My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

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terminus467
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My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by terminus467 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:39 am

First, let me describe where I'm coming from. I am Italian-American. I like playing as the underdogs in World War games (one and two). Italy, if I can, in WWII, and the Central Powers in WWI. I like making things turn out differently than they did. And, holy crap, that is absolutely impossible for me in this game. As Entente with the AI on Privileged I couldn't lose to save my life and as Central with the AI on Handicapped I couldn't win to save my life. The Entente just has a crushing advantage in literally every single way. The game pays lip service to the Central Powers starting with more guys. How? I don't see it. Serbia starts with an army that is eyebrow-raisingly comparable in size to Austria's. France's army is only barely edged out by Germany's on its front and Russia comes in with way more guys than Austria and Germany start with on the Eastern front.

Here's what I run into: No matter how well I play I just can't kill their units faster than they can make them. Oh, and another thing. I'll conquer territory, like Belgrade, and think "Yes! I can get more production points like the narrator says!" except for the fact that, oh, wait, no I won't because there's a big fat "0" on Belgrade after I conquer it. Again, the game pays lip service to cities repairing themselves over time. I have never, ever seen it with my own eyes. Whenever I conquer a city it always lingers at zero or one or four, in the case of Paris. So I can't even employ the strategy of rapid conquest to increase production because conquest doesn't increase production.

Oh, and the Ottomans? Oh, let me tell you about the Ottomans. The come into the game with a paltry force. Like, one fourth the size of Serbia's. Seriously? And, again, the game pays lip service to me possibly being able to take Egypt, but it's not even a remote possibility. The British have more infantry down there, they're better equipped, and they aren't running into any supply problems; trust me. It's not that I can't successfully attack them. I can't successfully deal damage to them! If I have the audacity to attack one of their infantry with my infantry or cavalry I might do one damage, if the dice are in my favor, and receive five. And if I have the utter gall to use a garrison, it will do no damage and basically just die.

And then Italy comes into the war. And it fights units that I should have, apparently, been sending over there that I never had so it just steamrolls into Austria which loses valuable production.

Before I describe the precise problems I run into: Let me describe my best game to you. I took Liege T1, as normal. I took Brussels T3. I took Belgrade T5. I took Paris T9. I took Warsaw and the city next to it two turns after Russia joined and the same turn I took Verdun. Taking Paris, Belgrade, Brussels, Liege, Verdun, and all of Poland in the first half year, to be clear, was a better record than the Germans had in their initial push in WWII. I have no business losing so badly in a war that I began so incredibly well. It makes literally no sense to me.

Here are the specific problems: Serbia just doesn't die. Ever. I've never defeated it once before Bulgaria comes into the war, and even after that it takes time. Serbia has no business having an Austria-sized force. It's just madness. The Ottomans have never contributed anything. Not even once. Again, the large quantities of lip service paid to taking the Suez do me no good. France, after my conquering Paris, is completely unaffected. They just keep chugging along, throwing units at me. It's unbelievable. And Russia, of course, just produces vast quantities if units that I have no hope of killing, despite stabilizing that front with more units. And then Italy is just another nail in an already airtight coffin.

Look, I'm sure someone's going to tell me that these are historical numbers. I doubt it. Our knowledge of the presence and movements of troops in WWI is actually quite limited. So I'm sure we have some leeway here. But I won't even get into that. I don't care if these numbers are accurate. If they have to make the numbers more favorable for the Central powers to make it easier; nay, feasible to achieve a Central victory, then they should. I get that this is partly supposed to be a re-enactment. But it's not fun to re-enact things when they're completely one-sided. Anybody want to re-enact Custer's Last Stand? Or the Battle of Concord? Maybe the Spanish-American War? I really just want to enjoy this game. And I can't. Because when I play as the Central powers it's frustratingly impossible to even come close to succeeding, and when I play as the Entente there's absolutely no savoring my victory because a chimp could have won.

And to close, if someone would like to point out something they think I was doing wrong or explain how to achieve a Central victory, I am all ears. I hope you're right and I hope I'm wrong; I just don't see it happening.

palioboy2
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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by palioboy2 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:33 am

There are a ton of things I love about the game. And I appreciate them trying to recreate history. But god I wish they would give me some options to balance out of the playability. Everytime I create a gap in the line I push troops forward to find fresh divisions in prepared trenches waiting to blow me to pieces. I realize in WWI this was a huge issue, men would gain ground and immediately be counter attacked and forced out of the trenches they had just captured. But I am think that was more at the squad, platoon, company level. Not whole divisions. All in all very frustrating. I am in the process of playing as the CE and even though of I have a casualty ratio of 2:1 the only reason I am holding on is the AI making ridiculously stupid decisions (like using artillery or fighters to fill salients I have intentionally made to draw the enemy into killing zones). I am pretty sick of out performing the AI to simply be overwhelmed by numbers and crushed anyways. I think this will be my last game and after that I won't be recommending this to too many people.

terminus467
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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by terminus467 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:31 pm

It seems like, as the Central Powers, I have to do everything perfectly (i.e. take Paris and Belgrade early) to even have a chance of victory, and even then it's just a chance. A slim one.

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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by Confusedesh » Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:11 pm

Only playing on balanced but anyhow.....

One simply trick is to delete two German cruiser fleets and the Austrian one and you will have enough Infantry divisions to hold France and defeat Russia but to defeat Russia you must use those extra German and Austrian divisions to trap the first wave of Russian forces in the Warsaw salient (destroy about 7 or more divisions)

There will then be a lull for a number of turns before Russia can again hold a line, you will also have a window to finish Serbia off but I would guard from an attack in Italy first and when Bulgaria joins the Serbs can easily be crushed.

Hold Palestine with your Turkish infantry and attack Russia they wont have enough units to make a real defence because at that stage they will just barely be able to hold the German Austrian front.

In my present game I am trying to do the above but also take Paris I even caught the Serbs on the hop by making a few crazy moves that confused the AI, will see what happens it can easily go wrong.

And that is the gripe I have one silly move and everything is kaput so instead of playing a war game I feel I am performing a series of dance moves that I am learning to do better the more I play.

terminus467
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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by terminus467 » Wed Aug 20, 2014 3:33 pm

Confusedesh wrote:Only playing on balanced but anyhow.....

One simply trick is to delete two German cruiser fleets and the Austrian one and you will have enough Infantry divisions to hold France and defeat Russia but to defeat Russia you must use those extra German and Austrian divisions to trap the first wave of Russian forces in the Warsaw salient (destroy about 7 or more divisions)

There will then be a lull for a number of turns before Russia can again hold a line, you will also have a window to finish Serbia off but I would guard from an attack in Italy first and when Bulgaria joins the Serbs can easily be crushed.

Hold Palestine with your Turkish infantry and attack Russia they wont have enough units to make a real defence because at that stage they will just barely be able to hold the German Austrian front.

In my present game I am trying to do the above but also take Paris I even caught the Serbs on the hop by making a few crazy moves that confused the AI, will see what happens it can easily go wrong.

And that is the gripe I have one silly move and everything is kaput so instead of playing a war game I feel I am performing a series of dance moves that I am learning to do better the more I play.
That's a very good analogy. What I've done is just gone into the code and shrunk the Serbian, French, and Russian forces a bit. With the deletion of like, six infantry, one cavalry, and one artillery, and three garrisons total the game suddenly became fun and, apparently, possible.

Capturing Paris as Germany in the first ten turns, I think, is vital. Takes twelve production from France and gives four to you.

carlisimo
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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by carlisimo » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:37 pm

I think the real-life Austro-Hungarian army struggled in Serbia until they got German help. But Germany was able to help because of early successes against Russia, which seems impossible in this game. To me, the quality of the Russian units are a bigger issue than the size of the Serbian army. The answer is apparently to try to trap them in the Warsaw/Brest-Livotsk salient. I haven't succeeded at that yet without giving up on taking France, but maybe I just haven't been patient enough and efficient enough at defending the east.

As for the Ottomans, yeah, I don't see any chance of defeating the British, even before they build up a huge army in Egypt. Maybe that's fine. I always just keep a defense line along the initial border and focus on invading Russia. It takes ages to get that going, but it usually eventually works for me.

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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by Parkingtigers » Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:12 am

The Ottoman part of the war seems to be very limited, it appears to be just a small frontline of English versus Turks in Palestine. As stated, the Turks don't have the resources or manpower to really push back the British, and even less so if they push up into Russia as well. The Russians have little to no need to attack the Turks, it being such a weak target that anything more than a diversionary force is just a waste, the real war is in the middle. So again, it's back to that one little frontline down near Egypt, and not much else.

Why is this a problem? Gallipoli. It's one of the most famous parts of the war, yet in the game there is pretty much zero reason to ever want to attack here, and push on to Constantinople. Zero reason. Now historically it was a bloody mess, and perhaps a foolish endeavour from the start, but it was undertaken for the reasons that Turkey was seen as a threat to the Russians and the Entente wanted to take away some of that pressure so the Russians could fully support the main fight. But in the game Turkey can't attack much, and is just a big punching bag that you slowly pummel into submission. It can be done easily as the same time as prosecuting the way in the middle, but with it being so weak you can pretty much hold it off with a smaller defensive line and save it until later making it even easier to win as Entente.

I have a suggestion for addressing the Ottoman issue. I think the game, wonderful as it is, almost gives too much freedom of choice to the player. In some ways it is limited, as in you can't assign research to certain areas until the govt. authorises it, but then you have total control over recruitment and deployment and the battle cooperation of the entire Entente. So rather than tweak troop numbers, or tech levels etc, I suggest simply that the objectives of the war get changed. You know those stars you get for various conditions in event of a draw? Well, those stars should always be counted, win lose or draw, as a kind of "score attack". These objectives can then be used to create leaderboards, a high score, a mark of your leadership.

Add in objectives along the line of "capture Constantinople by June 1915" as a 3 star reward. Something like that. Make it that yes you can slowly win the war, methodically knocking back the opposing countries, but it won't be seen as a truly glorious victory unless you do it very quickly. You may try, and fail (as in reality), but still go on to win. Or you may try, and succeed, but weaken yourself so much in the process that progress and objectives in other areas fall behind, prolonging the war. The addition of lots of sub-objectives beyond "win the war" greatly increase the replayability, because I would want to see how many objectives could be attained in a single run, and also they simulate some of the meddling from high command that comes into play.

As for Serbia. I'm thinking perhaps that rather than tweak troop numbers, perhaps a simpler solution would be to remove the second capital mechanic for them. If Belgrade falls, currently they can still produce units and continue to fight. Imagine how much more tense it would be if Belgrade being captured was the breaking point for the country. Yes they get to keep that overly strong starting force, but they must use it to defend a specific part of the line else it will be game over. I've lost Belgrade before, but was able to take it back quickly, so it's not as if it's an instant game over for Serbia. If Belgrade is captured then all the remaining Serbian forces need to retake it ASAP to regain production. If they fail, let them repair existing units, but not make new ones.

I've also been wondering if it would help slow the Entente if troop recruitment were tied to specific cities/regions. The British have a huge advantage in this regard, because they can order up a new infantry unit, then a few turns later when it is complete choose where to place it in London or in Cairo. Errrrrm, what? Yes I know it's an abstraction of the game mechanics, but it just means the Brits can wait a lot longer to decide where reinforcements are needed most. A big part of the game is planning ahead on production, making sure you have new stuff ready when the old stuff is getting killed. I just think the Turks might stand more of a chance of making progress if British reinforcements had to be committed those few turns earlier. Turkey is weak as hell, but this would give them a "home turf" advantage.

You know what, something as simple as not letting British troops spawn directly in Egypt, but needing to deploy on ships down in the gulf where those convoys sometimes come from. It would slow them up at least a couple of turns, and make the battle for the Suez really mean something. Imagine if as Turkey cutting off that supply of reinforcements were possible? That would be a huge threat to the Brits, and therefore boosts Turkey's threat in the game. Furthermore, it gives Turkey an actual goal in the short term other than speedbump the Brits and maybe (maybe) slowly push into Russia to nibble away at some of their cities. I just feel that playing as Entente it is far too easy to dump a lot of troops into the Middle-East to shore up the lines there. The Turks have a huge area, pisspoor transport capabilities, and two fronts to manage. Reacting to areas that go badly takes ages. In the meantime, the Brits can spawn in right next to the most sigificant front in the entire region. Nerfing that would add realism and tension.

Rules for this? Just make it that colonial cities can only spawn garrisons, or can only spawn one unit ever, or just can't raise units at all. Lots of ways it could be addressed. The Great British Troop Factory right behind the frontline is the biggest reason the Turks can't do much in the war I feel.

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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by kirk23 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:33 pm

New in game event for game play patch 1.6.0 Belgrade Captured,also for this event Serbia take a big National morale penalty hit.This along with great many game balancing issues,having been implemented,for this game play patch I'm busy testing in the background.
Attachments
Belgrade Captured new in game event.jpg
Belgrade Captured new in game event.jpg (109.47 KiB) Viewed 4409 times

terminus467
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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by terminus467 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:58 pm

I agree, it's dumb that the Brits can deploy in Cairo. The Ottomans can't even hope to wear them down.

Kirk, thank you for your vigilance and for keeping the game updated. I genuinely, genuinely appreciate that from developers.

As for my current experience:

The game I started where I deleted a couple troops from Serbia, France, and Russia is going well. It was tense in the beginning, but now I'm definitely winning. France and Italy are conquered. Belgrade has just joined the war and Romania is falling. Russia is being picked apart. The Ottomans, startlingly, are making slow gains against the British (I actually took Port Said) due largely to assistance from the Austrian navy (Kaboom, kaboom). Meanwhile I had a small Ottoman "death squad" go up through Russia and take cities one by one. Two or three similar Austrian death squads (I'm calling them that now) have been doing the same from the West. Moscow, Tsarina, and Petrograd have fallen. I'm about to invade Italian Africa from Italy and hopefully use that as a base to come up behind the British in Egypt. Hopefully, with the combined German, Austrian, and Ottoman assault as well as the assistance from the Austrian navy, Austrian fighter, German fighter, and two German Zeppelins, Egypt will fall and then I'll really be cooking with gas.

I can post screenshots, probably. I can also provide a list of the eight or so units I deleted that led to this game being actually possible for the Central powers to achieve victory, but not a cakewalk.

I feel that if the Brits couldn't spawn in Cairo, Turkey would actually have something interesting to do. As it stands... they're kind of boring and useless.

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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by kirk23 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:55 pm

Well in the new game play patch 1.6 Britain is not strong on land ever,Britain is Naval Super Power off the era,so in Egypt Turkey can hold her own.I also have a couple off new event screens popups,one where Turkey Close the Dardanelles & ANZAC arrive in Egypt event,these both occur as per real war timeline.There are far too many changes to list here at the present time,but needless to say,this huge game play overhaul,is far superior to anything that has gone before.

Live Long & Prosper,Kirk.

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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by carlisimo » Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:23 pm

That sounds promising!

What was the point of Gallipoli in real life? To open the Dardanelles to make trade with Russia possible? If so, give Russia merchant convoys (representing trade with Britain and France, not colonies). If the Entente doesn’t force the strait, Russia won’t get those resources.

I don’t think the Ottomans should have much of a chance of taking Egypt though. I’m satisfied with their ability to threaten Russia. Though it IS frustrating that the lack of railways over there makes it such a slow process!

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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by terminus467 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 6:56 pm

carlisimo wrote:That sounds promising!

What was the point of Gallipoli in real life? To open the Dardanelles to make trade with Russia possible? If so, give Russia merchant convoys (representing trade with Britain and France, not colonies). If the Entente doesn’t force the strait, Russia won’t get those resources.

I don’t think the Ottomans should have much of a chance of taking Egypt though. I’m satisfied with their ability to threaten Russia. Though it IS frustrating that the lack of railways over there makes it such a slow process!
Thing is, they did have a CHANCE. They could have, perhaps, won a war of attrition. The reason why they couldn't focus all of their effort on the British is that when war broke out, they were quelling a rebellion. Britain producing in Cairo is just unrealistic and OP. They would have either had to send guys there (such as ANZAC) or expanded a very limited colonial regiment. Like, incredibly limited. The number of natives fighting in the British Army was quite few.

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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by kirk23 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:27 pm

British land forces in Egypt turn 1 (1915 scenario) Britain can't sustain,a war on 4 fronts,Britain has forces on the Western Front, Gallipoli & Egypt,plus she has just landed forces against Turkey near Basra. I have attached a photo,that shows British land units in and around Cairo.
Attachments
British forces in Egypt 1915.jpg
British forces in Egypt 1915.jpg (158.85 KiB) Viewed 4359 times

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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by kirk23 » Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:57 pm

Here is a screen shot showing stats for Entente early in the 1915 scenario,please note that the free upkeep allowance is set to zero! If you have units on the map,then you will have to pay upkeep for them.
Attachments
Management screen early 1915 scenario.jpg
Management screen early 1915 scenario.jpg (199.85 KiB) Viewed 4351 times

Historion
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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by Historion » Fri Aug 22, 2014 7:43 am

Parkingtigers wrote: As for Serbia. I'm thinking perhaps that rather than tweak troop numbers, perhaps a simpler solution would be to remove the second capital mechanic for them. If Belgrade falls, currently they can still produce units and continue to fight. Imagine how much more tense it would be if Belgrade being captured was the breaking point for the country. Yes they get to keep that overly strong starting force, but they must use it to defend a specific part of the line else it will be game over. I've lost Belgrade before, but was able to take it back quickly, so it's not as if it's an instant game over for Serbia. If Belgrade is captured then all the remaining Serbian forces need to retake it ASAP to regain production. If they fail, let them repair existing units, but not make new ones.
Serbia is very easy to fix by looking at historical stats. Serbia before WW1 had a population of 4-5 million people and was a less developed country, almost no industry, small cities (Belgrade around 100,000 people). Serbian army was to a great part founded on french and russian loans, arms and supplies. (e.g. Serbia requestet 120,000 rifles and 120,000,000 ammo from russia the day after the assassination of AH-archduke.) Serbian army was still recovering from Balkan wars.
If you compare historical population of Germany (67 million) and Serbia (4-5 million) and compare the ManPower Base in the game : Germany (ca 2000) and Serbia (430+70 = 500) you see that Serbia is totally overpowered. Germany's historic population is around 15 times bigger than Serbians while ManPower is only 4 times bigger. In relation to Germany, Serbia would be expected to have a ManPower Base of ca 130, not 430. Additionally Serbia starts (fully mobilized) with troops worth 70 ManPower. This leaves ManPower-Reserves of 60 / 130.
Adjusting the values for Serbia (ManPower mp = 60, ManPowerMax = 130) should be sufficient to allow Serbia a good start holding the front against AH but preventing Serbia from becoming overpowered.

1914.lua

Code: Select all

    factions =
    {
      ------------------------- SERBIA -------------------------
      {
        id = 7,
        resources =
        {
          pp = 30,
          mp = 430,  --> Change to 60
          am = 5,
          nm = 35,
        },
factions.lua

Code: Select all

  {
    name = "serbia",
    color = {255, 66, 217},
    id = 7,
    manpowerMax = 360,   --> Change to 130
    morale = 130,
    territory = 5,
    research = { ground = 1, artillery = 1 },
    color = {104, 88, 61},
  },

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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by carlisimo » Fri Aug 22, 2014 4:49 pm

I don’t know, if you consider the Serbian militias, who were quite experienced and effective after the Balkan Wars, it’s easy to argue that their manpower reserves should be proportionally higher than those of A-H and Germany. They held off Austria-Hungary until October 1915, after all.

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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by terminus467 » Fri Aug 22, 2014 5:43 pm

carlisimo wrote:I don’t know, if you consider the Serbian militias, who were quite experienced and effective after the Balkan Wars, it’s easy to argue that their manpower reserves should be proportionally higher than those of A-H and Germany. They held off Austria-Hungary until October 1915, after all.
By that logic, the Central Powers lost WWI so why do we even leave that open to a different possibility?

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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by Historion » Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:33 pm

In 1914 Austria-Hungary threw most of their troops against the russian front since the Germans were busy at the Western Front ... There were not much ressources left to take out the Serbians in rough terrain.
Russia mobilisized 3,500,000 troops and lost 1,500,000 in 1914. AH mobilisized 3,350,000 troops and lost 1,268,000, most of them against the russians.
Strength of Serbian army is a myth. Half of the country was recently conquered in the Balcan Wars, including ethnic and religious cleansing (massacres, atrocities). The society was more agrarian, less urbanized and less industrialized. Serbian troops were worn out from the Balcan Wars and lacked equipment and supplies.
If AH could have concentrated more troops early against the serbs, the serbian army had to retreat due to lack of ammo.

Serbian troops in the game already benefit from unrealistic mobilization, unrealistic economy, unrealistic ManPower and start with trenches in rough terrain. There is no need to additionally allow the serbs in the game to build up an army representing millions of troops while serbia itself had only 4-5 million people and had no industry to manufacture weapons or ammo. They could not maintain a large army on their own. In early 1914, serbia asked the russians if they could spare equipment and supplies for 250,000 troops since the troops were worn out from the Balcan Wars. And later in 1914 they asked for another 120,000 rifles and ammo ... The core of the serbian army in 1914 were about 250.000 men ... and it is known that losses could not be replaced since only older men were left ...

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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by BattlevonWar » Sat Aug 23, 2014 6:50 pm

I thought that Guns of August was fairly accurate for a tiny lower tech game. This game is very glittery and you could modify it if you spent a lot of time for historical accuracy but as for game play, it's got a feel of real War. It has the grit and determination... Very beautiful graphics and sound. Apparently the latter being more important than history and the since game play is entertaining for a bit people still play and buy it.

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Re: My Experience: Was the Game Designer Serbian?

Post by terminus467 » Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:51 am

BattlevonWar wrote:I thought that Guns of August was fairly accurate for a tiny lower tech game. This game is very glittery and you could modify it if you spent a lot of time for historical accuracy but as for game play, it's got a feel of real War. It has the grit and determination... Very beautiful graphics and sound. Apparently the latter being more important than history and the since game play is entertaining for a bit people still play and buy it.
I'd like to refocus my complaint. I do not think that this is a bad game. I think there is an amazing game just waiting to be found if you only scratch the surface that is, in this case, a bit of a balancing issue. And, like I said, getting rid of six-eight choice units completely rectified any concerns I had.

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