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Everything posted by Aetius

  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.
  15. I've established that the current scaling does not work that way for minor battles. And pandakraut's tests show that it doesn't quite work that way for major battles either. My last Brock Road battle is a great example - before the battle I was able to reduce the enemy forces from 61,000 troops (above the intelligence report max size) to 41,000 troops by adding ballast brigades and converting unneeded line brigades to ballast. You'll also notice that in the end of battle results, I outnumbered the Confederates 50,000 to 34,000. If the scaling was based simply on numbers, this would be impossible. I increased my total army size to reduce the number of deployed enemy troops. This changes the dynamic. For minor battles, you need to retain a lot of cheap weapons to build ballast brigades to reduce your average brigade size. For major battles, you should bring as many troops as you can up to the minimum enemy size (regardless of what they are armed with), and additional troops as you feel justified. Ideally, you want to fight minimum-size enemy forces with the largest forces you can muster. This limits your casualties and sharply reduces the number of free zombie troops the AI gets to replace losses, which eases some of the strategic problems with the AI having unlimited reinforcements. In my Union Legendary Minimal playthrough, I found that the pre-battle estimates in minor battles were pretty good. Pre-battle estimates in major battles were sometimes wildly off, primarily because they seemed to ignore reinforcements.
  16. I do not, and I won't if pandakraut is already working on them.
  17. These haven't been checked for accuracy yet, but I converted JonnyH13's written notes to spreadsheets. Note that these are the numbers for the mod, not the original numbers. Infantry Weapons: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vQ3ADvsZ1MkmyeCDykeN6OTsoK0MbkJwmG-IU1RL8_KfLhmzM0mTE7Y9Sz79mep9bnrrlXRt4rNAyUT/pubhtml Cav and Skirmisher Weapons: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vQ2UME8c1k3flO_oq4qlollSfjIXepDUXYSFU_m59J8zzqwAKhXnqqO6d33DBg1R6_2B5mWeb7yWWXV/pubhtml Artillery: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vTMBHvLleRHjVAtaqvFtifqfm2SAcC9ZNijlhaknykOLAXKIVL7Q51HboRVxnpzgCn87IgrimEy5T2D/pubhtml
  18. Notes from 1st Bull Run: I'm upgrading the melee cavalry from "very strong" to "terrifying". My 750-man one-star cavalry unit scored 3,881 kills for 369 losses. The brigade commander went from Lt. Colonel to Major General in one battle. As long as you only charge units that are routing or about to break, your losses are minimal and the charge becomes murderous. Three two-star melee cavalry units with the charge damage bonus are going to be able to destroy any brigade in a matter of seconds. Ammunition is probably a little too generous. None of my units ran out of ammo, and none ever came close - most of the wagons were above 50% as well. 1st Bull Run makes it easy to capture units, but this battle was excessive - I captured over 7,000 enemy troops, mostly by getting them stuck on a river, shooting them up, and then charging. my skirmisher cavalry felt right - they would mount up, gallop across the battlefield, then dismount and pour fire into someone's flank. They were a zero-star unit and scored 1,359 kills for 211 losses. The AI was mostly unable to use melee cavalry effectively in this battle. They did do some damage darting in to fire at my infantry from behind their own brigades, but I don't think a single one ever charged. I suspect it'll get better as they get stronger and the battles get bigger - one of those 1,050 man units behind the lines would be a death sentence for any artillery. My infantry fire against their cavalry seemed much less effective than their infantry firing at my cavalry. Overall it felt like both Newport News and 1st Bull Run were significantly easier than previous Legendary battles. I think what's happening is that enemy units are exposed to fire longer due to the changes, and suffer more casualties before routing. This problem may get worse as the AI deploys units with higher Morale. Between captures and kills, AI lost 24,000 of 26,000 infantry, which is a pretty high percentage and points to units taking more damage before routing. Units hanging around in a bad situation is also beneficial to artillery, particularly at short range.
  19. Two more tries, and I take back what I said about the mod being unplayable - it just requires a big change in mindset. The first was very successful except that I was dumb, didn't chase down the skirmishers, and didn't cover the VP. The second was also successful, but quite bloody - probably more casualties than a typical Legendary battle. Skirmishers are very strong. I'm liking how the melee cavalry works more and more - they are very powerful, but fragile. It takes longer for a unit to be shaken or break through fire, though that may be due to the poor accuracy and effectiveness of the 1842s and is probably intended. Defending river lines is going to be more important, I think, because it stops charges. My three top units were the two 6 pounder batteries and the cavalry. Merritt's 6 pounders racked up 1327 kills, and fought most of the battle with 3 guns. I'll continue with the series and see where it leads.
  20. I don't think it's the fortifications themselves that are the problem, I think it's the way the unit fires from the fortifications - they appear to be firing at the same speed as before, instead of much more rapidly. This allows the enemy units to walk right up on them and volley fire while taking minimal damage, instead of getting quickly ground down by rapid fire from the fortified unit. I would think that the "by platoon" fire rate would be taken from the unit's weapons and skills, but apparently not - or there's something else going on. I'm putting some thought into how to handle the changes, and I'll try again this morning. I plan on exploiting the cavalry's pursuit advantage and the skirmisher advantages to fight a delaying action instead of trying to hold the fort - we'll see.
  21. Here's two attempts as the Confederates on Legendary to win Potomac Fort. Pros: Melee cavalry works well - probably too well. They are extremely deadly chasing down routed units, but will take a lot of damage hanging out in front infantry or skirmishers, and moderate damage on charges. I suspect that with some experience and at full size, they will be too powerful, along the lines of three brigades of cavalry being able to charge and completely destroy a 2,950-man brigade in one go. Condition seems to last longer and recover quicker. I'm not sure if that's the mod or not. Melee combat is indeed deadly, but causes routs so quickly that it doesn't really get a chance to do damage. Cons: The reduced range on the artillery means you can't target the gunboats in Potomac Fort, which means you are constantly taking artillery fire from the rear with no way to reduce or suppress it. Platoon fire from fortifications is almost entirely ineffective, I believe because it is happening at the old speed and not the new speed. Volley fire against fortifications seems way too strong, though it might because the return fire is ineffective. 6 pounder fire even at close range is ineffective at pushing back attackers - it does quite a bit of damage, but seems to have little to no morale impact. Shell fire from 6 pounders does very little damage (maybe normal?). Melee cavalry, when told to attack, acts like mounted infantry - they close, fire, and then wheel away. They will only close to melee if told to charge. (Should it work this way?) The rapid volleys interfere with movement. Not sure this is a bad thing. Fire from the rear and the flanks seems to have a much lower morale effect, perhaps due to lower damage. Skirmishers are almost invulnerable if they are in cover. What this battle ends up becoming is a slaughter - your units surrounded by enemies, taking volleys at point-blank range, and eventually succumbing to a charge once their morale has been wiped out. I think it might be possible to eke out a win on Potomac Fort by using skirmishers to delay and distract the attacking units, because the skirmishers are so strong. I think the biggest problem is the complete ineffectiveness of fire from the fortifications - you can't hold them off if you can't damage them, but you have to remain in the fortifications to have a chance in melee against their vastly superior forces.
  22. Jonny, can you describe what your goals are with the mod? And a bit about how you're going about it?
  23. There are a number of significant outstanding issues remaining, and the flanking bug is definitely one of them. I'm pretty sure after my last Union playthrough that it is related to the cavalry overrun bug, and the bug is a difference between where you see the unit on the screen and where the game thinks it is located. I've seen units flip around and fire backwards at a unit in front of them, and not just one unit but several. These are the most critical: Units being moved around between days. This is THE most annoying issue with the game, and it's not even a bug - divisions get scattered, prime defensive positions are lost, difficult attacks must be repeated. Stones River as the Confederates is probably the worst offender in this regard. The cavalry overrun bug, where cavalry can simply ride through your lines without engaging in melee. The flanking issues, which have multiple parts - being flanked by artillery at extreme range, being flanked by units that are shaken and not firing, and being flanked by units that cannot fire at you because they are blocked. Confusing and unclear victory conditions. The first phase of Cold Harbor as the Union is a perfect example - if you lose the VP for even a few minutes, you lose the entire battle, even though your reinforcements are pouring in. Chickamauga as the Confederates is another bad one - failing to capture ALL the VPs in the first phase results in an immediate loss, despite Wilder's historically successful defense. There is no indication of this in the victory conditions. No indication of how long a battle actually lasts, what the time requirements are for the VPs, and no labels on the VPs.
  24. After some testing, it appears that the weighted average only applies to minor battles. For grand battles, the system only appears to consider the total number of troops, and possibly the number of brigades. This results in a pattern where you create and disband the ballast units as needed. Also, artillery is indeed a separate category, and works the same way.
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