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RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/2/2011 5:06:14 PM   
saygame

 

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I applaud your scientific, numerative and inquisitive approach, color, to understand underlying game mechanics in approaching solutions for the Axis to the '41 blizzard. Only when we understand cause can we effect alternative solutions. Bravo to you for presenting an advocacy for learning!
I have spent much of the last two days reviewing the ongoing and (sometimes muted) emotional debate in the AAR forum regarding the '41 blizzard game mechanics. Whether it correctly tracks actual and potential historicity as intended by the devs or not, your treatise will help them to explore. I find it humorous how heavy an influence that emotion and gameside playing experience play in judging this game design as accurate or not. And so I heartily endorse your approach to deal with what currently is and, more importantly, to foster understanding of the design.
As Panama astutely observed earlier, there are historical certainties we can change in gaming and others we cannot when we investigate history. Both Soviet and Axis players have huge advanatages that accrue from knowing original conditions and results ("Monday morning quarterbacking"). Original errors made by the participants, such as Stalin or Hitler, require a conscious design decision by the devs as whether to try and enforce their replication or allow the player to craft their own reactions to what is now known and heavily analyzed history. The game design system seems to me to allow, in different areas, a little of both.
I, for one, wish to explore what if Hitler had allowed a mass retreat in view of Axis failure to prepare in logistics and training for a protracted winter/spring campaign. How might that alternative path chosen alter German and Soviet Army configurations in 1942 for continued operations? Anecdotally I suspect, it seems somewhat likely that massive fortififications (without much limitation) that the game design allows alongside reduced Soviet winter offensive casualties might overtly harm offensive Axis chances in 1942. But I speculate and digress.

I think any potential problems with what is WAD and what is not will come from such astute observations as Panama's in conjunction with your results and also Anoroch's game testing. Your investigation will help open a pathway for the devs to see if the outcomes of their design matches their intent and then tweak it, if necessary, to more closely align their design with their intent, as authors, for this game. Meanwhile your rubberband approach seems an enlightened methodology to cope with what currently are game design mechanics and to understand what the game design is attempting to model for us. Your defense can address the latter (the Soviets) but not the former (weather) while potentially yielding a result that could moderate Soviet ground gains achieved.
So far, your data seems to imply that the design emphasis is on a "General Winter" functioning as the dominant Axis adversary followed closely by a Soviet Army that is able to heavily amplify weather's effect. This amplification by the Soviets may be a tad overstated in the design given rather unrestricted Soviet abilities to conduct entire front-wide offensive and logistical operations in the face of the beatings it had so recently sustained in fall '41 but, of course, that is debatable.
Again I applaud such investigations on your part. And yours are particularly presented with such clarity. I am also duly impressed with your command of English as well. Wish I spoke Norwegian.
So do carry on! I look forward with anticipation to what you discover.

saygame

(in reply to Oleg Mastruko)
Post #: 31
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/2/2011 6:24:23 PM   
color

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Oleg Mastruko


quote:

ORIGINAL: color
As of mid jan '42 I'm seeing many german infantry divisions at 2 CV strength, and I'm starting to get more and more hold results.


Where's that? Around Warsaw or Dresden?

I assume you+re playing vs AI which usually just bulldozes it's way forward with no real concept of flanking and exploiting. That way, indeed, 13 turns of blizz may turn into Big Anorak's optimistic projection of front moving 12-14 hexes.

However human is smarter, he won't use your weakness to just bulldoze, he will brutally exploit, encircle, cut off, flank and go deep, pushing you far far more than 12-14 hexes, killing your units along the way.


All over the map, from north to south, except the German minor allies units of course :)

You raise a very valid point. This might work against the AI, but I really feel uncertain if it is doable against a human. I would really much like to see anybody's experiences using this strategy in a human vs human game.
Anyway it will surely provide some insight that help people make smarter choices when confronted with similar situations on a smaller scale.


< Message edited by color -- 3/2/2011 6:29:00 PM >

(in reply to Oleg Mastruko)
Post #: 32
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/2/2011 6:27:56 PM   
PeeDeeAitch


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I plan to lose my game against a human trying something along these lines. Check my AAR for results.

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- Call me PDH

- WitE noob tester

(in reply to color)
Post #: 33
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/2/2011 6:32:05 PM   
color

 

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thanks for your kind words, saygame

I've been using english as a work language for many years and in some cases been working with companies from the USA.
That really helps to master the english language

(in reply to PeeDeeAitch)
Post #: 34
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/2/2011 8:30:37 PM   
bevans

 

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Purists would argue that working with US companies will help you with 'American', not necessarily English.

(in reply to color)
Post #: 35
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/2/2011 10:12:22 PM   
Mynok


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If by 'purists' you mean 'Englanders', yes.

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Post #: 36
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/2/2011 10:45:10 PM   
Senno

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: PeeDeeAitch

I plan to lose my game against a human trying something along these lines. Check my AAR for results.


Same here. But I am not writing an AAR.

Maybe Oleg will write an AAR and put my pithy comments I e-mail to him between turns into it?

"From Blitzkrieg to Sitzkrieg" by Senno, working non-title.

Hey PeeDee, my troops all stopped at the kitsch shops in the baltic states and refused to advance. Any advice?

(in reply to PeeDeeAitch)
Post #: 37
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/2/2011 10:49:37 PM   
PeeDeeAitch


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I have none. The damned Soviets swamp-shops are evil. All the spare reichsmarks were spend on leg-shaped table lamps and hula girls with clocks in their bellies. It was a nightmare.

_____________________________

"The torment of precautions often exceeds the dangers to be avoided. It is sometimes better to abandon one's self to destiny."

- Call me PDH

- WitE noob tester

(in reply to Senno)
Post #: 38
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/3/2011 12:17:42 AM   
Q-Ball


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I would like to see some examples of Winter Defenses against HUMANS.

I think the current Blizzard is fine vs. the AI; sure it wasn't pleasant, but I was able to bounce back. The AI needs some extra "Help".

Humans don't, though......

_____________________________


(in reply to PeeDeeAitch)
Post #: 39
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/3/2011 3:50:13 AM   
Mynok


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It's worth some AI time just to make sure that some of the bugs are fixed. That's why I'm doing one.

I plan to try a human game once they put out some betas with some tweaks to the balance so they can get some feedback.


_____________________________

"Measure civilization by the ability of citizens to mock government with impunity" -- Unknown

(in reply to Q-Ball)
Post #: 40
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/5/2011 1:49:08 AM   
color

 

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So with upcoming weekend I found the time to run the rubber band defence experiment until 5.2.42.
Right now I think I will stop here, as march is only 4 turns and will probably contain several snow turns.
So running until end march won't probably change much.

My experiences in jan '42 from using the rubber band defence is that in this month I've seen the strenght return somewhat compared to december.
In the first game using "hold and only retreat if forced to", at this stage I was just a punching ball for the AI.
Using the rubber band strategy I'm still a player in the game.
I've also seen a high number of holds, especially against the second line.
There have been some disappointments though. In the end of the period I've seen several units go unready and some tendency that the second line has failed as well. This has mostly been in the south Axis Allies frontline. No breakthroughs were achieved though.

The most interesting part is the number crunching & analysis.
Will get to that soon, but first I would like to say the big drawback of this strategy is the considerable loss of territory. I did loose more territory than when I applied the hold strategy.

Before I represent the numbers, a quick legend summary from the first post:

quote:

The first column shows the loss numbers as they were on the first turn. Note all loss numbers are in 100k chunks.
The 4 following columns shows the result as of 5.2.42 for the following four test scenarios:
- No attacks & No enemy units adjacent, so both those casualties elements are removed. Only blizzard casualties (that I know of).
- Static frontline, no attacks. Casualties are from blizzard and frontline attrition.
- Normal gameplay using the rubber band strategy.
- Normal gameplay from the original game.

The green numbers are the total losses in each scenario for the period (4.12 - 5.2).
The red numbers are the casualties losses in the three last scenarios minus the 'only blizzard attrition'. I.e. the red numbers show what additional casualties were added in those scenarios apart from the blizzard effect (from scenario one).
An lastly the % of losses in the period that can be atttributed to combat or frontline attrition, with the remaining percentage being the blizzard attrition.


ALSO, let me specify the game was played on CHALLENGING against Soviet AI, using version 1.01



Looking at the numbers above I would like to highlight the following:

1. Using rubber band strategy compared to hold & only forced retreat, german losses are down by almost 300.000 men. With the hold strategy netting 518k casualties, that is a 60% drop in casualties.
If you compare that to the russian casualties, they are down by almost 400.000 men. But with the hold strategy netting 1 173k russian casualties, a 400k drop only represents a 30% drop.
In other words, the ratio of casualties have changed from ca 2,2:1 (soviet:german) to 2,9:1. - or a 25% improvement.

2. Running the game with no attack & no enemy units adjacent, the Germans lost a total of 544.000 men. I am not sure what this number is supposed to represent, but except the blizzard attrition I know of no other attrition factors in this particular scenario. In the same period the russians did suffer 34.000 losses, so there is probably some other attrition factor involved, but it seems minor and not significant. For the sake of it lets assume 500k is the pure blizzard attrition number.

If this really is the real blizzard attrition number, and if I remember it correctly that the germans suffered around 250k frostbite casualties the first winter (can anybody please confirm the real number?) ... I'm hoping I have any wrong assumptions here, cause if not a doubling of blizzard casualties in the game compared to historical numbers does seem a bit extreme.

So, I hope some of the testers see the 2. number and maybe can shed some light on this issue.

I'm not going to try to conclude anything about the state of the blizzard mechanics, but I would like to make a conclusion of my impression of the rubber band strategy.

Conclusion:

- Successfull application of this strategy is probably gonna favourably change the ratio of casualties in the german direction. I think this can be summed up to a more resilient German force in '42 as well as the bulk of the forces being outside 'determined assault' range of the infantry. In order to assault the second line it seems the soviets has to use hasty attacks which have a much wider variety in outcome, or if not use his cavalry which burns up this valuable asset. (same goes for tank brigades).

- As the German you will have a stronger infantry force, come spring '42. In my particular case I improved it by 300k men, which is a sizeable number. You will also find it easier to maintain cohesion in jan '42, and can consider trying to hold in some places. I did try to hold in some selected places with a generally good success rate, but I was very careful as to not take any chances to skew the results of the test.
- The loss of territory is considerable, and is the biggest disadvantage. You have to choose wisely when to apply this strategy, as a whole winter of going back & back & back might hurt you too much. Most probably the best is to apply this strategy to survive the toughest blizzard turns in '41 and then in jan '42 try to stabilize the frontline. For that you probably have to plan way upfront and have prepared one or two lvl2+ fort lines which you can - including lost territory when retreating whole dec '41 - move into come beginning of '42.

- I am really unsure how much success this strategy will have against a human player. Hopefully someone will try this strategy in a PBEM game and report back their findings.


(in reply to Mynok)
Post #: 41
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/19/2011 3:54:54 AM   
PeeDeeAitch


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Color, so you know. I am going to try out parts of this in my most recent PBEM.  I am not going to do it everywhere, the mountain troops will make the south better I think, but the center has always been my problem area and I guess I should see how a rubber band works.

Will keep you updated.

_____________________________

"The torment of precautions often exceeds the dangers to be avoided. It is sometimes better to abandon one's self to destiny."

- Call me PDH

- WitE noob tester

(in reply to color)
Post #: 42
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/19/2011 2:35:08 PM   
color

 

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Good luck Peedee. :)

Yours will be the test if this tactic actually works against a intelligent human or not.

(in reply to PeeDeeAitch)
Post #: 43
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/19/2011 11:41:33 PM   
inscrutible

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Oleg Mastruko


quote:

ORIGINAL: color
As of mid jan '42 I'm seeing many german infantry divisions at 2 CV strength, and I'm starting to get more and more hold results.


Where's that? Around Warsaw or Dresden?

I assume you+re playing vs AI which usually just bulldozes it's way forward with no real concept of flanking and exploiting. That way, indeed, 13 turns of blizz may turn into Big Anorak's optimistic projection of front moving 12-14 hexes.

However human is smarter, he won't use your weakness to just bulldoze, he will brutally exploit, encircle, cut off, flank and go deep, pushing you far far more than 12-14 hexes, killing your units along the way.


I've only just found this thread but have been using a combination of hold fast and rubber band depending on where russian strength is and have been getting reasonable results against the AI (conceding about 15 hexes depth along sections of my front line). The AI however does not fully exploit the gaps in my lines (sometimes does) and so I would expect a human opponent to push me back further by threatening to flank my positions.


(in reply to Oleg Mastruko)
Post #: 44
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/20/2011 1:36:30 AM   
kfmiller41


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quote:

I congratulate Color for putting his brain in gear and trying to nut out a solution. Rather than the standard 'its broken' approach. Perhaps if Soviet losses were maximised before the blizzard this kind of strategy might just work.


Playing as the Russian in 5 games to the blizzard, I can say for sure that this is the single most important thing you can do as the German player. If you can do enough damage then the Russians will not have the numbers to attack all across the front like I have in every game I have played.

< Message edited by miller41 -- 3/20/2011 1:39:08 AM >


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RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/20/2011 3:35:42 AM   
Infanteer

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Oleg Mastruko
I assume you+re playing vs AI which usually just bulldozes it's way forward with no real concept of flanking and exploiting.


Sounds pretty historically accurate for the Red Army of late '41.

(in reply to Oleg Mastruko)
Post #: 46
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/20/2011 6:34:26 PM   
PeeDeeAitch


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Well, I am going into the blizzard with Leningrad, Moscow, Kharkov, Stalino, and the Crimea captured.  I gave the Soviets about 4 million casualties and pushed them far back in most regions (the snow turns will see my last offensives to take Orel and other cities in the center).

They key is both to hurt the Soviets and to not be afraid to give up some ground.  10-13 hexes for survival of the army (and the March counter-attacks) seems to me a good trade if it works.  We shall see...

_____________________________

"The torment of precautions often exceeds the dangers to be avoided. It is sometimes better to abandon one's self to destiny."

- Call me PDH

- WitE noob tester

(in reply to Infanteer)
Post #: 47
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 3/21/2011 12:15:37 AM   
mmarquo


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No doubt that the way to weather the blizzard is to start off with less Soviets then Germans on the map. The first 4 moves are the worst, and these turns are for withdrawing...to level 3/4 forts. While the Axis may get ejected, if they are aligned so only 2 stacks can attack them frontally, then the Soviet will suffer significant losses and will become more easily unready; and unready combat units may only attack if they have not expended any movement points during the turn; so the next turn they are useless if you have fallen back at least one hex.

The correlate of the rubband defense is that tension is being developed for a massive reposte in the Spring.

Marquo

(in reply to PeeDeeAitch)
Post #: 48
RE: 'Rubber Band' Blizzard Defence - 4/3/2011 10:18:08 PM   
PeeDeeAitch


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Some "gut" data here.

Using this defense properly, with the columns of divisions with spaces in between and a fall back of one hex each turn into (hopefully) ready fortifications, can save combat efficiency. Most often the attacks that came were hasty, and while I had my fair share of retreats, I had less than the flood of deliberates one gets most of the time.

Now, I will say that my blizzard start was very good in terms of the hurt the Soviets had, but even when they were ready and had those stacks of doom, there were very few routes, very few line smashings, and very little stress. The only problem I had was the junction of two armies, one (17th) that was trying to hold fast to guard Stalino, one (6th) that was rubberbanding like mad.

Still, for the first time in several AI games and 4 PBEM games, the Armies holding the "big empty" (from Kaluga to Kharkov) were able to see the snow come without there being a load of CV1 undready divisions like I have always seen in the past. In the first turn of March the 6th was able to counter-attack quite well. Something I have rarely been able to do.

The lesson seems clear to me. Playing the Germans so they harm the Soviets as much as possible in the Summer/Fall of 1941, then being ready to do a thought out, systematic retreat in the Winter to preserve combat efficiency.

_____________________________

"The torment of precautions often exceeds the dangers to be avoided. It is sometimes better to abandon one's self to destiny."

- Call me PDH

- WitE noob tester

(in reply to mmarquo)
Post #: 49
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