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John DiFool

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  1. I had a long post about the naval war in SC2 (it's now a few pages back I'd say) which gave a role to sub hunter groups (headed by 1-2 CLs and the rest DDs). My Battle of the Atlantic [long] John DiFool
  2. As a followup to my post in the other thread, I have devised a quick and dirty method to help rein in the tendency to buy air units like crazy. Oil as a separate resource is the key. Each unit needs a certain amount of oil per turn when involved in combat operations: Non Mech ground unit...2 Sub....................3 Naval Unit.............4 Armor..................5 Air/Bomber.............6 Any unit at rest/port..1/3 of above rounded up [Argh why does the font change from the edit window to the post window?] So say in January 1940 Germany has an Oil income of 60 [with a reserve of 100]. They currently consume, if most units are involved in combat, 54 points of Oil per turn. The German player decides to buy 3 new Air Units in February, in preparation for the Western War. Those units now cost a whopping 18 Oil per turn during combat ops, which is unsustainable during a prolonged period of combat with France. The German would find himself running out of oil, and/ or forced to park or disband other units, unless he can find new sources of income [iIRC the Ploesti fields were tweaked as the war went on to pump out increased amounts of Oil, so you could simulate that somehow]. [Plus I would make it take 5 turns for those air units to show up, and not instantaneously like now] No muss, no fuss, possibly with some Unintended Consequences [which playtesting should reveal], but is much more satisfying than hard force pool limits. John DiFool
  3. I've know I've said this before, but static unit limits are rather boring. Why couldn't/didn't the Luftwaffe build a 10000 plane air force by 1942? [Frontline strength at that time was likely ~3000, no more than 4000 certainly] Simulating these "soft" limits is much more satisfying and allows for some strategy to overcome them to a certain extent. I see several main constraints, which can be abstracted to various extents: Resource shortages, with most metals going into tanks, rifles, guns, etc. Oil is a big problem too, with everyone wanting their share of the pie (and an air force requires a lot of the stuff, proportionately speaking]. Personnel constraints: training someone to fly a plane, and fly it well, equates to a huge invest- ment in time and money. You can't replace an elite force of crack flyers overnight [as Germany found out the hard way in 1944]. Same is true of technicians and mechanics. Logistic problems: keeping an air force going at peak efficiency, esp. far from home, is an arduous undertaking. I think Grigsby's War in Russia, whatever its other faults, handled this pretty well: once battle was joined again after a lull efficiency dropped like a rock and tended to stay down. All in all an effective air force cannot spring in being overnight: try what we do in SC1 and a real world air force would be flying around in Junk on Wings, with very raw recruits at the controls, more of a menace to themselves than to the enemy, and sucking resources at a ferocious rate from other areas of the armed forces. As for how to simulate such constraints without bogging the game down, I'll leave that to the likes of Edmund, who is so very good at that stuff. John DiFool
  4. HOW I WOULD RUN SC2'S NAVAL SYSTEM Basic combat system is similar to SC1's, except where noted. I won't get into too many nitty-gritty details about how the system works: this is more of an overview. The exact numbers to use are subject to playtest [such as the sub formation discussion below]. Units: Carrier: Consists of 1-2 fleet CVs*, 1 Naval Air Wing [see below], 2-4 CA/CL, and 6-10 DDs. Is highly effective against other surface units, isn't very effective attacking land units or subs, defense vs. air and subs is mediocre [ little worse than Battleships]. Is also FASTER than BB units. Can interdict supply or MPP routes IF Naval Air Wing is present. Naval Air Wing: Is basically a half-strength (5 hit points) air unit, which can only be based on Carriers [optional: can be based on land]. In other words, the air wing and the Carrier are considered separate entities which can stack, and the Air Wing will sortie to protect the ships when possible. Battleship: Consists of 1-2 BBs*, 2-4 CA/CL, and 5-9 DDs. Is most effective against other Battleship units, doesn't attack subs very well at all, defends vs. subs decently. Defense against air is decent. Can interdict. Sub Hunter/Escort Group: Consists of 0-2 CLs and 6-12 DDs, and possibly a CE too when air/ship techs are high enough. Note they would be probably the cheapest naval unit in the game. Is highly effective against subs, defends well against subs, but is vulnerable to other enemy naval units. Fastest naval unit: can fill one of two roles. [Optional: Can interdict shipping] Subs: Approximately 15 subs, give or take 5. Is most effective against MPP or supply convoys: attacks and defends against surface units a bit less well than it did in SC1, but tends to be harder to find than before [i.e. no more "Sub Dives!" stuff; rather, the sub is never seen in the first place]. Is not effective against other subs. Cheaper than in SC1 by about 50%. Transports: : Used to transport ground units across the water: can also be used for amphibious operations. Benefits to a limited extent from Shipbuilding and Radar techs. Units on board suffer supply and hit point losses if at sea for too long (more than 3 turns). Land-Based Air: [mentioned here because it can affect the sea war] Is effective against surface ships [Naval Air is a bit better, being specialized for the role] and other Air Units. Isn't very effective against subs until Radar tech starts taking effect [see below]. Can raid or interdict if a convoy route is within range. [i will leave the Bomber/Fighter/TacAir debate out of this] Techs affecting naval ops: Shipbuilding: Represents advances in ship engineering and construction: affects all surface units to one extent or another. However older units [who were built at a lower Shipbuilding tech level] only receive a limited benefit [in that a Nelson class BB can't be made equal to an Iowa class BB, no matter how extensive the overhauls]. "Gun-Laying Radar" is replaced by this tech. Sub Tech: Affects submarine operations only, making them harder to see and to sink, and increasing attack success against ships and convoys. A high level Sub would basically trump high level Radar, since the periscope/snorkel presents a poor radar signature. [Optional: for balance Shipbuilding tech impinges on Sub tech to a certain extent, thus you basically would need both at high levels to get those Type XXIs working before 1945] Sonar: Affects ability of surface ships to locate and sink subs. Radar: Affects ability of both surface ships AND aircraft to locate and sink subs [the latter benefit more]: also aids in ship vs. ship and ship vs. air combat. In part also represents radio-direction-finding equipment. Jet Tech: Affects effectiveness of all Air Units. Long-Range Air: With Jet Tech, affects range and effectiveness of Naval Air Units [note: Naval Air has a default +1 edge in range over Land-Based Air] MPP Convoy System: MPP Convoys exist to transport MPPs from areas separated from the home country's Capital by water. To create a convoy, go to the Convoy screen, and click on the origin port. Then click on the destination port: a line should appear on the map, skirting intervening land masses [Optional: let players draw their own routes, subject however to lost MPPs over a longer-than-necessary route due to wastage and attrition]. If a Raider is on or within 2 hexes of a convoy line [one hex for a route shorter than 6 hexes], and has been designated as Raiding, MPPs may be subject to loss. This is dependent on the location of the raider [best results if it is on the convoy line-of course it cannot know for sure that it is], the presence of Escorts, the hit points of the raider [lower=fewer MPPs lost], and all relevant techs. All naval units may Raid, except Transports [and optionally H/Es]. Sub Stances: A Sub unit may be designated to be in "Loose" formation: in this attitude the Sub will have more limited success against convoys, and somewhat less success when involved in combat with enemy units on-map. In exchange Subs are harder to find, and suffer less damage if they are involved in combat. This represents a Wolfpack which is spread out [some subs just now leaving port, others returning, etc.], isn't transmitting much, and is not prepared for concentrated operations against convoys. An individual sub however is still a danger, but a Wolfpack's concentrated fire tends to be more efficient... A Sub unit in Wolfpack mode is a tight closely coordinated group of Subs, being very effective against convoys. However, the success of the enemy researching the Radar tech will greatly cut down on the effectiveness of this Stance, perhaps making Loose the better option [which it may very well be if higher level Subs get made, like the Type XXI, which was designed to work alone]. [basically Radar tech includes RDF tech as well, which was the bane of Wolfpacks from 1943 on] Aircraft can interdict Convoy routes: simply click on the hex which you want to interdict [in actuality the plane will be considered to be patrolling in a 3 hex diameter around that center point, interdicting the "juiciest" hex in terms of MPPs or supplies-the plane's owner won't know this]. A Hunter/Escort unit may be designated as Escorting a Convoy. To do so, it must be located in the Origin or Destination port. A route has the capacity for 1 or more Escorts: MPPs of the route divided by 10, rounded UP: so a 25 point route may have up to three escorts, and the route doesn't receive optimal protection until that number of Escorts is on duty on that route. Both Escorts and Raiders may take damage: Raiders might take some minor attritional damage on routes with no Escorts. The main purpose of Escorts is to minimize MPP losses on the Convoy route, secondarily to damage the raiders. [in general, Hunter/Escorts should tend to sink more subs if they are free to Hunt on the convoy routes, but MPP losses will also be higher if H/Es aren't Escorting: quite a strategic dilemma!] [Optional: A raider has a chance of being spotted if it sinks convoys-or perhaps spotted with a one-hex margin of uncertainty] [Optional: BB and CV units can also escort, but are only really effective against non-sub raiders: they may be necessary if an enemy surface unit is the one doing the raiding] Supply Convoys: Supply Convoys are used to ship supplies to ground/air units operating on a separate land mass from the home country's Capital. They are drawn in the same manner as MPP Convoys: each route requires 10 MPPs per turn (including the first), and will support up to 5 units at a base supply level of 7. To support additional units, the route must be invested with additional MPPs (at a rate of +10), up to a maximum of 30 points. They can be Interdicted and Escorted in exactly the same manner as MPP Convoys, with losses affecting the supply level of the supported troops [either all suffer the same loss, from the HQ on down, or one or more units ends up with 0 supply]. Miscellaneous: The Atlantic will basically be about double its current size, and also extend more to the North and South. The US should have a S-N route running from the Carribbean to say New York, simulating the coastal convoys that got ravaged during the 1942 "happy time". Ships may be stacked in ports. [Optional: ships may stack at sea in Task Forces: no idea how this might change combat] Design notes: I want several things to happen here, with the primary emphasis on strategic choice. This system provides a wide range of options for both sides: the Axis can position their subs in a variety of locations depending on the convoys it wants to hit [Murmansk, US coast, Mid-Atlantic or South Atlantic British, etc.], can commit surface raiders if it wishes, can pump up the tech, or just say the heck with it altogether and focus somewhere else. But unlike SC1 the Atlantic should be a viable winning option for the Axis. For the Allies, it may get even more interesting. They have to decide whether to escort or to hunt, anticipate any German moves [if they assume no commitment by the Germans, and are wrong, it could get VERY costly], and try to close that Mid-Atlantic air gap. It may not be possible to cover all convoy routes, so a triage sort of approach may be needed [at least until the US comes in]-in the real war the British were critically short of escorts in the early going. In the end whoever wins the Tech War should prevail here. John DiFool
  5. I'll likely soon post my version of how I'd like the Battle of the Atlantic to be [hint: it WON'T have those abominable sea zones, which greatly over- simplify gameplay IMNSHO]. If it is a matter of computer resources [map size limits or the like], then yes I see how a Big Atlantic might be redundant, but otherwise to truly simulate what was going on there seazones suck. [And computer World in Flames will have them-let Hubert try something else instead!] I'll say this: if we have seazones in SC2 I'm not buying it. John DiFool
  6. I'd like to see some of you MP fiends try this in a game (and I'm not volunteering! ). John DiFool
  7. Just brainstorming here, but... I recall how Totaler Krieg did things: they had Event/Variant Cards which the players could play at certain points. In SC2 this could be done any of several ways: Out of (say) 20 Event Cards per side each player gets 5 (randomly), which he can then play at the appropriate moment (simple example being a German The-Japs-Get_Ornery No Siberian Transfer card). or Everyone gets all cards, each of which has a point value, some being worth more than others: you have 10 points to work with, so spend them wisely (i.e. the No S.T. might be worth ~3 points). Some cards would be definite two-edged swords (Totaler Krieg had a German Total War Footing card IIRC which, while allowing for increased production, also had some rather steep negative consequences too like early US entry or somesuch). I'll leave it to Edwin to devise specific examples. John DiFool
  8. Keep in mind that there are undoubtedly off-map ground and air units [like in the Midwest or California] which would come rapidly to the rescue if the East Coast was invaded. Plus Hubert doesn't model either a transport/LC fleet or supply routes across the ocean [subject to interdiction, natch]. The US is at a severe disadvantage because of the tiny chunk of coastline that represents American soil in the game. John DiFool
  9. I wonder what would happen if the Germans could [in MP games, natch] place their subs anywhere they wanted? I guess I'm getting tired of seeing AARs which always contain the same message around turn 3 or 4 of "Both German subs sunk." Allow them to be put anywhere, and things get a lot more interesting-can the Allied player afford to send his naval assets off into the South Atlantic for a multi-turn sub hunt [which may not ever pan out when it turns out they are lurking in the Baltic or Med] when his ships may be needed elsewhere? [Like to thwart an early Sea Lion] Yes you probably need to balance things a bit- extra MPPs for Britian are a start, or maybe an HQ. But it certainly would spice the early game up a bit and would be an improvement over the obligatory death of the 2 start-at-sea U boats. John DiFool
  10. Well in a "normal" (historical) game, that wouldn't make for a good game, but an option in the editor to allow countries to defect to the other side would be fine (and Hubert has hinted that the editor will have gobs more functionality than before). JD
  11. And probably should cost more too (maybe base 10 and + 0.25 MPPs per hex moved, rounded up). John DiFool
  12. It would be even more interesting to be able to make AIs and set them to battling each other-I think any such tournaments would be intense ("No you idiot! Don't send half the British Army to Egypt in late 1940!"). John DiFool
  13. The record of subs vs. CVs is much more impressive. This is just from the top of my head, but I think Britain lost about 4 CVs to subs, US about 2-3, and Japan almost a half dozen IIRC (Shinano, Taiho, and Shokaku for starters). Sorry JJ but letting subs have an anti-warship stance should be an option (even if it would ultimately be a poor decision to do so). John D
  14. Myself, I am drooling at the prospect of an authentic Battle of the Atlantic, since (for one reason) it has never really been treated properly in any previous game (if at all). You landlubbers have had operational and strategic ground games out the yin-yang during this era of computer wargames, but us swabbies usually get some tactical thing where CVs are an afterthought (or a very occasional War in the Pacific). I have no doubt that Hubert could create such if he put enough thought and effort into it, using some of the ideas we all have posted here (Edwin's idea of passive/aggressive settings is an elegant and effective case in point). [and NO seazones! I dislike needless abstractions. ] And all the nonsense posted about subs not being good vs. warships is silly, as any cursory look at the war record would reveal tons of warships sunk by subs. True, it is usually a target of opportunity, as opposed to a strategic initiative brought forth from the brass, but if a sub commander saw a juicy BB or CV in his scope and heading right towards him he would salivate at the prospect (and rightly so). One thing SC1 doesn't have is the ability to give units stances (passive/aggr., intercept/no inter., etc.). I'm hoping SC2 will have that, since it would give us immense flexibility. John DiFool
  15. I think a distinction must be made between making a technical breakthrough and IMPLEMENTING that technical breakthrough. For example, the technology for both improved subs and jet engines was on the boards for Germany in 1939. Despite that, said tech wasn't implemented until 1944-45. Yes the breakthroughs can come very quickly and unexpectedly, but in most cases you are extrapol- ating from known methods, which takes a certain amount of time. And then you have to get the technology into front-line units, where there will be further bug hunting until the tech is optimized. In other words, the "inspiration" can occur at any time, but that's just 1% of the battle: the "perspiration" (all the hard work to make the thing function as desired) is the other 99%, and is much more predictable. Hence I think a less random tech system is more reasonable than what we have now. I doubt for example that Germany could go from level 2 tanks to level 5 in less than 2 years (in the real war it probably took about that time to get Tigers working well in reasonable numbers, once the need for heavier tanks was made known), but in SC it often can happen in a flash. John DiFool
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