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JacquesDeLalaing
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Silesia Inrupta - work in progress mod

Sat May 10, 2014 12:55 pm

[CENTER][ATTACH]27870[/ATTACH]
(image detail from the lifting of the siege of Olmütz in 1758, painted by Franz Paul Findenigg)
(Habsburg hussars are leading the austrian advance (further to the right two columns of cavalry are crossing over ponton-bridges) and engage the Prussian siege camp and hussars in a skirmish)
[/CENTER]


Silesia Inrupta is a work-in-progress mod that concentrates on the micro-perspective of AGEOD's Rise of Prussia. Instead of portraying a whole war with several factions, Silesia Inrupta lays emphasis on a single campaign - the invasion of Silesia by the Prussian king in 1740/41. Since it features only two factions and a managable timeframe, the mod can give proper weight to details. The main goal is to open up room and reasons for flexible detachment-warfare or Small War/Petite Guerre, which was day-to-day business in 18[SUP]th[/SUP] century warfare yet played but a rather pathetic role in vanilla Rise of Prussia. Lots of adjustments have to be done to give Small War the role it deserves, most of all regarding supply and the way "uneven" battles play out.

Since this mod is still work-in-progress, there is no download available yet. I've opened up this thread in order to explain and discuss the reasons for changes that I've undertaken and probably also to add some historical "fluff" here and there. The major aspects/features that I want to touch on in the future are:


I will put up these explanations step by step, but they're not carved in stone yet. The mod is "alive" and certain aspects will be updated whenever I notice that something doesn't work or doesn't work as intended.

It's pretty obvious that the AI was not written for this mod so that it can't make full use of the new tactical potential that this mod hopefully offers. On the other hand, the AIs troops is pretty resistant to some of the new tactics as well (e.g. its troops never seem to loose men due to being out of supply; the AI only suffers the "combat malus" for being out of supply). Nevertheless, even games against the AI play very differently from vanilla-games in that there is a lot more movement and smaller detachments operating in the vicinities of the main armies. In general I think that playing (as Prussia) against the AI (as the Habsburg monarchy) is pretty tough for the player, simply because the AI cheats when it comes to supply as mentioned above. So while you can hardly exploit the "new" tactics against the AI, you still need to defend against them.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to testing out this mod against a human opponent some time once it is finished! If you're interested, please contact me!

Some of the mods' modified artwork, some of it still WIP (ignore fusilier):
Attachments
PRU.png
hab COLOUR.png
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[CENTER][color="#A52A2A"] S I L E S I A I N R U P T A[/color]
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JacquesDeLalaing
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Sat May 10, 2014 12:59 pm

REFLEXIONS ON SUPPLY

1) Fighting the blurriness of supply in vanilla RoP

In vanilla Risa of Prussia, all troops come with an "internal supply storage" of 2 and consume one supply point per turn.This means that in good weather a force can operate for 3 turns totally independently of supply: in the first turn it fills up its store and is moving away from its source of supply (internal supply stocks 2/2), in the second turn it consumes one point (supply stocks 1/2), in the third turn it consumes the second point (supply stocks 0/0), and only in the fourth turn will it count as being out of supply and suffer negative effects. Not before the fourth turn – that is after incredible 6 weeks of marching! – will the first negative consequences set in.

Of course a certain level of abstraction is neccessary in a game, especially when it comes to things as logistics - an aspect which is usually not embraced wholeheartedly by most players, even more so when they have to worry about 4 armies every turn! Yet the role of supply is highly underestimated and I dare say it was by far less forgiving than the games' abstraction. AGEOD is well aware of that, quoting Pocus from here, but intentionally lays its focus somewhere else:


Supply should be something that should be easy on players in 95% of the time, and only be a problem in specific situations... For example a given supply point will de facto travels much faster than what a supply wagon can do in 15 days. I guess, from the remarks and questions, that you would prefer something much more stringent and hard, realistic. My answers will indicate on the contrary that the system, even if the restrictions are logical, is rather 'lax'... That or you screw all non veteran players plus the AI, all the time.


Silesia Inrupta strives to make supply more "realistic/hard" and thereby aims to give a more accurate picture of 18th century warfare which not only consisted of big battles, but far more commonly of small actions which were waged over positions and forage. Without a "hard" supply-mechanism, small war and detachment warfare simply doesn't work and serves no purpose at all. So, what is even more important than considerations of realism are the consequences on gameplay. If your opponent doesn't have to care for supply for 6 weeks, your chances to threaten his position by means of cutting him off and manoevering are very slim. You are neither able to threaten (in a timely manner) him by positioning light troops in his rear (and moreover, this was quite suicidal for light troops), nor by destroying all depots and local supplies on your retreat. Apart from that, due to long turn-intervalls, outmanoevering was by itself extremely difficult and based on a lot of luck.

Apart from supply being so forgiving that it almost becomes irrelevant (as it is simply checked so rarely), long turn intervalls tend to make supply even less of a matter. Since units in vanilla RoP depend entirely on their internal storage (+ supply wagons) and the automatic (centralized/de-localized) supply-system, they operate independently of the local supply situation. Long turn-intervalls contribute to this even further by enabling forces to "hop over" (by means of their movement allowance in 14 days) regions that would otherwise pose supply problems.

Therefore, supply in Silesia Inrupta works on turn-to-turn basis (internal supply storage of 1, not 2) and turn-intervalls are set to be shorter (less "hopping over" regions). This should open up much more chances for and reward manoevre and logistical-operational considerations. Supply will be checked every single turn and you cannot hop over regions (except for fast/light troops). Every turn and every region counts, so to speak - at least for regular units.

2) Sources of supply

In general, supply in RoP is handled in a very centralized manner. It is all about structures that are few and at the same time of immense importance. Structures produce supply en masse and forward it to the structures closest to the front where it is distributed to your armies. In fact it was very easy to keep supplied if only you brought enough supply wagons. Since they had such a huge storage, you hardly ever needed to rotate them back and forth between a supply-source and your army. Thus you hardly ever had to offer your opponent chances to "see" your supply line and act against it. Most of the time, your supply wagons were safe and secure in your main army stack.

Of course this needs to be changed in Silesia Inrupta: Players depend on a mixture of two supply sources. Note that to maintain a large concentration of force, you should be forced to make perfect use both sources. And also your enemy can try to threaten any of these sources:

a) Supply by depots (centralized supply)

At the start of the scenarios, you will have one or two depots that store enormous quantities of supply – as it was usually the case historically. This supply will only get forwarded to other depots, not to cities. As usual, this supply can be transported via supply wagons and – by far more effective - via ships on rivers. However if the distance between the depot and the army is too big, supply will slowly spoil (represented by the fact that supply wagons also consume supply every turn - not entirely sure yet if that works).

So the big changes compared to the vanilla game are: 1) Only depots, not forts/cities/harbours send and draw supply (but they can still give supply to adjacent regions). 2) Depots, harbours and forts no longer "produce" supply. You have to use what's there at the start of the scenario and/or buy special supply assets.

Another very important aspect concerning supply by depots is the storage of supply wagons. Even though it means a lot of micro-management, supply wagons in Silesia Inrupta have but a comparatively small storage capacity. There are two reasons for this: 1) A small supply storage forces you to operate close to depots due to supply-spoilage. 2) A small supply storage means that you need to rotate the supply wagons a lot. They have to go back and forth between army and depot, which makes supply-lines real and vulnerable to the opponent in the first place. If you have but one supply-train to sent in two months, then the opponent gets but one pathetic chance. Supply lines need to be constantly "real" and "accessible" and the effect of them being blocked should set in fast. Being cut off from supplies for 6 days was a very big problem historically speaking.

In general, this means that supply will be much more visible (and "attack-able") in the modded version of the game. You see where the depots are, you see where the supply wagons are (and they can't be "hidden in/protected by" the large main stacks all the time), and you know that there is some supply in the country-sides (see next point).

b) Supply by cities=regions (local supply)

The only agents that actually "produce" supply in Silesia Inrupta are cities. However these are just called cities in game terms. I rather imagine them to represent the "region/countryside". As a consequence, Silesia Inrupta features a (lvl 1 or 2) city in almost every region to represent the local/countryside supply-situation. Eevery region produces small amounts of supply, which also accumulates over time. In the same vein, cities that had a high level in vanilla Rise of Prussia have been reduced to a lower level in Silesia Inrupta, simply because it is not "cities" that produce fodder and flour, but the countryside.

In ageod's games, armies can draw supply from adjacent regions. This is also how local supply works in Silesia Inrupta: A larger army will try to drain supply from adjacent regions, and it will often literally depend on this supply for its maintainance. In order to use local supply, however, you need to control a region/city. You can already guess where this is leading us: Players have to try to keep a certain sphere of influence (all adjacent regions) around their armies under their control if they want to maintain their men. As there is no marching to the sound of guns (corps' and armies' positions were blurred as they could become active everywhere) and as there is a special way that light troops work in this mod, expect fierce detachment- and small-war over regions and their supply, offside the main armies. Grenadier-companies, hussars, dragoons and Grenzers are your fist choice for these tasks. Moreover, the dependence on adjacent regions also means that the number of adjacent regions is an important consideration, as it is proportional to the amount of supply that a certain position offers.

At the same time, it is also clear that local supply will make it easier for small detachments to operate, as they don't need to drag a supply-train with them. I don't think that this is a big problem. Your supply-wagons (rotating between depot and army) and your depots should be escorted/garrisoned anyway. Moreover, since there are cities in every region, it's pretty easy to defend a region with a small garrison. And in the vicinities of your main army you should have enough detachments and light troops to defend adjacent regions. So deep raids should not be too much of a problem, they're part of the game. Also consider that any deep-raiders are not where they're probably needed more urgently: in the small war for forage around the main armies.


Last but not least I also have to mention that the effects of being out of supply have been toned down quite a bit to compensate the fact that it is much easier to run into supply problems in this mod and because the turn-intervalls are shorter. E.g. there are no movement penalties for being out of supply (why should there be some in the first place?), the battle-malus has been reduced, and the desertion rate lowered (the AI is immune to desertion due to lack of supply).
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JacquesDeLalaing
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Sat May 10, 2014 2:53 pm

CHARACTERISTICS OF LIGHT TROOPS

For now, here is just a dry summary of the characteristics of light troops in the game:

1) Light troops have a very high protection. This (in combination with the restrictions on how many elements engage per combat-round) means that a light element has very good chances not to get hit in combat (10 rounds) and thereby makes it safe for light troops to engage numerically superior forces (note that "melee combat" is practically turned off except for sieges, where melee is essential). You don't win over light troops by destroying them. You win by pushing them out of a region. This is best to be achieved by a strong force (in terms of "power") which will make light troops want to retreat out of the region. Don't be irritated if they inflict some more casualties on you than you on them* – that's just the nature of skirmish! – if you push them out, you've achieved your goal! Whereas light, flexible troops are good at inflicting (one-sided) casualties, a sturdy wall of regular troops is good at gaining ground! If light troops engage other light troops, it can happen that no or very very few casualties are inflicted and both sides stay in the region.

2) Stacks that are entirely made up of light troops should have a lower retreat will than "oridnary" stacks. This is neccessary to make light troops actually realize that they're light troops that can hardly be hit and therefore should engage large forces on their own. I'm not sure yet if this "feature" actually works. If not, I can still make it work via posture-settings (e.g. defend at all costs could get a very low retreat-will). Of course this will not make them totally immune to retreat (as described in 1). It will just shift the balance a bit in favour of light troops. Moving a single battalion in infantry into a region should not simply push away the two squadrons of hussars that are positioned there. The balance of retreat-will will be an essential factor for small war.

3) Light troops have a very small combat signature, which means that opposing elements will usually target other/non-light elements in combat. This is not supposed to serve the protection of light elements but rather it serves not to make the opponents' elements waste their shots on "hard-to-hit" light elements when in fact they should be targetting "easier-to-hit" ordinary elements. So this is supposed to make light elements a bit "fairer" in pitched-battle-situations. Of couse one could argue that it's not fair either that many elements concentrate their fire on the regular elements, but there needs to be some compromise.

4) Light troops have a sub-par-hitchance. Due to their protection, you can't inflict a lot of hits on them, but at least they can't inflict a lot of hits on you either! But don't underestimate the drain on cohesion that they cause. Everytime an element fires, it looses a bit of cohesion (and of course ammunition) - and light troops can draw a lot of fire without suffering hits. So even though light troops don't inflict a lot of casualties, they will still drain their opponents' ammunition and cohesion!

5) Light troops have better stats as far as cohesion-loss due to movement is concerned. They're flexible and you can let them march around a lot.

6) Light troops don't need command points. This is partly neccessary because I need stacks made up entirely of light troops in order to trigger the "reduced retreat will" described in 1), and partly it is a deliberate decision.

7) All light units count as screeners. You usually can't inflict pursuit-hits on light troops.

8) All light units consume supply like ordinary units.

9) Evasion/patrol/police is still something that I need to look at. Unfortunately hardly anything is known on how these two work in detail (chances to engage the enemy? effect on military control, etc)

In general, I plan to have two qualities of light troops in the game: 1) the truly light troops (hussars, Jäger, probably also Grenzer), and 2) "medium/specialist" troops like dragoons and grenadiers. These two unit types will differ in the extent of their "light"-qualities. E.g. hussars will get a better protection than grenadiers so that truly light troops can engage against a numerically superior force with more safety than "medium" troops. In the same way combat signature and hit-chances will be adjusted. All these unit-types are what we would today call professionalists with high motivation and good skills.

-----------------------------------------
* Note that all elements in the mod have 20 hits, not 10 like in vanilla RoP. One hits represents 5-6 men. Thereby we can portray more fine-tuned, lower casualty-numbers.
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JacquesDeLalaing
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Sun May 11, 2014 12:26 am

Some historical background or "fluff":

Fredericks' instruction for the cavalry on how to react to/counter attacks by husars, March 1st 1741

It can be found in the apendix of one of the two standard-works on the First Silesian War: Großer Generalstab (ed.), Der erste Schlesisiche Krieg 1740–1742, vol. 1: Die Besetzung Schlesiens und die Schlacht bei Mollwitz (Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen, Teil I: Der Erste Schlesische Krieg 1740–1742, Berlin 1890). I've tried my best to translate it into english, so please bear with me.

Dear colonel von Rochow,

I hereby command you to instruct all officers, NCOs and troopers of the Prinz-Friedrich regiment how they are to react if the regiment, a squadron or a commando is attacked or assaulted/charged by enemy husars as described below. Namely:
1) all officers, NCOs and especially the ordinary troopers have to understand that they must not turn/flee or let themselves be unsettled when faced with the usual shouting, caracoling, and swarming of the husars, but instead ignore it and keep their good countenance and order.
2) If a swarm of hussars shows up, the officiers are to take position in the first rank, of which some troopers draw their epees, others prepare their pistols. If the hussars come close and try to attack by firing or with their sabre, then likewise this has to be anwered with fire and the sword, but the ranks need to stay closed and in good order at all time, and the regiment or the esquadron is to keep its position. It may only advance a little bit from time to time in good order.
3) All troopers, officers and NCOs have to understand that they don't need to fear those attacks as long as they stay in good order and don't let themselves be unsettled by shouting and swarming. But if they loose their order, they're lost, since all that the husars can do is to throw an esquadron into disorder and pursue and strike down the fugitives. Therefore, the only and the safest defence against them is to stay in good order, so that they can't achieve anything.
4) The officer which is the first to flee when facing such an attack or skirmish is to be cashierd dishonourably and discharged from the regiment and the army.
5) If some troopers break out of the formation/order or the squadron, the officer in charge needs to rally them instantly and bring them back to their positon.
6) An attack of the regiment or squadron on the enemy husars is not to be conducted since it serves no purpose against this volatile rabble. But the regiment or the squadrons might advance a little bit in good order from time to time.
7) If the cavalry is positioned in the vicinity of a village, it is to take up position close to the village as soon as it is informed of a swarm of enemy husars, in a way so that its rear is well covered. And since there is usually some infantry in these positions (in the villages), the infantry has to assist the cavalry with its fire.
8) If piquet-guards take note that an enemy is closing in, they are to give report immediatly, but they must not leave their post until the officer in charge orders them to do so.
(...end...)


-------------------------------------------------------------------

[some additions to the above-mentioned instruction, March 21st, 1741] (translation pending)
(also taken from the apendix of the "Großer Generalstab")


Wenn ein Regiment, Esqvadron oder Commando, sich solte alleine finden und daß der Commandirende Officier sicher und gewiß weiß, daß hinter diese feindliche Husaren keine andre feindliche Cavallerie folget, so soll derselbe alsdann sofort, sein unterhabendes Regiment, Esqvadron oder Commando, in guter Ordnung und ehe ihm der Schwarm Husaren anfällt aus 3 Gliedern 2 formiren, das hinterste Glied darauf die Carabiner anhacken, das erste Glied aber soll so eingetheilet werden, daß allemahl der 3te Mann den Degen in die Hand behalte, die 2 anderen aber sollen wie das leztere Glied die Carabiner hoch nehmen und dieselben anhacken. Wenn nun die feindlichen Husaren solten anprellen, so müssen alsdann nach Gutfinden sobiel Mann aus dem lezten Gliede an das erstere, so nahe als möglich anrücken, und aus dem hintersten Gliede auf die anprallende feindliche Husaren Feuer geben, auch solange als es möglich das Feuer des 1sten Gliedes conserviren. Solte es aber die Nothwendigkeit erfordern, daß aus dem ersten Gliede auch müsse geschossen werden, so hat der commandirende Officier, die Feuer so einzutheilen, daß aus jeden Zug der 4te Theil schießet; sobald die aus dem lezten Gliede geschossen haben, so müssen dieselben sofort wieder laden, welches auch der 4te Theil aus dem 1sten Gliede so gefeuert hat thun muß. Warum bey den Husaren attaquen aus 3 Gliedern 2 gemachet werden, davon ist dieses die Uhrsache, daß die fronte größer werde, und wei das Regiment oder Esqvadron nicht einbrechen sondern allezeit wohl geschlossen bleiben und die Husaren mit Feuer verjagen soll, so kan also das 3te Glied mit zum Feuern kommen. Daß der 3te Mann den Degen in der Hand behalten soll ist aus der Uhrsache damit die Esquadrons dadurch in besserer Ordnung verbleiben, auch wenn sich einige von den feindlichen Husaren gelüsten ließen, einzubrechen, diese Leute welche den Degen in der Handt halten, mit dem Officier die einbrechenden alsdann mit dem Degen jedoch wohl geschlossen empfangen können.

Zum 7. Punkt: (...) finde ich nöthig noch beyzufügen, daß wenn Cavallerie in einem Dorffe lieget oder auf Postirung stehet, und von einem Schwarm feindlicher Husaren benachrichtiget wird, an solchen Orth aber keine Infanterie mit wäre, so die Cavallerie mit ihrem Feuer secundiren könnte, so muß die Cavallerie sich, wie in der Instruction befohlen, dicht an das Dorff sezen, um soviel möglich den Rücken frey zu haben, einige Leuthe aber absizen lassen, damit durch das Feuer so sie machen, die andere zu Pferde besser secondiret werden. (...)


------------------------------------------------------------------------

Extract of Fredericks' instruction for field-marshal Schwerin concerning the establishment of the prussian qinter-quarters, January 24th 1741
(also taken and translated from the apendix of the "Großer Generalstab")

If austrian husars are taken as prisoners, they are to be shown to our people/soldiers so that they don't think better of the husars than they actually deserve and so that they can see that the husars are rabble.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

PS: A paintingof the battle of Rossbach that I've just discovered on the internet today, which prominently shows some prussian husars (they look like Zietens' husars!?) in action. Don't ask about the details. The guys in the red uniforms must be the French Swiss regiments (regiments Wittemer, Reding, Planta and Diesbach)?
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Guru94
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Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:53 pm

sounds great, it always bugged me that cutting supply lines has such a smal effect on armies in AGE games. I´m really looking forward to test it :)

Only concern for me is, that if every region will contain a city I can´t really look at the beautiful handdrawn map anymore and they becom kinda inflationary.

And one thing: could you please, if you translate original text from the period, include the original version of it? I am german myself and it feels a little bit wrong to read german text translated into english + I love to read this old style German sometimes. Would be really nice because I didn´t know of these documents yet.

Baris
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Tue Jun 24, 2014 5:38 pm

When it will be finalized? I'm your recruit. Do you think similar can be done to grand campaign? As per GP Russian Hussars and Kalmuck cavalry seems so provoke chaos. Maybe they did historically.

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JacquesDeLalaing
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Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:37 am

Hey Guru, hey Baris! Thanks for your offer to test the mod! I'm still planning to continue this, but right now, I'm simply lacking the time (unfortunately also for some months to come) and also there are many open modding- or rather "how does the engine work"-questions that remain unanswered and severely hamper my progress (here, here, here. here). Anyway, I will see if I can perhaps load up some (very) unfinished version (the current status, so to speak) this or next month, just for some try-out of the big changes and as a documentation.

Concerning the map: It's not that bad. Here is an example.
Concerning the grand campaign of the Seven Years War: Well I personally have no interest in modding the grand campaign. My desire has always been to go smaller (and more detailed), not larger. The sheer amount of work it would require is insane and also I think it would be quite unplayable (micromanagement-hell!).
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Sauro
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Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:08 pm

Is this project dead? As it would be a shame...

steelwarrior77
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Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:57 am

Hey guys,

please continue and a download link would be great ;-D

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JacquesDeLalaing
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Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:04 am

I'm still continuing this whenever I feel like it in my spare freetime. However, "progress" has been stalled for I'm actually setting up the scenario anew, simply because I got so confused with the units, models and abilities. So, I'm setting up only the files that I need for a slick 1st silesian war scenario - only Habsburg and Prussia for the start - that is: 100 units instead of 1000+. This makes things easier, more transparent and more controllable for me, but it takes a lot of time and dull work to go over all the units and models and aliases.

However, I'm getting to it and most of the work is done by now. I only lack the habsburg commanders and artillery before I'm finished with the troop-set-up and can finally test the new scenario for the first time. Once I'm done with the setup/scenario, "development" and testing (even though I have two friends of mine in mind, volunteers are welcome ;) ) will continue - in other words: I will spam the mod forums and hope for a dev to answer at least a few of my questions. I still have pretty big supply- and spawning-issues.

In the long run, I want to add the Bavarian theatre of war. :)
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JacquesDeLalaing
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Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:48 am

A few words on the principal design of the 1st silesian war scenario

From what I've read, the situation was pretty asymmetrical in several ways and phases. The first phase saw the Prussians taking Silesia as far south as the Jablunka pass (which will exist on the modded map) without any kind of serious opposition in a winter campaign. The Habsburg armies assembled slowly to protect Moravia and Bohemia (regiments coming from Hungary even had to go through the Kontumatz/quarantine). The large fortresses that were so characteristic for Silesia during the Seven Years War were not yet built (so most of them will be missing in the scenario; and in the winter, laying siege was not really an option, partly because it was impossible to dig in the frozen earth). However, the Prussian player will have to face the obstacles of a winter campaign: cohesion loss, supply troubles. The Oder can be frozen (or blocked by Glogau as long as it is under Habsburg control), so the Prussians are stuck with supply wagons that tend to get bogged down in the snow/mud. Thus larger concentrations of troops will be hard to feed. So the challenge for the Prussian player will be to take Silesia in a critical supply situation - especially the farther south he gets: the population in lower Silesia was mostly protestant and not attached too much to Habsburg rule, things became a bit different in Upper Silesia, where militias were formed. In fact the conflict had a pretty strong confessional aspect.

Phase two sees the Habsburg resistance mounting. Throughout the rest of the campaign/year, the situation is quite clear: The Prussians suffer a lot from Habsburgs' light troops. Not so much from the negligible Hungarian insurrectio, but the regular hussars and, increasingly, Grenzer and Pandours make their presence felt. There are inoumerous reports of Prussian supply wagons and cavalry outposts getting ambushed, inoumerous small skirmishes with losses up to 50 men. In one case, Frederick himself almost got captured (he learned from it and augmented his escort). Interestingly, light troops were often accompanied by grenadier companies (this is true for both sides). These were professionals fit for independent action, able to bear the constant threat of enemy contact, not prone to desertion. In the mod, you will get units consisting of 2-3 grenadier-companies accordingly. Habsburg light troops seem to have flooded Silesia, often operating in the rear of the Prussian army. This was a constant even after the Habsburg defeat at Mollwitz - a victory Frederick was unable to exploit militarily (not least because extending his supply lines was not a reasonable option under these circumstances). Frederick made hasty efforts to counter the Habsburg strength of light troops at least a little bit by quickly creating Prussian hussar regiments and also an Uhlan-regiment which was to be recruited in Poland. The effect of the distinct lack of small-war-power was that the Prussians had to assign more troops to escort supply, which increased the problem that every general of that time had to face: the art of war was to split up (to attack various strategic targets, to make supply/living off the land easier, to escort supply and protect magazines, to block the opponents' operations) and concentrate troops (for pitched battle) at the right time. In my mod, I want to simulate this kind of detachement warfare, in which light troops and small war have their proper role.

Things were a bit different in pitched battle situations. The Prussians had an edge over the Habsburg troops in terms of regular infantry (which by the way was very low in number), while the Habsburgs had the better cavalry. In the end, this situation created a kind of stalemate after the battle of Mollwitz. The Habsburg army lacking the infantry (in numbers and experience) for an attack on the Prussians to re-take Silesia, the Prussians holding on to Silesia, constantly molested by petite guerre actions.

In summary, I don't want to be too much of a Habsburg fanboy. However, I want to get the scenario as realistic as I can. Petit guerre/detachment warfare - which was the biggest strength of the Habsburg army - is severely and unjustly lacking from the game, robbing the game of realism (as I've said, the art was to split up and concentrate troops). For this to work, some mechanisms have to be recalibrated (light troops, supply, etc.). Moreover, it would be a shame not to give some of the most colourfull troops ever seen, the Grenzers, Pandours and hussars, who left their impression on the military of all central European states, their proper stage. ;)

Some fluff pictures of some protagonists ;) (note that two pictures are slightly off time - the years around 1740 were dominated by the curly-head whig-style, not the single horizontal "rolls" on each side yet)
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JacquesDeLalaing
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Tue Nov 10, 2015 12:02 am

Mind game on unit size

With a heavy emphasis on the operational scale and detachement-warfare, the question of unit size is very important. Sure, the strength and composition of both sides' forces is determined by the historical facts. Each side gets X regiments of infantry and Y regiments of cavalry. The smallest sub-division is also given: companies are the smallest functional units. However, things get a bit more complicated when we consider the structure in between "all the forces" and "companies". In game-terms, I'm talking about the size of "units", i.e. how many elements should the standard units have? It's a question with many implications and which needs carefull calibration.

The easy and also a quite plausible solution is to use battalions for infantry. That's the solution in the game right now (unit = battalion, consisting of 5 elements = companies). For regular infantry, operating in battalions was the norm, even though individual companies could sometimes find themselves split off from their battalion in praxis. However for cavalry, special infantry companies (grenadiers) and light troops we have to make a decision. The companies of these units were often used individually or in smaller numbers. If you read detailed accounts of campaigns, you'll find that individual grenadier and cavalry companies were often shifted from here to there, garrisoning smaller fortified posts or building a network of piquet-posts.

In the vanilla version of the game, cavalry regiments form but one big unit consisting of 5 subunits/elements (which represent squadrons, each of 2 companies). This "unflexible" structure (one super-unit) has hardly any negative effects in the game right now, as units matter primarily and almost exclusively as dividers of "combat power", their role is to provide combat power to push back or fight the opponent directly. Simply put, the separation of force via "units" lets us spread troops over several regions. Things will be different in this mod, as it aims to emphasize small war and supply, that is to say: it emphasizes control over space. It's not just a matter of directly engaging the opponent. For example, the mere fact that you will have to use supply wagons going back and forth between magazines and armies means that you will have to think about how to cover "space" / several regions. The same is true if you consider that you will have to control regions adjacent to your main army because you better use their ressources (living off the land to some extend).

So, how big should units be? It depends on the question how large a unit neets to be in order to be able to "control" an area of the size of a game-region. I think we have to consider that 1) nobody seems to know in any detail how evasion (and also the effects of having multiple stacks in a region) works in ageod-games and 2) that ANY unit (independend of their size) may instantly attack any other unit (indepenent of their size) in the same game-region. Thus, if we had units consisting of only 1 element, this would represent that a single company would have no trouble at all to detect and attack (instantly! in a matter of a single day!) another company in a space that is as large as a region in the game. It's obvious that this is not a realistic outcome. Therefore, my approach would be to subdivide forces into chunks that are large enough to "cover/control" a region (in game-terms). As to how big these units need to be, I'm not exactly sure yet. Regions come in different sizes and I'm not that much of an expert to say how many comapnies were considered sufficient to cover the space of a region. I fear that the size necessary would be larger than I want it to be (the regions are quite big). On the other hand, we also need to consider that one would primarily need to control the traffic hotspots (bridges, roads, rivers) and we also need to take into account the information-networks and -methods especially of light troops (often in contact with the local population) and their distinct characteristics (less likely to desert means that they can be split up, form small piquets, etc.). Naturally, horses decrease the number of men you need in order to cover a region (this is kind of linked to the police-value in the game right now). So, for now, I've been thinking of the following unit-sizes:

  • regular infantry: 5 companies/elements = battalion size
  • converged grenadier companies, light infantry, etc.: 3-4 companies - I prefer the smaller number as they were often used in smaller numbers, but the "covering of space"-problem described above speaks against that
  • Cuirassiers: 6 companies = 3 squadrons - this means a cuirassier regiment is now represented in the game by two units instead of one; I think it is sufficient as cuirassiers indeed were battle cavalry - their horses were spared from patrolling and small-war-actions to be fit for battle
  • Dragoons: I think that 4 companies/2 squadrons per unit will be appropriate. Thus a dragoon regiment will be represented by 3 units instead of 1
  • Hussars: 2 companies/1 squadron per unit? A regiment of hussars will be represented by 5 units instead of 1 (assuming a size of 10 companies instead of 12 as for the cuirassiers and dragoons). This takes into account that hussars were made for covering space and gathering information.
  • converged carabinier- and horse-grenadier-companies: same as hussars


Now, this might seem a bit extreme. I need to test the effects once I'm ready with the scenario-set-up. Of course more micro-management will be needed. Another concern is the question whether this split-up will have any additional/unwanted effects in combat. I'm carefull to rule them out. In pure combat-mechanic-terms, I hope that there will be no difference, as the functional "units" in combat are still elements. One danger is the effect of "abilities" which might be linked/tied to units, not elements. Another danger is that I think that units tend to target another "unit" in combat. This means that very small units (hussars = 2 elements!) might be utterly destroyed as a large opposing unit (e.g. a brigade) might spend/waste all their firepower on two elements - this disadvantages the player of the large unit! I hope that this can be mitigated by reducing the combat frontage of elements of small units (combat frontage is meant to decrease the likelihood of the element being chosen as a target by other elements in battle). Other than that, I can't anticipate any problems. With the characteristics that light troops get in this mod, it can indeed be usefull (and safe) to use very small units. They won't be utterly destroyed if confronted by a large enemy formation as it is often the case now. On the other hand, even though you might have many small units at your disposal, this does not mean that you can rob your opponent of all operational means. Small units remain very weak in combat power, so they're easily pushed back (not destroyed) and need to be concentrated to resist or attack seriously. Also, don't forget that your opponent will also have light troops at his disposal. The light troops of each side are supposed to cancel out each other (their skirmishes will be very indecisive in terms of casualties) unless you achieve a clever concentration of force at the right time.

Many experiments lie ahead. :) As you can see, I'm focusing on what I believe to be the core and main strength of ageod's games, which is the operational scale rather than the grand-strategy scale. The core engine is clearly built for operational warfare, all the other systems that are emphasized in recent titles are put-on and partly overlap with the engine.

PS: Indeed I think that this aspect is closely linked to the characteristics of troops that are now represented by their patrol/evade-values (evasion can be imagined as the speed of an element "within" a region). The higher the patrol- and evade-values, the smaller the units should be. The lower the patrol- and evade-values, the larger the units should be. E.g. a cuirassier regiment should be a rather large unit. Why? Because we assume that it moves and camps as one unit, thus it is easily tracked down and potentially also attacked. The problem remains that the unit-sizes that would be required for operational matters (as described here) are not necessarily the sizes that were "used" historically. We need to find a sweet-spot in between abstraction and realism. It's really a pity that all this seems to be somehow present in patrol- and evade-values and the corresponding "evade combat"-/fail to engage-mechanic in the game, yet the system seems to be calibrated unfavourably and/or nobody knows how it actually works.

PS: Command issues should not pose too much of a problem. The only issue is that the number of units which can be combined into a brigade is restricted to 4 units (not a certain number of elements) as far as I can remember. This means that hussars can't really be combined into brigades. The same is true for the other small units to a lesser degree (especially dragoons and conv. grenadiers). But I don't see this as a big problem. Apart from the brigade-issue, command is no problem as small war-troops will need very few or no command points at all. The respective companys' and units' officers of light troops are supposed to take advantage of situations and to act indepently - think about people like Trenck, Menzel, but also Andreas/András Hadik (von Futak), who is implicitly present in this scenario as he was captain in the Desseffwy hussars. These officers don't need to be scrutinized and shepherded by generals (the level that is represented by the command-system in the game). This is taken into account by 1) the low/inexistent demand of supply points of light troops and 2) their specific combat characteristics (it will be nigh impossible to "destroy" light troops - they get pushed and evade).

PS: A conservative guess: I think that most regions in RoP are about 40 x 20-30 km in size. So I guess that my proposals for unit sizes are probably too low but still acceptable as a compromise. Can a battalion of 5 companies/600 men cover such a region (i.e. take notice of enemy presence, spread the information to all its posts, concentrate force and attack) in a matter of 3 days (the time needed by an infantry element to move on to another region via roads)? Probably not, but then again we assume that the opponent is moving on the roads, so perhaps it's not even that unlikely if sentinels/piquets are set up accordinly. The alternative would be to use larger units than battalions, but this is no option either as a certain level of combat-power-fine-tuning is needed (especially for sieges). Probably 2 companies/160 hussars are more likely to detect and quickly attack an opponent in a matter of 3 days on the road-network of a 30x20km region. In any way I think that it's an acceptable compromise.

PS: Note to self: Light troops must not spend ammunition in battle.
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Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:59 am

Collection of ideas for scenario-events [work in progress]

Functional events (reinforcements are not mentioned here)

  • Capture of Glogau: unlocks the respective portion of the Oder for the side which holds Glogau. (important for supply transport) (BOTH) [picture: historical map Glogau 1740/41]
  • Capture of Brieg/Brzeg: same as for Glogau
  • Negotiations in Breslau: 25. XII.1740 by default, Breslau city should be "independent" and no side should be able to move troops there. Historically, the negotiations between the Habsburg military command and the cities' magistrate failed - even though at first they agreed to take a Habsburg garrison, this agreement was overturned by internal conflict (almost mob-like scenes) in the city. So Breslau did not agree to open their gates to a Habsburg garrison historically. However, as this was a very close-run thing, I think that there is some room for alternative history here. So, at the set date, there should be a small chance that Breslau agrees to take a Habsburg garrison. However, I'm not sure how I can achieve this result via scripting (can you deny access to a structure?!). (BOTH)
  • Breslau open its gates for Prussia: [only active if Breslau has not opened its gates to a Habsburg garrison, see event above]: Once there is a certain number of Prussian troops in Breslau-countryside, there is a high chance that Breslau "surrenders" to Prussia. (BOTH)
  • War Council: 31.XII.1740 General Neipperg spawns (but is still locked) (AUS)

Mere "fluff" events

  • "Vitam et sanguinem pro rege nostro Maria Theresia!" Inthronisation as queen of Hungary: June 1741 Maria Theresia is crowned in Pressburg/Bratislava, the passion-inflamed hungarian nobles allegedly shout out their support for their troubled queen (AUS) [picture]
  • Birth of crown prince Joseph: 13.III.1741 Maria Theresia gives birth to her first son Joseph (to become emperor Joseph II) (AUS) [picture]
  • Insurrectio: 26.I.1741 Palatin Count Johann Palffy summons the support of the hungarian comitates/counties. The corresponding insurrectio-troops spawn in March. (AUS)
  • Insurrectio: IX.1741 Maria Theresias second visit of the Hungarian estates in Pressburg/Bratislava. Again, troops are promised. (AUS)
  • Trenck: 27.II.1741: Freiherr von Trenck is negotiating with the queen in Vienna. He is allowed to set up a Freicorps in Slavonia. (AUS) [picture]


The large, diplomatic view

As you can see, I'm not sure yet how to deal with the Bohemian and Austrian theatres of war and the diplomatic events in the summer of 1741. I want to keep the scenario focused on Silesia, only reflecting the larger perspective via events and victory conditions. (Once I'm done with the other armies, I can add a larger scenario and/or a second scenario. Most likely, I will try to create a larger scenario first that covers the full duration of the first Silesian War, including the campaigns in 1742 but is restricted to the Silesian theatre). So, I have to ask two questions: 1) Is the intervention of Bavaria, France, Great Britain and Saxony independent of the the outcome of the war in Silesia? 2) If we have to consider the intervention, how can we represent its effects on the war in Silesia in the game? It is clear that the intervention forces Habsburg to make peace with Prussia and thus end the scenario. Apart from that, I still need to look up the effects and restrictions that the presence of the Bavarian-French army in Upper Austria and Bohemia had for Neipperg in Silesia. It seems that larger chuncks of troops were already comandeered off the Silesian army and sent to Bohemia by October 1741. However, I guess he surlely had less incentive to risk his army in an open battle much earlier. Perhaps this can be represented by changing Neippergs' stats (lower his activation chance/strategic rating, perhaps also the offensive rating). Also, I guess he would have chosen to operate in proximity to Bohemia (not that he had any choice historically speaking).

If you have suggestions for events (for any side involved) I'd love to hear them.

PS: For anyone interested, the most detailed account of the campaigns that I've been able to find is: Oesterreichischer Erbfolgekrieg 1740-1748, ed. by the Kriegsgeschichtliche Abtheilung des k. und k. Kriegs-Archivs - for the first Silesian war volume 2 (Carl von Duncker, Wien 1896) and 3 (Maximilian Ritter von Hoen and Andreas Kienast, Wien 1898). They can be found online. This is the most detailed account in general, but focuses on the Habsburg side. For the Prussian side, the Große Generalstab is the way to go, albeit it's a little bit less detailed.
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Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:15 pm

Reflections on the tasks of „light“ troops for the army

So far, I’ve been primarily concerned with the tasks of light troops and/or detachements for what I would call the „war effort“. I’ve been thinking about their capability to operate behind „enemy lines“ and threaten the opponents supply, and I’ve been thinking about keeping up military control in regions adjacent to the army for supply/fourage reasons.

Now as I’ve been studying the historical campaigns and trying to figure out the importance and tasks of „light“ troops, I’ve also come to reflect a bit more on their immediate role for the army (=large concentration of troops). So, in game-terms, I’m touching on „light troops“ when they’re part of large stacks and/or stationed in the same game-region as large stacks. Once more, I’m using the bottom-up-approach: I first take a look at how things worked historically on the detailed micro-level, then try to come up with abstractions that reflect these findings as adequately as possible.

It seems to me that the central purpose of light troops that operated in conjunction with armies was reconnaissance and information. We all know that, you might say, but what does it actually mean, reconnaissance? The crux is that we’re not talking about reconaissance as in „we have no clue where the opposing army is operating right now, so let’s roam around everywhere in Silesia to find out where the opposing army is“. So no, in this case, it’s not about the „fog of war“. It’s about information on a smaller, almost tactical scale, where light troops had the important task to provide (predominately defensive) information. Here is a small sketch of how reconnaissance on this scale works [see image].

You can see the camp of the army. It is – at least in the direction of the opponent – surrounded and protected by a belt of detachements and ouposts. Large armies seem to have had at least two „belts“ or cordons. The first cordon is made up of larger detachements that are typically stationed in strong points situated at perhaps some two hours distance from the main army camp. Imagine a village, some redoubts, etc. Often, these positions were fortified to some extent (chevaux de frise, block houses, a chateau, etc). The troops that were used for these posts might very well have been some regular infantry, but were usually supported by some „light“ troops (grenadiers, dragoons, horse-grenadiers, carabeneers, hussars, you name it). The second cordon was made up of smaller posts. Here, we typically find small contingents of troops, hardly ever full battalions, usually not more than a few companies of light troops, typically cavalry. Their posts were also often chosen wisely or fortified. Imagine for example a block house, or any kind of secured defile. These posts would send out patrols and thereby cover/control the imaginary „front-line“, so to speak. You need cavalry for this task.

The function of both of these cordons is 1) to provide timely information if the opponent approaches in full force to give battle; and 2) to deter smaller enemy detachements, thereby „protecting“ the army.

1) Providing timely information in case of an attack

If the opponent attacks, what would happen if you had no proper cordon of posts? Your army would only get to know that it is being attacked once the opponent is already engaging. In other words: you get surprised. Your army is not ready, and parts of it will be destroyed in a piecemeal-manner for the opponent has no trouble to generate local advantages and/or might even cut off your armys‘ retreat path.

If the opponent attacks, what would happen if you had a proper network of posts? The approaching opponent would be discovered by patrols of your second cordon. The respective post will probably retreat/fall back on the stronger posts or main army and send out a messenger (on horse!) to the first cordon and to the army. The army must now make proper preparations and form up in battle formation or it might even break camp and move off. The stronger detachements might retreat as well or try to delay the army. So, the cordon-network serves as an instrument of defensive information, as the antennae of the army, as well as an instrument for delaying the approach of the enemy. Indeed we’re talking about relatively short time-frames here. It’s a matter of hours if not minutes. This is also emphasized by the fact that most armies camped in battle formation: In case of an alarm, it was paramount to be ready for battle as fast as possible. Soldiers who got out of their tents and grabbed their muskets already found themselves in their rank and file.

Once the army was ready, the attacker had lost his main advantage, which is surprise=local superiority of force. Thus a high offensive value of a commander represents his ability to counter the network of posts and light troops. He needs to read the opposing armys' network of cordons, choose clever axes of approachment and points of attack, perhaps even use ruses to overcome piquets before they can alarm the army. This is a big part of what offensive rating means. Once the battle is joined, a general had already done most of his work.

As to why regular infantry would not be expected to serve as the ultimate outposts? They were not motivated enough to bear the constant threat of enemy contact, they were not ready to sleep under the open sky (as light troops were supposed to), they had no horses (makes patroling and withdrawal easier), they were more prone to desertion (which is easier if you're patrolling in small groups), and also, I guess they lacked the knowledge that was needed concerning topography, cartography, engineering, etc. Battle cavalry (cuirassiers) on the other hand were expected to keep their (ideally large) horses fit for battle. Unlike hussars and - to a lesser degree - dragoons, who fatigued their (smaller) horses day by day by carrying out the light-troop-tasks described here.

2) Fending off smaller detachements

Without a network of outposts every day, small enemy contingents would show up and harass parts of your army. Before you could mount any kind of defensive (by concentrating force), they were already gone. Not only would this cost you men and morale in the long run, but also it would hamper your armys‘ flexibility. For example, if your army was to move, a few battalions that get attacked and thus be delayed would severely mess up the marching-order and give horrible headaches to your quartermaster-staff. So it’s less a matter of loss of men and morale, but rather a matter of operational flexibility. The networks of cordons served exactly to this purpose. By preventing opposing contingents from approaching the army, they kept the army safe and flexible. They did so by detecting opposing harassing-parties and fighting them off. This is also why I believe that most posts were indeed put up in defensive positions. If it was just a matter of information (assuming that you retreat as soon as an opponent is approaching), you wouldn’t really need any kind of battle-defense.

Of course certain types of troops had an easier time to break through cordons (unseen or seen, doesn’t matter). It seems to me that while dragoons and special companies (carabeneers and horse grenadiers) were primarily used for the defensive-task of manning the cordon and patrols, hussars could (also) be used offensively. They were hard to detect and track down because of their speed. Never mind how densly knotted your network of cordons is, you would probably have a hard time to prevent parties of 50 hussars from entering your „comfort zone“. The bigger and slower the contingents, the easier it would be to prevent their approach to the main army and fend them off.

This is also true on a larger scale. Hussars might not necessarily break through the comfort zone of an army, but they might break through a larger imaginary „front-line“ (which would also see some posts, a kind of crodon) to harass supply lines. But this is another topic as it brings us back to the other level (light troops operating independently from armies).

3) Bringing in fourage
(wip)

Escorting officers
Outpost-troops also had the task to escort officers who visited the "frontier" for various reasons, be it to reconnoitre enemy outposts, the terrain and the route for attacks or to reconnoitre appropriate places for setting up camps (and drawing maps in the process).

Implications for the game

I’m only touching the two points already mentioned above, leaving the role of light troops for retreat and withdrawal aside. All of what I’ve said above took place in what in game terms would be a single region. My conclusion would be that the presence of light troops decreased the risk of getting surprised (and vice versa). And as I can only model „being surprised“ as being outnumbered (local concentration of force), this means that light troops should have effects on frontage (i.e. how many elements can engage in each round of combat?). These are some (at this point sill hypothetical) considerations:

To start with, one would need to give a defensive force (always remember that the stance of the C-in-C, not of the stack-commander applies) a smaller frontage than an aggressive force. We can assume that an offensive force is actually trying to engage the opponent, in concrete terms the commander seeks to carry out an approach-march and attack the defensive force at an advantageous spot. Thus, by definition, the attacker should have the element of surprise which translates into a larger frontage/having more elements in the battle (especially for the first few rounds of battle). Likewise, the off/def-skill of the C-in-C affects the frontage-allowance (if we declare all terrain as „open“), representing his skill in creating „surprise“.

This surprise-moment of the attacker can be countered 1) by the off/def-rating of the defending commander and 2) by an appropriate amount of light troops that form a cordon around the main army. (The effects of terrain on frontage would be yet another topic).

Thus, ideally, each element of light troops present in the fight* should provide a small bonus in frontage if the C-in-C is in defensive posture (and perhaps an somewhat smaller bonus if aggressive). I haven’t had the chance to figure out if such a setting is possible. There is a frontage bonus that works for leaders (abi offensive terrain analyst). Parameters 15 and 16 of a battle-bonus-ability let you increase or decrease the % of frontage (as defined in the terrain-files) a force is allowed to use if defensive/offensive. However, I not sure if one can get this to work 1) with ordinary units rather than leaders (will appliance „leader“ actually bestow the bonus „from“ the unit „to“ the C-in-C?! Or does this only work IF the unit in question is the C-in-C? Then it is impossible) and 2) I don’t think it is cumulative. So it would be an absolute bonus that applies as soon as a single „unit“ of light troops is present. The presence of additional units of light troops would not increase frontage any further. In general, "appliance" of unit abilities gives me headaches as the wiki is not clear and you have to conduct very time-consuming experiments to find out.

* I’m not sure if the bonus (if it even works) would apply only if the unit is part of a stack that is actually engaged in combat or also if the unit is part of an unengaged stack (in a region where a battle takes place/other stacks are engaged). Accordingly, you’d need to put the light troops in the same stack as the main army or not.

PS: Another thing that came to my mind: Right now, there is a command-point-cap per stack of 32 command points. I think that this is set too high. A brigade needs 4 command points and is made up of max. 4 battalions/2400 men. This means that you can move 32/4= 8 brigades = 32 battalions = 19.200 men in one column without any slight disadvantage in speed (I'm not so much concerned about battle, as frontage limits the usefullness of mega-stacks - at least if the frontage-allowance is calibrated carefully). I've not tried to calculate how long such a column (+ wagons for tents) would be (min. 6.4 km if you divide 19.000/3 and calculate 1m per rank), but I think it would be long enough to make it very impractical and slow. A movement malus should set in much earlier, as this is not a matter of mere "command" but of a technical reality (how long is the column). The longer the column, the slower the army (as the last battalion in the marching order has to wait before all other battalions are on the street and moving before it can even start to move, with a marching-column-length of 7+ km, you can calculate a loss of marching-time of at least 1-2 hours per day?). Larger concentrations of troops would need to be split up into several stacks. I still need to think through the implications of this, however.

PS: On the topic of light troops, it's also interesting to note that the quartermaster-staff, who had the task to determine proper places for the army's camp and marching routes was permanently in need of light troops as it had to operate in front of the army, often in no-mans-land. Thus, in the Seven Years' war, there were staff-dragoons (Stabsdragoner/regiment d'etat), e.g. in the habsburg army, where the regiment drew its men from existing dragoon-regiments (so we might expect that the creme de la creme or at least men with some special knowledge were chosen).
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Sat Nov 14, 2015 7:15 pm

As I've been looking up the initial positions of troops for the scenario, a new maniac-idea sprang to my mind: I need a new map of Silesia. I'm not really sure yet, but I'm very tempted to at least try it, before I set up the scenario in detail (I don't want to repreat all the work with a new, slightly more detailed map). What would be the benefits of the new map?

1) Historical/topographical accuracy. No reproaches to the RoP-team, it's only natural that one cannot take things too accurately when one has to come up with a map that shows half of Europe. I'd "only" need Silesia/Moravia/Bohemia for a start, as I would really focus on the campaigns in Silesia rather than on the whole war. Upper Silesia, where most of the manoeuvering took place is represented in the game by ca. 9 provinces, which is not ideal for my micro-purpose. There are also some major topographical flaws (e.g. location of the "Glatzer Neiße" river).

2) Obviously having a more detailed map can be operationally interesting but also tricky and dangerous. There are many implications of the "region-size - turn-intervall - balance" that I can't explain in detail here. It's sufficient to say that smaller regions require shorter turn-intervalls (or their ugly little sister - "marching to the sound of the guns"), or else armies will dance around each other in pure chaos and can't deny space to opponents. Partly, the condition of shorter turn-intervalls is already given in my mod, as it uses 7-day-intervalls. Still I think that doubling the number of regions is the upper limit for 7 day-turns. I can't go any lower than this as 7 day turns are a "hard" cap of the engine, we can't go any lower than that. Well theoretically we could, but then the calender and seasons and the date-information breaks down (if we simply ignored the seasonal-circle of the game).

Creating a map would mean a lot of work for sure. But now that I've been setting up all units and models from scratch, now that I'm producing new unit icons, and now that I've already altered or that I'm seeking to alter quite a lot of the aspects of the game (combat resolution, supply, sieges), why should I be afraid of mapping? Moreover, I've already done some changes to the map (although in the not-recommended way, altering the files directly; I've added the Jablunka-pass). And time doesn't really matter. It's a hobby, and it may take as long as it needs.

I think I will need to ask the team about that ExMap-utility (and if they still have the original bmp-mapfile, which I could use as a basis). :D

PS: Exmap hurray! http://www.ageod-forum.com/showthread.php?24465-Exmap-doubts&p=232973&viewfull=1#post232973 First hurdle is taken! I've already managed to enter the program without any error messages. :) Alright, let's do this, 7000 x 7000 map!
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 11:43 am

I'm in the process of creating my map.bmp (7000x7000). The wip-map shown here is too detailed for the game (because the 7 days-per-turn-cap is the lower limit). So I will abstract a little bit, using this detailed map as a basis. Bohemia + passes to Silesia, east-west-roads in Silesia, detailed Moravia are still missing.

I'm not sure yet whether I will try to do my own map-artwork or try to re-use the existing artwork somehow.

As for the lay-out of region-borders, I'm thinking about two alternatives. Obviously rivers are natural operational borders. But I wondered about how to represent roads. In the game right now, it seems as if the whole map was split up into regions of about the same size (picture left) that all take roughly the same amount of days to enter. The road-network is layed down "over" this grid of regions, modifying the movement-costs of the regions, that is to say that it doesn't seem as if roads played a big role for the design of region size/shape. The alternative idea would be to implement the road net-work into the design of region-sizes and shapes (right picture), similarly to the navigable rivers in the game. Along the roads, there would be regions that are very long but narrow.

I think I'm going with option 2 because it is more interesting from a micro-perspective. Unlike as in solution 1, solution 2 would make roads important defensive lines. Road-regions would not provide a defensive bonus as river-crossings do (although they often run along rivers...) but due to their long shape, a road-line cannot be "crossed" easily / a large amount of space can be covered by a single stack. Therefore, controlling the streets will be quite important (giving you even more reason for small war :) ). And it would also help to mitigate the problems related to the relatively long turn-intervalls of 7 days (the opponent cannot "dance around" too unpredictably if the road network can actually be controlled). So, the effects of roads to "reaction/movement" would be implemented primarily via region-shape/size. It also makes sense for retreat-directions, as road-regions would border lots of other regions and thus would have a high priority for retreat-direction-calculations.

There were two important axes/roads of operation in Silesia historically. One along the Oder, the other parallel to the Oder roughly from Görlitz, Schweidnitz, Frankenstein, Neisse, Troppau.

Just to emphasize: It's meant to be multiplayer only.
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 1:39 pm

Okay some more thoughts on region design as this simply is one of the most important design-desicions.

Roads
Roads will be represented by narrow, long regions. Thus, if you're following them, you can move very fast. At the same time, they can be controlled with relative ease as a lot of space is represented by only very few regions. Most likely, I will set "natural" limits to the length of road-regions. Either I cut the roads at intervalls of 1 day-travels, and/or I cut them at certain cities/villages. You can see examples in the little sketch below. I'd like to position villages and cities right at the roads. They belong to the road, so to speak.

Rivers
Rivers are quite complex. First of all, I need to have the same amount of regions on both sides of the river. If there are less regions on the north bank than on the south bank, for example, the north bank will be easier to hold as you don't need to split up your troops too much (as you'd need to set up one stack in each region). Accordingly, troops on the south bank would be easier to attack, and/or to circumvent. So this needs to be one of my main principles: the same amount of regions on both sides of a river.

Moreover, as river-crossings can be controlled comparatively easily, I think I'll also go for long/narrow regions along rivers. There doesn't need to be a road in them. It's just to represent that rivers are natural defence-lines where a comparatively small amount of troops can cover and control a relatively large "front".

This brings me to another point: I think I'll need to set up my "road"-regions as a "terrain"-type rather than as a modification on existing terrain. The case above (long regions along rivers) shows why I need that. I need to differentiate between long regions with and without roads. There is a certain operational difference.

PS: I plan to have a lot more major rivers. Basically most confluents of the Oder from the west run through pretty deep clefts on their upper reaches.

Presentation
As interesting as the operational aspects might get, there is a drawback to this concept: topography. The (operational) information that region-shapes and sizes need to portray does not go well with topographical realities. E.g. I need to make certain regions along the roads larger to place villages/cities in them and needless to say that regions that serve as roads also need to be oversized and that rivers that are on both side accompanied by long narrow regions might look rather odd. On the one hand, I don't want to end up with tiny, crowded regions, but on the other hand, I can only "zoom in" to a certain point (map resolution). So in the end, I think that I need to make compromises. I need to come up with a map that is "operational" first, and "topographically correct" second. After all generals were not interested in bee-lines. They cared about distances which were measured in days' marches and villages.
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:54 pm

Last post for the next couple of days (unfortunately). Here is a rough sketch of the design I have in mind (100% size/resolution). I'm happy that it's pretty effortless and fast. Basically, I use the vignettes and landscapes of contemporary mid 18th century military maps as my "stamps". The Wilhelmshöher Kriegskarten-project offers plenty of maps and terrain-blueprints.

I guess I have to increase the resolution a bit further. As you can see, the regions are too small for the size of the counters and their convenient handling.

PS: Resolution changed from 7000x7000 to 11000x11000. I think it's okay now. The city to the north would be Brieg (Brzeg), the village in the south is Löwen (Lewin Brzeski). Following the street along the Oder and then along the Glatzer Neiße, the distance is ca. 23 km. Should be okay for ca. two days march (=two regions). Beeline it would be ca. 15 km. On this scale and with 7-day-turns, I think that marching to the sound of guns might have it's proper place. An I mean literally. Battles would be heard in the adjacent regions. ;)

PS: I think I need to change the look of the river. It simply doesn't match the terrain-graphics.
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Thu Nov 19, 2015 2:00 am

Simply amazing! I'm glad that you still work on your ambitious project and the results are really impressive. Great style and game ideas.

The mapping part is especially interesting and very promising.

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Mon Nov 30, 2015 5:09 pm

JacquesDeLalaing wrote:I'm happy to see that someone is following this project. :)

Sure we are! I had already linked your writings as ideas for RUG-Gold beta some months ago.

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Sat Dec 05, 2015 5:23 pm

That's very motivating, Eriss! :)

Just a small update. Not much to show yet, drawing the map takes its time. Here is a glimpse of the overall scope and of the river system.The map reaches to Dresden/Prag/Passau in the west, to Frankfurt an der Oder in the north, to the border of Poland in the east and roughly to the border of Austria in the south. Basically, it covers Silesia, Moravia, and parts of Bohemia, Lusitania and Saxony. On the map you can see the big navigable streams (Oder/Odra, March/Morava, Elbe/Labe + final section of the Moldau/Vltava) and major rivers (i.e. tributaries to the big three). Smaller rivers will be added (you can alreasy see some of them) but they won't have a big impact on gameplay. They're probably just an aesthetical asset. The first picture also shows major roads (green), political borders (pink) and towns (red). Of course not every village and not every road/path is covered here - only those that are likely to serve a gameplay purpose later on. There are no indications of terrain yet.

Both shots are zoomed out a lot. The actual pixel size of the map is 11.000 x 11.000. I will post some close ups at 100% when I'm ready.

I've tried out quite a lot of maps. But no matter which one I tried, the result ended up more or less incohesive in some or the other way. This last attempt is based on the map that comes with the "Großer Generalstab's" volumes on the Austrian War of Succession. However the "Großer Generalstab" offers maps of varying scale and even here the larger one does not fit to the smaller ones as well as one would suspect. Anyway, it's a compromise.
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Sat Dec 05, 2015 8:36 pm

Amazing level of details. This is so good, going to be the best map ever released for AGEOD games/mods.

How far are you going to go to west? I mean representing Saxony and Bavaria?

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Sun Dec 06, 2015 5:09 pm

Region-Design

I’ve spent a bit more time thinking about how to draw my region-borders and came up with the following concept. Since the scale is more detailed than that of the unmodded ageod-games, I considered it necessary to differentiate regions by their purpose. These are the 4 region types/tiles that I’m probably going to work with:

1. Road-tiles
Movement: fast for both infantry/cavalry and wheeled units; 1 day to enter if moving along the road
Supply production: none
Effects on battle: ?
Description: narrow shape, roads connect cities


2. City-tiles
Movement: same as road-tiles
Supply production: none (sic!) (edit: okay, I think that a small production is okay, especially for cities on rivers as they are "cut off" from the supply-producing terrain on the other side)
Effects on battle: ?, city-tiles always contain a city/fortress structure (of varying fortification level)
Description: city-tiles are comparatively small, roughly hexagonal regions; they can be seen as a „special“ road-tile because they’re part of the road network; Due to their form, they border a lot of other tiles, both road- and terrain-tiles

3. Terrain-tiles
NOTE: Terrain-tiles fill up the space in between cities and roads. They come with different types of terrain, which influences 1) the amount of time it takes different units to enter terrain, and 2) the amount of supply generated. Here are two archetypes:

3a. Open/agricultural
Movement: fast for all types except for wheeled; probably 2 days to enter for infantry and cavalry
Supply production: yes
Effects on battle: ?
Description: represents a good network of paths and minor roads, lots of villages and agriculture

3b. difficult
Movement: slow (3-4 days) for all types except for light infantry/partisans; almost impassable for wheeled
Supply production: none
Effects on battle: ? (good defensive position)
Description: Might be wooded hills, swamps, etc.

4. River-banks
NOTE: River banks can either be road-tiles or terrain-tiles, depending on whether there is a road/bridge present. Their unique feature is their oblong form. There are narrow, very long river-bank tiles on both sides of a river. THis makes rivers positions that can be defended more easily (due to the shape, a larger amount of space can be covered by a single stack without the need to split up the troops)


Some further considerations

In order to fully understand the system, please also read through the following post on supply. The differentiation between the “road-network” and “terrain” offers the following advantages:

1. It offers space for manoeuvre and small war “offside” the road-network, i.e. in the terrain-tiles.
2. It gives players the means to “control” a road-network. Note that supply wagons will need to travel on major roads. Also, cities can’t be bypassed easily as they’re part of the road-network.
3. It does not fully restrict players to the road-network. They can still manoeuvre in the terrain-tiles as well – at least in open terrain, your army is not forced to use the major roads (supply, however, is supposed to move on the major roads).
4. I think it might work out quite well with the supply system (see next post)
5. I think that the 7 days per turn-intervall might lead to too much unpredictability. In seven days, a force can move through many, many regions. Realistically, an army would react to an opponents’ move much faster, in a matter of 1-2 days at maximum. So, I think that the map might be a bit too detailed (too many regions) for the 7 days-intervalls. However, there are also means to reduce unpredictability: 1. the road network – the player has a limited number of options where to move. 2. the supply system – Players will depend highly on the location of their supply. 3. cohesion – there will be a harsher calibration of cohesion if you keep moving for all the 7 days of the turn. 4. Detachements: Ideally, we will see detachements operating over a larger amount of regions. New combat- and retreat mechanics should make smaller detachements a worthwile option. Thus, you can try to cut off certain paths (cities are key as they’re located at the cross-roads of the road-network), or perhaps try to delay the advance of your opponent in a particular direction.




Here is a sketch to provide an example of a typical region-setup

brown: network of roads/cities
blue: cities (=structure in the city-tile)
light green: open/agricultural terrain-tiles
dark green: difficult terrain-tiles
ns: no supply
s: supply
1/2/3: days to enter the region for inf/cav units

PS: I’m not sure whether the set-up in the sketch is okay. I’ve read that one point/vertice must not be the frontier between four regions. I’m not sure if this refers to a vertice being the “only” touching point between two regions (in which case a border along a line of 2 vertices would be okay). I will need to figure it out with a small test-map. http://www.ageod-forum.com/showthread.php?24951-How-to-exmap&p=239090&viewfull=1#post239090
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Sun Dec 06, 2015 5:10 pm

Supply Production and Supply Transport

This needs to be one of the key aspects of the mod because it was probably the most important operational factor. Unfortunately, the following concept is still very hypothetical because hardly any details on how the engine handles supply are known in the ageod-community, and the wiki is far from clear. Note that I don’t touch on supply consumption here. It suffices to say that units will only have an internal supply storage of 1 instead of 2. You will need to keep them in supply EVERY turn.

Supply comes from 2 sources:

1. “Initial/centralized supply” refers to the large amounts of supply that is stored in your depot at the very start of the game (determined in the scenario-set-up). Additionally, a depot also produces a medium amount of supply every turn (representing that it gets slowly filled up from the rear by means of transport invisible to the player)
2. “Local/decentralized supply” refers to the production of very small amounts of supply in (agricultural) terrain-tiles

Keep in mind that:
1. Your only means to move supply from the depot to the army is by ship or supply wagon. Supply wagons need to travel on the roads. Unfortunately - and this is a real issue - there is no way to combine supply transport by ship and supply wagon, since, if I’m not mistaken, ships give their supply only to troops in adjacent regions, not to supply wagons or structures in adjacent regions.
2. You units need to be supplied every single turn (internal supply storage of 1 instead of 2)
3. Supply will not be forwarded automatically.

So, basically, with these settings, your main concern needs to be centralized supply. Your operations are limited to a radius around your depot. Supply wagons need to circle back and forth between depot and army. The farther your army moves away from the depot, the longer and more prone to enemy action your supply line becomes.

Players should be able to build new depots, but the new depots will only fill up very slowly, according to their own “production”, which represents the slow trickling-in of supply from the rear/other depots. A depot and supply cannot be conjured up ad hoc. Supply needs to be transported – at the speed of wagons and ships.

Therefore, proper use of the second type of supply, local/decentralized supply, might help out players a lot to take away pressure from their central supply-system. Any agricultural terrain-tile (but no city or road) produces low amounts of supply every turn. Note that units draw supply from adjacent regions. This means, for example, that a unit moving on a road is able to draw supply from the (usually 2) adjacent agricultural tiles. Likewise, since cities are usually adjacent to a lot of terrain-tiles, it can draw a lot of supplies from its surroundings. Thus, a stack located in a city might draw supply from 5+ terrain-tiles, depending on how many are adjacent.

However, this only works as long as the terrain-tiles are under your control. Needless to say that this gives reasons to split up troops, cover and control terrain and engage in small war over supply.

There are also some concerns: 1) Do I actally need to set up structures in terrain-tiles in order to make them produce supply? I would prefer not to. If I have to, these will be villages that hardly provide any defensive bonus at all. 2) I’m worried about the supply-storage-capacity of terrain-tiles. It’s quite clear that I don’t want local supply to add up too much. Nevertheless, the idea to move supply wagons not only to depots but also to areas with a lot of supply (where no army has moved through for a couple of turns) is also quite tempting.
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Sun Dec 06, 2015 5:17 pm

Herr Doctor wrote:Amazing level of details. This is so good, going to be the best map ever released for AGEOD games/mods.

How far are you going to go to west? I mean representing Saxony and Bavaria?


Thanks for premature laurels, Herr Doctor. I wouldn't dare to say it's the best map ever released for an AGEOD game. It's just set on different, less abstract/zoomed-out and more detailed/zoomed-in level. Also, the art style will be a matter of taste.

It also comes at the cost that I cannot portray all the theatres of the WAS. As the mod-title suggests, my main concern are the campaigns in Silesia. The map only reaches west as far as Dresden and Prague. I think that's already at my upper limit, as it takes a lot of time to produce the map. Although it would be nice to cover a larger area, I personally don't miss it, as I want to keep the mod concentrated on a single theatre with two opposing armies. With more armies, things get too complex and preparing a turn will take too long for my taste.
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Sun Dec 06, 2015 6:10 pm

JacquesDeLalaing wrote:3a. Open/agricultural
Movement: fast for all types except for wheeled; probably 2 days to enter for infantry and cavalry
Supply production: yes
Effects on battle: ?
Description: represents a good network of paths and minor roads, lots of villages and agriculture

Theoretically it could have very slight bonus for the defender as the agricultural structures and buildings were often used for defence purposes during the battles with various success and advantage.


5. I think that the 7 days per turn-intervall might lead to too much unpredictability. In seven days, a force can move through many, many regions. Realistically, an army would react to an opponents’ move much faster, in a matter of 1-2 days at maximum. So, I think that the map might be a bit too detailed (too many regions) for the 7 days-intervalls. However, there are also means to reduce unpredictability: 1. the road network – the player has a limited number of options where to move. 2. the supply system – Players will depend highly on the location of their supply. 3. cohesion – there will be a harsher calibration of cohesion if you keep moving for all the 7 days of the turn. 4. Detachements: Ideally, we will see detachements operating over a larger amount of regions. New combat- and retreat mechanics should make smaller detachements a worthwile option. Thus, you can try to cut off certain paths (cities are key as they’re located at the cross-roads of the road-network), or perhaps try to delay the advance of your opponent in a particular direction.

Considering the amazing details you're putting into this campaign, I believe lowering the number of days per turn is a wise move. This would only make the entire campaign more interesting, especially if you succeed with introduction of the proper petite guerre elements into it.

It also comes at the cost that I cannot portray all the theatres of the WAS. As the mod-title suggests, my main concern are the campaigns in Silesia. The map only reaches west as far as Dresden and Prague. I think that's already at my upper limit, as it takes a lot of time to produce the map. Although it would be nice to cover a larger area, I personally don't miss it, as I want to keep the mod concentrated on a single theatre with two opposing armies. With more armies, things get too complex and preparing a turn will take too long for my taste.

This is perfectly understandable choice. Developing the "small" campaign in depth is defiantly even more complex and responsible task than turning it to more "global" level.

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Sun Dec 06, 2015 8:07 pm

Herr Doctor wrote:Considering the amazing details you're putting into this campaign, I believe lowering the number of days per turn is a wise move. This would only make the entire campaign more interesting, especially if you succeed with introduction of the proper petite guerre elements into it.


Unfortunately, 7 days per turn is the lower limit. There doesn't seem to be any hardcoded shorter intervall available. And I can't work around this either (e.g. by declaring that 1 day is just "half a day" and multiplying the time-costs for all regions x2 accordingly; I think the strings could be altered accordingly) because then the winter-mechanic would get out of control. Winter would be triggered somewhere around July. And as far as I know, winter is hard-coded - it's no event.

So it seems I need to find a good balance between 7 day intervalls and the level of detail of the map/number of regions. If there are too many regions in relation to the turn/reaction-intervall, then movements become unpredictable and stacks will dance around each other. Enabling "marching to the sounds of guns" helps a bit to compensate the lack of reaction that is caused by the large turn-intervall.

PS: Good source of maps for Silesia: http://mapy.mzk.cz/de/mollova-sbirka/atlas-austriacus/XXIII/#001028053
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Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:47 am

I'm still working on the map. Lots of "paths" to do in order to make all the roads and rivers look smooth/not pixely and uniform. I'm looking forward to finally implementing terrain, details and drawing region-borders.

I've reduced the map scale by about 50%! It's now 6000x6000 pixels. 11.000x11.000 was too big. Since my road-regions need to be one-day-travels (ordinary cav/inf can enter a region in 1 day), a more detailed map is inadequate. At 100% zoom-level (when all the unit-counters and other information have their proper size), there wouldn't be enough regions shown on the map and you'd have no overview at all. So I had to use a different scale. I don't know how large in pixels the area I'm covering would be on the current ROP map. I guess that mine is about 3-5x the size (given that most regions in RoP now take 3 days to enter).

Running through some mind-experiments, I'm also thinking about some adjustments to my region-design (see above). More details will follow.

Poland will be used as a space for some fluff (map legend, coat of arms of Silesia?, etc)
The major three/four rivers are already "edged" with paths at those sections where they will be navigable (except for the Oder, which is edged on their whole length, a small parth in the north missing).

PS: Concerning region-size/length - Since the game measures time in days, not hours, I need to take 1 day-travels as my base region size (for those regions that can be passed through the fastest - that is: roads). However, there is still the problem that different types of units travel at different speed. If I take general-units as my base, then these would be so fast that I would have to keep the region-sizes of the vanilla game, where they can enter a region in 1 day. In the case of my mod, I will calibrate region size on standard infantry/cavalry speed, taking a corps of ca. 20.000 men as a base. In other words: I plan to set the length of road-segments so that it is plausible that a force of ca. 20.000 men can pass through in a matter of 1 day. I'd say that this would be about 25 kilometers (= ca. 400 pixels on the map). Of course, it's a compromise. With given time-intervalls (days), not calibrating region size around the fastest unit is sub-optimal. It means that some faster units are slowed down (because units can't enter regions faster than 1 day). Larger units, however, are still slowed down because of the command-point-mechanism (which will be more restrictive in the mod - lower max. cap of command points per stack allowed; moving more than 25.000 men in a stack will result in the stack being slowed down, regardless of how many CP/generals you have). Moreover, force-marching will be non-functional on roads (since you can't enter regions any faster than in one day, which is already the case - unless your force is oversize/lacks command points).

For very fast units (generals), this is a problem. For others (hussars), I think it's not that problematical. Partly because hussars will be more resistant to cohesion loss, which means that they will still be significantly faster than other units over longer distances.

If I was god, I think I would go for time-intervalls of "half-days" (2 intervalls per day), and 3-4 days (=6-8 intervalls) per turn. This would enable us to use a nice, richly detailed map on a quite plausible/realistic operational scale. If it wasn't for the hard-coded winter-mechanic, this would already be possible in the mod.

PS: A "military geography" of Europe from 1839 (in german). https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=IvRFAAAAcAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=de&pg=GBS.PP1 (Bohemia p. 291, Moravia p. 299, Silesia p. 338)
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[CENTER][color="#A52A2A"] S I L E S I A I N R U P T A[/color]

- a work-in-progress mod for Rise of Prussia - [/CENTER]

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loki100
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Wed Dec 09, 2015 9:29 am

really amazing and fascinating project ... very impressed
AJE The Hero, The Traitor and The Barbarian
PoN Manufacturing Italy; A clear bright sun
RoP The Mightiest Empires Fall
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