Here are two ideas of alternative supply systems that I'm currently testing for RoP. I'd very much enjoy a discussion on these ideas, on technical aspects or on additional ideas.
Note that it's clear that the AI probably won't be able to cope with these systems though. But I think that perhaps some of these ideas could spice up the multiplayer-game.
Supply System 1: Skirmishes for Fourage! (centered on local supplies, fourage)
- There is a city in every region (or at least every second or so; except for mountains and marshes, maybe forests). Yes, I'm serious! I'm basing the mod on smaller scenarios anyway, so I only need Bohemia, Silesia, Saxony. Unless there is a bigger city, these small towns will all be level 1, without fortification or depot.
- The amount of supply produced in cities is reduced a lot. Depots and forts don't produce any supply at all.
- Level 1 cities send supply via the automatic supply system (formerly restricted to higher level cities) and have only a very small want for supply.
- The supply system is set to two itinerations of ca. 3-5 days (we only want supply to travel 1-2 regions per turn).
- Depots and forts have a huge want for supply.
Explanation of how this is supposed to work together:
This system is based on central points (depots, forts) and peripheries. However, the central points don't produce a lot of supply themselves, but instead they attract supply from their peripheries (the supply generated from the towns 1-2 regions away). So it's actually all about controlling territory/regions. If you don't control a region, it does not send its supply to "your" central point. Also, your troops can live off the land quite well since every region has a town that produces some supply. If you get supply-troubles, splitting up might be a good idea. In order to gether lots of troops in a single spot, however, you need to have a "central point" with a strong/large controlled periphery.
Strengths of this system
- The game becomes a competiton for control of land. Light units are extremely usefull for that since they come with high movement speed, good retreat chances and high police values so that they can gain a lot of military control.
Weaknesses of this system
- It does not really fit the scale of the game. The area in which my units forage gets quite large. I think that it's a bit too large, to be honest. My hussars were flooding all over Silesia.
- Cities in every region might totally confuse the AI.
Supply System 2: Freshly baked 24-7! (focused on central supply organisation, bread)
- Structures don't produce any supply and no supply is automatically forwarded at all. (But you can still buy/build supply reserves in cities.)
- Each army comes with a field-bakery-unit. This unit naturally moves quite slowly (wheeled, 40% or so).
- Think of those field bakeries as mobile depots. At the end of each turn (on day 15), a field-bakery-unit automatically spawns supply-units (even if the field bakery has moved - we assume that the movement speed is slow enough to let the field bakery limber/unlimber). The number of units spawned can be modified by terrain, but not by weather.
- The supply-units spawn with a predefined number of supply points that can be consumed by your troops. The supply-units themselves are immobile and they're destroyed if the fieldbakery is destroyed or moves to another region. I'm positive that the destruction of the supply-units happens at the end of the turn, while supply distribution happens at the start of the turn. So you should receive the supply that has been produced by the field bakery even in the turn in which you move the bakery on.
- If the field bakery stays in a region for more than 1 turn, it will naturally keep producing these supply-units and the supply that is available in the region piles up, if unused. That's not perfect (bread should become bad very quickly), but I don't think that there is a way around that.
- The old supply wagons are still there, but they can only store a fraction of what they could in the vanilla game. I'd say 5 supply points per element. Therefore operating more than 1 region away from your field bakery will be very tricky.
- Field bakeries can be captured (and I think they should have a quite high chance - players should leave them (guarded) one region "arrears"?)
Strenths of this system
- Since this system is based on units, it can be applied for the player only (faction specific scenarios), while the AI can keep its usual supply system. However, the AI still won't be able to "understand" this system and act accordingly against you.
- I think it's very immersive!
Weaknesses of this system
- This system does not represent the transport from the depots to the fieldbakery, which is simply taken for granted. Only the terrain in which you set up the bakery has some influence, but weather and enemy operations cannot harm the flow of flour from the magazines to the bakeries. This takes away some opportunities for light units, but on the other hand, you also need to consider that the fieldbakery itself is a very good target and needs to be protected.
- Controlling the land is relatively unimportant.
EDIT: Unfortunately, the supply-units generated by field bakeries don't seem to fill up supply wagons. They can only be used by troops that are positioned directly in the region where the supply-units are.
I actually think that these two systems could be mixed together quite well. For example, the field bakery would be set so that it provides ca. 50% of the supply that your army needs, and the other 50% come from central points.
For both systems, it is important to know that I've reduced the internal supply store for all units from 2 to 1. It's insane that units can operate far away from any supply for 2-3 turns (more than a month!) before they even notice that they're out of supply.
I'm also altering the way that a lack of supply affects units (e.g. all units come with 20 hits instead of 10, which allows for more fine-tuning. And their desertation rate depends more on troop type/quality).