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Ultimate General - Civil War


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#81 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 1132 AM

I dont know how it turns out, but it could be fun. It looks like an unholy mix of Sid Meiers 'Pirates' and one of the Total War Series. Which is probably going to be fun unless they badly much it up.

 

I have a friend who was on the Naval Action Beta team. He maintains the early versions WERE good. But they listened to the wrong people on the beta team seemingly, and its now crap. So Ill be avoiding that one like the plague. The irony is, Gettysburg and Ultimate General arent like that at all. So we hope its going to end up more like the latter, and less like the former. We shall see.


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#82 Skywalkre

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 1609 PM

I'm still skeptical.  Civil War shines when you get to play the major battles with the massive maps and all the detail put into it.  The minor battles, by comparison, are just 'meh.'  Even if the naval action is ok if most of the land battles are comparable to minor battles in Civil War I won't be interested.  Yeah, they're claiming you'll have some major land campaigns and armies but I struggle to see them giving those the attention in a game with such widespread focus compared to something like Civil War.


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#83 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 13 May 2019 - 0222 AM

Yeah, I take your point when you put it like that. I cant think of major actions directly supported by ship. Well, not any that were successfully opposed anyway. If they were opposed, you probably didnt land I would assume. Its not the era of Okinawa after all. :)


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#84 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 14 May 2019 - 0638 AM

Some pictures here.

 


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#85 Skywalkre

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 1007 AM

Finally finished the Union campaign last night.  I'm mentioning it only because of how poorly designed the final battle was.

 

It was a fictional fight of you and you alone taking Richmond (some of the earlier major battles featured elements of other formations that you'd temporarily control for the duration of that battle).  The list of issues were pretty numerous...

 

First, they slapped on these really bizarre time restrictions.  Even though I had won everything up to this point apparently if Richmond wasn't taken in this one day the war would be lost.  Umm... ok.

 

Second, and tied in the first, was their use of splitting up the battlefield to fight chunks of the engagement one at a time.  This was always kind of annoying in previous big battles (you'd have times where you'd fight one chunk, then fight the next, and when the two came together you'd have part of your line in between Confederate forces in a way that just wouldn't happen if you fought it all on one big map).  They took it too a whole new level in this final one.

 

Basically the battle consisted of you taking 5 forts and the town itself.  With several of these chunks they put the forts literally on the edge of the map.  :blink:  In every situation the only place to maneuver was through Confederate trenches instead of around in the open ground the forts would have been set up in front of.  One of these forts, even when the battle finally went to one big map, was STILL on the edge of the map with a river running by it so you had to cross through it to take it.  Just... a complete cop out on their part (they were being lazy in map design or in trying to make it more difficult).

 

Third, tying in with the above two, was because of this lack of time and often limited maneuver space you basically have no choice but to just push straight on the objective and be slaughtered.  There were no days or weeks of trench building and bombardment.  Nope... you have a few hours to take the most well defended objective you've encountered all war or else you lose.

 

/facepalm

 

Fourth, they had a LOT of instances of enemies popping out of the side of the map, even way behind you, with no warning or reason.  In previous big battles where you had the entire map playable this was never an issue because there was still room for maneuver on the far ends of the battle line (and I made a point to always have skirmishers acting as eyes well beyond my lines for the few times the AI tried to send cavalry around my flanks and the one time it tried to send an entire corps around my flank!).  Not here.  Sometimes these units would pop out right on top of you and immediately flank one of my units and make them route (which was made even worse because it really felt like the final battle was bugged or purposefully designed to kill most of my officers... ~2/3 of them were killed off by the end of the fight, including 2 of my 3 corps commanders... no other battle I fought came close to those casualty figures for leaders).

 

There were a couple more issues but the point has been made.  I bring this up because by the end of the campaign this game has a lot of similarities with the showrunners of GoT - when given something to work with, here with the historical battles and with GoT with actual books, the designers do an AMAZING job.  When left on their own to make something their own the game really goes to shit (many of the minor battles, from what I can tell, were fictional as well and they had many of these issues to a lesser degree).

 

Even though I highly recommend this game the ending and the issues make me skeptical of their future products.  If it's something where they're taking historical events and putting the player in charge I have faith they'll do an amazing job.  If it's something they're making on their own (as in, inspired by real events, like this new game seems to be)... yeah... I'll probably pass.

 

Edit:  This final Union battle was so bad it made me put off playing the Confederate side indefinitely.  While I still recommend the game to everyone just STOP when you see Richmond/Washington as your next major battle.  You've won!  Congratz!  :P


Edited by Skywalkre, 17 May 2019 - 1017 AM.

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#86 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 1022 AM

Oh dear. Well it was pretty superb the rest of the way through. :D

 

The thing I like about the Confederates, you feel you are being chewed up, all the time. You get nice elite units, and they ALL get chewed up and destroyed as you throw them into the battle to turn the tide. You often win, but it kind of reflects the nature of the war. Winning battle is not the same as winning the war. By the time you get to 1864, even if you win Gettysburg on the first day as I did, you are with little more than poorly trained dregs.

 

I really wish Chris or some of the other rifle nerds would get this. I think they would appreciate it.


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#87 Skywalkre

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 1059 AM

Whether intentionally or just how it worked out with what they designed it appears you're meant to play the game that way.  My small, elite army was becoming unsustainable at the end.  If I had a few more major battles left I would have had no choice but to have a small, dreg army as that'd be all I could afford.

 

I was messing around in camp before that final battle looking at the costs of replacement of men, gear, etc. thinking of how I'd change things for when I play the Confederates (a big if right now).  Rank 3 veteran infantry were $63.  Rank 2 were $44.  Rank 1 were $13.  If you compare the stats the rank 2 are already at 100 or near it in the more important stats.  If they lose their officer certain numbers will drop significantly (I forget offhand).  Knowing this if I were to play again it doesn't appear worth it to keep rank 3 units in the field.  When they take casualties just throw rookies at them and keep them in the rank 2 spot.

 

Another interesting thing I noticed was weapon choice has little impact in the actual melee stat.  I took a rank 2 unit, equipped it with both a low-melee rifle and a musket, and their stats were unchanged.  When looking closer at it the listed melee stat is increased from actual melee kills.  Thus one of my rank 3 infantry unit had a near maxed out melee score despite using a rifle.  I'm curious how those stats play out.  Is it better to keep a unit alive so that their history of melee kills will keep that stat buffed?

 

I'm curious because end-game the one thing that was painfully clear was I needed rifles in everyone's hands.  I was always worried about this because of the melee hit but maybe that won't be an issue.

 

Going forward maybe it'd be best to keep a small number of units at rank 2 and as many 'fodder' units as you can at rank 1 (thus they stay alive and keep certain stats high).  Rank 3 just doesn't seem worth it from a cost perspective but getting the best weapons, to a point (basically the extra range from rifles), is. 

 

Another cheap way to keep units buffed is with the best officers you can get.  For the cost of a bottom tier General ($3750) I could buy all of 60 veteran rank 3 infantry.  That General will boost that unit's stats quite a bit.  Those 60 rank 3 will die in one enemy volley.

 

Artillery I'm still not positive about the best route.  If on the defensive the smoothbore/howitzer route is fine.  On the offensive... not so much.  Like infantry weapons it just seemed best to get the best range for your buck (most of my late-game arty was the 10pdr Ordnance).  I actually had some cavalry and skirmishers for the last 2 major battles.  The Cavalry I can see having 1 per corps.  The AI would react just to their presence and their speed made them present wherever I needed them.  Their speed also was significant enough that you could do some recon with them.  Armament I'm less sure on.  Tried both saber and carbine but didn't have enough exposure to draw any conclusions.  Skirmishers were... meh.  Didn't seem worth the cost for those long range rifles.

 

In short, going forward my lessons learned on how to build an army would go like this.  For everyone buy the best leadership you can.  For infantry buy cheap rifles but don't worry about the best men.  That seems the most cost effective way to build the bulk of your army.  For arty get plenty of the cheapest ranged option.  Have 1 cav brigade per corps.  Go for as large an army you can afford with this approach.  Yeah... That's how I'd approach it going forward.  Still plenty to learn, though.


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#88 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 1125 AM

No, give the Confeds a go, at least as far as Antietam. That SCARED me as a wargamer. It was almost like watching 3rd Shock Army rolling over poor BAOR. :D

 

Ive not played to the end of the campaign either. Im at 1864 and as I say, im finding it near impossible to go on. So the balancing this far is pretty damn good I think.


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#89 Skywalkre

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 0951 AM

I did go on, briefly.

 

Started the Confed campaign and debating how to proceed.  I understand I'll likely be short men (was never an issue with the Union) and money (especially as I'm messing around with a different career path).  So... what's the best route to go?  Do I equip rifles right away (Confeds have plenty of rifles from the start... I don't remember that as union at all)? 

 

I imagine someone else has done this in more detail but started doing some calculations on my own to figure out the best way to equip my men.  I did this around halfway through the Union campaign.  I simply take the listed damage and multiply it by the fire rate and accuracy.  I then divide that by cost to get an effective power value of each rifle.  As such in my Confed campaign right now a re-bored farmer musket comes in at 8.55.  A Springfield M1842 comes in at 9.

 

But, after finishing the Union campaign it became painfully apparent range is king.  By the end of that campaign rifled units were inflicting far more kills than deaths taken.  Muskets, OTOH, by the end of the campaign, even if a 2-star vet unit, were nothing but cannon fodder.

 

So I changed the formula at the end of that campaign and factored in range.  I multiply the above figures by listed range divided by 350.  As such that re-bored farmer drops to 5.3743 and the M1842 to 6.4288.

 

Compare those numbers with the rifles.  The best rifle in the game, from this formula and from the track record of my Union campaign, is the Lorenz.  It comes out to 15.2338!  The problem back during the Union campaign was there wasn't enough rifles to equip but a fraction of my army at the start.  I actually have several Southern only rifles available in numbers from the get-go (the M1841 Mississippi and MJ&G Type II).  If I equip my units with them I have painfully small units.  I'm pretty sure having a brigade of only 500 rifles doesn't counter an enemy brigade of 1500 muskets.  (I ignore the melee figure of every weapon simply because melee was incredibly rare in my Union campaign.)

 

That's what I'm debating now.


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#90 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 1002 AM

I went a hi/lo mix. I had most of the units as cannon fodder, with a middle ground one that were fairly skilled. And I had what were the 2 bets units maxed out as elite, with the best weapons. you can keep them as fire brigade units.

 

If you are attacking as the confederates, it helps to have breadth. So you get as many units as you can, even if they are equipped with rebored farmer muskets. You get a few victories, you can fit them out easy enough with decent weapons and move on. If you hit them on the flanks, it doesnt matter a damn how good their weapons are. It might matter to the fodder, but hey, if you cant take a joke, you shouldnt have joined.

 

Lorenz is really good. it has a slow rate of fire though, but its highly accurate and also good in melee. Enfield is a good all rounder, but there are specialised units that are hideously expensive you can get for the confederate elite. I find the repeating rifle good, if you can afford it. I rarely got a unit with more than 600, but its still worth it with the rate of fire.

 

Here is what I do. I max out the reinforcements to elite. The middle ground ones, I try to get to 1500 each. And the cannon fodder, barely 1000. I try to put veterans in as much as i can into the elites and the intermediates, but dont go silly on it. They cost an arm and a leg as confederates.

 

I still havent won the confederate campaign by the way. I get to about 1864, and then you start to get bled white. Personally I consider progressing beyond Antietam an achievement. :D


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 24 May 2019 - 1002 AM.

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#91 Skywalkre

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 1020 AM

The repeating rifles worry me for ammo reasons.  I had a rare opportunity in one of the last Union battles to control a Corps that wasn't my own and they had dismounted cavalry with one of those fancy rifles covering a bridge.  Absolutely decimated the Confed forces in front of them... til they ran out of ammo.  In some of the later battles, especially when they give you the entire battlefield, it's near impossible for your supply to cover all the ammo issues that pop up.

 

A part of me wants to go back and replay the Union campaign and just do the cannon fodder approach.  I ended that campaign with over 128k men in reserve.  I'm only reluctant to try that approach given the scaling nature of the game.  If you play a Union campaign and go for a large army of lower quality is every Confed unit you run into still of higher quality as well?  Back when I first started playing what little I saw on forums about the game made mention of issues along those lines (I remember a comment about going past a certain point in army size and the game became unplayable).


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#92 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 25 May 2019 - 0650 AM

I usually max out my ammunition wagons to 30000 dollars or so. If you have some of the economy modes selected, they tend to hold up fairly well. Unless you are limited in the number of wagons you can deploy for some reason. The most repeating rifles is about one brigade of about 600-800 or so. Its not bad as a fire brigade unit.

 

Ive noticed scaling personally. I do notice if you dont fill out the units, the game often (certainly in the early battles) has AI units gifted to you. So early on there is no real incentive to go large, you are just going to get men chewed up.

 

It pays on the defence to have Confederate units go to higher quality. Of course in the attack they get chewed up badly, but at least you are usually going to get a break through with them.

 

Ive got 3 army corps on line I cant say ive FULLY maxed out. You certainly do get outnumber later on, but hey, on the Confederate side, I cant argue with the logic. They were.


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