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Big Al

Brute Force - FEEDBACK please

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I'll say! I'm just getting to the winter of 41 and the Axis AI has level 3 tanks and fighters and multitudes of units. I think I counted, what I could see, maybe 30 armies in USSR with countless air units in support.

Al, it takes a long time for the AI to complete its turn and I'm thinking it must be because of the many units it has to manage. Just food for thought, think about why the new Breakthrough, Russian Civil War looks so appealing? It is low unit density. Who wants to push around a bunch of units, it's tiresome, nagging monotony and detracts from gameplay.

Now if we could just get Hubert and Bill to design in multiple functions for the new SC3 units we could cut this problem, especially with smaller maps, but I beseach current scenario designers. Give your units multiple functionality and cut down on the build limits, the game is a faster pace and much more appealing.

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Just very generic feedback...

I am playing against the Axis, current time in game is Winter '41. Experience (+.05, computer)

Russia is really skating on thin ice. Germany surprised me a bit. I did my usual by massing units around Leningrad, Moscow, and a jagged line extending to the cities that connect the dot to Stalingrad.

So, the spring of '41 goes as expected with Germany gaining ground rapidly but at the 'usual pace'. They move to solidify their gains in summer and then I hit back with some tanks and air power in the summer.

Well, fall rolls around and to my amazement there are a huge amount of German reserve armies that just absolutely demolished by spearhead west of Leningrad.

I lost 2 HQs, 2 tank corps, 2 armies, 2 corps., 1 air wing.

In other places...

N. Africa is littered with the Union Jack over all cities, including Tripoli. I was very surprised how 'easy' this fight was in Brute Force.

I was more surprised how tough the fight was in E. Africa. The A.I. put up a great fight.

In Burma, Malaysia, Siam, Singapore, you get it... the British have expelled the Japanese forces...already. I think this may have been 'gamey' by me but I shipped a bunch of troops from N. Africa (after their swift victories) and England to reinforce India. I pushed like mad when Burma went allied. I already have boots on the ground in the Netherland East Indies and Borneo. (The Japanese never landed at Borneo?)

The U.S. entered the war in Sept. of '41, no influence chits used.

China could have went either way in early '41 with Japan pushing hard in the middle (they took the cities of Sian, Chang-chow.) However, once they redeployed some forces to French-Indio-China-Burma, the theater is, at best, a stalemate, or leans China.

So, I'm enjoyed Brute Force, and actually respectfully disagree with SeaMonkey regarding the number of units and longer A.I. turns. I'm fine with it and I think the number of units on the screen nicely adds some 'scale' to the game.

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The number of units is taste. Brute Force is my baby so I build it to my pleasure. BF is a form of World in Flames board games but it takes from many games.

The A.I. is a continuous work in progress. The ultimate goal is to get a better one for SC3 with hexes.

What I need from players is to look for patterns of where the A.I. majorly fails.

Africa is hard for A.I. as is pacific. I try not to give them extra units to beef them up but sometimes its far easier to abstract it in then ship it. Also uses less A.I. thinking time.

But if you feel the # of pieces is too much just go in the editor and reduce them down per nation. Then save is as "Brute Force 1939 Light".

So send me PMs of date, side, what your strategy was and what the A.I. was.

For SC3 I will try and make 2 version... More units and less.

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I understand that my limited gametime allotment has me biased to a quicker gameplay, even playing PBEM the rerun of my opponent's turn seems to be inordinantly long.

Here's one thing I've noticed in USSR where many Axis units exist. The AI never is of want for units with decent strength, moral and readiness as it can take many units out of the line to replenish and still keep the pressure up. The imbalance seems, and it's still early, that the USSR will never be able to bleed the Axis forces to a point where the tide will turn. I'm playing intermediate +1 exp and I did opt for the early USA entry instead of the "Great Patriot War" so MPPs are lacking.

That may have been a mistake!

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Actually Al, to compliment the A.I. in Op. Barbosa; they have done a good job. They didn't extend their gains too far into the motherland where I would easily destroy two or three stray armies out of supply. They pushed past a recently taken city but it seemed the A.I. did this only to ensure there was some type of unit occupying the next city. If not the A.I. could have rightly "marched right in". The A.I. would then move North or South, depending on, what seemed like, it's most favorable opportunity cost.

I see units that regularly rotate out to replenish strength and upgrade, as tech becomes available. So the A.I. seems very reasoned in this theater.

What I "liked" about the A.I. in East Africa was... while my force was 3 times the size of the Italians stationed there... they kept probing Sudan hard. So I could never really go on the offensive. As soon as I would march two armies toward the Italian held territory... another Italian Corps would pop up. It was like Cat and Mouse and I could never fully identify all the Italian strength there.

I have no idea what goes on in programming the A.I.... not a clue.... but if you could make the "less important" theaters on the map, more like E. Africa, I think you would be heading in the right direction.

I realize it's all subjective but given my statement above... I think this is what playing the computer is all about. And it really makes decisions very tough for the player. I.E.- As an Allied Player mulls..."Should I reinforce N. Africa/ Burma/ E. Africa... or prepare for Sea Lion?"

I poured quite a bit of resource into E. Africa just to make sure I could hold my towns and still go on the offensive for the morale hit to Italy.

In S.E. Asia, I can see how the A.I. could be difficult to program. And fighting Japan... I never get the sense of how the U.S. felt. The U.S. was clearly on it's heals through '42... even though there were some minor offensives in the Solomons and the big sea victory at Midway. But I don't think those events necessarily changed the nations mind or gave the commanders any more comfort. There was still the entire South Pacific out there occupied by the Japanese.

I don't think how the map is arranged now (for the Pacific) that it give room enough to really make the choices hard for the U.S. It seems to me the map would also make programming the Japanese A.I. even more difficult.

As the U.S., I simply mass ships and aircraft at HI and go for two or three island chains and then hammer the home islands in '44.

The sea battles also seem a bit lacking as any land based aircraft spot the movement of ships. And (again) with the Pacific map seeming so small... it doesn't give me the cat & mouse thrill I'm looking for.

And the Japanese A.I. seems to split their carries quite often?

Sorry, I'm off my horse now.

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Basically how the A.I. works is that I program its strategic objectives and alot it resources. The fuzzy logic does the rest. Programming Germany is not too hard, programming Japan is very hard.

On top of all that is balance. Once I get this game system balanced for human vs human it will be easier to program for A.I. vs A.I. because a human will do things the A.I. wont and take advantages of certain things.

The allies should really hit hard in 1944. I mean really hard. As for your USA strategy, well thats how its done :) Really there is no other way. Take islands, move forward, take islands, move forward.

Jap Air A.I. is tough for naval assist. I tried my best to have it put planes on islands. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt and the same goes for the fleet.

SC3 wil make things easier for the A.I. with hexes.

And toward Seamonkey... yea the patriotic war is there depending but if there is a 41 barb I would 100% take it.

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There was and I didn't! Being a SC veteran, or so I thought, I felt there was no AI that could humble me, no matter the settings, so I needed to find out.

So, now being a stepchild to the AI, I see that the USA early entrance was pretty pathetic as their MPP escalation has failed to appear as I had hoped. Coupled with a forward Red Army defense, the AI has just about neutered me in Russia. Recovery seems hopeless as the Axis advance continues in all conditions, high teched unit spearheads penetrating effortlessly and squashing any ability to maneuver.

One thing I am kind of finding distasteful, and this is for all versions, all campaigns, I have played, the air units put up way to tough of a defense. I'm thinking they should be easily overrun with one or two attacks, but more than likely they will stifle any advance, especially when entrenched and possessing experience, not to mention prevailing weather conditions.

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Just a quick update on my current game...again, I'm playing as the Allies, computer +.05 in experience.

Russia- the Germans are camped outside of Moscow. I've got a decent force around Moscow and Leningrad but that's really about it. I have some rear-guard units in the form of an army and a few corps to the SW, S, & W, stationed at various cities. They are proving an annoyance to the German advace... well maybe not an annoyance but a diversion. At one town/city on the Black Sea (can't remember the name), there are about 5 German Corps, 5 Mechanized divisions, and a few Armys (I fould this weird because they couldn't use them all in the attack). I have a sole army holding them all back.

In order to 'bail out' Russia, I had to make some drastic decisions. I had to get some heat off them and in order to do that I had to launch some premature invasions in Italy and France.

I tried to draw out what was left of the Italian fleet in the Med. All I found were some subs. So then I moved a British fighter wing to Malta and took a HQ and an British Engineer and Army on a amphibious journey to the Southern Italian coast. The landings went well and I took the two cities at the toe-end of the boot. (Italy has quite a few HQs and units in Russia...all I've encounterd for the most part is garrisons in Italy? Should this be normal Big Al?)

Also I dumped a few token British units into Normandy because none of the cities across the channel were occupied by the Italian/German held France.

After a few turns I've noticed I've attracted some units to Normandy and Italy. And maybe some from the Eastern Front have departed; it seems so.

I think it's Oct. '42.

In the Pacific. I've liberated the NEI. The French-Indio-China-Burma theatre is all but wrapped up.

Japan has sortied three carriers and two battleships to pound my land based bomber groups on the Australian Northern and Northwestern coasts? Interesting. Not sure what for? Almost seems like the A.I. feels like there's "nothing else for them to do..."

I've sent 3 U.S. battleships from HI to Australia to pick off some of the Japanese Navy... this the U.S. first active sortie into Japanese held waters.

Another note on the U.S., Italy will be the first front where 'merican boots are on enemy soil (reinforcing the British forces in S. Italy).

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All seems right with what you are talking about. But the reports help me to spot weak points and where I need to change things. I read every single post.

So I appreciate all the information even if it seems repeated. If I see a pattern of "the Russian A.I. is tough" then I know its right for example.

I actually did learn something from the above.

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More updates... it is Jan. '43 in my game vs. the Axis (computer +.5 exp.)

Russia-

The Soviets barely made it through the Fall of '42. Winter didn't show up until Jan. of '43. It was great weather for the hordes of the Axis force. I had HQ's filling gaps in the line to the South and East of Moscow.

My landings in Italy seems to have brought some German and Italian forces from the Eastern Front. A German Fighter wing and dive bomber wing showed up (at then end of last turn) along with an Italian Fighter wing.

My small front at Cherbourgh (spelling?) and Breast on the Normandy coast of France are hanging in there. At first there wasn't really much attention paid to it by the Axis ( a few German corps and some garrisons were all that were around.) Now, there's two tank divisions and a German army or two.

So I would say that it's draining marginal units from the Eastern Front but as of last turn the Germans seem to be positioning for the final thrust into Moscow. The German and Italian forces are in a two-deep line extending from Leningrad to the Caspian Sea. It sure looks desperate for the Soviets.

I finally readjusted the convoys and increased the aid from the U.S.to England to max which there by increases the MPPs to the Soviets. U.S. is shipping 300MPPs a turn (I think that # is correct) to the British.

Germans have inantry level 3 and tank level 2. Not sure on the fighters and dive bombers... I haven't been close enough. My Soviet air arm is well behind Moscow because A.) I need my HQ's providing leadership to land forces, not air arms and B.) They just get in the way of defensive positioning C.) they are easy bait for land forces. So they still in range of Moscow and Leningrad to make the Germans/Italians pay for their flights over the cities.

Italy-

I've done well here. The combined forces of the U.S. and England are marching to Rome quite quickly. Italian NM is down to zero and has been for about 5 turns... I'm hoping they will eventually just surrender before I have to fight all the way to Rome. It would really really help in Russia.

Originally I only saw garrisons here. As reported above, there are now German and Italian armies with air power. No Axis HQs though?

China-

The Chinese have broken out and taken all their originally held (at the start of Brute Force) cities and some more to the North. China might still be too strong for Human vs. A.I. I don't think China should be breaking out in late '42 or ever perhaps.

Japan- Their sortie near Australia seemed to me that the A.I. expected some landings by the Allies in and near the Solomons, Guadacanal, etc...

that's all for now.

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I have this weird problem were Italy surrenders after allied landings but then gets liberated by the Germans. Not sure how to prevent this.

I might just have to give units to Japan for China. I hear a lot of players just simply kicking its ass there.

FYI 1940 France is officially balanced for Human vs Human in BF. It took a while to do so. On average France should fall by June 1940 if both sides played right. Earliest May, latest August. Leaves plenty of room for Axis to do something.

Russia is our next test. I think thats balanced but we will test HvH.

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More updates...

Aug. '43

Russia- Just when I think the German forces have reached their high-water mark in Soviet country; I keep seeing more reinforcements brought in. Sure, I might have seen some enemy units move to the western front but as soon as they leave, more show up to replace them in Russia.

I think the Eastern Front seems balanced. No complaints here. Strategically the A.I. has done a good job. After their initial push, they flanked to the South, then the SE, and then North. Moscow and Leningrad are basically surrounded. I am still holding the mines in the Urals but they are cut off from Moscow/Leningrad.

One item of note- Al, I see a bunch of mechanized German (or German minor) units that just "float" around. They are always behind other units and never seem to attack?

France-

I think in my game, France was done by Aug. '40. But now in Aug. '43 I've retaken it. It was fairly easy. There are quite a few German forces but they didn't cover Paris well? They seemed more concerned with Belgium (I dropped a British para-troop division on it because a city was open.

Italy-

Surrended two turns ago. I fought through the waves of Italian and German corps and garrisons. Germany (and it's minors) have 10 armies guarding the southern border of Germany.

Japan-

China keeps advancing in Manchuria. I'm two squares away from the capital. Just reinforcing and replenishing my armies.

*I was wrong on the last MPP convoy dump from the U.S. to England... it averages about 150MPP*

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Played another round of BF against the AI. This time as Allies, +1 bonus to the Axis.

This time the AI did even worse. Italy was out of the game in early 1943, and Germany surrendered later that year. I futzed around for about another year setting up the assault on Japan, and they went down in late 1944.

The first phases of the game were fairly predictable. For the attack on Russia, I pulled all my 'good' units (all aircraft, all tanks, all armies, most HQs) back to the Smolensk gap, and built a couple of fortifications there as well. The rest of Russia was held - if that's the right word - but endlessly rebuilt corps units. The German attack went pretty well, until they hit the Smolensk roadblock. That turned into a very long drawn out battle of attrition, and they never broke through there. I was able to, every turn, destroy some Panzer units, and some infantry as well. They kept advancing on the flanks - getting right down into the Caucasus and around to Voronezh and the outskirts of Tambov. But as more burly forces came on line I was able to gradually build up secondary strong points around cities, and eventually link them up. The key, though, was that I never tried to maintain a continuous line early on, instead holding on in a few key locations.

But the real turning point was when I noticed that Cherbourg wasn't garrisoned. I swooped down on that, and promptly opened up the second front about a year after the French surrendered. That took a ton of pressure off the Russians as the AI transferred the bulk of it's forces back to the west, eventually building up a line three units deep ... even as the Russians were overrunning the Ukraine and Romania.

The Pacific was pretty ho-hum. The Chinese wiped the floor in their AO, and the British were dominant in Burma.

I'm assuming I did better in this one than when I played as Axis, even though the Axis AI in this game had the +1 bonus, because the AI finds it hard to set the pace. THe first half of the war should be subtitled The Axis Powers Run Rampant, but if the Axis screws that up at all, then the Allies have a pretty easy road back (which is as it should be).

In this game, too, my big countries had run out of things to buy and build - it seems like there's just too many purchase points available. What's the thinking with the mid-winter bonuses? It's super nice to have a swag of points to spend, but I can't really fathom any justification for it (if anything, points available should dip in mid-winter).

Overall, while I like a lot of the ideas embedded in BF, it seems like the AI can't cope, as either Allied or Axis.

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