AAR data re: new rail rules

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Diplomaticus
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AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Diplomaticus » Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:55 pm

Folks,

So far, from my pbem & hotseat play (limited as of yet w. the RC11 changes) I think the new rules are working out nicely. I have no data at all so far on the later game, however. Working on that.

A few observations:

1) Because there are few rail locations around the Polish border, the new rules restrict German players' choices. Most of the 'at start' units for the invasion of Poland cannot be railed away until turn 2, after they move. This means that early Blitz of the Benelux or Denmark becomes very difficult. The question is, are we okay with this? On the positive side, it channels the Axis into a more historical line. On the negative side, it means less likelihood of variant opening gambits. What do you all think?

2) Based on games in earlier versions (RC8 and before), I'm anticipating that both the USSR and Axis will find the new rules make their lives a bit more difficult on defense. I say this because, for example, in '43 and later as the Axis I very frequently found myself yanking units off the line in one spot to plug a hole in another. More often than not, these units would start nowhere near a city or resource. Again, maybe this is a good thing. Maybe it's more realistic to make it harder and take longer to rail units to put a thumb in the dike, so to speak. And since I haven't yet played into the later years, this might be a dead end inquiry--maybe all the new rail depots take care of the issue. I want to raise this point, however, since I think it would be helpful to hear back from people's games in progress to see whether they're finding it to be a problem.

3) Changing some of the old 0-production cities to rail depots makes life a little easier for Axis. I used to run out of garrisons for all those little cities, and now that's less of a headache. IMO, this should help to compensate for some of the difficulties posed for Axis by the new rules (more forward-planning required, a bit more oil expenditure). I'm curious to hear reports for others on this point. Do you agree?

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Schnurri » Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:49 pm

Panzergeneral has refused armistice and going for NA. I can safely say the new railing rules make it much more difficult for the Axis to win with this maneuver. Unless they can nab some empty ports before refusing the armistice railing around NA will create problems for the Axis.

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:13 pm

I think the new rail rules will make it even more important to have a strategic reserve you can send to hotspots. Germany can e. g. have some corps and mech units stationed in central Germany adjacent to cities. There they can be railed to France, Italy or Russia dependent on where the units are needed. If you run out of strategic reserve units then you can't plug holes in your front line etc.

Before it was very simple because units in the second line could easily rail to the area under threat where the enemy had made a breakthrough. Now this won't be as easy since only a few second line units will be near cities or rail depots.

It will be interesting to see how the Germans deal with this from 1943. Russia might even have to use strategic reserves to contain a German breakthrough, especially in 1942.

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by timrt » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:57 am

Still very early to say for certain but in terms of the opening gambit the result is not unreasonable. The German war effort after Poland had almost completely been exhausted. It simply was not up to an attack on the lowlands & France and if the impact of the rail depot changes partly reflects that then I for one say well done.

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Cybvep » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:46 am

Schnurri wrote:Panzergeneral has refused armistice and going for NA. I can safely say the new railing rules make it much more difficult for the Axis to win with this maneuver. Unless they can nab some empty ports before refusing the armistice railing around NA will create problems for the Axis.
I agree - refusing the armistice became even a riskier option now. The negative side effect is that it will make all-or-nothing strategy in France more common, because there are still few consequences for this action. 1942 Barbarossa is almost always a failure due to the way how the game handles it (early mobilisation of the Soviets for no reason in 1941) and both Sea Lion and NA campaign can be very costly, so 1941 Barbarossa becomes undesirable.

One thing that could be done about it is not to spawn the French garrisons if the armistice was rejected or make current rules harsher for the Allies (e.g. by spawning only one GAR with varying strength). That way they would either save some GARs for NA or would have to bring troops from other places.

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by PionUrpo » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:28 pm

Cybvep wrote:1942 Barbarossa is almost always a failure due to the way how the game handles it (early mobilisation of the Soviets for no reason in 1941) and both Sea Lion and NA campaign can be very costly, so 1941 Barbarossa becomes undesirable.
I really don't see this. If anything, '42 Barbarossa seems often better when comparing to '41, especially when Axis sticks to a (almost) defense only strategy in East and stays out of the SW area. Remove the Oct '41 bump and Soviet units will be so pitiful tech wise they'll barely scratch the hightech German units which will be near 100 effectiveness.
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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Cybvep » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:45 pm

Defensive Barbarossa probably works TOO well, but I'm talking about the typical, offensive one.

IMO 1941 Barbarossa is quite well balanced (with some exceptions that happen from time to time), but a very intensive Fall Gelb can mess things up and with the recent rail changes it's much harder to conquer the NA.

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by PionUrpo » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:13 pm

Cybvep wrote:Defensive Barbarossa probably works TOO well, but I'm talking about the typical, offensive one.
I agree, D works too well indeed, but I don't think an offensive Barbarossa in '42 will always fail. IMO it should be much worse option than '41. Sovs are locked with bad deployments, lousy effectiveness and low tech regardless, that makes summer/fall fighting very bad for them as long as Axis hasn't completely exhausted itself against UK. I guess how things then go during the winter depends on the player. In northern parts there's enough non-core Russian territory to stay out of SW zone and survive, in south there's not but I doubt it'll always end up badly. Just take enough ground and give it away.
Cybvep wrote:IMO the 1941 Barbarossa is quite well balanced (with some exceptions that happen from time to time), but a very intensive Fall Gelb can mess things up and with the recent rail changes it's much harder to conquer the NA.
Perhaps. A small amendment to the NA rules could be in order although I'm not too experienced with NA option.
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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Cybvep » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:53 pm

Perhaps. A small amendment to the NA rules could be in order although I'm not too experienced with NA option.
Possible changes include:
1) No additional Free French GARs if the armistice is rejected.
2) GARs added to the force pool with 1-2 turn(s) delay (this would represent disorganisation after fall of France), so that the Axis has a bit more time for their offensive.
3) GARs spawn in Algiers/Casablanca/Agadir, but not in Tunis or Oran.
4) GAR strength reduced by half.

Keep in mind that the Allies can keep the French figher and several naval units if they play well.

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Schnurri » Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:30 pm

Cybvep wrote:
Perhaps. A small amendment to the NA rules could be in order although I'm not too experienced with NA option.
Possible changes include:
1) No additional Free French GARs if the armistice is rejected.
2) GARs added to the force pool with 1-2 turn(s) delay (this would represent disorganisation after fall of France), so that the Axis has a bit more time for their offensive.
3) GARs spawn in Algiers/Casablanca/Agadir, but not in Tunis or Oran.
4) GAR strength reduced by half.

Keep in mind that the Allies can keep the French figher and several naval units if they play well.
The GAR strength was only 1 so it is as low as can be already. I just had time to reinforce them.

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Diplomaticus » Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:48 pm

Hmmm... Do we really want to make it any easier for Germany to refuse Armistice and get Spain on their side? After all, this is not how the war actually went. Despite a lot of pressure, Franco stayed neutral. (Rotten ingrate.)

To paraphrase an earlier post from Borger, this is meant to be an option that's an exception, not the rule, reflecting the consequences where French play was particulary reckless/suicidal.

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Cybvep » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:07 pm

Exactly. The problem is that the new rail rules make it easier for the Allies to get away with the suicidal French. However, it doesn't really make sense to forbid the Allies to use railways in NA, so sth else must be done about it.

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:38 pm

Cybvep wrote:Exactly. The problem is that the new rail rules make it easier for the Allies to get away with the suicidal French. However, it doesn't really make sense to forbid the Allies to use railways in NA, so sth else must be done about it.
Why do you mean that.

The strength of the Free French units appearing in North Africa if the armistice is rejected is 1 per 10 garrison steps surviving in mainland France. So the Germans can make sure they clean up most of France before taking Paris. Then the garrisons in North Africa will be weak.

I also think you failed to get the point that Algiers controls the French North African rail network. So the Germans can invade the area near Algiers prior to or soon after the armistice is rejected. That means the Allies can NOT rail in French North Africa, but the Axis can. This means the units you use to clear up Tunis, etc. can later rail to the rail heads in the west and be used to take Casablanca and get Spain into the war. So the rail rules will actually help the Germans more than the French if they make the invasion properly.

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:43 pm

Cybvep wrote:
Perhaps. A small amendment to the NA rules could be in order although I'm not too experienced with NA option.
Possible changes include:
1) No additional Free French GARs if the armistice is rejected.
2) GARs added to the force pool with 1-2 turn(s) delay (this would represent disorganisation after fall of France), so that the Axis has a bit more time for their offensive.
3) GARs spawn in Algiers/Casablanca/Agadir, but not in Tunis or Oran.
4) GAR strength reduced by half.

Keep in mind that the Allies can keep the French figher and several naval units if they play well.
1. Is not a good idea because then the Axis can land into empty cities and quickly wipe out the Free French.

2. They have to land in North Africa or you can't place them. You need supply level 4 or better to place reinforcements and you don't have that in French North Africa. Placing units in mainland France is not right because the Free French are actually units rallying to the French cause from colonies and also units evacuating France / Poland and other nations earlier. French units remaining in France will still be on the map in France and you need to ensure they get to a port to be evacuated

3. The problem with that is that then the Axis can land into empty hexes. If we change this then we need to add more French garrisons in North Africa and that means more units they can send to France. This will delay the fall of Paris

4. Garrisons arrive at 1 strength per 10 steps still remaining in France. Each corps step counts as 3 garrison steps.

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Cybvep » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:10 pm

I also think you failed to get the point that Algiers controls the French North African rail network. So the Germans can invade the area near Algiers prior to or soon after the armistice is rejected. That means the Allies can NOT rail in French North Africa, but the Axis can. This means the units you use to clear up Tunis, etc. can later rail to the rail heads in the west and be used to take Casablanca and get Spain into the war. So the rail rules will actually help the Germans more than the French if they make the invasion properly.
This is nothing new - it still means that the Axis has to start an invasion BEFORE fall of France or else they are penalised. This makes no sense, as a more realistic scenario (invasion of colonies AFTER the invasion of the mainland) is less beneficial than a more arcade scenario (the Germans/Italians delay taking Paris and attack EMPTY cities - sth which you do not like in case when the Armistice is refused, but apparently have no problem with if the invasion of France is still ongoing).

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:52 pm

You don't have to invade prior to the fall of France. You can do it after too. Italy will often have joined the Axis at the time and they can easily land corps units in areas like 'Tunis and Algiers. Even if the Allies get a turn to rail units they can't do much. If they rail units from the east to the west then the eastern rail depots and cities fall faster. The garrisons start at quite low strength so they will have to be built up. That takes time where you can't rail them anywhere.

The Axis should have a plan about rejecting the armistice offer before Paris actually falls. E. g. the Germans will hold off the assault on Paris so they can clear the Maginot hexes and make sure the French are weakened as much as possible before they go for the kill.

This alone is a reason for the French to not make suicide attacks with their units in the Maginot area. The more steps you can keep alive the stronger the garrisons in French North Africa will be.

If you want to do Sealion asap then you might have to Paris prematurely, but then Free France won't become a walkover since your main strength will be against Britain. Still, you can later land corps and mech units e. g. in Tunis and rail them close to Casablanca to sweep up the Free French.

So I still don't get how the rail network in French North Africa will make it harder for the Axis to defeat the Free French? These garrison units are no match do a dedicated Axis intervention in the area regardless of rail rules.

I would say that it's actually MORE interesting for the Axis to intervene in French North Africa because you can use the rail network after you clear most of the area. Think about the benefit regarding a future Torch. You can use subs to spy in the Torch invasion force. Then you sail German units to the Tunis area and keep them near a city or a rail depot. When the Allied transports land near cities further west you can rail German units to the cities under threat or adjacent to them.

This is something you can't do if Vichy France is neutral. So Torch will be harder than ever for the Allies. With the rail depots between Oran and Agadir you can easily get Axis units to and from the area. That will make it more attractive to try to get Agadir.

All I see here for the Axis is more OPPORTUNITIES. Granted, there are more threats too, but it's up to you as a player to not let your opponent take advantage of the opportunities. One is to focus on taking out Algiers early when you land in North Africa.

I fail to see how this change is actually bad for the fun of the game. Regardless of that we just have to accept that a rail network actually existed in the area.

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:10 pm

Cybvep wrote:This makes no sense, as a more realistic scenario (invasion of colonies AFTER the invasion of the mainland) is less beneficial than a more arcade scenario (the Germans/Italians delay taking Paris and attack EMPTY cities - sth which you do not like in case when the Armistice is refused, but apparently have no problem with if the invasion of France is still ongoing).
What you discuss here has nothing to do with the rail network. It's an old discussion we have some months ago and the reason we altered the rules to the strength of the garrisons are dependent on the strength remaining in France to reduce the suicide attacks.

The units "spawning" in French North Africa are actually the intrinsic strength in the are that never would have left for France. In GS we can't prevent the Allied player from sailing units to France so adding more would only make tht problem bigger. So we therefore removed the intrinsic strength and left the units that were actually sent to France.

When the armistice offer is rejected the intrinsic strength is activated and strengthened by forces fleeing from France etc. When Vichy France is created the intrinsic strength is converted to Vichy French units.

Ideally the intrinsic strength should spawn when an Axis unit landed in French North Africa, but we have no trigger that can enable that. You don't know the intention of the Axis player so you can code that a transport adjacen to French North Africa would trigger it. Maybe the transport is headed towards Libya or Gibraltar? After the Axis unit has landed into an empty hex it's too late to spawn the intrinsic strength.

Usually we know that most Axis players can't do much in French North Africa before France is secured so it will only be token landings before that. On the other side the Allied player can send UK or evacuate French units to North Africa before France falls.

My point is that the possible conflict in French North Africa is not disrupted being of a rail network there. It's neither easier nor harder for the Axis than before.

AAR's have shown that the Axis often end up with Spain as their ally if they reject the armistice offer. England often falls to. Still the Axis will struggle because the Soviets become very powerful. I don't think that's a bad thing.

Rejecting the armistice is something that should happen if the Allied player has messed up and wasted French and British forces in France or at sea. I would not consider rejecting the armistice if the French Navy and air force had escaped intact to England. Then the price is too high. I think this is how it should be. Rejecting the armistice was introduced to counter the British French blob strategy. Now the Germans could go all-in and destroy the British and French there and they launch Sealion, attack Egypt and try to get Spain to join. Then they can hope to build for a strong enough defense in Russia.

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Cybvep » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:16 pm

What I meant is that it makes absolutely zero sense for the Free French forces to magically appear after Paris is taken and not appear if the Germans or Italians invade before Paris is taken. You can perform an invasion on empty hexes before fall of Paris and cannot do that after fall of Paris.

Why is it harder for the Axis? Previously the Allies had to either bring troops to Casablanca and move them at a sluggish pace to other areas or bring troops directly to other areas by sea, which took time and was risky. Now it's possible to rail units in NA, so the Allies can reinforce NA more easily.

Obviously, the Axis is still able to beat the Allies in NA, but now it is harder because cities fall later (more troops brought by rail + free GARs) and Spain joins later (=less PP income). If you combine this with the fact that the Allied player will now be potentially more aggressive in France (= more losses for the Germans) and that they can keep the French naval units (this includes BBs and a sub - very important for the Med) and a fighter unit (it's easy to move it to the UK), then suddenly it becomes very problematic for the Axis.

You are right that it's easier to protect NA once it's taken. Therefore, if the armistice is NOT rejected and Vichy is created, then Axis will be fine. The Allied player faces no consequences for suicidal French attacks then, though. The whole point of the armistice was to make the Allies pay for unrealistic behaviour in France, but it can actually be very beneficial. Seriously, why the Allies should NOT use the French blob strategy? As long as you preserve most of French naval units and the fighter, you will be fine. If you can force the Axis to start the NA campaign and be active in Libya/perform Sea Lion, then it's even better, because it's a costly route for the Axis.

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:47 pm

You make the assumption that the Allied player has UK forces to spare for North Africa. When France falls then Sealion becomes a threat and that means you need corps units in England and not in Africa. So the units they can send are from Egypt, but they have to sail around the Cape of Good Hope which takes time.

I wouldn't mind going after British units in Algeria with my Germans. The Germans will have Luftwaffe support and can kill these British units quickly. The British can retreat again before Algiers falls, but then what was the purpose of sending them there.

Britain doesn't have enough forces to be strong enough in England to repel a Sealion, stop the Axis attack against Egypt and cause problems in French North Africa. They have to pick where they will be strong.

We also have to look into which circumstances the Axis will consider rejecting the armistice offer. That's if the Allied player has squandered forces in France. I would never consider rejecting the armistice offer if the French fighter and navy is intact. If I manage to kill the fighter and deplete the navy then it could become a consideration even if you don't go after England.

Germany can send considerable forces to Libya and they can even invade Tunisia and Algeria. So the fight over Algiers will happen. If the Allied player should delay the collapse in French North Africa they need to send British units there. OK, Casablanca falls later and Spain joins later, but you managed to kill several British units in the process. That will weigh up more than losing some PP's for some turns.

The Axis players needs to inflict as much damage on the Allies as possible prior to USA joining. Then the side will start turning. So if the Allied player offers a fight the Axis will win then I would consider it. The Allied player should use hit and run tactics prior to Barbarossa. After Barbarossa they Allied player can be bolder with the British because most German units are in Russia and can't dislodge there easily.

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Re: AAR data re: new rail rules

Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:49 pm

The Axis player can also keep subs near Casablanca to interdict transports sailing with UK units.

I think we just need to playtest and see what will happen. I therefore encourage some Axis players to reject the armistice offer and see how you can deal with the Free French.

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