Altaris
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someone please explain what I did wrong

Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:47 am

Okay, last turn (Nov 1861), I had a force under Polk defending at Paducah, I had about 400 CP here with lvl 4 entrenchments, and a freaking blizzard was going on.

Grant attacked with a stack of 1200ish CP from across the Missisppi at Cairo, in the midst of a blizzard mind you, against Polk at Hold at All Cost. Grant still won after 3 rounds.

Now I know he had the odds advantage, but cmon! Anyway, I guess lesson learned, but it was a really sucky one, as it puts me in horrible position now out west.

I guess the game fails to model in any sensible way what a ludicrous idea this invasion would've been in real life... An entire army crossing the Mississippi in the midst of a blizzard against entrenched positions... yeah, makes a lot of sense!

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Durk
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:04 am

So many things not fully explained. What is Grant's attack versus Polk's defense?
Odds are pretty deterministic. 3-1, you maybe should lose.
Did Grant have supply as did Polk?
Supply wagons mostly mitigates the weather.
I am not surprised. I have won in worse situations than in which you cast Grant.

charlesonmission
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:49 am

Other issues are:

1. Did Grant have Marines? This helps crossing rivers.
2. What is the location of Paducah like? If it's clear (i.e. not woods or forest) it would be difficult to defend all access points in the region substantially.
3. A 3 to 1 advantage is quite a lot, especially since your power was only 400. In my epxerience, the larger the defender's power, the better chance they would hold. So in this situation, if you had 800 and the Union had 2400, then it would be more likely to hold as you could stop them from getting a foothold.
4. What were the luck rolls?
5. Experience of troops?
6. Quality of troops?

Charles

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W.Barksdale
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:11 am

Altaris wrote:Okay, last turn (Nov 1861), I had a force under Polk defending at Paducah, I had about 400 CP here with lvl 4 entrenchments, and a freaking blizzard was going on.

Grant attacked with a stack of 1200ish CP from across the Missisppi at Cairo, in the midst of a blizzard mind you, against Polk at Hold at All Cost. Grant still won after 3 rounds.

Now I know he had the odds advantage, but cmon! Anyway, I guess lesson learned, but it was a really sucky one, as it puts me in horrible position now out west.

I guess the game fails to model in any sensible way what a ludicrous idea this invasion would've been in real life... An entire army crossing the Mississippi in the midst of a blizzard against entrenched positions... yeah, makes a lot of sense!


While some of the additional questions are mildly relevant I think people are missing the point.

First, you need to understand that regions in AACW are large so you entrenchments could have been located anywhere in the region. It is entirely possible to for a column to cross a river undetected. Besides. there is no way a small force could properly contest a crossing against an enemy 3x its size without some sizable advantage (suberp general/equipment etc.)

Second, there were many attacks in the ACW in blizzard conditions so I don't see why you think this is so ludicrous. This was US Grant afterall which brings me to my third (and main) point.

Grant has a high strategy rating and a high offensive rating. Polk is 4-1-1. Among other things strategy ratings determine if a leader is active or not. Offensive and defensive ratings, however, are force multipliers. Even though you already were outnumbered about 3 to 1, Grants large offensive rating made this advantage even larger. I've seen Grant/Lee/Jackson etc. attack forces with a heavy power advantage and still win. This rating represents the ability to draft good battle plans like outflanking maneuvers, feints, and en echelon attacks and such. The defensive rating has a similar interpretation.

Fourth, The modelling of this aspect of the game is decent imho. Personally, I'd like to see somewhat lower offensive and defensive ratings but many more traits and skills. Still, I think there is a fine balance to reach because as history as showed us Jackson and Lee really did achieve stunning, almost unrealistic, victories against vastly superior forces (first one I think of is Chancellorsville). In this sense the game modelling does well.

Anyway, keep it at. You'll get the hang of the game mechanics.

Your title asks what did you do wrong?

This is a simpe answer. You let a superior force with an excellent commander attack you when you were not ready. Not only that you had hold at all costs which really inhibits your ability to retreat. Use scouts and small detachments to give you information about where the enemy is, what his strength is, and likely targets that will be hit. Once you have that information you can form a plan of action. Just make sure you provide enough troops to get the job done.
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caranorn
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:08 am

What no one seems to have considered yet. Wouldn't the river be frozen in blizzard weather? So you wouldn't have the defensive advantage of a river...

Otherwise I agree, someone like Grant jumping Polk would not seem unrealistic, particularly if he also had a substantial force advantage...
Marc aka Caran...

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lodilefty
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:25 pm

Blizzard is not realy a good term. I prefer "extreme winter" or "arctic"

For two weeks, the weather was very harsh, causing higher cohesion losses and attrition to a force without supply units.

Did Grant have any "high morale" abilities in stack? Did he have Sharpshooters? Did you? etc. etc.
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Altaris
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:16 pm

I originally had Polk set to regular defense settings (the orange defense one), and he just simply retreated despite great fortifications, woods terrain, blizzard conditions, and a lvl 2 fort present. He retreated before the battle even started, didn't even try to fight. I asked for a replay with Polk set to hold at all cost, as I felt this was a bit absurd, my opponent rather grudgingly conceded. Hold at all cost was better, at least they took some damage, but they did take the region with its fort and depot, which really stunk. My opponent did point out that on the replay the blizzard ended as some point during the turn, so I guess that helps explain some of it.

On a separate note, I've now seen in two games an opponent run supply wagons one after another through really heavy enemy concentrations to keep very large armies supplied after being encircled. Is this normal behavior?? I would think a supply wagon would stick out like a huge sore thumb trying to sneak through enemy lines.

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lodilefty
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:58 pm

Passive stance with evasive move can often allow any force to bypass a force that is weak in Cavalry. Remenber, the game regions are representing a large area (like when Bedford Forrest snuck his troopers out of the Siege of Ft. Donelson)

I'm not comfortable with this either, but for now it is what it is...
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Franciscus
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:08 pm

Altaris wrote:I originally had Polk set to regular defense settings (the orange defense one), and he just simply retreated despite great fortifications, woods terrain, blizzard conditions, and a lvl 2 fort(...)
.


Were you inside the fort ? Forts are pretty much useless for the defence of any but the smaller forces...

Edit: I was thinking of the "pre-war" forts, sorry. If it is a lvl 2 fort you built it, right ?

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Franciscus
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:10 pm

lodilefty wrote:Passive stance with evasive move can often allow any force to bypass a force that is weak in Cavalry. Remenber, the game regions are representing a large area (like when Bedford Forrest snuck his troopers out of the Siege of Ft. Donelson)

I'm not comfortable with this either, but for now it is what it is...


On the contrary, I think it adds another layer of strategic, historic thinking to the game... :)

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Longshanks
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:11 pm

Polk INSIDE the fort likely means you would have held. Grant v an outnumbered Polk is what union players dream of.

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Confederate
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:15 pm

One thing you need to look at is the casualty reports as well. If Grant took it with 1200 casualties and you had 500, I wouldn't be surprised. He held a 3-1 advantage and even if he had 25% more casualties than you, he still would've been able to take the fort.

Though it's troubling to hear of Athena sending troops like this...
- Confederate

Altaris
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:08 pm

Well, I'll just write it off to the rather painful learning experiences this game sometimes has. I didn't have him in the fort, maybe I should've with the conditions being what they were, oh well, hindsight is 20/20. I mostly was annoyed with the first set of results, where he just ran away before the battle even started despite the fact that it was supremely good defensive conditions. The redo was better with Polk at Hold At All Cost, he got driven back, but at least did some good damage in the process.

So how exactly do the leader ratings "multiply force"? I know they effect combat, but I don't understand the exact mechanics.

I think this really was a situation where my assumption was just false. I just sorta assumed that attacking over a major river in a blizzard would be impossible, I've never seen anyone try it or dared to try it myself, so didn't have anything to base that assumption off of.

Regarding supply wagons, he was regularly getting supply wagons through zones with at least 1 cavalry regiment + 500-900 CP worth of troops. I estimate I caught about 25% of them. That aggravated me more than anything, as I had a huge number of extra troops in VA trying to keep about 1000 CP of Union troops cornered in Manassas. Not only was he getting supplies through with ease, but he was even sneaking whole regiments of cavalry out... I could see them via intel, but not catch the buggers! What will help this?? Increasing the number of cavalry units I have in the group?? Does it help or make a difference if the cavalry are indepent or in divisions?

charlesonmission
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:57 pm

Is this game part of the tournament? If so, we need to be careful about what we say to be fair to the other player.

I will say that in the historical ACW, during Grant's 1863 Vicksburg campaign, he sent a Union cavalry raiding force from TN to LA that created chaos across MS. 1,200 men and only about 10 casaulties across 15 days and an entire state. The CSA didn't have a dedicated separate cavalry force ready to counteract this, and could do litttle about it until it was too late. Local militia couldn't catch up or corner the Union force. It would take a dedicated cavalry force chasing the Union force to do that.

Charles

Altaris wrote:Well, I'll just write it off to the rather painful learning experiences this game sometimes has. I didn't have him in the fort, maybe I should've with the conditions being what they were, oh well, hindsight is 20/20. I mostly was annoyed with the first set of results, where he just ran away before the battle even started despite the fact that it was supremely good defensive conditions. The redo was better with Polk at Hold At All Cost, he got driven back, but at least did some good damage in the process.

So how exactly do the leader ratings "multiply force"? I know they effect combat, but I don't understand the exact mechanics.

I think this really was a situation where my assumption was just false. I just sorta assumed that attacking over a major river in a blizzard would be impossible, I've never seen anyone try it or dared to try it myself, so didn't have anything to base that assumption off of.

Regarding supply wagons, he was regularly getting supply wagons through zones with at least 1 cavalry regiment + 500-900 CP worth of troops. I estimate I caught about 25% of them. That aggravated me more than anything, as I had a huge number of extra troops in VA trying to keep about 1000 CP of Union troops cornered in Manassas. Not only was he getting supplies through with ease, but he was even sneaking whole regiments of cavalry out... I could see them via intel, but not catch the buggers! What will help this?? Increasing the number of cavalry units I have in the group?? Does it help or make a difference if the cavalry are indepent or in divisions?

Altaris
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:28 pm

No, this isn't the tourney game, it's a separate one.

I don't have an issue with cavalry evading forces, I do have a problem with supply wagons just creeping by entire armies over and over and keeping massive forces supplied that should very well be cut off. It kills alot of the immersion for me. In this game, I've tied up FAR too many forces because my opponent has a huge 1000 CP stack sitting in Manassas, completely cut off and surrounded by 500-900 CP stacks (with cavalry) in every adjacent region, and just keeps sending in supply wagons to keep it from starving (it's been there for about 7-8 turns now without showing any sign of weakening). It pisses me off that I can see the wagons via intel, but they just keep getting through. I've caught 2, IIRC, and I'm pretty sure I've seen at least 6 get by (and those are just the ones I can see).

To add icing to the cake, Johnston got forced into a retreat at Winchester due to the same CP ratio issue I had at Paducah (McDowell attacked his 400ish CP force in lvl 4 entrenchments and good terrain with about 1100 CP, Johnston was set to regular defense, and just hightailed out without giving any kind of fight... that should've been an easy one to win, or at least inflict heavy casualties, too). I've tried to retake Winchester, but despite winning the battles, I can't seem to force him to retreat, and instead Johnston keeps retreating back despite "winning". So now I'm pretty sure that his force in Manassas will escape and live to fight another day. Had Johnston just weakened this force during it's initial attack, I"m pretty sure I could've fought it off, but it looks hopeless now.

It's just very, very frustrating, and feels like a lot of little gamey tactics that have no basis in reality. But I'm trying to get over it and just figure out what I need to do to avoid these types of situations. So far I've wracked my brain and I can't figure out good solutions.

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soloswolf
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:03 pm

I think what has been said regarding gaining more experience with the system is key. Over time, you will find ways to combat many of the concerns you have raised.

On the topic of immersion: I don't really understand your issue. There are examples of every issue you are writing about occurring during the war.

Not having seen your orders, etc., it sounds like you are trying to defend everything. You know you don't have the men to do that, so pick your spots and hold where you can, or where you must. Not where you are outnumbered 3:1.
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Longshanks
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:34 pm

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Altaris
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:32 pm

Well, I've been asking about ways to avoid this. In particular, I'd like to know how to avoid having 3 or 4 supply wagons go through a region I have 100% control over, have 1000 CP in, and have cavalry regiments in. If there's something I'm missing, by all means, please tell me! I think it's absolutely crazy that I can physically see the wagon in the region with intel, but it continues to evade combat with my forces!

So what works to get rid of them?? More cavalry??

I'd love to not be defending everywhere... in truth, I don't have much anywhere but VA right now, trying to figure out how to contain and/or get rid of this giant Union army in Manassas that seems to be impossible to fight or starve out. I guess in hindsight I should've just attacked them and taken the heavy casualties I'm sure would've come from it.

Back to the retreat thing, is there some sort of magic CP ratio where your units are likely to retreat, even from really good defensive terrain, without even trying to defend? I've had it happen at least 3 times in this game now, and it's immensely frustrating. I'm not convinced leaders help that much, I had one stack led by Longstreet of all people just bugger out at Manassas very early on. Then Johnston did the same thing at Winchester. Then Polk at Paducah. All these guys were set to regular defense in each circumstance. I guess I could've set them to Hold At All Cost, but I hate using that setting as it really tends to backfire and get me massacred, but I'm scratching my head how else to keep my line from just shrugging and giving up really good ground. I don't care so much if they get driven back, it's just that when they do so, they don't even inflict 1 shot before giving up some really prime defensive real estate... very, very frustrating to say the least. I could understand that on lower defensive settings, but seems like regular (orange) should at least fight it out for a few rounds, especially at somewhat decent odds.

I haven't had this issue in the other games I've played either, but I think this is the first opponent I've played against that very quickly built up 1K CP stacks in 1861.

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Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:40 pm

Altaris wrote:So how exactly do the leader ratings "multiply force"? I know they effect combat, but I don't understand the exact mechanics.


In regards to this question, leaders add a % to the unit in question based on their ability number. I don't remember the exact %, but corps commands add the highest % (3?? per point), and division commanders add the least (1??? per point). So if Grant has a 6 offensive stat, and is a Corps commander, then he would add 18% to the ?combat values (it may be hitting and damaging only, I can't recall exactly)? of the units under his command (assuming the 3 per point is correct) when they attack. Polk is a 4-0-1, so he adds very little to the attacking or defending units.

They also add to frontage (how many units you can get to fight). There was a primer somewhere around here. Ah, here it is.

So in summation, higher off/def ratings are better. You can see the effect of this on a unit. Check out the power rating of a unit before combining with a general (you will go from 83/83 to 110/110 or something similar). Note - not forming a division, just adding a general to a unit.
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Jim-NC
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:47 pm

The retreat is up to the general. In my experience, usually anything above 3 to 1 causes a defender to retreat (there are exceptions of course). You could be a victim of MTSG (or lack thereof). It doesn't always show on the battle report (which lists the units that start the battle, not who eventually joins).
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Longshanks
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:57 pm

Jim-NC wrote:The retreat is up to the general. In my experience, usually anything above 3 to 1 causes a defender to retreat (there are exceptions of course). You could be a victim of MTSG (or lack thereof). It doesn't always show on the battle report (which lists the units that start the battle, not who eventually joins).


Jim has it right (as usual).

As far as the "magic wagons" problem, I can't say I've ever seen that. I've had leaders walk through my lines and cav units, but not wagons. Usually, increasing the cav does the trick. You might simply try a stack of cav or inf that is set to O/O. The wagons might be marching through because you are set to defense, and they are set to evade. Adding a stack of O/O will stop that.

Altaris
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:36 pm

So if any unit is set to evade and the stack to defense, it won't intercept? Interesting, didn't realize that. I'll try sticking a cavalry unit on offense by itself and see if htat helps.

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Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:27 am

Longshanks wrote:Jim has it right (as usual).


:mdr:
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Altaris
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Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:57 am

Thanks for the info guys, I will put it to good use. I'm sure I'll have plenty more questions to come in the near future :bonk:

charlesonmission
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Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:03 am

To follow up, if the Union has you at a 3 to 1 disadvantage, you shouldn’t be surprised that you retreat sometimes. There were many many times that the CSA or Union retreated when they had outnumbered by 2 to 1 even. Jefferson Davis couldn’t get Joe Johnston to stop retreating on the GA campaign or the Peninsula campaign with odds that were much better then 3 to 1.

Altaris wrote:Thanks for the info guys, I will put it to good use. I'm sure I'll have plenty more questions to come in the near future :bonk:

Altaris
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Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:05 pm

Well, I'm retreating against these odds pretty much all the time, always before the battle starts. Leader doesn't seem to make a difference, had Longstreet do the same thing earlier in the game.

I don't care that they are retreating so much as it bothers me they do it before the battle even starts, and give up really good defensive ground in the process. Lvl 4 entrenchments and good terrain shouldn't just be handed over without at least going through the first round or two of combat. That would be realistic, IMO. But what's happening in these situations is that the Union takes over my really good defensive spots without losing a drop of cohesion in taking it, so the following turn I'm just in a far, far worse situation since I no longer have my entrenchments.

I looked into the settings files, and the WillRetreat chance is exactly the same for the regular orange defense setting and the next one down (the blue one) and even the retreat at all costs (green one). That just flabberghasts me a bit, surely there's got to be a middle ground between an extremely elastic defense and a "fight to the last man" approach. Hold At All Costs isn't viable at all times, as many of these occassions, if I had set the troops to this, they would have been slaughtered completely.

To give you an example of what I'm talking about, early on, the Union sent about 1000 CP worth of troops under McDowell to Manassas against around 300 of Longstreet's troops. On the exact same turn, I had moved the Army of the Potomac (about 750 CP) on Alexandria. So the next turn, I planned to rest the AotP, and was almost hoping McDowell would attack Longstreet at Manassas. I didn't expect to win the battle, but I thought it would weaken the Union sufficiently that I could easily sweep in with the AotP and mop him up.

Well, instead, Longstreet just retreated before battle, giving up lvl 4 entrenchments, wooded terrain, and the depot/rail junction, and the Union wasn't even down 1 CP for the effort. That just feels... wrong. The Union lost exactly 0 men in this effort. Now setting this force to Hold at All Costs wasn't an option, as doing so would've most likely just ended up with the entire force being massacred and Longstreet getting a huge demotion.

I just think there should be some kind of setting that allows you to tell your generals to at least stick and fight it out for 1-2 turns before getting out of dodge. I think in a lot of these cases, the casualties would've been so high on the Union, that by the time turn 3 came around, the retreat odds might have reduced to 0 anyway.

Johnston already has a special ability that makes him more prone to retreat, so that mirrors his personality flaw. Shouldn't be the norm that generals, even fairly poor ones, just give up supreme defensive ground without even taking advantage of their fortifications temporarily, and my only alternative shouldn't be suicide setting.

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Longshanks
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Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:03 pm

If you want a fight you have three choices
1. send more troops so you dont get so badly outnumbered
2. Set defend at all costs
3. Get inside the city or fort and set b/r until besieged

Altaris
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Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:22 pm

Longshanks wrote:If you want a fight you have three choices
1. send more troops so you dont get so badly outnumbered
2. Set defend at all costs
3. Get inside the city or fort and set b/r until besieged



What does set b/r mean?

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Longshanks
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Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:23 pm

Altaris wrote:What does set b/r mean?


blue/red, or Defense/hold at all costs

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lodilefty
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Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:03 pm

Altaris wrote:
I looked into the settings files, and the WillRetreat chance is exactly the same for the regular orange defense setting and the next one down (the blue one) and even the retreat at all costs (green one). That just flabberghasts me a bit, surely there's got to be a middle ground between an extremely elastic defense and a "fight to the last man" approach. Hold At All Costs isn't viable at all times, as many of these occassions, if I had set the troops to this, they would have been slaughtered completely.


Huh? Where? :confused:

ROE section of GameLogic.opt patch 1.16 RC9

// Defensive Posture - First ROE (Defend at all cost)
roeRetreatWill4 = 000|000|000|000|000|010
roeRetreatChance4 = 000|000|000|010|015|020
roeCombatCoeffOwn4 = 110|110|110|110|110|110
roeCombatCoeffOpp4 = 110|110|110|110|110|110

// Defensive Posture - Second ROE (Standard defense)
roeRetreatWill5 = 100|100|100|100|105|115
roeRetreatChance5 = 100|100|100|100|100|105
roeCombatCoeffOwn5 = 100|100|100|100|090|090
roeCombatCoeffOpp5 = 100|100|100|100|090|090

// Defensive Posture - Third ROE (Defend & Retreat)
roeRetreatWill6 = 100|100|150|150|160|160
roeRetreatChance6 = 100|100|120|125|130|135
roeCombatCoeffOwn6 = 100|100|100|100|100|100
roeCombatCoeffOpp6 = 100|100|100|100|100|100

// Defensive Posture - Fourth ROE (Retreat if engaged)
roeRetreatWill7 = 200|200|200|300|300|300
roeRetreatChance7 = 120|135|150|150|150|150
roeCombatCoeffOwn7 = 100|100|100|100|100|100
roeCombatCoeffOpp7 = 100|100|100|100|100|100

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