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Some game play issues - 7/10/2014 3:37:10 AM   
Michael T


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Hi Frank
I am up to turn 53 in the campaign as German in a PBEM and there some things that need to be improved IMO.

The enforcement of stacking rules during the reinforcement/withdrawal process makes it very difficult to withdraw a battered unit from a hex and reinforce the hex with a fresh unit. I find that the defence of a hex is often compromised during this process as a reinforcing unit won’t move in to a hex until the withdrawing unit moves out. The problem is that the withdrawing unit will leave and then the reinforcing unit does not move in to the hex, due the order of events I guess. This sometimes leaves a hex undefended or weaker than it should be. The bottom line is defensive lines are being lost because of this mechanic. It needs to work better. The player should be able to order a switch of units smoothly and not lose a defensive position due to this process. Not sure what the answer is, perhaps a new order that exchanges units at the same time that will allow a smooth transition.

If a unit has a stacking value of 5 it takes 5 supply points to bring it up a level of supply. If said unit is only at 30% strength it still takes 5 supply points. I think your supply cost should be related to the actual strength of the unit, not it stacking value. Or make the stacking value dynamic so it changes with actual unit strength. I know this would make things more complex but as it stands it makes supplying elite Para and Panzer units an expensive luxury when they are low in strength.

Lastly the zoc rules need some clarification in the manual. Somewhere on the board there is a post that says if a unit has a red triangle in the upper left hand corner it means the unit has no zoc. But I can find no reference to this in the manual. That’s a pretty important point. Also if a stack is attacked does it lose its zoc for that turn? I have noticed that sometimes enemy units seem to slip thu interlocking zocs when my units are attacked. Is this WAD or some bug I am seeing?

Other than these points the game plays really well now.


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RE: Some game play issues - 7/16/2014 7:41:32 PM   
tombo

 

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...these are some reasonable comments. Hopefully, Frank will respond.

For item one, i would assume dis-engagment from the Front line would not be a smooth transfer. Delays would occur and enemy units with better initative would slip in.

For second item, the cost to resupply seems reasonable and true.

The zoc symbol is addressed i believe in updated manual. I know of the loss of unit ZOC, not sure about other point made. That logic seems wrong and maybe a bug.

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Post #: 2
RE: Some game play issues - 7/16/2014 9:21:00 PM   
Michael T


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From: Queensland, Australia.
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Hi Tombo

Item one is real problem. For example lets say I have an Elite Para unit (stack value 5) defending a mountain hex (max stack 5). Behind the line I have a rough hex with a max stack value of 6. If I need to withdraw the Para as its low on strength due to losses in combat I can't get the relief unit in to the mountain hex before the Para leaves (due to stacking value limits). This is a problem I am encountering quite often. I lost and entire line because of this mechanic going wrong. In reality this process occurs over several days and does not cause such problems as entire front line positions being lost because the defenders up and left before thier relief arrived!

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/2/2014 9:18:09 PM   
c unit


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Michael T

The enforcement of stacking rules during the reinforcement/withdrawal process makes it very difficult to withdraw a battered unit from a hex and reinforce the hex with a fresh unit. I find that the defence of a hex is often compromised during this process as a reinforcing unit won’t move in to a hex until the withdrawing unit moves out. The problem is that the withdrawing unit will leave and then the reinforcing unit does not move in to the hex, due the order of events I guess. This sometimes leaves a hex undefended or weaker than it should be. The bottom line is defensive lines are being lost because of this mechanic. It needs to work better. The player should be able to order a switch of units smoothly and not lose a defensive position due to this process. Not sure what the answer is, perhaps a new order that exchanges units at the same time that will allow a smooth transition.

If a unit has a stacking value of 5 it takes 5 supply points to bring it up a level of supply. If said unit is only at 30% strength it still takes 5 supply points. I think your supply cost should be related to the actual strength of the unit, not it stacking value. Or make the stacking value dynamic so it changes with actual unit strength. I know this would make things more complex but as it stands it makes supplying elite Para and Panzer units an expensive luxury when they are low in strength.




I agree, especially with the second point. The later you get in the main campaign the more this seems to become an issue.



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RE: Some game play issues - 8/3/2014 5:16:44 AM   
Michael T


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Yep, This bad mechanic has cost me more troops than I care to mention. I just lost another division due to it. Now days I am planning for it so I am losing less but I can't hold my lines as I can't afford to fully stack a hex.

Frank where are you???

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/4/2014 1:25:34 AM   
tombo

 

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i second that ...not much attention/response by developer for lately. Makes me pause to continue w this fine game.


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RE: Some game play issues - 8/4/2014 8:38:01 PM   
pzgndr

 

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I think Frank is busy with upgrading Campaigns on the Danube and a new Elbe game. Hopefully he will shift gears back to PFE when he gets the chance.

I'd also like to see prorated supply based on % strength. Some additional improvements in withdrawals would also be nice.

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/8/2014 8:04:43 PM   
c unit


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I'd still like to see the Italian units added in the main game too. IMHO PFE is a perfect gateway wargame to get players ready for the more intense offerings, it's too bad there are a handful of nagging issues. BTW when I play as Axis, it seems like the Allies are forever able to maintain the offensive (despite the heavy losses I inflict upon them). Has anyone else felt the same or is it just me?

< Message edited by c unit -- 8/8/2014 9:09:43 PM >

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/8/2014 9:36:34 PM   
rosseau

 

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Thank you Michael T. for beta testing this game for us. Seriously, without you, all this stuff would just have been let go.

This is not some discounted Steam game as we've been seeing lately. The last thing I'm ready to do is by Campaigns on the Danube and a new Elbe game when this one isn't working to its full potential.

Not meant to hurt anyone's feelings, but so far I do not think my $40 was well spent. Not wasted, of course, but not really happy either.

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/9/2014 1:39:02 AM   
Michael T


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Thanks Mike :)

I am up to turn 103 in the CG as German (PBEM). With luck I might eek out a minor victory. PFE is a nice game but it has some rough edges that cause angst when you are in a tight spot. A little more tweaking from Frank and this would be a very good game. I hope he finds the time. I probably won't start another game until the issues raised are addressed.

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/9/2014 1:33:08 PM   
pzgndr

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: rosseau
Thank you Michael T. for beta testing this game for us. Seriously, without you, all this stuff would just have been let go.


A lot of this stuff did come up in playtesting and it wasn't just let go. Withdrawals were initially more stickier than they are now; suffice to say it's much better than it was. Again, some prorating of resupply based on % strength would be good and some reconsideration of the unit swap routines for withdrawals would help.

These aren't exactly showstoppers for the game. Players just need to be careful in their moves. I've played a few campaign games as both sides and there are simply a few special considerations players need to be aware of (see my player notes in the War Room). For an operational study of the Italian Campaign and its logistics, it's a pretty good game. If/when Frank gets around to tweaking a few of these things, that would be good and would help with any subsequent game.

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/9/2014 9:42:51 PM   
Michael T


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Well I am discovering that the weather is somewhat off. I am in mid December 1944 in Northern Italy (North of Florence) and I am experiencing more clear weather than any other type. That is ludicrous. And to be honest if the other problems mentioned above were detected in play testing then its equally bad they were left as is. You can paint it however you like but these problems detract from the enjoyment of the game.

The game puts both players in positions of tension and uncertainty to a very good level. But then the game drops the ball by punishing the German player with stacking rules that are quite silly really. What it amounts to is the offensive player (the allies) can stack a hex to the hilt but the defender (German) always has to under stack and be very mindful of a retreat path lest he gets trapped.

Another problem is that you cannot co ordinate your moves. I mean for example I can't order units A,B and C to move in the sequence B, C and A. The player has no control over the movement order (sequence) so he can get totally screwed by stacking. An entire chain of movement can get stalled because one unit moved before another and that causes an over stack and consequently no units move and before you know it 3 divisions are trapped.

Its a dumb mechanic and it should be running much smoother. For a WEGO game things like this need special attention by a designer. Otherwise he may as a swell stick to UGOIGO.

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/10/2014 12:31:13 AM   
rosseau

 

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Well all this is good to know. I assume it's more of an issue during a tight PBEM game, than against the weaker AI.

I assume the weather issue would be easy to fix, but not sure about the movement cycling.

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/10/2014 9:39:10 PM   
Michael T


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I have another question. Since Frank no longer frequents this board maybe a former tester can answer.

When it rains there is a message that says Air Ops are halted due to weather or words to that effect. Yet the air screen shows air interdiction is at 58%.

So am I getting interdicted or not?

Is this WAD or a bug or an oversight?

Because clearly you can't have Interdiction if air ops are halted.

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/10/2014 11:59:44 PM   
Michael T


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Another thing I have noticed is that the list of VP cities in the manual for 'The Italian Campaign' do not collate with the in game list of VP cities. For example the manual lists Bologna as a VP city, but its not listed in the game list. And Genoa is not listed in the manual as VP city but it is listed in the in game list???

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/11/2014 2:49:36 PM   
pzgndr

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Michael T
And to be honest if the other problems mentioned above were detected in play testing then its equally bad they were left as is. You can paint it however you like but these problems detract from the enjoyment of the game.

Its a dumb mechanic and it should be running much smoother. For a WEGO game things like this need special attention by a designer. Otherwise he may as a swell stick to UGOIGO.


Frank needs to respond to these comments; it's his game. I'm not disagreeing with your points; there is room for improvement, always is.

Regarding the WEGO mechanic, it's an interesting feature. Players seem to want this moreso than UGOIGO, but like you say it needs special attention. Unless players have more control of their units via movement waypoints, SOPs and such, it boils down to watching the AI play your turn, for better or worse. I guess a fair question may be whether games like this could provide a game option for either WEGO or UGOIGO? It should be doable.

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/12/2014 3:00:25 PM   
Treale


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Unfortunately, I don't think that this game has done very well for him. It's a shame. It's a very unique game!

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/17/2014 12:53:11 AM   
SMK-at-work

 

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It's not unique from Frank - it is very much in the mold of Guns of August - which is by far and away the best WW1 game out there....although it suffers from many "rough edges" as this apparently does.

I just bought PFE today & the pedigree is obvious - this is a good thing IMO :)

Frank is only a 1 man band - which has the up side of his style of game, and the down side that he only has so much time available for polishing - GoA would be the prefect game to release or update about now :/

Anyway - have just managed to lose Sicily twice his morning & am looking forward to getting to grips with this version of Franks system!


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RE: Some game play issues - 8/18/2014 1:49:19 PM   
pzgndr

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: SMK-at-work
Frank is only a 1 man band - which has the up side of his style of game, and the down side that he only has so much time available for polishing


+1

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/18/2014 9:53:24 PM   
Michael T


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It only takes 2 minutes to look at a forum an acknowledge that work needs/will be done at a later stage. Total ignorance of his latest title is dissapointing to say the least.

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/19/2014 8:08:58 AM   
rosseau

 

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It is not like Matrix to let things go indefinitely. There also may be circumstances beyond everyone's control. I recall the long waits for Combat Command patches, but they came. Of course, I haven't devoted 100s of PBEM turns to this game, either.

Just a gentle reminder to Matrix that this is not an $8 Frontline: Road to Moscow port (a surprisingly fun game, btw). Loyal customers paid top dollar for this product. We see the company going in different (and I assume, quite profitable) directions with Steam and Apps releases. In my mind, it is 100% Matrix's responsibility - not the dev's - to see this game gets the attention it deserves. And I'm confident they will support Frank in every way possible, whether it sells like hotcakes or not.

It's to this larger issue that I post, and I'm sure my concerns about Matrix losing any focus on its core customer base are unfounded.

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/19/2014 4:27:08 PM   
jack54


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I totally agree with the initial post...hopefully Frank can look into the stacking rules during reinforcement/withdrawal.

I am also particularly frustrated by the forced Attack/Withdraw situation... I see no reason that 2 size 3 units next to a size 1 enemy must either attack or withdraw i.e. move backwards. 1 of the larger units should be able to move in another direction while the other entertains the smaller enemy unit.

I see tremendous potential with this game but only boot it up once in a while due to these issues.

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/25/2014 4:08:36 AM   
Michael T


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quote:

Also if a stack is attacked does it lose its zoc for that turn? I have noticed that sometimes enemy units seem to slip thu interlocking zocs when my units are attacked. Is this WAD or some bug I am seeing?


See first post in this thread.

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/25/2014 6:27:52 AM   
FrankHunter

 

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When a unit is under attack it loses its ZoC temporarily.

I've been thinking this should be changed so that the unit only loses its ZoC if the unit is forced to fallback.

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/25/2014 10:24:16 AM   
Michael T


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So I was correct. But this is not in the manual Frank.

Anyhow I would like to see a change here to what you suggest. Otherwise holding a line will be impossible versus a wily opponent.

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RE: Some game play issues - 8/26/2014 12:56:15 AM   
FrankHunter

 

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It certainly is a bit more difficult. Enemy units can't infiltrate all the way past your position but that rule does allow them to get into hexes where the defender's possible retreat paths are more limited and it gives the attacker more hexes to attack from in future turns.

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RE: Some game play issues - 1/11/2015 8:34:14 PM   
wadepm

 

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I think that maybe we need to rethink the stacking rules, particularly what it means to have a stacking limit at all. What is the size of a hex in the game? I estimate that it is about 12-15 km. That is a lot of space -you could put a good portion of the German army in there at parade rest. Of course, at that density they wouldn't be able to fight very effectively, if at all. In the game you can fit 2 and 1/2 divisions in an open hex, that seems a little light, especially on the offensive.

I propose that we do away with stacking limits to a certain extent and instead focus on the number of strength points that can effectively be used to attack or defend a hex. In thus way the hex can be "over" stacked in preparation for a withdrawal of some of the forces. You could also apply a disruption hit to simulate the lack of cohesion when things get crowded. The stacking point value on the unit can still be used to give an idea of when a hex starts to get crowded and the disruption penalty starts to take effect.

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