Iron War - Official Thread

  • @Black_Elk
    You've been putting a lot of thought into Iron War. Impressive!
    I have a few thoughts not in any particular order of significance.

    I like the round numbers of PU.(Of course, it would effect victory conditions)

    Starting in 1941, perhaps the rounds could be 3 per year instead of 2.

    I, of course, really like the demilitarized zone between Russia & Japan. Perhaps adding 1or 2 aa units may discourage a swoop of fighters & bombers from Japan.

    I think their could be more fuel available for the taking like in Sumatra, Caucasus, etc. For example KNIL only has 10 fuel for the taking in round 2. I think there should be more like 20 so that it benefits Japan like it should & opens up the game more.

    I like how China is strengthened.

    Personally, I like the sub pen in Germany but not in Italy. I don't think that Italy had that big of a sub fleet. I also don't think the airfield in Canada & USA are necessary. I like the airfield in Russia.

    Finally, I think Japan could use 1 more carrier near Pearl Harbor. Perhaps , just move the one near Japan closer to Hawaii.

    I guess one more thought would be to reduce USA PU's from start of game to something like 40 to indicate its slow start to the war. Then it would pick up in round 2.

    I know that you questioned the cost of mechs. Personally, I think 12 is still the right cost.

    Anyway, that's what I've got. Looking forward to these ideas being implemented.😁

  • Right on, glad you like some of the concepts (I definitely borrowed from the mod you posted last week haha!) I'm still working on a 1941 draft and researching the history to make sure the forces are distributed in places that make sense for a Dec-Jan opener, but I agree with pretty much everything listed above.

    One thing that I think is very important is for both teams to have sufficient fuel, not just for their starting units but also to account for at least some of the many units that are likely to enter play through regular purchasing. Even a single extra air, tank or naval unit can almost double the fuel requirements for some of the smaller nations. The fuel=movement concept is still pretty novel, and I think its important that the fuel dynamic be something that remains fun as a opposed to frustrating. It should be significant, but I worry about it totally dominating the gameplay at the expense of everything else. So my inclination is that we should err on the side of having more fuel, so the margins aren't quite so razor thin. A 1941 force distribution might help in some respects (e.g. some fuel consuming units can be positioned closer to the front in a way that requires less overall fuel in the opener.) Adjustments to starting territory ownership for 1941 can help for some factions. Additional green barrels in contested spots can also be used to put more fuel in play, but I think some tweaking of the starting resources might still be in order for sure.

    Another thing top of mind, is how hitpoint attrition works on this map. Because of the relatively high cost of infantry at 10 PUs, this means that if even a single attacking infantry unit dies while trying to conquer a 1 PU territory, the attacker would have to hold that tile for another 10 rounds just to match the replacement cost of the infantry unit they lost. I think this effects the calculus about which spots to attack with overwhelming force, and which spots are likely to be ignored or bypassed. Unless some additional emphasis is put on the contested territory, such as with higher PU values, or more valuable TUV (e.g. aircraft) that could be destroyed in the opener to offset somewhat that potential attrition cost.

    You can see from the edit save attached below how I tried for something like that with the Japanese situation vs Philippines. By placing a few US starting aircraft on those islands the incentive for Japan to destroy the TUV on J1 before it can be moved by the USA player is much greater, so I think stuff like that can be used to suggest an 'optimal' attack pattern that players are likely to adopt in the opener.

    Not that it should be totally one dimensional, but I think many players would like to see something that reflects an historical pattern where possible, or at least corresponding to possible plans that were actually on the table, over an opener that is maybe more fanciful.
    There are a couple big things that I think we'd want to see for a 1941 opener, and I'll try to make a list of the historical justifications for why I moved some of this stuff around, but in general the idea is to get the game to look like 1942 on round 2. After that I think it should go more free form, and allow a build out from the 1942 position according to the player's wishes. But essentially to have the gameplay drivers guiding both sides into an early 1942 type thing coming out of the first round.

    I like the idea of using starting PUs to shape the scale and speed of the build up, since I see these values as a lot more flexible than the production values on the map. Like you say, its fairly simple to imagine that some nations have a larger starting warchest for the first round purchase, whereas others might have to wait for collect income to start scaling up.

    For opening battles, in general I prefer it be built out in such a way that scripted battles (where they occur on the first turn) should not involve wild swings. In other words, the basic balance by sides should not be coming down to how many hits somebody puts up in an opening battle. Battles which 'must occur' because of the shape of the opening script, should not be so massive that they can upend the balance completely, if one side or the other gets routed from lopsided dice. So taking Pearl Harbor as an example, I think Japan should be able to reliably destroy whatever US warships are stationed off Hawaii and that the composition of forces should be such that Japan cannot afford to ignore Pearl. (The chance to destroy a battleship and transport with fighters would present a target too juicy to pass over for example). The rest of the design there should assume that this is going to happen, and offer some counter play. So for example having the US carrier be located somewhere else, where it is not a realistic J1 target.

    I'm kind of ambivalent about the Sub Pens and Airfields. Like you I enjoy how the airbase/sub pens work for Russia and Germany, not as much for USA/Britain or Italy/Japan. But I think rather than having a base/pen that automatically spams units, I kind of prefer the idea of just including more of those types of units in the starting forces. Basically adding a few air-transports to team Allies and few subs to team Axis, would be simpler and less distorting over time. The way it is set up now, Sub Pens and Airbases are introducing a massive amount of TUV over the course of the game. Its kinda hard to visualize from the starting situation, but 6 hitpoints and 150 PUs worth of TUV every round is really significant, and the impact on the playpattern gets more significant as time goes on. I think I'd rather just have a couple more starting air transports and subs scattered around, but having all new units enter play the same way just through normal purchasing.

    Anyhow, still teasing out some ideas, and checking my sources to see what stuff actually looked like on the ground in various theaters. You can see for example that I added a US PT boat, transport, destroyer and sub to the sea zone off Luzon corresponding to this...

    Basically so that the battle for Philippines in game looks a bit more like, with the USAFFE represented...–1942)

    I'd like to do that for most regions where starting battles are meant to occur.

    The other big thing I've been reading up on is the war in China. Really trying to find a way to make that feel more accurate and to get away from the typical A&A model that just has China as a speed bump for Japan or as a sideshow for team Allies. That just doesn't really match up with the historical reality, or the sheer scale of the fighting that took place there. Just for comparison by 1941 there were over 4 million soldiers fighting in China on either side, whereas KNIL in 1941 had what maybe like 90 thousand combatants in total? In game these two Allied theaters are presented as pretty similar in scale, whereas in reality the one was about 50 times larger than the other. Obviously the game is abstract, and other things like industrialization and access to modern equipment play a role too, so we expect some liberties to be taken, but I still think more could be done to increase the significance of the China front.

    I think some of the smaller nations are kind of window dressing for 1941 and I'm not really sure how necessary some of them are. Each player nation in the turn sequence means at least a couple more minutes every game round, (even using Fast AI) and this definitely adds up over time. I think there are some smaller factions that could probably be treated more like neutrals, with fewer moving parts per rounds, just so the play from the larger nations could be more streamlined. But stopping short of eliminating a bunch of little guys, I still think there are things we could do to make a typical game round go a little bit faster while still being pretty easy to parse.

    Anyhow, I'm still waiting to see what ideas Frostion has regarding Neutrals and the basic PU values for the map (if any of that stuff will change), but once we know what 1940 looks like, I think there are lots of options to explore for creating a 1941 variant. Feel free to add to the save any ideas you think might be cool. I think it would be fun to build it out with a back and forth and noodle away at it like that, till we got something that feels rad for a 41 starter.

    Best Elk

    ps. in gameplay terms, what I'd like to see for China is something where the Allies can stack Lanchow, and threaten Changsha from that position, with the pivot coming along the Lanchow/Peking front, and trying to avoid a situation where Japan can quickly stack Changsha or kill Chunking outright, or simply ignore it and bypass to race towards Qinghai/Urimichi production. If China is stronger, then they can fight forward against Changsha/Burma for longer. If the Chunking pocket collapses to early Japanese agression, then the idea of a fall back choke point at Qinghai would be ideal. To get that going I think we need stronger stacks in Northern and Western Tibet, so Japan can just steamroll. On the Soviet side, bolstering Eastern Mongolia I think would work so that the NAP line doesn't have a weak point there. For the Soviet Far East region, I think the best thing for play balance is to have those 0 PU spots raised to 1 PU, and just give the Soviets enough of a mobile force so they can defend along the coast, if Japan bypasses the NAP line and tries to transport around it. I think that would feel more realistic, while still being satisfying. I think the idea should not be to totally write off Soviet vs Japan aggression as play pattern, but just to deemphasize it by making the payoff less extreme for either side. Under regular conditions Japan has strong reasons to clip all those Soviet spaces and the Soviets have every reason to crash the party in Manchuria if they can, but with a demilitarized border zone, and the delay of transporting around, there is a more significant strategic trade off to doing that.

    For stuff like extra starting fuel, I like the idea of putting some green barrels in contested spots, and perhaps a few more capturable barrels where it makes sense. I think there is plenty of room there to add quite a few, and still have fuel becoming a major factor running dry in the endgame. So a little bit more at the outset before territories change hands would be helpful, esp if there a few more fuel guzzling units added to the starting unit spread.

    Anyhow, we can kick it around and start a new thread if there's an interest. But Just in case Frostion has more ideas, I'd wait on an update to 1940 and see what that looks like before building it out more. Just wanted to start roughing something out, cause I think it might be fun.

    Iron War 41 china balance.png

    pps. I worked it up a little further just now.

    In this one some of the neutrals (the ones which are meant to be more 'out of play') each have 10 hitpoints at the start. Many have AAguns now, or a heavy hitter to serve as a deterrent. It is still possible I'd think for the player to push some pretty large stacks after a couple rounds, so these spots are not entirely out of play, but they should at least be costlier to engage at the outset this way.

    It also creates some interest for the possible air routes for either side with the aaguns added, so that was definitely a good call. I switched some other tiles to true neutral if it fit the theme, to get the Americas more open via Mexico/Central-South America, to fit the build up theme. I left some pro Allies spots in place (basically western Mongolia which was a Soviet client state, and the Arabian Peninsula.) For Axis I left Spain, Sweden, Argentina and Afghanistan in place, but each at the 10 hitpoint threshold. I think they might all be true neutrals, but I kind of like the look of the graphics, and anyway its just a draft for a visual. What do you think, does 10 hitpoints feel good?

    I think 10 hp for a tile might be enough to deter a willy nilly neutral stomp, but still allow it at the player's discretion if they are willing to go all-in with a large stack battle. Risking 10 shots is not insignificant, so I don't think people would be trying for them early on. As it presses into the endgame however and more units have entered through purchase, the 10 hp stack becomes less insurmountable. So its mainly to shape the first 2-3 rounds I'd think, in practical terms.

    2020-9-23-Iron-War 1941 New Draft 0.02.tsvg

    I let the HardAI try out a round using this set up and I was pretty pleased. You can see that on J1 the attack pattern they adopted was pretty in line with the historical push for 41. Japan didn't opt to hit Pearl here, but I think that can be incentivized with another sub at Truk or something similar. Otherwise though it was a pretty nice opener position from the HardAI. Note how they didn't go all sprawling up into USSR but instead focused on a Philippines attack plan. The US response was also pretty nice, they even flew the Midway bomber to China like I was hoping. For the most part they used their starting transports to activate Mexico and Venezuela and such, so they could have a kind of expansion turn that way depending on how their transports are positioned (Aussie's looked like they were hoping to activate Peru, before USA got there fist lol). Germany hit Stalingrad and reinforced Finland, while shifting Rommel's Afrika Korps to Tobruk in the Med which was cool. Anyhow, I think something sort of like this, just polished up and fleshed out a bit would be nice. Getting the AI subs to clear the convoy lanes on G1 looks like it might take some tinkering, but that's something we can probably fine tune as well. What do you think?

    2020-9-23-Iron-War 1941 New Draft 0.02 Hard AI round 1.tsvg

    This is what they did during the second round... I gotta say I already love it since its definitely on track for the 42 feel hehe. Anyway, the idea is to create an opening pattern from the HardAI that tracks reasonably well with the historical flashpoints for 1941 on the first turn. So we can take some liberties I think, where it makes sense, so long as the resulting battle lines kind of shape up to feel like 1942 after the opener. Right now the no factory bug is major, but I think once that is fixed we build out the first round using the latest AI until we get something that feels rad enough for the period. I'm hella into it hehe. You can see here that USA, Britain and ANZAC are each activating portions of South America, and Free France has secured West Africa. Germany has taken Egypt with Italian support, and the Mid East is still Axis, but British-Colonies/India have reformed on a pretty strong line for that Front. Japan gunning to Sumatra, while still dancing around in China. Soviet Japanese NAP still holding at the end of the second round. Pretty slick for the AI. Now if we could just get them buying factories again haha

    2020-9-23-Iron-War 1941 New Draft 0.02 Hard AI round 2.tsvg

    Round 3, HardAI Soviets finally break the NAP with a border skirmish against Hailar. Japan moved to plug the hole with a block at Jehole hehe, but it still feels pretty stable along the front there vs Soviets. China stacked south to Burma Road, but AI Japan is still positioning opposite them. Unfortunately they crashed a bomber at sea, but otherwise seem to be holding steady. On the Atlantic side Soviets crushed Finland but also failed to retake Stalingrad. Axis are still in Egypt under Italian aegis, but British-India managed to get into Somalia after a tussle with Ethiopia. Most of the neutrals in Central and South America have now been activated by the Allies, so the transports are starting to move out. Still looks pretty solid after 3 rounds.

    2020-9-23-Iron-War 1941 New Draft 0.02 Hard AI round 3.tsvg

    I let it run for a few more rounds, doing my best with Brazil and observing the AI attack patterns. I'd say the Soviet Japanese NAP feels largely like it has held up to this point. Japan has managed to retake Hailar and advance to Chita), but the warfront is largely contained there, instead of sprawling all across the Soviet Far East coast. Japan has finally managed to crush the main Chinese stack last round, after China advanced full force into Changsha. USA I think is suffering from a lack of fuel, as they have a lot of aircraft marooned down there in Cape Hope and are struggling a bit to get their transports out and moving. I suspect the fuel requirements are really quite a bit higher than amounts in 1940, and even what was added with Green barrels might prove insufficient to get the computer functioning well past the 4th round. For an actual game, I think the computer should just have a much larger starting reserve to work from, so they don't burn out till later. But anyhow, I thought it felt pretty solid for a quick draft.

    2020-9-23-Iron-War 1941 New Draft 0.02 Hard AI round 7.tsvg

    In round 8 the NAP finally dissolved, with Japan making a break out from Chita and assaulting Ayan and Kamchatka amphib. But I think 8 rounds for the non aggression theme isn't half bad hehe. It held up for 7 rounds, and even at this point, the front feels like it could be managed. It has basically timed up with the Allied press vs Libya in the Med, and Japan finally cracking Chungking, so that's pretty cool. USA has some large forces loaded on transports at the ready, but I think they are burning dry on Combat move before they can move them on Non Com. So that's something I'm trying to keep an eye on, how much the computer actually can do before the lack of fuel ruins their play. Probably everyone would need like double what I laid down initially, or just a big reserve bonus to keep it humming to the 5th round and beyond.

    Anyhow, the Brazilian Smoking Cobras are about to snake Libya from the Italians, so I think we can call it for team Allies lol. But over all I think the AI did pretty well, despite still being screwed by the factory bug. I was pleased with the back and forth, and especially how the NAP concept worked.

    2020-9-23-Iron-War 1941 New Draft 0.02 Hard AI round 8 Brazil Combat.tsvg

    Thought the Allies had it but HardAI held on by the finger nails into the 10th round hehe.
    2020-9-23-Iron-War 1941 New Draft 0.02 Hard AI round 10 Brazil Combat.tsvg

    Other than the factory bug, some other behaviors I'm seeing from the Hard AI under 2.0. AI really likes to load transports and leave them floating that way. Sometimes it makes sense, if the sea zone is better defended than the land territory, but usually hanging floaters is bad for business. The other thing I've seen, and maybe this holds for the older versions too, but the AI often seems to attack with the bare minimum needed to conquer a given spot, putting many more hitpoints at risk than if they had just attacked with more of their available units. Frequently they will attack with very slim margins, and then move a stack forward on Non Com anyway, rather than just moving the whole stack to the attack in the first place. Sometimes this works to the advantage of the trading game, but often it results in narrow defeats or unnecessarily high attrition rates on the HardAIs part. The AI sometimes uses transports in a similar way, where they will only use like half during the combat phase, and end up non coming around, rather than launching as many attacks as the transports might allow. I see it happen a lot with Japan, where out of 7 transports they might only use 3 or 4 during the combat phase, even when it might benefit them to crash harder on combat.

    Still even with its deficiencies I think the AI can be pushed a fair bit in certain directions, just depending on how the starting units are set up. I'm curious about South America, and whether all the production there is acting like a kind of magnet for the AI. The production pocket around the 3 Guianas is pretty hefty with 30 PUs concentrated there, so I wonder if that might be a factor? I think all 3 of them could be taken down from +10 to +5 and have some of that value shifted elsewhere.

    It might be better to have Argentina treated the same way as everywhere else in South America (I left it Pro Axis here, whereas the rest were made True Neutral.) If the whole Hemisphere can be activated by the second round, the HardAI might move off to more relevant fronts sooner. Not sure, I'd have to try a few more games with the neutrality situation changed from Pro Axis to True Neutral and mostly empty to see if HardAI still hangs around down there once all the tiles are under Allied control. In this one the USA did eventually manage to move all that air from Cape Hope so I think it was maybe a fuel shortage thing. USA sporting a pretty large stack of fighters in Mexico now, more than they could move for sure hehe. I'd be curious to see if that's entirely fuel, or whether they might otherwise be further afield. Stuff to experiment with next time haha

    Catch ya then
    Best Elk

  • Oh oh one last idea right quick haha.

    I found a relatively simple way to get the HardAI to attack the convoy zones on the opening turn. Its a little gimmicky but works pretty well. What I did was to add a lone transport to each convoy, the AI will then go after many of them with adjacent Subs on their first turn.

    subs and convoys.png

    So basically I added a few more subs and transports where it made sense. I think something like this could create some low-stakes/high-reward submarine battles in the opening round.

    The way subs work, its kind of hard to have them wage a full on campaign that lasts the entire game, but this way they are likely to attack most of the convoys at least for the opener. Gives the Allies something to do as well, since they'd have to clear the subs afterwards. Any transports that survive might give the Allies some entertaining options that they wouldn't otherwise have. I'd have to run it a few times to see which sub positions are the most reliable for consistent attacks. But I think if we could get the HardAI making a run for all the convoys in the opener that would be entertaining for a 1941 start.

    What do you think?

    2020-9-25-Iron-War 1941 New Draft 0.03.tsvg

  • @Black_Elk
    As you know, I really like the idea of more German subs in the Atlantic. I think that its historic and it adds drama to the setup. However, although its pretty cool that the AI attacks sitting- duck transports, I don't think transports would be alone: they would be with convoys.
    So, I"m for having more subs but let the player & AI do what they will with them. It will still add some flavor to the game especially in the early rounds.
    I do think that positioning certain combination of subs will entice the AI to attack what you want it to.

  • China's presence contribute nothing to WWII scenarios except being annoying distraction for Japan and being a doomed to fall combatant for Allies. It is just becomes compulsory/railroaded task for Japan to take it or it's choke point before trying other things. China can be strenghened and turned to be fleshed out combatant but in expense of weakening other Allies which had more strategic options. It would be a bad trade-off. Nations with only one front are not really enjoyable to play with. Their options aren't even limited, just pure railroaded/predictable also they cause slowing down turns.

    I'd suggest all WWII map makers/modders to mostly avoid presenting China and make their territories impassable.

  • Admin

    Black Elk said “I ended up watching Cobra Kai for like 12 hours”
    Me to, what a great show! I can’t wait for 3rd season 😄

    Forthebirds said “Where's Frostion?”

    I am right here, silently looking at and scheming 😉 I have had very little time for TripleA, and not given it as much attention as it deserves. But I have read all your posts and given some thought to many of your sugestions. Let me get directly to the point and let me present a new and done update:

    Iron War changes from v0.2.9 to v0.3.0 (Soon downloadable)

    • Fixed a typo error when Japan gave PU aid to Thailand.
    • “West Germany” renamed into “Western Germany”.
    • “Amoy” renamed into “Changsha” (a major Nationalist stronghold that held up until 1944 when it was invaded by Japan). This is to give China some original sea territory.
    • (Old) “Changsha” territory on the map renamed into “Central China”.
    • South Africa now has its own Convoy Zone to protect.
    • “Kuybyshev” is now a 5 PU territory, with a factory placed from start.
    • “Denmark” is now not defended by an infantry, so it is essentially a free country for Germany to invade. This is because of two things: Les than 20 soldiers died defending Denmark and if the AI is controlling Germany, it is disastrous for the long term if Denmark remains un-invaded, as it often ends up being. Now AI will always invade.
    • Turn order is changed into 6 blocks: German, USSR, Italy, Britain, Japan and USA.
    • A lot of starting unit changes.
    • A few territory PU changes.
    • Added about 30 Fuel Barrels.
    • Mech-Inf now cost 13 PUs, not 12.
    • Transports now cost 1 Iron, not 2.
    • SS-Infantry and SS-Panzer no longer gives -1 strength to enemy Air and Sea Units, only Land Units.
    • SS-Infantry and SS-Panzer now have a “tuv” higher than their cost, making the calculator take normal Infantry and normal Heavy-Tank as casualties before these units.
    • Commissars now give their 3 times +1 att/def bonus to all types of land units, not only Infantry. They also now have “tuv” higher than their cost.
    • Anti-Air now have “tuv” higher than their cost.
    • New unit called “Rally-Point” added to the map.

    Rally-Point is probably the most game-changing addition in this update. Essentially it is a non-buildable but capturable flag/factory, where you can place 1 unit 1 turn after capture. Think of it as combination of a strategic territory or island jump point, a national last-stand point if factories are bombed, or see it as a regrouping point for scattered fighting forces. I think this will work better than adding a bunch of +5 PU spots, not only because the AI does not at the moment build factories, but because this new unit only allows 1 build, not 5. This forces the player to still maintain, focus and build most units in the home territories.

    Fuel is now more plentiful on the map. The 30 some fuel is circa a 5-6 % increase in fuel. I am not willing to add more at the moment, as I really don’t see the need. To be honest I see a fuel shortage around round 4-5, and this shortage is intentional. USA is swimming in oil at this point, and so is Iraq and Iran. One of the points of this map is fuel management and distribution, if this does not happen, then there will be fuel shortages. If USA does not hand out fuel, other nations get in trouble, and if Iraq and Iran fall (so they no longer can distribute fuel), other Axis nations can go thirsty. And I know that the AI does not manage fuel 😞 (hopefully it will in the future), but the map must also be human oriented. Maybe a way to go in the future would be to implement a “Give this and that AI nation extra starting fuel from start”-triggers, but this is not included with this update.

    I did not add green Synthetic Fuel to the starting setup, as only Germany really made use of synthetic fuel from the start of WWII. But all players are free to produce them during play. Sadly the AI does not spend PUs on fuel. This possibility for players to make their own fuel barrels are also a good reason for the map to have an inbuilt fuel shortage, unless you manage fuel.

    Neutral player changes was something I wanted to look at in this update, but it is a big change that actually needs new unit art done right, look cool and make sense. So because of the large amount of work, it might be something for the future. I was thinking about making new nations like “Spain”, “Turkey”, “Mongolia” etc., and then adding politics where the nations could join in on the war, or turn alliance, if they got paid enough PUs? Maybe also new resource called “diplomacy” or “Influence”? There would of course be luck orientated, with rolls. How do you like this idea?

    Submarines and Air-Bases were originally added to give the Axis a needed boost to navy. The Axis is so much under pressure that it cannot hold the lines if it is also building lots of navy. Since Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan were know for its massive submarine fleets, and also the Germans were feared in regards to their submarine wolf packs in the Atlantic, adding a free flow of subs seems fitting in my mind. At the same time, the Allies have to move a lot of Infantry a long way on this map, so free Air-Transports seem reasonable, and these units may also join in on the potential D-day. For now, they will stay on map.
    “Japanese submarine forces progressively built up strength and expertise, becoming by the beginning of World War II one of the world's most varied and powerful submarine fleets.”
    “The Italian submarine fleet of World War II was the largest in the world at the time, with 116 submarines”

    I hope you guys want to try out the new setup 🙂 Maybe it can give you some ideas for a possible Iron War 1941 xml. I am all in and support an alternative setup, even if it also includes map changes, like tweaking neutrals, starting funds, changing territory PUs and such. It would be cool thought if the basic rules, units cost and unit strengths were the same, so to not confuse players playing both maps.

    This main Iron War map is still developing, but it is via small steps and changes. You know … evolution, in contrast to revolution 😉

  • @frostion Looks awesome! Can't wait to get home and dig in haha!

    Oh I know right! I was doing roundhouse insomnia kicks for sure lol.

    These changes look great, I'm excited to have something new to play next week. Rally point sounds rad! I'm eager to see the new deets!

    @Schulz In general I'd agree with you, but I think some of that comes just from having the bar set so low by China in A&A hehe. I think there's a bit of jingoism in the typical handling from A&A titles, and I find China and the Soviet Union both kinda poorly designed in the recent official A&A games. In the A&A games China is usually too broke, too weak, and too boring to be anything other than a Japanese distraction or stall on their way to the 'real game' vs Russia. A lot of games follow on that model. But that's an A&A design choice, and a kind of silly one in my view. It builds the overall play balance around Japan doing something that never really happened in WW2 (full scale war in the USSR) instead of building it mainly around something that actually did happen (full scale war in China). I brought this up to Larry a number of times when AA50 was first released, when the idea of including China was first kicked around. The handling of China in G40 is slightly better than AA50, though it still suffers from the same core production flaw/imbalance. The handling of China in 1942 second edition is way worse than AA50 in my view, and combines the worst aspects of Classic with the worst aspects of AA50/Global, for a bunch of low value indefensible tiles that make the China front pretty pathetic for team Allies and way too easy for Japan to steamroll. In many respects Classic and Revised A&A had a much more interesting China balance than AA50 or G40 or 1942 sec Edition. At least in the earlier iterations like Classic or Revised it was possible to stack defend China from a single tile (e.g. Sinkiang) whereas in every game since AA50, the map geometry, starting forces, and production values there basically relegates China as you say to an "annoying distraction for Japan." But it needn't be that way. The stack game vs Japan in China could play more like the Soviet Eastern Front does vs Germany, if the China balance was reworked. It happens the way it does in most recent A&A maps, because the newer handling of China typically has a bunch of low value low production territories, and barely enough starting units to even stack one of those, let alone trying to defend two spaces at a time. And of course China's starting attack power is so miserable in those games, they'd never have a chance of going on offense. Meanwhile Japan typically has flexibility to transport across the coast, and a gang of aircraft, and usually their starting territories have them several hundred miles further inland than they ever managed to get in the actual war. So what happens is you end up with a big blowout there, and instead of having an actual front in China, the front just moves to the Soviet Union or India etc. In my view that's a design flaw, and the solution is to strengthen China, and rework the production values so that team Allies can't afford to just let it be railroaded. That's not going to happen, when you're talking about defending a patchwork of low value tiles that can just be bypassed anyway, since China often doesn't have enough hitpoints to make a stand, and lacks the chokepoint tiles to make one worthwhile. I agree that a good solution for many maps would be to give a more honest handling of the topography and perhaps having the front cordoned off by impassable tiles.

    In Iron War though the situation is somewhat different. For starters the map geometry is better here, and there are already a number of smaller factions in play, so the idea of removing China but keeping South Africa or KNIL or Brazil wouldn't make much sense. I also agree with you, that for a player nation to be interesting it needs to have more than 1 front. Historically the main competing warfronts that might provide some strategic tension for China would be between the Burma front on the one side, and the Changsha front on the other. But for it to work the way it should, their needs to be some depth of play there to the production at stake. If the starting units and production spread are all such that China can only ever withdraw/defend, and never advance, then of course its going to feel lame and kinda one sided, because that's how its being set up. But I say go the other way haha. The trade off needn't be between strengthening one Allied team member at the expense of another, but instead to give the Japanese a more realistic expansion pattern and a more clearly defined endgame objective in China. I think there are plenty of ways to keep the other nations on team Allies interesting vs Japan, and still have things feel as though they are moving at a steady clip rather than a slow down slog. Just means building off a different kind of foundation for the war front in the Chinese interior to get there. Sorry kinda long winded there, but obviously I ruminate a lot lol. I think Frostion's update sounds cool, especially since it highlights the Changsha thing.

    @forthebirds haha yeah it was just an experiment to see how the AI would handle convoys with a TUV target on offer. I think an optimal approach might be something a bit more measured, but it would be nice to have the naval unit distribution set up in such a way that convoys are contested, at least on the opening turns. It would also be nice to get something that the HardAI will actually work with, while not upending the situation when the player switches sides, or by doing anything to screw up the PvP dynamic between 2 human players. Though I still think in terms of the unit set up and the round 1 script, it'd be good to take the AI behaviors into account. I think the game is likely to be more popular as a Solo vs computer type thing, than as a strictly PvP map. I've played a couple hundred games vs the AI, but only a handful PvP for example, so I now its got some charm that way haha. I like the idea of creating something where the AI is at least somewhat passing out of the opener, least for the broad sweep, even if a human player is certain to make better moves. The computer can still do some cool stuff provided the set up isn't hobbling them too hard with a complex opener that the AI can't really parse. The main things that seem to drive its play pattern are enemy TUV and territory PU value. It doesn't take into account things like Factories or Straits/Canals or VCs or using Air Transports etc. So creating an opening balance that doesn't lean so heavily on those features, but instead uses starting TUV and territory Production value in a more robust way. But anyhow, might be fun to tease out for a 41 theme, once we see what the latest update looks like and how the new playbalance shakes out with that fuel and such that Frostion added. Should be fun!

    Best Elk

  • @Frostion I might be able to give it another try! But I need to spend time on my map. I would say if there is a way to determine if a player is AI via triggers or maybe a user action, I would do that to give them fuel barrels, since they don't build them.

    I am also wondering if it would be worth giving China a cheaper fodder unit. As I think about it, it could be a 0/2/1 unit, that could be placed anywhere for like 5 PUs. If memory serves, they never really attacked during WW2, but they had a lot of manpower.
    You could also do it with a resource similar to the CR, or SS resource some of the other nations have to keep the money cost down.
    During the war they basically kept Japanese forces busy, and this could do this. Might have to have an attack power to really do that effectively, but artillery might be enough, or simply using them as fodder with other infantry.

  • @ff03k64 I like that approach a lot. I think an auto trigger, or something from the launch menu would be rad, because then it'd be possible to modify Fuel to allow for a competent AI, without trashing the PvP fuel situation in the process. I like that Frostion added more basic barrels, since I think fuel was a bit on the low side before, but there are definitely slick ways to conserve fuel as a player, whereas the AI just burns through fuel like its going out of style lol.

    I also like the idea of a cheaper spam unit for the Chinese, similar to the way it works for some of the Allied Colonial Nations. Cheap Inf fodder + Artilley can go some way towards giving them a few options early on. At some point though, Japan's ability to stack defensive aircraft in a forward tile is invariably going to eliminate any chance for China to create deadzones and to offer counter attacks. That's fine, since that situation is pretty much exactly how Moscow and India work on most A&A maps. But the key to making that actually work is largely defined by the map geometry, since you need a single choke point to stack. When the game gets to that point, defense power for the stack is provided by teammates flying in aircraft, since the stack no longer needs to move. To work in China I think Lanchow/Qinghai makes the most sense for such a stack based on how the map is drawn here, since you basically want a spot that can't be easily bypassed. But its made kinda tricky by the desire to stack at Chunking instead and the need to defend the VC/factory hub. The dilemma with high production in China, is that if Japan takes it over the +5 tiles become really powerful, since J can concentrate like 100-150 PUs from forward production and get the quick kill on Russia. But that only happens once they blow through Chunking and snake the rear production center. Still I think it can be made to work, perhaps with some heftier neutral stacks in Tibet to pin down the lines there, and then have the Chunking army beefy enough hold position. Urimichi might then have to be Russia's problem though hehe. Anyhow, couple different approaches I can think of that might work. I'm looking forward to checking out the new updates in an hour so. But I'm liking what I'm hearing so far!

    ps. Just for a real quick primer on the war in China, there are a couple themes to explore... Early in the war (call it 1941-42 after the fall of Philippines), the United States wanted China to serve basically as a massive air base for Allied bombers to attack the Japanese territories in the region. During this period the US put pressure on Chiang to launch a large scale offensive towards the coast, again with the aim of using air power from more forward staging points to bring the fight to Japan. When it became clear that wasn't happening, the US redirected its primary efforts towards the island hoping campaign in the Eastern and Central Pacific, which shapes most of the popular imagination we have for the later Pacific war. But bombers and airbases in China were still an important feature of the broader US plan. During this early period Stalin refused to allow the Western Allies to resupply the KMT via Kazakhstan, so Burma became basically the only way into China for resupply. When Japan cut off that route via Burma, China was reliant almost entirely on airlifts for resupply, mainly from India over the Himalayas via the Hump. The British were constantly pressuring Chiang to commit Chinese troops to the Burma front, whereas the Chinese were more inclined to hold in Central China, rather than foddering it up in Burma. So I think that's a cool way to maybe set up some thematic tension for the region. Its true that the Chinese did not launch major offensives to reclaim the coast until the war had basically been decided by the advent of nuclear weapons. So it makes sense that they be oriented more for defense than attack, but I like the idea of at least some attack power to skirmish. A second Flying Tiger I think could help with that hehe. Anyhow, just some ideas for a 41 start.

    Also thinking about what @forthebirds mentioned regarding the overall timeline. I think if we wanted to build out a 1941 start, it might be smart to just remove the per round year notifications, and push out the later technologies like Nukes/Jets so that there's more time to develop an endgame for it. 3 turns per year vaguely, sounds about right. I think most games would go 10-12 rounds before its largely decided.

    Fort the Philippines, after Pearl there was a delay of a day and the US command at Manilla got the news over the wire the same way the rest of the world did. There was a plan Rainbow 5, to send B-17s to bomb Formosa in retaliation if the Japanese attacked the United States. The fleet there had just returned from Shanghai where it had evacuated the Marines and Patrol Boats back to the bases at Philippines. The principal naval defense was the US Submarines in the area. But the main fleet had permission to retreat towards India if needs be. As it happened the Philippines were attacked within hours, most of the fleet was destroyed. The bombers never launched. Many of the troops based there were captured and put on death marches and the like. The command evac'd with promises to return with conquering armies. But anyhow, I like the idea of this stuff happening on J1 with an actual fight going down in Philippines, by giving the US some teeth to make a minor defense of the tiny islands there. Luzon, Mindanao, Guam, Wake etc. Where to position the Japanese transports I think the max extent J1 should be Wake/New Guinea, and just out of reach of Hawaii/Midway for a 41 open. But the Japan carrier could definitely be out closer to Hawaii. By this point the Japanese home fleet could be oriented more on East China Sea zone, but maybe still keeping the bulk of the transports in Japan sea zone, so they can't strike too far afield on J1. What do you think of something like that?

    For the Atlantic I like the US closer on Iceland so they can get things started there quickstyle. That also had a color coded plan Indigo 3. "Roosevelt responded by ordering the State Department to redraw the hemispherical map to place Iceland in the Western Hemisphere so it would come under Monroe Doctrine jurisdiction." heheh apt. The AI moves on it pretty quickly I've found, and usually ends up going either to USA or Britain. Either of which work fine from an historical standpoint. Mexico entered the War in 42, so I like the idea of the neutral stomp in the Western Hemisphere, which can be abstractly thought of as acquiring material and such for the Allied side.

  • It is hardly possible to make Chinese/Japanese front similar to Eastern front with increasing Chinese production strenght only. China would be unrealistically overpowered for Japan to match even if China just had half of the production of Japan. In this case Japan itself would be either doomed to fall or taking China first even becomes more a railroading task due to higher Chinese incomes. Reducing Chinese strenght is just gives us the current China on WWII maps.

    The only way presenting China without turning it overpowered or simply making it doomed to fall is having special Chinese/Japanese defensive units which would result moving each other's zones too costly and Japan would most likely stay defensive in here and prioritize other fronts.

    I don't like Japan easily marching towards Russia either. It is just as railroaded as Chinese situation. I've came with this idea.


    This is my far eastern front with mostly v3 unit designs. But the exception is Russia has a special unit called siberian with 2/3/1 stats and 3Pu cost value which can be recruited only from these circles. With this situation Russia and Japan will act like they are set neutral towards each other because Japanese-Russian war wouldn't benefit either side much but this option still open for both sides.

  • @Schulz what do you think of my idea to give China a cheap fodder unit? They can't really pressure Japan much, and Japan can't really do much to them either, at least not early for a reasonable cost.

  • Exactly, they need cheap fodder unit. It is much better idea than increasing Chinese income. Domination 1914's Arabia with Bedouins would be good example to adopt similar concept to Chinese front. I have been extensively thinking the Chinese front for hours then I guess I got a vague idea;


    In 1942 scenario Japan starts with 28 Income while China is just 6 but due to longer distance and possible cheaper Chinese cannon fodders, Japan should not prioritize Chinese front in here plus Sinkiang is easy to reinforce from other allied centers.

    And if we give China a unit with Bedouin's stats, China could get more options too instead figting frontal war with Japan only. Their units due to cheaper cost might handy in eastern front and India too. Normally I was mostly againt Chinese presence in WWII games but after rethinking it could make sense.

  • Moderators

    @ff03k64 said in Iron War - Official Thread:

    @Schulz what do you think of my idea to give China a cheap fodder unit? They can't really pressure Japan much, and Japan can't really do much to them either, at least not early for a reasonable cost.

    I found it to work well on the Global 40 map. Has a Militia unit that is A0 D1 M1 C2. Can conquer territories. Had to limit to 8 max build so they can't be spammed out of control. Also has Primitive terrain in the interior of China and most of soviet Asia as well. All units can only move 1, except air.

    I'm not real familiar with Iron War and I think it uses a different die system but the cheaper unit and slowing Japan's speed seems too work pretty good at keeping them from being steamrolled. USA can also send additional Flying Tiger units and china has some AA capability as well.

    At any rate you'd have to fine tune for the specific game but I've found those things to work pretty good.

  • @beelee A D10 system, where the base unit is a 2/3/1 infantry for 10 PUs.

  • Moderators

    @ff03k64 right on your 0/2/1 would probably be the way to go then. Maybe 8 bucks ? A starting point anyway. Although it didn't look as if Frostion wanted to add any new units.

    Was just more of a general response to WWII maps in general that have that issue

  • @Frostion
    Glad to see that you finally came out play.😁
    Really looking forward to trying out your new setup and other updates in the future.

  • @Schulz cool map concept. I always really enjoy seeing different possible ways the China map geometry/production might work. In the official A&A games up to this point we've seen quite a few different approaches and they've all been pretty radically different. G40 probably comes closest to a somewhat accurate modelling, but there's a fair amount of rules overhead in that one hehe.

    @beelee yeah on this map, the other factions that have access to a spam fodder unit are priced at like 6 PUs a pop and they use a recruitment resource to cap the number that can be bought per turn like @ff03k64 mentioned. Currently Italy, France, French-Colonies, British-Colonies, British-India and KNIL all have access to them. I think basically the same unit in China would accomplish something similar to the militia unit concept. Conveniently the recruitment resource is already called CR. The C could be Colonial, or in this case could stand for China. Regular infantry attack at 2 and defend at 3 under D10 combat, whereas the Colonial Infantry, attacks and defends at 2. But they can both be boosted by artillery or trucked along with mech, so the spam units can be pretty effective in combat and a hitpoint's a hitpoint right haha, so I think might work. I guess one possibility, if unit art can't be easily created, might be to just make all of China's infantry at the price point and combat values of Colonial Inf elsewhere, though that could be a little confusing since everyone else has a base 10 inf unit standard. Germany, USSR, and USA also each have a variant type infantry unit on this one.

    For production, in the last version China is at around 20-30 PUs depending on whether the USA sends them cash. Japan has about 100-120 PUs after the opener. China has 2 production tiles, at Chunking as the primary with a fall back tile in the far west basically corresponding to Sinkiang on most A&A maps. The way things are drawn Japan is basically 2 moves vs the Chunking Pocket, coastal landing and then 1 move to the production front. So Japan has a lot to work with, and its not too dissimilar from Global in that way, except that here there are fewer total tiles for China. I agree with @Schulz that absent other things going on, the danger with introducing too much production in this area, is that it becomes an all or nothing situation, where Japan either has to totally commit to China (in which case they stomp) or else Japan gets stomped if they don't. And that's not really optimal. I think what we want is a situation where its desirable for Japan to pin China, and to hold the stack at an interior tile, but where its not necessarily worth the cost for them to go for the kill. I think some of that could be handled by the surrounding topography, especially since this game has the impassible mountains and nearby neutrals. A shift in PU values combined with a spam unit I think could do the trick, for a 1941 type game where Japan has supposedly been at war there for 5 years already. I think when the start date is earlier like 1940, then you get a kind of different theme going down. Because historically if there was going to be a big change to the Japanese war plan, say the Army plan to commit vs the Soviets rather than the Navy plan to go after the Dutch Islands and central Pacific, then the earlier in the war the more realistic that becomes to imagine. The front in China would be similar for either date, but the unit compositions or things like that might be changed to account for differences in the opener. I'm excited to check out this rally-point idea, because I think that could make a key change to how some of the production fronts and battle lines draw up. USA aid could also be a thing that's explored, perhaps with an option for Allies to drop more cash into the Chinese coffers once the US is scaled up. The AI doesn't use the resource exchange feature I don't think, so that's maybe a consideration for how heavily to weight it, but I think finding a cool balance for China and also for a Soviet-Japan NAP is always kind of a hidden goal whenever I muse on how it might be set up on whatever map lol.

    Hope everyone is having a fun weekend! I'm out walk the greyhound for a few, but sure to cruise back through tomorrow. Catch ya guys then

    Best Elk

    ps. just got the new one downloaded. I ran a quick Solo for the opener taking over the USA turn block. Pretty nice attack pattern from the HardAI, since they took Denmark and such. I'm feeling the turn order too. Look forward to grinding it out and seeing the rally point in action, teasing out the new playbalance hehe. Nice work dude!

    Here it is on USA1 after the machine did its bit. AI Ruskies were having none of Romania, and made a big Balkans blast to kick things off. Looks like France is trying down the fort for at least another turn, and KNIL wants to hold New Guinea which is cool. Italy cleared the Eastern Med and is pressing on Egypt. Brit Block felt solid, Aussies moved to back up Guadalcanal which is cool. Japan took Changsha on the coast and Philippines, they positioned IJN at Wake. I gotta skip out for a few, but I'm sure this will keep me up all night hahah ...

    2020-9-26-Iron-War 3.0 solo USA1.tsvg

    Oh cool I just saw the rally point come into play. Germany reconquered Romania, and then Balkans was able to place their infantry unit. Nice! If not for the factory bug thing, I bet they'd have rebuilt too. Took me a sec to see where they are but now I see the national flag has a slightly larger gold circle around it where the rally points are, and the AI definitely seems to be targeting them. I dig it!

    I just got smoked at by HardAI Japan at Pearl lol. I gotta say I definitely think the transport lowered steel cost is cool, fun stuff! It may make Sea Lion pretty wild, but that can always be handled and clearly they'll have Russia to think about if attempting transport spam for that. I think the PU cost will still cap what G can do, but I really like it for the US and for some of the smaller nations that were struggling at the cost of 2 steel. Transports at 1 steel gives them a way to get on the board. Next time I'll probably have to use a bit more steel for US warships to defend the prize at Pearl I guess hehe. I think we can call this one for the machine after that smack down, but I'll start another when I get home a little later. Well done!

    2020-9-26-Iron-War 3.0 solo USA2.tsvg

    ps. OK I played the second solo for another 4 rounds. I really like the the Rally Point unit, I think it has managed to activate most of the areas where they exist, and the AI definitely seems to be playing better as a result. Given that AI seems to be targeting them, I wonder if it might make sense to have them at Singapore, Denmark, Gibraltar and Panama? Could help for the computer with canal control, or just to highlight. But so far I love the way they work on the islands. Even the spots that got dropped like Iceland and Morocco seem to work well this way. Its also cool because it creates a capture incentive for all those spots. I like the 1 unit cap, it creates some cool incentives to place high value warships or tanks which I think. I think they will also be kinda cool when it comes to units like Rockets or Kamikazes and the like. Its a great innovation! I think its introduction makes the whole map a lot more dynamic. Nicely done there!

    I really find this turn order a lot smoother, and the tension on Italy is nice. In this one I moved USA to activate Spain, old school Classic Spanish landing pad hehe. I actually don't mind it, cause it just sort of feels like an expanded space representing Gibraltar or like the whole Med theater of OPs. On Axis side because of the move through, I'd guess G or Italy would probably want to commit a few units to Spanish defense, just to keep Allies off it in early rounds. In this one G opened the Bosporus so Axis got kinda wily in the Black Sea lol. Overall the AI seems to be playing pretty well, using the Rally Point to place units. The extra German starting factory in Poland also helps, as now they spawn their subs as intended. In this game they used the normandy rally point for that, which was kinda cool. Feels like actual sub pens positioning more on Atlantic that way. I like it a lot so far.
    Right then off to eat dinner. Catch ya in a few

    2020-9-26-Iron-War 3.0 solo USA4.tsvg

    Next I'll prob try a German solo, and see what we're looking at from the other side.

    2020-9-26-Iron-War 3.0 solo Germany 1 combat.tsvg

    Mass transport spam is still potent, but I like the balance. On G2 I think I got London dead to rights by buying nothing but transports since they can move pretty much all their starting hitpoints this way. With the reduced steel cost I think Germany should probably only have 1 transport for the Kriegsmarine at the start in North Sea Zone? That'd prob still be enough to get them on Normandy or Norway. Otherwise I like it, there's already a tough balance off Leningrad, so going for England is debatable. In this game I went for the opening attack on Ukraine which was a bit more intense with the added units, but I think still worth the hit. I think here the optimal it still G3 timing for Leningrad, over taking London. But the London battle is about 70% to German attacker on G2 here. Prob closer to 85% if I'd landed the fighters in West Germany instead of Poland. Though Leningrad I think the bigger prize, even if using transport spam. Anyhow G2 this was the first one out on Axis solo haha

    2020-9-26-Iron-War 3.0 solo Germany 2 combat.tsvg

    Pretty massive showdown for the G3 timing. AI Stalin isn't messing around heheh. Still I think it's pretty good positioning to crack the north on G3. I dig it. I think there is probably a sea lion G2 play vs the computer which could be fun too, but I went for more standard set up here. I think the Russia factory at Kuyby will definitely come in handy for Allies to manage the Eastern front. Good times so far!

    2020-9-26-Iron-War 3.0 solo Germany 3 combat.tsvg

    This is kind of a fun fuel dilemma in round 6, cause like after breaking into Leningrad and chasing the Soviets back all the way to Kuyby, it really forces a choice between returning the fleet to the Channel for defense vs Western naval stack, or using the fuel for the Soviets kill. Cause just not quite enough fuel to do both, but that's the kind of thing I like that the fuel aspect involves.

    2020-9-26-Iron-War 3.0 solo Germany 6 combat.tsvg

    I went for fleet repositioning as top fuel priority, easier to manage a delay on killing Russia while stacking the channel with carrier drop I figured. I definitely enjoyed watching the attack pattern from HardAI Japan on the team. I think the rally points definitely pull them onto the central pacific which is really cool to see. They have basically conquered most of their island objectives, even taking a little piece of Australia, and the major theater of ops has been more Pacific island hop oriented for Japan which is aces. I think everyone likes that stuff when US/Japan both have a reason to hop around to claim the rally points on the islands. Just makes the naval game a lot more fun there too.

    Axis I think are within striking distance now in this one, fun for a G solo and feels like a plausible state of affairs for round 7 of the game early 1943, had things gone very well for Germany on the Eastern front at the outset haha.

    2020-9-26-Iron-War 3.0 solo Germany 7 combat.tsvg

    I'll prob try one with Italy or the Brit block next. I'm digging the feel though 3.0 definitely has a way more engaging production spread. I like it.

    yeah Brits it is hehe. The hard AI opened pretty well for Germany, taking Normandy and such. I think the rally point must be drawing them more on target there which is cool. Excited to see how the Brit turn plays under the new conditions. Maybe later night or tomorrow.

    2020-9-26-Iron-War 3.0 solo Brits 1 combat.tsvg

    Pretty entertaining so far. We beat HardAI US to Morocco, and managed to take Somalia with South Africa. But British Colonies was just crushed at Egypt. We tried to strafe back from El Alamein but to no avail there hehe. ANZAC feels a lot more interesting with the rally points over there too. We tried in this one to cover the Dutch, but got ejected from Guadalcanal, and stomped at Java. But the home fleet is secure and on target for Norway. I like the sequence, it feels smooth to me.

    2020-9-26-Iron-War 3.0 solo Brits 4 combat.tsvg

    ANZAC has been pretty entertaining. HardAI Japan came at me in Darwin, but we managed to pull a rescue move for South Africa HQ in Somalia and then reclaim Egypt for British Colonies, so they got a dual front going. British India managed to drop Iran, but Iraq is still kicking about. This time Britain activated the Spanish landing pad, again just kinda feels like an extension of Gibraltar so I dig having a bit more room there to house the units. Morocco has been churning out a tank a round for Monty to hopefully get something going lol. I think Allies are set for Total Victory at the end of the round now.

    2020-9-26-Iron-War 3.0 solo ANZAC 6 placement.tsvg

    Going to pass out now, but might pick it up tomorrow and try the Soviet turn block. Anyhow, good times so far. Till next round

  • I guess setting up China roughly 4.5 times weaker than 1942 Japan mostly works perfectly with that China doesn't fall too easily while Japan can successfully compete in Chinese front too without prioritizing it. Having checked Global and China is exactly it is if it started in 1942. Defininitely one of the good Chinese presence. But I would definitely add mobile Chinese units too.

    But also setting up China 12 results 54'ish Japan and it's 1942 borders overpowers both USA and Germany and becomes almost two times stronger than Russia. Japan should be no way come close to German or American production capacity. Having too strong Japan allows it to expand almost all directions successfully including unhistorical/easy marching toward Russia. Also Japan can make deadzones in Pacific too easily to counter USA. In that case USA just goes Europe and it just becomes a race to Berlin by Western Allies vs Mocow by Japan like its in WWIIv341.

    I do believe 1942 Germany should be at least 50% stronger than 1942 Japan and the ratio can be increased depends on situations.

  • About to kick it off with the Soviets. I noticed that Russia has a shot on Iran at basically 65-70% if Germany doesn't send any aircraft. So that's something for Axis player to consider. First round hit on Balkans black sea fleet is about the same at around 70%. The other 3 battles up North here are each like 95%, so I could see that as pretty decent. Giving an option to stack pressure eastern Finland with mech from Arch or Leningrad if things go well. HardAI Germany didn't go after Ukraine, so Ruskies got some heat. The Balkans attack here I think is 80%, but the swing it pretty high. Soviet Far East is similar with Soviet odds on for Hailar battle, but again high potential swing. I think more conservative would be to wait until USSR to launch the major attacks and mainly non com, but if playing Machine I think something like this could be fun. I'll be interested to see how France, French-Colonies and KNIL feel, since they have some new options off the rally points in Madagascar, French India etc. Argentina at 5 also seems like it might be a possibility for one the little guys if they can get it before Brazil does haha. Right then, off for a few but I'll post some saves later when I get a chance to run it.

    2020-9-27-Iron-War 3.0 solo USSR 1 combat.tsvg

    We fought Iran to a draw but failed to take the tile in the opener, should be set for next round though. Other battles went according to plan. Snaked Balkans to drop that stack and kill the factory, but G still has it deadzoned I'd imagine. Far East result in Hailar was pretty solid. Will have to think on where to position and what to buy after dinner hehe.

    2020-9-27-Iron-War 3.0 solo USSR 1 non com.tsvg

    G reclaimed Balkans and J reclaimed Hailar pretty much as expected. We got Iran dead to rights this time, but Finland is kind of a toss up. HardAI Germany went after the Anglo fleet up by the Soviet convoy, so it's possible. Probably better to wait on it since Leningrad is a little tight, but I'm temped to crush them heheh. In the Far East looks like we might have a chance to go all agro vs Japan with a counter offensive. French Colonies did the PT boat block, and now Soviet subs might make the difference for team Allies if they can smoke the destroyer and kill thosr Japanese transports hanging out by Kamchatka.

    2020-9-27-Iron-War 3.0 solo USSR 2.tsvg

    Zhukov was killed in the battle for Jehol, down to the last tank. Hard AI Japan pounced hehe. Looks the Germans have arrived at the doorstep of Stalingrad now. We took Iraq and French Colonies is moving HQ to Syria to try and shore it up.
    Fun stuff so far

    2020-9-27-Iron-War 3.0 solo USSR 4.tsvg

    Showdown in South America, Buenos Aires! hehe
    2020-9-27-Iron-War 3.0 solo KNIL 4 purchase.tsvg

    Defeat! lol

    HardAI had me crushed in Leningrad, guess it was a little too fast and loose for Stalin that time. Better luck next round. Well done AI Germany heheh

    2020-9-27-Iron-War 3.0 solo USSR 5.tsvg

    I enjoyed it! Felt pretty high stakes the whole time and I think having French-Colonies and KNIL in there definitely gives it a nice spin. I'll do Japan for a solo run next I think.

  • Ok I ran a Japan solo under 3.0 to see how it played. I enjoyed the dynamic much more under the latest build. The introduction of the Rally-point makes a huge difference for the production front, definitely the best thing going on here and most interesting change from the previous build. Japan feels much more realistic for a 1940 start date and really has to make some choices especially about where to send starting transports, and whether or when to buy more transports.

    Unfortunatley the HardAI seems not to purchase many transports in Pacific, and there is some oddball behavior leaving them loaded constantly. I don't know if that's map specific or if its maybe transports on the fritz the same way factories are? But in any case, just having the rally-point makes in there makes all the areas where they exist more interesting. The computer spawns hitpoints at them, and seems to target the opponents rally-points so that is great. Air transports I think the computer may be overvaluing, since I recall seeing them sometimes take a hit on a fighter or capital ship before the transport. I almost wonder if the attack value of the air transport should just be raised so that it function a little more like a fighter on attack? Currently they are attack 1 defend 1, but might be fun if they were like attack 3 defend 1. Like a supped up artillery/mech with wings. Anyhow just an idea, for the most part I like the way everything feels. Obviously the computer doesn't transport anything along with their air transports. So right now it just uses air transports as a hitpoint, but I think its TUV value has it remaining as last casualty in the air. This kind of makes sense for a tranport, since the ability to move a hitpoint is huge. But slight attack increase might make that feel more sensible. Right now I'd say the factory bug is the biggest thing, but I wonder if some transport stuff is wonky. Mech fortunatly still transports inf around. I remember redrum mentioned at some point doing air transport for AI, but not sure if that's still slated?

    Anyhow here is the Japan solo. I went with the center crush tactic. USA has the Midway rally point stacked pretty heavy, so going high castle seems like a tall order lol. Team Axis took the TKO heading into 10th round, with AI Italy making a cutty blitz vs Moscow. I was pretty pleased with how the computer teammates played. Felt on target and G even went forward vs England on the water which was cool to see.
    2020-9-27-Iron-War 3.0 solo Japan 9 victory.tsvg

    After that I needed some Russian redemption from my earlier trouncing by the AI hehe. This time I went more KJF attack plan to take Manchuria for the Soviets. It make the balance on Leningrad pretty intense and team Axis pressed well into Stalingrad and Kuyby. There was also more back and forth in the Mid East, since I went light into Iran on the second turn and had to do a lot of trading to staying forward. This one took closer to a dozen rounds before being able to nix the German forward stack. Pretty fun playing France and French Colonies. I went with Madagascar transport and Syria liberation plan. French Indo got dropped after a few rounds, but KNIL was able to maintain at Sumatra, and managed to get some dudes over to the Mid East before their transports were blown up by Italian subs hehe. Good times

    2020-9-27-Iron-War 3.0 solo USSR 13 victory.tsvg

    I think I'll try Italy tonight

    Computer opened pretty nicely as G, this time they reinforced Balkans with fighters. I think because they used the bomber in a raid vs Normandy rather than to sink the Russian fleet in the gulf of Bothnia. Anyhow, seems like a good start there. French-Colonies reinforced Madagascar which seems solid. I think Italy has a hit on British-Colonies fleet in the eastern Med if they send everything and are willing to sac the transport. But its high risk high reward, and seems a bit dicey. I think Greece or Gibraltar is probably the more conservative, and just let the Brit-Colonies fleet escape. Not sure yet, still looking it over hehe.

    2020-9-27-Iron-War 3.0 solo Italy 1.tsvg

    Took it 7 rounds so far pretty close. I went Western Med with the fleet to try and stop the Atlantic approach, and Soviets almost cracked Iran as a result, but HardAI Germany flew in to the rescue and sank the Caspian transport with a clutch save hehe. We got the Regia Marina prowling Atlantic now. Debating on whether to snake the Guianas or keep up the West Africa campaign. I like it, feels entertaining. The Rally Points give more of a contest. HardAI Japan has been managing pretty well, the managed to keep their starting transports which I think helped a lot. Eastern Front stack contest is pretty is major. Mecha G just cracked Moscow, but Soviets are still pretty deep on Leningrad, I wonder who which of them will prevail? hehe Right then back to Il Duce, catch ya in a few!

    2020-9-27-Iron-War 3.0 solo Italy 7.tsvg

    ps. wrapped it after dozen rounds. HardAI USA did a pretty clutch move to destroy the Regia Marina and strand my Italian expeditionary force in the Guianas. Axis clinched the TKO in the 12th, but the stack contest between Mecha G and Skynet Stalin is still going. For some reason AI Ruskies gave up a lot of ground off the center. In general I think the Rally Point has improved the game quite a bit, even despite AI deficiencies with purchasing and defending Factories. Perhaps a couple on the East front might be fun. They've definitely made the game a lot more dynamic in spots where they exist. I think the machine would stomp a lot harder if US/Japan were buying more naval transports. Some of the smaller guys buy them, but the US has a ton of ground it could be moving. The computer stacks its fighters in curious places, Brits seem to favor Vancouver for example over London, but maybe those get trapped by fuel after moving air transports or something? Not sure, but anyway on the whole it still feels pretty fun for a solo. Surely Invasion USA will be harder hehe

    2020-9-27-Iron-War 3.0 solo Italy 12.tsvg

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