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J & P Rebalance Mod by JonnyH13 and Pandakraut 5/1/18

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Definitely use the Whitworths at least once and giggle like a schoolgirl at the destruction, then put them away. They create a massive experience drain for your other units by hogging the kills and removing targets.

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53 minutes ago, killjoy1941 said:

They create a massive experience drain for your other units by hogging the kills and removing targets.

I absolutely love that description. :D

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To anyone knowledge, are there anyone here playing the game with the mod and posting videos? I started both campaings simultaneously to see how each side fairs at the major battles, but I am curious to see if anyone is making or posting videos to see how they do.

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I haven't seen any yet. The two people who I know of that might are either finishing up another campaign at the moment or very distracted by BattleTech :)

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I have played twice as Union up to just after Shilo, once with Colonel and once as BG. I am no where near as experienced as the players here, so thought I'd represent the more casual audience group.

Colonel is right where you would want it to be. For someone who is able to do fairly well on BG vanhilla, Colonel is almost like a sandbox mode in that I can experiment with different combinations and the game is forgiving enough that I don't have to mash restart as I learn the new quirks. This also allowed me to learn new things, such as Battle of Philippi  being able to skip the second day if you can manage to wipe out the enemy.

Playing on BG, I am facing much more of a challenge and without the lessons taught from the Col campaign I'd have been in a world of hurt. It is this mode I'll focus my thoughts on since it is more toward what you want to balance to. I do want to point out though that while I know the campaign is going to be altered in the future, the relative difficulty for Col should not change. There are plenty of players not as skilled as I am and for them the level of difficulty will give them plenty of challenge. To put it another way: While the difficulty was forgiving for me I still had to learn lessons and never felt insulted by its ease. Even for more advanced players having a sandbox mode to try new tactics and such is valuable.

 

Regarding BG, I was still able to do Philippi in one day. However, it took a lot more trial and error. The timer is not accurate and can cause a game over if the point isn't contested around 1700. After a reload I made sure to do so with about 80% of the enemy KIA or MIA. To my surprise the game decided victory was assured and the battle was over. Again it took a lot of trail and error to ensure I didn't accidentally take the city.

Distress call, even with my reduced casualties due skipping the second day, was quite the challenge. I had to start by sending my two player groups with enhanced speed straight to the east bridge to cut off the forces there: If I sent forces without the speed perks they wouldn't make it in time. The two groups were able to lock down and annihilate the groups but it took 2 - 3 hours of combat combined with the leadership of the general to maintain high morale. That left the remaining forces to desperately skirmish with forces 3 times their size. It required a lot of skirmishing and otherwise tying up the forces to ensure that both forts were not taken before the reinforcements could arrive in good condition to fight. I still had to retreat from the northern fort and eventually take it back. It was a steep challenge.

Bull Run was easier but would have been very punishing had I not developed new tactics unlike to this mod. To start, I had to move two of the three infantry groups far north and cross the river there. There was no way to dislodge the infantry guarding the closer river group and I just left a detachment of skirmishers to hold it so the enemy cavalry was kept in check but they did not engage. By the time the infantry crossed the river and was about 600 units away from the enemy I had them hold since they had >70% condition.

By that point my own forces entered the field. I had them cross the river but did not have them immediately approach the treeline near the hill; doing so invited charges from 2 star groups who could trounce me in melee. Instead I used my horse artillery to draw and tire enemy forces and got 6 groups of infantry lined up to support each other, with further reinforcements going south to extend the front. Through a combination of stretching the lines and good counter charging + fire support I was able to grind and push out the forces there.

By the time that effort was done Sherman was ready to move across the river so I had him and my two supporting groups push out the infantry along the river crossing and threaten the second objective. The enemy pulled back from the tentative position and overall it was much tamer, by the time the second phase of the battle started I had artillery and troops along the river and ready to push unto the second point.

At this point of the match I had a 5:3 advantage and through superior firepower could push out the enemy for the rest of the match. It was very important I kept the infantry in pairs so one could counter charge as necessary and then have a fresher unit protect the exhausted unit. Isolated units the AI did a great job in pouncing on. I was able to push the AI into a corner and then grind them out to their annihilation.

Time is short so I gotta run, but I'll tell more these coming days.

 

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Just to make sure, by skipping the second day of Phillipi you mean the second phase where you have to hold the city against a new set of attacking units and the train? I had no clue it was even possible to skip that.

Things are still in the planning phases, but currently the idea is that the campaign changes that boost difficulty will start to take affect at MG or higher. I agree that less experienced players have enough to learn already, and don't need any additional tricks thrown at them.

It definitely sounds like you're on the right path to adjusting to the mod. For me, the most enjoyable part of the mod is that it requires coming up with new solutions to battles that I've already 'solved' in the base game. So it's nice to hear that others are getting a similar experience. 

 

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Yes I was referring to the second day with the train. I first did it in on Colonel in the traditional fashion of wiping every unit off the map and having the battle ending automatically similar to how on Shilo as Union if you can wipe out all the enemy units before the end of the day the match just ends rather then proceeding to the second day. The second time with BG I had the enemy have about one last infantry at about 50% strength and one last skirmishing group, so about 700 soldiers total left. I was surprised to see the game greet me with the post battle screen after holding the city for about 5 minutes (because if I waited much the game would boot me to game over), but I figured it was a bonus.

 

New tactics are occurring and I hope to go into more detail on my next extended posts. If the readers here are interested I'll even put up pictures and make a mini AAR of sorts for a battle or two showcasing these tactics. I'm willing to put in the effort if there is an audience which would enjoy / benefit from it.

Edited by chemical_art
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I'd be interested in reading whatever you have time to put together, but at the point it might be better to move the AAR into it's own forum thread. Not that it isn't relevant here, but it would help keep things a bit more organized.

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17 hours ago, pandakraut said:

I haven't seen any yet. The two people who I know of that might are either finishing up another campaign at the moment or very distracted by BattleTech :)

If these two are playing battletech, they are not alone.....I am also playing it, but must say, I am just addicted to this game and your mod, just made it more appealing. Just finished 1st Bull Run as the CSA and have less than 2.5K losses against over 13K on the Union side.

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So I'd played with all the new toys through to Richmond (didn't fight it because I couldn't possibly lose) and restarted on MG/CSA.

I think it might be best, if possible, to reduce the scaling on MG by about 15-20%. The 5k+ AI brigades are fine for 1st Bull Run, but in Shiloh and beyond where the player is engaged in offensive battles, they become a bit much and force the 1st corps to become a "hero" corps. I've found, by Antietam, that I very often rely on my 1st corps to carry battles, and simply sub in brigades to get them experience. I already know I won't have the general army experience to carry Washington, and that's with an economics/medicine/training focus.

I think 3.5-4.5k AI brigades would be fine for MG, and the average experienced player could manage them. If routinely facing 2:1 odds were fine for the super-micro players, I think Legendary would be where they live, and players who are simply experienced and understand the game could settle comfortably into MG. BG as it stands is pretty well tuned for more casual players (no insult intended here if you read this and fit the group, we all just want to have fun), and serves as an excellent introduction to the mod, where players can try out the different aspects without being punished for it.

Notes, keeping in mind MG difficulty:

1. I'd increase the availability of weapons by about 20-30% or so. The CSA in the mod isn't limited at all by manpower, but by weapon access, or more precisely: money. You're never going to have enough cash to max out your weapons unless you play BG and go full econ right off the start, so being able to choose your general weapon grade might be fun.

2. Supply Raid is... not painful? Your garbage troops are armed with Lorenz's, so it's not terrible, but like the other battles with scenario troops, it's not exactly fun because it breaks the continuity of the mod. That said, I'm just reporting it. We already know why said battles aren't consistent with the rest, and I'll be patient.

Summary: Scaling seems a bit much, and could use some tuning. This from a fairly average player who has managed to do a Legendary run.

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I'm surprised to hear that you're facing 5k+ brigades on MG. I checked Legendary CSA and while there is one 5.7k brigade and around eight 3.5-4k brigades the rest are 3k or smaller. I'm sitting at 38.5k vs 85k These are mostly 1-2 star so they were managable. On MG the AI capped at 72k for me and I can bring up to 45k if I use up all the muskets. The cap will change a bit based on your previous battles but in my case I'm only seeing 6 units over 3k and only one of those is 4.5k. Once you get past Shiloh unless you're building very large you probably won't see any AI units over 2.9k on MG.

What is your average infantry brigade size? The allied units largely determine the scaling at Bull Run and Shiloh but you can definitely push it up if you go overboard. Though in my experience that only really happens on Legendary. How did your earlier battles go? Did you largely kill off most of the enemy forces? It's also possible you had bad luck with the reinforcements randomization. I've seen that push the AI up an additional 6-10k early on.

Your issue with weapon availability, specifically were you low on money or low on weapons to buy? Can you post your career setup?

I'm a bit confused about the supply raid comment. Supply Raid is the union battle pre Chancellorsville were the player has all allied cavalry units. If the player has a large enough army it can cause the AI troops to scale far past the size of the allied troops, though it seems to be less of an issue in that battle than at Brandy Station. 

 

Edited by pandakraut

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I didn't have a single brigade over 1,500. Literally all the enemy brigades that are normally large were about 5.5k for 1st Bull Run, and about 7-8 of the brigades that are large in Shiloh were 5.5k. The small battles have had 3.5-4.5k brigades too. I scored 17k - 7k at 1st Bull Run, 24k - 10k at Shiloh, and most of those were not mine. I leaned heavily on good guns and veterans, so I had a total of 36k at Shiloh to... 64k. I was kind of shocked when I saw that. They're winnable, it's just incredibly hard to move huge AI brigades that early in the game. I kind of wish I'd kept the saves now; I thought it was supposed to be that way...

The issue with weapons isn't really an issue so much as an idea. I was sitting at around 8/4/8 Econ/Med/Training just before Antietam when I thought about it. I kept running out of Mississippi '41s, Springfield '42s, and/or MJ&G's because I refused to buy better guns due to the Enfield political rewards and battlefield recovery. I still had recruits in the bank, and I was definitely spending down my money every battle, so I thought about it and it occurred to me that it might be fun to have two potential paths available to the player: have a mix of weapons, or go all-out middle and have a ton of average-to-decent weapons.

I got Supply Raid confused with Manassas Depot because I was tired. :D

It's perfectly winnable, it just feels like a bit of a let-down because the troops are awful, so it feels like 1st Bull Run all over again. Basically, it's another one of the battles with non-player troops that could use some attention when you guys get the chance.

 

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Those battles will be fixed given enough time.  I am busy with work until next week and with the coming patch for base game, I will have my work cut out for me to update the mod for the next version.  Know that the battles will be edited eventually.  Also have fun at Brandy Station!  😋

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I've no doubt you'll get around to changing the set-piece battles, I'm just letting you know what I thought about another one.

Modding is a process that requires enormous amounts of time, and one I'm very familiar with. I'm well aware of just how much effort you guys have put into this, and I'm perfectly willing to be patient. ;)

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If you were using brigades in the 1.2k - 1.5k range at bull run and had more than 2 infantry units you definitely added several thousand men due to scaling. I'm nearly certain you triggered it for the side battles. I checked my old saves and even on legendary I'm not facing anything much bigger than 2k in the side battles before Shiloh. I play a bit on the smaller end but hitting 4k would have required adding a ton of men. Though again, could be you just got super unlucky with the reinforcement types.

36k to 64k at Shiloh is in the right range for Shiloh MG in the mod currently. The unit sizes should probably come down a bit though. I've gotten so used to seeing 3 or even 4 to 1 odds that 2:1 seems normal in most cases. Dealing with the huge brigades is definitely a giant pain with the limited resources you have initially. At Bull Run you can take them apart with cavalry, but that's not really feasible at Shiloh. Though once you get some 2 - 3 star artillery I've found you can start wrecking just about anything currently.

I actually kind of like the random side battles with allied troops is it gives you a bit more variety. Especially with the cavalry focused ones it gives you a chance to try using large numbers of those units without dealing with the cost of setting it up. With the impact of perks in the mod currently, pushing at least some of those units up to 1 star is probably a good idea.

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I had two 1,500-man brigades and two batteries, because artillery is godly with the mod. :D

I just tired out the big Yankee brigades, then shot them to pieces. When Johnson arrived, I started assaulting in column like one does in late-game vanilla, and I basically ran out of time waiting for his brigades to recover stamina between assaults.

I'm certain I hit the scaling threshold for the side battles because I ramp up as fast and hard as I can before Antietam. The more boots on the ground early game, the more brigades you have getting experience for later. The side battles are actually pretty fun with the big brigades, it's really just Shiloh since you end up sort of flowing around the AI and poking them to death. It's more amusing than difficult, though the size disparity does mean you take far more casualties than you might like.

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I tend to try and grow wide instead of tall and get the experience that way. I've found I usually can field more total men that way. Also helps you rank up more officers which is super important in the mod, though you spend a lot of money getting them. Jonny tells me my units are too small every time he sees me play :P

The side battles being fun with the larger brigades is good news as that is likely going to be the case in the future, at least on the harder difficulties.

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Yup, I try to fill out all 20 brigades for Shiloh, and I try to max Malvern Hill too. Shiloh doesn't really need big brigades, though I was definitely surprised by the size disparity. I had big brigades for 1st Bull Run because, well.. I only had two of them. :D

It's Malvern Hill and beyond where you need 1,500-2,000 men per brigade at a minimum in at least one corps just because it provides the staying power for long fights against better armed and more experienced troops.

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Big brigades are overrated :) I've gone all the way past Chickamauga using nothing bigger than veteran units at 1.1k and rookies at 1.3k on Legendary and most of the army is at the Veteran size. May have had to bulk up slightly for Cold Harbor and those last few battles of storming fortifications, got distracted by learning how to mod the game though. With the current strength of artillery in the mod you'd probably have to go slightly larger since you'll take more casualties before you can kill them off.

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One thing to note about guns is that logistics play a large role in keeping good stocks. I made it a point to have 3 in logistics at the start as union to ensure i have enough springfields, and even then for shilo i was still using about every gun i could field (such as the basic farmer and rebored muskets).

 

Dealing with large enemy brigades is large. Which brings up a thing that the Union can do at least at BG.

Double down ;).

Throwing a green 4k counter charge with muskets led by general from front will stop even 2 stars with rifles if they cant bring in at least 3k. If the enemy is less then 1.5k then even exhausted 3k troops will fend them off as long as morale holds. I have my shilo game with lots of pictures in the works, but i may even make a video if someone experienced with making videos can point me in the direction of what program to get.

Big brigrades are whittled away because maintaining condition is a big challenge. But i find a 3k melee blob with 1k rifle support is more effective then 2 2k groups who dont specialize in anything.  They take casualities but at worst they come out even in k/d and their sheer mass can lead to 4:1 ratios against smaller groups. After their first battle they become monsters: one 2.7k group for shilo had one star yet 80 melee!

 

Again, this is all BG. When i hear about the MG woes i become intimadated and a bit sad that it seems a more narrow range of tactics is used. Over time i hope that MG, being the bridge between BG and legendary, leans more towars BG so there isnt such a gulf between difficulty.

 

All in all im having a blast. I should be set to play a lot this weekend and if i can get direction for a video i might whip one up.

Edited by chemical_art

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I think on MG you still have a decently wide array of setups available, your margin for error just gets smaller. Everyone I've heard of who has played MG so far has gone through with a completely different army setup. Once you've gotten a good ways through BG I think you may find that going back to the early missions will be entirely manageable on a higher difficulty. There are all kinds of tricks you will start to pick up that can let you deal with even overwhelming odds.

Glad to see you experimenting with the career points. There is a starting point setup that no one has even talked about yet that might be actually be the strongest start.

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Going heavy recon so you can see everything, then use skirmishers to spot and cav/artillery to massacre everything? I've yet to try that, but it's only my list. :D

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Not what I was thinking of but interesting. Downside is that you'll still be screwed on maps with wonky line of sight limitations no matter how good your spot is.

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I was thinking of a more typical army with an extra skirmisher and melee cav or two in each corps. I'd say most people don't like risking cav because they can't usually see what's behind that tempting just-routed brigade target they'd like to slaughter, and having better vision would mitigate that. Any location that doesn't allow you to sneak in some skirmishers can be handled the normal way.

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I intend to add cav into one of my two corps down the road. Having them mop up after the big blob drops the hammer should allow each charge an extra few hundred casualties. Right now i simply lack the space. Traditionally id use skirmishers but after elaborating myself here i see i really should just triple down and go all in on devastating charges. I have no doubt that 2 star skimishers can cause damage but 0 star cav can do the same with what i already got and while micro heavy in the charge they are safe left alone until needed. I will look forward to what they can do with two stars.

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