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Big Al, can you comment on the combat relationship for naval-air battles? IMO, SC Pac and GC both had bombers and TAC taking too much damage from warships. Now with the addition of the AAA tech slot, assuming you have that research parameter included in the surface force menu, are air forces able to damage naval assets to the degree they actually did in WW2 without a large damage return at the lower AAA tech level?

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naval warfare, especially air-naval, is a hard subject to tackle because there are so many variables. One one hand you have a handful of swordfish cripple the bismark without losing a plane. On the other you have 800 planes of the IJN attacking the USN in the marianas turkey shoot and didnt do that much damage.

Land based air attacking ships is powerful. When you compare the land based air to carrier based air its not even close. Sure carrier based pilots are better trained, made to navigate over water, and their planes are specifically built for naval air. A carrier with 75 pilots is deadly. Yet when ships get too close to shore 500 land based planes is deadlier despite the naval training. Another truth is that naval warfare, ship or air, is largely based on so many small factors that can exponentially change a battle to such a large degree that is seems like luck.

So enough of the history lesson. The best thing you can do in a game is set forth a system thats fair and balanced. Personally, I dont like the addition of the AAA value to all units. For naval units.... I think its fair. There was a difference between the IJN AA and the USN AA. The USA developed proximity AA shells that used radio to detonate near a plane. One of the largest problems for AA was trying to find the right altitude for aircraft. This was such a huge advantage the technology was kept secret for years. And the special ammo was only to be used in battles over the ocean where the enemy cant recover the shells and discover how it works. Oops more history.

So What I did was reduce AA max level to 3 and its modifier is 1/2 not 1. With naval air I modified it to 1/2 also but made the max level 4.

FTRs naval attack 1, CV attack 2

TACs naval attack 4, CV attack 4

STRs naval attack 2, CV attack 2

I thought this was reasonable.

BB general defense vs air 2

CV general defense vs air 2

So when dealing with the primary land based air to attack ships its 4 vs 2. Tech increases it slightly. Even with max AA and zero naval the defense for a ship is max 3.5 vs a 4 naval attack of a TAC.

Its a balance. Also the cost of ships to repair is higher than a TAC.

So there you have it.

BTW you just found a huge error in my scenario by asking a question and having me look up my stats. I imported BF1939 from the WW1 game and some units got swapped so the costs are wrong and some factors are slightly off for some reason. Now I gotta correct it.

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Thanks Al for taking the time to post a well thought out explanation. I have a little bit of difference of opinion but testing will be the key to iron out the reality of play. IMO, with naval-air being in its infancy at the time period of WW2, I would think that defense against land based air forces of the size represented in SC would mandate a player to immediately tech up his surface forces(being largely defenseless) due to the enormous potential losses from attack.

I guess the difference in yours and mine perspective is I see AAA technology as more of a doctrine instead of an ordinance issue, although the development of ordinance was important. I just believe that tactics, task force configuration, and the technique of usage would be better represented by the levels attained by research. In short, I want players to feel compelled, right away, to invest in AAA tech, not only if they own a large naval contingent, but also for the devastating ground attack possibilities that the "high ground" artillery represents.

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You are right too about what else goes into AAA and naval air defense. I just gave an example. Reality and hindsight are hard to balance in a wargame without it being exploited. The example I like to use is this one.

For me I would just give the USA more AAA defense and keep the Japs the way they are. But with the tech in the game I have to comprimise and include it.

If the allied only bombed German power plants via strategic bombing they would have shut down Germany in no time. You cant put that into the game since it is an absolute truth.

BTW one thing I forgot to mention is that towns have ZERO intrinsic AAA. You have to build it. everyone starts with tech one in AAA. I dont remember cities and capitals though. Im at work.

Now if I could only find a use for the Rail Gun in the game, Hmmmmmm.

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Playing along with GOLD, I have come to a relevation. SC needs to have a separate movement cost for motorized units that applies to terrain and weather effects. So regular units, that rely on foot and animal movement, pay a different cost for entering terrain than motorized units do.

It's totally unrealistic that a tank group could enter a mountain tile while an unmotorized army unit could not. Now in turn a unit that is motorized could leave its vehicles behind and occupy such an extreme terrain and thusly pay the consequence of losing some AP(s)(maybe combat power too), kind of complicated, right? So here's the deal, with all the slots open for additional unit types, it's time for SC to do away with the motorized research category and just have a build choice for mechanized/motorized units.

In addition, perhaps it's also time to allow an HQ to have the ability to attach a motorized pool to any one(or more) unit(s) within its command radius and if designated unit wishes to enter extreme terrain under inclement weather conditions(mud) then the motor pool returns to the HQ. The attachment takes a turn, the detachment does not. If a purchased unit wishes to enter "extreme" terrain, like motorized infantry, then that unit loses some of its AP status until the owning player moves it back into a condition where he could reattach/upgrade the unit with mobility at a cost of MPPs.

Obviously units of a nationality like America where everyone is motorized would have the ability to either attach motor pools or build units that have additional APs according to the designer's whim. Now..... on to the limitations.

We've all wanted oil to be a part of the historical limitation it always was with certain countries. So here's the deal, the amount of motorized/mechanized units able to move is dependent upon the number of oil resources under the possession of that owning country in the previous turn that has an efficiency rating > 50%. So now, if the enemy wishes to target oil resources then he will be able to severely limit the ability of his opponent to move his mobile units around.

This all might sound a little complicated, but actually it's not much of a change, the dual movement categories for terrain & weather being the big one. We already attach HQs, I always use manual mode, we already build and upgrade units, not to mention the research category, which will no longer be necessary, and lastly we have fuel limitations enter into the mix of strategical decision making.

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Playing along with GOLD, I have come to a relevation. SC needs to have a separate movement cost for motorized units that applies to terrain and weather effects. So regular units, that rely on foot and animal movement, pay a different cost for entering terrain than motorized units do.

It's totally unrealistic that a tank group could enter a mountain tile while an unmotorized army unit could not. Now in turn a unit that is motorized could leave its vehicles behind and occupy such an extreme terrain and thusly pay the consequence of losing some AP(s)(maybe combat power too), kind of complicated, right? So here's the deal, with all the slots open for additional unit types, it's time for SC to do away with the motorized research category and just have a build choice for mechanized/motorized units.

Funny, i just had the same thought only two days ago, even though from a different angle: jungle war.

Where there are no roads, motorized units are probably even SLOWER than foot based units.

I don't know the best solution here, you had some nice ideas, and there are probably other good ones around, too.

Maybe tank and motorized units could suffer from bad terrain like ships from bad weather?

Readiness levels could fall if a tank / motorized units ends its turn in a rough tile.

On the other hand, maybe all we need are a couple of new tiles, forbidding entrance to any tank and / or motorized unit? A tile where only infantry units without motorization

  • can get full supply
  • won't suffer a readiness loss
  • can move without extra movement costs
  • attack with a bonus against tanks or motorized units
  • get extra protection against tac air

So many ideas, and only one Hubert at hand to read, to decide and to programm. :eek::D:)

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Im sure Hubert has a huge list of suggestions for SC3. He has always adopted more and more realism and playability into his game. It will get there eventually.

My personal goal in the series, and I dont get paid for it, is to make sure I develope tactics and strategies for him for the ultimate AI.

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You know what? We need that switch unit feature for any occupied tile that a unit can move to in its turn, including force march distances. Let's face the fact that it just simulates the operational movement of one force pulling out and another one moving in, in the time frame of a SC turn.:)

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  • 1 month later...

Glad to see this thread is still going; I just picked up playing again a week ago and had a few thoughts to share, in no particular order. (Some of these may have been mentioned before, apologies if I missed them)

I. Restrictions on Naval Repairs

In Jan. '42, Saratoga took a torpedo which forced her back to the mainland for repairs. This took her out of action for several months and risked another submarine attack on her transit to the states could sink her. If she'd been repaired at Pearl, she might have been available for the battle of the Coral Sea or the battle of Midway, significantly changing the balance of power in those engagements.

Currently, if I have a ship whose strength is reduced to 1, I can sail her into any port (say, Wake with supply 5), and repair her to strength 8 in one turn. Given the facilities actually present at Wake (i.e., no drydock, lack of material or experienced shipwrights), this seems unrealistic. I see two possible modifications which could provide an interesting solution. One is the addition of a new rule that would only allow the repair of a ship if the port supply was greater than 10 minus the ship strength. Now my badly damaged ship of strength one needs to make it back to Pearl or the west coast for repairs, and could be intercepted by the enemy or encounter bad weather and sink on the way back. In addition, if a port my ship flees to is damaged by bombing, I'll be unable to repair my ship in that port until it recovers. Another possible change is to split ports into "regular" ports and drydocks, and requiring ships damaged beyond a extent to be repaired in a drydock (perhaps even over several turns) instead of a port.

II. Convoy Raiding

One of the principal damages of convoy raiding was not simply the loss of material, but the loss of shipping capacity. Next time the attacked convoy of ships moved goods, it would move fewer goods unless the sunk ships could be replaced. I think it would add an interesting dimension to the game if the throughput of a convoy route was reduced for several turns as the result of a raid, rather than just for the turn it was raided. Raiding these routes would be similar to strategic bombing of a production center, reducing a city's MPP production from 10 to 5 causes the city to underproduce by 15 MPPs over 5 turns. Likewise, a raid on a convoy route which destroys 5 MPP of shipping could reduce the throughput of that route for 5 MPP for several turns, until new ships are built to handle the cargo.

III. Economic vs. Military Manpower

Nations were often faced with problems in allocation of manpower: larger armed forces lead to a lower economic output to supply those armed forces. I've never come across a game which models this well, but I think it would make for an interesting dimension to the game if it could be implemented well. I'm not sure I have a good solution in mind, but I do think it's work putting some thought into. Options might include reducing MPP output for each manpower intensive unit created beyond N units, with a small 'restoration' rate to mimic young children 'coming of age' and becoming economically productive. This could be simulated using events, too; i.e. the Japanese could be given the option to mobilize their population for the defense of the homeland in the event of an American force landing on the home islands, giving them a number of free units, but at the cost of permanently reducing the MPP production of their cities. I could also see connecting MPP production to national morale, or to the number of units lost and rebuilt. It's complicated to do right in a simple, intuitive manner, but manpower allocation was one of the most critical strategic decisions a nation could make and would fit nicely into the game.

IV. Amphibious Limits

I've seen mentioned before the desire to limit the number of units which can be amphibiously transported each turn; I do think this is a good idea, as sealift capacity was a critical bottleneck in amphibious operations. I think the most efficient way to do this is to create a new unit, the 'amphibious landing ship'. Any land unit can be loaded onto this unit for an amphibious attack. This naturally limits amphibious attacks to the size of the sealift capacity you've decided to build, and having these units sunk means you have to rebuild them, reducing your ability to conduct seaborne operations for a time.

V. Barbarossa - Alternate Scenarios

The timing of Barbarossa ('41 vs. a later year) and the near capture of Moscow provide some interesting bifurcation points in WWII, and I think are some of the most important strategic decisions not modeled by the game. A scenario which can completely capture these turning points would be exciting to play, but a beast to make. More specifically, giving the player an option to start Barbarossa in either '41, '42, or '43 would add some interesting variety to the game play (I usually modify any scenario I'm playing so I can start Barbarossa in '42, if I so choose). This is arguably one of the biggest and most important strategic decisions of WWII, and giving a player the flexibility to make that decision would, I think, be a step forward. Another potentially 'game-changer' is the Russian reaction to the capture of Moscow. It would add an interesting dimension if the Russians could either surrender, offer a negotiated settlement, or continue fighting (at present I believe they always continue fighting). The probabilities of offering one of these options could be dependent upon the date at which is Moscow is captured; the sooner Moscow is captured, the larger the chance they surrender or offer a negotiated settlement. This provides a strategic opportunity to gamble on taking Moscow while ignoring other, more economically rich areas, with the hope that Russia will surrender; it may or may not pay off. It also provides the Russian player more incentive to hold on to Moscow (depending on how this is implemented with humans playing the Allies), as the fall of Moscow could lead to the surrender of Russia.

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We've all wanted oil to be a part of the historical limitation it always was with certain countries. So here's the deal, the amount of motorized/mechanized units able to move is dependent upon the number of oil resources under the possession of that owning country in the previous turn that has an efficiency rating > 50%. So now, if the enemy wishes to target oil resources then he will be able to severely limit the ability of his opponent to move his mobile units around.

Sounds like a good idea as you move units you use up oil points, possibly even 1 point per tile and 1 point per attack, giving players room for conservation. I would think air and naval units would use less, possibly 1 point for a complete move and 1 for a combat action. Infantry units might get a non-mech free move and all movement beyond that cost oil points. It would definatly add to the depth of play and could possibly be turned on or off for those who dont like it.

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Hello there :) ,

Not sure where to post that so excuse me if I'm wrong.

When reading the expansion notes for ground attack aircrafts (tac bombers), I found that they're not supposed to deentrench anymore at level tech 0:

view.php?img=19022134ground-attack-aircraft-deentrenchb.jpg

However when looking stats ingame (World at war 1939 SCgold) it looks like that tac bombers can still deentrench 2 by turn + 0,5 by tech level:

view.php?img=19022137ground-attack-aircraft-deentrench-2b.jpg

Hope it helps :) .

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

This comment is a reply to a post made by Yuvuphys. As it was a few posts back I have extracted the issue and repeat it here:

Convoy Raiding

One of the principal damages of convoy raiding was not simply the loss of material, but the loss of shipping capacity. Next time the attacked convoy of ships moved goods, it would move fewer goods unless the sunk ships could be replaced. I think it would add an interesting dimension to the game if the throughput of a convoy route was reduced for several turns as the result of a raid, rather than just for the turn it was raided. Raiding these routes would be similar to strategic bombing of a production center, reducing a city's MPP production from 10 to 5 causes the city to underproduce by 15 MPPs over 5 turns. Likewise, a raid on a convoy route which destroys 5 MPP of shipping could reduce the throughput of that route for 5 MPP for several turns, until new ships are built to handle the cargo.

It is entirely right that Doenitz strategy was based on the tonnage war but a key element of that was that it did not matter to him where he sank ships so long as the Allies' overall carrying capacity was reduced. So when it was easy to sink ships on the US Eastern seaboard he sent his ships there, after they very belatedly introduced convoys he moved his ships to the Carribean and so on. Thus your solution to penalise a particular route is not really appropriate and the Allied player needs to be faced with a realistic cost that initially at least is much larger than the Axis investment in U Boats.

In 1942 U Boats typically sank 100 ships per month with an average displacement of 5,000 tons per ship. The cost of constructing a Liberty ship was just under $2m and that compares to an Iowa BB at getting on for $80m so the replacement cost for 100 merchant ships was equivalent to at least two Battleships per month! If you reckon that a BB unit in SC equates to two real ones then the monthly cost to the Allies of U Boat merchant ship sinkings should be 400 or so MPP's. Clearly this is a huge cost and no way equates to the sort of convoy values used in the game. One solution I am thinking about is to create a series of Decision Events for the Allied player that requires them to pay an escalating amount to continue to run convoys and the amount in a 1942 scenario might start at 400 and increase depending on the U Boat activity on the convoy lanes. This would not necessarily require any new coding by Hubert and his people as I think it can be done with current facilities for Decision Events. They would be triggered by checking how many U Boats had been sitting on various squares along the major convoy routes. However, if it was possible for Hubert to cause this information to be available to scenario designers somehow via the convoy routines it might save a lot of work.

Clearly the Allied player's MPPs would have to be adjusted up to allow them to even consider paying these large amounts. You might then ask why would they not suspend the convoys? If convoys, as they do now, just related to MPP transfer then clearly it would be a no brainer. However, convoys to the UK were typically carrying a wide range of goods. A broad brush estimate might be 25% food, 25% POL (petrol oil lubricants), 25% items to assist industry including the manufacture of weapons etc (i.e MPPs) and 25% military supplies such as shells and bombs. If the player took a decision to suspend or cutback convoys then there would be 3 potential penalties first reduced food supplies would lower national morale, reduced POL should result in supply penalties for both the bomber offensive on Germany (it took two tons of POL to deliver 1 ton of bombs) and the ability of UK ports to support Allied navies and cutbacks on military supplies should lower the readiness of Allied units located in the UK, compromising the possibility of D Day or even allowing an Axis crossing the other way!

The main additional source of Allied MPPs could be provided by uprating the importance of oil. Clearly the Axis player would also potentially benefit from this so I would have to devise a suitable cost penalty for them to match their added oil or materiel consumption as they push deeper into Russia or other axes of advance. The increased importance of oil would help encourage the Axis to try to sieze the Soviet or Middle East wells.

The Japanese were of course in a similar situation to the UK with respect to oil and food imports so the scenario in the Far East is almost a mirror image of that in the Atlantic. Even the Soviets were dependent on the West for high octane petrol and food and their transportation depended on both Western trucks and railway engines and carriages so a suspension/reduction of convoys would also have an impact on their supply net. Ships sent to the SU had to return even if they were empty to be used again so the SU could also be required to run convoys with some level of mandatory charges and associated supply penalties.

I have a lot more work to do to understand what the various values might be but I expect that a key aspect will be to give countries such as the UK, Japan and Germany a starting pool of MPP's equating to the sorts of stockpiles that they actually had e.g. Japan started with 6 months of oil stocks, the UK started with 17m tons of merchant shipping, Germany captured a stock of oil after the fall of France that helped fuel Barbarossa. Players would need to realise that they would be facing a quarterly MPP bill that might escalate so they should not splurge all their MPPs on new units.

Adding a "supply" dimension to SC could give the game more depth but the trick will be not to change too much of its beautiful simplicity. I think adding a relatively small number of decisions about convoys every 3 months ought not to be too onerous for players. Unfortunately to keep the game simple for the user might mean a load of work for the scenario designer. I can just about see how it might be possible to keep a broad brush tally of submarine activity also a track of the Axis advance over the course of a 3 month time interval. Both would require a series of inter-related Events but making it happen without introducing any errors or anomalies might be quite tricky given the number of locations that might have to be monitored.

Has anybody ever proposed a scenario designers' cooperative to share this sort of workload?!

Regards

Mike

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  • 1 month later...

I have been thinking about the future for Strategic Command and how Hubert and his colleagues can derive some further return on previous and future investments in the series.

There are probably some useful tweaks that can be made to the current facilities but it might be hard to persuade existing users and potential future purchasers to spend additional money on relatively minor changes. One area where there might be some potential, although it would not appeal to all current users, would be to provide an add-on that offered a significant level of additional detail with respect to how units are made up. One of my all time favourite war games was Gary Grigsby's War in Russia. Rather like Strategic Command that had Corps as the main unit that the player deployed, however, the player was allowed to adjust the individual components that made up the Corps and this changed its strength and capability. Gary Grigsby used the same type of approach with War in the Pacific where the main unit was the Task Force (TF) but each TF was made up of specific individual ships whose capabilities and damage were individually tracked. TFs could split up into smaller individual TFs so, for example, damaged ships could be sent home whilst the remainder continued to operate and new TFs could be formed from the pool of ships present in a port.

My concept for this development of Strategic Command is that the main engine would be largely unaltered (but see below), however, an additional series of routines would allow players to track divisions and ships and move them between Armies and Corps and Maritime Units thus adjusting their strengths and capabilities. The bulk of the effort would be in coding the divisional and ship tracking feature, which might be sold as a bolt on, but it would require some changes to the basic engine. This would be to allow units such as armies to spin off some of their strength either to other existing units or to create new smaller units; also two or more units should be allowed to amalgamate either to gain strength or to change into a larger type. Thus an army might need to be able to become 2 x Corps units or two weakened special forces units might merge to become one stronger unit or one severely weakened unit might seek refuge by amalgamating with another larger nearby unit.

Players who prefer a more straightforward game would probably enjoy a new facility in the standard game to split units and they would still be able to reinforce in the current way or by amalgamation. Players who might be interested in playing a more sophisticated game would purchase the bolt on facility that would enable them to choose, for example, to provide elite reinforcements to their Tank Group by purchasing or transferring the 12th SS Panzer Division into it.

I have been spending time recently creating a scenario with naval units that are customised to individual country’s actual ships and capabilities. I have been pleasantly surprised at the level of differentiation that the current facilities already offer. Thus Italian ships were typically faster than their Royal Navy equivalents and their strategic concept was to maintain their fleet in being and only fight when they had a clear advantage. This can be modelled by giving the Italian ships a higher rating for defensive evasion (I am using 15%). Japanese heavy cruisers typically had very powerful banks of long lance torpedoes in addition to their 8” guns. I am modelling this by giving IJN cruiser units 2 strikes whilst Allied cruisers only have one. Allied warships typically had effective radar both for detection and gunnery much earlier than their adversaries and this can be modelled by giving them a higher offensive evasion factor (think of the Italian Cruisers surprised and destroyed without firing a shot in a radar assisted night attack at Cape Matapan). I am using these examples to illustrate that there is plenty of scope for customising TFs within the current facilities and I have effectively already been creating TFs in the way I am proposing albeit manually in the editor.

I hope that all players would think an ability to split or amalgamate units might be useful enhancement and that Hubert might see some revenue potential in my proposed add-on.

Regards

Mike

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Good suggestions, what we really need is the function of combining designed units into groups for easier movement to objectives/theaters(less player management) and then breakdown into task groups for acquiring said objectives.

Less is more!:)

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  • 7 months later...

We need a new calculation for morale and readiness not dependent upon strength. As sometimes designers distribute formations that are smaller than corps throughout minor countries, these forces shouldn't lose M & R just because they are understrength. It's bad enough that they see decreasing M & R from low supply.

The loss of M & R should be as a result of combat losses, but it should not be a requirement to reinforce them to regain M & R or further decreases shouldn't be a consequence of not issuing replacements to understrength units.

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