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Pocus
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One feature a day series #7 : Battle Planner

Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:24 pm

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The battle planner is a brand new feature of Civil War II. It should appeal to anyone wanting a bit of control on the battlefield, while being light enough that you won't spend your afternoon reenacting each battle. For people not wanting the feature, there is an option to disable it also.


Battle planner looks and feels is deceptively simple, at first glance. But that's the possible interactions between your plan and the one of the enemy which makes a great deal of its interest. Before a battle happens, you'll be shown a window with a few 'deployments cards'. These are the possible deployments your army can take before starting the fight. These deployments are not always the same, by far, as they depend of the skills of your general, of the terrain and of the overall posture of your army. The most talented generals will have broader choices, and depending if your general is an expert in defence or offence, some deployments will be proposed and not others.
What you see of the enemy also depends of the skills of your general. If your general is more talented, then you'll know about the deployment of the enemy (this is possible because the battle planner only works for solo games, so the AI can tell you its choice as soon as you open the planner window). On the contrary, if your general is bested by the opponent, then you are shooting blind. Knows though (and this is quite reassuring) that the AI will not make its choice based on your, so you still have some opportunities to get the upper hand.


Once you have chosen your deployment (one card among up to five), then you get access to the actual battle plans (the ones who makes sense with your deployment): if you deploy with most of your cavalry in the front, then a battle plan can be 'Massive cavalry charge'. If on the contrary your deployment is 'fighting withdrawal', then one of your deployment will be 'Cavalry cover', and so on. If you are entitled to know the deployment of the AI, then you get the list of possible plans it can choose from, with a color coding to tell you which ones of your plans would be a good idea, if the AI takes plan A, B or C.


Once these steps are done, the battle unrolls as usual. A note though: the planner don't trigger for each battle, as this would become rapidly a chore, but only if you have a two or three stars general and if both sides have some significant troops. As you may know, battles in Civil War II are played in rounds, and each round the battle engine will check if your plan succeed or is countered by the enemy plan. Plans can have a tremendous effects on battles, for example a successful cavalry charge can cripple an enemy plan based on artillery duel, and in this case the artillery can be attacked by your units, even if normally artilleries can't as long as you have infantry holding the line. There is a great variety of effects, ranging from a modifier to a rating, to a special morale check to being able to attack support units...


As with most of the features of our games, you can also mod battle plans. We hope that you'll see all the potential of the planner, because we are really thrilled about it. We plan (sic!) to propose even more on this subject, should you enjoy it... Why not imagine for example that some deployments or plans are favored by some leaders, because historically they often used them (General Forrest is fighting your army, beware he will probably try to flank you!).


forwarning: the stats of the leaders shown may appear weird to some of you: that's because they are taken from a game played by a beta with the 'extreme randomization' option on generals stats :)

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Battle Planner.jpg
AG_ACW_MKTH_PR_DevDiary_#7.jpg
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Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's law."

Canon
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Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:46 pm

Seems like an excellent addition to increase control over battles a little bit. And if I don't like it, I can just disable it! Best of both worlds!

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leftguard
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Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:07 pm

Great new feature - I shall definitely look forward to trying this out.

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ashandresash
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Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:23 pm

This is really a great addition. The card-driven features included (regional decisions, and this) are a good way to go for AGEOD. A distinctive in the world of war and strategy games. Looking forward it.

vaalen
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Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:35 pm

Oh, now you have done the impossible and made me even more eager for this game! Sounds like it would work well if retrofitted on other AGE Games.

Bodhis
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Wed Sep 11, 2013 7:49 pm

Very cool feature :)

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Matto
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Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:16 pm

Looks great !!! I want this in PoN !!! :bonk:
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Narwhal
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Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:24 pm

Great feature indeed.

Any left-over for PBEM, or are battle like before ?

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ajarnlance
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Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:44 pm

This is my favourite feature!! I love the idea that I can have more control over battles! It would be great to see this in a future version of Napoleon's Campaigns!

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Ace
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Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:52 pm

Narwhal wrote:Great feature indeed.

Any left-over for PBEM, or are battle like before ?

It would be difficult to implement this in PBEM since battle decisions are made during turn execution (one side would have to depend on AI).

clandini5
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Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:00 pm

Very nice feature along with the graphics which appear they will be easier on the eyes. Looking forward to getting this game.

Canon
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Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:34 pm

Is it true that we are only 6 days away from the launch???

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Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:52 am

Just Great !!!

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ERISS
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Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:03 am

Pocus wrote:The battle planner.
These possible deployments before starting the fight depend of the skills of your general, of the terrain and of the overall posture of your army.
General Forrest is fighting your army, beware he will probably try to flank you!

What about a lack of AGE engine?: encirclements. Do deployments can depend on the many armies attacking through surrounding regions (if these armies succeed in coordinating)?

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ERISS
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Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:06 am

Pocus wrote:The battle planner.
These possible deployments before starting the fight depend of the skills of your general, of the terrain and of the overall posture of your army.
General Forrest is fighting your army, beware he will probably try to flank you!

What about a lack of AGE engine?: encirclements. Do deployments can depend on the many armies attacking through surrounding regions (if these armies succeed in coordinating)?

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Taciturn Scot
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Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:28 am

This Battle Planner seems like a fine evolution of the engine and would greatly benefit some of your other games when you get round to revising them too. Battles in both the Napoleonic and Ancient eras in particular would benefit greatly from this.

wodin
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Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:45 am

Superb new feature..this alone has put CW2 on my wish list...

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FENRIS
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Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:53 am

:thumbsup: great ! it remember me one feature of an ancient boardgame : "Empires in Arms" !

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Pocus
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Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:51 am

ERISS wrote:What about a lack of AGE engine?: encirclements. Do deployments can depend on the many armies attacking through surrounding regions (if these armies succeed in coordinating)?


a very good suggestion... handling encirclements or others very specific situations (river crossing) with special deployments. Duly noted!
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deguerra
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Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:55 pm

Ace wrote:It would be difficult to implement this in PBEM since battle decisions are made during turn execution (one side would have to depend on AI).


I suppose it would have to be some sort of pre-set battle plans to possibly use, but then it's essentially just stances under a different name. I see why it doesn't really work for multiplayer, but it does seem a shame not to have it at all.

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ajarnlance
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Thu Sep 12, 2013 2:04 pm

The number of cavalry in proportion to the army size should also determine whether or not the player gets to see the other player (or AI) pre-battle dispositions. After all, it was the absence of Jeb Stuart's cavalry in the pre-amble to Gettysburg that left Lee with a very sketchy idea of the Union dispositions.

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Pocus
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Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:40 pm

good point
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Narwhal
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Thu Sep 12, 2013 6:23 pm

deguerra wrote:I suppose it would have to be some sort of pre-set battle plans to possibly use, but then it's essentially just stances under a different name. I see why it doesn't really work for multiplayer, but it does seem a shame not to have it at all.


Yes, that's what would have been cool - give more detail to your "stance".

In ROP, one of my main grip was that my cavalry was often engaging in massive battle when I wanted to keep it in reserve for pursuit purposes - so specific "pre-turn resolution" stances could be useful.

For instance :
- Artillery position : More artillery deployed [bonus in Support Frontage], but the line troops have combat malus because the positionning don't take much advantage for them
- Early Cavalry charge : All the possible cavalry is grabbed in the first round if in clear terrain. There is the chance that the opponent initial range for firing is -1. The drawback is that in general, it is better if cavalry engage in later rounds [where range = 1 always], so...
- Cavalry in reserve : Cavalry is kept in reserve. If engaged nonetheless, low chance to charge
- Gå på [for the future GNW game] : All your infantry has range 1 but double cohesion damage [fire & melee]...

...
...

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loki100
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Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:45 pm

agree, it would be a nice addition to the stances. Ie yes you have chosen to attack with a certain degree of commitment but you have opted to priotise a wide moving cavalry envelopement, or to lead with an artillery barrage. If a battle then occurs that invokes this concept (which is brilliant), then you have that, your stance and the commander's traits all in play
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Canon
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Fri Sep 13, 2013 5:13 pm

This could work very well for traits coming to play a role on the battlefield as well. "Surpriser" could actually have a meaningful role if your opponent can only deploy in what works out to be a very unprepared formation, or new traits could be made, like "Flanker" for generals such as Jackson or Lee where special formations can be utilized to launch devastating flank assaults.

The possibilities are endless, and this feature can be continually improved as the game grows and matures. Superb design decision in my opinion, and I can't wait till Monday. Hands already in the wallet!!!

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Kensai
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Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:05 pm

Canon wrote:The possibilities are endless, and this feature can be continually improved as the game grows and matures. Superb design decision in my opinion, and I can't wait till Monday. Hands already in the wallet!!!


Indeed. Somehow the new system reminds me the card-playing of crises in PON, but at a tactical level. :p
This will vastly improve the feeling of "being there" when the armies clash.

Two questions:

(1) Will the AI be able to cope with it? (be intelligent enough to use it to maximum effect, perhaps according to General's attributes)
(2) Will we have something similar for naval battles?
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czert2
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Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:12 pm

if you deploy troops, you have enought of units and lose. Which one you will blame after it ?

czert2
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Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:15 pm

Matto wrote:Looks great !!! I want this in PoN !!! :bonk:


Yeah, that will be amazing.

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Pocus
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Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:20 am

The AI has been set to evaluate several parameters indeed before choosing a plan.

For now, naval battles are not handled as they would need their own cards, but this is in our minds.
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Searry
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Sat Sep 14, 2013 4:17 pm

I hope this could somehow be adapted to PBEM too(like pre-battle plans?). I've never liked fighting against an AI.

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