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Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

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Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  kg little mac on Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:26 pm

http://www.sowmp.com/gcm/battles/battle/13486

Thanks to everyone who played. I enjoyed the game very much. My personal opinion is that the game felt much more realistic without all the couriers and courier spam cluttering the map. I don't think there's any gained advantage in not using the couriers. The HITS setting still makes it almost impossible to control your boys while they're in the woods.

Good fight everyone.

The screen shots I uploaded are Ollie's, though I did change the caption of the last one.
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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  Baldwin1 on Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:02 am

I look forward to trying it in the future, just been too busy lately getting ready for Christmas. It's good to see there's interest from more than a few people and I definitely want to show my support for it in upcoming games. I think this version takes the best of the two different styles of play IMO. Had I known I would have suggested it a while back but I thought it would just be me and Soldier that would think it the ideal way to play. Good job Palmer on making it a seamless transition and recruiting people for it.
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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  mitra on Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:03 am

I enjoyed the game very much me too, thansk guys, but I feel much more confortable with the standard courier setting. I don't miss the functionality for the regiment level, because when I play as division commander, I never use it very much and anyway when happen I was very close, but I feel it essential for the orders to brigade commanders. Division commander must be at some distance from the line more frequently that brigade commander for have a clear vision, and to give accurate orders without the need to gallop near the brigade commander is essential. The standard couriers command (not the modded) doesn't permit this.

In addition happened soon that clicking for move my officer near troops, I clicked for error a regiment or another officer moving it immediatly. This happen also with standard game, but yesterday happened with regularity, especially because during the battle I moved very much my troops.


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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  WJPalmer on Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:58 pm

We're still learning, for sure. A couple of things I took from the experience in this game:

-The importance of being able to use point & click in combat was brought home, no doubt more so to those of us with less HITS experience than the veterans. Trying to control a division-sized collection of regiments in combat in this configuration with action hot at both ends of the line is very difficult. As Mitra suggests, the division-level player must be close to the troops or risk all sorts of bad things. I ended up riding back and forth from end to end like a madman, trying to give all regiments the attention they deserved. At one critical point, Flashman had just informed me that Weathers on our right was having a rough time of it and would be pulling back to join me. Since my guns were deployed in Weather's sector and I was busy directing regiments on the far left side of my line, the only thing I could do was immediately send courier orders to my batteries to start them moving in my direction. Then I rode like crazy to meet them along the way so point & click could be used for precise repositioning;

-Considering the above, it might be good to ratchet down the number of troops per player to the 1500 - 2000 range in the next game. Adjustments can be made to nudge the numbers upward for more experienced players. But, the creation of brigade-sized GCM divisions would make the game more manageable especially for the guys new to HITS. Looking over the battle report, I find myself a bit in envy of Jones with his 1,500 man/1 brigade command!;

-The presence of Army command without the burden of direct troop control was of critical importance on our side (with Flashman as Robert E. Lee) as I'm sure it was for the Yanks with General M.T. Georgia at the helm. With the narrow view players otherwise have from the saddle, overall army command provides broader vision as well as command/coordination;

-Being free of regimental-level courier spam distractions was very enjoyable for me. The reduction in couriers also contributed, I strongly suspect, to a fast-running game played across a large map. As more people (hopefully) get into HITS/GCM games, this might be the only way to run stable contests of 12-16+ played across multiple continents;

-I also look forward to future functionality in GCM that gives us more flexibility to create specialized formations (e.g., a command of just guns or just infantry), and other sorts of asymmetries that will add even more interest to games.



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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  kg little mac on Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:27 pm

It's really too bad the distance from which couriers must be sent can't be modded. If we could set it at 100 yards, the game would offer the best of both worlds.
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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  mitra on Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:15 pm

Well I don't know, also 100 yards make some difference if your line is broken and the messages can be intercepted. Personally I never had problems with the number of couriers and feedback message but to manage brigade commanders or regiments without couriers trying to avoid immediate response gives me many problems. So in general i prefer the standard HITS mode. Also the balancing gameplay set of GCM for morale and artillery, are very goods when I play in GCM standard mode, but when I play HITS I feel better with the normal one.

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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  Uncle Billy on Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:00 pm

This was a good battle. The time reserved at the beginning for planning plus having the divisions near each other was a nice improvement over the previous game. Also having just one objective allows the CinC to keep track of the battle and give the division commanders information concerning their sector of the line.

As a division commander I always find commanding brigades via point and click to be difficult due to lack of perspective. I always use the written system or the command map to move them. I don't know what level the couriers were set to, but I'd suggest trying division level for the next game for those that do move their brigades in that manner. There won't be very many return receipt messages and the division commanders won't have to worry about riding over to be close to the brigade/battery commander. That can be a real problem in the heat of battle especially if the brigade commander is riding around from one regiment to another.

One gameplay issue I noticed was firing into the rear of a regiment. Soldier maneuvered one of his regiments so that they were firing into the rear of an enemy unit for quite some time without forcing the enemy to retreat. I checked the GCM battledef file and found that morale hit for this is the same as that for frontal fire. That is clearly unhistoric. I can't think of any reason to set it so even from a purely GCM perspective. My guess is that it is a typo. Maybe one of the GCM guys could ask Garnier about this.

Overall this was a much better battle than the first. It is definitely moving in the right direction.

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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  WJPalmer on Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:17 pm

Uncle Billy wrote:I always use the written system or the command map to move them. I don't know what level the couriers were set to, but I'd suggest trying division level for the next game for those that do move their brigades in that manner. There won't be very many return receipt messages and the division commanders won't have to worry about riding over to be close to the brigade/battery commander.

Good observation about the regiment being fired upon from the rear. I'll link to this thread in the GCM forum so Garnier can take a look.

The couriers were set to "side" in this game for a couple of reasons: If one of our division-commanding players dropped, I thought it would give an army or corps commander the same command options if they decided to step in to take personal command of the leaderless troops. The other is that in my experimentation with couriers set at division, a division-level player (as most everyone is in GCM) generates the same number of couriers and AI message confirmations when giving point & click instructions directly to regiments (i.e., bypassing brigade commanders) as when the setting is brigade. Maybe I'm missing something with this and am certainly open to being educated. One of the challenges in blending HITS with GCM lies in players operating at division level when the comfort zone for most is in commanding brigade-sized units.
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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  Uncle Billy on Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:42 pm

a division-level player (as most everyone is in GCM) generates the same number of couriers and AI message confirmations when giving point & click instructions directly to regiments (i.e., bypassing brigade commanders) as when the setting is brigade.
I did not know this. In SP no return receipt is generated. Couriers go out to the regiment, so the delay is there, which is a nice feature. I wonder why Norb made MP different?

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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  kg little mac on Sun Dec 23, 2012 6:49 pm

I propose we go to the other extreme for the next game: courier by division and no orders to regiments or individual guns allowed.

This is the way I've always thought couriers should be played. You give orders to your brigade commander and let him carry them out.

Man. . . it would be different than the regular micromanaged GCM games we usually play. But I'm up for giving almost anything a try.

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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  Martin on Sun Dec 23, 2012 6:51 pm

kg little mac wrote:I propose we go to the other extreme for the next game: courier by division and no orders to regiments or individual guns allowed.

This is the way I've always thought couriers should be played. You give orders to your brigade commander and let him carry them out.

Man. . . it would be different than the regular micromanaged GCM games we usually play. But I'm up for giving almost anything a try.

I very much like the sound of that. It's how I play SP.

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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  FlashmanKBE on Sun Dec 23, 2012 7:13 pm

I too greatly enjoyed the entire experience as CinC of the Confederate side. I found it incredibly tense. It really felt like a hard-fought battle, which was a very close thing. I'm afraid I now have a taste for Army/Corps level command, and will be whining whenever I don't get it in future games Very Happy

I did like the fact that 9 of us were able to play a Corps v Corps sized game with no AI divisions or opponents, something that a regular HITS night will rarely achieve. I can completely understand any difficulties the division commanders may have had commanding several brigades from the saddle, having enjoyed this position myself a few times - I'm curious to know how many had the AI control brigade commanders?

Hopefully future games of HG will gain player numbers, which will give us several options:
1) More divisions per army - more stress on the army commander (not necessarily a bad thing), unless...
2) if there are sufficient numbers, you could include a few Corps commanders as well as Army command! I figure you'd need about 18 players for this to become sensible.
3) Alternatively, players (even non-GCM players) could easily take command of a brigade within a division. A division could have as many human brigades as necessary, and this would certainly help out the division commanders, especially for the larger divisions.

One thing for the GCM players to remember for next time - set up your whisper keys! They really help in battle, and give purpose to riding up to other commanders for a discussion.

And also - communications! In our HITS games, I'm used to more frequent (and certainly more eccentric) messages informing me of enemy sightings, current locations and so on. These are essential for Army command to paint a picture of what's going on, and be able to make decisions.

I really felt I was surrounded by veteran Confederate division commanders. On my right, Weathers was my Hood, keen to attack, reluctant to fall back when ordered. In my centre, Palmer was my Longstreet, a steady defensive rock who I bounced ideas off. And on my left, Spoom was a Pickett, bravely charging into an enemy of unknown strength, and later informing me by courier "Sir, my command is destroyed!"

Absolutely superb stuff - I look for ward to more in the new year! Many thanks to everyone who took part, and to Ron for organising - keep up the good work!
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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  Garnier on Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:12 pm

Uncle Billy wrote:One gameplay issue I noticed was firing into the rear of a regiment.
I've explained this before on the GCM forum -- it's that way because the vast majority of cases where a unit is shot in the rear, it is because the regiment flipped facing due to poor game controls. (If your regiment starts to fall back, and you click advance, they flip facing -- etc.) I don't want regiments to rout quickly from this because it's so common and really hurts inexperienced players. Or often, the regiment is already retreating but was never flanked -- in which case the huge flanking penalty is also not wanted.

It's rare to actually get behind the enemy regiment and shoot it for very long, but it does occasionally happen as you saw, in that case you can nudge your flanking regiment so you are shooting at the flank and not the rear. I agree it's not perfect, just a tradeoff.

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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  Uncle Billy on Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:00 pm

I've explained this before on the GCM forum -- it's that way because the vast majority of cases where a unit is shot in the rear, it is because the regiment flipped facing due to poor game controls. (If your regiment starts to fall back, and you click advance, they flip facing -- etc.) I don't want regiments to rout quickly from this because it's so common and really hurts inexperienced players
If a player does that, then he deserves to be punished. A unit that is falling back is doing so because its morale is failing. If the player wants to stop that, press the halt button. The regiment will then reform into a line and begin firing.

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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  WJPalmer on Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:44 am

kg little mac wrote:I propose we go to the other extreme for the next game: courier by division and no orders to regiments or individual guns allowed.

This is the way I've always thought couriers should be played. You give orders to your brigade commander and let him carry them out.

Man. . . it would be different than the regular micromanaged GCM games we usually play. But I'm up for giving almost anything a try.

I too think this would be quite interesting, and probably well suited to both pick-up games and campaign-type contests on an operational level. This sort of game would potentially be very different in size, scope and orientation from current GCM or HITS, and would require a somewhat different skill-set. Command/troop sizes could and should be much larger since players themselves would be removed to a higher level of command without the strain involved in directing individual regiments -- and make those AI brigade commanders earn their pensions. Human players would, I think, need to rely heavily on the command map for movement. Couriers at the division level would be OK, I suppose, in this arrangement, since the only order recipients would be the few brigade commanders in the division. I confess I find it very annoying that every time a button is clicked in a point & click order a courier is generated. It would be much better if you could "collect" a series of commands (e.g., move here, face this way, change to this formation, etc.) and then send off a single courier with the entire instruction -- instead of generating the 4 or 5 couriers needed now for a simple movement.

I like this idea and the thought of the colossal battles of upwards of 40,000 to 60,000 troops that would result. Players in corps command roles would also be vital, because management of a half-dozen+ divisions on a side, with the large expanses of ground likely involved, would certainly be overwhelming to an army commander in the saddle trying to direct activity of individual divisions along his front.
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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  Blaugrana on Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:41 am

WJPalmer wrote:Human players would, I think, need to rely heavily on the command map for movement.
IIRC, when you use the command map to move yourself somewhere, the game orders your whole unit to move there without the need to click on a formation button. IMO this is a glitch/bug and the order should apply to the commander only unless a formation button is clicked.

IIRC, using the command map is great for moving your units around, but you need to be very careful using it when you have yourself selected.

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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  Uncle Billy on Mon Dec 24, 2012 3:10 pm

A division with 3 brigades and 2 or 3 batteries is a handful for a player even with the AI to controlling those units. From my experience that is the best size for non-micro-managing type play. That would be a force of 4-6000.

OK, I suppose, in this arrangement, since the only order recipients would be the few brigade commanders in the division. I confess I find it very annoying that every time a button is clicked in a point & click order a courier is generated. It would be much better if you could "collect" a series of commands (e.g., move here, face this way, change to this formation, etc.) and then send off a single courier with the entire instruction -- instead of generating the 4 or 5 couriers needed now for a simple movement.
Commanders will want to use the written order system in this type of battle. I think you'll find it much more efficient than point and click. That is especially true if you can't really see where part of your command is and what it is doing. It allows the player to give multiple commands in one order, so there is only one return receipt.

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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  Baldwin1 on Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:40 pm

How would it work if a player wanted to be just a brigade commander (4-5 regiments) with no guns? Does that leave his side at a disadvantage or does the other side balance in GCM so that one side doesn't have more guns than the other? I forget if it balances based on number of men overall or equalizes guns and troops on both sides to a fair balance.
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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  kg little mac on Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:43 am

Baldwin1 wrote:How would it work if a player wanted to be just a brigade commander (4-5 regiments) with no guns? Does that leave his side at a disadvantage or does the other side balance in GCM so that one side doesn't have more guns than the other? I forget if it balances based on number of men overall or equalizes guns and troops on both sides to a fair balance.

Right now, even if you set your random game settings at 0 guns, you will still get some.
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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  WJPalmer on Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:49 am

One of the things Garnier is working on (hopefully, it will be implemented fairly soon), is the ability in random and historical games for the host to adjust the number of guns in a division in the same way it can now be done with infantry using the sliders. Once in place, it would be possible to give some players just infantry and some just guns. Not only does this appeal to those players with specialty preferences, but it will make asymmetrical games possible, e.g., create a side that's gun-heavy vs a side with more infantry.
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Re: Cumberlan Gap HITS/GCM Game

Post  FlashmanKBE on Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:59 pm

Baldwin1 wrote:How would it work if a player wanted to be just a brigade commander (4-5 regiments) with no guns? Does that leave his side at a disadvantage or does the other side balance in GCM so that one side doesn't have more guns than the other? I forget if it balances based on number of men overall or equalizes guns and troops on both sides to a fair balance.

I believe it is simple - a player can join the game (without signing into the Battle Queue on the GCM website), and then simply take a brigade in one of the GCM divisions. This would work best where division commanders are struggling with their AI brigade commanders, e.g. Sharpe was complaining his were "idiotic" last night, so to have a human step in as one of them would be a massive aid.
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