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Trenches too weak?

 
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Trenches too weak? - 12/7/2012 8:17:53 AM   
Jim D Burns


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I've been thinking about buying this game, but wanted to wait and see what the community thought after some time had passed first. One thing reading through the AARs has me worried about is the apparent lack of trench warfare feel to the game. I see Serbia routinely crushed in less than a year and Paris threatened almost every game within less than a year. Italy forced out of the top of the boot is also commonplace, so it looks like they haven't made the defense in the early years strong enough to simulate actual trench warfare.

There shouldn't be these huge gains of territory after the first couple months once trench warfare sets in, players should be lucky to gain a hex and should be getting repulsed more often than not until storm troopers and tanks are finally researched. Firepower doctrine in 1915 and 1916 should be benefiting the defender not the attacker, but right now it looks like most attacks succeed rather than fail as they should before the new tech arrives.

Sheer numbers and artillery did not win the day in WW1 and it shouldn't be winning as it is in this game. Players should be forced to make large offensives due to political necessity, but they should almost always be doomed to failure once the trench lines have appeared. But what I'm seeing is the defender pushed back easily (at least easily in WW1 terms) in almost every game.

AGEOD's WW1 game handles major offensives well, requiring they be made or hitting players with national morale loss. It appears this game should experiment with something like that and make the defense a lot stronger than it is now I think, otherwise games will be ending in 1915 or 1916 almost every time.

Jim


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RE: Trenches too weak? - 12/7/2012 10:21:32 AM   
Keke


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Perhaps you should play it before passing a judgement, eh?

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RE: Trenches too weak? - 12/7/2012 10:49:29 AM   
Falke

 

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Hi,
It takes time to dig Trenches.
Re Serbia - It gets crushed due to Flanking, a frontal assault against the Trenches does not work.
Re Paris - In RL it was very close, if CP maintains mobility then Paris falls. If entente delay the CP until they can dig trenches then you get the trench warfare.

Once Trench warfare sets in there is very little movement, in general you can only capture a single hex since only artillery can inflict enough damage for subsequent attacks to have a chance of forcing a retreat/destroying a unit.

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RE: Trenches too weak? - 12/7/2012 11:28:53 AM   
Empire101


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What must also be borne in mind is the timing of Technological advances in trench defence.

If you don't get this right, the enemy can gain enough advantage if their tech advances in offensive techs fall at the right time.

Balance is everything.

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RE: Trenches too weak? - 12/7/2012 12:06:21 PM   
m10bob


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The technology of trench warfare was nothing new. The Army Of Northern Virginia became the experts by 1865, and other nations sent their own observers there to witness this first-hand.

Since each turn equals two weeks, I should imagine those trenches to come up pretty quick, the defensive bonus to perhaps quadruple...?

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RE: Trenches too weak? - 12/7/2012 1:18:00 PM   
wodin


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Jim I think WW1Gold does replicate WW1 in more detail than Commander does..but Commander is more user friendly and easier to play but isn't as complex as WW1 Gold.

WW1 Gold for me is the number one WW1 game at this scale for replicating the War, but it isn't for everyone..I'd probably recommend Commander over WW1 Gold to some one who isn't a WW1 nut or shies away from complex wargames..

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RE: Trenches too weak? - 12/7/2012 1:40:11 PM   
Empire101


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quote:

ORIGINAL: m10bob

The technology of trench warfare was nothing new. The Army Of Northern Virginia became the experts by 1865, and other nations sent their own observers there to witness this first-hand.

Since each turn equals two weeks, I should imagine those trenches to come up pretty quick, the defensive bonus to perhaps quadruple...?


Did they develop interlocking concrete pillboxes with barbed wire in the ACW?

Did they develop concrete dugouts to withstand 400mm Shells in the ACW?

Anyone can dig a trench....the Romans were doing it to siege out cities, so to quote the ACW is pretty meaningless in the context of CTGW.


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RE: Trenches too weak? - 12/7/2012 2:56:15 PM   
Myrddraal

 

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wodin, have we actually managed to sell you the game? I think I might have to eat my hat

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RE: Trenches too weak? - 12/7/2012 3:49:02 PM   
Jim D Burns


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Empire101
Did they develop interlocking concrete pillboxes with barbed wire in the ACW?

Did they develop concrete dugouts to withstand 400mm Shells in the ACW?

Anyone can dig a trench....the Romans were doing it to siege out cities, so to quote the ACW is pretty meaningless in the context of CTGW.


While I agree there were some hardened fortifications used in areas like Verdun, for the most part they were built before the war. The vast majority of the trench lines dug in WW1 were earth works with some timber used for structural integrity. Here's a great site with lots of vintage images of the trenches, as you can see they weren't massive concrete engineering projects requiring months to build, just deep trenches dug out by the soldiers themselves.

http://www.firstworldwar.com/photos/trenches.htm

If you read the history, the front lines were pretty much static once the trenches were dug, but millions died trying to make the other side's lines give way but they never managed to do it even when gas was first employed. Sure small gains were made, but on a scale the size the game uses, a single hex taken from the enemy would be a rare event indeed and almost never seen on the western front. It wasn't until technology overcame the problem with the development of tanks and storm troop tactics that things finally broke loose.



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RE: Trenches too weak? - 12/7/2012 4:11:37 PM   
Myrddraal

 

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Hi Jim,

For what it's worth, this is how we have built our model. When the game starts, the first available starting technologies provide big defensive and entrenchment bonuses. Later, technologies and assault tactics become available which increase the unit's 'assault' stat. This stat is subtracted from the defenders entrenchment value before combat calculations, so effectively negates entrenchment bonuses.

This ensures that the start and end of the war in the west are mobile, with the main years of the war being heavily skewed in favour of the defender.

The eastern front stays more mobile throughout the war, but still follows a similar pattern. It just never gets quite a static as the west, simply because you have more room for manoeuvre (and the Steppe terrain type provides lower entrenchment modifiers than the grassland terrain of western Europe).

You're right in saying that on the large scale of things, any historical advances would be swallowed into a single hex, but if you can accept some level of abstraction, allowing the fronts to move a hex or two here and there allows the game to be a bit more fun, without actually allowing the player to 'break through' and roll up the flanks. Generally, if you opponent can do that, you're about to lose.

Generally, I think the game captures the feel of WWI in this respect, but if you've any sense you won't just take it from me... as I'm on the development team . Strategy Prime's review says:

quote:

At this point, I once again must do my best to restrain the history-freak inside me and avoid a long, overly detailed report on the causes that led to WW1; instead, let me just state the main premises of the conflict that got to be known as The Great War and only later as World War 1. In essence, a complex network of military and economical treaties made it seem – on the surface – that nobody with an ounce of common sense would start a war, but eventually, instead to function as the deterrent, the countless treaties merely ensured that many countries got involved in the war without truly wanting it. Oddly enough, everyone involved was pretty much certain that it would be “over by Christmas”. Not only that it wasn’t over within couple of months, it was also far more bloodier and of entirely different nature than any war that was fought to the date. The World War 1 was, to its greatest extent, a war of industry, static defenses, trenches, mustard gas, barbed wire and machine guns mowing down youth of the nations, a horrid conflict where each side was trying to bleed each other white and where casualties without sense or true purpose mounted into hundreds of thousands, even millions of soldiers.

Commander The Great War manages to capture that sensation and presents us with a game where defense almost always has the upper hand.


< Message edited by Myrddraal -- 12/7/2012 4:14:24 PM >

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RE: Trenches too weak? - 12/7/2012 11:54:00 PM   
Bossy573


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Myrddraal

This ensures that the start and end of the war in the west are mobile, with the main years of the war being heavily skewed in favour of the defender.


Is there any way to tone the Russians down a bit? In my most recent game, I spent just about all of 1915 driving the Russians out of Poland. You would think they would be demoralized, but they soon regained their strength and I was looking at spectacular offensives which really have no historical basis.

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RE: Trenches too weak? - 12/8/2012 4:05:18 PM   
jack54


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Myrddraal

...You're right in saying that on the large scale of things, any historical advances would be swallowed into a single hex, but if you can accept some level of abstraction, allowing the fronts to move a hex or two here and there allows the game to be a bit more fun, without actually allowing the player to 'break through' ...


Well said,... I think this is a perfect discription of what happens in game. The front moving a hex back and forth, while not historically accurate, adds some fun. BTW this is the first game 'WITHOUT STACKING' (also an abstraction, IMHO) that I can say I am really enjoying. Some very nice design decisions. Not as detailed as some but it has that "just one more turn" feel.


< Message edited by jack54 -- 12/8/2012 4:06:05 PM >


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RE: Trenches too weak? - 12/8/2012 4:26:31 PM   
EdinHouston

 

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I dont have the game yet, but wanted to comment about Germany/France and the comment about Paris being threatened 'within a year'. Ideally IMO Paris should be threatened within a couple months, or else not until 1918 (or maybe not at all after those first months).

I liked the game Guns of August and played it a lot, but one problem with that game IMO is that it was nearly impossible to get to Paris in 1914. Instead, the Germans could do a broad continual advance with the goal of taking Paris in mid-late 1915 by continually whittling down the Allies in France and holding on for dear life in the east, which IMO is not very realistic. Trenches took just a bit too long to be really effective, and by broadening the western front the Germans could concentrate attacks on weak parts of the Allied line and keep the advance going, which historically wasnt very realistic, because in real life trenches were devatastingly effective, and because defenders could reinforce threatened parts of the front via railroad faster than the attackers could hope to advance (this latter factor was still true in 1918 even though trenches had become less effective due to assault tactics).

Anyway, the point here is that if Paris is to be threatened, it needs to be soon, certainly within a year and ideally within a few months. That realism is hard for a game to replicate, because in real life the war changed from a war of massive movement to a war of fixed defensive lines VERY quickly. A game where the Germans can just grind down the allies over two years and continually advance on paris isnt realistic. So it sounds to me like the way this game is playing with regard to the western front is a good thing not a bad thing.

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RE: Trenches too weak? - 12/8/2012 8:22:05 PM   
Jestre

 

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From most of my readings of WWI Trench Warfare it was not too difficult to overwhelm the front trenchline with a sustained barrage followed by a major assault, the problem lay in surviving the inevitable counterattack that would have been prepared due to the fact that the long bombardment would give away any chance of surprise. That is why later in the war the most effective assaults came with short term creeping barrages followed by rapid advance, the germans using shock troops that bypassed strongholds. The Germans came close to knocking Britain out of the war in their 1918 offensives, Haig actually briefly considered evacuating France. If not for a lack of a strategic goal from Ludendorf Germany may have forced a favorable end to the war in mid 1918.

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RE: Trenches too weak? - 12/8/2012 10:27:59 PM   
H Gilmer

 

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On my 3rd game as entente - trenches seem fine for enemy, no good for me!

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RE: Trenches too weak? - 12/9/2012 2:54:40 AM   
Amaranthus


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I am currently playing two games as Entente in MP, and in both, the trench lines formed on more-or-less historical terms by end 1914 - on Western, Eastern and Serbian fronts. To me it seems very realistic. I don't think the CP have any real chance of taking Paris in 1914 against a good human opponent, and even against the AI, you have to have just the right strategy and move really fast.

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