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Napoléon I 1805 - 1815 ToTPP and Lua scenario updated to v1.3

Discussion in 'Civ2 - Scenario League' started by tootall_2012, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. JPetroski

    JPetroski Deity

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    I'm not sure that attacks per turn is functioning correctly. While l haven't encountered the bug where a unit can't attack at all, I've had trouble getting units to attack more than once per turn in Over the Reich.
     
  2. tootall_2012

    tootall_2012 King

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    Ah, okay. I was under the impression it had been fixed.
     
  3. techumseh

    techumseh Emperor SLeague Staff

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    Re-read what I said about my attack on "Munchen" in my earlier game. Or Innsbruck in another. The decision to make Charles a powerful defensive unit is either a game ending placement or a cakewalk, depending on random chance. You ask if this is "a show stopper". The answer is yes.
     
  4. JPetroski

    JPetroski Deity

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    I'd agree with Tech. I get what you're saying about wanting other generals to be able to entrench to present the player with difficult tactical situations. That is probably fine later in the game, after the player has made a number of choices such as building so many artillery and deploying them in such and such a place. Running into such a general then would be bad scouting on the player's part.

    Early game, however, you get what you get for artillery, and you're expected to defeat Austria quickly or else you have to fight them plus a considerable Prussian Offensive.

    I don't think it's a bad thing to give the new player an easier time in the first 6 turns.
     
  5. tootall_2012

    tootall_2012 King

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    If there is this consensus amongst you, in this particular case, I could remove Charles from the opening war of the Third Coalition altogether and replace him with extra Austrian units instead. This would certainly prevent any player with having to deal with an unfavourable initial start.
     
  6. JPetroski

    JPetroski Deity

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    He is killable enough outside of a city--yes he can do some damage but the loss of units isn't the issue--the inability to defeat Austria in a reasonable amount of time so that you aren't fighting them plus Prussia (it took you 3 turns to do so or half of what you allot, generally, for the 3rd coalition war, after a).

    I'd keep him but just try changing his role to see if it gets him actively trying to beat you rather than turtling.
     
  7. techumseh

    techumseh Emperor SLeague Staff

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    JPetroski wrote:
    I agree.

    You could also add some fortresses to provide more challenges to the French player. I quite enjoyed the siege I had to conduct against Trieste in one of my games as I tried to get my artillery south to Venice before the Prussians declared war. It was just about right in terms of the size of the besieging force needed and the time it took (2 turns). There are comparatively few fortresses in the scenario. Ulm was a fortress, and Prague and Vienna contained fortresses as well. Prussia also had a number of fortresses.

    I also suspect that other defensive-role generals with the same stats as Charles (Schwarzenburg and Blucher) may create similar situations, but I haven't got that far yet.
     
  8. tootall_2012

    tootall_2012 King

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    BTW Tech, I want to let you know I wasn't questioning your generalship abilities, simply that I hadn't encountered your situation during testing. As designers know its just not possible to foresee all the possible turn of events that the different players may come across.

    With regards changing Charles role, it's been a while since I tested this, but as I recall all the Coalition leaders originally had the attack role rather than the current defensive one. But if I remember, I didn't like the results because the leaders would too often be exposed and easy to kill. After much testing I reverted to the defensive role whereby the leaders adopted are more balanced defensive/attacking approach, which I found made dealing with them much more interesting and nuanced, i.e. you could never be sure how they would react from one situation to another.
     
  9. techumseh

    techumseh Emperor SLeague Staff

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    Thank you for clarifying that.

    I agree that neither the '0' or '1' role ensures perfect behavior for a leader unit. Neither does the '3' role, but it does make the unit both mobile and somewhat aggressive, but avoids reckless attacks, unlike the '0' role. Anyway, in the 4 games I've played, Charles has acted consistently, parking himself in a city (Munich, Venice and Innsbruck so far) and staying there, resisting all attempts to remove him. When I found him in Innsbruck, I simply by-passed him and quickly defeated Austria and Kutuzov's army, perhaps a bit too easily. Again, a few more fortresses would improve Austria's defenses in a realistic way.

    Another possibility is to make him an offensive General and add him to the Emperor's reserve event. Btw, do you use 'moveunit' events in this scenario?
     
  10. tootall_2012

    tootall_2012 King

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    If I may reiterate, I believe it’s important for players to play a full game to get the full experience. As you may imagine a lot of time was spent on testing play balance.

    I'm not saying by any means that the scenario is perfect or that there aren’t any modifications that could improve it, but simply that it’s a long game and that players should have the overall view before I believe I should undertake any substantial changes. For example, there might only be 12 Coalition leaders overall but they are by far the most powerful allied units and, on occasion, can wreck havoc on your plans, and changing something seemingly as simple as their role could have unintended consequences on the long term play balance.

    All the same, please keep sending your suggestions, as I’m taking note of all of them. It can take a lot of time to test new changes, especially when play balance is in question, so I want to be certain I gather as much feedback as possible before proceeding.

    Yes, I’m using MoveToCommands quite extensively in the game (see lines 4185 to 4443 in the event file). To be honest I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the AI seemed to follow the instructions, though there might still be room for a few extra such commands.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
  11. techumseh

    techumseh Emperor SLeague Staff

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    I'm up to January 1808, having finished off Prussians and made peace with the Russians. The conclusion of the campaign involving the siege of Danzig and Konigsberg was quite interesting, and both Bagration and Blucher were sent to their final reward (re-incarnation, apparently). In the meantime, I've been building up an army at Bayonne, which is now moving into Spain as per the scenario direction. Marshal Lannes has been dispatched from Italy to command it. A most excellent scenario so far. I have the Royal Navy loss score at 14 (vs. 8 for the French), but I can't seem to find that last British ship to sink!

    I have a question and a request. Question: Can you do anything about roaming Russians? After forcing a treaty on Austria, Russian units kept moving through Austrian territory and attacking me in Germany and Italy. Nothing so serious that I had to resort to desperate measures, but an annoying attrition. Historically, the Russians had to withdraw back to Poland when Austria sued for peace, and this would have been a non-negotiable item for the French in any treaty. Now, having defeated Prussia and made a treaty with Russia, I find various Russian units (including the reincarnated Kutusov) roaming around Poland, doing who knows what to the peasants. Maybe the Lua equivalent of a MoveUnit command to send them back to Mother Russia?

    Suggestion: The terms of treaties are contained in the pop-ups at the time. After the Treaty of Tilsit, there are Prussian cities to be evacuated and unit limits for a Spanish expeditionary force to invade Portugal. Having a bad memory, I wonder if these could be listed in the Readme for reference. Also things like what cities need to be captured to create the Confederation of the Rhine, and so on.

    Being quite familiar with the history of the Napoleonic Wars, and realizing that the designer is very faithful to that history, I have some idea what is on the Austrian Kaiser's mind. He will not find Napoleon and La Grande Armee sleeping as 1808 flows on.
     
  12. techumseh

    techumseh Emperor SLeague Staff

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    A couple of minor points arising from the Prussian campaign: Kustrin should probably be one of the cities that reverts to Prussian control. And it's Stralsund, not Straslund. Also, have you considered adding the Prussian city of Magdeburg? It was the main Prussian fortress in the west and played a considerable role in this and the 1813 campaign.
     
  13. tootall_2012

    tootall_2012 King

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    How have you found the behavior of the Coalition leaders this time. As I mentioned, from one scenario to another, they have reacted differently. Sometimes they take a defensive posture and on others a more aggressive stance. But I’ve always been able to defeat them sooner or later, thought in the former situation it might have taken much more effort to do so.

    The player is not obligated to enter Spain, though securing Portugal is one of the prerequisite for maintaining the Spaniards in the pro-French camp.

    Of course, if you decide not to try and secure the three objective cities located in the Peninsula, you will have to go eastward if you want to have any chance of a achieving a favourable victory condition. It’s a military/political decision left to the players to make.

    As I mentioned to countmc, the British do continually build new ships, and many are often to be found in the Irish Sea, which means you would have to go hunting for them, at the much greater risk of exposing your own vessels in the process.

    On the other hand, if it’s already January 1808, the deadline for acquiring Maritime Supremacy should have expired.

    Again, this is might be a situation of different play through with different results but in my testing I never had to deal with more than just a few Russian troops between defeating Austria and the start of the war of the 4th Coalition (I typically station some French troops on the hill south of Prag and dispatch any Russian troops that might venture my way).

    Originally, I had the possibility for Prussia to declare the war of the Fourth Coalition, as early as December 1805, whereby Prussia and Russia join as allies in the fight against France.

    Thereby I felt from a design perspective that it didn’t make much sense to code a temporary truce between France and Russia during the very short interim between the 3rd and 4th Coalition wars, as the contact between them remained minimal.

    Afterwards, I moved the randomness of the event to start a few months later, but again I felt the impact was minimal.

    I was aware of this but in terms of coding this became too convoluted and complicated. At the start of the scenario, the move to commands are pushing the Russian units westward but then after France defeats Austria, I would have to have the move to commands push the Russians eastward only to change the direction again just a few months later when Prussia declared the war of the 4th Coalition. The move to command would not be an efficient way of doing this at all, as the AI behavior in this regard is far too unpredictable.

    I contemplated, at the time of the defeat of Austria, of destroying any Russian troops located within its borders but that caused a problem with regards any Russian leaders that were located therein as they are controlled by a specific leader elimination process, that this solution would enter in conflict with and again make things just too complicated.

    As such, in terms of the scenario design, I took some liberty, by maintaining the war status between France and Russia.

    So as you may have gathered, it’s not that it didn’t occur to me but simply that the solutions were too complicated for the effort required, with many lines of code required just too eliminated a few Russian units, just too see France and Russia at war a couple of turn or so later.

    Sure, I could try and add more information to the Appendix D “COALITION WARS CONDITIONS” chart.

    Just a quick note, in terms of which Austrian and Prussian cities you have to evacuate once you’ve imposed a peace treaty on those nations, the information is right on the map, i.e. it’s the cities with a “c” located to the right of their names (as in c for core city)

    I did try to include the main historical events to the game, in particular for Austria and Prussia, for the obvious reason that they held such a central geographical and political position in the Napoleonic wars.

    Though the scenario covers the Peninsula War and the invasion of Russia, the player has much more flexibility on how they want to react here, i.e. you don’t absolutely have to get involved in either though it makes achieving your victory conditions much more problematic. The same goes for a possible invasion of Britain or a war with the Ottoman Empire, which can depend on the events during the game and how you decide to react to them.

    Do you mean in place of Breslau? To be honest, Kustrin was a last minute addition to the game. Originally, the tile was just an open river crossing but after reflection I felt like it was too important a communication hub not to include a city on it (it has 4 different roads connecting to it).

    What’s important is that France as an unobstructed route through Prussia that allows it to move its troops to Poland and beyond if it so chooses, as was the case historically, and the Dresden – Kustrin – Posen – Thorn corridor seemed as good as any. If you feel Dresden – Breslau – Posen – Thorn makes more sense let me know.

    Sorry, that’s a typo. I will make the correction.

    Originally, I started with a smaller map (80 x 65) but it felt a little too cramped with cities too close to one another. I wanted more open spaces to allow for more battles on open terrain and therefore increased the map to its current 93 x 75 size.

    Though Magdeburg was one of the cities included on the resource map I used for designing the game map, it never really occurred to me too add it. I probably felt it would crowd that section of Prussia too much.

    All the same, I can review to see if it feels right to add it, though from your comments if I did it would have to start with a fort, correct?

    Do you still have the save file for when you were trying to capture Venezia with Charles in it? I would like to review that in more detail. Also I would be interested to see your file the tun after you defeated Austria, and the one for Prussia as well.

    For my part, I’ve already been working on some changes:

    Based on countmc’s play through whereby he seemed close to establishing Maritime supremacy, I made some modifications to the British subdue events, which upon review were incomplete.
    Now, if France conquers England, in addition, to establishing a permanent peace treaty between the two, will see all British forces in the Iberian Peninsula removed and its control of Portuguese and Spanish cities switch over to France and Spain respectively.

    Naval aspect of the game:
    • I added a new 24pdr Shell
    • I renamed the Naval Shells to 18pdr Shells
    • I added a leader naval bonus for Villeneuve to apply for the 18pdr and 24pdr Shells.
    • The Trois-ponts and Villeneuve naval units can now fire up to 2 x 24pdr Shells per turn
    • The Deux-ponts and Frégate now fire 2 and 1 18pdr Shells per turn, respectively.
    I've made the Frégate a little less expensive to build and the Trois-ponts a little more expensive.

    I’ve also added a French artillery event similar to the captured French Naval vessels. Essentially, I’m giving any Coalition force a 1 in 2 chance of capturing any French artillery unit they kill.

    I’ve also asked Knighttime to review adding the Power Relations Board feature and the onActivate() function for munitions.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
  14. techumseh

    techumseh Emperor SLeague Staff

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    Excellent changes. I look forward to them in my next game.

    I see now why Kustrin has to stay French, at least for a couple of extra turns, as it is the only crossing available for French units moving out of Poland after defeating Russia and Prussia.

    Yes, Magdeburg was the main fortress city in western Prussia. Breslau was also a major fortress. In fact, the province of Silesia was full of fortresses, a legacy of Frederick the Great and his wars with Austria.

    I defeated Blucher and Bagration in the open field, in the area around Warsaw. Neither were stacked with other units. Of the two, only Blucher has a role of '1' (defensive). Since I caught him in the open, and had lots of artillery to hand, it was easy enough to kill him. I suspect that had he been able to slip into a friendly city, he would have entrenched there, and we would have had the Charles problem all over again. The problem lies in how the AI utilizes '1' role units. They tend to be used as garrison units in cities. In my experience, the greater their defense factor, the more likely that they will be used this way.
     
  15. tootall_2012

    tootall_2012 King

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    There are a relatively small number of fortresses in the game compared to the overall number of cities, but the ones I added were placed either at strategic locations or where notable historical sieges occurred.

    I also limited the number of fortress units to not overly extend the French efforts to defeat the Coalition powers in the various wars.

    Each war had a particular length of time historically and I tried to match that length with the forces at play. During testing, I was able to stay within a relatively reasonable timeframe in comparison to the actual individual campaigns, and I felt that was very important in order to keep a reasonable pace with the historical events.

    So though there is a fair amount of flexibility designed in the game, it just wouldn’t make sense if it took France two years to defeat Austria in the war of the Third Coalition, for example.

    Just a note here, there is no scenario requirement that you need to evacuate the Duchy of Warsaw or the non-core cities of Prussia after imposing the treaty of Tilsit.

    You may confirm my understanding, but far as I am aware, though Napoleon ended up moving the main body of the Grand Armée westward to go fight in Spain, there still remained a fair garrison in Poland and a small occupation force in Prussia to ensure it paid its war debt.

    And when time to prepare for the invasion of Russia came, the Emperor had no problem compelling Frederick to allow the Grande Armée to transit through Prussian territory.

    For the scenario, it was much easier to let France be able to move troops freely through most of Prussia, particularly since it didn’t fundamentally change the historical narrative.

    Okay, I will review adding Magdeburg more seriously but will not envision adding more fortress towns throughout Prussia as I find it is already sufficiently difficult to conquer (though the actual campaign occurred over 10 months, I’ve never managed to defeat Prussia/Russia in less than 12 turns).

    To date, other than the opening placement of Charles, I haven’t been convinced to revise the overall game play of the Coalition leaders. In my view, they perform exactly as I intended them to and so far, during all my testing, have been pleased with the results.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  16. JPetroski

    JPetroski Deity

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    This is an exceptionally fun scenario to play!

    It's early summer 1807 and I've beaten the 4th Coalition and came *this* close to gaining naval superiority - 13 British losses compared to 10 French ones :(

    I think you're fine with the later generals... The only reason I suggest changing the first is because the player is given an "allowance" of sorts for units to start the game with and it ought to be likely to beat the 3rd Coalition with said units. As the game progresses, it is up to the player to scout, plan, and reinforce fronts as desired/needed. If the player messes up mid-game, that is on them. If it's random draw whether or not they'll need to replay their first six turns, that's on the design.

    I have been noticing a few things you might want to tidy up. I believe it is the siege workshop that still references nuclear strikes, for example, and the scenario would benefit from your adding in some larger improvement art to take the place of the core game art that doesn't fit.

    Once again, fine job!
     
  17. tootall_2012

    tootall_2012 King

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    Hi John,

    Glad to hear it.

    I need to playtest the latest changes I made to the naval aspect of the game, but it sounds to date like the Maritime Supremacy feature is well balanced, i.e. hard enough to make it difficult to achieve but still possible if the fates lean sufficiently enough in your favor.

    I agree with your overall statement, though I would just add that how Charles behaves in the scenario, whether he fortifies or not, should have been seen as a part of the normal unpredictability of war.

    But all the same, I agree that it can have an unfair impact on some players opening moves and ability to defeat Austria in a reasonable timeframe, so I will review how best to avoid this.

    I hadn’t noticed this, so I will have to review.

    Sorry, I’m not sure I fully understand. Could you elaborate? Do you actually have specific art you would like to see used instead?


    I’m happy to gather all the responses I’ve received to date but as I mentioned I will be particularly interested in players feedback once they’ve played a full game. Of course, different players will undoubtedly have different experiences, but it should help me rectify any undiscovered glitch or especially evaluate any potential play balance issues.


    Quick question: Have you encountered any issue with the Hussars spy ability, like countmc has?
     
  18. countmc

    countmc Chieftain

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    Made it up to May 1809. I thought I had prepared sufficiently for the Austrian invasion but it was much stronger than I expected. The Spanish Ulcer truly is a manpower suck.

    I will start all the way over again and plan better for this stage of the game.

    Couple notes:

    -Shouldn't there be an option to recruit Saxon troops once Dresden has been conquered? Just like you can Bavarian troops? You could always have them turn tale after the battle of nations, but historically Napoleon used Saxon troop also.

    -The never ending British attacks on coastal cities really is frustrating. Maybe give Napoleon the option to lua 'k' in a coastal city and build a fortress for price of 500?

    -I managed to conquer all of Portugal in this play through and yet the British kept coming, however they did not attack me in Portugal, but instead attacked me in Spain. I would think it should be the opposite. They should first try and drive the French out of Portugal before attacks in Spain proper.

    -For game 'flavor' might want to consider getting rid of Danish Horse and some of the Ottoman units and adding a 'Highlander' unit for the Brits and potentially a Portuguese Legion or Irish Legion unit for the French.

    -Overall a lot of fun and engaging still, the leader units make the game tough, and I may just try and fortify my borders with Spain this next game and not attack it until I have defeated Austria.
     
  19. techumseh

    techumseh Emperor SLeague Staff

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    Hear, hear! I'm going to have to figure out how to solve the problem this stage of the game presents. I was just plain run out of Spain, and while I captured Prague and Vienna, the other two objectives remained uncaptured when winter set in and the Russians declared war. I'm not giving up and demanding changes to make the game easier (playtesters being playtesters), but it does seem that the attacks in Germany, Poland, Italy, Holland and Spain produce an unsustainable attrition on the French. I have no problem defeating the Austrians on the main front, but have to remain on the defensive in other theaters and take severe losses.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
  20. tootall_2012

    tootall_2012 King

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    Hi countmc,

    Thank you for the feedback. I will try to answer your questions and explain the reasoning behind my decisions.

    The Austrians had managed to raise an army of over 200,000 men for the war of the Fifth Coalition and in that respect the event generates the equivalent number of troops.

    The initial assault can be fierce, particularly if you only have light garrisons situated around Austria (i.e. in Bavaria, Saxony, Prussia and Poland). Of course, as the designer you always, initially, have the advantage of knowing what’s coming and are able to better prepare then a player that experiences the scenario for the first time but after a few play throughs the other players should quickly get to know the particularities of the game.

    Nevertheless, during testing once the initial onslaught has occurred and the Austrians have suffered heavy casualties in their repeated assaults, I’ve always been ultimately able to turn the tables on Austria and defeat it a second time, as it doesn’t receive any extra reinforcements other than the ones its cities can build after that the first turn (though it could take anywhere from 8 to 12 turns to do so).

    As was the case historically. At its height, I believe Napoleon had over 300,000 troops in the Peninsula and would end up maintaining hundreds of thousands of troops there throughout the six years of the campaign (by comparison, as is well known, Napoleon invaded Russia with just over half a million troops).

    On the other hand, failure to operate in the Peninsula would prevent you from conquering the three critical objective cities located therein and thereby force you to wage a very successful campaign in the east instead, if you were to have any chance of getting a favorable victory condition.

    In addition to Saxon troops I thought about adding units from Baden, Hesse-Hanover, Nassau but in the end, as is typically the case, it came down to a matter of having to make choices.

    Since I couldn’t possibly include every possible German minor that was recruited into the French ranks, I compromised by adding some extra units to the overall number of units generated by the Rhine Confederation. As such, you should consider the Saxon units part of that total, even though they aren’t being recruited directly in Saxony.

    I’m not certain about your ‘never ending’ statement as the event is set to randomly trigger on average every five turns only once the British have discovered the Royal Marines advance, which typically occurs sometime in 1808. When the raids do occur 2 Marines on average may get generated. That’s hardly a flood of units to deal with.

    Adding fortresses would defeat the point of having British Royal Marines raids. The whole purpose of this event is to force the French player to properly defend France, and other Spanish and Italian coastal cities, from possible British invasion forces (of which the Royal Marines are the spearhead).

    If I added coastal fortresses in French cities then the Royal Marines could never defeat them and thereby the French player wouldn’t need to worry about keeping important force in France, as was the case historically.

    In a previous play test, the Marines managed to capture Brest and therefore an important British ‘event’ force was able to land there. As such, I was forced to gather a French force to ultimately repel them.

    As such, I started to keep small reaction forces in a few strategic locations in France to hopefully help defeat any Marine raids.

    Nevertheless, in my last play test, British naval units killed my troops in Anvers and much to my surprise where able to land a British force from a naval transport unit, which triggered a British ‘city captured’ event. As such, I had to gather a force to deal with this invasion and much to my consternation, my Hussars discovered that the AI had loaded one of the British fortress units from England and transported it to Anvers. It ended up taking me something like 8 turns to finally subdue the city and kick the British out of Belgium.

    So, as you can see, even as the designer, I was surprised by unexpected AI moves, and this was my ultimate goal and intention all along, and in this regard I've been very pleased with the results.

    France did historically capture all of Portugal. It’s only after they did and Spain changed camp that the British started sending substantial forces to contest the French attempts to conquer the Iberian Peninsula, by initially landing invasion troops along the Portuguese coast. As the French troops there became increasingly isolated, they ended up having to abandon their positions in Portugal. As such, the event file is designed to reproduce this historical reality.

    I’m definitely using move to commands to push British units into Spain proper because I want England to contest French control. I’m not currently using any move to commands to push British units towards Portuguese cities and there have been occasions in my playtests were the AI was still able to reconquer these cities from France.

    All the same, I think I could probably still add such commands to ensure that England concentrated on recapturing these cities before moving into Spain.

    The British order of battle, just like all the other major powers, contains the basic complements of troops, i.e. line and light infantry, heavy and light cavalry, foot and horse artillery. In addition, they possess three very strong leaders, the elite KGL and Royal Marines units, along with a very powerful navy. Finally, England controls the Portuguese, Sicilian and Swedish minor powers.

    Again this is a matter of choices a designer has to make, but in this situation I really don’t see any benefit that adding another unit to their inventory would bring, that the current selection doesn’t already cover.

    I haven’t tried this strategy, so I couldn’t confirm if it could be successful or not. All the same a word of caution, if you waited to defeat Austria in the war of the Fifth Coalition that could bring you to middle/end of 1809, which means that would give the British/Portuguese/Spanish up to two years to accumulate troops there un-harassed. As such, you would probably need a fairly substantial invasion force to overcome that resistance.

    This particular scenario was definitely designed to be quite challenging. I wanted to reflect the historical challenge that Napoleon faced. On the other hand, as my playtest demonstrated to me at least, achieving stalemates or marginal victory conditions are by no means impossible (I’ve yet to achieve an absolute victory, which is for certain very difficult to achieve, but have only played three full scenarios to date).

    I’ve attached the save files from my last two full play tests for your review.

    In the first attached full play test (1815sept_play test 3.sav), I was able to achieve a marginal victory which was in part the result of a relatively successful Russian campaign which allowed me to capture and hold on to Moska and a very successful Spanish campaign that led me to conquer the entire Peninsula (thereby forcing Spain to surrender).

    As a result, of that play test, I made some adjustments to the Russian invasion event that would make it harder for France to retain control of its possessions in that country the deeper it went (but these events only apply if you make it past Smolensk).

    In the last play test (1815july_play test 4.sav), I will admit I was only able to gain a stalemate in extremis by reconquering Danzig, Warszawa and Lisboa on the very last turn of the game. In this game, I was again able to wage a successful Spanish campaign by capturing all three major objectives in the Peninsula (though without being able to completely subdue Spain).

    On the other hand, I had a disastrous Russian campaign, whereby I was unable even to make it past Smolensk due to fierce Russian resistance. I believe, this was largely due to Russia’s unexpected ability to inflict an early defeat on the Ottomans, which brought about a peace treaty between the two. This meant, I ended up having to fight at least an extra 100 Russian units that otherwise would have been lost if the war with the Ottomans had lasted till the French Russian invasion (when this occurs the Ottomans/Russians always declare peace a few turns after the invasion begins).

    As a result of that play test, I made it more difficult for Russia to achieve an early victory against the Ottomans by adding the veteran and fortified status to the Ottoman fortress in Galati and adding a new fortress unit in Bucuresti.

    In addition, to reduce the difficulty for France to capture Portugal early in the Spanish intervention event, I delayed the possible arrival of the British intervention forces.

    On the other hand, because I felt it was still a little too easy for France to buy new infantry and cavalry units, particularly towards the last years of the war where France is able to start to generating more substantial gold per turn provided you invested in the building of the economic improvements, I raised their cost by 60 and 120 francs each respectively. According to my rough calculations that would reduce the French from building an extra 20 or so units overall during the game.

    That might not seem like much, but during the end of the scenario you will be hard pressed to raise all the units you can to deal with the multiple fires you will have to extinguish. If the players feel this is an issue, I can review the cost once again and reduce it to 30 and 60 extra instead.

    As a designer, it’s always difficult to properly gage that fine line between making a scenario that is somewhat or very challenging for players. You don’t want to make it so hard that only the most expert players can ever hope to achieve success but still not so easy that it poses no challenge.

    At the same time, though we strive to cover as many situations in our design as we can, it’s simply not possible to foresee all the possible combinations of events that the different players may encounter; especially in a scenario that is 120 turns long, contains six other major powers and a map with over 7000 tiles.

    Of course, as I mentioned, as the designer you have a leg up, initially, on all the other players because it’s your creation. That said, after playing a few times, there should no longer be any great surprises in store for you. The scenario follows the main historical events of the Napoleonic wars and the events are straightforward in that regard, i.e. I haven’t included any particular trap or subterfuge to trick the players.

    I consider myself a fairly experienced player, though nowhere near the caliber of an Agricola. The reason I mention this is I believe if I can achieve these results, I don’t see why most other players couldn’t get similar kind of results after a few play through.

    In that regard, as I’ve mentioned above, I was able in both my last play tests to achieve at least a stalemate, which indicated to me that, though the scenario is tough, it’s by no means impossible.

    All the same, if you have specific suggestions to address play balance let me know and I will review.

    What would be of particular interest to me is to get a last save game of the month of July 1815 from players. In this manner, I could do a more thorough analysis of the overall combat losses versus remaining units between the different powers so I could compare it with the results from my own play tests to see if there are any significant disparities between the different play tests. Based on those findings, I could truly review if there were play balance issues.

    In the end, I'm trying to understand if there are actual and significant differences between our play tests and if so why? And if yes, what changes should I make, if any? And that's not so easy to do on a scenario of this scale without hard data to look at.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018

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