Rail Transport

Open beta forum.

Moderators: Slitherine Core, The Lordz, Panzer Corps Moderators, Panzer Corps Design

Post Reply
Kerensky
Content Designer
Content Designer
Posts: 5991
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:12 am

Rail Transport

Post by Kerensky » Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:26 am

It works very differently from normal movement rules, so I think it needs better visualization.

For example, I started with this. That city two hexes directly south looks good, I want to go there.
Image
Is what actually happens.
Image


Movement like this has never existed in Panzer General so far, that I'm aware, so I believe there needs to be improvement on showing actual paths taken.

I recommend a Wesnoth style approach. As you drag your cursor around, the game actually draws the path your unit will move.
Total range of movement:
Image
It's a little hard to see, but there are little brown footsteps drawing the exact path your unit is going to be moving, should you choose to confirm your move.
Image
Drawing further for moving further.
Image

Kerensky
Content Designer
Content Designer
Posts: 5991
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:12 am

Post by Kerensky » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:48 am

Another suggestion: play connect the dots.
The width of the line and coloring are up to you guys, obviously this is just a sample.

If my cursor is hovering over the hex NORTHWEST of the SOUTHEAST city, the game will look like this.
Image

If my cursor is hovering over the hex 2 hexes below the train unit, or the NORTHWEST city, the game will look like this.
Image

Thoughts?

Kerensky
Content Designer
Content Designer
Posts: 5991
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:12 am

Post by Kerensky » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:33 pm

Other musings about rail transport. It's pretty disappointing in actual game play, isn't it?

Truck transport: Movement 8.
Rail transport: Movement 15.

That sounds good, almost double, but let's look at the negative aspects.

Cons:
1. Requires an extra turn to disembark. So move 15 and use two turns, or move 16 and use two turns. It's suddenly worse than truck transport. There are always more roads than rail lines too, which means the trucks typically have more flexibility in their options too.
2. Only follows rail lines, which are more than likely not direct paths to the direction you want to go.
3. Required being in a city hex to disembark. This causes a pair of problems.
3a. Cannot be used to move large amounts of forces. One unit steps on city hex, then loads and moves it's destination city. Next unit replaces it on the same turn. In the next turn, the unit in the train uses it's whole turn to disembark. The second unit... is stuck unless it can find another nearby open city also connected to the rail network. Add more units to the equation and you have a major traffic jam, and you probably would have been better off walking/driving by truck.
3b. Conflicts with supply model. I want to use damaged/low ammo units to capture city hexes so gain the full city supply bonus. I wouldn't prefer a unit in a train to immediately make use of a recently vacated enemy city.
4. Cannot reinforce or supply a unit loaded in a train. This would lessen the traffic jam problem, except it's not allowed. I suppose you could supply/reinforce before loading in the train, but that just moves the traffic jam back one step.

Maybe I'm missing something, but with the ability to purchase new units in any captured city, with a one turn delay, in addition to the problems above, make rail transport kinda useless. The only time I ever used it in the 1939 campaign was in Poland, where one or two my infantry simply start with no transport of their own, and once in France, to move a unit that captured the bottom right VH hex (28,21) quickly towards the middle, either the VH at 9,15 to assist against the VH at 11,21 or... well that's pretty much it. I can't use 18,10 because normally I'm still fighting for that city by the time 28,21 falls, and even if I could, it's too far from the 'front' to be useful. The front at this point would be VH 7,8 or 2,15 at this point.
EDIT: Also noticed. There are a total of four cities connected to the rail network in the France scenario. That's... wow. Really?

Maybe we haven't seen scenarios where rail transport will really shine (Russia? I thought it was widely understood their transportation infrastructure (roads/bridges/rail) wasn't exactly... good... at this point in history), but that's my initial assessment.

boredatwork
Staff Sergeant - Kavallerie
Staff Sergeant - Kavallerie
Posts: 311
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:39 pm

Post by boredatwork » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:22 pm

I think related to the question of "will rail movement shine" is the question "should it?"

I'm struggling to think of examples in WW2 where rail movement was a factor in moving units operationally. In the context of the scenarios covered in PG most rail movement would have been completed prior to the start of the scenario OR is already represented by new units able to deploy at any friendly city. Once the battle started for the most part units relied on their own movement abilities.

Having said that I would love it for large custom made scenarios, especially those intended for the player to be on the defensive or 2 players I could see rail movement have value - especially if new units could be limited to certain deployment hexes.

I would suggest the way to "fix it" would be turn it into a ground based air transport:

Have a fixed number of railroad transport points - in most early scenarios this should be set to 0 for the german side.

Make loading and unloading from *any* railroad tile not ajacent to an enemy unit - many small towns not represented on map still had some rail facilities, and there are many pictures of panzers being loaded onto trains from simple earth and log ramps.

Then simply have 1 turn to embark and start moving, and another to disembark at the end.

uran21
Panzer Corps Map Designer
Panzer Corps Map Designer
Posts: 1955
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:34 pm

Post by uran21 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:49 pm

Reason why rail network in France is not fascinating is because whole army is at the front and most cities are empty so if there is excellent connection player could breach front at some point and abuse rail transport for fast capturing of cities while delaying fightings with the front army. Also it is a legacy from an old bigger map where you needed to cross bigger distances. So it is not inspired by history but avoiding gameplay tricks.

Situation with quantity of rail roads in Soviet Union was actually quite good in those years. Problem was with their quality and being of lower standards they could bear less weight but their locomotives were more resistant to winter so they could actually operate during hard winter as opposed to German locomotives. One of specificities of their rail network was also for double direction they would have two bridges across the river so harder to destroy on this sensitive places. And the main problem was different, wider, gauge so Germans needed to convert rail network to their gauge standard which alone is astonishing project but it was not enough to ensure full supply delivery.

And when we think of role for rail transport during operations it was to deliver supply's where ammo and fuel had priority (that is why some units didn't get enough food or warm clothes).

Rail is new and for that reason experimental for us. In the past we had ideas to model supply lines and saw rail road as good addition to it.
Now we should probably find some useful tactical role for it and your comments on it are very good and your gaming experience with this new concept is crucial to define it right.
It will require several changes in a package to make it right and the only thing I can do for you is to change movement for it in equipment file.

So if you want to experiment with some other movement than 15 let me know so we can see the effect of it.

Kerensky
Content Designer
Content Designer
Posts: 5991
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:12 am

Post by Kerensky » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:11 am

Try 30. All but instant teleport except on the largest maps. There should be obvious gains in choosing rail over trucked transport, and at 8 vs 15 I just don't see it.

What would be really fascinating with rail is if you made rail movement REALLY overpowered to make it teleportation between any cities on the map, but also made it subject to interception. For example partisan infantry in the middle of no where, except it also happens to be in the path of a long distance train. Instant ambush.
Same with aircraft, mainly fighters and level bombers. The allies bombed the blazes out of the French rail and bridge networks prior to D-Day and it had a significant impact on the German's ability to deploy their forces to crisis points. Considering the scale of PzC, where entire countries are depicted in a single map, this would not be unreasonable.

In Summary:
1. Connect every city (with maybe a few rare exceptions) on the map to the rail network.
2. Increase movement of trains.
3. Create situations where this incredibly powerful asset of rail movement is vulnerable. It can be intercepted by normal ground units, but also fighters. I'm sure we've all read and seen gun camera footage about P-51 and P-47s strafing trains.
4. Allow level bombers to destroy a city's rail network in addition to it's normal effects(cannot load or unload in X city), or to actually bomb hexes with rail roads on them. This might be a little tricky to display to the players where the damage to the rail network is, plus there would probably need to be a way to repair these destroyed railroad hexes.
http://www.usaaf.net/ww2/atlanticwall/awpg6.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_Bomber_Offensive

This, plus deploy hexes instead of just 'deploy at any city' should substantially curb mass unit strategies, plus make rail transport more interesting and useful, but also give it some flaws. If you blindly fly your units across the board on trains, you'll suffer interceptions from crafty players. It also gives rise to the need for security forces in your rear areas instead of the usual PG way of doing things where the map behind your front line is just completely devoid of units.

Also, this, mainly to prevent traffic jams.
boredatwork wrote:Make loading and unloading from *any* railroad tile not ajacent to an enemy unit - many small towns not represented on map still had some rail facilities, and there are many pictures of panzers being loaded onto trains from simple earth and log ramps.

Kerensky
Content Designer
Content Designer
Posts: 5991
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:12 am

Post by Kerensky » Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:55 am

I like rail transport moving at 30. I still rarely use rail transport, but at least when I do decide to take advantage of it, it's worth doing.
The main problems that prevent significant rail use are:
1. Traffic jamming. Need so many turns to execute a rail movement.
2. Difficulty in finding places to load and unload.
2a. I don't know why, but I swear the tracks never lead to cities I want to go to, they like to loop around and away from VHes, or they go directly to the VH which isn't helpful because it's either in conflict, or already taken.

Eventually I think it might be fun and interesting for fighters to intercept trains and level bombers to destroy rail yards and rail roads, but that would be pretty hard to balance and might be too complex for KISS thinking and play style that PG is typically famous for.

Bloodshot
Lance Corporal - Panzer IA
Lance Corporal - Panzer IA
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:14 am
Location: Essex, U.K

Post by Bloodshot » Mon May 30, 2011 1:21 am

Kerensky wrote:Other musings about rail transport. It's pretty disappointing in actual game play, isn't it?
Yeah, trains do lose their usefulness unless you have great distances to shift units.

This got me thinking. Maybe trains could be used as mission objectives, rather than actual transportation units - awarding bonus victory points if one side delivers supplies from "A" to "B", while the opponent gets VP's for destroying/capturing enemy trains, or simply denying the enemy the chance of scoring by destroying rail lines.
This should also give engineer or resistance units more options on the battlefield.

Acererak
Staff Sergeant - Kavallerie
Staff Sergeant - Kavallerie
Posts: 327
Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:55 am

Post by Acererak » Mon May 30, 2011 1:46 am

I would find rail transport much more useful if there were other spots besides cities to load/unload. Train stations hexes similar to Airfields. That would open some new strategic posibilities with rails without adding a whole lot complexity.

Post Reply

Return to “Panzer Corps Open Beta”