It is critically important that the allies be able to minimize losses and maximize gains in combats. I posted a lengthy post, including some math, on this back in January. I attach it below.
Hello all. I have been playing EiA for at least 15 years, with at least three significantly different gaming groups who all had slightly different rules interpretations. I understand that lots of people have different opinions and I respect them.
In this case, however, there is a critical game balance problem as the computer game is now played. The game balance problem is caused the lack of combined movement and shared political point gains/losses. The 'loan corps' feature is an attempt to correct what appears to be a problem with the difficulty in programming combined movement.
In every EiA game I have ever played, the goal as the 'at-start' alliance against France (Au/Pr always, usually with Russia, sometimes with Turkey) is to defeat France before it becomes an unstoppable monster. The reason this coalition always occurs is because France's counter density and leadership is much higher than the Allies'. An ideal full six-stack French army under Napoleon would be the Guard, the Artillery and Corps I-IV. This stack has a numerical strength of 20 Guard, 12 Artillery, 13 Cav or so and 90 Inf (there may be some error here), totall strength 135 or so. Morale is about 4.2
The Allies' best combined six-stack under Charles would be 2 Prussian, 2 Austrian and 2 Russian corps, containing the I-II corps of each nation. This has a strength of about 81 Infantry, 10 Guard and 10 Cavalry, totalling 101 factors. Nappy gets a +1 Charles gets a 0. Morale about 3.3
The Austrian best six-stack would have about 75I 5 Guard and 7 Cav, total 87 Factors) under Charles. Nappy gets a +1 Charles gets a 0. Morale about 3.2
The Prussian best six-stack has about 7 Guard, 75 I and 18 Cav (?) total 100 factors under Blucher. Nappy gets a +1 Blucher gets a 0. Morale about 3.4
Given the corps density, leadership and morale advantage, you would say that a 6-corps stack gives the French a 0.9 to 1.0 morale advantage, a 35% numbers advantage and a +1 die roll advantage. In fact, the French can pretty much get numerical parity and a 1.0 morale advantage using only 4 corps.
The French advantage of the +2 Guard, 1.0 morale and +1 die roll means that the French will win about 30% more battles on average than the Allies, and means that they will lose about half as many battles (with a much higher number of ties).
What does this mean politically?
On average, France will win 4 points for Nappy battles, whereas an allied stack will win 3. Given the 30% morale/leadership advantage this really turns out to be about 4.3 verus 2.7 for victories when normalized. Losing, France would lose 5 points 20% of the time whereas the Allies will lose 3 points 50% of the time. Again normalized this works out to be -1 to -1.5. So given equal stack corp numbers France on averave will gain 3.3 PP versus the Allies 1.2 when average losses are subtracted from average gains. Clearly this works out to France's advantage.
In the board game, on average, the Allies tactic for getting over this aparant advantage was twofold: Corps numbers and Splitting Forces. If a 3-country team attacks france they have about twice to 2.5 times the actual numbers of corps, which means that defending minor countries is difficult for France. This is a bit outside the scope of this thread. The Splitting Forces method takes advantage of the fact that under the EiA rules a defender only lost political points based on the number of its corps in the battle, instead of the total number of corps in the battle. As per the ideal stack above, if the Allies were to win the battle they would each get 3pp wheras if they lost they would only lose 1 pp each. Given the normalized math above, this brings down the differential by a factor of about 2.0 as the losses now cost 1/3 and the victories stay the same. You will see that the math then works out to a net difference of 3.3 to 3.2 France to Allies (roughly).
Now of course it's somewhat difficult to get the ideal 6-stack with 2 corps each. You would want to optimize your superstack by stacking 12 corps with Charles and 10 corps with Blucher/Kutuzov. This would still give France a +1 and the other countries a +0 for tactical rating but then gives the Allies a chance to get cav superiority which could bring the odds of getting a +1/+1 situation much higher. This also allows the corps number superiority to become more important as the French have to superstack themselves to avoid getting killed off by numbers alone.
So the rough math in this post is meant to show that if you want combat to be balanced for the "allies", against the numerical and morale advantage that France has, you should employ some form of victory-point splitting mechanism. Otherwise France will always win barring extremely bad luck. This is especially the case as France can split its movement between the Allies (due to the no-combined movement issues) and thus catch them before they can combine. The loaning corps solution is a pretty good one, but it has to be combined with the splitting-VP option or else it's meaningless.
Similar logic applies to fighting GB at sea.
There are many ways to implement this feature, given that loaning corps is very powerful in some ways (e.g. you can fight someone else's country without being at war with them by loaning your corps to a belligerent, even when in an enforced peace). My opinion is that keeping the old EiA method is best for balance:
1- If a nation's corps are commited in a battle in which their stack loses, a nation loses PP equal to 0.5 of their corps, rounded up, commited to the battle (including the usual double effect for 20+ factor corps and leaders like Nappy and Nelson)
2 - If a nation's corps are commited in a battle in which their stack wins, a nation gains PP equal to 0.5 of the enemy's corps, rounded up commited to the battle (including the usual double effect for 20+ factor corps and leaders like Nappy and Nelson)
In either case, maximum gains/losses equal to 3 except for bonuses/maluses for leaders (Nappy & Nelson).
Same as Land but with fleets equal to 1 each. Not sure if light fleets should be 0.5 or not.