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Attrition Divider stuff - 12/22/2017 1:40:30 AM   
Szilard

 

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I've always thought that TOAW combat is too bloody in lots of cases. It's hard to be precise, or to test, quantify, analyse this.

I'm really mostly interested in fiddling around with scenarios, trying to get the AI to do sensible things and watching the results in PO vs PO play. This obviously isn't a normal use case for the game, and given that the AI is fairly moronic the results often won't be that close to what you would get with human players.

Nevertheless, the following might be of some interest.

I've been fiddling around with the "Home Before the Leaves Fall" scenario, which seems like a pretty well-crafted 1914 Battle of the Frontiers/Battle of the Marne scenario. It's an infantry/artillery/cavalry battle, with no tanks and no aircraft, so relevant for checking out basic "soft target" behavior.

I've done some testing on this, up to the 10th September turn, which is the period for which I have some rough casualty figures, to the eve of the Marne.

For this period, the PO vs PO outcomes tend to be roughly historical in terms of the limits of the German advance. But by my rough reckoning casualties average at about 2.4X historic for the Germans and 2.1X for the Entente.

I won't go into the details of how I get to those averages - it's all very rough & here just intended to set baselines for looking at the effects of changing things.

So the obvous thing to change is the Attrition Divider (AD). This is set to 10 by default. Setting it to X is supposed to change average "lethality" of individual combats by 10/X. So setting X to 20 should make combat half as lethal; and twice as lethal if you set it to 5. (Or is there a square root factor in this? Doesn't matter for rough purposes.)

Very naively & without much thought, you might expect that setting the AD to 20 will on average halve casualties while preserving eg the extent of the German advance. But a moment's reflection will dissolve that intuition - fewer individual-combat casualties to the defender may mean fewer retreats and evaporations, and more combat and less movement for the attacker. The outcomes are not obvious.

Here's what I get from playing around.

AD = 10 (the default): German 2.4X historic, Entente 2.1X, German advance roughly historic.

AD = 20: German 2.5X, Entene 2.2X, German advance a bit slower. So casualties actually *increase* a little bit.

AD = 50 (so per-combat casualties are supposed to average 20% of the default): German 2.1X, Entente 2.1X, German advance noticeably slower. So overall casualty outcomes only slightly below the default.

AD = 1000 (the max setting, 1% of default): German 2.3X, Entente 1.8X, Germans struggle to clear Belgium etc. German casualties higher than in the default case, Entente 15-20% lower.

This all very rough and doesn't control for various elements of variability (eg variable German unit withdrawals etc). But the conclusion I come to is that fiddling with AD settings can have a significant impact on rates of advance but overall may not have a significant impact on actual casualty outcomes. In the case of this scenario, the best approach appears to be to leave the AD at its default level of 10, and design-for-effect by increasing replacement rates to offset too-bloody combat.

Of course this may vary a lot by scenario, but it does illustrate that you can't just use the AD as a dial to control casualty outcomes.

Is there any more comprehensive analysis of the AD effects anywhere? Don't recall ever seeing anything.

< Message edited by Szilard -- 12/22/2017 1:48:26 AM >
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RE: Attrition Divider stuff - 12/22/2017 1:53:48 AM   
Meyer1

 

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Funny, today that issue came up today on other thread http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4404116

There's a link in there to a discussion in the TOAW III board. Maybe there's more.

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RE: Attrition Divider stuff - 12/22/2017 2:45:31 AM   
gbaby


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The term casualties in TOAW, or any war game for that matter, is always one of contention. Are they truly "destroyed", or just reflect dead, wounded, captured, and battle weary? I don't know if the results are too bloody, I know a lot of it is abstracted.

There is no allowance for all the cases of "casualties", so trying to match TOAW numbers to historical is kind of difficult to do. Its abstract, it is not precise.

So I applaud your analysis of AD, that helps scenario design. It is very important to understand all the tweaks TOAW editor allows authors. Instead of using historical arguments on numbers that are abstract anyway, I'll applaud the effort to understand how the TOAW editor is used to mode the scenarios to the author's desires.

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RE: Attrition Divider stuff - 12/22/2017 3:07:12 AM   
Rosseau

 

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Appreciate the OP's efforts. Good to know.

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RE: Attrition Divider stuff - 12/22/2017 9:40:05 AM   
Oberst_Klink

 

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There is: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3045873

Also keep in mind, that the AD is linked to the time and scale of a scenario. We all agree what in 6htrs of combat there ain't as many casualties as in a half-week, a week, etc. That's being reflected with a different AD value. I also mentioned tis already in one of my tutorials...

Klink, Oberst

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RE: Attrition Divider stuff - 12/23/2017 12:47:19 AM   
Szilard

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Oberst_Klink

There is: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3045873

Also keep in mind, that the AD is linked to the time and scale of a scenario. We all agree what in 6htrs of combat there ain't as many casualties as in a half-week, a week, etc. That's being reflected with a different AD value. I also mentioned tis already in one of my tutorials...

Klink, Oberst


Thanks, but my post was more about what effects changing the AD has on a whole game, not an individual combat. I don't think that's been discussed very much, or at least I haven't seen much.

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RE: Attrition Divider stuff - 12/23/2017 3:23:46 AM   
Lobster


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It sounds to me like you are saying if I had a forest of 100 trees to clear it wouldn't matter how I went about it. I would still have a forest of 100 trees to clear. Fast or slow the numbers won't change. Just how long it takes. Because from your small group of tests it appears there isn't a lot of difference. Which makes sense.

< Message edited by Lobster -- 12/23/2017 3:25:12 AM >


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RE: Attrition Divider stuff - 12/25/2017 7:22:38 PM   
Martin_Goliath

 

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To check that the attrition divider behaves as expected in individual combats, I did a small sandbox test with two infantry units. Doubling the attrition divider from 10 to 20 does indeed halve the number of individual targets (rifle squads etc) that come under fire, thus halving the the potential number of causalties as intended. However, for AD = 10 the attacker typically broke off after one combat round, while AD = 20 had the attacker keep on attacking for an average of three combat rounds. Although the causalties in each round were lower, the totals for the entire combat were somewhat higher than for AD = 10. In summary, for this test case at least, with AD = 20 combats caused marginally higher casualties and spent considerable more time than for AD = 10 (BTW all tests used minimize losses). As for the original question concerning the performance of an entire scenario, I do not know what to make of it, but the tests does at least indicate that the combat break-off critera enter into this when varying the attrition divider.

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RE: Attrition Divider stuff - 12/25/2017 7:34:15 PM   
Oberst_Klink

 

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Försvarsminister,

The values Bob, others and may I say, myself, offer a good guideline. Remember... Losses of a 6hrs battle between forces are less than the same battle(s) of those forces in a week.

Klink, Oberst

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RE: Attrition Divider stuff - 12/26/2017 7:09:52 AM   
Martin_Goliath

 

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Herr Oberst,

Yes the guidelines make perfect sense, but I had not realized that the attrition divider could affect the length of individual combats at least in some situations

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RE: Attrition Divider stuff - 12/26/2017 8:19:37 AM   
Oberst_Klink

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: MarGol

Herr Oberst,

Yes the guidelines make perfect sense, but I had not realized that the attrition divider could affect the length of individual combats at least in some situations

Yes and NO, and this can be tweaked with the MRPB to tweak/counter balance, as well as with the new RFC scalar.

Erik Nygaard was once so kind to email me some reference values from his scenarios, too:

Tarawa (experimental): 500m/6 hour: MRPB = 2, Attr = 30
Crete: 1km/6 hour: MRPB = 5, Attr = 5
Malta: 1km/6 hour: MRPB = 5, Attr = 10
Market Garden: 1km/6 hour: MRPB = 4, Attr = 12
Varsity: 1km/6 hour: MRPB = 5, Attr = 35
Torch: 5km/6 hour: MRPB = 4, Attr = 10
Race for Tunis: 5km/half day: MRPB = 5, Attr = 8
Weserübung: 5km/half day: MRPB = 3, Attr = 15
Russia-Japan 1905: 10km/full week: MRPB = 7, Attr = 30

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RE: Attrition Divider stuff - 12/26/2017 12:56:53 PM   
Martin_Goliath

 

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Ahh nice, I forgot about the MRPB! So the lesson is that generally the AD and MRPB both need to be tweaked.

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RE: Attrition Divider stuff - 12/27/2017 2:44:41 AM   
Szilard

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: MarGol

Ahh nice, I forgot about the MRPB! So the lesson is that generally the AD and MRPB both need to be tweaked.


I really doubt that tweaking the MRPB makes much difference in terms of overall casualties for a game.

Ran some more tests with Home Before the Leaves Fall, setting the game to end at turn 35 (Sep 5th) just to speed up the testing.

Looking just at Rifle Squad casualties, I get the following medians over 3 runs for each setting:

1. AD = 10, MRPB = 99 (ie the default).

Entente: 22K (rounded)
German: 29K

German advance generally roughly historical.

2. AD = 10, MRPB = 3

Entente: +5% (versus default settings)
German: -7%

German advance generally a tiny bit slower.

3. AD = 25, MRPB = 99

Entente: +9%
German: -7%

German advance noticeably slower.

4. AD = 25, MRPB = 3

Entente: +9%
German: -3%

German advance pretty much as for (3).

Conclusions:

For these runs, impact of changing AD/MRPB settings on casualties within +/- 10%. So not very significant & no reason to believe that any combination would result in consistent, large reduction in overall casualties. It is maybe a bit interesting that the impacts were always + for Entente, - for Germans. No real thoughts on why that should be.

Impact on slowing down German advance much more noticeable.

Within a particular AD setting, no significant impact noticeable for different MRPB settings, except maybe a little bit of slowing down for the German advance.

My best explanation continues to be that less lethal combat translates into more combat rounds, roughly balancing out in term of overall casualties. Reducing MRPB seems to have the same kind of impact - fewer rounds per battle but probably not much impact on total rounds per game.

The obvious caveats re limited number of tests, uncontrolled for in-scenario variability, over just one scenario.


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RE: Attrition Divider stuff - 12/27/2017 7:19:17 AM   
Oberst_Klink

 

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That's when the RFC comes into play. If one wants bloodier battles, aka 'until the last bullet' or kinda like a Custer's Last Stand, raise the value and the likelihood of a Retreat From Combat decreases. Anyway; the AD/MRPB values and keeping scale/time in mind do help.

Klink, Oberst

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