elxaime
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Rampaging Volsini!

Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:58 am

EDIT:

I am playing First Punic War PBEM again (264 starting date) as Romans.

Per usual starting move, I move one of the consular armies to besiege the rebellious Volsini. Lo and behold, the next turn they come out and make my Roman Army retreat! Not a defeat, a draw - the Volsini actually they lose about two thousand more men and no one loses any morale. My retreating I suspect had to do with the fact I had left my Roman besiegers in offensive mode and they were fatigued when the Volsini came out. My bad.

But in any case the Romans had to retreat. After a turn of rest, the Romans come back and defeatedt the Volsini, similar disparity in losses again. But the Volsini don't retreat so we have to fight again the next month. Next month, the home region of the Volsini surrenders without a battle.

War is over, right? Wrong! The Volsini army doesn't go away when its home city surrenders, but instead now appears outside Rome laying siege to the eternal city! I suspect my opponent gave it a move order, so this probably was an invasion and not an involuntary retreat. That was the reason there was no battle or further siege - every Volsini legged it to Rome and apparently made their evasion roll.

The fatigued Romans need to rest a turn, figuring that the Volsini shouldn't be able to take Rome in one month. I also wanted to see if the Dictator event would trigger as I could use the extra legions. Rome is under siege, should trigger right?

Wrong again! Although the Roman garrison musters, no Dictator. I toy with bringing the Praefectus Urbi and his crack garrison out to fight (and thus unlocking him) but that seems gamey. So instead I bring the now-rested Consular army around from the north. But in the meantime the Carthaginians have bestirred themselves and now have a fleet lying off the coast. Before I can catch the Volsini they board Carthaginian ships.

I slowly realize this is BIG trouble. After a quick check, I confirm that there are Etrurian reinforcement pools that the Volsini can draw on. So that's another 25,000 men for Carthage.

But that's not the worst of it. The Carthaginians now have a decent force they can land in Italy without fear of a Dictator and his reinforcements being called. The Volsini are not so inconsiderable that I can just fight them with Equites, and they have a leader (albeit a poor one). So we are talking about needing to keep a decent chunk of Rome's limited regular forces ready to chase Volsini around Italy for years to come. The scenario seems balanced to extract a cost from Carthage for invading Italy, which is a Roman mobilization. Now, so long as they do it with Volsini, Carthage can head to Italy anytime they want.

Here is what it boils down to:

First, shouldn't the Volsini Army disappear once its home region is taken? I can understand them hanging around if they have other areas that were part of their realm. But Volsini is it - when its gone it seems to me their army should surrender too

Second, does it make sense to allow a Volsini army to besiege (and theoretically take) Rome without the Romans reacting? Was it intended that they not only survive the fall of their homeland but be exempt from causing Roman defensive mobilizations forevermore after?

PS - I noticed another unrelated potential oversight. The Etrurians (of which Volsini are a part) get their own replacement pools on the Carthage side. How come the Massalia and Emporiae Roman allies don't get any replacement pool after they join Rome? I understand their armies were for defense. But if Carthage were to attack and unlock their forces, the Massalians and Emporiae have no replacements to rebuild their losses. Whereas the Volsini on the Carthage side do - a situation that is exacerbated if they manage to escape as they did here.

Yes, I know this is probably a rare occurrence. But I suspect that is why the Volsini Army - if it escapes - appears to have also escaped the consequences of other scenario mechanics and restrictions.

I would appreciate a comment as to whether this is WAD. Thanks.

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Ebbingford
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Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:18 am

You need to select the Dictator option from the ledger, it doesn't just fire if Rome is threatened.
"Umbrellas will not be opened in the presence of the enemy." Duke of Wellington before the Battle of Waterloo, 1815.

"Top hats will not be worn in the Eighth Army" Field-Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein K.G.


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elxaime
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Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:40 pm

Ebbingford wrote:You need to select the Dictator option from the ledger, it doesn't just fire if Rome is threatened.


Yes, I understand that. The problem here is that it didn't appear as an option even when Rome was besieged. However the Dictator is really a secondary issue. There is also the question of why the Volsini army remains in the game even after their city state surrenders.

EDIT:

Just ran a test. Rome moved to besiege Volsini but as with what happened in our PBEM, arranged it so the Volsini ended up besieging Rome. Volsini itself fell to a Roman siege but the Volsini army remained and was taken off by Carthaginian ships. Rome never had the Dictator option to choose despite plenty of engagement points.

Then, to carry it further, I went ahead and had the Volsini later landed to besiege Rome again. Still no Dictator option. Then I took the Volsini off and landed regular Carthaginian troops instead to lay siege to Rome. The Dictator option now appeared.

Bear in mind, I didn't do the above simply to try and "break the game." I did it just to show that what happened in a real PBEM was not the result of some oversight of the game mechanics on the players part. It was the game mechanics themselves at work.

Again, I think the easy fix is just to make it so the Volsini army surrenders when Volsini itself falls. Then you don't have to worry about whether the Dictator option needs to appear when Volsini (but not regular Carthaginian) forces are in Italy.

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Franciscus
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Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:54 pm

The dictator option in the first punic war version only comes available starting on March 263. In fact that is also the limit date you as SPQ have to conquer Volsinii (otherwise you get the Failure at Volsinii event, with many penalties (VP, NM, loyalty, cohesion of Socii,...)

When you start playing as SPQ you should deal seriously with the petulant rebels right next door to your capital. And you have 2 consular armies to choose how...For sure you should not need a Dictator to deal with that rabble... ;)

Regards

(PS: after March 263, the Dictator option needs that at least 25 enemy elements are present in Italy to appear)

elxaime
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Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:00 am

Franciscus wrote:The dictator option in the first punic war version only comes available starting on March 263. In fact that is also the limit date you as SPQ have to conquer Volsinii (otherwise you get the Failure at Volsinii event, with many penalties (VP, NM, loyalty, cohesion of Socii,...)

When you start playing as SPQ you should deal seriously with the petulant rebels right next door to your capital. And you have 2 consular armies to choose how...For sure you should need a Dictator to deal with that rabble... ;)

Regards

(PS: after March 263, the Dictator option needs that at least 25 enemy elements are present in Italy to appear)


Thank you. This is very useful information. Where are all the prerequisites listed for these various things? Unless I had asked, I would not have known no Dictator can appear until March 263 nor that you had only until then to conquer Volsini. On another thread, I would not have known you only have the Corvus option available to take if Caius Duilus is in the year of his Consulship (the option remains after he leaves but then won't work even if you choose it).

Is there some super secret insider website for all this information? How can I get into this exclusive club? :)

All joking aside, I suggest as a game improvement that AGEOD update the tooltips for all the various events and options to make it clear to the player what the various restrictions and prerequisites are. While I am usually a fan of keeping as many game mechanics "under the hood" it seems to me that you can take things too far. Well-meaning players, even those with an excellent grasp of history, can be misled as to what they need to do to accomplish or qualify for something. The information should be in-game, but if not at least somewhere in the manual or an appendix.

But thanks again for your help. I do still think a fix can be made to ensure the Volsini army disappears if Volsini is captured. And I continue to believe it is awkward that Volsini won't trigger the Dictator option even after it is available (you'll note in my playtest I did, the option WAS available but simply would not trigger for Volsini although it did for Carthaginians. Hence the bigger problem).

BTW - in this scenario you really don't have two consular armies for the job. One army needs to go and hold Messana against the Carthaginians (using the Night Crossing option). The other army is not much more numerous than the Volsini (if they all gather to fight). I suspect the game scenario was designed with the expectation the Romans always win, hence no thought was given to what happens if the Volsini army escapes.

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Franciscus
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Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:30 am

Hi

- First unfortunately no file exists describing all events and options. Actually there are hundreds of them, in all scenarios already released and being done. Thought was given to make it, but no time was/is available to do it, sorry (we are a small team).

- I agree the tooltips can be improved, and they are and should be - although not everything should necessarily be told, some element of surprise sometimes is intended

- the First Punic War lasted more than 20 years...you are not obliged to rush imediately to Messana, that is your choice...

- I will investigate if Volsinii units are numerically enough to trigger a Dictator...

Regards

(PS: as told in the other thread, for the next patch the Corvus option will disappear if Duilius is no longer in game)

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Franciscus
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Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:10 pm

I checked and indeed the whole Etruscan army falls short of the minimum number of elements needed for the Dictator option to appear or to work (they number (infantry plus cavalry) 22 elements, minimum needed 25, so it is wad that they alone do not trigger the Dictator option)

Regards

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