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CP opening attack in the East and game balance

 
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CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/11/2021 2:25:00 AM   
mdsmall

 

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Hi - I am reposting below my conclusions from a much longer After Action Report which I posted today in the War Room, at the end of the "Montenegro Gambit Test 2" thread. Essentially, Bavre and I played a test match in which he as the Central Powers pursued an all out offensive against Russia and Serbia, selling all of his tech chits on the opening turn in order to rail in as many units as possible to these fronts. We had agreed not to pursue the Montenegro Gambit, so he attacked Serbia proper with full force instead. The result was that Serbia surrendered by late October 1914, Russia withdrew after the Bolshevik Revolution in September 1915, and I resigned as the Entente.

"My conclusions are that an all-out attack in the East by the CP on the opening turn - if pursued with the focus that Bavre brought to the job - is devastating for the Entente, especially if it is combined with an equal push against Serbia. These two campaigns feed-off each other through the morale impact of surrenders by minor powers. Just fixing the Montenegro gambit will not change that, as I argued at the end of that long thread. If the CP wants to take out Serbia and Russia, they can do so AT THE SAME TIME, while leaving enough of a force to block any French and British attacks in the West.

Others should test out this opening by the Central Powers to see if a different defence strategy, and/or more skillful tactical moves by the Entente, would have changed anything fundamental. Personally, I doubt it. In terms of the adjustments to the game settings to slow down this assault in the interests of giving the Entente enough of a chance to hold on, there are some minor tweaks and two more major ones that I would recommend.

The minor tweaks are the following:

- giving Russia other safer locations for their units to mobilize, if the hexes in Poland have been captured and/or Poland has been cut-off;
- fixing the glitch which prevents two Russian corps from mobilizing in the Caucasus if Brest-Litovsk has been captured;
- making a few more enhancements in Montenegro to reduce the M-Gambit, such as making Centinje a Fortified Town, increasing their two Montenegro detachments from 7 to 10; and adding an alternate capital in Pec;
- and perhaps strengthening Serbias starting positions e.g. by making some or all their front-line corps and their initial HQ start at full strength;

The two bigger adjustments that I recommend are:

- reducing the unit morale impact of minor units surrender, by reducing the % swing; or restricting it to the controlling Major and the Major that forced the surrender; or perhaps eliminating this feature entirely for minor powers.
- prohibiting both sides from selling their tech chits on turn one (only).

The goal of these changes would be to enable both Serbia and Russia not be overwhelmed in the opening couple of moves. They would slow down a concerted CP attack in the Balkans enough to make it plausible for the Entente to try to double down and defend Serbia by sending in a couple of French or British corps. And they would give Russia enough of a chance to mobilize and perhaps even counter-attack a bit either in East Prussia or Galicia as the Central Powers rail in more forces. I don’t think it would invalidate the East-first strategy (at least I hope not). But I think these changes would prevent the game from being settled in the opening four months of the war. "

Post #: 1
RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/11/2021 3:30:40 AM   
Chernobyl

 

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I think Serbia could use some defensive boost. Increasing the health/strength of all their starting units by +1 might be cool. Maybe also start with the Montenegro HQ in Pec in addition to snipping one railroad hex.

I don't really like prohibiting tech selling, even for just one turn. Russia suffers from German units being railed over on turn #2 just as badly as turn #1. And in any case for a "normal" (attack France) start, Germany DOES need to sell at least their Airship tech just to have enough MPP to rail a corps into a fort to provide defense and ZOC to prevent some immediate cavalry cheese.

Of course Russia should definitely be able to mobilize all her units safely*. Perhaps the allowable hexes for German starting units should be altered? Those cavalry starting in East Prussia are a bit unrealistic, dashing straight into Vilnus and cutting the Brest railroad.
*And while these event and spawn units are being adjusted, now would be the perfect time to prevent the Entente from purchasing Artillery units beyond their build limits! (A pet peeve of mine) Just add these units to the build queue or remove them, and delete the events which spawn them.

(in reply to mdsmall)
Post #: 2
RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/11/2021 4:13:31 AM   
OldCrowBalthazor


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Yeah, I endorsed mdsmall's proposal in the War Room on the Montenegro Gambit Test 2 thread..but in retrospect, and now that you mentioned it Chernobyl, maybe the 1st turn chit selling should stay. The reasoning is that most people that do that use it not just for operating units..but changing a research focus.

I also think Serbia could get a marginal boost, but just that..because if its too powerful, and the CP decides to send the AH 2nd army to Galicia,and/or there is no German intervention, then Serbia could grow way too strong by 1915.

I do think the rest of what mdsmall has proposed is leading in the right direction though, and is a synthesis of all of our collective ideas on this monster of a subject. Its pretty clear the Entente needs some love...

sidenote on Entente artillery: I agree with Chernobyl about the 'extra artillery' that can be worked into the existing force pool of the Entente by a savvy player being abolished. I personally lost a match wherein I faced All the artillery possible including Greek (excluding Russian) on the Western Front around early 1917. As the CP..I had taken Verdun for the 5th time..plus Epinal and Belfort, killing or demolishing 6 + French corps, and faced a wall of artillery...maybe 8+ The next turn...this wall of death wrecked my whole offensive and I lost every gain I made the previous turn...a gain done almost exclusively with artillery. Of course it was the early version uber-cannons..but there were 'extras' haha


< Message edited by OldCrowBalthazor -- 3/11/2021 4:14:07 AM >

(in reply to Chernobyl)
Post #: 3
RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/11/2021 6:16:25 AM   
mdsmall

 

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The main reason why I suggested restricting both sides ability to sell research chits on the first turn (only) is that it this ability magnifies the Central Powers already considerable first mover advantage. This is particularly true against Serbia, which starts with understrength corps, and against Russia, which mobilizes slowly over five turns. As Chernobyl says, nothing stops Germany or Austria-Hungary from using their normal MPP income on their second turn from operationally moving their units south or east. But by giving the Entente one turn before this happens to either move or entrench their initial forces, they can better resist CP attacks starting in the second turn. Such a restriction would hamper the Entente as well, since both Serbia and Russia are forced to sell research chits on the first turn to respond to this opening move. But because the Central Powers move first, Germany and Austria-Hungary can move and attack on turn two with the forces they railed in on turn one, before Serbia or Russia can either move or entrench any units they operationally moved in response on turn one.

In addition, I don't think the ability to sell chits was intended to give either side a war-chest of MPPs to use to fund movement on the first turn. The opening chits were given to represent the head start some Majors had in researching certain techs. The ability to sell chits allows players, at a cost, to shift their research focus if other techs seem more pressing. Selling all of your research chits on the opening move certainly comes at a strategic cost. But I found the Central Powers soon made up their lost tech lead through the additional MPPs they earned through capturing resources in Russia and plunder in the Balkans. There seemed to be no difference between Germany's speed in reaching Trench Warfare 1 or Artillery Weapons 1 and the speed of either France or Britain. Since Russia was on the defensive from turn one, both Germany and AH were always ahead of Russia in their tech levels.

If game balance requires that Germany be able to operationally move one or two units on the opening turn, they can be given a small positive balance of MPPs to start with - like France, the UK or Serbia. That seems a much better way of allowing a CP player to cover any critical weaknesses in their opening position against, say, an audacious Russian cavalry raid - compared to a race to bottom with Russia in selling off their tech chits. By the time everyone reaches turn two, normal production has started and the inherent first mover advantage of the Central Powers has worn off. By that point, they have to win their victories through combat - which is how it should be.

(in reply to OldCrowBalthazor)
Post #: 4
RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/11/2021 7:34:28 AM   
Espejo


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I agree with mdsmall here. The ability to sell the tech chits in the first round allows quite a lot of cheesy moves. This one turn can make all the difference especially in the beginning. The Central Power already have a big advantage as they can move and place addtional units. THe abilty to beam whole armies around the map should be lessened in my opinion anyway.


(in reply to mdsmall)
Post #: 5
RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/11/2021 7:51:22 AM   
OldCrowBalthazor


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Yeah...I can understand the reasoning to not allowing chit selling on the first turn. I quess it could be considered locked down...like everything else except the initial German deployment on the first turn and the AH decision of what to do with the 2nd Army at the end of the turn.

So...its probably also reasonable to assume that the research wheels are already rolling when the War starts...and can't be interfered with by the Government/Miltary until after the conflict is underway.

Yes..I understand this argument and could go with that. It was mentioned before though and I don't know how much the Dev's were warm to the idea.
Maybe after hearing your case mdsmall and the others who support this, they will looked at it carefully.

(in reply to Espejo)
Post #: 6
RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/11/2021 10:22:19 AM   
BillRunacre

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chernobyl

Germany DOES need to sell at least their Airship tech just to have enough MPP to rail a corps into a fort to provide defense and ZOC to prevent some immediate cavalry cheese.


Is there a specific location you have in mind here?

Though if there is, I am wondering why one of the units Germany receives in the Deployment Phase cannot be assigned to cover it?

Thanks

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RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/11/2021 10:27:23 AM   
BillRunacre

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: mdsmall

Hi - I am reposting below my conclusions from a much longer After Action Report which I posted today in the War Room, at the end of the "Montenegro Gambit Test 2" thread. Essentially, Bavre and I played a test match in which he as the Central Powers pursued an all out offensive against Russia and Serbia, selling all of his tech chits on the opening turn in order to rail in as many units as possible to these fronts. We had agreed not to pursue the Montenegro Gambit, so he attacked Serbia proper with full force instead. The result was that Serbia surrendered by late October 1914, Russia withdrew after the Bolshevik Revolution in September 1915, and I resigned as the Entente.

"My conclusions are that an all-out attack in the East by the CP on the opening turn - if pursued with the focus that Bavre brought to the job - is devastating for the Entente, especially if it is combined with an equal push against Serbia. These two campaigns feed-off each other through the morale impact of surrenders by minor powers. Just fixing the Montenegro gambit will not change that, as I argued at the end of that long thread. If the CP wants to take out Serbia and Russia, they can do so AT THE SAME TIME, while leaving enough of a force to block any French and British attacks in the West.

Others should test out this opening by the Central Powers to see if a different defence strategy, and/or more skillful tactical moves by the Entente, would have changed anything fundamental. Personally, I doubt it. In terms of the adjustments to the game settings to slow down this assault in the interests of giving the Entente enough of a chance to hold on, there are some minor tweaks and two more major ones that I would recommend.

The minor tweaks are the following:

- giving Russia other safer locations for their units to mobilize, if the hexes in Poland have been captured and/or Poland has been cut-off;
- fixing the glitch which prevents two Russian corps from mobilizing in the Caucasus if Brest-Litovsk has been captured;
- making a few more enhancements in Montenegro to reduce the M-Gambit, such as making Centinje a Fortified Town, increasing their two Montenegro detachments from 7 to 10; and adding an alternate capital in Pec;
- and perhaps strengthening Serbias starting positions e.g. by making some or all their front-line corps and their initial HQ start at full strength;

The two bigger adjustments that I recommend are:

- reducing the unit morale impact of minor units surrender, by reducing the % swing; or restricting it to the controlling Major and the Major that forced the surrender; or perhaps eliminating this feature entirely for minor powers.
- prohibiting both sides from selling their tech chits on turn one (only).

The goal of these changes would be to enable both Serbia and Russia not be overwhelmed in the opening couple of moves. They would slow down a concerted CP attack in the Balkans enough to make it plausible for the Entente to try to double down and defend Serbia by sending in a couple of French or British corps. And they would give Russia enough of a chance to mobilize and perhaps even counter-attack a bit either in East Prussia or Galicia as the Central Powers rail in more forces. I don’t think it would invalidate the East-first strategy (at least I hope not). But I think these changes would prevent the game from being settled in the opening four months of the war. "



Thanks for the very useful summary Michael.

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RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/11/2021 11:48:39 AM   
stockwellpete

 

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Very interesting thread and way ahead of the standard that I am playing at against the AI. I agree, though, that selling Tech chits on Turn 1 to facilitate "operating" should be abolished.

In my latest game using my mod against the AI, removing the Dalmatian railway line seemed to work very well in making that area much more remote and inaccessible.

(in reply to BillRunacre)
Post #: 9
RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/11/2021 5:10:04 PM   
Chernobyl

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: BillRunacre
Is there a specific location you have in mind here?
why one of the units Germany receives in the Deployment Phase cannot be assigned to cover it?


I'm primarily thinking about the Thorn fort. I've never found occupying it with a detachment to be sufficient. With no ZOC it allows too much quick movement and you have to worry not only about Thorn getting surrounded, but units also dashing past to capture Bromberg or Graudenz.

Of course the "deploy phase" corps can defend any fort in Germany. But what's the point of a deploy phase at all if you need to deploy it to Thorn? I like the all-in West-first attack where you pressure France as much as possible early by deploying all your units there, but I might never attempt it if I couldn't also rail a corps (Flensburg corps is nice) over to cover Thorn and the Kattowitz mines. I also usually rail a detachment down to France to cover Mulhausen to free a real corps for attack asap.

Ironically one of the best defenses of the West I have seen is Dazo railing selling tech to rail multiple French corps into Belgium on the Entente's first turn. The potential to sell tech immediately vastly increases the variety of potential responses to a "Schlieffen".

Moreover, Serbia makes good defensive use of this 'exploit' by selling their Industry tech. They are already collapsing as it is, and without that early +50MPP I don't even know if they can make it to 1915.

Finally regarding first-turn rail, I will put an asterisk and note that you CAN disband units to get MPP if it's really that crucial. For example as Germany I could disband both recon bombers (painful) to get 26mpp which I could use to rail one corps and a detachment. Not something I'd be happy to do as a necessity, but it would be worth it if it makes the difference between taking Cetinje and not.

< Message edited by Chernobyl -- 3/11/2021 5:15:42 PM >

(in reply to BillRunacre)
Post #: 10
RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/11/2021 5:37:42 PM   
mdsmall

 

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Hi Chernobyl - you make some good points, which is why I like raising ideas in this Forum. But I suggest you ask Bavre to play a test match for a few turns and let him run his new East opening on you. I would be genuinely interested to hear if you can find ways as the Entente to resist it, without limiting both sides ability to sell tech on turn one.

(in reply to Chernobyl)
Post #: 11
RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/11/2021 6:34:46 PM   
Bavre

 

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While I by and large agree with mdsmalls conclusions (see my post in the other thread), there's one point where I'm not so sure and that's the tech selling.
This is something both sides can equally do and that in some situations is almost neccessary (see Chernobyl's post above).
The one thing that only CP can do, is to override the accompanying malus to their units with the buff from capturing Luxembourg. My theory is that this ability to do a turn 2 "teleport attack on steroids" is the real cause of the problem. As already mentioned elsewhere, my suggestion would be to nerf those frankly hilarious buffs from conquering tiny countries. It might just solve to other issues, too.

(in reply to mdsmall)
Post #: 12
RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/11/2021 7:02:42 PM   
Espejo


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Quick question if the CP dont attack Belgium and the Entente then takes over Belgium is there any reson why the Rusia vonvoy from England to Rusia doesnt take place? It never started in my current MP

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Post #: 13
RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/11/2021 7:20:37 PM   
mdsmall

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bavre

While I by and large agree with mdsmalls conclusions (see my post in the other thread), there's one point where I'm not so sure and that's the tech selling.
This is something both sides can equally do and that in some situations is almost neccessary (see Chernobyl's post above).
The one thing that only CP can do, is to override the accompanying malus to their units with the buff from capturing Luxembourg. My theory is that this ability to do a turn 2 "teleport attack on steroids" is the real cause of the problem. As already mentioned elsewhere, my suggestion would be to nerf those frankly hilarious buffs from conquering tiny countries. It might just solve to other issues, too.



Hi Bavre - interesting counter-argument. It would be great if other players were willing to game test different combinations of the adjustments I recommended above, to see how they play out in practice. I recommend that anyone following this thread read the longer discussion of these openings play out, posted in the War Room.

(in reply to Bavre)
Post #: 14
RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/11/2021 7:31:07 PM   
Tanaka


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quote:

ORIGINAL: mdsmall

The two bigger adjustments that I recommend are:

- reducing the unit morale impact of minor units surrender, by reducing the % swing; or restricting it to the controlling Major and the Major that forced the surrender; or perhaps eliminating this feature entirely for minor powers.
- prohibiting both sides from selling their tech chits on turn one (only).



I think this is a nice compromise and fixes a lot of the same issues in all games in the series. Very much agreed.

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Post #: 15
RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/11/2021 8:06:33 PM   
Dazo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Espejo

Quick question if the CP dont attack Belgium and the Entente then takes over Belgium is there any reson why the Rusia vonvoy from England to Rusia doesnt take place? It never started in my current MP



Hi Espejo,

No it should still work but it will be shut down in winter as the russian end is in Arkhangelsk so the sea is frozen/unpassable.
Murmansk was only founded in 1915 so it doesn't work all year round as in WWII ^^ .

I guess you are around november or december 1914 since you talk about Entente taking out Belgium :) .

< Message edited by Dazo -- 3/11/2021 8:07:43 PM >

(in reply to Espejo)
Post #: 16
RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/12/2021 5:31:35 AM   
Espejo


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Nope thought it was the Winter but it is June/July and still no Convoy to the Rusians

(in reply to Dazo)
Post #: 17
RE: CP opening attack in the East and game balance - 3/12/2021 3:34:33 PM   
BillRunacre

 

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I've just seen this discussed in another thread, and it looks as though unrestricted naval warfare is to blame.

< Message edited by BillRunacre -- 3/12/2021 3:37:36 PM >


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