- Copuld you please provide saves of this behavior? Before the AI does this?

Breaking units don't have enough effect on neighboring units When neighbouring forces break they appear to have a very minor effect.

- Most of the time this is true, but sometimes all hell breaks lose.

Frontage appears to play no part: Whether a unit is attacked from the front or behind it appears to have no impact.

- It has impact.


Opposing Reinforcements arrive on top of each other : Opposing Reinforcements shouldn't arrive in the same part of the map, there should be at least 5 hexs between their arrival zones; they certainly shouldn't be arriving on top of each other.

- This is quite rare I think, but if you can provide saves, that would help.


Thank you for your insight, we will use this feedback for the next patch. Peter - our historian - should drop by as well and provide some answers.

(in reply to Mowersben)
Post #: 5
RE: Short game Review and Feedback - 12/30/2007 11:08:27 PM   
jeffreys

 

Posts: 131
Joined: 2/27/2004
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quote:

Breaking units don't have enough effect on neighboring units When neighbouring forces break they appear to have a very minor effect

A breaking unit causes a -1 morale loss on a nearby friendly unit.
Nearly every other turn a general will be able to increase the morale of a unit by one point, alternatively 5 casualties causes -1 morale loss. It just doesn't seem equal.


The nearby friendly unit also has to make a morale check. Fresh units with good morale, readiness and cohesion will probably pass this morale check and not rout. Later in the battle when units have sustained more combat and are more fatigued (lower readiness, cohesion and morale) it's not uncommon to see several nearby units break successively, and this can be the decisive moment in the battle. A similar effect can occur when an army that has not had time to recover from previous battles, and/or is low on supply, has to go into battle before it has recovered.

In my opinion this is historically realistic. Armies did become depleted over the course of a battle, and victory often went to whoever could hold on long enough to make the final push at the end. Thiis also makes for exciting and enjoyable gameplay. It's an example of "design for effect" that seems to me to work well.

< Message edited by jeffreys -- 12/30/2007 11:39:24 PM >


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(in reply to Mowersben)
Post #: 6
RE: Short game Review and Feedback - 12/30/2007 11:49:45 PM   
Mowersben

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 12/24/2007
Status: offline
Thanks for taking the time to respond to my questions.

quote:


Supply is broken: It appears that 30,000 troops could be in a village with no friendly village for half of Italy but they still get full supply because they are in a town. Thus sustaining a logistical trail is pointless.

- This could be a bug, this is definitely not intended to be like this.


But if I understand correctly one does not need to trace a route of supply back to a central or original supply point? This is my main issue with the game is maneuver warfare seems strange when none of the armies are tethered to a supply chain. Where are they getting the supply from and how does one cut it off? Or have I misunderstood?

quote:


Objectives should be listed when a scenario is extended: When one opts to continue a scenario the new objectives should be listed so the player has a vague clue as to what he is meant to be doing.

- The manual explains the victory point system.


But when the computer asks you whether you want to extend a scenario it doesn't tell you the new objectives when you decide to continue. Shouldn't it do this so you know what you are meant to be doing?

quote:


AI moving guns next to units: The AI has a tendency to move guns next to enemy units where they are destroyed the next turn. It needs to learn not to do this.

- Could you please provide saves of this behavior? Before the AI does this?


I cant provide saves but I cant tell you it happens with line of sight issues. the guns will continue to move forward until they have line of sight - which is 1 hex in woods. And thats when it certainly happens. Otherwise they are pretty good at getting out of the way.



quote:


Opposing Reinforcements arrive on top of each other : Opposing Reinforcements shouldn't arrive in the same part of the map, there should be at least 5 hexs between their arrival zones; they certainly shouldn't be arriving on top of each other.

- This is quite rare I think, but if you can provide saves, that would help.


PM me an email and I will send you the save.

quote:


Thank you for your insight, we will use this feedback for the next patch. Peter - our historian - should drop by as well and provide some answers.


A pleasure and thanks for the thoughtful responses, that was very useful.

Mowers

< Message edited by Mowersben -- 12/30/2007 11:51:03 PM >

(in reply to HussarGames)
Post #: 7
RE: Short game Review and Feedback - 1/2/2008 12:37:00 PM   
HussarGames

 

Posts: 253
Joined: 10/18/2006
Status: offline

Supply system:

You do not have to trace supply to Nice or any other HQ. All you need is towns with sufficial supply points nearby. IMHO this is realistic, because at the time armies largely lived off the fields. Of course with ammo is different, but the game does not go into this much detail. Maybe the next installment.

"But when the computer asks you whether you want to extend a scenario it doesn't tell you the new objectives when you decide to continue. Shouldn't it do this so you know what you are meant to be doing?"

In this case the game will continue until one sides achieves a Total Victory (gaining 5 times the VP of the enemy).

Guns in woods:

I have not thought of this situation, thanks. We are going to try to tweak this behavior for guns - not to go into woods, unless with very good infantry cover.

You can email saves to this email:
info1848@yahoo.com

Thanks.

(in reply to Mowersben)
Post #: 8
RE: Short game Review and Feedback - 1/8/2008 8:04:10 AM   
joanagamer

 

Posts: 1
Joined: 1/8/2008
Status: offline
I agree with you , nice spot on.

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PLY GAMES AND MAKE MONEY

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Post #: 9
RE: Short game Review and Feedback - 1/16/2008 6:42:50 PM   
Mowersben

 

Posts: 10
Joined: 12/24/2007
Status: offline
quote:

You do not have to trace supply to Nice or any other HQ. All you need is towns with sufficial supply points nearby. IMHO this is realistic, because at the time armies largely lived off the fields. Of course with ammo is different, but the game does not go into this much detail. Maybe the next installment.


Thanks, I understand now.

30,000 soldiers without a supply column during this era would not last more than 3 weeks in a single town, if that long.

The problem is that you have created an operational level simulation without the key boundary - supply. Thus armies can do as they please with few realistic limitations.

I dont know what you mean by next installment but if you can add a line of code that looks to trace a link back to one of say 6 map edge towns and then, say, quarter the supply if not then this game is fixed. Without supply lines the maneouvre level game is almost worthless and the tactical game isnt worth the money.

I really like your game and what you have done but without supply constraints it makes it really hard to feel like any sort of simulation.


< Message edited by Mowersben -- 1/16/2008 6:54:23 PM >

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Post #: 10
RE: Short game Review and Feedback - 1/18/2008 1:02:20 AM   
Hidde

 

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Mowersben, thank you for articulating my exact thoughts. I have meant to write something like that but now you've done it for me
I played FL for many hours and think that NiI has some improvements but sadly this supply stuff makes me give up on the game much earlier than I would like. It feels like your armies just moves about randomly and fight lot of battles while cavalry moves from town to town for points.
It's a great game otherwise and if something can be done about the supply the game would be, as you say, fixed.

(in reply to Mowersben)
Post #: 11
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