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Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan and organize?

 
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Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan and... - 10/15/2020 4:53:49 PM   
Snidely


Posts: 9
Joined: 10/15/2020
From: Canada
Status: offline
Hi folks! New player here, understandably overwhelmed and amazed by the sheer depth and complexity of this wonderful “game” (more like lifestyle!).

After owning it for nearly a year but never really getting started with it, I convinced a friend to take the plunge with me and we’re about to embark on a GC (Scenario 2, Historical Turn 1) PBEM game to cut our teeth and learn things. We’ve done Coral Sea twice (from both sides) and just wrapped up an Operation Buccaneer. We both feel that we have a reasonably solid grasp of the core mechanics, UI and the things that we need to be doing inside the game itself – at least enough to step up to the GC big leagues and not feel utterly overwhelmed. I imagine it’ll take another 5-10 years before we’re actually competent and comfortable!

As we sit down for the next few weeks to plan things out and come to grips with the vastness of the GC, I’ve done a bit of searching around these forums for information on how folks handle the actual long-term planning, organization and tracking of their games and have largely come up dry when it comes to discussion surrounding the “meta” side of planning/tracking turns and campaigns. We’re both in our early thirties and unfortunately have a long ways to go before retirement and truly having the time we need to dedicate to the game - my opponent also has a year-old son he needs to work around, so we’re looking for ways to start off on the right foot and be efficient with our time and preparations.

I’d love to begin a discussion about what tools, methodologies, formats and structures folks have used successfully for their planning and organization. I’m aware of third-party tools such as WitPTracker, Combat Reporter, IntelMonkey, Kull's fabulous setup spreadsheets, etc: what I’m interested in is how people actually utilize these tools and others for decision making, along with where and how they’re logging things and organizing themselves in the long-term. I can envision three broad approaches to personal documentation, I’m curious where you fall and what your personal experiences have been with them. I suspect most of you fall somewhere in between or have a hybrid approach.

PAPER / MANUAL - Notebooks, journals, diaries, printed calendars with bullet points, etc.
• Cheap & cheerful
• Unindexed, difficult to search, etc
• Hierarchy, organization & interlinking difficult at best, approaching impossible
• Unwieldy and potentially difficult to “bring with you” if travelling or playing from somewhere other than the usual war-room.
• Historical Authenticity

DIGITAL DOCUMENTS - Spreadsheets, word docs, digital flowcharts/org charts, etc.
• Easily searchable
• Accessible anywhere with internet connection (or hardcopies on a drive)
• Data fragmentation between documents.

SOFTWARE PACKAGES - Evernote, OneDrive, Notion.so, Roam Research, etc.
• “Full package” for metadata tagging, backlinking, etc.
• Potential costs if not already a subscriber/user
• Learning curve to adoption if not already using the tool




All that said, if folks are interested lets open up a discussion with a few talking points:

1. What has your approach to planning and tracking your turns, intel, plans and plots been? Have you tried things that didn’t work? What were some of the challenges you faced with various methods?

2. What lessons have you learned over the years about planning and tracking that you wish you knew when starting out?

3. Do you use any “standards” within your system? Daily turn summary templates, planning checklists, shorthand system for logging orders, etc.

4. How far in advance do you plan, and at what level of detail?

5. Can you share some screenshots or examples of your documents and approach? Sanitized if OPSEC is important!

6. Can you give examples of common use-cases for third-party tools? Something like Combat Reporter is fairly straightforward in its use, but WitPTracker for example is a behemoth and it's hard to wrap my head around what kinds of uses people have for it. I can see that there's obviously a huge amount of data and value it could bring, but coming up with concrete examples of what lines of thought to follow for using it effectively are escaping me.

7. What are the different categories of information that you find important to track? For example, are people compiling opponent asset tracking documents based off of sightings, reports and intel? Do you have a separate list of "upcoming dates" to watch for? etc.

We’ll both very much appreciate your time and any input you can provide! Links to any old threads where these topics are discussed would also be very welcome, I’ve found very few (to my surprise) over the last few weeks of searching.

Thanks, excited to embark on this crazy journey!

< Message edited by Snidely -- 10/15/2020 11:21:30 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/15/2020 5:19:50 PM   
RADM.Yamaguchi


Posts: 730
Joined: 6/30/2019
Status: offline
Welcome Snidley!

I'll be the first to share because i happened to have excel open to this sheet i'm using for planning Aircraft Production in Scen 2.






Attachment (1)

(in reply to Snidely)
Post #: 2
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/15/2020 5:35:54 PM   
Snidely


Posts: 9
Joined: 10/15/2020
From: Canada
Status: offline
Thanks, RADM.Yamaguchi!

Is this a sheet you would consider just a throwaway "worksheet" that you're working with for the immediate planning and then discarding, or is it structured to be more of a living document that you continually update and use throughout the campaign? Maybe that's obvious and it's just my unfamiliarity with the Japanese production aspect talking!

The long-term archival aspect is one that I'm interested in exploring as much as possible. Assuming we manage to stick it out and actually play this sucker for a few years, I'd really love to have consistent and clean structure all the way back to Day 1 that we can reference as a means of "reliving" the campaign. For example, we'll be archiving every save & combat replay for potential future viewing.

(in reply to RADM.Yamaguchi)
Post #: 3
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/15/2020 6:03:38 PM   
RADM.Yamaguchi


Posts: 730
Joined: 6/30/2019
Status: offline
good question - just a beginning guideline intended solely for initial production settings.

(in reply to Snidely)
Post #: 4
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/15/2020 6:05:29 PM   
mind_messing

 

Posts: 3018
Joined: 10/28/2013
From: Glasgow, Scotland
Status: offline
I'm a fairly relaxed player of AE, which to be honest means I'll never be anything beyond reasonably good.

It's a game that, by and large, rewards good attention to detail.

Plus, I play AE to enjoy myself, not to give myself a second job.

1. Quite lax, occasionally I will load up WITP Tracker with a few turns to do a deep dive into a particular area if I want more detail. Tracker allows the loading in of turns retroactively, so I've done that on a few occasions to pick out longer term trends or to see historic patterns.

2. No plan survives contact with the enemy. In a similar vein, every game is different, and it's always helpful to be open to adaption.

There's a lot that can be done systematically in one sitting and left alone for large parts of the game, or maintained with minimal effort (air training programmes, ship commander selection, industry to some extent). My advice is do this in one sitting and get it out of the way. Once you know your major warships have decent commanders, it's a much easier task to reassign new arrivals.

3. The occasional naming of a TF to remind me what it is for (e.g Luzon suppy, Tokyo troop ferry etc). I like to use the in-game map as a planning tool - units sent to San Deigo go to Australia, San Francisco gets troops bound for CentPac, Kobe holds the IJA fighter pilot training programme etc.

I like to use specific ship classes for specific purposes as it cuts down on the administrative load. For example, 4x Class A cruisers will be paired up with 10x Class Z destroyers as a surface action force. That way, when the Class Z destroyers need an upgrade, I can pull them all off the frontline, replace them with Class Y destroyers with a minimum of fuss.

4. I try to have my overall strategic planning done by Dec 8th. Operational planning I try to do in three month chunks as this conforms quite well to game mechanics (in effect the first and second wave invasions using the IJ amphibious bonus).

5. I don't use anything like that.

6. WITP Tracker is great for check-ups on just about everything. I find it especially useful for organising units (air, ground and naval), monitoring industry, making sure leaders are appropriate for their unit and identifying long-term trends before they become problematic (e.g excessive ops losses in a specific air unit). The aircraft comparison tool in Tracker is also remarkably useful from a tactical standpoint - if I have X airframe and know I am faced by Y and Z airframes, I will use Tracker to figure out the optimum settings that give the greatest possible advantage to my airframe.

7. Industry information, both the production side and the resource side. Especially useful to make sure that convoys are taking things from where they are currently to where they are needed (supply, oil, fuel, resources). All the big picture stuff. To be honest Tracker gives me just about everything I'll ever need.




As a more general comment on the theme of point #2 and given the tone of your post, I really would try to avoid getting bogged down in the details of what you are doing and think about why you are doing it.

In the real world, commanders have a staff that process a large part of this information for them and allow the commander to focus on actually winning.

In AE, you are your own staff. As a result I'd be wary of getting bogged down in the process rather than thinking about the outcome.

(in reply to Snidely)
Post #: 5
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/15/2020 6:10:32 PM   
mind_messing

 

Posts: 3018
Joined: 10/28/2013
From: Glasgow, Scotland
Status: offline
quote:



After owning it for nearly a year but never really getting started with it, I convinced a friend to take the plunge with me and we’re about to embark on a GC (Scenario 2, Historical Turn 1) PBEM game to cut our teeth and learn things. We’ve done Coral Sea twice (from both sides) and just wrapped up an Operation Buccaneer. We both feel that we have a reasonably solid grasp of the core mechanics, UI and the things that we need to be doing inside the game itself – at least enough to step up to the GC big leagues and not feel utterly overwhelmed. I imagine it’ll take another 5-10 years before we’re actually competent and comfortable!




As a friendly suggestion, perhaps Guadalcanal would be a better stepping stone than Scen 2. This is a longer scenario which brings some of the core elements of a GC in without becoming overwhelming.

It's a good operational scenario with some strategic elements that bridges the gap between the short tactical scenarios and the "OMG I'm in charge of everything from Abadan to Washington..!"

(in reply to Snidely)
Post #: 6
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/15/2020 6:27:14 PM   
RangerJoe


Posts: 9200
Joined: 11/16/2015
Status: online
Abadan? Arn't you forgetting Aden and Cape Town?

Yes, try Guadalcanal first.

It also depends upon the side that you are playing. As Allies, you are going to have to react to the Japanese to a certain extent and try to disrupt their activities, especially after the amphibious bonus is over.

It also depends upon the scenario as that changes things as well.

As far as Japanese production and research, consider evaluating the plane types that you will need plus what engines they need. A decent plane with a unique engine is more difficult to justify than a plane with a common engine. Of course, that also depends upon PDU On or PDU OFF. As a suggestion, until the Japanese player gets used to doing the research, consider Realistic R & D off. Not so you can really mess around but if the Japanese player forgets to change the research to the next model and all of those research factories go into production. Then the only change allowed would be to let those that went into production within a certain time frame start researching the next model.

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to mind_messing)
Post #: 7
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/15/2020 6:50:22 PM   
mind_messing

 

Posts: 3018
Joined: 10/28/2013
From: Glasgow, Scotland
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

Abadan? Arn't you forgetting Aden and Cape Town?



Abadan comes first when you sort Allied bases alphabetically, but to ram home the geographical point Cape Town would have been better. Couldn't remember any bases that start with Z other than Zamboanga

quote:

As far as Japanese production and research, consider evaluating the plane types that you will need plus what engines they need. A decent plane with a unique engine is more difficult to justify than a plane with a common engine. Of course, that also depends upon PDU On or PDU OFF. As a suggestion, until the Japanese player gets used to doing the research, consider Realistic R & D off. Not so you can really mess around but if the Japanese player forgets to change the research to the next model and all of those research factories go into production. Then the only change allowed would be to let those that went into production within a certain time frame start researching the next model.


I'd recommend a fairly detailed plan of airframe production and research for first time IJ players, mainly as a means of making sure that a sensible air war is being fought.

A common rookie mistake is the Zero/Tojo pitfall that gives the IJ an edge into 1943 only to fall flat when the Corsair/Thunderbolts start to appear.

(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 8
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/15/2020 9:38:15 PM   
Snidely


Posts: 9
Joined: 10/15/2020
From: Canada
Status: offline

quote:


1. Quite lax, occasionally I will load up WITP Tracker with a few turns to do a deep dive into a particular area if I want more detail. Tracker allows the loading in of turns retroactively, so I've done that on a few occasions to pick out longer term trends or to see historic patterns.

Good to know, thanks!

quote:

2. No plan survives contact with the enemy. In a similar vein, every game is different, and it's always helpful to be open to adaption.

There's a lot that can be done systematically in one sitting and left alone for large parts of the game, or maintained with minimal effort (air training programmes, ship commander selection, industry to some extent). My advice is do this in one sitting and get it out of the way. Once you know your major warships have decent commanders, it's a much easier task to reassign new arrivals.

We're definitely both going to take a good chunk of time with our first turn orders to make sure we've tried to get those batch operations out of the way.

quote:

3. The occasional naming of a TF to remind me what it is for (e.g Luzon suppy, Tokyo troop ferry etc). I like to use the in-game map as a planning tool - units sent to San Deigo go to Australia, San Francisco gets troops bound for CentPac, Kobe holds the IJA fighter pilot training programme etc.

I like to use specific ship classes for specific purposes as it cuts down on the administrative load. For example, 4x Class A cruisers will be paired up with 10x Class Z destroyers as a surface action force. That way, when the Class Z destroyers need an upgrade, I can pull them all off the frontline, replace them with Class Y destroyers with a minimum of fuss.

Good point about naming TFs, I think I'll sit down and come up with some schemes I can follow to try and keep track of them. The tip about using specific classes for ease of replacement and swapping in and out is definitely useful too.

quote:

4. I try to have my overall strategic planning done by Dec 8th. Operational planning I try to do in three month chunks as this conforms quite well to game mechanics (in effect the first and second wave invasions using the IJ amphibious bonus).

Doing things in quarters makes a lot of sense, and nice to know that it aligns to the mechanics.

quote:

6. WITP Tracker is great for check-ups on just about everything. I find it especially useful for organising units (air, ground and naval), monitoring industry, making sure leaders are appropriate for their unit and identifying long-term trends before they become problematic (e.g excessive ops losses in a specific air unit). The aircraft comparison tool in Tracker is also remarkably useful from a tactical standpoint - if I have X airframe and know I am faced by Y and Z airframes, I will use Tracker to figure out the optimum settings that give the greatest possible advantage to my airframe.

Really appreciate these specifics. I had no idea it could do direct airframe comparisons like that, that's a rabbit hole to dive down!

quote:

7. Industry information, both the production side and the resource side. Especially useful to make sure that convoys are taking things from where they are currently to where they are needed (supply, oil, fuel, resources). All the big picture stuff. To be honest Tracker gives me just about everything I'll ever need.

Appreciated. This is all helping to build up a good picture of where we should invest efforts.

quote:

As a more general comment on the theme of point #2 and given the tone of your post, I really would try to avoid getting bogged down in the details of what you are doing and think about why you are doing it.

In the real world, commanders have a staff that process a large part of this information for them and allow the commander to focus on actually winning.

In AE, you are your own staff. As a result I'd be wary of getting bogged down in the process rather than thinking about the outcome.

A valid point to keep in mind. I'm the type of person who enjoys creating process and systems (and do so professionally), so in many ways this aspect of the game is a large part of the fun for me - but it's definitely worth reminding myself not to get too deep into the weeds. It is a game after all, and I'm sure my opponent would rather I pass him the save file rather than me disappearing into a data-hole.

quote:

As a friendly suggestion, perhaps Guadalcanal would be a better stepping stone than Scen 2. This is a longer scenario which brings some of the core elements of a GC in without becoming overwhelming.

It's a good operational scenario with some strategic elements that bridges the gap between the short tactical scenarios and the "OMG I'm in charge of everything from Abadan to Washington..!"

We considered it, but honestly the "OMG I'm in charge of everything!" is a major part of what drew us to WitP:AE in the first place. From my perspective the challenge is one of bookkeeping and not forgetting things or losing track of where I was from evening to evening. We're both pretty aware that we'll be lucky to reach '42 in our first GC attempt and we aren't taking it too seriously as a first go.




quote:

As far as Japanese production and research, consider evaluating the plane types that you will need plus what engines they need. A decent plane with a unique engine is more difficult to justify than a plane with a common engine. Of course, that also depends upon PDU On or PDU OFF. As a suggestion, until the Japanese player gets used to doing the research, consider Realistic R & D off. Not so you can really mess around but if the Japanese player forgets to change the research to the next model and all of those research factories go into production. Then the only change allowed would be to let those that went into production within a certain time frame start researching the next model.


quote:

I'd recommend a fairly detailed plan of airframe production and research for first time IJ players, mainly as a means of making sure that a sensible air war is being fought.

A common rookie mistake is the Zero/Tojo pitfall that gives the IJ an edge into 1943 only to fall flat when the Corsair/Thunderbolts start to appear.

My opponent is the one who's brave enough to attempt playing Japan first, so I'll be sure to pass these tips along!




Thank you to everyone responding so far. The next best thing to playing this game is thinking about it, discussing it at length, and obsessing over it - so I'm thrilled to be here starting this journey!

(in reply to mind_messing)
Post #: 9
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/15/2020 10:14:53 PM   
RangerJoe


Posts: 9200
Joined: 11/16/2015
Status: online
If both of you do an AAR, then both of you can receive assistance. Take a look and see what other people post and how they post. I get tired of looking at the combat results with little to no commentary, other people post few combat results but at least one person attaches the combat results in a file that a person can download.

Make sure that both of you are using the same update.

The Japanese player must not speed through part of the combat by hitting the escape key otherwise what the Allied player sees is incorrect. At least to my understanding.

I would suggest having a separate install for each PBEM that you are doing. Then you can also play against the AI as well without messing anything up.

Forward this: For the Japanese first move, play it against the computer and adjust as is necessary in case something is forgotten! Forgetting to move a TF with the "magic move" is frustrating.

The most important thing is to have fun!

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to Snidely)
Post #: 10
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/15/2020 10:38:26 PM   
RADM.Yamaguchi


Posts: 730
Joined: 6/30/2019
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe
The Japanese player must not speed through part of the combat by hitting the escape key otherwise what the Allied player sees is incorrect. At least to my understanding.

Now you tell me!

No wonder my opponents were complaining that the combat report didn't show what they saw on the replay last turn.

My middle finger on my left hand is like a woodpecker on the ESC key during the replay.

(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 11
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/15/2020 11:28:22 PM   
Snidely


Posts: 9
Joined: 10/15/2020
From: Canada
Status: offline
quote:

The Japanese player must not speed through part of the combat by hitting the escape key otherwise what the Allied player sees is incorrect. At least to my understanding.

That's unexpected. I was under the impression that the replay file is generated immediately upon loading the save and putting in the Japanese password. For our Operation Buccaneer game I would generally alt-tab away and send the replay over immediately so that we could both watch (and comment/heckle) more or less at the same time. Will do some research, thanks for the heads-up!

(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 12
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/15/2020 11:56:46 PM   
mind_messing

 

Posts: 3018
Joined: 10/28/2013
From: Glasgow, Scotland
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

If both of you do an AAR, then both of you can receive assistance. Take a look and see what other people post and how they post. I get tired of looking at the combat results with little to no commentary, other people post few combat results but at least one person attaches the combat results in a file that a person can download.


Strongly recommend an AAR for getting the insights of others. Strongly recommend trying to make it more engaging than a copy/paste of the combat report as that gets repetitive quickly.

quote:

Really appreciate these specifics. I had no idea it could do direct airframe comparisons like that, that's a rabbit hole to dive down!


I struggle to think much that the Tracker doesn't provide you, from a sortable database of devices in AE through to aircraft, pilots and convoy planners.

quote:

A valid point to keep in mind. I'm the type of person who enjoys creating process and systems (and do so professionally), so in many ways this aspect of the game is a large part of the fun for me - but it's definitely worth reminding myself not to get too deep into the weeds. It is a game after all, and I'm sure my opponent would rather I pass him the save file rather than me disappearing into a data-hole.


Perfectly understandable...if you're wanting more of the process and systems, I've a PBEM that urgently needs a staff officer...

quote:

We considered it, but honestly the "OMG I'm in charge of everything!" is a major part of what drew us to WitP:AE in the first place. From my perspective the challenge is one of bookkeeping and not forgetting things or losing track of where I was from evening to evening. We're both pretty aware that we'll be lucky to reach '42 in our first GC attempt and we aren't taking it too seriously as a first go.


That sounds like a sensible approach. Embrace the near-vertical learning curve

quote:

My opponent is the one who's brave enough to attempt playing Japan first, so I'll be sure to pass these tips along!


Best tip I can give for any prospective Japan player is to take the time to fully appreciate the strengths in their starting position on Dec 7th and their future weaknesses after 1943.

(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 13
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/16/2020 1:41:09 PM   
Trugrit


Posts: 823
Joined: 7/14/2014
From: North Carolina
Status: offline

Snidely,

Most Likely I will never start another PBEM Campaign Game.
I just can’t produce turns on a regular basis anymore.
I have other things going on right now.

My recommendations:

First make sure you are both on the same page for the game set up.
There are options that can’t be changed once a PBEM game is underway.
Know what they are. I send screen shots of the options to the other player.

I recommend that once you get it set up you run a test few turns to make damn sure.

There is nothing so frustrating to a Japanese player like spending multiple hours
setting up the first turn just to find out there is a switch or option not set properly
and you have to start over.

The map style cannot be changed after the game is underway although there is a way for
one player to play with hexes and the other to play without hexes if you know how to set that up.
You need to rename a map tile set.

If you have house rules make sure both players understand them.
I recommend you don’t use any. Understand what that means.

I recommend you play for points.
The game is front loaded for Japan. In a PBEM game the Japanese player can run over the
Allied player in 1942 and well into 1943. Then the Allied player can come back for the next three years.

You won’t find a lot of players who play the Japanese and find it fun to spend three years of their real lives
getting beaten in order for the Allied player to have fun in 1944 and 1945. This creates an incentive for the
Japanese player to have his fun during 1942 and 1943 and then to just drop out of the game and leave the
Allied player high and dry.

This is a reason the game designers created a victory points system to make the game competitive.
It is a very good design. With that in mind it can be lots of fun to play Japan right up until the end of game.
That is if you have three or four years of your life to dedicate to it.
(I have a friend of mine who is playing a fun game as the Japanese that will go to the very end.)

Below is Alfred’s Advice on a good Japanese Point Strategy:
(I had trouble Finding the Forum Link)

“Japan will experience an economic implosion. As it should because that is historically accurate.
But it does not follow that the Japanese player is doomed to lose the game.

Japan has two ways of winning in AE. One is by achieving an auto victory
which can occur at any time after 1 January 1943. I see too many Japanese players who recklessly
throw everything to achieve an auto victory on 1 January 1943 and failing to do so then they reap
the consequences of their poor play. They forget that unless their opponent plays very badly,
a later auto victory which builds on thoughtful play throughout 1942, is the road to take.
A very good example of properly approaching an auto victory is found in Cribtop's recent AAR
where a Japanese auto victory on 1 January 1944 was assured (provided he did not lose his head waiting)
and an auto victory in the last quarter of 1943 was very much on the cards.”

Cribtop’s AAR:
https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2742735

“The other approach to achieve a Japanese victory is to prevent the Allied player from achieving either
an auto victory or a decisive victory at the end of the scenario. AE's victory conditions are very much
shaped by the historical outcome which equates to the game's auto/decisive victory conditions.
A Japanese player who prevents the Allied player from achieving that outcome, has in fact performed
much better than Japan did historically and therefore can consider to have won their race.

As to the strategy of digging in, at least in terms of how most interpret that strategy, they simply get it wrong.
The correct approach has always been for Japan to employ an active, not passive defence.
Again a very good discussion on how to conduct an active defence is found in Cribtop's AAR.
The fact is that the simplified and abstracted logistics model, combined with certain "switches" which
greatly augment Japan's historical at start asymmetrical advantages and initiative,
a good Japanese player can keep the initiative until he achieves victory.

Supply is overrated. Or more correctly, the lack of supply is unnecessarily feared. This is due to the simplified
abstracted logistics model. In AE a division which has zero supply still fights at 25% of its theoretical combat power.
In real life, such a unit, without water, puts up zero resistance. In AE a unit with zero supply is only in trouble
if it is called upon to do prolonged fighting or is confronted by an overwhelming enemy force.
In AE Japan will always be able to produce more supply than it was able to historically.
The ability to fly planes consuming only rice instead of avgas, means there is always the potential of flying air missions.

The issue really is not the production of supply per se but the distribution of supply to where it is really needed.
What usually happens is that Japanese players tend to look at their supply distribution network and priorities
only when it is too late. Not too many Japanese players consider how much supply will be subsequently needed,
and how to get it there, before embarking on their operations.
Cost benefit analyses do not figure prominently in their planning.”

Alfred

This is my reading list for the Japanese player:
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=4748964

For Programs:
I use Tracker and Combat Reporter even when I play the Allies.
You can run them both at the same time side by side.
Then I use paper and pencil to aid my memory.

I don’t have a set pattern when I enter orders. I focus on enemy point of contact.
You can miss a few items in the rear areas without a problem but what you don’t want
to do is to spend time setting up pilot training just because it is in your clockwise rotation
and not focus on your units in, or close to, enemy contact. Priorities!

The main thing is to enjoy the game and respect the other player.
If it turns out he does not respect you just leave the game with grace.

Life is too short to play this game with the wrong opponent.

1. What has your approach to planning and tracking your turns, intel, plans and plots been?
I use a general strategic plan. Where I am and where I want to go. The main thing I track has nothing to do with me.
I track my opponent….where he is and where does it look like he is going? Naval Search is a big factor for me.

2. What lessons have you learned over the years about planning and tracking that you wish you knew when starting out?

To get my micro detailed head out of my ass and watch my opponent. If you carefully watch your opponent he will tell you
who he is and how he plays. Watch for his mistakes and write them down, he will likely make the same mistakes again.

3. Do you use any “standards” within your system?
I just use Tracker and Combat Reporter.

4. How far in advance do you plan, and at what level of detail?
Not far, maybe one or two turns ahead.

5. Can you share some screenshots or examples of your documents and approach?

See below…..I do keep a list for invasions so I don’t miss anything.

6. Can you give examples of common use-cases for third-party tools?

Tracker has an Aircraft comparison feature which I find useful. Both Tracker and Combat Reporter have intel available.

7. What are the different categories of information that you find important to track?
Enemy Location, Enemy Location, Enemy Location. My supplies, ship and air upgrades, ship and air withdrawals,
Garrisons, Ship endurance and damage, Aircraft and Pilot fatigue.

As far as tracking my turns I use the philosophy of a race car driver…..”What’s behind me does not concern me. I focus on looking and staying ahead.”





Attachment (1)

(in reply to Snidely)
Post #: 14
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/16/2020 3:12:17 PM   
Snidely


Posts: 9
Joined: 10/15/2020
From: Canada
Status: offline
Trugrit,

Thank you for the detailed post! My comments and context follow:

quote:

First make sure you are both on the same page for the game set up.
There are options that can’t be changed once a PBEM game is underway.

We've standardized our settings, version, map and art assets and are already using separate installs for PBEM and AI testing.

quote:

If you have house rules make sure both players understand them.
I recommend you don’t use any. Understand what that means.

We evaluated a few, but given our general lack of experience we don't think some of the "gamey" HRs really apply to us. We're in this to learn and have fun, not split hairs over technicalities.

quote:

I recommend you play for points.

I didn't really know there was another way to "score" or evaluate a game. Really we aren't "playing to win" here; maybe in another few years when we have better grips on the game and are more confident.

quote:

You won’t find a lot of players who play the Japanese and find it fun to spend three years of their real lives
getting beaten in order for the Allied player to have fun in 1944 and 1945. This creates an incentive for the
Japanese player to have his fun during 1942 and 1943 and then to just drop out of the game and leave the
Allied player high and dry.

This is a reason the game designers created a victory points system to make the game competitive.
It is a very good design. With that in mind it can be lots of fun to play Japan right up until the end of game.
That is if you have three or four years of your life to dedicate to it.

We're being very realistic about how long we're likely to keep this particular PBEM GC going - that is to say, we have no real guarantee we'll even make it to '42, let alone beyond that. We're just taking it one step at a time and enjoying the journey and learning experience!

quote:

... Advice on a good Japanese Point Strategy: ... This is my reading list for the Japanese player:

This is excellent stuff. I know my opponent is lurking in this thread, so I have no doubt he'll dive into these.

quote:

The main thing is to enjoy the game and respect the other player.
If it turns out he does not respect you just leave the game with grace.

Life is too short to play this game with the wrong opponent.

We've been good friends since we were kids for close to 20 years now, and I wouldn't really want to play/learn this game alongside anyone else. We're both of the mindset that we can laugh, celebrate and commiserate with losses and victories on either side. Everything that happens (no matter how crushing a defeat) is an opportunity to grow and learn. I think we both still have a childlike sense of wonder that this game even exists at all; it honestly feels like a dream that something so perfectly aligned with our interests exists (and that we managed to go for more than a decade without hearing about it!)

quote:

I use a general strategic plan. Where I am and where I want to go. The main thing I track has nothing to do with me.
I track my opponent….where he is and where does it look like he is going? Naval Search is a big factor for me.

This is some very good food for thought. I might need to use my Photoshop know-how and the Planning Map to plot out intel and sightings over time...

quote:

To get my micro detailed head out of my ass and watch my opponent. If you carefully watch your opponent he will tell you
who he is and how he plays. Watch for his mistakes and write them down, he will likely make the same mistakes again.

Guilty as charged; and duly noted!

quote:

As far as tracking my turns I use the philosophy of a race car driver…..”What’s behind me does not concern me. I focus on looking and staying ahead.”

From a planning perspective this is sage advice, my focus in this thread on wanting "archival content" is more from the perspective of "looking back" years from now. If we stick with this and keep playing WitP as we certainly hope to, I think it'll be a lot of fun to look back on my first real campaign and have a sense of where I started and how far I've come and grown.

It's a habit I picked up from decades of playing tabletop roleplaying games and zealously taking notes, recording our sessions and maintaining a Wiki for our group. We have years worth of content, inside jokes and shared history that's invaluable and is one of my treasured digital possessions. I feel this game has the potential to produce a body of history, cherished moments, horrific defeats, etc - and I want to have that history intact from the start!

Thank you again for the time you took to write this out, I'm consistently impressed by the lengths folks go to on these boards to assist others and share the wealth of knowledge. Not every game out there has veterans with literal centuries' worth of combined experience to share, let alone the lucidity to make such accessible.

(in reply to Trugrit)
Post #: 15
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/16/2020 3:52:47 PM   
Snidely


Posts: 9
Joined: 10/15/2020
From: Canada
Status: offline
While my opponent spent last night wrangling his Japanese Convoys into some sense of order, I spent the evening digging into the Tracker dataset for Dec 7 and had an enjoyable time modifying the CSV exports and cleaning up the data for import into an interactive Org Chart. It's a bit unwieldy at the moment, but it's coming along nicely and will make for a nice reference in future, I expect. So far just have the LCUs in, will work on Air Groups and possibly ship data tonight and over the weekend.

(EDIT: Realized that I can attach & embed images directly rather than linking to them, adding this in to add the sample screenshot!)

My partner is completely baffled by how excited I am to close Excel at the end of the work day... only to boot it up on my gaming PC.

She just doesn't understand that there's a war on!




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Snidely -- 10/16/2020 4:37:29 PM >

(in reply to Snidely)
Post #: 16
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/16/2020 4:08:43 PM   
RangerJoe


Posts: 9200
Joined: 11/16/2015
Status: online
Get her interested in the game or in other games. There have been women here before and at least one is active on the General board. If you want to increase your post count, you can do so on The Thread or other threads.

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to Snidely)
Post #: 17
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/16/2020 4:18:11 PM   
Snidely


Posts: 9
Joined: 10/15/2020
From: Canada
Status: offline
She's already a gamer, she has her own PC set up next to mine - it's part of the reason we make a good couple, as I don't need to justify how much time I spend mucking around on the computer and swearing at it.

The extent of her interest in wargames so far has been limited to playing some tabletop Combat Commander: Europe, with CC: Pacific on the shelf waiting for us to get through CC:E.

I think the sheer scope and time-investment of WitP:AE doesn't appeal to her, but I've been slowly luring her into watching some turn replays and explaining what's going on. We're locked down together in our apartment so she can't escape my obsessing over the game! Maybe in a few months/years (does time have any meaning these days?) I'll have worn her down enough to try a Coral Sea with her.

(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 18
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/16/2020 4:42:14 PM   
porpoisehead


Posts: 18
Joined: 10/16/2020
Status: offline
Hey all,

I am the sworn foe of Snidely. Don't listen to his claims of our decades-long friendship. I have only ever tolerated him at best, and his direspect for Japan's rightful place in the Pacific sun only furthers the divide.

Seriously, though, this thread is a gold mine, so many thanks to all contributors. I think we both have the mindset that we can't possibly get this game right the first time, so we may as well just give'r and prepare ourselves to learn from the experience as best as possible.

To that end, I like the idea of doing an AAR to get community feedback as we go. Especially on my end, I tend towards "risk-averse efficiency" rather than "samurai bravado," so I could benefit from people prodding my aggression. Maybe I'll get something posted in the AAR forum in 2021, once I've finished wrapping my head around Japanese economics...

(in reply to Snidely)
Post #: 19
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/16/2020 4:42:42 PM   
RangerJoe


Posts: 9200
Joined: 11/16/2015
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Snidely

She's already a gamer, she has her own PC set up next to mine - it's part of the reason we make a good couple, as I don't need to justify how much time I spend mucking around on the computer and swearing at it.

The extent of her interest in wargames so far has been limited to playing some tabletop Combat Commander: Europe, with CC: Pacific on the shelf waiting for us to get through CC:E.

I think the sheer scope and time-investment of WitP:AE doesn't appeal to her, but I've been slowly luring her into watching some turn replays and explaining what's going on. We're locked down together in our apartment so she can't escape my obsessing over the game! Maybe in a few months/years (does time have any meaning these days?) I'll have worn her down enough to try a Coral Sea with her.


Well, then it sounds like you might have to make room for a cradle . . .

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to Snidely)
Post #: 20
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/16/2020 4:47:20 PM   
Snidely


Posts: 9
Joined: 10/15/2020
From: Canada
Status: offline
quote:

Well, then it sounds like you might have to make room for a cradle . . .

But that would cut into my WitP time, we can't have that. It's my one big edge over my opponent at this point, he's the one distracted by a newborn and home ownership!

(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 21
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/16/2020 4:50:37 PM   
Snidely


Posts: 9
Joined: 10/15/2020
From: Canada
Status: offline
quote:

I am the sworn foe of Snidely. Don't listen to his claims of our decades-long friendship. I have only ever tolerated him at best, and his direspect for Japan's rightful place in the Pacific sun only furthers the divide.

Put a lid on it, Tokyo Rose. Nobody believes your lies!

(in reply to porpoisehead)
Post #: 22
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/16/2020 5:21:19 PM   
RangerJoe


Posts: 9200
Joined: 11/16/2015
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: porpoisehead

Hey all,

I am the sworn foe of Snidely. Don't listen to his claims of our decades-long friendship. I have only ever tolerated him at best, and his direspect for Japan's rightful place in the Pacific sun only furthers the divide.

Seriously, though, this thread is a gold mine, so many thanks to all contributors. I think we both have the mindset that we can't possibly get this game right the first time, so we may as well just give'r and prepare ourselves to learn from the experience as best as possible.

To that end, I like the idea of doing an AAR to get community feedback as we go. Especially on my end, I tend towards "risk-averse efficiency" rather than "samurai bravado," so I could benefit from people prodding my aggression. Maybe I'll get something posted in the AAR forum in 2021, once I've finished wrapping my head around Japanese economics...


Until the amphibious bonus is over, try not to step on the brakes . . .

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to porpoisehead)
Post #: 23
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/16/2020 6:15:32 PM   
USSAmerica


Posts: 17919
Joined: 10/28/2002
From: Chapel Hill, NC, USA
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Snidely

quote:

I am the sworn foe of Snidely. Don't listen to his claims of our decades-long friendship. I have only ever tolerated him at best, and his direspect for Japan's rightful place in the Pacific sun only furthers the divide.

Put a lid on it, Tokyo Rose. Nobody believes your lies!


You guys are definitely ready to go at it!

Welcome aboard to both of you!

_____________________________

Mike

"Good times will set you free" - Jimmy Buffett

"They need more rum punch" - Me


Artwork by The Amazing Dixie

(in reply to Snidely)
Post #: 24
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/26/2020 5:44:29 AM   
CaptBeefheart


Posts: 2172
Joined: 7/4/2003
From: Seoul, Korea
Status: offline
Naming the task forces is about the only special thing I do. This might include "Tarawa Assault 1 (some of the assaulting units)," Tarawa Follow-up (base forces, Seabees, coastal AA, etc.)," "Tarawa Supply (AKAs, LSTs and/or small xAKs holding supply to be dribbled out to the invasion forces)," "Tarawa Support (AKEs, ADs, AGPs, AVs and the like)," "Tarawa Fuel (small AOs, xAKs loaded with fuel, etc.)," etc.

Another thing that makes sense is to have periodic housekeeping days. On the first of the month you might manage all of your pilot training, for instance.

I tried to get my college roommate USN surface warfare officer buddy into this through a Guadalcanal scenario but it was just too much to grasp. It's great to see a couple of good buddies get into this.

EDIT: Snidely--Great moniker.

Cheers,
CB

< Message edited by CaptBeefheart -- 10/26/2020 5:47:09 AM >


_____________________________

Beer, because barley makes lousy bread.

(in reply to USSAmerica)
Post #: 25
RE: Spreadsheets, Shorthand & Software: How do you plan... - 10/26/2020 10:49:20 AM   
Encircled


Posts: 1960
Joined: 12/30/2010
From: Northern England
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: CaptBeefheart

Naming the task forces is about the only special thing I do. This might include "Tarawa Assault 1 (some of the assaulting units)," Tarawa Follow-up (base forces, Seabees, coastal AA, etc.)," "Tarawa Supply (AKAs, LSTs and/or small xAKs holding supply to be dribbled out to the invasion forces)," "Tarawa Support (AKEs, ADs, AGPs, AVs and the like)," "Tarawa Fuel (small AOs, xAKs loaded with fuel, etc.)," etc.

Another thing that makes sense is to have periodic housekeeping days. On the first of the month you might manage all of your pilot training, for instance.

I tried to get my college roommate USN surface warfare officer buddy into this through a Guadalcanal scenario but it was just too much to grasp. It's great to see a couple of good buddies get into this.

EDIT: Snidely--Great moniker.

Cheers,
CB


Essentially this is what I do

I have a spreadsheet of my targets, but that isn't set in stone and it does change depending on circumstances.

I keep a sub kills spreadsheet as well, but that is just for fun!


_____________________________


(in reply to CaptBeefheart)
Post #: 26
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