Recently I've had to take a newbie by the hand and explain the basics of the supply system to him. Actually, I was as dumbfounded as he was when I first played the game, and IMHO the system isn't very well explained in the manual or the tutorial. So here's my unofficial mod of chapter 11 of the game manual. Hope that helps.
I guess I've missed a few points, made some things sound more complicated than they are, or made a number of horrible mistakes, so please help me to complete this.
Note that the numbers below are the default settings, and could be modified by scenarios.
Cities grow beans -> Top HQ gets them from cities -> Subordinate HQ gets them from Top HQ -> Combat Units get them from Sub. HQ and eat them.
1) SUPPLY REQUIREMENTS AND RESERVES
Each subformation in a unit needs a certain amount of supplies each turn to move and fight at 100% capability. To find out how much each type of subformation needs, click the subformation's picture and look at the center box at the top. You'll see that Rifle infantry uses 2 supply per turn. Mortars need 2, artillery needs 8 etc. So a unit with 40 Rifle and 4 Mortars would need 88 supplies per turn.
In addition, each unit can store some supplies as a reserve. This is usually the same as Supply Use. For Infantry, this is again 2. Our example unit can store a additional 88 supply points ("for bad times").
Now look at the box at the lower left:
Stock: how much supplies the unit has. The number in parentheses is the number of turns the unit can function at 100% Readiness with this amount in stock. Our example unit should always have 176 supplies in stock (88 received for this turn, and 88 in reserve).
Req(ested): what the unit requested from its HQ at the beginning of this turn.
In: how much it actually received.
Dest(royed): how much was destroyed by enemy Anti-Supply (see below).
2) EFFECTS OF LOW SUPPLY
If a unit consumes less than the amount needed, its Readiness drops, resulting in a loss of Action Points (i.e. movement) and combat strength. The "fuel can" under the unit name shows the percentage of supplies received at the beginning of the turn.
Note that the little square at the lower left of the unit counter also shows supply status. Green is OK, yellow is less than 100% consumed, red means trouble.
2.1) READINESS AND SUPPLY
Did you think it was all that easy? No, of course you didn't. Supply consumption is dependent on Readiness, too. If a unit has 100% Readiness and is fully stocked (incl. reserves), it eats (and requests) only half as many supplies. But if it suffers a reduction in Readiness (from bombardments, winter effects, bad karma or anything else), it will eat more spinach to get back into shape. Read The Friendly Manual if you want to know the boring details.
2.1) TIGHTENING YOUR BELT
You have probably noticed the "Supply" field at the lower right. Set it to less than 100% and your units will request only that percentage at their HQ. That saves a lot of money, and it's fine as long as nothing bad happens to these troops, because they can live with 50% supply as long as they have 100% Readiness (see above). Unfortunately, sooner or later something bad will happen to them, they will need more than 50%, even more than 100% to get their Readiness back, and unfortunately you will forget to set them to 100% again, until it's too late and everyone is dead. Poor pixel troops, they deserved better. You should have listened to me and kept your finger off that switch.
is bad for you, unless you have planned ahead. Winter in the WaW scenario decreases Readiness of all land units by ~30%. Since units eat more when their Readiness is < 100%, that means that your army will consume a lot more in winter. I can't exactly say how much, but I'd say at least a third (depending on how many units you have of course). So begin stockpiling some supply before the first snow falls.
3) HQ UNITS
Only HQ counters have the ability to store an unlimited amount of supplies. Think of them as depots. HQs also distribute supply to their subordinate units.
HQs have these additional statistics in their supply info box:
Real: All subformations in the HQ counter store supplies, as well as the HQ counter itself (the "depot"). Real is the sum of depot supplies and subformation reserves in the HQ. Note that only supplies in "Stock" (the depot) are automatically sent to subordinate units at the beginning of a turn, but you can send the entire "Real" amount if you transfer supplies manually.
Out: what was sent to subordnate units at the beginning of the turn
OutReq(ested): what the greedy little buggers actually wanted. If this is more than Out, you might have a supply problem. Actually, it means you do have a supply problem.
Res(erve): this is actually a clickable field, you just can't see that it is. Ahem. Click it to enter a number of extra supply points this HQ will request next turn from its superior HQ. This is useful for shipping extra reserves to an HQ you think might get besieged in the future. For example, the Japanese player in the global WW2 scenario might want to ship some extra rice to his Pacific island garrisons, just in case.
3.1) WHY WON'T MY [CENSORED] HQ MOVE?
Maybe it is sitting on a mountain of beans. Supplies have a weight, too. If your HQ does not have the Transport Capacity to carry all these beans, then, well... it won't.
4) THE SUPPLY CHAIN
Supplies are produced in cities (see the "Non-Combat" category in the production menu). Each city can be (and always should be) assigned to one of your HQ units. At the beginning of a turn, supplies produced in a city are automatically transferred to this HQ.
Now the HQ sends out supplies to its subordinate units, according to the amount each of them requested. If the HQ receives less than necessary, all subordinate units receive only a percentage of what they requested, and maybe a written apology. If the HQ receives more, it stores the surplus.
All *automatic* supply and production movements, i.e. those that happen between turns, are free and do not require ships or trucks. You only need those to *manually* move supply during your turn.
HQs can be organized in a hierarchy. For example, HQ Alpha is superior to HQ Beta and HQ Charlie, and HQ Beta is superior to HQs Delta and Echo. All combat units subordinate to Echo send their requests to Echo, Echo sends them to Beta, and Beta adds up all the requests made to it and requests this amount at HQ Alpha. HQ Alpha will then send supplies to Beta, Beta to Echo, and Echo finally sends them to the combat units.
City -> Top HQ -> Subordinate HQ -> Combat Unit
Example: You have an HQ with 10 Staff (Supply Use 2) and two Trucks (Supply Use 10) in it, and four of our prior example units (40 Rifle, 4 Mortars) are subordinate to this HQ. It will request 4 * 88 for the subordinates, and 40 for its own subformations (staff and trucks), for a total of 392. The HQ will request 392 points at the beginning of each turn. If it gets only 80% of that amount, all subordinates will get only 80%, too.
4.1) SUPPLY RANGE AND THE SUPPLY LAYER SCREEN
Think of your Supply being moved in abstracted little trucks. These trucks have a maximum of 250 AP for their movement from the HQ to the subordinate units. An open hex ("plains") costs 20 AP, road hexes costs only 10, heavy forest costs 50 AP etc. Sea hexes cost only 1 AP (I think). That means an HQ could deliver supplies to a unit 25 road hexes away, but only 5 hexes if the "trucks" had to move entirely through Heavy Forest.
Now select one of your HQs and click the Supply Layer button in the main button bar. All land hexes are now shaded in green, yellow, blue or red. That color shows how much supply would get to a unit in these zones. Green is within 100 "truck" AP and 100% of requested supply arrives there. Yellow is 101-150 AP, and only 75% arrives there. Blue is > 150 and means 50%. Red is > 200 and means 25%. If your units get less than they want, they will first make up for the shortfall by using up their reserves. When the reserves are used up, their Readiness will drop. You'd better move the HQ closer to the unit (or vice versa), kill enemy units blocking the roads, capture a port (in case of sea supply lanes) or drop Air Supply (see below).
The difference between supplies requested and supplies received by units in the yellow or worse areas is not lost, but simply not sent. The same is true for city production going to a HQ which is further than 100 AP. Production that cannot be delivered is added to production storage ("Left:").
Note that the Supply Layer is always displayed for the hex that was selected when you clicked the button. To find out the supply range for another hex, switch off this screen, select another hex and switch it on again. (It would be a nice addition in a future patch if selecting another hex while in Supply Mode, this would automatically switch display to this hex.)
With the Supply Layer on, right-click on another hex to see the exact route your supplies would take to get there. This is quite useful if you would like to know where your evil little submarines could hurt yuor enemy the most. For example, you suspect that enemy troops in Gibraltar are supplied from an HQ in London. It doesn't take a V-2 scientist to figure that out, but where exactly will the game draw this supply lane? Click on London, click on the Supply Layer button, and finally right-click on Gibraltar. Bingo! The supply is routed through the port in Plymouth, from there through the Bay of Biscay, then it hugs the coast of Spain and finally it gets to The Rock.
4.1.1) CITY PRODUCTION AND SUPPLY RANGE
If I'm not mistaken, production is subject to the same 250 AP rule. That means that if a city is more than 100/150/250 AP away from the HQ its production is routed to, only 75/50/25/zero % will arrive at the HQ. The difference is not lost, but simply not sent.
4.1.2) PORTS AND WHY YOU REALLY, REALLY WANT TO CONTROL THEM
When your sea supply lane has to reach a unit, it can cross from sea to land without a port. But this costs an extra 150 AP, simulating the difficulty of unloading lots of beans on a beach. Since 150 AP (plus the AP cost of the sea lane) is > 100 AP, this means that all units supplied this way will get a maximum of 75% supply ("yellow" status) or less if they are further inland. And that means that their reserves will be used up after a couple of turns. And that means a lot of unhappy troops.
4.2) CAN MY BELOVED PIXEL TROOPS STARVE TO DEATH?
No, they can't. No one dies from starvation. But if they don't get supplies, sooner or later their Readiness and their Action Points will drop to single-digit numbers. The enemy can then kill a tank division simply by using foul language. Also, it costs at least 10 AP to move (on a road). If your unit has only 8 AP, that's a bit of a problem, movement-wise. Actually, if you know that an enemy unit has been out of supply for several turns and won't get back into supply any time soon, you can mop it up - or ignore it. It can't do anything except sit there and feel miserable.
4.3) ARE MY HQ BUREAUCRATS INTELLIGENT AND GENEROUS?
No, of course they aren't. You can have HQ North drown in supplies, and HQ Center starve. Even if they are in the same hex, North won't send anything to Center, unless you make Center a subordinate HQ of North. That can easily happen if you route city supply production to a subordinate HQ which consumes less than it needs. See 5). Of course you can still transfer supplies manually.
4.3) CAN I MANUALLY MOVE SUPPLIES?
Sure. Select the HQ and click the Transfer button. You'll see this HQ's supply listed. From here you can send it to another unit. Note that each supply point has a weight, too, and moving it around this way costs Transport capacity. Also note that the automatic supply distribution at the beginning of the turn doesn't cost Transport capacity.
By manually moving them, you can send extra supplies to an HQ as an additional reserve. But it's easier to use the Reserve button (see 3.) for this.
BTW, if you transfer anything between two HQs, you can select which HQ is providing the transport capacity. Click the unit counter under the left transfer box to switch between HQs.
5) HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR SUPPLY CHAIN
To simplify things, you should have a Boss HQ (the "Big Warehouse") somewhere. Set a few cities to produce all the supplies your entire army needs and send them to the Boss HQ. Then make all "front" HQs subordinate to the Boss. This way, your Boss HQ automatically handles the distribution. Most importantly, you can check your supply status at any time simply by checking this HQ's status. All supply requests end up here, so if the Boss received less than it needed, you don't produce enough.
5.1) HOW TO INVADE RUSSIA
In some cases, you will find that the way from your Boss HQ (the "warehouse") to the "front" HQs is a little too long. But you can build additional HQs to act as "relay stations". Just make the relay subordinate to the Boss HQ, and make all front HQs subordinate to the relay. The supply distance counts from HQ to HQ, i.e. each gets its own 250 AP supply movement.
5.2) OTHER WAYS TO GET INFO ON SUPPLIES
* You can see supply info for all units on the Statistics screen (the "OOB" tab).
* In the Production Overview, the box on the right tells you how many supplies you have built and how many were requested by each HQ. Unfortunately, the setting for "All HQs" tells you the total production of all cities, but not the total consumption (patch material here?). That's why you should route all requests through your Boss HQ.
Actually, it would be wonderful if the production and losses screen at the beginning of each turn would not only tell you how much was produced, but also how much was eaten. In this player's opinion, that would simplify the entire game enormously.
5.3) HOW MANY SUPPLIES SHOULD I BUILD?
If in doubt, a little more than you consumed this turn. You're going to build new units each turn, and they want their beans immediately after being built (or don't they?). The surplus is never lost, but stored in your HQ. And it's probably a good idea to have some reserves at hand.
Example: your current army consumed 8,000 supplies this turn. Your "warehouse" HQ has a stock of 2,000, but you're busily building more units. Depending on how many hungry mouths you build, next turn's requirement might be 9,000 or higher. You can get away with building 8,000 for a while because your warehouse reserves will be used to make up the difference. After these are used up, your combat units will begin to get less than they requested and consume their own reserves (remember those?). And only after those are eaten, you really have a global supply problem. But it's better to have something in the bank at all times.
This also means that when you're in serious trouble (read: fighting another human, not the AI), you can cancel supply production for a turn and build bombers instead of bullets. If you always build a little more than you need, there will be enough "fat" in the system for your troops to live off for a turn or two.
5.3) HELP! MY SUPPLY NEEDS ARE GOING UP AND DOWN LIKE THE ASSYRIAN EMPIRE!
You recently had a supply shortfall and your units began eating their reserves. Now they request more to refill their little piggy banks. Or a lot of them suffered a drop in Readiness and now they eat more to get back in shape. Don't worry. Just produce a metric boatload of supplies for one turn and everything will be fine soon enough.
5.4) CAN I CAPTURE ENEMY SUPPLIES?
Not that I know of. Logistics are always anal, but simulating that would be really anal.
5.5) DOESN'T ALL THAT MEAN THAT SOONER OR LATER, ALL MY CITIES WILL PRODUCE ONLY BEANS TO FEED THE ARMY?
Yes, they will. The best way to prevent that embarrassing situation is to start a war. Then the enemy will kill some of the greedy buggers. Also keep in mind that artillery, tanks, trucks, planes etc. use a lot of supplies. Your mighty tank army could bleed you dry. And don't build 30 Level Bombers just for the fun of it, or "in case I might need them later". Those 30 bombers consume 900 supplies each turn, that's 2700 production points, or 27 Rifle Infantry, just for sitting on their fat behinds and doing nothing useful. 30 Rifle Infantry, on the other hand, only eat 60 supplies. You do the math.
6) SUPPLY FOR SHIPS
Ships are handled slightly different from land units. They can store a lot of supplies (typically enough for 10 turns), but are only supplied when in a port at the beginning of a turn. Normal rules then apply, i.e. they have to be in supply range of their HQ.
CAVEAT: That giant sucking sound you hear is caused by your mighty battlefleet entering port and emptying all warehouses. You have been warned.
7) ANTI-SUPPLY (RAIDING)
(Per the default scenario settings, Anti-Supply is only possible for sea supply lanes, not land supply.)
AS means that enemy ships or planes sink some of your abstracted supply ships. If an enemy ship, sub or plane gets close to one of your supply lanes during its movement, it destroys a certain amount of supply points. It does not have to cross the line, being near it is sufficient. But the closer to the actual line, the more gets destroyed.
At the beginning of your turn, the statistics screen shows how many supplies were lost to enemy raiding ("AS losses") and how many your raiders have destroyed ("AS Kills").
When you look at the map, you will now see red "bubbles" in sea hexes where your supplies were sunk. You'll see blue bubbles where you have destroyed enemy supplies. Note that you'll see blue bubbles only in the turn after your raider sank these supplies.
Planes are pretty useful in AS, as they automatically hit supply routes in their range, unless these hexes are intercepted by defending fighters.
7.1) NAVAL BLOCKADES
If you station a ship adjacent to an enemy port where an enemy sea supply lane moves through, it will sink 20 times as many supplies as it would on the high seas. Ouch.
8) AIR SUPPLY
If you have Transports (cargo planes), click the Air Supply button in the main button bar to drop some supplies in a hex in range of your plane. Supplies are immediately distributed from that hex to units in range, as if that hex were an HQ, i.e. rules from 4.1 (250 AP maximum etc.) apply. The target hex does not have to be an airfield, but if it is not, half of the supply is lost. Air Supply missions are subject to fighter interception. Ra-ta-ta-ta.
< Message edited by zook08 -- 8/18/2008 10:16:09 PM >