Newbie Help

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Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 5:39 pm

Newbie Help

Unread postby thisuser » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:00 pm

Like many others, I cutting my teeth again on war-games and am using this.
I won a few scenarios but using 1-2 turns behind what is expected.
I'm not asking how to do X but rather asking where I can read how infantry is used vs when to use tanks.
I'm reading quite a bit about disbanding units and assigning them to reinforce but that sounds like a bug because it seems to mean you can disband units way in the back and add them instantly to the front without penalty (other than xp)

Also is there additional info on the units then just the info card, ie I have no idea that the tanks mean and how they stack up and
what it means to be motorized vs being a tank unit. Anyway, I'm not asking for someone to spell it out but would appreciate some pointers to where I can read and understand what i'm doing.
Few instance, for now, when breaking through the line I use my airstrikes to soften them up, then the infantry to open a breach, and then through in my tanks to open them wider but I'm not sure that's what someone who knows how to play would play.

also are there downloadable games where I can watch someone else attempt a scenario?
thanks for all the help!

First Lieutenant
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:53 pm

Re: Newbie Help

Unread postby Shatner » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:50 pm

First, the easy clarifications. The "you can disband units way in the back and add them instantly to the front without penalty (other than xp)" mechanic you mention doesn't quite work the way you describe it. To start with, there are two ways to get rid of a unit: disbanding and reorganizing. When a unit is supplied and hasn't moved or attacked you can reorganize it. This removes it from the map and puts it's steps, as well as any specialist attached to it, into the reinforcement pool. When a unit has moved/attacked and/or is unsupplied, it is instead disbanded, which destroys the unit completely (and in the DLC, can also get you penalized with lost points). At the start of each turn 5 steps are taken out of the reinforcement pool (generally the ones that were put in the pool earliest) and made available to be added to units which are supplied (a unit can be reinforced regardless of whether it has or has not moved/attacked). Since the reinforcement pool is drawn from at the start of each turn, you always have to wait at least one turn to get the steps you reorganized.

For example, on turn 1 I reorganize 13 steps worth of infantry. I have no steps available for me to reinforce with. On turn 2, I have 5 steps of infantry I can reinforce with, with the remaining 8 steps still unavailable because you only draw 5 steps/turn from the reinforcement pool. On turn 3, I have 5 steps of infantry I can reinforce with, with 3 steps remaining unavailable. On turn 4, I have 3 steps to reinforce with and none left in my pool. The forum post you are referring to suggests that you should preemptively reorganize units so that on later turns, when your casualties are mounting and you NEED reinforcements, you'll have 5 available. Doing so continuously (reorganizing on turn X so you can reinforce on turn X+1) will allow your front line to fight more effectively, for longer than it would otherwise. Also, you should prioritize reinforcing your most effective units (i.e. those with specialists and those positioned just where you need them on the front lines) while reorganizing your least effective units (i.e. those that are too weak to fight or too far from the fight to contribute). NOTE that there are scenarios where you can receive more than the standard 5 steps in reinforcements in a single turn, but those are exceptions used to represent historical troops surges and what-not.

A general rule I have learned playing this game is to attack your targets with your troops in descending order of strength, whenever possible. This is to reduce the number of attacks required to remove an enemy AND to limit the number of casualties you take in the process (every casualty you take on a turn means a harder time for you on every subsequent turn, so casualties should be minimized when possible). This helps me decide when to use a tank vs when to throw infantry at the problem. Say you have an entrenched, 5-step enemy infantry. You can wear it down with 4 consecutive attacks by your own infantry but you'll lose 8-10 steps to wipe out those 5 enemy steps. Furthermore, you're left with 4 infantry units with 2-4 steps each, who are individually too weak to be effective in future battles (though they may still be useful as speed bumps).

Now, replay that same scenario except instead you attack with a strong infantry (e.g an infantry with veterancy, an offensive specialist, or both) followed by a tank. The elite infantry attacks, causes 3 steps of suppression to the enemy and loses two steps itself. The tank then rolls up and destroys the weakened enemy infantry without suffering any losses. This is already an improvement because your tank is still at full fighting force AND you only spent two attack actions wiping out the enemy, instead of the four from the previous scenario (efficient use of your attack actions is important in this game).

Now, replay that same scenario except instead you attack with the tank first, followed by that same strong infantry. The tank rolls up and kills 3 enemy steps and breaks the infantries entrenchment by forcing a retreat; the tank loses no steps. The elite infantry walks up and finishes off the enemy infantry and suffers one step of suppression. At the end of that scenario you have two units that are still at full fighting strength (or will be after they are resupplied the following turn) AND they are both a few XP closer to another promotion. This last scenario is objectively better than the previous one, and just because of a difference in the order of the attack. Since effectiveness in combat is based on the relative strength between the attacker and the defender, it is more fruitful to attack a strong enemy with a very strong unit because that gives you an overwhelming victory. Then you can follow up and attack your now-medium-strength enemy with a slightly-stronger-than-medium-strength attacker to get another overwhelming victory. And then you can use a weak attacker to finish off your now very-weak enemy... all while suffering little-to-no reduction in your units' fighting strength.

Of course, the above advice is not always possible. Sometimes you just have to throw 5 units worth of infantry into the meat grinder, or lose 10 tank-steps cracking a crucial-but-well-defended enemy. As always, you win by seizing (and holding) objectives on time, NOT for how many enemies you kill and NOT for how many troops you preserve. Acceptable losses are part of the game, and sometimes the number of losses that are "acceptable" is surprisingly high. But then, this is a WWII game...

The most efficient army is the most overwhelming army. In many scenarios it's not a question of whether you'll defeat the enemy, it's a question of whether you'll defeat the enemy quickly enough. If you have a gang of 3-5 really strong units (tanks/motorized units or elite/specialist-equipped infantry) they can work in a wolf pack style to carve a swath of destruction through the enemy very, very quickly. Your slower, less important units can then move in and fill up that space to keep the enemy from retaking their lost territory and/or cutting off the supplies needed for your wolf pack. There are several scenarios where it is most efficient to spend your first turn or two consolidating your strongest troops and using the reorganize specialist action to take specialists from weak/unimportant units so you can put the specialists on strong/important ones instead (ESPECIALLY German Engineer specialists. Put one of those on a tank and you'll cut through the enemy like butter). Once you have reached that critical mass of consolidated strength, you can tunnel through the enemy lines to your objectives far more effectively, far more quickly, than you could with your strength scattered across the battlefield. This is especially true when playing as the Germans because some of their units are vastly more powerful than others; the Soviet army has less extreme differences in strength between their troops.

You mention airstrikes, so I'll just toss this out: airstrikes deal damage based on the unit's defensive position, not based on the unit's stats. So an airstrike is just as likely to suppress 3 steps of an infantry unit standing out in the open as it is to suppress 3 steps of a tank unit standing out in the open. When you click on a unit to airstrike them it'll pop up with a little message that says something like "odds + 1" or "odds - 2". This means the odds of the airstrike being effective are raised or reduced in those situations (being in rough terrain, being in bad weather, being entrenched, and so on all reduce the odds of an effective airstrike). Since tanks are rarely entrenched, since tanks are rarely in rough terrain, and since tank steps are considerably more valuable than infantry steps, airstrikes should be used preferentially against tanks. There are few things more satisfying than seeing a nigh-unstoppable 7-step, elite German tank division reduced to a 1-step walk-over by two successful airstrikes.

Lastly, know when you need to kill the enemy and know when you need to starve the enemy. Sometimes you really have no better option than to grind your opponent down until there are none left to get in your way. This is usually an option (though not necessarily the best option) when playing as the Germans because your units can generally whittle down their Soviet counterparts while suffering relatively few casualties in return. As stated previously, however, this approach can be very slow, to the point where you fail to accomplish all your objectives on time (or at all). Other times it's better to punch a single hole in the enemy line, surge through it and seize/cut-off a strategic supply source. The enemy will retaliate, possibly causing asymmetrically large losses to you in the process. But if you can starve them out for two consecutive turns then they suddenly won't be able to attack you anymore. After a third consecutive turn they'll be utterly helpless and the weakest of your numbers will be able to slaughter the strongest of theirs. I've won more than a few scenarios by having a lone Soviet cavalry unit or German tank/motorized escape past the enemy line and sit on a supply source, or cut it off by seizing a bridge or a swath or railroad tracks. That lone unit, far removed from my own supplies, will starve alongside the enemy, but the rest of my army mops up and pushes through 2-3 turns later. This "starve then overwhelm" strategy is especially crucial for the Soviets since they often lack the strength to push through fully-supplied German troops in time to accomplish their objectives.

I don't believe there is a difference between motorized vs tanks or cavalry (i.e. Soviet soldiers on horses) and tanks, except for their stats. Tanks/motorized/cavalry have an number next to a tank icon which, if it is bigger than the tank number of the defending unit, offers a bonus to the attacker (but if the defender's tank number is larger, I don't believe it offers a bonus on defense). Attacking units in rough terrain negates the tank bonus, making forest and hill positions very annoying defensive hard points. Tanks/motorized/cavalry have higher move and often have better stats than infantry (though not always), and they move more slowly through rough terrain and cities than infantry. Infantry, in addition to usually being more numerous than Tanks et al., can move through rough terrain more efficiently. When it comes down to raw fighting stats (attack, defense, defensive shifts, etc.) Soviet Infantry standing in a forest is actually harder to budge than most Soviet tanks standing out in the open. Infantry is for defense, rough terrain, moving into enemy Zones of Control so the faster units can move past, and dying. If an enemy MUST be worn down by repeated suicide charges, you usually want to do it with your expendable infantry; it's also not a bad idea as the Soviets to end your turn with infantry instead of tanks out front so the enemy cannot easily damage your tanks during their turn. Tanks should be used to crack tough opponents, overrun and finish off lots of weak opponents (this gets the tank LOTS of xp, btw), or using their superior speed to break through enemy lines to flank enemies, seize objectives, or cut-off supplies.

I'm afraid I don't know of anywhere to download replays of people playing specific scenarios, but you can watch playthroughs on youtube.

I hope this helps. You're in for a real treat with this game, but there is a fair amount to learn before it really clicks, and not all of it is obvious. Good luck and post here again if you have further questions.

EDIT: Another thing to consider is when NOT to attack. If an enemy unit is caught behind your lines, cut off from supplies, it can sometimes be better to leave two infantry units behind to babysit the enemy until they have starved to the point where you can finish them off. Attacking that unit while they're still supplied and strong can cause casualties or use the attack action of more important units when it's otherwise unneeded. This is especially true for the Soviets, with their crazy numbers of Soviet Infantry. Also, many scenarios begin with lots of the enemy entrenched. On their first turn, the enemy will usually move around or attack thus ending their entrenchment. You can sometimes accomplish more by doing less attacking on your first turn, and then hitting the (now un-entrenched) enemy really hard on turn 2. Of course, you'll still want to accomplish SOMETHING on turn 1, but that'll usually be constrained to one or two crucial positions, rather than attacking across the whole of the opponent's defensive line.

First Lieutenant
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:53 pm

Re: Newbie Help

Unread postby Shatner » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:02 pm

I had a realization about cavalry recently which contradicts what I said previously: Cavalry has the "normal" (or "standard", I forget the exact wording) movement type, unlike the "mobile" movement type shared by tank/motorized units. Units with normal movement can travel over rough terrain and city hexes while spending fewer movement points than mobile units. You don't always notice this because mobile units have MORE movement points than normal units, so often times a tank can move as far or farther than infantry despite the increased cost of moving through rough terrain by merit of having 2-4 more mp. However, cavalry have normal movement and are just as fast as a Soviet tank, giving them the best of both worlds. When traveling over anything other than completely flat ground, the Soviet Cavalry are the fastest units in the game. This makes them perfect for traveling behind an enemy's line and cutting off their supplies. How about that...

One other side benefit is that you can reinforce Soviet Cavalry with steps from reorganized Soviet Infantry, which allows you to effectively "upgrade" those infantry steps by reinforcing them to a superior unit-chassis (better movement plus they have a non-zero armor stat). Note that in many scenarios your cavalry start with one or more stars of veterency, so you want to think carefully before you lose that bonus by reinforcing them. Furthermore, if you are just going to send the cavalry off behind enemy lines to starve while cutting off enemy supplies (which is what I usually do), a veteran with 4 steps will serve just as well as a non-veteran with 7 steps, so you might not even bother reinforcing them regardless of how many/few stars they have.