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American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/8/2018 10:07:04 AM   
BiteNibbleChomp

 

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Welcome, soldier!

Some of you may know me from my days as a modder for Panzer Corps. The global map, the WWI stuff, the random battle script. There's some other random stuff I made too but most of it the links don't exist for any more, so there's not much point listing them. If you've been on the Slitherine page, you'll have seen that my post count is a great deal higher (as in 3000 something instead of 10). I find the fact that the two numbers are so different to be quite insulting, as some people miss out on the chance to see how awesome I am if they can't see the larger number.

<random chattering in the background on a telephone like those movies often do>

Oh yes, the mod. So about a month ago I made a reveal on Slitherine that I can't be bothered making new PzC mods. Mostly because I haven't played PzC since about a month after Soviet Corps came out. Part of that was to say "hey guys, my next thing will be done with SCWWI". Between then and now, I've managed to get a convoy script to work, effectively finishing a map I've been working on for a while. So I'm going to announce it.

This new mod doesn't have a fancy name. I probably won't ever give it one. Because I never refer to my mods by name anyway so what's the point? The important part is that it is about the American Civil War. And its really good. And when I release it in a couple of weeks, you should play it. So now I probably better answer some of the questions I know are headed my way:

Why the hell did you decide to make this?
I've wanted a good Civil War game for a few years now. I got Grigsby's one, but it has a pretty awkward interface and the idea of generals only being able to move one turn in eight is annoying. I've seen the AGEOD stuff but I've got Pride of Nations and that's confusing so that's not ideal either. Civ 5 has a scenario but that's just the Eastern Theatre and it kind of sucks. So I thought "why not just make my own?"

How big is it?
104x70. Division and Corps scale, with the map covering all of the USA and CSA as far west as Galveston, TX (or near Des Moines). And a bit of Canada too.

No I meant in terms of time, you daft fool!
Ohhhh. Weekly turns in summer, monthly turns in winter. Starting with the First Battle of Bull Run and lasting until the Summer of 1865. Long enough to cover the whole war pretty much, on a scale similar to other SC maps.

I also plan on releasing campaigns starting in 1862, 1863 and 1864, but they'll all be pretty much the same map.

Events?
There's partisans in Missouri. There's the blockade. Emancipation Proclamation. Trent War. Drafts. General Grant. Everything I could think of pretty much.

Compared to SC3 or Storm over Europe, there's far fewer events and decisions. But the ACW is a lot less complicated than WWI or II, so I don't think you'll miss them too much.

When are you going to release it?
When it's ready. Which is pretty soon. Just not today.

- BNC




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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/8/2018 10:14:19 AM   
zakblood


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thanks for the posts, look forward to seeings it's progress

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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/9/2018 12:25:05 PM   
BiteNibbleChomp

 

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So, the all important question of 'how do you win?'
In the Civil War, the determinant of victory was always "can the South last long enough for the North to get sick of fighting?", or at least until 1864 when it became apparent that the South wouldn't win no matter what. Thanks to the NM system, I've been able to represent that fairly well.

The Confederates will win the game if they are able to hold on to Richmond until September 1865. Although they came pretty close to achieving this in the real war, it's pretty unlikely that Lincoln or Grant would have stopped fighting at this arbitrary point just because "oh we failed to do this fast". In the time just before the March to the Sea, the Union was however suffering from war weariness, and if a victory did not look possible in the near future (say they never get close to Richmond or Atlanta), they probably would have given up at this time. Within the scenario's context, the Confederates would have run out of NM points if history was exactly followed some time around December 1864 (I calculated 80k NM points necessary to extend it to April 1865, but 60k points means that victory is achieved as soon as it becomes undeniably obvious who will win, without the need to play out half a dozen turns where very little except for random occupations happen).

A more decisive Confederate victory will require them to hold on to various other major locations such as Nashville, and capture Washington. Although the Washington defences themselves are not represented, the combination of the Potomac, nearby hills and lots of AI units means that Washington is pretty hard to capture. Oh yes, and trenches. Trenches are in the campaign, although the lower forcelimits mean that a massive WWI-style line crossing from Virginia to the Mississippi won't be possible.

More commonly however, the Union will simply give up when it runs out of NM. As the screenshot on post #1 indicates, the Union has to maintain control over its own territory or the various NM Objectives will come under threat. Ones close to the border, such as Washington or Cincinnati are worth 20-50% of the Union's total NM each, while anything much beyond the border (New York, Toledo, Chicago...) is worth 125%. Lincoln can't very well deny that the CSA is a nation if Southern forces are launching full-scale invasions of the North after all. Union NM is also heavily affected by events such as the possible entry of the UK or the Emancipation Proclamation, and tends to be lower than CS NM as they have less to lose if they are defeated.

Union victory is accomplished effectively by outright reconquering the Confederacy, much as in real history. This can either be done by conquering the 3 Confederate capitals (Richmond, Atlanta, Charlotte) or by taking most major Southern cities (as happened in history). New Orleans, which is notably difficult to take by land invasion owing to geography, is not required, but a substantial drop in CS NM will occur if it does fall. The Union can also win by forcing CS NM to 0, but unlike the Union, the Confederates do not suffer many major penalties from various events. The most severe, the fall of Richmond, is only worth 20% of the CS total, and most other major CS cities are 5-10%. In order to force Confederate morale low enough, occupying most of their land for at least a year will be necessary, and every step of the way they will be fighting hard to push you back!

- BNC







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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/9/2018 2:06:19 PM   
Alan Sharif

 

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Looks great. I look forward to seeing it's release.

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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/9/2018 2:36:18 PM   
BillRunacre

 

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Sounds interesting, good luck with this, and I look forward to seeing further updates!

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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/10/2018 10:24:17 AM   
BiteNibbleChomp

 

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Today, some shots from the Confederate side...

First is General Leonidas Polk invading Kentucky. Historically, the invasion of Kentucky accomplished little (and Braxton Bragg's second invasion a year later went just as poorly), except for forcing Kentucky to join the war a little earlier than they may have otherwise. In the scenario, Kentucky starts out a neutral power, although leaning towards the Union. If the Confederate player does not choose to invade, Kentucky will eventually enter the war on the Union side, although extending the period of neutrality (as I did in this playthrough) may prove beneficial as it will allow the crucial new units purchased in July (and unlocked by September) to be directed to other fronts (namely Virginia) to secure advantage there before the west opens up.

In early September Polk and some of his army will automatically deploy in Nashville, although that force by itself will be insufficient to conquer the state without substantial reinforcements. When Grant crosses the Ohio and possibly the Cumberland however, Polk's forces may prove useful holding the Union out of the essential parts of Tennessee until reinforcements can arrive from the east.

- BNC




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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/10/2018 10:38:26 AM   
BiteNibbleChomp

 

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Next is Generals Lee and Longstreet parading through the Streets of Washington, DC

It is debatable whether the Confederates were ever able to assemble enough forces in Virginia to defeat the massive forts and other defences in front of Washington. Raids, such as that by General Early in mid-1864, were certainly made, but no serious effort, involving a scale of men such as at Antietam or Gettysburg was ever undertaken.

In the campaign, a successful capture of Washington is a difficult but rewarding undertaking. This screenshot is from the middle of June 1862, from the same game as the Kentucky shot. Sending all my reinforcements save Polk and a couple of divisions to the west, and focussing almost exclusively on Virginia (and with near-perfect ability to predict the AI due to having written its instructions), this is the earliest I believe possible. Doubtless one of you will try to best me, and if you do please post it!

If Washington is taken, Union morale will be severely hurt (and may break them if they are worn out by other events such as a draft or a lot of casualties). The British will also mobilise, and pre-Emancipation have a considerable chance at entering the war (which will push Union morale even further down). If Lincoln decides to fight on after Washington, the Army of the Potomac will doubtless be ruined (trust me, they will fight very hard to keep Washington), and an attack on Baltimore or Philadelphia, which will knock the Union out, will be possible.

- BNC




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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/12/2018 10:07:00 AM   
BiteNibbleChomp

 

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The 1862 Campaign

My ultimate plan for the mod is to release 4 campaigns, each beginning in a different year of the war (1861-64, because a campaign beginning at Appomattox would suck). Because it involves the most balancing and scripting, everything I've shown so far is from the 1861 campaign, but seeing as the later ones don't need anything more than a few adjustments to deployment queues and deleting some scripts, why not make the others too? 1861 is pretty well balanced, and I aim to make 1862 similarly so. But the campaign starting after Chattanooga won't be (much). Because the whole point of a Gotterdammerung is to "not die even though you're supposed to".

But for now, 1862 On To Richmond it is. This starts on April 6, 1862, the first day of the Battle of Shiloh. Even though Shiloh was (at least initially) a Confederate attack, I've given the Union the first turn. This is to make it less likely that the attacks on New Orleans or Norfolk get intercepted (both of which are turn 1 events, yes I know New Orleans was in May but one turn doesn't make a lot of difference). Plus the nature of combat in SC means that the instant-counterattack that Grant used to cripple Johnston's army doesn't really work, and seeing that Shiloh was one of the most important battles of the war this is obviously not suitable. I removed AS Johnston from the HQ roster too because his death was close enough to the start date that it seems silly to include him and then have him live on until 1865.

The starting position has both sides at relative parity strength-wise, much like in 1861. In the East, Lee has replaced Beauregard and a few units have been moved around, but little else has changed since Bull Run. Kentucky is in the war and the front has been pushed deep into Tennessee, where Grant's army fights a similarly-strong force under Polk and Bragg. Union marines have secured a couple of ports along the Atlantic coast and are aiming for New Orleans, but without support they are unlikely to advance any further there. Both sides have made some investments in infantry technology, while the Confederates have made some diplomatic pushes on the UK and the Union has begun construction of a large navy, hoping to tighten the blockade.

1862 On To Richmond is built directly off the 1861 A House Divided file, to the point that I calculated how many MPPs both sides got for the period between July 1861 and March 1862 (with a few estimations, such as cost of reinforcements). Compared to playing the first 10 turns of 1861, 1862 will have a lot less units on the map at game start. This is because the Union particularly focussed on building a large navy right from the start. If the AI was to do this, it would be very easy to exploit it by just spamming divisions on turn 1 and then walking around the enemy into NM points, which the AI would not be able to defend due to having too small an army. The AI has been taught the spam technique, and I just gave it a navy for free so that the blockade is still meaningful. For this reason, I have to say that the 1862 start is more likely to play out more historically, the starting conditions not allowing "worthless division spam" the way the nearly-empty 1861 start does. If you were to play an MP 1861 game and both sides were to act exactly as Lincoln and Davis did, I do think that Turn 12 should show something pretty similar to this start. But division spam is more fun, isn't it?

- BNC

(Map not 100% final!)




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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/12/2018 10:32:06 AM   
BiteNibbleChomp

 

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A closer look at the battle of Shiloh...

- BNC




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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/12/2018 2:33:01 PM   
Hubert Cater

 

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Great stuff!

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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/15/2018 6:28:35 AM   
BiteNibbleChomp

 

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The AI in the 1862 campaign didn't really want to land in New Orleans in any of my tests, so I guess the Union has to start with it . Seeing as the second turn in the scenario is early May, it isn't too different to the historical timeframe.

Of course, because it only fell in that turn, the city is still treated as "destroyed" the way any other just-captured city is, and will be a few turns before it becomes operational.

- BNC




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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/15/2018 12:05:44 PM   
BiteNibbleChomp

 

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The Trent Incident

Confederate plans for securing their independence largely revolved around getting the CSA recognised by the UK (and possibly France, although France isn't represented in the mod). Whether this was going to mean the British would order Lincoln to "let the South go" or if it could extend to outright intervention in the war, either by the Royal Navy breaking the blockade or Royal Marines landing in Canada and invading New England was never clear, but the mere threat of expanding the war was of great concern to Lincoln, particularly during the first two years of the war.

The period during November-December 1861 is likely the only time that the British would realistically have entered the war (absent Lee marching into Philadelphia or a similarly spectacular event). During this time, a Union captain, acting as part of the blockade, intercepted the British mail ship Trent, which had on board two Confederate diplomats (who were intending to attempt to negotiate British recognition of the CSA). The British weren't too happy about this and demanded an apology from Lincoln, as well as the release of the diplomats. Lincoln ended up refusing to give an apology, although the diplomats were released.

I've modelled this in the mod with a decision event, asking the Union player if they would like to issue an apology:
YES: Lose 25% NM points because the Union populace isn't happy with Lincoln.
NO: Britain increases mobilisation by 5-50%. (Note they begin the game at 50%).

(In the later scenarios, I've assumed that Lincoln went with NO, and British intervention was increased by 12%)

At first glance, issuing the apology seems logical. Britain entering the war (at least before 1863, when you have enough units to fight them) is very bad news, and a good Union player won't have any shortage of NM, so spending it is a pretty small cost.

Going with NO however is a gamble: there is a 25% chance that the UK will enter the war, and even if they don't they will activate by enough points to make Confederate diplomacy much more likely to push them in to the war by the end of 1862 (if they aren't in by 1/1/1863, the Emancipation decision pretty much guarantees they won't ever enter). If you are willing to bet on the UK not entering, NO may be the better option.

Also be warned that if you go with YES, and then the UK enters the war anyway (as a result of diplomacy), Union morale will be pushed down by 65%. Battlefield losses combined with the fall of a city on the Ohio (or just the capture of Washington), could be enough to push you into an instant game-over.

How will you handle Trent?


- BNC




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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/16/2018 3:40:43 PM   
BillRunacre

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: BiteNibbleChomp

The AI in the 1862 campaign didn't really want to land in New Orleans in any of my tests, so I guess the Union has to start with it . Seeing as the second turn in the scenario is early May, it isn't too different to the historical timeframe.

Of course, because it only fell in that turn, the city is still treated as "destroyed" the way any other just-captured city is, and will be a few turns before it becomes operational.

- BNC





Hi

Have you tried using any AMPHIBIOUS AI scripts to get the Union AI to land here?

There are other ways you could replicate this, e.g. having a LOOP script pick up the invasion force and drop it there, or using a TERRITORY script to transfer the city to the Union followed by a UNIT script to deploy a unit there.

Bill

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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/16/2018 10:54:01 PM   
BiteNibbleChomp

 

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Hi Bill,

It has managed to land in all the ports I've given instructions for it (including New Orleans) in the 1861 map (embarking from NY and Philadelphia), just not when I've parked an amphib next to the city.

I did consider a LOOP script a while ago, but I worry that there's too much potential for gamey exploits (Union player sending a huge army to whatever tile to autospawn in the middle of the CSA) or for the scripts to be broken by a Confederate garrison being placed there.

Starting with the unit in the city works well enough that I'm not considering it an issue.

- BNC

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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/18/2018 4:02:31 AM   
BiteNibbleChomp

 

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1863 Invading the North

Beginning on the eve of the Battle of Chancellorsville, this campaign sees the stage set for two of the most decisive battles of the entire war. Grant's army is positioned near Vicksburg, ready to attack and conquer the massive fortress, bringing the entire Mississippi river under Union control. Lee on the other hand is set up to shatter Hooker's army in Virginia, which will leave the Union open to invasion.

But two battles cannot decide the whole war. Away from the main battlefields, the blockade has become a deadly effective weapon as virtually all Southern ports are either already in Union hands or so many USN ships are camped outside as to make blockade running almost impossible. On the diplomatic front, the Emancipation Proclamation has virtually made British intervention in the war impossible. And even if they did intervene, the Union Navy may be too strong by this point for it to really matter.

To make things worse for the South, they have already reached their forcelimits in both Divisions and Corps, while the Union is still able to afford the placement of several more. Unless they can reopen the Mississippi and retake Tennessee, it may not matter: with a faltering economy simply supplying the forces they already have will be a difficult challenge.

Unlike 1861 and possibly 1862, 1863 is not supposed to be balanced: it will be hard for the Confederates to pull off a victory here. As such I do not recommend the campaign for MP unless there is a considerable disparity in skill between the players. That said, a Union victory is not guaranteed at this point. Vicksburg is well defended and can potentially hold out for a very long time if the Confederate player can keep the supply lines open (primarily by holding the nearby city of Jackson). Lee also holds a momentary advantage in numbers and a considerable one in experience in Virginia (I know that the historical battle of Chancellorsville was not so favourable to Lee, but game mechanics mean that the only likely result of a historical deployment is Hooker in Richmond), and an aggressive strike against the Union forces may be able to force the Union to abandon its efforts in Tennessee to merely stay alive.

For those of you who would rather play the Union, be warned that the CS AI will be taught how to win in Virginia too, while in Tennessee Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry is much stronger than any single unit you have in the theatre. While your starting position is certainly favourable, the South will not be easy to reconquer.

- BNC




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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/20/2018 5:09:51 AM   
BiteNibbleChomp

 

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The 1863 scenario is likely to see a battle near Gettysburg...

(screenshot taken on Turn 4)

- BNC




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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 7/20/2018 7:28:40 PM   
BillRunacre

 

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In terms of unit graphics, I wonder if you might find the ones used in our 1870 Franco-Prussian War campaign a fairly decent start for converting them into ACW?

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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 8/11/2018 4:59:07 AM   
BiteNibbleChomp

 

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Finally, I can show you the 1864 start

Well, technically it starts in November 1863 but seeing as only a couple of turns are actually in '63 I thought calling it 1864 made more sense. And it puts the Confederates in a very bad spot right from the start.

The scenario starts right after the battle of Chattanooga. Most of Bragg's line has pulled back over the border into Georgia, while Longstreet's division threatens Knoxville (not that he has any realistic chance of taking the town). In the Eastern Theatre, the Army of Northern Virginia has been pushed out of Fredericksburg and now must defend Richmond against the coming onslaught that is the Overland campaign. At sea, the blockade is in full force, while the entire Mississippi river is in complete Union control.

For the Confederate player, this makes 1864 March to the Sea the toughest Gotterdammerung challenge available (I'm not quite sure how it compares with the Axis 1944 start in Weapons and Warfare, but it is probably just as brutal). Your one advantage over the Union is two points of Mobility tech, but unless you can stall the Union with the trench lines near Richmond and Atlanta, it will mean nothing but the ability to retreat faster than they can advance. And with your national morale sitting at a paltry 30% (and sliding fast), that retreat may just mean the end of your war effort.

Or you can play as the Union, but honestly there isn't a lot of point to that. The scenario is quite heavily stacked.

Unit graphics coming soon!

- BNC




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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 8/11/2018 8:26:04 PM   
BillRunacre

 

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Looks promising. Is there a chance that Canada might be brought into the war seeing as I can see some units up there?

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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 8/12/2018 1:02:27 AM   
BiteNibbleChomp

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: BillRunacre

Looks promising. Is there a chance that Canada might be brought into the war seeing as I can see some units up there?


In the 1864 scenario almost certainly not, the Confederates are simply being hammered too hard to afford it.

In the earlier starts however, absolutely! Normal diplomacy is the most reliable method (investing ~1200MPP as the Confederates, or ~5 turns of income, will usually bring them in). The Union also has a couple of decisions (Trent and Emancipation), that can affect UK mobilisation.

The UK entering the war will cause a huge amount of units to spawn in (the RN is approximately the size of the Union's naval forcelimits, and the force of Royal Marines that arrive in Canada are quite substantial as well). Union NM will drop and CS NM will rise by around 40%. If the Union is able to conquer Canada on the other hand (which is not an easy task!), the NM change will be reversed and has a good chance of knocking the Confederates out for good.

- BNC

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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 8/12/2018 4:43:06 AM   
BiteNibbleChomp

 

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More on the 1864 start...

Well, I've done some tests and I'm not sure the 1864 start is actually possible to win as the Confederates. Simply because the Union occupies so many towns that CS morale will fall to zero no matter what they do.

Which is kind of accurate I guess. When I set up the NM I calculated it so that if both sides were to perform exactly as they did in real life, the zero point would be the fall of Atlanta (effectively the latest point that there was an even 1% chance of the Union giving in). Which is pretty soon after the 64 scenario starts. But in my latest test, even by retaking most of the ports in the Carolinas and Florida, and launching an invasion near Pittsburgh, the CS morale was still doomed to fall to zero probably around Feb-65.

Perhaps that makes sense. I'm not sure. But it isn't a lot of fun knowing that you're 100% guaranteed to lose. So I've created a variant of the scenario with some NM scripts.

When setting up the game, there are now three NM scripts titled "Turn 1 Adjustment". The first two are for the Union and Confederacy respectively, to account for losses from 1861 until that point. The third is marked Hard Mode and is defined to be off by default. It is an additional script to further reduce CS NM.

"Hard Mode" is the original, with a zero point for Confederate NM set to run out with historical play at Atlanta. The new regular setting instead has Confederate NM set to fall with Appomattox instead (I split the old event in two). There is no difference in units spawned, industrial production or anything like that, and Regular mode is still extremely difficult. But it is at least possible to win. I don't think Hard mode is (but if someone can win in hard mode, I'd love to see an AAR!)

- BNC




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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 8/15/2018 7:03:36 PM   
BillRunacre

 

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There are some options with Confederate NM:

1) Give them a higher starting value
2) Add some NM scripts to stop theirs dropping too fast - either one off events, or a Type= 2 script that fires every turn that they hold a location. Or multiples of both!


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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 8/21/2018 11:53:21 AM   
Don60420

 

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This looks stunningly good and I hope the date of release of the mod is rapidly approaching!

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RE: American Civil War Mod by BNC - 8/21/2018 2:39:05 PM   
BiteNibbleChomp

 

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Thanks mate!

I'm still cleaning up some of the graphics but hopefully won't be too much longer

- BNC

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