Domination 1914 - Meat Grinder



  • Hey so I’m working on modifying Domination 1914 No Man’s Land to make it better match my vision of WW1 and balance some gameplay issues the former has. I’ll be happy for suggestions, tips and when the time comes beta testers.

    Here are just a few things I am looking to tweak

    1 Slow US entry into the war - I plan to do this by making the US unable to build anything until they’ve researched a couple “Declare War” category techs

    2 While we are on the US, the current map makes attacking Mexico too desirable. By militarizing the Mexican border I hope to make this a less desirable option.

    3 Make naval warfare more important. The current game quickly has the centrals give up at sea. I want to strengthen the German U Boat - particularly giving them a tech they can accomplish that gives them a free u boat every turn. Also I want to add blockade as a power that warships have making water ways more important.

    4 Give the defense the advantage they had in the real war. I have a few new defensive units in mind - Machine guns and a barbed wire suicide defense unit for starters - that’ll make taking a defensive position a strong position. Particularly on the narrow western front.

    5 Add a ranged attack for artillery. This will take the form of rockets with a range of 1 that target defensive structures. I’d love to allow for it to target units as well but only if casualties are randomized (I don’t know how to do this). This will counterbalance the defense’s advantage and prevent just massive stack building.

    6 Significantly increase the importance of technology. I want to make tanks a game changing tech for example but also I want the game to be as much a tech race as anything else as in the real war, technological advancements created the only real opportunities on the western front. That means making tanks and late fighters stronger and increasing the effect of every other tech.

    7 Revamp communism. I want it to start slowly and pick up steam from two things - 1 it can get a Lenin tech that’ll radically reduce unit costs thus ushering in the revolution. Further Russia will have booby trap Communism techs that if these are researched weaken the country significantly. Example - Land Communism raises cost of infantry, cavalry and conscripts by a PU each. Industrial communism makes poison gas and heavy artillery and light artillery all impossible or much more expensive.

    8 Booby trap techs for France and Germany. These I’ll call Pacifism or Strike techs and there will be onebper category. These will weaken the nation but not as much as communism does Russia. Strike Land May raise the cost of infantry half by 0.5 PU’s

    9 Nation specific adjustments. British soldiers cost more until they research a special British tech - conscription. Germany gets a submarine advantage. France’s propaganda tech replaced with Paris reserves gives 5 infantry instead of 3 (WW1 fans will see where these come from)

    And yeah that basically goes over the major themes I’m hoping for. I’ll be very happy if I can create a meat grinder on the western front, a more influential tech development, more focus on naval war, and a more historical and dynamic US and Communist involvement in the war.

    Stretch goals - after I create a balanced version of the above that meets my goals I’d like to create an expanded game where Japan China and Mexico are added in (Japan as cobliegerent with the allies against Germany and at war with China who is cobelligerent to Germany against Japan. Mexico would be neutral until some trigger is figured out that would have them enter the war on the side of the Centrals (at some cost to Germany)

    So yeah I have a lot on my mind. I’m not looking to create something as involved as Total World War but I am hoping to create a unique and uniquely WW1 experience.


  • Moderators

    @scallen1 I think Russian communism is often got wrong. The political flip was, wargame wise, bloodless, so I don't this needs to be represented or you need to have "Communists" as a player. Just would be the normal Russians player that, at some point, becomes communist (and it can still be called just Russians) and, gameplay wise, it should just, at that point, become unable to attack the Alliance (meaning the Central Powers) anymore, and have a bunch of white rebels spawning. Basically flipping the game behaviour from now, in that the other Russia would be the whites, not the reds.
    A similar matter is with the Austro really. They were far more powerful than Italy (you can see that in whatever statistics comparing Italy with the Austro-Hungarian Empire) when they got beated up with ease, since they basically crumbled internally and morally (pretty much what happened to Italy in WW2, instead).


  • Admin

    @scallen1 Sounds cool. I would definitely try to get input from some of the NML veterans. If you have questions about how to make some of these changes just post here on the forums and folks should be able to help ya out. Good luck!



  • @cernel yeah how to handle internal pressure is something I want to really figure out.

    A trigger that the Centrals could accomplish that turns Russia Neutral is a possibility.

    My ideal may be this.
    1 - actions taken by Russia and/or the the centrals spark revolution.
    2 - the revolution immediately weakens Russia
    3 - Russian player can declare neutrality (ceding to the revolution) or try to put it down. In a game where the centrals can win, alternate history paths are as important as historicity

    Creating a similar system in Germany France Austria, Turkey, and Italy (with them being less vulnerable than Russa) is also desirable. I want a system where political instability can weaken a country’s ability to wage offensive war at least.

    But I’m gonna start in the direction I layer out. This can be an iterative process.

    First step for me is the easy stuff - make Mexico and Switzerland much harder to invade.

    Second step is to create a good meat grinder western front with artillery barrages and defense having a huge advantage.

    That second step will be the hardest and I’ll approach my other goals once this has been accomplished.



  • @redrum are there any people who have attempted a ranged attack like the artillery bombardment i want to create? Specifically it’s casualties random is a key thing I want to be able to do.

    If the game engine doesn’t support such a thing I’ll have to just give artillery a rocket advance that can destroy trenches. That’s the alternative.

    One thing that would be useful would be to see any more detailed description of the various options units have beyond the very very good example given with the Pact of Steel xml script.



  • One possible way to create an artillery garage is actually to do away with the artillery unit and only have artillery shell units. Alternatively, artillery could be a unit with no attack but that can build artillery shells which are suicide units that attack.

    Positives of this strategy
    Makes the cost of artillery primarily be it’s shells. This matches reality.
    Creates the ability to launch attacks the way I want.

    Downside - it will require one annoying thing - a barrage token. I can make it so artillery create these automatically and for free every turn. The barrage token would then enter battle as a normal unit with 0 attack 0 defense and 1 HP to make the engine handle the suicide attack if the shells appropriately.

    Second downside - still not random casualties. I really really want randomized casualties.


  • Admin

    @scallen1 So the best approach for artillery bombardment is have some artillery unit that generates say an artillery shell each round that then can move 1 territory (if not used then triggers remove them unless you want to stockpile). You could then have it have be a suicide unit with an AA attack against only certain units and if you put on random AA casualties then you'll get random instead of selected casualties. @Hepps is planning to do something like this for GD so I'll leave it to him to see if he already has some example XML laying around. Otherwise I can provide an example.

    For random casualties, you need to use an AA type attack and set this property:

        <property name="Random AA Casualties" value="true" editable="true">
          <boolean/>
        </property>
    


  • @redrum THANK YOU

    I had been searching through the forum and had decided on something similar to this but hadn't yet gotten the random casualties element. The AA attribute with specified units actually makes it better. Because as I got down to planning out shell types I wanted to have 3 types reminiscent of reality (shrapnel, gas and explosive). I had some good ideas but making it so they each can only affect certain types of units and hit those randomly will make me so happy.

    Just so anyone interested (and the idea I had might make this interesting to people trying to do something similar in the future)

    Artillery are essentially factories with production 1 and can only produce shells. I plan to allow stockpiling but shells cost money. Shells can move 1 but to prevent them from being able to be fired from a place without artillery I am adding another unit. This unit is a Bombardment token. Its free, max one per territory, automatically generates at the end of any turn an artillery is in a region without a bombardment token. It supports 999 or whatever shells and gives them their dice. It will have movement 1 but die at the end of every turn so it can never be used except when attacking from the territory it was born in (with artillery) The only gap in this is that artillery can move out of a territory but the shells and bombardment token will be able to attack from the original territory. I'm ok with this. It can be a player enforced rule but its so non critical to the game that I'm ok with it being player enforced.

    So yeah plan is to make shrapnel shells that affect only infantry like units (including cavalry and machine guns) and also barbed wire (gonna double check my WW1 knowledge that they actually did cut barbed wire) They will have a low attack value but get two dice from bombardment tokens

    Explosive shells affect everything making them more capable of hitting much more valuable targets than shrapnel. I think they'll be higher attack but only one die.

    Gas shells affect the same units as shrapnel save they don't affect barbed wire (barbed wire is cheap and weak so an improvement). Gas shells roll 2 die at a high attack but will be expensive. such that they're less efficient than shrapnel but if you have the PU's to put into them they pack a big punch.

    Artillery support for infantry is taken away. I'm gonna replace it with air support (which the game already has) and tank support after you research both armour (unlocking tanks) and combined arms (unlocking tank support)

    Thats teh plan right now. I'm gonna use your AA plan but unless on playtesting stockpiling becomes a problem, I will allow it.

    THANKS!


  • Admin

    @scallen1 Not sure you need another unit to achieve this. I think you could have the artillery provide say +1 movement (like naval/air bases do in Global 40) to shells so that only if the artillery starts in the same territory as the shells can they be moved. You could also make it so artillery only move during non-combat move so that they essentially must start with the shells in the same territory, fire them to attack during combat move, and then could move to another territory to prepare shells for next turn.



  • @redrum Thats a good idea however - assuming I go with allowing stockpiling I would like to be able to build shells in factories.

    However there is a problem I foresee in your plan. Gas in standard Domination NML if sent into battle without any units just suicides without even rolling. To do a gas attack you need to send at least one unit. So the bombardment token serves the purpose of being that one unit. I want you to be able to throw shells without thowing any real units into the fight.



  • @cernel So I've come to a decision that I plan to stick with through playtesting
    Continental powers (everyone but the UK and US) are subject to techs that are slight booby traps (the worst raises the price of infantry to 3.5 PUs)

    Russia has a special tech in its own category so it can be intentionally chosen wherein they declare neutrality. This I imagine a player would use if the Eastern front is broken through and they'd rather deny the Centrals the opportunity to take their land and PUs.

    I'll note - any balanced game is gonna have the centrals more powerful than they historically were. So I'm not gonna weaken Austria Hungary in any way other than making the same booby trap of discontent available to them as to Germany and France and Italy and Russia and the Ottomans

    Also if you haven't read below I've gotten great advice on how to make an effective ranged artillery system.



  • If you want to prevent the US from going to war to soon against Germany & Mexico, why not just use political relationships and random triggered events rather than tech research?


  • Moderators

    @scallen1 I think the Russian defection was a bonus to the Alliance (CP), so I don't think it can be well represented as an option for the Entente player. The Alliance cheaply got a whole lot of territory out of the Russian capitulation, even tho that didn't benefit them as much as it would be represented in the game, and still had to significantly expend to secure those gains.
    Also, I want to point out there are two main stages.
    The first stage is when Russians nevermore make any offensive and become military weaker, but are still at war with the Alliance (and were indeed invaded by the Germans). Here the Alliance should have the option to turn Russians neutral, leaving Russians all the territories they currently own (option not taken historically, because the Germans wanted more than that, and it can be argued they were greedy, and should have taken it, instead). On the other hand, since the Russians cannot attack anymore, that option is not really needed, as the Alliance player can just ignore them from now on, with no fear of being invaded.
    The second stage is when the Russians formally capitulate, go neutral, and give a lot of territories to the Germans, except that almost all those territories were already mostly out of Russians control, having been taken over by the White (anti-communist) rebels. Here it would make sense for the Alliance to still have the option to not make peace, thus going into total war with Russians, but the Alliance player should virtually never have a convenience to go that way.


  • Admin

    Great initiative with some really cool ideas. Some food for thought...

    @scallen1 said in Domination 1914 - Meat Grinder:

    Hey so I’m working on modifying Domination 1914 No Man’s Land to make it better match my vision of WW1 and balance some gameplay issues the former has. I’ll be happy for suggestions, tips and when the time comes beta testers.

    Here are just a few things I am looking to tweak

    1 Slow US entry into the war - I plan to do this by making the US unable to build anything until they’ve researched a couple “Declare War” category techs

    While I agree with your goal... I think you'd be better served by making the USA have substantial negative income modifiers while they are at peace rather than zero production capability. The result would be an ever increasing reserve of PU for the first X number of turns. Resulting in the US literally dropping 10 BB the moment they enter the war. This would seriously diminish your goal to make the battle for the Atlantic a more lengthy affair and more dynamic experience.

    2 While we are on the US, the current map makes attacking Mexico too desirable. By militarizing the Mexican border I hope to make this a less desirable option.

    The suggestion previously given to make Mexico a Neutral nation would be a much cleaner approach and offer you many more game-play options later in a game.


  • Admin

    @scallen1

    A couple ideas for ya to achieve some of your goals. They might have been touched on by others but here are my thoughts.

    Start USA neutral and give USA a peacetime economy and production until they officially enter the war on the allied side. Perhaps 25% of normal income and only basic production ability. And no tech research. Maybe movement restrictions close to the war as well. Basically make USA very limited and force them to think hard about their moves and purchases during this period.

    Create some conditions to allow USA to enter the war. Ideally they should be based on Centrals conquests and or a combination of Entente position. You can even create a scenario where USA sea vessels can be accidently sunk by the Centrals. This would require some creative new units owned by Entente but (just a technicality, so they can actually be sunk before USA is at war). Maybe a non combat sea transport that can be randomly killed if the sea zone containing it is attacked by Centrals. If this vessel is sunk USA automatically enters the war. Design it so Centrals may have to avoid the attack into a so called shipping lane to prevent such a thing from happening. But must not provide Entente a exploitation at same time.

    Mexico should simply enter war on Centrals side if USA attacks them. Or can go further by creating some prerequisite condition as well that can allow Centrals to pull them into the war on their side.

    Russia was manipulated by Germany historically. A master move by them. Lenin was exiled by Russia for stirring up discontent and a revolutionary sentiment. The Kaiser bankrolled Lenin and sent him back to Russia to continue his plans. This succeeded beyond Germany's wildest dreams. Try to replicate this scenario somewhat. Allow communists to form in Russia and allow Centrals to supply them with additional funds in form of user actions. Possibly allow them to share tech and give units if territories are bordering Germany and Communist.



  • @rogercooper Personal preference. I've always just disliked the politics ui in tripleA. And I like how theres a randomness aspect to tech. I'm using multiple techs to get US into the war and a couple bad rolls could delay their entrance. This doesn't seem popular here but I like randomness in these games - particularly on large maps where one random event doesn't change the entire game just one aspect of the war.

    Also if you've played 1914 No Man's land you'll notice that Mexico is an intentionally tempting target for the US. I want to make it something the US would have to send a real army to attack. (a stretch goal for this project is to make Mexico an inactive team that becomes active if Germany does several things to get them into the war)



  • @cernel Taking away russia's ability to attack might be a better option than declaring neutrality because it leaves an option to Germany and Austria Hungary. This would then have to be made something acheived by Germany. Which makes sense. Also - instead of totally taking away their ability to attack I could just make offensive units (basically in my version of the game this meas artillery and artillery ammunition) either unpurchasable or very expensive. This would then allow russia to continue to focus on defending itself but as I am designing the game Germany could withdraw the vast majority of their army from the Eastern front if this occurs and just build up trenches and barbed wire with some machine guns and infantry to man it.

    However in game, Russia declaring Neutrality could help the Entente because you'd do it only when the line was completely broken and Germany is about to take your capital.

    The political aspects of this game and balancing are very up in the air. The critical thing to me is the Artillery barrage, defensive advantage aspect of the game and that that defensive aspect can be mitigated by tech.



  • @hepps The Mexico neutral nation idea is a goal. But I'm prioritizing the combat changes first. So militarizing the border is a band-aid.

    If I go all the way to putting all my stretch ideas into a game, it'll be a second game because it'll involve a lot more alternative history possibilities than the game I'm making first which has historicity as a major goal.



  • @general_zod said in Domination 1914 - Meat Grinder:

    Start USA neutral and give USA a peacetime economy and production until they officially enter the war on the allied side. Perhaps 25% of normal income and only basic production ability. And no tech research. Maybe movement restrictions close to the war as well. Basically make USA very limited and force them to think hard about their moves and purchases during this period.

    I like the version of US entry I'm building. I think of spending on tech tokens as the US leadership trying to encourage the US population to support war. The US will be encouraged to be spending all of its income on getting itself into the war though depending on which "Enter the war" tech they unlock first, they might want to start producing units before they've gotten everything set up for war.

    Create some conditions to allow USA to enter the war. Ideally they should be based on Centrals conquests and or a combination of Entente position. You can even create a scenario where USA sea vessels can be accidently sunk by the Centrals. This would require some creative new units owned by Entente but (just a technicality, so they can actually be sunk before USA is at war). Maybe a non combat sea transport that can be randomly killed if the sea zone containing it is attacked by Centrals. If this vessel is sunk USA automatically enters the war. Design it so Centrals may have to avoid the attack into a so called shipping lane to prevent such a thing from happening. But must not provide Entente a exploitation at same time.

    It would be nice to give Germany the option of avoiding Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and thus keep the US out of the war but nah I'm not about that. I'd have to make USW something so desirable that the German player would choose it despite its consequences. As for German conquests bringing the US into the war, for balance I would have to make this highly probable that the German player would achieve these conquests - which I would considerable undesirable - and it really doesn't bare any historicity. So no, us inevitable entrance but slow entrance is the way I'm going.

    Mexico should simply enter war on Centrals side if USA attacks them. Or can go further by creating some prerequisite condition as well that can allow Centrals to pull them into the war on their side.

    This is a stretch goal. After I accomplish making my new artillery system and make my Meat Grinder high historicity game I want to expand on it with one with solid alternate history options. This will include making Japan, Mexico, and China potential full combatants in the war. (I have ideas written out called "late politics" and some early WW2 techs that would be unlockable late in the game)

    Russia was manipulated by Germany historically. A master move by them. Lenin was exiled by Russia for stirring up discontent and a revolutionary sentiment. The Kaiser bankrolled Lenin and sent him back to Russia to continue his plans. This succeeded beyond Germany's wildest dreams. Try to replicate this scenario somewhat. Allow communists to form in Russia and allow Centrals to supply them with additional funds in form of user actions. Possibly allow them to share tech and give units if territories are bordering Germany and Communist.

    A German political tech they can attempt is called Lenin in my game and it significantly weakens Russia's ability to wage offensive war (it doesn't noticably change their defensive abilities)



  • To all - anyone know of a way to have a tech add a territory to your country.

    Example I want - Serbia I'm going to give free tech tokens to but all they can use them on is bringing Greece and Romania into the war (on their side). So every turn Serbia rolls their tech tokens and if they get a hit (will be designed so they should quickly hit both) Greek territory and units will go from Neutral to being Serb or Romanian territory and units will do the same.

    I'll probably figure this out but if anyone already has an XML example of how to attach a territory and its units mid game to a new owner that'd be great