Slitherine learned a lot

PC : Turn based Empire building in the ancient Near East.

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coyotl
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Slitherine learned a lot

Post by coyotl » Thu Jul 07, 2005 6:22 pm

I have been playing Spartan and GoT for some time and they are among my favorite games. Hoping to diversify a bit from the Greek region, I ordered CoW. After 3 days of trying (emphasis trying) to play it, I have thrown it away. Even on easy, I faced constant attacks from all of my neighbours who don't appear to be under the same building/unit recruitment constraints I am. Facing what are essentially human wave attacks from all sides I failed to ever last more than about 50 turns. No resources, no access to resources, weak tutorial, aggressive AI that plays everone against the human, advanced troops that take more casualties fighting peasants than the peasants do regardless of terrain or tactics, I am simply unwilling to waste further time.

Please remake this game employing a more advanced game engine such as the one used for Spartan/GoT as the area is historically very interesting but this game frankly blows. Easy should be just that - a chance to become accustomed to a game before being thrown in the deep end. Spartan/GoT got that right, hopefully your new Roman games will as well, this game certainly did not!

My sympathies to the citizens of London and the UK after the terrible events of today.

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Post by IainMcNeil » Fri Jul 08, 2005 9:12 am

Thanks for the feedback. The difficulty setting only modifies the start conditions. Picking a country who is surrounded by strnig neighbours is easier on easy, but not really easy. Maybe give it another try but pick a string country around the edge with some secure borders until you are more experienced with the troops available, probably best on a smaller map too.

coyotl
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Post by coyotl » Sun Jul 10, 2005 12:00 am

Hi Iain-

Hope I didn't sound too harsh rereading my original post. My intention was to deliver a backhanded compliment to your company on how far you take new games from the previous. With most companies, if I buy a game and like it, I can buy their previous effort and it will be a baby step backwards and play very similarly. The advances between CoW and Spartan/GoT is so big that playing CoW feels like going back to Pong. This leaves me extremely hopeful for the new Legion II when you get it ready and wishing that you will also do another game from the Egyptian historical period which is one of my favourites.

I will probably post a few ideas/suggestions in the Legion II forum in the next few days but it appears to be no rush as your team seems to need to finish with Arena which will be the battle engine for LII before really starting LII. I would also like to volunteer to beta LII when the time comes. I beta'd Emperor and CivIIIConquests over the last couple of years and while I may not find the most bugs, I am diligent about playing and reporting and offer a voice for game 'feel' respecting the more casual players and not the very advanced players/modders. In C3C, the 'true believers' so took over the beta that numerous changes were made that while fun for the very advanced player, made the game nearly impossible for the casual player - a mistake it seems I see too often in games today. There is no reason a game cannot be made flexible enough to allow the beginner to play and have fun while getting the feel and still allow the modders to have fun at the hardest difficulties as well.

Again, my congratulations to your company on offering REAL improvements in game design/play from one release to the next.

honvedseg
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Too difficult

Post by honvedseg » Mon Jul 11, 2005 1:28 pm

Coyotl,

The biggest difficulty with the earlier CoW release was the poor documentation, and lack of a thorough tutorial to compensate for the shortage of paper. There are a couple of fundamental things which don't seem to stand out unless you know where to look.

For one thing, your formation can make a big difference. The standard mob configuration can be packed tighter as a deep mob, giving you about 10-20% less frontage, thereby fitting more units into less space. Your troops get to spread the casualties among more units, keeping them from breaking as quickly. This formation works against you when under ranged fire, since there are more viable targets in the area under attack, so charge skirmishers with units in loose formation to reduce the number of casualties on the way in.

I usually set up a line with a couple of skirmish units close behind, and give them all a short hold order (unless I need to reach certain terrain features to defend against chariots or ordered spearmen). This lets the enemy scatter slightly on the way in, while your own line is relatively solid. I am fond of using the free garrison unit to blunt the enemy's attack if they have skirmishers of their own (giving it no hold order), so they waste as much ammo as possible on a unit which automatically regenerates anyway.

The AI will receive large subsidies of resources after the first few turns, and will generally spend them all on peasant conscripts or other cheap troops to create massive human wave attacks. (Note that the AI also pays little or no upkeep for those units.) If you have built a barracks and can field slightly better troops, you should be able to beat them consistently. ALWAYS leave your troops in a city, since they will slowly gain experience as they train, and will gradually replace any losses for free. In addition, their upkeep costs are slightly lower than when in the field.

Protect your damaged units, rotating them out for repairs between turns if under seige by multiple waves of enemy stacks. I've withstood 5 large stacks (roughly 38 units) attacking a single stack of 8 units over the span of two turns, but ended up losing 5 of my 8 remaining units on the last attack. If I had only had a single reserve unit on standby outside the city, I could have rotated out my most damaged unit between the first set of attacks and the second, and might not have lost any of those units. The accumulated experience points after surviving something like that can create a deadly army.

The only guaranteed way to stop the AI from fielding waves of troops is to take the cities generating them. If the enemy is fielding more advanced troop types, make it a priority to stamp out the city with the barracks. The AI is slow to create new buildings, but fast to generate large armies with those it has.

I enjoy both CoW and Spartan, and feel that some things were actually better in CoW, in spite of the overall improvement. Hopefully, Slitherine will revist the earlier time frame after releasing Arena and Legion II.

Mazeppa
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Re: Slitherine learned a lot

Post by Mazeppa » Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:22 am

coyotl wrote:
Thu Jul 07, 2005 6:22 pm
I have been playing Spartan and GoT for some time and they are among my favorite games. Hoping to diversify a bit from the Greek region, I ordered CoW. After 3 days of trying (emphasis trying) to play it, I have thrown it away. Even on easy, I faced constant attacks from all of my neighbours who don't appear to be under the same building/unit recruitment constraints I am. Facing what are essentially human wave attacks from all sides I failed to ever last more than about 50 turns. No resources, no access to resources, weak tutorial, aggressive AI that plays everone against the human, advanced troops that take more casualties fighting peasants than the peasants do regardless of terrain or tactics, I am simply unwilling to waste further time.

Please remake this game employing a more advanced game engine such as the one used for Spartan/GoT as the area is historically very interesting but this game frankly blows. Easy should be just that - a chance to become accustomed to a game before being thrown in the deep end. Spartan/GoT got that right, hopefully your new Roman games will as well, this game certainly did not!

My sympathies to the citizens of London and the UK after the terrible events of today.
Though this thread was made nearly 14 years ago, I do agree with the OP. Being a Spartan/GOT veteran, I was curious about this game and went ahead and bought it from a bargain bin, and I do have the same opinion.
  • Despite diplomacy being present in this game, it seems as if there's no diplomacy at all, and even when relations with another civ was maximum, all this ended up being moot and redundant when you end up being their neighbor and them sending 6 squads of full-large army stacks on one of your cities, and so I ask myself: what's the point of diplomacy in this game???
  • Peasants killing and routing well-armoured soldiers??? How on earth does that even happen... This has genuinely pissed me off many times in this game... and massed archers being so overpowered that they can even kill and rout cavalry and chariots before these units can even make contact... the combat feature in this game is just unbalanced.
  • I also agree with the weak tutorial.. it just explains nothing. Even playing this game 5 times in a row now, trying to give it a chance, I still have no idea why cities are marked red or blue etc.. And to add, there's no pedia in this game - anything that give a list of what buildings and units are in this game and information on this stuff, which I find very alarming.
On the other hand, I do enjoy the fact that there is hardly much access to resources, depending on what civ you're playing, and so you have to expand to obtain key resources... so I could just play the Tyrians and conquer some incense-rich city down south or a copper-rich city in Thrace and establish a colony there, which is a nice way to expand.

But despite its flaws, I'm still willing to give this game another chance.. I'll definitely modify the units and make them more balanced to my liking; probably edit certain resources in a few cities to add to their strategic importance rather than just food and bm's everywhere.. but if this still doesn't work out, I have to see if I could transfer them to Spartan/GOT and make respective changes there, and pray if it could work..
coyotl wrote:
Thu Jul 07, 2005 6:22 pm
My sympathies to the citizens of London and the UK after the terrible events of today.
Wow.. to think I was 12 years old when the london bombings of 7/7 happened...
Time flies away really fast..

honvedseg
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Re: Slitherine learned a lot

Post by honvedseg » Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:08 pm

Mazeppa wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:22 am
Though this thread was made nearly 14 years ago, I do agree with the OP. Being a Spartan/GOT veteran, I was curious about this game and went ahead and bought it from a bargain bin, and I do have the same opinion.
  • Despite diplomacy being present in this game, it seems as if there's no diplomacy at all, and even when relations with another civ was maximum, all this ended up being moot and redundant when you end up being their neighbor and them sending 6 squads of full-large army stacks on one of your cities, and so I ask myself: what's the point of diplomacy in this game???
  • Peasants killing and routing well-armoured soldiers??? How on earth does that even happen... This has genuinely pissed me off many times in this game... and massed archers being so overpowered that they can even kill and rout cavalry and chariots before these units can even make contact... the combat feature in this game is just unbalanced.
  • I also agree with the weak tutorial.. it just explains nothing. Even playing this game 5 times in a row now, trying to give it a chance, I still have no idea why cities are marked red or blue etc.. And to add, there's no pedia in this game - anything that give a list of what buildings and units are in this game and information on this stuff, which I find very alarming.
Been a while since I last viewed this thread, but here's a belated response from a former frequent player:

Diplomats in this game are little more than spies. "Diplomacy" basically consists of various ways of killing the other countries' diplomats, and not much more. Having a diplomat in place gradually increases relations, but relations seem to have little or no effect on AI decisions. Agreed that the diplomacy aspect was really primitive at best, although the choices in Spartan were only slightly better.

"Peasants killing and routing well-armoured soldiers???" - Adjust that to "Peasants killing other conscripted peasants with some minimal training and equipment". Until you get to swordsmen or the better light troops (the bottom tier light troops aren't much better than peasants), it's more about experience and training than equipment. A highly experience peasant levy can take on a freshly built basic light infantry unit, and the AI's peasant doomstacks generally have enough sheer numbers to carry them through. Tighter formations and tightly bunched unit placement (without overlapping) are important, in order to present a solid front for as long as possible before the battle degenerates into the inevitable disorganized furball. You also need to keep your first heavy units clear of bad terrain, and try to engage the enemy's heavy units in woods or rough ground with your light troops, so learning how far forward to put your troops and how much delay to give them is an art form, especially if you use flankers. Skirmishers and archers are powerful against unshielded early troops, but early chariots can take them out if you run them at high speed (otherwise they get shot to pieces), or use a light infantry unit with loose formation to distract them frontally until the chariots arrive on the flank. Unit placement before the battle begins is the key, complicated by the fact that you generally can't see all of the opposing units before hitting the "Start" button.

Your first training ground is a big help (units parked in a city with a training ground gain a small amount of experience each turn), and getting to the second level of barracks is crucial, so your units are slightly larger than the default opposition. You want to do everything possible to make sure that your units survive, so they retain their experience, and that may involve using the auto-regenerating city garrison unit(s) as bait to delay part of the enemy formation while your own units outnumber and crush the other part. It may also involve rotating out the most badly depleted unit(s) with reserves waiting just outside the city for just such a purpose. A few city-states are pretty much doomed no matter what you do, sandwiched between larger enemies, but most are quite playable once you know how to organize your front line and farm experience points.

There's a tutorial? Incidentally, the color blocks around the city names indicate whether they have completed a building or military unit, run out of space for more population, or various other changes of status. I can't recall which color corresponds to what condition after all these years. Since Windows 10 came out, it won't run any CDs with DRM, so I can't run this game anymore until/unless I repurchase the game as a download.

Kissaki
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Re: Slitherine learned a lot

Post by Kissaki » Fri Apr 03, 2020 8:33 am

Mazeppa wrote:
Sat Jun 22, 2019 5:22 am
  • Despite diplomacy being present in this game, it seems as if there's no diplomacy at all, and even when relations with another civ was maximum, all this ended up being moot and redundant when you end up being their neighbor and them sending 6 squads of full-large army stacks on one of your cities, and so I ask myself: what's the point of diplomacy in this game???
There is none, really, except the sadistic satisfaction you get from the various brutal ways you can expel foreign diplomats. Apparently, having a diplomat stationed with a foreign nation will gradually improve their attitude towards you. But I don't think their attitude has much relevance in terms of gameplay. Ultimately, there are no alliances, no trade agreements, no interaction with foreign nations of any kind, so at very best your diplomats work as very inefficient spies. This is the information you get:

Ethnic group
Relationship status
Worst enemy
Best friend
Economic strength
Military strength

None of that is information you need in any way.

  • Peasants killing and routing well-armoured soldiers??? How on earth does that even happen... This has genuinely pissed me off many times in this game... and massed archers being so overpowered that they can even kill and rout cavalry and chariots before these units can even make contact... the combat feature in this game is just unbalanced.
Yeah, it is imbalanced. I did a lot of tweaking of Squads.txt in the Data folder, myself. I was shocked to find, for instance, that spearmen had the same stats as peasants, except for a better armour rating against missiles and better resistance to trampling by cavalry. I made a thread about tinkering with the unit stats, called Tinkering with squads.txt. There are certain mysterious stats which are explained there.

  • I also agree with the weak tutorial.. it just explains nothing. Even playing this game 5 times in a row now, trying to give it a chance, I still have no idea why cities are marked red or blue etc.. And to add, there's no pedia in this game - anything that give a list of what buildings and units are in this game and information on this stuff, which I find very alarming.
I wouldn't call it alarming, as such. I found that "learning by doing" worked fine. In the diplomatic map, the red colour is you. The green colours are the nations to which you have sent your diplomats; the dark blue colours are the nations who have diplomats with you. Light blue are those who have diplomats with you, and to whom you have sent your own.

But despite its flaws, I'm still willing to give this game another chance.. I'll definitely modify the units and make them more balanced to my liking; probably edit certain resources in a few cities to add to their strategic importance rather than just food and bm's everywhere..
Yes, do. For editing the cities, the relevant files are in the Data/Maps folder, and again within the folder of the relevant campaign map. The files you edit here will not affect saved games, but editing squads.txt will. Some cities are not properly named within cities.txt (referred to eg. as "SE_Egypt_1") - I'll post the actual names as soon as I get home. As it is originally, I do believe there are no cities with full capacity for mining gems. And only one for incence.

but if this still doesn't work out, I have to see if I could transfer them to Spartan/GOT and make respective changes there, and pray if it could work..
There is one particular difference between the games which may throw a spanner in your gears, though. In Spartan/GoT, squad size is determined by the size of one structure, which does nothing except modify squad size: the depot. This was the same as it was in Legion, but for Chariots of War they changed this to something I liked a million times better: in CoW, squad size is determined by the upgrade of the individual barracks, and there are ten different squad sizes (not just four or five). This means that you don't need to waste an extra building slot just to get bigger squads, and that's important in key cities where you want as much space as possible for production, but you also want a fat garrison. When I first played CoW, after having played Legion, I remember thinking, "yes! This is the way to do it!" I don't know why they changed it back for Spartan. But that aside, the similarities between the relevant files in CoW and Spartan are more numerous than the differences, from what I remember.

Edit: Ok, here are the city names missing from cities.txt:

NorthAramean_1 = Lage
NorthAramean_2 = Nisibis
NorthAramean_3 = Gozan
EastAramean_2 = Balih
SE_Egypt_1 = Gidid
SE_Egypt_2 = Suwakin
SE_Egypt_3 = Sinkat
SE_Egypt_4 = Dimokea

These are the ones I've identified so far. Most of the cities are in cities.txt with their proper names. For the rest, as the city names are under "EditorString" and do not constitute the city ID, they seem to have no gameplay effect - I certainly haven't noticed any difference yet after changing their names to their actual names.

DEB
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Re: Slitherine learned a lot

Post by DEB » Sat Apr 11, 2020 4:09 pm

Kissaki wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 8:33 am
Some cities are not properly named within cities.txt (referred to eg. as "SE_Egypt_1") - I'll post the actual names as soon as I get home.

Edit: Ok, here are the city names missing from cities.txt:

NorthAramean_1 = Lage
NorthAramean_2 = Nisibis
NorthAramean_3 = Gozan
EastAramean_2 = Balih
SE_Egypt_1 = Gidid
SE_Egypt_2 = Suwakin
SE_Egypt_3 = Sinkat
SE_Egypt_4 = Dimokea

These are the ones I've identified so far. Most of the cities are in cities.txt with their proper names. For the rest, as the city names are under "EditorString" and do not constitute the city ID, they seem to have no gameplay effect - I certainly haven't noticed any difference yet after changing their names to their actual names.
I have 3 more if you are interested :

NE_Egypt_1 = Arsinoe
South Aramaean_1 = Til Barsib
South Aramaean_2 = Bet-Zamanni

All are named on the Cities listed for the Grand Campaign scenario, but are not on Cities listed for the Egypt scenario.

NB : So far as I can see, the lack of name on the Cities file does not effect the name that appears on the Map or that you see when you view the city ( on the City screen ). Neither does it effect the Empire Overview list ( of Cities ).

honvedseg
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Re: Slitherine learned a lot

Post by honvedseg » Fri May 15, 2020 2:29 pm

As Kissaki points out, squad size is determined by the level of your barracks. Putting a barracks and training ground in a province gives you larger and better trained units than the AI normally fields, so these quickly become the key to beating the repeated waves of peasant spam that the AI will throw at you in the early stages of the game. I can generally build a barracks almost from the start, build one decent stack of light infantry with that, and use that stack to take another city within the first 10-20 turns, since early garrisons are generally tiny and often peasant levies. The SECOND level of that barracks is critical, since it allows you to field more men per unit, so you can enjoy a numerical superiority in each battle, in addition to the better quality of your light troops over their peasant levies. Farming experience for them against weak peasant stacks, so they fight better per man, is even more critical. Better troops + better trained + superior numbers = big advantage. Knowing how to utilize terrain and advance speeds and delays to break up the enemy formations and fight the enemy in the terrain that best suits you (and not them) is the final key to victory.

I usually dedicate one city ASAP to producing the best light infantry that I can, another city to producing ranged units when they become available, and then go for heavy infantry (spearmen are effectively useless EXCEPT against chariots), because if you build more than one barracks plus the training ground in the same city, there aren't enough slots left to fully utilize the population. Once you can produce swordsmen, with more advanced light infantry to hold the rough terrain and skirmish archers to shower the enemy with arrows, it's "steamroll" time. As I've said before, making sure your units survive the engagements to retain their experience is critical, so you generally want a full stack with a couple of spare units that can be rotated in while the most badly mauled units recover.

A diplomat in another realm will allow you to see where their troops are stationed, but adjacent realms will frequently expel your diplomats, so I generally send them to nearby kingdoms that aren't actually adjacent to me. More experienced diplomats (those who have not been killed - yet) allows you to see more of a country's status, which generally gives you some indication that your relations with them are dropping before they declare on you. Beyond that, politics might as well not exist in the game.

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