From: Uppsala, Sweden
We're using a house rule that no ground or air units are allowed to be attacked more than once per turn, except for target-units in cities. This has worked very nice and prevents heavy attacks from obliterating things in an unrealistic way, while, at the same time, it still allows for heavy attacks on prepared defences of places such as Warsaw or Stalingrad, or allows a player to clear the way for an invasion by obsessively bombing units in future supply-cities in coastal areas. If this or a similar limitation could be implemented in a future patch, many of the problems with too strong (or too weak) air forces can be solved.
Some 20 years back, I used to play a game from SPI/TSR called E.T.O. This game - it was a boardgame - had a very elegant way of handling air units in ground support roles. You could attack specific targets just as you do in RtW. In such cases the opponent could react with air units of his own. But there was also a slightly more subtle effect of air units. Before ground combat, there was a check to see whether the target hex lay within influence of any player's air power. I can't recall exactly how this was determined, and its not vital here. Suffice to say that by establishing whether the hex was out of reach of air units, contested or whether any side had air superiority, the ground combat resolution was affected.
Let's hypothetically assume that the game - in this case Time of Wrath - makes an overall calculation at the beginning of each nation's turn, and that it determines the air strength of each hex; possible in the same way as it checks supply. Let's also suppose that it gives each hex an accumulated "air combat value" (ACV), being the total of all air units able to reach it. This would be calculated with the strength and tech level of each friendly air unit as positive factors and the distance flown to get to the target hex as negative. A value would be achived for each hex. Then the same is done regarding enemy air assetts, with the latter being subtracted from the former. This will produce a final value for each hex: neutral, positive or negative.
Once combat is initiated, the game engine would take the above value into consideration. A neutral value doesn't change anything, a slight positive ACV for the attacker could, for example give a 5 % higher overall ground attack value, whereas a high ACV could give maybe as much as 10-15 % increased ground attack value. If the defender has superiority the attacking units are simply downgraded in the opposite way.
The ACV can also be used for other calculations. A very high enemy ACV in a hex could, for instance, reduce the ability to move friendly supply or degrade the number of AP:s of passing friendly units as the enemy have a lot of air units ”on interdiction”. Since all these calculations are done automatically, the players can concentrate on placing air units in favourably positions along the frontline and trying to combat the opponents units from doing the same. In fact, handled in this way, the air power of each side would have a profound effect upon the battlefields, but would demand no more micro-management from the players than moving his own air divisions and armies and battling with the opponent's air units.
Whoops, this turned out to be a long post, but once I started to write, I just couldn’t stop. Sorry for that.
Doomtrader, Dooya and all others developers, this is no suggestion what you should be working on the next week. It's only a suggestion how the air aspect of the game could be enhanced, if technically feasable, with new concepts in a future version of this great game.
< Message edited by Uxbridge -- 7/12/2009 3:31:20 PM >