Very limited land unit stacking

Warplan is a World War 2 simulation engine. It is a balance of realism and playability incorporating the best from 50 years of World War 2 board wargaming.

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GenSlack
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Very limited land unit stacking

Post by GenSlack »

Since the game limits stacking to 1 land/1 air unit/1 naval unit, how do you address Strategic Command's game-killing flaw of critical hexes being impossible to hold against waves of attackers? Will the single defending unit be able to draw from adjacent friendly units? Thanks.
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76mm
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by 76mm »

ORIGINAL: Drew Wagenhoffer
Since the game limits stacking to 1 land/1 air unit/1 naval unit...
Aaack, this is a deal-breaker for me. Oh well...
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pzgndr
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by pzgndr »

I’m seeing unit combining/splitting is planned? This sort of allows stacking of sub-units, so looks fine. Also seeing multiple hex attacks, assumed for odds-based CRT combat resolution? Again, looks fine. Good potential.
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AlvaroSousa
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by AlvaroSousa »

So say you are defending Leningrad. What can you do as the defender.

#1 put a unit with a tank destroyer specialty in the city.
#2 entrench it to the maximum.
#3 place a HQ with a high tenacity near it which lowers the chance of surrender.
#4 place air superiority groups near by

Air power is important in WarPlan in reducing the effectiveness and movement of units a lot more than doing physical damage. Which matches the reality of the situation in WW2 air interdiction missions.

You would need on the order of 20 good air units to have a chance to actually cripple the health of a land unit in a clear terrain.

The game mechanics allow for creativity.

So take this example. Say your army in Leningrad gets reduced in effectiveness to 40%. You can split the army into two small armies. Move one away. Merge the group with a fresh small army without losing entrenchment.

For other Western countries it would be detaching and replacing divisions.
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ajarnlance
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by ajarnlance »

I like the flexibility with the system you are describing. I also like the direction you are taking with airpower. Can't wait to test this out in beta!!
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GenSlack
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by GenSlack »

I would like to see something like a directional "Reserve" setting possible for land units. So if a defending unit is attacked and destroyed, the adjacent reserve unit will move into the newly vacant hex (only if its direction setting is pointing to that specific hex) before the attacker can advance. The directional setting is to keep players from getting gamey and killing a nearby unit of little consequence with the expectation that the reserve unit in the rear will advance into that space instead of the main target which will be attacked next.
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wodin
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by wodin »

Always find stacking strange. I prefer as little stacking as possible. I can never understand why some game designers don't use hex size\scale that fits unit scale. That's how I'd design a wargame. Desert War suffers from stacking it seems. Just reduce hex scale. He a bigger map but that's fine by me. I'd probably allow overcrowding say one other unit but have big negative modifiers impacting movement speed, casualties and things like cohesion. That's it though.

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76mm
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by 76mm »

ORIGINAL: wodin
Always find stacking strange. I prefer as little stacking as possible.
And I find lack of stacking strange and simplistic. Sometimes unit densities are greater than other times. Especially when I'm attacking, I find lack of stacking rather bizarre--how am I supposed to achieve favorable odds to attack?

I guess I could handle no stacking if each counter were a container that could handle some arbitrary amount of other units/equipment, but that could be awkward from an interface perspective (constantly merging/splitting), and I don't really see how it is better than stacking.

That said, there of course should be limits on stacking; Desert War is too stack heavy for my tastes. I like how Panzer Campaigns handles stacking...there is no hard limit, but it tracks how much stuff is in a hex (by men/vehicles), and starts ramping up various movement/combat penatlies once you exceed certain limits.
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by AlbertN »

Considering units can break down and form up, the stacking probably consists in having a division sized land unit, a corp sized, or an army (whatever game allows) in the hex.
That by itself should not be a problem as long as then an army is actually 3 times strong a corp or so - and not something where their difference is abysmal, like some other Matrix game...
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by AlvaroSousa »

An example of of unit build up and breakdown....

All powers but USSR
Large Corp can detach a division
Small Corp can split into 2 divisions
A division can merge with a division to form a small corp
A division can merge with a small corp to form a large corp

Soviet Army = Large Corp
Army can split into Small Army = slightly worse than a small corp
2 small armies can form a large army

Soviet divisions were not very effective and small on their own so they don't have them in the game. Soviet OOB is always difficult to do because they had a mix of unit types. So I had to compromise.
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Essro
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by Essro »

ORIGINAL: fuzzypup

An example of of unit build up and breakdown....

All powers but USSR
Large Corp can detach a division
Small Corp can split into 2 divisions
A division can merge with a division to form a small corp
A division can merge with a small corp to form a large corp

Soviet Army = Large Corp
Army can split into Small Army = slightly worse than a small corp
2 small armies can form a large army

Soviet divisions were not very effective and small on their own so they don't have them in the game. Soviet OOB is always difficult to do because they had a mix of unit types. So I had to compromise.

This is an excellent solution and I hope to see it work. Here's why:

1. What is being described is basically stacking, but efficiently so.

2. Eliminates unnecessary clutter. While sometimes that clutter can be used purposefully (e.g. traffic jams, etc.), I find more often than not, it just creates unrealistic attrition style engagements rather than a more fluid and dynamic situation that gives a player more options than just "attack what is in front of you" at good odds (the CRT also being a ridiculous relic of the past). Games should be more than stacking a giant wall of units vs another giant wall of units (especially for a WW2 game). Often this is a design problem and it's been around since paper wargames. But the deepest irony is that many of the modern paper wargames at least attempt to solve it through clever design (e.g. MMP's BCS series and many others). Digital games are so far behind on some of this thinking I find it really odd considering what computers are capable of. So what you're doing is stacking (sort of) but not stacking (sort of). I get it and hope it pans out.



In short, I like what you're doing there but...I've got a question.

It seems to me that in order for that to work well in any wargame design, then your map scale needs to be spot on. Basically, your primary unit of maneuver is a corp (think of it as a full stack of division sized units) so each hex needs to be appropriately scaled for a full sized corp. If you don't get that right, it won't make sense. How big are these hexes?

Full disclosure: I think the absolute majority of wargames get this 100% wrong with very few exceptions. And it has to do with density. Without getting into details, most wargames ignore the value of dislocation via maneuver (or perhaps their design underappreciates this through its various abstractions). It's why many of our games are too attrition friendly when they shouldn't be.

Regardless, I am excited to see this attempt and wish you luck.
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by AlvaroSousa »

Most of the map is 25m 40km. Some parts are 50m 80km like Northern Finland to compensate for the wider areas and difficult terrain.

My research shows 20k divisions covering 10m 16km on average.... but this varies.

Sometimes the Germans covered 30 miles with a division strength unit or less.
In other situations the Soviets would stack 50k men in a 10 mile area.

Stacking is easy you move a division next to a unit hold the shift key and hover over an eligible units and right click.
Splitting you do manually.

Most of the time you won't be splitting and merging.

The UI is designed to play fast and let people focus on strategy. When a game of this scale gets to 1944 there are a lot of thing to do in a turn.
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by pzgndr »

ORIGINAL: fuzzypup
Stacking is easy you move a division next to a unit hold the shift key and hover over an eligible units and right click.
Splitting you do manually.

An initial concern about this is how it could possibly be abused by players. Say you move a unit from the rear adjacent to a forward unit, stack it with the forward unit, and then split it and place the "moving" unit ahead. If this counts as a "free" move for two hexes then that's a problem. So there should at least be a movement point cost for moving a unit into a stack and splitting a unit out of the stack. There could also be an additional 'reorganization' cost for the stack/split operation for all units involved, or perhaps a restriction of only one stack/split operation per turn for units. Something like that, but it should be as simple as possible.

Another concern is how well the AI will be at stacking/splitting as needed. Players will enjoy this flexibility, but will also expect the computer opponent to use it as needed.
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AlvaroSousa
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by AlvaroSousa »

It costs operation points to merge and split.
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Michael T
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by Michael T »

If a large Corp splits a division, does it then become a small Corp?

If so the small Corp can then split in to 2 Divisions.

So a large Corp can thus split in to 3 Divisions?

What percentage of OP points does the act of splitting or merging cost?

I ask because since your design lacks stacking and you are intending an operational feel then I hope the penalty for such actions as merging/splitting is minimal. Otherwise you are going to hamstring the act of concentration/breakthrough/exploitation, which is the beating heart of mobile operational warfare in WWII.
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by AlvaroSousa »

Infantry class units have 5-6 operation points. It isn't as large of an issue as you think it is.
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by Plainian »

How sophisticated' are the breakdowns? I'm guessing its all based on the original type of unit. So a Panzer Corps breaks down into only Panzer Divisions.
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by AlvaroSousa »

As said before only infantry corps and armies break down because they are composed of the same elements. Other units do not because of their abstract composition. WW2 armored corps were comprised of a mix of unit types.

If this game engine model is successful then future editions will allow for such things as it will be based on divisions inside a corp counter.
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Michael T
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by Michael T »

You are kidding? Infantry can break down but not Panzer?

You may not realize the Panzer Corp were the most highly trained and flexible formations of the whole German army. I think you need to step away from claims of an operational feel. Clearly it is not an operational game design.

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Michael T
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RE: Very limited land unit stacking

Post by Michael T »

I don't think I have ever seen a design where Infantry units breakdown but Armoured do not. So in this aspect this design is unique. Ground breaking even.
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