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kjchan

Ideal Campaign Start?

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Hi all,

I'm a noob to the Ultimate General series and just wanted to pick your veteran brains as to how best to optimize your campaign (especially leading up to Shiloh).  I went for a Union quality building programme and spent most of my attention on getting rifles into the hands of my troops.  I didn't pay as much attention to pumping points into Army Organization and sheer number of units and promptly got out-attritioned in Shiloh Day 2.  My Army Order of Battle leading into Shiloh was 2 Corps, 2 Divisions apiece.  Each Division contained 3 Infantry Brigades.  Within each Corps, 1 Division had a full complement of breech loading carbine cavalry (750 men) and the other division had a 24 gun battery.  My career background was Politics.

I'd like a more successful 2nd playthrough.  So questions I have for you all are:

1) What was your optimal use of Career Points?  Seems to me that the game prioritizes having sheer numbers on your side and therefore Army Organization should be prioritized.

2) Are skirmishers worth it?  I know that historically they're important for screening and delaying...but they don't seem to do that well in this game, or I could be using them wrong.  Seems like a waste of a unit slot in the early game.

3) Is Cavalry worth it in the early game?  As another poster mentioned, it seems like mounted infantry are a crap concept in this game.  I know that historically that's where Union cavalry tended by the end and were useful as rapidly deployable skirmishers.  But when I try to use them in that role I seem to fail - I once had a wonderfully looping flanking maneuver which landed both my cavalry units in a Rebel unit's rear...only to have them somehow magically sense my presence, rapidly face me and then decimate my cavalry units within 2 volleys (sigh for the loss of their hideously expensive weaponry).  Also my mounted infantry had massive issues handling the saber armed Rebel cavalry.  It was no contest.  Seems to be a clear favor in this game towards saber armed cavalry ...but I can't imagine using them unless on routing troops, troops in melee, or on artillery positions.  Seems like I should focus that 4th slot in my divisions on more artillery?

4) How to use Artillery in this game?  Should they be behind my lines?  Should I squeeze them into my lines somehow?  I know I shouldn't let them continuously fire unchecked since they are an ammo hog...but what else should I be cognizant of?  Should I do 24 gun batteries, or are they too unwieldy?  Should I save my best subordinate commanders for my artillery units for the best bang for buck?  

5) Is it worth it to get all my infantry units rifle armed?  Its quite expensive and they're not in large supply.  I know that a lot of posters espouse building up a handful of key veteran brigades.  Is this where all my rifle supply should go?

6) Supplies - I have no idea what that number means and how much is enough.

Thanks in advance for any replies I may get!

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1) Prioritize army organization, politics, training and reconnaissance => (2 to know the ennemys starting number, 4 to have a power bar telling them thei numbers at all time)

2)Skirmishers are very useful for delaying ennemy units and capturing empty positions quickly. They can also rout large brigades if you get on their flanks and fire. However if u bring some be sure they're at least 350 to make a difference.

3)Cavalry is mostly worth capturing ennemy cannons and skirms. Not advised to go for them in the early game imo.

4) Dont go for large batteries as it will make them less efficient, just progressively add a couple guns after each battle so they can get more experienced officers and afford to get larger. In battle place them behind your lines, not to close so they wont get shot, not too far so that the gun shots matter.

5) You want to prioritize veterans and the best rifle for ur best brigade. However its more important to have a large army otherwise your unsupported elite troops will be exposed and need a lot of replenishment. If you only have a few rifles to distribute try to make new brigades as much as possible. 

6) u will have to check while in battle. Try to go 3-400 in very early campaign then more after shiloh, ull see how much u need or not. 

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5 hours ago, Col_Kelly said:

1) Prioritize army organization, politics, training and reconnaissance => (2 to know the ennemys starting number, 4 to have a power bar telling them thei numbers at all time)

2)Skirmishers are very useful for delaying ennemy units and capturing empty positions quickly. They can also rout large brigades if you get on their flanks and fire. However if u bring some be sure they're at least 350 to make a difference.

3)Cavalry is mostly worth capturing ennemy cannons and skirms. Not advised to go for them in the early game imo.

4) Dont go for large batteries as it will make them less efficient, just progressively add a couple guns after each battle so they can get more experienced officers and afford to get larger. In battle place them behind your lines, not to close so they wont get shot, not too far so that the gun shots matter.

5) You want to prioritize veterans and the best rifle for ur best brigade. However its more important to have a large army otherwise your unsupported elite troops will be exposed and need a lot of replenishment. If you only have a few rifles to distribute try to make new brigades as much as possible. 

6) u will have to check while in battle. Try to go 3-400 in very early campaign then more after shiloh, ull see how much u need or not. 

 

What you just wrote actually is where I ended up. Yes you are definitely right.

My first run, I tried full logistics + mass training to get an elite army... FAIL

 

However, as an opening, isn't it a concern that you actually have to prioritize some perks other the others ?

For instance, Army Organization and Politics are campaign winners. In comparaison, Veteran and medicine are very very bad choices.

So, maybe the devs could make it evolve a bit so that we really get to make real choices there (big dillema you know!)...

Being a Paradox Games player, I'd say, each perk should come with bonus and malus. You get good stuff from it, but it also comes with drawbacks, so you may not want to put too much points in one skill.

Being strong in politics could certainly be more fun, more hasardous.

Army organization should only be a way to open the army tree to new choices, not linear ones.

Just a thought.

Edited by Grognard_JC

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I'd say no stat is useless actually. Veterans is not a priority but still very useful. Getting a 10% discount on them will matter in the late game as 3 stars units are extremely expensive to replenish. I also tend to go for logistics, ammo, and medicine in the very late campaign so i can save at least some of my fallen veterans. Not bad also to have a few points in economy, especially as CSA since a southern player really struggle to equip its troops with rifles.

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Hello friends it has been awhile since early access UG:G where I retired as Lt. General of Multiplayer because I was too afraid to lose and get demoted <grin> 

Devs have done another fantastic job with this game and I bought it instantly.  the AI is a lot better than UG:G which is huge, and the varied maps makes the game harder and much less predictable.  

I have read many posts and generally agree I would like to see more sandboxing, less linear campaign.  I also agree with a comment made on a thread here that points out the flux battles (like Shiloh) are brilliantly done, the different 'theaters' of the battle being fought separate, and then together as a whole in the end, is very well done. I was able to evict the Union from Pittsburgh's Landing on Day 1 with my 2nd campaign attempt.  There was no day two.  it is unfortunate the game does not change due to this result.

But I digress.

In response to OP: 

1) I fail to see why posters here seem to prefer skills other than Medicine (Beyond the very necessary 3 points in organization and 4 in recon). The AI army will scale with you (another thing that should be addressed but others have posted on this already) which sort-of neutralizes both your army size and composition but medicine saves you manpower which allows you to build a bigger, more veteran army faster, and a bigger army gives you more flexibility in tactics (despite the AI army scaling to you regardless of previous battles' outcomes).  Perhaps some math could be done on this (never my strong suit) but at least anecdotally I feel like maxed out medicine is your #3 priority behind 3 points in army organization and 4 points in reconnaissance.   You do not need as much money to buy rifles or hire veterans if you do not lose as many men.  You do not use as much manpower, either, with more medicine.  Or at least, it allows you to grow your army faster.  After 3 in Organization 4 in Recon and max points in Medicine I would go to politics just to increase gross size of rewards. 

 

2) There are two answers to this.  I do not think standalone skirmishing units are beneficial with the exception of a sharpshooter unit and it has to be handled very carefully.  However, detaching skirmishers from your brigades is absolutely imperative.  The more pieces you have on the board, the easier it is to out-flank the AI or buy time to bring up your boys to a spot the AI is contesting that you did not expect.  If you are up against skirmishers, detach your own so your brigade is free to maneuver while your skirmishers run interference.  If you are up against a brigade, detach your skirmishers to flank the enemy and harass or delay him.  You can even hold entire segments of your line with a couple of un-tethered skirmishing units if they are under cover and supported on their flanks by another unit (even other skirmishers or non-melee cavalry) 

 

3) Is Cavalry worth it in the early game?  Well to answer this we must first understand that ranged cavalry is essentially a faster-deployed skirmisher unit with perhaps a nicer gun.  So no, I think detached skirmishers will fill that role sufficiently throughout the entire game.  I would avoid ranged cavalry in general.  Melee cavalry is very useful but you have to be careful.  Melee cav is best used to run down isolated, routed brigades.  You know, the ones where they are off to the side of the map, and you need to babysit them with a brigade and a detached skirmisher unit.  Sometimes it is hard to get that enemy brigade to flee the battle.  you would rather have those units deployed elsewhere instead of babysitting what has essentially become an ancillary, unimportant part of the battle.  That is where your melee cav comes in.  As soon as that brigade routs, you send in your melee cav to mop them up and charge them off the field, so you can use your brigade elsewhere. 

However, charging melee cav into a routed unit, when non-routed units are behind it or next to it, is suicide for your melee cav.  They will do some great melee damage for a moment or two and then be shot up and routed forever.  Clearly not worth the investment.  So I think having one small brigade of melee cav (300 men?) for use on the fringes to wipe out isolated, routed AI brigades (or batteries) quickly is quite useful because it allows you to move more important units elsewhere, faster, instead of babysitting.  Hope that makes sense. 

 

4) Artillery should be deployed depending on the type of gun.  Make sure you are reading the hover-over description of the guns in the shop.  You want your Napoleons near your front-line brigades, preferably in a position to enfilade.  Your rifled, long-range ordinance can safely be used well behind your lines (but you might want to keep a detached skirmishers or two nearby in case fog of war has hidden an AI cavalry raid - not necessary if you are confident nothing is slipping through - consider this for your baggage supplies as well, but again, not necessary if you run a tight ship).

As for the size of the battery, in your example 24 guns - i would split that up into four, six-gun brigades instead of having it as 24.  Remember the key is to enfilade - if all of your artillery is in one physical location that is impossible.  If you have artillery across the battlefield you can direct them to fire into units' flanks across the field from them.  This does appear to have an impact in my game play although again that observation is anecdotal.  I would not worry about who is in charge of your batteries, captains are fine.  Start with 4-gun batteries then make them 6-8 gun batteries as time goes on.  bigger than 8 guns, I think, is not necessary.  Oh and try to get away from that smooth bore starter cannon as soon as you can because it is obsolete. 

5) I use my reputation to beg for rifles from the Capitol and try to keep my brigades outfitted with the best-possible weaponry as soon as possible.  I have found that manpower is more limited than money.  In time I may learn this is either unnecessary, or too expensive and ultimately harmful.  I do agree with the comment that you need only 1 or 2 veteran brigades, and that you should keep them in reserve for when needed.  As for which brigade to give which guns, I don't have an opinion really. Perhaps giving your best, veteran brigades your best rifles makes sense, but it is also somewhat counter-intuitive to the idea of keeping those veteran brigades generally in reserve.  Your call on this, I think. 

6) Supplies - To me, the existence of the wagons totally removes the need for the LOGISTICS skill.  I would never pay a point into logistics, I would just add more supplies.  Right?  If you are worried about losing your supply wagon, keep it near your reserves or assign a unit to protect your wagons.  For big battles you will want over 10,000 in supplies - perhaps 15,000 - but for smaller battles you can get away with 2,000 or 3,000.  Just don't lose the wagons.  

 

And in general, CAPTURING TROOPS is critical in the game... you need to imprison the enemy and exchange those prisoners for additional recruits... my issue is always manpower, not money, and that's with 0 in Economy and 0 in Politics and 0 in Logistics.  

 

 

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Loved your post DET, but I'm short in time :

 

5) You are completely right. I reversed my two "guard" units back to palmeto for the melee damage (that was yesterday in my campaign, after lots of thinking and weighting). I never use them for attrition anyway, so what would be the point having accurate rifle if they are here to as the reserve?

 

3) I see the reasonable man in you. But I'm not, and I like mass cavalry charges. Which I occasionaly do in the late battles. My 3rd corps is called "cavalry reserve". But yes, I suffer quite a lot of casualties.

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Thanks all for your feedback.  I have two follow on questions to the two sirs who gave me detailed feedback.

1) What is the bare minimum force needed to successfully execute Shiloh?  I know DET said he only had 3 Army Org points...I had 4 (which I think equals 2 corps, 2 divisions, 4 brigades).  And I found Shiloh Day 1 at the end to be a hard deal due to the sheer volume of the Confederate troops.

2) What specific artillery pieces do you prefer?  I was using 12 lbs Napoleons as an all-arounder type weapon.  Or should I go with Parrotts?  24 lbs Howitzers?  Also, do you have all your arty pieces on HOLD FIRE and do you manually release them to fire only when the enemy is at grapeshot range?

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17 hours ago, Don't Escrow Taxes said:

That is interesting, outfitting your best troops with the best melee weapons for critical charging.  Very interesting.  I bet when multiplayer comes that will be key. 

I think the Lorenz rifle is the best all around weapon for your elite troops. Above average shooting stats and almost the same melee as the Palmetto.

You can get enough of them on both sides to equip at least one brigade with them, sometimes two.

The M1841 Mississippi is also a really good choice for CSA elites. 

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Hey bud.  I'm pretty sure at Shiloh I had two Corps with 3 divisions and 4 brigades each, with 2,000 troops in each.  If that is 4 army organization points instead of 3 I regret the error.  

 

I like the 10 pound ordinance and the 12 pound napoleons, they should get the job done.  I let them shoot the whole time, actually.  Just protect that supply wagon and make sure it's got enough in there  

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I would actually disagree when it comes to melee cavalry, taxes. When maneuvered properly into the rear of the enemy line, you can rout the entire opposing battle line. In one battle Nathan Forrest and my other melee cav trapped a union infantry brigade of 2500 men on a river, and despite only having 800 men on horseback, the union were butchered to a man with relatively few confederate losses. if they get caught by another unit they will take extensive damage, but they're shock damage can just obliterate unsuspecting infantry regiments. 

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On Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at 3:26 PM, kjchan said:

Thanks all for your feedback.  I have two follow on questions to the two sirs who gave me detailed feedback.

1) What is the bare minimum force needed to successfully execute Shiloh?  I know DET said he only had 3 Army Org points...I had 4 (which I think equals 2 corps, 2 divisions, 4 brigades).  And I found Shiloh Day 1 at the end to be a hard deal due to the sheer volume of the Confederate troops.

2) What specific artillery pieces do you prefer?  I was using 12 lbs Napoleons as an all-arounder type weapon.  Or should I go with Parrotts?  24 lbs Howitzers?  Also, do you have all your arty pieces on HOLD FIRE and do you manually release them to fire only when the enemy is at grapeshot range?

1. I had 2 corps, 3 div, 4 brigades. I cant remember if they were 1500 or 2000. Won Shiloh handedly though. Towards end of 1st day you get 2 divs from Buell and on 2nd day, you get the rest of his army/corp.

2. I split my batteries between 10 lb ordinance and 12 lb napoleon. 10 lb is great for mid range while the 12 lb utterly devastates anything up close.

Regarding Shiloh, there's a few key maneuvers you must make to be successful:

1. Skirmishers. Put them out front to delay. Use them to flank brigades. Uss them to fill thr gaps. You get the picture. 

2. Use a melee cav unit to run behind CSA lines and destroy their arty and capture supply. Takes a lot of micromanaging, but if successful, by the time you retreat to the earthworks at the landing, they'll have no arty and will be running out of ammo.

3. Know when to retreat. The map gives you hints in the form of VPs. Use detached skirms to cover retreat. Fallback just a bit at a time. This allows your brigs to cover your skirms if enemy tries to charge. Once you get to the map with the earthworks, hold the line just long enough for Buell's div to shoe up. Use them to man the defenses at first, rotating out units as they take damage. Watch for the brigades on the earthworks about to break and rotate them out before they do.

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great list of advices guernica 

18 minutes ago, Guernica said:

2. I split my batteries between 10 lb ordinance and 12 lb napoleon. 10 lb is great for mid range while the 12 lb utterly devastates anything up close.

for the campaign against the IA I would avoid using napoleons... too tempting placing them near the enemy and attrition them, so I mix the 10 ordinance with howitzers ,good damagge from sheltered areas and low rate of fire, so less ammo expended.... against a player they would be too defenseless against cavalry tactics described by Guernica

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17 hours ago, dowdpride said:

I would actually disagree when it comes to melee cavalry, taxes. When maneuvered properly into the rear of the enemy line, you can rout the entire opposing battle line. In one battle Nathan Forrest and my other melee cav trapped a union infantry brigade of 2500 men on a river, and despite only having 800 men on horseback, the union were butchered to a man with relatively few confederate losses. if they get caught by another unit they will take extensive damage, but they're shock damage can just obliterate unsuspecting infantry regiments. 

 

Yeah I think my experience is difference because I have been using smaller melee cav units.  And even using my own advice from upthread, my cav STILL routed vs. an isolated, routed union brigade.  but, I only had 250 cav in the brigade vs. 1800+ union troops.  But again, those 1800+ union troops were routed and running.  I don't know.  This mechanic is somewhat mysterious.  

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7 hours ago, JJPettigrew said:

for the campaign against the IA I would avoid using napoleons... too tempting placing them near the enemy and attrition them, so I mix the 10 ordinance with howitzers ,good damagge from sheltered areas and low rate of fire, so less ammo expended.... against a player they would be too defenseless against cavalry tactics described by Guernica

I'm surprised the napoleons don't do more damage at close range.  

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Thanks for the replies all.  Sounds like I have some experimenting to do.

Another question to the veterans.  Is it worth it to spend a brigade slot on dedicated skirmishers but armed with the best sniper rifles money can buy?  Basically I'm curious if they're a force multiplier that's worth it...especially compared to a melee cav unit occupying the same slot.

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3 hours ago, Don't Escrow Taxes said:

 

Yeah I think my experience is difference because I have been using smaller melee cav units.  And even using my own advice from upthread, my cav STILL routed vs. an isolated, routed union brigade.  but, I only had 250 cav in the brigade vs. 1800+ union troops.  But again, those 1800+ union troops were routed and running.  I don't know.  This mechanic is somewhat mysterious.  

My experience is that 1-2.5 or so is about the limit to where I'd feel comfortable taking a reasonably experienced Melee Cavalry brigade into enemy infantry. Also having small cavalry brigades in general makes them far more likely to shatter when they take incidental fire from anything. 250 cav vs 1800 is just going to get run over, try against 700 for far better results.

1 hour ago, kjchan said:

Thanks for the replies all.  Sounds like I have some experimenting to do.

Another question to the veterans.  Is it worth it to spend a brigade slot on dedicated skirmishers but armed with the best sniper rifles money can buy?  Basically I'm curious if they're a force multiplier that's worth it...especially compared to a melee cav unit occupying the same slot.

I've been using a brigade like that on and off, absolute limit 1 per Corps. They get decent kill counts and generally shouldn't die but you do have to watch out for them in order that they get into a good position to fire but then don't get charged or something like that. I've seen a brigade of 200 kill a few hundred in a medium length battle while taking only a handful of casualties.

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5 hours ago, Don't Escrow Taxes said:

 

Yeah I think my experience is difference because I have been using smaller melee cav units.  And even using my own advice from upthread, my cav STILL routed vs. an isolated, routed union brigade.  but, I only had 250 cav in the brigade vs. 1800+ union troops.  But again, those 1800+ union troops were routed and running.  I don't know.  This mechanic is somewhat mysterious.  

 

I try and have my cav in regiments of 500, its the most effective damage wise. As for that experience, it makes sense to me. They werent a shattered regiment, they were just routing and there were 1800 of them... even though the cav charge would be scary, once they realize they outnumber them by almost eight times, the cav is going to have a real bad day. 

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2 hours ago, dowdpride said:

 

I try and have my cav in regiments of 500, its the most effective damage wise. As for that experience, it makes sense to me. They werent a shattered regiment, they were just routing and there were 1800 of them... even though the cav charge would be scary, once they realize they outnumber them by almost eight times, the cav is going to have a real bad day. 

The other thing to keep in mind is that if there are any nearby enemy units they will automatically turn and engage the cavalry with gunfire while they're stuck in melee. This, obviously, will absolutely ruin them and cause them to rout.

 

If you want to get doubly annoyed, try charging a group of three artillery brigades with a single cavalry brigade. Sure, you can tie one up in melee, maybe two if you are really fortunate. But the third will rotate, canister your cavalry, and murder them. Even two artillery brigades can get a little dicey if they aren't right next to each other so that one charge can force both into melee.

 

edit: Purely as an anecdote, in the battle I just played, I had a cavalry brigade of 750 sitting around in the enemy rear waiting for an opportunity. When an enemy brigade of around 1200 strength remaining retreated, I charged straight into their path and forced a surrender in fairly short order. That's around the odds you want to take. A cavalry brigade of 250 simply isn't that useful for anything beyond spotting or solely artillery/supplies hunting because of that manpower disparity.

Edited by Hitorishizuka
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Follow on question - why not max out cav units at 750?  Is it that they're too expensive to maintain in terms of replenishment of weapons post battle?

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22 hours ago, kjchan said:

Follow on question - why not max out cav units at 750?  Is it that they're too expensive to maintain in terms of replenishment of weapons post battle?

They're very expensive in terms of veteran costs because they tend to rack up XP like crazy feasting on units, if they survive, and the shop only gives you so many of the appropriate weapons anyway so it's hard to even equip a bunch of 750 brigades.

If you can do it they're definitely worth it and it makes the Brigade tremendously safer from taking a couple bad volleys and shattering, but your money is probably going to be tied up elsewhere keeping your line brigades intact.

Union_2ndBullRun.jpg

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Question - The Napoleon was widely favored as a mainstay for its destructive power at close and medium range. Is this not reflected in game?

 Can you point to someplace that explains how scaling works?  What matters?   Is it more corps, more brigades, more divisions, more men, or what?  The number of brigade slots for the player army on the map is fixed, so how can you bring more troops to the battle?

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1 hour ago, MikeK said:

Question - The Napoleon was widely favored as a mainstay for its destructive power at close and medium range. Is this not reflected in game?

 Can you point to someplace that explains how scaling works?  What matters?   Is it more corps, more brigades, more divisions, more men, or what?  The number of brigade slots for the player army on the map is fixed, so how can you bring more troops to the battle?

It's reflected in the Napoleon's damage number compared to something like the Wiard. It'll do a lot more damage up-close with its canister shot.

It's almost literally just the more men you bring, the more the AI will bring once you go past the minimum the AI will downscale to. You can bring more troops by having brigades filled to max or on later maps by filling all the optional Corps slots up.

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