Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

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lloydster4
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Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by lloydster4 » Thu Feb 27, 2020 12:20 am

It's a bit frustrating that an encircled unit can retreat out of encirclement. Let's say there's an enemy heavy tank; it's near full strength but encircled and suppressed. If you attack it and cause it to retreat out of the encirclement, then it will be fully supplied on the enemy turn. If you don't attack, it remains heavily suppressed and ineffective. The player is discouraged from making the attack. I think encirclement would be a more engaging system if it either prevented or severely limited a unit's ability to retreat.

Two potential changes:
1) An encircled unit, when forced to retreat, will surrender. This makes the most sense to me, but it might be overpowered. It would probably cause some balance issues.
2) An encircled unit, when forced to retreat, will expend ALL of its available movement. Put in practical terms, it would not be able to retreat again on the same turn. This is similar to forcing an enemy unit to retreat onto a river hex.

Note that I don't think there should be a penalty for retreating from one encircled hex into another encircled hex. I also don't think there needs to be any additional restriction on a unit moving out of encirclement during it's own turn.

I would be interested to hear what others think about the interaction between these mechanics. It feels unnatural that a unit could retreat into enemy Zone of Control without consequence.

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by Retributarr » Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:22 am

by lloydster4

"It feels unnatural that a unit could retreat into enemy Zone of Control without consequence".
-------------------------------------
I haven't given 'Retreat-Situations'... any thought what so ever!. However... now that you have mentioned it... about retreating through a 'Zone of Control'... yes!!!...there definitely should be a penalty for that situation.

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by Hemi » Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:44 am

Encircled is not enveloped.

lloydster4
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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by lloydster4 » Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:34 am

Hemi wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:44 am
Encircled is not enveloped.
If you want to get technical, encirclement is a type of envelopment. An envelopment is any attack carried out on an enemy flank. For example, a single envelopment involves only 2 directions of attack. To quote the US army field manual: "Encirclement operations are operations where one force loses its freedom of maneuver because an opposing force is able to isolate it by controlling all ground lines of communication and reinforcement"

Honestly though, arguing about definitions doesn't really move the conversation forward.

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by Hemi » Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:15 am

lloydster4 wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:34 am
Hemi wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:44 am
Encircled is not enveloped.
If you want to get technical, encirclement is a type of envelopment. An envelopment is any attack carried out on an enemy flank. For example, a single envelopment involves only 2 directions of attack. To quote the US army field manual: "Encirclement operations are operations where one force loses its freedom of maneuver because an opposing force is able to isolate it by controlling all ground lines of communication and reinforcement"

Honestly though, arguing about definitions doesn't really move the conversation forward.
I wasn't arguing about definitions. My point is that there is a difference between encircling the enemy and having them fully enveloped, in which case they will surrender. My opinion is that you shouldn't get rewarded for a surrender with the job partly done.

The case from history that came to mind when I read your post was the battle of Fort Donelson, where Grant had not completed his envelopment of the fort and Forrest's men were able to escape through the Union lines while Buckner surrendered the bulk of the army.

But to the game, there is an art to encirclement, and forcing a retreat into a particular hex, and it's kinda fun.They also surrender when they run out of movement points. I also use the forced retreat myself on occasion to bait the enemy knowing my retreat will bring it to safety. Encirclement means the troops will not resupply, which is another tool in your belt to use.

I think simply surrendering would simplify the game too much

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by Kerensky » Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:17 am

This exact conversation is happening in BETA testing. So I'll say what I said there, here.
I don't think the game needs more subrules. Retreat mechanics are already kind of wonky, and by wonky I mean very difficult to grasp. There are lots of governing factors like ZOC and unit movement points and terrain movement costs.

If you don't want a unit to retreat out of encirclement, you need to do a full envelopment. Block every hex with a physical unit.

Besides, if units cannot retreat out of encirclement... you can just pincer a unit between 2 of your units, creating the smallest encirclement possible, and since the unit can no longer retreat out of encirclement, it surrenders the moment it's forced to move?
That'll never work. :P

Units need to be able to move in and out of encirclement freely. If you really want to stop movement, you have to go full on envelopment. By this logic, attacking an enemy head on is the first degree of engagement. Encirclement of an enemy is the second degree of engagement. Envelopment is the final degree of engagement.
Last edited by Kerensky on Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by Kerensky » Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:29 am

Also, being able to retreat out of encirclement isn't some kind of reward or get out of jail free card. Retreating naturally comes with movement penalties: you can only retreat with MP, and expend MP taken away from your next turn to perform a retreat.

And finally, if your encirclement isn't complete, and your actions cause a unit to retreat out of said encirclement... that's your fault for giving your enemy an avenue to escape. You sprung the trap before it was properly set up. Maybe you can use some more split actions to turn those encirclements into true envelopments next time. ;)

There's nothing wrong with being discouraged to attack an encircled unit for fear it will flee out of encirclement. This is the very natural progression of proper encirclement/envelopment tactics. It *should* take a few turns to fully remove all avenues of retreat an enemy has at their disposal. It's a slow process of discovering the target unit, clearing out supporting/other enemy units, engaging, pinning, and finally surrounding the target unit.

The venus fly trap doesn't spring shut on instant contact with an insect. It waits until the kill is assured before finally closing the trap.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7eQKSf0LmY

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by MickMannock » Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:28 am

Kerensky wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:29 am
Also, being able to retreat out of encirclement isn't some kind of reward or get out of jail free card. Retreating naturally comes with movement penalties: you can only retreat with MP, and expend MP taken away from your next turn to perform a retreat.

And finally, if your encirclement isn't complete, and your actions cause a unit to retreat out of said encirclement... that's your fault for giving your enemy an avenue to escape. You sprung the trap before it was properly set up. Maybe you can use some more split actions to turn those encirclements into true envelopments next time. ;)

There's nothing wrong with being discouraged to attack an encircled unit for fear it will flee out of encirclement. This is the very natural progression of proper encirclement/envelopment tactics. It *should* take a few turns to fully remove all avenues of retreat an enemy has at their disposal. It's a slow process of discovering the target unit, clearing out supporting/other enemy units, engaging, pinning, and finally surrounding the target unit.

The venus fly trap doesn't spring shut on instant contact with an insect. It waits until the kill is assured before finally closing the trap.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7eQKSf0LmY
I totally agree with your points about encirclement. I think the rules and mechanics as they are now, are working well!

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by Kerensky » Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:50 am

And sometimes it's very practical to leave an avenue of retreat for your enemy.

Because if there is only one way to retreat, your enemy will take it.

Examples include: Allowing a unit to retreat onto a river hex, destroying all of its movement points with a single hex movement, and now it can be easily forced into surrender by the lightest feather touch. Same goes for making a unit retreat into a mountain hex.

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by nexusno2000 » Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:55 am

Kerensky wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:50 am
And sometimes it's very practical to leave an avenue of retreat for your enemy.

Because if there is only one way to retreat, your enemy will take it.

Examples include: Allowing a unit to retreat onto a river hex, destroying all of its movement points with a single hex movement, and now it can be easily forced into surrender by the lightest feather touch. Same goes for making a unit retreat into a mountain hex.
^^ This!

And it not only applies to full encirclement: with practice, you can place your units and attack from directions which makes the enemy retreat into bad places... pushing something onto a river is usually much better than pushing it into a clear hex :D
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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by lloydster4 » Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:06 pm

@Kerensky

Your point about splitting is well-taken; that's a good opportunity for meaningful trade-offs! However, I see no reason to take a hard stance on sub-rules. A retreat-move doesn't have to be identical to a standard-move. A retreat-move could use extra MPs, for example.

For the sake of discussion, let's flip this around. Should encircling an enemy unit for 1 turn be enough to completely prevent it from recovering suppression? I don't see any good alternatives.

In any case, I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. Hopefully you will create some campaigns for this game? Even though I still have nightmares from GC '44 East :D

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by Kerensky » Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:07 pm

lloydster4 wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:06 pm
@Kerensky

Your point about splitting is well-taken; that's a good opportunity for meaningful trade-offs! However, I see no reason to take a hard stance on sub-rules. A retreat-move doesn't have to be identical to a standard-move. A retreat-move could use extra MPs, for example.

For the sake of discussion, let's flip this around. Should encircling an enemy unit for 1 turn be enough to completely prevent it from recovering suppression? I don't see any good alternatives.

In any case, I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. Hopefully you will create some campaigns for this game? Even though I still have nightmares from GC '44 East :D
My main problem with subrules is Communication/Discovery.

What does that mean? The game might start having a hard time communication what is going on to the players. If the game isn't communicating effectively, players don't understand what is happen, or why it's happening. This leads to frustration. And without discovery, they can't determine what the problem is/what is going on.

Example:

Early on, recon assistance wasn't visualized. There was no way for players to know, or learn, that having recon units adjacent to enemies was helping increase firing accuracy. So now when units provide assistance, there are notifications. Mass attack, engineer support, and recon all display messages to help players discover what is going on.

The original game suffered from this heavily. So many things you just had to know, because it wasn't displayed in game (mass attack, rate of fire, special units traits). Panzer Corps 2 has made major advancements in this area, which is one of the less talked about but much welcome improvements in the sequel.

Point is, the more subrules are crammed into the game, the harder it is for players to grasp. This isn't just a problem of dumbing down the game for new players, it affects veterans too when they have no mechanisms for discovery. Too many subrules adds meaningless complexity, which is just a bad thing.

So it's easy to say 'retreating uses special rules'. Okay, where is this information displayed? How is it displayed? How is anyone supposed to know it's happening? Should every time a unit expend movement points, a pop up shows up that says how much movement they are expending? That would solve it, but it also looks horribly intrusive. So much extra, near useless information needs to be shown to the player because now there is movement, but also subrule movement under retreat conditions.

No, movement is movement. No special case situation required to be knowledgeable of, and no need for intrusive UI elements to spell out even more information.


There's nothing wrong with the first turn of encirclement to begin the process of no suppression recovery. Because suppression recovery is generally a slow rolling mechanic anyways. It's not like the base 15 infantry units of the game are being choked to death instantly from the moment they are encircled. Suppression stacks slowly, unless accelerated by artillery/strategic bombing.

There is a very special Defenders of the Reich scenario that is huge, and quite advanced, that demonstrates this pretty well. Berlin begins in a large, 20+ unit encirclement from the beginning of the scenario. Berlin doesn't instantly fall to pieces because of this huge encirclement, units inside, especially stronger units, still maintain some measure of combat effectiveness for a few turns. They can assist in breaking of the encirclement, if used properly.

But Allied encirclement pressure on Berlin, combined with direct Allied assaults on the city, quickly reach critical damage levels. So breaking the encirclement of Berlin is priority one of the scenario.... among many other priorities involved. It's a complex scenario, hopefully we can showcase it at some point to demonstrate how much more advanced Panzer Corps 2 is over the original, in design and also new mechanics in place. :)

As for making Panzer Corps 2 campaigns. I can't talk about that at this point, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by lloydster4 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:01 am

Movement is already an enormously complex system in Panzer Corps. I'll fudge the numbers slightly, but the first Panzer Corps had 8 types of Unit Movement, 16 types of Hex Terrain, and 3 different Ground Conditions. That's 384 values. Every move is a special case!

That's not to say that complexity justifies further complexity, but saying "movement is movement" is a bit like saying "combat is combat"

I think it would be helpful to have some simple overlays to the ui that could use the map itself to communicate to the player. You could have an overlay showing MP costs, one for ZoC, one that highlights close terrain, etc. Probably a bit too late to be considering changes to UI...

And now I'm just rambling.

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by Kerensky » Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:31 am

lloydster4 wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:01 am
Movement is already an enormously complex system in Panzer Corps. I'll fudge the numbers slightly, but the first Panzer Corps had 8 types of Unit Movement, 16 types of Hex Terrain, and 3 different Ground Conditions. That's 384 values. Every move is a special case!

That's not to say that complexity justifies further complexity, but saying "movement is movement" is a bit like saying "combat is combat"
It's the further complexity that goes too far I think. Yes movement is already quite complex. But add one order of magnitude when you take all those movement rules and give each piece a subrule for retreat movement.

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by MickMannock » Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:28 am

Kerensky wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:31 am
lloydster4 wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:01 am
Movement is already an enormously complex system in Panzer Corps. I'll fudge the numbers slightly, but the first Panzer Corps had 8 types of Unit Movement, 16 types of Hex Terrain, and 3 different Ground Conditions. That's 384 values. Every move is a special case!

That's not to say that complexity justifies further complexity, but saying "movement is movement" is a bit like saying "combat is combat"
It's the further complexity that goes too far I think. Yes movement is already quite complex. But add one order of magnitude when you take all those movement rules and give each piece a subrule for retreat movement.
I totally agree with Kerensky. Panzer General (and it's successors) has always been a beer and pretzel kind of strategy game. It has definetely become more complex over the years, and very much so with Panzer Corps 2, but it still has that feel of a more light hearted strategy game. I think it would do the franchise great disservice to make it more complex as suggested in this thread. It's just not that type of game.

And I want to point out that I love complex strategy games and they certainly have a place in the community, but in my opinion, Panzer Corps 2 doesn't belong to that category.

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by dalfrede » Fri Feb 28, 2020 4:52 pm

lloydster4 wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 12:01 am
Movement is already an enormously complex system in Panzer Corps. . .
Just to show that is more complicated than people realize. Basic movement numbers were all increased by 10 in PzC2.
In the Units.cvs file infantry has a movement of 30, not 3.
This allows some terrain to have a move cost of 15 [or 1.5], while keeping the calculation integer.

This is invisible to the player.

Imagine the complaints: "It says I have 30 movement points but can only move 3 hexes! :cry: "

When it comes to explaining things sometimes 'less is more'.

Imagine trying to explain integer vs floating point arithmetic. :mrgreen:
There comes a time on every project when it is time to shoot the engineer and ship the damn thing.

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by lloydster4 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 7:10 pm

Allow me to frame this question a different way:

In Panzer Corps, is it ever possible to move into an enemy ZoC hex and then keep moving on the same turn? Yes, but only in two specific situations. 1) Using a recon car with flexible pathing and 2) While making multiple retreats. For any unit other than a recon car, moving into an enemy ZoC hex would stop it from moving further. But this same rule does not hold true for retreating.

A unit that is forced to move into an enemy ZoC hex should not be able to make any more moves in the same turn.

By making this rule apply for both friendly and enemy turns, you're actually removing complexity from the game.

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by Hemi » Fri Feb 28, 2020 7:35 pm

I think it's fine the way it is. A person who completes envelopment gets rewarded with a surrender, and I feel it's fair to do so. If you don't complete envelopment, unit gets to retreat.

To me that's entirely balanced.

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by Patrick Ward » Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:21 pm

Hemi wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 7:35 pm
I think it's fine the way it is. A person who completes envelopment gets rewarded with a surrender, and I feel it's fair to do so. If you don't complete envelopment, unit gets to retreat.

To me that's entirely balanced.
In a few paper war games I play, for every hex of ZOC you retreat through, either the enemy gets a free attack or you just lose x points of health. Since a retreat is rarely done in good order and weapons are often left behind, that always seemed like a thematic enough solution.

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Re: Thoughts on Encirclement and Retreat

Post by Hemi » Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:45 pm

Patrick Ward wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:21 pm
Hemi wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 7:35 pm
I think it's fine the way it is. A person who completes envelopment gets rewarded with a surrender, and I feel it's fair to do so. If you don't complete envelopment, unit gets to retreat.

To me that's entirely balanced.
In a few paper war games I play, for every hex of ZOC you retreat through, either the enemy gets a free attack or you just lose x points of health. Since a retreat is rarely done in good order and weapons are often left behind, that always seemed like a thematic enough solution.

P
There's probably several ways to handle it. Even if it's just prestige gain, I feel a player who succeeds in full envelopment should be rewarded more than a player who merely encircles. Encirclement is relatively easy to achieve

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