Iron War - Official Thread
Here is a new Iron War update.
It is hopefully soon downloadable via in game from GitHub.
Alternatively, this is the advanced user light download of v0.2.8: 0_1543450033891_v028.zip
v0.2.7 to v0.2.8:
• 3 USSR Infantry units starting out in Siberia have been moved 1 territory away, in three directions, so that they cannot be used to “rush” Iran.
• Territory name change from “Saskatchewan” to “Winnipeg”.
• Territory name change from “Wabakimi” to “Port Arthur”.
• Territory name change from “Victoria” to ”Vancouver”.
• Changed minimap look (smaller units, brighter territories and brighter viewer).
• ANZAC Fuel barrels in Sydney changed from 3 to 2.
• ANZAC Fuel barrels in South Queensland changed from 2 to 1.
• ANZAC Fuel barrels in Peru changed from 2 to 1.
• USA Fuel barrels in Colombia changed from 5 to 3
• USA Fuel barrels in Venezuela changed from 15 to 7
• Italy Fuel barrels in Italy changed from 3 to 5.
• German Fuel barrels in Romania changed from 15 to 12
(Total fuel change: Allies -13 and Axis -1)
@Black_Elk USSR can still bring a lot of units to Iran, but now it should be 3 less if Iran is attacked in round 2. If the Allies goes all in, they should still be able to take Iran and Iraq with ease, but I hope it will then also have a bit of consequence elsewhere, since a lot of units will be allocated to do this.If an attack on Iran turns out to be the only sensible and good strategy, then more nerfing of USSR starting units should be in order
I actually also, when I made the Iron War units and pictures, thought of using the local Romanian IAR 80 fighter model for Romanian fighters. Then Romania could start out with planes on the map in 1940. But I ended up just choosing the German model as with all the other German minors. In part because the Romanian fighters were gradually replaced by German models during the war. And it seemed to be the logical and easy choice.
Looks good, will try this for the next one. The Iranian rush in round 2 was fairly narrow so I think the reduction in offensive hitpoints for Russia may be enough to table it till at least round 3/4. I think its for the best since a major naval build in the caspian as part of the Russian script was kinda oddball. I can still see a cruiser to help that transport from getting picked off, and maybe a transport expansion in round 2, but least the Soviets won't feel such a pressing need to race down there for a round 2 hit.
Anzac may feel the burn a bit with less oil on hand. I think Britain will have to send something in later rounds to keep their fighters from being grounded, but seems workable.
Going to check it out when I get back home later.
@Frostion So here is my thoughts after playing 2 PBF games, 1 on each side:
- Its a fun map to play and many of the new mechanics like fuel, multiple resources, targeted attacks, aid, etc give it some uniqueness
- The balance is within reason and I was able to win as each side. Though it generally felt easier to win as the Allies but I think a poor G1 in that game had some influence on that
- Most of the nations feel fun to play and that they can accomplish something besides maybe South Africa, Iran, and Iraq which are pretty limited
- The aid is a cool feature and in some cases forces tough decisions on where to focus resources. But there are also a number of no brainer decisions like USA pretty much always giving aid to USSR and China which seem stale
- Oil feels important and I find myself thinking about trying to optimize its usage as well as capturing more
- Iron feels a bit underwhelming and besides needing it for building ships for a few nations could probably not exist and it wouldn't make much difference. It really ends up just being a cap on how many ships naval oriented nations can build.
- Colonial/SS feel a bit lacking as well especially cause they are spread out so much over the map and really just end up using it to build a unit here and there when you have enough. Doesn't really add much depth to the game.
- Round by round advances are kind of cool but don't seem that important at least in the first 6 rounds (didn't make it any further)
- VCs are pretty well balanced and actually seem to align fairly well to when the game is over for one side
- Factory system is pretty unique and seems to work fairly well. I think the only thing I'd consider is maybe adding a few more 5+ territories to the map
- Some cool units but some of them feel too similar especially 2 move land units: SP-Art and all tank types feel very redundant just slightly different cost and slightly weaker/stronger. Would be great to see more uniqueness across units and consider making the targeted attacks of AA, AT, etc stronger as 1/10 is kind of weak.
- Fighters/Dive-Bombers - overpowered, tend to see a ton of these built as they provide great flexibility and high attack/defense, pretty cheap and cost no iron, probably should make them either weaker or most expensive
- Mech-Inf - overpowered, I tend to build a lot of these as for +2PU/+1Iron more than a Inf they have 2 movement and give +1 move to an Inf/Art. These tend to be a much better investment then almost all the other 2 move land units as you have a lot of inf/art. These should probably cost more or only be able to land transport during NCM.
- Inf/Art/AA - balanced, seem to be about the right cost and I tend to mix these
- Naval units - balanced, pretty balanced across the board, I find myself building a mix of them
- Tank-Destroyer - most balanced 2 move unit, this is a solid unit as with its targeted attack it really ends up being 4A/5D for +3PU/+2Iron. Tends to be a bit better then Light-Tank as its 2PU cheaper and about the same strength.
- Tanks - underpowered, tend to cost a lot of iron so can't build many and they really aren't that great. I tend to save iron for ships unless I really just have a bunch extra. Fighters/Dive-Bombers tend to be better even for the PU cost as they are only a bit more and have much greater flexibility.
- SP-Art - underpowered, pretty much never build these as rather do mech inf for moving regular art or inf around or spend a bit more to get Tank-Destroyers
I think our first game was probably a better representation of how fuel would normally play out. In game #2, Italy's fleet got crushed early so has used very little fuel. The Germans have also not moved their fleet much as they got boxed into the Baltic early. Allies fuel usage is probably close to standard except Russia is getting +20 from the Middle East that normally they wouldn't have.
My general feel is something like this:
- Germany & Japan are probably about right in terms of fuel as they tend to have big fleets and usually need to move them around
- Italy has very little fuel and if they maintain their fleet then tend to run out very quickly and absolutely need the Middle East aid
- UK has very little fuel income and rely on US aid
- Russia fuel income is probably about right
- US tends to have a lot of extra fuel but need to give some to UK and UK minors
- Rest of the minors are tough to call as really depends if the survive or expand and what they build
I find myself thinking about fuel fairly often and it ends up depending a lot on if large fleets survive and move around. If fleets are killed or traded then you tend to end up with excess fuel. I probably wouldn't change much except maybe give UK/Italy a bit more and USA a bit less.
I think Redrum's assessment up there is pretty spot on, just a few points that I would piggy back on right now. I actually have a lot of thoughts, but I don't want to bite off more than I can chew.
Steel Units: I also think in many cases the cost here can be prohibitive, its often hard to justify spending 2 steel on a single unit, let alone 3 or 4, so I think you see a spam on the units that only cost 1 (with the exception of critical stuff like transports). I think right now that redrum is right that the main function of steel is to serve as a cap on ships, and transports in particular. I'm not sure the best approach, but I kind of favor a more radical increase in the totals. You can still use the current reserve amounts if you want to cap the number of transports that can be bought in round one, but after that I think the numbers could go up a fair amount. Or I guess you could do the reverse, with a larger starting reserve. I think its tough right now because when I look at 3 steel in the bank, its hard to see how buying 1 medium tank is better than 3 mech. Or on the water if you have 4 steel, its hard to see how a single carrier or battleship is better than 2 transports. Where it just seems really costly at the high end. I think more of a buffer in the totals would help alleviate some of that sense.
Tanks: I can think of several ways that tanks might be made more attractive as a purchase option, but probably the simplest and most interesting would be to just give them the ability to tow an infantry unit along (the way mech does currently.) Tanks should tow, it's the way to go!
One possibility there would be to allow medium or heavy tanks to tow more than 1 infantry unit. So maybe a medium tank can tow 2 dudes, and a heavy tank can tow 3. I think something like that would make them instantly more compelling at purchase and certainly justify the cost in additional steel. It would make the mobile land purchasing calculus a bit simpler too (since you wouldn't always be thinking "why buy anything other than mech?"). I can see it opening up some interesting strategic possibilities in areas where production might be limited, and just making tanks seem all around badass like something you would always consider purchasing if you had sufficient steel to do so.
I thought of other options like hit-absorption or targeting, but honestly the tow thing makes the most sense to me. Because the ability to drag another hitpoint into the fight is always going to be more powerful than pretty much any other ability a unit might have. Sure doing this would make mech less unique, but I don't really see that as a problem. Mech has been way overpowered ever since it was introduced into A&A, and I think the best way to bring the tank back into the forefront of purchasing is to just make them a better version of the land-transport than mech.
That way players would really look at all tanks, but especially Medium and Heavy tanks as "break out" units that you really have to keep an eye on. And it would make the tank destroyer and dive bomber that much more formidable as units that can take tanks out of play.
Maybe all mobile ground should tow infantry, and then use other abilities/costs to differentiate the various mobile units from standard mech. Otherwise I think mech will just always be better.
OK hows this for a concept? (leaving aside costs for now, just trying to think of ways to set it up that would encourage a mixed force purchase where the mobile units are concerned):
Mech, tows 1
SP Artillery tows 1, boosts 2 inf
Tank Destroyer tows 1, targets other mobile units
Light Tank tows 2, kickass attack/defense
Medium Tank tows 2, even more kickass attack/defense
Heavy Tank tows 2, most kickass attack/defense + absorbs a hit
So basically the shorthand is that all mobile ground can tow, but the tank types can tow 2, making them more attractive for the outlay in steel. Mech remains the entry level mobile unit, but with ascending capabilities for each land-transport type as the cost in PUs/Steel goes up. Just spit-balling, but I think something like that might be the ticket. Any thoughts?
Otherwise, for me its just hard to see how any mobile ground unit is going to be more attractive than mech (which can drag fodder along with it). But if all mobile units have the same baseline capability then the issue sort of goes away. The alternative of making mech the most expensive ground unit seems somehow less compelling. I like the idea of tanks, and especially heavy tanks, as the "oh shit" unit. Where players really turn heads when they drop them down on the board. I guess in other words, I don't see the need for the mech unit to be special as the sole land transport (it's kind of played out already in my view), but I like the way it functions in gameplay terms for dynamic movement and overall pacing. Its pretty easy enough for me to consider the tank unit in the abstract, as doing something very similar, just more effectively for a greater cost. And of course you still have to buy infantry/artillery to make the most out of all these other units, so it's not exactly direct competition, but at least this would give the player a real reason to spend some of that steel on land.
Still thinking on mobile ground...
yet another alternative might be that the first group (Mech, SP Artillery, and Tank-Destroyer) can tow 1 inf during non-combat only, whereas the second group (Light Tank, Medium Tank, and Heavy Tank) can tow 1 into combat. I think that would preserve the idea of tanks as the premier ground attack/blitz unit, without having too many infantry units shifting around on combat.
Basically the first group (thought of as mobile support units) will advance on non com to set up for strikes into adjacent tiles the following round. Whereas the second group (tank types) are oriented more towards blitz attacks across two tiles in the current round.
I don't know, but I think the idea has potential. In the more recent A&A games tanks have taken a definite back seat to the mech/inf + air combo. Having the ability to tow fodder along might restore tanks somewhat, as the core of any solid ground force. I think it might also allow them to operate with a bit more independence for smaller break-outs, instead of always hiding behind a giant wall of infantry fodder.
@Black_Elk Interesting idea. Though I wonder if letting all mobile land units tow ends up just making them all feel like slightly different versions of mech as well as make the map have too many high movement stacks.
Yeah, I've been mulling over it most of the day, on various breaks at work hehe.
I think the short answer there would be a yes, they'd all feel like slightly different versions of mech, but then again, that seemed somehow more interesting to me than the current situation where they are all slightly different versions of the light tank. The challenge I guess would be finding ways to differentiate the various units from that same baseline.
The think the necessity for steel, and just the regular ceiling on ready cash in a given purchase phase, would probably put limits one the total numbers in play. And strategically there are still sound reasons why players might prefer aircraft and cheap fodder for trading over expensive tanks, so I don't think it would totally upend the current situation. But where I think it would be really interesting is for the breakouts. Like in a situation where a new +5 tile had been captured and the player is looking to push forward. Instead of buying say 2 mech for 2 steel, they might have a reason to consider 1 tank for 2 steel instead. Especially if the former could only tow on non-com, but later could do so in combat. It might also create a kind of staged attack, where the player blitzes with the tank groups first, and them reinforces the captured tile with mech on non-com. Hopefully encouraging a diversity of mobile unit types at a given production spot. I think the Iron war map is probably large enough to accommodate something like this. Some areas would be more hotly contested than others, depending on how close the opposing production hubs are, but there is still a lot of ground out there for the back and forth blitz.
Maybe its a little left field, but just thought I'd toss it out there. I think there's a definite reason why the mech units seem to have eclipsed tanks, since land transporting is no doubt a badass ability. Rather than nerf it away, maybe we just run with it?
I really like the suggestion you made earlier of making mech a non-com only tow unit. But then I think people will end up missing the combat tow, which is why I think giving it to tanks might be a win.
Black_Elk last edited by
Ps. OK here's another alternative if the above seems too extreme. Instead of opening the flood gates and having everything tow, a bit of a rework for each mobile unit type. Here are the proposed units, listed in ascending order of badassedness/cost from weaker to stronger.
SP Artillery: moves 2 (non com only ). Cheapest entry level mobile unit. It can get around the board, making it better than regular artillery, but only on non com. Basically rush to the front, but wait a turn before attacking. With a cheap price reflecting the nerf.
Light Tank: moves 2 (combat/blitz). More expensive than sp artillery but still relatively cheap, so it can serve as the workhorse. I think it should probably only cost 1 steel, so its more expendable. Decent attack so you can rush to the front and attack right now.
Tank Destroyer: moves 2 (combat/blitz), targets other mobile ground with opening shot. Should probably be more expensive than light tanks given the targeting.
Mech: moves 2 (in combat/blitz by itself), can tow 1 inf (only in non combat). More expensive than any of the proceeding mobile ground, since towing even only on non com is such a powerful ability. Talking like 2 steel probably. Only bested as an overall mobile ground purchase choice by...
Medium Tank: moves 2 (in combat/blitz), can tow 1 inf (in combat/blitz). Definitely a beastlier beast than the light tank owing to the towing. The most expensive and most powerful mobile ground unit, short of the advance that unlocks Heavy Tanks.
Heavy tank: moves 2 (in combat/blitz) can tow 1 inf (in combat/blitz), 2-hit unit (can absorb a shot before dying.) The best/most expensive ground unit.
Basically the cost in PUs/Steel is adjusted, so that mech is closer to the top of the heap and light tanks are closer to the bottom, but with medium/heavy tanks clearly still kings of the hill. Any takers? hehe
Sorry for the triple post, but I actually think a slight overall for the roster could present a nice opportunity to tackle that remainder spending issue I mentioned before. Basically it would be cool if we could cover all the leftover numbers going up from base 10 PU's for infantry to 20 PU's for the fighter.
So right now we have these units that can be built without steel...
AAgun cost 9
Infantry cost 10
Fighter cost 20
Dive Bomber cost 20
Air Transport 25
That leaves a lot of possible remainders, not least because some of those are unit costs that are already divisible by 10. The factory and air-transports only comes in if you have a tile where it makes sense to place one.
Just focusing on the PUs for now I'd maybe shoot for something very straight forward like...
SP Artillery: 12
Light Tank: 13
Tank Destroyer: 14
Medium Tank: 16
Heavy Tank: 17
Once you get to 18/19 the AAgun can cover the remainder, either with 2 AAguns, or 1 inf + 1 aa gun. So as long as a nation has steel it is then much easier to work out the remainder.
I might consider increasing the cost of the dive bomber, so that there is a difference in cost between it and the fighter (justified by its added tank busting ability.) It would actually be fairly simple to give fighters a cost in steel as well, even if it means upping the steel totals somewhat to accommodate the greater need at purchase. The same could be done for the factory unit, to really make steel a necessity for any non-infantry/aagun unit. It maybe also be nice to make the entry level aircraft just slightly more expensive, so that they can't be so neatly divided into base 10 PU infantry. For example, maybe something like...
Fighter: 21 PUs
Dive Bomber: 22 PUs
Jet Fighter: 23 PUs
Air-Transport: 24 PUs
Factory: 25 PUs
Bomber: 30 PUs
Right now none of the aircraft require steel to build, but it would be easy to just make each of them cost 1 steel, if the steel totals were increased across the board.
Going another direction, I wonder if it might be smart to remove the need for steel to buy regular artillery? Because that would give a slightly better way to work out the remainder. Since you could build 9, 10, or 11 before you start incurring a cost in steel. (And artillery is kind of key for prevent the tired ass infantry push dynamic going back to classic A&A.) Even if it thematically makes sense that big stationary guns would need steel, I think it might be sensible to consider them more like the infantry unit, just because they are already treated in such a similar way for transport purposes (at land/sea) and because they're really only valuable in conjunction with infantry.
To go with a big list (not worrying so much about the individual abilities, but just the cost structure) perhaps something like...
AA gun: pu 9
Infantry: pu 10
Artillery: pu 11
Factory: steel 1, pu 25
Sp Artillery: steel 1, pu 12
Light Tank: steel 1, pu 13
Tank Destroyer: steel 2, pu 14
Mech: steel 2, pu 15
Medium Tank: steel 3, pu 16
Heavy Tank: steel 4, pu 17
Fighter: steel 1, pu 21
Dive Bomber: steel 1, pu 22
Jet Fighter: steel 1, pu 23
Air Transport: steel 1, pu 25
Bomber: steel 1, pu 30
Patrol Boat: steel 1, pu 13
Destroyer: steel 2, pu 16
Transport: steel 2, pu 20
Sub: steel 2, pu 25
Cruiser: steel 3, pu 20
Battleship: steel 4, pu 35
Carrier: steel 4, pu 40
The only thing I might do on the water (if the overall steel totals are increased to accommodate aircraft costing steel too) would be to consider increasing the steel cost for transports from 2 to 3. Since right now the most important cap from steel, is the cap on how many transports some nations can purchase in a given round. This is mainly for Germany, Britain, Anzac and USA.
The basic trend in all of this is that you can't really build an effective force, or even expand production without steel. So that it really becomes the critical purchasing resource and not something you can just ignore by saving up for aircraft. I think to pull it off, you necessarily need more steel floating around, but that could be handled fairly simply just by doubling the current values in territories where it exists, or something along those lines.
ps. this is not exactly related to the stuff I mentioned above, (although its not entirely unrelated either) but when playing your other Dragon war map just now, it occurred to me that Iron War (like Dragon War) might really benefit from having some way to access the purchase screen before combat on the first turn. I'm not suggesting that the purchase phase be before combat, as I definitely prefer combat before purchase. Combat first is action oriented, more streamlined, and you don't have to prognosticate in advance about what to buy before you make your moves. Combat before Purchase is better for sure, I'm all for it.
Rather what I mean is that it would be very helpful if, as the player, you "Preview the Purchase Screen" for any nation in the game, at any point. Including the very first turn as Germany.
Not having a way to see the full unit roster and scroll over all the abilities/costs etc for each nation's units (esp. when there are specific national units with unique abilities), can be potentially very confusing for the first time player because they are going in blind, and are asked to start moving and attacking with stuff before really knowing the full specs on what they have. The way it is currently set up, you basically have to already have played the game once, taking control of each nation, before you really know what you're dealing with. While it can be done, this doesn't really help with the learning curve for the newb. I can imagine for example an FtF game, where two players each take a side and play there first game, but don't fully grasp what their opponent is capable of building, since they can't see it for themselves. Like how many colonial infantry such and such can field, or what exactly a commissar is and how that differs from SS.
The export unit stats feature is all well and good, for someone who likes to have all the details in a vast compendium, but its unwieldy and not quite as intuitive as just the regular old purchase screen with all the visuals and the scroll overs. The average player might not even think to click on that tab, so its sort of like a mystery, unless you just dive in and start messing about.
Since there is no option for a bid, that can't serve as a workaround. Although I wonder if precluding a bid altogether might ultimately be somewhat limiting, since that assumes we can determine an appropriate balance without any need for future unit placement revisions on the fly. (Usually pretty rare in these kinds of games.) There's always edit-mode I suppose, or direct modification, but those are less elegant ways to balance unit distribution after the fact, and of course doesn't solve the main issue I see of players not having all the info they might want the first time out.) Personally I'm not a huge fan of bidding for balance, I think adjusting the starting income is just much cleaner, and we already have that option, but even still, adding to the starting income totals won't launch an initial purchase screen the way a standard bid might. Anyhow, just a thought. Because if we did have a bid option, then players could enter whatever value (like 1 pu) and it would at least bring up the purchase screen for all the nations on their team, which may still be better than nothing, although not quite as good as a full preview options for anyone/anytime that doesn't require an unnecessary phase at the outset.
Thought it might be worth mentioning from an ease of use standpoint. This is the only real downside I can see to leading with the combat phase to start the game, which otherwise just makes every kind of good sense. Some stuff is easy enough to pick up on by fumbling around and referencing previous experience with similar games, opening the battle calc etc, but you're still kind of in the dark on the big picture until you can access the full purchase screens for the first time. Would be cool if there was just a button that could bring it up at any point, similar to the show history feature. Because ideally you need to know the details not just about your own stuff, but your opponents stuff as well, in order to make informed choices for your combat moves during the critical first round of play.
I really like your idea of bringing up the purchase screen, to consult whenever needed. Also I think this would be a nice feature in other maps. Maybe you could create a 'Feature Request' for this.
@Black_Elk I think the Unit Help is probably closest to what you are looking for.
Unit Help! Discovering features I didn't know existed, even after all this time hehe. Well that is certainly helpful. I guess the only information not included there is the cost in steel, though I suppose that's kind of specific to this map, but otherwise has all the details and much easier to read at a glance than the export list.
Maybe this should be highlighted at the top of the game notes? Something like "please see 'Unit Help', under the 'Help' tab at the top of the screen for more information." Just like the very first thing you read. I've been playing for a while and totally missed this feature, even though I've gone there before for the game notes. Guess I'm blind lol
ps. the only thing I can think of, other than the resource cost to build, is a note for the units that are not immediately accessible. Again perhaps specific to this map, but many nations can't build certain listed units until later in the game, which might be good to know. Like if you were worried that Balkan's might build a fighter in the second round or whatever, to screw your strategy.
Still thinking on some of redrums feedback...
- Colonial/SS feel a bit lacking as well especially cause they are spread out so much over the map and really just end up using it to build a unit here and there when you have enough. Doesn't really add much depth to the game.
Part of me thinks that some nations which might really benefit from having a cheaper fodder unit don't have access to them. South Africa, China and Brazil all come to mind for the Allies, maybe Finland, Iraq and Iran on the Axis side. I guess the whole 'colonial' aspect might not always fit, but just the idea of a fodder unit that costs like 5-6 PUs available in special instances, but limited/capped by the resource so that it can't be spammed relentlessly. For smaller nations, the ones that routinely collect less than 20 PUs per round, or which may eventually find themselves collecting less than 10 PUs, I can see such units filling a niche.
Going beyond the Colonial stuff/specialized fodder that is capped by resource requirements, just for the basic unit costs overal, a few more thoughts...
In general I don't have an issue with opportunity or impulse buys. The sort of stuff you work into a purchase simply because its available as a cheaper or more powerful hitpoint in a given round. I think often purchasing decisions are informed by the desire to max hitpoints/power by spending as much of the remainder as possible. And that this can be used as a way to encourage variety in builds.
For that reason I'm not terribly fond of having different units with the exact same costs. Or having lots of units which are neatly divisible by the main fodder unit. In this case base 10 infantry. I'd rather add or subract 1 or 2 PUs in those cases, or vary the cost in steel, so that players who are trying to max hitpoints every round are guided towards more mixed purchases. If that makes sense
Basically trying to avoid having a lot of stuff that costs 20 PUs, or can be cleanly divided into infantry. Like maybe fighters cost 21. Transports 22. Bombers 33. Carriers 44. Or things like that so that working out the remainder leads players to mixed forces, at least when it comes to deciding on the final unit to try and "fit" into a given build.
If there is a pressing strategic need for a given unit, then of course any solid player will forego their remainder to make sure they have the right unit for the job. So just as an example, under the current setup, if what you need is a Mech unit to tow another hitpoint into a key fight, then you're not going buy a light tank just to spend a couple extra leftover PUs. You buy the mech and save the rest. But freqeuently the strategic choice may be less clear, and the desire to spend the full remainder might very well encourage a tank buy over a mech buy, everything else being equal.
I think the impulse buy/remainder thing, is one of the very few tools we have, to disrupt an over reliance on the fodder push dynamic outlined so eloquently by Dan Rae way back when. Where players always max the cheapest fodder unit to whatever cap is established by the production limit, and then only buy the most OP attack unit (usually aircraft) to support them on the push. 2 move unit drives aside, I think everyone with A&A experience defaults to that style of build, and you'll never get rid of it. But the desire to spend a full remainder is at least one method to encourage occasional deviations, even if its only like for one impulse unit in a given turn of purchasing.
Iron War is uniquely suited to address this problem, because a game with fodder at base 10 PUs offers a lot more variety in effectively spending remainders, than a game like A&A, where the base fodder unit has traditionally cost just 3 PUs. This is probably the main reason I keep returning to this map, and what I meant earlier when I said I really like how the relatively high cost of infantry (compared to all other units) effects the standard purchasing decisions. i.e. it forces players to consider units other than inf. That coupled with your production system (a cheap destroyable factory/base, with many tiles that can support it, but limited in total output at 5 units per tile) make for a really unique change. I also enjoy how the naval units pair off against each other, since it avoids the transport spam without relying on the defenseless transport gimmick. Overall the unit roster is pretty close to ideal, though I think it could get some more polish to be perfect. Like with the mobile ground, or some cost tweaking like I mentioned in that post above.
There is a ton feedback that I have to chew through, and to little time to do it I would really like to read and evaluate from the point where @redrum and @Black_Elk finished a few games. And I would like to study the statistics of those games as well as hold that up towards what the AI does and handles the map. But that can't be today as I have too little time.
But just my thoughts on the unit prices and unit functions. As I see it, the Mech-Inf is ofcours a unit with its own special function and (to tow inf and art), and so is the SP-Artillery and Anti-Tank. They are also meant to be medium weight units in between inf/art and tanks.
Special for the Mech-Inf is that this unit aims to be very an attractive and widespread purchase. Purchase numbers should rank after Infantry and artillery, and maybe double as purchased than SP-artillery and Anti-Tank. So purchase tendency could be like:
1 SP- artillery
1 Tank (Light/Med/Hvy)
The Mech-Inf should fill out the role of an expensive infantry, that is mostly a good purchase, unless you are stacking defence, you have to walk a very short distance, you have to sail on transport or you are low on iron and want to buy ships instead or something.
It seems to my that the Mech-Inf as of now lives up to this, but I will have to study the saves and the AI further.
When it comes to the special units, AS, colonial, commisars and kamikaze, they are just bonus units sometimes available. The player should go "yay! A new commisar!". Unlike the marines that are always available and unlockable heavy tanks and jets. As the availability is not unlimited, they don't need to be "balanced" or have a niche role. They are just nice to buy when available. I don't see a need to change them.
@Frostion Well I think the challenge is its probably more like this right now:
0 everything else
hmmm I think I see where you are coming from, but I would frame it rather differently. Instead of thinking about things in terms of the desired relative frequency of unit types (which can be kind of vague), think about the situation in terms of the fodder push dynamic and what purchases it is likely to encourage, absent some outside motivation combating the force of habit.
Lets assume we have a starting force that already includes some tanks or fighters (as most nations do). Under those circumstances, if I have exactly 100 PUs, and 10 available production slots, then I will probably buy 10 infantry, almost every time. Its the best all-around purchase for the money. The infantry push dynamic is a tried and true strategy, and all it really requires is that you are able to stack significantly more hit-points than your opponent while maintaining your starting heavy hitters. The push may be slow, but its consistent. So without some other consideration guiding me, I likely default to that.
Granted, some things may change this dynamic, like the number of starting infantry you already have, coupled with a desire for more speed. As you noted, mech is a pretty solid buy right now. It compares well with infantry, is only slightly more expensive (provided you have steel), with double the mobility and a kick ass tow ability. So ok if I have 100 PUs and idk say 11 steel, then maybe I would buy 8 mech instead, of 10 infantry, for a total of 96 PUs and save the extra steel for next time. I lose out on 2 hitpoints sure, but gain a lot of speed, and if I already have 8 infantry units at the ready in my starting forces, then those mech can tow double their weight in hitpoints. So yeah, for sure, go mech crazy. But here's the thing...
Now I have a remainder 4 PUs.
This to me is where the interesting aspect of impulse purchasing comes into play. Does the player now decide to backtrack by 1 mech unit, and only purchase 7 rather than 8, so they can spend that remainder on a medium tank instead of the 8th mech? The remainder here can encourage a more varied buy. It can change a mind at the last second, where at first I'm thinking 'all mech all day,' suddenly the question is reopened. Because that 4 PUs is like a nagging gadfly. Nobody likes a bunch of change burning a hole in their pocket, after all. So for me, that's where we get the big opening to disrupt an otherwise mechanical decision making process.
There are always going to be some units that are just better buys than others, and they will naturally predominate. But its that last "filler" unit, that gives us a way to encourage the more mixed purchase and more mixed forces over time. Whether that last impulse buy is going to be a Medium tank, or a light tank, or a tank destroyer, or SP artillery, may end up depending on exactly how much change you have and the desire to spend the full remainder. That's why I like the idea of differing unit costs, so there is not such a direct competition between similar unit types. If mech and SP Artillery both cost 12 PUs and 1 steel, will I ever buy SP Artillery, given that Mech's ability to tow is so potent? But if Mech costs 1 PU more than SP Artillery, I can almost guarantee there will come a point where I'd buy at least one SP Artillery unit, purely based on the remainder/impulse thing. That's sort of what I was driving at above. Clearly I know its a bit more complex than I just presented, because of the resource consideration with fuel/steel, but even still, I'd never underestimate power of 1 PU to potentially swing a decision at the last second hehe. Right now I think there are probably too many units in direct competition with one another for the same cost, or in competition with the Inf spam (ie divisible by base 10 PUs). Invariably some units will end up being considered underpowered and neglected, but even those may find ways onto the board provided the overall cost structure is set up in an enticing enough way.
I know the automatic response here is probably that we shouldn't have to rely on this kind of haphazard or impulsive decision making to accomplish the goal of players buying more exotic or specialized stuff. Ideally those units would all pair off each other in such a way that every buy is always made with a grande strategic purpose in mind (like for that one time when buying a shit ton of SP Artillery at a go is the exact right choice for the situation hehe.) But just trying to be a realist, I think what you are more likely to see is a general purchasing strategy that continues to focus on the basic fodder push dynamic, with the variety coming into it mainly on the edges. Like a couple exotic units added in here and there, until somewhere by the midgame there are enough of them in play that people start trying to get creative and work them into their plans.
Currently I think the fact that aircraft do not cost any steel, is sort of working against the heavy hitters on the ground. Aircraft are allowing a way to basically ignore steel altogether and play a somewhat oldschool push game that relies exclusively on inf fodder + fighters. I'm not sure of the solution. Probably more total steel in play, and having all aircraft cost at least 1 steel is a good place to start. I don't know how much we can increase the PU cost of aircraft before they become too expensive to justify. Maybe they don't need to be all that much more expensive if they required steel to build? I'd try the whole 21/22/33 idea for fighters/divebombers/stratbombers and see how they measure up once steel is a factor.
Finally, something really radical for a closer...
It relates to the idea I mentioned before about units not being in such direct competition with one another. Right now the basic costs in steel are sort of undercutting the unique thing that having a base 10 fodder unit achieves with PUs, because all the steel units are costing between just 1-4 steel. Steel units are competing directly in a very extreme sort of way, given the resource cap and limited variety in potential steel costs 1-4.
I wonder if you've considered maybe shifting over a decimal point?
You know like instead of working with 1 steel at a time, going up to 10 steel at the entry level. That way you could have artillery that costs 10 steel. Maybe SP Artillery costs 11 steel. Mech 12. Light Tanks might cost 23 steel or whatever. With more flexibility to vary the numbers between, 11-19, 21-29, 31-39 etc. Just increasing the steel reserves across the board by x10, and increasing the steel costs for various units in a concomitant way overall, but broken down into smaller integers between, to differentiate the steel costs in a more nuanced way.
This would get a remainder thing going for steel as well, and seems like it would present some more flexibility in varying the steel cost of a given unit relative to all the other steel units. Doing this you could probably eliminate any redundancies, such that no two units would ever need to cost exactly the same amount in PUs/Steel.
Artillery 11 PUs/10 Steel
SP Artillery 12 PUs/11 Steel
Mech 13 PUs/12 Steel
Tank Destroyer 14 PUs/22 Steel
Light Tank 15 PUs/23 Steel
Medium Tank 16 PUs/33 Steel
Heavy Tank 17 PUs/42 Steel
Patrol Boat 13 PUs/13 Steel
Destroyer 16 PUs/21 steel
Transport 20 PUs/24 Steel
Cruiser 20 PUs/31 Steel
Submarine 25 PUs/25 Steel
Battleship 35 PUs/41 Steel
Carrier 40 PUs/44 Steel
I think we could include all the Aircraft units as steel types. Thematically it might make sense to include AAguns and Factories as steel units too. AAguns could have a steel cost less than 10, maybe like 5 steel, so it too can enter the remainder game here. Actually any unit not currently costing steel could jump in at less than 10 once everything else is bumped over a decimal point. Even infantry have rifles and bullets and such. If you wanted to bring them into the fray, maybe they have a steel cost of only 1? Just a thought, since you'd have a lot more room to play with the numbers.
Because Steel is a purchasing resource the simple bean counting of it isn't as necessary as it is for a movement resource like fuel, and this would basically give you a whole second way to carve up the purchasing roster to avoid repetition in costs. Its sort of the name of the game, so anything we can do to make it more heavy metal would probably be cool.