Badass! Looks way clean man
Posts made by Black_Elk
RE: Iron War - Official Thread
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
RE: Iron War - Official Thread
@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.
RE: Iron War - Official Thread
@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.
RE: Iron War - Official Thread
@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.
RE: Iron War - Official Thread
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.
RE: Iron War - Official Thread
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.
RE: Iron War - Official Thread
@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...
RE: Iron War - Official Thread
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.