Iron War - Official Thread
@Black_Elk Perhaps Stalin just had Jesus in the ranks of that Tank regiment.
Ok I kept it going for quite a while just to see how long it would take me to knock the Allies AI down to zero TUV, and take every tile on the map. More an exercise in patience than anything else, but I pulled it off just shy of round 30, after unleashing a full scale nuclear Armageddon on the Americas. I actually kind of like this feature of the game, since it gives you a way to cut through the enemy once you get to that point where the war is done and you just want to watch the map change colors haha.
I honestly have no idea how this sort of nuclear endgame would play out vs another human. Or if skynet ever became self aware and the AI started using nukes of their own. Right now the machine seems to have more humanity than me, as I've we've just been lighting it up for several rounds now and turning whole regions of the globe into glass hehe. Here is the map in what I guess would be the late 1960s, with Axis clearly running the show for the next thousand years...
[0_1493751359275_39 Iron War Elk Axis vs Fast AI Allies x25 percent income G30.tsvg](Uploading 100%)
For some reason it won't let me upload the final save. I get a message that says "ERROR
Something went wrong while parsing server response."
Round 24 was the last save I have that will post, but you can see from there which way the nuclear wind is blowing. Too bad, because there was something kind of impressive about complete world domination with not a single Allied unit left heheh.
In any case, I think you can see from this gamesave what I was talking about earlier, how the Axis have almost endless options to expand production and to buy front line factories as they go. It would be nice I think if the Allies had more +5 target territories so they can do something similar with the globe trot. Right now many of the best potential production hubs for Allies end up liberated to their minor partners, or must be first conquered by Axis before they can be claimed, which makes this sort of factory expansion play pattern a lot harder to execute with the Allied team than it is for the Axis team.
It seems that you are realizing the “Man in the high castle” universe. (An idea for a mod!? Or new map? ) Conquering the whole world! I have never done this, yet.
Ok. I have just updated the Iron War files. It should be possible to download a v0.1.2 now. So delete/backup your Iron War zip in the downloadedMaps dir and redownload the map.
This new release tries to open up for more strategic options for especially USA, but also all other nations. A lot of territories now provide 5 PU+, which means that they may hold a factory.
This new release does not include any annexation options for Germany to take control of Balkan states, but this may be on the agenda for the next release. Also maybe some more PU support options between the allies would be a good idea.
This new release has really changed the starting setup and PU balance. I would appreciate any suggestions on balancing the staring units and conditions. Here are the changes:
Iron War 0.1.1 to 0.1.2
• All British-Colonies, French-Colonies and KNIL territories are now “originalOwner” of AI-Neutral. This means that if taken by the enemy and thereafter liberated, ownership goes to the liberator. This is to further strengthen the six major allied powers.
• North and South (Belgian) Congo are now unprotected AI-Neutral, capturable for free by France in round 1.
• Removed the land connection between Denmark and Sweden.
• Removed 1 German Transport from North Sea Zone.
• West Germany PU value reduced from 40 to 30.
• UK/Canadian starting production raised from. 64 to 70 PUs.
• Hawaii PU value raised to 5.
• Iceland PU raised to 5.
• Morocco is now a 5 PU Pro-Axis-Neutral territory.
• Peru PUs raised to 5.
• Mexico City PUs raised to 5.
• Sierra Leone renamed to Liberia and is now a 5 PU USA territory.
• Visayas renamed to Philippines and is now a 5 PU USA territory.
• A lot of minor changes.
• New timeline and events. See description in the notes. Added one new movie for round two. Please keep an eye out for flaws in the tech unlocks. I think they all work, but who knows:
Early 1940 Start of game (Round 1)
Late 1940 Finland gains access to German technology. (Round 2)
Early 1941 Balkan states gain access to German technology. (Round 3)
Late 1941 China gains access to USA technology. (Round 4)
Early 1942 Brazil gains access to USA technology. (Round 5)
Late 1942 Several nations develop the Heavy-Tank. (Round 6)
Early 1943 Several nations develop the Jet-Fighter. (Round 7)
Late 1943 Germany develops the V1-Rocket. (Round 8 )
Early 1944 Japan can make use of Kamikaze-Planes. (Round 9)
Late 1944 Germany develops the V2-Rocket. (Round 10)
Early 1945 USA develops the Nuclear-Bomb. (Round 11)
Late 1945 Germany develops the Nuclear-Bomb. (Round 12)
Early 1946 USSR develops the Nuclear-Bomb. (Round 13)
Late 1946 Japan develops the Nuclear-Bomb. (Round 14)
Early 1947 Britain develops the Nuclear-Bomb. (Round 15)
Sounds fantastic! I love what I'm hearing so far!
Guess I know what I'll be doing when I get off work tonight haha. This map is fun and agrees with my insomnia.
Two quick thoughts for the next update somewhere down the line. I noticed that the minor powers tend to stack up a lot of resources over time, especially towards the endgame. It might be nice if there was an option for the major powers to exchange PUs for Resources from their minor partners. Even if the resource amounts were relatively small, and the PU cost relatively expensive, it would still be a nice tradeoff in some cases (like if you want to buy/move more warships or tanks than you could otherwise afford in steel/fuel.) This might encourage more sharing rather than hoarding by the majors, because then they could get something advantageous from the minors out of the deal. Since the Aid options screen comes right before the purchase screen, it would give you a way to increase fuel or steel in the near term, but at a potentially high cost in concentrated PUs. I think this would fit well with general theme of the game, and suggest a somewhat more reciprocal relationship between the major powers and their junior partners.
The only other suggestion I have right now is for the music. I love it! But things go rather quiet when you have many nations assigned to the AI. Right now music only plays for the nation's under human control. Might be cool to have some general marching music that plays during the AIs turn.
The last few minutes of Wagner's Lohengrin prelude might be kind of cool for the Axis AI.
Or maybe something like this for Allies AI... The end of that one also hits pretty hard haha.
Or even just cycling through one of the existing anthems at random, so you have something to zone out to, while the AI is doing it's thing. Some bellicose or inspirational stuff to play in the background and compliment the sound effects while the AI races through its turns. Just a thought. Clearly there are limitless options. But the sound work is one of my favorite things about this game, hearing the anthems and theme music is definitely one of the highlights. I guess space is a consideration there, but I definitely don't mind waiting a bit longer for the download, since the map sounds so glorious.
This coming from someone who has almost always muted tripleA in the past. Probably the first game I've played that's actually easy on the ears and audibly engaging enough to make the volume worth turning up for a change.
Home now. About the launch the new one. Catch you in a few
edit: I was eager to try the US, but figured I'd check out the German Sea Lion option against the Fast AI first, just to compare with the previous version. I think this new production spread feels way better already. If the Germans don't take too many hits in Scotland, purchase a carrier to defend their fleet, and some dive bombers to punch up the attack power, you can still crack the British AI on London at odds, but its a bigger commitment. With fewer units remaining to wheel back to the East immediately on G3, so you don't get flattened by that Russian bear haha. I also like how Iceland can serve as a lilly pad for either side. I don't know how Sea Lion might pan our against a human, I'm still thinking more in terms of the AIs game, but Iceland might make the play more attractive for Germany, since there's a bigger pay off if you secure the North Atlantic early on.
Italy and Japan both feel suddenly a lot more interesting too, with these new production centers to consider. Was thinking about a different Japanese opening now that Philippines is a bigger factor, trying to decide where best to park the carrier lol. Here now in the second round with Il Duce, trying to decide how I want to manage Africa now that Liberia is up in the mix! I think it will create some cool tension in puzzling which direction to go with Italy.
I'm having fun! Nice work man
edit: Just to make sure, I blew through another opener real quickly, solo as Germany vs the AI. Taking slightly higher than average casualties in Scotland on G1, you can still get a pretty strong hit on London for G2, but the difference is the average units remaining. This one has me at roughly 80%, with a likely 7 units remaining. Not exactly the ideal, though still definitely doable vs the AI, especially with an airblitz. But the G1 Scotland thing makes it more of a gamble, which I dig, since with fewer units surviving, the aftermath is more challenging to manage.
Out of curiosity, I loaded up that Sea Lion G1 turn after placement, but this time assigned the Axis to the AI, to see what they would do on their second turn from this position. I took control of the USA solo, and let the first round play out until Germany came up again. The German AI immediately decided not to kill London, but instead to pull the Kriegsmarine back into the safety of the Baltic, and throw everything against Russia haha! Not unlike what I might expect a human player to do. Like simply threatening a Sea Lion invasion, while leaving the option open to back off the plan at the last moment, (if the Scotland battle went poorly for example) and instead go for something more cautious and traditional.
I like Philippines as an endgame Pacific target for USA, seems like it would definitely be worth reclaiming, if only MacArthur could find a way to return hehe. Perhaps it might also help the Japanese AI a bit, since they seem to struggle with income early on, and this gives them a bit more loot to work with. They tend to take the tile on J1 pretty consistently so its an easy 5 to add to the warchest. I'm definitely digging Iceland, Liberia, Morocco and Hawaii. These give the Anglo-Americans a lot more to think about in the early game, and something to shoot for, when planning where to concentrate their production.
Morocco is particularly cool, since it forces the Allies to make a decision early on. Do they give it the Americans or the British? Its easier to take with the US, but saving it for the Brits would give them a way to spawn units into Africa without needing transports out of England or Canada, which could be pretty useful in the long run.
Next time I'll probably take control of the Major Allies and play a full game vs the Axis AI, to get a better feel for the latest tweaks.
I'm definitely liking this new balance in Africa. Here in the 7th round, 1943 under the new timeline, and it really feels like WW2 Sand and Sea in the Med. With Patton and Monty racing across North Africa to see who will be the first to wreck Italy. I'm finding it a lot more entertaining as the Anglo-Americans and the pattern feels a lot more historical. Russia and British India have also been a lot of fun, we had to brace against a pretty formidable Axis offensive, but things are finally starting to open up. Germany is stacking pretty heavy into Russia, but fortunately for the West, Stalin was able to secure Suez and trap the Italian fleet off the coast of Somalia, where it was promptly destroyed by the USN Pacific fleet in a glorious naval showdown. Anzac is also starting to get in on the action in a more significant way too. I had to take control of KNIL last round to prevent them from messing up the grand plan, but otherwise the AI has been doing pretty well with the minors.
Kick ass game so far!
ps. Got a proper D-Day going this time. The Anglo American shake up in Western Europe arrived right on time, and gave Stalin the much anticipated opening he needed to start really driving on the offensive. Allies achieved economic victory in the 10th round after the US took West Germany. The Soviets just sacked Berlin here in the 11th. There are still a lot of Germans hiding out in Hungary and Bohemia, but it certainly seems like the curtain is drawing on the war. Had a great time with this one! Fun stuff for the Allies
One thing though, in this last play through I don't think I saw any of the film reels showing the year at the beginning of the round. Figured you might want to look into that one.
@Frostion minor problem with the new update. For some reason anyone that has the old map installed cannot update iron war from in game down loader. Not sure why. But if they select installed maps and uninstall it they can then download the new one.
Just for info we are enjoying it !
II will try and find the time this weekend to update the bots again to new version.
@prastle I have seen trouble with downloading also. My experience is that i press the download button and it (falsely) indicates that the download finishes within 2 seconds. After 3-4 retries the download can actually begin.
I have just updated the yaml file and made a pull request. I think that Ron has already accepted it, so mayb you will be prompted to make a re-download. I suggest that you do it, as I just added a new notificationsproperties to the map files that I maybe missed the first time. Now the new round/half year pop-ups should also be in. Maybe they are missing from your version of 0.1.2 ?
@Frostion Going to redownload now just to make sure.
Meantime, I was playing another Solo with Germany. This time rather than building a carrier and trying to lock the Atlantic, I opted to attack the Royal Navy, and take Iceland and all of France at a go. Check out how fast the American Fast AI guns for the Med haha. The British also seem to be positioning on Iceland. I dig it!
edit: Ok redownloaded the map. The Film reels are working again for me now. I also noticed the jump to 100% when downloading again (after deleting the older map files). I quit out of tripleA and killed all the processes, then tried again and it worked as normal.
I started a new Solo game with Germany vs the Hard AI. Did the Scotland move again with the Graf Zeppelin buy. I like defense for the Kriegsmarine (at least vs the AI) but for this game I backed it up with a pair of bombers in case the Americans come forward again haha. Feels pretty solid. G just made a clean sweep of the Eastern Med, with Egypt and Istanbul on a gamble, just so we could brazenly snatch Crete and Cyprus for the all out blitz shock against the British. Now that we're holding it down in London, our prospects in Iceland feel a lot more realistic hehe
1941 according to the reel, looking good...
I've been playing on. In the 8th round I finally cracked Leningrad, which opened it up for total victory in the 9th. The Western Allies were definitely trying to trade Iceland with me, which was pretty cool. Sadly I didn't see the American AI do much with Liberia or Morocco, but just having those territories in play did have me switching up my German game quite a bit haha...
One thing I've noticed that has been pretty consistent, is that Russia is rather vulnerable in the territories east of the Siberia factory. Once Japan starts to overrun Mongolia, it can be hard to prevent them from blitzing all over the place, and just carving up the Russia backfield at will.
I was thinking that Irkutsk +5 or possibly Yakutsk +5 might help with this somewhat. Either one seems pretty reasonable I think from a historical perspective. Not quite sure which candidate I like better, but either location is far enough away from the front lines that its unlikely to be taken immediately by Japan, so Russia would have some flexibility to fight out of it. This pocket is about half way between the Siberia factory and Vladivostok/Alaska region. Situated such that a factory here could coordinate with other Soviet troops built at center, or perhaps more interestingly, with Western units. Yakutsk is within reach of US/UK air units, (even ground ferried over from North America), making it a potential endgame stronghold, even if the Soviet core falls to Axis. This would allow Stalin some way to fight on with Western Support. Even the Allied AI will put western air in this area given a couple rounds, as you can see in the save above with those British and American air bouncing around. Though right now, the Soviets don't really have a way to capitalize on it.
A factory viable territory in this region could be justified as representing PU's from the Northern Trace/Alaska-Siberian air road, where the Allies supplied the USSR in stages by air. The Soviet leg of this route had its terminus at Krasnoyarsk, but I think you could reasonably put a +5 territory anywhere along the route and it would make sense (activating the Soviet Far East for a potential factory). The actual route is described below from the wiki...
Soviet First regiment pilots accepted the planes at Fairbanks and flew over the Bering Strait.
Second regiment pilots flew from Uelkal to Seymchan.
Third regiment pilots flew from Seymchan to Yakutsk.
Fourth regiment pilots flew from Yakutsk to Kirensk.
Fifth regiment pilots flew from Kirensk to Krasnoyarsk.
If Irkutsk, then this +5 territory could stand in for Trans-Siberian rail. It is somewhat sheltered by Lake Bakail, at least for the outset, which would probably be helpful.
The Russians have a decent starting force in the far east region, but no real way to reinforce it quickly enough to make a difference. This is where a factory could come into play. Then you'd have a kind of 3 way split on the USSR... the western factories, the central factory, and the eastern factory. Each with a different set of Axis nations gunning for it. Anyhow, those two seemed the best candidates (Irkustsk/Yakutsk), if thinking about another +5 spot for the Soviets in the East, really territory could do double duty, and encompass both the ALSIB or Trans-Siberian Rail thing.
Just an idea that seemed like it might be fun.
Wouldn't Irkustsk make the most sense? I thought Yakutsk was a relatively small settlement that had little other than an airfield and a Gulag for the mining of gold.
Yeah I think Irkutsk would make a lot of sense. The main requirement is that it be far enough inland so Japan can't just knock it out on amphibious or overrun it with fast moving mech/armor, at least for a couple turns.
The dilemma for Russia will always be more income oriented, and trying to figure out a way to deal with the Axis onslaught from the west. So additional starting territories that are factory viable in the Far East are not like a total gift (the money for the units would still have to come from the same Soviet pile) but at least it would give them a way to fight East if they chose to. Or course there is the concern that Japan just takes these territories and uses them to springboard even further into the interior. But the reality is that Japan already has solid production on the coast and the mainland, and can take over Chinese territories for factories closer to the interior, whereas Russia currently just has Siberia at the center to deal with it all. Japan also faces the threats from elsewhere, so its not as if gunning after Russia doesn't involve some trade offs for them too. But yeah, I think it would be fun to see Irkutsk +5, possibly with a starting factory.
It could reflect the population or strategic significance of that city/region as a waypoint, and also as an expression of goods or material brought into Russia via the ALSIB or by rail from points east.
Also here are the saves I use to get things going quickly. I find its faster from launch to load a saved game with everyone set to the AI except for Germany. This makes it simpler for me to just assign whichever slots I want to human, instead of assigning to the AI each time.
Interesting that you can take the whole of France in one turn. The map is designed to let France fall quickly, but the German initial moves and priorities are up to the German player. I hope and aim for a map that allows a whole lot of possibilities for the German initial attack.
I have also noticed that Japan seems to easily sweep across east USSR and China, but also that the USSR does not seem to prioritize this area. Maybe this is because Europe is just much more important and the German pressure to big. That is why this update both strengthens USSR and weakens Germany. I hope this will also prolong the European struggle so Germany does not overrun USSR too easily. The Irkutsk idea is a good one! , and it will be tried out. Irkutsk is now a 5 PU territory with factory, so USSR can defend the east better. This also adds a few more needed PUs to the USSR economy.
I have now also added a new “map option” to remove the Balkan countries. But I would like to balance the standard map setup first, then it will be a lot easier to balance the version where Germany is larger. But try it out.
v0.1.2 to v0.1.3 changes:
• Added a “Map Option” to practically transfer the Balkan states to the German player from round 1.
• Siberia PU raised from 5 to 10.
• Irkutsk PU raised from 1 to 5.
• Irkutsk now has a Factory and 10 units.
• Removed 1 German transport from North Sea Zone
• Removed 15 infantry units from Germany
• Removed 5 infantry from Moscow
• Removed 3 infantry from Finland.
• A few more minor changes to setup.
PS: I think this version can be downloaded by deleting and redownloading.
@Frostion I dig it!
The Russian far east feels a lot better now. Also, I think the situation with Germany vs England/Russia is more balanced. With 2 transports Sea Lion is highly unlikely prior to 1941, and even as a multi-round set up for G3/G4 will require the player to make tough decisions just based on the steel limitations. I think any realistic prospect of pulling it off requires the purchase of the carrier and the participation of the Med transports, which are themselves at least 2 turns out of position (more likely 3 rounds given that the German ships probably need to coordinate with Italy to make it past Gibraltar.) I think this creates a situation where Sea Lion is maybe possible vs the Human player, but probably not such a clearly optimal use of the starting TUV as it was before. Now the British have at least some time to cobble together a defense. Also the Russians can stack a lot heavier in the East, while G tries to set all this up. Nicely done!
In a game vs the AI, the invasion of England still seems doable. I think this is probably for the best, since in a solo game you basically just want to kick ass anyway, and rewrite history hehe. Even against the AI though, doing the Sea Lion thing means compromising any chance for an early smack down of Russia. The delay on the redirect from west back to east is pushed out a couple rounds, owing to fewer German starting hitpoints that can go on the march immediately.
I think the best method for taking London vs the AI is to buy the Graf Zeppelin for fleet defense on G1, and then just feed units into Scotland for a couple rounds while you position the fleet, and ready the attack force, while simultaneously preparing to absorb a Russian advance.
Here is my first run (ongoing) under the new set up, German Solo vs Hard AI...
I was a lot more cautious this time against the British, since I figured G2 Sea Lion was probably out. I thought I'd focus on France first, but still try to position on London with the fleet. I think a G3 hit on England is probably doable as well (at least vs the machine) but just waited another round to make it a sure shot. Now its time to see how the beefed up Soviets handle the squeeze hehe. The Soviet AI already seems to be doing much better against the Japanese AI in the Far East, and I like how Siberia feels for the Russians at +10. If things get too dicey in the West now at least they have a stronger fall back at the center haha. Should be fun!
Nice work man!
ps. Just had a look at the new game setting. My thought about the Balkans is that direct annexation would be cool as an in-game decision (rather than as a pre-game setting.) It seems a shame to lose all those cool units and flags and such immediately hehe. The ideal would be a situation where the first round or two has the Balkans as active minors, but then giving the German player a way to take them over (at a cost). Maybe having a screen at the end of the turn, that gives a one time option to take control of the Balkans directly for X amount of PUs or resources, where all units from Balkan nations are disbanded and G takes over their territories?
Another related idea, might be to also give each major player a more general choice between "Liberation" or "Military Occupation" when reconquering a fallen teammate's territory. Liberation could be free (territory reverts to original owner), whereas Military Occupation would have an associated cost in PUs (territory is annexed.) This would provided a way for Major Powers to gain production footholds if they can handle the expense, and then make more effective use of reconquered territories once a minor teammate gets rocked off the board haha. Just an idea, not sure how simple it would be to implement.
In any case, for this game I kept the Balkan minors in play. Since I liked a little AI cushion against Russia for this Sea Lion attempt. I gotta admit though, once you see Germany in the Balkans, I think it will be hard to go back hehe. Just having access to the Black Sea and the the Bosporus out of Romania makes this option pretty compelling. I think most pvp games would default to that setting, to simplify the map and speed up the game round, so not sure that the minors will see much love outside of the Solo game vs AI, if you can claim them all for G at no cost with the game setting. The option is pretty cool for now though, at least we have a way to tweak this aspect if desired, but I was just going with the default for the time being.
The trade off is 19 PUs in income and a front line starting factory worth 25 TUV in Romania. Or keeping the Balkan Nations which is basically like 5 infantry per round + their starting force for defensive stacking in the East if assigned to the AI. I'll try it under German control next time to see how that plays.
Wow, seems like the map has really come along over the last month or 2. Nice work Frostion! Though I still stick with I wish the sea was a bit lighter in color
I'd be interested in knowing how folks think the AI is playing on the map. There are a lot of fairly long posts in this thread and if someone wanted to summarize AI gameplay on the current version that would be helpful.
@redrum how's it going man! Glad to catch you. After v5 this is the map that I've played the most against the AI. I've been splitting my time roughly 50/50 between the Hard and the Fast AI.
All and all I'd say it is my favorite AI map right now, and I think the AI performs even better here than it does on most of the A&A maps (v3 and later) probably owing to the fact that Iron War doesn't use such complex rules for Submarines or Transports.
The AI does struggle in a few areas, probably familiar from other games. The first is with bombing where the AI doesn't take into account intercept when attacking on SBR (or use it for themselves on defense.) There are also some purchasing issues where the AI doesn't seem to buy or make use of the single use attack aircraft such as Kamikazes, V1/V2 rockets, Nukes etc. They also don't use air transports to actually transport infantry, but will still purchase the air transport unit, which is kind of ineffective since it's relatively expensive with a low attack value relative to regular fighters or bombers, so kind of a waste of the AIs cash.
On the water the AI has a tendency to buy a lot more patrol boats than I think most humans would. It can be a good unit to stack naval fodder or as a blocker, but it only moves 1 space rather than 2 spaces, so often they get left behind and destroyed when the main fleet is on the move, The AI will frequently abandon coastal production allowing enemy fleets to take over their home waters, rather than defend them, or set up sacrifice pickets to block naval movement (the way infantry will block on land.) I have noticed some peculiar behavior when it comes to loading transports, where the AI will sometimes load a unit onto a transport during non combat, that is vulnerable to enemy attack rather than keeping it safely on land. This doesn't happen too often, but stands out when it does occur.
Perhaps most significantly right now, the AI doesn't seem to realize that Mech can tow Infantry, so the AI is at a definite disadvantage for moving these units across the game-board. Finally the AI seems somewhat reluctant to purchase new production, even when this would allow them to move units to the front much faster than transports at a similar cost. Especially if the territory is an island or an isolated territory. Mainly I notice this with the USA. The factory unit costs 25 PUs, which is pretty cheap and allows up to 5 units to be spawned (with no cost in steel), whereas the Transport costs 20 PUs (and 1 steel) to ferry just 2 or 3 ground units. So it would definitely be a lot more economical for the AI to buy factories close to the enemy whenever this is possible, to shorten their supply lines. But they don't seem to do this very much, with the exception of Japan.
All that said, playing against or alongside the AI in Iron War is remarkably entertaining. Its certainly the most fun I've had to date with the AI. Just as with other games it is possible to scale the difficult by using income bonuses.
The only thing I really wish we could do is assign those income bonuses on a nation by nation basis (the same way you can assign a bid.) Right now it's a blanket bonus for all AI nations, but this leaves a lot to be desired, not least because the map is designed for some nations on the players own team to be handled by the AI. So this creates a situation where giving a bonus to the AI, means giving your own team an advantage too, unless you take direct control of the entire team (which can make the pace drag.) Even just being able to assign the bonus by side would be helpful, only Axis team or only Allied team gets the boost.
I haven't yet decided whether I prefer the Hard AI or the Fast AI for Iron War. Or a combination approach. Its not too noticeable in the beggining, but after many rounds the Hard AI can start to slow things down. So often times I will scrub reload and switch out the Hard AI for Fast AI just to speed things along (especially with the minor powers.) Also sometimes I enjoy how the Fast AI will throw me a curve ball by attacking with reckless abandon, whereas the Hard AI might withdraw to safety. This could just be because I've seen the Hard AI in action quite a bit, and can now kind of predict how to meta-game it into doing certain things that I can exploit. This occurs mainly on the water, where I can often push AI fleets this way and that, by positioning my aircraft in threatening ways. The AI will almost always withdraw rather than risk being attacked. So sometimes you end up with a situation where the AI will spend several rounds transporting units closer to the enemy, only to transport them back home again, to no real purpose. This seems to happen a lot in the North Atlantic around Greenland.
But again, overall, I really dig the way this map utilizes the AI. I think it's a flagship map, and one that really showcases the best of what tripleA currently has to offer. Much as I still dig Axis and Allies, I think this is the best World War II map on offer right now, and the most compelling for AI development.
In terms of the dev zots, I think I'd rather see the energy used to make this game's AI better, than even global or v5. Because unlike those games which are primarily PvP, this one is actually pretty damn fun to play solo vs the machine. There's just a lot of other stuff going on with it, that makes the AIs deficiencies rather less noticeable than in the more traditional A&A games. My impression is that many people will cut there teeth against the AI in Iron War, and learn how to play on this map against the machine rather than against other humans, at least initially.
The gameplay really lends itself to a 4X style of world domination, where beating up on the AI is a lot of fun in and of itself, even if if you're the only human in the room haha. Still, it would be killer if you could play against the AI in the lobby with bots, since I think this map would also be fun for a co-op campaign.
Anyway, those are my thoughts so far. I think the AI really shines on this map. Even with all the hiccups and silly stuff it does, with enough money it can still provide a pretty fun challenge.
Definitely next level, and way beyond anything I thought possible for tripleA when I first started playing a decade ago. This thing has come a long way, and I'm continually impressed. You guys have done a kick ads job! Truly
ps. here is another Germany vs the HardAI, solo Sea Lion plan, but this time with the Balkans under German control from the outset. I like how it plays. You can take England if you want to, but it leaves the East pretty light, so there is a little tension between Russia and Germany. I don't think the AI can really prevent London from falling, but should be remembered that a human player would likely play with a different purchase out of England. Probably 5 fighters a round for several rounds until they have enough to make London so costly that Germany backs off. It's also probably the only way to stop a dedicated expansion of the Kriegsmarine, basically bolstering the RAF until you have more spitfires than they do ships haha. But the AI is happy to ablige for a Sea Lion stomp. I rather like it staying a possibility, it's kind of a nice change of pace to play out a campaign with the focus on England in the first few rounds. Here I got the invasion going on G5, after some early messing about in the Med to build up the oil reserves, the plan was pushed back to early 1942...
0_1494395705621_Iron War Elk vs Hard AI Allies Sea Lion Solo G5 Combat.tsvg
Here it is in Early 1945, after Axis Total Victory at 15 VCs. You can kind of see what I mean about the US naval AI. They have a ton of floaters out there in the mid Atlantic that could probably cause us some serious headaches if they made landfall, but thus far they haven't made a breakout. Even if the Allied fleet was somehow sunk in the process it would probably be worth the sacrifice for them to get the expeditionary force moving. Instead they seem content to keep it at a stalemate just out of reach. I did see the US AI make inroads into Africa, taking Morocco and Nigeria at one point, but the Allies are having a tough time in the face of Italy AI's aggression haha. In the East, Japan has been back and forth with Russia all game. It's been pretty cool to see the tit for tat, as the Soviet and Japanese AI jockey for supremacy. Japanese expansion on the mainland feels rather more realistic this way I think.
Pretty fun for a German solo game!
0_1494402604044_Iron War Elk vs Hard AI Allies Sea Lion Solo G11 Combat.tsvg
Edit: started another game, this time as the Russians Solo vs Axis AI (with the Balkans under German control.) The German AI seemed to struggle in prioritizing the Danish straits and Norway, so their fleet got kind of stuck and destroyed by the Allies after a few turns. Previously the Kriegsmarine would almost always attack the Royal Navy right out the gate, but this time they went North instead. I think this might actually be better AI behavior in the long run, since it could reflect a somewhat more historical expansion pattern (before they would usually get killed after going for the British on the water with the French fleet mopping them up), but it would probably be cool if they could somehow be goaded into taking over Scandinavia early on. Here they had a pretty tough time dealing with France, perhaps because the Balkans thing had them adjusting their non-com logic? Not sure, but was thinking maybe if Denmark and Norway were worth more PUs the AI might get with the program there, and at least give their fleet a way to escape to the safety of the Baltic sea zones if they manage to survive the opener hehe. I definitely think its more entertaining to play as the Soviets in the Far East now, with the Irkutsk choke point. I feel like it gives you a way to manage a defense on this side of the map, that wasn't really possible before, so I dig that for sure.
0_1494406947231_Iron War Elk vs Hard AI Axis German Balkans Russia round 5.tsvg
Here it is a couple round later, 1944. We broke into Germany proper, but the Fascists are still contesting Europe with Italy. The Germans are still sniping in Stalingrad, which is now their last stronghold to cause us headaches hehe, but its pretty cool to see Italy step up. The Japanese AI even pulled a fast one on me, with a bold attack to crush my Far East Army just when I thought I had Manchuria in the bag! Good one Hard AI! Its a 10/10 split on VCs, but I think the Allies are about to come up on the economic win here pretty soon...
0_1494439897780_Iron War Elk vs Hard AI Axis German Balkans Russia round 9.tsvg
Ok I tried a dozen quick game launches vs the German AI (Balkans under German control) and each time the Kriegsmarine moves to the Norwegian Northern Sea Zone. It does this on non-combat, so the AI is also failing to even disrupt the Russian convoy lane in the process. I noticed that if I edited a single submarine or a single destroyer into the German starting fleet, then the AI would attack the Royal Navy again, if that is the desired outcome. Might be worth considering, since the AI doesn't make particularly great use of the German fleet, except for in that opening attack.
I'm not sure I've ever seen the Germans land troops in Norway to get at the steel up there. Seems like kind of a no brainer hehe. I wonder if it was a gold +5 if they would start going after it with their transports? I know that the Axis will definitely try to take Egypt and Riyadh, so maybe its just a matter of not enough PUs to tempt the AI?
edit: Yet another game vs the Hard AI Axis (with Balkans under German control) this time I played as the USA and China. Figured I try to beef up the Chinese and see how far I could take them. Once again, the German AI seemed to struggle under Balkan control conditions. Whereas before they were taking out France and the Royal Navy and beating down on the Russians pretty consistently, here they are struggling just to maintain their core and immediate surroundings. Not sure why, but for some reason controlling the Balkans seems to really put the zap on their heads hehe. In any case, here is the game in the 8th round, after racking up the economic win for Allies in 1943.
0_1494489759152_Iron War Elk USA and China vs Hard AI Axis German Balkans USA round 8.tsvg
Will probably back off the Balkans thing for now, and continue testing the game with the Axis Minors, since the German AI seemed to do somewhat better when they had the buffer zone. I'm thinking an AI boost is probably best for a real challenge, but its kind of fun to just play as a couple nations and see what the AI does with the others haha. In that game the British AI took Morocco and built a factory there, and British-India AI did the same with a factory in Iran which was kind of cool. In general I like how the AI uses the 5+ spots, when it actually drops factories on em.
@redrum Sorry I kind of suck at brevity hehe.
In short, I think the single best thing we could do right now to make the AI more enjoyable, is to have a game option that assigns them an income bonus by sides as a general feature for any map with teams. Fairly straightforward, but I think it would have a solid payoff for SP gameplay vs the machine.
Axis AI team income bonus
Allied AI team income bonus
Then I would go with something like the following for basic suggested difficulty settings...
Or some scale like that, perhaps...
For like "hard, very hard, veteran, extreme", or whatever you want to call them. Just to give players a simple way to ballpark the difficulty settings. Since with enough PU's the AI can overcome most of its deficiencies, and be pretty challenging and entertaining to face down.
@Black_Elk Yeah... that first reply definitely doesn't qualify as brief or concise
Glad to see you are back around and testing out some new maps with the AI. I haven't really done any AI development the past few months as I got kind of busy with real life but I'm hoping to get back into it.
I tend to agree with you that improving AI bonus settings is probably one of the top priority items that would have a pretty major impact across all maps. My thought is first to make it so you can set the bonuses per nation rather than just for all AIs. Then provide map makers the ability to create 'difficulty settings' for each map which set standard AI bonuses for various levels since +25% income bonus on something like revised is very different than something like WaW.
Just leveled a decisive attack against the Italian AI, with the French hehe. Usually I've been giving the French over to the AI, but I went against Axis with the +25 bonus in play, so I took control of all the majors. The French offensive into Italy is not something I would expect to see in PVP, but apparently under some conditions vs the Hard AI the French can punk them out on the first turn and snatch Rome for 50, if they roll a lucky deuce before Il Duce rolls his 3 hehe. Kind of amusing...
When the Croatian AI decides to send their lone infantry unit to reinforce Romania, it leaves Rome exposed to a 1/3 shot by French. Not something the machine would try for, but with nothing to lose and so much to gain, I'd definitely take a shot on it with France.
I noticed here that the German AI also backed off the Royal Navy attack as well and went to Norwegian Northern Sea Zone. (Though this time they did attack Denmark on G1.) Was just messing around trying to sink the Kriegsmarine, when France game up I saw it was head to head for control Italy. Flew in British fighter support and Italian AI decided to go after Vichy rather than retake their Capital haha. Germany will surely eject them next round, but at least the French can afford an airforce now lol.
I also noticed that when I assign Axis to the Fast AI rather than the Hard AI, Germany is more consistently aggressive with their opener at least on the water. Maybe it is better to just let them go Fast at least for G1? The Hard AI seems particularly cautious on fleet defense, but in this case it kind of undermines their offensive capabilities in the early game, since they are likely to be trapped on the wrong side of Straits of Denmark. The Fast AI seems more inclined to take the fight to to the Allies, which may help their chances of make an early breakout.
Started another game vs the Fast AI Axis +25% income, controlling all the majors. The Axis have been fighting pretty well with the boost. The German AI punched a hole down into Stalingrad while I was preoccupied with the Middle East. Now that that's handled and I'm starting to finally roll up Japan on the mainland, the Italian AI can-opened a way into Moscow for Germany! Haha nice one Fast AI. Pretty fun at this level, I like how the extra cash gets the AI buying more aircraft. Here they have a nice collection of multinational fighters hanging out in
down there in Libya, but British India just turned them out of Cairo, so I guess its on in North Africa. Feels like fun, WW2...
0_1494745756731_Iron War Elk vs Fast AI Axis x25 income Russia 9.tsvg
A few rounds later and we smoked up the Japanese AI with the technical win hehe, but the Axis AI is still fighting tooth and nail down there in Stalingrad! Here it is in late 1945
0_1494750821659_Iron War Elk vs Fast AI Axis x25 income Russia 12.tsvg
I tried out a lot of different ways to do the annexation of the Balkans: Techs, special annexation stating units, different conditions and triggers, but I ended up with the current much more simple way. I would think that the need for this annexation option is mostly because of some players wanting to get rid of the micro management of these small states, and I understand this. I hope this option will please some players, and that it can be balanced to not be a plus or minus for Germany to use it.
I have taken you comment about the front line starting factory worth 25 TUV in Romania into account and removed this factory. Also, germany now gets less PUs after the annexation. Germany seems to still be very able to handle the situation.
Concerning the Sea Lion possibilities that you have found, I hope that a human could defend against this by just building his units in England. This would just lead to a unit buildup race, that Germany would hopefully loose as USSR gets time to build itself stronger and the US would be sailing towards Europe/Africa, while Germany did not expand its PU income. Right now the AI seems to want to build its UK units far way in Canada and sail them to Europe, instead of just building the Transports in Canada and as many infantry in Europe as possible. Maybe the AI will always be vulnerable to this kind of outsmarting.
One of the reasons that I did not make the sea any brighter was because the units would start to stick out less. The ships are grey and would become less outstanding. Also, making the sea a bit more bright would make it look like the French land color.
Concerning the AI, the Hard AI can really begin to slow the game after some rounds. This map has both air-transports, land transports, submarines, interception and escort, so of course it is a shame that the AI does not fully support these things. Especially as this is as much a SP and Coop map as it is a MP map. Please work on these things
Also, it seems to me that the AI does not value a territory’s canalAttachment, even though this makes a territory pretty important. Would it be possible to make the AI value canalAttachment territories? In this map, Gibraltar is essential, but the AI never ever attacks it.
I have made a new v0.1.4. These are the changes. Hopefully it is downloadable soon:
• Western New Guinea no longer has a KNIL factory.
• Western New Guinea and Papua New Guinea is now 2 PU territories, not 5 and 3.
• Darwin is now a 3 PU territory, not 2.
• Colonial-Infantry cost lowered from 7 to 6 PUs.
• Jet-Fighter cost raised from 19 to 20 PUs.
• All start of round videos are now followed by famous WW2 quotes underneath.
• Removed the free German factory in Romania that is placed if Germany plays with the Balkans as German. Also lowered the Balkan territories PU value if they become German.
• Some other minor changes, including a more guarded Italy from start.
@Frostion Sounds good man. Just downloaded the latest version and am having a look around. I'm not too concerned about Sea Lion anymore. Against the AI it's a novelty (and I kind of like that it's still possible there) but against a human the British should be able to hold it down with a 5 fighter purchase and some maneuvering by the USA to make it prohibitively expensive for the Axis. Not to say that the Germans couldn't pull it off in the endgame, but I think it's a lot less likely to occur in the opening rounds now PVP, just owing to the German limits on transport capacity/steel.
The New Guinea change seems agreeable too. I was always hoping to see it as a forward base for Anzac or the USA, but that of course requires that the territory be first taken by Japan, which wasn't really happening anyway. With no factory in New Guinea, the Japanese can effectively shut down KNIL by taking Sumatra (which would leave KNIL with only Dutch Guiana in S. America as a build location.) I like it.
Elsewhere on the board the French and British Colonies along with KNIL present a bit of a dilema for Axis, since taking those territories can open things up for the major Allies after liberation. So Axis have to be somewhat cautious about not expanding beyond their reach too quickly. West Africa or South America for example can become a nice hub for the US, if Axis make a land grab there without warships to back the play long term. I like that tweak introduced a few version back. I'll admit that when choosing an expansion pattern I always focus on the +5 territories, with anything worth less more as targets of opportunity. But in the case of New Guinea I think it works well for the overall balance to reduce the value as you have here.
The Balkans option seems cool too. I wonder, if the goal there is to speed up the turns PvP, if the Allies should have a similar option to take direct control of the British Colonies, South Africa, French Colonies and KNIL? Might be a cool compliment to the Balkans thing for Axis.
That would take it from 27 player nations down to 18, which would probably accelerate the play pace quite a bit, in a PvP where each is controlled by the human. Just an idea. I think in most SP games vs the AI, I would use the full set if nations, but I can see the appeal of streamlining things for PvP or CoOp.
Probably the only other area of improvement that I can think of would be in the central Pacific. Right now there isn't a whole lot drawing the Japanese AI towards Hawaii, so the surprise attacks on Pearl is kind of unlikely. I think the issue there is that Japan lacks a good springboard territory to get them onto the Hawaiian sea zone.
The best solution I can think of would be a map adjustment to include Truk (Caroline Islands) in Pacific 5 Sea Zone as a starting Japanese territory +5 with a factory on it. This would reflect the massive base located here since pre-war times. Could probably work both ways, either as a lilly pad for Japan to attack the US/Anzac, or in reverse as a target territory for the Allies...
Despite its small size I think that Truk (not currently included) was more historically significant to the war than many of the islands that are on the map right now, such as Aru, Timor and the like. Such that it's absence seems a little conspicuous. It was the home base for the Japanese fleet for much of the war, and one of their most important strategic holdings in the Pacific. Below is a quick summary from the wiki...
"During World War II, Truk Lagoon was the Empire of Japan's main base in the South Pacific theatre. Truk was a heavily fortified base for Japanese operations against Allied forces in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, serving as the forward anchorage for the Japanese Imperial Fleet.
Truk Lagoon was considered the most formidable of all Japanese strongholds in the Pacific. On the various islands, the Japanese Civil Engineering Department and Naval Construction Department had built roads, trenches, bunkers and caves. Five airstrips, seaplane bases, a torpedo boat station, submarine repair shops, a communications center and a radar station were constructed during the war. Protecting these various facilities were coastal defense guns and mortar emplacements. The Japanese garrison consisted of 27,856 IJN men, under the command of Vice Admiral Masami Kobayashi, then Vice Admiral Chuichi Hara, and 16,737 IJA men, under the command of Major General Kanenobu Ishuin. Due to its heavy fortifications, both natural and manmade, the base at Truk was known to Allied forces as "the Gibraltar of the Pacific".
A significant portion of the Japanese fleet was based at Truk, with its administrative center on Tonoas (south of Weno). At anchor in the lagoon, were the Imperial Japanese Navy's battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, tankers, cargo ships, tugboats, gunboats, minesweepers, landing craft, and submarines. In particular; Yamato and Musashi were stationed at Truk for months around 1943, unable to participate in battle. Some have described Truk as Japan's equivalent of the Americans' Pearl Harbor."
With Truk/Carolines as a +5 starting factory territory, I think you'd see a lot more back and forth across the Central Pacific, with more opportunities for the cat and mouse game between the IJN and the USN. This would provide a more historical play pattern than what we typically see in A&A games, where the action is always oriented on the "Money islands" of the East Indies, which were not a serious flashpoint during the actual war after their initial invasion by the Japanese. (Basically the Allies contained and bypassed them, relying on Subs to disrupt the supply of oil and rubber.) I think Truk at +5 might be the ticket to getting a real island hopping campaign going for Japan or the US, since Pacific 5 Sea Zone is within range of so many other islands.
One of the main reasons I prefer Iron War to G40 or similar A&A games, is that we are not beholden to an arbitrarily low production spread with so many worthless Pacific islands. The PU values in Iron War are clearly in the service of the gameplay needs, which is just a superior approach in my view. I love Hawaii +5 for example (I think it could even support a starting factory). If so the idea would be to have Truk as a Japanese counter balance to US production Pearl, as a way to jumpstart the island action in the Central Pacific (something that has been missing from basically every A&A game going back to Classic haha.)
If going that route with a Map adjustment, I'd also consider adding Malta too as a +1 territory, just as a nod to history. I think with the map distortion in the Med you could get away with putting it in on the far left side of the Adriatic Sea Zone (would probably be more interesting for the gameplay than putting it in the Tyrrhenian Sea Zone, which already has 3 islands.) Just a thought. It could be a cool early landing pad for the Allies, as they struggle to deal with Italy in the Med.
Here is my first attempt under the new set up. Germany Solo vs the Fast AI (with Balkans under German control.)
I put the Soviets on blast right out the gate. I made the Sea Lion feint into Scotland but then doubled back with everything on the Eastern Front. I think we must have put the spook on the Russians, since they pulled off their factories in Leningrad, Archangel, and Stalingrad, allowing our German mech to roll them up. Pretty epic for a quick German offensive haha.
One thing I really like is how the Americans made a B Line for Iceland and Morocco, which shows that even the AI will get with program and advance on Europe provided the Kriegsmarine isn't brining the heat on the Atlantic crossing.
ps. Here is the same game a few rounds later, after the Germans consolidated their position on the Eastern Front. It's kind of cool to see how, despite being flattened at Moscow, the Soviets have re-oriented themselves around Siberia and the Far East (even purchasing a factory for Vladivostok!) Nice one Soviet AI heheh. Also, you can see that the US AI is making pretty good use of Morocco. Even though the Kriegsmarine moved to cut them off, the Americans built a forward factory here, to give their Torch campaign a little more fire. Meanwhile the Japanese AI just got worked by the Australians, with an airblitz in the gulf of Thailand. Half the IJN went to the bottom of the sea, and the other half was forced to pull off their campaign in India. Japan is now down to just a single transport and a handful of warships, so I expect that the Allied AI will have them broken down in fairly short order. I wonder if the Truk idea might help the IJN, by giving them another location for introducing early naval TUV onto the board, other than the Japan sea zone?
Edit: Just had an idea, which I think would have general applications on any map, but would be particularly cool for one like Iron War. What if we could Edit "Switch Teams"? Or assign any nation to a new "Third Team" which was hostile to existing teams, and friendly only with other third team nations?
Having this as a pregame option would be cool for any map, but it would be even better as a feature of the edit mode.
Such a tool to change a nation from an existing team to a new third team, would allow teammates to eventually become rivals or adversaries in the endgame. It could be either built into the game, or at the players discretion. I think it would be coolest as an edit feature on the fly.
But basically you could have a game where the Allies destroy the Axis, and then Russia forms a new team to just go straight into an alternate cold war 1950/60s final bought. Or similarly you could have a game where Axis prevail and then Germany and Japan go into their own brinksmanship "man in the high castle" game with nukes and all. It would also give you a way to model armistaces or side switching the occurred during actual war like with Italy and others go over to Allies.
I think something like this would be ideal for a game like Iron War, especially versus the AI, where two players can go Co-op but then break into opposing teams once the mutual AI enemy is destroyed. Or in SP one might choose to break from their original team and just go total domination vs the AI at the end.
Just an idea. I think it could work for many maps, and provide a way to make existing team games into an FFA if desired.
Iron war is pretty well polished and has all the cool features one would want for such an endgame, including jets and rockets and strategic weapons. I could easily see it make a simple transition into a game that plays through the 1960s for the players who are truly diehard about it haha.
I don't know maybe at some point down the line you tech in helicopters, supersonic bombers and jet fighters, nuclear Submarines and ICBMs. So that by like round 20 or 30 you're basically in the space age! Hehe.
The basic map and game architecture here (the core production spread and diverse unit roster with tech advancement as a built in feature) is all interesting, and dynamic enough that I could probably play it endlesslessly. If team switching was a feature, the only real hard limit to the possibilities would the total number of player nations and ones endurance to play till the sun comes up
Started a new one vs AI Axis, no AI boost just the regular set up with Axis minors. Kind of impressed with the Bulgarians at the moment since they've taken Greece and Istanbul haha. So far feels pretty solid as the Allies. I've been pushing my luck as far as it'll take me, and bought a carrier with British right off the bat, just to see what cracks off. Tried to go as forward as I could with the Soviets too against Finland, Persia and Japan, to see if I could break them before the German AI overruns the center. On the water the IJN is gunning pretty far from home, this time in the persian gulf to smoke my British India fleet. That last round was a savage exchange that left us both decimated on the high seas haha. Fortunately Anzac and the US are starting to get in position.
Should be fun...
0_1495004259429_Iron War Elk vs Fast AI Axis US 4.tsvg
Total Victory for Allies by the 7th, with the Soviets building a glorious Pacific Fleet hehe. Looks like the Axis were no match for our red advance in the Far East this time. Germany let the British into the Baltic by neglecting to retake Denmark for a couple rounds, which seemed to be all the Allies needed to stop their offensive against Moscow.
0_1495008537597_Iron War Elk vs Fast AI Axis Russia 7.tsvg