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Reserve Activations, over the top?

 
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Reserve Activations, over the top? - 3/31/2013 11:17:26 PM   
Michael T


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I want to raise the subject of reserve activation and see what others think. I have used a house rule previously to limit reserve use and perhaps a tone down in the game is needed.

When your opponent knows how to use reserves in defence it makes attacking quite tough and I feel that it is making defence to powerful. In some of my recent games (v Pelton and Bobo) I find I am spending most of my time trying to outwit the AI Reserve commitment system.

It just seems wrong that a player can commit virtually his entire Army that is at the front to reserve mode.

Anyway I will probably insist on some kind of reserve limits in future games.

Curious to see what others think.

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 3/31/2013 11:32:20 PM   
Flaviusx


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This game is very heavily biased towards the offense and reserves are one of the few ways of offsetting that bias.

So, no.

And, MT...seriously? You're the guy who is getting lopsided wins in every Axis game. And you were going to beat Pelton, too, as the Soviets, despite his attempts at optimizing a defense for the Germans. I mean, c'mon man.

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 3/31/2013 11:33:48 PM   
Kamil

 

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Reserves are poor way of dealing with 1 week turn concept and they can be pretty annoying, but they have big positive aspect - create impression, that game has something to offer beyond year '42 and that at least for me is really important.


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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 3/31/2013 11:45:46 PM   
Disgruntled Veteran


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I agree. Its not a very well managed system. Seeing that the defender can almost double his strength at a random role it makes attacking very problematic. Units can leave their fortifications, attack, and be back to their pre-assigned spots in time for dinner. Meanwhile the attcker just blew his whole load for the week. I like the idea just not the implementation.

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 12:05:39 AM   
Michael T


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I would say that in future without some form of Reserve limit HR I won't play as German. They just work too well. So maybe a lot of Soviet games for me coming up.

FWIW in my favourite East Front Board game (GMT's Barbarossa Series) the Soviet Reserve Activation in 1941 is limited to 1 or 2 units Per Army HQ.

I would think that is a better approach.

I am hearing more and more Axis players claiming that their 1941 summer offensive is getting closed down once the momentum of the initial drive slows up. It can't get going again due to mass reserve commitments. I can see how this is a real problem in evenly matched games.

It hasn't been a game breaker for me yet but I can see how it could be. It seems more of a problem for Axis players in 41/42.

< Message edited by Michael T -- 4/1/2013 12:06:44 AM >


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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 12:18:15 AM   
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I think that divisional reserves & Russian Tank & Rifle Korp should only be allowed at the Front/Armee level. Local reserves (brigades for the Russian & Regiments & brigades for the German) could be assigned at the Korp/Army level the amount of units that could be put into reserve could be based upon the admin rating of the HQ leader
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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 12:32:38 AM   
Flaviusx


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I do not see how the Axis can survive in the late war with this limit. Too often people just view the game through the perspective of 1941. Once on the defense, the Germans will just get steamrolled if they cannot make full use of reserves as presently possible and given the nearly non existent logistical constraints.



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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 1:16:50 AM   
rmonical

 

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It seems to me that the reserve issue is symptomatic of a larger 1941 issue - the Soviets are too operationally effective vis-a-vis their historical capabilities. It may be that all of the 1941 pre-blizzard issues would be addressed by lowering leader effectiveness. Taking 2 from all of the Soviet leadership ratings - adding 1 in May 1942 and another in May 1943 would have an interesting impact on the game.

I now have a couple of short games as Soviets completed. I was able to organize 8 and 9 division counterattacks in July and August that, IMHO, are not historically plausible.

One tweak to reserve activation that makes sense to me is it should be harder to activate against a hasty attack.

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 1:35:11 AM   
Kamil

 

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quote:

rmonical

One tweak to reserve activation that makes sense to me is it should be harder to activate against a hasty attack.


I totally agree.

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 1:43:31 AM   
Flaviusx


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The Soviets were launching such large attacks in the AGC area from mid July onwards historically, actually. That's why the Germans eventually evacuated the Yelnya salient.

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 1:45:45 AM   
Michael T


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Yes I think it may only be the Soviet activation in 41/42 that needs adjustment. More so in 41. I like playing both sides so I seek a solution that is fair. ATM it seems to be working just to well for the Soviets in 41 at least.

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 1:47:11 AM   
Michael T


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I would like to keep the topic on Reserve Activations if possible. Lets not get side tracked

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 2:26:55 AM   
timmyab

 

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I've not had too many problems with reserves, but then again I usually have a bit to spare when I attack.I try to get at least 2 to 1 starting odds which is usually plenty if no reserves are thrown in and if they are you've still got a chance.Then again maybe I haven't met anyone who's mastered the art.
If you're looking for a solution, this is yet another thing that could be solved by reducing the effectiveness of the Soviet leadership.If Soviet leaders couldn't be swapped out easily then reserves are unlikely to activate due to their poor initiative ratings.

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 2:45:05 AM   
rmonical

 

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Reserve activation on the defense is along the lines of a counterattack. What examples do we have of successful Soviet counterattacks in 1941? From Glantz, I am most familiar with the early Smolensk battles and nothing comes to mind.

< Message edited by rmonical -- 4/1/2013 2:48:45 AM >

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 2:51:24 AM   
Michael T


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I have encountered some master Reserve exponents. And I have figured it out myself with some testing. Its not difficult to set up. Once your lines stabilise and you have a good command structure in the threatened parts of the front you just put everything in reserve mode. Toggle off the units you want in refit or are too low in morale and sit back and watch them fly in and win battles for you. I see single XX get 2 and 3 extra reserve XX quite commonly. The only way to beat it is simply go elsewhere once its set up, unless you can muster enough overwhelming odds to prevent the process in the first place. 10 to 1 I think.

IMO its way too effective for the Soviets in 1941 to be sure. If I were a novice Soviet player it would be the one thing I would learn to master ASAP.



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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 7:42:42 AM   
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Did u try to use offensive reserve activation?
Especially in 42 to break the sov lines, it works quiet well (vs AI) to counter the defense reserve activations.

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 10:08:09 AM   
SigUp

 

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With the current combat system I don't think you can restrict defensive reserve use, at least for the German side. Otherwise there is no way the Germans survive an attack with multiple corps and artillery divisions without suffering 10-20% losses every attack which would burn out the German divisions in record time.

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 10:14:03 AM   
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I think Flavius is right, for the defending player the reserve mode is quite important. The German player who aims at playing the full game until 45 needs it for sure, else the bias to offense of this game, or the lack of any alternative mechanism helping the non-phasing defending player against the initiative advantage of I-Go-U-Go would see the games end a lot earlier than spring 45. It also creates the impression of simultaneity. In an offensive role I hardly use reserves except for breaking key locations (LG's back door...). I don't want to give up the advantage of the phasing player to be able to select and coordinate in detail while the enemy is unable to do so.

I have not had so much luck as Soviet player in 41 with reserve activations so far, although I use them whenever possible for all 2nd line troops. 1st line makes no sense.
Not sure, Michael, whether really mean that reserve activation stops the German from a 41 all out victory (so means of making this a 50:50 case ought to be there, right...?), or whether you are talking about such games where the Axis player is already "behind the curve" when his offensive slows and finally stalls. The 41 period has this kind of narrow curve, below which Axis gets stuck and the following years are likely much worse than average, or above which the Red Army likely to do well below average. 1941 shapes the following years, but the "average part" of the curve is unfortunately very narrow.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Disgruntled Veteran
... Units can leave their fortifications, attack, and be back to their pre-assigned spots in time for dinner. Meanwhile the attcker just blew his whole load for the week. I like the idea just not the implementation.


Totally agree. The units should be placed in the defended hex, or adjacent after the combat. If this relocation would happen it could screw your defensive setup and create some chaos, so people would use reserves more wisely. Like not using 1st line troops, or road-blocks positioned at key defensive terrain in the rear for reserve roles.

The understanding of what time means in I-Go-U-Go like you said it puzzling at best. Sure, you can have a set of stack expand all MPs to create a gap, fighting hard and having several helds. And then a Mot Div rushes through with 50 MP deep into the enemy rear in that same turn as if there was no enemy in the gap at the start of the turn? I think is were WitE in contrast to AE is much more of "just a game". It may sound stupid, but with that I/U abstraction, you probably should forget the concept of "time".
There was another Matrix I/U game, Forge of Freedom, where they attempted to bring back time and simultaneity by (a) having much short time intervals (aka 1 day turns sort of) and (b) by forcing the player to move units in sequence, each unit doing only one step at a time and looping over all until MPs were up. Wasn't such a great concept either since you couldn't chose which units to move first, but better as long as the number of units stayed low (maybe <100). So naught for WitE scales.

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 12:42:34 PM   
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All the historically good Russian leaders should begin the game as a potential rather than the realised capability at present. Most of them simply didn't have the practical experience to command as well as they do in game in 1941. I like the idea of reduced reserve activation against a first hasty attack, too, but more attacks, including subsequent attacks on adjacent hexes should mean greater activation chance, otherwise, particularly in 1941, the German will just sleaze multiple multi-unit hasties to break down defences without reserve interference.

Reserves pay 2 x movement to combat hex, presumably to represent a return ticket. If they can't make it home for tea, they won't get involved. Reserve commitment is a double edged sword anyways, the attacker having the chance to deal with 1st and second line defence in one roll if he gets lucky or attacks in anticipation of reserve commitment. Works ok in my view.

Other than that, it's apparent this game is very offensive biased and anything that can throw an attack and make the defence unpredictable has to be good.

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 12:45:44 PM   
Mehring

 

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Another tactic that works really well against reserves is to recce behind the lines and bomb any likely suspects. Don't know how or why it works, but those reserves won't be bothering you much anymore ;)

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 1:58:24 PM   
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@Mehring, point well taken... recon and bomb as needed. Think it works through a disruption factor as bombing hexes doesn't seem to yeild enough casuaties to do much.

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 2:30:17 PM   
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Heh. Recon spam is a whole other issue of silliness. But I like your idea about leaders, Mehring. You'd have to lift the existing caps on improvement, though, at least for those leaders with high potential. Might have to tweak the improvement rate up a bit, too.

MTs proposal, which I thoroughly disagree with and regard as wholly unnecessary (especially for him) I also think can be completely cheesed by the Soviets to render it a nullity anyways. They have enough HQs to get around this in 1941 where they want to...and can overload in areas of the front they don't care about to cough up extra commands. This will also require overloading Fronts, but so what? They don't matter here, only STAVKA and army (and the airborne HQ) commands do. I'll cheerfully stick 10 army commands per front by Leningrad and Moscow if need be. Down south I'd attach everything directly to Front HQs and run, switching out their army commands to STAVKA. Expensive in APs but doable.

If he really wanted to put a break on reserves in 41 hitting the leadership directly will yield better results. Soviet initiative is bad as it is, knocking it down a bit more will hurt more than an HQ limitation. Shucks. Just dial down Zhukov a notch or two. That right there would make a big difference. That 9 point initiative rating in STAVKA is huge.



< Message edited by Flaviusx -- 4/1/2013 2:34:26 PM >


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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 4:07:24 PM   
Mehring

 

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recon spam?

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 4:17:25 PM   
Flaviusx


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Recon spam. Flying a bazillion missions everywhere and utterly removing the fog of war. James was a master of this. It's preposterous. For extra giggles, yeah, lightly sprinkle bombs here and there in the rear area.

It got to the point where I didn't even bother censoring my AARs with him, I'd just post screens more or less real time in the tester's section. He knew where all my crap was everywhere all the time anyways.

They've done some stuff since then to reign in recon spam, but it's still doable. And it does indeed affect to some degree reserve activation.

Me, I just don't buy that anybody in WW2 had this sort of omniscience which would put modern satellites to shame.

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 4:39:11 PM   
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Again speaking of Russians in 41, I find it not quite as bad as you make out. Recce regiments get cut to pieces if interceptors are about and low morale reduces flights. Not sure they reveal absolutely everything either. In my current game, a good half dozen of rmonical's Pz divs were disappeared until he sprang his late summer attack on Moscow. Believe me, I was looking for them.


Are we supposed to disband all air units because the air war's broken? What about the land units cos the logistics is non-existent? Then we can just email the map to each other. :) Like I said when saper was holding my units in a pocket waiting for November 41 before he finished them off, a player has to make use of what the game offers, the devs will hopefully remove styoopid possibilities, and it's crafty play that brings them to light. That's my view, anyway.

Looks like a long wait tho before any big structural improvement are made.

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 4:46:17 PM   
Flaviusx


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Sovs can't pull off recon spam in 41, they don't have the squadrons. Axis can. I'm talking 500+ missions per turn (not an exaggeration.) Rules were different back then, too. They've lowered the amount of intel that you can gather by air and increased the rate of breakdowns by recon.

Thankfully, nobody else severely abuses recon like James did. It's incredibly tedious to do this, probably takes upwards of a half hour each turn to manually blanket the whole map. And now I have probably let the cat out of the bag and people will start trying to figure out how to cheese this.



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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 5:27:58 PM   
Mehring

 

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Ah, those were the days, brings a tear to my eye. Always found those German recon airbases such tempting targets for my massed Russian bombers.

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 5:41:22 PM   
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It can be used multiple ways. They can't see what is under cover, so they don't know if that is a Gds Rifle corps or an AT bde. I've used that to make some areas look heavily defended and others less defended to try and get the enemy to devote himself in certain directions.
I've even used heavy recon as a feint, hoping to convince my enemy that my operational focus was really in a different place. I've seen that work to pull reserves or line depth to another sector.

I haven't seen a problem with reserve activations. They require the user to retain MP from their active turn. They strike me as an effective balance on some of the drawbacks of stack limits and IGOUGO.

MT, are you using reserve activations on the offensive? I noticed an opponent doing that, they were trying to bull into Leningrad and had broken down at least Totenkopf to get the rgt reactions and overcome the stack limitations. Downside is fuel/supply consumption by units you might be trying to save for else...


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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 7:44:19 PM   
timmyab

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Seminole
It can be used multiple ways. They can't see what is under cover, so they don't know if that is a Gds Rifle corps or an AT bde. I've used that to make some areas look heavily defended and others less defended to try and get the enemy to devote himself in certain directions.

Good point.
The main problem with air recon is in open terrain where unit type can't be hidden.Even then you can use deception to make a pz corps look like a pz army, but you can't make a pz army disappear no matter what.
On the whole though I do think that air recon is too powerful and that's why I use it a lot.The trouble with getting rid of it is that surprise attacks from fueled up panzer armies would be even more lethal than they already are.You can't defend everywhere all of the time.

< Message edited by timmyab -- 4/1/2013 7:47:06 PM >

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RE: Reserve Activations, over the top? - 4/1/2013 10:02:26 PM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Flaviusx
Sovs can't pull off recon spam in 41, they don't have the squadrons. Axis can. I'm talking 500+ missions per turn (not an exaggeration.)


Seriously? Or are you just throwing out that number? Who would even have the time to do such an enormous amount of recon? Sounds like someone is taking the game or winning a little too serious.

I kind of like the idea of have a more flexible development of Soviet leaders, sort of like starting "without or with poor combat experience", and growing to the need. One could for instance think of the present values being a soft caps, and have the leaders start with that number minus random(50%) or so. The soft cap should also give a small chance to get better than the "historical reference" given a different course of events.

The other thing is probably what Mehring implied, one should not look at a character card and see perfectly accurate, numerical values. Some sort of abstraction and FoW so that players would have to rely on own judgement by the number of victories/defeats, average MP rolls failed etc. before trusting these numbers. But this idea would contradict the design goals of the G&G team I guess. Still, some more uncertainty and development of leader values sound like an interesting thing.

< Message edited by janh -- 4/1/2013 10:03:53 PM >

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