Tides of Conquest campaign tool - new version out Feb 16 2020

Field of Glory II is a turn-based tactical game set during the Rise of Rome from 280 BC to 25 BC.
Nijis
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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Nijis » Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:29 am

You can try to paint the map - big empires are just designed to be brittle, that's all. Live fast, collapse young!
Would it involve many changes to allow a higher difficulty level to be used? Presumably without adjustment a higher difficulty level would allow a player the get armies on the cheap.
I could pretty easily increase the "morale" of a defending force, so that it's much more likely that they'll use a Fabian strategy for a longer time without collapsing.

At what difficulty level is it the most interesting to play? I'm assuming that any rout level over 20-25% will slow you down a bit, and 40% plus is Pyrrhic. It might be that the effects of casualties aren't felt strongly enough, though.

It would also be relatively easy to add "expeditionary forces" that are cheaper to build and move or massive hosts that are extremely expensive that fight battles at -1 or +1 difficulty, respectively.

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Ironclad » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:14 am

Thanks. I certainly hadn't thought through those sort of issues. My comment was simply a reflection based on my own experience of tending to use difficulty level 4 and an awareness (assumption?) that most non-newbie's would be using a higher difficulty level than 2. It would be really neat if one could choose a preferred difficulty level and the app adjusted whatever relevant parameters to match that chosen level but I'm sure its far more complicated than that. In fairness I should play out a full campaign, rather than just scratching the surface, to see how things work in practice before suggesting any changes.

Tbh one reason behind my query was that I was looking at the app as an ideal opportunity to increase my interest in playing more single player games (as well as being a fun campaign experience in itself).

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Nijis » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:26 pm

Tbh one reason behind my query was that I was looking at the app as an ideal opportunity to increase my interest in playing more single player games (as well as being a fun campaign experience in itself).
That's largely why I wanted to do this too. One reason I found my interest in SP starting to wane (after scores and scores of games in both FoG and P&S) is because I felt that I was basically choosing whether I won or lost depending on the difficulty level I played.

Difficulty has always been the bane of singleplayer games for me. I don't like games where the scaling-up is too gamey - ie, the enemy somehow manages to always pull more troops out of the same economic base. Paradox games like EU4 offer a challenge when you start as Ryukyu or a tiny emirate in Yemen, but then the challenge is often to avoid any war with the local colossus (ie, Abyssinia) while you swallow your nearest neighbors, and then you paint the map.

I wanted to try something slightly different. Tides of Conquest scales up the challenge, but hopefully in a way that feels more realistic. Your first battle will be level 2. Then the enemy will start to be more wary and only fight you at higher and higher difficulty levels - ie, they employ a Fabian strategy to wear down your troops. I wanted to make it clear that this is a tactic of desperation that would ONLY be chosen by an AI that feels overmatched. A Fabian strategy will wreck your realm pretty quickly because it stirs up massive internal opposition, and so a player would never want to do it.

I also wanted to make it though so that starting players would be able to fairly decently in a campaign at normal settings. So, your average "Great Commander" career will consist of one battle at 2, probably two or three 3s and 4s, and probably one 5. High losses shorten your career so I think it would probably still be a challenge to duplicate, say, the feats of an Alexander in the course of a single game-liftime. Successful ancient commanders tended to die quite young, even by the standards of the age, so basically you have 10-20 turns to do as much as you can.

After each career ends you can fast-forward 30 years and start again, either with the same realm or another. I'm now working on a bit where each commander's legacy is reflected in the kinds of social institutions that predominate in your region of the world - at least for a short while. Ie, play as Camillus and you can cause Republic virtues to spread. Play as Ashoka and you can introduce the idea of conducting war in a humane way, which apparently did somewhat temper the nature of intra-Indian warfare. Play as Liu Bang of the Han and defeat Qin-style Legalist tyranny. Play as Marius and you can introduce a bit of land reform. Play as Spartacus and you have a small chance of reducing mass agrarian slavery.

The problem though is that I don't know if this kind of sliding-scale success is fun to play. Ie, winning a battle is a very tangible outcome. Is keeping your losses down to, say, 15% in a Lvl 2 or 3 battle as fun?

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Kabill » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:23 pm

Nijis wrote:The problem though is that I don't know if this kind of sliding-scale success is fun to play. Ie, winning a battle is a very tangible outcome. Is keeping your losses down to, say, 15% in a Lvl 2 or 3 battle as fun?
I need to try it but this seems fair to me. And the player always has the option of increasing the difficulty level if they want (e.g. I can play reasonably consistently at level 5, so a game which spans 2-5 would probably be a little on the easy side for most of the campaign; but a game spanning from 3-6 would be a reasonable challenge early on and very challenging late on).

I guess you could formalise that with a starting difficulty level selection (e.g. "easy" which goes 1-4; "normal" which goes 2-5; and "hard" which goes 3-6). But it's strictly not necessary since you can just modify the numbers yourself.
Kabill's Great Generals Mod for FoG2: http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=492&t=84915

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Ironclad » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:49 pm

Nijis, so the game already has built in varying difficulty levels. Apologies if this is covered in the manual which I must admit to skim reading very quickly just so I could understand how to get into play and do the first turn or so. From your comments about playing with low casualties at levels do I take it that victory in meeting the normal battle criteria (ie 40/60%) will be translated into different victory outcomes in campaign through the variable rout level which gets harder (ie lower for enemy losses), depending on success as the game progresses? That sounds very clever and clearly I will need to play through a full single player campaign to see how it works. Will any of that operate in a multiplayer campaign?

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Nijis » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:46 am

I guess you could formalise that with a starting difficulty level selection (e.g. "easy" which goes 1-4; "normal" which goes 2-5; and "hard" which goes 3-6). But it's strictly not necessary since you can just modify the numbers yourself.
You can certainly handicap yourself by adding a difficulty level to the battles. I find level 6 a bit frustrating because your troops are lower quality. But it might be interesting as a Hail Mary-style option for a player - ie, a more affordable rebellion, or a force that's very cheap to raise. Let me think how to do it...


[quoteApologies if this is covered in the manual which I must admit to skim reading very quickly just so I could understand how to get into play and do the first turn or so. [/quote]

Not at all! Even the best manuals are hard to read and are usually best as reference once you know the game - and the ToC manual still needs a lot of tightening.
From your comments about playing with low casualties at levels do I take it that victory in meeting the normal battle criteria (ie 40/60%) will be translated into different victory outcomes in campaign through the variable rout level which gets harder (ie lower for enemy losses), depending on success as the game progresses?
That's roughly correct. Winning battles increases the odds that the enemy is willing to face you at - the difficulty level, in game terms. There are often one or more pre-battle phases where the enemy can choose to improve the odds. But they risk losing the province altogether without a fight while doing so - so it's not a viable strategy for a player.

It's a bit like the AI are the Persians facing Alexander. After Granicus, and even more so after Issus, the regional satraps are really reluctant to fight. But while they stay out of reach, Egypt and half of the western satrapies all capitulate without a fight. Only when Darius gets together a really big army, at Gaugamela, is there a battle. The intention is that this doesn't feel like a gamey strategy to the player, because no player would willingly choose to give up half the empire like that.

As for battle losses, the player needs a certain threshhold (35%) to win against an enemy army. Otherwise it's a draw. Against a provincial garrison, just a simple victory is fine. Higher losses however reduce the player commander's "vitality" and can cut short his career. This basically represents wounds, the commander's sense that his "luck" is running out, etc.

There's no hard and fast rule though for what constitutes reasonable losses in a battle, other than the 35% rule for fighting an an enemy army. Just more losses = a shorter career.

Does that make sense? I hope it provides the right amount of escalating challenge dynamically. I've thought of some other more complicated ways to combine 1) loss threshhold 2) the difficulty rating, 3) the amount of resources a player wishes to commit to an attack on a province, but this one I hope is fairly simple.

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Kabill » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:07 am

Nijis wrote:You can certainly handicap yourself by adding a difficulty level to the battles. I find level 6 a bit frustrating because your troops are lower quality. But it might be interesting as a Hail Mary-style option for a player - ie, a more affordable rebellion, or a force that's very cheap to raise. Let me think how to do it...
I do agree with you about level 6 - it's one of the reasons I've been reluctant to play at it - but as probably a one-off towards the end of a campaign run, I can see it working well.
Kabill's Great Generals Mod for FoG2: http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=492&t=84915

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Hendricus » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:06 pm

This sounds great.

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Nijis » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:31 pm

Thanks! And just to let you know, we should be starting up a multiplayer campaign. Feel free to join now, or at any later time - it's pretty easy to add new players midstream.

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by rhewett01 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:03 am

I’ve been playing around with Tides of Conquest in single player challenge mode and am impressed so far but I have a couple of queries.

(1) How does the system work out the nationality of the armies involved in a battle? In the 220 BC set up I was I was playing as the Arsacids and, in turn 1, had my army from Dahae raid into the Seleucid province of Daylam. The battle generated was Parthians versus Seleucids which I won. Next turn I repeated the raid with the army already in Dahae, and the battle generated was Graeco-Bactrian vs Seleucids. What is the mechanism by which my army became Graeco-Bactrian? The only thing that I can think of was that I also established a permanent capital at Merv on the second turn, perhaps that changes the army type.

(2) Where there is more than one player battle generated in a turn I only seem to get the chance to play one of them. Again as the Arsacids I raided Daylam and Bactria simultaneously but only got the chance to play the battle in Daylam, the system resolved Bactria randomly. Is this intentional?

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Nijis » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:24 am

Glad you're enjoying!

If you set up a permanent capital the game will revisit your army list and possibly reset it... but that's not the result you should get. Each realm has a military tradition - Hellenistic, Steppe, Iranian etc - and if your list resets then you get a new list from your tradition but affected also by location. Ie, a Hellenistic realm in Egypt will use the Ptolemaic, a Steppe realm in India may use Kushan or Indo-Scythian dependent on time and place. But Parthian switching to Greco-Bactrian is a bug. I'll try to fix that for the update but for now, if the army doesn't feel right, keep using the original.

In single player you only fight with your general's personal army. Other battles are resolved randomly. This is for balance, and also because a big realm might end up fighting a fair number of wars and border raids where there's not all that much at stake. My reasoning is that this could be fun in multiplayer to fight a variety of battles over a couple of weeks, in single player it's more interesting to fight, see the outcome, plan, repeat.

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by rhewett01 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:43 pm

Having experimented a bit the switch to Graeco-Bactrian only seems to happen if the capital is established in Marv. If the capital is in Khurasan then the army stays Parthian.

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Nijis » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:04 pm

That makes sense. The problem is that the original version of the game did not have the "Hellenic kingdom in east Iranian setting = Greco-Bactrian list" routine, so I assigned army list types according to starting provinces, and realm armies never updated. Once I did the update rules I forgot to change the Bactrian kingdom provinces to Iranian lists.

I'll fix that in future versions. For now, I'd keep on using the Parthians.

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Ironclad » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:22 pm

Enjoying the single player - still learning so probably need to refer more to manual and absorb more of the concepts. Some thoughts so far:

1. My post will no doubt put the thread back on page 1 but it might be an idea to move it to the mods section now and maybe leave a general invite on the main page.

re the mod:

2. Playing the Ptolemies I have been involved not surprisingly in a non-stop back and forth war with the Seleucids (in fairness I started the war!). It would be great if there was a diplomatic option that would enable me to call the conflict off by agreement so that I could operate elsewhere. Even allowing for some percentage possibility of the Seleucids breaking the agreement.
3. Any chance of building in an option that would allow one to switch battle commands so that one could fight personally a secondary action that may be more interesting or indeed important?
4. is there any way of saving the campaign at the point when a battle has to be fought? I can't find one so far which means that I have to keep the game open and the computer switched on whilst I switch to FOG2 and play out the battle. A save would allow one to play a batte at one's leisure and return and restart the app at a future time and re-enter the battle outcome then.
5. An autosave would be very handy (unless I've missed it). Have just played a couple of turns and two battles and clicked to quit forgetting to save the campaign. So frustrating. Done it before but have usually only missed one turn thus allowing me to replay that and re-enter the details for one fought battle.

Must admit I'm surprised that there hasn't been more interest shown in the mod given its great possibilities for single as well as multiplayer. I suspect thats because its release coincided with the start of the digital leagues and slitherine tournament.

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Nijis » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:00 pm

Thanks for the comments and feedback! It would probably be worth moving to the mod section.

2) I hadn't originally worked on a truce option because I wanted to ensure that in multiplayer games, the players fought each other and there wasn't a diplomatic standoff. But it might be a good idea to have 5-turn truces as an option after a battle, with perhaps a small cost in crisis progression.

I realize that this might get to be a drag though if an empire like the Seleucids throws army after army at you on a narrow front. I'm adding a penalty to make it harder to attack the same province twice in a row (this represents both the exhaustion of the area's food, plus troops' reluctance to go back and fight where they've just been defeated). This, plus truces, will hopefully make it less likely that you'll just have two great empires battering at each other turn after turn.


3) I had wanted to work up the role-playing element in the single-player campaigns, and to make the player feel the limitations of being, say, Hannibal and only being able to fight in one theater at once. It's reasonable that a commander could jump from army to army, though, so I could add that.



4/5) I think you can go to Load/Save and save right before entering in the battle results. An autosave would be a good idea and I'll add it for the next update.

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Ironclad » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:11 am

Nijis wrote:Thanks for the comments and feedback! It would probably be worth moving to the mod section.

2) I hadn't originally worked on a truce option because I wanted to ensure that in multiplayer games, the players fought each other and there wasn't a diplomatic standoff. But it might be a good idea to have 5-turn truces as an option after a battle, with perhaps a small cost in crisis progression.
I realize that this might get to be a drag though if an empire like the Seleucids throws army after army at you on a narrow front. I'm adding a penalty to make it harder to attack the same province twice in a row (this represents both the exhaustion of the area's food, plus troops' reluctance to go back and fight where they've just been defeated). This, plus truces, will hopefully make it less likely that you'll just have two great empires battering at each other turn after turn.
3) I had wanted to work up the role-playing element in the single-player campaigns, and to make the player feel the limitations of being, say, Hannibal and only being able to fight in one theater at once. It's reasonable that a commander could jump from army to army, though, so I could add that.
4/5) I think you can go to Load/Save and save right before entering in the battle results. An autosave would be a good idea and I'll add it for the next update.
2) Sounds good.
3) How about a financial penalty - 50 for each command transfer? I did think of more complexity - say free transfer under three provinces movement, payment above that distance with extra cost for better/longer lived ruler and for long range transfers but I guess that would be unnecessarily complicated.
4/5) My mistake reload to the battle details screen using campaign save seems to work - must have messed it up last time I tried.

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Ironclad » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:34 am

I took the liberty of posting briefly about TOC on The Wargames Club site and included a screenshot of the campaign map and drected them to here for a download. I mentioned about the multiplayer campaign underway and suggested that new players can join up. Hope thats OK.

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Nijis » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:44 pm

Absolutely! I'll check in on the thread, and I can definitely accommodate many more players in the campaign. Thanks for that!

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by SteveD64 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:39 pm

I'm curious if this can be modded to, say, the Pike Shot era with a different map etc.

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Re: Tides of Conquest campaign tool (SP/MP, currently v0.3)

Post by Nijis » Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:59 am

I think it could. The realms right now are a lot less territorially stable than later empires would be, and there's no religion or alliance systems, but it could work - especially for a game lasting 50 years or less. You can edit a savegame xml to change the provinces and realms but some aspects of the game, notably the army lists, are reset each time the game is reloaded to reduce savegame size. I can start shifting these into scenario or mod files.

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