Matrix Games Forums

Deal of the Week: Command Ops goes half price!New Fronts are opening up for Commander: The Great WarCharacters of World War 1Sign of for the Pike and Shot Beta!More Games are Coming to Steam! Deal of the Week: Combat Command Return to the Moon on October 31st! Commander: The Great War iPad Wallpapers Generals of the Great WarDeal of the Week Panzer Corps
Forums  Register  Login  Photo Gallery  Member List  Search  Calendars  FAQ 

My Profile  Inbox  Address Book  My Subscription  My Forums  Log Out

Multiple Movement/Combat Phases in TOAW

 
View related threads: (in this forum | in all forums)

Logged in as: Guest
Users viewing this topic: none
  Printable Version
All Forums >> [Current Games From Matrix.] >> [World War II] >> Norm Koger's The Operational Art Of War III >> Scenario Design >> Multiple Movement/Combat Phases in TOAW Page: [1]
Login
Message << Older Topic   Newer Topic >>
Multiple Movement/Combat Phases in TOAW - 9/5/2009 8:07:26 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 6887
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: offline
Frustrated with the absence of any decent TOAW Article section anywhere since the one at GameSquad went AWOL, I've decided to just post re-prints of them as threads here on this board. This one has received an extensive re-write.
Post #: 1
RE: Multiple Movement/Combat Phases in TOAW - 9/5/2009 8:10:05 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 6887
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: offline
Multiple Movement/Combat Phases in TOAW


by Bob Cross


In this article I'll discuss what I consider to be the paramount TOAW skill, the ability to get multiple movement/combat phases. Master this and you can play with anyone; fail to master it and you will always be at a disadvantage.

Recognize that there are two different things that can cause your turn to end:

First, after all combat has been resolved, the program makes a random check against your force proficiency and the number of combat rounds remaining in the player turn. If both those checks fail, the turn ends, regardless of how many of the ten combat phases have been expended.† Thus, a high force proficiency gives you a better chance of extending your turn.

†Note that this is a change from the first version of this article. That version had erroneously stated that it was a check on the force proficiency only. This means that early turn ending in the first few combat rounds is much less likely than I had first stated.

Second, after all combat has been resolved, the program determines that less than two combat rounds remain. Note that this means that there are a maximum of nine combat phases achievable in a player-turn. Two factors determine how many phases a combat expends – when it starts and how long it lasts. The player has complete control over the first factor but usually can only make an educated guess on the second.

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 2
PART I: Round Strategy - 9/5/2009 8:11:40 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 6887
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: offline
PART I: Round Strategy


Let’s first consider the random checks against Force Proficiency and Combat Rounds Remaining.

While players have no control over their Force Proficiency, it must enter into their planning. If your force proficiency is 50%, then it is probably unwise to attempt to get nine movement/combat phases. For example, a better strategy might be to attempt to get five or less phases. Under that strategy, you would plan on attacks expending up to two rounds. Under that rule, a unit could be one round late and still be ok to add to an attack, if its addition would be significant to that attack. Bombardments could use “Limit Losses” (automatically expending two rounds).

On the other hand, if your force proficiency is 95%, you can probably safely attempt to get the full nine combat phases. That means not using any late units in attacks (see part II below), and bombardments always use “Minimize Losses”. Then you will be able to execute a few preliminary set-up attack phases before staging the critical attacks. But be aware that even in this case, you can get burned with an early, turn-ending, check failure. It’s not an exact science.

The attached table shows some odds of early turn ending depending upon Force Proficiency and choice of round strategy. There are four different Force Proficiencies evaluated, and up to three different strategies for each proficiency. In each case, the first column shows the chance of early turn ending for each individual round increment. The next column shows the cumulative chance assuming that each combat phase expends only one combat round (see part III below). The next column assumes that each combat phase expends two combat rounds (shown only for the 25%, 50%, and 80% proficiencies), and, finally, the last column (only shown for the 25% proficiency) assumes that the first combat round expends two combat rounds, and subsequent phases expend three combat rounds.

It should be obvious that a strategy attempting to get all nine combat phases should be followed if your Force Proficiency is 95%. There is only an 8.80% cumulative risk of not achieving all nine (assuming you can limit each phase to only one round - a topic for a section below).

Even at 80%, the risk only increases to 31.42%. But, note that there, a significant risk reduction is still gained by switching to a less ambitious strategy. The one shown expends one combat round on the first two phases, then expends two rounds per phase for the next three – and the risk is reduced to 21.21%.

But if your Force Proficiency is lower, other strategies may be desirable. At a 50% Force Proficiency, if each combat phase expends only one combat round, there is a 40.65% chance that the turn will end early after only six combat rounds – leaving four rounds unused. By expending two rounds per combat phase, that risk level is not reached until eight rounds have been expended.

And if your Force Proficiency is 25%, the third strategy may be best. It would have a 48.14% chance of getting all 10 combat rounds – vs. a 21.01% chance under the first strategy.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 9/5/2009 8:33:21 PM >

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 3
PART I: Round Strategy - 9/5/2009 8:13:35 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 6887
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: offline
Here I've attached the spreadsheet associated with the above table screenshot - in case anyone wants to examine the formulas employed.

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 9/5/2009 8:33:53 PM >

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 4
PART II: Controlling the Starting Round - 9/5/2009 8:15:36 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 6887
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: offline
PART II: Controlling the Starting Round


Having settled on a combat round strategy, we now have to try to control how many rounds each combat phase expends. Remember that there are two factors: When the combat starts and how long it lasts.

Let’s tackle the first factor first. Obviously, it would be most efficient to start the combat on the current phase, but how can you tell that you are doing that? Answer – always use the Attack Planning Dialog.

At the top of the Attack Planning Dialog is the “time-expended pane”. It is a line of gold or gray boxes. This display shows on which combat phase the attack being planned will begin. Gold boxes mean that this attack is one of the reasons that that phase is going to be reached in the coming attack phase. Gray boxes mean that either that phase has already been expended in a previous phase or some other, already planned, attack is the reason that that phase is going to be reached in the coming attack phase.

For example, if you are in the first combat phase, and all attacking units have not moved, only one gold box will be shown.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 9/5/2009 8:34:25 PM >

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 5
PART II: Controlling the Starting Round - 9/5/2009 8:17:31 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 6887
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: offline
But if you add a unit to the attack that has expended 40% its movement to get to there (a “late” unit), it will cause four gold boxes to be shown.

That will mean that that attack will not start until the fourth combat phase. Several combat phases will be wasted waiting for that last unit to arrive. Unless that unit is vital to the attack, it would be best to omit it from the attack, to avoid the delay in starting that it would otherwise cause. This is one of the primary benefits of using the Attack Planning Dialog. Always carefully watch as units are added to the attack in this dialog and try to omit those units that cause an excessive increase in the number of boxes shown.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 9/5/2009 8:34:55 PM >

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 6
PART II: Controlling the Starting Round - 9/5/2009 8:19:10 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 6887
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: offline
Note that under TOAW III, there are now two other ways to see these panes without entering the Attack Planner. First, if you have sufficient screen size, the “Circle of Stars” appears below the control panel. There are nine stars, and each expended pane in the Attack Planner will “gray out” one star. If no late units are used in attacks, then the number of gray stars will equal the number of combat rounds already expended.

Also, if the cursor is placed in that screen section below the control panel, the info panel will display the “Planned Combats” vs. the “Turn Used”. If the former is larger than the latter, then a late unit is being used in at least one combat.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 9/5/2009 8:35:33 PM >

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 7
PART II: Controlling the Starting Round - 9/5/2009 8:20:55 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 6887
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: offline
If you are in the first combat phase and gray boxes come on when you add units, then there is another attack already set up that has a delay in it. You may want to hunt for that attack and try to omit the delaying units.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 9/5/2009 8:36:04 PM >

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 8
PART II: Controlling the Starting Round - 9/5/2009 8:22:44 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 6887
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: offline
If you are already in a subsequent combat phase then some gray boxes will be displayed for any attack, but not more than the number of phases that have been expended.

Be aware that, if you are the second player, it is not safe to assume that your units have not moved – they may have been retreated by the first player’s units (note that that “retreated” condition will cease to exist under New Turn Order Rules once TOAW version 3.4 is released – then this advice can be ignored). If so, just adding them to an attack without moving them may nevertheless delay that attack greatly. I repeat, always use the Attack Planning Dialog.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 9/5/2009 8:36:37 PM >

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 9
PART III: Controlling the Number of Rounds Expended - 9/5/2009 8:24:04 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 6887
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: offline
PART III: Controlling the Number of Rounds Expended

Now, for the second factor – estimating how many phases the combat will last. This is where this new version of this article deviates greatly from the old one. In the old version, I attributed combat length mostly to attack complexity factors, along with various defense conditions (often unknown). Strangely, I omitted the Attacker’s Loss Tolerance. Most skilled players now know that an appropriate setting for that can usually make it likely the attack will be limited to one combat round, regardless of defense settings. But even they are often ignorant of how the consequences of this choice can be impacted by scenario or attack conditions – especially Attrition Divider. The choice needs to be adjusted for the level of attacker losses to be expected.

Let’s now consider those conditions.

Remember that there are three Loss Tolerance choices: Minimize, Limit, and Ignore. When the loss tolerance is reached, the unit will drop out of the combat. Obviously, the Minimize limit will be reached much faster than the Ignore limit – all else being the same. But note that unit health can further impact exactly where those limits actually are, and the lethality of the combat will impact how quickly those limits are reached.

Lethality is impacted by a number of things. If the attacker has a lot of infantry, then a lot of defender support can ramp up the lethality – be on the lookout for that circumstance. But the main factor that has to be taken into account is the Attrition Divider. The lower that factor, the more lethal the combat. So, if you get used to scenarios with the default AD, you may need to change your normal choices when the AD is lower than the default. Keep that in mind.

None of that would matter if TOAW was simple. Then you would just set the tolerance to Minimize and the least number of combat rounds would be consumed. But TOAW isn’t simple – it’s complex (let’s be thankful for that!). There are consequences associated with the tolerance choice that impact the combat results. While its desirable to get those extra combat phases, you don’t want to do it at the expense of your combat results. I once read a colorful discription by a TOAW player of how his forces performed under Minimize Loss Tolerance:

“They fight like girls!”


A little humor there, but it contains a bit of truth, too.

< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 9/5/2009 8:37:37 PM >

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 10
PART III: Controlling the Number of Rounds Expended - 9/5/2009 8:25:38 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 6887
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: offline
The manual says (19.2.3):

“The contribution of Armored Troop Transports (APC, MICV, etc.) to unit strength is based upon unit Loss Tolerance.

At higher Loss Tolerances, more of these vehicles are assumed to be directly involved in combat. They contribute directly to unit Strengths. Infantry assigned to the unit receives less protection from enemy Artillery fire and has a tendency to be lost when Troop Transports are hit by Anti-Armor fire. At lower Loss Tolerances, fewer of these Vehicles are on the front lines. They do not contribute directly to unit Strengths, but they do provide more protection to Infantry during Artillery fire. Infantry is generally assumed to be dismounted if the Transport is hit by Anti-Armor fire and will not be affected by Transport losses

When an APC class item of equipment is destroyed in combat, there is a chance (based on loss tolerance and the proportion of Infantry and Transports in the unit) that an Infantry squad of some kind belonging to the same unit will also be destroyed.”


So loss tolerance affects how APCs and their associated infantry squads perform in combat.

< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 9/5/2009 8:38:06 PM >

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 11
PART III: Controlling the Number of Rounds Expended - 9/5/2009 8:26:35 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 6887
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: offline
But there is a far more insidious impact. The combat execution sequence first executes the support for each side. There is then a chance for individual attackers to drop out of the combat, if they’ve suffered losses. Only then do the ground elements carry out their combat. So, it’s possible for ground attackers to drop out of the combat without ever even firing their weapons.

Worse, the phasing player can be oblivious to this, due to the losses inflicted on the defenders by his support elements. This is especially true if the defenders consist primarily of unarmored equipment. Once made oblivious of the problem by this fact, such players then are often confounded when they encounter defenders that consist primarily of armored equipment – because such equipment is largely immune to artillery. The slang term for this is “The Tanks Won’t Die Syndrome”. (That’s not to say that that syndrome isn’t a real phenomenon – this issue is just one method by which it can fraudulently manifest itself).

So, too low a loss tolerance can be detrimental to combat results.

This leads to the following axiom:

“Set the Attacker Loss Tolerance to the highest level that doesn’t squander combat rounds.”


This requires some careful monitoring as combats are resolved. If you find that assaults are not inflicting more than minimal losses to armored defenders (assuming the assaulters have enough AT capability to be expected to inflict significant losses), then raise the loss tolerance. If you find that excess combat rounds are being squandered, lower the loss tolerance. The level arrived at will vary with scenario (especially if the Attrition Divider is non-default), and with individual combats (especially ones that look extraordinarily lethal).

Furthermore, note that if you’ve adopted a combat round strategy that allows more than one combat round to be expended each combat phase (see the first section above), this also facilitates using a higher loss tolerance than a more ambitious strategy would allow. Note that this may mean that you’ll see somewhat better combat results performance with lower proficiency forces than with higher proficiency ones. You just won’t expect to get as many exploitation phases with them.

< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 9/5/2009 8:38:34 PM >

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 12
PART III: Controlling the Number of Rounds Expended - 9/5/2009 8:27:26 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 6887
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: offline
There is one final consideration. When you get to what has to be the final combat phase (no more than two combat rounds remaining), then you will want to set the loss tolerance to Ignore Losses, regardless of what you had been using. There is no longer any need to limit the combat rounds expended – in fact, you want to expend all the remaining rounds since this is the last phase. And this ensures the least “girl-like” performance by your units.

Furthermore, this places your units in the best defensive loss tolerance. All sorts of bad things happen when defenders retreat. They open exploitation holes for attackers to exploit. They lose any defensive deployment condition. They suffer disengagement attacks. They get routed. A tolerance of Ignore Losses provides the least tendency of the defenders to retreat. So, unlike for offense, for defense, it’s a “no-brainer”.

< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 9/5/2009 8:39:07 PM >

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 13
APPENDIX: Comments from Norm - 9/5/2009 8:28:26 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 6887
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: offline
APPENDIX: Comments from Norm


Here are some additional notes on turn ending by Norm Koger:

What is the formula that the WGOTY program uses to decide when a player's turn is over?

"At the end of all combats the number of "rounds" expended is totaled. The turn ends if 1) a random number from 1 to the maximum number of remaining rounds equals 1, and 2) The current player's force proficiency is less than a random number from 1 to 100.

The number of rounds expended depends upon the mean expended movement of the attacking units (originally this was the max expended movement) before the attack as well as the number of rounds actually spent in the longest combat.

So your turn is more likely to end if you move a lot of units a high proportion of their movement allowance before committing them to attack. It is also more likely to end if your force proficiency is low."


Note that non-attacking units do not figure into the calculation for number of rounds expended. Nor do they figure into the turn-ending calculations in any way. Therefore, if you are not going to attack with a unit at any point in the player turn you may freely move it its entire movement allowance without fear that that will cause your turn to end early.

< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 9/5/2009 8:39:41 PM >

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 14
RE: Multiple Movement/Combat Phases in TOAW - 9/5/2009 8:30:40 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 6887
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: offline
Note that I'd like this thread to be treated like an Article rather than a discussion. So I'm going to try to get the monitors to lock it. Until then, I'd appreciate that no one post here. If you want to post about the Article, please make a new thread to do so.

Thanks.

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 15
Page:   [1]
All Forums >> [Current Games From Matrix.] >> [World War II] >> Norm Koger's The Operational Art Of War III >> Scenario Design >> Multiple Movement/Combat Phases in TOAW Page: [1]
Jump to:





New Messages No New Messages
Hot Topic w/ New Messages Hot Topic w/o New Messages
Locked w/ New Messages Locked w/o New Messages
 Post New Thread
 Reply to Message
 Post New Poll
 Submit Vote
 Delete My Own Post
 Delete My Own Thread
 Rate Posts


Forum Software © ASPPlayground.NET Advanced Edition 2.4.5 ANSI

0.090