Future of the Game: Rules and Balance Discussion

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harbringerxv8
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Future of the Game: Rules and Balance Discussion

Post: # 94165Post harbringerxv8
Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:36 am

I think opening up a new thread would be preferable here, so it's easier to track for posterity's sake. The other thread was getting long in the tooth regardless.

I have some general thoughts on how the game played out, and after having talked with GH, ummd, and a few others, some potential solutions that I think are worth discussing.

1) The axis won a clear and convincing victory, and did so without breaking any rules. They had a very strong plan, and executed it well. This needs to be addressed directly, as I know temperatures got a little high last night. This does not mean that we shouldn't address the issue of very early war, but it DOES mean that no one on the axis should be accused of gamey behavior or the like. I want to nip that in the bud.

2) The allies made some critical mistakes in the defense of the home islands. The speed of the attack was clearly discombobulating, and the UK was not prepared to deal with a large naval strike force and invasion in the Channel. The specific nature of those mistakes can be addressed later on, but this brings up two prominent questions, as ummd mentioned in the other thread. Can this tactic be countered? Is this where we want the meta to be?

3) The potential of countering this type of early attack. Ummd and I, after some discussion, believe that the UK is theoretically capable of defending against this early war play. Greyhound, on the other hand, said that he has conducted tests with some of the other players that shows the opposite. This is worth exploring in greater detail.

4) Do we want this type of attack to become standard? I'll put my cards on the table here and say that I didn't enjoy this game very much, due to its brevity and the rush to warfare. Regardless of potential balance issues, I prefer a mostly historical start. This can have some flexibility (minimum start dates for anschluss, munich, etc could solve this, as mentioned by Greyhound), but this is also a discussion we need to have. Most of the old-time WPO guys have rejected this style of play, for a variety of reasons, but we have a bunch of newish blood that needs to be taken into consideration as well. It should be noted that this is a hard rule to enforce, and is more of a cultural choice. There are plenty of no-holds-barred Hoi games out there. Restraint is something of a calling card of ours, and frankly it's one that I'm proud of.

5) Unbutu brought up a good point last night, though, regarding the dangers of overscripting prewar. We do need to allow for a certain degree of strategic flexibility, but within limits in the early period, imo. This is a semi-competitive group, and has always been classed as such. The vast majority of us do not get to spend all week prepping for HOI, so we do need to make expectations very clear.

-----------------------------------------------

I also want to weigh in on a few of the minor issues that cropped up (minor in the sense that they don't pertain to the entire culture of the group).

Vichy Fleet- I think the UK should not be allowed to take this decision, and that the Vichy fleet ought to go with Vichy France. This is historical and balanced, imo, and makes for a more interesting Med conflict.

Soviet invasion of Japan- This was one that we struggled with greatly, though we opted into it given the general nature of the game. There is a WT threshhold that needs to be crossed before SOV can invite a nonaligned China, which gives GER an incentive to keep this low in the early war when they aren't ready for Russia. There is also the major risk of Russia being embroiled in a 2-front war if they aren't successful. In addition, there were no Japanese troops on the border facing Russia, allowing me to take Manchuria relatively unopposed. We should not get in the habit of leaving critical borders unprotected. I'm not opposed to a certain time limitation on SOV declaring on Japan, but I think Japan does have important counters that they can use to protect themselves (garrisons, the threat of GER, a non-aggression pact, etc), so discussing this in more detail would be useful.

Italian Navy- If the RM wants to vacate the Med at peacetime, that is their prerogative. However, I think, again, that we shouldn't get into the habit of leaving critical borders undefended in favor of all-or-nothing hail mary strategies. Had the war lasted even a few more months, Italy would have been pretty screwed, as the allies were well-aware of the lack of Italian coastal defenses and were making plans to counter them.
-Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
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ummd
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Re: Future of the Game: Rules and Balance Discussion

Post: # 94166Post ummd
Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:11 am

For posterity, my comments on China/Vichy/Fleet from the Allied Game Thread:

"We also discussed whether China joining the Comintern was within the boundaries of the WPO game in response to the early Axis aggression, and how it related to other paths we could take that would also be punitive (like taking the French fleet via decision).

In particular, I think the issue is whether this is a "broken" move that would be optimal in all game states (in particular, in a game where Germany does not attack France in 1937). It is not obvious to me that it is. In particular, if we were in a typical game where the USSR was worried about facing an early German attack BEFORE France, then it is not obvious at all that they should engage in a two-front war. Moreover, Japan has decided not to garrison their border with the Soviets. In my opinion, that is a mistake. In general, I don't think we should be encouraging gameplay where countries move there entire armies into "all-or-nothing" gambits. The clear counter to early Soviet entry to the Chinese war is a token defence of Manchuria and a German attack in Poland. Greyhound/Lobo have decided against this path.

As for future rules, something like "once Germany attacks a major, the Allies/Comintern are free to justify and/or enter wars with the game mechanics provided..." or something like that.

As for the French fleet, I think we should not touch it and let Greyhound make his decision on Vichy independently. I don't see how this decision could be countered by a German player. So it then becomes optimal in all game states, makes Vichy a redundant part of the game, and severely endangers the Italian fleet. That is not at all good for balance in the med."

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Re: Future of the Game: Rules and Balance Discussion

Post: # 94167Post ummd
Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:23 am

Shifting from other thread:
greyhoundgames wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:05 am
In seriousness, to ummd's points

#4) Disagree on the gilbralter comment. We cannot get into the situation where we have to think about if any given descision makes sense historically, thematically, realistically because that is a slippery slope. You could come up with 100 things that make absolutely 0 sense in this game if you spent a few hours doing it. This only is a problem because of what it led to.
? We do this all the time. Just one example: we put a rule in requiring an amphib invasion of Gibraltar as part of any attack. Two games ago, after the UK navy was booted from the med, we allowed a land invasion without a naval invasion leading it because the "spirit" of the rule was that the Axis should have naval superiority of the med, not the "by the letter" requirement of a naval invasion. We checked in-game to make sure that its spirit wasn't being violated since the invasion was on its way. All players agreed and on we went...

And you are correct that the stakes do matter. Whisking 170 ships through Gibraltar under the cover of game mechanics to invade the Home islands is a much bigger deal than whether an attack on gibraltar begins with a naval invasion or not... This should be only more reason to question the move.

I realize that interpreting rules in such a manner might seem difficult ("I have to use my judgement!?!"). But in the long run, it leads to a better game than constantly trying to break the ruleset we have.

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Re: Future of the Game: Rules and Balance Discussion

Post: # 94168Post unbutu
Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:41 am

GG !
I would like to thank everyone who were able to say ''GG'' after the game, and those who will join this group after some cooling time.

Those words have a special meaning to me. I'm a Starcraft 2 player, and while the game is made in a way that what legal and what is illegal is much easier to tell, there is still plenty of shaming handed around.

Hell, I've seen a chess grandmaster lose his mind a few weeks ago, saying he would ''never have lost against a good opponent, doing decent strategy''. (Let me find that video...)

So, hey, this is my way of steering the conversation away from trigger-happy houserules and such.

-----
It's a game. It's also a social event where we want to be garanteed some amount of playtime.

I hear you. I'm sorry we planned something that had chances of ending the game earlier than expected. On the other hand...

----
It's also a strategy game. Everytime we houserule, our brains melts a little bit.

It feels right to send your stuff where the ennemy is weakest. I know we are not too worried about allies getting too strong. But honestly, how ridiculous would that be, if someone could send their troops somewhere and ignore all else because the only move allowed to the ennemy is the expected move. Really ? That all in africa meta was a bluff, and we called it.

-----
Considering this, how should we ensure a better play experience

I've created a (sea) monster, I'll work on destroying it. I have my ideas on how UK could actually come ahead in this kind of situation. I'm quite sure there's a middle ground between deleting your home defense divisions to get ahead in africa and keeping all your home defense and lose africa.

I'll say again: please consider to leave the opportunity to punish it when a strategy goes too far in a direction.

The houserule option
If however, you really, really really insist on discussion house rules, please do so in the format of :

''As long as the UK has XXX manpower on the british isles, and all their XXX ships in the sea zones around england, they are immune to sea monsters until year XXX. Should they want to lose those restrictions and immunities, they can do so on a given week, effective the next game''

This way, the things you think don't think can possibly do in game what they are supposed to do (Royal Navy) will be given the power to do it. As UMD pointed out, the Gibraltar rule is a good example of that.
----
The strategizing option

I'm opening this list for no other reasons than to share information, and steer the conversation towards strategy-based solutions. I'm not saying UK should have done any of those, I'm saying if I play UK i'll try it:

-Delay entry into WW2 until UK has something to win, more allies ready to help.
-If UK insist in coming into the war early: A sealion defense involving giving the english channel until allies have enough planes. Would hold the ports of the english channel with divisions, air superiority & CAS in south england. The other ports can be defended with just the Royal Navy.
-In africa, hold the 2 entrances of the Mediteranean, but give away most other things.
-After Royal Navy has established the single theater Italy has chosen (Med or english channel)(Regia marina can only win anything with 1500 NAVs in full range, wich they can do in very few places), go be a nuisance somewhere else and threathen the axis.
Edit: - That was all presuming UK could not win Fighter war in the channel, early results show that a smaller investment than the axis is required to win air superiority in the channel, and that would cancel everything.


Those are just ideas that UK can mix and match to outplay the axis in this beautifull and complex beginning of WW2. I'll be looking at some of them, but I have no experience at all with UK, so any open minded input is welcome !


-----
So yeah, I'm a bit sad we don't start a new game. :(
Last edited by unbutu on Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Future of the Game: Rules and Balance Discussion

Post: # 94169Post greyhoundgames
Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:29 am

I want to point out that in our tests of the defense of england, the thing that was we did not test, that I would think would be the best, is heavy focus on air(Something useful in a long term game too) and a bit more forting. Early forting is very cheap. There prob is a focus to defend the beaches( i feel there was a speech related to this :)).

Heavy focus on air would mean building fighters, training the fighters you start with to get air xp and make them better, and make sure to get up the air doctrine tree early.

The RN cannot win if it has tons of planes bombing it and not enough planes defending it.

Some stats from a quick test run over lunch.
UK going 60/40 on air/whatever you like at the start and then putting new factories on planes as you build them, similar to what germany did, nets around 2000-2500 fighters and more cas\cas equilevent then germany had. This is also with a superior air minister for fighters and an air company applied(because UK does not start with 1936 fighters which i researched right away in this test).
That would be enough to deny 1) Air superority over the channel 2) paratroopers 3) air support of any naval landing attempt

If france's planes can survive in england like his troops can after a capitulation, theres more oppertunity here too. UK also has radar coverage of the channel to start with and better airbases

This info is posted mainly to help har answer his question of can this be stopped, not to tell uk players what to do.
Last edited by greyhoundgames on Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Future of the Game: Rules and Balance Discussion

Post: # 94170Post greyhoundgames
Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:04 pm


? We do this all the time. Just one example: we put a rule in requiring an amphib invasion of Gibraltar as part of any attack. Two games ago, after the UK navy was booted from the med, we allowed a land invasion without a naval invasion leading it because the "spirit" of the rule was that the Axis should have naval superiority of the med, not the "by the letter" requirement of a naval invasion. We checked in-game to make sure that its spirit wasn't being violated since the invasion was on its way. All players agreed and on we went...
Ill counter this with an alternate view point. Your original claim said it was absurd for uk to let the italians leave the med. Without being a historian i could just as easily say to myself its absurd that the UK would declare war on italy for sailing its boats out of gibralter if there was no war between nations. UK isn't kill on sight to italians.

And you may comment back with historical facts but the point is this is not something that is obvious and clear and thats why I don't think that saying something is unrealistic is a good choice. My assumption on gibralter was that it was done for balance, because gibralter needs to hold longer.

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Re: Future of the Game: Rules and Balance Discussion

Post: # 94171Post ummd
Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:10 pm

greyhoundgames wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:04 pm

? We do this all the time. Just one example: we put a rule in requiring an amphib invasion of Gibraltar as part of any attack. Two games ago, after the UK navy was booted from the med, we allowed a land invasion without a naval invasion leading it because the "spirit" of the rule was that the Axis should have naval superiority of the med, not the "by the letter" requirement of a naval invasion. We checked in-game to make sure that its spirit wasn't being violated since the invasion was on its way. All players agreed and on we went...
Ill counter this with an alternate view point. Your original claim said it was absurd for uk to let the italians leave the med. Without being a historian i could just as easily say to myself its absurd that the UK would declare war on italy for sailing its boats out of gibralter if there was no war between nations. UK isn't kill on sight to italians.

And you may comment back with historical facts but the point is this is not something that is obvious and clear and thats why I don't think that saying something is unrealistic is a good choice. My assumption on gibralter was that it was done for balance, because gibralter needs to hold longer.
As does the UK.

The fact remains that the UK player has no ability in-game to know a) where the Italian fleet is when at peace and b) prevent it from linking up in the channel.

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Re: Future of the Game: Rules and Balance Discussion

Post: # 94172Post Bill
Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:59 pm

These quotes appear to be related:
harbringerxv8 wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:36 am
We should not get in the habit of leaving critical borders unprotected.
ummd wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:23 am
In general, I don't think we should be encouraging gameplay where countries move there entire armies into "all-or-nothing" gambits.
unbutu wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:41 am
I'll say again: please consider to leave the opportunity to punish it when a strategy goes too far in a direction.
Searching for the hidden message in each quote of the reveals a unified theme,
"Allow players to make decisions...and allow them to experience the consequences of those decisions"

In other words...

"Don't institute rules to protect players from their decisions"

(did I scry right?)

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Re: Future of the Game: Rules and Balance Discussion

Post: # 94174Post Bill
Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:14 pm

Bill wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:59 pm
"Don't institute rules to protect players from their decisions"
This sentiment of "hmmm...new rules aren't my bag" is suggested by the low number of rules proposed in the posts so far in this thread:

7 posts
  • 3 rule proposals
  • 2 posts advocating for no rules or a "go-easy-on-the-rules" sentiment
  • 3 posts without commenting on rules

-----------------------------------------

Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:36 am:
  • Vichy Fleet- I think the UK should not be allowed to take this decision, and that the Vichy fleet ought to go with Vichy France.
  • Soviet invasion of Japan- There is a WT threshhold that needs to be crossed before SOV can invite a nonaligned China, which gives GER an incentive to keep this low in the early war when they aren't ready for Russia.
Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:11 am
  • As for future rules, something like "once Germany attacks a major, the Allies/Comintern are free to justify and/or enter wars with the game mechanics provided..." or something like that.
Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:41 am
  • So, hey, this is my way of steering the conversation away from trigger-happy houserules and such.

Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:29 am
  • No rules proposed
Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:04 pm
  • No rules proposed
Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:10 pm
  • No rules proposed
Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:59 pm
  • "Don't institute rules to protect players from their decisions"
---------------

Do we know how the other players feel about implementing new house rules?

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Re: Future of the Game: Rules and Balance Discussion

Post: # 94176Post greyhoundgames
Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:25 pm

Bill has done it folks, quoted himself!

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Re: Future of the Game: Rules and Balance Discussion

Post: # 94177Post Altaris
Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:10 pm

From a fairly neutral perspective on the matter, I think a lot of HOI4 problems could be resolved by playing it similar to a team sport with a schoolyard pick. Designate two people to be captains, these are going to be your two teams - it should be two players who are familiar with the game, its mechanics, and the group dynamic here on WPO, and ready to take on the challenge of lots of planning and coordinating on the boards (in short, your 2 coaches). Then let them alternate picking players to form their team, and once their team has been selected, they work with their team to find the right fits. Maybe let the team which lost the last game get the first pick the next time, and let that side pick Axis or Allies, so as to keep the team balancing fair. You guys are right that team make up is key, HOI4 MP is much more about team composition than anything else, you cannot win without 2-3 people in the right key positions with a strong supporting cast, on either side.

Sorry to hear the game went sour fast, at least it wasn't a large number of sessions into the game. I think the above method will go a lot further into keeping everyone happy than any list of rules ever will (though some house rules for HOI4 are still good, plenty of HOI4 MP groups have good ones which are fairly easy to implement).

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Re: Future of the Game: Rules and Balance Discussion

Post: # 94178Post ummd
Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:59 pm

I nominate Altaris for captain next game!

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Re: Future of the Game: Rules and Balance Discussion

Post: # 94179Post Altaris
Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:05 pm

ummd wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:59 pm
I nominate Altaris for captain next game!
Uhhh... no thanks. HOI4 is definitely not my area of expertise, I only understand about 33% of what's going on at any given time.

jmland
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Re: Future of the Game: Rules and Balance Discussion

Post: # 94181Post jmland
Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:12 pm

In regards to the Vichy Fleet, IIRC Germany instituted "Case Anton" with the view that the Brits were going to seize the French (Vichy) fleet (what the decision represents-the Fleet sailing off and joining the UK). I think there is something there that is worthwhile looking at. So here are the questions.....

1. If Germany takes the decision Case Anton, what happens to the Vichy Fleet?
a. it dies
b. Germany gets it
c. It escapes to England
d. some combination of the above (probably this)

2. Do we have the same rules if Vichy is AI as well as when Vichy is Human? (We can impose restrictions on a human, but not the AI).

3. If we have something in regards to the French Fleet that says...."Can't do it until Allies have kicked Axis out of Africa" and Germany can't take Case Anton until....I don't know...some condition that would give it a 50/50 split as to what happens to the fleet (go to England, or whatever happens in Case Anton)-note I'm assuming a human player here as we could specify that Vichy fleet has to stay in port/Vichy Army has to stay in Vichy territory etc etc. For a AI Vichy, I don't have a good answer because it basically joins the war (which is non-historical) and will generally get killed by Nav and CAS (and maybe some Italian BB's).

4. Does Germany HAVE to create Vichy? I think that this means that the Free French basically get the fleet. On the upside, Germany/Italy get a bunch of additional resources and a few factories. On the downside, French North Africa (and Syria) is "Free French" . If there are enough Axis troops in Africa to take it, then the only downside is the French Fleet.

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Re: Future of the Game: Rules and Balance Discussion

Post: # 94182Post jmland
Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:29 pm

In regards to Gibraltar......

It really should be a level 10 fort from start (anybody else ever been there?) The "rock" is tunneled thru with underground fortifications and gun emplacements. And by the rock, I do mean...THE ROCK....big honking thing, going up at a 45 degree angle. Think of Iwo and/or Okinawa as far as being dug in, then increase by an order of magnitude (Brits were fortifying it since the 18th century). The actual territory is not that big, the Airport runway is basically the width of the territory, and its maybe a mile or 2 north to south, including the "rock". The land connection to Spain is only a couple of hundred yards wide. Getting 10 divisions to attack it....well....not going to happen (maybe as support arty fire from across the bay-but nothing else).

I would suggest that a rule stating that only 1 land division can attack at a time (with 2 divisions "supporting" the attack, only 1 naval invasion division can attack at a time, and only 1 abn division can attack at a time. (but they could be combined).

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