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Mollwitz 1741

Mollwitz 1741

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Mollwitz 1741

OVERVIEW

Mollwitz 1741 covers the first campaign of the young Prussian king who later became known as Frederick the Great. In winter 1740/41, after emperor Charles VI. had passed away, Frederick proved his machiavellian cunning by launching an invasion of the undefended duchy of Silesia, catching the emperor's daughter and heiress, Maria Theresia, by surprise. The archduchess reacted by shifting troops from the Ottoman border over to Silesia. By April 1741, the Prussian army found itself spread out in winter quarters all over Silesia, while the Habsburg forces under the command of count Neipperg were already massed at the Silesian border. Can Neipperg deliver a decisive blow before Frederick manages to concentrate his troops? Or will history repeat itself? 

Mollwitz 1741 lasts 24 turns, each representing half a day, between April 1 and April 12 1741. It opposes the Prussian army to the Habsburg army over Upper Silesia.
Estimated playtime: X, Favored Side: X

The scenario is heavily focused on manoevre, supply and combat. There are no income, production and card-draw phases (except for a card draw phase in turn 1). Supply phases will occur every three turns, in accordance with the short turn-intervalls (1 day = 0.5 days). Special emphasis is laid on terrain effects as well as the correct representation and usage of the contemporary troop-types such as infantry (ordinary fusiliers and grenadiers), dragoons, cuirassiers and husars. An infantry unit generally represents 2 battalions, a cavalry unit (except for parties - see below) represents 5 squadrons/10 companies. 

MODIFIED RULES & SPECIAL ASPECTS 

  1. SUPPLY [works]: A supply phase occurs every 3 turns (1.5 days). Units in a region count as supplied if they're either positioned inside a structure (city, fortress) or are not affected by supply (husar parties).  Other than that, the main method to keep your units supplied is to keep supply wagons in their region. In each supply phase, 1 supply wagon will be consumed/destroyed to keep units in the region supplied. Also, small stacks might be excempt from supply (not sure yet if and about the exact size).
  2. WEATHER [works]: There is a chance of bad weather (snow) every turn. Supply wagons can't move in bad weather. 
  3. PARTIES OF LIGHT UNITS [works]: Husar (and maybe also dragoon) units are represented in the scenario by two type of units: 1) one "main" unit, 2) two (for dragoons: one) respawnable "party" unit. Party units are very fast but weak and don't need any supply. When they get destroyed, they are automatically respawned in the region of their parent "main" unit at the start of your next turn. They are excellently suited to surround enemy armies (influencing their path of retreat), cut them off their supply, slow them down (simply by forcing them into battle) and/or to sweep away the opposing screen of light troops. 
  4. THE RIVER NEISSE [works]: The river Neisse was the most important obstacle for military operations in the Mollwitz campaign. From Glatz downstream, you could only cross it on bridges or ponton-bridges. In the game, it is represented as a series of river regions with a very high movement cost (all units are autmatically stopped by the river). Any unit that enters one of the river regions is treated as if it is in the process of crossing the river, which makes it very vulnerable. Thus, at the start of a side's turn, any ofthe side's combat units that is positioned in one of the river regions will have their combat value set to 0 (still a 10% chance to hit!) until the start of the side's next turn. In other words: units are very vulnerable if attacked in the river region and they have a hard time attacking out of the river region into an adjacent land region. This means that the best way to defend the Neisse  is to position troops in the regions adjacent to the river regions, but NOT in the river regions.
  5. THE FORTRESS NEISSE [can't get that one to work]: The fortress of Neisse provides a crossing point that is protected by the guns of the fortress. Units can cross here without losing their combat power (see point 4). However, this region will only be open for the the side that controls the fortress.
  6. MOUNTAIN PASSES [works]: Mountain passes will work just like the river-crossing regions mentioned in point 4. To debouch from the mountains is not an easy task if the enemy is waiting for you.
  7. DIFFICULT TERRAIN [works]: Hilly or mountainous terrain usually restricts an army's space for operation and does not allow larger armies to develop and bring their whole power to bear on a smaller enemy. Thus the overall decisiveness (combat power = chance to trigger rout, pursuit modifier = chance to inflict casualties) of combat is much reduced in difficult terrain. Both the attacker as well as the defender will suffer a combat malus in difficult terrain, the attacker more so than the defender. 

 

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[Frederick's coat of arms - the eagle of the kingdom of Prussia bearing Frederick's monogramm (FR - Fridericus Rex)]

THE PRUSSIAN ARMY

Leaders

       

King Frederick II. of Prussia [king] / Kurt Christoph, count of Schwerin [Gen.-Feldmarschall]/ Friedrich Wilhelm, duke of Holstein-Beck [Gen. der Infantrie]/ Leopold II. Maximilian, prince of Anhalt-Dessau [Gen.-Ltn, promoted to Gen. der Infantie during the campaign]/ Christoph Wilhelm, baron of Kalckstein [Gen.-Ltn]

List of leaders for the Prussians - I'm not sure yet if all of them are needed:

C-in-C 

  • Frederick II. [in Jägerndorf]

Corps leaders (letters indicates the military seniority):

  • A: Kurt Christoph, count of Schwerin [in Jägerndorf]
  • B: Friedrich Wilhelm, duke of Holstein-Beck [in Frankenstein]
  • C: Leopold II. Maximilian, prince of Anhalt-Dessau [in Jägerndorf]
  • D: Heinrich Karl, baron of Marwitz [around Münsterburg/Friedwald]
  • E: Adolph Friedrich, count of Schulenburg [??]
  • F: Christoph Wilhelm, baron of Kalckstein [in Grottkau]
  • G: Henning Alexander, baron of Kleist [in Brieg]

Detachment leaders [not needed anymore, light units will be allowed to attack without leaders]

  • A: Ludwig Alexander, baron of Wurmb [Oberst in the Berliner/Leibcorps husars]
  • B: Hans Joachim of Zieten [also serving in the Berliner/Leibcorps husars]

 

Troops

(Note that all of these will get a makeover - they're still work in progress)

infantry hatman (note the old, red neckstock) / cuirassier / dragoon (note the old, 1740s uniform in white) / hussar (based on the Leib-Corps/Berliner hussars) / (grenadier still missing)

List of units involved in the campaign

  • infantry regiments: Glasenapp [IR1], Bredow [IR7], Prinz Dietrich [IR10],  Prinz Friedrich [IR11?], Heinrich [IR12], Truchseß [IR13], Garde (I) [IR15], LaMotte [IR17], Derschau [IR18], Prinz/Mgf. Carl [IR19], Grävenitz [IR20], Alt-Borcke [IR22], Sydow [IR23], Schwerin [IR24], Kalckstein [iR25], Kleist [IR26], Mgf. Prinz Leopold [IR27], Jung-Borcke [IR29],  Jeetze [IR30], Münchow [IR36] (this regiment sported fusilier caps)
  • converged grenadier battalions: Volstern, Buddenbrock, Kleist, Saldern, Wedell, Wylich, Düring, Puttkamer, Winterfeldt, Reibnitz
  • dragoon regiments:
    • Schulenburg (NOTE this regiment sported grenadier caps as a exceptional sign of excellence, bestowed by Frederick's father - it was split up and lost the caps after the poor performance at Mollwitz and because of the incident at Baumgarten: In February 1741, a squadron of Schulenburg dragoons escorted Frederick and an hour later or so got attacked and routed by Habsburg hussars, even loosing their banner; had Frederick still been with them...) [D3],
    • Platen [D1],
    • Bayreuth  [D5]
  • cuirassier regiments:
    • Prinz/Markgraf ? Friedrich [K5],
    • Prinz Heinrich [??],
    • Leib-Carabiniers (only 5 squadrons in total) [K11],
    • Gens d'Armes (5 squadrons in total, elite unit) [K10];
    • Reinforcemens: Geßler [K4], Buddenbrock [K1]
  • hussar regiments:
    • preußische Hussaren [H1],
    • Leib-Corps/Berliner Hussaren [H2]

Detailed disposition of units on April 1 1741

Jägerndorf: / led by Frederick himself and Schwerin:

  • 1 squadron of (?) hussars
  • grenadier btn Reibnitz
  • grenadier btn Winterfeldt
  • grenadier btn Puttkamer
  • 1 btn (II) of IR Glasenapp
  • IR Schwerin (2 btns)
  • IR Bredow (2 btns)

Ratibor-Leobschütz - Kranowitz - Katscher / led by La Motte:

  • 4 squadrons of Schulenburg dragoons
  • 1 squadron of Prussian Hussars
  • IR LaMotte (2btns)

Ziegenhals (to secure the passes)- Weidenau - Patschkau / led by Jeetze:

  • 1 squadron of Berliner hussars
  • 1 btn (II) of IR Alt-Borcke
  • IR Kleist (2 btns)

Neustadt / led by ?

  • grenadier btn Buddenbrock
  • grenadier btn Volstern
  • IR Prinz Leopold (2 btns)

Troppau - Piltsch / led by ?

  • 1 squadron of Prussian hussars
  • 2 squadrons of Schulenburg dragoons
  • IR Markgraf Heinrich (2 btns)
  • IR Sydow (2 btns)

Krappnitz - Oberglogau - Steinau - Falkenberg / led by ?

  • 5 squadrons  Prinz Friedrich cuirassiers

Steinau / led by ? 

  • IR Truchseß (2 btns)

Oppeln - Löwen / led by ?:

  • IR Prinz Friedrich (2btns)

Grottkau / led by Kalckstein:

  • IR Prinz Dietrich (2 btns)
  • IR Prinz Karl (2 btns)
  • 1 btn (I) of IR [Jung?-]Borcke 
  • 1 btn (I) of IR Garde
  • grenadier btn Kleist
  • grenadier btn Saldern
  • 5 squadrons (=full reg.) Leib-Carabiniers cuirassiers
  • 5 squadrons Platen dragoons

Brieg (city besieged by the Prussians) / led by Kleist:

  • IR Gravenitz (2 btns)
  • grenadier btn Wylich
  • grenadier btn Düring
  • 4 squadrons Bayreuth dragoons
  • 2 squadrons Schulenburg dragoons

Breslau / led by ?

  • 1 btn (I or II?) of IR Münchow

Schweidnitz / led by ? 

  • 1 btn (I or II?) of IR Kalckstein

Frankenstein / led by Holstein-Beck:

  • IR Jeetze ( 2 btns)
  • IR Derschau ( 2 btns)
  • 1 btn (I) of IR Glasenapp
  • 1 btn (I or II?) of IR Kalckstein
  • grenadier btn Wedell
  • 2 squadrons Schulenburg dragoons
  • 4 squadrons Bayreuth dragoons

somewhere on their way from Schweidnitz to Neisse / led by Marwitz:

  • 2 squadrons Bayreuth dragoons
  • 2 squadrons hussars (!)
  • 1 squadron Gens d'Armes cuirassiers

on 7 April, prussian reinforcements arrived in Ohlau - but they did not move on to the main army because their orders were intercepted by hussars. So they did not even take part in the battle (this can be simulated by the game quite easily - the cuirassier stack arrives without a leader unit and can therefore not move on into regions with enemy presence - e.g. in a region with habsburg hussars):

  • full reg. Geßler cuirassiers
  • full reg. Buddenbrock cuirassiers

The major prussian depots were in Schweidnitz and in Ohlau; In addition, there were considerable supplies with LaMotte (in Troppau and Ratibor) which had to be hastily evacuated north by wagon (the water level of the Oppa river was too low to allow for river transport)  – by April 1, a part of these supplies  were already on their way north (around Neustadt, maybe even as far as Oppeln)

Siege train: probably on its way to Neisse, with Kalckstein in Grottkau

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THE HABSBURG ARMY

Leaders

C-in-C:

  • Reinhard Wilhelm, count of Neipperg [main army in Freudenthal]

Corps-leaders (letters indicate military seniority):

  • A: Karl Joachim, baron of Römer [with main army, leads all cavalry, right wing in particular]
  • B: Peter Christoph Göldlin (also Göldy), baron of Tieffenau [with main army, infantry?]
  • C: Johann Friedrich, baron of Berlichingen [with main army, leads left wing cavalry]
  • D: Maximilian Ulysses Browne, imperial count [with main army, infantry]
  • G: Ottavio II. Enea Giuseppe Piccolomini, duke of Amalfi [commanding the besieged garrison in Brieg]

Special, fast corps-leaders:

  • E: Johann (János) Baranyay, baron of Bodorfalva [around Troppau, commanding a light corps] 
  • F: Nikolaus Franz Joseph Hemricourt de Mozet, count of Grünne [leads advance guard of cavalry of main army]

Detachment-leaders [not needed anymore, light units will be allowed to attack without leaders]

  • A: Robert Scipio, baron of Lentulus [at Landeck]
  • B?: Adolph Karl Sigismund Berghe, baron of Trips [serving in the Splényi husars, with Lentulus]
  • C?: Andreas (András) Hadik (not count of Futak yet...) [serving in the Ghilányi husars, in advance guard of main army]

The garrison in Neisse was commanded by a certain Oberst named baron of Roth. Not much is known about him except that he was from Silesia and a protestant and was quite active and kept the Prussians busy in the months leading to the Mollwitz campaign. As he is of low rank and it also adds some more interest to the scenario, I prefer not to have him in the game though. So the Neisse garrison won't be able to attack and push through by itself - instead, it needs to be relieved.

 

Troops

     

hatman / grenadier / cuirassier / dragoon (regiment, horse grenadier party)

The husar regiments will come in their individual uniforms already, but in the same pose so that players can quickly tell what kind of unit it is. The ordinary pictures are for the main regiments, the smaller ones (full horse) for the parties:

   

 

Ghilányi / Csáky / Dessewffy / Splényi

 

List of units involved in the campaign

  • infantry regiments (including their grenadier coys): IR Franz von Lothringen, IR Karl von Lothringen, IR Max von Hessen, IR Schmettau, IR Botta, IR Browne, IR Kolowrat, IR Baden, IR O'Gilvy, IR Alt-Daun, IR Thüngen, IR Grünne, IR Harrach, IR Wallis
  • dragoon regiments: Liechtenstein, Württemberg, Althann, Römer, Batthyanyi
  • cuirassier regiments: Cordova, Hohenzollern, Birkenfels, Hohenems, Lanthieri, Seherr
  • hussar regiments: Dessewffy, Ghilanyi. Splényi, Czaky

Detailed disposition of units on 1 April 1741:

Brieg (under siege by the Prussians) / led by Octavian Aeneas Joseph count Piccolomini 

  • count de Fin's Frei-Compagnie (300 men)
  • 1 grenadier coy, 10 hatman coys of IR Wallis
  • 2 grenadier coys, 5 hatman coys of IR Botta
  • 1 grenadier coy, 5 hatman coys of IR Browne
  • ca. 430 armed citizens

Neisse (under siege by the Prussians) / led by [Oberst] baron of Roth:

  • IR Botta (2 btns? maybe only one btn)
  • 1 btn of IR Franz von Lothringen
  • 1 btn of IR Browne
  • 3 coys of IR Grünne

Glatz / garrison / led by ?

  • 2 btns IR Max von Hessen
  • 1 btn of IR Karl von Lothringen
  • 1 btn of IR Kolowrat

Johansberg/Jauernig (east of Glatz) / led by Robert Scipio, baron of Lentulus

  • full regiment Batthyanyi dragoons
  • full regiment Splényi hussars

Olmütz / to secure the depot / led by [Gen.-FWM] Nicola Franz, baron de Falaize

  • 1 btn of IR Franz von Lothringen

Between Jägerndorf and Troppau / led by Johann Barányay, baron of Bodorfalva:

  • full reg. Czaky hussars
  • 5 sqdns Althann dragoons
  • 1000 infantry (drawn from various regiments, also including the former garrison of Olmütz)

Around Würbenthal: main army, led by Wilhelm Reinhard count of Neipperg:

  • cavalry led by Karl Joachim, baron of Römer / organized in an avant-guard (led by count Grünne, using troops of either wing), a right wing (Römer himself) and a left wing (led by Berlichingen):
    • full reg. Dessewffy hussars (avant-guarde,)
    • full reg. Ghilanyi hussars
    • full reg. Liechtenstein dragoons (left wing)
    • full reg. Württemberg dragoons (left wing)
    • full reg. Cordova cuirassiers (left wing)
    • full reg. Hohenzollern cuirassiers (left wing)
    • reg. (-500 men) Althann dragoons (right wing)
    • full reg. Römer dragoons (right wing)
    • full reg. Birkenfeld cuirassiers (right wing)
    • full reg. Hohenems cuirassiers (right wing)
    • full reg. Lanthieri cuirassiers (right wing)
    • full reg. Seherr cuirassiers (right wing)
  • infantry:
    • 1 btn of IR Franz von Lothringen (owned by Charles Alexandre, duc de Lorraine; as you would expect, lots of French names amongst the NCOs :) )
    • 1 btn of IR Schmettau
    • 1 btn of IR Botta
    • 1 btn of IR Browne
    • 1 btn of IR Kolowrat
    • 2 btns of IR Baden
    • 1 btn/4 coys of IR O'Gilvy
    • 1 btn of IR Karl von Lothringen
    • 1 btn of IR Alt-Daun
    • 2 btns of IR Thüngen
    • 1 btn of IR Grünne
    • 2 btns of IR Harrach
    • a total of 14 grenadier companies from various infantry regiments
  • Artillery train led by Anton Ferdinand von Feuerstein / 8x3pdr, 4x6pdr, 2x12pdr howitzers, 1 small petarde
  • Ponton train

At the start of the scenario, the main army's infantry carried enough supplies for 7 days, the cavalry for 6 days. More supplies (for 4 days) were on their way from the main depot at Olmütz. With the main army advancing north into Silesia, the supply from Moravia would no longer be able to reach the army, as the passes and roads from Moravia north into Silesia were bad. (In fact, a convoy of 800 wagon-loads of grain feed stranded on its way from Sternberg to Hermannstadt for a few days, which lead to a big part of the load being stolen.). The relief of Neisse was therefore essential for any operations in Silesia, as important supplies were stored there. The final goal, the relief of Brieg, also promised ample supplies. Some smaller amounts of supply will also be available in Glatz/Landeck.

 

 

 

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THE AREA OF OPERATIONS

This is a picture of the current sketch of the map. Once I'm positive that I will not make any further changes to the map, I will create the final map/art.

It shows most of Upper Silesia and parts of Moravia, with Wroclaw (german: Breslau) in the north and Olmütz/Olomouc in the south, beyond the mountain ranges. The Oder river forms the eastern border of the map, and the county of Glatz/Kladsko the western border. The river Neiße/Nysa runs from south to north through the county of Glatz and then turns east, splitting the map in two halves. The important depots were Ohlau for the Prussians and Olmütz for the Habsburg army.

There was a distinct confessional gradient in the area. While most of it was catholic territory (the major cities except Breslau/Wroclaw were subordinate to the bishop of Breslau), the northern-most parts of the map (around Brieg/Brzeg) were primarily protestant. The Protestants were unwilling to provide information to the Habsburg army and the same must have been true vice versa, as some of the atrocities committed by the Prussians suggest (Zuckmantel - an important regional pilgrimage sight - and some surrounding villages were burnt down earlier this year). The raising of local militias was not really successfull though - the Habsburgs only managed to raise a few men in Moravia who did not play any larger role in the campaign. 

The duchy of Silesia and the Marggravata Moravia (which both belonged to the crown of Bohemia) were rich territories with many larger cities, some of which had relatively modern Vauban-like fortifications: Breslau, Ohlau, Troppau, Jägerndorf (can perhaps be taken without arty), Olmütz, Glatz, Brieg  Neiße, Schweidnitz.Then there are many cities that feature an out-dated ringwall: Reichenbach, Nimptsch, Neurode, Frankenstein, Strehlen, Grottkau, Ottmachau, Ziegenhals, Patschkau, Neustadt, Krappnitz, Oberglogau, Leobschütz, Kosel, Ratibor, Hultschin, Freudenthal, Schönberg, Landskron, Halberschwerdt; 

Thanks to the stupendous oeuvre of Bernhard Friedrich Wernher (Silesia in Compendio [...]), excellent contemporary vedute of all these cities are available. If you're interested, you can find the the digitalized copies (all volumes) here. You can even find some maps of the Prussian sieges or extracts from the besieged cities' journals in Wernher's work!  

STRUCTURES (FORTRESSES; CITIES)  - What do they represent? 

Structures are of great importance in WaW:

  1. They need to be sieged
  2. They provide supply to any stack in them (regardless of the stack's size - basically this means that any structure you place on the map will be able to sustain a large army)

The second point is really quite problematical and convinces me to leave out even some pretty large cities on my map. For example: Jägerndorf and Troppau were pretty large cities, and yet, by the time the scenario starts, Schwerin, who was in command of the Prussian troops here, complained about the lack of supply. The region is a bit hilly (probably not as yielding), it was spring, and military operations were dragging on for a few months here, so it seemed impossible for Schwerin to maintain even his smallish-medium sized corps in this area. Therefore, Jägerndorf and Troppau will not be present on the map as structures. 

NOTE: If the difficult terrain limit (max. 6 units per region) would work, it would be less of a problem, as you would be unable to concentrate and supply a huge, unlimited force in a single city.

GENERAL REMARKS ABOUT THE INVOLVED ARMIES, MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION ABOUT UNIFORMS, EQUIPMENT, ORGANIZATION ETC.

In case you are not familiar with mid-18th century army organization, here is a short round-up:

Regiments were owned by aristocrats or even members of the royal family. While the owner of a regiment  had many freedoms, including juridicial aspects, the appointment of officers (very lucrative!) and also - partly - the design of the uniforms, it was the souverain who actually paid for the regiment. Therefore, regiments were seen as a source of income by their aristocratic owners (they often listed more men on paper than really existed, eg.). As high aristocrats, the owners of regiments rarely led their regiments into battle themselves, but instead usually formed part of the general staff. The regiments were therefore usually led by lieutenants during the campaign. In mid-18th century, the owners were still very present in the regiments' uniforms. The infantry, for example, often showed the owner's coat-of-arms' colors in their pompons on their tricorns. Hussars in the Habsburg army often sported the monogram of the regimental owner, not that of Maria Theresia on their shabracks and sabretaches, etc. 

When it comes to cavalry, the main difference was the size of the horse (and men riding the horses), the kind of saddle used ("european/western" or "eastern") and the amount of baggage. While cuirassiers camped in tents and had the largest horses well suited to break regular formations in battle, hussars rode very small, endurable and frugal horses that could be saddled up very quickly and had to make due without tents/a baggage train. I think that the type of hoses used was much more important than many of us today - who have mostly lost the knowledge about horses - believe. Dragoons were somewhere in between the hussars and the cuirassiers, some dragoons had both lighter and heavier mounted parts. The lighter mounted dragoons would typically develop into chevauxlegers. 

In 1711, special companies were introduced for dragoon and cuirassier regiments of the Habsburg army: each dragoon regiment was supposed to have one company of horse grenadiers, and each cuirassier regiment was to have one carabinier company. These were to be elite companies with better pay, maintained throughout times of peace, mounted on the best (and unitary in color, if possible) horses. Also, they would always be first amongst the regiment's companies in ceremonies and regimental routines (e.g. breaking camp). The proprietors were also free to equip them better than the rest of the regiment. Not a lot is known about the equipment for certain. Horse grenadiers had bearskin caps, and are sometimes shown carrying equipment more akin to cuirassiers (large bandolier for the carabiner-hook + Luntenberger, small bandolier for the ammunition bag). Some horse grenadiers might have carried sabres instead of backswords (the Batthyany dragoons seem to have carried sabes in general though). The carabiners must have looked identical to the ordinary cuirassiers. Maybe they had rifled carbines instead of smoothbore carbines, but this is not entirely clear. 

On both sides, infantry battalions had one elite grenadier company. Most notably, grenadiers wore special caps instead of tricorns. Catholic powers (Habsburg Monarchy, France, Bavaria, etc) typically wore bearskin caps, while protestant powers (e.g. Prussia, Hannover-GreatBritain) wore mitre-caps. Grenadiers carried their grenades in the ammunition bag, the ordinary musket ammunition went to a small pouch carried on the waistbelt. Another tell-tale-sign of the grenadiers was the "Luntenberger" (contemporary: "Lunten-Verberger") fixed on the large bandolier (a piece of equipment to store the fuse for the grenade and protect it from weather). In the Habsburg army, grenadiers were still equipped with sabres. In terms of organisazion, in the Prussian army, the four (2+2) grenadier companies of two regiments were usually joined together for a campaign to form a converged grenadier battalion (so, you would find two different uniforms in a grenadier battalion). In the Habsburg army, the praxis was actually not that much different, but is less well known as it was not so formalized. Grenadier companies of several regiments (together with dragoons, hussars or horse grenadiers) very often formed detachments that were sent out from the main army on dangerous missions, probably more adopting the role of light infantry. Also in battle, grenadier companies drawn from the various regiments  were typically formed into a separate unit.

The uniforms of the Habsburg and Prussian soldiers differed quite a lot. At that time, the Prussians (and in their wake some other powers too) were known for the very tight and short cut of their uniforms, combined with very narrow/thin lapels and manchettes. In fact, the prussian garments were so tight that one soldier reported he wasn't even able to put on his hat because it was too small. The Prussian uniforms of 1741 and also of the Seven Years War must not be confused with the depictions of Prussian uniforms that typically inform the modern wargamer. The modern perception of Prussian uniforms derives (often via 19th century drawings) from the original pieces of uniform that are preserved in the German Historical Museum. The problem being: they stem from the 1780s and thus have a very different cut from the uniforms worn in the 1740s-1760s. The Habsburg army, on the other hand, like most catholic powers, still stuck to very generous coats and manchettes. As a speciality Habsburg infantry wore their tricorns across (the front tip over the left eye / "der Fusilier seinen Hut mit der Spitzen über dem linken Aug"). This small detail is depicted in the Albertina manuscript. Most soldiers at that time, with a few exceptions (the British...) proudly sported extravagant moustaches, separating them from the majority of the civil population. At least two styles seem to have been common and can be differentiated: A long moustache, hanging down on both sides (="a la polonaise"?) or a shorter moustache that was brushed/waxed upwards on both ends (this style had been very popular in the 17th century). Some regiments blackened their moustaches which can be noted on many contemporary depictions. Another tiny but pretty consistent (if you look at contempoprary depictions) observation is that on horseback, Prussian cavalrymen carried their carbines with the muzzle pointing downwards, while those in Habsburg services carried them with the muzzle pointing upwards.

Some short note about musicians and banners: Each infantry company had drummers, grenadier companies also had fifers. Each battalion carried 2 banners (Leib- & Ordinairefahne). Judging from the very few depictions I could find, the Habsburg drummers did not wear uniforms with inversed colors (as was the case in e.g. the British army). The Prussian musicians seem to have had additional lace adornments, but not inversed colors. Cuirassier companies had buglers and a company-standard (Ordinaire/Kompaniestandarte), except for the carabinier company (in habsburg cuirassier regiments) which had no such company-standard. The whole regiment also had one regimental standard (Leibstandarte) (maybe this was carried by the carabiniers?). Note that usually a squadron (2 companies) only carried one standard on a campaign, not both (of both of its companies). The same system is true for the guidons of dragoon regiments who - true to their infantry heritage - had kettledrummers instead of buglers. Just like the carabiniers for the cuirassie regiments, the elite companies of habsburg dragoon regiments - the horse grenadiers - carried no standard (again, maybe the regimental standard?). 

Of course the situation was very variable, but you can caount about 1 "regimental" supply wagon per company of infantry or cavalry. For an infantry battalion, you can add an additional wagon for the battalion's tents. Note that this does not count in the huge bulk of the supply wagons (a big supply convoy could reach 800 wagons!) that would transport supply from the depots to the army. 

From an operational point of view, it makes sense to differentiate troop types into battle and small war units. Typical battle units are regiments of horse (cuirassiers) and line infantry. Typical small war units are grenadiers, dragoons & horse grenadiers, hussars. Some (grenadiers, dragoons) were also usefull in battle, of course. Note that the famous light troops from the military border (Grenzer) were not present in the Mollwitz campaign yet. The first prototype (baron Trenck's corps of pandurs) arrived in the area later in 1741. When reading accounts of campaigns, you will notice that the small war units were often combined into smaller detachments operating in front of or offside the main army and were marched around quite a lot. Battle units, on the other hand, marched as little as possible and were preserved for battle. It is very wrong to believe that pre-Napoleonic warfare was somehow inflexible (except for the long baggage trains of aristocratic officers, that is! :) ) and and a brute contest of strenght between two main armies. Especially the Habsburg army, in particular during the 7 Years War with numerous Grenzer regiments, made lots of use of smaller detachments, which might have been an additional factor for Frederick to seek a decisive battle. The Habsburg advantage in small war was also very noticable in the Mollwitz campaign. As a reaction to it, Frederick established several hussar regiments. Also a manual how to deal with hussars was spread in the Prussian army.  Generally speaking, there was ample opportunity for small war. You could try to cut off the enemy's supply links, i.e. the life-line between the mobile field bakeries (still inexistent in the Mollwitz campaign) and the army, you could try to deny fourage (green fodder for horses - just as important as bread for the soldiers themselves and often a bigger problem) to the enemy, you could try to break through the opponent's picket-line to raise an alarm and make the opposing army deploy, you could try to conquer smaller depots of your enemy and burn them or carry away his fodder (happend quite a lot!). There were plenty of reasons why armies needed to spread out at least a little bit, and thus raise opportunities for small war. 

Strategiae
Strategiae's picture

Looks exciting and promising...can't wait to see more...Bravo!

Anterak1517
Anterak1517's picture

Very Impressive ! congratulations for your leaders and Units Pictures !!! 

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

Thanks for the nice comments! IThey help me to keep up my motivation!  I've updated the posts above with some new troops. The Prussian units will get a make-over once all units are ready, as I feel I'm just getting the hang of the art style and the first attempts are not quite up to it. What still gives me some major headaches are the leader portraits for the Habsburgs. I only managed to find portraits for very few of them, and these don't really fit the date (1740s) too well.

I will also update the first posts with info in the next few days. 

Characteristics of troop types

The following list is mainly for my own reference, but perhaps other modders might find it interesting. Here are the characteristics of the troop types I'm currently test-playing. Nothing is set in stone yet. You can see that different types of troops will need to be used in different roles. The tricky part will be whether the AI can be steered in a way to deal with it.

  • line infantry: morale* 2, attack/defend: 1/1, inflict hits, cannot pursue, needs supply, move 1, size: ?
  • grenadiers: morale* 4, attack/defend: 1/1, inflict hits, cannot pursue, needs supply, move 2, size: ?
  • cuirassiers: morale* 1, attack/defend: 4/4, inflict panic*, cannot pursue, need supply, move 1, size: 1 unit per historical regiment / 2 (?) hits
  • hussars:: morale* 4, attack/defend: 1/1, inflict panic*, can pursue, don't need supply, move 3, size: 2 units per historical regiment / 1 hit
  • dragoons: morale* 2, attack/defend 2/2 (?), inflict panic*, can pursue, need supply, move 2, size: 2 units per historical regiment / 1 hit

* panic: Note that units that normally only inflict panic can still inflict hits (i.e. casualties) during a pursuit phase (if they can pursue).

* morale: morale used to determine the rout threshold and also determines the order in which panicked units need to be taken off the battlefield. Also note that morale is pretty low across all my unit-types. This is needed as my game-concept relies heavily on the rout/pursuit mechanic. Consequently, rout-threshold is a major concern.

cuirassiers: They move slowly and depend on supply. Their combat values are very high, but this is compensated by the fact that they only inflict panic and cannot pursue. The very low morale means that these are the most volatile units on the battlefield. I like this as cavalry battles often took place before the infantry engagements in this time. So if you suffer any panic hits, cuirassiers need to retreat first, while the infantry, light and elite troops stay on the battle field. If the opponent has no cuirassiers, then your cuirassiers' power needs to be absorbed by line infantry and dragoons (both morale 2). 

line infantry: Line infantry moves slowly and needs supply. It's combat values are very low, but this is compensated by the fact that they actually inflict casualties, not just panic, on a successfull hit. They may not pursue. Their morale of 2 means that they need to retreat second, i.e. after cuirassiers, but prior to any light and elite troops.

hussars: They move very fast and do NOT depend on supply. This means they can show up at any place at almost any time, threatening supply lines. Their combat values are very low though, and they can only inflict panic (unless pursuing, which is unlikely if they act on their own). Battles between hussars (or hussars and dragoons, grenadiers) should typically end in a draw (attacker makes an orderly retreat) without any casualties. This is fine as it represents skirmishing and reconnaissance (you get to know which units are in the opposing stack). It also gives players the option to try to screen their main forces. Hussars have a very high morale which means that they typically leave the battlefield as the last unit. 

dragoons: Like hussars, but slower and supply-dependent. They should therefore stay in close proximity to the main army (=close to the hopefully secured supply line). It's even more fitting to use them as guards for the supply line.

grenadiers: These will act as elite/light infantry. Just as line infantry, they can inflict actual casualties (which makes it a bit dangerous for hussars to engage them...). For infantry, they move very fast. The high morale means that they're not routed easily, so - on their own - hussars don't really pose a substantial threat to grenadiers. Even though grenadiers don't have a higher hit-chance than line infantry (this would make them too dangerous in skirmishes...), don't underestimate how important they can be in pitched battles because of their high morale, increasing the rout-threshold.

Remarks about unit sizes: For line infantry, I' haven't made up my mind yet. On the first thought, it was tempting to go for a historical approach (1 unit = 1 battalion). But leads into a micro-management hell (the stack-UI shows only 5 units at a time) and is not really needed from a gameplay perspective - players don't really need such a fine graduation of combat power. So I actually want to make these units bigger (e.g. 1 unit = 1 regiment, perhaps even a brigade), but I've not tested it yet. There are some advantages and disadvantages to it - implications for fog of war, randomness (more units = more dice = less randomness), effects on the rout-threshold (fewer units --> average morale changes more easily), regions (small regions can only contain 6 units...), hits per unit and the implications of it, etc.  /// Hussars and dragoons come in a "compromise"-size: 2 units per regiment. So I'm not going for a historical 1 unit = 1 squadron approach. The main reason for that is that the number of units needs to be balanced with the number and also with the size of regions (a unit should be large enough to "control" any region, i.e. block supply and engage enemies that enter the region). /// For converged grenadiers of both factions, I'm not 100% certain yet either. I'll probably go for 1 unit = 2 battalions. 

 

Strategiae
Strategiae's picture

All this is excellent (and the more I see the more I love your units graphics). A few comments on your post regarding troops, hoping that it can help.

Grenadiers: some of them you can make Elite; which means they can have one (or more) re-roll...this can make them dangerous and you could then play a bit with their values

Combat value of 1: in case the terrain is not favorable (-1 modifier usually), and excluding leaders, the units suffer a combat value penalty. In such a case it results with most of them fighting at 0 combat value --> thus they will inflict only panic, which means they can never kill enemy units. My suggestion is to increase it to 2 (and possibly - if necessary - adjust other units accordingly)

Unit Size: the new editor and engine now allows units to have more than 2 life points...for instance in Miguel's scenario (Merida1938) we use brigades with a size 4 (when they lose half of their life points, they show the white stripe for reduction and use reduced values)...so in your case you could have your line units being slightly bigger, so they would not be killed that easily but still suffer from panics or lucky shots.

Morale: on average we limit ourselves to level 3 for units, but the engine can accomodate more...as you clearly understood, the higher the stack's average morale, the longer the chance to resist and last in battle...so the more likely your Morale 4 Grenadiers boost stacks where they are present.

Feel free to ask any questions

 

 

 

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

Thanks for your comments!

@ combat values: Thanks for pointing that out. It's not that much of an issue since rout/pursuit should be the primary means to inflict casualties, not inflicting actual hits in the battle. So panic, i.e. a greater chance for rout, is fair enough. But I will certainly take a look at it. The big problem  I see with increasing combat values for infantry is that it will make light troops much more vulnerable. The combat value is set to 1 so that dragoons/hussars and similar "light" units can engage battle units relatively safely (only 10% chance to suffer a hit). This system creates lots of stand-offs (draws without casualties on either side) which are to represent recon-actions (by engaging, you can see which units are in the enemy stack) and also allow the players some interesting tactics (e.g. setting up a screen of light units to stop the enemy light units from molesting and scouting your battle units). By increasing infantry combat values to 2, skirmishing against infantry would become much more risky (20% chance to loose the whole unit), to a point at which it doesn't really pay off at all.

@ unit sizes/hits: Yes, I noticed that the game allows for more than two hits. I will see how it turns out. The larger the units, the more hits they should naturally have. But more hits also tend to make battles a bit less decisive. 

@ morale: With larger=fewer infantry units to calculate the morale mean, I may consider reducing grenadiers' morale to 3, as they still have a positive effect on the rout threshold. Then again morale also determines the order in which units retreat/panic (retreating is a very common occurance in my scenario-set-up), so I might keep the larger, more flexible range of 1-4 to have more control over the order of panic.

Generally speaking, I want to make the scenario as slick and slender as possible. I have to admit I'm not exactly a fan of special cards and the "production" system, both for game-flow reasons (I feel like I'm busy clicking away phase-anouncements rather than playing the game, also I don't want to read through all the cards ^^) and for game design reasons: imperfect knowledge of the enemy's position, the layout of the regions (not so much the combat modifiers, but just the movement options that each region provides) and the differentiated functionality of troop types (rather than minor stat-differences of individual units) should be more than sufficient to incite the player to make interesting, ambigous decisions while at the same time providing him with information that is reliable enough to allow for anticipation and planning ahead. There is no need for random special "stuff" happening every turn. In my view it distracts from what I consider the core of the game. When I carefully consider where my opponent might be moving in his next turn and then all of a sudden, he moves faster because well... he had that special card this turn, bad luck for me, I guess. I don't really like that. D10-dice rolls are random enough, I don't want more randomness. But I fully understand that this may just be my personal taste and also a result of me repeatedly falling for the operational rather than strategical scale.

The three things I'm  missing in terms of game mechanics in WAW right now are

Fog of war  

This is how the fog of war in WAW works by default right now (not including the camouflage ability, which seems to be a bit buggy?): The enemy can see all of your stacks. However, he will only ever see the unit-picture (no information regarding unit stats) of the “top” unit of a stack, which is usually a leader. Apart from this, the number of tokens shown for the stack is an indication of the range of how many units the stack may actually contain: if 1 token (including the top one) is shown, there is only 1 unit in the stack; if 2 tokens are shown, the stack may contain between 2 and 4 units; if 3 tokens are shown, it may contain 5-9 units, and if 4 tokens are shown, the stack contains 10 or more units. Note that leader units are counted as normal units for this purpose. So you could try to deceive the enemy by stacking leaders.    

It is an interesting idea to add "decoy" tokens to a scenario. But then again this increases the load of micro management and I'm not sure how the AI can handle it.

So I think It would be nice to have the option to use a "regional" fog of war system instead or in addition to the current system, so that, for example, you would only be able to see units in regions adjacent to regions in which you have units. Especially in scenarios with few or spread-out units, the current system makes it very hard to deceive an enemy. Complete information tends to counteract tactical depth (planning around uncertainties, anticipation of the opponents' limited options).

Penalties for being out of supply

It would be great if the penalty for being out of supply could be tweaked/fine-tuned by scneario designers. In my scenario, a turn represents a day. While I do like the supply system and I think it's really necessary to create tactical depth and make players care about actually controling regions, the hard-coded effects are a bit extreme for this scale. A brigade of infantry would not vanish if out of supply for two days. Bread wagons typically cycled back and forth between the regiments and the field bakeries in three-day-intervalls. :) You get my point. It doesn't break my scenario-idea, as the opponent has 1 turn to react and reaction is relatively easy (with the current number of regions, you can usually re-establish a supply line in a matter of a single turn). But it would be nice to have the option.

Larger maps

The current maximum map-sizes are okay, but I would love to have some more space to get a finer graduation of time and space. This would increase the complexity of anticipation and planning, simply because reactions to unforeseen, non-scheduled events will be more likely to get thwarted by a "too much" of space and a "too little" of time. 

Strategiae
Strategiae's picture

Got all your points and they sound right. The only thing I am a bit fearful of is about the fact that, with low combat values, most combat will not see any casulaties (besides pursuits) and that may give too much importance on good leadership...but that can easily be tweaked during testing.

Regarding cards and economics: you can remove all the economic phases from your scenario (as we did for Normandy44 or Malaya41) and use the cards to add replacements and/or reinforcements (moderately). You can also use a few cards to handle the "winter" or "bad weather" turns...in this way you limit the randomness you dislike. You can possibly remove the card phase (no cards at all in game besides those you start with), or have the card phase every X turn (see supply below)

 

Regarding the future needs for the engine:

FOW: we are looking into it, it's not as easy as it seems to implement, but it would be along the lines you suggest...matter is how to specifiy the length of the LOS (line of sight), knowing that regions could be of unequivalent sizes...

Supply: this needs for sure some extra code, may be you can come up with suggestions (e.g. partial reduction of abilities with unsupplied siutation). At the moment you could play with the frequency of the supply phase and, for instance, make it happen only once every 2 or 3 turns...not perfect but probably better to match your game scale.

Larger maps : you can do the map sizes you like, and increase yours if you need more space. Large maps already exist in this game (e.g. Korea or Austerlitz). My only recomendation is to make the individual regions not too small in order to allow enough space for stacks handling (e.g. splitting / merging) and confrontations.

 

 

 

 

C

 

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

Thanks for the comment!

Spacing out supply phases (every 2nd turn or so) is an interesting option I have not thought about so far! Excellent idea!

There is only one thing I would really need cards/events for in my scenario, which is weather/snowfall. The other historical “event” is already covered by core mechanics: the Habsurg forces have an additional depot in Neisse, which is under Prussian siege. So if the Habsburg manage to lift the siege, they can use the depot.

My current map is 4348 x 3343 pixels and has 56 regions (not counting flavor regions). I fear that a larger map might make the scenario unsuitable for smaller (mobile?) displays. But from a game perspective, a larger map/more regions would open up many interesting opportunities:

 

  1. It would allow me to use historical unit sizes – battalions for infantry. Large disparities in unit sizes are a bit problematical for many reasons. For example if you want to make use of difficult terrain – only 6 units per region. At the same time a more detailed level of unit representation does not lead to the dreaded UI-horror (only 5 units shown per stack  - to see the rest, you need to scroll), as the units will be spread out over more regions (see point 2). So you will have MORE stacks, but not LARGER stacks.
  2. It would allow me to encourage players to spread out their forces. The more regions, the more points of attack the enemy has on your supply line. This should naturally incite players to spread out their forces. This division of force, the balance between keeping your main army strong enough for a pitched battle while at the same time not risking its supply, is a key factor for the tactical depth of a scenario as it encourages manoeuvering and rewards hidden/screened and/or sudden movements and concentrations.

As you can tell, I’m very much in favor of a larger map. But it will require quite a lot of work (not sure if I could keep the current regional borders or draw entirely new border).  So, before I throw myself into it, may I ask what the reasonable limits on mapsize would be? For example, in the most extreme case, would it be okay to go for twice my current map size -  i.e. 8696 x 6686 pixels – or is that over the top and hampers performance?

Strategiae
Strategiae's picture

Agreed on the card use and the idea to space out supply phase.

As for map size, you may make a larger map the size you indicate...as a comparison, Korea1950 or Berlin1945, or larger maps, are 6684x8688 on average...we even have larger ones by a few 100' pixels...this size (6684*8688) is more or less 4 Retina screens (iPad) so that would be less stressful on mobile versions.

The real issue on mobile is partly the map size (we have already optimized the problem) but mostly the amount of data and the memory load...on older iOS version, it jams the memory and it rejects the app...but we shall probably release the mobile version (this fall) only on the most recent iOS platforms, so it is a bit less of a concern.

This said the main users of our game are PC guys, so you would not need to be too much concerned.

Doing a map is long process indeed, and you need to proceed carefully to not redo twice the same things if you already did your level. Email me for more advice if need be.

 

Anterak1517
Anterak1517's picture

For me in the Agthocles scenario, no problem with the Map, I take the Hamilkar one ! ;-)

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

I had ample of time yesterday to do some playtesting  - still with the "small" map, I think it can turn out right but I’m not entirely sure yet. The more I think about it (see below), the more I see the advantages of a "larger" map (see below). In any case I feel I have made a lot of progress for the scenario yesterday. Some thoughts of yesterday:

REPRESENTING LIGHT TROOPS - still a problem

What still gives me the biggest headache is the representation of hussars. Representing them in any game is really hard, as the way they (or any light troops) were used differs quite a lot from that of "ordinary" troops. Here is why they are so difficult to tackle: 

They are supposed to cover/control a lot of ground. They need to spread out in order to have eyes everywhere and cut supply lines. They operate in much smaller groups than ordinary units to achieve this. In game terms, this basically means that a unit of hussars represents a much smaller "real" unit than a unit of ordinary troops. This naturally leads to problems wherever the game mechanics assume that units are all of equal weight/importance (e.g. calculating morale thresholds, removing paniced units). To prevent that, you could declare hussars to be support units, but then they can neither pursue nor engage. 

They should be able to pursue during pursuit phase in battle.

They should be allowed to engage an superior enemy "safely" - i.e. not suffer casualties but just retreat even if engaging far superior enemy numbers. I have not found any way to achieve this. In my set-up, most units - except for infantry, and except for the pursuit phase - only inflict panic. To protect hussars, you can increase their morale (so they don't run the risk of routing), but this doesn't work as it will also increase the rout-threshold of the whole force. You could give hussars more hits to represent their "evasiveness", but this doesn't work either as you could then simply use them in combination with other forces to "eat up" casualties. 

They should be able to scout the enemy. I don't really see a good way to represent this in the game. In order to "reveal" the units in an enemy stack, you need to engage it. This again raises the problems mentioned in point 3). Also, the way the game works, the information cannot really be exploited, as the enemy will be able to move again before you can act based on the information that your hussars have revealed. 

An idea is to give hussars the option to camouflage, so that they can move without being seen by the enemy and an enemy stack entering their region must first pass a discovery test (mali can be applied in the terrain types), or else it will be unable to engage them and cannot move on. I need to do more tests to see whether the game works exactly how it is described in the manual. While this idea is interesting, I don't want players to use hussars as a means to directly stop enemy movements. A unit (representing roughly two squadrons) of hussars should not be able to halt a main army. But then again I could give main armies some bonus to discovery (no clue how - the manual has some faint references to "discovery" abilities - I would hope you could bind it somehow to the leaders as main armies ought to be led by high ranking leaders). Then again problem 3) still applies.

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REFLECTIONS ON WARGAME/SCENARIO-DESIGN

Apart from the light troop problem I'm quite happy with the options the game mechanics offer. I try for a systematical approach to come up with an interesting scenario. Here is a quick sketch of the thought-process, identifying all the little cogwheels that work together as a wargame:  

  1. The outcome of the scenario is primarily the result of battles.
  2. How can a player decide battles in his favour?
    • Have more units in the battle than the enemy (if the terrain allows)  --> see 4)
    • Remove casualties/panic cleverly
    • Have better units than the opponent. --> see 3)
  3. How to increase your units’ performance in the battle (assuming that both players's units have the same base quality)?
    • Malus due to damaged units (units that are not on full health can be given combat mali)
    • Bonus/malus for terrain --> see 4)
    • Malus for being  "out of supply" --> see 4)
  4. Manoeuvre. The above mentioned decisive factors (more units than the opponent, terrain benefit, out of supply) can only be achieved via manoeuvering, that is: moving your units in relation to the opponents’. Manoevre is where the actual player input happens as the player plays the game by moving stacks. It is a highly complex topic, constituted by the concentration and distribution of force (see 5), information (see 5), time and space and by the sequence of play (see 5), which, in WAWs case, is an IgoUgo system. Put simply, the one thing you want to prevent when designing a scenario is to reward concentration of force unlimitedly. Then both players will just form superstacks and the outcome will be decided by luck.
  5. For battles, you obviously want to have as many units in a stack as possible. But what reason do you have to split up your forces? There are two ways in which you can force players to keep more regions covered, i.e. to incite them to spread out their forces, keep up a “front” and don’t form mega-stacks (unless an major attack is imminent):
    • Automatic supply system: If you let the enemy get behind you, you will suffer the out-of-supply penalty, significantly reducing the combat-power of your mega-stack. This aspect needs to be calibrated by the number of supply sources, the rarity/ubiquity of supply lines (where can supply travel through?), and the interval of the supply phases.
    • Strategic goals / victory points: You might form a mega-stack, sure, but while you crush one objective, the enemy might be spreading out and secure the other 6 objectives.
    • Region saturation: Regions with difficult terrain limit stacks to a maximum of 6 combat units (currently bugged)
    • Maintainance: The larger the stack, the more money it costs to maintain in WaW
    • Note that one important historical factor for spreading out armies can be implemented in the game via cards: movement. A very large army should move slowlier (depending on the amount of available roads) than a small stack. 
    • Recon/fog of war will be a major factor once it is a feature in the game: If you wanted to know where the enemy is, you needed to move around and/or keep eyes on terrain where he was likely to pass through. If Fog of War is implemented in WaW (see post below by Strategiae), you need to spread out to discover the enemy's whereabouts.
    • High movement speed (measured in terms of regions per turn). The faster your units can concentrate in case of a sudden threat, the safer it is to spread them out. 
    • Allow multi-stack-attacks. Per default, only one stack can attack into a region in WaW. Thus a spread-out force cannot bring its full power to bear into a single region. The editor might give you the option to implement a card that allows for more than one stack attacking into a single region in a turn.
    • Battles based on panic. If the most likely outcome of an uneven battle is a retreat rather then the destruction of the outnumbered force, then splitting up your force is safer/more forgiving. Beware of the pursuit mechanic though (which can turn retreats into destruction).
    • Surrounding the enemy: A stack that has no friendly-controlled region to retreat into gets destroyed if forced to retreat. Split up to surround the enemy and/or to protect yourself from getting surrounded.

                 It's also interesting to list the aspects that encourage players to concentrate their forces:

  • Supply units: supply units work on a "per stack" basis. Assume you have 10 units. If you put them into a single stack, they can survive with only 1 supply wagon. If you split up the units on two stacks, you need two supply units for the same amount of combat units. It's stacks that consume supply, not units. This leads to weird results as stacks can come in any size from 1 to X units. 
  • Battle: Obviously, the more units you have in a stack, the more powerfull it is in combat. The decisiveness of being outnumbered also plays a very large role here. How badly do small stacks suffer if they are engaged by a larger stack? The more extreme the outcome, the more you need to keep stacks large and powerfuil.
  • Allow break-througs - a concentrated force can make its power felt not just in one but in 2 regions in a single turn.
  • Slow movement speed (as above, but vice versa).
  • Do not allow multi-stack-attacks (= default). 
  • Battles based on destruction (hits). If any outnumbered force suffers high losses in a battle, it's more dangerous to split your force. The punishment for being caught outnumbered is not a push-back into another region, but an irreversible blow to your combat power. 
  1. The player’s decision making process - information: In order to let the player make rational decisions (i.e. reward a thinking player), he also needs to have  information about the opponent’s dispositions. In WaW, there are several types of  information you get: 1) Unless camouflaged, all enemy stacks are visible to you; 2) You get to see the image of the top unit of any enemy stack (unless "anonymous stacks" are on for the nation); 3) You get to see if some units in the stack are out of supply (indicated by a little symbol); 4) You get to know approximately how many units are in the stack (indicated by the number of tokens). Note that this last information is only valuable as long as all units in the game have roughly the same combat power. If not, the unit-quantity fails to tell you anything about the combat-quality of the stack - it then tells you nothing at all.  Also note that all this information is (unfortunately) available to you without doing anything for it - there is no real room for reconnaissance in WaW (this might change a bit with the implementation of proper Fog of War - see Strategiae's answer below). Apart from that, there are “cheeky/fiddly” ways to gain more information: How fast did an enemy stack move - it might tell you what kinds of units are in it? Also, enemy troops are revealed in battles and sieges. You can take notes and try to figure out where troops moved on from there. To sum it up: I think that WaW provides enough information to players to let them make rational decisions.
  2. The IgoUgo system asks for a very carefull consideration of reaction intervals. How fast units can react to enemy movements is determined by the balance of the troops’ respective movement speeds and the scale of regions. Simply put, movement speed directly relates to time –  this is pretty obvious when you remember that each turn, movement points are filled up. The finer you set the resolution of space (ie. the smaller and more numbersome the regions you use), the more important differences in movement speed = reaction speed become. If two opposing stacks are in adjacent regions (because the regions are so large), battle cannot be prevented and also, the region where the battle will happen is 100% clear. But if - on the same historical/topographical  space - there are 4 regions in between the stacks instead of none, then the stack that seeks battle will not be able to reach the target in one turn. Thus, his opponent will take notice of the advance and can actually REACT to it. If he draws back, then he can gain time, a “race” might start, the battle will take place somewhere else, and he might move other stacks over to help and delay the enemy (whether this succeeds might also depend on the reacting units' speed....). You can see that this situation opens up a much more interesting tactical situation. Generally speaking, with a very fine resolution of time and space (many regions compared to the number of stacks/units), manoevre plays a larger role, as you need to “pin down” the opponent step by step before you can engage him and he has means to evade combat without giving up too much ground (if he plays it well). This is not possible with a very rough resolution of time and space.  If there are very few regions in relation to stacks/units, then there is no room for manoeuvre, and movement will be very binary, the opponents’ moves more easily anticipated, and you get the feeling that you don’t really have many options and you will not feel any need to position troops in a "reserve" position (simply because you can't react in time anyway because the reaction-time intervalls are too big) - it would be a better idea to put the "reserve units" somewhere in the front line.

 

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Operational reaction-speed represented by movement speed?

Especially the last point (7) demonstrates the advantages of a larger map. For example, you could actually try to delay an enemy (I can lower movement speed for damaged units) and  you would also get a very interesting means to differentiate leader-quality. A good leader would could be given a high movement value, representing good reaction ability and good management of marches. So a good leader could lead a stack to attack over larger distance (= surprise the enemy) more easily than a bad leader. For example  when I, as the Habsburg player, have three regions between an enemy stack and my own stack, I would consider my stack pretty safe from attack for one round. Well, not if Frtederick happens to be with the enemy stack, as he can lead the stack to attack over three regions! So a new interesting question is added to the game: where are the enemy's good leaders (if you use "anonymous units", the leader-images don't show up on enemy stacks unless in a region with a city)?

For this to work, however, many factors need to be considered: Firstly, all units need to be given very high movement rates, as they need to keep up with the best leaders' movement values (as far as I can see, leaders cannot provide movement boni to units in WaW...?)*. This naturally has the very bad side-effect that non-attacking units can also move very fast everywhere - but at least they give the opponent a turn to react. Secondly, differnces of leader-quality need to matter a lot, otherwise you would just always take the leader with the best movement speed, regardless of his rank,  to lead your main army. In the game, leaders suffer morale and CV-mali on their own stats (not the whole stack) for commanding too many (5!! excessive) units for their rank. So unfortunately, this requires a re-consideration of the number of units in the game.  Right now, the largest stacks in my game are around 8-10 units, which might not be enough to trigger strong negative effects for low-ranking leaders. I will take closer look at how the command penalty works in the game, but if it is indeed measured in chunks of 5 units, then I fear I it is not calibrated properly for the number of units I have in the scenario and for the current stack-UI (only 5 units visible).

If you think about movement speed as reaction, more interesting ideas pop up. For example: Point-costs for entering a terrain type should be based on how easy it is to spot and react to an enemy approach. Good defensive terrain lets you observe the enemy approach early and with ample time to react to it and, for example, slip away (which is also partly represented by the fact that no pursuits - very important in my set-up - are allowed in it). This aspect does work in the game, as the more defensible the enemy's terrain (=the more MPs you need to enter it), the closer you need to be at the start of the turn and/or the better the quality of your leader needs to be in order to reach the region and initiate a battle. But it is not without side-effects as operational reaction-ability is not cleanly separated from pyhsical marching speed.

 

 

Strategiae
Strategiae's picture

Quite long and interesting analysis I read at length. Good points you raised, opening some new ways of thought.

Some of your suggestions are almost impossible to do in the current engine as they touch to the core of the system (e.g. variable movement according to leaders)...some could be done but require a good lot of work to make them both customizable via the editor and used by the engine (command penalty levels...at the moment, * leaders command 5, ** command 10 and ***/monarchs have no limits...you may play with the ranks only for the moment. Penalty is -1 in combat/morale for each slice of 5 exceeded).

The rationale for large map is clever indeed and changes completely the gameplay in the way you suggest.

Good new for you: this fall we should find some time to implement Fog of War in the way you want (i.e. no display of stacks - at all - if outside of "view")

 

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

Thanks! I'm really looking forward to the fog of war feature! Getting eyes on many places would be a realistic reason to spread out forces. And also it  may incite players to keep forces as a reserve in the backfield that can react to events (as long as the engaged force can survive for 1 turn and thereby give other forces the chance to come to their aid). In general, handling fog of war is the one aspect in which computer games are superior to traditional board games.  

Actually, you can make leaders provide movement-boni to troops under their command, even right now, but it's incredibly fiddly and the AI can't deal with it. How? You can let players draw exactly 1 card for each of their leaders every single turn. The cards need to be played in land-movement-phase and give a movement bonus to the stacks the respective leaders are part of. So, you'd need to create an individual card for every single leader for every single turn. On the plus-side, you can even add some randomness to the movement bonus, or make it only apply if the stack has fewer than X units (--> consideration of a leader's rank). But yes, that's a very cumbersome improvisation and I don't expect any player to put up with that.  :D

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

THE SUPPLY SYSTEM

I've experimented a lot with the supply systems that the game offers (at one point I even had a mobile field bakery-unit that would spawning supply wagons every turn ^^). I could write another wall of text about the pros and cons, but I'd rather just present what seems to be the most adequate representation for the Mollwitz campaign to me. So here is my current system. I hope it's good and easy to understand for the player: 

  • Supply phases happen every 3 turns (= every 1.5 days).
  • The player* CANNOT make use of the "automated" supply system (supply traveling automatically from a supply source through controlled regions). Instead, he will depend entirely on supply wagons.
  • Supply wagons move slowly and may be affected by bad weather (see below).
  • SMALL stacks (e.g. no larger than 3 units) are exempt from supply**. 
  • The supply wagons at the start of the scenario are spread-out according to the historical situation. For example, the Habsburg main army starts with a supply for 7 days (= 5 supply phases). To succeed, the Habsburg player really needs to lift the siege of the cities of Neisse and Brieg, where lots of supplies are stored. 

SUMMARY: Supply is checked every 3 turns. To be safe, your units either need to be 1) in a region with a supply wagon, 2) positioned inside a structure/city, 3) be fewer than 3 (hussars don't count) in a region.

* I believe it may be a good idea to let the AI work with the automated system. The system presented here is supposed to give the player a greater challenge. So I will be creating two separate versions of the scenario, depending on which side the player chooses. The editor seems to allow that option (tick "only played by AI" for the other nation...?). 

** I was compelled to implement this as a counter measure to the fact that a supply system based entirely on supply wagons strongly favours a concentration of troops, since each stack consumes one supply wagon, regardless of how big the stack is. The exemption is handled via a single card that is played automatically in turn 1. It's worth noting that the player can't cheat by splitting up one large stack in a region into several small ones, as all units in a region are automatically merged into one stack at the end of a turn (and the next supply phase occurs before the next movement phase). 

Generally speaking, I really like this system and I think it's very realistic. Firstly, armies of that time did depend quite a bit on controling the country side, even if they had ample supplies on wagons with them. This is because hay and straw for battle horses and draught anmials alike was too bulky to be transported by the regular depot-convoys. They had to be obtained locally. This is what generals usually mean when they state that regions could be "ausfouragiert" (depleted) and even use it as a tactic, and this is why cavalry units could not stay in one place for too long. I suppose that players might use cavalry units to build small stacks and move them away from the main army (simply as they can move faster), so this would be quite realistic. Also, it lets units "live off the land" in small quantities and ensures that the side which manages supply better has higher chances to win battles (as they can keep their forces concentrated).

"HARSH WEATHER" CARD

The historical campaign saw some pretty heavy snowfall that impeded the armies' operations. A card draw phase will happen every 3 turns (like the supply phase). In each of these phases, a weather card will be automatically played. There will be a 50% chance for harsh weather set in, and a lower chance (10, 20%?) for harsh weather to continue in the following turns. If harsh weather is active, all supply wagons are immobilized. 

"DEPECHE INTERCEPTED" CARD

This is the only other card I need, as it refers to a very serious "mishap" in the historical campaign. When Frederick realized that the Habsburg army might strike right through his dispersed corps, he sent messages to all corps ordering them to meet around Neustadt. Unfortunately for the Prussians, one of these messages, directed for the significant corps led by the duke of Holstein (7 battalions, 6 squadrons) never reached its adressee. It was intercepted by hussars who were roaming in the area north of the Neisse. Later messages also had troubles getting through and were delayed. For this reason, the communication with the corps was very difficult and it stayed put (which Frederick didn't know!). Holstein's corps only started to move from Ottmachau on April 9th and joined up with Frederick's army only after the battle of Mollwitz on 11 April. 

For the game, I need to keep things more abstract (you can't keep the fact that the stack doesn't move hidden from the player...). I think I might just go for a card that is played on turn 1 which immobilizes Holstein's corps, and gives a chance per turn that the corps gets "unlocked". On later turns, the chance for a successfull unlock should increase.

Strategiae
Strategiae's picture

Quite interesting..i shall be more that curious to know how you make that supply system work, especially the small stack limit

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

Here is how it works:

  • It's all the result of one card, drawn and played on turn 1
  • The card has X effects, where X is the number of supply phases in the whole scenario.
  • Each effect is the same, only with a different delay. Each delay needs to be set so that the card's effect activates in a turn with a supply phase . So, for example, if the card is played in turn 1 and you have supply phases in every thrid turn (none in the first), you will need to set the delays to 2, 5, 8, 11, etc.
  • Except for the delay, each effect is the same: 
    • Effect category = supply / Effect =  supply stacks / stacks containting units = tick all supply wagon units / required units number = any / minimum stack size = 1 / maximum stack size = 3 / choice of elements in selection above: none (whole section) / duration: this game turn

 

Strategiae
Strategiae's picture

Very clever indeed...

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

IDEAS FOR COMMAND AND MOVEMENT

Here is the concept of the movement/command system I want to implement for the player only (not to the AI) in my scenario. It is an attempt to shift the role of leader-units from battle over to movement. Also, it should simulate at least a little bit the problem of coordinating the movement of big armies (by decreasing their movement speed). I think it can show quite well how flexible the editor is: 

  • In the card-draw-phase of turn 1, a card is automatically played that locks/immobilizes all units except for supply wagons, leaders and hussars.
  • In the land-movement phase of turn 1, a card is automatically played that unlocks all stacks (for one turn only) that contain a leader unit. Moreover, if the size of the stack is greater than X, a movement malus of Y is applied to the stack*. The two effects of this card are activated every turn of the scenario (as there is no "card effect applies to turns:"-option, I need to work with delays again). 

SUMMARY: Only stacks with leaders can move (exception: leaders, support units and hussars). Large stacks suffer a movement penalty.

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* I'm toying with the idea to make this based on leader rank (you need to implement a separate effect per turn for each leader-rank). So, for example, rank 3 leaders could command 7 units without suffering a movement malus, while rank 1 leaders could only command 3. With a lot more work, you could even go for a different setting per individual leader, but I prefer to stick to the rank, as the rank will be easily visible to the player, while there is no separate display for a "operational skill" factor.

Generally speaking, slowing down large stacks is a very important and also very realistic (depending on the map scale) means to incite players to split up troops. Historically speaking, the more units there were in a small space, the more difficult and slow movement became. Planning marching routes, laying out the next camp, drawing up marching orders required a lot of coordination and a good general staff. Armies would march in several columns, depending on the number and condition of the available roads. Just image: if the whole army were to march in just one column, then the last unit to leave the camp in the morning would need to wait for all the other units to march by and start marching probably an hour or so after the first unit had left the camp - thus an army would loose a few hours of marching every day! 

NOTE that support units (supply wagons) seem to count towards the unit-limit (I still need to test if leader-units also count). I'm happy about that. However it's more problematical when you think about "small" units (like hussar squadrons) that also count. This is another reason why I'm in favour of a more detailed map: you can make all units the same, smallest size (squadron or battalion) - problem solved, just increase the unit limit.

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

RIVER-CROSSINGS  ( & MOUNTAIN PASSES, ALL SORTES OF DEFILEES)

While checking the significance of rivers on my map (I got rid of many small rivulets), and reading about the actual campaign, I made up my mind how the river Neisse which played a major role in the campaign can best be portrayed in the game. 

Usually, games bestow a combat bonus to the units who are defending a river-crossing, or a malus to those who are crossing, and also increase movement costs. Also, stacks should not be allowed to retreat across rivers (not sure if that is the case in WaW). Getting trapped against a river was a very real operational danger.

Now, while this representation of river-crossings is not bad, it’s not optimal either. Something very important is missing in my opinion: an army that was in the process of crossing a river was weak – from BOTH sides of the river. Crossing a river should be a dangerous endeaveour even if the opponent is on the same riverbank as you. The standard game-procedure of strengthening the defender against attacks from the other side fails to capture this aspect. 

How to tackle this issue? I think the answer can be quite simple if we assume that difficult regions will get fixed and may only contain 6 units (right now they're quite buggy and players can cheat). The river Neisse will not be represented as a crossing-link, but as a narrow chain of difficult regions (max 6 units) with high movement costs (no ordinary units can "jump over" in one turn) and no pursuits allowed. How is this supposed to work? If you want a large amount of troops cross the river, it will take time. During that time, part of your army will be in the process of crossing the river (in the river region), while another part has already crossed (in the region on the far bank) and another part has not crossed yet (still on this side of the river). As the crossing region only allows 6 units, it turns into a natural bottle neck. Thus your army will be dangerously split up and a strong opponent might attack those weak parts of your army that are waiting on either side. And voila! River crossings will be a dangerous undertaking from both sides.

It is important though to get the scale right. 6 units per river-region per turn can be assigned to the crossing, so, in my case, this means that 6 units can cross a river per region PER DAY (= 2 turns): In the first turn, the unit would move from this bank  "into" the river, in the second turn it would move from the river to the far bank. Naturally we'd have to consider what 6 units represent and if this speed is plausible. If it's too slow, a remedy could be to simply split up one river region into two small ones to double the traffic over the river. The more (=smaller) the river regions, the larger the traffic capacity across the river.

I also like that armies would have no chance to cross a contested river. Due to the simple fact that, as they would be attacking from a difficult region (only 6 regions) into a normal region, a strong opponent should have an easy time defending the river bank. Increasing the traffic capacity by splitting up river regions as described above doesn't change anything here (as only one stack can attack a region per turn).

Of course there will be no movement links in between river regions, only from river regions to land regions. Soldiers are not allowed to swim down the river!

The very same princicple can be used to represent other defilees such as mountain passes.

HUSSARS - PARTIES SPAWNED BY PARENT UNITS?

Another rather crazy  idea I had and I have already tested successfully is this: There is no real way to protect hussars in uneven engagements since the game engine doesn't give you any means for that. Consequently, if you use hussars in small parties (as you should, historically speaking), they will get utterly destroyed. However! You can simply respawn them! Just pretend that - instead of getting destroyed - they evaded the engagement and made their way back to the regiment. All you need for this to work is a hussar regiment "parent unit"  (which can act as a normal combat unit) and a card that is played in turn 1 which will respawn destroyed hussar parties on their "parent unit" (if the parent unit still exists). All the conditions can be set accordingly in the editor! So, a hussar regiment would be allowed to always have one party  "out". This would allow you to throw your hussar parties recklessly at enemy stacks and scout them, unless the enemy sets up his own screen of hussars/other cavalry, so that your hussars cannot penetrate to the main army. At the same time, hussars can also be a valuable asset in a battle, as you can let them take a hit for someone else (and they will respawn just the same). This is a very appealing idea to me, but I understand that I need to be carefull not to try too hard and implement to many special rules. But then again, my supply and movement rules are really quite simple, and there will be no maintainance and card play phases...

Disposable husar parties have many uses: 

  • RECON - If you engage an enemy stack in combat, you get to know which units it contains. However, this is of limited use, as you cannot really exploit the information because the enemy gets to move before your next turn. 
  • DELAY - By placing husar parties in regions adjacent to enemy stacks, you can slow the enemy down, as the opponent's stack will need to fight the husar party and is not allowed to move on after the battle. So the opponent's movement is limited to only one region this turn. Note that this will not work against very large stacks (overrun rule). Also, to enter a region with enemy presence, a stack needs to have a leader.  So, in order to manoevre in areas that are roamed by husar parties, the opponent needs to commit his leader units (which might be needed somewhere else...).
  • CUT OFF - Their fast movement allows husar parties to take control over many regions, so they are excellent for cutting undefended links of the automated supply system. 
  • STRIKE - If you combine a few husar parties, they have a chance to overcome isolated units.

MAP ON NEW SCALE

I've started working on the map with a finer resolution (same area covered by more regions). Here is a preview of the sketch. Note that I'm building the map under the assumption that the difficult region bug will be fixed. As you can see, many regions come in a hex-shape, simply because it's a very balanced form (oblong shapes for regions distort time/space). You can also see that I will test my river crossing idea (see above) - the Neiss is represented by a chain of small, narrow regions. The diameter of the regions is about 10-15 kilometers, so realistically, a main army's camp would strech into 2 regions on this scale. Needless to say that the Mollwitz campaign is not the only campaign that took place in Silesia. So with a few additions and tweaks, the map can be used for more scenarios. 

blue = river region (difficult), yellow/brown = hilly, redbrown  = mountains, white = mountain pass (difficult), pink = impassable mountains, green region borders = minor rivers (Neisse above Glatz, March, Mohre, Oppa, Biele).

Looking at the map, I might put down one river-region at Neisse that allows for unlimited traffic across the river. But this region should only be usable for the side that controls the frotress in the region Neisse. I will see what I can do. 

 

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

REFLEXIONS ON REGION SIZE

Here are a few steps (related to both game mechanics as well as “realism”) that helped me to determine which region size I want to use:

  • Step 1: Take your standard unit for the scenario and determine what distance it would be able to cover in a single turn-interval. In my case, turn intervals are 0.5 days, so an infantry unit could cover a distance of ca. 10 kilometers in that time.
  • Step 2: How many regions should the standard unit be allowed to move per turn? This is primarily a question of game-design, not "realism". If you go for many regions, then movements will generally become less predictable and you reward an offensive approach. Think of it: Each region of movement you allow per turn multiplies movement options. If your enemy can move very fast and you want to block him, then you need to occupy many regions. As WaW uses an IgoUgo system, the opponent can then, observing the dispersion of your troops, still concentrate and choose the weakest spot to smash through your force that has dispersed to block all movement options. Also, you should be aware that if you go for only 1 region per turn, then you have no means to apply movement maluses to a unit (it will not be allowed to move at all), so there is less room for fine-tuning. The number of regions that units are allowed to move per turn also determines the “danger distance” – if your units are within striking distance of the enemy, you better concentrate your troops!
  • Step 3: Divide the distance calculated in step 1 by your choice in step 2. This is the hypothetical diameter for your regions. You might want to reduce it a bit, as roads usually don’t run straight but have curves in them.
  • Step 4: Check if this diameter works with the screen-size of your regions/map. A region must be large enough to hold all the required counters (stacks, structures, depots, etc.) and still offer ample space for players to click on. If this doesn’t work, you may consider increasing the turn intervals (and re-start at step 1) or increasing your map size. Note that turn-intervalls should not be changed so light-heartedly as the intervall also represents something very important (reaction time, time in which information can spread across the whole map).
  • Step 5: Check if the smallest and/or slowest combat unit in the game would historically/realistically be able to control (i.e. detect and move up to engage an enemy in) an area of the size of your region-diameter. E.g. the chance that a single battalion of infantry can detect and engage a squadron of cavalry in an area of 50 square kilometers in half a day is rather slim.
  • Step 6: If everything is fine, go ahead and draw the region-borders according to your region-diameter. Try to go for round/quadratic/hexagonal shapes and avoid oblong shapes as they distort time/space (units will be able to travel faster in one direction than in another). It is okay though to make regions narrower in one direction if this is to simulate the natural terrain (no roads leading in this direction, e.g.). What matters most is consistency of time and space as well as movement options. Pay special attention to “bottleneck”-regions, i.e. regions that have many neighboring regions. They are excellent points for defense and are hard to defend against. Use them carefully and consciously. For visual clarity, I usually try create a kink (change the angle of a region-border)  wherever one neighbouring region ends a another one starts.

Additional factors

  • The stack-UI displays only 6 units at any time. So it quickly gets tedious if there are too many units in a region. If you get that problem, either consider lowering the number of units (go for “larger” but fewer units) or increasing the number of regions (go for smaller but more numerous regions and give players more incentives to split up their forces). At the same time, consider if this split-up of forces would be realistic? Try to answer questions like “How many battalions could be deployed in battle formation in an area the size of my regions?”. In any case you will need to find some form of compromise.
  • Once the fog of war feature will be implemented, region size will probably have a big effect on reconnaissance. If recon is based on region-adjacency, then the smaller the regions, the smaller will be your recon-area. Depending on how many regions units are allowed to move per turn, this will greatly in- or decrease the chance for surprise. 

NEW MAP - FINAL SKETCH

Here is the new basis for the more detailed map. The numbers indicate how many movement options each region provides. 

The map is transformed into a test map (again, the style is just a placeholder) - original size is ca. 8800 x 6700 pixels, there are 104 playable regions (not including the impassable mountains and flavor/border regions)

 

Strategiae
Strategiae's picture

Interesting development..I'd love to see it working and test it.  We'll check soon the 6 units "bug" to see what happened, and the FoW code is now underway.

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

The new map is already working and I've reworked my combat system/unit stats (another wall of text will follow). I'm now starting to work on the AI (why, oh why can't I give name to the AI profiles? ^^). Can you give me any tips for the AI? I can just do guesswork. Is it possible to switch the plans for a group of units when a trigger is activated? Does a triggered profile automatically overwrite the profile that was active before? Is there a way to give the AI just a chance to use a profile (so I can let the AI randomly chose one of several "plans")? Do all units that are grouped together form a stack? So many questions, and hardly a real way to test and experiment myself (as I can't see exactly what the AI does...).

After that, it will be just more artwork and sound. :) I hope I'll be able to send you something for testing next week (perhaps still on the placeholder map).

Strategiae
Strategiae's picture

The AI works in three ways basically: by itself, via guidelines that are turn-based (with triggers or not) and via card play. In the last two cases you can play around with many elements to help her.

Roles: the AI for each side will receive one of those (balanced by default) either from the AI section (last entry in scenario section of editor) or from cards. Roles are processed always on a "last entered - take precedence" basis, i.e. everything you enter last takes over the previous entry (unless turn ranges are specified and not overlapping). Roles are defined in the CSV file named AI_Roles which is in the StreamingAssets/Data/Config/AI section of the game, and where a % of chance of behavior (NOT summing to 100%, each is independant) is given for what the AI "likes". Roles are:

  • Steamroller:   attacks closest enemy without much consideration of ratio
  • StaunchResist:  defends where assigned and tends to ignore other locations
  • Holeplug:   try to build a cohesive and continuous defensive line
  • Attacker:  attack the enemy when a suitable ratio is found (1.5:2 at least). Enemy-held objectives valued double of yours.
  • Defender: defends, avoids attacking when not a very favorable ratio or opportunity is found. Enemy-held objectives valued half of yours.
  • Balanced:  mix of attack and defense postures. Enemy-held objectives valued same as yours
  • Guerilla:  will hide if possible, avoid attack if not in superiority, try to cut lines and grab enemy weakly defended objectives (ideal for petty war units)
  • Inactive: does nothing in particular (ideal for guarrisons you don't want to see moving)

Behaviour are:

  • percentageLikeAttack: chance to build an attack (most "attractive" target looked for)
  • percentageLikeTension: chance to search frontline contact and spreading (the higher the value the more it builds continuous frontlines)
  • percentageLikeConquest: chance to target objectives rather than forces
  • percentageLikeFoolishness: chance to take random (= potentially unwise) move / attacks
  • percentageLikeSpread: the higher the value, the LESS the stacks will spread (not intuitive)
  • percentageLikeMoving: chance to concentrate forces rather than stay idle
  • percentageLikeCombatSupport: chance to take support units
  • percentageLikeTransport: chance to carry transport missions (mostly used for naval transport ships)
  • percentageLikeEnemyIncome: chance to target objectives with income values.

AI will target regions based on "objective" values of same, such as values entered in the editor (strategic value part of regions, scenario section), presence of structure, of income, of VP values...the whole combine together to give a value, which helps the AI sorting them. Distance from AI stacks (i.e. number of turn to reach) is also taken care of when prioritizing objectives. Objectives can also be assigned an overall regional or area % modifier (in the AI section)

In the AI section you can decide to select specific units and assign them a given role. Usually if you assign a role only to a leader, its units (i.e. in his stack) will behave accordingly.

AI behavior can be assigned on turn basis, and you can also add triggers (most descriptions are self-explainable) to start or end behaviors... remember AI "reads" files from top to bottom, so your last entry can contradict/cancel/change what you entered above...

Best is that you try some stuff, send me by email some ideas on what your AI plans are, and we can also have a Skype live exchange on the issue when you have tilme.

 

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

Thanks a lot! This is very helpfull! I will experiment a bit and then may come back to you.

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

Small update: 

I'm not working on the AI yet. I've still been busy with

  1. Getting the localization file to work. Except for special characters (ä,ö, ü,á, ß), I've been successfull.
  2. I've been trying quite desperately to get the river crossing at Neisse fortress to work. Ideally, only the side which controls the structure Neisse should have movement-access to a special region. I don't think I can make it work in my prefered way - one card per side to be played in the first turn of the game. The problem for me is that if you add a condition to an effect, the condition determines whether the card can be played, not whether the effect sets in. So you can't engineer a card whose effect-condition is checked every turn. I guess I would need to give each player a card that he can only play if he's in control of the fortress. I'm not fond of that - except for the weather-test and for initializing/explaining my little rule-tweaks in the first turn, I don't really want cards in the scenario. I've even thought about turning the region into sea and spawning bridge-transport units in it, or allowing the units of the side which currently controls the fortress to move through the sea domain. But in the end, these solutions also need a condition.  I have to take another look at that. What I know is that I can't get it to work via a single card per faction played in turn 1.  
  3. I've also been trying quite desperately to adjust the command limits for leaders, so that a command malus would set in with fewer units. I felt I really needed it because the scneario would see many small units engaging in small war - so in order to attack, all these units would need leaders, preferably ones that cannot control larger amounts of units. I felt very lucky when I found out just in time (when I was banging my head on the table) that you can allow units to attack without a leader. It was one of the few obscurely named abilities that I had not tested yet: "can be dropped". So now I don't need all those small leaders. I much prefer to have the light units on their own, because it means less micro-management and also the purpose of a stack will be much clearer for the players if some of the counters show small husars, not just leader faces everywhere. For the higher ranking leaders, the default values are bit on the low side but generally okay. I'm not sure yet if the two commanders in chief, Neipperg and Frederick will be represented as *** leaders (unlimited units). PS -I've run into another big problem here. If you rely on the default maluses for command-overload, then you need to give all leaders a morale or CV of at least 2 (so that you can even note when the malus sets in. However, this means that all stacks without a leader will be at a huge disadvantage - I don't like that. I think I will get rid of all leader differentiations. Leaders will only serve to allow ordinary combat units to attack. I'm afraid that the way in which which they will differ is movement speed (well okay, Frederick might get a small bonus ;) ).
  4. The mountain passes and the Neisse-crossings also needed some more work, but they're finally fully functional. - see the updated description in the very first post in this topic.  

In the moment I'm still fine-tuning the unit stats. Once I'm satisfied, I will post a small video presenting some of my concepts and tweaks to the rules in action, showing the results of engagements in various kinds of situations (combinations of terrain, force-sizes and types of units). Personally, I'm pretty happy with the results. Depending on the situation, the outcome of battles ranges from totally indecisive battles, operationally important skirmishes (no casualties, but retreats/gain of ground) to annihilations of whole armies.

Then it's time for the AI. 

 

 

 

Strategiae
Strategiae's picture

Quick comments on your points:

1 - for the special characters, I can help. The trick is to save your XLS into CSV with the UTF-8 Unicode system. I can do it for you (the option is available if you open your XLS inside OpenOffice freeware and save it as csv in it)

2 - Tricky indeed

3 - You could subvert an existing feature of combat units design..."can be paradropped" ... that check box was made to allow units to load on planes and jump from them, including on top of enemy units and in conjunction with other attack...so if you add "can be Paradropped" to your petty war units (e.g. Hussars), they will be allowed to attack without leaders and possibly with at least one other stack (no sure if it works with more, you can try). At least this solves your petty war / leadership issue...and obviously there won't be planes in your scenario. See Normandy1944 or Sicily1943 to see the feature working.

Bravo

 

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

Thanks for your reply! Much appreciated! :)

1. I will try it out. If I can't get it to work, I may take up your offer. 

2. I will consider your suggestion below (turning the city into a strong, immobile fortress unit). The special crossing region would then contain this "fortress" unit and as long as it is there, the opponent cannot pass trhough / cross. Of course I would somehow need to spawn another unit if the fortress is taken/destroyed/conquered. I guess it could work well if I turn it into a guard unit, give the attacker a huge combat malus, allow artillery superiotiy only in this very region (the siege train is the only artillery in the scenario and all other regions don't allow arty superiority). I see if I can set it up.

3. Indeed I was very happy when I found out that you can allow units to attack without leaders (I edited my post yesterday evening ^^). It saves me a lot of trouble. And I also like that unlimited numbers of "can be dropped"-units can join an already initiated battle. But I might reduce the hussars' movement speed a bit because of that. 

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

THE DOUBLE FUNCTION OF STRUCTURES

I feel compelled to leave out some of the cities on my map. I wished the editor would allow to let us chose whether a structure offers supply or not.  Right now, as soon as you give a fortress value to a structure, it automatically offers supply to stacks that enter it. In my case, Schwerin's corps was positioned around the pretty large cities Troppau and Jägerndorf and yet he encountered many supply issues there. It was still spring, the area was hilly - not quite as yielding - and had seen military action for a few months already. So in this case I have to make a decision: Do I want to keep the cities in the game because of their function as strong points (Troppau was fortified quite modernly), or do I take them out because their in-game-function as centers of supply for any number of troops (a stack can contain an unlimited number of units!) does not represent the historical situation? In this case, the supply situation seems more important to me than the defensive function of the cities. So I think I will get rid of them. 

 

Strategiae
Strategiae's picture

I had a similar issue, which I solved by making those cities not a fortress but with a "city" combat unit (rather strong, large morale, heavy, siege bonus, artillery, 0 MP, bunker-guard-type, no panic/no retreat), that does not need supply. Issue is that does not allow sieges or surrenders, but it may be solved via cards (I know you don't like them)

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

I had to make a break because of real life and also creative regeneration, but work will continue now. :)

I've finished the images for the Habsburg husar parties (see Habsburg post). In my search for portraits for the generals, I've not been successfull yet. At least I've found the portrait of the owner of the Csaky husar regiment, count Juraj (Georg) Csaky, shown in the uniform of his regiment - unfortunately, I can't really use it as he did not play a major role in the campaign, and the portrait is about 10 years too early, but still! https://www.webumenia.sk/dielo/SVK:SNG.O_2632 

The same is true for baron Jan Splenyi (most sources mention a Gabriel Splenyi* as the owner of the Splenyi husars, but here, Ján is adressed as baron) whose portrait was painted ca. 20 years after Mollwitz: https://www.webumenia.sk/dielo/SVK:GNZ.M_138

It was not uncommon for women to wear dresses that were inspired by the military. Baron Splenyi's wife gives a very nice example: https://www.webumenia.sk/dielo/SVK:GNZ.M_137

 

http://www.bildarchivaustria.at/Preview/7785115.jpg

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

May I ask if there is any trick to battle background images? I can't get them to work. Maybe it's because they're not stored in the iindividual project's folder, but in the editor's folders (StratEdit_Data/StreamingAssets/WAW/images/BattleBackgrounds)? Whenever I try to add one here, enable it in the editor and export my project, I get a totally white/blank background in the game. 

Also, are there any plans to properly rescale the battle backgrounds? All stock ones come in a size of 512x320 pixels, but are blown up in the game a lot to fit the resolution. It doesn't look pretty. I'd like to create some UI-comlumns in the background where all the battle info is located on the screen (top bar, side bars, center = dice UI), but scaling might interfere with that. 

Strategiae
Strategiae's picture

For the moment they are hard coded within the game and editor. Send me your level so I can check what is wrong with them

MiguelST
MiguelST's picture

Quite interesting work a many of the topics you talk here, like AI, supply system, etc...

Good work Butterblümchen!!

Herodote
Herodote's picture

Yes, can't wait to playtest this one...

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

A video in which I present some of the reflections I made while working on the scenario: 

(Timestamps for quick navigation are in the video's description)

https://youtu.be/P8bcKe3nEnc

 

Butterblümchen
Butterblümchen's picture

Link is fixed now. Sorry.

Strategiae
Strategiae's picture

Excellent video, wonderful analysis...bravo...some points mentionned earlier will be fixed in a soon-to-come version, such as fog of war, larger/flexible UI based on units in stack, etc....