Better than brilliant victories

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sourdust
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Better than brilliant victories

Unread postby sourdust » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:05 am

Inspired by the infamous 2-turn Stalingrad win, I've been going back through the official scenarios and seeing just how far I could break them - ie, getting a brilliant victory in as few turns as possible by playing tricks on the AI, exploiting loopholes and playing in a totally a-historical and gamey way.

Following are my results for Black Turn scenarios:

AGN – official BV in 6 turns, not possible any faster?
AGC – BV in 5, possible to do in 4.
AGS – BV in 5, not possible any faster?
Estonia – BV in 9, possible in 6.
Kiev – BV in 7, possible in 4.
Dash to the Donets – BV in 6, possible in 4.
Luga to Leningrad – BV in 7, possible in 5.
Smolensk – BV in 5, possible in 4.
Tartar Ditch – BV in 4, possible in 3.
Uman Pocket – BV in 5, possible in 3.
Donbas Nip – BV in 7, possible in 6. And maybe in 5 or even 4 with immense luck?
Lake Ladoga – BV in 7, possible in 5.
Taifun – BV in 14, possible in 12. Perhaps as low as 10 with great luck?

Moscow Offensive – BV in 6, possible in 5.
January Offensive – BV in 10, possible in 6.

Happy to provide game files for the above if anybody's interested.

I would love to know if anybody has beat any of these!

EDIT - Managed to get Smolensk done in 4.
EDIT - Got Estonia done in 6. Requires lots of luck on retreat rolls!
EDIT - tidying up some loose ends: got January Offensive done in 6, as I suspected was possible!
Last edited by sourdust on Tue Dec 11, 2018 3:37 am, edited 5 times in total.

sourdust
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Re: Better than brilliant victories

Unread postby sourdust » Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:03 am

And here's the original UoC scenarios... interesting that all of them can be done faster than the "brilliant victory" thresholds, except for Voronezh (I think!).

2d Kharkov – BV in 5, possible in 3
Voronezh – BV in 3, possible in 2 with immense good luck!
Case Blue – BV in 6, possible in 5. Theoretically possible in 4?
Edelweiss – BV in 10, possible in 8.
Terek – BV in 6, possible in 5. Maybe 4?
Stalingrad – BV in 8 – can be done in 2, as shown by Benjamin Thomas
Astrakhan – BV in 5, possible in 4.
Baku – BV in 11, possible in 9. Maybe 8?
Kuibyshev – BV in 14, possible in 12. Maybe even earlier

3rd Kharkov – BV in 6, possible in 3.

Uranus – BV in 2, possible in 1
Little Saturn – BV in 4, possible in 3
Race for Rostov – BV in 7, possible in 4
Don Offensives – BV in 5, possible in 4.
Orel Briansk – BV in 7, possible in 6
Gallop/Star – BV in 7, possible in 5
Dneper Donbas – BV in 7, possible in 5

Introductory Scenario – BV in 4, possible in 2.

EDIT - 3rd Kharkov can be done in 3.
EDIT - I worked out that Voronezh can in fact be done in 2 turns. It requires near-perfection in a precise sequence of air attack, retreat and overrun rolls. I've done it with save scum, I think the chances of pulling it off in a real game without saves are vanishingly small!
EDIT - Confirmed Don Offensives can be done in 4, as suspected.
Last edited by sourdust on Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:01 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Better than brilliant victories

Unread postby sourdust » Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:17 am

And no sooner do I post that, and I manage a BV3 win on 3rd Kharkov! Low odds but possible...

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Re: Better than brilliant victories

Unread postby sourdust » Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:42 am

Red Turn scenarios:

Rumyantsev – BV in 5, possible in 2
Advance on Kiev – BV in 8, possible in 7. Maybe 6?
Crossing the Dnieper – BV in 5, possible in 4
Lower Dnieper – BV in 5, possible in 4
Kiev – BV in 6, possible in 3.
Leningrad – BV in 9, possible in 6.
Rovno-Korsun – BV in 8, possible in 5.
To the Dniester – BV in 6, possible in 4.
Baltic Offensive – BV in 7, possible in 4.
Gulf of Riga – BV in 4, possible in 3
Bagration – BV in 6, possible in 5
2nd Iassy-Kishinev – BV in 3, possible in 2
Lvov-Sandomierz – BV in 5, possible in 4 (Conceivably in 3, but would require tremendous good luck)
Debrecen – BV in 6, possible in 3
Vistula-Oder – BV in 7, possible in 5
East Prussia – BV in 5, possible in 3
Berlin – BV in 4, possible in 3


Zitadelle – BV in 2, can’t be done faster
Zhitomir – BV in 2, can’t be done faster

EDIT: Vistula-Oder can be done in 5
EDIT: Leningrad can be done in 6
EDIT: I keep finding ways to shave off turns... Debrecen can be done in 3, with a bit of luck. OK, a lot of luck.
EDIT: To the Dniester can be done in 4
EDIT: East Prussia can be done in 3
Last edited by sourdust on Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:18 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Better than brilliant victories

Unread postby sourdust » Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:48 am

I know I'm pretty much talking to myself here. But anyway, man was it fun revisiting all the core scenarios now that I really know the game inside and out, and seeing how far I could push it.

The best surprise was Rovno-Korsun, which I have always regarded as the hardest scenario, mostly because of that tough panzer unit that always moves into Zhitomir and refuses to be evicted except with the greatest of luck. I didn't really think that I would be able to shave any time off the 8 turn brilliant victory, given in the past my very few brilliant victories here were very much by the skin of my teeth.

Imagine my surprise to find that Zhitomir can indeed be taken on turn 1 with a very particular sequence of attacks... and it doesn't even require extraordinary luck. And taking Zhitomir really unhinges the AI's defence, it doesn't know quite what to do next, and most Axis units can be put out of supply by turn 2. I ended up beating the scenario in 5 turns. I think it's the best moment yet in UoC for me!

That's it for now, back to waiting for UoC2...

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uran21
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Re: Better than brilliant victories

Unread postby uran21 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:22 am

Nice information you got here! Congratulation on the effort. What would interest me is how many tries did it take you to achieve those results considering you are veteran of before? My impression was how there is a lot of randomness in the game when going for the BV. Also, did you used prestige to buy new stuff in those tries?

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Re: Better than brilliant victories

Unread postby sourdust » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:14 pm

How long did it take... well, I think I have 400-odd hours in the game all up! For this most recent effort at "ultimate speed runs", I'd say I gave most scenarios between 3 and 12 tries; a few which require a lot of luck I might have restarted several dozen times until the dice came out the right way. And on a few I save-scummed. I don't mind doing that, given the point was to see what was theoretically possible.

All of the above times were accomplished without any use of prestige.

As for normal brilliant victories, on the stated timeframes, you're right there is an element of luck involved in some of them. Others have a pretty generous timeframe; it's pretty hard not to get a BV on Rumyantsev or Kiev Encirclement, once you know how to play well enough. But even after dozens of playthroughs, I still find certain scenarios - Army Group North, 2d Kharkov, Edelweiss etc - require the gods of the dice to smile upon you. And even easy scenarios like Uman Pocket can be lost if the weather is miserable!
Last edited by sourdust on Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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uran21
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Re: Better than brilliant victories

Unread postby uran21 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:31 pm

Thanks for the info. This corresponds to my previous impression. I think this is also one of the things that could be improved in a new game, more skill and less randomness for the highest level of victory. And of course, extraordinary result and effort, like the one you showed, could have bonus reward in terms of "points".

EternalPonderer
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Re: Better than brilliant victories

Unread postby EternalPonderer » Fri Aug 23, 2019 5:25 pm

sourdust wrote:...
I would love to know if anybody has beat any of these!

After reading this thread, I got really interested in the concept and have spent a lot of time trying to work out the fastest possible completion times for every scenario, including save-scumming repeatedly. Getting successful overruns, retreats, and/or suppression (combat odds 0 or 1 giving 3 suppression) even at very low chances means strategies that need absurd amounts of luck to work can be used. I haven't finished all of them yet and have a few I want to check again for a faster strategy, but I've improved on most of the numbers you provided.

For most missions there is an easily determined theoretical minimum simply based on distance to objectives at the units' max speeds. These simple minimums are often achievable, surprisingly enough, and taking into account when the units need to be within attack range when an objective is guarded (which can increase the calculated theoretical minimum by 1) makes most scenarios' theoretical minimums achievable.

I've ordered the scenarios in chronological order, with the campaign and non-campaign scenarios listed separately. The format for each scenario is:
[Scenario Name]: [My fastest victory in turns/Maximum turns allowed for brilliant victory] - [Notes about scenario]
I'll include "Minimum achieved!" in the notes when I've achieved victory in the calculated theoretical minimum number of turns.

Black Turn Campaign:
  1. AGN: 5/6 - Minimum achieved! It actually didn't require that much luck due to the AI positioning very poorly. Reorganizing a recon to the 7-step panzer made the end easier, though.
  2. AGC: 4/5 - Minimum achieved!
  3. AGS: 4/5 - Almost-certainly-minimum achieved! 3 is the theoretical minimum but I'm almost positive it's impossible to achieve due to the need to capture Rovno on turn 2 and the virtual certainty of too many units blocking you from using an action point move to get in range of Zhitomir on turn 2. Capturing Zhitomir by even turn 4 is not easy with the number of units in the way.
  4. Smolensk: 3/5 - Minimum achieved!
  5. Estonia: 5/9 - Minimum achieved! I stumbled into the solution unintentionally--a unit with a pioniere specialist promoted on turn 4 right as I got in range of the objective, and after giving the other pionere a 7th step, they both got combat odds of 2 and thus retreat rolls against the units on the objectives.
  6. Uman Pocket: 2/5 - Minimum achieved! Capturing Balta by turn 2 is the most difficult part by far.
  7. Luga to Leningrad: 3/7 - Almost-certainly-minimum achieved! 2 is the theoretical minimum, but it's not possible unless the AI moves all of the units entrenched along the path to the furthest objective out of the way (which I'm almost certain there is no way to get it to do), and even then I'm not sure it would be possible to take both northern objectives on turn 2.
  8. Kiev Encirclement: 3/7 - Minimum achieved! This is actually very straightforward and only requires a little luck--a 7 step infantry can affect the unit in Kiev, then the other infantry can wear it down.
  9. Tartar Ditch: 3/4 - Minimum achieved!
  10. Dash to the Donets: 3/6 - Minimum achieved!
  11. Taifun: X/14 - It will take forever to save-scum everything in this scenario, so I haven't done a speedrun yet. I also suspect I'll have to readjust my approach a few times to get it just right and just thinking about how long it'll take to redo full turns of save-scumming on this map gives me a headache, so I've been putting it off.
  12. Lake Ladoga: 2/7 - Minimum achieved!
  13. Dobnas Nip: 2/7 - Minimum achieved!

Axis Stalingrad Campaign:
  1. 2nd Kharkov: 2/5 - Minimum achieved!
  2. Voronezh: 2/3 - Minimum achieved!
  3. Case Blue: 4/6 - Minimum achieved!
  4. Edelweiss: 5/10 - Minimum achieved!
  5. Stalingrad: 2/8 - Minimum achieved!
  6. Terek: 3/6 - Almost-certainly-minimum achieved! 2 is the theoretical minimum, but I'm almost positive it's impossible. I succeeded in 3 turns by completely ignoring my supply and baiting most enemy units out of the way, but I'm hesitant to consider it a proper victory because all my units were completely screwed if it'd continued due to all of them already being 2 turns out of supply. I managed 4 turns normally, though.
  7. Kuibyshev: 8/14 - 7 might also be possible. 5 turns is a theoretical minimum based on how long the two panzers would take to reach the last objective if they were completely unobstructed and moving at full speed, but I'm almost sure a 5-turn victory is not possible. The motorised would take 6 turns unobstructed to do the same, but I think a 6-turn victory is also unlikely to be possible.
  8. Astrakhan: 3/5 - Minimum achieved!
  9. Baku: 5/11 - Probably-minimum achieved! 4 is a theoretical minimum that I'm fairly sure is not possible; my 5-turn victory was very difficult to achieve and took ridiculous amounts of reloading for overruns, suppression, and retreats in specific directions to move as quickly as I did.

Soviet Stalingrad Campaign:
  1. Uranus: 1/2 - Minimum achieved!
  2. Little Saturn: 2/4 - Minimum achieved!
  3. Race for Rostov: 3/7 - Minimum achieved! 2 is a theoretical minimum that is impossible.
  4. Don Offensives: 2/5 - Minimum achieved! With careful maneuvering and use of partisans, you can keep the AI from occupying Kursk 1st turn, then simply walk in.
  5. Gallop Star: 3/7 - Minimum achieved!
  6. Orel Briansk: 4/7 - 3 turns is the theoretical minimum and might be possible. The southeastern objective is the one that's most difficult to capture quickly.
  7. Dneper Donbas: X/7 - I haven't done a speedrun yet, but it looks like 2 is a theoretical minimum that is most likely impossible. 4 turns seems doable and 3 turns might also be possible.

Red Turn Campaign:
  1. Rumyantsev: 2/5 - Minimum achieved!
  2. Advance on Kiev: 5/8 - 4 is the theoretical minimum. I believe rain may be able to keep the Axis units from blocking Road to Gomel and make a 4-turn victory possible, but I haven't tried it.
  3. Lower Dnieper: 2/5 - Minimum achieved! I reloaded until rain on turn 1 kept Dniepropretrovsk from being occupied. I now suspect it wasn't necessary, though it did make victory easier on turn 2.
  4. Crossing the Dnieper: 2/5 - Minimum achieved! To win on turn 2 you need to keep the second objective unoccupied on turn 1, which I'm almost certain requires some help from the rain.
  5. Kiev: 2/6 - Minimum achieved! It's very difficult to get both farther objectives on turn 2.
  6. Rovno-Korsun: 3/8 - Minimum achieved! I'm not sure it's possible to win in even 4 turns, let alone 3, if you don't take Zhitomir 1st turn.
  7. Leningrad: 4/9 - Minimum achieved! Victory in 4 is incredibly difficult, and 5 is not remotely easy, either. One of the units adjacent to the first objective across the river can just barely reach the last objective on turn 4 by moving in a straight line at maximum speed every turn. Keeping that path clear of Axis interference is what makes a 4-turn victory so incredibly difficult.
  8. To the Dniester: 3/6 - Minimum achieved!
  9. Bagration: 4/6 - Minimum achieved!
  10. Gulf of Riga: 3/4 - Minimum achieved!
  11. Lvov-Sandomierz: 3/5 - Minimum achieved! Capturing Lvov turn 1 is helpful.
  12. 2nd Iassy-Kishinev: 2/3 - Minimum achieved!
  13. Baltic Offensive: 4/7 - Minimum achieved!
  14. Debrecen: 2/6 - Minimum achieved!
  15. East Prussia: 3/5 - Minimum achieved!
  16. Vistula Oder: 5/7 - Minimum achieved!
  17. Berlin Offensive: 2/4 - Minimum achieved! Strategy is very straightforward: suppress the AA then save-scum the airstrikes.

Non-Campaign Scenarios:
  1. Moscow Offensive: 2/6 - Minimum achieved!
  2. January Offensive: X/10 - Haven't done this scenario yet.
  3. 3rd Kharkov: 2/6 - Minimum achieved!
  4. Zitadelle: 1/2 - Minimum achieved!
  5. Zhitomir: 1/2 - Minimum achieved!

Summing up what scenarios still need more work:
Scenarios I'm still working on:
  • Taifun: X/14 - Will probably take a long while to slog through.
  • Kuibyshev: 8/14 - Can probably do it faster, though it's not clear by how much. I'll probably aim for 6 and see if I can get it.
  • Orel Briansk: 4/7 - A 3-turn victory will be annoyingly dependent on the positioning and it'll probably require numerous attempts to maneuver the enemy correctly, if it's possible at all.
  • Dneper Donbas: X/7 - Not really sure why I haven't done this yet. I'll probably do this next.
  • Advance on Kiev: 5/8 - Getting the rain just right will be tedious.
  • January Offensive: X/10 - Not sure why I haven't done this one, either. This will probably be the second scenario I work on.

Edit: I just remembered I wanted to mention a tactic that can make things a lot easier in some scenarios: Deliberately sacrificing units after capturing a hex under enemy ZOC. It's easiest to do with weak units--low combat odds will often kill them--but you can also disband one weak unit per scenario without prestige loss, so it's possible to force a non-weak unit to take enough losses to become weak then disband it. This tactic is especially useful when you find that attacking an objective is only possible from a small number of hexes (because of other enemy units, or terrain, or whatever) and would be impossible to capture in one turn of attacks without this tactic.

sourdust
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Re: Better than brilliant victories

Unread postby sourdust » Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:00 pm

Wow, somebody even more obsessed with the game than I am!

Well done mate, most impressive.