Tomn -> The Honorable Fraternity of Logistics Workers - Logistics Capacity Explained (7/8/2020 3:06:29 PM)
So one of the concepts that confuses a lot of new players is logistics capacity and how it works. That ain't a surprise, because it's kinda unintuitive in a lot of ways, and so to help new players try to understand it people tend to resort to analogies like pipes and water flow and bucket lines and so on that sometimes helps, and other times doesn't.
Well, I'm here to muddy the waters yet more by introducing my own analogy which will hopefully, at the very least, prove entertaining.
See, when the Galactic Republic fell, most organizations were destroyed in the Dissolution War, no longer having the infrastructure or the civilization to support them. But there was one organization that was so important, so ubiquitous, and so powerful that it survived even the collapse of galactic civilization to continue providing its services and enforcing it rules even in the post-apocalyptic wastelands of the far future.
I refer, of course, to the Honorable Fraternity of Logistics Workers, the trade union that governs all those who work in logistics. No matter how powerful or how autocratic and despotic a government may be, nobody can afford to defy the Brotherhood, so essential are their services to just about everything, and so their rules protecting their workers are sacrosanct.
One rule in particular defines their organization:
One hex, one worker, one box, one turn.
See, when you build a logistical building, you're not actually setting up fleets of trucks going everywhere, oh no. What you're actually doing is setting up comfortable living quarters for the logistical workers and their families, and taxis to bring them home at the end of the working day. In return, the Honorable Fraternity will then undertake to position their workers all along the roads you designate, and whenever you want to move things down the road, the logistical workers will pass your supplies all down along the hexes from one worker to another in a great big chain until your packages have reached their destination.
But though they'll serve you in moving their supplies, their rules remain ironclad: One worker works a single hex for the space of a single turn and can only move a single box from one edge of his hex to another during that turn, following which they are free to go home for the day.
Move two boxes in a turn? Screw you, union rules.
Move over to another hex to pick something up? Screw you, union rules.
Execute a worker to intimidate the rest into doing your bidding? Nope, that's it, down tools, everyone's going home, enjoy having your empire starve!
So what does that mean? Well, consider the following scenario. Say you have a chain of three hexes, one leading to your SHQ, one just in the middle, and the last leading to your front, like so:
(SHQ) -> (Central) -> (Front)
So let's say you have 400 logistical points in each hex. That means you have 400 workers, who can carry 400 boxes of stuff in each hex, with the workers of one hex picking up their box, schlepping it to the border, and then passing the box on to the worker in the next hex, all the way on until it reaches the front. It doesn't matter where the box came from or where it's going - as long as the box reaches their hex, the workers are happy to pass it on, so you could have 200 boxes of stuff going from the SHQ to the front, and 200 boxes of stuff from the front to the SHQ, and they'll be fine with that as long as you don't try to move 401 boxes of stuff through the same hex.
But what if you had this situation?
(400) -> (200) -> (400)
In that case, you're only going to get 200 boxes of stuff to the front. Why? Because there's only two hundred workers in the central hex, and once they finished moving their two hundred boxes, that's it, they're done, they're going home, and nothing you can say or do will convince them otherwise. So once the supplies move through to the front, you'll get this situation:
(200) -> (0) -> (200)
Now two hundred of the guys at the front will be done - they moved their boxes to your units, they're finished, they're going home. But there's still gonna be two hundred guys sitting around, waiting for orders. They're happy to help! You want to strategically transfer 200 points worth of units? These guys will pick up the tanks and crowdsurf them all the way to the front. Do you have supplies that for some reason need to go from the front right up to the hex just before the central hex? They'll carry that for you, no problem! Got nothing for them to do? That's fine, they'll stand by and wait!
But ask them to move into the central hex to pick up the other two hundred supplies your guys at the SHQ can deliver? Nope, screw you, union rules.
Now let's say you used the bottleneck view to take a look at your logistical network to see why everyone was starving. What would you see?
(Yellow(maybe green? Can't recall offhand now), 50%) -> (Black, 0%) -> (Yellow, 50%)
That bit of black? That represents your bottleneck. That's what's holding things up, because all the workers in that hex have gone home and there's nobody left to carry further supplies. You want to ensure more supplies going down the road, you need to set up new worker housing so that more logistical workers are stationed there who can carry more supplies. If you ever see red, that's a danger sign that the network there is getting overstressed and it's best to increase the logistical capacity in the region.
But the yellow down the line? Sure, the bottleneck is keeping supplies from getting to the front - but the front still has workers available and waiting for a job, and that's why they're listed as not being bottlenecked - they're partially used, since they're passing on all the supplies the bottleneck could pass on, but they're still available, and thus, still listed as yellow.
And that's how logistical capacity works. So the next time you're poring over your logistical network, wondering why in the hell one single hex's worth of problems can seize up your entire supply chain even if everything else appears fine? Blame the Honorable Fraternity of Logistics Workers.
But do so under your breath, or else it's time to down tools and go home.