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March on Paris unbalanced? - 3/5/2021 11:08:41 PM   
lwarmonger

 

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So I'll confess I've never played this scenario before this tournament, but I can't shake the feeling that there are some pretty severe balance issues. The German player doesn't seem to have superiority in numbers even initially.... certainly not enough to advance through Belgium while maintaining a defense of Alsace-Lorraine. The French alone have even numbers... once you throw in the Belgians and the British and the fact that the Germans have to travel much further to their objectives then the Entente does to theirs, it seems to become ridiculously weighted against the German player. I am quite curious to see how the other games turn out as far as ratios of victory to defeat.

The way this scenario should work is a rapid German advance into Belgium while they strive to hold the line in Alsace-Lorraine. The problem is that 1: The Germans can't mass sufficient combat power in the south if they are to amass sufficient striking power in the north. 2: The Germans simply can't move fast enough given the large combat formations that mobilize right in front of them and the ability of the French player to operationally move units all over France. 3: Defense simply isn't strong enough to enable the Germans to hold in the South.

I see a few solutions:

1st, no operational movement for any player (right now it just seems to be forbidden in Belgium). This is simply overpowered in this scenario, enabling both sides to mass directly onto the decisive point. While this can help the Germans a bit, it really is an overwhelming French advantage given that the Germans have a lot further to travel to their objectives. It is also crazy. Given the 1 day per turn timeframe, there is no way you could just randomly grab divisions and move them by train across the map as you wish. That is why there were these massive and complex mobilization tables worked out in detail by each general staff. To try and change things would cause delays measured in weeks (as the Austrians found to their cost). In the grand campaign the timeframe is more appropriate to operational movement, but in this scenario it messes with the balance and is unrealistic in the extreme.

2nd, French mobilized units really should be entering from the south and west of the map, then have to force march to the front. This would represent reserve units from other parts of France showing up late and getting into the line tired and in bits and pieces. As things are right now it is extremely easy for the entente player to assemble new formations and move them completely fresh directly into the front.

3rd, Germany should either be given some additional reserve formations to hold the line in the south, or entrenchments tech level 1... or hill terrain should boost entrenchment level 1. Any which way, it should be hard to achieve breakthroughs in the more difficult terrain in Alsace-Lorraine. Right now it is not.

I don't think a whole lot of people play this scenario very often, so I can see why balancing it hasn't been a huge priority. These are just my two cents based off my first time playing it in the tournament.
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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 3/7/2021 3:08:31 AM   
Hubert Cater

 

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Thanks for the feedback lwarmonger, as well as the suggestions, and we'll be reviewing. Apologies if this was not as ideally set as we would have hoped here.

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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 3/8/2021 12:03:12 PM   
BillRunacre

 

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Thanks for the feedback, and I would be very interested to hear more, e.g. what strategies are being pursued, especially by Germany, and where/how things may have swung in the Entente's favour.

Additionally, if anyone else playing this has any thoughts please do chime in, and it is always good to know if the game is PBEM or versus the AI.

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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 3/8/2021 1:03:56 PM   
komeijikoishi

 

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Sorry, I misread the title and made a wrong, irrelevant reply
How can I delete a reply?

< Message edited by komeijikoishi -- 3/8/2021 1:31:00 PM >

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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 3/8/2021 1:44:28 PM   
stockwellpete

 

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I had a quick go against the AI on Veteran default. The French units seemed to be like ninjas and my German units were getting badly mauled every turn. March on Berlin might be a better title for it at the moment.

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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 3/8/2021 5:14:21 PM   
lwarmonger

 

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So just a follow up.

As the Entente, the last 5 turns I had occupied the entire map minus Holland, but still only won a Major victory when things timed out because to win a decisive victory German National Morale has to go to zero? That doesn't seem to make much sense. As the German player I am now experiencing some success through attrition warfare, but I doubt I will have enough time to get anything other then a minor victory. The issue is that a Schlieffen plan relied on two things. First, that the Entente would be out of position because of an offensive into Alsace Lorraine, and second, that the Germans would be able to hold the Entente in Alsace Lorraine. The issue is, any German offensive into Belgium can be hamstrung by the Entente player operating units into position along the French border, and the BEF into Antwerp. That creates a situation where the German player must spend more time fending off a double envelopment plus a possibly difficult to resist thrust into Alsace Lorraine then they do advancing. Additionally, when the Germans are fighting, they are typically at worse supply (because they are on offense). Finally, it is too easy to switch out the incompetent allied commanders that you start with for more competent ones, so even the leadership advantage the Germans have can be eroded fairly quickly. This is harder to do for the Germans, as they have to sacrifice a turn of advancing already slow headquarters to do so. The way I made this work as the Germans was to push forward as far into Belgium as possible, while using purchased units to first counterattack the French penetration into Alsace Lorraine that had some success, and then diverting units from my spearhead and my second round of purchased units to fend off a French counterattack into Luxembourg. By going onto the defense I managed to attritt the Entente down enough to return to the offense, but with only 5 turns left I think it will be too late to achieve my objectives (Verdun has been cleared, and I am nearly to the channel ports with not much left in front of me, but Dieppe is probably too far to reach, as is Paris... all they have to do is hold cities with detachments and that will slow me down enough to prevent a win by taking Paris).

As for victory conditions, as things are the German player doesn't really have enough units to accept the losses necessary to push forward fast enough in their first bound to let them get to Paris on time. I don't think that adding more division is the answer here, but perhaps adding some detachments in Alsace Lorraine to create some unit density on the defense. Additionally, for the northern objectives, Dieppe is very easy for the Entente to hold. Why include that as a requirement if you are going for the channel ports, as it isn't in the same area as the rest?

I really think 90% of the issues in this scenario would be solved by nixing all operational movement, and having French reinforcements arrive at the edges of the map. This would make Allied concentration much, much harder and create more of a "meeting engagement" feel for the scenario as a whole.

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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 3/8/2021 7:27:53 PM   
BillRunacre

 

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Yes, I'll certainly add an Entente Decisive Victory condition for if key German locations have fallen.

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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 4/2/2021 7:37:12 AM   
shri

 

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The biggest problem is Germany has far too many units un-built at the start and thus has a net loss to hold the entire line.

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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 4/2/2021 5:05:35 PM   
Taxman66


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Disregard.

Got mixed up with the WiE scenario

< Message edited by Taxman66 -- 4/2/2021 5:06:46 PM >


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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 4/10/2021 3:33:01 PM   
AdmiralYamamoto

 

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I may be a bit new to this game but I will have to disagree with lwarmonger general principle that this scenario is unbalanced toward the Entente. Your arguments are exactly correct but your conclusions are wrong. Yes, Germany does not have enough forces to tackle France, England and Belgium. So why does everyone declare war on Belgium? In my opinion this is the critical error that most player make as Germany. It greatly increases the length of the front that Germany must cover thus spreading their forces thin while adding additional forces to the enemy.

My suggestion is that Germany ignores Belgium and concentrates his army in the Lorraine while adding a few units to the Alsace to hold the French. If this strategy is employed then Germany can make full use of the Operation Movement rules to transfer his entire right flank to the center on turn 2. At this point it becomes a slugging match that I feel Germany can win.

I think the biggest mistake that most players make is to try and use WW2 Blitzkreig tactics in WW1. This game is a war of attrition not maneuver. The Operational Movement rules ensure this. As soon as you open up a big hole in the enemy line they reinforce it with units railed over from other parts of the front. To me the key to German success is destroying as many French units as possible each turn regardless of where they are on the front.

Unfortunately I have not had a chance to full test this theory out yet. I was able to defeat France by mid September playing the AI but my only experience with a live opponent is just a few turns in. It is going well so far but there is still plenty of fighting to be done. If anyone is interested in testing this out I would be happy to give them a game.

Sincerely
Admiral Yamamoto

< Message edited by AdmiralYamoto -- 4/10/2021 3:35:30 PM >

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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 4/11/2021 9:47:44 AM   
shri

 

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My game as entente with both of us average players, i have conquered every single town inc. KOLN and still German morale is above 30 and they have 0 HQs, 2 Artillery, 2 planes, 2 detachments and 2/3 divisions. That's it, i have overall over 70+ divisions etc.
The scenario is broken completely, even after all this Germany doesn't surrender. Also France won like a breeze despite major blunders early on in my headlong dive into Alsace.

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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 4/11/2021 10:28:29 PM   
Bavre

 

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Hi Admiral Yamoto,

are you still searching for a test subject for the march on Paris scenario? If so I'd like to give it a go. Just host a game and pm me the password.

Cheers,
Bavre

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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 4/12/2021 1:29:19 AM   
AdmiralYamamoto

 

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Hello Bavre. PM has been sent. Let me know if everything works properly. I am still new to this systems PBEM features. Thanks.

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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 4/15/2021 8:10:13 AM   
shri

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: AdmiralYamoto

I may be a bit new to this game but I will have to disagree with lwarmonger general principle that this scenario is unbalanced toward the Entente. Your arguments are exactly correct but your conclusions are wrong. Yes, Germany does not have enough forces to tackle France, England and Belgium. So why does everyone declare war on Belgium? In my opinion this is the critical error that most player make as Germany. It greatly increases the length of the front that Germany must cover thus spreading their forces thin while adding additional forces to the enemy.

My suggestion is that Germany ignores Belgium and concentrates his army in the Lorraine while adding a few units to the Alsace to hold the French. If this strategy is employed then Germany can make full use of the Operation Movement rules to transfer his entire right flank to the center on turn 2. At this point it becomes a slugging match that I feel Germany can win.

I think the biggest mistake that most players make is to try and use WW2 Blitzkreig tactics in WW1. This game is a war of attrition not maneuver. The Operational Movement rules ensure this. As soon as you open up a big hole in the enemy line they reinforce it with units railed over from other parts of the front. To me the key to German success is destroying as many French units as possible each turn regardless of where they are on the front.

Unfortunately I have not had a chance to full test this theory out yet. I was able to defeat France by mid September playing the AI but my only experience with a live opponent is just a few turns in. It is going well so far but there is still plenty of fighting to be done. If anyone is interested in testing this out I would be happy to give them a game.

Sincerely
Admiral Yamamoto



2 flaws in this theory
1. Irrespective of what you do, the English join. They come with 6 divisions, 1 HQ and 1 Cavalry, all upgradable to 11 strength, they also get 1 plane and a couple of divisions later. This force can on its own launch a powerful counter attack on a part of the front, forcing lots of diversions. Also it gives france 5000 morale, which is a lot.
2. Verdun is nearly impregnable, Nancy + Toul + Epinal + Belfort can be taken after an epic slugfest, but problem is supply dries up even if you somehow take them, you just cannot march to paris with 5 average supply.

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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 4/17/2021 2:23:55 AM   
lwarmonger

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: AdmiralYamoto

I may be a bit new to this game but I will have to disagree with lwarmonger general principle that this scenario is unbalanced toward the Entente. Your arguments are exactly correct but your conclusions are wrong. Yes, Germany does not have enough forces to tackle France, England and Belgium. So why does everyone declare war on Belgium? In my opinion this is the critical error that most player make as Germany. It greatly increases the length of the front that Germany must cover thus spreading their forces thin while adding additional forces to the enemy.

My suggestion is that Germany ignores Belgium and concentrates his army in the Lorraine while adding a few units to the Alsace to hold the French. If this strategy is employed then Germany can make full use of the Operation Movement rules to transfer his entire right flank to the center on turn 2. At this point it becomes a slugging match that I feel Germany can win.

I think the biggest mistake that most players make is to try and use WW2 Blitzkreig tactics in WW1. This game is a war of attrition not maneuver. The Operational Movement rules ensure this. As soon as you open up a big hole in the enemy line they reinforce it with units railed over from other parts of the front. To me the key to German success is destroying as many French units as possible each turn regardless of where they are on the front.

Unfortunately I have not had a chance to full test this theory out yet. I was able to defeat France by mid September playing the AI but my only experience with a live opponent is just a few turns in. It is going well so far but there is still plenty of fighting to be done. If anyone is interested in testing this out I would be happy to give them a game.

Sincerely
Admiral Yamamoto


So, that is the issue isn't it? I ended up winning when French National Morale went to 0 after a war of attrition, but that is no surefire way for the Germans to win (attrition works both ways, doesn't it?). And I'm not talking about scenario balance against an AI... I can crush an AI in any of these games without much trouble on hardest difficulty.

The way the victory conditions are laid out, there are several ways to win as the German player. Taking Paris, taking the Channel ports, enemy morale goes to 0. Historically the Germans first tried for Paris, then tried for the Channel ports. The entente was able to stop them, barely, but nearly lost. Both sides had extreme difficulty concentrating forces at the decisive point., because units moved at the speed that they could march, and the road network would only support so many soldiers.

The point I am making is, this scenario doesn't have that. At all. I can just operationally move units all over the map, except in Belgium. So as the Entente, I can mass all of my formations right at the decisive point, and force a war of attrition on my terms. Easily. If two equal players play this scenario, the German player WILL lose. The Germans don't have material superiority (the British and French have greater numbers and resources even without the Belgians) and they can't make up for that with maneuver (maneuver being completely negated by operational movement).Not attacking Belgium means the Germans have to attack right into rough terrain and fortresses they don't have sufficient artillery to deal with, and with inferior numbers and reinforcements. They still lose.

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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 4/20/2021 8:23:34 PM   
AdmiralYamamoto

 

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Hello lwarmonger. Once again I agree with most of what you say. Although attrition is not a surefire way to victory for the Germans, I still feel it is much better than the alternatives currently available. I fully agree that play balance should not be considered between a live opponent and the AI. The AI used for games just does not compare to the human mind at this point (and I hope it never does or the human race is in trouble). I still feel though that play balance between human players is much more likely to exist if the German player does not declare war on Belgium. There is nothing stopping the Germans from using operational movement just like the Entente to mass formations at the decisive point and force a war of attrition on German terms.

I do like your idea stated earlier of not allowing operational movement and having reinforcements for both sides starting further away from the border. This would make for an interesting March on Paris 2 scenario. I am just not ready to concede that the original design is hopeless. My other concern is that if you slow things down too much then you may lose some playability. No one wants to play a game where the only result is a stalemate. WW1 is a tough era to make an interesting game that does not bog down into full trench warfare without movement.

Sincerely,
Admiral Yamamoto

< Message edited by AdmiralYamoto -- 4/20/2021 8:24:13 PM >

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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 5/17/2021 10:17:32 PM   
Bavre

 

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Me (Entente) and AdmiralYamamoto (Germany) just finished our test match resulting in a german minor victory. French morale dipped below 25% on the last turn .
Overall I think balance is not all that off on this one. While the Entente has the better economy the Germans have better troops, much better HQs and the only 2 cannons in the game. Imho the key to german play is to use your initial onslaugth to get decent XP on your generals and prevent the french ones from doing the same. Once you take some NM objectives and manage to keep your guys in reasonable supply you should have a decent advantage in readyness. Depending on how good your start was, you will have a chance to slowly snowball.
In our match I made some big mistakes in the first few turns (just can't get used to those weak ZoCs) and afterwards most german troops were simply invincible. However I managed to bog them down and stop them in front of Reims.

The only thing that felt a bit off was that only the germans had cannons. There's no entrenchment tech here, so those alone are a HUGE advantage. They guaranty easy victory and XP to the general controlling them and are simply the only means to conquer fortresses. This also means that every fortress the germans managed to approach is lost and cannot be reconquered by the Entente. Maybe it would be a good idea to give each side say an additional two cannons each?

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RE: March on Paris unbalanced? - 5/18/2021 4:15:23 AM   
shri

 

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Bill or other mods can correct me, but here goes my understanding on it.

Field artillery (mortars, machine guns and light artillery) and even Medium artillery (howitzers) is modded into the Corps themselves (in MoP case, divisions).
The artillery we get on maps is heavy artillery or super heavy artillery (150mm and above).

In 1914, the French had a grand total of 120 guns in the caliber 120mm and above attached to corps or army command, the balance 200-300 were in great fortresses of Verdun, Toul, Belfort and even Paris, Maubenge etc. The vast majority of the French army had only the 75mm guns, same issue with Belgium though the British corps artillery did have a few howitzers, they were too less in number. (4 per corps from what i recollect)

In contrast, In addition to its rifle power, the division had 24 machine guns, and the field artillery numbered 72 guns (54 77mm guns and 18 105mm guns) and in addition a German corps provided either 32 150mm howitzers or 16 210mm howitzers for the support of its two divisions. This difference is noted in some war games and not noted in most. The 1914 battles chroniclers whether Zuber or others have all noticed and prominently marked out this key difference. This made the total guns available at approx. 90 or 108 per division, the French also had roughly 100 guns per division, out of which 90 would be 75mm and the rest would be 105mm. But no guns above it in either division or corps formations and only 24 or so per army formation (my memory maybe faulty and it can be as high as 30 per army, because as i said earlier only 120 guns available).
Eg: WW1 gold gave the Germans and French and British infantry same stats, but the Germans start with upgrades to firepower which makes their corps fire better (more attack/defense).

Anyway, the Germans used the Skoda guns and their own Krupp heavy artillery to reduce the forts in the west, this is what is modeled in the scenario is my understanding. There was one heavy artillery battery of 8 guns + a smaller battery of the Skoda guns having 4-5 guns active in 1914. These were actually super heavy artillery and couldn't be easily pulled fast by Horses, needed a powertrain and even tracks to pull and set them up. All these guns were 305mm and above.

P.S.: TEAW (To end all wars) has a event where you can neutralise or reduce your own forts to get artillery guns at the cost of NM, historically this did happen as at the end of 1914, France, Britain both stripped their Fortresses bare to get heavy artillery and this ironically set up Verdun campaign of 1916 as Falkenhyn got intelligence that Verdun had no guns and was just an empty shell fortress (partially true).

< Message edited by shri -- 5/18/2021 4:20:41 AM >

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