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Design Criticism - 1/7/2019 3:53:22 AM   
timms

 

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Hi all, I know this topic has been beaten to death, but in my current game I've had an interesting experience so far as the Soviets and I wanted to share some criticism and observations on design and balance of the game.

1. Combat is not very bloody - I know most of the results are baked into the attrition, but this leads to some seriously illogical results. I could attack a panzer division that has no ammo or fuel in clear terrain with over 120,000 men and 800 tanks and I will still only kill 3 tanks and take enormous losses in 1942. I can hasty attack with a brigade and also kill 3 tanks. However, just standing next to them and maintenance problems I guess is killing 150+ per turn even without any attacks on the previous turn. This also means that instead of units being bled dry in areas of heavy fighting, it's pretty spread out on the german side while soviets get destroyed.

2. Weather and the turn structure - The way the turns are set up, when new weather hits Germany will always start with the initiative, even at the end of the war. They get the first clear turn after mud, time to react after blizzard starts, etc. The only advantage for the soviets is that cutting off units the turn before mud means no immediate rescue, but good luck getting a surrender during mud and the germans get first clear turn to break out. Additionally, the entire reason for Germany's standing fast in the blizzard is absent as they can retreat with their heavy equipment intact no problem.

3. Panzerball - This ruins a lot of the realism for me. The number of troops that could be concentrated in an area and the time to build up ammo/fuel between attacks was mostly dependent on the capacity of the rail network at that point. Germany can pack absolutely massive amounts of CV in an extremely narrow frontage, and are effectively unstoppable if they want to go somewhere. The stacking limit means soviets can't even put an equal number of men in front of the germans even in important places until corps are available, and even then combat is so ridiculous there is little consequence to plowing into triple stacked corps. Historically in situations where panzer divisions drove head on into massive anti-tank positions they experienced heavy losses even in 1941. They were very effective at exploitation and combined arms attack but in game it seems attacking fortified strongpoints unsupported is one of their most effective uses.

4. Morale - This part bugs me a lot, as reading Glantz makes me appreciate just how fierce soviets resisted in the face of overwhelming and suicidal odds. While they were much less experienced and effective in the beginning, the fighting spirit and will to defend to the death is mentioned constantly in german memoirs and examples of surrounded units fighting for months. In game, no matter the importance of the objective the soviets will run away. If morale increased while defending important objectives or the player could discourage retreat in some way (blocking divisions?) then maybe Leningrad wouldn't have fallen to my opponent with ~400 casualties. City fighting in general leaves a lot to be desired, and riverline defenses are easily pushed back. The ease at which retreats are forced (and lack of higher casualties for attacking forts) make fortifications useless compared to depth, but the soviets are starved of the manpower to create depth especially with the super lvov opening. Speaking of which...

5. Turn Structure - I understand why the week long turn structure is necessary and finding players for a 1:1 timescale would be impossible, but the problems created from this structure are not addressed at all. The soviets are forced to sit completely still for a week while germany does whatever it wants, and then they can react. While the same is true for the germans, the consequences are completely different as the soviets can't exploit or penetrate and don't have the CV to counterattack. I know it's wishful thinking, but being able to set standing orders and have AI react during the turn would be great. As it is now, Dubno is impossible, units remain stationary while they are encircled, nobody tries to plug gaps in the lines, it's just completely passive.

6. Leaders - This last one also gets to me a bit, as it's a very obvious German bias. While historically the germans did have great success in the early war and some brilliant defense at the end, reading about the creative attacks, ability to create local superiority, deception campaigns, giant ambushes, front sized organized assaults, etc. it's obvious that the soviets had top talent that equaled or exceeded germany. In game however, even the best leaders are poor in comparison, and it contributes to the overall feeling that the game is portraying the soviets just as so many historical narratives do. Winning due to the weather, their economy, numerical advantage, and things out of their control instead of through their growth, adaptation and determination in the face of an existential threat. It portrays even individuals as completely incompetent, and antitank guns can't kill a single tank, tanks do nothing to infantry, everyone misses, and even fresh german replacements completely outclass the most battle hardened guards units. A 152mm shell somehow hurts less if a russian pulls the trigger?

Overall it's a lot of little complaints, but they add up and the overall picture is that even if the soviets win in the long run, the structure and lessons of the game take agency away from players and make it an inevitability, which insults the historical brilliance displayed from both sides and makes success from either a matter of fact occurrence. End rant.
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RE: Design Criticism - 1/7/2019 11:24:01 PM   
Simon Edmonds

 

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G'day Timms. I get your frustration. From a glass half full perspective it is still daylight between War in the East and the next best production which in my opinion would be TOAW IV. I see on the forums the suggestion that someone should attempt to play the game as it happened historically to see if it stands up. Personally I think that is what should have been what the play testing should have been all about. I have done this a number of times in the last 12 months and have found that the casualties just don't stack up to what happened historically. I hear repeatedly that no-one wants to play a game that is primarily about supply. This is what war on the eastern front was all about. On both sides. Russian soldiers attacking with out rifles. Panzers frozen without fuel. Artillery with no shells to defend. Hopefully WitE2 will be tested better.

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/8/2019 12:19:48 AM   
56ajax


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Heh timms, tell us how you really feel

You left out some.

Experience - gained at 1 point a week

Command capacity - reduced from 24 to 21 to 18 - historically it was to improve command performance but in the game it is a penalty that also eats up Admin points. Should be a bonus if you go under the limit, not a penalty if you go over.

TOE changes - historically it improved performance but in general it meant smaller combat units which weakens combat performance in the game. Still saves on armament points

OOB/Manpower - Soviets missing up to 500k of trained reserves

Some of these may be addressed in the next patch or WITE2.

Still it is a great game and I luv it

(PS If you play an historical game as the Axis you lose)

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/8/2019 4:41:50 AM   
timms

 

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I mean don't get me wrong, I've put in close to 300 hours in the game in the past 2 months, there isn't anything else quite like WITE. That said, playing soviets is a serious exercise in patience. I'm looking forward to what they come up with in WITE 2.

I'm currently getting demolished in mid summer 1942, probably explains my frustration a bit. My opponent is top notch too so there's not many openings.

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/8/2019 6:50:32 AM   
56ajax


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quote:

ORIGINAL: timms

I mean don't get me wrong, I've put in close to 300 hours in the game in the past 2 months, there isn't anything else quite like WITE. That said, playing soviets is a serious exercise in patience. I'm looking forward to what they come up with in WITE 2.

I'm currently getting demolished in mid summer 1942, probably explains my frustration a bit. My opponent is top notch too so there's not many openings.


300 hours? just a novice....

Whenever i make it into 42, I usually get chased off the right hand side of the screen...

Game is divided in halves - upto 42 and from 43 onwards...

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/8/2019 3:46:34 PM   
thedoctorking


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I agree with most of your points. The business with the weather really bothers me. I'd like to see weather rolls before each player turn when using random weather, or else a flip to Soviet move first when bad weather sets in.

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/8/2019 8:10:37 PM   
HardLuckYetAgain


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quote:

ORIGINAL: timms

I mean don't get me wrong, I've put in close to 300 hours in the game in the past 2 months, there isn't anything else quite like WITE. That said, playing soviets is a serious exercise in patience. I'm looking forward to what they come up with in WITE 2.

I'm currently getting demolished in mid summer 1942, probably explains my frustration a bit. My opponent is top notch too so there's not many openings.


I have two accounts with over 6,500 hours played :(. This of course does not include all the hours I have in the game before steam either which I played even more than I have in the past 2ish years that it has been on steam.

Do you have a picture of your 42 front lines you can post? Thank you in advance.

< Message edited by HardLuckYetAgain -- 1/8/2019 8:11:18 PM >


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RE: Design Criticism - 1/8/2019 8:35:56 PM   
chaos45

 

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Is a board game series call operational combat series, IMO on of the best representations of eastern front warfare I have seen in a board game....

In it the Soviet player has a couple offensive special rules and the turn sequence can flip in the game giving the chance for double turns to represent operational surprises. If/when the soviet player uses the offensive special they can automatically choose the turn order and I believe weather for the next turn...but they can only do this like twice per game if I remember right to represent the first winter offensive surprise and then the Stalingrad surprise offensive/successes.

Also in this game the Soviets have some units as good as the Germans to in quality they aren't all just total garbage like they are represented in WITE. So you can conceal and use the elite soviets units to spring some nasty counterattacks....they don't have tons of them but they do have some.

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/8/2019 9:24:03 PM   
timms

 

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https://imgur.com/a/WKBdz8Z

There's my latest turn (mrblonde1 don't look, I've got a few suprises there)

I've been playing WITE for a few years now, the 300 hours is just my recent playtime

While I was certainly frustrated, I didn't mean to make it sound like I don't love this game. It's a ton of fun and I play it almost every night. I also love game design though, and I have fun picking apart mechanics and trying to understand why the designers did certain things and trying to figure out how they could be done better or more elegantly. Some of my favorites are unity of command, ghost panzer, command ops 2, advanced squad leader, combat mission, etc. I also love trying to see why commanders made the decisions they did, and I have been reading along with a lot of Glantz's works as I play to see what happened historically and what limitations and strategies they faced. My complaining is mostly just things I'm curious how they will be addressed in WITE 2. I'm really looking forward to it!

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/8/2019 11:28:56 PM   
JTP

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: chaos45

Is a board game series call operational combat series, IMO on of the best representations of eastern front warfare I have seen in a board game....

In it the Soviet player has a couple offensive special rules and the turn sequence can flip in the game giving the chance for double turns to represent operational surprises. If/when the soviet player uses the offensive special they can automatically choose the turn order and I believe weather for the next turn...but they can only do this like twice per game if I remember right to represent the first winter offensive surprise and then the Stalingrad surprise offensive/successes.

Also in this game the Soviets have some units as good as the Germans to in quality they aren't all just total garbage like they are represented in WITE. So you can conceal and use the elite soviets units to spring some nasty counterattacks....they don't have tons of them but they do have some.


Regarding the OCS, seems like it's one of those things a lot of people like to say how great it is, but don't actually play it much/to finish/have much actual experience with.
With it's counter count, it's no wonder either.

< Message edited by JTP -- 1/8/2019 11:30:43 PM >

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/8/2019 11:39:43 PM   
HardLuckYetAgain


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quote:

ORIGINAL: timms

https://imgur.com/a/WKBdz8Z

There's my latest turn (mrblonde1 don't look, I've got a few suprises there)

I've been playing WITE for a few years now, the 300 hours is just my recent playtime

While I was certainly frustrated, I didn't mean to make it sound like I don't love this game. It's a ton of fun and I play it almost every night. I also love game design though, and I have fun picking apart mechanics and trying to understand why the designers did certain things and trying to figure out how they could be done better or more elegantly. Some of my favorites are unity of command, ghost panzer, command ops 2, advanced squad leader, combat mission, etc. I also love trying to see why commanders made the decisions they did, and I have been reading along with a lot of Glantz's works as I play to see what happened historically and what limitations and strategies they faced. My complaining is mostly just things I'm curious how they will be addressed in WITE 2. I'm really looking forward to it!


Most of the items are addressed in WITE 2.0. The one item that isn't is the turn. So far I have been happy with what I have seen in WITE 2.0 alpha without saying too much. Yes, the Germans do actually lose tanks in WITE 2.0, unlike WITE 1.0 ;-)

In your game the Germans have a 4 million man army, you are going to have a long road to Berlin for sure. Good to see you held onto Moscow :). But looks like the Germans have been on a killing spree with over 6 million Russians killed. You are holding the correct ground in the south & the Germans are slowing running out of time. So looks like you are going to be ok. Will be a slugfest in 43 for sure. Excellent looking game. You should have done an AAR people would have loved it :)

< Message edited by HardLuckYetAgain -- 1/8/2019 11:41:32 PM >


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RE: Design Criticism - 1/9/2019 4:48:51 AM   
timms

 

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I've got all my notes and I plan to put one together. I'm an engineer by day and I've got two three year olds though so I don't think it's getting done till I finish the game. If there's a slowdown in our rapid pace I'll try and start posting my results from 1941.

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/9/2019 3:21:52 PM   
chaos45

 

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Big counter games have 2 issues- one they take a lot of space and have to be left set up for months and two they aren't cheap several hundred dollars per game usually.

Additionally the time needed to play them, luckily I had an entire gaming basement available for many years to play a lot of the massive WW2 counter based games.

The concept of switched turn order should be easy to implement....now the issue is the opposing player in the OCS gets a chance to react with units in reserve mode on the other sides turn..so unless it was only a once per game switch it might be abit to powerful in WITE since the opposing player has no chance to react at all.

One thing that would be great is to have at least some soviet units be super elite so to speak and actually be able to match German units in ability before 1944.....The majority of soviet units should be lower quality but right now the soviet army is a mass of basically garbage until 1943. The game makes the Germans out to be basically super men compared to the soviets in every aspect right now. Basically bullets bounce off of them.

< Message edited by chaos45 -- 1/9/2019 3:22:19 PM >

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/10/2019 12:08:33 AM   
galex

 

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Actually Soviet do have many elite unit with 4+ CV. But most of them belonged to the southwest front. Usually they will be destroyed on T1 by the super Lvov pocket.

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/12/2019 1:53:34 PM   
GamesaurusRex


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Hi timms : A good summary of some of the more salient issues. Now you know why WITE 2.0 is in the works.

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/20/2019 3:57:01 AM   
timms

 

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One more criticism, unit supply when the rail network is broken. Why is it that even with fully stocked cities nearby with rail yards and plenty of trucks, being disconnected from a permanent supply source means ALL SUPPLIES STOP BEING DELIVERED!

In my current campaign the rail through the caucuses has been cut in one spot. As such, all of my soldier in Crimea have decided to have a hunger strike and are ignoring the very large supply stockpile in Sevastopol. Similarly Leningrad once isolated needed to be air supplied immediately despite the gigantic supply dumps nearby.

I learned another lesson though because I didn't realize adjacent enemies block rail supply even if you still own the hex. I've gotten myself into a pretty desperate situation, hopefully mud next turn helps more than it hurts.

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/20/2019 9:28:52 PM   
TheLysander


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The game becomes very bloody later on in the game, and i feel that the game is unfair towards the axis towards the later stages of the war. So you can complain about soviet problems of which there are plenty but i feel that the axis side is not perfect either. Which is what some soviet players paint it as.

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/21/2019 12:21:11 AM   
chaos45

 

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one of the more recent full play throughs saw the Axis holding out way longer than historical...yes Axis losses do go up later in the war but as long as the Axis are well played they can survive and do much better than historical even if the Soviets survive the early game.

One mistake many axis players make is not realizing when the turning point is reached and trying to hold to much for to long which can then cause a major reversal of fortunes.

I would say the last several patches have been basically very pro axis in the 5+ years I've been seriously watching/playing the game. I would also suggest some of the newer players dig deep in the archives of older matches that were posted and compare things to the more current ones. Axis supply is amazingly awesome now compared to what it used to be and the soviet army is super weak in 1941 compared to older versions of the game.

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/21/2019 4:21:31 AM   
56ajax


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If Soviet players had the opportunity to get further into the game perhaps they may agree with you.

_____________________________

Apparently visiting a museum to inspect a Valentine tank is NOT romantic.

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/21/2019 1:55:24 PM   
dgrimes

 

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The issue of one week turns seems to be a major concern for a lot of reasons. What if you allowed some sort of partial movement/attack/air activity on daily basis, but that all of the logistics/command activity only occurred on a weekly basis. For example, on the first day you could allow the first player to spend up to one-half of the movement points, and some portion of the air-miles travel (50% seems to high), and then allow the opponent, either the computer or human to also move, attack, air activity up to the same proportion of movement points. On the second day the same options apply, but if the person used up 50% of movement points on first day they only have one-half of the original movement points (or air-miles) and can now only use one-half of the remaining movement points. On the seventh day the person could use up any remaining movement and air-miles travel.

Don

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/21/2019 2:38:27 PM   
Fanstar1

 

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Maybe something like that for week 1 and 2 would work.

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RE: Design Criticism - 1/21/2019 3:05:50 PM   
thedoctorking


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quote:

ORIGINAL: 56ajax

If Soviet players had the opportunity to get further into the game perhaps they may agree with you.

Farthest I've gotten into this game is summer of 1943. I was playing Sparkley, I was the Axis. He's a really good player. He was grinding me up. I think in general in this game, once the momentum starts going your way, it's really hard to reverse it.

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