PBEM stream-ling ideas (more than simultaneous dip and rein phases)

Empires in Arms is the computer version of Australian Design Group classic board game. Empires in Arms is a seven player game of grand strategy set during the Napoleonic period of 1805-1815. The unit scale is corps level with full diplomatic options

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Dancing Bear
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PBEM stream-ling ideas (more than simultaneous dip and rein phases)

Post by Dancing Bear »

Hi all
Below are two other ideas for streamlining the PBEM game. For this thread, I am assuming that simultaneous diplomacy and reinforcement turns are integrated into the game (simultaneous reinforcement and diplomacy phases have been discussed elsewhere and, although improvements are still possible, are not the subject of this thread). The objective of this thread is to reduce the number of 24 hour turn arounds significantly by dealing with peace.

Despite the name of the name, most players spend most of their turns at peace, so much so, the game could be called Empires at Parade Rest. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that a player is at war only 25% of the time (not counting France). The game has 120 months, so this leaves 90 turns for a player to pick his nose. A fantastic way to cut years of playing time off the game would be to let players opt out of their land and naval phases. How could we do this?

Naval phase: Easy enough, allow players to “skip” their naval phases (even if at war) by selecting a button during the reinforcement phase. By skipping, their naval units simply do not move. So for instance, say Prussia, Austria, Spain, Russia, and France either have no fleets, are ice-locked, are blockaded, or have nothing to do. These players opt to “skip” their naval phase. Let’s assume GB selects to go last in the naval phase. At the end of the reinforcement phase (which is now simultaneous with all files sent to the French player), the game determines who is next, which is in this case Turkey. Turkey does her move, then sends the files to all players, as usual, with game announcing it is GB’s naval phase. GB does its move and then it is the land phase. So instead of 7 naval moves, each assumed to take 24 hours, we have 2. Assuming that this happens often enough (say 50% of the time), we have eliminated 60 months worth of naval moves by 5 players or 300 days from the game. Not bad.

Land phase: A little harder, as this phase can not be skipped. However, a player could opt to do no movement (i.e. autoforage all units) during the reinforcement phase, either auto foraging or paying for supply. Let’s call this standing down. Troops from all the stood down powers would autoforage simultaneously during the reinforcement phase (effectively completing their no movement first). Naval movement of stood down troops would not be allowed.

There would have to be a couple of compromises. First, the game would assume that units of other players do not move into areas controlled by the player who has stood down his units, or if they do they do not affect forage rolls unless they started in an area with stood down corps, i.e. a foreign corps moving through the area with a stood down corps would not affect the stood down corps forage roll, but a foreign corps starting in the same area as a stood down corps would. Second, a stood down player could not build depots outside his own country when stood down, to prevent the simultaneous construction of depots in the same area (the work around here is for corps in foreign nations to be “lent” or simply to not to opt to stand down your army).
Again, let’s say it is January 1806, and assume Prussia and Austria are under enforced peace with France. Russia, Turkey and Spain have conquered all the minors they are going to get and GB has its two corps at a tea party in London safe behind the Channel Fleet. None of these powers has any reason to move their army. France opts to go last but still keep its movement. At the end of the naval phase, the game will announce it is French land phase, France does its move, then we go into the diplomacy phase. Instead of 7 separate players each taking 24 hours to do nothing, we have one turn. So again, assuming this happens 50% of the time, we have eliminated 60 months of moves by 7 players, or another 360 days from the game.

This basically creates what happens several times in all the board games when the game leaps ahead several months at a time. It also lets less active major powers (i.e. Spain) be less involved in the game when they are not needed, saving them from complete boredom.

What do you all think? The math might not be right, but I think it is a good idea. Combine with simultaneous reinforcement and diplomacy phases, a peaceful month could be reduced to two game days. You could do a year in a less than a month.
NeverMan
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RE: PBEM stream-ling ideas (more than simultaneous dip and rein phases)

Post by NeverMan »

1. Not to be a smartass because I made the same mistake (similar) in another thread, but there's 132 months (12*11).

2. I totally agree about the naval phase being skipped, in my games thus prussia and austria get their naval phase skipped by the host.

3. Although I understand that not having a land phase for some countries could speed things up, I just don't think it will. Why? Because most players will not do this most of the time, so I'm not sure it's worth the coding headache for Marshall. If it's easy, then by all means, but I doubt it will be. At some point some things have to get balanced out (HotSeat could have been one of these things).
Soapy Frog
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RE: PBEM stream-ling ideas (more than simultaneous dip and rein phases)

Post by Soapy Frog »

Personally I think these are excellent suggestions.

Edit: Additionally I think ALL sieges should be automated and not require an exchange of battle files. The choices to be made are usually quite obvious.
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jnier
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RE: PBEM stream-ling ideas (more than simultaneous dip and rein phases)

Post by jnier »

I think sieges could be streamlined too, so that battlefiles do not neccessarily have to be exchanged. If i've garrisoned a city with a single factor, I'm not going to sortie. So maybe there's some button that can be added for garrisons ("auto-resolve seige assault" maybe), and if you click on it, you indicate that you do not want to sortie, in the event of an assault. And you let the computer decide which troops to take as seige casualties. Then the siege could be conducted without an exchange of files, correct?
bresh
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RE: PBEM stream-ling ideas (more than simultaneous dip and rein phases)

Post by bresh »

ORIGINAL: jnier

I think sieges could be streamlined too, so that battlefiles do not neccessarily have to be exchanged. If i've garrisoned a city with a single factor, I'm not going to sortie. So maybe there's some button that can be added for garrisons ("auto-resolve seige assault" maybe), and if you click on it, you indicate that you do not want to sortie, in the event of an assault. And you let the computer decide which troops to take as seige casualties. Then the siege could be conducted without an exchange of files, correct?

As far as i know only siege battles involving corps inside acting as garrison, currently needed file exchange(which beside for info on the attacker is unneeded).
Garrisons dont.

You do know when you can set orders for your "garrisons", both in reinforcement phase but also in your land move phase ?
As described on page 79 of the manual.

Regards
Bresh


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Marshall Ellis
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RE: PBEM stream-ling ideas (more than simultaneous dip and rein phases)

Post by Marshall Ellis »

ORIGINAL: bresh

ORIGINAL: jnier

I think sieges could be streamlined too, so that battlefiles do not neccessarily have to be exchanged. If i've garrisoned a city with a single factor, I'm not going to sortie. So maybe there's some button that can be added for garrisons ("auto-resolve seige assault" maybe), and if you click on it, you indicate that you do not want to sortie, in the event of an assault. And you let the computer decide which troops to take as seige casualties. Then the siege could be conducted without an exchange of files, correct?

As far as i know only siege battles involving corps inside acting as garrison, currently needed file exchange(which beside for info on the attacker is unneeded).
Garrisons dont.

You do know when you can set orders for your "garrisons", both in reinforcement phase but also in your land move phase ?
As described on page 79 of the manual.

Regards
Bresh




This should be correct.
Also, battles against a single minor corps should be streamlined (AI takes control of the defendinf minor).


Thank you

Marshall Ellis
Outflank Strategy War Games


NeverMan
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RE: PBEM stream-ling ideas (more than simultaneous dip and rein phases)

Post by NeverMan »

ORIGINAL: Marshall Ellis

ORIGINAL: bresh

ORIGINAL: jnier

I think sieges could be streamlined too, so that battlefiles do not neccessarily have to be exchanged. If i've garrisoned a city with a single factor, I'm not going to sortie. So maybe there's some button that can be added for garrisons ("auto-resolve seige assault" maybe), and if you click on it, you indicate that you do not want to sortie, in the event of an assault. And you let the computer decide which troops to take as seige casualties. Then the siege could be conducted without an exchange of files, correct?

As far as i know only siege battles involving corps inside acting as garrison, currently needed file exchange(which beside for info on the attacker is unneeded).
Garrisons dont.

You do know when you can set orders for your "garrisons", both in reinforcement phase but also in your land move phase ?
As described on page 79 of the manual.

Regards
Bresh




This should be correct.
Also, battles against a single minor corps should be streamlined (AI takes control of the defendinf minor).



I noticed this and I can say that I don't agree with it they way it is currently implemented. Open Field Combat should be done by the player UNLESS the 5:1 Trivial Combat rule is implemented.

Personally, I consider 1PP to be a lot and it's not something I want to give the AI (especially not in it's current condition) control over. Why was it implemented this way????
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Marshall Ellis
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RE: PBEM stream-ling ideas (more than simultaneous dip and rein phases)

Post by Marshall Ellis »

Very simply to streamline the PBEM play. Actually, I think the AI does pretty well once it is in combat. Do you see a bahavior issue with that?
Thank you

Marshall Ellis
Outflank Strategy War Games


Soapy Frog
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RE: PBEM stream-ling ideas (more than simultaneous dip and rein phases)

Post by Soapy Frog »

I do not have a big problem with this as you can pre-select the minor corps' chit.
 
For sieges, even sieges with corps defending should not require an exchange of battle files. Casualty assignment is quite simple in almost all cases.
 
For example right now if I am Portugal figthing Spain: If my corps fights in the field, there is no battle file exchange. If my corps is beseiged and fights in the city then there IS a battle file exchange. Why? This slows the game down unnecessarily.
 
Marshall, what do you think of Dancing Bear's suggestion of giving an "opt out" of naval and land movement choice to major powers at peace? This could be a very very significant streamlining element.
KenClark
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RE: PBEM stream-ling ideas (more than simultaneous dip and rein phases)

Post by KenClark »

ORIGINAL: Marshall Ellis

Very simply to streamline the PBEM play. Actually, I think the AI does pretty well once it is in combat. Do you see a bahavior issue with that?

I would like the ability to reinforce those types of battles. If I leave Davout out with the full first French corps and it gets jumped, I would like to be able to reinforce in with Napoleon, for example.

Similarly, I would like to be able to ATTACK a single corps and be able to reinforce into it. This is a very powerful money-saver in the mountains for example. You attack into the mountains with 1 corps, and you then reinforce in 5+ more. This saves you a lot of $$, especially in the winter.

Also, if it's for PP I would like to be able to pick the chits depending on how many corps attack me, for example.

Ken
bresh
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RE: PBEM stream-ling ideas (more than simultaneous dip and rein phases)

Post by bresh »

ORIGINAL: KenClark

ORIGINAL: Marshall Ellis

Very simply to streamline the PBEM play. Actually, I think the AI does pretty well once it is in combat. Do you see a bahavior issue with that?

I would like the ability to reinforce those types of battles. If I leave Davout out with the full first French corps and it gets jumped, I would like to be able to reinforce in with Napoleon, for example.

Similarly, I would like to be able to ATTACK a single corps and be able to reinforce into it. This is a very powerful money-saver in the mountains for example. You attack into the mountains with 1 corps, and you then reinforce in 5+ more. This saves you a lot of $$, especially in the winter.

Also, if it's for PP I would like to be able to pick the chits depending on how many corps attack me, for example.

Ken

As far as i remember you are in control and should be able to reinforce when you attack with 1 corps since its your turn. Or have i percieved this wrongly ?

Regards
Bresh
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Jimmer
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RE: PBEM stream-ling ideas (more than simultaneous dip and rein phases)

Post by Jimmer »

Besides that, a thing I miss is being able to reinforce a battle after it is over. The computer version seems to forget that the round in which a side breaks is still a round, and reinforcing in should still be an option. I think I'll report this as a "rules deviation".
At LAST! The greatest campaign board game of all time is finally available for the PC. Can my old heart stand the strain?
Dancing Bear
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RE: PBEM stream-ling ideas (more than simultaneous dip and rein phases)

Post by Dancing Bear »

Ok, since this thread has become about streamlining combat, lets start a new thread for streamlining PBEM combat. What were folks thoughts on skipping naval phases and semi-simultaneous land phases during times of peace? Marshall, are these things hard to code?
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