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About Aetius

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  1. I recommend pandakraut's UI and AI mod with replaceSizeDegradationCurves turned off. That gives you all the fixes that make the game much more enjoyable to play without changing the overall game balance either tactically or strategically.
  2. I'd argue that these days it's pretty much the only thing that works on Legendary Potomac Fort, though the fort unit coming out was fortuitous (and something I've never seen before either).
  3. I was surprised by this change in my latest Legendary playthrough and got hammered, but I went back and replayed it successfully. The key for me was to deploy all the infantry I had in the initial deployment phase, and use one of those brigades plus skirmishers to beat off the cavalry in the rear while holding the treeline elsewhere. I do think they went too far with this fix, as the reinforcements essentially arrive too late to accomplish anything, but it's definitely winnable even on Legendary.
  4. I doubt it will be fixed unless it's in sequel or follow-on product. There are deep, fundamental issues with how the game handles - or rather, doesn't handle - day transitions. The problem is present in every multi-day battle, it's just that Chancellorsville is particularly bad. Stones River is another one that's just a heartbreaker, especially as the Confederates.
  5. Yeah, the draw is doable for the Confederates, it's just a major pain in the ass because the game keeps teleporting your units around and scrambling your organization. Also, keep in mind that one of your Corps is going to have to fight Salem Church afterwards with no break.
  6. The battle reward numbers are fixed, though they can be increased by putting points into Politics. The reputation purchases are also fixed. Getting troops from captures/exchanges varies up to 1000, depending on how many troops you capture, but it's not 1-to-1 - you only need to capture about 600 men to get 1,000 back (I forget the exact numbers).
  7. In my opinion, Grant was borderline incompetent and reckless. At Fort Donelson, he left his post to confer with the Navy commander and didn't assign anyone as his second-in-command, which nearly let the Confederates escape - they had actually opened the Nashville road, but Pillow inexplicably retreated back to the fort instead of continuing with the escape plan. At Shiloh, he didn't have any pickets or scouts out, which is why the Confederate attack came as a surprise. It's also very likely that if Sherman had been killed at Shiloh - he was wounded twice and had three horses shot out from under him - the Union position would have collapsed and the battle would have been a decisive Confederate victory. In fact, when what actually happened at Shiloh was found out (Grant's battle report bore only a passing resemblance to reality) there were calls to for Grant to be dismissed for incompetence. Lincoln refused them, I believe because he mistook stubborn determination for skill. Grant's operations tended to follow a pattern - poor reconnaissance, repeated failed frontal attacks on fortified positions, followed by what he should have done in the first place. Grant also had a bad habit of leaving his supply lines exposed, which burned him more than once in the West. Against lesser opponents in the West he was slow to move and slow to appreciate the strategic situation, and in the East against Lee he was repeatedly beaten by an inferior force. Essentially, he won because he had all the advantages and managed not to blunder too badly - which is hardly a recommendation as a general. He did have some redeeming qualities. He was quick to accept black troops and utilized them effectively. He had some ability in logistics, so despite his carelessness with his supply routes his troops were well fed, well clothed, and well supplied (unlike virtually all the Confederates, even granting their logistical disadvantages). He was good at picking subordinates, and even when he disliked them (like McClernand) he was able to get results from them.
  8. I'd go with about a 4/10 on the battlefields. For example, the area west of Burnside's Bridge at Antietam is actually a series of rolling hills that run north to south, not the flat terrain depicted on the map - it's ideal defensive terrain. At Burnside's Bridge itself it is far too easy to force a crossing. The small hill and weak fortifications depicted on the map are actually a cliff with insanely good fields of fire - which is why the Confederate sharpshooters were able to hold the old quarry for so long with so few men (the equivalent in-game would be a 250-man skirmisher unit holding that position until they run out of ammo). North of the Sunken Road there are also low hills, such that visibility is about 100 meters. In general, the terrain is a lot rougher than depicted on the game maps, and sightlines are a lot more restricted - which is why they are built the way they are in game, because otherwise it would be incredibly frustrating to play. Cold Harbor is another example that's pretty inaccurate. The actual fighting near Mechanicsville in 1864 took place over two weeks, with more casualties from the trench fighting than from the failed Union assaults on the Confederate lines. In fact, the game doesn't really simulate the trench fighting at all, other than fortifications that need to be assaulted - which is understandable as it would be super boring to watch two lines of fortifications shoot at each other for days of game time with no movement or effect other than casualties. Some of the battles themselves are entirely fictional as well, such as Newport News and of course Washington - and Richmond isn't anything like the historical battle, which was attritional trench warfare that lasted almost a year and eventually forced the Confederates to withdraw. The crucial role of cavalry as a screening and reconnaissance force is almost negligible, primarily due to the good sight lines on most of the maps. Smoke isn't modeled, which would further reduce sight lines and spotting. Entrenchment is only modeled with fixed fortifications, when late in the war it was SOP for both sides to immediately dig in wherever they stopped. You've already mentioned losses, which are about 2-3x historical values. Cavalry moves far too slowly - they should move about 3x faster than the infantry and skirmishers in clear terrain and on roads. The importance of roads for troop movement is vastly understated. As you noted, both sides are far too determined, which leads to melee combat occurring much more often and lasting far longer than it historically did. Skirmishers are represented, but aren't used the way they were historically, as pickets and screening elements - again because of sight lines, and the game can't really represent dispersed troops very well. All of your orders as commander are instant. Don't get me wrong - you know I love UGCW and I think it really captures something of the feel of Civil War combat, but historically accurate it is not.
  9. George McClellan. He had a clear understanding of the defects of the Union forces early in the war, and successfully resisted the intense pressure for offensive action from Lincoln and Congress that doomed McDowell and Pope. He kept the Union army from completely collapsing twice. He understood that it was the Confederates who needed a quick, decisive victory, and repeatedly kept them from succeeding. Without him, it's very likely that the Union would have lost the war in 1862.
  10. The idea is around because that's the way it used to work before the patch that reworked the scaling and added the intelligence report. It was intensely frustrating, because every time you upgraded one unit the AI would upgrade virtually everything. The current system is better, although it results in some bizarre AI weapon choices - in my last Union playthrough, I captured thousands of Harpers Ferrys, and then started capturing Tyler Texas rifles in huge numbers as the AI weapon quality supposedly went up.
  11. Yes, the AI will almost always outnumber you, particularly when you play as the Confederates. It's part of the way the game balances difficulty, so it's not likely to change much and doesn't have much to do with your skill - and don't feel bad, because it used to be a lot worse, especially on Legendary. We know some things about how the scaling works, and you can use that knowledge to help mitigate the extremes. First, there is a minimum strength the AI will have for every battle. No matter what happens to the AI's army size, this minimum strength will always be present - this keeps the battles from being stupidly easy. If you completely wipe out the enemy army at Antietam, for example, the game will simply create more soldiers to fill up the AI army for the next battle. These soldiers are relatively green, so the AI's training and weapons ratings will go down in the intelligence reports, but their supply is unlimited. You, on the other hand, have a fixed number of available soldiers - the maximum you can get is the reinforcements for victories, plus 1,000 reinforcements per battle for captures and whatever troops you can buy with reputation. Second, there are two ways the AI scales. In minor battles, the AI looks primarily at the average strength across all your troops, and scales based on that. For example, if you have one unit that's 2,500 men, and one unit that's 500 men, the AI will usually scale its brigades to around 1500 men. Note that has nothing to do with the forces you actually bring to the fight, it's across your entire army. Each type of unit - infantry, artillery, skirmishers, cavalry - scales more-or-less independently (with some exceptions, like the AI will sometimes scale artillery to balance your infantry). Second, for grand battles the AI will scale versus your total army size, again regardless of whether or not you actually bring those troops to the battle. There are some nuances here, but essentially anything past the minimum army size will result in more than one enemy soldier being added for every soldier you add past what the games sees as the minimum threshold. However, there are two limits to this scaling: how many enemy troops are actually available (based loosely on the intelligence reports), and whether or not there are enough brigades available to fill up with troops to the AI maximum brigade size (2,950 men for infantry, etc). This is why in battles like Antietam the Union army can be so incredibly large - there's a huge number of Union brigades, and thus a lot of room to scale. (And historically, it used to be a lot worse - there was no limit to the enemy troops available for scaling.) The end result of this is that it's not typically in your best interest to have as many active troops as possible. This results in large battles, which means more casualties. The AI can absorb these casualties because it has an unlimited supply of troops to fill out the minimum army strength, but you can't on your fixed budget, particularly as the Confederates. Thus, the optimal path is to fight battles at the minimum size, which keeps the number of zombie troops the AI can summon out of thin air to a minimum and gives you the best chance of getting through with enough experienced troops to win the final battles. You also strive to kill as many of the enemy as possible, which reduces their available troops for grand battles and reduces the AI training levels and equipment. The unreachable perfect campaign is to fight the smallest battles possible and get a total army kill in every battle. You can see the AI army size and observe the scaling with, I think, two points in Reconnaissance. Note, however, that this number is not always accurate - it only reflects the initial enemy troops, not any reinforcements that arrive later or in later phases. It's also possible to manipulate the scaling in minor battles by adding "ballast" units, which are units of the smallest size that don't enter the battle and are only in your army to reduce the average size of your brigades and thus reduce the enemy scaling.
  12. As far as we know, none of the +ammo traits work. I also tested the artillery trait a while back and it had no effect.
  13. As pandakraut pointed out, no - each type of unit is scaled separately. On Legendary, creating a cavalry corps virtually guarantees that any enemy cavalry units will all be overstrength 1050-man units, even when your cavalry isn't in the battle. Cavalry units also make poor ballast units because disbanding and re-creating them costs money every time for horses. It doesn't work that way on Legendary. As the game progresses, almost every Confederate artillery unit will be three stars and have one of the two large damage bonuses. This turns standard 10pd Ordnance / 10pd Parrots into dangerous guns, and even 12pd Howitzers are deadly if you get too close - and late game you are facing numerous 24pd Howitzers (I captured 32 at Richmond, which meant that over half their 600 guns were 24pd Howitzers). Further, artillery damage in a battle goes up more-or-less linearly with the number of tubes, as you have few options for keeping them from shooting (unlike infantry, which can be suppressed relatively easily). In short, every gun that's added to the enemy side roughly equals X amount of casualties regardless of how well the battle goes, so fewer guns has a direct correlation to fewer casualties on your side. And due to how scaling works, replacing infantry brigades on your side with artillery brigades in minor battles does nothing to reduce the enemy infantry forces while adding enemy guns, making the battle more difficult and increasing casualties. It's not so much a desire for an infantry-centric force as the game's various incentives put pressure on you to create an infantry-centric force.
  14. I don't think it is - I see it as a trap for struggling players. These players take high casualties and lose brigades. The game heavily penalizes small inexperienced brigades, so creating new small brigades those won't trigger scaling but will cause you to lose battles and continue to take high casualties. On the other hand you can beef up existing brigades or create new large brigades, both of which make your average brigade size high even while your total number of troops and brigades is low. This triggers the scaling and tilts the game even further in favor of the AI. I believe it was intended for players who want to fight with a small elite army instead of huge masses of troops. It doesn't work well on Legendary because the AI has much more experienced troops and the game is so lethal that small brigades tend to get wiped out regardless of experience. More importantly, it's really unfair for the game to penalize you for units that don't participate in the battle - that's really the most counter-intuitive part of the whole thing. And it's almost unlimited how far the game will tilt in favor of the AI based on your army composition. I see ballast units as addressing that problem, not an abuse.
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