looking forward to master this game

Afghanistan '11 changes the paradigm of wargaming and manages to bring Counter-Insurgency and guerrilla warfare to your screen, properly represented thanks to a revolutionary gameplay formula!
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darthun
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looking forward to master this game

Post by darthun » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:33 pm

Hi,

I just won a copy of A'11 from watching the twitch stream. I've been following the game on youtube and on twitch a few weeks ago. I couldn't wait for it to be showed again live.

I think the game is realistic in giving you the feeling of this type of war, and i really enjoy the style of play. It has you managing so many variables all at once, making decisions, organizing, it's a different focus than other war game where combat is the only focus.

So many things i still need to learn, i just started. But I hope slitherine keeps working on it. It's a great title for my strategic mind.

I totally recommend the game. go watch some videos or stream, if you like what you see, it's safe to say it's a good buy.

Every Single Soldier
Vietnam ’65 developer
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Re: looking forward to master this game

Post by Every Single Soldier » Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:46 pm

Thanks for the support and look forward to your feedback.

Plenty more content and DLC's on the way... :D

darthun
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Re: looking forward to master this game

Post by darthun » Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:12 pm

I'm unable to repair anything or refuel anything. Maybe i don't understand how it works ? I have FOB with FOB supplies, and a maintenance bay. I tried putting my units in the FOB, waiting one turn, two turns, nothing happens. I tried moving the units to the maintenance bay, wait a few turns, nothing happen. What am i missing ? It was on the tutorial mission 4.

giffin
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Re: looking forward to master this game

Post by giffin » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:04 pm

Yes I am confused on how "Repairs" work in new FOB need some help please. thanks!

CCIPsubsim
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Re: looking forward to master this game

Post by CCIPsubsim » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:34 pm

I'm loving it :) I'm impressed how well the game has come along even since the beta, great work Johan & co. :D

I'd first started playing this game and quickly realized that it's not a good approach - despite the seemingly high level of abstracting, the game presents a messy situation and trying to play it with pure and clean logic doesn't work. Always refreshing when a game makes you play totally differently from how you'd expected!

As for DLC, not that this is a poll - but I for one would love to see an "Afghanistan '85" DLC - it'd be a really fascinating comparison I think! Similar situation and goals on the surface of it, but also some very fundamental differences in doctrine. And you'd really need only some new unit graphics in the front end for it - map graphics and core mechanics all still apply :)

CCIPsubsim
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Re: looking forward to master this game

Post by CCIPsubsim » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:37 pm

giffin wrote:Yes I am confused on how "Repairs" work in new FOB need some help please. thanks!
I've not had problems with it - just make sure you put your unit in the repair bay hex and do not move it at all for a full turn (I.e. let it skip one full turn in the bay with no movement at all).

giffin
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Re: looking forward to master this game

Post by giffin » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:38 am

CCIPsubsim wrote:
giffin wrote:Yes I am confused on how "Repairs" work in new FOB need some help please. thanks!
I've not had problems with it - just make sure you put your unit in the repair bay hex and do not move it at all for a full turn (I.e. let it skip one full turn in the bay with no movement at all).
This is great instructions thank you for the tip!

demyansk
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Re: looking forward to master this game

Post by demyansk » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:37 pm

I am lost with this game, without frontlines I lose it. Any suggestions?

CCIP-subsim
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Re: looking forward to master this game

Post by CCIP-subsim » Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:29 pm

demyansk wrote:I am lost with this game, without frontlines I lose it. Any suggestions?
Here's my (long!) collection of random tips, maybe it will be helpful :)

-------------------------------------------------------

Think supply lines, not front lines. Figure out how to clear them, and figure out what is the minimum of armed units and supply units you need to keep them open is.
Note: I said minimum - there's no point oversupplying your FOBs or having unused fuel and rations rolling around the countryside.

You might also say there are "front lines" in the game - your supply lines are your front lines!
Realistically, beyond just a few hexes from a base/FOB, the road network is the only ground over which you can (and must) constantly fight - because it's the only ground to which you can quickly and inexpensively get your units when you need to. Trying to control mountains, valleys, or deserts is generally pretty pointless - you only go there to hunt specific objectives, like killing known enemy units or destroying opium crops. Otherwise, my rule is that if it's more than 2-3 hexes from a road or more than 4-5 hexes from a base - it's not my territory and I'm not going to put units there unless I'm hunting a specific objective, or trying to interdict an incoming offensive from a known direction (where I have good recon). Mountain villages cut off from roads could be an exception - but even for those, I tend to just make occasional visits. In general, it's not a good idea to try and defend villages by having troops sitting there - much better to make regular visits there every few turns, because it's less of a drain on resources and keeps you more mobile.

Now, while roads may be the only true "frontline" you fight over in the game, never assume any road to be under your control!! Your supply routes are something you will have to fight for, from turn 1 to turn 60 (or longer if you're playing a different mode than the standard game!) There are no safe roads, just roads that you have swept in the current turn, and roads that you have not; roads that can be reached by an armed unit in the current turn, and roads that are outside the maximum range of your fighting units.
Therefore: never, ever leave unarmed and/or "blind" units unescorted (by armed vehicles) - they'll get ambushed. Even if a road was safe last turn, next turn it might already be crawling with IEDs and sneaky militias. "Escort" is best done by simply moving your MRAPs/other armed units first, then sending the trucks after them, in the same turn. I avoid "continue" because the order in which you move units can be very important.
Huskies are very useful and fast - they cover more ground than the MRAPs or trucks in a turn, but don't forget they're blind and vulnerable to anything except IEDs. So don't get too trigger-happy with them - they need some escorts too!

Adjust your expectations. Especially starting out - if all you need to get through your scenario is a score of 50 on hearts and minds, don't aim for 90. You're still winning if you're at 52 - and if you're in the upper 50s, even sudden events won't throw you off. (Remember too that a lot of ways of improving the H&M score, like UN supplies, only work when your score is fairly low)
My first few sessions with the game, I kept messing up badly because I felt like I had to go to every village immediately, react to every threat, control every corner of the map, etc. etc. But that turned out to be a great way to overextend myself and run out of resources in a few turns. When I changed my approach to picking my battles, so to speak - I learned to avoid the urge to try and solve every single problem at once, and be happy when I could regularly visit a couple of villages, keep my one FOB safe, and stay somewhere in the 50s for my score. I found that my games started lasting longer and I was able to go step by step. First a couple of villages, then another, then another FOB - it added up over time. This game definitely favours a slow and steady approach. You can't win it by winning battles - winning battles just helps prevent you from losing too quickly. And you can still lose the game by fighting and winning every battle - but wasting too many resources in the process.

In general, do more with less - US units get progressively more expensive. Helicopters are expensive not just to "buy", but also to keep in operation. Every FOB you build is an FOB you have to protect and supply. Not to say you shouldn't build helos or FOBs - actually, you have to build them, but maybe you don't need 5 of each when you can do with just one or two. In general, if you have the choice between a cheaper and simple unit and a more expensive one to do the job (e.g. a supply truck vs. a Chinook) - go with the cheaper and simpler one. If you don't have the option, though (e.g. you're trying to deliver aid or build an FOB to an area not accessible by road) - then yes, get that Chinook!
At least one Blackhawk is always very useful to have, even just in case. Don't overuse them for totally routine tasks, but they're a great resource for when you need something done quickly, including resupplying artillery.

Speaking of artillery: great resource, but usually early on in the game, you won't get much benefit from it. I would definitely try to build artillery pits and put guns at every FOB - but not as the first thing I do; I'd build medical and repair bays first, and make sure I have enough moving units, before I invested into the big artillery guns. But they do become very very useful later in the game, if you know how to use them right - especially when you have to withdraw US troops, they are a key asset in beating the Taliban offensive. Once you do have your guns - remember to factor the need to get ammo to them into into your supply chain. That might mean having a couple of extra trucks or helos for carrying ammo around once you have artillery built. So far, I never felt like I really needed artillery until well into the later part of the game, so I don't even start thinking about it until turn 30 or so, unless an FOB keeps coming under attack so much early in the game that I actually need it (which has never happened to me yet!)

Avoid "buying" units in absence of an actual, definite threat - imaginary or suspected threats don't count! Keeping a big stack of units when you don't have a reason to is a waste and puts you in an inflexible position. Better to hang on to a few thousand extra political points - converting them into a force is instant (until it's late into the game and it's time for the US pullout), and lets you choose the right force when you do actually need it. Early in the game, you can keep your force to a bare minimum and do just fine.
Keep an eye on your political points, too - while it might be tempting to build Buffalos and run them all over the map building roads and water towers right away, remember that all those things cost points, and political points aren't just a running expenses account - they're also your force reserve. Even early in the game, I try to maintain at least 3000-4000 points "in the bank", just in case.

Remember, however, that ANA units don't cost political points (to train, anyway - you will lose points for getting them killed) - and you will inevitably need them later, especially the infantry. So, don't wait to train them and don't wait to use them because they start out "green" and need combat experience before they become effective on their own. And since you can only train 2 ANA infantry units per every FOB you have - you'll also be somewhat limited in their numbers.
That said, quantity is no match for quality in this game; so the backbone of your fighting force for most of the game will be US infantry. And even they are far more effective after gaining combat experience. So in the end, you're better off having a small number of units with solid experience - which will help you both have a better force, and gain much better political points while avoiding unnecessary losses.

On that note, also remember: waterworks = the only guaranteed income of political points. They'll make credits for you any time except when they are damaged. So do build them and repair them - just try not to run out of points in the process!

Most of the time, you don't want to keep your forces wandering around in the field, especially the slow infantry. Think of them more as reaction forces - and keep them at bases/FOBs until a situation develops, so that you can hop them on a helo/MRAP and go deal with it. Keep your troops resupplied by resting them at home base/FOB - because it usually simplifies logistics. Keep an eye on rations/fuel any time your units are in the field.
Special forces are a partial exception - they are very useful if you put them in overwatch mode in mountains - and they don't use up rations while on guard - but remember also that early in the game, the expensive SF teams are much better used for training ANA units.
Special forces + FOBs = train ANA troops! ANA troops are free, they just take training time and you're limited by number of FOBs you have. Don't wait until near the handover - train ANA early, because you want to not just have them, but also use them so they gain experience. Support them, but don't shy away from taking risks with them. They could use the experience.

If you do have to make a longer "expedition" with some units that takes them far from base - plan ahead how you're going to make sure they have enough rations/fuel to get there and come back. Count up the units, figure out how many fuel/rations you'll need for your "operation", and again use the minimum rule of thumb - send only as many resupply units after them as you need, and make sure they are protected. Don't shy away from using the C-130 resupply drops - but remember since you have to wait 3 turns before you can order another one, realistically you can only keep one single unit in constant supply via those drops. Plus they cost points.
Since a C-130 drop can resupply both fuel and rations, if you have a choice - use it for the unit that needs fuel, and use some other way to bring rations to the starving troops (Blackhawk is probably the fastest way). Almost any vehicle can transport rations and get them to troops quickly, but fuel can't be loaded on lighter units like the MRAPs, and therefore is much more complicated to transport. Plus, a unit of fuel = many more hexes you can move, because vehicles can go much further per turn than infantry. You can even refuel a vehicle that has run out of gas with an air drop, and then take it and use it to pick up the ration-less troops so that they quickly get taken to base for some R&R.

While there is no point blindly wandering around with units looking for threats - when you do find threats, don't shy away from spending some effort killing them! I found that in most of my games, although waterworks guaranteed income, hunting the militia and Taliban was often more "profitable". If things are quiet and you get some intel on a militia unit, use that air strike! It costs political points, but you gain more points if you destroy the unit, which the air strike usually does. If you know enemy forces are somewhere in the area, don't be afraid to use a drone to scout things out, either and then hit anything it finds with an air strike. IF you already used up your air strike and have to wait, and the contact is too far to quickly reach with a ground vehicles - helicopters are handy. I personally prefer using Blackhawks carrying infantry rather than the Apache. Just be careful not to land them too close to the enemy - disembark your troops a few hexes away and then attack from the ground, and afterwards pick up your unit.

With special forces' abilities (sniping and calling in the A-10), I have the same policy as with the F-16 air strike - use them as your first options, because neither of them carries a risk to your own troops, while getting into a head-to-head fight with a Taliban unit is a risk of casualties. Casualties are bad because they cost you quite a bit of political points AND even "wounded" units end up taking a number of turns to get back to base and get "patched up", which is a waste of resources.

Oh, another point for Huskies (and to a lesser extent infantry) - clearing IEDs happens to be a pretty good way to earn a bit of extra political points. Just remember that it's pointless if you lose or even get a unit damaged in the process - because you'll lose more points than you gain. But a lot of times, IEDs are in areas that are otherwise pretty safe - so go and clear them, and in general keep your supply routes swept regularly.

Disembarking troops from vehicles at the end of their move can be useful - because while the vehicle runs out of action points, the troops jumping out of it are still "fresh". That can give you a little extra range when you are trying to react to a contact on the ground.
However, don't disembark your troops unless you have to. If you can attack with an MRAP that has troops inside - attack with the MRAP. In the current version of the game, even if the MRAP loses and gets damaged or destroyed, the troops inside it are still safe and ready for another round of fighting afterwards. So keep that in mind - and let vehicles absorb the damage. They are easier to recover and repair than troops - so my rule of thumb is to risk a vehicle (even a helicopter) before I risk any troops' lives.

Remember that the MRAP is blind and cannot fight anything unless there is an infantry/special forces unit on board - then they will shoot! This is not true of the ANA armored vehicle, which can still fight without troops on board.

If you have extra troop-carrying vehicles (MRAP or the ANA vehicle) - no problem! Use them to carry extra rations for troops if you're going on an expedition. Just don't use them as cannon fodder!

Careful with the Apache - it may be a powerful unit, but I find that it's actually very vulnerable if you're too aggressive with it. It's partially blind to threats, and can only fire once per turn after which it becomes a sitting duck. So, when attacking, I always put Apaches at maximum firing range from an enemy unit - and I never send them blindly into areas where I don't have an observing unit (a UAV scout or special forces on overwatch on the ground, preferably). In general, I find Apaches way too expensive for what they do, but they can sometimes be handy.

If a helo gets hit by a missile - go back to base right away and repair! Do not go forward, because there may be another unit waiting with a 2nd missile that will finish it. Helicopter losses are too costly to risk, if you can avoid them at all. You can land your troops, but then get out right away - in my experience, no mission is really worth a helicopter loss. And often, you can repair quickly enough to go back and try again soon.

Don't leave your FOBs and main base completely empty. Ideally, there's a unit always in the base that's ready to come out to fight. Do not include Special Forces troops who are on training duty in that list - they are a non-unit until they finish doing the training.

Remember to keep your FOBs supplied! If the maximum capacity for FOB supply is 5 and it's down to 3, for me that's usually the signal that it's time to load and send another supply truck. I usually set aside a couple of supply trucks per FOB - though 1 can be enough, depending on the distance. 1.5 trucks per FOB is probably a good rule of thumb. And when an FOB is coming under a Taliban offensive - don't shy away from sending in a Chinook with base supplies. But I wouldn't use Chinooks routinely unless you have an FOB that doesn't have a road link back to main base.

Is there a formula for the "right way" to build up your force? Not really! Much of it depends on the terrain.
That said, I would say the following is my "standard", from which I'll vary depending on what the map and scenario need:
(Assumption: you have at least one well-placed FOB within a few turns of starting a game.)
Per each base (incl. your main base and any FOBs, you want to have - so if you have your main base plus one FOB, multiply the numbers below by 2, and so on)
2 infantry units (US preferred early in the game; having some extra ANA units is not a problem, as they'll eventually have to replace US troops)
2 fighting vehicles (MRAP or the ANA vehicle; avoid building too many MRAPs, but an extra ANA vehicle or two doesn't hurt)
1 special forces unit (with priority on training ANA infantry early in the game)
0.5 Blackhawks (i.e. one per 2 bases is usually enough - but you may need more if you have a map where it's impossible to build an effective road network)
0.5-1 Husky (depending on distance between bases)
0.5-1 Buffalo (depending on how much construction/repair work is required plus distance to be travelled)
0-0.5 Chinook (unless you have areas that cannot be reached by road, you probably don't need it)
2.5-3 Trucks, on average (depends on distance, total number of FOBs requiring supply, need for artillery shells)
1 artillery battery (but not until later in the game)
Other units optional, but it depends on situation - eventually you may want to take the "one of each" approach, but not until later in the game.
Late in the game, if you have a fairly stable situation, "training" Mi-8s at the main base can be a good idea; after the US troops withdraw, having air mobility can be a handy force multiplier for the ANA, albeit it comes with some risk and cost.
----------------------------
So yes, debatable and really depends on the situation, but I found the above to be a pretty good starting point!

Learn what your political liason's strengths and weaknesses are! Sometimes you can play these to your advantage. I generally like political liaisons who give you lower movement cost for units - it might seem trivial, but over time it adds up, especially for helicopters.

In general, build roads! (to villages and to any FOB you build - and sometimes even to create shortcuts) They aren't necessarily profitable by themselves - but they keep your hearts & minds score more stable, and give much better mobility to your ground units.
Remember that IED explosions can destroy roads and require them to be rebuilt again. I sometimes miss that!

Remember that Buffalos can repair other ground units. That can come in very handy sometimes, if it saves a damaged unit a long trip back to base for repairs.

In general in this game, I find that mobility is a very precious resource - even without frontlines and a pretty big map, your units can only move so far in a turn, and even a single wasted turn can be a setback. So, do everything you can to maximize the mobility of your units - avoid unplanned fights, do everything you can to prevent units from getting damaged or running out of fuel, build and maintain roads, create shortcuts (sometimes even a very small shortcut makes a big difference). Think before you move units and avoid wasting turns. Keep fuel and rations in mind - as I already said, for any expedition think ahead to whether or not you will need resupply on the way. If you can avoid having to resupply outside of your bases, do that.
Now, this doesn't mean that faster but more expensive units are always better. But it does mean that for any unit you have, the more you can avoid wasting turns, the better.

And lastly, just another reminder that the order in which you move units matters!
As a rule of thumb, you want to move combat-capable ground units before everything else. The only exception to that is if you're travelling on roads - then usually, moving your Husky first may be the better idea. Otherwise, MRAPs with troops on board first, everything else later.

-------------------------

Hope there's some useful info for you in these ramblings :D
Last edited by CCIP-subsim on Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Every Single Soldier
Vietnam ’65 developer
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Re: looking forward to master this game

Post by Every Single Soldier » Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:27 pm

Just landed in Germany , en route to the Slitherine conference, going to have a beer and a pretzel and only then tackle this monster feedback.... :D

neilhammond
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Re: looking forward to master this game

Post by neilhammond » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:45 pm

Good set of ideas. Thank you! Mind you, I'm still working through the tutorials...

darthun
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Re: looking forward to master this game

Post by darthun » Tue May 02, 2017 7:49 pm

i'd resume everything with : build more FOBs and use them to train ANA.

so far, it always worked. I start a new game, check where i'm going to make FOBs, and aim for 70 H&M by turn 60. Minimizing us and maximizing ANA.

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