Would you use an understrength prototype?

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Kerensky
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Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by Kerensky » Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:48 am

After the very useful feedback regarding the 109z and 111z, I have another question for the community.

There are some interesting units in the game files that exist already, namely the Sturer Emil and Dicker Max SPAT units. Historically, we know these units were prototype vehicles that were designed to give big guns (105mm and 128mm) some mobility on a tracked design. But unlike the more mass produced Nashorn of later years, these units are available in 1941... where the next best SPAT unit is still the lowly PanzerJager I. Not even the first long barrel StuG IIIs are ready by this time, and in game their 28 AT value completely outclasses anything possible to acquire in mid 1941.

And these units were extraordinarily rare. Something like 2 of each ever existed.

So there comes a question how to fit them in the Axis Operations? I'd certainly like to have them, but the idea of (30) prototype worth of Sturer Emil so the player can form 1-3 units of them is going to be really problematic. Who fears the armor of a KV-1 or KV-2 when you are rocking 28 hard attack and the next best thing available is a Panzer IIIH on a mere 16 HA?

So what do you think about this idea:

Gift the player a Sturer Emil or Dicker Max (no limit on buying replacements)

but

1. Set the unit to 5 max strength. Which means it can only be repaired to 5 strength. An understrength unit has a lot of drawbacks, most of all it only throws 5 attack dice.
2. Normally a gift unit can adjust it's max strength via upgrading (Everyone likes to put Consolidator on their Verjedas and crank them to 20 strength :lol: ), but we can assign a 'no overstrength' hero to this unit. That will force it to remain at 5 strength. :shock:

But there's nothing stopping a player from just unassigning that hero, and running around with a full strength Sturer Emil. Which is fine for the players who want to play the game like that.

But if we took this effort to force such a powerful vehicle to be permanently understrength, to reflect it's historical scarcity and keep it's power level in check, and also be a neat 'flavor' unit for players to use. Would any of you use it?

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by Stormchaser » Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:24 am

I would certainly give it a shot at least.
If a unit is that powerful but also that rare historically, I could see it making sense.
I do have some concerns about it causing unexpected issues, but thats pretty much typical of any new system.
I definitely think it should be heavily tested before implementation if you do go this route.

As for how to do it, I think making it a Gift Unit (maybe an expensive Commendation Reward?) with 5 Strength max normally would be fine (assuming no issues come up with that in testing).
I do think that you shouldn't limit Heroes though. While yes, putting a Consolidator Hero on it would make it a monster, you A) need a Consolidator Hero (I'm pretty sure I can count the number I've gotten on one hand, but that's RNG) and B) Overstrengthening already increases the Slot Size the more Overstrength you give something, which means that it would either consume a big chunk of your Core Slots or require a Zero or Reduced Slots Hero (which runs into the whole needing a specific hero issue again).
There are also plenty of players on this forum alone who avoid using Trophies of War/Captured Equipment/Heroes/etc. either to help challenge themselves or make the game more fair/balanced in their opinion, and I can't imagine those types of players making memey units like that. Heck, until you mentioned it I don't think I've ever heard a thing about people putting Consolidator on the Verdeja II, or much about the uses of Consolidator at all honestly.

Regardless if the hows and whys though, I do hope they make it into the game in some way. Ahistorical or not, I very much enjoy playing around with the more Wunderwaffe type units. :)

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by Snake97644 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:10 am

I think I would give it a shot. If it did not work well, I personally would likely just not use it, rather than get gamey with heroes. Some people will, and that's fine in my book. As you have consistently noted Kerensky, that autonomy of play is a great hallmark of PC2 so far.

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by adiekmann » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:12 am

Personally, I do not like the idea. Give me 10-15 worth of units of say a Dicker Max with NO chance to get replacements. Now, if I am very careful, I may have it for some time. If not - and you can't always guard against every possibility - it will not be around forever at any rate. I like this idea better because of the stress and specialness that such a unit then possesses. It also historically reflects the rarity of the unit. As a player, I don't expect that I'll keep if at a viable strength forever. Even when it's strength threatens to fall close to the point of destruction, I think the average good player would have gotten some good use out of it and would in order to save its accumulated experience and awards then upgrade it to whatever the best "normal" AT is available at the time. In addition to the fun-risk factor, I see it as a shortcut way to build a couple of stars of experience before that time comes.

But doing what you propose serves to artificially weaken it rather than capture its rarity. There may be other units where what you are asking might be a good idea. It could be a case-by-case situation. But when thinking of specifically the Dicker Max example, I'd have to say no.

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by sebb81 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:21 am

Hmm, interesting question. I don't know if I would use it with strength 5. I would fear that it gets overrunned by an overstrengthened T-34 or KV-2 at once...

But such units like Sturer Emil should never be a gift unit or a prototyp with too many spares. I think 30 is already too much, should be <20 to be able to field only one of them.

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by SineMora » Mon Nov 23, 2020 9:38 am

Probably not. I assume they'd have to be new units as far as the list is concerned, as 5 core slots for a 5-strength unit would be abysmally bad, but it might as well have 100 HA for all the difference it'd make in terms of killing power at that point in the game -- it wouldn't score more than 2 kills on average w/o veterancy, and if I deploy an AT or SPAT it needs to have enough firepower to effectively shut down heavy armour or be dirt cheap (in terms of core slots). An 8.8 at 3 core slots would average just over 3 kills, and even the Panzerjäger 1B would average at least 1 while being just as mobile at 2 core slots. The latter is fairly cheap, too, so you can use them as auxilliaries easily enough (and the performance increases significantly if we're talking armour other than KVs).
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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by Magic1111 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:01 am

Kerensky wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:48 am
I'd certainly like to have them, but the idea of (30) prototype worth of Sturer Emil so the player can form 1-3 units of them is going to be really problematic.
I always play so that I never deploy more than two prototypes, even if I have 30 parts of them available. Because I have to remember that cannot be replacing losses indefinitely. Therefore, it would be foolish if we deploy three "Sturer Emil" with 10 strength points each as an example, as you then have no way of replacing losses during the scenario.

You also have to consider that such strong units take away a lot of core slots.

The number of core slots for such a unit alone can be used to control that the player cannot, in principle, deploy three of them without sending many other units to the reserve. But that wouldn't make sense in the overall context.

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by Tassadar » Mon Nov 23, 2020 12:16 pm

I'd rather see a script preventing from using more than one of such unit. It would be restrictive, of course, but probably more balanced in terms of losses to the unit, while still making sense from a lore perspective. I would probably still use 5 power units in some types of runs, especially if they had the ability to survive longer, so either good defensive parameters, or typed that are less likely to be directly engaged in first line combat.

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by Snake97644 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:36 pm

adiekmann wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:12 am
Personally, I do not like the idea. Give me 10-15 worth of units of say a Dicker Max with NO chance to get replacements. Now, if I am very careful, I may have it for some time. If not - and you can't always guard against every possibility - it will not be around forever at any rate. I like this idea better because of the stress and specialness that such a unit then possesses. It also historically reflects the rarity of the unit. As a player, I don't expect that I'll keep if at a viable strength forever. Even when it's strength threatens to fall close to the point of destruction, I think the average good player would have gotten some good use out of it and would in order to save its accumulated experience and awards then upgrade it to whatever the best "normal" AT is available at the time. In addition to the fun-risk factor, I see it as a shortcut way to build a couple of stars of experience before that time comes.

But doing what you propose serves to artificially weaken it rather than capture its rarity. There may be other units where what you are asking might be a good idea. It could be a case-by-case situation. But when thinking of specifically the Dicker Max example, I'd have to say no.
That sounds like a good compromise, if you only get 15, you will still have to husband that unit and protect it, as you would with only 5 understrength. However being at 10 with 5 possible replacements will allow it to be an actually meaningful unit. Also people brought up good points about the slots. If the 5 strength version took only 1 slot, then that would be fine. However if it takes 3 slots, the I would probably prefer an 88, as it had a duel role.

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by Schneides42 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:08 pm

I am on team Adiekmann and Snake here.

All of this can, of course, be gamed through cheats for those that want to and I like the ability to play the way you want to play aspect of the different prototypes, captured equipment (Invading France with an entire tank force of T-26s and a KV for example!) and hero combinations. Or with none of these if that is your preference.

So yes to the rare/experimental prototypes but with just enough of them to be useful for at least a short time in the game!

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by Kerensky » Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:46 am

I think the problem with these two units is it will be much easier to make them last.

As SPAT, they can easily remain off the frontline, and provide their insane hard attack in a supporting role to blunt enemy vehicle attacks.

Those KV-2 that are possible to acquire during Denmark, they aren't game breaking. If kept in arty mode, they're slow, and just a big fat slot eater just like every other arty unit. In tank mode, they're still slow, and a big fat slot eater, and they take a lot of chip damage that is irreplaceable (there sure isn't any way in AO 1940 to get new KV-2 parts, heh)

But 28 hard attack in a AT support fire role... this is useful all the way to 1945. Even the mighty Jagdpanther has 30 hard attack, but we won't see that until 1944.

By the way, one of those 'low tier' heroes can make the unit last indefinitely. With a Field Repair hero, a unit with limited stock can last forever. Given the generous turn limits present in the DLC, this is rarely a problem to allow some extra time for this hero to slowly repair the unit.

So 19 parts making a 10 or 15 strength unit in 1941 having more hard attack than a Tiger I, it needs some serious drawbacks.

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by Kerensky » Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:16 am

I mean, here's a crazy thought. There are two of these things, Dicker Max and Sturer Emil...

Why not allow one of each to behave separately?

Dicker Max will be a 5 strength Gift (unlimited extra parts, but base 5 strength everyone knows is a clearly huge drawback)

Sturer Emil will be offered in the form of 19 or less spare parts. Impossible to form 2 units with, and only a very small part reserve to maintain it. Though as mentioned a Field Repair hero can keep it running forever... one could argue hero stacking on any unit will bring them to insane power levels so whatever, heh. I mean, you could put a Consolidator hero on the 5 Str Dicker Max to get it to 15.

adiekmann
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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by adiekmann » Tue Nov 24, 2020 5:00 am

Yes, exactly! We will hope for a Field Repair hero!

Now seriously, even if you did have one, it would pull the unit out of the front lines getting "repaired" while wasting...how many core slots? That really isn't ideal use or still a steep price to pay. One Il-2 strike can rip 7 strength from it and you'll be spending the next several turns driving it to safety and then repairing it one point a turn.

I think that's what's fun about a rare but powerful weapon like that. It was opened topped and had weak armor protection from the sides and rear. It was slow and couldn't turn quickly because it was also underpowered. In short, you can handicap it with a rather weak GD and speed. I think these units as I used it in the vanilla campaign were very susceptible to both artillery fire and air attack. You just simply can't protect it all the time in a fluid operation. It will take some losses.

I hear what you're saying, Kerensky, but I think you overestimate it's ability to survive. The AI won't attack a unit that has this thing backing it up, so it really ends up being just a deterrent. Sure you can add a camouflage hero to it then, but all of this line of "but if..." talk is what makes the game fun.

Ultimately though, it would need to be tested in game and I could be proven wrong. Maybe you and later the beta testers will be able to determine whether it 'breaks' the game or not? Try different ideas and see what works best.

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by DarkBlueInk » Tue Nov 24, 2020 7:16 am

I like Kerensky's "crazy thought" with each behaving differently. We play against understrength AI units all the time.

As long as it is slightly better as a 5 strength unit than a 10 strength Marder I, then it is a viable option. If the Marder is better, then the understrength unit won't see the light of day unless you add the right mix of heroes to it. I am assuming that since it is understrength the required slots would be less as well.

For the other unit, I think 15-16 is the tipping point. Over that and it is worth taking the unit into battle. Under that, and you are taking a risk of running an understrength unit for the remainder of a scenario. The captured 203mm artillery is similar. Right now I have 12 remaining. To play the unit, it costs 6 slots and and I have to park a plane over it every turn, which effectively means it requires 7-8 slots. Consequently, it is not worth including in my core units.

So, I like the concept. We just have to find the right balance point.

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by Stormchaser » Tue Nov 24, 2020 7:44 am

Kerensky wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:16 am
I mean, here's a crazy thought. There are two of these things, Dicker Max and Sturer Emil...

Why not allow one of each to behave separately?

Dicker Max will be a 5 strength Gift (unlimited extra parts, but base 5 strength everyone knows is a clearly huge drawback)

Sturer Emil will be offered in the form of 19 or less spare parts. Impossible to form 2 units with, and only a very small part reserve to maintain it. Though as mentioned a Field Repair hero can keep it running forever... one could argue hero stacking on any unit will bring them to insane power levels so whatever, heh. I mean, you could put a Consolidator hero on the 5 Str Dicker Max to get it to 15.
I am very much down for this idea, if only to have access to both vehicles in some way. :D

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by Scrapulous » Tue Nov 24, 2020 6:59 pm

It seems I'm extreme compared to others, but if you want to limit a unit to 5 strength, why not give only 5 parts instead of 30 or <19 or 15 or whatever? It would reflect history a bit in that there aren't really "spares." This means a Consolidator hero won't circumvent the 5 strength cap (although you'd still need to cap the unit's field strength at 5 to stop Field Repair from taking it all the way to 10). Perhaps too limited for some, but units with stats that are years ahead of their time need drawbacks.

Other ways to limit such units might be by giving them a trait that prevents heroes from being assigned to them, or creating a hero who imparts such a trait and can't be reassigned. These suggestions obviously come with the downside of needing some development support.

I would be content with Kerensky's second proposal (Dicker Max unlimited reinforcement, 5 max strength; Sturer Emil fewer than 20 spares) as well. I agree with those here who stress the importance of limiting the units to make them precious and require careful management of the units and their parts.

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by Buffalohump » Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:07 pm

I think I prefer the prototype units offered with limited replacements available. I would also like to put forward another option. At the end of both previous DLC's I have found myself with left over commendation points. The player could be offered a limited number of replacements in the final scenario for the max possible remaining commendation points. The player could also be presented with a choice of which prototype to gain replacements. This would provide some "prize" for those of us who feel the need to gain every bonus objective, while still maintaining the units with limited availability.

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by Kerensky » Thu Nov 26, 2020 9:58 pm

Those few left over points need to be there for our non-elite players. :)
Not everyone is able to get every single bonus objective, and a little bit of an extra buffer helps these players still be able to acquire most, and sometimes all, of the rewards even without a 100% flawless playthrough.

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by scorehouse » Fri Nov 27, 2020 4:15 am

i agree with darkblueink the Emil needs to be full strength. as slow as it is how often does it even catch up to front to engage?

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Re: Would you use an understrength prototype?

Post by Snake97644 » Fri Nov 27, 2020 4:18 am

scorehouse wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 4:15 am
i agree with darkblueink the Emil needs to be full strength. as slow as it is how often does it even catch up to front to engage?
Yeah, might be good to put in reserve for offensive scenarios, but on the defensive it will be a beast.

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