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Major issues with Interdiction in Fulda 76

 
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Major issues with Interdiction in Fulda 76 - 1/29/2020 5:03:32 AM   
erichswafford


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I'm trying to play (solitaire, hotseat) the Fulda '76 scenario. It seems totally unplayable and unrealistic.

ALL the NATO SAM units start out in "Reorganization", which is a problem since:

If WP assigns the majority of its ground-attack air units to Interdict, then NATO literally cannot move *anything* - ever. As in, for the entire scenario. All WP has to do is assign its eligible units to Interdict, everything else to Air Superiority, and the game is over.

I've played several turns (restarting once NATO is wiped out), and it always happens the same way: WP interdiction simply cannot be overcome. NATO units that move, quickly die. This prevents you from doing *anything* (including bringing up reinforcements). NATO is reduced to simply sitting there, with units unable to react at all.

WP is also able to quickly/easily attain total air superiority (this could be a scenario design problem), seemingly by causing NATO to respond to all these Interdict missions.

So I guess I have to ask: Was this scenario ever play-tested? It's totally broken. The idea of WP air forces attaining such total dominance from Turn 1 onward seems like the result of a bug involving Interdiction and the fact that every NATO SAM site is non-operational from the get-go. I'm assuming that those SAM sites would otherwise prevent some of the rampant Interdiction?

Maybe it's just this scenario, but I am really disappointed thus far. I used to play TOAW a lot back in the COW days, but I don't recall this oppressive Interdict issue from then. Also, why in the world do those NATO SAM's start out "reorganizing"? Is it going to be like this with every one of the WW3 scens?

< Message edited by erichswafford -- 1/29/2020 6:17:30 PM >


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RE: Major game-breaking issues with Interdiction - 1/29/2020 11:50:36 AM   
Lobster


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So it isn't a problem with interdiction, rather with the scenario? Here I thought you had found a major bug when I saw the header. Many of the older scenarios were developed under older versions of TOAW and the authors have not bothered to update them so yes they will likely be broken going forward unless someone takes the time to fix them.

< Message edited by Lobster -- 1/29/2020 11:52:13 AM >


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RE: Major game-breaking issues with Interdiction - 1/29/2020 12:28:33 PM   
Raindem

 

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I agree. TOAW IV's biggest weakness is that it doesn't play well with older scenarios. They have to be updated by someone who knows what they are doing. Even some TOAW III era scenarios have trouble since T4 has some new settings whose default values don't interact well with the scenario.

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RE: Major game-breaking issues with Interdiction - 1/29/2020 1:22:35 PM   
76mm


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Well, there was major interdiction bug, although I thought it had been fixed by the latest patch?

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RE: Major game-breaking issues with Interdiction - 1/29/2020 1:44:26 PM   
Hellen_slith


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Yes, some of those older scenes can be easily "gamed" into being virtually unplayable.

The interdiction issue isn't really "fixed" in the sense that, if you get interdicted during your move, there is not any report to show where it originated or what damage was done. You have to dig deep into other reports to get any kind of inkling of what MIGHT have happened, and even then you can't be sure. It is just a bad, bad, BAD mechanic that can be abused to no good effect except making the game completely unenjoyable (even unplayable) at worst, and just an overall nuisance at best.

If there is to be interdiction, it should NOT be in the control of the computer. If a player wishes to set interdiction, make the player ASSIGN A HEX that he will interdict, and make the computer ONLY target THAT hex with interdiction. This whole business of the computer being in 99% control of "interdiction" willy-nilly all over the map is just ridiculous.

For scenes that can be "gamed" like this, just make a house rule: NO INTERDICTION. Maybe even make a switch for "game options" that you can FORCE "NO INTERDICTION ALLOWED."

Okay, rant off :)

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RE: Major game-breaking issues with Interdiction - 1/29/2020 4:06:20 PM   
Lobster


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quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm

Well, there was major interdiction bug, although I thought it had been fixed by the latest patch?


Interdiction in and of itself was never broken. The opportunity attacks that were supposed to take place only at the end of the turn is what was broken. They took place at the end of every combat phase which made assigning interdiction game breaking.

The whole idea of interdiction is to allow aircraft to roam the battlefield rear areas attacking supply convoys, supply points, rail and troops/vehicles moving in the open in rear areas where they are least likely to be deployed in a dispersed fashion. To assign it to one specific hex is certainly not interdiction and would make it pointless.

There are good solutions if players feel interdiction is too heavy handed. You can limit the number of air units allowed to be placed on interdiction or limit the type of aircraft allowed to interdict. Or you can have players assign a percentage of air units to ground support leaving the rest to be used in whatever fashion a player wants. In fact, there are usually far too few air units assigned to ground support in many scenarios because players are afraid of losing aircraft used in ground support roles.

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RE: Major game-breaking issues with Interdiction - 1/29/2020 4:18:34 PM   
rhinobones

 

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Ran a simple test on Fulda 76 by raising AAA lethality from 100 to 120. After turn 2 WARSAW PACT interdiction seems to drop off noticeably. Files attached for your own testing.

Regards


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RE: Major game-breaking issues with Interdiction - 1/29/2020 4:34:54 PM   
erichswafford


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quote:

ORIGINAL: rhinobones

Ran a simple test on Fulda 76 by raising AAA lethality from 100 to 120. After turn 2 WARSAW PACT interdiction seems to drop off noticeably. Files attached for your own testing.

Regards

Thanks, appreciate the effort and help. I'll try this, but won't it introduce artificially high losses for Combat Support missions? One problem -> Another problem.

Speaking of another problem: Hey, can anyone explain why every NATO SAM unit starts in Reorganization? I was thinking that those HAWK's would help knock back those WP interdictors (and thus discourage the WP player from assigning so many to that task, since it would lead to large losses). But since they all start the game as effectively disabled, why are they even there?

As it is, I think my best option is artificially have a "house rule" against assigning planes to interdict. Which is not a great solution given that it does have a significant role to play (just not to the point where Fulda 76 plays out like Normandy 44, with one side unable to even move without getting smothered by a/c strikes).

I guess I'm a little surprised that, prior to releasing the game with these scenarios, no one took a glance at them to make sure they were actually playable. Or are these scenarios really just supposed to be starting points to tweak them using the editor? Seems like I'll be doing my own "beta testing" ;)


< Message edited by erichswafford -- 1/29/2020 4:36:52 PM >


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RE: Major game-breaking issues with Interdiction - 1/29/2020 5:11:31 PM   
erichswafford


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Sorry to double post, but I was just looking at my old copy of TOAW 3 and I now realize that this Fulda 76 scenario is positively ancient (wasn't even included in TOAW 3 except as part of the "Classic" folder). Maybe that's why it has major issues (still doesn't explain why it shows up in TOAW IV, but I digress).

I'm gonna scrounge around and see if anyone has freshened it up a bit for TOAW IV. If they haven't, then maybe this is my big chance to actually contribute something. I'm really into Cold War Gone Hot scenarios, and modifying an existing one would be way easier than designing from scratch.

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RE: Major game-breaking issues with Interdiction - 1/29/2020 8:22:18 PM   
Hellen_slith


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lobster


quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm

Well, there was major interdiction bug, although I thought it had been fixed by the latest patch?


.... To assign it to one specific hex is certainly not interdiction and would make it pointless....



Going to have to cordially disagree, in theaters of operation, air units are not allowed to fly willy-nilly all over the map. Granted, that it might not be appropriate to assign them to "*A* hex", but they would (IRL) be limited to an area of operations that is not 500 miles out...maybe limited air units set to an interdiction range of 1/2 their "ultimate" range might be more palatable, but setting an air unit formation to "go where you want" (which seems to be happening as is) is just not realistic. Maybe cutting interdiction ability to 1/2 range might be a compromise.

I could be wrong. Your mileage may vary!

< Message edited by Hellen_slith -- 1/29/2020 8:26:49 PM >

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RE: Major game-breaking issues with Interdiction - 1/29/2020 9:30:23 PM   
Lobster


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It isn't anywhere they want. They are limited by range. And in rl they did not have a specified target. Operation Strangle is a good example.

10.4.8. Interdiction Missions
If your opponent has any Air units flying
Interdiction Missions, it is possible that your unit
may come under Air Attack during Movement. The
chance for this is proportional to your opponent’s
Local Interdiction Level.

Here's a good read: https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a528277.pdf

One more thing. A map maker can have a large effect on how much interdiction impacts movement. If airfields are placed in the same hexes as transportation routes then interdiction is virtually assured.

< Message edited by Lobster -- 1/29/2020 9:39:18 PM >


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RE: Major game-breaking issues with Interdiction - 1/29/2020 10:19:43 PM   
Hellen_slith


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lobster

.... They are limited by range....


Yes, but sometimes that range (to me) is unrealistic, at least for interdiction.

I agree that this issue can be mitigated very much in scenario design.

But, b/c many scenarios (esp. older ones) have not taken the issue into account, that it can be a problem necessitating house rules w/re/to interdiction. See, e.g., FitE2 for house rules of "no interdiction allowed" (but, for my game w/ Fortuna in that, we have agreed to no more than 10 units on interdiction status, and that [so far] has been manageable)

I appreciate your input, and thanks for the link!

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RE: Major game-breaking issues with Interdiction - 1/29/2020 10:40:01 PM   
Lobster


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It would be far better if the scenario designer could adjust interdiction much the same way as they can many other things like how lethal AA is.

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RE: Major game-breaking issues with Interdiction - 1/30/2020 2:15:00 AM   
Hellen_slith


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lobster

It would be far better if the scenario designer could adjust interdiction much the same way as they can many other things like how lethal AA is.


Here I think is the answer.

In the paper you linked, just from a cursory glance, I got the sense that the author of that paper was stumping for air/ground COORDINATION w/re/to effective interdiction. And that is all well and good, BUT:

that does not happen in TOAW. In TOAW (as far as I can tell) interdiction has NOTHING to do w/ ground force coordination. In TOAW (as far as I can tell) interdiction happens AT THE WHIM OF THE COMPUTER and COMPLETELY IGNORES ground force coordination.

TOAW interdiction appears to operate whimsically, w/o any regard to battlefield status (again, as far as I can tell ... I could be wrong) and worst of all, .... no battle reports from interdiction. You just have to click through that BS window, and that is a very very bad mechanic. Esp. when you have to LITERALLY click through THOUSANDS (yes, I have counted) of such BS in some scenarios, if your opponent is so sadistic as to initiate such interdiction.

At any rate, at the least, I think we can agree that the interdiction mechanic, as it currently stands in TOAW, must be addressed at SOME level, whether it be from design level, game play level (as with agreements or House rules b/w players), or at the (ideal) game logic level. Which we will have to wait for TOAW level V for that.

One can hope. :) Cheers!

Okay, well, thanks for reading!

< Message edited by Hellen_slith -- 1/30/2020 2:25:04 AM >

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RE: Major issues with Interdiction in Fulda 76 - 1/30/2020 8:34:10 AM   
sPzAbt653


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What TOAW version are you using? .40 had a change to the Interdiction resolutions. I don't have that one so I can't test it myself.

quote:

I guess I'm a little surprised that, prior to releasing the game with these scenarios, no one took a glance at them to make sure they were actually playable.

I understand that this seems reasonable, but there isn't enough time for the few of us to test every scenario. Understand that every time a new version is released to the Beta guys, we have to test it in our scenarios, the ones we are familiar with, in order to gauge any adverse effects. This takes most of our time [hundreds of versions over several years]. If any issues are discovered, the developers have to determine if a fix is needed in the version or the scenario. In the case of the Interdiction issue, no one ever noticed it as it seems to appear in only a few scenarios where Interdiction was historically a major factor anyway [Desert Storm, Normandy].

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RE: Major game-breaking issues with Interdiction - 1/30/2020 4:59:44 PM   
cathar1244

 

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quote:

but won't it introduce artificially high losses for Combat Support missions? One problem -> Another problem.


I think it is a matter of tuning. The truth is there is no one group of game settings that are considered "real world accurate". This will very much be a case of what "feels" right to you.

The documents I've read assumed the war would start with a lot of air activity and trail off sharply due to losses and repair part shortfalls.

Keep in mind a lot of the ground losses generated by interdiction and combat support are based on an attrition model that has many inputs and which can produce a large variety of results for a given situation. Thus, my "feels" comment above.

Sounds like a force or formation setting may be a problem for the NATO air defense units. Also, be aware that the electronic warfare settings can affect air defense units, IIRC.

Cheers

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RE: Major game-breaking issues with Interdiction - 1/31/2020 7:08:10 PM   
Hellen_slith


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quote:

ORIGINAL: cathar1244

quote:

.... a lot of the ground losses generated by interdiction ....


Chiming in here one last time before I go back to playing .... then I will forever forget interdiction:

Ground losses generated by interdiction are not easily apparent to the casual player (like me),
and that is one of the glaring drawbacks of current system. If there is an easy way to see those losses,
please advise.

Perhaps another poasible compromise would be, to create a "switch" (under "game options" perhaps?)
to where interdiction effect could be chosen,
a la "INTERDICTION EFFECTS" equals, say, "strong", "average", "weak"

At this point in the code, it is probably a moot suggestion, but may be something for TOAW level V to think about.

Cheers! <out>

< Message edited by Hellen_slith -- 1/31/2020 7:09:11 PM >

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