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Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

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Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Leffe7 on Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:19 am

A very nice 7 player game yesterday. I especially liked how Armstrongs cavalry earned fame. It seemed they were always at the right time at the right spot Very Happy : when I defeated a strong flanking attack on my right, I could see our cavalry behind in perfect position to charge the fleeing federals.
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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  King_Rufus on Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:32 am

Yes, great game yesterday which lasted upwards of three hours with only one or two minor tech hiccups – there is a need to agree beforehand on which version of the evolving Courier / Maps mod will be used on any given evening.

The other hiccup in my case concerned two courier orders received from what was probably the AI somehow masquerading as my actually human divisional commander (I sent off couriers to query this, but should have checked over TS), which caused my brigade to go walkabout and arrive only late to the battle, but luckily just in time to turn back an enemy flanking move.

Unbeknownst to the others and probably foolishly I played in a window throughout, but there were no problems. However, there was never any need to switch windows, since we are now using the Teamspeak whisper keys to conduct private conversations when we meet on the battlefield.

The TS keys are not very intuitive to set up, but essentially one needs to create a ‘New’ key in the ‘Whisper List’ (in Settings) for each player, by dragging their name across, and ‘Apply’ this setting before creating further new keys for the other players in like fashion. One should end up with a list of six or seven keys in the LHS pane of the TS window, at which point one can click OK.

AND, in particular, untick one of the boxes which is already ticked in the default setup. I think this is the fourth option down in the list of default settings, but check with the regulars - and be sure to arrive in TS early so you can be talked through this.

Cavalry is now being used routinely in the games, which has thrown up some fresh problems of realism. Digby did a very creditable impersonation of JEB Stuart last night, and probably did much to win the battle by threatening the enemy rear, but, if the game is eventually to be adapted to earlier periods, there is a need to address the problem of cavalry refusing to charge soft targets like enemy guns and supply wagons. The Charge of the Light Brigade would hardly be possible at present, since Lord Lucan’s men would all dismount and discharge their carbines at the gunners instead.

I propose a big vote of thanks to the unpaid ‘regulars’ on Ike’s TS (not me) who have worked so hard over the past few weeks - apparently without sleeping in the case of Mr Digby - to iron out the many previous glitches so we more FtF orientated (ie. lazy) aficionados can enjoy the online game without too many headaches. Also to Norbs team and Garniers crew who have apparently been very supportive in that process.

I now look forward to many more martial episodes in cyberspace, and in particular to Digby's forthcoming campaign games.
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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Blaugrana on Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:46 am

Leffe7 wrote:A very nice 7 player game yesterday. I especially liked how Armstrongs cavalry earned fame. It seemed they were always at the right time at the right spot Very Happy
Hear, Hear!
King_Rufus wrote:I propose a big vote of thanks to the unpaid ‘regulars’ on Ike’s TS (not me) who have worked so hard over the past few weeks - apparently without sleeping in the case of Mr Digby - to iron out the many previous glitches so we more FtF orientated (ie. lazy) aficionados can enjoy the online game without too many headaches. Also to Norbs team and Garniers crew who have apparently been very supportive in that process.
Seconded!
King_Rufus wrote:The other hiccup in my case concerned two courier orders received from what was probably the AI somehow masquerading as my actually human divisional commander (I sent off couriers to query this, but should have checked over TS), which caused my brigade to go walkabout [...]
That's interesting. I spotted a couple of 'go to the point indicated on the map' orders too, also purporting to be from Martin, & was able to countermand them. Earlier my brigade had also gone walkabout. They were coming up behind me to my position, I was discussing the situation chatting with John & the next thing I knew was when Stefan came up to my position and asked me where my brigade was. He'd seen them a few minutes before heading away from the battle! Took me another ten minutes or so to find them and drag them back to the battle line & they were exhausted from then on in. Perhaps this was another order that I didn't spot.

As the others have said, a brilliant battle. I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks to all involved.
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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Martin on Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:27 pm

Yes great game. A real immersive experience, as ever played in an excellent spirit.

It was fun playing as a division commander. Both Blaugrana & HRH King Rufus are good friends, so at the time I naturally assumed the peripatetic meanderings of their respective brigades owed something to the bottle.

Am quite put-out to find that they may be innocent of all charges Sad .

Interesting comments re the rogue map orders, which purported to come from me. I have actually stopped using map orders for human subordinates, so can confirm they didn't. I have put this matter in the hands of the provost marshal, and am hopeful we can still get a court martial out of this. Preferably Digby of course Very Happy .

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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:24 pm

Haha, my ears are burning so I must be being talked about.

On the subject of rogue orders I like that the game isn't predictable. I think a lot of us are brought up in the modern age of computers and things being very easily planned and predicted and plotted out, and the fact that random stupidity can be apparently thrown into the mix by the game is brilliant! I find it very realistic.

I know some people get quite frustarted by the game's idiosyncrasies (I often hear poor Jack cussing at his troops in battles) but I would plead to everyone to try and relax and chill more, it is just a game and if we lose, so what? No real widows or orphans result from our screw-ups and we can play again the next day, so I would ask people to accept some of the craziness that goes on as troops wander about from mysterious ghost orders or try to weave their way between friendly units due to blocked paths.

On the subject of units wandering annoyingly around and pirouetting about the place in silly spirals I think we have only ourselves to blame. If we all began to place our units further apart and leave big gaps between reinforcing lines and between adjacent units we would give the AI much less trouble in finding a path between them. I know the temptation is to cram men in and pour firepower into a smallest frontage as possible but I don't think this is very realistic and perhaps our wins against the AI are so easy because we human players do this and the AI doesn't so it always loses every firefight. If we spread our regiments out more we'd find the enemy harder to beat but our own units easier to manouvre. Maybe we'd have more enjoyable games and not get so frustrated by regiments doing daft things because a gap we are sending them through is too small?

While I thank people for saying the cavalry was useful in last night's game I found it pretty frustrating and actually rather useless. The after-game analysis seemed to agree that it tires far too quickly. I would be happy for it to get blown after about 2 charges but after just riding across fields for a couple of miles I don't think it would be. I found it frustrating to use because I felt it necessary to spread it over a wide frontage so that it would 'see' more (make enemy units show up) but then it was too hard to control (couriers going off in creative directions again). In the end I left half of it to the west, south-west of Bliss Farm un-TC'd to take care of itself hoping the Brig Genl Symons would take command of that half-brigade (I even ordered him to their location by the command map) and I took the other two regts to the east on a 'recon by force'. But Brig Gen Symons came after me wherever I went like a lost puppy so he pratted about getting in the way and sending orders to my two units (which they ignored because I'd TC'd them... duh!) while I tried to swing into the right flank of the enemy near the Peach Orchard. By the time I could almost get at the juicy target of two limbered Union batteries parked in a farmyard the mens horses were blown and when they got among the gunners they dismounted and started shooting. Once dismounted and in combat they are buggers to get on their horses and get out again.

My first charge was actually while the cavalry was facing the limbered guns but when the men went whooping off they swung 90 deg right and charged an enemy infantry regt on their flank. I suppose when you hit the charge button the unit goes towards the nearest enemy, not to the location you're telling it to move to and this inf unit had snuck into the closest range while my men were heading towards the guns.

After an abortive and indecisive melee and retreat these two units were both exhausted so I did a JEB Stuart and went right around the enemy army paying my compliments to Genl Rosecrans who was sat on his horse in a field miles behind his lines. Ah, the stresses of high command!

I then came round the west side of the enemy and told my men to stop behind a wall somewhere north west of the A Plank Farm and rode north to try and bring my two unused regiments south to hit some artillery in the enemy rear. I found my two regts dismounted and in combat with the enemy left flank and both exhausted and shaken so they were no use either. In the end I gathered all 4 regts together behind the wall in the far SW of the battlefield and got their morale up but cavalry are INCREDIBLY slow to recover fatigue! Much, much slower than infantry.

I spent the last 15 minutes of the battle stooging about on the enemy's left, south west of Bliss Farm worrying anyone who looked like they might rally. I did find a good use for cavalry here, great for making routers "move along please, there's nothing to see here" and also good when you walk them mounted towards rallying infantry to encourage them to keep moving as well.

As to scouting and reporting... well you can't control 4 units in that duty at all, and in fact sending back intel reports is as easily done by a general on his own, in fact easier as you don't have to worry about the cav randomly dismounting and getting into a battle you don't want. Grr.

I suppose the most realistic method would be to have brigades of 1 regt with each one commanded by a player, then you'd get lots of scouting reports but that's a luxury we don't have.

The upside was I probably kept 2 enemy batteries and about a brigade and a half occupied while I did my riding around thing and was able to report a fresh brigade waiting at the A Plank Farm and when it moved to attack. I have no idea how many of my reports got through, probably not many.

I understand Gunship24 tweaked the cavalry a lot to make them charge home in his Napoleonic mod but for ACW games they are pretty useless for scouting. They CAN charge well, since Stefan conducted a brilliant brigade-sized charge in the Battle of Benners Hill a few nights ago where 3 Reb cav regts smashed a Union inf regt, 2 cav regts and 2 batteries, but this was after they had stood in reserve doing nothing for upwards of an hour and I bet it would be hard to repeat that feat.
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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Leffe7 on Wed Apr 04, 2012 3:32 pm

Yes I received strange map commands too, but didnt notice much impact from them. One time it looked like the corps commander gave a direct order to one of my regiments (double quick) and they did it! Is this even possible? I thought you cant give orders to units of your human subordinates.
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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Uncle Billy on Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:35 pm

I'm sorry I missed this battle. It sounds as if you had a thoroughly 19th century experience. I may, however, be able to shed light on some of the problems you commented upon.

There are two types of cavalry in the game. Type 1 which can charge infantry/artillery and fight dismounted and Type 2 which cannot charge infantry/artillery but can fight dismounted. You were probably using Type 1 in the game. Fatigue values for the cavalry can very easily be changed, so they can at least get one maybe two charges in before the horses are blown.

The mystery orders probably came from an AI commander in the chain of command. If a human takes corps command and the divisional general is AI controlled, that division commander will try to fight the battle as he sees fit and order his brigades about. Even if they are human, orders are orders. If the corps commander is AI controlled and the division commander is human, the corps commander will often give the human an order to move his command somewhere even in the heat of battle. If the order is repeatedly ignored, he will sometimes bypass the insubordinate human and issue orders directly to the brigades. While doing so he is also assembling a drumhead court martial. The only way to prevent these occurrences is to put the AI commander out of sight of the battle or TC him. But I agree, the AI orders do add a bit of flourish to the battlefield confusion.

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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:52 pm

That's curious because yesterday we had only 2 AI commanders on the field, one infantry brigade commander and my cavalry brigade commander. We had corps (human), infantry division (human), 4 infantry brigades (3 human, 1 AI), cavalry division (human) 1 cavalry brigade (AI). I certainly know my AI cav brigade commander was sending orders but to 2 TC'd regts which ignored him. What was frustrating was he wouldn't go across the battlefield to the 2 un-TC'd regts and command those, he chose to stick near me all the time.

Can't think where the rogue orders were coming from unless the inf div commander was doing one of those "move myself to here on the command map" orders (which will order his brigadiers about and their regiments!)

P.S. it was a very un-Napoleonic feel to the game for me, very ACW as far as the cavalry went. I think I've decided I quite like playing cavalry, and I'm sure there's a knack to them that I haven't yet got. Moving them by road everywhere will surely save on tiredness. We must also remember they were not Cuirassiers and power them too far the other way.
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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Uncle Billy on Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:18 pm

It wasn't until 1864 when the Union cavalry finally had the trained horses and men did they begin to act as their European counterparts. They then massed in large numbers and began charging the infantry. The only decisive battles that occurred in the ACW were ones that contained these cavalry follow troughs.

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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Martin on Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:53 pm

Mr. Digby wrote:Can't think where the rogue orders were coming from unless the inf div commander was doing one of those "move myself to here on the command map" orders (which will order his brigadiers about and their regiments!)

I was the division commander but I'm innocent, innocent I tell you! [appears in costume of 86 year-old infirm grandmother] It was precisely because of that effect that I stopped using map orders a month or two back.

Brig General Little, CSA

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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:06 pm

Uncle Billy wrote:It wasn't until 1864 when the Union cavalry finally had the trained horses and men did they begin to act as their European counterparts. They then massed in large numbers and began charging the infantry. The only decisive battles that occurred in the ACW were ones that contained these cavalry follow troughs.
Yes, considering they had nothing at all in 1861, its incredible how efficient the two armies became four years later. Well, the Union army anyway, but I'm sure the CSA army would have been just as efficient and effective if it hadn't been so thoroughly anaconda'd by then.
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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Blaugrana on Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:08 am

Martin wrote:
Mr. Digby wrote:Can't think where the rogue orders were coming from unless the inf div commander was doing one of those "move myself to here on the command map" orders (which will order his brigadiers about and their regiments!)
I was the division commander but I'm innocent, innocent I tell you! [appears in costume of 86 year-old infirm grandmother] It was precisely because of that effect that I stopped using map orders a month or two back.
Brig General Little, CSA
Darn! I was sure Digby had identified the cause. IIRC, there are move (me) and amove (allmove, ie me and my subordinates) commands and it sounds like (some) of yours were the latter, when you wanted the former. I think all commands should be move, amove only being invoked when a formation button is pressed.
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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:11 am

I'm pretty sure Jeff is right, we have seen this before in MP with humans at different levels of the command chain. There is an inconsistency in the order buttons and their effects.
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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Uncle Billy on Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:52 pm

Mr Digby wrote:
There is an inconsistency in the order buttons and their effects.
That was one of the issues that the Courier & Maps mod fixed. All the commands used in it, unless otherwise noted, are of the Acommand variety. But these, like the button commands, should never be used when sending orders to human players.

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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Mr. Digby on Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:37 pm

People must still be using the toolbar to give their own command orders therefore. And 'own command' for a division general can lead to weirdness still. That's my guess on what was happening.
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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Martin on Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:55 pm

Not on Tuesday. I was the only divisional commander with human subordinates, and I didn't use the toolbar at all until Stefan had to leave shortly before the end, and I took over his brigade.

Also his royal Rufusness mentioned to me that he received map orders early in the game to take his brigade off to the west. The only direction I ever ordered it was south.

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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Uncle Billy on Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:03 pm

Interesting. I recall the start of a game where I was a division commander and had as yet to issue any orders at all. Suddenly Digby starts complaining that his troop are moving independent of what he wanted them to do. He thought I had used the map command to move them. I, of course had him busted down into the ranks for such an accusation, but it sounds similar to what you experienced. I then checked my sent messages and surprise, there were the orders given to his regiments. Someone or something had forged these documents and sent them off. This game had an AI controlled division in addition to mine, (we were playing an AI led corps level game). Did your game have a similar structure?

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Re: Yesterdays game (april 3rd)

Post  Mr. Digby on Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:14 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVSRm80WzZk&
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