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Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/6/2015 5:31:20 AM   
76mm


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While playing a solo game against myself with the Fog of War option on, I noticed that under the "Brief Menu" there is an option for the German player to view "Reinf Soviet". If a German player clicks on it, he can view the entire Soviet reinforcement schedule, including the front where the armies will arrive.

To put it mildly, this does not seem consistent with Fog of War. Is this also in effect for PBEM games?

In any event, since the front/timing of the Sov armies seems to be largely fixed, German players will soon learn how to hit the Sovs when/where they won't be getting reinforcements.
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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/6/2015 10:56:33 AM   
elmo3

 

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No, it's not realistic. However all an Axis player has to do is fire up the game as the Soviets and he can write down all the information anyway. There is some variability as to when the divisions arrive and of course all you get is the front information but not where on the front the units will start. And the Soviets have a card that allows them to divert reinforcements from one front to another when they arrive so it's not completely fixed. As with many things in every game, you get more information than your real life counterparts, but other than a wildly random reinforcement schedule there is not much that can be done about it.

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/6/2015 11:33:48 AM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: elmo3
As with many things in every game, you get more information than your real life counterparts, but other than a wildly random reinforcement schedule there is not much that can be done about it.


I can think of at least three things to do about it:
1) Don't give the German player the information in-game; if they want to write down the info from a Soviet game you can't stop them, but why spoon feed it to them? Why have this "intelligence report" with vague information when they can just look at the reinforcement list and know exactly what is going to happen?

2) Since I am Stalin, I don't understand why I am not telling ALL of the armies where to go. The manual says the armies' destination is historical, but since the whole campaign is not going to develop historically, I don't think it makes sense. Morever, many armies were assigned to the Stavka reserve and were then assigned at Stalin's discretion.

3) If not #2, then at least it should be easier/cheaper to assign armies to new fronts. 5PP is fine, but escalating to 15PP (and beyond?) is prohibitive.

The fact that the Germans don't know exactly where in the front the reinforcements will arrive doesn't help much.

< Message edited by 76mm -- 12/6/2015 1:59:56 PM >

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/6/2015 11:42:42 AM   
Panzeh

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm

quote:

ORIGINAL: elmo3
As with many things in every game, you get more information than your real life counterparts, but other than a wildly random reinforcement schedule there is not much that can be done about it.


I can think of at least three things to do about it:
1) Don't give the German player the information in-game; if they want to write down the info from a Soviet game you can't stop them, but why spoon feed it to them? Why have this "intelligence report" with vague information when they can just look at the reinforcement list and know exactly what is going to happen?.


I think it's really bad game design to have information there but have it be obtuse to get. If the soviet reinforcement schedule is fixed, then it should be right there for both players to see, because it's not actually a secret among players who care to know.

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/6/2015 12:11:14 PM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Panzeh
I think it's really bad game design to have information there but have it be obtuse to get. If the soviet reinforcement schedule is fixed, then it should be right there for both players to see, because it's not actually a secret among players who care to know.


Fair enough...but don't you think it is also bad game design to ensure that one side receives detailed and valuable information about what the other side is doing?

The solution would be to "unfix" the Sov reinforcement schedule to the maximum extent possible (keep arrival dates more or less fixed, but not fronts).

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/6/2015 12:26:11 PM   
KenchiSulla


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I do agree with 76mm here.

Couldn't a solution be to have the armies que up and have the soviet player release the armies at a front they see fit by means of pp @ a maximum of x per turn per front? The German player knows the Soviet has armies coming in but not where and when exactly....

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/6/2015 1:03:25 PM   
elmo3

 

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Allowing complete freedom to deploy Soviet armies could have a serious effect on balance.

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/6/2015 2:11:46 PM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: elmo3
Allowing complete freedom to deploy Soviet armies could have a serious effect on balance.


As would giving German players a 100% accurate crystal ball as to the timing and location of all Soviet future reinforcements...oh, wait, you already have that.

Germans can already choose their main objective, assign lots of extra assets to reinforce particular army groups and armies, loan entire panzer groups from one AG to another, and are practically guaranteed the ahistoric use of Finnish troops to attack Leningrad.

Meanwhile the Soviets basically can't decide where to deploy their troops and can't redeploy them via rail, etc. because there is no strategic movement.

Personally I think it is premature to discuss balance issues until there has been further PBEM play, but in any event removing the German crystal ball would seem like a basic requirement for any game claiming to have fog of war.

[EDIT] Actually, it is worse than I thought; I just checked, and Germans can see the Soviet reinforcement schedule during the pre-game turn, so they can choose their main objective with complete awareness of when/where Soviet armies will appear. Does anyone really think that is a good idea?

< Message edited by 76mm -- 12/6/2015 3:27:55 PM >

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/6/2015 3:39:17 PM   
elmo3

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm

As would giving German players a 100% accurate crystal ball as to the timing and location of all Soviet future reinforcements...oh, wait, you already have that.

...


Yes we already have that along with the other issues you mentioned. So presumably the beta testers gave feedback and Cameron/Vic balanced the game based on those things already being in the game. Suddenly allowing the Soviets complete freedom to deploy reinforcements was obviously not tested, but I'd be willing to bet it would significantly shift the balance in favor of the Soviets.

FWIW I agree with your concerns and have no problem taking away the ability of the Axis to see the Soviet reinforcement schedule. It may just not be worth the effort to the devs given the ability of anyone to know it by just looking at the Soviet side.

Edit - It feels to me that the Axis side got a lot more love and attention regarding all the decisions compared to the Soviets. Maybe more choices will become available to the Soviets as the game is updated over time.


< Message edited by elmo3 -- 12/6/2015 4:42:41 PM >


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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/7/2015 3:48:05 AM   
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The Soviet player CAN change where reinforcements arrive via the Change Orders card. It allows the player to change which front a reinforcement Army will arrive at.

As to why show the German player the Soviet reinforcement schedule, IMHO it's just good game design. Why force a German player to go through the hassle of firing up the game as the Soviets and writing down the schedule? That's just annoying, and games should make every effort to not be that. And, since the Soviet player can change where those reinforcements will actually arrive, it ends up being only a general guideline anyways.

< Message edited by Malediction -- 12/7/2015 5:00:10 AM >

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/7/2015 4:09:10 AM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Malediction
The Soviet player CAN change where reinforcements arrive via the Change Orders card. It allows the player to change which front a reinforcement Army will arrive at.


The Soviet player can change the arrival front for cards which cost 5 PP for the first army, 10 PP for the second army, 15 PP for the third army, etc. So this is maybe doable for three armies out of 43--the rest will arrive as per the Germans' crystal ball. And of course those three might not be playable when the Sov player wants--if Stalin has a paranoid episode he cannot play any cards and loses all accumulated PP. So overall the utility of this ability to transfer armies to different fronts is very limited.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Malediction
As to why show the German player the Soviet reinforcement schedule, IMHO it's just good game design. Why force a German player to go through the hassle of firing up the game as the Soviets and writing down the schedule? That's just annoying, and games should make every effort to not be that.

I have a very hard time swallowing that providing one player with complete information about the timing and location of the other side's reinforcements is "good game design," especially when this information is provided before the game even starts and the German player can use it to choose his main objective.

In fact, I think this is very bad game design, at least if you want anyone other than the AI to play the Soviet side.

The obvious solution is to grant Sov players a much greater ability to assign armies to different fronts, so as to reduce the impact of the crystal ball. While this might affect play balance, as others have pointed out, in my view a bare minimum threshold of realism should be achieved before worrying about balance issues, which can then be tweaked in other ways.

For instance, you could tweak balance issues by assigning one side or another a couple divisions of orcs or a squadron of dragons, but of course those would not pass the minimum threshold of realism, and neither does a crystal ball.

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/7/2015 8:58:45 AM   
lancer

 

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Hi,

The reinforcement schedule is easily accessed knowledge by either side. Pointless hiding it. If you've read a book on the Eastern front you already know 500% more than any German general did.

The Soviet reinforcements are keyed around the Soviet Mobilisation program which was already at full throttle. It's a fully squeezed lemon.

The Soviets have a limited ability to shift reinforcements to different fronts but this also reflects the restrictions imposed on their rail schedules in '41 due to the need to evacuate their heavy industry to the Urals.

Reinforcement schedules only refer to the HQ, not the divisions. There is a fair amount of variability with their arrivals as it's probability based. There is also a significant unknown as to where within a front a reinforcement army will arrive.

Cheers,
Cameron

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/7/2015 10:13:08 AM   
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Good info on this one, I am lousy right now in the game, I just chalk it up to Reinhard Gehlen's faulty Intel, even though it's not faulty

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/7/2015 6:41:51 PM   
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Yep, what Cameron said. I can't see how this is lopsided, given the Russians know the German OOB and reinforcement schedule as well.

I would be in favour of some greater ability for Russians to relocate reinforcements. The PP cost seems too high.

If things in the game pan out significantly differently than historical, then reinforcements should be able to be diverted accordingly. For instance, suppose Central Front holds fast on the Dniepr, but southern front gets entirely encircled and destroyed... makes sense that STAVKA would have focused more reinforcements on the southern front. This is difficult to do in the game, given the escalating PP costs. I think a 5PP cost per army, not escalating, would do fine.

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/8/2015 1:06:33 AM   
RickInVA

 

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76, I understand that you want a lot of historical reality in the game. Yet here, you want to avoid historical reality. Can you realistically have it both ways? You are "fighting mad" that the Finns will enter the war, but fine that Soviet reinforcements could appear randomly and to different parts of Russia than historically? Isn't that that wanting to eat your cake and have it too?

If the reinforcement schedule is historical, even if it is hidden from both players, anyone with access to the internet could just look these things up. I don't know if you played board based wargames back in the day, but the reinforcement schedule was part of the rules, everyone knew it.

It seems to me that if you want a historically based game, which is what I see you asking for 99% of the time, then how can you get away from a fixed order of reinforcements and replacements?

Sometimes I think you like a good argument as much as anything, and if the reinforcements were random you would be complaining that they are not historical!

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/8/2015 2:41:32 AM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: RickInVA
...you want a lot of historical reality in the game. Yet here, you want to avoid historical reality. Can you realistically have it both ways? You are "fighting mad" that the Finns will enter the war, but fine that Soviet reinforcements could appear randomly and to different parts of Russia than historically? Isn't that that wanting to eat your cake and have it too?


You understand that the Soviets deployed their armies based on how the historical campaign developed, right? And that therefore it makes no sense to constrain them to deploying armies where they were sent historically (and telegraphing that to the Germans), especially since the German is free to change the direction of their main thrust. So no, I don't consider it to be having my cake and eating it too.

In my reading about the war in Russia I've never seen any suggestion that Russian armies appeared where they did because they couldn't appear somewhere else (although I agree that once on the map, it would have been difficult to transfer armies between the fronts).

At this point I won't even get into the fact that many Soviet armies which were deployed against the Germans historically do not even appear in the game at all.

At this point, it's clear that this game is not for me, so I won't disturb the lovefest by posting in this forum any more, other than in my AAR thread.

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/8/2015 2:53:53 AM   
budd


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Just play the game, maybe you'll have fun with it. Looking forward to your AAR with Michael T.

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/8/2015 7:15:54 AM   
kombrig

 

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quote:

You understand that the Soviets deployed their armies based on how the historical campaign developed, right? And that therefore it makes no sense to constrain them to deploying armies where they were sent historically (and telegraphing that to the Germans), especially since the German is free to change the direction of their main thrust. So no, I don't consider it to be having my cake and eating it too.


For me this is a big turnoff when considering realism. Of course the Soviets should be able to direct their reinforcements where it is needed according to the situation. The current solution is simply absurd. I'm still going to buy the game because of the community editor though.

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/8/2015 9:26:26 AM   
Panzeh

 

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I do think it might be better to let the later conscript armies have more free deployment as they weren't coming based on a pre-planned mobilization, but the regular armies that show up as reinforcements had plans and timetables and a PP cost to redirect them is fairly reasonable. Letting the Soviets make their counterattack in sectors other than Moscow would help them be more wily in the later months, IMO.

Also, to be fair, if you've spent your PPs wisely in the beginning and made investments, you can easily afford to pay the cost of operating an army or two outside its theater without a major problem.

< Message edited by Panzeh -- 12/8/2015 10:28:02 AM >

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/8/2015 9:38:24 AM   
Aurelian

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ChuckBerger

Yep, what Cameron said. I can't see how this is lopsided, given the Russians know the German OOB and reinforcement schedule as well.

I would be in favour of some greater ability for Russians to relocate reinforcements. The PP cost seems too high.

If things in the game pan out significantly differently than historical, then reinforcements should be able to be diverted accordingly. For instance, suppose Central Front holds fast on the Dniepr, but southern front gets entirely encircled and destroyed... makes sense that STAVKA would have focused more reinforcements on the southern front. This is difficult to do in the game, given the escalating PP costs. I think a 5PP cost per army, not escalating, would do fine.



You can move them outside the area they start in. You'll pay, but nowhere near as much as the Germans will.

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/8/2015 2:44:04 PM   
Flaviusx


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Not seeing this as a big deal at all after trying both sides, tbh. Not a deal killer and if anything at this point I think the Soviet side is the easier one.

You have some limited flexibility in this, if you're willing to spend the PPs. You never have enough PPs to do everything, which is true for both sides. That's all part of the fun.

The Soviet may need to divert more stuff to the south than the game allocates by default. The center gets more than it really needs. The north can take care of itself with proper play, even if the German diverts PG3 in that direction. That's the basic bottom line here.

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/8/2015 4:25:08 PM   
Panzeh

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Flaviusx

Not seeing this as a big deal at all after trying both sides, tbh. Not a deal killer and if anything at this point I think the Soviet side is the easier one.

You have some limited flexibility in this, if you're willing to spend the PPs. You never have enough PPs to do everything, which is true for both sides. That's all part of the fun.

The Soviet may need to divert more stuff to the south than the game allocates by default. The center gets more than it really needs. The north can take care of itself with proper play, even if the German diverts PG3 in that direction. That's the basic bottom line here.


Yeah, this has been my experience with the reinforcements as well- the center is loaded, north is fine, the south is sparse. I think it may be the Romanians being too effective, but i'm not sure.

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/8/2015 4:31:01 PM   
Flaviusx


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It's a combination of open terrain and a very long front mostly. Low force to space ratios and nowhere really good to dig in outside some marsh and forest NW of Kiev and a bit of marsh by Nikolaev. The Dnepr doesn't help much, either. It's on the wrong side of Kiev and wanders all over the place instead of running in a nice straight north to south line as God intended.



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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/8/2015 10:25:11 PM   
Alchenar

 

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Flaviusx I just want to say that I quietly appreciated all your posts on WitE and that you are a person with Good Opinions who is very good at dissecting a game to explain why it plays out the way it does.

And yes, if your game is going to do the same thing each time then that should just be considered 'the rules' and both players should have equal ability to reference them. All three DC games have been really good at balancing this information with mechanics so that it isn't really the thing the game hinges on.

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RE: Soviet Reinforcements visible to Germans?! - 12/9/2015 1:07:49 AM   
RickInVA

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Panzeh

I do think it might be better to let the later conscript armies have more free deployment as they weren't coming based on a pre-planned mobilization, but the regular armies that show up as reinforcements had plans and timetables and a PP cost to redirect them is fairly reasonable.


Exactly. If you want to talk real world, countries have mobilization plans. If the Whatever Army has its mobilization plan to assemble in and around Stalino by 20 days after they are called up, then you can't just tell those 120,000 men and all their equipment to instead assemble near Luga. They are going to assemble at Stalino. The trains have been ordered, the equipment is in its stockpiles, etc., etc.

Yes, at some point the new conscript armies that are being pulled together from scratch, with no prior planning or equipment, can be, as much as possible consistent with transportation, assembled where you want. But even then, telling then to assemble in the middle of the Pripet marshes is not going to work. Also there are limits on changing your mind. When you have 100,000+ men, hundreds of artillery pieces, millions of rounds of ammunition, uniforms, vehicles, rations, and such can't just be moved from where they are assembling to somewhere else easily. If you started the process in Minsk, well, you pretty much have to finish it there too.

The Germans may have been a lot of things, but they were not ignorant of the facts above. There were really only so many places with the infrastructure to serve as marshaling points for new troops. They were unready for the seemingly endless supply of troops the Soviets could muster, so it might be something to think about modeling in some way.

Just my opinion.

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