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Balance of Play Issues

 
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Balance of Play Issues - 12/31/2008 2:08:19 AM   
Lucky1

 

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From Marshall Art in the 'Heresy' thread in the general section....

quote:

However, I do fully agree that with the current balance issues the Allies are too vulnerable against a quick-AV strategy which may or may not include the Russian double-team. I played back-to back games with Lucky1 and xianing where the Axis player always gained at least a victory, sometimes even an AV with very similar strategies. While the respective WA strategy might have been sub-par it still supports the pro-Axis balance argument. It is quite easy to win as Axis while it is very hard to prevent an AV as Allies and almost impossible to win without the A-bomb.

In order to tackle this some adjustments in either Russian and US WR or the addition of either another Russian or US factory might swing the balance back to an even situation.


During the past two months' 'sabbatical' I have played very many PBEMs of Global Glory (over 20) against a variety of opponents. A common theme has been that I have won about 90% of my games as Axis (thanks to Forwarn for wrecking my batting average) and have won perhaps only 10% of my games as Allied. When I lose as allies, I lose big. This tends to be the AV variety. When I win as Axis, this (to my shame) has been less the result of AV, but more the result of beating the clock - probably because I generally eschew the early attack.

While I am immensely grateful for the greater variety of strategy and play afforded by Global Glory, I do think the following issues have had a negative impact on the Allied ability to win (*i.e., compared to pre-1.02 and earlier patches):

1) Increased production costs/time for fighters. While this arguably hurts Germany and Japan as well (esp. Japan), it means that fewer fighters are around to defend against rail, industry and naval attacks. In my mind, this keeps the game interesting. However, with the decreased cost of air units and greater population pools, the Allies were previously more easily able to impose mastery of the skies. Throw in the long-range penalty and this difficulty is more pronounced. So I would argue that game play has been improved, with a negative effect on play balance.

2) Increased production costs/time for heavy bombers. While this does hurt Germany to a certain degree (keeping in mind that she starts with 2 bombers vs 0 for England), the impact is more heavily felt by the WA who are less able to mount a strategic or other bombing campaign against Germany. As with fighters, I would argue that this has made the game more enjoyable (ooooh a damaged bomber hurts!), but there is now an impact on the WA ability to wear Germany and Japan down. Again, this is also affected by the long range penalty.

3) Advanced transport rules. I actually love the influence of ports on amphib / transport cababilities. These have increased the strategic importance of otherwise neglected areas (e.g., Norway, Malta). And, without a doubt, transport rules do hurt Japan. But, they also contribute to making it rather more difficult to invade Japan (choking US ability to move troops quickly across the Pacific and to amphibiously attack Japan). If Japan has a reasonable number of ground units, amphib attack is nigh impossible within game timeframes. While challenging, and undoubtedly realistic, game play has been improved with possible effect on play balance (detect a theme?).

4) Delayed US entry into the war. First, I should preface this by stating that I cannot recall whether US war readiness / DOW thresholds had been raised or, if they have, whether this was significant. However, there are a number of factors that contribute to a delayed US entry. For one, sub attacks have a lowered chance of causing a war readiness penalty. Again, I think that this is a gameplay improvement (allowing for a real, protracted war of the atlantic) that comes with a game balance cost. Too, there are real incentives for Japan to delay her entry into wider conflict - the prolonged and larger US gift is significant. Although there are also real costs to Japan for delaying too long, there is definitely a considerable incentive to keeping the US out of the war longer (especially if there is an early attack on Russia). As is my theme, this allows for greater variety of strategy, but I think this issue can sometimes be problematic in terms of game balance when one considers that game end dates have not been modified.


As I have observed (receiving and giving), the allies are most devastated by an early, concerted attack against Russia (e.g., over 17 armour leading a winter 1941 attack by one of my more capable opponents). Throw in a reasonable sub menace, low amphib capability and a late US entry (e.g mid to late 1942) It is it extremely difficult (nigh impossible) to counter the quick strike strategy. Even where AV does not occur, Russia tends to be so ravaged that Japan (and sometimes Germany) are easily able to beat the clock (esp. since the A-Bomb only works if Russia is at war with Japan). My only counter (with limited effect), to date, has been the massed build of uber-arty by the Soviets. However, this then reduces things to what another person has labeled Gary Grigsby's artillery game. Fortunately, by lowering WS for artillery, things appear to be brought back into balance vis a vis infantry. But this too will impact Russian ability to resist an early German attack (her infantry are laughably weak in late 1940/early 1941).

Of course, there are exceptions to every situation, and my strategy as Allies may be less effective than as Axis. I am hoping to hear what others think. I would, however, make a few observations / suggestions.

In my playtesting (so far) of the new changes, I think they will result in a SLIGHT weaking of Germany early-on. To wage an effective sub war, Germany will now have to produce more subs herself and will, as a result, have to forego production of some land / air units. Obviously, this burden can now be assumed by Italy, Rumania and Hungary. However, these minor axis units, while better than militia, will be less effective than their German counterparts. Too, the two fighters, one tac bomber and one sub recevied by Germany with Italy and Rumania will be less effective than currently is the case. However, England will also be affected - the units produced in India (often crucial for the war in the Med) are now penalized. So, having noted these issues, I would still argue that the proposed changes do not significantly offset the potency of a very early Russia rush (squeeze or no squeeze).

I have given the issue some thought and have come up with the following possible solutions (with credit to Marshall Art):

1) Give Russia an additional factory (not in Kiev!), but also delay the bump to x2 productivity by a turn or two. This will provide a slight disincentive to a super early German attack, while not appreciably increasing Russian production in the near/medium term. In the late game (assuming a reasonable amount of damage to Soviet resources), Russia's production will probably be more limited by available/undamaged resources.

and/or

2) Extend the end date by a season or two, moving back victory dates accordingly. While this does nothing to affect the potency of an early attack in reaching AV, it does give the allies a bit more time to stage a comeback if they survive. As in economics/finance: greater reward goes hand in hand with greater risk.


Marshall Art also suggested some tweaking to US WR/DOW thresholds. Perhaps he might suggest what he had in mind.


Anyhow, I hope this thread is not too invisible in its current location. I look forward to other thoughts and comments.


< Message edited by Lucky1 -- 1/1/2009 4:13:35 AM >
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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 12/31/2008 2:16:54 AM   
Lucky1

 

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Is there any way to expand the visibility of the headings falling under the Limited Public Beta Feedback section? I fear that they are not particularly obvious....

(in reply to Lucky1)
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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 12/31/2008 2:39:17 AM   
WanderingHead

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lucky1
Is there any way to expand the visibility of the headings falling under the Limited Public Beta Feedback section? I fear that they are not particularly obvious....


I can move it .

What I really meant for the other location was discussion in narrowing down the *specifics* of the new stuff. Screen shots. GUI, etc. I consider this a general topic good for the general forum.

I know. It is an arbitrary distinction that only I understand.


(in reply to Lucky1)
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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 12/31/2008 2:44:01 AM   
WanderingHead

 

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As to the issue at hand ...

I get the general feeling that a good solution is anything that strengthens Russia early on but does not particularly strengthen Russia later on. In that category, I would say more starting units.

So, I would propose additional starting units in Belorussia (which will move into EP), Irkutsk and Vladivostok.

Maybe only one unit each.

More Siberian reinforcements for a historical Barbarosa.

(in reply to Lucky1)
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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 12/31/2008 2:53:01 AM   
Lucky1

 

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Nothing like the obvious, although I would hazard that against 17 armour in winter 1941, a couple of units would be of little impact, especially if they are of the 4 evasion / 5 attack variety.

Perhaps moving the factory in Smolensk might also be an option.... dunno.

< Message edited by Lucky1 -- 12/31/2008 2:59:47 AM >

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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 12/31/2008 4:36:26 AM   
Forwarn45

 

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I am a little sceptical that things are much out of balance, although I confess I haven't played as many games of the most recent version of GG as others. I have seen an early-Russia strategy succeed - but I have also seen it lose steam fairly quickly with aggressive response by the WA. It makes it much easier for the WAllies to contain Japan and strike back against Germany more quickly. The Russians can take quite a beating and the Allies can still come back. Anyway, I would just be cautious about making any major changes.

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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 12/31/2008 8:30:16 AM   
xianing

 

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I think if WA and Russia are well prepared for a early-Russia double attacked strategy, Axis won't be so easy to win. For example an early massive production of Russia, a large supply support from WA and an early WA invasion in Europe.
This point need to be proved by other good Allies players, as many people are more experienced with Axis side than Allies, so it is reasonable that they lose more often when they use Allies.

(in reply to Forwarn45)
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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 12/31/2008 9:15:08 AM   
Lucky1

 

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Easier said than done!

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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 12/31/2008 5:49:59 PM   
Marshall Art

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lucky1

1) Give Russia an additional factory (not in Kiev!), but also delay the bump to x2 productivity by a turn or two. This will provide a slight disincentive to a super early German attack, while not appreciably increasing Russian production in the near/medium term. In the late game (assuming a reasonable amount of damage to Soviet resources), Russia's production will probably be more limited by available/undamaged resources.

and/or

2) Extend the end date by a season or two, moving back victory dates accordingly. While this does nothing to affect the potency of an early attack in reaching AV, it does give the allies a bit more time to stage a comeback if they survive. As in economics/finance: greater reward goes hand in hand with greater risk.



IMO suggestion 2) is going against what most WWII games are set up like - the historical end date of WWII as a reference. Be better than the historical outcome and you win, if you are worse you loose.

Thus something like suggestion 1) would also be my preference, with some adjustments:

Russia should receive another factory up and running or almost ready for operation, e.g. in Moscow. This was the industrial and political center of the Soviet union and despite the 5 VPs Moscow seems underrated as a region to me. The additional factory would allow the Soviet player to bump up research or production somewhat - instead of having to build up a factory to make use of his vast surplus of resources early on.

I also suggest to add one factory to the US since the dimension of output of the USA is much too low in comparison to e.g. Germany, Russia. In game terms, Germany/Europe's output is surpassed by the US output only after the level 4 industrial multipier which IMO is way out of historical proportions. Even in 1942-43, IIRC, US military output was above that of Germany including all her allies and captured territories.

Both factories give a small but recognizable addition to the Allied production capability.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Lucky1

Marshall Art also suggested some tweaking to US WR/DOW thresholds. Perhaps he might suggest what he had in mind.



Going back to the original AWD scenarios, the WR levels were significantly lower than in GG. I know the reasons behind (many minute additions of events, and tweaking of seasonal increases, to mention two). Still it appears to me that the increase in WR has slowed Allied gear up and allowed the Axis to delay US entry to a point where the game may be already close to an AV. Expert Allied players may see this differently but the balance should allow average players to have an equal chance to win, and not only allow experts to stand up against an Axis onslaught.

Thus I propose the following for discussion. All bullet points are meant to be individual suggestions, so any might be picked while others were left out:

(A) reduce US point of entry back to 37 (it is at 40 in GG). This forces an earlier entry of the US of about one season.

(B) Allow the US to move to an industrial multipier of 3 immediately after DOW or much earlier than now, e.g. at 42 (it is at 52 now). I doubt that the gear up of the US really took so long, or at least in game terms it takes too long. This will have a great impact for the US but only for a few turns as compared to the current setting.

(C) each Axis DOW on a neutral nation bumps the US and Soviet WR up by (1-2), which could be increased to (1-3), resulting in no change if the Axis players remains peaceful or in a slight increase of WR if he does not. Average end result of DOW should be about one turn earlier in my estimation. This also could represent higher volatility of the WR since with an increase of (1-2) the impact of one attack is rather low, but with a sudden jump of 3 the impact might be higher.

(D) You might wonder why I prefer industrial output tweaks over additional units or unit attribute changes. I think - as Lucky1 mentioned - that a few aditional units will not swing the balance back since the Axis juggernaut still will roll over them and the currently lower Allied unit attributes represent the slight Axis advantage it had at the outbreak of the war. What mattered most in WWII IMO was not the force pool the powers started with but rather the armies, air fleets and navy fleets they churned out during the long years of the war. Most explanations for the Allied victory go somewhere towards the superiority in industrial output and resources including manpower, with some decisions of one particular moron thrown in.

Still, the level of Russian tanks should be increased, representing the 10,000+ tanks the Soviets fielded at the outbreak of Barbarossa (compared to about 3000 German AFVs IIRC). Replace one infantry with a tank in each Soviet region (this adds about 6-7 tanks). Most get killed on the first turn but they have a chance to at least hit one Axis tank or be repaired later. If a few survive, the Soviet player will pose at least somewhat of a threat for limited counter attacks before 1944 or so. This also will force the Axis players to more evenly distribute their tanks over the entire line instead rushing through one region with all tanks while attacking with only infantry and artillery in the other regions.

(E) I find the level of Soviet output in the first turns too low as compared to history but understand the intention - aggressive Axis behaviour does speed up the Soviet bump in production. Thus no change in WR here. In order to prevent the typical Soviet Army composition I encountered too many times after Barbarossa (mostly militia and artillery), however, for each country attacked by the Axis, not only increase the Soviet WR but also add one infantry, say in Moscow. This adds a strategic reserve of about 4-6 infantry for the Soviet player who would have at least some kind of force available immediately after DOW.



(in reply to Lucky1)
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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 12/31/2008 5:55:08 PM   
WanderingHead

 

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Xianing points out massive Russian builds. In the early game tech levels have not gotten too astronomical, and militia are not all that bad of a unit. Russia can churn out a lot of militia rather quickly, which really bogs down invasion progress. It buys time.

I think that if anything needed to be done I'd be inclined to put some units in the Russian far east. If they can just damage an extra Japanese unit or two I think it is significant. But from what I see there is not quite consensus on it.

Still, the Germans could have an a-bomb surrender structured just like the Japanese. On a turn that the bomb drops if VPs are less than 7 Germany surrenders. I would think that this would generally only shave one or two turns off due to the production<7 requirement.

Heck, I like consistency. Every Player could have that rule.

(in reply to Lucky1)
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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 12/31/2008 10:09:53 PM   
Lucky1

 

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Ok. Lots of issues on the table for consideration. Although I fear that I might be monopolizing discussion, I will chime in with my thoughts nonetheless. I think we would all agree that balance is a tricky issue (esp. in historical context) and that one must be careful not to swing things too far - a steamroller Russia or WA is just as undesirable as a steamroller Axis.

ISSUES BEING DISCUSSED:

A&B: I think I would be game for either a slightly earlier US entry or a a drop in the US economic max multiplier threshold. I think these are relatively minor tweaks and that they would have relatively limited impact on the issue of AV. The x3 threshold drop really does not matter if a vigorous sub war is being waged or if WA MidEast/African possessions have been damged, so perhaps I would favor it for creating incentives for a wider war.

C: In practice this is simply a more variable version of option A. The impact of this change would be relatively low in instances of a quick Russia strategy (Denmark, Belgium, Yugoslavia & perhaps Norway/Greece).

D: When Russia gets hit early (say spring 1941 or earlier) tanks tend to be off the menu due to their longer build times and the very pressing question of survival. If a sprinkling of extra armour were contemplated, I am wondering what the consequences of this change would be in terms of a deterrent against trying a WA-focused strategy (where war against Russia is delayed). Already, a WA focus is a very dangerous gambit; once Russia enters the war she hammers Germany mercilessly. I think adding too much armour creates a disincentive to this strategic choice. One would have to be careful... Maybe a change of a couple inf to armour in Kiev and E Poland would be a little help.

E: Interesting idea, but I am not sure how it would be a departure from placing a few units in the Soviet East.  Compared to the status quo, either idea would help, but only a little.

I guess I am still warm to the idea of adding a new factory in Russia (say Moscow, Gorki or Kazan) and bumping the x2 industry threshold a few higher. This would make Russia only slightly stronger early on (one extra production point per turn) and would be a slight disincentive to a very early attack. By bumping the x2 multiplier by 5-6 (for example) this would flatten the impact in the medium turn. In the long term, the extra factory would only matter if Germany and Japan basically left Russia alone and did not damage any of her resources. If this does not occur, three pp per turn will be added.

In the end, the issue of balance is subjective and relative (according to players). It might be that I am simply better at Axis than WA. It is hard to know where things stand without hearing from other members of the community. But, AV among even roughly evenly matched players should not (in my mind) be very frequent.


< Message edited by Lucky1 -- 1/1/2009 10:29:26 PM >

(in reply to WanderingHead)
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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/1/2009 12:21:24 AM   
WanderingHead

 

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One thing that has bothered me is the very large USA WR penalties for attacking Vichy (-5) or Italy (-10) before the USA is at war.

It strikes me as very odd that the USA reacts negatively to the UK attacking neutral countries that explicitly aided the Germans, but the USA does not care about any other neutral.

The Italy penalty was necessary a LONG time ago, back when it was actually possible for France to attack Italy before surrendering. The penalty was still not enough to dissuade the attack, and so eventually Southern France was politically frozen. I don't think that this huge penalty is necessary any more.

I would like to remove these odd penalties, and replace them with a -die(2) USA WR penalty for the Allies attacking any Neutral. I think it makes more political sense, and I think it is a sufficient deterent to attacking Vichy in the early game - actually I think it makes it more interesting because it could SOMETIMES be worth attacking Vichy early (whereas right now it can never be worth it). In addition to the simple consistency, think that it makes play better.

How does this relate to the discussion at hand? I think it would give the WA a valid earlier entry point if the Axis is doing a Russia squeeze.

(in reply to Lucky1)
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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/1/2009 1:16:09 AM   
runyan99

 

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If a Russia squeeze is the cause of most Axis AV's, let a Japanese invasion of Russia guarantee US entry into the war, or nearly so. Then there is no squeeze without American interferance, and Japan is encouraged to play more historically (i.e. towards the Pacific).

As for the A-bomb causing German surrender, I think that the USA would never have dropped the bomb on Germany for political reasons. There is good historical reason to disallow it.

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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/1/2009 1:25:24 AM   
Marshall Art

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: runyan99

As for the A-bomb causing German surrender, I think that the USA would never have dropped the bomb on Germany for political reasons. There is good historical reason to disallow it.


I agree. This would not have happened if Germany was already down to 7 PPs as suggested. What is the point in dropping the bomb if Germany was almost conquered? Japan was a total different story - millions of fanatical Japanese threating to assault invaders. And not to be forgotten: the signal towards Stalin that he better not think about expanding his sphere in Europe but get to the negotiation table.

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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/1/2009 1:41:43 AM   
Marshall Art

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: WanderingHead

It strikes me as very odd that the USA reacts negatively to the UK attacking neutral countries that explicitly aided the Germans, but the USA does not care about any other neutral.

I would like to remove these odd penalties, and replace them with a -die(2) USA WR penalty for the Allies attacking any Neutral. I think it makes more political sense, and I think it is a sufficient deterent to attacking Vichy in the early game - actually I think it makes it more interesting because it could SOMETIMES be worth attacking Vichy early (whereas right now it can never be worth it).



It depends what the actual argument behind the removal is - if its inconsistency than make all Allied attacks on neutrals worth 5 WR points to consistently penalize non-historical behavior - the "good guys" simply don't attack "innocent nations". The French were upset about the British betrayal when their fleet was attacked by a British Naval attack in 1940 and that even drove Vichy closer towards cooperation with Germany.

If the argument is an aid for the Allies - something like a stepstone for the Allies into Europe - my view on this is that it is grossly ahistorical to virtually force the Allied player to invade Vichy to possibly prevent an Axis AV. This is what would happen as often as an invasion of Portugal or Spain is currently used as invasion target (instead of France!) as Vichy would be much easier to be invaded due to the smaller garrison.

In both cases I think the impact of this rule change would have a much higher impact on game strategy and thus balance then any of the other suggestions in this thread. With decreased parallel to historically possible strategies I am not in favor of this.

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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/1/2009 2:00:42 AM   
Marshall Art

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lucky1

D: When Russia gets hit early (say spring 1941 or earlier) tanks tend to be off the menu due to their longer build times and the very pressing question of survival. If a sprinkling of extra armour were contemplated, I am wondering what the consequences of this change would be in terms of a deterrent against trying a WA-focused strategy (where war against Russia is delayed). Already, a WA focus is a very dangerous gambit; once Russia enters the war she hammers Germany mercilessly. I think adding too much armour creates a disincentive to this strategic choice. One would have to be careful... Maybe a change of a couple inf to armour in Kiev and E Poland would be a little help.

E: Interesting idea, but I am not sure how it would be a departure from placing a few units in the Soviet East.  Compared to the status quo, either idea would help, but only a little.



Putting units into Siberia would only be useful if the Japanese cannot kill them in their first turn of attack, otherwise these units are just waisted as all others already there. My point was to give the Russians at least a chance of a few Axis casualties during Barbarossa and maybe a few half-built (damaged) tanks because indeed if Russia is attacked early there is no way it could buid tanks. For a late attack on Russia most units in the first line of defense are doomed anyway which would migitate an impact of more tanks in the Russian border regions.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Lucky1

In the end, the issue of balance is subjective and relative (according to players). It might be that I am simply better at Axis than WA. It is hard to know where things stand without hearing from other members of the community. But, AV among even roughly evenly matched players should not (in my mind) be very frequent.



I think that with the current setting there is a clear win strategy for the Axis which only an expert Allied player can possibly counter. If building masses of Russian units (arty and militia, for the most part) and invading Europe just to draw a few German troops away from Russia is the only thing the Allies can do to stay in the game than I believe there is a problem.

If any experienced Allied player is interested in proving me wrong I am happy to be convinced

(in reply to Lucky1)
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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/1/2009 2:52:43 AM   
Lucky1

 

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quote:



ORIGINAL: runyan99

As for the A-bomb causing German surrender, I think that the USA would never have dropped the bomb on Germany for political reasons. There is good historical reason to disallow it.

ORIGINAL: Marshall Art

I agree. This would not have happened if Germany was already down to 7 PPs as suggested. What is the point in dropping the bomb if Germany was almost conquered? Japan was a total different story - millions of fanatical Japanese threating to assault invaders. And not to be forgotten: the signal towards Stalin that he better not think about expanding his sphere in Europe but get to the negotiation table.



Although I would concede that a measure of racism may have been present with the US decision to drop the bomb on Japan, I do not think that the US would have hesitated if the decision would have spared hundreds of thousands of American lives -- as was feared when they were thinking of assaulting Japan. The basic reality is that by the time the bomb came online for operational use, the war in Europe was long over, with Russians having done most the hard slogging.

In terms of game thinking, I made the suggestion in response to what I normally do : if there is a signficant beachhead in W. Europe I withdraw all W. European troops to Western Germany and 'turtle' behind the Siegfried line, obtaining both the benefits of militia, fortifications, concentrated AA etc and defensive aircraft cover. In some instances, this can be a very hard nut to crack (in my last game vs. Marshall Art, for example, he AV'd me when I had over 70 units in all Western Europe - over 50 in Eastern France - all while he toyed with a devastated Russia in the East). Unless Russia is also pounding at the gates, I personally have never been able to crack W Germany with the Western Allies alone. Too, if Germany has a reasonable amount of tac air and fighters (keep in mind that Russia will usually also have fewer fighters), she can harry the heck out of Russian supply lines headed to East Germany. Then, once Russia finally gets there, there is often a nasty surprise waiting. What? 50 units in E Germany and 60 in the West! (DIE ALREADY!) Given the changes to air power and transports, I was suggesting that the Alllies at least have the option of a nuclear bomb. In practice, this will be difficult to use - Germany usually has a ton of AA and with Austraia and maybe North Italy with resources/factories. So, getting her down to 6 vps may be just as difficult as overcoming the land hurdle. But, it provides choices and forces Germany to defend her resources a little bit more than a quick turtle strategy necessitates.



< Message edited by Lucky1 -- 1/3/2009 9:09:08 PM >

(in reply to Marshall Art)
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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/1/2009 3:04:13 AM   
Lucky1

 

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quote:

If a few survive, the Soviet player will pose at least somewhat of a threat for limited counter attacks before 1944 or so. This also will force the Axis players to more evenly distribute their tanks over the entire line instead rushing through one region with all tanks while attacking with only infantry and artillery in the other regions.


An interesting point. I know that a general lack of armour stops me from threatening German flanks....

(in reply to Lucky1)
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RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/1/2009 3:18:18 AM   
WanderingHead

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Marshall Art
... it is grossly ahistorical to virtually force the Allied player to invade Vichy to possibly prevent an Axis AV. This is what would happen as often as an invasion of Portugal or Spain is currently used as invasion target (instead of France!) as Vichy would be much easier to be invaded due to the smaller garrison.

In both cases I think the impact of this rule change would have a much higher impact on game strategy and thus balance then any of the other suggestions in this thread. With decreased parallel to historically possible strategies I am not in favor of this.


But in fact Vichy North Africa was the first stepping stone to Europe, and Vichy was one of the few "neutrals" actually invaded by the UN, and the UK had already had combat with Vichy forces in Syria. I don't think this is ahistorical.

Note that the current penalty only applies *before* the US enters the war. Once the US is in, the WA can land in S France (or N Africa) any time they like with no penalty. The only difference proposed here is to make it a bit easier before the USA is in. My thinking (which may not be 100% correct) is that if Germany is focusing on the WA then the UK alone would not try a landing in N Africa. If Germany focuses on Russia, the UK will have some leeway to try something in N Africa.

Given the assistance the Vichy regime supplied to Germany (e.g. use of airbases in N Africa, not modelled in the game), it strikes me that an action in N Africa is historically likely to be the first thing done once the WA gets itself back on balance and ready to go on the offensive. In fact, historically that is exactly what happened, it just took the US entry to get the WA back on balance.

Indeed, I am after consistency. I'm also after some small penalty for the WA attacking neutrals in general. I'll ponder some more.

(in reply to Marshall Art)
Post #: 19
RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/1/2009 4:13:28 AM   
Lucky1

 

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Out of curiousity (and while the kids were having a nap) I decided to model (crudely) what the impact would be if Russia were given an additional factory at start and if the x2 multiplier did not kick in for two or three additional turns:

Russia
Start of Game Resources: 30
Start of Game Production: 13 (scenarios 1&2), 14 (scenarios 3,4,5&6)
X2 Factory multiplier threshold: 10 (scenarios 1&2), 15 (scenarios 3&4), 14 (scenarios 5&6)
Production figures are cumulative

Scenario 1
Assumptions: Russia invests in queued Moscow Factory; x2 threshold occurs in Summer 1940.

Summer 39: 12 production (1 used for building factory in Moscow)
Autumn 39: 24 production (1 used for building factory in Moscow)
Winter 1940: 36 production (1 used for building factory in Moscow)
Spring 1940: 48 production (1 used for building factory in Moscow)
Summer 1940: 72 production (1 used for building factory in Moscow)
Autumn 1940: 100 production
Winter 1941: 128 production
Spring 1941: 156 production
Summer 1941: 184 production
Autumn 1941: 212 production
Winter 1942: 240 production
Spring 1942: 268 production

Scenario 2
Assumptions: Russia does not invest in queued Moscow factory; x2 threshold occurs in Summer 1940

Summer 39: 13 production
Autumn 39: 26 production
Winter 1940: 39 production
Spring 1940: 52 production
Summer 1940: 78 production
Autumn 1940: 104 production
Winter 1941: 130 production
Spring 1941: 156 production
Summer 1941: 182 production
Autumn 1941: 208 production
Winter 1942: 234 production
Spring 1942: 260 production

Scenario 3
Assumptions: Additional factory is given; Russia invests in queued Moscow Factory; x2 threshold occurs in Spring 1941.

Summer 39: 13 production (1 used for building factory in Moscow)
Autumn 39: 26 production (1 used for building factory in Moscow)
Winter 1940: 39 production (1 used for building factory in Moscow)
Spring 1940: 52 production (1 used for building factory in Moscow)
Summer 1940: 65 production (1 used for building factory in Moscow)
Autumn 1940: 80 production
Winter 1941: 95 production
Spring 1941: 125 production
Summer 1941: 155 production
Autumn 1941: 185 production
Winter 1942: 215 production
Spring 1942: 245 production

Scenario 4
Assumptions: Additional factory is given; Russia does not invest in queued Moscow Factory; x2 threshold occurs in Spring 1941.

Summer 39: 14 production
Autumn 39: 28 production
Winter 1940: 42 production
Spring 1940: 56 production
Summer 1940: 70 production
Autumn 1940: 84 production
Winter 1941: 98 production
Spring 1941: 126 production
Summer 1941: 154 production
Autumn 1941: 182 production
Winter 1942: 210 production
Spring 1942: 238 production

Scenario 5
Assumptions: Additional factory is given; Russia invests in queued Moscow Factory; x2 threshold occurs in Winter 1941.

Summer 39: 13 production (1 used for building factory in Moscow)
Autumn 39: 26 production (1 used for building factory in Moscow)
Winter 1940: 39 production (1 used for building factory in Moscow)
Spring 1940: 52 production (1 used for building factory in Moscow)
Summer 1940: 65 production (1 used for building factory in Moscow)
Autumn 1940: 80 production
Winter 1941: 110 production
Spring 1941: 140 production
Summer 1941: 170 production
Autumn 1941: 200 production
Winter 1942: 230 production
Spring 1942: 260 production

Scenario 6
Assumptions: Additional factory is given; Russia does not invest in queued Moscow Factory; x2 threshold occurs in Winter 1941.

Summer 39: 14 production
Autumn 39: 28 production
Winter 1940: 42 production
Spring 1940: 56 production
Summer 1940: 70 production
Autumn 1940: 84 production
Winter 1941: 112 production
Spring 1941: 140 production
Summer 1941: 168 production
Autumn 1941: 196 production
Winter 1942: 224 production
Spring 1942: 252 production


Analysis:
When compared to existing implementation, my proposed changes (scenarios 3&4 and 5&6) give Russia a bump in early game productivity that surpasses the existing productivity levels until crossover occurs in summer 1940. Then, these is a drop in relative productivity due to the delayed multiplier kick-in. Depending on whether the delay were three turns or two turns, the proposed changes would 'catch' up in terms of productivity in around spring or summer 1942. Of course, Russia will likely be at war by then and the x3 multiplier would kick-in. Too, once Russia were at war, factory copacity would likely be limited by resources, rather than actual factories. Assuming that Kiev, Kharkov, Belarus and two more factories are lost / damaged, Russia still will not likely have enough resources to keep her factories at full production. So what would the advantage be of providing an additional factory? In my mind, the additional factory will provide some additional flexibility, especially if resources in Kazakhstan or the caucasus are developed. It will be one less factory to move (given it will be relatively far back), allowing for troops to be redeployed rather than trapped at the front or retreated using supplies. Too, it is one more factory that would need to be bombed, giving Russian production a small additional measure of resilience (fighters are more expensive, after all).

I think that a productivity multiplier delay of three turns is too much (causing a relative loss of around 25 production - or 12 inf/artillery - as of Summer 1941). Indeed, there is even an appreciable drop of relative productivity when the x2 bump is delayed by two turns (around 14 production in summer 1941), so I am actually leaning to suggesting that the Russian x2 mulitplier by be increased by only approximately 1 turn (set it at 12 or 13), if it is increased at all....

Anyhow, I hope this provides some food for thought.....


< Message edited by Lucky1 -- 1/1/2009 4:15:52 AM >

(in reply to WanderingHead)
Post #: 20
RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/1/2009 4:38:29 AM   
Lucky1

 

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quote:

One thing that has bothered me is the very large USA WR penalties for attacking Vichy (-5) or Italy (-10) before the USA is at war.


Although I personally believe that America would have had different reactions depending which country's neutrality was violated (Monroe Doctrine, anyone), I would would not be adverse to removing this differential (making it consistent across the board). Given the amount of times I have been burned by Italian dropping out at the least opportune moment, I would probably not consider attacking Italy for fear of losing the ability to trigger Italian surrender. Attacking Vichy before the US enters the war might be a bit risky as well, keeping in mind that if Britain still holds the Mid East the troops will likely be needed there. If she has lost the MidEast, her troops are probably needed back in the Isles or in India/Australia. Plus, attacking Vichy hands Germany 5-6 more units that can be used elsewere if the WA are not in a position to threaten them directly. Too, would not an attack on Vichy push Spain into the war on the side of Germany? (not sure on this one - I know from experience that the inverse is true.) Anyhow, I guess I am saying that I have no objection to making things consistent.

< Message edited by Lucky1 -- 1/1/2009 10:33:51 PM >

(in reply to Lucky1)
Post #: 21
RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/1/2009 5:40:38 AM   
WanderingHead

 

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On replacing -5 WR penalty for attacking Vichy with a -die(2) penalty for attacking any neutral ...

quote:

ORIGINAL: WanderingHead
My thinking ... is that if Germany is focusing on the WA then the UK alone would not try a landing in N Africa. If Germany focuses on Russia, the UK will have some leeway to try something in N Africa.


Indeed, even when there is zero political penalty (after USA enters) how often is VNA captured?

Latest I can find quickly in AARs ... (some of these are squinting at strat map)
Fa 44 VNA still neutral - http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=1990685
Wi 45 VNA still neutral - http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=1867767
Su 45 VNA still neutral - http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=1808652

It just seems unlikely to me that a hard pressed WA would want to attack Vichy before the US enters, unless there is the combination of the desperation from the squeeze on Russia and the capability from the lack of focus on WA. Changing this Vichy WR penalty feels very right to me. Decent for play, more consistent rule, more realistic (IMO) political modelling (really, what would Churchill have done?).


quote:

ORIGINAL: Marshall Art
This is what would happen as often as an invasion of Portugal or Spain is currently used as invasion target (instead of France!) as Vichy would be much easier to be invaded due to the smaller garrison.


In Global Glory? GG has some disincentives for Portugal or Spain (insta-militia, and if Portugal is taken by the WA then Spain will tend to deploy more units and bump towards Germany).

quote:

ORIGINAL: Lucky1
would not an attack on Vichy push Spain into the war on the side of Germany?


That's a good point. Attacking Morocco gives a chance at a Spain political status bump.




(in reply to WanderingHead)
Post #: 22
RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/1/2009 5:46:44 AM   
WanderingHead

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lucky1
Out of curiousity (and while the kids were having a nap) I decided to model (crudely) what the impact would be if Russia were given an additional factory at start and if the x2 multiplier did not kick in for two or three additional turns:


While I might not object to adding a Moscow factory, I don't think I want to change Russian production. The WR threshold for FM2 is actually sort of finely tuned. For example, if Germany takes Denmark before France, then Russia can get an early production bump with moves to E Poland.

Global Glory has the poli event that bumps USA WR if Russia is attacked by Japan. This event could be beefed up a little if need be. It would increase production a turn or two earlier and can give the WA a supply bump. Currently it can fire twice, and each time it increases USA WR by 1 point and gives the WA 5 supplies.

(in reply to Lucky1)
Post #: 23
RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/1/2009 1:51:22 PM   
Marshall Art

 

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Joined: 8/6/2005
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quote:

ORIGINAL: WanderingHead

But in fact Vichy North Africa was the first stepping stone to Europe, and Vichy was one of the few "neutrals" actually invaded by the UN, and the UK had already had combat with Vichy forces in Syria. I don't think this is ahistorical.

Given the assistance the Vichy regime supplied to Germany (e.g. use of airbases in N Africa, not modelled in the game), it strikes me that an action in N Africa is historically likely to be the first thing done once the WA gets itself back on balance and ready to go on the offensive. In fact, historically that is exactly what happened, it just took the US entry to get the WA back on balance.



While I am not sure about the fact that German forces operated out of Vichy territory (in fact what I believed was that until the WA invaded Northern Africa it did not happen) I probably misunderstood you. You referred to "Vichy" as the whole bubble (France and African territory plus Syria) while I meant just Vichy-France.

I do agree that Any territory outside France should be penalized to a lesser degree than attacking Vichy-France. Rationale - the invasion of a French colony would be less noticed by the world than an attack on the European mainland. The take-over of Syria or Morocco could simply be declared an internal French affair (Free French versus Vichy-troops). Which is what pretty much happended IIRC.

(in reply to WanderingHead)
Post #: 24
RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/6/2009 12:32:29 AM   
WanderingHead

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Marshall Art
quote:

ORIGINAL: WanderingHead
... the Vichy regime supplied to Germany (e.g. use of airbases in N Africa, not modelled in the game),


While I am not sure about the fact that German forces operated out of Vichy territory (in fact what I believed was that until the WA invaded Northern Africa it did not happen) ...


I have a couple of WWII atlases which denote VNA airbases as "Axis" airbases. This was the basis of my comment, those maps made a subconscious impression on me.

But I can't find any indication of VNA airbases actually used by the Axis prior to the fall back to Tunisia, so I think you are correct and they were not used by the Axis before Torch. I believe those maps I've seen are misleading.

(in reply to Marshall Art)
Post #: 25
RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/8/2009 3:12:43 AM   
SGT Rice

 

Posts: 652
Joined: 5/22/2005
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I'll throw a couple of suggestions into the hopper here.

1) US WR bumps - I think there's sound historical evidence that the size and strategic significance of countries/locations attacked by the Axis was the primary driver of US pro-war sentiment; the more visible/threatening the Axis looked (compared to the Russians/Brits), the more willing Americans were to support preparations for war. This was the rationale for introducing US WR bumps from U-boat sinkings of transports. I would suggest the following approach to apply this logic:

a) Make all WR bumps for attacks on minor neutrals symmetrical, i.e., the Brits would incur the same (negative) US WR bump as the (positive) bump the Axis incur when attacking any given neutral.

b) Sort the neutrals into tiers based on size/political/strategic importance, i.e.:

tier I: Italy, Russia (Siberia) // WR penalty = 3-6
tier II: Spain, Turkey, Sweden, Switzerland, Ireland, any Latin American country // WR penalty = 2-4
tier III: All others // WR penalty = 1-2

c) Add another class of WR penalties for VP locations; 1 point of US WR for each VP region captured by the Axis. (If Americans were reading newspapers describing the fall of Moscow, Cairo, New Delhi, Sydney, etc., they would definitely have perceived that the world had gotten more dangerous).


2) The German-Japanese "squeeze" play - A Japanese 'blitz' of 10+ units across Siberia has always been one of the most implausible events that regularly occurs in AWD. The same can be said for the ease with which Japan can conquer China if she simply commits a large army to it, or for the ease with which Germany can "run the table" in Africa. The reason these types of campaigns never took place is simple logistics; terrain, weather, disease and a lack of infrastructure make it incredibly difficult to support large scale military movements in places like Siberia, western China and Africa. The Japanese forces that tried to advance through Burma to India late in the war were as decimated by physical exertion, hunger and disease as they were by enemy action. I think there's a pretty direct way to implement these physical constraints in AWD:

a) Prohibit supply unit tactical movement in/out of rough terrain regions.

Why should truckloads of supplies be able to move in rough terrain with no road networks?

b) Reduce all rail capacities outside of Europe, Japan, the Commonwealth and the US to 20. Add a damaged 20 point rail link to Northern Persia.

Why should a single rail line (i.e., the trans-Siberian) have the same throughput capacity as all the north-south lines in Italy (which always ran on time)?





< Message edited by SGT Rice -- 1/8/2009 3:56:01 AM >

(in reply to WanderingHead)
Post #: 26
RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/10/2009 7:27:54 PM   
Forwarn45

 

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Some interesting ideas. I'm still thinking about them. But a couple thoughts:

(1) I really like the idea of giving the US War readiness the same push down for invading neutrals as the Axis goes up. I kind of like the idea of there being a couple categories of neutrals for WR purposes but this gets a little complicated. If it were considered, I'd suggest leaving Russia a special case and having 2 tiers - basically bumping Italy into the first tier with Spain, Turkey, etc. I'd also probably bump Sweden into the lower tier.

I've also been thinking for a while that a German attack on Russia should itself increase US war readiness a little (maybe equivalent to a normal attack on a neutral or a "minor" tier 3 neutral per Sgt. Rice's example. To partially compensate for the 1 or 2 point increase, maybe add 1 to the US threshold for declaring war on the Axis (but I think I would leave the 2x production thresshold as is).

(2) I kind of like the idea of reducing rail in some regions - but I wouldn't suggest a huge reduction, maybe 25? As for Siberia, the Russians usually can stop Japan in Siberia - the question is whether they can afford to do it depending on what the Germans are up to. It's usually a very early attack by Germany (as in 1940) that sees Japan making it to the Urals. I don't think it's too far out of whack as is.

< Message edited by Forwarn45 -- 1/10/2009 9:09:58 PM >

(in reply to SGT Rice)
Post #: 27
RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/10/2009 10:27:34 PM   
Marshall Art

 

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How about leaving the rail setting a is but instead at game start make those that are intended to be reduced simply damaged? If the Soviet player wants a full operational rail from Moscow to Vladivostok he can spend the supplies and "expand i.e. repair" it, similar to repair of damaged resources.

Same for China where I would also propose to add destoyed rail paths in the other Chines regions, where a rail could also be build to Burma if any player sees fit and spends the supplies. Anyone remember the Movie "the Bridge on the River Kwai" ? 




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Marshall Art -- 1/10/2009 10:35:48 PM >

(in reply to Forwarn45)
Post #: 28
RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/10/2009 10:35:43 PM   
SGT Rice

 

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I suggested 20 as a reduced rail value for ease of implementation; you could simply represent these regions with damaged rail at the start of the scenario and block them from being repaired.

Aside from the reduced capacity, I think it makes sense for these regions to have only one damage level; in addition to the sparse rail net, during WWII they would have been critically short of locomotives, rolling stock, skilled labor, etc., all of which had to be replaced from more developed countries/regions.



< Message edited by SGT Rice -- 1/10/2009 10:37:13 PM >

(in reply to Forwarn45)
Post #: 29
RE: Balance of Play Issues - 1/10/2009 10:49:54 PM   
SGT Rice

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Marshall Art

Same for China where I would also propose to add destoyed rail paths in the other Chines regions, where a rail could also be build to Burma if any player sees fit and spends the supplies. Anyone remember the Movie "the Bridge on the River Kwai" ? 





That raises a fascinating possibility. Brian created all those special "undeveloped resources" that require several turns of investment just to become damaged ... seems like the same thing could be done with rail links in certain regions where major transportation projects were undertaken during the war. The examples I can think of off the top of my head are the Burma Road, the Persian Lend Lease route, and the Alaskan Highway. The Burma and Persia projects were both of major strategic significance; it took a year or more of large scale field engineering to create usable transport links allowing the WA to ship supplies overland into China and Russia.

(in reply to Marshall Art)
Post #: 30
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