Iron War - Official Thread

  • Is that how it works currently, and I am just missing a click or something? If this was the case it would make a huge difference since aircraft are the biggest drain on fuel for sure. If there is a way to move them on the water without incurring the fuel cost that's major. Right now the only way I've figured out how to do it is hitching a ride on a friendly carrier, or during initial placement moving air from the coastal factory. If there is a return on fuel for moving together or ending in the same spot, it would be cool if there was some kind of graphical representation, maybe similar to how damage is represented? Like a loaded deck shows smaller fighters or something, or if the fighters are 'released' for separate movement they get larger.

  • Had a lively match messing around against the Hard AI Allies using the pre-release, unlimited fuel edit and 133% boost. They battled hard across Africa to mess with Italy and are now blasting into the middle east from the other side. They've been stacking up in India and China pretty heavily to give Russia some cushion. Even with Germany putting the stomp down on the Soviets in the west, they are still fighting hard. Had a pretty impressive German fleet going there for a hot minute, but the Americans sent it to the bottom of the sea with like 20 fighters in the air off the coast of Norway. Japan tried to put the sting on California for revenge, but seems like it could go on for a bit if the Allies keep stacking in Africa. Least until the nukes start flying hehe. Anyhow, pretty fun stuff with the unlimited fuel workaround.

    Hard AI Allies 99 fuel 133 pu Italy round 11.tsvg

    Smoking Cobras! I went a different match for another 10 rounds under the same set up. This time tried to snake the middle with a German expeditionary force to Siberia, and Japan going the b line for India. Ultimately got bit by Brazil though hehe. Figured at this income level for the machine Japan basically has just enough juice to knock off one target, so I skipped the dutch factory thinking they could be contained and went after British India directly. The Dutch are pretty deep with Anzac fighters now so had to kiss that oil goodbye. Germany funneled their dudes across the north shucking from Scandinavia over to Siberia to eat the Soviets from the inside out. Had a pretty good run of it disrupting the backfield, but the Allies had the spanish landing pad, gunning full D-Day. AI America just liberated France and flattened Italy, clearing a path for Brazil swoop Rome! French Colonies did a number on the pro-Axis powers down south too, so definitely saw some action out of South America at 133% hehe.
    Hard AI Allies 99 fuel 133 pu Germany round 11.tsvg

    Another fun sea lion. Axis had the tko, but Russia is massive, getting ready to bear maul their way into the Balkans. Taking England and winning the Battle of the Atlantic early seems to be the best way to keep the Americans off your back in Europe and Africa, but it means the Russians come heavy. G took over all the little islands to transit across the Atlantic, so here we got about 40 aircraft pinned up Greenland for the time being anyway. The AI Soviets knocked off the Finns but have since been focusing south, so no Scandinavian landing pad, otherwise they'd have steam rolled Germany for sure by now. Soviets coming heavy despite getting split up the middle by Japan a while back, Managed to save the Middle East a few times, but with it looking like Balkans is toast, I think the Allies can definitely keep it going into the nuclear era. AI is pretty fun at 33% without the fuel consideration. They're pretty mobile, even the Dutch have managed to sneak back in here on the Allied Africa defense hehe. Good times

    Hard AI Allies 99 fuel 133 pu Balkans round 11.tsvg

    In this one the AI Brits got their revenge, taking Rome in the 7th... Axis did an alright job of savaging Russia out the gate this time. Left France for the Italians to take and just threw everything to the East to crack Leningrad. Il Duce was feeling pretty good in early days, but then got caught with his pants down and double teamed by Britain and South Africa in the perfect storm of factory annihilation hehe.

    Hard AI Allies 99 fuel 133 pu Italy round 7.tsvg

  • while I'm waiting on the internet to get back up, couple quick thoughts on nukes.

    One idea I thought might be fun is if the USA player gets a nuke or two when the tech is first achieved, like maybe spawned at their airbase? That would ensure that it can reach a target by late 1945, and might be fun in a solo. For PvP I have no idea how nukes might determine the deep endgame, but since most games are probably decided before round 12, I see it as more of a novelty for the edurance oriented player.

    For the Anglo-Americans the nukes feel historical, for Russia also plausible for a game that stretches into 1946-49.

    For Germany and Japan the nukes are less plausible and more gamey I think. But its nice if both sides have access just for parity, in the case of a close game, of if people want to just push on for the hell of it. Perhaps for the Axis instead of saying 'nuclear weapons', we could just say that Germany and Japan 'can now purchase strategic weapons' with the idea that it goes more bio-chem for their side, since the Axis had the technological edge there for sure. A lot of mad science going in that area, and for Germany the rocket delivery method, so its not implausible to imagine some late game Axis super weapons on par with Allied nukes. That's how I've been picturing it anyway. Like Axis using Tabun or something, which could definitely have happened (we paperclipped up a lot of their scientists in the aftermath, along with the soviets, so they had the capability there.) Anyhow I like the mechanics of a high cost suicide unit that can break the big stack stalemates once you pass the dozen round mark. Its a fun scenerio, even if totally mad.

  • Admin

    @Black_Elk Well, in Iron War, unlike real world history, the sides have to be on nearly the same strength when the war starts and also they have to not feel that something grounded in the real historical timeline is playing against them. Hopefully ALL the players feel like they have an equal chance to win. Also, from round 1 the players have to feel like they have control and power to alter the real historical events, like if one player surpasses the economical and resource strength of its real world counterpart.

    But at the same time, the way "tech"(units) and nukes are "phased" in, is an anchor into real history. If it should be altered into a more fair way, one could argue that all players should get the opportunity to purchase nukes at the same time. So that the most resourceful players are the ones who could buy the finishing blow weapons.

    I think that the current way of implementation is a good mix of real history and of the player's impact on history. Now we can say that the US has history on its side in regards to them being the first with nukes, but they still have to purchase the units. And in Iron War the German "Uranverein" nuclear project is just behind the US, and if Germany is a resourceful nation by this time, it is not set that much further behind.

    So currently don't see a need to change this. I like the idea of nation specific "super weapons", but it is a bit to late in the development process to implement more of this. I like the idea so much that it is a big part of my upcoming Warcraft game. Here it is like 33% of the unit roster which is nation specific units. But it is probably difficult as hell to balance.

  • Yeah I like how its handled, and I think it progresses with a pretty historical playpattern at the outset too, even under total war conditions. Like as the player you really have to make a series of key choices in the first round about where to press, since you have a lot of options, but choosing to go one way rather than another will define the rest of the game. I like how tech is handled, I think it gives the flavor but still keeps things simple and I think its more elegant than some of the research oriented stuff out of A&A. I like that for example that you have to buy the stuff, as opposed to just everything getting upgraded. The nukes are cool. I think there's enough suspension of disbelief that you can fit it into game narrative. Like who knows, maybe if the Germans made different decisions about how to allocate their resources or prioritize their research, maybe they could have cooked up a fission bomb of one sort or another. In gameplay terms for me, its mainly about the highly satisfying stomp down that comes from finally breaking an otherwise insurmountable stack. The longer range movement and ability to shave off an average of like 5 hitpoints per nuke can really turn a battle, where you might normally have several rounds of stacking, or cat and mouse before one side gets the leg up.

    Haha look forward to seeing the Warcraft one. Comcast finally got their shit together, so I'm back on the laptop instead of my phone. Going to dive back into it presently.

    Have you given any thought to the idea of an AI fuel boost of some sort, to increase the challenge for solo play? I think Iron War has a lot to offer in that area, it certainly keeps me entertained hehe. There's enough variety in cooking up attack plans and enough different target options out of the first round, that you can really shape a pretty different path to achieving total domination depending on where you go. Its fun to see how you can divvy the spoils between the various powers and maintain enough oil to move in the endgame.

  • I agree with Black Elk that an AI fuel boost would make playing solo more fun and would add variety to the end game when Great Britain & Japan run out of fuel.
    I love the game. Thanks for all of your work and input.

  • Admin

    @forthebirds @Black_Elk
    As I see it, the AI mismanagement of fuel is a weak point of Iron War. Ideally the AI should try to capture fuel barrels and the fuel it has should be spent in a prioritising way, just as humans would. AI needs more fuel than human players as it is now. I don't know what fix to implement. There are many options. Mostly because I hate the thought of giving AI special privileges 😕

  • I still think that the AI plays a pretty good game and it's fun to play.🙂
    One more suggestion that I could make( I hope that you want to hear it), is involving the sub-pens. Those 3 extra subs each round are more a force than a nuisance. Later in the game, as a wolfpack, they're like a nuclear bomb.😱 I would suggest, if its possible, to make them more like (3/2/2) : they're being rushed off the assembly line. Then, they would be more in line with the air transports which are a nuisance but not a force to be reckoned with. Just a thought.

  • Well during the endgame by like round 10, there are so many fuel using units on the map I think the only way for the AI to remain viable is for them to basically have an infinite fuel reserve. Their purchasing decisions and non com moves especially probably have them using like 3 times as much oil as a human would on average. The AI of course does all kinds of crazy little moves shifting transports and fighters around each turn, whereas a human can parse things out and make larger coordinated moves to conserve fuel. But over time its still impressive to see how the AI amasses its steel forces and aircraft, and they can gun pretty hard even despite its other shortcomings, usually in far flung regions of the map when they have the juice to do so. With a boost even doing like scrub reloads every other round, the AI can still pull out surprises. Some more saves messing around with that oil hack for USA that had me up late on a good time hehe...

    Hard AI Allies 99 fuel 133 pu invasion USA Germany round 12.tsvg
    Hard AI Allies 99 fuel 133 pu Russia crush Germany round 21.tsvg
    Hard AI Allies 99 fuel 133 pu Balkan gambit Japan round 15.tsvg

    The main thing I notice when the AI is just given shit tons of oil, is that the endgame (after 20 cities has been achieved) is a lot more engaging, where even after you have turned the production spread, the machine still churns out enough of a punch that its fun to keep it going. Otherwise I think the AI does ok for the first few rounds, but after its starting reserve is expended it gets bogged down pretty hard, and can't move enough aircraft or ships to prevent an easy rout.

    The sub pens are pretty badass for Axis. It gives them a way to maintain parity if they go naval, but I also think the air transports can be kind of nuts, once they park a half a dozen somewhere with a lot of fighters. The AI of course doesn't use them to their fullest extent ferrying ground, but even just as fodder they can do some cool sweeps against ships. But yeah, the pens are hella potent once you start stacking up.

    ps. got a fun one going vs Axis at 145% where I tried to do a Russian transport thing in the baltic. Basically giving up the middle to try and switch places with Germany haha.

    Hard AI Axis 145 USA round 5.tsvg

    Few rounds later, Japan is still kicking and pretty thorough with their island hop and tank launch. Italy and Balkans are still trying to throw their weight around to make up for the loss of Berlin.
    Hard AI Axis 145 Russia round 9.tsvg

    And then again a few rounds after KGF, AI Japan still doing pretty well all by itself into round 16 with the boost at 145% vs the rest of the world lol. Its been a while since the UK has had enough fuel to move their airtransports, so we're counting on those to cover north america while everyone else dodeca-teams godzilla.
    Hard AI Axis 145 USA round 16.tsvg

    Playing as the Allies is fun, but I still feel like they could use some more +5 production lily pads on the pacific side. Like maybe a couple starting Japanese island territories that the Allies can target to build out of? Here I totally ignored that side in favor of trying to screw G, but for the Pacific game I think it would be cool if Anzac and USA had another spot to gun for after Truk but before they swoop on coastal China/Thailand.

    I think Iwo could be fun, though probably Okinawa makes more sense for the size. Maybe Sakhalin, since it was like a prestige target/bone of contention between Russia and Japan going back like a 100 years, is large and had resources. I think it would be a cool way to add something to the choice between going north vs south with Japan, and make it a little more challenging to cover everything at once. Maybe could be offset on the Allied side by Southern Alaska? The north pacific has a lot of potential for back and forth, but its kind of a production deadzone currently, so might benefit from another couple golden tiles that can support a factory.

    Kamchatka maybe? A counter weight to the Sumatra/India expansion route would offer some variety, if you want to imagine say a scenario where Japan went to war vs Russia first instead of the USA. Or a scenario where the USA goes straight after the North Pacific instead of the South Pacific, or vice versa with Japan trying to springboard east rather than west. I think you could hang like 4 Russian inf here, so Japan has to divert a second transport or the bomber or something if they want to make a run at it. Kamchatka is also interesting because it can be covered by USA or Britain if Russia is backed up, or if Russia is destroyed they can reclaim it directy, which might help them to reposition on the North Pacific if Axis crush the center. Plus its got the RISK connection, so I think people would dig it hehe.

    Midway is a bit of a stretch, but might also be cool for the Pacific, since its midway. Call it a historical highlight or whatever hehe. I think the gold tiles are cool abstractions that really activate the region they're in, so I think any of those options would fit with the spread and jumpstart the action around them. They make all the surrounding +1 tiles a lot more interesting when there is an adjacent production hub, and I think it helps the gameflow when you have ways to push production to the fronts, so the fleets and forces aren't stranded on the move as much.

    On the Europe side I still really like Sicily and Algeria as potential gold tiles to open up the western med a bit. Greece on the Eastern side of the med for a toss up toehold next to Balkans. Benelux for the North Sea.

  • Just going off the thought above about adding in a couple more gold spots...

    Sicily would take Italy from 67 up to 70 production.

    Algeria would have France up from 46 to 49.

    Okinawa and Sakhalin would have Japan up from 87 to 95.

    Kamchatka would put Russia from 144 to 148.

    Southern Alaska or Midway would have the USA from 103 to 107, or 111 if both.

    Just at a glance I think those numbers feel pretty workable, not too far off the current spread, and you'd get a lot of gold tiles in contested areas of the map that can really push the back and forth. I think it would work on balance because most of the tiles can be reached by Axis early, but it also offers something for the Allies, because they'd have a few more Axis gold spots to gun for. As well as locations to liberate, which are really fun when you can take them over during the endgame to push the production fronts.

    I think the factory is my favorite unit. The way its handled in Iron War is really cool.

  • To the subject of fuel I'm still a bit torn. On the one hand I like the concept in principal, but in practical terms having resource based movement kind of works against the overall entertainment value for me. Maybe I just kind of suck at the beancounting hehe, but I still find it challenging in advance to plan for movement needs or to anticipate what the opponent can do based on their fuel reserve. Chronically running short on oil with any nation sort of kills their fun. I don't know, but I think it may detract a bit from the overall playpace and the other cool stuff going on, like with the map itself, the production spread and unit roster. Its all happening on a pretty large scale, just with the numbers of units/player nations involved, and lots of possible moves in a given turn, so the tracking of fuel on top of all that can feel a little overwhelming.

    Of the various iterations the most entertaining overall for me was when the resource was purchase oriented, rather than maintenance/movement oriented, even if that's less innovative. But I think if it sticks to movement, then having a basic way to adjust the overall totals might good. Or just introducing the concept incrementally might be nice, for example a "high vs low" oil setting for the overall game, or a way to manage the movement resource thing so that the fuel scarcity matches the interest/desired challenge level, even in pvp.

    Anyhow, basic point being I think human mismanagement of fuel is also a factor to consider. Maybe any privileges should be by player nation, rather than just an AI thing? Would give players the option to determine how core they want the role of the fuel/movement mechanic to be in a given game.

    Right now the percentage bonus also awards steel and pus which is pretty overpowering, but I think a separate bonus to fuel might be more useful for general play.

  • For anyone just coming to it, also just wanted to note again the things I really like about this map...

    Its visually clean and easy to read at a glance. The map details and notes are straight forward to parse, and the map divisions and overall play-scale fits a nice niche at the level above global. There's enough familiar stuff going on that you can step into pretty quickly, and its accessible coming at it from a basic A&A background. There are for example fewer complex rules to track than in global (total war start, no politics national objectives or nation specific rules), but a more complex map with a greater number of player nations, and more expansive unit roster. The production rules are also much simpler, with only one kind of factory and very clear factory build locations designated with the gold stars. The naval game is solid with convoy zones putting money in the water, but done in a way that is very intuitive to understand (control of the sz either awards cash or denies it the opponent). It's familiar going back to A&A Europe, tied directly to the sz tiles, and much easier to step into than the complex rules for coastal convoy raiding or interdiction that you see in say the 1940 A&A games. Technology advances based on the timeline with unit unlocks, so again pretty simple to understand. I think the lighter footprint in rules overhead makes it easier to focus on areas where there is more complexity like with the unit roster, resources and combat. The game-phase set up is streamlined for combat before purchase, which makes the playpace much faster in my view, and the production spread and cost structure for units allows for a nice mixed force build for most player nations, with cool variety in the base abilities. Not so many types that it becomes overwhelming but definitely enough to keep it engaging. D10 and base 10 infantry is a fun change from D6 base 3 infantry, and the naval roster balances well on the water at base 20 for the transport. The naval game kind of feels like a cool throwback to older A&A games in some respects, with transports still as a combat unit, fighters moved onto the carrier at placement, capture convoy zones etc, but with a better overall cost structure. Ships are relatively cheap compared to land/air units, and there is a good pairing of unit abilities on the water, again all pretty intuitive and quick to settle into. The build up and eventual smack down on land sea and in the air is all very enjoyable and I dig the soundwork and music. Game works well for a solo too, which is good to have in the back pocket. Anyhow, I think its high quality for sure and has kept me entertained for a while now.

    Solid work