Ardashir
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"The progress of our arms" - Unionist AAR

Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:35 pm

Hello, this is my first time playing this game, recently got it as a present from a dear friend of mine through steam.

INTRO NOTES:

The AAR will start "in medias res" - starting with Christmas 1861 (even though I played from the start). It will hopefully be presented as in-character letters (or excerpts from said letters) of a fictional general in the War Department to various historical as well as a few fictional characters. I felt taht writing letters from the point of a historical figure such as Lincoln would be pretentiousas well as corny, since I in no way can mimick the writing style of Lincoln (english is my 3rd language btw). So the letters will come from one Edwin Nathan Cole - a retired US Army general from Connecticut that was reclaled into duty with the War department as a result of the secession.


Letter I
Edwin N. Cole to Robert E. Lee,
Washington December 21st 1861.



(...) Despite our differences, I wanted to consider you as my friend, as I did General Scot, under whose command we both served during the last war. Through all those long years, I have remaind loyal to the cause of our country as ell as to those whom I have considered my friends.

Today, it os no longer possible to kep my loyalty to both. I fel that the south is blndly following wherevere its legislators might lead it. These in turn, seem to be leading it wherever their ambitions pull them, which in this case means open rebellion and ultimately destruction of the nation as a whole.

This had put me in a position of choice between the love of my nation and the love of many of my friends, who like you, have chosen to side with their home states. In the end, I fear my duty lies first and foremost with the Republic, for whose liberty my ancestors fought and died. As such, I have been recalled to active duty within the War Department.

It is a bitter choice, yet the only one possible under the current circumstances.

Even as I write these words, blood flows on the ramparts of Saint Louis, while that on the ramparts of Richmond and Cleveland has not yet dried. I have heard about your defence of Richmond and that your boys performed admirably in the face of vastly superior numbers. The way I heard it, McDowell brought 26 000 against only 6000 of your men.

I know you are about to become a prisoner of war now, which news I greet with no joy, but a calm comfort that Richmond is now again with the Union. I trust that you will be well treated and that perhaps at some point in the future when all of this is over, we will be ablt to meet and talk like in the old days.

For the first time in many years, even though God knows I would, I cannot end this letter with "peace on earth and goodwill to all".

Merry Christmas Robert.

- E.C.


Image

Comment:
In November 1861, a large union force massed around Alexandria advanced on Richmond, after the news that the confederate army of shenandoah moved north and that isolated rebel units are beseiged in Warsaw, VA.

Richmond was defended by a small force under Lee. I was beseiged, stormed and taken in late december.

Ardashir
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Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:23 pm

Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:30 pm

Letter II
Edwin N.Cole to General Erasmus Keyes
Washington, December 25th 1861


(...) I am certain your reassignment to Steubenville will offer you new opportunities and will perhaps be a springboard for your career. Cleveland must be recaptured soon, more for the benefit of the public image and the press than military objectives mind you.

If you would have walked into the War Department yesterday, you would have seen a bunch of burly old men scatching their heads. For the love of God Allmighty I have no idea what was Sidney Albert Johnston thinking when he decided to strike north.

The press is furious over the loss of the city, but here we actually had a small celebration. Johnston has just doomed himself. How he will supply his units in Cleveland with no rail connection and our troops pouring in by rail every day is beyond me. He abandonned his position in the shenandoah, which as you know allowed our armies to utterly vanquish the enemy in Virginia, take Richmond and press onwards.

What was Johnston thinking? Well, one of the boys came up with the theory that Johnston believes the southern cause is lost and that his move into northern Ohio is actually an escape atempt into Canada. The fact that this theory was the most rational we came up with should show you the full extent of the absurdity of the situation.

Press on, press hard, corner Johnston and make him surrender. I know most of the troops we are sending by rail are green volunteers, but Johnston's boys are green too. Crush him andyou will bring further glory to the Union, and to your own name as well. (...)


Image

Comment: the confederate army of the Shenandoah was originally bocking the valley and threatening Manassas, this kept my large army at Alexandria occupied. Then at some point they disappeared from my view. I assumed they have retreated twoards Richmond and setting up a trap. so I cautiously moved my army twoardsRichmond.

In fact, the AI for some weird reason that I can't understand moved them north and striked Cleveland. Now they are basically surrounded, I'm pouring men and equipment by rail to concentrate at Steubenville. Then I will move on Cleveland, hopefully lock it in a siege and crush the whole AI force there.

The AI has in a way traded Richmond for Cleveland. Except that I believe I can take Cleveland back soon, while Richmond is probably lost to the AI forever.
In other news, the AI has moved a small force to siege Saint Louis, as my other forces are down at Island 10 and Springfield MO.However I have enough men to stop that siege as well.

Ardashir
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Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:23 pm

Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:49 pm

Was looking forward to this AAR, but sadly I'm gonna cut this one very short. I've played up till late May 1862 and even made a few more letters ready, but then decided to cancel this now rather than investing myself in this and being forced to cancel it after more posts.

What started to annoy me at first was the illogical moves made by the AI. Abandoning Richmond was one. The AI ultimately went back after Richmond, but it continued to make weird, implausible moves (like the charge at Cleveland) that destroyed immersion for me.

The Cleveland event also allowed me to see the negative sides of how the game resolves supply. Confederates in Cleveland kept being in supply as it was a town and harbor. The fact that it was cut off from the rest of the CSA didn't seem to matter for the game, but it did matter to me.

But the straw that broke the camel's back was when I had to resort to an excel spreadshet to keep track of my units - the ledger proved useless after more stacks appeared on the board. At some point there was so much micromanagement involved that I lost the will to play on. Looking for that one recently rested militia unit in the ledger, or having to disband and re-form a divison every time I wanted to send one of its brigades to the rear to rest - that was just getting too tedious.

One last thing was that turns took too long to resolve. I finally measured it and it turned out it takes 3.5 RL minutes to resolve moves in a 1862 turn (not counting sieges and battles) :/

So yeah, decided to call the shots and close the AAR early. I'm sorry to say, the game at its current stage is not worth playing.

Once a patch comes out that improves the UI, reduces the tedium of having to disband divisions each time to send bridades to the rear and most of all optimization that reduces turn resolution times - then I will get back to this game.

PS
- Renaiming units does not work. Tried both divisions and corps - pressign backspace does not remove the old name. :/

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Pocus
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Fri Feb 27, 2015 9:58 am

in which patch are you? because renaming works with latest public beta patch.
Image


Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's law."

Ardashir
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Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:23 pm

Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:36 pm

Pocus wrote:in which patch are you? because renaming works with latest public beta patch.


Most recent steam update. Perhaps I need to apply for the beta then? Or is this not available with steam yet?

Renaming units would help somewhat with managing "lost in the vastess of the map and hordes of stacks" issues, but this alone will not solve the basic problems with the game itself at this point.


Now that I think of it, many of these issues were present in AGEOD's earlier games that I did enjoy - such as Wars in America or Hannibal. Thing is, these games featured conflicts of a much smaller scale, so keeping track of stacks or new units was easy. Lack of container units oter than the stack itself meant that the "disband division to move one subunit and then reform the division" issue did not appear.

Having 3 different stacks at carthage, each with indivdual subunits was easy to handle. Having 18 stacks in or around Richmod, each with its numerous subunits "hidden" within a formed division became something of a nightmare - stacks covering up the map underneath.

I think this is really the underlying issue. AGEOD was trying to simulate a conflict of much greater scale and complexity by using the same game engine and UI that it used before. Thing is, it doesn't work this time. Things that were very minor annoyances in Hannibal become game-breaking obstacles in ACW2 simply due to the scale of the latter.

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Pocus
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Location: Lyon (France)

Fri Feb 27, 2015 4:56 pm

Yes, definitively. We produce too often beta patches and the production guys would never cease updating files on Steam. So please head toward Help improve CW2 subforum. I'm releasing this very minute 1.05 release candidate 9 !
Image


Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's law."

Ardashir
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Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:23 pm

Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:46 pm

Pocus wrote:Yes, definitively. We produce too often beta patches and the production guys would never cease updating files on Steam. So please head toward Help improve CW2 subforum. I'm releasing this very minute 1.05 release candidate 9 !


Ok, I'll give it a go during the following work week.

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