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Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:12 pm
by Zhivago
Rudankort wrote:
Zhivago wrote:Like I said earlier, one way to make OS balanced (for those who think it needs balancing, or as an option) would be to increase the cost of OS later in the war. If it cost 150 prestige to OS a Tiger I from 11 to 12 OS in 1942, make it 250 in 1943, 300 in 1944, 350 in 1945, etc., or some slide-able scale. This would account for the historical problem of German units being able to resupply damaged/destroyed units with quality units.
This might be a solution for germans specifically, but for allies the opposite might be true. They can afford and need OS units late in the war, to counter german equipment. A generic solution, which works the same way for all nations and sides, would be better.
Absolutely correct--it would work the opposite with the Allied powers, who struggled to gain experience and weaponry comparable to the Axis powers early in the war, but then surged ahead later in the war with mass industrial output.

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:56 pm
by boredatwork
Rudankort wrote: This suggestion suffers from the same "does not encourage good play" problem I've already mentioned, but also it raises an additional interesting question: just how much shall we bail a poor player out of trouble? We all agree that this should be done to some extent. But where to draw the line, after which a poor player is on his own? Shall he be able to continue the campaign after his core is completely trashed, and there are no units, or prestige needed to buy them, left at all? That's the question.
But you could stand your argument on it's head - if doing well makes you more powerful relative to the content then the game loses it's challenge thus not encouraging you to play at all.

I like to improve my core but not for the purposes of making following content easier - quite the reverse if I'm doing well I would hope the content gets more challenging - ie I don't want the climax of a campaign to be the equivalent of a "build 4 farms" level because I've done so well in the previous scenarios my core is far above the average the designer balanced the scenario around.

Instead what I want the game to do is give the illusion my core is becoming more powerful via cosmetic enhancements, bigger numbers, more dramatic scenario descriptions, achievement stats etc, while in actuality, relative to the content my core strength remains constant, or even decreases slightly.

Your comment about "bailing a poor player out", in this context misses the point - because the snowball has been eliminated the difficulty of any given scenario in the campaign is set by linear progression, as opposed to core strength. The difficulty levels can then be set to scale the overall force size available to achieve the scenario objectives. The goal of the system is not to enable a poor player to compete with a good player at the same difficulty level, but rather ensure that if you find the first scenario of a campaign at your chosen difficulty suitably challenging you can be reasonably confident the remaining scenarios will also be suitably challenging. On the other hand if the first scenario is too hard that you find your core gutted then you probably aren't going to achieve the scenario objectives anyways and are probably playing at too high of a difficulty level.

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:19 am
by Rudankort
boredatwork wrote: But you could stand your argument on it's head - if doing well makes you more powerful relative to the content then the game loses it's challenge thus not encouraging you to play at all.
Bingo. That's why it is tricky. Either extreme is bad. It is bad when there is no progression of core force. It is bad when the progression is extreme (basically, what we have now). The sweet spot is somewhere in between.
boredatwork wrote: Instead what I want the game to do is give the illusion my core is becoming more powerful via cosmetic enhancements, bigger numbers, more dramatic scenario descriptions, achievement stats etc, while in actuality, relative to the content my core strength remains constant, or even decreases slightly.

Your comment about "bailing a poor player out", in this context misses the point - because the snowball has been eliminated the difficulty of any given scenario in the campaign is set by linear progression, as opposed to core strength. The difficulty levels can then be set to scale the overall force size available to achieve the scenario objectives. The goal of the system is not to enable a poor player to compete with a good player at the same difficulty level, but rather ensure that if you find the first scenario of a campaign at your chosen difficulty suitably challenging you can be reasonably confident the remaining scenarios will also be suitably challenging. On the other hand if the first scenario is too hard that you find your core gutted then you probably aren't going to achieve the scenario objectives anyways and are probably playing at too high of a difficulty level.
Well first of all, snowballing is not eliminated that easily. Imagine two players with very close playing skill. It is natural to assume that they need to pick the same difficulty level. But one of the players will take very slightly more casualties in each scenario. During the first few scenarios this difference will not even show. But eventually it will accumulate, and the better player will buy an extra core unit. From this point on, the rate of snowballing will increase with every scenario. That's how systems with positive feedback work - they amplify the smallest deviations and over time they break the system. Of course, you have a bail out mechanics in place - the game will provide the worse player with extra resources. But eventually this can degrade into 90% auxiliary/10% core. So, my comment about bailing the player out is absolutely valid.

But even this does not really matter. I trust that you will balance such a system one way or another. But then, it will be a very different game. This idea actually reminds me of RTS campaign system, where in every scenario you start from scratch and play "the way designer balanced it". Or maybe playing PzC "campaign" as a bunch of single scenarios played in the right order would have a similar effect. No doubt it is balanced and difficulty scales perfectly, but there is no sense of progression, RPG element is missing. The battles become disconnected, your performance in one does not affect the other. In PzC your core force is all-important, it is the essence of the game. In your suggestion your core does not matter any more. Provided that you pick the difficulty correctly, you will win with the best core or crappiest core which can exist. Why bother bringing it up then? There can be no attachment to things which do not matter.

I can see no cost of a mistake either. Such a game would feel very stale, with no tension whatsoever. If we added an "Ironman" mode to such a game, it would play the same as a normal game with save/reload. Mistake or bad luck? No need to concentrate and think hard in order to get out of trouble. The game will do that for us.

Am I missing anything here?

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:23 am
by boredatwork
Rudankort wrote:Well first of all, snowballing is not eliminated that easily. Imagine two players with very close playing skill. It is natural to assume that they need to pick the same difficulty level. But one of the players will take very slightly more casualties in each scenario. During the first few scenarios this difference will not even show. But eventually it will accumulate, and the better player will buy an extra core unit. From this point on, the rate of snowballing will increase with every scenario. That's how systems with positive feedback work - they amplify the smallest deviations and over time they break the system. Of course, you have a bail out mechanics in place - the game will provide the worse player with extra resources. But eventually this can degrade into 90% auxiliary/10% core. So, my comment about bailing the player out is absolutely valid.
What you're missing in such a case with two players of *very close* skill is the inherent nature of the system would probably work to kill the snowball and stabilise a weaker player's core quality at a level proportionate to his relative skill level:

First the whole idea behind the system is regardless of the breakdown between core and auxiliary units the total strength (and thus difficulty) is fixed - so if player A plays one scenario at 30/70 and the next at 50/50, he should have the same odds of winning both.

As long as the weaker player is playing at a difficulty level where victory is possible for him, he will still receive the same prestige reward at the end as the stronger player. *However,* as the weaker player's core diminishes in favour of auxiliary units, those *disposable* auxiliary units will absorb proportionately more of the damage suffered during the scenario and not require repair, nor overstrength between scenarios, nor will they require upgrading which will free up prestige which can then be reinvested into *re-improving* core quality while his more skilled opponent is sinking his identical amount of prestige into just *maintaining* his core quality.


Rudankort wrote:But even this does not really matter. I trust that you will balance such a system one way or another. But then, it will be a very different game. This idea actually reminds me of RTS campaign system, where in every scenario you start from scratch and play "the way designer balanced it". Or maybe playing PzC "campaign" as a bunch of single scenarios played in the right order would have a similar effect. No doubt it is balanced and difficulty scales perfectly, but there is no sense of progression, RPG element is missing. The battles become disconnected, your performance in one does not affect the other. In PzC your core force is all-important, it is the essence of the game. In your suggestion your core does not matter any more. Provided that you pick the difficulty correctly, you will win with the best core or crappiest core which can exist. Why bother bringing it up then? There can be no attachment to things which do not matter.
I somewhat disagree that introducing a greater degree of **economic** isolation between scenarios would *necessarily* kill the RPG element or the sense of attachment to your core

- Look at the Heart of the Swarm campaign - it is essentially just a bunch of single scenarios reasonably internally balanced with one another. And yet it retains a strong RPG element to it. On a meta level you "earn" army improvements for successfully completing scenarios. You also carry a "core" force from scenario to scenario in the form of a customisable Kerrigan who levels up and gains abilities. It presents the players with a *sense of progression* that your force and it's leader is getting more powerful.

It is however largely an illusion: in the long term you'll get all the basic units in the end, the choices you make between strains or Kerrigan abilities (theoretically) should cancel each other out; and no matter how good or bad you do as long as you can get victory in a scenario Kerrigan will grow at approximately a fixed rate as determined by what the overall power needs to be to make for a challenging scenario. In the end what makes it adequately compelling is the story, the illusion of continuity, and the cosmetic achievements related to accomplishing certain goals.

What would make core progression compelling if the core was merely a variable part of a greater fixed whole? The fact that it is YOURs. That although you might have a 3 star Tiger in both your core and auxiliary units in a given scenario, the former has been with you since Poland. It has kills, it has medals, it has statistics, it has heroes. It has a **story.** Build on that story aspect of the game and put unit based achievements in - for example if a particular tank unit kills X number of steps in a single scenario give it a little graphical indicator on it's page. Implement a system similar to PeG attachments where you have the option of customising CORE units by for example choosing between spotter aircraft to artillery to improve a stat or munitions carriers to improve ammo.

Does naming a unit matter to it's strength? No and yet the ability to name a unit is a feature many players enjoy. Extend that further - Allow players to generate custom unit insignia for their unit screens. Give comparison screens where players can compare the achievement of all of their units side by side. YOUR units will likely wind up being more powerful than their bog standard counterparts but overall economically will be accounted for and compensated for to ensure difficulty remains a constant.


Regardless this isn't really my preferred solution anyways - merely an attempt to illustrate a method by which the benefits to scenario design could be gained while still retaining the quantity capped core and iffy prestige allocation. Given that I don't expect you'll seriously consider this proposal in the foreseeable future, I'll bow out of this thread and do more productive things with my time.

Giving us the ability to manually compensate via difficulty on a scenario by scenario basis would be adequate in the short term.

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:14 pm
by Anfield
I think you are making this more complicated than need be.

Lets take the OP first issue about poorer players struggling to keep core units alive and increase prestige. This isnt a problem with game design, sinply an issue of bad tactics and poor prestige management. Poor understanding of the tactics that work in PC will lead to more losses, thus spending more prestige to replace those killed. Add to that, and I know this from when I started playing, if you try to elite replace everything, youll run out of presitge very fast. Core forces can have some effect, but if they are struggling from the start, its tactics and prestige management thats hurting their play.

And how do we know what the above says is true, simple, there are many players not having those issues. Now are they doing it with luck, random chance, no. Its better tactics, thus less losses, and less prestige being spend to replace those. And once they learn, not to waste prestige during a game on elite replacement, you can see how they qucikly build up prestige and improve thier force.

I struggled as a new player, sure many of us did, but as we played more, read more on the forum etc, we became better. We dont need to fix anything with game design over this issue.

Snowballing, is simply a result of good tactical players that manage their prestige well. With one other factor, unit upgrades. So now because they lose less points on units during battle with better tactics, prestige builds up. Allowing them to constantly equip their force with all the latest equipment when it comes out. Which in turn allows their better tactics to be even more effective, again leading to less losses and more prestige to be built up. Sort of a catch22, one simply leads to the other.

Now PC as a game allows this to happen. The maps, battles, units replease dates, armies we fight against are all based on historical date. It drives the game, however PC falls short in one aspect that works counter to all that. It allows us as players to field whatever we want in our core. Adding to the snowball effect. Go take a look at some of the topics where people list their core armies in the forum. Youll see two types, historcal lists from players and power lists. The difference isnt hard to spot, a power list for say 1943 east will have something like 6 Tigers, 9 Panters, 5 infantry, 10 artillery(all tracked). Now its not very historical, but it does add to the snowball effect. I know, ive played a force like that to see what its like. And with all those tanks at OS 13-15, you just run right over everything hardly taking any losses at all. Which, you guessed it, leads to more prestige, I was at 37,000 after the 3 battles of Kursk DLC43. To be honest the game was so boring I stopped that campaign after that lol Now you can get the snowball effect with a historical force, but its not as easy to do.

So as has been said, we dont like the super armies and the snowball effect, so how to fix it?

Again the simple answer is to do what tabletop minaiture games have done for decades with their rules. You just limit or restrict the amount of some units you can have. Take my above example of someones core for 1943 with 6 Tigers and 9 Panters. I think we all know that army would fight alot different if you were restricked to 2 Tigers and 3 Panters, the rest of the tank force having to be made up of PzIVs etc. Now im not saying take away from us the fun in making our own army with our core choices. But if you have 40 core units you can deploy, and have a restriction saying you must field, 8 infantry units, two towed artillery guns, no more than 2 Tigers and 3 Panthers, I think you would really cut into the snowball effect. That still leaves you free to chose the other 25 units you deploy.

So if these sort of limits were there at the start of the game and ran through till the end, it would make it a challenge, even with good tactics and lots of prestige, simply because your force doesnt contain the best and newest units. Thus you would take more losses, and have to spend more prestige during the game, lessoning the chance for the snowball effect to ever get started.

Now this would be a game option to play, like weather etc. But it would have the effect of slowing if not stopping the snowball effect. And again as proof, just go look at the core lists around the forum, those runnning more historically lists by far have much less prestige to play with. I mean any of us that have played enough games know, that if you limit the big units with all the power, that game with cost you lots more in prestige to win.

I know alot of you wont like this solution, but it would be an easy fix to the snowball problem. I know, its hard to resist having all those Tigers and panthers right, infantry are so dull :-P

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:56 pm
by Zhivago
Anfield wrote:I think you are making this more complicated than need be.

Lets take the OP first issue about poorer players struggling to keep core units alive and increase prestige. This isnt a problem with game design, sinply an issue of bad tactics and poor prestige management. Poor understanding of the tactics that work in PC will lead to more losses, thus spending more prestige to replace those killed. Add to that, and I know this from when I started playing, if you try to elite replace everything, youll run out of presitge very fast. Core forces can have some effect, but if they are struggling from the start, its tactics and prestige management thats hurting their play.

And how do we know what the above says is true, simple, there are many players not having those issues. Now are they doing it with luck, random chance, no. Its better tactics, thus less losses, and less prestige being spend to replace those. And once they learn, not to waste prestige during a game on elite replacement, you can see how they qucikly build up prestige and improve thier force.

I struggled as a new player, sure many of us did, but as we played more, read more on the forum etc, we became better. We dont need to fix anything with game design over this issue.

Snowballing, is simply a result of good tactical players that manage their prestige well. With one other factor, unit upgrades. So now because they lose less points on units during battle with better tactics, prestige builds up. Allowing them to constantly equip their force with all the latest equipment when it comes out. Which in turn allows their better tactics to be even more effective, again leading to less losses and more prestige to be built up. Sort of a catch22, one simply leads to the other.

Now PC as a game allows this to happen. The maps, battles, units replease dates, armies we fight against are all based on historical date. It drives the game, however PC falls short in one aspect that works counter to all that. It allows us as players to field whatever we want in our core. Adding to the snowball effect. Go take a look at some of the topics where people list their core armies in the forum. Youll see two types, historcal lists from players and power lists. The difference isnt hard to spot, a power list for say 1943 east will have something like 6 Tigers, 9 Panters, 5 infantry, 10 artillery(all tracked). Now its not very historical, but it does add to the snowball effect. I know, ive played a force like that to see what its like. And with all those tanks at OS 13-15, you just run right over everything hardly taking any losses at all. Which, you guessed it, leads to more prestige, I was at 37,000 after the 3 battles of Kursk DLC43. To be honest the game was so boring I stopped that campaign after that lol Now you can get the snowball effect with a historical force, but its not as easy to do.

So as has been said, we dont like the super armies and the snowball effect, so how to fix it?

Again the simple answer is to do what tabletop minaiture games have done for decades with their rules. You just limit or restrict the amount of some units you can have. Take my above example of someones core for 1943 with 6 Tigers and 9 Panters. I think we all know that army would fight alot different if you were restricked to 2 Tigers and 3 Panters, the rest of the tank force having to be made up of PzIVs etc. Now im not saying take away from us the fun in making our own army with our core choices. But if you have 40 core units you can deploy, and have a restriction saying you must field, 8 infantry units, two towed artillery guns, no more than 2 Tigers and 3 Panthers, I think you would really cut into the snowball effect. That still leaves you free to chose the other 25 units you deploy.

So if these sort of limits were there at the start of the game and ran through till the end, it would make it a challenge, even with good tactics and lots of prestige, simply because your force doesnt contain the best and newest units. Thus you would take more losses, and have to spend more prestige during the game, lessoning the chance for the snowball effect to ever get started.

Now this would be a game option to play, like weather etc. But it would have the effect of slowing if not stopping the snowball effect. And again as proof, just go look at the core lists around the forum, those runnning more historically lists by far have much less prestige to play with. I mean any of us that have played enough games know, that if you limit the big units with all the power, that game with cost you lots more in prestige to win.

I know alot of you wont like this solution, but it would be an easy fix to the snowball problem. I know, its hard to resist having all those Tigers and panthers right, infantry are so dull :-P
The concept of limiting core compositions is well-worn here in these Forums. If you are able to run over everything and build up so much prestige, I would suggest upping the difficulty level. If Field Marshall is not hard enough for you, try Rommel or Manstein or Guderian. I guarantee you are not going to amass huge quantities of prestige, and your toughest Tigers and Panthers are going to get beat up.

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:03 pm
by deducter
Zhivago wrote:The concept of limiting core compositions is well-worn here in these Forums. If you are able to run over everything and build up so much prestige, I would suggest upping the difficulty level. If Field Marshall is not hard enough for you, try Rommel or Manstein or Guderian. I guarantee you are not going to amass huge quantities of prestige, and your toughest Tigers and Panthers are going to get beat up.
Even Manstein, by far the hardest level, is a complete breeze with 30k+ prestige and a core full of excellent 4-5 star units. A long time ago, when GC43East first came out, Charonjr used a standard heavy armor core on Manstein, won DV on all scenarios, and ended 1943 with 30k prestige, down from 40k. There are other players who finished 1945 on Manstein and had a easy time, just move forward Tiger IIs and killing everything. So for many players, upping the difficulty by even something as drastic as a massive increase to AI strength is not enough.

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:05 pm
by deducter
Rudankort wrote:...but there is no sense of progression, RPG element is missing. The battles become disconnected, your performance in one does not affect the other. In PzC your core force is all-important, it is the essence of the game. In your suggestion your core does not matter any more...
If we're going to think about RPGs, let's consider a simple example. You have a choice to select a greatsword, a bow, or a sword/shield combo as your weapons. Each choice is different; the greatsword does a lot of damage per hit but leaves you vulnerable, the bow is a ranged weapon but very weak in melee, and the sword/shield allows you to tank but you don’t do much damage. If designed appropriately, each weapon plays very differently and has its own strengths and weaknesses. In this system, there are 3 distinct choices.

But suppose there’s another choice, a new weapon that’s a magic staff. It does the same damage as the greatsword, it’s ranged, and it provides a massive defense bonus like a shield. Because there are 4 weapons, there should be more choice right? However, what reason is there for a player to choose the old weapons when the magic staff is better in every single possible way? So what ends up happening is that you have the illusion of more choice, when in fact you’ve really reduced weapon selection down to a single obvious correct answer.

My point with this example is that right now, PzC has the illusion of choice. If the heavy armor/artillery/jet fighter core is the best without any drawbacks, then effectively you have only a single strategic option. I think it is important for a strategy game to have distinct choices. It’s not important that all the choices result in the same outcome (which is really just winning scenarios), but rather, that the choices allow the player to get to that point with a different playstyle. And obviously not all choices should be allowed; for instance, sticking to your starting core and never upgrading should not succeed.

Ideas such as introducing a maintenance system, reducing the invincibility of high IN, high attack units, and various other balance tweaks should really only activate on high difficulty, like FM or above. This is also why I recommend creating 2-3 more difficulty levels, so there’s more of a gradual climb. I’d leave the current game mechanics as is for General and lower.

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:50 pm
by Zhivago
deducter wrote:
Zhivago wrote:The concept of limiting core compositions is well-worn here in these Forums. If you are able to run over everything and build up so much prestige, I would suggest upping the difficulty level. If Field Marshall is not hard enough for you, try Rommel or Manstein or Guderian. I guarantee you are not going to amass huge quantities of prestige, and your toughest Tigers and Panthers are going to get beat up.
Even Manstein, by far the hardest level, is a complete breeze with 30k+ prestige and a core full of excellent 4-5 star units. A long time ago, when GC43East first came out, Charonjr used a standard heavy armor core on Manstein, won DV on all scenarios, and ended 1943 with 30k prestige, down from 40k. There are other players who finished 1945 on Manstein and had a easy time, just move forward Tiger IIs and killing everything. So for many players, upping the difficulty by even something as drastic as a massive increase to AI strength is not enough.
I would like to see proof of that. Are you sure he did not hit the cheat code and add 500,000 prestige before he started DLC East 43?

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:55 pm
by Zhivago
deducter wrote:
Rudankort wrote:...but there is no sense of progression, RPG element is missing. The battles become disconnected, your performance in one does not affect the other. In PzC your core force is all-important, it is the essence of the game. In your suggestion your core does not matter any more...
If we're going to think about RPGs, let's consider a simple example. You have a choice to select a greatsword, a bow, or a sword/shield combo as your weapons. Each choice is different; the greatsword does a lot of damage per hit but leaves you vulnerable, the bow is a ranged weapon but very weak in melee, and the sword/shield allows you to tank but you don’t do much damage. If designed appropriately, each weapon plays very differently and has its own strengths and weaknesses. In this system, there are 3 distinct choices.

But suppose there’s another choice, a new weapon that’s a magic staff. It does the same damage as the greatsword, it’s ranged, and it provides a massive defense bonus like a shield. Because there are 4 weapons, there should be more choice right? However, what reason is there for a player to choose the old weapons when the magic staff is better in every single possible way? So what ends up happening is that you have the illusion of more choice, when in fact you’ve really reduced weapon selection down to a single obvious correct answer.

My point with this example is that right now, PzC has the illusion of choice. If the heavy armor/artillery/jet fighter core is the best without any drawbacks, then effectively you have only a single strategic option. I think it is important for a strategy game to have distinct choices. It’s not important that all the choices result in the same outcome (which is really just winning scenarios), but rather, that the choices allow the player to get to that point with a different playstyle. And obviously not all choices should be allowed; for instance, sticking to your starting core and never upgrading should not succeed.

Ideas such as introducing a maintenance system, reducing the invincibility of high IN, high attack units, and various other balance tweaks should really only activate on high difficulty, like FM or above. This is also why I recommend creating 2-3 more difficulty levels, so there’s more of a gradual climb. I’d leave the current game mechanics as is for General and lower.
I think maintenance--and even supply--could be features that could be experimented with to give the game more variables. However, the train has left the station on Panzer Corps. I think these are suggestions that should be heavily tested, and then possibly added to Panzer Corps 2.

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:41 pm
by Anfield
Zhivago wrote:
Anfield wrote:I think you are making this more complicated than need be.

Lets take the OP first issue about poorer players struggling to keep core units alive and increase prestige. This isnt a problem with game design, sinply an issue of bad tactics and poor prestige management. Poor understanding of the tactics that work in PC will lead to more losses, thus spending more prestige to replace those killed. Add to that, and I know this from when I started playing, if you try to elite replace everything, youll run out of presitge very fast. Core forces can have some effect, but if they are struggling from the start, its tactics and prestige management thats hurting their play.

And how do we know what the above says is true, simple, there are many players not having those issues. Now are they doing it with luck, random chance, no. Its better tactics, thus less losses, and less prestige being spend to replace those. And once they learn, not to waste prestige during a game on elite replacement, you can see how they qucikly build up prestige and improve thier force.

I struggled as a new player, sure many of us did, but as we played more, read more on the forum etc, we became better. We dont need to fix anything with game design over this issue.

Snowballing, is simply a result of good tactical players that manage their prestige well. With one other factor, unit upgrades. So now because they lose less points on units during battle with better tactics, prestige builds up. Allowing them to constantly equip their force with all the latest equipment when it comes out. Which in turn allows their better tactics to be even more effective, again leading to less losses and more prestige to be built up. Sort of a catch22, one simply leads to the other.

Now PC as a game allows this to happen. The maps, battles, units replease dates, armies we fight against are all based on historical date. It drives the game, however PC falls short in one aspect that works counter to all that. It allows us as players to field whatever we want in our core. Adding to the snowball effect. Go take a look at some of the topics where people list their core armies in the forum. Youll see two types, historcal lists from players and power lists. The difference isnt hard to spot, a power list for say 1943 east will have something like 6 Tigers, 9 Panters, 5 infantry, 10 artillery(all tracked). Now its not very historical, but it does add to the snowball effect. I know, ive played a force like that to see what its like. And with all those tanks at OS 13-15, you just run right over everything hardly taking any losses at all. Which, you guessed it, leads to more prestige, I was at 37,000 after the 3 battles of Kursk DLC43. To be honest the game was so boring I stopped that campaign after that lol Now you can get the snowball effect with a historical force, but its not as easy to do.

So as has been said, we dont like the super armies and the snowball effect, so how to fix it?

Again the simple answer is to do what tabletop minaiture games have done for decades with their rules. You just limit or restrict the amount of some units you can have. Take my above example of someones core for 1943 with 6 Tigers and 9 Panters. I think we all know that army would fight alot different if you were restricked to 2 Tigers and 3 Panters, the rest of the tank force having to be made up of PzIVs etc. Now im not saying take away from us the fun in making our own army with our core choices. But if you have 40 core units you can deploy, and have a restriction saying you must field, 8 infantry units, two towed artillery guns, no more than 2 Tigers and 3 Panthers, I think you would really cut into the snowball effect. That still leaves you free to chose the other 25 units you deploy.

So if these sort of limits were there at the start of the game and ran through till the end, it would make it a challenge, even with good tactics and lots of prestige, simply because your force doesnt contain the best and newest units. Thus you would take more losses, and have to spend more prestige during the game, lessoning the chance for the snowball effect to ever get started.

Now this would be a game option to play, like weather etc. But it would have the effect of slowing if not stopping the snowball effect. And again as proof, just go look at the core lists around the forum, those runnning more historically lists by far have much less prestige to play with. I mean any of us that have played enough games know, that if you limit the big units with all the power, that game with cost you lots more in prestige to win.

I know alot of you wont like this solution, but it would be an easy fix to the snowball problem. I know, its hard to resist having all those Tigers and panthers right, infantry are so dull :-P
The concept of limiting core compositions is well-worn here in these Forums. If you are able to run over everything and build up so much prestige, I would suggest upping the difficulty level. If Field Marshall is not hard enough for you, try Rommel or Manstein or Guderian. I guarantee you are not going to amass huge quantities of prestige, and your toughest Tigers and Panthers are going to get beat up.
I play on FM and have a hard enough time of it. BUT I set my own limits as was outlined above. For every Tiger I must run 2 PzIVs or StuGs, for every Panther its 1 PzIV or StuG, add to that I run around 10-12 infantry units that must be supported by towed artillery and the game is plenty fun and challenging. :-)

Now the idea may well have been talked about on here, yet still the solution to snowball effect isnt fixed? And as I said, rules in other games I play that do have limits, dont have the snowball effect. Im not sure as someone else saud about just making more levels of play that are even harder is a good solution. Maybe it is, but wouldnt we at some point reach the same snowball effect then too?

I just think its an easy solution that can be a option to pick, before you start a campaign. Clearly some people like the idea, as even you say is been talked about on here enough before. So before making major changes in game design, limiting the units you can deploy seems a good way to see if you can stop the snowball effect. And I can tell you, when I play using limits, you dont get the snowball effect :-)

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:35 pm
by Aloo
The whole discussion was actually very interesting to read. A thing to consider could be a modified suggestion about aux units. Why not design a scenario that only the core (see what I'm doing here;) ) of used forces is the core units and the rest are either preset Aux units or aux units that you can buy. The whole aux unit buying option looks like something that was considered but removed, why not use it. If over 50% of the force would be preset aux units than balancing scenarios would be much easier. It would also make transferring to different fronts and operations much easier to imagine. I know that power-players will still have a power core but this way the scenarios can be generally harder as over half the players force is known by the designer.

I'm not 100% but I think that the PG series had more AUX units in play.

I like the first scenarios of all the campaigns since they offer the most interesting challenges and the most fun this way. After a while I really liked the transfer to the west campaigns that were smaller, took only part of my core and reset prestige. It hurt to loose the many core units but after a while the gameplay really made me forget about them.

The one thing you have to remember is that a lot of people play on lower diff setting and still have fun with the game. In a poll over 50% of the users declared that they play on general or below. 38% play on colonel or below. 15% play above FM. Im guessing that there is a vast number of casual players that dont even enter the forum and that have no idea how to unlock the higher diff levels and have no use for them anyway.

I myself am a casual gamer and am playing on general or FM lever and are just right with prestige and core composition. I finished west camp in sealion 45 with 70 prestige with tanks split to about 30% Tiger II 30% Tiger I and the rest panthers, fighters mostly the gotha and shwelbe jets and a mix big mix of arty and grenadiers and FJ. I could not afford an uber but also didnt try to get one.

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:25 pm
by Rudankort
deducter wrote: My point with this example is that right now, PzC has the illusion of choice. If the heavy armor/artillery/jet fighter core is the best without any drawbacks, then effectively you have only a single strategic option. I think it is important for a strategy game to have distinct choices. It’s not important that all the choices result in the same outcome (which is really just winning scenarios), but rather, that the choices allow the player to get to that point with a different playstyle. And obviously not all choices should be allowed; for instance, sticking to your starting core and never upgrading should not succeed.
This is pretty obvious, but I don't see how to fix it within our existing stats framework. In fact, it might not be easy in any framework, because WW2 did see a huge progression in weapons and equipment, and newer models were superior to old stuff in almost every way. It is so much easy in fantasy setting, where your units can have absolutely arbitrary stats.

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:40 pm
by Rudankort
boredatwork wrote: Regardless this isn't really my preferred solution anyways - merely an attempt to illustrate a method by which the benefits to scenario design could be gained while still retaining the quantity capped core and iffy prestige allocation. Given that I don't expect you'll seriously consider this proposal in the foreseeable future, I'll bow out of this thread and do more productive things with my time.
Fair enough. I also don't want to go further into discussion, so will just give a quick comment.

I believe that you exaggerate the strength of cosmetic stuff. It is critical for atmosphere and immersion, but it does not make gameplay for you. You will not put inferior sword into your character's hands, even if it is decorated with rubies and emeralds, and according to the story it was wielded by the king of elves himself. :) RPG is a long sequence of small improvements to your characters which make them more powerful than before.

This might be a question of personal preference, I never liked RTS approach to campaigns, or for example campaigns in Heroes series, where you main character(s) migrated from map to map but they lost everything cool which they accumulated in the previous battles. I find that such campaigns keep me interested only as long as separate scenarios would do, campaign does not contribute much in terms of interest. So yeah, it might be just me. But this means that Panzer Corps is not going to follow this path of cosmetic improvements, neither now nor in the future. ;) Admittedly, in the future I'll make sure that unit progression is much more smooth and balanced, and they are not getting overpowered/invincible. It is harder to do within existing PzC series, but I'll see what can be done about it.

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:34 pm
by boredatwork
Rudankort wrote: Fair enough. I also don't want to go further into discussion, so will just give a quick comment.

I believe that you exaggerate the strength of cosmetic stuff. It is critical for atmosphere and immersion, but it does not make gameplay for you. You will not put inferior sword into your character's hands, even if it is decorated with rubies and emeralds, and according to the story it was wielded by the king of elves himself. :) RPG is a long sequence of small improvements to your characters which make them more powerful than before.
I'll limit my response to 3 paragraphs, including this paragraph regarding the length of my response.

The "power" to which you refer to IS largely cosmetic. I've played WoW for example on again/off again since it's inception. When my NElf Huntress began her heroic career in 2005 the bow she used was a level one Bow. By the time I hit level 10 I had gone through several bows each one somewhat more powerful than the last. I was far more powerful than I was... versus level 1 mobs... but going back and 1 shoting level 1 mobs has little entertainment value consequently all of my play was against level 10 mobs, against whom my level 10 bow, although much more effective than my level 1 bow would be against similar opponents, was relatively no more efficient than a lvl 1 bow was against lvl 1 mobs. She's now 90 and using a level 90 bow (ilevel???) and yet challenge wise because there is little incentive to use that power on content of lower level, effectively in Panda land I face the exact same challenge as I did 8 years ago despite my increased power (well technically much easier but that's a result of other factors)

Similarly my 2 Panther tanks in my core force are much stronger than the 2 PzIs they started the campaign as. If I fought the same 1 Polish 7TP I would demolish it now. But it's now 1944 and in place of a single 7TP I'm now fighting 4-5 T-34/85s which (theoretically) should provide the exact same challenge as I faced in 1939.

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:09 am
by soldier
Some very good suggestions here, like paying for supplies and introducing maintenance costs for the higher difficulties but I'd prefer to focus more on how easy it is to constantly reinforce and upgrade your units with the latest equipment. Provided you have the cash, there's an apparently endless stream of top range stuff coming from the axis factories and this keeps the snowball growing. In Panzer Corps, combat debut date means the new unit is available to everyone, everywhere and in unlimited quantities. In reality of course, commanders on the field had to settle with a certain number of supplied vehicles and if those got destroyed you couldn't expect to instantly make good your losses. It also meant fielding a variety of the latest and older models. So I like Deducters suggestion of maybe slowing the rate at which the most recent vehicles or classes could reinforce.
At the moment its very easy to upgrade your core and there are absolutely no difficulties (bar prestige) to factor in or think about, so its a no brainer to get the very best straight away. You can even upgrade your entire airwing or tank force at once ready to go for the next battle. But what if upgrading a unit meant it was temporarily removed from your available roster for the next battle ? You would now think more carefully about it. Instead of having the latest Tiger on the battlefield you would actually have a gap in your force while your unit was getting refitted in the rear. Sometimes divisions were actually sent all the way back to Germany for rest and refit. I can see something like this slowing the snowball slightly provided the the core limit was also reduced during the upgrade. Once your all upgraded though you go on snowballing

No doubt someone will jump up and say " but i want to play with no limits or restrictions"... good on ya :roll:

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:44 am
by Rudankort
boredatwork wrote: I'll limit my response to 3 paragraphs, including this paragraph regarding the length of my response.
I agree with what you are saying about RPG balance, and achieving a similar effect should be our goal. :) There are several factors which make it tricky in a hex-based wargame, but it should be doable.

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:46 pm
by deducter
Rudankort wrote: In fact, it might not be easy in any framework, because WW2 did see a huge progression in weapons and equipment, and newer models were superior to old stuff in almost every way. It is so much easy in fantasy setting, where your units can have absolutely arbitrary stats.
In many weapons system, this is true. A Panzer IV was superior to a Panzer II in almost every single way. The Panzer IV had better upgrades than the Panzer III, and by 1944 the Panzer III was no longer produced or used on the front. Each model of T-34 was not only better in terms of mechanical reliability, armor, and firepower, but reduced in cost as well (except the T-34-85, which was more expensive than the T-34-76/43).

But in other examples, new weapons often had drawbacks. A Panther, although it had supremely good frontal armor and a vastly superior gun than the Panzer IV, had the similar side, rear, and top armor. The standard Allied tactic to destroy it was by flanking it with multiple tanks, or if the Panther was caught out in the open, it was vulnerable to bombers. So far from being nearly invulnerable, the Panther could be defeated by even the T-34-76 and Sherman 75 mm if the proper tactics were utilized. Also, at its debut in 1943, the Panther was a mechanical mess. I believe of the 200 Panthers sent to Kursk, within 2 days half the machines broke down, not in any way due to enemy actions. Guderian himself insisted on expanding the production of the Panzer IV, because it was a reliable, proven tank. Guderian didn't want to produce more Panzer III, since that tank was clearly inadequate, but he agreed to expand the production of StuG III, which was built on the Panzer III chassis. Arguably these decisions staved off German defeat for half a year at least, since the original plan was just to produce Panthers and Tigers and drop production of other tanks. The Red Army could probably have driven to Berlin by 1944 if all the Germans had was a dribble of Panthers and Tigers to stem the tide.

As an example for the Allies, consider the Sherman tank. The basic Sherman with the 75 mm gun was very effective against soft targets, but rather useless attacking the frontal armor of most German tanks, even the Panzer IV. However, when flanking, it actually was decent, and as stated previously, even the Panther was vulnerable due to its thin side armor. The Sherman with the 76 mm gun was much better at defeating armor, but wasn't as good against soft targets, and there was never enough time to have refitted all existing Shermans to this model. There are other, more specialized Sherman models, like the "Jumbo" which had 200 mm of frontal armor, but that model was slow and had mechanical issues, and was only intended to launch frontal attacks. There was the Sherman with the 105 mm gun, the Sherman Calliope with rocket launchers, the Sherman Crocodile with flame throwers, etc. So while there existed many Sherman models, there was no clear "best" model. Rather, each had its own specialization. It would be much more satisfying to have all the strengths of weaknesses of the various Sherman tanks represented accurately.

I'm not saying balancing the units must be perfect. But surely balance could be improved while adhering to the knowledge we have of various weapon systems.

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:00 pm
by mulleto22
Hi,

Theres been a lot of discussion here and in the past about core composition and increase of difficulty levels to prevent snowballing. What about changing the other side of the equation? We cannot change the AI game strategies by much, but what can change is the composition of AI forces, and my suggestion is to have it change relative to the core strength of the player.

A JS-2 at 15 strength does take a bite from a Tiger II. Not a big one, but 2 strength points will usually go even if the Tiger II is fully overstrengthened.

The only problem is, that even in the late 44 and 45 East GCs, there usually only few JS-2 in each scenario. Imagine what it would be like if the AI fielded NOTHING BUT JS2s?

Ok, thats not historical, but the snowballing usually happens with the player core getting stronger and stronger, and usually getting less and less historical. So, if the players core gets less historical , why shouldn't the AI do so too?

So, I imagine a solution to be something like this: have the AI core "adapt" to the player strength. This means finding some point of reference: It would mean "weighing" the strength of player core (simple example: "add up all hard attack points of armor units") and his prestige. In a simple example, lets say the AI expects the player to have 10.000 prestige and 250 hard attack points in his core. Now, if the player fields a core with 350 hard attack and has more prestige, the scenario setup needs to be adjusted automatically. So, if the AI would usually have 10 T34 and JS2, he would now have 5 T34 and 7 JS2 placed on the map.

Really simple example, am I getting my idea explained well enough? And yes, I do understand that weighing the players core will need a larger effort than simply adding up hard attack points :-)

And of course, I understand that different unit classes need to be weighed and upgraded separately, so an arty piece should not miraculously convert to a JS2.

So this would mean automatic adaption of scenario setups for the AI, and I have no idea who difficult this is to implement into PzC, if possible at all.

This system would complement the difficulty levels that do exist: Once again a simple example: At any given scenario, if playing on colonel, the AI "expects" the player to have 5.000 prestige and 200 hard attack points before gradually adapting the AI strength. If the same scenario would be played on FM, the AI would already adapt his strength if the player has more than 3.000 prestige and 150 attack points. This way, the higher the player level, the earlier the AI would start getting stronger forces.

Thinking the whole thing through, this would mean that every scenario would have an array of reference values for each difficulty level. If snowballing happens, the AI would increase its strength, up to the point where the human faces nothing but JS2. If he beats that, chapeau, but I guess for those extreme players you just can't design a game perfectly.

Re: The Snowball Effect and Possible Solutions

Posted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:21 pm
by ThvN
So, I’m back, a little later than I hoped, life intervened. But to overcompensate, behold my wall of words:

I’ll try to keep it simple at first and start with the idea to have flexible prestige rewards (‘soft cap’) and a personal definition on unit value. I’ve tried to run some numbers, most came up as expected, which was nice.


Unit value
Unit value is not the cost of the unit, but basically its worth for the player. This is how desirable a unit is to a player, and will be dependant not just on cost, but also ‘value for money’, scenario rules, historical preference, etc. This cannot be put in numbers easily. But I feel I must try to attempt to establish some kind of usable standard, some way of measuring things.

One problem I see with solving the many questions presented here is the lack of a clear set of data and benchmarks. We are not only discussing the combat system and overstrength mechanism, but cost is frequently mentioned as well. The snowball effect is partly caused by having to spend less but earning the same as with other strategies. Experience and OS are technically separate, but overlap in gameplay effects. Prestige levels and unit stats are also independent, but all these factors can overlap and conspire to produce the ‘snowball effect’. Besides that, there are limits imposed and design goals to be reckoned with (core size limit, scenario design, ease of play). So, a little bit of sorting things might help here.


Core cost as a benchmark
I started thinking about some sort of standard that I could base my ideas on, because I like to work with some fairly solid fundament. So I took the core and its cost in prestige as my basic concepts, as there seems to be some fairly general agreement on core effectiveness, and by trying to take core cost I eleminate a huge chunk of what-if questions (scenario design, AI, etc.). This assumption also has drawbacks of course, and I’ll give some examples of that later.

People post up their cores all the time, and core composition is a sort of ‘benchmark’ in measuring potential effectiveness on paper. If the core composition can provide a usable link between effectiveness and the cost of the units, this might provide some numbers for comparative purposes. It’s obvious that better cores cost more, but is there some way a qualitative comparison might give some usable data in terms of purchasing/OS cost? Let's find out.

So to obtain some usable data I thought it might be a good idea to calculate the ‘value’ of a core using some kind of fundamental unit (as in unit of standard measurement). The currency the game uses is prestige and units have a fixed cost, so I tried using this in MS Excel for some number crunching.
I simply used the costs involved in purchasing and overstrengthing between scenarios, so one point of OS is twice the step cost of a 10-strength unit. 'OverstrengthCost’ is 200% in the stock gamerules.pzdat, so I used that to calculate OS step cost. (example:Tiger2=990 prestige, step cost=99, OS step cost = 198).

A quick question: for a one-off scenario, what would you rather have in your core: A 14-str,4-star PanzerIV J or a 12-str, 2-star Panther A?

Or if you had to choose between a 15-str, 5-star Tiger I or a 12-str, 2-star Tiger II, which would you prefer?

Let me guess: ‘It depends’? Well, these two pairs of units turned out to be quite close in total prestige cost and performance against opposing tanks. My numbers, for comparison:

14-str, 4-star Pz IV J= 928,8 prestige, vs. 12-str, 2-star Panther A= 917 prestige.

15-str, 5-star Tiger I= 1406 prestige, vs. 12-str, 2-star Tiger II= 1386 prestige.

Against soft targets, the higher strength units have the advantage (higher bonus to (nearly equal) SA and more rolls-to-hit). But, total cost and effectiveness against armoured units seems to be comparable, and considering that the vast majority of the units seems fairly balanced this *might* be a useable method of calculating the value of a core. However, there are problems, I’ll get to that in a moment.


Prestige caps
Conclusion up until now: Since the game already can export core files, it may be possible to simply use the basic formula of purchase cost + ((OverstrengthCost factor * step cost)* amount of OS steps) to give a rough idea of the value of a players’ core units in terms of combat effectiveness. This value can then be used as a benchmark for PzC to adjust the prestige rewards a player receives, to realize a soft cap in prestige based on derived (not calculated, see below) core strength.

Problems:

this would only work for deployed core forces, not the reserves, so only deployed foreces must be calculated, and there must be a way to prevent players deploying strength 1 units to fool the system, and then spending a turn to get them all up to 10, skewing the reward system. Maybe measure twice at different points in time, and take some average/median/mean value?

Although it would need only a single tweak value, getting this right may be very difficult, but it could be scaled with the difficulty to give an extra instrument to set these levels.

It would work poorly in ‘mission’ scenarios where more specialized abilities could alter the perceived ‘unit value’.

Along the same lines, cores need to be a bit balanced, so no massive airforces, otherwise it will be skewed. The bigger a core gets the less this effect would be, but for small cores this effect can be strong.

It will be favourable towards experienced units without overstrength, as they will have the same value as a green unit. This is a fundamental problem: quality cannot be measured here without inventing some sort of conversion chart, but in PzC quality and cost do overlap somewhat, the OS system provides some added padding to mask this basic defect in my theory slightly. The snowball effect seems very dependant on a unit being OS, so in slowing the snowball it will still be effective. But I don't know if it's enough.

To add, talking of prestige caps and deducters proposal to limit the speed of reinforcement, you can also add a prestige spending limit, dependant on difficulty level. On low levels, spend all you like, but on the highest levels it could be set to a limit that could be spent each turn, or even per unit, so you still could reinforce as much units as you like (to negate differences in core size, important detail), so for example someone could only spend 1000, 500 or 300 prestige on a unit per turn to reinforce them. This would automatically provide the differential in step reinforcements.

So far for the flexible prestige caps, there are other concepts that might profit from this derived number.


Deployment cost
This core value calculation could however be a good benchmark for calculating a ‘deployment cost’, because the way I see it, deployment cost could be some sort of respresentation of a player having to exert influence on High Command to be able to use elite units that are badly needed elsewhere as well. You wouldn’t lose them when not deploying them, but let’s say they were temporarily assigned elsewhere or something during your scenario if you can’t pay to deploy them; is doesn’t really matter, as long as it stays in the reserve, ready for the next scenario.

There would be a fairly direct relation between an OS unit and it prestige cost, but again experience is not taken into account separately, and could still lead to ‘gamey’ exploits. So practically the same drawbacks, but it might provide a useful damper for the snowball mechanism.


Cost multipliers
But I noticed that two things have crept into the discussion: what about the future Allied expansions, and should rarity of certain unit types be modeled somehow? This discussion about rarity is old, but thinking about this I got another idea which might help contribute to this discussion.

In PzC the reinforcement cost (and with it the OS cost) is variable, it has different settings depending on wether the player is between scenarios or not.
So with this in mind, I tried to see if some sort of adjustable value multiplier could be worked out. This is similar to the 'OverstrengthCost', but instead of a single, global number it could be added to the separate unit stats. It could function in the same manner as the ’Rate of Fire’ unit stat: it follows a global setting (OverstrengthCost), modified by a value for the unit.

With this value, a unit could be given an additional OS cost multiplier, which will mean each extra point of overstrength will cost relatively more (or less!) than units without this multiplier. I made the formula exponential as well, as I believe this will provide the law of diminishing return with regards to overstrengthing top tier units, that is to make each OS step increasingly more expensive. I have seen most others think among the same lines, so I worked out a formula on this basis, although it can be altered to suit other ideas.

It has a lot of ‘paper’ advantages, and if I can cook it up in a spreadsheet it shouldn’t be too abstract to implement. The global OS cost multiplier will be affected by the difficulty setting, the unit OS cost multiplier will be affected by it to provide a feedback loop which can rapidly scale up OS cost if a unit is very expensive, but it could also be used to keep certain units relatively more affordable to overstrength.

It will not solve the ‘problem’ that top units with high OS will steamroller things or will not be attacked by the AI and suffer fewer losses a result. I actually think that they should be able to do that, to be honest, this is the RPG element that is the reward for nurturing and investing in a unit I think. But they should be increasingly rare, as difficulty starts to increase they start to get more expensive to OS. Players will start noticing that overstrengthing a Tiger will get more and more expensive with each step and each diffculty level. So all existing options and mechanisms remain in place, and they will still be cool and very effective, but at a cost that will make other units better value for money, other options should start to get more economically viable in comparison. And if these ‘snowball units’ remain rare they will not effect gameplay as much.

Deployment/Maintenance cost
This high cost to get some units fully OS is a way to keep players from easily obtaining snowball cores, but it still doesn’t affect the cost of ownership as much as may be necessary to limit the snowball mechanism over the long term. It can be expanded with a deployment cost or maintenance cost to make these very expensive units into resource-draining dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are cool, but you wouldn’t want too many of them if you have to pay to feed them.

Deployment cost can be used, as a single-time payment for each scenario, or perhaps something more gradual, as long as the cost is about equal in the long run this is more of a designers’ choice. As explained earlier, I consider deployment costs to have a ‘political’ factor: Deployment cost could represent a cost to maintain control over a unit, and would take into account its experience as well. I couldn’t think of a good way to express the value of experience independant of unit size in the current system, but it would be useful to more accurately reflect it’s cost, esp. in top-tier units. So it may depend on the unit multiplier to increase as well, or it could be more linear by just using the global multiplier.

I think of maintenance cost as more of ‘mechanical use’, and this can be based on the cost of a unit set against its strength number, and will be therefore be quite linear. But it could be subject to the same OS cost multiplier, meaning an increase in maintenance cost independent of experience, but dependant on strength (numbers), step cost and the unit cost multiplier to represent difficulty of maintenance (rarity, reliability, scarcity of parts, etc.). This would make units with a separate unit multiplier relatively more or less expensive to maintain.

Anyway, for all of these cost mechanisms these two OS cost multipliers should provide a huge range of possibilities in adjusting cost: a global multiplier will make OS cost subject to a general increase, but a ‘unit OS cost multiplier’ could be used to further highlight differences in OS cost for different units, and could be adjustable enough to provide enough freedom to make it work as intended, to show how common or rare a certain unit is for specific nations. This will be a great advantage when new units or Allied campaigns are introduced.

I'll attach my sheet, it's a very simple one, the 'D' column has the global multiplier, and the 'F' has the unit multiplier, where I just put in some numbers as an example. Entering a value of D=2 and F=1 will give the current costs of an overstrength unit. Maintenance/deployment cost can be based on several different factors, so I left it out for now, to focus on how these multipliers will affect unit cost. But it is easy to supplement your own formula to get an idea.