Randomize your scenario

Frank Hunter's Campaigns on the Danube is an operational study of the campaigns along the Danube in 1805 and 1809. Campaigns on the Danube's system focuses on trying to present the player with the same sort of decisions placed on their historical counterparts; how to feed an army and move that army according to a plan, all the while trying to fight a campaign. There is also an option to allow players to play out the battles with miniatures and input the results.
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Technopiper
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Randomize your scenario

Post by Technopiper »

CotD provides variant situations for each time period. However, the option of picking which scenario to play defeats the purpose of having variants: the player is able to anticipate the opponent's position for each scenario. Here's a way to randomize the scenario so you wouldn't know which variant to expect.

This method works only with scenarios that have identical start and end dates, otherwise the player could tell which variant it is by looking at the dates. Only three pairs of scenarios fit these criteria:
1. 1805 (first scenario) and 1805 (third scenario), campaign, or the end dates will be different.
2. 1809 (fourth scenario) and 1809 (seventh scenario), non campaign.
3. 1809 (fourth scenario) and 1809 (seventh scenario), campaign.

Start each scenario and create a save file for the first turn. Copy and paste both files into a new folder.

Download filename randomizer here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/fnamerandomizer/

Run it and point to the folder you created earlier, click "randomize". Both files will be randomly renamed. Pick anyone and place it in your save folder. Run game and load that file to play. You won't be able to know which variant it is.
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Rasputitsa
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RE: Randomize your scenario

Post by Rasputitsa »

I am using 'house rules' to provide more challenge when playing against the AI and not using all the units available for a variable balance, see here :

tm.asp?m=4553354
"In politics stupidity is not a handicap" - Napoleon

“A people which is able to say everything becomes able to do everything” - Napoleon

“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress" - Napoleon
Technopiper
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RE: Randomize your scenario

Post by Technopiper »

I do wish we get some sort of editor or alternate setups.
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RE: Randomize your scenario

Post by Rasputitsa »

The game does seem to have an in-built variability, as the AI uses a different approach with each game, sometimes attacking along one route, but next re-start it uses a different route, so not completely predictable.

Same thing happens with individual turns. I have often re-run the same turn several times and it never works out the same with each re-play. Not just small changes, but significant differences, the variation is very strong.

I would also like to see some more development, possibly with an editor, but in the mean time making changes with 'house rules' and random removal of forces. You don't have to change much to get a useful effect, as the loss of one corps can make things very difficult at the beginning of a scenario, certainly makes you think.

Thanks for the information on the Randomizer.[:)]
"In politics stupidity is not a handicap" - Napoleon

“A people which is able to say everything becomes able to do everything” - Napoleon

“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress" - Napoleon
Technopiper
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RE: Randomize your scenario

Post by Technopiper »

You're welcome! [;)] I've yet to try it because I'm still learning the ropes of this game.

I've read that Napoleon initially though that the Austrian main force was in Ingolstadt where Kienmayer was stationed. It is only later that he discovered that the main body lay in Ulm. Historical start positions spare the player of the actual problem facing historical generals.

Edit: It just occurred to me that you can randomize all three of the 1805 scenario, campaign or not. Just don't look at the dates and you won't be able to tell. As the French your start positions are virtually the same, and the sole purpose of randomization is to mess with them.
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RE: Randomize your scenario

Post by Rasputitsa »

Historical wargames are always a problem because we have hindsight on what happened, which the real commanders did not have.

Players ask for intensely accurate games, but why would you want to play a game which is going to play out to an inevitable result. Especially when you have almost complete control of the placing of all the units and data sheets of information, which again the real commanders did not have.

Except that Napoleon did have a card index for all his units and details on the commanders, he also had another card index on enemy details. An officer who had lost his way, when being confronted by Napoleon, was told where his unit was and given a history of his unit commander by the Emperor.

CotD comes very close to the reality of Napoleonic warfare, even though no game can be perfect. I am now playing the 1809 scenario as the French with 'house rules' (restricting how much supply can be moved) and parking Vandamme's corps on the edge of the map not to be used, I will do the same for Bernadotte when he arrives (set an objective on the edge of the map). I know from the previous games and history books where the Austrians should be, but that does not help much, because until the FOW breaks, I do not know exactly how the AI will attack.

This is the best that I can do without an editor, but the first few turns were very interesting, trying to cover all the possibilities with less troops. I did not use the game balance controls to favour either side, because I wanted the French to fight historically, but the game has certainly been more challenging, with high uncertainty and little to spare if you guess wrong.

It is surprising how often even Napoleon got things wrong, but he was always able to recover and win through in the end, except at Waterloo. [8D]
"In politics stupidity is not a handicap" - Napoleon

“A people which is able to say everything becomes able to do everything” - Napoleon

“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress" - Napoleon
Technopiper
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RE: Randomize your scenario

Post by Technopiper »

The more I read about war, the more I come to think of war as a series of blunders in which the side that made the least mistakes wins. Real commanders don't think in terms of tactics. They are doing very well if they have a reasonable grasp of their own disposition!
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RE: Randomize your scenario

Post by Rasputitsa »

ORIGINAL: Technopiper

The more I read about war, the more I come to think of war as a series of blunders in which the side that made the least mistakes wins. Real commanders don't think in terms of tactics. They are doing very well if they have a reasonable grasp of their own disposition!

My favourite quote is von Clausewitz :

“Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult”

Which sums up CotD very well, easy to play, but with so much hidden detail and depth.

More on randomising the game.

Thinking about random events, like a series of event cards, activated by a die roll each turn. Throw a six, draw an event card, 'Lannes is killed by.....'. Detach all Lannes' units and re-allocate them, order Lannes to the edge of the map and out of the playing area. 'Lannes is injured ....', same procedure, but he can return after a notified number of turns, or a further die roll. 'Fire damage at LOC....', manually send XXX supply points to another town and burn them.

The possibilities are various and, after preparing a series of saved event story files, you could use the Randomizer App to randomly select an event if the trigger die roll comes up. There are Apps to do dice on screen, so this can all be ready in the background when running the windowed game.

Reinforcements could be delayed, in response to an event die roll, they could be ordered to 'defend' the entry town and stay there until you get a favourable die roll on another turn.

Randomisation without an editor !
"In politics stupidity is not a handicap" - Napoleon

“A people which is able to say everything becomes able to do everything” - Napoleon

“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress" - Napoleon
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RE: Randomize your scenario

Post by Rasputitsa »

More on randomising the game, expanding on Technopiper's idea and 'house rules' I was planning.

Working on introducing event cards to add some random effects to avoid scenarios becoming stale.

Creating some events for each scenario and for each side French/Coalition, as this example :

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Campaign 1809 – Scenario #7 - Charles’ Original Plan - EVENT #F01


NARRATIVE:
There has been a serious fire at the LOC and a significant amount of supply has been lost.

ACTION:
Player will create a convoy of 300 supply points from the LOC and send it to a town nearest to the LOC, but not under threat of enemy action. On arrival at the designated town the supply will be immediately burnt.

If the LOC contains less than 300 supply points, then the available supply will be treated as above.

EFFECT:
300 supply points permanently lost.

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The events have to be based upon adjustments that the player can make to the game, such as the supply, delaying replacements, removing units, corps commanders, or whole corps moved out of action area, even the Army Commander could become ill, or injured, and have be moved to a rear area town, causing a bigger orders delay and losing his combat attributes for a random period.

Don't want this to be a big effect and overpower the existing game play, just something which will add a random twist to the uncertainty.

Replacements arrive at a notified town on a predicted date, but a die roll on arrival could delay them, throw a six and have to set them 'defend' the arrival hex for six turns, before you can order them onward. Throw a five / 5 days etc..

Using a SourceForge 'Random File Picker' to select event cards from a folder prepared for each scenario and each side (French/Coalition) and a die roll App available open in the background.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/random-file-picker/

Once set up, the operation is minimal and the odds for triggering events should be set to provide uncertainty, but not too intrusive on the existing game system.

Example, die roll at each turn start, with result (1) triggers event chosen by 'Random File Picker', e.g. one-in-six chance of an event. Some events could be 'news' only for background atmosphere only, others could be scenario changing, Prussia declares war - two corps removed from French OOB (removed to map edge) - Russia withdraws from Coalition, Bavaria revolts against Napoleon - Lefebvre's Bavarian corps removed.

Needs some thought, but the mechanism is available for random events.
"In politics stupidity is not a handicap" - Napoleon

“A people which is able to say everything becomes able to do everything” - Napoleon

“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress" - Napoleon
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Rasputitsa
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RE: Randomize your scenario

Post by Rasputitsa »

Here is another suggested Event Card :

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Campaign 1809 – Scenario #7 - Charles’ Original Plan - EVENT #F02


NARRATIVE:
Napoleon is taken ill and cannot be treated in the field, so travels to Ulm to seek specialist medical attention. He refuses to relinquish command and continues to direct the army from his sick bed.

ACTION:
Napoleon is set to ULM as his ‘objective’ and any attachments to specific corps are cancelled.

EFFECT:
There is a significant increase in orders delay whilst NAPOLEON is at ULM and he is unable to add his attributes to battle combat odds by attachment to any corps. The bonus that Napoleon adds to units within two hexes of his position is lost, unless the combat takes place around ULM.

Manual:

14.4.7 Napoleon

If the Napoleon counter is within 2 hexes of the battle, then he is considered to be active in the battle. All French units therefore receive a 33% increase.
Note: This bonus applies to all units involved in a battle within two hexes of the Napoleon counter



Napoleon remains ill until there is a die roll of (6) at a turn start, when normal action can be resumed.


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"In politics stupidity is not a handicap" - Napoleon

“A people which is able to say everything becomes able to do everything” - Napoleon

“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress" - Napoleon
Technopiper
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RE: Randomize your scenario

Post by Technopiper »

Nice ideas. The 1809 campaign was especially bloody for the French, killing away three of Napoleon's best generals: St. Hillaire, Lannes and Lasalle.
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RE: Randomize your scenario

Post by Rasputitsa »

ORIGINAL: Technopiper

Nice ideas. The 1809 campaign was especially bloody for the French, killing away three of Napoleon's best generals: St. Hillaire, Lannes and Lasalle.

Here is the random event, if it is chosen by 'File Picker'

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Campaign 1809 – Scenario #7 - Charles’ Original Plan - EVENT #F7-04

NARRATIVE:

Lannes is severely injured in a fall from his horse, is unable to continue with the campaign, and must return to France to recuperate.

ACTION:

All units of II Corps are detached and are either re-allocated to other corps, the Army Commander (NAPOLEON), or remain detached.

LANNES is set with objective hex (01,01) and stays there for the remainder of the scenario.

EFFECT:

There is now one less corps commander and his superior attributes are lost, whilst also there will be a lack of flexibility with fewer commanders available in the OOB.

ALTERNATIVE:

LANNES remains ill until there is a die roll of (6) at a turn start, when normal action can be resumed.

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I realise that realistically another commander would have been found for II Corps, but in providing some random and unexpected events, this is probably the best that can be done without a game editor.

I think that the best use of random events, selected by 'File Picker', is at the start of the scenario, when a random event can add a different challenge in a scenario, especially when playing against the AI.

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Campaign 1809 – Scenario #7 - Charles’ Original Plan - EVENT #F7-03

NARRATIVE:

The British government is supporting the 5th Coalition with financial contributions, but it has become clear that Czar Alexander intends to honour his treaty with Napoleon and will not intervene on the side of the Coalition. Prussia has mobilised, but is showing little sign of taking action, which is confirmed by secret diplomatic messages. Prussia will not march.

Britain realises that Austria will be acting alone, except for the conflict now in progress in Spain, and that forces being prepared for the Peninsular could be deployed directly against France.

Consequently, on the eve of war, news is received at ULM from Paris that British forces have landed, in force, on the Channel coast and that it is essential that troops must be returned to France urgently
.

ACTION:

Player will immediately give orders to a corps of his choice, setting the objective to ‘defend’ hex (01,01) at regular march. All units originally allocated to the chosen corps must remain attached.

EFFECT:

The French must initially fight the scenario with one less corps and further reinforcements may also be reduced.

Note:

The player should send a convoy of 200 supply points to ROTHENBERG and designate this as the supply depot for the detached corps.

If Austrian forces reach ROTHENBERG, then the player is free to issue orders to the detached corps.

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In this example the player is given the choice of which corps to send, but the random cards could specify which corps, whilst further random cards, activated later in the game, could require certain reinforcements to be similarly 'parked'and not used.

All this is to remove some of the predictability and, especially when playing as the French, it will give the AI a fighting chance.



This is how it looks when similar options are applied to the Coalition side at the beginning of a scenario.

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Campaign 1809 – Scenario #7 - Charles’ Original Plan - EVENT #C7-03

NARRATIVE:

Czar Alexander warns the Austrian Emperor Francis that if the Austrians declare war by invading Bavaria, the Czar will be forced to honour his treaty with the Emperor of the French, by making a demonstration against Austrian territory.

The Czar assures the Austrians that any action would be limited, but is essential if Russia is not to be drawn fully in a wider conflict.

The Austrian Emperor is advised by the Vienna War Party that it is too late to stop offensive action against Napoleon, but that the Russians cannot be trusted and that sufficient forces must be made available to deter the Czar from taking too great an advantage from the conflict.

Orders are dispatched that night to Archduke Charles that one full corps must be returned to Vienna immediately, but that the honour of Austria requires that the invasion of Bavaria must continue.


ACTION:

Player will immediately give orders to a corps of his choice, setting the objective to ‘defend’ VIENNA at regular march. All units originally allocated to the chosen corps must remain attached. Set PRESSBURG as supply depot for this corps.

EFFECT:

The Coalition must fight the scenario with one less corps, unless VIENNA is directly threatened by French forces arriving at KREMS, or ST POLTEN, when this corps will revert to Army control and have orders issued by the player.

Note:
Retain sufficient supply (200 points) in PRESSBURG to act as a depot for this force, because if computer controlled supply is selected then supply at the depot at VIENNA will be progressively sent to the LOC until VIENNA is empty.

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"In politics stupidity is not a handicap" - Napoleon

“A people which is able to say everything becomes able to do everything” - Napoleon

“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress" - Napoleon
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