Nick, and dev team. 1st off thank you for your inspired hard work on this title. Your game is being crafted into a solid very fun and accessible STRATEGY game.... Ive held back my feedback as I wanted to play the game for awhile to get a sense of the design, from a game play perspective. (Im not the guy to give you bug reports). After having played so many hunderds of hours of strategy games over the years, I've watched to see what entertains me with this hobby, and these types of games. I will tell you its the quality of the ongoing dynamic decision set, that Im presented with within each moment/turn. Where one must make hard choices, with limited resources, that have interesting outcomes. A good game provides interesting, hard choices. The best games deliver a situation where the subtlest of choices, will essentially effect the final decisive results. This Game is very close to being that well crafted, such that commiting one brigade of not.... will, against the solid AI or a skilled oppenent, make all the difference.
However, I think the biggest fine tuning still to come will be in the use of Leaders and cannon and how moral is modeled. For cannon I would focus on how they effect moral of both sides of the feild. For local troops the presence of locally placed cannon should imporve moral of time of local brigades. The amount of moral boost should be conditional on initial placement, then any solid positive observed results of the batteries, as in repulsing an incoming attack. So, for example having a battery within eye shot should inspire troops on the line. The main concept, concerning moral, is that troops are looking for and need reasons to believe they are going to survive a battle and death. In my research into Napolenonics this is what I read in the histories. So as well the local presence of leaders, should be signficantly moral boosting. THe game reflects this, however, I think the game needs to keep leaders in place and in danger, instead of having them fall back all the time...It should be the players choice as to how brave leaders should be... maybe one could include a Direct inspire Button, to lock a leader to help a brigade in crisis and or on the attack... Leader death should be part of this game as well... Further I would give a moral boost for having a brigade parked in the rear of a front line unit. As well bonuses for having brigades to each side. The feeling is this: I am surounded by friendly resources, which by god should be enough to survive and win the day!! Positioning of troops, batteries and leaders should be very critical to the moral situation, and thus provide interesting decision sets. Do I place cannon right in the front lines for moral boost, but open them up to being shot up? Do I make my lines thick and moral hardy, or thin and more brittle? Do I commit my Corp leaders on the front line opening them up to being shot and stopping them from helping to rally routed brigades in the rear?
To further this idea, of Moral imperatives, Defending brigades should be shocked hard by being shot from behind. Flanked units should be in trouble very quickly.... This game should be a game of manuever. And a game of defense in depth, with cannon leaders and terrain being a force multipliers. Want to crack Devil's Den and round top? Then pin the defenders and flank the positions and then assult. Now I would fprward a few ideas on how cannon can be moved. I would suggest that time and rediness of cannon moved up hill threw forest should make this a serious challenge. Pushing a battery up to the op of a hill is seriously hard work and very time consuming. Again hard choices. I would suggest moving cannon over water is mostly not going to happen within the time scale of this game. Bridges should be strategically vital for moving cannon.... Right now cannon move around like motoralized tanks... Further I have some feedback about the moral needed to rush a solid cannon implacment. I could be wrong in this... but it should be very hard to next to impossible for a brigade to frontally rush a solid multi battery position across open ground. Again flanking is your friend for this type of assault. For example. As the Union I had 4 batteries, in place on top of high ground, with a clear open LOS>. This position was frontally rushed by the Rebs and taken out. I ask: How is this possible? I was pulled out of the game flow in frustration, as I placed that cluster of batteries to shore up that area of the feild. After that I thought; why bother trusting a battery park to do the job? Which took away an intersting and fun opion of resource use. I assume historically these mad rushes where possible, but I argue, for game play situations, should be successful in only very select (lucky), conditions... thus making a player seriously consider the ramifications of this attempt... ( as in, heavy loss of troops, moral hits and moral boost to enemy if attempt fails...) I ask does the game engine make a moral check before a brigade even will leave the 'safety', of the lines to rush a gun position....? Well okay then... these are the issues I watch for while playing the game against online opponents. Which has been very very challenging and fun!! Again Darth... thank you for your passion on this project... I look forward to playing the final game. Darren