why stacking penalty inroduced in aod

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boz
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why stacking penalty inroduced in aod

Post: # 67536Post boz
Mon May 05, 2014 9:52 am

Last session Dos asked why the stacking penalty was introduced in Aod, and why we think it's superior to DH. There are a video-game point and a realistic point too in it.
Let's start with the latter. Modern combat analysis showed that in a "regular" front line outnumbering the enemy has obvious benefits but there is a point when you can not make any improvements in combat effectiveness by throwing more guns into the equation. it depends on a lot of other circumstances too but it is somewhere between 1:4 - 1:5 given all other factor of the troops [weapons, training, intel, leaders skill... etc] are equal. It is of course not include attacks from multiple directions and flanking. It is supposed to be applied on a well known and relatively thin front line. outnumbering the enemy 1:10 means no extra advantage compared to 1:5.
In Aod multiple directions are a very serious boost on the attack if you can utilize it [attacking from more than 2 directions]. Also, flanking is a different modifier and gives -30percent on both the defense and attack. For stacking penalty, a very extreme example would be the spartans at Thermopylae. Of course there were serious other factors in favor of the greeks but you get the point if the front is thin enough more troops simply won't help the attack beyond a point.
From a video game perspective if no stacking penalty then death stacks just steamrolling everything basically without casualties. It is not a good approach because totally kills the tactical flavor. It soon become like Risk when you trade in cards and start an unstoppable invasion with 30 units, just to get pushed back over multiple continents in the next round by the enemy who also traded cards for extra units.

Stacking penalty is not perfect because it should scale with relative number of opposing forces and the size of the province [the width of front] but it was impossible to implement with hoi2 engine limitations. Still it works as expected in majority of the cases.

Stacking penalty for ships is somewhat more broken because it affects the defensive values too so if you go for the extreme numbers the function will return undesired results. but every aod-er should know to never go beyond 30 ships in any given engagement [iirc the optimal maximum fleet size is 26].

As a side note, the same analysis showed that troops experience on the battlefield is a very marginal factor. Experience does NOT mean training. But if we assume the soldiers were well trained before sent to action then having 2 or 20 engagements behind them is a neglectable factor. The experience of leaders and the trust between the men and their officers is very important but on individual levels previous combat "experience" may even lower the soldier effectiveness [battlefield fatigue, PTSD and the likes]. That's why the developers decided to lower the rate of experience gain in combat and why we barely see a 2 "star" land division, let alone a 4 or 5. They replaced the standing/drafted army experience modifier with bonus/malus org. They planned to implement the importance of initial training [or lack of it] on some other level but i think it never happened.
I followed closely the Aod dev diary, there were plenty of interesting topics like these. DH stayed with the original hoi2 combat system which is closer to Risk and AD&D than reality.
We should use nuclear warheads first and then something nasty.

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