Iron War - Official Thread

  • Kind of long winded in my replies, but just to summarize a few points on how I think it might be improved further.

    1. More variation in unit pricing (steel/pus) so that remainder spending encourages mixed builds. x10 Steel so we can vary the steel cost of units into smaller integers, as explained in the previous couple posts. In general trying to make steel a more significant resource by including it as a build requirement for all units, like aircraft, aaguns, factories, and even infantry. This could be done by having the current no-steel units requiring some fraction less than 10 steel after the current totals/costs are increased x10.

    2. More options to send aid (in PUs) from minor powers to major powers, in smaller increments, say 5 PUs to help with remainder spending. More variety in where to send aid, so that there is a strategic dimension to the choice. For example, each nation has at least 2 possible aid recipients (for steel/fuel/PUs), so that the decision is more nuanced.

    3. More +5 build locations that can support a factory buy in contested areas of the gamemap. Especially territories that can be reached by both teams early on. Alaska, Algeria, Benelux, Greece, Okinawa, New Guinea, Madagascar, Sicily etc.

    4. Consider merging faction South Africa to Britain or British Colonies. Feels a little out of place as the lone dominion singled out for special inclusion, when all others are are composed of like two or more nations. ANZAC is Australia and New Zealand. British-India includes Singapore and Sarawak. The British faction itself includes Canada etc. I think the most logical is to make South Africa part of British-Colonies.

    5. Consider merging Iraq and Iran into a single faction called Axis Near East or something similar.

    6. VC spread: I agree that these are fairly well balanced and that achieving 20 seems to time well with one side or the other "winning" in practical terms. However, I think some VCs are currently uncontested and might be moved. Prime example would be trading out the USA Pacific VC from the West Coast US to Hawaii or East Coast US to Philippines. Perhaps Siberia could trade out for Irkutsk, so Japan has more viable VC targets? If the Near East factions are merged, one of those VCs could be moved elsewhere. I think the main goal here would be to set things up such that Axis have a way to win that doesn't necessitate the crush Russia/India first strategy. Or similarly that Allies cannot win simply by being ascendant in one theater while ignoring the other.

    7. Pace of play, entertainment and overall balance: Right now I think that the balance probably favors Allies FtF, but that, of the two teams, Axis is more fast paced and entertaining to play. This is mainly due to the fact that the Axis have more build options and more opportunities to determine the basic expansion pattern. For the Axis team there is no shortage of "places to go next", whereas the Allies are mainly holding/liberating, with fewer opportunities to build factories as they go. I think a few more production lilly pads for the Allies would help jump start the action for their team.

    8. I think one way to enhance the experience for both teams would be to have more target Neutral, Pro-Axis Neutral or Axis starting territories at +5. This would allow the many Allied factions to compete for their control. The Mediterranean region and Japanese pacific islands in particular could see a few bumps up to +5. Another approach might be to make some of the many +5 Pro-Allies territories into just regular Neutrals, so that the Allies have a way to occupy them more directly. I can imagine for example USA spending their first few turns activating neutrals, by occupying Mexico or the Central/South American neutrals. USA feels a bit cash poor considering all the ships they have to build, and this might help with that a bit. Actually I'd consider just eliminating the Pro-Allies Neutral faction altogether as unnecessary, and going with direct occupation if the Allies want to access those resources. (Its basically what they did historically during the actual war hehe.) Since there are no specific gameplay mechanics associated with the neutrals, I'm not sure having Pro-Side neutrals really adds much interest. Their main function right now seems to be as a way to bury team resources further afield, or to prevent one team or the other from doing a neutral crush in a particular region. I get it, but I think it might be just less confusing overall, for resource tallying, production and movement considerations (esp. fighter landings) if all neutrals were treated the same way. I'd just have them for bonus resources, rather than starting resources, and shift the starting resources from neutrals to home territories as necessary. In any case, if we really need a different kind of neutral, then I think just having Pro-Axis is probably enough to get the job done... Pro-side neutrals are more of a hindrance than a boon to the team (e.g. often you are better off allowing the enemy to capture them, so you can then re-capture them and take direct control, rather than trying to defend them in the first place. If that makes sense.) Sorry a bit long winded there again, but basically, because all the player-nations are belligerents from the outset, I think Iron War is more like a global domination game within a World War II setting. Which I honestly prefer for this sort of game, as opposed to like G40 with a bunch of complex declaration and neutrality rules to try and model the actual politics/timeline of the war. Having neutrals in there is a nice nod to the historical situation at the start date, but beyond that, I don't see any real need for players to check themselves when it comes to stomping on neutrals if they want to.

    9. Nukes/Endgame: Although I've yet to play an FtF game into the nuclear era, I wonder if Germany getting access in late 1945 is a bit premature? In practical terms its probably going to take the USA at least one round to move their nukes into position, so the ability of team Axis to respond immediately with nukes of their own might be a bit much. I'd push it till like 1946 at the earliest before G gets them.

    10. Single Player vs Hard AI. I think this map works really well for a solo against the machine. There is enough going on to keep the newb pretty engaged and it can be a lot of fun to try and expand until you hit monster status. I think some suggested settings adding to the AI's bonus income would be cool. Probably 110-133% for a moderate challenge, or 150% and up for a more difficult challenge, depending on which side you choose and how familiar you are with the map. Right now the main issue for the AI is in managing fuel, and especially fuel guzzling aircraft (which they like to buy in abundance.) So it might be nice if we had a way to give a bonus for fuel independent of PUs/Steel, in which case I'd just set the AI nations to infinite fuel or like 999%, so it's no longer an issue for the machine.

    I think that's all I got. It's a solid game and I like the latest build. Will undoubtedly keep playing it hehe

  • So I'm still thinking that the x10 steel idea is the cleanest way to open up the unit roster in a way that allows for more pricing variety on the ground and for aircraft (as well as the other current no-steel cost) to start costing at least some steel.

    Been ruminating a bit more on the Med region as well. Read up a little over the holidays on French Algeria during this period, and the Algerian war of independence that followed in the late 50s, and I think it makes sense as a +5 tile. Unlike other colonial territories in the neighborhood (like Tunisia say), Algeria had a unique status administratively and was considered part of France proper.

    I think the main gameplay interest for Algeria in the early rounds would be as a forward target in Africa for Germany, since it mirrors Vichy, and could serve as a springboard towards W. Africa or into the Atlantic. In later rounds Algeria probably makes sense as a secondary objective (after Morocco) for an Anglo-American "Torch" push. It likely takes a bit of time/energy to crack Italian Libya, so Algeria could act as a camping spot for the Allies in North Africa, while they try to make a breakthrough to take the main Axis VC in North Africa (allowing France back into the mix in the process), or conversely it might be a spot for Germany/Italy to make a last stand on the ground before they get rolled back to the Libya VC.

    On the other side of the Med, I still like Greece for a +5, since it could go to Germany, Balkans or Italy early on, and then later serve as a toehold for the Allies if they want to go with a Churchill style plan for a second front in Europe. I think that would create a nice spread where you have 3 factory locations running along both the top and bottom of the Med, with some good options for a back and forth depending on the naval situation. Like if Allies control the Mediterranean or Aegean sea zones, but Axis control the Tyrrhenian or Adriatic sea zones, you could have amphibious actions into/out of those territories, without requiring direct fleet to fleet engagements.

    Sicily at +5 would be cool too, again mainly as a late game target for the Allies (I'd just drop Italy a few PUs to make that happen.)

  • Admin

    @Black_Elk I agree with almost all 10 of your points. I think the only one I still struggle with is #2. I think its actually better to have less options but have them be very difficult choices and make them somewhat historical and based on what nations supplied each other. I also still think in most cases there should be a cost for sending supplies as some will be lost in transit. Right now there are too many obvious choices and I feel I'm just clicking the same things each round. Also I think there should be less really small options like sending 1 Iron. I'd rather have minors need to stockpile a few rounds then send a meaningful amount then click the button every turn.

    So for example for many of the minors replace "Send 1 Iron to X Major for Cost of 1 Iron" with "Send 3 Iron to X Major for Cost of 5 Iron". Now I have to think as the minor should I instead try to use up the Iron or stockpile and pay the fee to transfer it to my major. Presents a more interesting solution. Or as USA instead of "Send 20 PUs to USSR for Cost of 20 PUs" instead make it "Send 15 PUs to USSR for Cost of 20 PUs". Now I really gotta consider is it worth the fee of 5 PUs to support USSR or should I just use it to build my own fleet.

  • Typing from my phone since the internet is down at my spot for some reason.

    Historically the flow of aid works better with some nations than others depending on the tineline. The US and Britain both sent aid to Russia. The US, Britain and Russia all sent aid to China. For the various factions that make up the British Empire here the situation can probably be whatever we want, since the divisions are sort of artificial and don't really graft onto any historical political/economic reality of the time. Thematically I think of it like the dissolution British Empire, where those factions vaguely correspond to what the Empire devolved into following the war, but even that is kind of a stretch. The aid situation for a place like Australia could reasonably flow to/from the US as much as Britain I'd think. France and Brazil likewise seem like we could probably do whatever feels good for the gameplay.

    The issue right now that I see is that the flow is too one directional, basically from the US/Britain to everywhere else for PUs/Oil, and then the reverse situation for steel. That's all on the Allied side though. The Axis weren't really integrated economically in anything like the same way that the Allies were. So sending aid from Germany/Japan elsewhere is more of a game thing in my view, to make that team play in a somewhat comparable way.

    Part of me thinks a simpler approach might be to detach the Aid money from the regular economy and have it be like a once per round decision for each team.

    So for example, instead of the USA sending its own regular cash to one of the other nations, maybe its just a prompt at the end of the round for entire side like... "Allies have 55 PUs, 22 fuel, 33 steel in aid, shall they send to Britain or Russia?" maybe the following round the choice is between China or Australia, later on it might be between France or British Colonies, whathaveyou. Basically a larger amount of money/resources, but where you have to make an either/or selection about where it goes. Then you could just have like a historical blurb accompanying the prompt that provides some kind of rationale for what is happening that round...

    Like on the Allied side in 1941, maybe its "Flying Tigers" aid to China vs "Free French" aid to France. On the Axis side in 1941 it might be aid to Near East (Golden Square coup, pro-Axis government installed in Iraq) vs aid to Balkans (Yugoslavia dissolved, pro-Axis governments installed in Croatia). Or whatever makes sense thematically for that round, where the choice is kind of a toss up, between two similarly compelling options. What I mean also is that something like aid to Russia should be the sort of thing that maybe only happens like once every 3 or 4 rounds, with another good choice always set against it so the decision is trickier, like having to choose between aid to Russia or aid to India in the same round (when both are likely under pressure). That sort of thing.

    In gameplay terms that would make the whole aid thing rather less tedius, but still provide some dynamism where the team can choose a different focus in each game depending on what kind of overall strategy they have in mind.

    Basically instead of a bunch of smaller hard choices between "should I keep the money/resources, or send along, maybe get taxed etc" it'd be a choice like "do we want a beefy Atlantic fleet for Britain, or a bunch of Russian tanks this game?" On the other side of the map maybe, "do we want to be all deep in China this time, or do a wily Australian bounce about?" hehe. You know something that is still a hard/consequential decision, with a bigger chunk of change involved, but where the choice is broken down on a round by round basis, instead of turn by turn, if that makes sense.

    If you wanted an opt-in/out, you could do it where where every nation can chip in to the overall aid pot for their team in smaller increments as a way to push the remainders, but then have the potential aid recipients go on a rotation (based on whatever round it is.) So maybe in the early rounds it makes sense to have certain pairings of aid nations come up, whereas in the endgame other pairings make more sense. Or you do it in blocks, where 3 nations are up for aid in a given round, but you can only choose 1 to actually receive it.

    Maybe you could have additional players called
    Axis Aid and Allied Aid, whose purpose is just to bank. So each nation could send aid to their teams aid bank at the end of their turn (similar to the way it works now), and then at the end of the round those Aid players allocate the total aid received in a specialized phase with the either/choices for that specific year.