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Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 6:46:12 AM   
Berkut

 

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I am at something of a loss to explain how this happens. Something very similar happened in our first game, and now again, so my opponenet and I decided to take a closer look.

It is May of 1863. We started in the July '61 scenario. Since the start, the armies in the East have danced a bit, but ahve never actually engaged. Both sides buily up maneuevered, and then finally, two years later, there is a big battle. 100k Union troops against 130k COnfederates.

We are using random, hidden general ratings. THe commander of the Union Army has Excellent COmmand, and Good Leadership. The South had a numeric advantage, and a quality advantage, so a loss was not a surprise.

What was a surprise? The 27,800 Union casualties to 7,000 Confederate.

Further, the battle was in Fredericksburg, and the Union retreated to Rappahanock. Guess that means they are all dead, since they cannot trace supply, and the South can march in an kill them all?

Anyway, we started wondering about the odd loss ratio, so we started talking about leaders and command staffs.

Here are the Southern Staff ratings, Command - Logistics:

Army: Superb - Great
1st Corps: Excellent - Good
1st Div: Good - Good
2nd Div: Great - Great
3rd Div: Normal - Good
2nd Corps: Great - Good
4th Div: Great - Fair
5th Div: Great - Great
6th Div: Great - Good

Wow. The Army of North Virginia really has their **** together! Pretty impressive for an army that has never seen combat before!

Now lets look at the Army of Virgina (named as such because it at one time took over a good chunk of Virginia while we danced last year):

Army: Poor - Fair
1st Corps: Poor - Fair
1st Div: Normal - Fair
2nd Div: Fair - Poor
3rd Div: Fair - Poor
2nd Corps: Fair - Normal
4th Div: Poor - Normal
5th Div: Fair - Normal
3rd Corps: Fair - Normal
6th Div: Good - Normal
7th Div: Fair - Normal

Now, *both* of these armies have been doing the exact same thing for the last couple years - namely, not fighting. How is that that the South has this astounding army staff from top to bottom? While the Northern Armies staff are all mediocre, at best?

This is in 1863 - not the beginning of the war by any means.

Update: Just got my turn back. The ANV moved into Rappahanock, defeating the Union forces again. The entire Union army surrendered, since they had no retreat path after retreating to Rappahanock instead of into Maryland, the Potomac, etc.

This is simple...broken.

< Message edited by Berkut -- 1/4/2007 6:56:54 AM >
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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 7:50:17 AM   
Berkut

 

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A quick sources check confirms that the initial battle, if it actually occurred, would be the most lop-sided victory in the entire Civil War.

No major Civil War battle involving more than 100k troops saw anything approaching a 4:1 casualty ratio, barring something exceptional like the siege and surrender of Vicksburg.

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 8:08:10 AM   
chris0827

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Berkut

A quick sources check confirms that the initial battle, if it actually occurred, would be the most lop-sided victory in the entire Civil War.

No major Civil War battle involving more than 100k troops saw anything approaching a 4:1 casualty ratio, barring something exceptional like the siege and surrender of Vicksburg.


There was one. Cold harbor.

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 8:18:18 AM   
Habbaku


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quote:

ORIGINAL: chris0827
There was one. Cold harbor.


This is more the exception that proves the rule than a refutation of the results, however.

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 8:18:27 AM   
Queeg


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I'm not a fan of the current casualty calculations. Far too many lop-sided battles. I know most of the loss is attributable to march attrition incurred by the loser. but the numbers don't make sense even so. Hope this can be tweaked.

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 3:24:40 PM   
jimkehn


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Berkut, I'm not sure the Union Army is out of supply and doomed to extinction. Maybe some one more knowledgable can comment, but if you own the Potomac River, aren't they considered having a line of communication and a place to retreat?

Now....if the south could pull out some Cav and march in behind you.........

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 3:30:10 PM   
Twotribes


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No that province is NOT connected to the Potomoc. The retreat rule needs to be looked at, this retreat happens everytime the Union loses in Fredricksburg. It isnt even controlled by the US.

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 4:13:50 PM   
Berkut

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Twotribes

No that province is NOT connected to the Potomoc. The retreat rule needs to be looked at, this retreat happens everytime the Union loses in Fredricksburg. It isnt even controlled by the US.


Yeah, the Army of the Potomac was destroyed in the next turn when it was pursued into Rappahanock and could not retreat.

So much for the hours and hours spent on that PBEM game. This is very frustrating - having a game ended in this manner really makes it hard to fire up another one.

Why a army would retreat into a province that is out of supply rather than just retreating back into Maryland is beyond me. I did control Rappahanock at the time though.

That is pretty clearly broken.

The combat results, while ridiculous, are not nearly as disturbing as the retreat rule. The retreat rule, while annoying, is probably an easy fix.

What is more concerning, to me, is how the Confederate Army in 1863, without seeing action, has managed to improve all their staff rating to the highest levels.

So this one battle exposes several different issues, all potentially game breaking:

1. The combat results are grossly out of whack with typical ACW large battle results. 4:1 casualty ratios were exceedingly rare, and almost unheard of barring exceptional circumstances.

2. The staff training routine seems rather incredibly out of balance, in favor of the South. How did the Southern Army end up with not just better, but much, much better staff ratings while doing essentially the exact same thing as the Northern army?

3. The retreat algorithm needs to avoid retreating into areas that are out of supply, if an area in supply can be reached.

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 4:22:05 PM   
Mike Scholl

 

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"Further, the battle was in Fredericksburg, and the Union retreated to Rappahanock. Guess that means they are all dead, since they cannot trace supply, and the South can march in an kill them all?"

"Update: Just got my turn back. The ANV moved into Rappahanock, defeating the Union forces again. The entire Union army surrendered, since they had no retreat path after retreating to Rappahanock instead of into Maryland, the Potomac, etc.
"



THIS is the real key point of "system failure". Armies don't retreat off in random directions---they fall back on their bases. The AotP should have "retreated" into the same province it arrived from..., or the largest, and best-supported province adjacent (Potomac River or Annapolis). The game engine always seems to hunt for the worst and least likely route of retreat to compound it's already rather overdone "pursuit loss" result. I wish someone would show me where these massively successfull "pursuits" took place in the ACW? I think they are a "leftover" from COG (where they did make some sense) that the design team forgot to take out.

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 4:28:08 PM   
Berkut

 

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Actually, the Union was the defender in the battle (making the 4:1 losses all the more galling). I had taken most of Northern Virginia in the previous summers dance.

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 4:45:21 PM   
Mike Scholl

 

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But your big "base provinces" were still Potomac River and Annapolis, right? That's where you had supporting forts and garrisons? So the game engine sending you off into the ONE province where you couldn't retreat was still a bunch of baloney, right?

Armies have "lines of communications" and "major supply bases". They don't just wander around randomly. The game system has a "problem" in this area that needs to be addressed.

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 4:48:45 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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IIRC, the next update does include an improvement to the retreat path algorithm as well, which I believe addresses this issue.

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 4:48:59 PM   
Berkut

 

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Indeed.

I wonder if there is any chance of getting some imput from Devs on these issues....

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 4:51:15 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Berkut
1. The combat results are grossly out of whack with typical ACW large battle results. 4:1 casualty ratios were exceedingly rare, and almost unheard of barring exceptional circumstances.


What kind of advances and weaponry did you and your opponent have? Those can play a big role in the quick battles. FWIW, I did every battle Quick Battle in my recent test against the AI and every big battle was pretty balanced. The worst I saw was a 2:1 casualty ratio.

I've seen the lopsided results in smaller battles, where one side is badly outnumbered, or when there's a huge difference in things like supply, weaponry, disposition, etc. But every battle shouldn't be a Ball's Bluff situation.

Regards,

- Erik


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For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 4:53:36 PM   
Sonny

 

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Several times I have seen Confederate troops fight in Maryland and retreat to Lancaster Pa. (which was not a rebel held province).

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 4:53:51 PM   
Mike Scholl

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Erik Rutins

IIRC, the next update does include an improvement to the retreat path algorithm as well, which I believe addresses this issue.



THANK YOU ERIC! This has been a really annoying occurance. Kudos for picking up on it and working it into the next patch.

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Post #: 16
RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 5:13:47 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Yep, here we go "16) FIX V1.2.4: Prefer to retreat to home provinces w/o enemies" - sorry this caused such a pain for you, but it is fixed and I haven't seen anything like that in my recent testing. When I lost a battle with the US Army in Fredericksburg, they retreated back to friendly territory.

Regards,

- Erik

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For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 5:23:33 PM   
Berkut

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Erik Rutins


quote:

ORIGINAL: Berkut
1. The combat results are grossly out of whack with typical ACW large battle results. 4:1 casualty ratios were exceedingly rare, and almost unheard of barring exceptional circumstances.


What kind of advances and weaponry did you and your opponent have? Those can play a big role in the quick battles. FWIW, I did every battle Quick Battle in my recent test against the AI and every big battle was pretty balanced. The worst I saw was a 2:1 casualty ratio.

I've seen the lopsided results in smaller battles, where one side is badly outnumbered, or when there's a huge difference in things like supply, weaponry, disposition, etc. But every battle shouldn't be a Ball's Bluff situation.

Regards,

- Erik



Mixed bag for both of us.

The Union Army had a mix of Minies, Imp Springfields, and such. No muskets. I had some upgrades, he had some upgrades.

The Southern army did have a quality edge - he said most of his troops were around 4 quality, most of mine were around 3. I actually expected to lose the fight. I had a couple brigades of artillery, couple cav. I think he had more Cav though, not sure.


Ignoring the rather silly staff ratings and the retreat bug, 4:1 casualties in a major fight just shouldn't really happen - even if one side does have a decent advantage in quality. Quite simply, Civil War armies did not stick around to get that beat up, and lacking the mobile ability to encircle and destroy large formations, extremely lopsided casualty ratios should be very exceptional. We are talking about armies with LESS mobility than WW1 armies!

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 5:25:56 PM   
Berkut

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Erik Rutins

Yep, here we go "16) FIX V1.2.4: Prefer to retreat to home provinces w/o enemies" - sorry this caused such a pain for you, but it is fixed and I haven't seen anything like that in my recent testing. When I lost a battle with the US Army in Fredericksburg, they retreated back to friendly territory.

Regards,

- Erik


Nice, good to see this one fixed.

Although I would rather see an algorithm that simply would never have an army retreat into a province that would be out of supply as a result of the retreat, if there was one available otherwise. Armies of this time were hyper-sensitive to their lines of supply, for obvious reasons.

Anything on the other two issues forthcoming in 1.2.4?

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 8:59:47 PM   
jimwinsor


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OOOF! Yes most unfortunate result. Like Erik said, retreat path issue is fixed, but on top of that....don't ever forget you have that Seek/Avoid Battle button on you army.  Set to Avoid, and I think you woulda had a 50% chance of actively moving back thru Fburg to Potomac, escaping the trap.

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/4/2007 10:44:32 PM   
Berkut

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: jimwinsor

OOOF! Yes most unfortunate result. Like Erik said, retreat path issue is fixed, but on top of that....don't ever forget you have that Seek/Avoid Battle button on you army. Set to Avoid, and I think you woulda had a 50% chance of actively moving back thru Fburg to Potomac, escaping the trap.


Yeah, once I was stuck in Rappahanock, that is exactly what I did, to no avail. The nasty Rebs caught me anyway.

Which was to be expected, what with their Superb Command Staffs!

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/5/2007 9:17:03 PM   
Berkut

 

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Bump - hoping to hear something definitive about the combat loss ratio issue, and definitely about the rather out of kilter staff ratings.

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/5/2007 9:52:21 PM   
jchastain


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One other point I would suggest you to track when looking at battles results is supply.  In my testing, I have found supply level to be perhaps the most critical element to the performance of my armies.

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/5/2007 10:29:53 PM   
Berkut

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: jchastain

One other point I would suggest you to track when looking at battles results is supply. In my testing, I have found supply level to be perhaps the most critical element to the performance of my armies.


Good suggestion.

I do not know what the supply levels where, but the US Army was sitting in a friendly province for quite some time, and had not engaged in a battle. So I would presume that their supply situation should have been ok.

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/5/2007 10:30:50 PM   
Joram

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Berkut

Bump - hoping to hear something definitive about the combat loss ratio issue, and definitely about the rather out of kilter staff ratings.


They've talked about both many times. I suggest you would do a search of the forums.

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/5/2007 10:54:05 PM   
Berkut

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Joram


quote:

ORIGINAL: Berkut

Bump - hoping to hear something definitive about the combat loss ratio issue, and definitely about the rather out of kilter staff ratings.


They've talked about both many times. I suggest you would do a search of the forums.


Thanks for the helpful suggestion.

I've seen plenty of posts about the combat ratios, most of which are similar to mine. THe only response I've seen has been essentially "Well, we think that they are ok".

Well, they are not ok. 4:1 should not happen often, if at all, and certainly not when you are talking about major, sustained fights with high casualty levels. I would like to know if this is being looked at, hopefully in the context of the next patch.

And I have not seen anything at all definitive adressing the staff problem, or anything explaining how one side can get an all around amazingly good staff like that, while the other must make do with a poor staff.

These are, IMO, two rather major issues. Without resolution, the game is unplayable via PBEM, at least it is to me. And since the only reason I bought the game was to play by email, it is something of an important topic for me.

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/6/2007 5:27:18 AM   
General Quarters

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: jchastain

One other point I would suggest you to track when looking at battles results is supply.  In my testing, I have found supply level to be perhaps the most critical element to the performance of my armies.


What seems critical -- a minimum supply level of at least 5? Or is it a matter of the higher, the better for the purposes of battle performance?

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/6/2007 6:55:06 AM   
Berkut

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: General Quarters


quote:

ORIGINAL: jchastain

One other point I would suggest you to track when looking at battles results is supply. In my testing, I have found supply level to be perhaps the most critical element to the performance of my armies.


What seems critical -- a minimum supply level of at least 5? Or is it a matter of the higher, the better for the purposes of battle performance?



Ughh, I hope not.

Being low on supply should be bad. Being out of supply should be really bad. Other than that, having lots of supply should make a minor, if any, difference.

I wonder if that is part of the problem with battle results - just too many "minor" variables that add up together and end up with extreme results?

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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/6/2007 7:11:18 AM   
Mike Scholl

 

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OK, Eric. Now what have you guys got in the works to fix this rediculous state of affairs?

"Here are the Southern Staff ratings, Command - Logistics:

Army: Superb - Great
1st Corps: Excellent - Good
1st Div: Good - Good
2nd Div: Great - Great
3rd Div: Normal - Good
2nd Corps: Great - Good
4th Div: Great - Fair
5th Div: Great - Great
6th Div: Great - Good

Wow. The Army of North Virginia really has their **** together! Pretty impressive for an army that has never seen combat before!

Now lets look at the Army of Virgina (named as such because it at one time took over a good chunk of Virginia while we danced last year):

Army: Poor - Fair
1st Corps: Poor - Fair
1st Div: Normal - Fair
2nd Div: Fair - Poor
3rd Div: Fair - Poor
2nd Corps: Fair - Normal
4th Div: Poor - Normal
5th Div: Fair - Normal
3rd Corps: Fair - Normal
6th Div: Good - Normal
7th Div: Fair - Normal

Now, *both* of these armies have been doing the exact same thing for the last couple years - namely, not fighting. How is that that the South has this astounding army staff from top to bottom? While the Northern Armies staff are all mediocre or worse."


It's pretty obvious that something very one-sided is at work in getting to this result. The South may have had some better Leaders in the early going than the North..., but these are "staff wallahs". There is no rational reason why one side's should be that much better than the other's..., especially in the "logistics" realm where the North excelled. Something's just not "kosher" here. Any ideas?

(in reply to Erik Rutins)
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RE: Could someone explain this for me? - 1/10/2007 1:30:06 AM   
Gil R.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Berkut

Yeah, the Army of the Potomac was destroyed in the next turn when it was pursued into Rappahanock and could not retreat.

So much for the hours and hours spent on that PBEM game. This is very frustrating - having a game ended in this manner really makes it hard to fire up another one.

Why a army would retreat into a province that is out of supply rather than just retreating back into Maryland is beyond me. I did control Rappahanock at the time though.



We're considering a change -- suggested by Hard Sarge, I believe -- that would enable armies that lose battles in coastal provinces from which they have no escape by land to escape to the nearest friendly port, as if they had been evacuated a la Dunkirk. In such cases, they would take HEAVY casualties, so armies might escape, but lose a good deal of strength. (And I just came up with the idea that in such evacuations armies would lose any non-improves artillery, as yet another penalty.)

I assume people like this idea?

(in reply to Berkut)
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