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  1. I thought I would post this up here first for review before I post it into the steam community. Any opinions/feedback? Anything I should add? I know I'm lacking in the Skirmisher advice department. Vren55’s Ultimate General Civil War Strategy Guide v. 1.0+ (Brigadier Level) (The Camp Page has been updated to explain the purpose of the Army Pool and how this changes strategy/build) We love UGCW, and we think the developers are great for making this game, but it's a really complicated game with a lot of idiosyncrasies and a lot of choices to make. I'm still discovering things even as I play. So here's my starter guide on how to get your general on. Note: This guide focuses on brigade types, usage, equipment, veteran and general management. It gives only general advice on the campaign battles itself on the account of a number of excellent guides on the Steam Community. The Most Important Pieces of Advice: Firstly, ALWAYS save your army after a battle (minor or major) so you have a "base" army you can return to if you realize your customization is flawed. This is an ABSOLUTE MUST and will save your campaign at times. Moreover, learn from your battle playthroughs and if necessary, return to that "base" army to recustomize your corps for specific missions. Even on Colonel difficulty, it's not easy to win missions. Sometimes, you need to mess with how many men you put into your divisions and brigades. Usually you want an even number for all brigades, but on certain missions where you need to rush the enemy to establish your road to victory, you'll need bigger brigades in your first division. Brigade Types, How to Use them, How Many Should You Have, and How Much in a Brigade Infantry: The main body of any army. While there are variations as to how large they should be and how many there should be in a corps, players should ensure that their army is mostly made up of infantry. They don’t require massive micro, can absorb damage and in good cover, even rookie brigades can hold positions and dish out damage. If you're confused as to what I mean by elite, one star, and 2-star, brigades, search "Growing Veterans" with your browser for that part of the guide. Personally I go with 4 infantry brigades per division of 5. Or 5 infantry brigades in a division of 6. While there are variations on the size of veteran brigades depending on an individual’s player’s strategy, generally players should have max-sized rookie-2 star brigades of at least 1500, if not 2000-2500. This is to ensure that some survive to gain some veterancy and to improve morale-shock resistance. Moreover, larger brigades mean a larger group of skirmishers they can detach. As for elite three brigades, they can stick around at 2000. Furthermore, you should also concentrate infantry brigades of a similar experience into the same divisions. Infantry brigades of 1-star should be put together. Infantry brigades of 3-star and 2 star should also stick together. This is to better control the deployment of your more veteran brigades. Artillery (Updated, I also recommend you see "The Artillerist's Guide to Ultimate General Civil War by The Soldier" which contains the latest information on Artillery as of 1.04): Artillery is expensive, but useful. They do that extra damage to the enemy that would allow a general to sway engagements to their favour. Furthermore, artillery performs a crucial role in increasing the hitting power of an army on defense and can deal great morale shocks on enemy charges. Place them behind the main line of infantry, but not in the main line where they can be exposed to fire, but behind larger brigades that can absorb fire. This also means you shouldn't put them right behind a large brigade because while they can't be targeted, stray enemy fire will whittle down your artillerymen. Make sure to allow them to fire though because it takes a while to get them moving. On the other hand, don’t let them be too far back as then they won’t be able to use “Shell shot,” a mid-range ammunition that scatters over a brigade and does more kills. Typically it is recommended to have 1 artillery brigade per division of 5 brigades, or one per division of 6 brigades. The number of guns varies, but players should attempt to ensure brigades of at least 8 guns (12 guns in lategame), and make sure to use all cannons they might have captured in battles. As of 1.04 Artillery brigades over 12 guns (up to 18) actually work and no longer lowers the killcount and are now far more durable. Skirmishers: Dedicated skirmishers can be useful and allow the harassment of the enemy without them being able to hit back. They should however be used within cover and they require intensive micro-management and their weapons are very expensive. Think of them as your commando units, fragile, but incredibly deadly. Personally I haven’t done enough experimentation to be sure, but I’d say that early investment of many skirmisher brigades is not recommended because they lack durability, although I have heard that the creation of a few veteran, highly-equipped skirmisher brigades can destroy infantry brigades. Edit: I've started doing some skirmish testing with my latest Union campaign playthrough and I will say that they can be worth the investment, but early level skirmishers are more... for morale impact damage as they are useful in hitting large brigades in the side from range and sometimes (if you got skirmishers equipped with 450 range guns) not even being seen. Detached Skirmishers (from main infantry brigades): On the other hand, detached skirmishers are great units especially useful in defensive battles and in scouting. These units can be detached (created by splitting off) from a normal infantry brigade. They gain no benefits aside from the skirmisher AI, increased spotting and speed. However, when in cover, detached skirmishers can serve as delaying units, allowing the main infantry brigade to withdraw, or be sent ahead to scout. Furthermore, when outnumbered in brigade number, but in forest, skirmishers can be used to cover flank areas, extending the line and slowing an enemy advance. (I’m talking to you Shiloh) In lategame, you'll find that detached skirmishers are often the perfect units to cover your flank as you advance through a gap (Cold Harbour i'm talking about you, but this could also apply to CSA's Gaines Mill), or just cover a flank against enemy skirmishers. Cavalry (ranged and melee): Cavalry is also fairly expensive as a unit (because you need to pay for their horses when replenishing them) and personally I initially wasn’t convinced of their usefulness because also intensive to micro and mistakes will cost the player a lot. However, they have one major advantage over infantry, artillery and skirmisher brigades: Mobility. Cavalry can strike hard, circle enemy units, come in hit and get out quickly. It is this mobility of cavalry that enables it to perform three different functions in a battle: Harassment, Interception, and Assassination. Harassment is best done by ranged cavalry operating on the flanks of enemy brigades, or against enemy artillery. One volley from a 750 horse ranged brigade can waver an artillery or Skirmisher brigades and another can rout it. Ranged cavalry brigades can also cause morale penalties to enemy infantry brigades by shooting the in the flanks and because they are more maneuverable, can flank more easily. Ranged and melee Cavalry can also capture supply wagons, and harass artillery batteries (ensure they are isolated and you have an escape route first though). Furthermore, the mere presence of cavalry on the field can work as a distraction and deterrent to the enemy AI which will leave infantry units to the rear to protect their artillery. The player doesn’t even need to engage with their cavalry, just run rings around the enemy. Interception can be performed by ranged and melee cavalry. The enemy during the campaign will often bring cavalry and skirmishers and while infantry and artillery can deal with them, the best way to respond to them is often to use cavalry. A contingent of melee and ranged cavalry can easily intercept enemy cavalry and stop them from harassing or charging into your army. t's not the cheapest option, but an enemy melee cavalry brigade of 500 can do a lot of damage to a 2000 man 2 star brigade, and so you'd rather counter it with cavalry than with infantry. It's better to intercept enemy melee cav with a combination of ranged cav (to harass and interdict it) and melee cav (so you can do the actual destruction of the enemy cav). Cavalry (melee or ranged) is also particularly good versus skirmisher brigades. With the shock cavalry nerf of 0.76, it's absolutely necessary to hire ranged cavalry first for interception purposes, I suggest around Fredericksburg. This is so you have a mobile contingent that can counter and intercept enemy shock cav. Even noob 1 star ranged cav can interdict shock cav charges and just screen for your infantry. Assassination: If you're dealing with a souped up brigade of 3 star veterans and your 1 star brigade is getting chewed up. Then look around, see if there are any units supporting your enemy brigade, then get your two cav brigades (they can be 1 star 500 men) and charge them into the flank, possibly with ranged cav giving supporting fire. Watch that 3 star infantry brigade runnnn. Melee cav can get you excellent results when you use them to hit lone units in the flank. You need to watch your micro though, and it's also good to make sure the enemy infantry brigade is already engaged by one of your infantry brigades before you charge in on the enemy's flank. In general, players should invest in cavalry depending on their play-styles and micro-managing skills. An early investment in a cavalry brigade can be rewarding, but also dangerous. I personally suggest that if you are going to invest in cavalry, have at least two brigades as large as possible, a ranged and a melee brigade. This combination will prove useful in combat against enemy melee cavalry and allows a variety of responses. I (playing Union) raised two brigades of ranged cavalry to help deal with the horde in Fredericksburg. I had three brigades of cavalry by Stones River, 2 ranged, 1 melee and used them to harass the enemy and, (because the AI is smart) lure some of their infantry brigades away and force the AI to protect its artillery (bolstering my own defence). At Chancelloresville I had an entire division of 5 cavalry brigades (in my 1st corps), which proved rather useful due to their ability to suppress confederate cavalry, target isolated artillery, and (with melee cavalry) damage enemy 3 star veterans once I get them in the flank. Again, on whether to choose ranged cav or melee cav for assassination purposes, I personally would hire Ranged Cavalry first because they're easier to preserve due to their Skirmish AI and the fact they shoot instead of having to melee in. You can't use Ranged Cav to rout enemy infantry brigades, but they'll be good enough to harass, and kill artillery brigades. Melee cavalry are powerful, but committing them to a melee means endangering them to flank attacks. Thus they require support and a ranged cavalry brigade is a good way to support a melee cavalry brigade, and can fix enemies or screen for the melee cavalry brigade. Other units: General Units (the guys with stars): You get one per Corps. Keep them away from the enemy and close to units near breaking (aka, being charged or charging). You can tell by the morale (green bar) at the bottom. This is because the general unit grants morale growth, and units in the circle will get a green arrow going up in their morale. Plus, higher level generals give other buffs, like extra cover, or extra morale resistance. (Note, unlike in Ultimate General Gettysburg, general units of different corps do grant buffs to units not of their own). The officers that command General Units are interchangeable and can be done in the "Camp" screen, but MUST be ranked Brigadier General or over. Moreover, as the officer the General Unit is representing is ranked up from experience, which they get from their command killing men (from Brig General, to Major General, to Lieutenant General) they gain extra abilities which you need to choose to give them. You can put another general in charge if you don't like the abilities you assigned a particular general with, but you can't change the abilities of a corps general even if you switch him out of the corps commander position and then back in (except by savescumming, which is why you must save your army after every battle :P). Below is a chart/list with my comments: Brigadier General (1 star General) Logistics (20% to the supply of each brigade in corps): Very Useful Skill for either the vanguard of your army (the corps that first gets deployed). Tactics (5% to speed of all brigades in corps): Also quite useful, not for the vanguard of your army, but for the reinforcing corps (aka, the 2nd corps to get deployed to the field) Experience (10% addition to experience gained by all units in corps): Useful but not in the way you'd expect. It won't be useful for training lots of brigades in the long term b/c at about Fredericksburg, you kind of stop training new brigades. However, the 10% addition to experience gained will reduce the number of veterans you need to add to brigades, and thus makes this a useful long term ability. Major General (2 star General) Corps Abilities Cavalry Specialization (cavalry in corps get +5 to Melee, +5 to Firearms and +10% to Charge Damage): Unless you're crazy enough to use an abundance of cavalry, or have the deployment space to create one small specialized cavalry corps, don't get this skill for your general. Cavalry isn't really an essential unit to UG:Civil War. Useful, but not essential and you probably won't have enough to warrant designating one of your rarer major generals to have this skill. Artillery Specialization (artillery in corps gets +5 buff to firearms, +5% to accuracy and -5% to Reloading time): Might be useful for someone who wants to create an artillery heavy corps, but of dubious usefulness for the same reasons above. Infantry Specialization (infantry in corps gets +5 to Melee, +5 to Firearms and -5% to Reloading Time): This is literally the most important skill to get for a Major General. Since Infantry are the bulk of your army, this specialization and the buffs it gives are going to allow your corps to do the most damage to the enemy. Lieutenant General (3 Star General) Corps Abilities (buffs to Active Morale Aura only (aka that little white circle around the general unit) Defender (grants +10 Cover and +5 Melee to units within active aura): Damned useful for Lt. General General Units. An excellent option, particularly for Corps that will be deployed in defensive battles but it's a GREAT option even for corps deployed in offensive battles because the melee and cover buff can really help when you send units at fortifications (just make sure to keep your general nearby). Attacker (grants %10 Speed, +5 Stamina to units within active aura): Not so useful because it gives speed ONLY to units within the aura. Furthermore, most campaign missions give you sufficient time to complete them with better planning versus a need for speed. The Stamina MAY be useful, but by late game your units will be so vetted up (the majority of my CSA units were 2-star Brigades) that stamina's not going to be a concern unless in super long battles where a single corps has to hold off the entire enemy (AKA Chickamauga). Leader (Grants 20% increase to General's Active Aura and +10% morale resistance to units within the active aura of your general unit): I weight this about the same as the Defender Buff, but I'd have more generals with the Defender Buff than that of the Leader Buff. The 20% to General's active aura can be quite useful for a general that needs to hold a position at all costs and the morale resistance means that the volley fire of enemy units is less likely to break your units holding a position. It also means that in an melee or just a firefight, you can support the morale of your units. But +10 Cover of the Defender Buff especially in lategame is VERY valuable as it reduces CASUALTIES of your units, which impacts morale. I suggest that by late game, you should have 1 Lt General Corps Commander with this buff, and the other 2 with Defender. Supply Wagons: (wagon with the the triangle of cannon balls on top) Make sure you keep these safe and if convenient, capture these from the enemy by moving a unit on top of them. This is because all units have a grey supply-status bar underneath their red reload progress indicator. The supply wagons recharge the grey bar, whilst losing the supply they carry. You can check how much supply they have by clocking on the wagon. You can set how much supply they carry in the Camp screen (see below on how much to buy). General Skills Politics: Hands down the most important skill in a general's arsenal. I personally max this skill out first, with some to army organization when possible. When maxed out early, politics allows a player to build a larger army, fast. While he or she might not be able to equip them all or train them with the best weapons, politics greatest value is that it gives flexibility. It gives money and manpower, which allows one to recover losses, and the reputation points can be spent on manpower, money, generals or weapons. It’s important to note that general with maxed out politics probably acquires more men than one with maxed Medicine, mainly because it isn’t reliant on the number of men lost. Economy: Sortof important. It’s one of those skills necessary for the maintenance of veteran brigades with high cost weapons, but at the same time, a lot of those weapons you can get by capturing them. Have a few points here when you can spare them, but it isn’t a priority stat to increase. Good way to just get some is to pick the “Artillery” option for your general’s initial skillset. Medicine: Important, particularly in mid-game, but not so much in very early game. Why? Well, Medicine allows a brigade that has lost men to recover a percentage of those men (they don’t go into manpower, they go directly back into said brigade automatically) and the equipment they hold, as well as their veterancy. It isn’t good for growing a large army early on in a player’s career because it’s reliant on the number of losses their army takes. It is vital though to to max Medicine out later in the game (I personally suggest by, maybe even before Stones River) in order to preserve the veterancy of your elite units, and all important manpower after minor and Grand Battles. Since training and new weapons cost money, medicine is a powerful passive ability of sorts that mitigates the manpower and money losses a player’s armies will take, especially in Grand Battles. Army Organization: Mind you, this is also important as it allows a general to field more men on the battle, which enables more flexibility in tactics. Important to note though it doesn't affect how much men you actually get to put into your army. For that you need politics. That being said, an expanding army requires increased army organization, so level up when required/possible. However, it’s possible to survive the battles on level 6 organization up to even Stones River, so players should just ensure enough organization to fulfil the minimum “required corps” slots for the Grand Battles (1 for Bull Run, Shiloh, 2 for Gaines Mill, Malvern Hill and 2nd Manassus, Chancelloresville, Chickaumauga. 3 for Antietam, Fredericksburg, Stones River, Gettysburg, Cold Harbour). That being said, having more organization early can be useful as a larger 1st Corps or 1st Division can be useful for minor battles or certain Grand Battles, (CSA's Gettysburg and Cold Harbour). Training: Cheapens the recruitment of veterans for elite brigades. Useful to have some early, and an absolutely necessary general stat to have in later campaigns. A player should start increasing the state gradually (max it out by Chancelloresville I think) as it allows the player/you to grow some majorly dangerous units, and maintain the dangerous nature of your elite unites. This is particularly important in lategame, when your recruitment rewards reduce... because you need to fallback onto maintaining 2 Star veteran units just to ensure you have a way to combat the AI's elites. Logistics: Sortof useful and sortof not. It means you can rely less on supply wagons, but at the same time can be mitigated by the traits of corps generals and artillery brigade traits. Take 2 (with the Artillery trait) early on, but don’t feel the need to max this. Reconnaissance: Reconnaissance is a skill that hasn't been reworked, but the new AI system with "pools" of men per campaign has made getting 2 points of it after Antietam a useful commodity. A general with good reconnaissance is useful as it allows them to know the numbers of the enemy army, get a power bar on the size of the enemy army as the battle goes on, and even their weapon load-outs at higher Reconnaissance levels. However, most people look at the Reconnaissance skill, see that it doesn’t help them build a larger army or maintain it on the battlefield, and ignore it. Take this if you want to have a different experience, a more tactical way to play. However, keep in mind that with the new army "pool" system the AI is using, having reconnaissance of 2 points is actually quite useful as you can now rearrange your army to match or exceed the AI's deployed troopcount. An important note, reconnaissance skill buffs occur only after every 2 points invested. The Camp Management: Buying Supply: Each 1000 of supply cost 1000 dollars. How much supply one should buy depends on the general skills (particularly how much of the logistics stat he has), but try to make sure your corps goes into its major battles with a lot of supply (notes: ballpark figure: at least 15,000 for some earlier battles, grow this slowly as you play more. Ensure 25,000 for Antietam on the corps attacking or defending first). Luckily, as long as you don’t lose get your supply wagon captured in the battle, you’ll get to keep the supplies you bought at first. Growing and Managing Veterans: Players should notice that there are two ways to replenish a unit after a battle, with Veterans or with Rookies. Replenishing with veterans costs money but maintains the stats of a unit. Rookies only cost manpower and whatever cost you need to equip them with new weapons, but leads to the unit’s stats going down. Based on my experience and my participation in forum discussions, the best strategy to replenishing units (at least in early game before 1863) is to only replenish two infantry units with veterans, the artillery units with stars with veterans, and everybody one else with rookies. This is to get two units of three star veterans as fast as possible and to grow the competency of your artillery. What do Stars mean? Well the Stars that a unit has essentially tells you how powerful a unit is (enemy or friendly). With ever star earned (progression to the next star shown by the gray bar in the unit stats) the unit gets a “trait” which grants additional stats. Moreover, as a unit gets more stars and veterancy, their stats in general, including morale, accuracy and reload rate (represented by Efficiency in the unit stats page), melee stats and stamina increases. Edit: Of course, how much they increase depends on what stats you pick. All the stats for various brigades are quite variable and useful, and it really depends on the player to choose how to build a veteran brigade. Just ensure that you don’t overlap them. If your newly minted 3 star brigade is already at 100 morale, you don’t need to choose the “Elite” stat that grants you extra morale. Personally I go with the Discipline (extra morale and efficiency), Assault Course (extra melee, stamina and morale) and Sharpshooter (extra efficiency/firearms and accuracy boost) to give me a brigade with 100 morale, 100 Efficiency nearly 100 firearms and above 70 Stamina and melee. Anyway, a brigade can have 3 stars at the most, but by that time it’s an exceptionally powerful brigade and can roflstomp. You want to get at least two infantry brigades because they are the trump cards of the army. Reserve 3 star infantry, cavalry and skirmisher brigades for employment in difficult situations and watch the enemy disintegrate. Edit: Do try to employ them in cover or with another brigade ahead to soak up the fire. You don't want to replace or replenish these brigades unless absolutely necessary. Neither do you want to involve them in all the side missions once you have a 3 star. Personally I take 1 super-vet (3 star) whenever I go on a mission just in case, but your 3-stars should always be in reserve until the right moment. Don't be hesitant to use them, just be conscious about it. Update: The Three star brigades have been nerfed a bit with the last skill's values being halved. This doesn't mean 3 stars aren't useful. On the contrary, due to the fact that they've accumulated so much veterancy through battles, the actual skills aren't so needed to raise their stats. However, now it's far less important to get more than three 3 star brigades. Rather, a lot of 2-stars should serve one fairly well. How does this relate to replenishment? Well replenishing a brigade with Rookies retards and reverses the progression a unit is to a star. It’s thus essential to replenish the two brigades you are training with veterans only. Everything else can get rookies, no matter if it retards their progression to getting stars. You need those two veteran brigades first, so whatever you do, do not spread the veterans around all equally thinking you can grow the entire army. Depending on campaigns, a player might be able to get more 3 star veteran brigades, but they should try to crank out two 3 star veterans ASAP before slowly training more 2-3 star brigades. You should choose a few brigades to maintain at a 2-star or 1-star level, but choose wisely. Veterans are expensive and having a few 2000-2500 no star brigades gives you valuable meatshield units. Of course, if you can spread the veterans around enough to JUST maintain the 2-star status of certain brigades, but keep them filled up at 2500 men, you should do that. After all, you'll want to maintain more veteran units going into lategame because manpower rewards are reduced drastically, meaning you need to compensate the lack of numbers in your army with greater veterancy. Moreover, you do want to use veterans only to replenish 1 star above veteran artillery losses. This is because rookies in artillery brigades really retard their fire efficiency. It doesn’t matter so much in an artillery brigade that has no star, but a veteran artillery brigade is really worth its weight in gold. Finally, you do not need to use all of your men that you have in the pool if you've met the corps count (the brigade count is not so important, but if you really want to be sure, take 2 points of Reconaissance early on). This leads us to the next point in the guide. Managing Commanders: Commanders give the brigade bonus stats, mainly command. The Command stat affects the morale, and efficiency (accuracy and reload rate) stats. It’s why when a brigade loses an officer, their command and efficiency goes down and you can see it in battle when pressing the "i" button of the brigade. The officers also give the brigade a bit of progression to get to the next star. In general, you want to ensure that rookie (no star) brigades get lower ranking officers and higher brigades get higher ranking officers. Moreover, you want to ensure you switch them out when they get promoted. Yes, your officers will learn something and become more competent (unlike in UG:Civil War XD). It’s shown by a smaller gray bar next to the brigade progression bar, and by the gray bar in the commander selection scrolldown (which can be found if you click the brigade/division/corps commander’s picture). Make sure to review who got promoted after a battle so you can ensure he’s in the best (and safest) position depending on his rank. Granted, bad luck can suddenly kill an officer, but the easiest way to get them killed is to put their units in too much danger. Command of units can be further increased by a good choice of division commander. The higher ranking division commander you select for a division, the better the units under him will perform. They can even be further increased by a good Corps Commander. Note that only Colonels above can be selected as division commanders, and only Brigadier Generals can be selected for Corps Commanders. Anyway here’s a quick rundown on what each officer’s ranks should be used for. Mind you, in desperate circumstances you might have to deviate, but this is my preferred system. Obviously, as you get higher ranks, you get less of each officer to recruit from the “Academy” and they also get more expensive to higher. Captains: If you really have to, use them for artillery brigades. Not recommended though. Majors: Use them for rookie (no star) brigades and artillery brigades (1-2 star). Having majors in artillery brigades doesn’t super impact the effectiveness of artillery brigades and trains the major up to the point they can be used to command front-line infantry brigades. They are also super plentiful so don’t be afraid to get these guys wounded. You want them to gain experience so they can get promoted. Lt. Colonels: Useful Mid-tier officer that can command either no star or 1 star brigades of 1500 or more. Less available than majors, but enough so you shouldn’t have too many issues. Colonels: Reserve these for 1-2 star brigades. They are more limited in quantity at the academy and more expensive. That's because they give decent command stats. Brigadier General: Reserve these for 3 star brigades, and division commanders. If you’re desperate, you can use a brigadier general as 2 star brigade commanders or as a corps commander. This is because these guys are really difficult to purchase and hire from the academy (availability being like 2-4 per campaign), and while you can get them by reputation, that’s better used for manpower, equipment, and money. An important note here, whilst Brigadier Generals can command a Corps, it's better to train them up commanding divisions and elite brigades because those activities get them more experience faster Major General: Rare buggers. You do not want these people hurt because you simply cannot hire them from the Academy. You can only get them by the promotion of your brigadier generals, campaign rewards and reputation, which as I said earlier, is better spent on other stuff. These dudes should command Divisions and Corps only. This won't make them immune from death, but it'll help. Lieutenant General: If you put this dude in a frontline infantry regiment, or make them a division commander, you’re doing it wrong. These commanders are worth their weight in gold and it’s unlikely a player will ever get more than 2 by Fredericksburg. You don’t want to lose them. Stick them in command of your corps because at Lieutenant General, their command aura gets rather scary good. I like putting mine with 20% morale resistance aura. One last point, due to the nature of commander promotion, it's wise to hire new colonels and lt. colonels to replace your dead ones rather than simply pulling one from a reserve. The hiring barracks resets after every conflict, so you'll have continuous access to brigadier-Captain officers. However, because you can never hire Major Generals and hire Brigadier Generals to a limited extent, you want to get colonels and lt. Colonels promoted, continuously. Also, if you're playing the Confederacy, and even in the late-game Union, it's not impossible to get a preponderence of major and lieutenant generals (I have 7 Lt. Generals... as Confederates). Only then can you stick the Lt. Generals into division commander slots, and do so for Grand Battles Only (so that they have a lesser chance of dying). Equipping: The general rule of thumb is, better weapons for more veteran brigades. As other guides have said, use captured weapons first, THEN buy new weapons. Try not to buy new and expensive weapons for rookie brigades who are going to lose them. The key is availability and convenience/cost-efficiency. Get weapons that are available in your armoury first and then get weapons that suit the ability of that unit to stay in the fight. Thus, more deadly weapons for elite brigades who can lay down the hurt and less deadly weapons for rookie brigades who will run. On the other hand, there are great advantages to equipping your starting brigades with slightly better guns to help your army whittle down the enemy in the early campaign, as the AI will feel the loss even later due to the new "pool" system. The equip-what’s-available-for-free rule applies particularly to artillery which is expensive as hell. Also, by the lategame (Overland Campaign in 1864), don't forget to sell your equipment that you aren't using. Aka, Rebored Farmers and Farmers, possibly Springfield M1842s and Mississipi 1841s. Plus, any useless cannon (the old 6 pounders, 6 Pound Wards, or overly expensive cannon that you can't equip a brigade of 4 guns with). Now, this is all really based on personal taste, so here’s the loadout I go with. Infantry: · Union o No star and 1 star: Springfield M1842 (Palmetto if necessary), lategame Springfield M1855s or captured Enfield 1853s o 1-star and 2 Star: Palmetto, Lorenz, (captured CSA mid-tier rifles like Pattern 1853 Enfield also work). If you absolutely need to because you captured enough of them, use Springfield M1855’s. If you're out of arms and money? Springfield M1842s. Note, by the Overland Campaign, you should have swithced 1 to 2 star brigades to Springfield M1855s and 1853 Enfields or Lorenz's. o 3 star: Springfield M1855 or Harper’s Ferry variant. In the lategame, start equipping these guys with Springfield M1861-3s, captured C.S. Richmonds, and Fayettevilles · Confederate o No-Star: Springfield M1842. DO NOT WASTE TIME EQUIPPING REBORED FARMERS AND FARMERS... THEY ARE USELESS!!!! Fodder! If you are going to equip brigades with them, have them be reserve brigades who are last to enter combat. o 1-star: Springfield M1842 or lower cost rifles if necessary. But you should really have these 1 star equipped with the the Mississippi M1841 at least. The Mississipi 1841 performs MUCH better than the M1842, particularly in accuracy, so an early game brigade of these buggers can really help. o 2-star: Mississippi M1841, Lorenz, or if you got nothing else available and have cash, Pattern 1853 Enfields. Again, like the Union, you should start equipping your 1-2 star brigades with Springfield M1855s (possibly Harper's Ferry variant), Enfields and if desperate, Lorenz's in order to beef them up against the much more deadly AI brigades. You definitely can equip ALL of your brigades with M1855s (probably Harper's Ferry Variant because you'll capture a lot of them) and Enfield 1853s by Overland and probably even by Chickamauga o 3-Star: Springfield M1855 or 1853 Enfields. This is because by the time you have a 3 star brigade, you would have captured a lot of those weapons from the Union. Remember though, if you got higher level and more expensive weapons already in your army, equip your veteran brigades with those. By Overland Campaign, start equipping your brigades with Springfield M1861s, C.S. Richmonds, and Fayettevilles. Try the CS. Richmonds first because they are cheaper, but perform similarly to the M1861s. Cavalry (applies for both sides) Melee cavalry: Palmetto 1842. Seriously it has excellent melee and it’s cheap. Colt M1855’s if you have some available or can spend the extra cash. Note, the "range" stated in the weapon stats is actually the range of their pistol/short-carbine that they fire as they charge. They don't have skirmish AI, or any ranged attack, they just charge or melee. Skirmisher cav/ranged cav: Go for availability. As long as it’s not the Sawed off, Cock and Brother, or basically anything with a range of under 230. The point of ranged cavalry due to their AI skirmish ability isn't the reload or damage, it's the harassment and holding. So the important thing you need to account for is range so your cavalrymen can pull off after firing more easily. The gun you're probably going to be equipping your ranged cav brigades with is the Sharpe 1855 carbine, which is a pretty good gun. Skirmishers: · If you’re brave enough to actually have dedicated skirmish brigades, you need the Sharps rifle due to its 450 range, accuracy, and fire rate. The Hunter is cheaper and has the range or so I’ve heard, but the Sharps has better fire rate and accuracy... and at 450 range, even the Sharps good accuracy means the 500 men you will equip the brigade with can only whittle, not salvo enemy brigades. Artillery (Applies for Both), overall the descriptions in this are pretty reflective of their performance. The Soldier's The Artillerist's Guide is far more enlightening on the types of guns and how to use them, but here's my suggestions for the most forgiving, least micro-intensive, cheapest strategy. Now, there are three different types of shots your cannon fires (well four, but i'm simplifying). At long range, single solid shot. At middle range, shell shot (or case shot) which scatters shrapnel over a small area. At close range, cannister shot which basically sounds as bad as it sounds. Lots of little ball bearings close in. UG:CW cannons all perform different depending on shots and circumstance. 6 Pounders Smoothbore: The basic starting cannon. Use these first if available or you just need a stopgap artillery brigade. It’s not good in long range, but very good in defending against enemy charges. Especially when you have large brigades of em. Edit: Do try to phase them out as soon as possible. Aka, the MOMENT you have the money or cannons to create a 7 gun 10Pdr Ordinance or Napoleon Artillery Brigade 6 Pound Wards: Previously, I didn't get these or use them if I have them in the Armoury. However, apparently they are now very good at long range and can be used in counter-battery or simply mid-range fire. Not good in close range, but keep them at mid range and you will get kills through their case shot (not cannister, case). Plus, they're cheap, so why not equip them? Especially given 6 Pounder Smoothbores are really bad at range. Mind you, these cannons tend to be rare. So keep em and buy em when you can get em. 12 Pdr Howitzers: You should not get these on purpose, but if you capture them, they’ll do well as close support artillery. They used to have bad cannister, but now apparently they're OP at close range. A highly aggressive artillery piece you'll need to keep moving with your battle lines. This is fairly micro-intensive though and liable to get a lot of your cannon crew killed if you screw up. 12 Pdr Napoleon: Excellent gun for artillery batteries with excellent short range and medium range damage. If you captured some, raise a battery of these, and augment with purchases from store. Fairly aggressive artillery piece though, due to its poor solid shot performance so try to keep it moving with your lines. 10 Pdr Ordinance: The mainstay of your armies. It's the best all around affordable cannon specialising in medium-long range. Unlike what the description says, it’s decent in close range as well with good canister in a pinch. Not as widely available to capture, but if you have some, get them on the field, and buy them if necessary. This is because while the Napoleon is useful, the Ordinance's all around performance attributes and its AWESOME accuracy allows it to get kills without getting too close to the enemy. This preserves your cannon crew and means it doesn't need to be microd so much. 10 Pdr Parrot Gun: Not a bad gun now apparently. It's got similar performance to the Ordinance, but with slower firepower and harder hitting medium range shot. Consider a battery if you got spare skilled crew and want something mid-long range with good counter-battery potential. 10 Pdr Tredegar: Great Medium range gun, though it's very rare. Keep in mid-range with enemy and watch it blow the enemy to smithereens with it's shell (case) shot 12 Pdr Whitworth: Unsure because it's about to receive changes and because it's also a very rare cannon that I've never gotten enough of to use a battery for. Apparently good for counter-battery and mid-range fire. Section might be changed 14 Pdr James Rifle: Counter-battery focused gun. You'll need to micro this to work, but if you want something to deal with the pesky enemy batteries... could be the trick. 24 Pdr Howitzer: God oh god, the medium-short range on this bastard of a gun will make you open your mouth and cry tears of joy, because this late game gun is OP at those ranges. Plus, it's got a very long range... so it's medium range is kinda big. Geddit. 20 Pdr Parrot: People hated this gun. So did I. No longer though b/c apparently it's not the lategame 10Pdr Ordinance with great performance at all ranges. Get as many of them as possible. General Strategy Tips: Other guides have covered and are going to walkthrough the campaigns better than I can do, but here are some in general. Do a save game before you start to replenish your damaged army in case you mess up and you think your composition needed tweaking. Save your games also in the middle of Grand Battles during the phases so you have some more intermittent backups. When looking at the objectives you need to take, click button on the top right corner with lines for the objectives you actually need to take or lose. This is because some of the battles like 2nd Manassus for the Union have… false objectives that don’t affect the outcome of the battle, but are historically accurate. Once you’re on the battle map, consider the terrain and the men you have. Ensure that every fight you encounter with the enemy is an unfair fight. Only losers fight fairly on the field. Moreover, consider that the victory points can be captured just before the timer runs out. There is no rush and at times, some battles can go to a next phase. On the other hand, also remember that destroying as much of the enemy as possible is also a good thing, just so long you don’t lose too much in doing so. Think flexibly. Remember, make it an unfair fight. If the AI is clearly deployed one way, go another. The advice from the opening battle instruction pages might be useful, but sometimes you can just toss it off. For example, in 2nd Manassus, I ignored the instruction to flank the enemy and just concentrated on his left flank. I won anyway due to superior concentration of force. In certain battles, you even want to ignore the fortifications available. Fortifications can give you an advantage, but they also allow an enemy to concentrate their fire on a single brigade. Vice versa, you can employ that tactic to dislodge a unit. Even moreso if the enemy has a ton of skirmishers. Another point, hug the trees. Whether attacking or defending, hug the trees to ensure your brigades take less damage. If the enemy is in the trees, follow the trees, and try to surround or flank if possible. Finally, don’t be afraid to fall back. If losses seem to be mounting, and your brigades are losing morale, hit that Fallback button (Shortcut F). You don’t want your brigades to rout or waver because you’ll take more damage. Moreover, contrary to what historically occurred, you don’t want to charge too often even as CSA. There’s a lot of damage that happens when you charge and it also allows the enemy to get flanking shots a lot. Employ the "division selection" button (you know, the one in your battle interface right under the "corps" button that allows you to right-click draw a gray line with the brigades lined up?) that button allows you to move lots of troops very quickly. Don't be afraid to pause, or use slow motion. Grand Battles can get really hairy and cavalry micro can be very annoying. So employ this to your advantage, or be prepared to lose a lot of men. Now without further ado Some Tactics (nicknamed for ease of memory): Frederick’s Oblique Attack: Look at a map. Scout out the dispositions of the enemy. Go around the most heavily fortified areas to get to the victory point, or hit the enemy in only one flank. It allows you to engage more of your army with a smaller part of their army, and get flanking bonuses. Ensure you use cover as you advance. It shields your units from observation and gives you protection. This tactic will see employ by the Union on Antietam, and the Confederates at Gaines Mill (through Boatswain's swamp). Napoleon’s Concentrated Assault Columns: If you can’t figure out any way to outflank an enemy or you simply don’t have time, this works rather well. Launch an attack at the weakest part of the enemy defenses (maybe a single fortification) with four infantry brigades in a line with artillery nearby. Make sure (and this is important) to line up all other divisions right behind the initial attackers in waves. When one brigade waves or loses lots of morale, fall them back, move the brigade behind them forward. Repeat until that enemy in that sector dies. Then move forward, use the brigades behind the initial frontal brigades to cover the flanks, or push them forward instead to give your attacking brigades a break. This tactic is particularly useful if you're Union on Second Manassus and Fredericksburg, Confederates on Shiloh, and Malvern Hill Human Wave: A variant of Napoleon's Assault Columns designed against garrisoned points (trenchworks and breastworks) that CSA and Union are going to start being forced to employ in later battles, minor and major, say, Fredericksburg onwards due to the persence of LOTS of fortifications and trenchworks. Form up the brigades of your ENTIRE corps, 3 per line, or 4 per line. Pause, give them all Right click and drag orders past the enemy fortifications and set them off. They'll keep firing and moving as they enter combat. You might have to redirect a few to cover the flanks, but once they get close enough, start charging 2-3 of the front ranker brigades into the enemy fortification. Don't worry if one or two of your brigades flee, the rest will push forward. Expect casualties, but this is often the only way to take the damn points. Detach Skirmishers and GTFO: You need to run. The Confederates or the Union are overwhelming you and the campaign map has named a new objective you have to defend… behind you, and your brigades are engaged. If you run them away, they’ll be flanked and they’ll rout because your rookie brigades are bad. Detach your skirmishers and GTFO. It’s simple. The key is that they’ll meatshield for you so that the mother brigades can just run. It’s not a perfect strategy and it’s likely you’ll lose those skirmishers, but sometimes it’s better to simply preserve the infantry brigades. Union will be needing to use this tactic on Shiloh, possibly Chancelloresville and Chikamauga. Confederates possibly at Antietam. Bleeding Em To Death, (How to Defend with and Deal with Fortifications): Fortifications are fun when you’re defending, but a pain to deal with when attacking. But they do have a weakness. They stretch a single brigade out and make them a bigger target, allowing 2-4 brigades to shoot one. Update: Furthermore, with Patch 0.76, fortifications can now be flanked... with rather devastating consequences on morale. When attacking, exploit this mercilessly by concentrating all local brigades to hit one fortification. This will bleed them quickly enough and the enemy can’t fire over the fortified brigade because of the “blocking” mechanic that stops a brigade from shooting the other in the back. Once you've bled that brigade into a rout, move in, flank the other brigades that are fortified, and turn the enemy army. Mind, you the offensive tactic tends to work better for Union than Confederates, and only up to 1863 as only then can they afford the loss of men. When defending, ensure you have a spare brigade right behind to take a fortified brigade’s place. You don’t need two brigades per fortification, but you do want a brigade close enough so it can give supporting fire if the enemy decides to charge. DEATH!!! DEATH!!!!: Charging... is an interesting tactic. Use sparingly, but be sure to use it when relevant because it can save lives. If it's 3 rookie brigades of 2000 versus just 1 veteran 3 star brigade of 1500, then charge it. But if that veteran has backup in form of cannon or another infantry brigade, try to isolate them or bleed them to death one by one by refocusing fire (select brigade and right click on target, cannon first if you can get a shot without moving the brigade). Same with fortifications. You can charge a fortification, but numbers in a charge are everything as is the support the enemy has. The more support they have, the more flanking fire penalties apply to a brigade engaged in melee. So be careful about charging. Infantry brigades, are capable of charging into enemy flanks and inflicting a hell of a lot of morale shock. Melee Cavalry is particularly good for this. I've had my melee cavalry get over 1000 kills to 100-200 deaths simply by charging enemy infantry in the flanks while they were engaged with my infantry. Again though, pick your fights/charges wisely. Ever since Patch 0.75, Melee cavalry was heavily nerfed. They are still useful, but they aren't going to get 1000 kills any longer. That's it, go get the Rebels, or Federals, generals! Sincerely, vren55
  2. Blobs and Mobs of Men

    I REALLY, REALLY want to like this game, I really do. I have some 50+ hours on UGG and I have to say I definitely enjoyed my time with it. However, I DO have a major issue with unit formations in the game that I was hoping would be fixed by one of the patches (and it wasn't). It seems that literally all formations become MASSIVE blobs of men and they advance like a mob. The AI absolutely refuses to hold ranks and I have to say it ruins the experience for me. They worked day in, day out, on drill, at ALL levels to maintain unit formations and discipline. That's not to say that in the din of battle there wasn't confusion, but advancing and formations were absolutely second nature to the men. I don't mind the men retreating in mobs/blobs as a panicked mob of men would do exactly that. Another frustration is a total lack of formations itself. There are no options to go from say column by division into battle line formation, marching column, wheeling...etc. Formations are used for different things and again having one formation of a blob of soldiers is disappointing. Like I said, I really, really want to like this game and am hoping that this gets fixed in this coming game. Cheers,
  3. British Council

    Ladies and Gentlemen, We hereby announce the first British Council meeting. This is a joint effort between AUSEZ and RGL. The British Nation needs a global strategy. Therefore we would like to organize a Council of all British Fleets. This Council would enable us to unite the British Nation and focus on a global common strategy. We invite all British Fleets who are interested in cooperation to join this meeting. British clans that have been invited directly via other means so far are as follow: RGL - Royal German Legion AUSEZ - Australian Colonial Navy SLRN - Sea Lords Royal Navy SINK - Barely Afloat BWITC - British West Indies Trading Company TRR - The Rum Runners SGS - St.Georges Squadron of White SOGGY - Soggy Biscuits Other clans that have been invited, but have unable to get a hold of; in quick notice are as followed: Relic - Relic Gaming RD - Royal Dogs ZEUS - The Zeus Gamming Community DRUNK - Drunken Sailors The meeting will take place in the Teamspeak of the RGL on Sunday, the 21st February 2016 at 9 pm GMT. IP: PW: 0815 To keep the Council well-structured please sent only two representatives of your Fleet. The council will meet every week at time and place above. New British clans are invited and may join the council. Point of contact: Wang (AUSEZ) Sir James Alexander Gordon (RGL) Saintus Gordon Smith (RGL)
  4. The poll question summarizes the point nicely; if someone (not necessarily I) were to host a forum version of the famous party game "Mafia", would you be interested in joining? Theme could be decided later -- it may become an age of sail themed game (base play would remain the same, only difference would be narrative) or it may remain "mafia" vs. "innocents". If you're not interested, why not? Could something be done to entice you to join, even for one game? A brief breakdown of how it would be played on a forum: Sign-up phase. The host posts a topic with the rules and information they intend to use for their game. Forum members post in the thread to indicate their intended participation. This phase lasts no less than one week (I've found about 10 days is best; more and people lose interest or go inactive, less and potential participants may miss the thread). Sign-ups close, roles are assigned and distributed. No further sign-ups are allowed/accepted*, and a random number generator (https://www.random.org/ is a wonderful site) is used to assign roles. Roles are distributed via private messaging; "mafia" roles all know each other, whereas "innocent" roles do not. Due to the rule requiring moderator approval for the first 5 posts, there should be some leniency regarding sign-ups closing, but that is up to the host. Night 0. Host "dies" in some horrific fashion, the town goes mad, and Day 1 begins. Day 1. All players discuss and vote in the thread to witch hunt logically and democratically kill off one player. Ties are decided by rules set before the game begins. Night 1. After the Day phase has been resolved, any player with an ability ("mafia", certain special "innocent" roles) private messages the host with their action and their target. Day/Night cycle repeats until either all "mafia" are dead or the "mafia" outnumber and/or logically overpower the town (depending on rules this may occur at a tied player count as well). If you want more information, the original party game was created and popularized in the USSR by Dmitry Davidoff in 1986. It consists of an informed minority trying to "kill" the ignorant uninformed majority. Many studies have been done on the base game, as well as its many variants. Two handy links would be the Wikipedia.org article, which has a wealth of information regarding everything from the original to mathematical breakdowns of role distributions, as well as the original rules, which has....well, the original rules posted by Davidoff himself, as well as his comments on various aspects and tips for beginners.
  5. Followers of my forum canon are well aware that I've been beating the drum for some type of strategic rationale for port capture. Currently, we have a RvR game of mere denial of localized resources, in which too few people are reliant enough on any one given port to essentially care if it is taken. The stakes are simply not high enough, as is. I realize that the developers may have another layer in mind, to be introduced later. Blackjack Morgan has outlined a fantastic idea in which regional capitals become hubs for SOL building, and economic/capture ramifications radiate outwards from there. I fully endorse something such as that, however I still believe that even if we had such a system, players not engaged in SOL crafting or buying must still feel some connection to the wartime progress of their nation. One of the challenges of any incentivization system is avoiding the "spiral loop of despair" for factions that begin a streak of losing. If factions are incentivized by greater rewards for taking more ports, those factions who are victorious initially will become exponentially stronger as they are rewarded, making it increasingly difficult for "losing" factions to even-out the course of the war. My idea, outlined below, avoids the "spiral of despair", while providing a strong RvR-backed incentive to all players, regardless of play style or individual goals. In short, everyone will feel that they have a stake in the course of the war, as the economic impacts of capture and defense will be felt by every player. War Bonds Otherwise known as Consols, the earliest historical issuance of war bonds was by the Bank of England in 1751 at the behest of the British government, to help pay for war debts. While some may think of war bonds as exclusively a 20th century security, their issuance during the Age of Sail and subsequent Napoleonic period give them immediate credentials within the historical scope of this game. For those unfamiliar with bonds, the way it works is that a buyer purchases a bond with a fixed lifespan and a fixed interest rate. At the end of the bond's lifespan, the buyer receives their initial payment back, plus interest accumulated. Here's how it works in Naval Action: 1) Any player, at any time, may purchase a war bond of a fixed amount from their nation. Bonds may come in increments such as 5k, 20k, 100k, 500k, etc. 2) During the life of the bond, you cannot spend the money you've purchased the bond with. That money is essentially tied up in the bond. 3) Remember, the value in owning a bond is that after a pre-set period of time, you get your principal amount back, plus interest. Players will do this, as it's free money. 4) The interest rate is determined by RvR victory progress conditions at the time of bond purchase. Whatever the "victory" metric for factions may be (be it regional capitals owned, overall number of ports owned, or whatever the devs decide), this is what will directly influence the interest rate. Nations with favorable victory progress will receive a higher interest rate, and nations with poor victory progress will receive a lower rate. Why does this make sense for the game? Twofold: 1) A higher interest rate is a nice reward for successful national RvR that all players can feel the benefits of. The Dutch have taken most of the Spanish main? Every Dutch player will be able to purchase bonds with a higher interest rate than players of most other nations. This is a nice source of national pride, and profit: at a high rate of 25% interest, a 500k bond will yield the player 125k when the bond expires. That's 125k in free money. A player on a more hapless faction may only be offered a 3% interest rate, making them less likely to invest 2) This one is important. Remember, if you have 600k to your character's name, and you buy a 500k bond, you are down to only 100k until that bond expires. So while you receive free money (in interest) at the end of bond ownership, until the bond expires you have limited your spending power. This acts as a natural cap on nations becoming gradually too strong to defeat. Nations that are winning the map, and have higher interest rates, will likely have more players begin to invest their money, taking it out of circulation as a means to buy ships, for a duration of time. Conversely, nations that begin "losing" will be offered such low interest rates that their players will be more likely to pour all available money into ships, crafting, etc. This creates a form of balance, whereas weaker nations are more likely to strengthen their fleets at the same time as stronger nations are remaining stagnant, waiting for their bonds to mature. The end state is less chance of a runaway superpower, strengthened to no end by their RvR rewards. Fine tuning Obviously, the value of interest rates (from highest possible to lowest possible) can be changed at any time by the devs, to suit what they believe is best. The same goes for the bond ownership duration. I would recommend a bond ownership duration of 7 real life days, although only a day when you log into the game will count as a "day" towards your bond maturing. I would recommend a rate range of 1% (lowest) to 25% (highest), depending on victory conditions for a nation being met. I do not know yet what those victory conditions will be, but I do hope it has something to do with control of key regional capitals and trade routes. Additional layers An important thought for me is always: does this make sense within the "real" universe of the game? In other words, is it realistic to imagine that Age of Sail nations would use bonds during wartime in such a way? The answer, as I've thought about it, is yes. You can imagine your purchase in a war bond going towards your nation's military, for protecting and expanding the empire. The more territory your nation owns, the greater the risk that it will incur territorial losses. To entice investors into these riskier bonds, they must offer a higher interest rate. It's quite a logical way to think about why an expanding nation would offer a higher interest rate, and a smaller nation would offer a lower rate. On that very topic of risk, as any investor knows, there is another side of bonds which I have not mentioned, and that is the chance of default. If your bond provider claims bankruptcy, you may forfeit both your principal and any unrealized interest. If this system were to be truly detailed within Naval Action, we could have bonds whose possible default is tied to the loss of certain key ports. For example, if my nation has captured the far off enemy regional capital of Basse-Terre, I would be able to buy a "Basse-Terre Defense Bond", with a very high interest rate. However, if Basse-Terre were to fall back to the enemy before my bond matures, I lose the entire amount. This would encourage port defense on a level not yet seen, as players would be highly incentivized to keep their investments secure. Final thoughts I do not see War Bonds as the final RvR incentivization mechanic, but rather a useful piece of the puzzle. The puzzle is: how do we get players to care about the progress of the war, and feel like it directly impacts their game experience, other than simply counting who owns the most ports when you press 'M'? Given that War Bonds carry a unique balancing mechanic within their reward structure, it seems prudent to consider them as one of the many elements that will (hopefully) make Naval Action's RvR strategically appealing, thus ensuring we have a wide, active, and interested player base once this game launches.
  6. When I press "L" in a game I get a very useful log of the shots and the damage they are doing - but it's a bit wild during most games to really look it over. At some point I would love a save to file (on my local machine) the log - so I can evaluate the logic of my strategery