Developer Diary 25 – The Power of Supply II

Unity of Command II releases next Tuesday, November 12th. You heard it here first, PR be damned! 😀 To celebrate the occasion, please have this sequel to The Power of Supply – the most popular post this blog has ever had.

This isn’t just a trip down memory lane, mind you (but hey, 8 years!). Supply is our signature mechanic, and it has been revamped with an eye to all of the theaters of WWII that we plan to visit this time around.

Granted, you won’t be seeing that much of a supply pinch with the Allies in the base campaign. They usually have generous supply, and only really see supply issues immediately following a naval landing. By the time we reach Russia though (in DLC), I suspect the words “supply disruption” will ring with some dread. You are welcome!

Supply Sources

So let’s start with what we know. In screen #1, we see three US infantry units and a single US armored unit, during the Louisiana Maneuvers of 1941. The units are trying to reach their objective in Alexandria (lower right), but for the purpose of this explainer, I will make them just stay in place for the next couple of turns.

 

Units need to be supplied on every turn, otherwise they become weak and ineffective. They receive supply at the start of the turn, but only if they are in a supplied hex (location). In screen #2 (below), I press the Supply View button (hotkey V) to check which hexes are in supply and which aren’t.

Supply originates from a supply source (upper left), and then spreads along rail without restriction. You can see that hexes on the rail line itself are supplied (barrel icons). However, farther afield, only a narrow strip along the rail line is supplied (horizontal bar icons). All other hexes on the map are unsupplied (red dots).

 

The supply view also tells us that three of our units are out of supply (diamond w/ red dot): the armored unit, and left and central infantry units. Infantry unit to the right is in supply because it sits on a supplied rail hex. After I press End Turnscreen #3 shows you what happens on turn 2: the three units now have a red out-of-supply marker (exclamation icon).

Supply Hubs

Alright, now I will create a supply hub to push supply outside that narrow strip around the rail line. In screen #4, I press the Create New Hub button (truck w/ arrow) to see where I could place one. You can see that most of the highlighted locations are on the rail line itself (white/blue barrels). Let’s focus on those on-rail locations, and we’ll remember to mention the other ones later.

I decide to place a supply hub close to my objective in Alexandria, so I click where the orange arrow is pointing to.

 

I have created a new hub, and immediately you can see (in screen #5) the area it supplies. This hub has a supply range of 5 MPs (movement points) or 1 truck. In Unity of Command II, range is usually shown using trucks as shorthand: 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 trucks simply mean 5, 8, 10, 11 or 12 MPs respectively.

The area supplied by this hub is traced out using the hub’s 5 MPs: we start with 5 and count down to 1 using cost values from the supply column of the movement table. You can tell, for example, that it costs 3 MPs to enter a swamp hex, while it’s only 1MP for clear terrain.

Notice how my central infantry unit is not shown in this view anymore: this is because the new hub will be able to supply it! The other two are still out of supply, but we’ll deal with that later. I hit ENTER (important!) to accept hub placement, and then immediately press End Turn to see what happens next.

Units out of Supply

It’s now turn 3, and my armored, and leftmost infantry unit have been out of supply for 2 turns (screen #6). On the first turn a unit is out of supply, the only effect is that it doesn’t recover from suppression like it normally would. On the second turn, two of its steps become suppressed and the unit loses its AP (action point), meaning it cannot attack.

It gets worse from there: a unit on its third turn out of supply becomes fully suppressed, it doesn’t receive full MPs for the turn (meaning it cannot cross rivers) and it doesn’t even capture territory when it moves. Additionally, on all following turns the unit will lose steps and specialists as stragglers. I would like to avoid this happening to my units, so let’s see what can be done.

 

To supply my leftmost infantry unit, I will extend the range of the new supply hub by adding two more trucks. I press the Supply Network button (truck and barrels), select the supply hub, and use the mouse wheel to add trucks. I then hit ENTER to accept. You can see the result in screen #7: the leftmost infantry unit is now in-supply. Success!

So far so good, yeah? The snag is, we only have 1 truck left. Trucks are a limited resource, just like everything else in war. The game shows us how many we have available to use right now (1, highlighted) and how many are incoming on the next three turns (0, 0, and 0). I will use my last remaining truck on the next turn, so for now let’s just press End Turn and see what happens.

Supply over Roads

Unity of Command II treats roads separately from rail. Both roads and rail allow for quick passage through rough terrain: notice how, when using the road, we’re able to trace through forest hexes for just 1 MP in screen #7.

The roads however, don’t allow supply to spread without restriction like rail does. What you get instead is this: you are allowed to place a supply hub on any road hex within 5 MPs from rail (supplied rail).

This is how I’ll supply my armored unit, which is 3 turns out and sorely in need of supplies. I press Create New Hub again to see (screen #8) that I can place a supply hub on a road pretty close to the unit. I place the hub, and confirm with ENTER. There!

I could go on but I think you may be getting the point by now. My final supply situation is shown in screen #9 below. Between the 3-truck hub near Alexandria, and the new 1-truck road hub, my entire area of operations is neatly supplied.

Teasers

This post has grown long enough, but I hope it was a good read.  I will leave you with some teasers:

Supply Disruption: notice how some of the in-supply bars in screen #9 have a little red in them? Placing a supply hub on road (as opposed to rail) introduces some uncertainty as to whether your unit will actually receive supply when the turn starts. Other things introduce disruption too: mud, snow, ruined cities, stragglers, etc.

Emergency Supply: if your units are out of supply, their HQ might be able to re-supply them. HQ supply is usually a bit more robust, so re-supplying units is possible, but it costs the HQ some of its CPs (command points). There are tradeoffs to be had.

Capturing Enemy Supply Hubs: when you capture an enemy supply hub, all friendly units within 1-truck distance become instantly supplied. This can be pretty useful for a supply starved force.

Removing Trucks: not shown in this explainer, but you can remove trucks from subbly hubs too. When you do so, they become available on the following turn.

We’re real close to release and it’s a little bit crazy right now at 2×2 Games. Encouragement in the comments in encouraged! See you all in a week for the release post.

Cheers! 🙂

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16 Responses to Developer Diary 25 – The Power of Supply II

  1. Ben says:

    Good luck with release guys! Can not wait to get my hands on it!

  2. Adam says:

    Gonna buy it on day one. Good luck, thanks for making a deep but approachable wargame with modern UI.

  3. ZootAlors says:

    You have turned something so seemingly complicated into logical elegance.

    Great work in developing an instant classic !!

  4. The hype is real!

    Good luck on the final week of fix-sprinting dear development team! 😀

    Something to watch in the lunch room:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blbMnvbWfJw&feature=youtu.be

    It’s the sequel to my video taking Stalingrad in 2 turns; Taking Moscow in 9 turns!

  5. Kvothe says:

    Great blog post and best of luck with release!

    Well done chaps.

  6. Marko Hladnik says:

    Encouragement! 🙂

  7. Stian says:

    Great read, and best wishes for the release, hope everything goes smoothly! I hope the beta testing went well, and you managed to nail some bugs and issues. I kind of regretted not signing up, but at least it should mean a better first impression of the game.

    I’ve been looking forward to this game for a couple of years now, and finally it’s happening! 🙂

  8. John P McMenamin says:

    The game looks every bit worth the wait! Can’t wait to drop everything and play it!!!

  9. tom says:

    Thanks much for all the encouragement! 🙂

    We still have an intense week ahead of us, but the core game is already solid and that’s what counts. I’m mostly working on tooltips and the manual right now. There is a number of complex systems in the game, and *everything* needs to be explained…

    Cheers!

  10. Ramses says:

    Looking forward to release! Instant buy. Good luck with the hectic days ahead and I hope the game will be a big succes for your studio!

  11. aren berberian says:

    When will we be able to pre order. I dont do that allot but this is one of the few games i would in a heartbeat!

  12. Happydaze says:

    Eagerly looking forward to purchasing as soon as the Mac version becomes available (any idea how soon that will be?).

    Happy

  13. Kloud says:

    Thank you for taking the time to produce this thing correctly instead of rushing to capitalize on the success of the first game. It’s evident that there’s been a lot of effort to consider many different mechanics, vet them and only keep the stuff that genuinely adds value. It would have been easy to slap a new coat of paint on and use a bunch of jargon to make it look like it was feature rich but I applaud you and your team for doing things the right way, however hard that may be! I have every confidence the game is going to be phenomenal and you can count on me as a day one buyer!

    One point of criticism though – I do lament the lack of waifu simulation features. It would have been nice to be able to have extensive dialogue with your divisions, take them out on dates along the French coast and eventually marry them but I understand you can’t include everything on release. Perhaps a DLC option?

  14. Arcticwulf says:

    Hot damn, shut up and take my money. I sent the wife and daughter on a 6 month vacation and told my job I’d suffered a stroke :D.

    Time to UoC2 baby!

  15. Chris Adam says:

    lol @arcticwulf….but yeah im pumpeeeed!

  16. Stian says:

    > I do lament the lack of waifu simulation features

    This will be a major problem on launch. I can already see the Steam forums blowing up with angry horny young men over the lack of such a basic feature! It’s 2019 guise come on!

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