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DNO (pbem) - looking for advice of experienced players

 
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DNO (pbem) - looking for advice of experienced players - 12/4/2012 11:25:28 PM   
kmitahj

 

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First have to say that I'm real TOAW newbie thus advice of each and every player will be greatly appreciated. First hand experience with DNO scenario would make such an advice even more invaluable of course. Second I understand that Drang Nach Osten is really huge scenario and as such may look like not particuraly good starting point for noob like me. Probably true but well... For some time I hear this scenario just screaming: PLAY ME! and all I can do is subdue to the call and follow the order. Resistance is futile...
I don't even know what is deciding factor here: is it designer's attention to detail and his dedication to the subject as seen for example in designer's notes ( my to Daniel McBride), or is it right choice of map and time scale which combined with well choosen unit granularity (just imho of course as what is right here is highly subjective matter) gives the player a chance to really feel importance of time and space constraints in "operational art of war" (well at least as much as it is possible in IGo-YouGo, hex & turn based game I guess ), or maybe it's influence of a few great PBEM AARs showing DNO as not only playable under TOAWIII but also as highly enjoyable experience. Guess it's combination of all three. Surely if things will go well I'd like later to try other eastern front scenarios (switching from huge to monster - like FITE - would be one of intriguing options) but for now my mind is fixed on DNO.

So going into details... First of all the question is what version of TOAWIII one should use to play the scenario? I would like to go with newest 3.4 version to get all the goodies (except of new rules for supply and such which are out of question I think) but I'm afraid of potential issues including problems with anti-aircraft fire and issues with fortified units on ignore loss orders (well I admit I don't understand yet how much the second is specific to 3.4 as I thought there is general problem with units fighting with ignore losses posture - need to read/experiment more with that I guess). Possible alternative is using version 3.2 which was - I belive - the one used in games described in AARs I've read and as such can be considered somewhat proven even thought it has issues of its own (like ants).

Second question is more open ended. I'm lokoing for advice on house rules to be used - both these scenario specific ones as well as general HRs pertaining to eastern front gaming and/or smoothing rough edges of game engine. Of course I ask about HRs in addition to these specified in scenario designer notes which are a must.

And third I wonder about turn frequency. What would you - as a potential player - consider as reasonable turn frequency for such scenario? I'm not exactly new to long term PBEMing (played many hundreds of turns in War in the Pacific game with average frequency about one turn a day) but taking together scenario hugeness, importance of opening phase (at least for axis side) and my overall inexperience I'm afraid I should not aim for more then two turns per week. Does it sound reasonable? Too slow? Too optimistic?


Post #: 1
RE: DNO (pbem) - looking for advice of experienced players - 12/9/2012 4:41:12 PM   
Olorin


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Hi kmitahj,

DNO is my all time favourite scenario, for the reasons you described. I 've played it many times in pbem in the past and have written AARs (see my signature), mainly on patch 3.3. There was an issue back then with small, armored units offering unrealistic resistance, when dug in. You just couldn't dislodge them no matter what you threw at them. This issue is resolved in 3.4, so I'd recommend playing DNO under 3.4, despite the fact that it's not tested under it. Alternatively, you could play it on 3.3 with a house rule to forbid entrenching for armored units.

Regarding turn frequency, the first few turns as the Germans can take anything from 5 to 10 hours to complete, depending on your experience with the scenario. Some veteran players even reported 15 hours! In any case, the first phase of the war is very time consuming for the Germans in particular and I'd consider a rate of 2-4 turns per week a good rate. After turn 20 or so, as parts of the front become inactive and you don't have to move and attack with 2000 units simultaneously, you can produce turns much faster. I'd consider 4-6 turns per week normal by then. When the time comes for the Soviet counteroffensive things slow down again, this time the burden is on the Soviet player though.

I've migrated to WitP-AE, so I have no time for DNO at the moment. But I am currently re-reading Manstein's Lost Victories and I am beginning to feel the pull of the Eastern Front again...

_____________________________

"Drang nach Osten"
--A TOAWIII AAR--

(in reply to kmitahj)
Post #: 2
RE: DNO (pbem) - looking for advice of experienced players - 12/10/2012 6:01:13 PM   
kmitahj

 

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Hi Olorin,

appreciate your comments. I've indeed read and enjoyed your DNO AARs on gamesquad and they were definitely among these which ignite my "lust" for DNO.
No entrenchment for armor sounds like good HR. Actually I have the feeling that in general units in toaw tend to reach hihger entrenchment levels a bit to fast. With my very limited experience in TOAW it is nothing I would dare to argue about of course - just my gutt feeling.
Playing 3.4 version is tempting option but it has problems of its own. Limited defence abilities against air attacks probably won't be gamebreaker for that particular scenario, but I'm still a bit afraid of other unknown factors skewing gameplay balance. I assume that when you referring to 3.3 version you mean last official release before current 3.4 (3.2.29 I believe), or did you actually play DNO on 3.3.0.6 version whch is mentioned in "WhatsNew" docs as never-released (but maybe you had access to it for beta-testing purposes)?

Your comments made me certain I should stick to 2 turns a week, at least for the beggining. Later when front tensions will lessen and my turn handling abilities will be smoothened somewhat I may be able to reach turnaround of 4+ a week.
As for the potential DNO duel with you it would be great experience for me, the only thing I would be afraid about is if I could give you a game challenging enough to be even a fun for expert like you. Nevertheless if you ever will feel the urge to chastise a TOAW recruit I will fell honoured! There is a lot I have yet to learn about TOAW intrinsics but the fastest way to learn - I think - is by being smitten to dust
And for a time beeing wish you the best in your efforts to build Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere in general and in convincing these stubborn Oz inhabitants to join it in particular I played War in the Pacific myself for years (more old, classic one then AE though) so I know first hand how addictive it can be!



(in reply to Olorin)
Post #: 3
RE: DNO (pbem) - looking for advice of experienced players - 12/11/2012 6:06:35 AM   
Olorin


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From: Greece
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Hi kmitahj,

Your gut feeling is correct. I completely agree that the speed of entrenchment and the effect that fortified units enjoy is just too much in TOAW3. I believe that Daniel Mcbride struggled on this very point when trying to convert DNO to 3.4, alas, a project that is now abandoned. We know these things through Lzard (Kurt, where are you?). Even in 3.2.29, the Soviets are compelled to build a Maginot Line further back. When the Germans reach that line, the game degenerates into trench warfare. I've played the Soviets once and I've been soundly beaten (by Fungwu), because of my urge to defend too far forward, so I wouldn't call my self an expert

As for War in the Pacific, I am in middle of a strategic bombing campaign against Oz, but my level bombers are no B-17.

_____________________________

"Drang nach Osten"
--A TOAWIII AAR--

(in reply to kmitahj)
Post #: 4
RE: DNO (pbem) - looking for advice of experienced players - 12/11/2012 9:08:29 PM   
kmitahj

 

Posts: 88
Joined: 4/25/2011
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Hi, again!

Yeah, entrenchments may be one of that not quite smooth edges of Toaw engine. Guess it simply impossible to have single solution which feels right for so many different environments and time-space scales. There is single per scenario EntrenchmentRate parameter, maybe separate Rates incuring adjustable (likely exponentially growing) costs for each entrench step would give scenario designers more flexibility (esp. if corresponding combat bonuses would be also adjustable). Also I still wonder why keeping it compressed to only three entrenchment steps - even WitP with its land combat model deeply inferior to Toaw offers more here

As for your Soviets forward defense game maybe it was sound defeat but it was an interesting twist, and also likely more realistic course of action then deep retreat in 1812 style. Well, "precognition" effects are a problem in all wargaming, there is (again) an analogy with WitP where common allied strategy (known as "Sir Robin") for opening war period once was (still is?) hasty retreat with all available assets to aviod any serious battles till heavy reinforcements allow Allies to steamroll back (booorrring!). Unfortunately it's difficult to combat such effects, for DNO in particular maybe raising incentives against "sir robining" (in terms of VPs, industry and/or other clever tricks like EEV triggers) would be in place but I guess scenario author is the only one who could make such adjustments. One more reason it's a pity Daniel McBride gave up on its projects (I also hoped to see /and play/ his Drang nach Asia follow up project).

For your current Oz enterprise it is sad truth that IJ(N|A)AF are patetic in terms of bomber punch. I remember in old WitP were mods allowing IJNAF to build a limited number of G5N bombers which with 4E and decent bombload gave Japs some striking power and at least forced allied player to keep his guard up.
However, if your bombing campaign fails I think you have still one more irresistible argument to lure Ozzies to join Co-Prosperity Sphere: just explain them clearly that one way or the other they - like most of the world - WILL end up as an outlet of made in asia goods - from cloths and cars to puters and ipads - so why wait and waste some 60 years?!

(in reply to Olorin)
Post #: 5
RE: DNO (pbem) - looking for advice of experienced players - 12/16/2012 12:20:53 PM   
golden delicious


Posts: 4649
Joined: 9/5/2000
From: London, Surrey, United Kingdom
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Olorin

Hi kmitahj,

Your gut feeling is correct. I completely agree that the speed of entrenchment and the effect that fortified units enjoy is just too much in TOAW3. I believe that Daniel Mcbride struggled on this very point when trying to convert DNO to 3.4, alas, a project that is now abandoned. We know these things through Lzard (Kurt, where are you?). Even in 3.2.29, the Soviets are compelled to build a Maginot Line further back. When the Germans reach that line, the game degenerates into trench warfare. I've played the Soviets once and I've been soundly beaten (by Fungwu), because of my urge to defend too far forward, so I wouldn't call my self an expert


Well, the Soviets had basically their entire army destroyed in the first couple of months of the campaign. If they are able to preserve it and give it time to rest, prepare and entrench, then absolutely it should be able to stop the comparatively diminutive Wehrmacht.

However such an action was as impossible for the Red Army as all their soldiers suddenly developing X-ray vision and super strength. It would have required a level of awareness and foresight which was totally lacking, and in any case would probably have led to the utter political collapse of the Soviet Union as sixty million citizens are abandoned without a fight.

Simulating a major military debacle is always a massive design challenge (I wrote a paper on this back at university). One needs to understand why the losing party made the decisions it did, and attempt to place the player as much as possible in the same position. Ultimately, though, most people playing a scenario like this will be fully aware of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the two forces. Perhaps the best solution would be to start the scenario six weeks into the campaign when the fate of the Western Soviet Union is already sealed.

I've never made any serious attempt to simulate this campaign so I'm not the one to answer these questions. However, they do need to be answered; otherwise you're going to end up with something which might resemble history, but certainly doesn't simulate it.

_____________________________

"Event 902: Bob Cross slays dragons!"

http://www.savemstateathletics.com/tdg/

(in reply to Olorin)
Post #: 6
RE: DNO (pbem) - looking for advice of experienced players - 12/17/2012 12:59:05 PM   
Olorin


Posts: 617
Joined: 4/22/2008
From: Greece
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As a Barbarossa simulation, DNO is the best without doubt. The Western Frontier Army does get destroyed every time. There is no avoiding it. There are also mechanisms to encourage forward defense, such as factories, industry and EEV. Despite all this, a forward defense is still not the best option or the Soviets and the reason is the game engine provides too large an advantage to fortified units. You can attain fortified status in 3-4 turns and the Soviets can build a Maginot Line entirely composed of new reinforcements and the few survivors of the 1st Strategic Echelon. It still doesn't guarantee a Soviet victory, but it does detract a bit from the main focus of this game, which is mobile warfare.

_____________________________

"Drang nach Osten"
--A TOAWIII AAR--

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 7
RE: DNO (pbem) - looking for advice of experienced players - 12/17/2012 6:11:48 PM   
golden delicious


Posts: 4649
Joined: 9/5/2000
From: London, Surrey, United Kingdom
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Olorin

As a Barbarossa simulation, DNO is the best without doubt.


At this particular scale, it's the best I've played.

quote:

The Western Frontier Army does get destroyed every time. There is no avoiding it. There are also mechanisms to encourage forward defense, such as factories, industry and EEV. Despite all this, a forward defense is still not the best option or the Soviets and the reason is the game engine provides too large an advantage to fortified units. You can attain fortified status in 3-4 turns and the Soviets can build a Maginot Line entirely composed of new reinforcements and the few survivors of the 1st Strategic Echelon. It still doesn't guarantee a Soviet victory, but it does detract a bit from the main focus of this game, which is mobile warfare.


It's not like the Soviets really did try to build fortified positions and just got turfed out of them. They kept counterattacking, kept throwing new units into the fray without time to rebuild- and they still won.

Clearly, if it's possible for the Soviets to soberly pull everything back and quietly build the line, then we're not dealing with historical simulation. In fact this was invariably the best Soviet Player strategy even in COW. So I don't think we can blame the change in the fortified bonus for this issue.

_____________________________

"Event 902: Bob Cross slays dragons!"

http://www.savemstateathletics.com/tdg/

(in reply to Olorin)
Post #: 8
RE: DNO (pbem) - looking for advice of experienced players - 12/17/2012 10:29:39 PM   
governato

 

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But surely it should take longer than 3-4 weeks to achieve 'F' status no? 'F' should represent almost permanent fortifications. That is easy to change in the editor by setting the engineering rate to something lower. Or perhaps the number of engineer squads is too high?

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 9
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