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RE: AI for MWiF - USSR

 
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RE: AI for MWiF - USSR - 11/9/2005 1:27:28 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: buckyzoom

What kind of AI are you planning on having for production? (Again refer me to a thread or post if this has been asked/explained.)

I was wondering whether you were taking a template approach based on a high level strategy (for example I mentioned packing the border and an AI around this could optimize builds for garrison value) or is there a distribution model where based on the country an emphasis will be placed on unit class and type?


Production decisions are dominated by the strategic plan. There is a small amount of leeway within the strategic plan dictates, but not a lot. Again rules are being used. Simply think in terms you would use when talking to another player. That is the advantage of rules; they are very similar to normal communication between experts in the field.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to buckyzoom)
Post #: 31
RE: A couple of thoughts - 11/9/2005 1:53:20 AM   
composer99


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quote:

quote:

ORIGINAL: c92nichj
Remember that the game is won or lost in Russia, and I cannot see many things that the CW could do with Gort and two corps? Gort only needs to stay until the corps have landed and only need to be for a turn in Russia.


While this may be often true in WiF FE, I definitely think that the CW has better to do to help Russia that send precious CW corps in Russia.
There is a second front to open, and even if the CW is not strong enough alone to do it, the CW must begin the Job. Clear eastern Africa, conquer sardinia asap, conquer Tripoli when possible, defend its mediterranean dominions.. All this help Russia tremendously, because everything the CW force Germany to do is good for the Allies. Forcing Germany to come helping a pressed Italy in the early Barbarossa is a very good thing.


Agreed. Gort & 2 corps are immensely helpful for the CW and Allied cause in many places throughout the world; they are only marginally helpful defending Murmansk. If they are in Burma or India, they are defending those countries from Japanese attack or advancing in the British counter-offensive. If they are in the Med, they are helping defend Egypt or Gibraltar, or they are helping clean the Italians out of the Med. If they are in England, then Gort is probably assisting the strategic air war by re-organizing bombers or escorts and the 2 corps, if there are spare AMPH about, are forcing the Germans, if they want to play smart, to put extra units into defending France, the Low Countries, and Denmark.

The best way for the CW to assist Russia is to pull German fighters, land units, HQs, and attention away from the Eastern Front. This means the strategic air war, pressing on Italy whenever possible (and preferably threatening to invade Italy from 1941 on), launching tactical invasions into Western Europe to indispose German naval forces or kill land units (and then pulling back out), and doing the utmost to sink convoys in the Baltic Sea.

The Soviet Union can survive getting thrown off the European map if enough of the Red Army survives, so its main job is to preserve that army. The less Germans are in Russia, and the more often Germany has to call actions that are not optimal to fighting in Russia, that is, anything other than lands during the summer, the better chance the Red Army has.

(in reply to Froonp)
Post #: 32
RE: A couple of thoughts - 11/9/2005 1:24:25 PM   
c92nichj


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quote:

The less Germans are in Russia, and the more often Germany has to call actions that are not optimal to fighting in Russia, that is, anything other than lands during the summer, the better chance the Red Army has.

I cannot see a German player will do anything but land actions during the summer of a '41 Barbarossa, and I can hardly see what the CW could do to prevent it, except maybe to put all his convoys unguarded so Donitz cannot resist to come out to play.

An invasion of Italy,Denmark, France would require lands for the three railmoves, and under normal circumstances the CW couldn't make an impressive invasion during '41 anyhow.
Defending Suez or the far east during summer '41 in a barbarossa should not require Gort, the axis will not be able to do anything there in that timeframe if they are serious about a barbarossa. So that leaves the stratbomb campaign which will atmost affect germany's forces in russia during '42 '43 hardly anyhelp to a russian on the ropes.

Losing murmansk, and probably Vladivostok means that the only way left for lendlease into russia is through Persia and that can be a dangerous play.
With the terrible supply situation in the murmansk region a single militia or Garrision goes a long way as far as protection comes.

-Nicklas



(in reply to composer99)
Post #: 33
More thoughts - 11/11/2005 7:49:48 PM   
buckyzoom

 

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The Russian AI is going to be much simpler than the other AI in some ways. Much of their decisions can be made independently of other nations.

Assuming a Global War Scenario the first choice for the Soviet Union is whether it will be active or passive.

An active Russia will be conquering minors and possibly attacking majors. How active is a separate question that I will provide in a later post.

A passive Russia builds up for the eventual Barbarossa.

(Something to think about is conditions that will change Russia from active to passive and vice versa. E.g. - the US has entered the war and there is no longer US entry hits for declarations of war. China is in trouble and it might be saved by a Russian declaration of war on Japan. The WAXIS are executing a close the Med so there is a year to gobble minors before Barbarossa. If I attack Finland it could cost two US entry chits and there is only one in the European chit pool.)

Active or passive will help answer the question of how to setup.

Passive is easy.

On the Nazi/Soviet border you always setup to defend against the foolish, but still possible, 'Russia First' gambit. You can generalize this assumption to include a Rumania heavy setup in case Germany declines the Bessarabian land claim (assuming you make it). In an oil/gas game another generalization is to setup every strategic bomb factor you can within range of the Rumania oil fields to discourage the Axis from denying the land claim.

On the Manchurian border you setup based on whether you plan to try and fight hard if the Japanese choose to take Vlad.

After a passive Russia has setup there is only the matter of determining whether you will pack the border or defend back. I won't go into the details of defense here, but the build schedule shouldn't be too tough to make rules based.

When packing the border you base your builds on the build point to garrison value ratio. (You're not going to be building planes or armor.)

When defending back (with or without speed bumps) a couple of simple rules you can establish are around a point of attack concept. You create a schedule so that all possible Russian INF and ARM class units are on the spiral for a May/June '41 Barb (the point at which they are likely to attack). If the May/June Barb does not materialize then reset the point of attack date to May/June '42.

(A more cautious Russian player would plan for March/April if a speed bump defense is used. May/June '42 is statistically the second longest turn of a year. If the German's can clear the bumps in March/April and crack the Dnepr in May/June it is likely that Jul/Aug will see fun times for the Germans.)

I'll try and post more about active Russia on Monday if time permits. Gotten run work beckons...

(in reply to c92nichj)
Post #: 34
RE: More thoughts - 11/11/2005 9:37:40 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: buckyzoom
The Russian AI is going to be much simpler than the other AI in some ways. Much of their decisions can be made independently of other nations.

Assuming a Global War Scenario the first choice for the Soviet Union is whether it will be active or passive.

An active Russia will be conquering minors and possibly attacking majors. How active is a separate question that I will provide in a later post.

A passive Russia builds up for the eventual Barbarossa.

(Something to think about is conditions that will change Russia from active to passive and vice versa. E.g. - the US has entered the war and there is no longer US entry hits for declarations of war. China is in trouble and it might be saved by a Russian declaration of war on Japan. The WAXIS are executing a close the Med so there is a year to gobble minors before Barbarossa. If I attack Finland it could cost two US entry chits and there is only one in the European chit pool.)

Active or passive will help answer the question of how to setup.

Passive is easy.

On the Nazi/Soviet border you always setup to defend against the foolish, but still possible, 'Russia First' gambit. You can generalize this assumption to include a Rumania heavy setup in case Germany declines the Bessarabian land claim (assuming you make it). In an oil/gas game another generalization is to setup every strategic bomb factor you can within range of the Rumania oil fields to discourage the Axis from denying the land claim.

On the Manchurian border you setup based on whether you plan to try and fight hard if the Japanese choose to take Vlad.

After a passive Russia has setup there is only the matter of determining whether you will pack the border or defend back. I won't go into the details of defense here, but the build schedule shouldn't be too tough to make rules based.

When packing the border you base your builds on the build point to garrison value ratio. (You're not going to be building planes or armor.)

When defending back (with or without speed bumps) a couple of simple rules you can establish are around a point of attack concept. You create a schedule so that all possible Russian INF and ARM class units are on the spiral for a May/June '41 Barb (the point at which they are likely to attack). If the May/June Barb does not materialize then reset the point of attack date to May/June '42.

(A more cautious Russian player would plan for March/April if a speed bump defense is used. May/June '42 is statistically the second longest turn of a year. If the German's can clear the bumps in March/April and crack the Dnepr in May/June it is likely that Jul/Aug will see fun times for the Germans.)

I'll try and post more about active Russia on Monday if time permits. Gotten run work beckons...


Here is what I wrote to start these threads on strategic plans. Your post gave good answers to some of them but left blanks on others.

(1) Victory cities to be taken and/or defended.
(2) Which major powers to declare war on, when, and any associated conditions concerning same.
(3) Which minor countries to declare war on, when, and any associated conditions concerning same.
(4) Which minor countries to align, when, and any associated conditions concerning same.
(5) Expected areas of conflict: with whom, where, type of combat (land, naval, air, convoys).
(6) A master production plan by unit type and/or gearing limits. This does not have to be detailed, just a broad outline.
(7) A time line for the strategic plan’s major milestones.

You can take as a given that there will always a lust on my part for more detail (items 2, 3, and 7). Though items 2 and 3 have been covered by others, in their posts on the USSR strategic choices. You are the first to add elements to item 7, and more detail there would be helpful.

I am particularly interested in item 1. As a looooooooong time player of many different games about the German-USSR conflict during WWII, I have my own ideas on how to define the relative importance of the victory cities. However, for that precise reason I am interested in the opinions of others, so I am not too locked into my own view.


_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to buckyzoom)
Post #: 35
RE: More thoughts - 11/12/2005 12:26:30 AM   
buckyzoom

 

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I'm just getting started :-)

I was going to provide an overview first and then dive down into the detail. I probably shoud have mentioned that at the beginning of my post huh!

I was thinking in terms of a high level flow where you pick a scenario, decide a basic strategy, set up your units to support that strategy and the the game happens and you change your strategy...

Playing WIF (speaking for myself) is in many ways pattern matching, for example if Player A is doing X and Player B is doing Z then I can respond with Q or W kinda thing. I was going to describe mid grain patterns and responses before a more detailed dive, but I'm flexible. I'll provide some victory city info next.

What do you mean by victory city? Is it in the WIF context? When I play Russia I first play to live, and if I live, I then play to crush. I'm wondering the context of how this will be used in the AI? As Russia defending a victory hex because its a victory hex can be counter productive to winning. (IMHO)

To me there are key places to hold that are more important than victory hexes. For example keeping Germany from activating Turkey. Or my personal favorite, Gomel which I think is critical to hold for as long as possible. What info do you want on these kind of concepts?

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 36
RE: More thoughts - 11/12/2005 3:33:36 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: buckyzoom

I'm just getting started :-)

I was going to provide an overview first and then dive down into the detail. I probably shoud have mentioned that at the beginning of my post huh!

I was thinking in terms of a high level flow where you pick a scenario, decide a basic strategy, set up your units to support that strategy and the the game happens and you change your strategy...

Playing WIF (speaking for myself) is in many ways pattern matching, for example if Player A is doing X and Player B is doing Z then I can respond with Q or W kinda thing. I was going to describe mid grain patterns and responses before a more detailed dive, but I'm flexible. I'll provide some victory city info next.

What do you mean by victory city? Is it in the WIF context? When I play Russia I first play to live, and if I live, I then play to crush. I'm wondering the context of how this will be used in the AI? As Russia defending a victory hex because its a victory hex can be counter productive to winning. (IMHO)

To me there are key places to hold that are more important than victory hexes. For example keeping Germany from activating Turkey. Or my personal favorite, Gomel which I think is critical to hold for as long as possible. What info do you want on these kind of concepts?


I use victory cities to record progress because they are precisely defined and apply to all the major powers. Each major power seems to have certain non-victory cities which are key to its offensives and/or defenses. And the importance of those cities are sometimes in the eye of the player. Please add any that you deem relevant for the USSR. At the end of the day though (or should I say the end of the game?) what matters are the victory cities, so the strategic plan should identify which ones the USSR is going to go after (or merely keep).

As to what to work on next, that is entirely up to you. I keep at least 3 different types of activities going in my work on MWIF. I work on creative ideas (usually for the AIO), rigorous analytical tasks (programming and debugging), and rather mindless tasks (like entering scenario data or typing up edits I have made to a printed copy of code or documentation). On that topic, I have finished 4 of the scenarios, which when added to the 3 that Chris did, leaves 4 left to type in. Very tedious stuff, reading from the spreadsheet and translating the fine details into the MWIF scenario setup language - blagh. The reason I have these 3 types of activities is that I find I am most productive when which type of activity I select to work is based on the clarity of my head. I have learned that it is always a bad idea to work on code when your head is on crooked.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to buckyzoom)
Post #: 37
RE: More thoughts - 11/15/2005 12:02:14 AM   
buckyzoom

 

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Victory Cities

First victory cities should only influence the Russian AI when the USSR goes over to the offense. Before this the only concern is preserving it's army. Do you want generalized rules for when the Russian army should switch from offense to defense?

Here are 17 victory hexes that Russia has a shot at. I've put them roughly in the priority order they are for me when playing Russia.

Sverdlovsk (If the Axis control Sverdlovsk I've got big issues...)
Moscow (Automatic victory hex and production bonus with Leningrad and Stalingrad)
Kiev (Production bonus, plus a red factory)
Leningrad (Production bonus, plus a red factory)
Helsinki (Eliminates a minor, plus many winter bonus units)
Bucharest (Eliminates a minor, plus likely will gain three oil along the way)
Budapest (Eliminates a minor, plus a red factory)
Warsaw (Liberates a minor, plus a red factory)
Belgrade (Eliminates or liberates a minor)
Berlin (Automatic victory hex, red factory)
Vienna
Prague
Vladivostok
Bagdhad
Port Arthur
Lan Chow
Istanbul

Priority order could change based on game strategy or a unique opportunity presents itself. E.g. - if Germany goes defensive in '42, and Japan weak in Manchuria then attack Manchuria until rail from China to Russia is open. Once rail is open have China lend all production and excess resources to USSR.

Options can also influence this. If playing Hitler's War the value of Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev change.

What additional information would you like?

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 38
RE: More thoughts - 11/15/2005 2:20:37 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: buckyzoom
Victory Cities

First victory cities should only influence the Russian AI when the USSR goes over to the offense. Before this the only concern is preserving it's army. Do you want generalized rules for when the Russian army should switch from offense to defense?

Here are 17 victory hexes that Russia has a shot at. I've put them roughly in the priority order they are for me when playing Russia.

Sverdlovsk (If the Axis control Sverdlovsk I've got big issues...)
Moscow (Automatic victory hex and production bonus with Leningrad and Stalingrad)
Kiev (Production bonus, plus a red factory)
Leningrad (Production bonus, plus a red factory)
Helsinki (Eliminates a minor, plus many winter bonus units)
Bucharest (Eliminates a minor, plus likely will gain three oil along the way)
Budapest (Eliminates a minor, plus a red factory)
Warsaw (Liberates a minor, plus a red factory)
Belgrade (Eliminates or liberates a minor)
Berlin (Automatic victory hex, red factory)
Vienna
Prague
Vladivostok
Bagdhad
Port Arthur
Lan Chow
Istanbul

Priority order could change based on game strategy or a unique opportunity presents itself. E.g. - if Germany goes defensive in '42, and Japan weak in Manchuria then attack Manchuria until rail from China to Russia is open. Once rail is open have China lend all production and excess resources to USSR.

Options can also influence this. If playing Hitler's War the value of Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev change.

What additional information would you like?


Very good.

A few questions.

1. You did not mention Teheran in your list.
2. My inclination from your list would then be to defend the USSR cities in the reverse order and give them up: Leningrad, Kiev, Moscow, and lastly, Sverdlovsk. Is that a valid assumption? If not, why not?
3. Though keeping the USSR army intact is clearly important, giving up all the resources, factories, and rail lines also guarantees defeat. Do you have a sense of how that tradeoff between maintaining the existing army and maintaining a production capability (to produce new units) should be judged?

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to buckyzoom)
Post #: 39
RE: More thoughts - 11/15/2005 7:16:28 PM   
c92nichj


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quote:

2. My inclination from your list would then be to defend the USSR cities in the reverse order and give them up: Leningrad, Kiev, Moscow, and lastly, Sverdlovsk. Is that a valid assumption? If not, why not?


I would not do this first and foremost preserve the russian army, any lost cities can be taken back later.
The key thing for russia is to trade land for time and to trade land for units. Do not trade units for land.

To protect the production rail out factories and demand lendlease. Good spot to rail factories are:
Murmansk - will enable you to get lendlease to the north even if the rail north of moscow is cut.
Baku - if caucasus is cut of from the rest of the factories you can still use your resources here.
The urals - easy to defend.

If the red army is destroyed so is Soviet.
Areas to defend:
Leningrad, put a couple of strong units here together with some saved oil

Sevastopol, the fort makes it hard for the germans to take it so if they want iot they need to fight for it.

Rostov, Also quite easy to defend , if the axis want it make him pay for it.

Caucasus mountain range north of Turkey, try to stop the germans from aligning Turkey. It is also quite easy to defend with all the alpine hexsides.

Your railed factories in the Urals - you need to keep producing units.

Even if you loose pretty much all else on the european map you still have a good chance to come back if your army is intact and you get plenty of lendlease.

Rostov Sevstopol and Leningrad will be good places to place reinforcements and build up your comeback from, be cautious though and don't get on the offensive too early.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 40
RE: More thoughts - 11/15/2005 7:21:58 PM   
c92nichj


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quote:

1. You did not mention Teheran in your list.

In addition to Bagdhad, both Teheran and Riyadh should be low priority targets for the USSR. Even Jerusalem and Suez should be considered if they are easy targets.

(in reply to c92nichj)
Post #: 41
RE: More thoughts - 11/15/2005 8:58:06 PM   
buckyzoom

 

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quote:

1. You did not mention Teheran in your list.


Oops, my bad. Here's an updated list with c92nichj's middle east objectives too.


Update Victory Cities

First victory cities should only influence the Russian AI when the USSR goes over to the offense. Before this the only concern is preserving it's army. Do you want generalized rules for when the Russian army should switch from offense to defense?

Here are 21 victory hexes that Russia has a shot at. I've put them roughly in the priority order they are for me when playing Russia.

Sverdlovsk (If the Axis control Sverdlovsk I've got big issues...)
Moscow (Automatic victory hex and production bonus with Leningrad and Stalingrad)
Kiev (Production bonus, plus a red factory)
Leningrad (Production bonus, plus a red factory)
Teheran (If playing with oil or gas)
Helsinki (Eliminates a minor, plus many winter bonus units)
Bucharest (Eliminates a minor, plus likely will gain three oil along the way)
Budapest (Eliminates a minor, plus a red factory)
Warsaw (Liberates a minor, plus a red factory)
Belgrade (Eliminates or liberates a minor)
Berlin (Automatic victory hex, red factory)
Vienna
Prague
Vladivostok
Bagdhad
Port Arthur
Lan Chow
Jerusalem (Only if Axis held or playing DOD III)
Suez (Only if Axis Held or playing DOD III)
Riyadh
Istanbul

Priority order could change based on game strategy or a unique opportunity presents itself. E.g. - if Germany goes defensive in '42, and Japan weak in Manchuria then attack Manchuria until rail from China to Russia is open. Once rail is open have China lend all production and excess resources to USSR.

Options can also influence this. If playing Hitler's War the value of Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev change.

quote:

2. My inclination from your list would then be to defend the USSR cities in the reverse order and give them up: Leningrad, Kiev, Moscow, and lastly, Sverdlovsk. Is that a valid assumption? If not, why not?


Defending in reverse order is a valid general assumption.

I would also suggest a general rule that you never abandon victory cities. You may pull back your line, but leave a garrison in them. For example, the German's have captured Pskov and Vitbesk. The Russian player (the AI) can improve its defense by falling back to the Smolensk/Gomel line. The AI chooses to abandon Novgorod, but the AI would leave units in Leningrad. (Abandoning Novgorod is purely hypothetical in terms of the above example, not a recommendation.)

A quick aside, there's some obvious rules for garrisoning cities you can probably derive yourself. E.G. - Always defend Leningrad with winterized units because its easier to take in the winter, and, when playing with divs use an Engineer as a topper, etc.

To the point c92nichj made, there is a lot of great defensive terrain in the USSR. The AI will need some rules to leverage them effectively.

EDIT - I thought I should add a rule that says the AI will fanatically defend the last automatic victory hex.

quote:

3. Though keeping the USSR army intact is clearly important, giving up all the resources, factories, and rail lines also guarantees defeat. Do you have a sense of how that tradeoff between maintaining the existing army and maintaining a production capability (to produce new units) should be judged?


This is a fun topic! (What's wrong with me?) The initial defense of Russia (in my estimation) is entirely trading territory, build points and production capacity for time.

An aggressive (yet thoughtful) German player can drive Russia from the European map). A patient and calculating Russian player can come back from this and take Berlin.

The key to coming back from this is only loosing the five red factories and the obvious resources. I've seen several cases where the Soviets only loose three red factories and four resources. Assuming you've successfully railed your blue factories and nothing absurd has happened in Siberia then your production capacity should be OK. (Gas is another matter.)

In terms of a rule the success of the Russian defense can be calculated in the number of build points lost per impulse (or turn). A second metric will be how far Germany penetrates (gains) Russian territory in relation to possible US entry. Throwing away units to certain destruction is acceptable even advisable when it delays the Germans.

I've got to get back to work, but I'll see if I can post a simple example tomorrow.

Regards,

b5

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 42
RE: More thoughts - 11/15/2005 9:42:44 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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I am coming around to the view that the USSR should have a defensive line stretching from north to south with the northern end maybe floating in the air. The USSR would depend on terrain and scarcity of German units and/or supply to prevent flanking manuevers there. [There was one Germany vs Russia game I use to play a lot where the Russian routinely hinged his line on the Terrain Effects Chart that covered the map north of Moscow.] There might be isolated pockets of resistance (e.g., Leningrad, Sevastopol, Rostov, Kerch straits, Caucasus). These pockets would occur as the USSR line retreats east seeking better terrain, a shorter line, and simply distance from the German units that are in supply.

To remain viable, the USSR needs to have enough units to man the front line - at least so it isn't easy pickin's for Germany. He also needs to have enough production capacity to replenish losses. The last may be supplemented by lend lease. The usual state of affairs is that Germany attacks during the good weather turns and kills Russians faster the they can be replaced. The USSR retreats during good weather turns to prevent this. When the weather turns bad (for the Germans), the USSR stops giving up ground and can replenish his unit count because losses are now fewer than reinforcements.

Do you have a sense of what the burn rate for USSR infantry corps is during good weather impulses (or turns)? This would answer the question of how large a production capacity the USSR needs for sustaining his viability.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to buckyzoom)
Post #: 43
RE: More thoughts - 11/15/2005 10:49:57 PM   
fuzzy_bunnyy

 

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in my experience it varies from game to game, heavily depending on the year barbarossa is done and where the germans happen to be pushing. as a rough estimate id say 8-12 INF/MIL/GARR corps in summer, mabye a few DIVs, and planes if the Russian air force decides to fight. usually it is more losses for the russian in a 1941 and 42 barbarossa than a 1940, although russia is so weak in early turns that those few losses sometimes are much more valuable units like HQ, ARM, MECH, and guns. if going north the germans will likely inflict less losses because the russians will be in cities, bad terrain, and bad weather. on the other hand, going south results in lots of clear terrain that the ARM and MECH can blitz to all hell. in bad winter turns it is sometimes better for the german not to attack, because he cant destroy more units than the extra BPs the russians would get for the PM bonus, so the Russian AI should expect lower production during winter.

just my thoughts....

_____________________________

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(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 44
RE: More thoughts - 11/16/2005 12:41:48 AM   
buckyzoom

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

I am coming around to the view that the USSR should have a defensive line stretching from north to south with the northern end maybe floating in the air. The USSR would depend on terrain and scarcity of German units and/or supply to prevent flanking manuevers there. [There was one Germany vs Russia game I use to play a lot where the Russian routinely hinged his line on the Terrain Effects Chart that covered the map north of Moscow.] There might be isolated pockets of resistance (e.g., Leningrad, Sevastopol, Rostov, Kerch straits, Caucasus). These pockets would occur as the USSR line retreats east seeking better terrain, a shorter line, and simply distance from the German units that are in supply.

To remain viable, the USSR needs to have enough units to man the front line - at least so it isn't easy pickin's for Germany. He also needs to have enough production capacity to replenish losses. The last may be supplemented by lend lease. The usual state of affairs is that Germany attacks during the good weather turns and kills Russians faster the they can be replaced. The USSR retreats during good weather turns to prevent this. When the weather turns bad (for the Germans), the USSR stops giving up ground and can replenish his unit count because losses are now fewer than reinforcements.

Do you have a sense of what the burn rate for USSR infantry corps is during good weather impulses (or turns)? This would answer the question of how large a production capacity the USSR needs for sustaining his viability.


This may take a few days to get accurate detail on. I play with a cool guy who documents all losses as the turn progresses. I'll try to compile some stats and get them back to you (assuming he's still has them).

Did you want o-chits in their too? (How are you going to handle those?)

Your concept of lines is correct too. They tend to be ZOC lines very soon after Barbarossa starts. There is a game dynamic where counters are compressed very tight at the border and become much thinner as Germany pushes into the USSR. In recent history I've always managed to hold the Rostov city line so I'm not familiar with what happens after Rostov goes.

Like I said, maybe some diagrams tomorrow.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 45
RE: More thoughts - 11/16/2005 12:53:11 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: buckyzoom

This may take a few days to get accurate detail on. I play with a cool guy who documents all losses as the turn progresses. I'll try to compile some stats and get them back to you (assuming he's still has them).

Did you want o-chits in their too? (How are you going to handle those?)

Your concept of lines is correct too. They tend to be ZOC lines very soon after Barbarossa starts. There is a game dynamic where counters are compressed very tight at the border and become much thinner as Germany pushes into the USSR. In recent history I've always managed to hold the Rostov city line so I'm not familiar with what happens after Rostov goes.

Like I said, maybe some diagrams tomorrow.


I always enjoy the details.

Offensive chits are kind of like bad die rolls, you can't do a whole lot about them other than make faces and mutter. The AIO will take them into consideration to some degree but not be wholly consumed with defending against them. Of course I am open to other ideas.

_____________________________

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Perfection is an elusive goal.

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Post #: 46
RE: More thoughts - 11/16/2005 3:25:15 PM   
buckyzoom

 

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I had a thought on the drive home regarding home many troops Russia can build. An easy initial factor to consider is the production impact of Germany being in Russia and attacking in Russia. This will generate an additional 75 to 90 BP a year for Russia. If you're not killing at least that much then Russia is clearly winning. As a delaying tactic the Russians often feed militia, garrison and cav to the Axis. These are all two point units. These means the Germans can kill 37 to 45 of these units a year without off setting the production bump they are giving the Russians. (In one game I fed the Bryansk militia to the Germans six times. A personal best.)

Purely, in terms of Russian survival you also need to consider lend lease. Declaring war on the Soviets allows them to receive lend lease. This is an additional bump in production that the Germans must offset. I have seen lend lease to Russia as high as 15 BP a turn.

In addition, you need to consider the impact of German losses. This is a kind of offsetting factor. If the Germans loose a div in an attack I count that as two more BP that the Germans need to kill to offset their loss.

Then I started thinking about the production delta between the Axis and the Allies. The game dynamic is that the Allies produce much more than the Axis. The Axis (initially) kill many more units than the Allies. If the Axis can kill enough BP and reduce Allied production enough the Allies will not be able to recover quickly enough to defeat the Axis. I need to think about this more.

Another topic, one important consideration for all AI is the maximum overrun capacity for a single stack. Putting the 4-1 GAR in front of an impulse is very useful in terms of trading time for BP. It can also induce the Germans to use an O-chit, which to me is 15 BP of German losses.

Gotta run again...

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Post #: 47
RE: More thoughts - 11/16/2005 4:21:35 PM   
c92nichj


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quote:

I am coming around to the view that the USSR should have a defensive line stretching from north to south with the northern end maybe floating in the air. The USSR would depend on terrain and scarcity of German units and/or supply to prevent flanking manuevers there. [There was one Germany vs Russia game I use to play a lot where the Russian routinely hinged his line on the Terrain Effects Chart that covered the map north of Moscow.] There might be isolated pockets of resistance (e.g., Leningrad, Sevastopol, Rostov, Kerch straits, Caucasus). These pockets would occur as the USSR line retreats east seeking better terrain, a shorter line, and simply distance from the German units that are in supply.


In general I think that this front line approach is good, but many times you see a USSR that is not able to hold a whole frontline and then you will neet to retreat back with several subfronts and employ a ZOC defense. or maybe hope that bad weather/poor supply or sheer distance will stop the axis from advancing to far. It is very far from moscow to Sverdlovsk and your reinforcements might be able to make it before the axis reach it.

After losing Moscow & Stalingrad which you should count on doing against a competent human player I would try to defend the areas described in previous post(Leningrad, Rostov, Sevastopol, Caucasus and Ural)

When reinforcements arrive you can build on thoose fronts and eventually link them up and advance against the axis.

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Post #: 48
RE: More thoughts - 11/16/2005 4:35:46 PM   
c92nichj


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quote:

I had a thought on the drive home regarding home many troops Russia can build. An easy initial factor to consider is the production impact of Germany being in Russia and attacking in Russia. This will generate an additional 75 to 90 BP a year for Russia. If you're not killing at least that much then Russia is clearly winning.

This is not totally correct as the game have a fixed end-date, the axis can also trade space against time in the latter part of the game, and it is hard to advance quickly against a solid axis line.
To advance from the polish border to Berlin between '43 and '45 is much easier than to advance from the asian map to berlin in the same timeframe.

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Post #: 49
RE: More thoughts - 11/16/2005 6:25:48 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: c92nichj
quote:

I had a thought on the drive home regarding home many troops Russia can build. An easy initial factor to consider is the production impact of Germany being in Russia and attacking in Russia. This will generate an additional 75 to 90 BP a year for Russia. If you're not killing at least that much then Russia is clearly winning.

This is not totally correct as the game have a fixed end-date, the axis can also trade space against time in the latter part of the game, and it is hard to advance quickly against a solid axis line.
To advance from the polish border to Berlin between '43 and '45 is much easier than to advance from the asian map to berlin in the same timeframe.


Ah, you're coming around to the problem that I believe is at the heart of the matter: what is the value of a hex. Here we are concerned with the value of a north-south hex line separating Berlin from Sverdlovsk. Is it better to sacrifice 6 garrison and militia units and only retreat one hex eastwards or to lose 3 and retreat 2 hexes eastwards? The same principles apply for the Germans once the USSR starts counterattacking and pushing them westwards.

Here is how I think the AIO can solve the problem. If we know the acceptable burn rate per turn (losses in corps sized units) and can estimate the number of impulses in the turn, then we can adjust how many hexes we give up (east to west hex rows actually) to keep the burn rate per impulse to an acceptable level. I view this decision as being at the operational level.

At the strategic level, the USSR AIO is in desperate defense because of his numerical inferiority (both total land points and total air points). Operationally, he withdraws his line to minimize losses - trading space for units. Tactically, he needs to build a good defensive line. There is also the other consideration about not giving up so much space that he loses too much production capacity and/or the ability to push the German all the way back to Berlin before the game is over. I think the burn rate can be used to control the speed of the retreat so it is neither precipitous nor fatally stubborn.

_____________________________

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Perfection is an elusive goal.

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Post #: 50
RE: More thoughts - 11/16/2005 6:33:55 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: buckyzoom
I had a thought on the drive home regarding home many troops Russia can build. An easy initial factor to consider is the production impact of Germany being in Russia and attacking in Russia. This will generate an additional 75 to 90 BP a year for Russia. If you're not killing at least that much then Russia is clearly winning. As a delaying tactic the Russians often feed militia, garrison and cav to the Axis. These are all two point units. These means the Germans can kill 37 to 45 of these units a year without off setting the production bump they are giving the Russians. (In one game I fed the Bryansk militia to the Germans six times. A personal best.)

Purely, in terms of Russian survival you also need to consider lend lease. Declaring war on the Soviets allows them to receive lend lease. This is an additional bump in production that the Germans must offset. I have seen lend lease to Russia as high as 15 BP a turn.

In addition, you need to consider the impact of German losses. This is a kind of offsetting factor. If the Germans loose a div in an attack I count that as two more BP that the Germans need to kill to offset their loss.

Then I started thinking about the production delta between the Axis and the Allies. The game dynamic is that the Allies produce much more than the Axis. The Axis (initially) kill many more units than the Allies. If the Axis can kill enough BP and reduce Allied production enough the Allies will not be able to recover quickly enough to defeat the Axis. I need to think about this more.

Another topic, one important consideration for all AI is the maximum overrun capacity for a single stack. Putting the 4-1 GAR in front of an impulse is very useful in terms of trading time for BP. It can also induce the Germans to use an O-chit, which to me is 15 BP of German losses.


Working in terms of BP per side and per major power is easy for the AIO to do. When playing over the board, I always track that and the total strength points on board and in production by branch of service. Simplistic predictions for all these numbers are also easy to do and pretty accurate to boot. It's the number of hex rows (stretching north to south in this instance) that are difficult to include in the decision logic. In France every hex is only given up after a fight and retaking it is hopeless. That is clearly not the case in Russia because of the luxury of trading space for units and/or time.

_____________________________

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Post #: 51
Hexes/BP - 11/16/2005 8:53:48 PM   
buckyzoom

 

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Here is a graphic representing where I would like troops positioned at the beginning of each Axis inpulse starting with the first impulse of Barbarossa. The red units are setup in the location shown, all other units move into position. (This setup is only useful if defender has ZOC on surprise impulse.)

Red is the first impulse, orange is the second, yellow is the third and so on.

The first four to five impulses should see the red, orange, yellow and green units eliminated. (It's possible that some survive, but I don't count on it.)

The blue and purple lines represent where I would start actively defending.

There are some details I'd like to outline but once again I'm out of time.

In a typical Mar/Apr Barb the blue line gets cracked in May/Jun and the Purple in Jul/Aug.

***NEW (4/16, 4 PMish EDT) ****

How many of these lines I actually dedploy is situational. If it's a Jan/Feb Barb I would not put out the orange, yellow and the 2 BP green bumps. In Mar/April I usually only due one line of speed bumps besides the red. In May/June that starts clear I would do three. In Jul/Aug I would do them all.

Gotta head out again...




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by buckyzoom -- 11/16/2005 11:26:01 PM >

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Post #: 52
RE: Hexes/BP - 11/17/2005 12:11:14 AM   
c92nichj


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I cannot see how you can afford to loose about 15 units during the first turn of combat only on the northern front (reds, orange Yellows and greens)

By the start of Barbarossa you will have approx 40 corps and get 13 corps in reserve which are flipped at setup.

The distribution of those will ofcourse be dependant on how the game have played but it could look something like this:

Asia 5 corps, 4 +1 reserve (Vladivostok Mil)
Northern front 22 corps, 17 + 5 reserve (one reserve and one ordinary troop goes to each of murmansk and Leningrad which you do want to keep on the suprise)
Southern front 25, 19 + 6 Reserve


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Post #: 53
RE: Hexes/BP - 11/17/2005 11:00:15 AM   
Rotor

 

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There was a great strategy article on Russia in an Annual some years ago (98?) Well, I found it great because, after reading it, I understood why I had so poor experiences as a russian player :)

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Post #: 54
RE: Hexes/BP - 11/17/2005 5:35:36 PM   
buckyzoom

 

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That kinda depends. I rarely defend every line. Most often its two lines and I loose 12 BP, or six units. Sometimes, I only loose six BP, or three units. In a Jul/Aug Barb I would happily give up 31 BP to hold them to the blue line.

So much of this depends on the option mix you play with, but the losses I'm taking are GAR and CAV. I scrap these pretty heavily. They get built pretty heavily. The GAR aren't mobile and I like mobility. The CAV aren't strong enough to be useful in defense. I do keep the five movers, but that's just for swamp fun.

It represents where I feel my line needs to be in order to survive to the winter months and rebuild. Notice that up to the beginning of Jul/Aug I wouldn't have given up any resources. Statistically, May/Jun and Jul/Aug will be the longest turns. If you get through these you have a pretty good shot of holding it together.

If I'm at the blue line in May/Jun I'm content. If I'm at the green line at the beginning of Jul/Aug I'm very happy.

I probably should be providing more detail. I apologize. I'm having issues with time.

Did you attend the US WIFCON '05? One trend I noticed is that at most tables the Germans never broke the Dnepr.

My particular opponent took almost no losses (maybe an INF div and a FTR) prior to the Barb. Once Barb started he began moving forward methodically crushing what's in front of him. He was patient about oozing around hard points and attacking at +13 to +15 (2d10). In the Winter he stopped attacking in order to deny the +.25 production multiple. Once things became less than overwhelming in his favor he simply went over to the defense. First the Dnepr and then Poland and Bessarabia. He positioned himself that he took almost no losses.

I've experience this with both '41 and '42 Barb. I much prefer as the Russian player to defend against a '41 Barb.

In both cases getting through the first turn of Barb without them reaching your initial defense is critical (to me).

Damn gotta go again...

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Post #: 55
RE: Hexes/BP - 11/18/2005 2:38:05 PM   
c92nichj


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quote:

Did you attend the US WIFCON '05? One trend I noticed is that at most tables the Germans never broke the Dnepr.

The last time I attended a Con was with version 5, so the experience doesn't really matter.

If the german players did not manage to break the Dnepr I wonder what options/strategies that were used, not a barbarossa '41 I would believe.
I read the reports from WIfCon '04 which seemed to have hosted a couple of broken USSR's so I guess it is not a certain play.

If I was unable to cross the Dnepr playing against an AI-opponent I would be very impressed with the AI's capability, probably assuming it was cheating. I have frequently been able to take the factory line from in my opinion a competent russian player.

On the main Wif-list there have been arguments for not even trying to defend the Dnepr and to put no speedbumbs out at all. I wouldn't go so far, but I would limit the amount of speedbumbs to maybe 10 units (both south and north front, all other axis attacks should be against double stacked russians performing a Zoc Defense or against hero cities, don't give the axis any freebies.

From M/A to S/O '41 the axis will get on average 16 impulses (unless the allies pass) 10 to 11 of those will be in clear weather, that is alot of time for the Axis to kill russians, and if half of them die during the 5-6 first pulses the USSR is in deep deep trouble. If you keep your losses lower the axis need to be more careful in their advance.

Anyhow this discussion should be good for Steve as he can employ a couple of different early Russian strategies:
- Stuff the border to prevent the the axis from declaring war.
- Defense through speedbumbs to delay the axis advance in the expense of units.
- Preserve the army and retreat orderly to defend the key areas (Ural,Caucasus, Leningrad,Rostov & Sevastopol to later make a comeback.

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Post #: 56
Value of a Hex - 11/18/2005 4:07:12 PM   
buckyzoom

 

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OK, I've been trying to get my mind around how to determine the value of a hex. Honestly, I'm having a tough time with the concept. Can you give me a little more information about how it will be used?

When I think about defending and attacking in Russia it depends on whether its the early or late game.

Early game (as has already been noted) is about preserving the Russian ARM units. There is no hex for which I would sacrifice an ARM class corp. Otherwise, I think about establishing 'hard points'. A hard point is a hex where it is very difficult to attack. In general they are hexes that eliminate offense ARM bonus and/or blitz attacks. Sometimes they may be a clear hex protected by a river where I could put an ARM class corp and two AT guns. (Using the 2D10 table) they are characterized by ...

Gotta go...

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Post #: 57
RE: Value of a Hex - 11/18/2005 6:41:49 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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Here are some excepts from the current AIO design document about the value of hexes. Because they are pretty obvious in Russia, I have omitted related sections about which types of units to produce and how to deploy them into the frontlines. Also missing is my preliminary analysis about cutting supply lines, since that is not in a coherent form yet. Note this is all a work in progress and comments, suggestions, and criticisms are always read seriously.

P.S. I know this is long but in my opinion, handling the tactics of land combat is the most essential element of getting the AIO to play well.

======================

2.9 Hexes
The ultimate goal is to be able to evaluate the risk of losing units in combat versus the gain of capturing hexes close to enemy capitals, resources and factories. There has to be very strong motivation in terms of combat values (CVs) for the AIO, playing Germany, to drive on Paris and Moscow and to contemplate invading Britain. Victory cities only play a role in the Grand Strategist decision making.

All of this leads to the value of land hexes. Now in and of themselves, hexes usually have no value. The exceptions are some specific hexes (capitals, resources, factories, rail lines, and victory hexes) and to that list we can add sources of supply when supply is hard to come by. But even the most mundane of hexes can rise in importance when the battle lines draw near. It is as part of a front line that hexes achieve their primary importance. Looking at Germany versus France in 1940, Germany versus the USSR in 1941, and China versus Japan in any year, the outstanding characteristic of the land combat is where the front lines are. What exactly is the value of a hex in the front line?

When on defense, we can count hexes defended by rivers as worth double “the average CV for the front line” since they effectively double defensive strength. We can count forest hexes as half the enemy’s average tactical air CV since they cut ground strikes and ground support in half. We give cities a bonus for forcing the enemy to use the assault table. We penalize clear hexes if the enemy has armor capable of overrunning our weaker units. And there are similar adjustments for other types of hex and hexside terrain. But when on the attack, all of these change in importance. It is better to attack weak hexes and force the enemy to abandon strong ones because of the threat to his lines of communications.

For both attackers and defenders, maintaining a continuous line is very important. Only under unusual circumstances can the goal of maintaining a continuous line be put aside.

8.25 Estimate land combat odds and losses
Weather, action choice/activity limits, and initiative affect likely CV losses. Those calculations can be done under the various conditions and probable losses (weighted by the probabilities for the weather et al) figured out. There are two ways to go here: (1) take the straight probable losses, or (2) take the minimal losses under the worse conditions.

8.26 Choose attack hexes - normal; s.11.16 (4)
Primary tactical stance
The FM receives information from the JCS which includes whether he should be on the offensive or defensive against the countries opposing him.

Front lines
Assuming that the primary tactical stance is offensive, the FM determines where his front line is (front lines are) for each enemy country. For example, at the start of the Global War scenario, Germany has one front line facing France and Great Britain and a second facing Poland. Against France and England, Germany is strongly defensive and against Poland, going in for the kill. Note that the front line includes coastal hexes that can be invaded and hexes behind the front line proper that can be attacked using paradrop and glider units.

Attacking units
Focusing on a single front line, the FM determines the land units he has available with which to attack. That is, the units are face up, in supply, and can reach an enemy zone of control this impulse. Sorting these units by combat strength and separating the corps from the divisions, he creates hypothetical stacks of 3 units per hex, again arranged from the best through to the worst. This is just a first pass for estimation purposes, since the units may or may not be able to actually form up in those groups because of their positions in the line. What he now knows is the highest number of combat factors that he can bring to bear on 1, 2, 3, or more hexes.

Defending units
Switching over to the enemy front line, he examines each hex that is in the ZOC of an enemy unit and sees if he can move units into it. Since being able to move into an enemy unit’s ZOC means you can attack the enemy unit, this determines which enemy hexes he can attack. Paradrops and invasions are slightly different, but a comparable procedure is used. For each attackable enemy hex, he calculates the defensive strength of the hex. As part of this calculation, he includes in the defensive strength the number of shifts (because enemy units are disrupted or there are forts present), the number of units in the hex, and the hex’s susceptibility to the use of any special units the FM has available. For instance, whether using armor or an engineer might have an effect.. Lastly, this calculation looks at the effect of terrain on the combat (e.g., assault table mandated) and counts the number of hexes from which the FM can attack this impulse (an attack across a river would count as half a hex).

Weak and strong points
For each hex that might be attacked, the FM makes a crude estimate of the odds he can achieve if the best possible units were to reach ideal positions for the attack. These estimates let the FM rank the hexes according to their vulnerability. Basically, the enemy weak points and strong points have been determined.

Disruption status
One of the subgoals of the FM during a turn is to turn all of the enemy units face down. Though this achieves only a temporal advantage, it can be decisive during long summer turns. The following items relate directly towards achieving that subgoal.

At the beginning of each impulse, the FM makes assessment A1 for each of his frontlines and records for each side the number of: (1) face up/down corps, (2) face up/down divisions, (3) face up/down tactical bombers, (4) face up/down strategic bombers (re: carpet bombing), (5) face up/down fighters, (6) face up/down ATRs, (7) units capable of immediate paradrops, (8) units capable of immediate invasions, and (9) offensive chits available. In addition, the FM identifies which units are out of supply, and the supply lines for units that are in supply. Other needed information is the likely number of impulses remaining i the turn, likely weather for the rest of the turn, and reinforcements available to both sides.

Tactical mode
What the FM needs to determine is which of 4 modes of attack to use: (1) destroy enemy units this impulse, (2) disrupt enemy units this impulse so they can be destroyed in a later impulse (or turn), (3) maneuver so better attacks can be made in the future, or (4) push the enemy back. Maneuvering can change supply status for friendly and enemy units, increase the number of hexes from which to attack an enemy hex, and improve the selection of hexes from which to attack. In situations where the enemy has the ability to counterattack, maneuvering can improve the FM’s resulting defensive line at the end of his impulse.

The calculations of estimated results provide the expected changes (for both sides) to the front line. This includes kills and disruptions. In addition to disruptions, units can also become face down because they were committed during the impulse (e.g., air units). And face down units might be reorganized. When the impulse is over, the FM makes a new assessment, A2, for each front line., and compares it to A1.

By extrapolating the change from A1 to A2 over the remaining impulses in the turn, the FM judges whether disruption is a viable tactic for the current turn. It works if the enemy units are mostly face down with no reorganization capability left while the FM still has a viable attacking force face up.

Direct attacks to kill enemy units is usually the best tactic but it might cause too many friendly casualties or disruptions. Or, if the FM limits attacks to only those with excellent odds, it might be too slow. Yet again, maneuvering is rarely fast and there might not be enough impulses in the turn to use the disruption tactic. The FM must be willing to accept that none of the modes will work as well as he would like and simply go with half measures, or no attacks at all.

4.3.8 Field Marshals
Based on the assessments and estimates of land units only, decide on your situation: (1) desperate defense, (2) strongly defensive, (3) somewhat defensive, (4) balanced, (5) somewhat aggressive, (6) attacking, or (7) going in for the kill. To some degree the 1st and 7th will depend on the proximity of objective hexes to the front line.

I will ignore paradrops and invasions for the moment. They need to be analyzed separately and from two perspectives: (1) opportunities to attack and (2) need to defend against possible attacks. For now, I will assume that the only units involved in an offensive are coming by land.

The value of a hex, and of a front line in general, depends on the tactical balance in the theater of operations. This is true both for attacking and defending.

...

1. Hexes that have direct value in CVs define what we are trying to defend (or capture from the German point of view).
2. The relative strength of land forces in the theater of operations tells us whether we are attacking or defending.
3. When defending we look for other units that might come to our aid, be they our own units from other theaters or from our allies. Actually, we might look for other units to help even when on the attack.
4. We calculate the length of the frontline we need to hold, and the average number and defensive strength of units we can put in each hex.
5. We decide whether to hold every hex, every other hex, or every third hex depending on the strength we can muster per hex for each possibility.
6. We worry about overruns.
7. We choose hexes with good defensive terrain.
8. We try different placements protecting the more valuable hexes first.
9. We perform post evaluations of placements critically, looking for weaknesses that the attacker might exploit.
10. We reduce the number of valuable hexes we are trying to defend if the post evaluations find too much fault with the placements.

...

Here is how I think the AIO should analyze the position for France in 1940.

(1) France is in a Somewhat Defensive position numerically. It would be worse except that the front line is short and every hex is behind the Maginot line. France can get about 14 strength points in each hex, which are tripled behind the fortified line to 42 points per hex. The weakest part of the line is Strasbourg because it can be attacked from 4 hexes but the Germans probably can’t get more that 18 points per hex which only gives them odds of 2:1 on the assault table at the very best. That assumes that air units are contributing a lot to the attack odds. The French units might be disrupted, but still, with extra units in the rear to replace lost units and participate in counter attacks, the French defensive line looks very solid.
(2) The major risk is having to defend the borders with the neutrals to both the left and right of the Maginot line.
(3) Switzerland looks like a tough nut to crack. It only has 2 hexes on the German border, both are mountainous, and the Swiss have 6 corps with which to defend (average strength of 4.5). Even if Italy gets involved, the Swiss only have to add one hex to their defensive line. The Swiss defensive strength is 10 per hex doubled for mountain, with the mountain unit tripled. That comes out to about 22 strength points per hex. The Germans are only attacking from 3 hexes at best, for 2:1 odds. It looks very similar to the Maginot line. In a worse case scenario, Germany would get an open hexside on the end of the Maginot line which isn’t very much gain for a lot potential casualties.
(4) Belgium is vastly weaker. Their 4 corps average 3.5 strength points each and they have 4 border hexes to defend against a German invasion. Two of those hexes are clear and susceptible to being overrun. With one unit in each frontline hex, the Belgian defensive strength is only 3.5 per hex and the Germans can get excellent odds against any hex they choose. The German air force can really help out here because the French and British can’t assist Belgium during the impulse that war is declared and the German Stukas can increase the odds with a couple of shifts all by themselves. Even more distressing is that once Belgium falls, the French frontline becomes extended by 6 hexes, 5 of which are clear hexes with virtually no good defensive terrain between Belgium and Paris.
(5) Therefore, France should ignore its border with Switzerland and set up units to defend against a German declaration of war on Belgium. That means France needs to defend 10 hexes of frontline from Calais to the border with Switzerland.
(6) The British can help out here by defending Calais and maybe even Lille if they are being generous with land units in continental Europe. That leaves 8 hexes for France to defend. 1231 and 1232 are the weak points because both of them are clear terrain and the Germans can attack from two hexes. France is hard pressed to get two units in every hex with divisional units on top to take losses. Even optimistically, they can only expect to get 12 strength points per hex.
(7) Given that Germany will be able to put 18 points per hex, that gives them 3:1 odds on the Blitzkrieg table. Since there is clear terrain in almost all the hexes behind the frontline, advance after combat looks like a serious threat.
(8) As soon as Germany declares war on Belgium, France goes over to a Strongly Defensive posture. Once Germany gets within 2 hexes of Paris, France goes to Desperate Defense.
(9) If possible, France should move into Belgium because that shortens the frontline by a hex. In general, France should press their frontline right up against the Germans because that increases the number of hexes between the Germans and almost all the valuable hexes France is trying to defend.
(10) We are getting closer to where the value of hexes comes into play. Let’s start by examining the 2 die 10 land combat table. The important numbers here are expected attacker losses, expected extra attacker losses due to terrain or weather, expected defender losses (excluding shattered units), and the probabilities that the defensive hex will be left empty if it holds 1, 2, or 3 units.
Odds	    A losses	A+ losses	D losses	Empty 1	Empty 2	Empty 3
1:2 Assault	1.32	.38	.31	25%	3%	1%
2:1 Assault	.93	.40	.81	67%	21%	15%
5:1 Assault	.42	.25	1.59	97%	72%	64%


Increasing the odds from 1:2 to 2:1 reduces the attacker losses by .39 and increases the defender losses by .50. The chances of taking out a 3 hex stack so the attacker can advance into an empty hex increases by 14%. Similar calculations can be done for other changes in the odds on the assault and blitzkrieg tables.

(11) In combination with the CV of individual units, we can now calculate the expected CV loss of a hex at various odds levels, for both the attacker and the defender. Putting in our knowledge of the terrain, we can see the effect terrain has on expected CV losses inflicted and received. We can also compare the Assault table to the Blitzkrieg table for expected losses and probability of having the defended hex vacated.
(12) All together, we now can compared the defensive value of 1132 (a clear hex) with 1131 (a woods hex half defended by a river). Eh, viola! We have a relative value for a hex in the frontline measured in terms of expected CV losses.
(13) We can examine each hex in the front line, assuming the attacker focuses maximum pressure on it, to determine expected CV losses. When we have done them all, we can then assign a value to each hex in either absolute CVs or as a ratio when compared to the best defensive hex in the line. Let’s go with the absolute value by simply subtracting the change in attacker CV losses from those of the defender. One of the CV loss values will be negative so you can think about this number as the net change to the two engaged armies. To summarize, hex 1131 is X number of CVs better than 1132. Alternatively, we could do this as a ratio and say that hex 1132 has only Y% of the defensive value of 1131. This loses the CV measure but it provides a direct measure of the relative worth of the hexes.
(14) One of the neat applications of this analysis is measuring the value of a hex adjacent to an intrinsically valuable hex. For example, going back to Poland, we can measure the improved odds Germany achieves by having an extra hex from which to attack Warsaw. That gives us the change in expected CVs and the value of the additional adjacent hex. In this discussion about France in 1940, we can apply it to evaluating the advantage of getting an extra hex from which to attack Lille or even the resource hexes 1232 and 1030. The value of hexes adjacent to valuable hexes can now be calculated in CVs.
(15) Indeed, if we have to give up one of two hexes, both of which are adjacent to a valuable hex, then we could use the ratio measure to determine which is better/easier to hold.
(16) A frontline is only as good as its weakest hex. Therefore we can use the hex CV measure to try out different placements of units to maximize the strength of the weakest hex.
(17) We can also examine different possible frontlines and perform the same assessment. This will let us decide whether to pull out of Belgium (1234 and 1233) if we lose 1232 and defend in France proper instead. The advantage is going to be that Lille is a city so the assault table has to be used. Both Lille and Calais are attackable from fewer hexes (3 to 2 and 2 to 1) than the hexes in Belgium. It should also let us measure the benefit of a shorter frontline since the average strength point per hex is likely to increase.
(18) However, pulling back means we are letting the Germans get closer to valuable hexes, Paris in particular.
(19) Time is another factor that needs to be considered when choosing a defensive line. If we can cause the attacking units to be disrupted, or at least increase the probability that they will, then that reduces the number of units the attacker can use to attack in the next impulse. Of course we should always be measuring the enemy’s ability to reorganize units with the goal of reducing that number to zero by either using ground strikes, keeping fighters available to intercept ATRs, or disrupting so many enemy units that the opponent depletes his reorganization capability.
(20) While on the subject of time, we should look ahead 2 or 3 turns to predict what the future has in store in the way of reinforcements for both sides. This is perhaps most crucial as we approach the end of a turn. Typically by then, during a major offensive, many units will be disrupted and the enemy’s ability to attack severely impaired. Most of his air units will have flown missions too, so he is unlikely to be able to put together more than one solid attack per impulse. Our evaluation of the defensive prowess of our frontline might be overly optimistic. We evaluate how feeble our opponent is with all those disrupted units and think about resting on our laurels. That is very dangerous, for if the opponent ends the turn (has the last impulse in the turn) and then gets the initiative for the next turn, we can be looking at all face up enemy units with his full complement of air units while our reinforcements have yet to arrive and our frontline irregularly formed after the opponent’s last attack. This possibility has to be considered very seriously and contingency plans made. It only takes one bad turn to transform a good defense position into a lost cause.
(21) It should be fairly easy to calculate how many attacks the enemy can make in the next impulse. There might be several numbers, such as 2 at very good odds, plus 1 at ok odds, plus 1 other at poor odds. From the defensive point of view we want to know probable CV losses for each side, the probable number of disrupted units for each side, likely defensive hexes left vacate, likely advance after combat hexes (including blitzkrieg advances), and likely retreats. We would do this for 2, 3, and 4 attacks (using the immediately previous hypothetical).
(22) Post analysis (look ahead) after pessimistic, likely, and optimistic results should be done. That lets us evaluate how bad things might be when we next get to move. Here is where we should worry about the turn ending and the opponent gaining the initiative for the next turn - and having to face the dreaded two impulses in a row.
(23) Comparative post analysis of different frontlines would let us choose between them. What we want to take into consideration is the attrition that inevitably occurs during combat. If we start out at a slight numerical disadvantage and equal casualties/disruptions are taken for a serious of impulses, the opponent usually ends up with units left to move while we have none. How many impulses remain in the turn becomes a crucial question. How many reinforcements both sides are going to receive also becomes crucial information for making good decisions.
(24) It would be nice to continue doing look ahead for several turns but that is a red herring. The probabilistic outcomes make looking ahead more than 1 impulse silly. We should rely on first principles of what constitutes a good defensive line instead. The incremental gain in information versus the cost in CPU time (and programming time) makes looking ahead more than 1 impulse not worth the effort. What we might do as a half measure is extrapolate from the previous impulse through to the expected end of turn. For example, we might have lost one hex of the frontline (Germans occupy what had previously been held by French units) and had so many casualties and disruptions on each side. If that continues for 3 more enemy impulses, then we will be back an entire hex row (closer to Paris).
(25) Looking back at the Poland example, we could expect to lose so many units/hexes during the first German impulse. A post analysis after pessimistic, likely, and optimistic results will let us predict if the second impulse will be about the same, better, or worse. Figuring out how long it will be until Warsaw falls should be doable. Applying a similar analytical process to the French frontline, the eventual fall of Paris can be crudely estimated.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to buckyzoom)
Post #: 58
RE: Value of a Hex - 11/18/2005 10:40:09 PM   
Greyshaft


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From: Sydney, Australia
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Do the calculations also allow/defenda against throwing in amphib landings or naval bombardment in examining potential combat? Not much of a threat for AI playing Germany v. France but could be a defensive factor if the AI was the Allies.

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/Greyshaft

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 59
RE: Value of a Hex - 11/19/2005 3:12:55 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 18402
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Greyshaft

Do the calculations also allow/defenda against throwing in amphib landings or naval bombardment in examining potential combat? Not much of a threat for AI playing Germany v. France but could be a defensive factor if the AI was the Allies.


The Field Marshal (FM) decision maker is aware of the possibility of support from the Admiralty and the Air Marshal and performs attack calculations both with and without their support. He then reports the end result of his calculations to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) decision maker, who directly decides which Action to take for each impulse, and indirectly decides on joint operations. If the JCS, through the choice of Action, enables the joint operations, then the FM chooses which hexes to attack and requests support from the other direct reports to the JCS (Admiralty & AM) - both of whom should be able to provide it from their available naval moves and air missions. This is a little hairy, just as it is when playing over the board. There are a lot of interdependencies and conflicting objectives between the branches of service (and amongst allies for that matter).

So, yes, the calculations do include all the odd bits of land combat that make up the rules for same in WIF.

Bt the way, the creation of individual decision makers facilitates writing the AIO. Designing it as one large monolithic logic structure would be a nightmare.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to Greyshaft)
Post #: 60
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