OOB's in BAB

From the first clash at Manassas to the epic confrontation between Lee and Grant, the Brother Against Brother series will bring new levels of historical detail and realism to the battles of the Civil War. This regimental-level game, created by the developers of the award-winning Forge of Freedom, builds on that game’s acclaimed tactical engine, adding scrupulously researched orders of battle, high-quality map graphics, command and control rules reflecting the numerous challenges faced by army commanders, and plenty other features. Beginning with The Drawing of The Sword – which recreates the pivotal opening battles at Manassas , Wilson ’s Creek, Mill Springs and Williamsburg – Brother Against Brother lets you refight the Civil War from start to finish.

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Gil R.
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OOB's in BAB

Post by Gil R. »

Over time I will share some details about BAB. It seems like a good place to start would be OOB’s. In FOF, which is set at the brigade level, we just have infantry, cavalry and artillery, with abstracted “brigade attributes” such as sharpshooters, brigade artillery and zouaves sometimes part of those. Now that we have redone the engine and taken it down to the regimental level we have as “containers” armies, corps, divisions, infantry brigades, cavalry brigades, and artillery battalions, and within these can be infantry regiments, cavalry regiments, artillery batteries (usually 4-6 guns), sharpshooting regiments, sharpshooting companies, infantry companies, cavalry companies, and horse artillery.

The OOB’s themselves are extremely accurate, and always rely on multiple sources. (Multiple good sources.) Whenever there is uncertainty about something we include a note in the data file, so that players who want to take the time to read these can see why we did things as we did, what our sources were, what the gaps in our (collective) knowledge are, etc. That way, instead of fudging things and hoping no one notices, we let you know the state of information on a given matter, if that is of interest.

The OOB files contain a lot of basic things that you would expect – names of containers and units, which side they are on, etc. – but also a number of columns tied in to important elements of the game. Some examples:
* In addition to having commanders for “containers” from the brigade level on up, for every unit we have up to three officers – colonel, lieutenant-colonel and major for infantry and cavalry, captain and two lieutenants for artillery batteries and independent companies – and wherever it has been possible we are providing their names and historical ratings. (The former is usually easier than the latter.) So whereas in FOF you had up to 1000 generals in the database, now we are going to grow that database rather significantly.
* For each regiment or infantry/cavalry battalion we provide the number of companies, which dictates how many abstracted captains there are. When units take casualties, in addition to the possibility of losing one of the top three officers there is a chance of one or more captains becoming casualties, and their loss can hurt unit cohesion and effectiveness.
* When possible we go with actual strength numbers, otherwise estimated strength numbers, and we make it clear which we have used by having separate columns.
* Units can begin a battle in “encamp” mode, which means that they cannot become activated until 1) the time they really did become active or 2) they are attacked. Since a few battles – most famously Chancellorsville but also both Wilson’s Creek and Mill Springs in this release – began with encamped units being attacked, this was an obvious feature to add.
* Reinforcements arrive at historically accurate (or approximate) times.
* The chance that units will become fatigued can be affected by setting them to be “fresh” or not “fresh” (or fatigued), and they can also be identified as “fatigue prone” (e.g., if a unit enters a scenario after a long march, or has been fighting for several hours already).
* The number of “special abilities” a unit can have has now gone up to three, though only the very best units will get those. As with the “Legendary Units” in FOF, all special abilities assigned to units are based on some aspect of their performance in that battle.
* Each unit can now have two types of weapons, with damage being calculated based on both weapons’ stats and what the relative percentages of the two are.
* In addition to the rather obvious “healthy,” “wounded” or “killed” for generals and officers, we have an “away from unit” status that indicates that someone was not present at the battle (and there will usually be a note in the data file explaining if he was sick, on leave, under arrest, etc.)
* Oh yeah, I almost forgot: we'll have the bios.

So, that’s a not very brief overview that should give you a pretty good idea of the level of detail we are aiming at here. Feel free to ask any questions.

Michael Jordan plays ball. Charles Manson kills people. I torment eager potential customers by not sharing screenshots of "Brother Against Brother." Everyone has a talent.
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wodin
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RE: OOB's in BAB

Post by wodin »

Love it...the more detail in a wargame the better for me...the immersion level rises with every little touch...aswell as realism...really like the officer mechanics going on here.
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Obsolete
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RE: OOB's in BAB

Post by Obsolete »

When we talk about realism, one issue which plagued the (Evil guys [;)]), was the high volume of mass desertions by the South.  I don't think I have seen a game of this era handle this influencial mechanic very well.  I suppose it would get a lot of players very upset to have to do a DESERTION ROLL, as no one likes factors which are mostly out-of-our-hands to have such an important effect.  But perhaps this could still be modeled somehow in a not-so-harsh way?


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JudgeDredd
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RE: OOB's in BAB

Post by JudgeDredd »

Perhaps one "not so harsh way" would be to model it on morale - not just of the unit, but of surrounding units and also perhaps affected by how the war is going?

People generally desert because they don't see the logic in continuing - these things could be affected by how well your unit is doing in battle (more deaths = more friends dead = low morale), how well your fello units are doing (hearsay that brigade x on the right was destroyed and the right flank is at risk = low morale?) and how well the war is going...hearing widespread news of battles afar going wrong - or hearing that the indestructable Colonel Smith has been captured/killed/routed = low morale...

Ok - maybe all that isn't simple, but morale is arguably linked to these things and desertions are arguably linked to morale.
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Obsolete
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RE: OOB's in BAB

Post by Obsolete »

Well, there were many other reasons for the desertions.  The South were paid worse than minimum wage today.  They were starving because there was so little food to go around, and what little TAC? they got was often so bad as to be un-editable.  That army couldn't even get proper uniforms distributed, or even afford them, not to mention you were expected to bring your own muskets, which were known to kick farther than they could shoot for many of them :p

And then there were all the other harsh conditions...


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RE: OOB's in BAB

Post by junk2drive »

Obsolete I would be against that idea simply because this is a game. I don't want to start a battle as the South knowing that a dice roll might cause me to lose when I think I am winning. If there is a historical battle where the outcome was effected by desertion then someone can design that scenario for the player to do better than historical. But don't have me play the winner in an historical battle and then tell me sorry, half your troops just went home because of a dice roll.
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Gil R.
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RE: OOB's in BAB

Post by Gil R. »

ORIGINAL: Obsolete

When we talk about realism, one issue which plagued the (Evil guys [;)]), was the high volume of mass desertions by the South.  I don't think I have seen a game of this era handle this influencial mechanic very well.  I suppose it would get a lot of players very upset to have to do a DESERTION ROLL, as no one likes factors which are mostly out-of-our-hands to have such an important effect.  But perhaps this could still be modeled somehow in a not-so-harsh way?

I'm certainly aware of the phenomenon of deserters, but my impression is that this tended to happen more between battles than on the day of battle. I do know that at Mill Springs a sizeable number of Confederate soldiers simply did not turn out that morning to join the march column heading from their encampment to the area where the Union was encamped 10 miles away, and no doubt a bunch more disappeared during the march. But that was a very green army with little discipline or training. And while I'm sure that straggling/deserting did occur to a more limited extent later in the war when the troops were better disciplined, I'm not sure that same-day losses were more for the CSA than USA. Am I wrong about this?

Even so, I can say that right now this isn't part of the game. We'll certainly consider all suggestions -- both pre- and post-release -- so if we were able to come up with interesting rules that caused some desertion we might implement it. We wouldn't want it to be something purely random and unrelated to what's happening in the battle, though -- there would have to be a reason for it occurring.
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Bison36
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RE: OOB's in BAB

Post by Bison36 »

The desertion idea doesn't seem to fit with tactical battle only gameplay. I imagine that there will be unit routing, which is troops leaving the battlefield. If there were a linked battle campaign system, I think it'd be reasonable for desertion to be a factor in an attrition rate for units between battles.

I like what you've described for the breakdown of leadership effects to the company level. Am I reading what you wrote right? That the smallest unit, other than artillery, will be a regiment, but that the special ablities will represent individual company abilities and not overall regimental abilities? (Don't know if what I wrote makes sense, but it does in my mind :D)

In another thread, it was layed out that the target a unit fires at will be AI determined. I understand the rational, however I wonder if it would be possible to add in a radius of fire that the commander selects. For discussion sake if 2 enemy units were within lets say a 2 hex radius of the unit, the player could choose which unit to focus fires on? I think this would be resonable with command going down to a company commander level.I don't know the programming issues. I suspect it may be an either or type issue. Either the computer chooses or the player chooses but not both.

Will there be what if scenario's for the battles as well?

Anyway I'm liking what you posted so far. Waiting on some screenshots!
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RE: OOB's in BAB

Post by JudgeDredd »

I agree now others have mentioned it - desertion doesn't have a place in these battles. If it were a grand campaign or linked scenarios, then yes...but not in the format suggested
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Gil R.
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RE: OOB's in BAB

Post by Gil R. »

ORIGINAL: Bison36
I like what you've described for the breakdown of leadership effects to the company level. Am I reading what you wrote right? That the smallest unit, other than artillery, will be a regiment, but that the special ablities will represent individual company abilities and not overall regimental abilities? (Don't know if what I wrote makes sense, but it does in my mind :D)

In another thread, it was layed out that the target a unit fires at will be AI determined. I understand the rational, however I wonder if it would be possible to add in a radius of fire that the commander selects. For discussion sake if 2 enemy units were within lets say a 2 hex radius of the unit, the player could choose which unit to focus fires on? I think this would be resonable with command going down to a company commander level.I don't know the programming issues. I suspect it may be an either or type issue. Either the computer chooses or the player chooses but not both.

Will there be what if scenario's for the battles as well?

Anyway I'm liking what you posted so far. Waiting on some screenshots!

No, "special abilities" are for entire regiments/batteries/companies: if one has "shooters" they do 10% more damage; if they have "Woodmen" they fight more effectively in the woods; if they have "thrifty" they use less supply; etc. I'm only assigning such abilities when I read about a unit doing something in particular that might earn it that quality, and usually it was the whole unit.

What you describe in terms of setting a radius would involve extra interface, and I'm not sure how doable it would be. Personally, when testing I haven't yet felt the need for it, perhaps for the following reason: a unit always gets to return fire, so if your unit is adjacent to enemy units A and B it will fire on whichever of those the computer chooses and then get fired upon, and also A and/or B will fire on that unit and receive counter-fire. So when multiple enemy units are nearby there is a chance of engaging more than one in a single 20-min. turn. (It will depend, of course, on how many friendly units are nearby, absorbing some of those enemy attacks.)
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tevans6220
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RE: OOB's in BAB

Post by tevans6220 »

Don't think desertion is going to be a big deal during a battle. After all the armies did have some soldiers show up for the fight. Desertion would only be relevant in a campaign system.
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RE: OOB's in BAB

Post by siRkid »

So, if its a set battle how are special abilities handled? Do you assign before the battle? Are they all ready assiged?
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