Flexiblity

PC : Turn based WW2 goodness in the mold of Panzer General. This promises to be a true classic!

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fgiannet
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Flexiblity

Post by fgiannet »

I went through the equipment file and substituted some of the default values with historical values (HA based off a few different penetration tables, GD based off front hull armor). The results quickly showed there was too little difference between values. There is a very big difference between 50mm vs 80mm of armor but not so much in the combat tables (only a 14% improvement in survivability between 8 and 5 GD). Pak 36s and German Infantry were easily destroying KV-1s. These overly lethal combat results also made smaller caliber tanks more effective than their larger caliber siblings (due to their higher rate of fire).

This is particularly problematic because historical unit sizes are being used as well (2 strength KV-1s, etc.). My goal is to see history brought to life and learn. A 2 strength KV-1, with the proper placement, should present a significant obstacle in the early stages of Barbarossa. I previously thought the RNG often included a 95+ result with most resolutions but, through actually keep track of results, realized this was not the case (the AI results actually deviated little from my own although the sample size was not very large). 95% survivability seemed like a good level to portray the nearly invincible protection provided by 80mm in 1941.

I multiplied all HA and tank GD values by 3. Now there is a much larger separation between values (again, there is a large difference between 5cm and 7.5cm guns). Lower caliber guns are much less effective (Pak 36s no longer kill KV-1s) yet all the other ways to kill armor are unaffected (aircraft have the same lethality, etc). That “I take one, you take one” effect is no longer present (where whatever you attack seems to do 1 damage even if your tank is attacking a half track, 20mm AA, etc.).

Good strategy is still necessary (do not put your T-34s in the forest, have AA support, etc.) but now my early 3 strength t-34 battalions no longer have to fear annihilation when attacking infantry in an open field (and might just survive long enough to upgrade to larger sized units as the war progresses). This is also important because I based tank initiative off things like turret baskets, commander cupolas, radios, etc. Soviet tanks are usually getting shot before they are able to fire (initiative for t-34 is 5 vs 8 for Panzer 3s which also have higher ROF). They do not have any chance without strong armor.

What an incredibly flexible game to be able to make these fundamental changes while leaving everything else untouched. Such a brilliant little model.
rubyjuno
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Re: Flexiblity

Post by rubyjuno »

Very interesting reading. And I agree, PzC is an incredibly flexible game (look at all the amazing mods), in fact it's just an incredible game.
sbpc1
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Re: Flexiblity

Post by sbpc1 »

lots of untapped potential still in this old game
fgiannet
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Re: Flexiblity

Post by fgiannet »

Yreborn wrote: Tue Nov 15, 2022 6:40 pm
fgiannet wrote: Tue Nov 15, 2022 3:06 am What an incredibly flexible game to be able to make these fundamental changes while leaving everything else untouched. Such a brilliant little model.
Intresting. You can look at other discussion:
Penetration/Armor role in classic PzC
https://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=103259
That table you posted was actually the genesis/inspiration for this particular equipment file (along with another player who changed medium/heavy guns to movement 0). I did not know so much information was available with a little research (I eventually averaged your table with two others).

I completely understand people wanting this to be fun and not stressful. Slitherine was right/smart in focusing on a beer and pretzel experience. I know the modifications I have made would not be considered “fun” but they present a sweeping detailed picture of the tactics/history. It is stunning. Plug in the data and watch history present itself.

It is just astonishing to see everything unfold with historical changes (historical unit sizes, rates of fire, etc.). The fact that you can even model it is incredible. I remember an AT gun obliterating my engineers, as they attacked it in a city, in the old Panzer General (so much of that game, “AT guns are not useful against infantry”, was just nice sounding marketing).

Getting a minor victory in Panzer Corps battle of El Guettar with the historical 1st ID, core of 10 infantry units and 4 artillery, might not sound like fun but is a brilliant accomplishment for a historical war game designer (you do not need to play with 10 Wolverines and 4 Rangers to win). You could not do that with other strategy games (where tanks always beat infantry regardless of terrain, etc.).

It feels like it is such an exceptionally rare model incorporating deep strategical elements that no other designers thought to incorporate. It becomes more and more apparent as you tinker with it.
fgiannet
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Re: Flexiblity

Post by fgiannet »

There are so many different things to change that can have unique effects on the game.

Changing fighters to 0 for SA and HA leads to them loitering over the battlefield (maintaining air superiority) instead of falling for AA traps. I am currently playing as the Soviets in Bebro’s Eastern Front mod and have relinquished control of the air because of this change (it is much harder to shoot down fighters when they are not falling for AA traps). It also stops fighters from reducing entrenchment (requiring more focus on artillery placement).

Tripling the GD and HA values of armored vehicles has led to the AI tanks focusing more on my infantry and leaving the Soviet tanks to the German AT Battalions. An excellent thing to watch.

Artillery HA and SA has been greatly increased (on everything larger than 76mm) because artillery was one of the main cause of casualties (although the ROF is reduced). Now Counter Battery Fire, especially on defense, is a real possibility (before it would just suppress the enemy guns but now you can inflict casualties).

There was nothing wrong with the old rules but it is fascinating to be able to change things and have a very different game. Each player can create their own game even though we all bought the same one. Incredible.
allophyl
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Re: Flexiblity

Post by allophyl »

Panzer General II also allowed for custom e-files which dramatically changed how the game should be played. With certain "HEFiles" units were given much more realistic relative prestige costs, meaning you're forced to build a much more balanced, historically-accurate force in order to do well, and you have a lot more hard decisions when it comes to upgrading units (it isn't always a no-brainer like it usually is with the standard e-file). I really enjoyed the extra challenge this added to the game
LevV
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Re: Flexiblity

Post by LevV »

This game is far more complex than most strategy games i played before (or at least i never spent that much time learning other game mechanics). However it is obviously not and never will be a full historical simulation for variety of simplifications and core principles used in this game. If you want to play the book of history you might want to check out the WITE series. I think PC is just enough complex and still offers the arcade look of rolling panzers, its quick enough to play, it still has historical connection (if you look at it in more generalized way, not considering the deffence of tank unit being representation of only front armor) and still could be a good addition to a basic knowledge of history.
That being said i dislike particularly the campaign, for it always pushing player to use ONLY the most powerfull units, ALWAYS at full strength, almost NEVER facing the major lack of ammo or supllies for most frontline troops in most scenarios. I like the MP scenarios where sometimes in hard fights out of lack of resourses player forced to use whatever can shoot or whatever can plug the hole, with fights 3 strength vs 3 strength seem way more dramatic than 10 vs 10.
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Re: Flexiblity

Post by eskuche »

You will hate to hear this, but PC2 addresses the penetration issue by (if I recall, as I play 1 over 2), settings 8 attack-defense difference as impenetrable. The minimum of 5% hit rate regardless of difference here (or 1% for indirect fire) is what ruins the immersion in that regard.
fgiannet
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Re: Flexiblity

Post by fgiannet »

LevV wrote: Sun Dec 04, 2022 7:23 am I think PC is just enough complex and still offers the arcade look of rolling panzers, its quick enough to play, it still has historical connection (if you look at it in more generalized way, not considering the deffence of tank unit being representation of only front armor) and still could be a good addition to a basic knowledge of history.
That being said i dislike particularly the campaign, for it always pushing player to use ONLY the most powerfull units, ALWAYS at full strength, almost NEVER facing the major lack of ammo or supllies for most frontline troops in most scenarios.
Your post reinforces the beauty of this game’s flexibility. Everything can be modified. Max unit sizes can be changed in the equip file and one can see the changing tides of war play out over the years. I modified Bebro’s equip file to have Soviet tank units (initially small for t-34s and KV-1s) get larger while the German tank units shrink. Their initiative is greatly reduced (until radios, commander cupolas etc. become standard) and their fuel is low to symbolize mechanical reliability issues but their firepower/armor are good. Things change (the German tanks get more deadly, the T-34s get more reliable, KV-1s are no longer invincible, German infantry units shrink closer to Soviet units, etc.) throughout the years. You can see history unfold as you play (this incredible model works well when history is added).

Another example: Max unit size for Zis-3 is 6 while 122mm 1938 is 3 because that is roughly how many tens of guns are in a brigade. Experienced Zis-3 brigades get upgraded to 122mm brigades and over-strengthened. 122mm has 5 times the HE of a Zis-3 leading to a SA value of 35 but a ROF 5. It has a high probability of causing casualties but only 3 shots (for an highly experienced/over-strength unit). Now there is a distinct difference between the two and, more importantly, a choice to be made. Soviet artillery divisions can then be represented by a 7 strength 122mm (combining howitzer brigades) and 6+ strength Zis-3. You would fire the 122mm first (has the greatest chance of success against entrenchment) then the Zis-3 (going for suppression) and finish with a BM-13 brigade (which is modified to have a very high ROF but very small SA). That is very similar to how a bombardment would be conducted when working with limited ammunition (which the Soviets often had to deal with in terms of their artillery). You would not fire limited rockets long before an assault because they would lose their suppressive effect. In the base game, however, there is very little difference between the units.

These numbers (max unit size, SA, RoF) are very different from the game because the units are very different in reality.

I agree with you in terms of the campaign and have never played past 1942 but would think changing the equipment file might lead to a more historical campaign for years 43/44/45 (which was my original goal).

There could be a more than basic learning of history when you add more than basic history to the equipment file (which is just a simple text file). It is so easy to modify this game but I suppose players do not want to do that. The people at Slitherine did not seem very involved in all the things this game can do and the players just want to win scenarios/campaigns. It feels similar to seeing a great work of art being bypassed by everyone around it.

War in the East was great (I have only played the original).

Impenetrable units (due to large attack/defense differentials) would be absolutely fine with me but believe a lot of players would miss the “I take one, You take one” effect. I think one of the main goals of these games is to enable the feeling of accomplishment and constantly overcoming/savescuming poor combat results (regardless of how statistically implausible they may be) is part of that process (makes the triumph sweeter). People get frustrated but subconsciously thrive on them. That is why so many games (from the old Panzer General to more modern Pike and Shot) incorporate that mechanic. I had recently opened Battle Academy’s Eastern Front to reminisce but shut it down after missing a 70% shot followed by an 80%. I am too old to witness such statistical improbabilities (I think there is a 6% chance of that happening but knew, I had only just started the game, that more was to follow). Experiencing/overcoming those types of experiences are key to feeling achievement in a game without a human opponent (that is why they have persisted for so long, the goal is to keep the player playing.....).
fgiannet
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Re: Flexiblity

Post by fgiannet »

And one more thank you to Sbpc1 whose mind has more ideas than I can even track.

I did not change the spotting for German infantry units because their divisions had a well equipped recon battalion. The spotting for Soviet infantry divisions was reduced to one because they only had a recon company (a small company, as well, of only 70 authorized men).

I had read, many years ago, that Soviet recon was primarily the responsibility of Corps and higher level organizations. Now I have to devote corps/army level recon elements to supporting Soviet infantry because they can not see if an enemy is supported (with artillery etc.). It is a small change that requires new tactics when playing as the Soviets due to their doctrine.

The AI will always need good visibility otherwise it will constantly run into artillery supported ambushes but this change is excellent for the player (when supported by history). A small change produces an interesting little experience into doctrine and tactics.

Thank you Sbpc1. Your constant (revolutionary) thoughts are difficult to keep up with but always provide a few that greatly add to my experience of this game (usually after I spend the first 5 minutes reflexively denouncing them :lol: :lol: :lol: ).
sbpc1
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Re: Flexiblity

Post by sbpc1 »

when (hopefully) i actually publish my ideas in the form of a mod some of them are radical. so much so they may be denounced rather than praised by people who just want more icons and other fluff. i'm aiming for PzC 1.5 with new rules/values that aren't just window dressing. the AI is bad with spotting it's OK to have the player have reduced spotting and need to employ dedicated recon for the job - makes for interesting decisions.
rubyjuno
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Re: Flexiblity

Post by rubyjuno »

When someone publishes a mod, there will always be those who disagree with what the author has done. I think most people still appreciate the thought and work that has gone into it. Out of all the Panzer Corps mods I have tried (most of them), there are some I'm not so keen on and never got far with, but I still appreciate that the author is contributing to the amazing PzC community. Good luck with your mod.
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