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Santander Post Battle Discussion

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Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  MJP on Sun May 17, 2015 3:13 am

Digby here... With apologies to MJP for moving a discussion from elsewhere I consider it important that this exchange be seen in public so others can contribute.

This exchange was in the private French campaign forum but I wanted it moved into the public area so we can all participate.

Please forgive the interruption... now over to MJP:

==========================================

Well, we had the battle of Santander and assuredly it was a French victory.  Another run and chase battle.     Though, it was still somewhat entertaining, certainly more so than some of the recent battles and there was some good fighting in the west while it lasted.   A few comments regarding the battle....

1. What could have conceivably been an interesting battle wasn't because the British, for the most part, weren't there.      I tried to have the assault launched before the English could escape, but it was not to be and I fell ill.   

2.  It was a bit frustrating during the battle that SJDI's level 1 and 2 Spanish were able to inflict an even number of casualties against the French they fought because they melee'ed them in square.   Because they were allowed to "withdraw" in square, even towards the enemy apparently, and SJ got bounced and no longer had control of them so it's really not his fault that he couldn't take them out of square.   But still, those troops should have been totally destroyed with little French loss and instead they inflicted 500+ casualties....Needs to be adjusted as far as I'm concerned. 

3.  Also a bit frustrating was how the artillery was organized.  Every spanish gun was a 2 gun battery which meant that all Spanish artillery could fight west of the entrenchments.   However, only a tiny fraction of the French artillery was 2 gun batteries which meant that when it came time to actually have the fight in the west, the French were at a pretty big disadvantage in artillery.   

4.  Then there is the end game.  The Spanish wanted the game ended because their troops were getting caught up on the river/ocean.   From the French perspective, that's a bit of a stretch as there were many Spanish regiments who never really got to the river and were basically cut off or running hell for leather from the French and thus ended up in the river.  It's their responsibility to get their troops to the map edge.    So our take on this is that all of those troops should be destroyed or captured.   I do understand in the replay that some brigades did in fact go north and then south and i have less issue with those ones (though even they never reached the map edge), but at the time the game ended the French were finally pouring it on the Spanish and many of those regiments should be destroyed.  But Palmer ended the game....

5.  Seeing as the Spanish retreating west have no cavalry, it seems to me that an all out pursuit by our 5,000 cavalry should destroy them or at minimum force them to give battle again.   Retreats turn into routes with effective pursuit.   If guns and wagons and troops can retreat west, then cavalry can follow as i see it.   I guess we'll see how that plays out.

6.  As a general observation, their was a lot more fatigue experienced in the game than we're used to i think.  Further, this is compounded by use of the short retreat which causes half as much fatigue as Double timing and no morale penalty at all while allowing faster movement than unit advancing (even in double time)   So formed units can short retreat, create distance between them and their enemy, and simply can't be caught.  They can just keep pushing the short retreat button again and again and they get away faster with less fatigue than running.   Makes it impossible to engage.  Short retreat should cause at least as much if not more fatigue than double timing and should be a morale hit (the latter can't be modded).   So the sum of slowing down columns, increasing fatigue, is that the short retreat is now the new double time, but only for a defender.  

Anyway, parts of the game were fun, just a shame that the English weren't there as if their whole force was there and they stayed and fought we could have finally had a interesting battle.    Really, I'm now part of the fast forward camp.  If all of the battles are going to be like this, we should fast foward the campaign until such time as there will be interesting battles.    Games where the Spanish just run, while probably their best option particularly after being abandoned by the English, are tiresome and repetitive.   A lot of work goes into creating these battles I'm sure and a lot of time goes into playing them.   Would be better i think if not every one was a repetitive exercise in chasing down a fleeing enemy.   

Anyway, i have no doubt that some others will take exception to the above, but these are just my opinions and feelings about it.   It's disappointing because it could have been a great battle but apparently it's quicker to load up 10,000 men on ships than to launch an attack.   C'est la vie......


Almost forgot - i assume the British are still holding the SOMO?  ;-)  I do hope they at least had to abandon their guns there if they did in fact leave!
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  midgetmanifesto on Sun May 17, 2015 7:04 am

Thanks for the writeup. Is there a replay that can be posted somewhere?
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun May 17, 2015 8:50 am

A very quick post before I go to work.

1. Not an issue to be addressed here. This was a strategic map issue. The English not being present in strength was part of their pre-game plan. Don't blame the map player for doing the right thing! The loading of the ships took several days, as you are well aware because I told you about this during the week leading up to the battle. Also please review the speed with which the British historically embarked their troops at La Corunna in very similar circumstances.

2. We need to review the square issue again. However it has never been an issue until more competitive players joined us. I'll make the relevant point that there is no need at all for any TS chat about ANYTHING in-game, nor ANY posted text msgs unless its a technical game/rules enquiry. ALL discussions to be saved for afterwards on this forum. From now on all players who speak in TS or text non-tech items in the chat window WILL BE PENALISED BY EXTRA CASUALTIES. Anyone who quits a game over perceived KS Mod issues (like squares) will suffer severe losses to their command. Thus the French losses from SJs squares will stand, and I am going to add more.

People leaving a game for any reason other than connect issues or pre-agreed time limits is not acceptable under any circumstances given how much work these games take to organise and how many people you are letting down by leaving.

Any problems, just suck it up and play on and I can very easily remedy any imbalance in losses or tactical/strategic situation afterwards. Because the master OOBs are hand written its very quick for me to apply redress post-battle.

One final time - DURING THE GAME IS NOT THE TIME OR PLACE TO HAVE HEATED EXCHANGES.

Thank you everyone.

3. Artillery. French had a big advantage because for almost all the Allied 2-gun batteries their man batteries were non-combatant and were in the baggage, so the French had all their guns to begin with and the Allies had at least a third taken away from them by me pre-battle. This was why the Allies fought so hard to protect their baggage train. The single British battery of 8 guns that was present (in 4 x 2 gun detachments) was a 3pdr mountain battery with mule-packed guns. It was completely destroyed anyway.

4. I agree. I am going to review this carefully via the replay and look at every Allied unit that was trapped against the beach.

5. Terrain west of the city is too broken for any cavalry except to walk along the coast road. This is why the Allies had no cavalry - it was again all in a non-combat role in the baggage. Even after I made it very clear pre-game and checked with the French cav commander that he understood the map areas that were out of bounds for cavalry, I saw 3 regts of French cav go west of the city. These will be penalised by horses breaking legs, twisting ankles, riders falling, etc. How clear do I need to make scenario rules for them to be complied with?

6. Extra fatigue is a newly introduced design feature of the latest KS Mod. You are going to have to get used to it and change your play style. We did this to help counter the mass attack syndrome we have seen recently (which again is something we never used to experience and has arrived along with more competitive players. Please try your level best to leave your highly competitive styles at the door. Thanks).

6a. The short retreat will be reviewed. I personally never use it. Maybe we can remove it from the toolbar, as in my view is its not really a Napoleonic tactic except for skirmisher units. Using short retreat to escape completely is gamey and will be penalised if its reported to me, unfortunately I need unit names for this and with our FOW setup the opponent can't see unit names. Generally speaking though, do not short retreat ever unless its a skirmish formation or you are using it to break out of a melee/charge. Withdrawing across the battlefield by means of short retreat after short retreat is an absolute no-no, at least in my campaign games from now on.

7. The Somo has been abandoned by the Royal Marines. Their guns there were spiked and their powder stores detonated.

As to whether a battle is interesting or not is too subjective. I have had 2 emails one each from a player on each side this morning thanking me for an excellent and exciting battle. No-one e-mailed me in a negative context, so customer feedback so far is 100% in favour of these "interesting" battles so I'll continue to run them Wink

I have already said in the past I'll keep doing these curious lop-sided weirdly shaped battles because they are a challenge and produce combats that are unique. If its stand up fight games you want, please keep attending our regular weekend scenarios kindly provided by Kevin and others.

Finally, yes, a clear French win.

Unconfirmed losses:

French - 769 killed, 3,081 wounded, 679 missing
Allies - 1,329 killed, 5,321 wounded, 1,173 missing

The biggest and bloodiest battle of the war so far.

I'm certainly not going to skip "uninteresting" battles like this in future!

Thank you everyone for playing and for the long wait while we got started. I am sorry my PC overheated and crashed about 75% of the way through. I missed what looked like an exciting climax and I wish I had been there to adjudicate the call to end the game.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  MJP on Sun May 17, 2015 2:21 pm

Thanks for your thoughts Digby.   A few follow up points...

I think part of the frustration at least for me was that we spent hours chasing them and when we finally caught them and were starting to put a hurting on them real bad in their confusion as the road was being cut and they had nowhere to go, they wanted the game ended because some units were having trouble navigating the river.   To me, that's their issue.   In intercepted a courier from Palmer that "The road was open, but we should stay and fight for awhile."   That was their choice and they paid for it.   As for the river, if they weren't moving so close to the river, they wouldn't have that problem.   The reason they were so close to the river is that we drove them there.  This was made more frustrating because it was so difficult to actually catch them in game due to short retreat.   Short retreat shouldn't be removed from the game, I think it's an integral part of playing and trying to disengage so I have no problem with their use of it (Pepe's division, which doesn't surprise me as he's a very competent tactical player and I have no issue with it).  The issue is that the new changes to other parts of the game have had the unintended consequence of increasing the effectiveness of the short retreat.   There are three issues with short retreat as it works in the NAPPY Mod:

1.  The speed at which it moves is fixed.
2.  There is no morale penalty for using it.
3.  Units take less fatigue short retreating than they do chasing.

Point one can't be changed, so no point in discussing it.  But the recent slowing down of lines and columns relative to that fixed speed is part of the problem.   For point 2, normally the morale penalty a short retreating unit takes is getting shot up as they short retreat.  But with only 120 yard musketry and most musketry taking place at ranges between 100-120 yards, they don't take much damage.   Point 3 is most in control and we checked the settings and apparently normal infantry double time is -20 fatigue and short retreat is -10.  So a short retreating unit fatigues at 50% of a double timing  unit and moves faster than a double timing unit.   This makes it too efficient for a unit that is retreating.   So in terms of "changing my play style" I don't think that's a fair comment.  All I was wanting to do was deploy lines and shoot at the enemy.   But if they can move away from my lines using short retreat at a speed almost 30% faster than I can follow them and they take less fatigue and no morale penalties for it, how does that have anything to do with play style?   If you recall, the more "competitive" players are the ones who were suggesting the changes to eliminate the effectiveness of charging to begin with.   I think part of the issue is not one of being competitive or not, but being tactical proficient through playing thousands of games.  The changes made to eliminate the issue are the wrong changes unfortunately.   The movement speeds and such should go back to what they were.  The answer is increasing the melee times (i.e. slowing them down) and increasing fatigue of units in melee.   The way it is now, units get fatigued just walking around and never really rest up...

As for soldier and the square issue, he can speak to that himself.  I was merely referencing the point that we took a bunch of casualties we shouldn't have taken because of it.   And I understand his frustration as it's happened to him in particular many times.

As for the artillery, I understand they were quitting the field and had guns packed up for movement.   But given that they were running, i fail to see your point about how taking some of their guns away and letting us have all of ours matters.   The massive majority of ours couldn't engage west of the breastworks while theirs could and the net result was that we had a huge disadvantage in that part of the field.   West of the breastworks they were able to bring 38 guns (plus 18-27 Navy guns) against only our maximum of 22 guns.  So we are attacking and theoretically have the artillery advantage, but in practice because they were running to a place where our guns couldn't follow they had a 3 to 1 advantage in artillery where the majority of the fighting was.   Giving us all of our guns means nothing if we can't use them.   Further, this was compounded by the placement and brutal efficiency of the Royal Navy guns. The terrain is so broken that we can't deploy guns, but the royal navy guns were able to sweep the field with fire with Desolles coming under brutal enfilade fire as soon as the battle started and being too far away from his troops to get them out of their before taking a lot of casualties.

I understand the work that goes into the games and the scenario was an interesting tactical problem because of the small French force to the west.   But if there had not been a French force to the west, this would have been a nightmare.  So it was interesting, it was also a bit frustrating however, particularly because the host who was allied wanted the game ended when we started putting a beating on them.  So for us, we finally catch them and game over.   As I said, I do understand Palmer's point about some units, but I also saw first hand many units that hadn't reached the river yet and many units that went into the river simply because they had absolutely nowhere else to go.   Mark and I were driving them into the river.

In the end, I personally don't think the allies made the correct decision.  With their full force including English, their 150 guns, and their breastworks, I think they could have made this an absolute nightmare for the French.   But instead they withdraw all of their English and let all of their Spanish die because they don't matter, more will just grow out of the ground anyway.    So from that perspective, why should they ever risk letting the English fight?  

Finally, as for the Cavalry, in looking at the replay I do see some French cavalry going west.  I do know that I never say any French cavalry fighting anywhere and didn't see the west of the river in game, but punish as you see fit as rules are rules.   And on that note, the more egregious breaking of the rules is the allies using the fords and simply swimming the  river to get away and then ending the battle when they don't like how it's going.  

As for pursuit, so you're saying that between Santander and Oviedo there is no place for cavalry to fight?   You're saying that limbered artillery and baggage trains can move more easily and effectively than light cavalry?   To me, they are an army in at best "retreat" and more likely for half of them, "rout" and we have 5,000 cavalry and they have none but we can't mount an effective pursuit?    Their decision to remove their cavalry by sea, while fine in the context of this one battle of Santander, must have consequences at the campaign level.   An army of this size in a Napoleonic campaign with zero cavalry is blind and totally vulnerable, particularly while in retreat.    

Anyway, it was an interesting battle, just wish the full Allied force was there and that they decided to fight because I personally think they could have inflicted a serious reverse on the French and it would have been a very interesting battle.  I understand their decision to run, it just becomes tedious and repetitive and with Morsey in game, more than a little laggy!
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  kg little mac on Sun May 17, 2015 3:13 pm

"We need to review the square issue again. However it has never been an issue until more competitive players joined us."

I am among the least competitive players here. My issue with moving squares has been duly noted. Martin, you pride yourself with making these games as historically accurate as possible. But squares marching down roads in town while fleeing from cavalry and then marching into a line set up to their rear and destroying that line is beyond ridiculous.

SJ's actions were well within your rules. But those rules are nothing short of extremely gamey and silly. Marching squares have no place in any KS game. If you don't have cavalry to cover your retreat, you should be screwed.

I do not apologize. I will not play in any more KS games which allow marching in square. And that has nothing to do with being competitive.

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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  Mark87 on Sun May 17, 2015 4:56 pm

I would have to offer my agreement to Soldier's assertions: simply because the system in scourge of war is not set up to properly support squares, having them able to move is not agreeable.

Yes, I am aware of several instances where disciplined troops, I think my memory recalls Crawford's light division as being on of those instances, where troops withdrew in square. However, these were few and far between, and were done successfully only by some of the finest troops of the period.

My issue with allowing it is threefold; one, the troops move far too fast in square, sure they are slow but they aren't THAT slow. This most definitely creates a gamey issue as these troops are able to maneuver around the battlefield far too quickly. They can also move in square over ANY terrain type, which is simply not practical. Secondly, troops of any quality can form square, keep square, and now can move in square. That is not realistic in any degree. Thirdly, and tying in with my second point, lower quality troops which formed square would be hard pressed to hold square, let alone move in square. The game does not model the effect of disorder based upon quality. Having a level 5 French battalion move in square would be a stretch to any degree; having a level 3 Spanish battalion form square, keep square, and then move in square is a manifest impossibility.

In summation, I would not be apposed to having units move in square if the game was set up properly to calculate the effect such a maneuver would create; essentially the farther a unit moves in square the more likely they are to break square; a calculation based upon quality and distance traveled. Since this sort of thing is impossible with our current engine we must be practical and work with the tools we have. I know in prior battles I operated under the assumption that I could not move in square and I was able to successfully extradite the majority of my division when faced with a outnumbering combined arms force by making a checkered formation and manually withdrawing each battalion behind the successive battalions. It took time, and luck, and skill but I was able to do it and have the majority of my division 70% combat effective. One mistake and I probably would have lost my entire division. This is how it should be.

The limitations of the formation are such that having a hard and fast no movement rule is not likely to effectuate the result of any game versus the opposite: a quality, veteran commander will be able to extradite most of his men out of a hard scrap. A newer player may have difficulty at first but they will learn.
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  Mark87 on Sun May 17, 2015 6:32 pm

Btw, I had my hands full commanding Dessolles division! Boy was it fun. Had enough left (5500) to counter-attack at the end. Really a terrific fight. I was laughing so badly when I led my grey coated skirmishers forward to recon and find some suitable ground; the most suitable ground being covered by the "royal navy" Evil or Very Mad lol; when first came into contact with the Spanish. I saw the Spanish commander stop his brigade and ride forward just looking at me. It was as though he couldn't believe I was French... or was I Spanish????

I found a beautiful jutting hillside which was bisected by an ambling stream and placed my guns and infantry. The Spanish came hard but my men were roughly 100 yards from that little stream and the Spanish had to cross and I literally mowed them down. Some of my regiments had scores of 100+ before the Spanish even began to fire. If I had one more brigade to extend my left I literally could have held that position all damn day! Against cavalry as well, I woulda mowed em down. Another battery of guns even!

'Twas fun!
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed May 20, 2015 8:38 am

Gah! When I posted my answer above I had completely missed the fact this was the private French forum, so all the discussion here is wasted. I will move all your posts and mine to the public forum later today.

Short response though is that squares will remain mobile as they are now and players will have to find a way to defeat them. Its not hard, a couple of battalions firing in line will destroy them quite quickly, then send in a squadron to finish them off.

They are highly vulnerable to firepower.

Moving squares is not gamey, its historical. Perhaps it would be a stretch for M3 Spanish but moving in square was a standard tactic and drill for all armies and could be accomplished relatively easily by average troops. There's even a case (Martin James knows which battle - I forget now which one) where a French brigade attacked an enemy infantry line in square because cavalry was threatening their flanks.

While moving in towns this way could be seen to be a problem, if we consider a unit of infantry moving down a street and retiring slowly presenting a hedge of bayonets to pursuing cavalry I can easily see how that would have a similar effect on any pursuing cavalry.

SoW has many limitations, there is no need to focus on this one and single it out for amendment just because another SoW feature fails to properly represent it.

In our campaign games as I said above, if anything really irregular happens I can very easily remove or add losses or experience levels to units as applicable so there is no need to complain when its all easily fixable.

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"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed May 20, 2015 7:40 pm

Matt, I've had time to digest your second post now. Sorry the replies are so slow, moving house has been messy and I still have to sneak out and use public internet.

There are three issues with short retreat as it works in the NAPPY Mod:

1. The speed at which it moves is fixed.
2. There is no morale penalty for using it.
3. Units take less fatigue short retreating than they do chasing.

Matt, I am in full agreement with you on the short retreat command. I am quite frankly surprised to see players using it so freely. I personally never use it unless its to pull a skirmisher unit away from a charge threat, or to "tease" enemy infantry by ordering a cavalry charge at them then quickly cancelling it. Even this second use is dubious. How easy was it to recall cavalry once committed to an advance?

Apart from skirmishers using retire and fire or "run back to friends" I don't know how or who can justify this manouvre in the Nap period. This was still an era when cohesion of formation was paramount and the short retreat move is nothing of the kind.

When I have a unit under pressure I usually about face it, form it into a column of divisions and then run it out of there a couple of hundred yards, then rest it in reserve. This ought to be the standard practice in our games.

IMHO short retreat deserves to be lobotomised.

My preference is to delete the short retreat button from the KS Nap toolbar. However I suspect players have it hotlinked in their keyboard.csv so we need to look at making it less beneficial. If we can steeply increase the fatigue it inflicts, this will help.

I welcome comments here from the key people involved in the KS Nap mod design - Kevin, Martin, Stefan, Mike?

As for the artillery, I understand they were quitting the field and had guns packed up for movement.

I don't see the logic of your argument. The Allies had 66% of their artillery deleted even in terrain (the city) where it was allowed. The French had 100% of their guns at the start (less what was bombarding the Somo and the balance of the artillery with Dessolles) and only were obliged to leave 2/3rds of it behind when they left the city westward, in exactly the same terrain the Allies were negotiating.

How exactly is this unfair to either side?

If the Allies had more guns in the west perhaps they had more in total?

I am concerned about the decision to end the game when it was ended. I am very sorry I didn't hang around in TS to be there when this issue came up. I have already said I will review this. Generally though Matt, but without yet investigating the details, I agree with you. It was the Allies duty to keep their men off those beaches. As the Spanish wagon train commander I had to make very careful orders to keep my wagons etc from going into the sea. The combat players needed to do the same. I think any unit that went into the sea or was trapped in the loop the coastline made should be held accountable to additional losses.

Yes, the RN ships off the coast were powerful. This was intentional. There's many instances of RN ships not exactly using their cannon to interdict coast roads to the French in the war by actual firepower but certainly the threat if them doing so caused French commanders to seek less than optimum inland routes.

Nonetheless HM Sloop "Harpy" (18) which was off the north side of the city suffered enough damage and the dismounting of at least 2 guns to drive her away from the shore and go to Lisbon to seek repairs. This was done by some of your "useless" batteries you left in the city. Remember, causing losses to the enemy still counts in increasing a units exp rating.

As for pursuit, so you're saying that between Santander and Oviedo there is no place for cavalry to fight?
No, I haven't said this.

You're saying that limbered artillery and baggage trains can move more easily and effectively than light cavalry?
No, I haven't said this either.

To me, they are an army in at best "retreat" and more likely for half of them, "rout" and we have 5,000 cavalry and they have none but we can't mount an effective pursuit?
No comment until the next map turn.

Their decision to remove their cavalry by sea, while fine in the context of this one battle of Santander, must have consequences at the campaign level. An army of this size in a Napoleonic campaign with zero cavalry is blind and totally vulnerable, particularly while in retreat.
I can't comment on this. I will spend time studying what occurrs next. Santander was however a decisive French victory.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  WJPalmer on Wed May 20, 2015 10:01 pm

I heartily disagree with the discussion and conclusion as to the Spanish being trapped "on the beaches" being left to their fate. This was wholly and entirely due to SoW map deficiencies and had nothing whatever to do with KS "realism." Speaking for myself, the English units that ended up "trapped" against the beach had been given proper orders well in advance to proceed to the west edge of the map well south of the river. They had already made good their withdraw from the exhausted French pursuers and on any soundly constructed map, would very easily have made safely to the west edge. God only knows what malignancy of pathing on that particular map caused them to end up the the endless repetitive loop down by the river where there was effectively zero control that could be exerted. If that's the sort of outcome required, then color me as one sorely disillusioned with the KS philosophy and approach. I also believe those now arguing the strongest for their right to butcher troops under such circumstances would, I dare say, be found arguing equally vociferously for the opposite result were the shoe on the other foot.

But my main displeasure with yesterday's event and the past few is however, that it seems virtually impossible to get through any of our battles these days without some players, sometimes several players, verbally abusing either the mod, the scenario design or other players. As was so eloquently stated a number of battles back, this goes a long way toward disturbing everyone's "immersion" in the event. If we can't find it within ourselves to play through without running commentaries, I for one will be looking to turn over the command of our beloved Castanos to someone else. The shine is beginning to come off the apple.
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed May 20, 2015 10:30 pm

I agree completely Ron. I too am becoming jaded with having to answer numerous complaints after every campaign game.

New rules are in effect:

1) Anyone speaking in TS during a game other than to ask a techical rules/scenario question will suffer additional casualties.

2) Anyone using the text chat window to do likewise will suffer the same.

3) I am not going to put up any more with endless criticism of the campaign scenarios. I am putting in so much of my time that my other hobbies are on the back burner and have been for several months. I shall probably limit each player to two email enquiries each turn from now on. This is enough to cover almost every player!

4) At the very last line I would not want to lose you Ron, one of our most consistent and sociable players. I will remove those who just demand more than is reasonable or simply not respond to more than their allocated share of enquiries.

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"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  MJP on Wed May 20, 2015 11:33 pm

As I already said Palmer, I understand that there were some regiments that were caught up along the river (i.e. the ones that went north along the bank and then turned back south). But there were also many regiments that we drove into the river and had no escape except the river. Watch the replay.

So perhaps we are talking about different troops, but my troops were certainly very fresh and were pouring it on a ton the allied troops pushing them down the hill into the "river." I know, I was "standing" right there watching.
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  Guest on Wed May 20, 2015 11:57 pm

In a real battle do you think that troops would stand there and get shot or run away. Sheesh can we get by this or what?

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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  Uncle Billy on Wed May 20, 2015 11:58 pm

I too experienced troops which reached the west edge of the map, turned around and began marching east along the bank of the river. Once they began doing that, they ignored all orders to do otherwise.

This may be somehow related to the bug wherein a reformed, routed unit will forever ignore the fact that rivers may be uncross-able. There is something odd about the riverbank color which acts like a road but is not really one.

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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  Mark87 on Thu May 21, 2015 12:25 am

I can only comments of the troops that I saw him directly and my front; there is Spanish directly to my friend were originally on the hill itself and then move to or the reverse slope and I brought my artillery. As such when I attacked they were pushed on the slow and slaughtered those troops should suffer significant losses. As for the pathing issues I have two comments; one scourge of the war is a bitch when pathing. Secondly, in regards to solving young these issues let's just leave it to Digby. The replay file is available to him and let's let him make all the losses as necessary
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  Mark87 on Thu May 21, 2015 12:26 am

Call man above is bananas because I tried the dictation function of my phone in the car and it didn't work I was trying a case I will explain more fully later
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu May 21, 2015 8:12 am

I wondered then if your account had been hacked by a Nigerian development official or if you were just in character and writing in French but letting Gowgel translate for you.

Either way, it made me smile.

Yes, pathing in SoW is poor, AI logic is good in some places, weak or non-existent in others. There is the horrible "Mississippi mud" effect at river edges that seems to glue troops there preventing them from turning away.

All I can say is I will study this as impartially as possible and give a conclusion and allocated losses as I think is fair on both sides.

I do want to still kill off in-game complaints and texting. Those are now hard and fast rules in our Peninsular campaign games at least, as is leaving a game other than for connection or pre-arranged timing issues.

Resolving the full Santander result will take me a while as I am still without home internet and am sitting in what looks like a packing warehouse. In the meantime there are two more battles/skirmishes that this turn has generated: Cervera II and Oropesa II. I'll give details soon but they won't be played this weekend, that much I do know.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Santander

Post  PhillWP on Thu May 21, 2015 11:09 am

Greetings all,

I must concur with our friends here. This is a sociable "game" that takes an awful lot of time to put together. For those of us on the edge who often find our lives squeezed by other things being able to take part is a great boon.

I think that perhaps one of the most fundamental things in campaign games as opposed to one off scenarios is that the strategic picture often does produce a battle that is one sided or often a no hoper. Indeed, good strategic generalship should be aiming always to fight battles that are totally one sided where you have as little chance of losing as possible.

This makes campaign gaming and often our one off KS scenarios different animals to the more balanced "competition" style that some of our friends enjoy. Each has its own unique set of challenges, joys and frustrations.

For example, whilst not able to have taken as close a part in the last few months as I would have liked and thanks to Martin for his patience here. The strategic situation gave me some unique challenges. Conflict between the honour of standing by our Spanish allies and trying to ensure that the alliance continues for the common good. Orders from home to support other British armies in the field and protecting the main resources my corps brought to the field, namely the cavalry and artillery.

Utilising some background information on my character, Baird, I noted he had fought in India alongside Wellsley (who he still hadn't quite forgiven for getting promoted over his head twice). A withdrawl of the primary assets, especially the cavalry by sea along with a token force to help tie up the French that could retire up the coast road utilising skirmishing and ambush tactics to slow them down seemed a good choice (strategically) but not to make a balanced game. Hopefully, the very great tactical issues make the thing more interesting even if you know you haven't really got a chance. But how often has that happened in war? My father served under Col John Frost in 2nd Btn The Parachute Regiment in WW2. The Btn didn't have a hope at the bridge at Arnhem but fought on regardless of the odds. There are numerous other examples of course.

Keep up the good work. The effort is much appreciated by those of us who enjoy the fruits of your labours.

Blessings all

Phill

Still counting trees in Siberia.
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  SWeathers on Fri May 22, 2015 2:40 am

May I offer some strategic background? Seeing as my absence was very unfortunate, I should like to explain some of the decisions which were acted upon.

Firstly, it came to my attention well after the fact that General Romana was in fact the C-in-C of Allied forces and thus I must first apologize to him. I only meant the best for our forces given the situation.

Secondly, I was determined to hold that position if our British Allies had remained, they did not and thus our position became untenable.
So then came the matter of extricating what we could from the city of Santander, with the knowledge that there may be French forces further West.

I developed a plan initially involving a vanguard, baggage train, and rearguard. At first, what cavalry we had was to be split between the van and rearguard. However, I was informed that the terrain to the West of the city was completely unsuitable for cavalry and was thus consigned to place what small contingent of cavalry I did have to the baggage train. As for artillery, I believe I had also ordered the majority of it to the baggage train, with perhaps 2 batteries which I left with the rearguard to aid them in their efforts.

My orders were to have a Spanish Division and small British force buy time for the marching column to reach the Western edge of the map. If that has been completed, then in my mind, this is as good an outcome as any. I must say, if the losses of French and Spanish are accurate to what has been reported, then I am rather elated. I understand that the Spanish cannot retreat forever or suffer undue losses, but until I receive substantial English support or my troops stiffen up in discipline, I see no reason to give significant battle to the French.

I also understand that this means that lopsided battles will continue, and frustration on both sides will continue. To this I say that strategic realities are dictating tactical consequences.

Lastly, I wish to thank everyone who took part in this and I am dreadfully sorry that I could take part.
-Sam
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  Mr. Digby on Fri May 22, 2015 9:18 am

Thanks both of you for your comments.

You make an excellent point, Sam - the strategic situation dictates everything. Everything. Its why I play campaigns. Stand alone battles, while fun, always lack a certain something for me.

I will post again later when I have more time, about the strategy side of the campaign and my thoughts about it as regards this battle (and its various unhappy incidents, which in the strategic context I will put into perspective) and battles in general.

I've also decided to simply ignore the drama queens. Its usually the same people who kick up a fuss and we then get a backlash from the same other people who are more supportive. Meanwhile the really good, long term, reliable players hold their own counsel, which is how I like to live my (umpire) life. Thanks to those who never complain or question. Having such players around is what makes umpiring a real joy. I can do no amount of hard work for such people.


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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  Iberalc on Fri May 22, 2015 4:51 pm

I had very seldom used the short retreat button before this battle and I didn't know you don't get any fatigue with it. Just reading about it I didn't realize about its "advantages" until Kevin explained them after the battle. I really over-used the button, my apologises.
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Re: Santander Post Battle Discussion

Post  Mr. Digby on Fri May 22, 2015 8:28 pm

That sounds like a lesson learned.

As I mentioned in my previous post I want to close this discussion with a series of notes about why I feel it is very rude and very unnecessary for any player to quit one of the campaign battles due to a perceived fault of the AI or another player and why it is unnecessary to ever complain in-game or after it about anything another player is doing/has done.

Some players still wear the hats they have on in other MP games. We had a player announcing with glee that his command racked up a score of +3500 this last game.

Thing was, he lost.

As he was pounding the enemy he was losing.

With every Spanish soldier his men killed he was losing more.

I'll explain. SoW has this very unfortunate "bodycount" scoring system designed into it. Its like someone was trying to write a Vietnam RTS, not an ACW one. The points scores of individual units and their overall brigade, division, etc, creates a mindset where a player wants to see that score going up and not going down. People will pull regiments out of the line because their score is going down, despite any possible tactical disadvantage that might put them into.

I want players to forget about the bodycount, the score, the magic numbers going up or down.

They don't matter. They don't count, not one little bit. Not one freaking iota. We could have a campaign battle where one side scored 10,000 points and the other zero, and the lowest scoring side would win...

If they achieved their objectives.

Campaign games are all about context and the context is what a particular battle means in its setting of wider events, this particular theatre, or even if Napoleon captures Madrid before he has to leave for Germany! Getting a high score is meaningless. Achieving your objectives are what matters. These objectives are not even gold stars on the ground, they are often something the enemy is unaware of, or only vaguely aware of, something ten or a hundred miles off the battlefield. An army could be destroyed in a huge minus points score slaughter yet still win because it held a certain area for a certain period and stopped the enemy reaching X and interrupting some other plan that side had.

I had a little chuckle when one player said his command had a score of 3500; as though that meant something. Meanwhile the Spanish were getting their critical baggage train past this French force with almost all their artillery, all their cavalry and various important personages and non-military goods from Santander. Kevin as Acevedo attacked Dessolles vigorously and pushed him away from the coast road, holding open a corridor long enough, paid for in Spanish blood, so the baggage could escape.

During this, Dessolles was being defeated because he failed to stop that baggage. He racked up an impressive score in dead Spaniards but this was completely unimportant.

So, point is - please don't look at unit scores, kill-ratios or whatever you call them. Think past this rather simplistic and irrelevant system the game has encumbered us with.

"The Spanish are attacking me aggressively! I'm slaughtering them! FoolS! But... why are they being so aggressive? Why are they throwing men away so much?"

Those are the thoughts a player should have.

I know its an easy trap to fall into, I fell into it during that fun Austrian supply wagons game from months back. Killing lots of enemy who foolhardily kept attacking me uphill had exactly the effect my opponent wanted it to have. I thought I was crushing him! I was winning! No. I lost, because those wagons of supplies got through.

Now, moving on, and finally getting away from unit scores, here's a metaphor for you.

Consider the dead men and lost units as breadcrumbs. Small, crumbly and not really worth much. They are part of a battle that we can consider to be a slice of bread. The slice is made up of crumbs, for sure, but losing some isn't going to ruin the whole slice. You can still enjoy the bread with some scraps missing. Think of our stand-alone weekend scenarios that Kevin and others create for us to be slices of bread. That's all they are. Sometimes we are given a hint of the shape of the loaf they are cut from; we get given some contextual setting, some background, even sometimes linked scenarios so we see a second slice from the same loaf.

I enjoy those types of games. But we are still only seeing a slice or two and a hint of the overall shape and fresh-baked smell of the loaf.

What of the whole loaf? What of the tray of loaves - a dozen or two dozen of them?

What of the whole bakery? Hundreds of loaves?

Crumbs are men and units.

Slices are battles.

Loaves are the separate theatres of a major campaign, the subordinate campaigns that make up a whole major camapign. For us in our Peninsular campaign the loaves would be - for example, Blake's campaign to capture Burgos; the fall of Toledo; Murat's defence of Madrid in summer and autumn 1808; St Cyr's offensive in Catalonia; Ney's advance in Cantabria and Asturias. These are the loaves. Many of them.

The Peninsular War is the tray of loaves made up from all these - maybe two dozen or more of them.

The bakery itself? That is the entire Napoleonic war. Napoleon has to leave Spain this spring to go deal with those annoying pastry-chefs the Austrians. Even in one of our battles, the outcome can affect the entire bakery.

Now, please think about that metaphor when looking at the crumbs. The crumbs are the small things; things like being attacked by a rampaging out-of-command battalion or two in square causing you to lose 200, 300 or 500 men. The crumbs are a few enemy units moving into a zone of the map that's been declared out-of-bounds. Crumbs might be some cavalry riding into an area they shouldn't.

THE CRUMBS ARE NOT IMPORTANT. PLEASE DON'T WORRY ABOUT THEM AT ALL.

I view the replays very carefully. I can identify every unit in it. If units go out of bounds, don't even bother to mention it because I can see it happening and hack off a few casualties to those units from men getting lost in bad terrain or drowned in a stream or killed by guerillas. Likewise if a few hundred crumbs are lost to a rogue square so what? Play on. Please.

By now we are all crystal clear on what you should not do with squares. We are all adults here. If a square does something wrong, don't assume the owning player is doing something deliberate or even worse, cheating. He isn't. Lets trust each other and come to the most likely conclusion that the player has lost control of them for some reason. Maybe one you can't even fathom.

It's the loaf that matters, not the crumbs, so please don't make any more complaints about issues which are 1) not really of any worth at all and 2) very easily fixed afterwards with some maunal shuffling of numbers in the OOBs.

Lets enjoy the spectacle of these colourful armies, the challenge of outwitting your enemy, the unusual and asymmetric scenarios, the gratification of working with your team members and having a plan come together, the pleasure this game should give us all.

Lets aim for those things, hm?

Thank you everyone. This discussion is now closed.

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"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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