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Yes! We're still here WIP

 
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Yes! We're still here WIP - 3/27/2002 11:38:35 AM   
Marshall Ellis


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Hello all:

Well, I finally came out of my enforced absence on Elba and want to let you guys know that the basic game is almost ready for early testing. My apologies for being scarce on the Forums but I have gotten some great ideas from many of you and we appreciate it greatly! We had to act on many of your suggestions while the thoughts were hot. A few things to ask:

We have developed a pretty flexible combat system which allows some simple tactical control (Moving Corps to different locations on the battlefield such as the Left, Middle, Right and Reserve. What are your thoughts on this amount of control? Too much? Too little?

Naval combat is much more simple with two opposing sides who are allowed to select their own naval combat tactic. What are your thoughts here?

We don't have a release version but testing is soon to come which should help form a finished product.

Thank you all

_____________________________

Thank you

Marshall Ellis
Outflank Strategy War Games


Post #: 1
- 3/27/2002 7:19:24 PM   
jnier


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Marshall,

First of all, let me say that I'm very glad to hear that progress is being made. Almost ready for testing - that's better progress than I was expecting!

Regarding the land combat system. There seems to be two different schools of thought on the message board in respect to the level of detail that should be included.

One school (which I think is the majority, based on my reading of previous posts) wants to keep the tactical system as simple as possible, but still yield historically plausible results. I think these folks envision a system similar to the one in EIA.

The other school is the people who want the tactical system to be as detailed as possible. I think these folks envision that the each battle in the game would be fought as it's own mini-tactical simulation (similar to Napoleon 1813).

I favor something closer to the first option for a couple of reasons.

In my opinion, a highly detailed tactical approach to the game would probably be unplayable. Imagine trying to play the full campaign game (10 years long) and having to fight every major battle at the tactical level - it would take forever. Also it would make multiplayer games very difficult.

Another problem I have with the detailed tactical approach is that devoting resources to the tactical aspects of the game will take away resources from developing the strategic elements of the game. Since there already lots of tactical level napleonic games out there, and no strategic level games, I think that this would be a mistake.

Your post seems to imply that players will have control at the corps level. This seems to be an appropriate compromise between the the two approaches - more detail than an EIA-type tactical system, but not so much detail that would bog down the game.

So I would say "just about right" in response to your first question.

Regarding Naval combat. IMHO, I think a fairly simple system would be best. It might incorporate 1. Naval Morale (e.g. English are higher than everybody else) 2. Naval Leaders and 3.Wind Gauge. Just enough detail to keep it interesting, but again not so much detail that the game will get bogged down in specifics.

To me, it's the political, economic, diplomatic, and strategic parts of the game that are most imporant. So I hope these aspects of the game recieve the most attention from the development team.

Best of luck with the project!

(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 2
- 3/27/2002 10:57:56 PM   
eg0master

 

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I can only agree this is better news than expected! Very nice!
I also would like to favour a more strategical game than tactical. And may I suggest also to keep in mind PBEMs... the tactical control you described might be too much for PBEMs, but maybe you have dropped the PBEM idea?

Keep it as simple as possible in the beginning, but make sure you can add modules with more "tactical control" etc later (this was suggested in another post also).

Last... You speak of testing... I know I shouldn't ask this (according to the FAQ which on the other hand feels quite standard for matrix games under development) but how will you select your testers? Do you have a group, or will you invite some of the [I]fans[/I]? I bet I am not the only one who would like to test this game early and provide feedback.

(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 3
Combat, Testing and questions... - 3/28/2002 1:03:51 AM   
Marshall Ellis


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This is what we thought about the tactical control in combat. PBEM could become too bulky with too much control so there may be some changes made for that reason. PBEM, although not developed fully yet, has not been abandoned. We see that feature as more important than tactical control in combat (According to previous posts). I can see us making a few changes to the combat depending on how it affects PBEM playability.

Matrix will develop some criteria for testing and I will certainly defer to their expertise in this arena. My preference is pretty simple ... seasoned gamers willing to help!

For experienced Napoleonic era war gamers (EIA, etc)...

Please tell me how you play certain countries?

What do you try to do if you play France? Russia? etc.

Tell me what your overall strategies are?

What is the best way to play Prussia?

I would like some data to benchmark the AI with...

Thank you

_____________________________

Thank you

Marshall Ellis
Outflank Strategy War Games



(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 4
- 3/28/2002 2:29:21 AM   
Arinvald


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Thank God. I was getting worried. Sounds like your on the right track with the tactical battles. Detailed battles wouldnt work well with a game of this strategic scope.

(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 5
- 3/28/2002 4:31:00 AM   
ABP

 

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Hi,

I can only concur that you have given us good news.
Even though you certainly are busy, I suggest that you participate a little more frequently. This latest burst of posts clearly, imo show that your input is important.

With regard to the game:
I am also supporting the idea of having a game focused on the tactical aspects of gaming. It has been said before, but this type of game has been missing for way too long.
I think it would be a mistake to drop PBEM.
The reason is that the game lasts for 10 years and it is unlikely to be possible to play it in one session as multi player game.
It would be very difficult to play the game with 7 players from different time zones without PBEM. Surely you would like to see a community to develop that meet OL or PBEM from the whole world.

I suggest that you include a feature in PBEM multi player games where the players can vote to change a player during a campaign if this player for any reason are unable to continue. It would be very annoying if games must be cut short due to player drop out.

(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 6
- 3/28/2002 5:55:30 AM   
Le Tondu


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It is real cool to see you guys back.

My take on game play is pretty simple actually.

We should be able to do what was done back then [B]from a strategic perspective -only.[/B]

[B]Everyone,[/B] including myself wants to have the hybrid stategic/ tactical Napoleonic game where we get to micro manage our battalions once contact is made between opposing armies during the entire Napoleonic Era. [B]That[/B] would simply be WAY cool, but not what I think 'Napoleonic Wars' is all about. Someone tell me if I'm wrong.

On the combat side of things, what I would like is a game where we order our individual Corps here and there and when a battle takes place, the outcome is decided using as many different parameters as possible to achieve a historically possible result -if a battle is desired. These parameters would be charted throughout the game. A complete freedom to change the composition of the various Corps is a must (ie. transfering Divisions, Brigades, Regiments) .

I've said it before and I'll say it again, - The greater the detail, the better. Things like strategic consumption, traditionally slow or fast commanders, casulties, stragglers catching up with their columns, men recovering from their wounds and rejoining their units, depot units sending replacements, desertions, suicides (yes it happened), the lack of shoes, seiges, illness and disease?, foraging, ammunition, supply trains being captured?, the deaths, dismissal and replacement of commanders, the lack of horses, etc.....(you can think of more, I'm sure.)

How about some unpredicatable events like a column being slowed by looting or foraging, OR the unexpected death of a certain commander due to illness, deuling, or the wrath of a jealous husband? What about mutinies by soldiers (or sailors) against their despicable commanders? What about unexpected bad weather causing rivers to rise?

Put us in the place of a Napoleonic strategic leader and let us experience as many of the types of things they experienced -as possible. The greater the different number of variables that exist, the greater the replay value will be and hence the greater the retail value -IMHO.

Some tactical control did take place, but only to a very limited degree. Take Bernadotte in 1806 and 1809 as an example where Napoleon wasn't able to be as tactically as controling as he would have liked to have been with Bernadotte's Corps -AND Napoleon was by far the best at it.

I'm for making it easy on the designers and vote for very little tactical control.

None of this is negative criticism. It is just one Napoleonic fan cheering some others on. Go guys go! I know that you'll make us proud.
Rick :)

(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 7
Re: Yes! We're still here WIP - 3/28/2002 9:57:35 AM   
JW

 

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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Marshall Ellis
[B]Hello all:

We have developed a pretty flexible combat system which allows some simple tactical control (Moving Corps to different locations on the battlefield such as the Left, Middle, Right and Reserve. What are your thoughts on this amount of control? Too much? Too little?


Thank you all [/B][/QUOTE]

How about the option to do this or to allow the computer to fight the battles w/o the player using the combat system, like the sports management games FOF or OOTP that allow you to manage the games or to let the computer play the games while you make the strategic decisions.

(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 8
Re: Combat, Testing and questions... - 3/31/2002 1:48:56 AM   
jnier


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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Marshall Ellis
[B]Please tell me how you play certain countries?

What do you try to do if you play France? Russia? etc.

Tell me what your overall strategies are?

What is the best way to play Prussia?

I would like some data to benchmark the AI with...

Thank you [/B][/QUOTE]

Marshall,

You said that you were interested in hearing about strategies for Prussia, Russia and France. Below I’ve summarized an article from The General (Vol 27, Num 4) that discussed the optimal strategies for these countries in EIA. If you’d like the whole article (which is really great) I’d be happy to fax it to you.

Sorry it’s so long-winded.

Prussia - Prussia is in bad spot and she needs as many allies as possible to deter aggressive neighbors. Prussia’s natural allies are Austria (which shares Prussia’s geographic vulnerability in central Europe) and England. So Prussia should most certainly ally herself with these two powers, and the interest will most likely be mutual, since both of these countries are natural enemies of the French. Prussia should also seek an Alliance with Russia - no matter how exorbitant Russia’s demands are. Having both Russia and France as hostile neighbors is an unacceptable position.

Russia - Russia has a wide range of options available. Chief among them is whether she will side with France and her allies or the English-lead coalition against Napoleon. Since both England and France will find it very difficult (impossible?) to conquer Russia, she really does not have to fear either country. Therefore, it is usually in Russia’s best interest to side with the highest bidder - Russia should be ruthlessly mercenary and get as much territory and money for her services.

France - France has at least three distinct strategies to choose from. Regardless of which specific strategy France chooses, the ultimate goal of French strategy is prevent England from forming a large coalition against France. France can probably handle smaller coalitions (e.g. England, Austria, & Prussia) which are pretty much inevitable. But add Russia and Spain to the list of coalition partners, and France is finished. So she must do whatever she can to prevent this broad coalition from forming.

Possible Specific French Strategies:
1. Attack early and often - attack and conquer Prussia and/or Austria to prevent a coalition from forming. This approach is designed to pre-empt a coalition. Prussia should be particularly vulnerable from the outset of the game and can be conquered with relative ease. Then turn your sights to Austria. If all goes according to plan, Austria and Prussia are now removed (at least temporarily) as potential coalition members, leaving England powerless to check the French.

2. Build early and attack later - Acquire as much manpower as possible from conquered minor countries in Germany and Italy, but avoid conflicts with major powers. The end result of this strategy should be a huge army by the time 1806 rolls around. This army would then be much better equipped to handle nearly any army on the continent (except perhaps a coalition that involves the Russians). She could then pick off potential coalition partners at her leisure - again assuming that the Russians are not part of the coalition.

3. Build a strong navy - This is probably the riskiest strategy. This approach requires the France remain largely on the defensive on the Continent, while she devotes her resources to building up her Navy with ultimate goal of invading England. At the most France might conquer some French and Italian minor countries - but that’s about it. She should also try to align the other major navies (Spain, Portugal, Denmark, & Russia) with the anti-English cause. If France can successfully play the role of coalition builder (which will be quite difficult considering English power and money) - the English fleet can be defeated and England can be conquered.

Hope that was the kind of thing you were looking for.

(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 9
- 4/2/2002 4:21:30 AM   
Jaif

 

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I'm not sure how useful this will be to you, but as person who played a hefty amount of EIA in my past, I thought I'd offer a different perspective.

I'm with the person above who says that at this level the politics, grand strategy, and economics all seem more important to me. Frankly, I'm fine with the idea that I send Davout with a couple corp to Kiev to attack Bagration, and the computer tells me what happened.

With that, the big change I would like to see in a computer version is fog-of-war at the strategic scale. In particular, I would like to keep the matter of who's winning kept hidden. In EIA, there was no reason for anyone to let, say, Prussia or Spain win. You know how many victory points they have, you know how much they've bid, and you know what they theoretically can get the rest of the game. If there's danger, either England, Russia or France bulldozes them and has done with it. You can yell "diplomacy" all you want, but that only goes so far: in the end, in a wargame if good players calculate that you'll win, they'll work to stop you.

Basically, keep the victory conditions somewhat hidden: force people to make a determination by more in-game means, rather than a sure calculation.

Hope I've expressed this well,

-Jeff

(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 10
Interesting option - 4/2/2002 8:02:32 AM   
Marshall Ellis


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Jeff:

Yes, you have expressed your thoughts well. That's a great option idea! That would force players to speculale as to their strategy which could even the game more!

Thank you for your input

Marshall

_____________________________

Thank you

Marshall Ellis
Outflank Strategy War Games



(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 11
Re: Yes! We're still here WIP - 4/4/2002 11:39:59 PM   
eg0master

 

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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Marshall Ellis
[B][...]the basic game is almost ready for early testing.[...] [/B][/QUOTE]

What does this mean? Do you feel close enough to indicate a realease date/month/quater? The matrix site says [I]summer/fall 2002[/I]. Do you know more precise (summer is quite soon, fall is not)?

(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 12
- 4/5/2002 12:02:37 AM   
Jaif

 

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Stealing from the boardgame Magic Realm (now I'm pegged as a geek for sure)...

For victory, my suggestion is to keep the facts known, but allow people to pick their weighting in secret.

For example, imagine that during every turn you earn "gun" points for winning fights, taking cities, etc, and at the end of every turn you earn "butter" points for unspent resources.

Now, at the start of the game give everyone 5 points, and let them spend those (in secret) on guns vs butter, eg 1-4, 2-3, 3-2, 4-1 (no 5s). At the end of the game, multiply gun points by the gun-weight, and butter-points by the butter-weight. For historocity [sp?], maybe you make France always favor guns and England always favor butter.

You may want different numbers, and balancing this could be tough, but the principle is what I'm going for.

-Jeff

(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 13
Wow! Magic Realm! - 4/5/2002 3:16:33 AM   
Marshall Ellis


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Jeff:

Wasn't magic realm the D & D like game that you built a random map with hex tiles each time????? If so then I'm right with you on the geek thing because I loved playing the Black Night. Great game.

Sorry, got caught up in some old gaming memories. Anyway, I like the idea of hidden victory conditions / progress however, I think experienced players will be able to guage how another is doing based on territories owned, battles won, etc. I do believe it would still be a challenge though! Not as easy as pulling a window up and looking at each players game status towards victory.

Thank you

_____________________________

Thank you

Marshall Ellis
Outflank Strategy War Games



(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 14
- 4/5/2002 9:15:16 PM   
Jaif

 

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Yep, you got the game. The captain, pilgrim, amazon, and the most amazingly convoluted rules ever. :-) It was a blast.

quote:

Anyway, I like the idea of hidden victory conditions / progress


Actually, it's hidden conditions, visible progress. You know the Prussians are saving a lot resources until the end of the turn and spending it on victory points (a-la Pax Brittanica, another geek thing), but you don't know how important that is to them, and whether they're just optimizing maintenance costs.

-Jeff

(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 15
- 4/6/2002 3:37:37 AM   
Arinvald


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Ah, Magic realm. That game almost caused a permanent rupture between my two best friends back in, oh my God, the early 80s. One of my friends was about to win when my other friend backstabbed him and got the win. My backstabbed friend vowed to never play another game with the backstabber. Oh the memories.:)

(in reply to Marshall Ellis)
Post #: 16
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