New Player Questions - Finally Jumped In

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b0sc02
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New Player Questions - Finally Jumped In

Post by b0sc02 »

So I would like to state this to anyone that needs to hear this: I've owned the game since Matrix launch and I was too intimidated to start it. I lurked the forums and watched a ton of videos as background noise. I finally jumped in and I'm so glad I did! If you are like the old me - don't wait, jump right in. Learn by making mistakes.

With that being said, I think I'm getting by butt kicked. I'm on turn 11 and I think I've made irrecoverable mistakes. I really struggled to capture Smolensk (I didn't prioritize getting there and encircling early) and I didn't get out East in the South quick enough to gobble up some of those 'easier' victory points. I'm now facing a wall of Red with little sections of breakthrough opportunities. I think I'm still determined to play until the 1/1/42 check, just to learn as much as I can about it before retrying. Maybe I'll surprise myself. For reference, I'm on turn 11 with 2M Soviet losses vs 200k Axis losses. I have 448 VP with Smolensk surround, Odessa surround, and Leningrad nearing my approach.

With that preamble out of the way, I definitely have some questions to help better understand why I'm struggling so much:

1) I'm using AI Air. I'm thinking this is a big mistake. Can I choose to turn off AI Air in the preferences but still opt to have AI create Air Directives whenever I want? If so, I feel like this is the way to go. Right now, any changes I want to make don't take happen because I have the total AI control selected. The area this seems to hurt me the most is cutting off supply around Odessa. I've had the city surrounded for a number of turns but the AI is not stopping the naval resupplying. I don't know if there is something in the setup that I can control to encourage the AI to setup an Air Directive to help stop the resupplying. However, the game seems to not want to do that at all.

2) Soviets retreated a handful of hexes every turn since the start. Is it worth having two 'lines' of units as I advance? The reason I ask is because I noticed CPP recover and attrition are impactful when ending the turn near Soviet units. If they are already going to retreat anyway, does it make sense to keep only one unit on the front line and extra units one hex behind to take advantage of the CPP and fatigue recovery?

3) Ground support. Is there a good rule of thumb for how often I should be using ground support? I know I want to try to avoid aircraft losses when possible (which is not something I employed in my first attempt) but I don't want to risk losing a battle because I didn't use GS.

4) Should I focus of replacing one general per turn with my AP starting at the Corps level? I also didn't focus on this early on, which may have hurt my early advances.

5) Does a Ground Attack on an isolated city help capture it?

6) Is there any way to reduce the chances a reserve unit joins the battle?

7) Should I focus on evenly distributing support units at the Corps level? If so, is there harm in assigning specific support units (ART or Pioneers for example) to specific divisions for a critical city assault? Do I have reassign it at the Corps level after the assault?

I think that will do for now. I really appreciate any and all help. Thanks!
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Erik Rutins
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RE: New Player Questions - Finally Jumped In

Post by Erik Rutins »


I'll give this a try, though I'm sure advice will vary by player.
ORIGINAL: b0sc02
1) I'm using AI Air. I'm thinking this is a big mistake. Can I choose to turn off AI Air in the preferences but still opt to have AI create Air Directives whenever I want? If so, I feel like this is the way to go. Right now, any changes I want to make don't take happen because I have the total AI control selected. The area this seems to hurt me the most is cutting off supply around Odessa. I've had the city surrounded for a number of turns but the AI is not stopping the naval resupplying. I don't know if there is something in the setup that I can control to encourage the AI to setup an Air Directive to help stop the resupplying. However, the game seems to not want to do that at all.

I've cut off Odessa during testing using only the automated air assist. You still need to guide it each turn though. For best results, transfer the Flieger Fuhrer Ostsee down to the south, then assign it and perhaps a Fliegerkorps to target the port, that should interdict it quite well if you haven't used up your best interdiction planes on other missions.

The automated air assist is good enough to play through an entire campaign and win against the AI, but you need to pay attention each turn at that top level to make sure their AOG priorities, missions and stances make sense for your goals. Sometimes you may need to rest them, sometimes transfer or adjust their folowed HQs or port targets.
2) Soviets retreated a handful of hexes every turn since the start. Is it worth having two 'lines' of units as I advance? The reason I ask is because I noticed CPP recover and attrition are impactful when ending the turn near Soviet units. If they are already going to retreat anyway, does it make sense to keep only one unit on the front line and extra units one hex behind to take advantage of the CPP and fatigue recovery?

Managing your CPP and fatigue well is an essential (and learned) skill in WITE2. This also includes knowing when maneuver and encirclement are enough and when you need to fight. As you get better at it, you will see better results.
3) Ground support. Is there a good rule of thumb for how often I should be using ground support? I know I want to try to avoid aircraft losses when possible (which is not something I employed in my first attempt) but I don't want to risk losing a battle because I didn't use GS.

I think there are some good guides about air strategy in the war room sub-forum, but my main advice is to turn it off if your units are far away from your closest bases, to make sure you don't fly your bombers unescorted. With the automated air assist, you still need to be thinking about making sure there are also enough good airbases on/near the rail net for your AOGs to move forward, as well as moving forward your followed HQs to encourage the AOGs to re-base. Also try to focus it mainly on key battles once they are in range.
4) Should I focus of replacing one general per turn with my AP starting at the Corps level? I also didn't focus on this early on, which may have hurt my early advances.

I tend to split my APs early on between priority repairs to help my logistics and replacing the worst of the leaders. In many cases, just organizing your units to avoid CP overload helps as much or more as a leader replacement. Having a good command chain that will pass more checks can make a big difference, but it takes time and you will also need some APs to prepare for the winter.
5) Does a Ground Attack on an isolated city help capture it?

I suppose every bit helps, but if it is isolated, a couple of weeks of patience followed by a big assault should take care of it in the vast majority of cases.
6) Is there any way to reduce the chances a reserve unit joins the battle?

On the enemy side? Don't attack where they have their best leaders and lots of reserve units. You can attack a bit further down the line, then encircle them if possible instead of attacking into the strongest defenses. Otherwise, hope they fail their checks.
7) Should I focus on evenly distributing support units at the Corps level? If so, is there harm in assigning specific support units (ART or Pioneers for example) to specific divisions for a critical city assault? Do I have reassign it at the Corps level after the assault?

I do tend to concentrate and directly assign units to key divisions and areas of key effort (all my motorized/mechanized divisions have attached AA, for example). Where I am fighting for a key city, I'll also make sure more pioneers and heavy artillery are present and available before I make any assault. Other than that, I try to make sure every corps HQ has some artillery support.

Regards,

-Erik
Erik Rutins
CEO, Matrix Games LLC


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loki100
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RE: New Player Questions - Finally Jumped In

Post by loki100 »

Some small bits

fully agree, in the end playing is what makes this game start to slot together and sticking with a poor start can be very useful. Even if the 1/1/42 check is out of reach there is something to be said for playing out the Autumn and early winter - you'll spot things to do differently next time

1) The AI assist works in one of 2 modes. If you set it up with the game start it kicks in every time you press F12 (so air execution and end of turn) and it overrides anything you did manually. Uncheck this option and you can use it as you wish. There is a button, press that and it takes your assignments, priorities etc and generates a batch of air directives. You can now step in and tweak those that you wish, press F12 and this hybrid will be used. In the movement phase, press the button and it will redeploy in relation to your HQ moves, again you can step in and do a few manually, press F12 and that ends the turn

2) Yes, if I am in a pursuit phase I try to keep the bulk of my army out of recently captured hexes and def not adjacent at the the end of the turn - this is one of those tricks to optimise CPP gain/retain. So I often use the mot divisions fairly hard to keep in contact, convert terrain and so on.

3) one of those kill a chicken and look at the entrails aspects ... basically if you think you are going to win easily, turn off GS, if its marginal, or you need to win big, use it

4) Its probably cheaper to shuffle your units into the best led commands, AP are tight till 1942 due to the demands of setting up the depot network

5) yes, but its not what you think [;)]. GA-unit on a urban environment won't deliver much but it does make the defender fire AA - and if they are isolated that comes out of their finite supply stocks

6) the AI won't commit if the likely odds are > 5:1 (its around here) so a big attack won't trigger a response. The AI tends to set almost its entire front line to reserve status, so make sure that every hex in the area you want to attack is adjacent to one of your units. A broken down motorised division is ideal for this

7) we're back hunting chickens to ask [8D]. As the axis player in 1941 a fairly broad spread is pretty useful - most of your divisions are going to be in action. Create a couple of assault formations (2 of the corps in 11A as they have some serious city capturing to do, 1 in 9A - Smolensk, heavily in 18A IF you are going to seriously commit at Leningrad). These are where your pioneers and heavy artillery belong.
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MemoryLeak
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RE: New Player Questions - Finally Jumped In

Post by MemoryLeak »

1) The AI assist works in one of 2 modes. If you set it up with the game start it kicks in every time you press F12 (so air execution and end of turn) and it overrides anything you did manually. Uncheck this option and you can use it as you wish. There is a button, press that and it takes your assignments, priorities etc and generates a batch of air directives. You can now step in and tweak those that you wish, press F12 and this hybrid will be used. In the movement phase, press the button and it will redeploy in relation to your HQ moves, again you can step in and do a few manually, press F12 and that ends the turn

I am trying really hard to understand how this works. I have really confused myself. I want the AI Air Assistance to do most of the planning. But I also want to do some so I can learn how to do it.(other than videos and the manual).
If I turn on the AI assist (not using the preference panel) but in the game, how do I get my missions to override the AI? You state "There is a button, press that" Can you tell me the name of the button you are referring to?
Thank you. I know this is basic but until I understand it I'll never get anywhere. And the manual just confuses me more .
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Joel Billings
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RE: New Player Questions - Finally Jumped In

Post by Joel Billings »

Shift-a (activate ai air assist is the button to press if you have deactivated the game option for AI air assist. You should first press that button in the air planning phase, then made any changes to the ADs you want to make (or crate new ADs). In the ground phase, press the button at the end of your move to send out air transports and adjust your air group locations (if you have aogs on Advance or Retreat as opposed to Flexible).
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RE: New Player Questions - Finally Jumped In

Post by loki100 »

ORIGINAL: MemoryLeak
1) The AI assist works in one of 2 modes. If you set it up with the game start it kicks in every time you press F12 (so air execution and end of turn) and it overrides anything you did manually. Uncheck this option and you can use it as you wish. There is a button, press that and it takes your assignments, priorities etc and generates a batch of air directives. You can now step in and tweak those that you wish, press F12 and this hybrid will be used. In the movement phase, press the button and it will redeploy in relation to your HQ moves, again you can step in and do a few manually, press F12 and that ends the turn

I am trying really hard to understand how this works. I have really confused myself. I want the AI Air Assistance to do most of the planning. But I also want to do some so I can learn how to do it.(other than videos and the manual).
If I turn on the AI assist (not using the preference panel) but in the game, how do I get my missions to override the AI? You state "There is a button, press that" Can you tell me the name of the button you are referring to?
Thank you. I know this is basic but until I understand it I'll never get anywhere. And the manual just confuses me more .

17.1.2, foot of the page

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actrade
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RE: New Player Questions - Finally Jumped In

Post by actrade »

As a long-time war gamer, I can tell you that learning to manage your combat prep points is FAR and away the most important and different aspect of this game vs. others. I am so used to simply "taking unit A, run as far as you can, encircle, rinse and repeat." That doesn't work so well here as constantly moving into newly occupied territory will leave you with zero CPP, greatly reducing your effectiveness for future attacks. I actively find myself asking "do I really need to move this unit this turn" and "I need to stop in previously occupied territory and off the front line" despite the fact that I have a ton of movement points left. The best advice I can give you is to learn how to leap-frog, meaning say you have 3 corps in an army. I will have one attacking, one filling the gap/exploiting and one resting on previously occupied territory whenever possible. Also, while it can be intoxicating to use your Panzer Army army in the attack, you will quickly find your tanks are depleted with only slow refit/replacements. I use my Panzer groups in concert with a regular army, again using the regular army to blow open a hole in the line and having the panzers go through the hole and encircle while the army rests a turn and then mops up the encirclement while the Panzers rest/refit. If I have to fight with my Panzer groups, I try to use the Motorized divisions rather than the Panzers as it's a lot easier to replace MD than tanks. I will tell you this. After a while, it becomes somewhat second nature as you see the results of trying to push your army too fast.

I use a hybrid of the AI assist myself. I have it set to default off. At the beginning of every turn, I do the following.

1. Go into the commander's report and rest any squadron that is either over 20 fatigue or under 50 morale.
2. Take a look at my squadrons and see how close they are to the front lines and what their supply status is. I typically have LF1 following 4pz, LF2 either 3-4pz and LF4 1 pz. I have the Hungarians and Romanians following 11th army. If they are in decent supply and falling behind my groups, I set their stance to advance. If not, I put them on hold. I never use flexible as I find the AI can be loopy, moving them back and forth too much. Usually, I have them advancing 1-2 turns and holding 1-2 turns.
3. Once that is determined, I go ahead and hit AI assist, which sets my mostly recon and ground support missions. I delete air superiority missions as they don't work very well and any fighters not flying will engage encroaching enemies anyway. AI does a not so good job assigning form up airfields so I check and make sure I'm using the best/shortest one. Also, turn on your city AA (shift-o), which is the big enemy flak and make sure you route your aircraft around them. I move Flieger Fueher Ostee to LF4 as I get within 2 turns of attacking Odessa. I make sure I have Ackkermann and/or Kulevcha and move them there. From there I can ingress them over the water and interdict Odessa. I can usually take Odessa in two attacks with 2 corps from 11th army (don't use the Romanians!)

After I'm happy with this, I go ahead and run the air phase. One more thing. After I've done all of my ground movement (and use the commander's report to set for refit those units that need it), I again hit the AI assist button and it will deliver any air cargo it sees fit. I'm not saying this is the best way to do things, but for me it balances the chores of the air war and gives me some control and pretty good results.

As far as T1 goes, that's a whole different kettle of fish and I strong recommend you read/download the excellent PDF Zovs posted. It helped me tremendously! https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=5101678 . This document summarizes a very long thread on this topic from Metaphore and Jubjub. I use this PDF everytime I start a new campaign before reverting to the steps I gave you for subsequent turns. Lastly, I have ground support off and only use it for extremely important attacks. Cheers!
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RE: New Player Questions - Finally Jumped In

Post by MemoryLeak »

I appreciate you guys trying to help. Thank you.
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b0sc02
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RE: New Player Questions - Finally Jumped In

Post by b0sc02 »

Thanks for all the tips! When I inevitably fail this campaign, I'll work towards implementing these tips. I'll apply them where I can in my current campaign and see if it helps me recover!

ORIGINAL: actrade

As a long-time war gamer, I can tell you that learning to manage your combat prep points is FAR and away the most important and different aspect of this game vs. others. I am so used to simply "taking unit A, run as far as you can, encircle, rinse and repeat." That doesn't work so well here as constantly moving into newly occupied territory will leave you with zero CPP, greatly reducing your effectiveness for future attacks. I actively find myself asking "do I really need to move this unit this turn" and "I need to stop in previously occupied territory and off the front line" despite the fact that I have a ton of movement points left. The best advice I can give you is to learn how to leap-frog, meaning say you have 3 corps in an army. I will have one attacking, one filling the gap/exploiting and one resting on previously occupied territory whenever possible. Also, while it can be intoxicating to use your Panzer Army army in the attack, you will quickly find your tanks are depleted with only slow refit/replacements. I use my Panzer groups in concert with a regular army, again using the regular army to blow open a hole in the line and having the panzers go through the hole and encircle while the army rests a turn and then mops up the encirclement while the Panzers rest/refit. If I have to fight with my Panzer groups, I try to use the Motorized divisions rather than the Panzers as it's a lot easier to replace MD than tanks. I will tell you this. After a while, it becomes somewhat second nature as you see the results of trying to push your army too fast.

Part of me reads this and totally gets it. The other part of me reads this and makes me think I'll be too slow to gobble up VP before the mud/winter weather. I guess more CPP and less fatigue makes you more efficient at breakthroughs and engagements, so it might offset the 'slower' approach. Again, I'm only on turn 11, so maybe my concerns about getting to 525 VP by 1/1/42 is overly exaggerated in my head. I definitely have to reevaluate my approach in the south.
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RE: New Player Questions - Finally Jumped In

Post by Joel Billings »

The key is somehow to keep moving forward and taking more territory while simultaneously rotating and resting units. Yes, easier said than done, but that's the dynamic tension built into the game.
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RE: New Player Questions - Finally Jumped In

Post by Markko »

I know its just personal, but for me, the only way to play this game is to turn off all AI assist. That's both in the air game and with support units.

To me, this game works much better if you just dive in and take control.

And in one way, that makes sense. These are big areas of the game, especially the air war. A major part of WWII warfare. If the AI is on full auto, it just seems a big blur where you don't know what is going on. For me, its only when I take control myself and dive into it does it become more understandable.

Even then, its hard, as the game doesn't always provide a lot of feedback, and then tends to erase what info it gives you. So, for example, its worth taking a deep dive into what just happened after you execute the air directives. Its tempting to start moving ground units, but its worth a look to really see what just happened. I tend to go through and try to do screen captures, because by the time you really want to review this information (which for me is before I set my next turn's air directives), poof its gone.

There's info in there, but its often buried in the details of a battle, and you only start to see a picture after looking at a bunch of battles. For example, in WITW, you can follow a bombing raid through multiple interceptions in multiple hexes, if you flip through the battle displays in the correct fashion. Its then you start to realize that 'wow, the interceptors really wacked them', or that you are flying way too many escorts.

And, after the ground turns, to study the air war, you still need to go look at the details of those ground battles. You get very little overall information about what your ground support is doing, and sometimes its only by going through those ground battles that you can get an idea of which side controls the skies over the battlefield, who's losing planes flying ground support, etc.

To me, if I turn on the AI assist, this all goes by in a quick blur and seems really confusing. But its a cool game, and worth the study. Its perhaps more obvious in WITW, a theater where I have in the past enjoyed Gary Grigsby games like Bombing the Reich and thus now enjoy realizing that not only am I playing a game fighting in Sicily but that I've also got a cool, big game on strategic bombing of Germany.
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