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Rethinking how war works


MrPotatoTed
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I've been thinking a lot about how war currently works in the game, especially as so many of our current playthroughts just fought the Revolutionary War, to varying degrees of success.  

One of the things that I've never really liked is that you have to win a set number of battles, and then you win the war.  There's no real fluidity to it, and it especially doesn't make sense to me that winning one naval battle means you no longer have to worry about naval at all, even if the land invasion continues for another ten years or so.

I'm thinking of drafting a new system where determining the winner and loser of a battle is unchanged, and I also wouldn't necessarily change the individual General/Admiral gains/losses from those outcomes.

But what I would change is how you determine when a war is over.  I'd have each war graded on a point system.  

Win an easy battle: +1
Win a moderate battle: +2
Win a difficult battle: +3
Lose an easy battle: -3
Lose a moderate battle -2
Lose a difficult battle: -1

After each military phase is concluded, there's a roll to see if the war is over.  That role would depend on the total number of points you've earned for that war.  So if you've won a difficult battle (+3) and lost a moderate battle), you'd have a score of 3-2 = 1.

Score:

-10 = 100% chance you lose the war
-9 = 90% chance you lose the war
-8 = 80% chance you lose the war
-7 = 70% chance you lose the war
-6 = 60% chance you lose the war
-5 = 50% chance you lose the war
-4 = 40% chance you lose the war
-3 = 30% chance you lose the war
-2 = 20% chance you lose the war 
-1 = 10% chance you lose the war
0 = The war continues, no roll required
1 = 10% chance you win the war
2 = 20% chance you win the war
3 = 30% chance you win the war
4 = 40% chance you win the war
5 = 50% chance you win the war
6 = 60% chance you win the war
7 = 70% chance you win the war
8 = 80% chance you win the war
9 = 90% chance you win the war
10 = 100% chance you win the war

If the win/lose roll doesn't have an impact (say you roll a 70 when you only had a 30% chance of winning), then the war continues.

This way, close wars may drag out for a long time before somebody finally gets the upperhand, whereas curbstomp battles should be over faster.

I'm also thinking that rather than directly counting for wins and losses, naval battles would instead impact the difficulty level of the land battles.  If you've got solid control of the sea, then land battles will be easier thanks to naval support, blocking reinforcements, etc.  Likewise, if you're losing at sea, land battles would be harder?  But I don't have that fully mapped out in my head yet.

Anyway, I open the floor to discussion on whether this sounds like a good idea or not.  

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19 minutes ago, MrPotatoTed said:

I've been thinking a lot about how war currently works in the game, especially as so many of our current playthroughts just fought the Revolutionary War, to varying degrees of success.  

One of the things that I've never really liked is that you have to win a set number of battles, and then you win the war.  There's no real fluidity to it, and it especially doesn't make sense to me that winning one naval battle means you no longer have to worry about naval at all, even if the land invasion continues for another ten years or so.

I'm thinking of drafting a new system where determining the winner and loser of a battle is unchanged, and I also wouldn't necessarily change the individual General/Admiral gains/losses from those outcomes.

But what I would change is how you determine when a war is over.  I'd have each war graded on a point system.  

Win an easy battle: +1
Win a moderate battle: +2
Win a difficult battle: +3
Lose an easy battle: -3
Lose a moderate battle -2
Lose a difficult battle: -1

After each military phase is concluded, there's a roll to see if the war is over.  That role would depend on the total number of points you've earned for that war.  So if you've won a difficult battle (+3) and lost a moderate battle), you'd have a score of 3-2 = 1.

Score:

-10 = 100% chance you lose the war
-9 = 90% chance you lose the war
-8 = 80% chance you lose the war
-7 = 70% chance you lose the war
-6 = 60% chance you lose the war
-5 = 50% chance you lose the war
-4 = 40% chance you lose the war
-3 = 30% chance you lose the war
-2 = 20% chance you lose the war 
-1 = 10% chance you lose the war
0 = The war continues, no roll required
1 = 10% chance you win the war
2 = 20% chance you win the war
3 = 30% chance you win the war
4 = 40% chance you win the war
5 = 50% chance you win the war
6 = 60% chance you win the war
7 = 70% chance you win the war
8 = 80% chance you win the war
9 = 90% chance you win the war
10 = 100% chance you win the war

If the win/lose roll doesn't have an impact (say you roll a 70 when you only had a 30% chance of winning), then the war continues.

This way, close wars may drag out for a long time before somebody finally gets the upperhand, whereas curbstomp battles should be over faster.

I'm also thinking that rather than directly counting for wins and losses, naval battles would instead impact the difficulty level of the land battles.  If you've got solid control of the sea, then land battles will be easier thanks to naval support, blocking reinforcements, etc.  Likewise, if you're losing at sea, land battles would be harder?  But I don't have that fully mapped out in my head yet.

Anyway, I open the floor to discussion on whether this sounds like a good idea or not.  

I'm okay with any changes in this area that you think are improvements on what you've seen in playtests. However, we need variety in length because all wars are different. Topography can be more difficult. The opposing army could be stronger, etc. 

Maybe I read this too fast, but it seems like this is good if all wars are treated the same. Some wars are lengthy against an outdated, elusive opponent. Say the War on Terror. We probably technically won every "battle" but had to withdraw after 20 years. Similarly, we won most of the battles in Vietnam and lost. We lost most of the Rev War battles and won. We lost most of the War of 1812 battles, I believe, and drew. My system was keeping that in mind. I'm okay with your system, I think, if you can think of a way to apply it to make the Rev War, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Vietnam, War in Iraq I & II, War in Afghanistan generally last as long as they did historically.

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Good questions.  I think you might be talking about battles against insurgencies, so to speak, rather than organized countries.  The War on Terror, Vietnam, even (from the opposite side) The American Revolution or Russia's invasion of Ukraine were so difficult to win because you weren't facing an organized country with clear military bases and uniforms and standard operating procedures that you could counteract.  You were facing a dedicated, armed civilian population fighting dirty because they felt they had everything to lose.  Those wars are infinitely harder than, say, Desert Storm which was basically over before most people were even aware it was starting.  We can take out any government in the world, in the modern day -- but if the civilians take up arms against you, that's infinitely harder.

Not sure how best to replicate that in game, open to further discussion on it from all playtesters.

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3 minutes ago, Willthescout7 said:

We've actually been having these discussions in the 1840 playtest. @matthewyoung123 came up with a momentum meter. Essentially the same thing as Ted proposes, but we also thought about minimum lengths of war and maximum lengths of war. I'll let Matthew expand on this. 

So, in our group chat on Discord, I was essentially thinking out loud to the group.  We have been playing the Mexican War since 1840-41 an it's now 1848-50.  That's entirely too long and very ahistorical. At this rate the Civil War would take 20 years.

So we needed to find a way to shorten wars without losing the game play dynamics.  The Rev War is the longest "declared" war the US was in- 7-8 years.  War of 1812 was less than 3 years.  Mex War was 2 1/2 years.  Civil War was 4 years.  Span Am was a year.  You see where I'm going.  All of these wars (except the RevWar) would be resolved in 1-2 turns, and that's just not what we are seeing so far in play tests for the most part.

So I had initially proposed to the group that maybe when a Major War is being fought, you do 1 year turns instead of 2 year turns.  Then thought you could run the foreign affairs twice.  Tyler thought of extending the military phase (more then 3-4 battles per cycle which may also be needed).  Then I suggested adding a "military momentum meter" that is only used when fighting a war.

This meter would slide based on successes in the fighting.  Naval victories for the war satisfied on the first try?  Meter goes up.  Win the first land battle?  Meter goes up.  President give a stirring war speech?  Meter goes up.

Lose an easy battle?  Meter goes down.  Lose 3 battles in a row?  Meter goes down.  Congress passes legislation to restrict war funding?  Meter goes down. 

Basically, the higher the meter goes, the easier the difficulty of the battles are. Maybe do a 1-9 scale like the other meters.  Start it at 4 or so and see what happens.  Every time it goes up, the chance of getting an easier battle go up by 10% or something like that.

At least that's how I remember the conversation going.  Is that right @Ich_bin_Tyler@Willthescout7?

AND WHILE I'M HERE, I still believe there needs to be more PERSONAL stake for your factions in war fighting.  There are so many politicians in our 1840 game now that were both Union and Confederate Generals but if the game play dynamics remain the same, there is only a 10% chance of losing a random politician on military track in a battle and none of them will really get to participate since the number of "Generals" is limited.  The fact remains that there is almost no "investment" by our political figures in the war.  Nothing to lose and nothing much to gain.  When wars are the opposite!

So, I will state that I believe that when a MAJOR WAR happens, EVERY FACTION member that has a 1 military or greater and is NOT holding an office or on a career track goes off to fight.  Only exception to this is if they are on the MILITARY TRACK, they also go to fight.  Think of it as your politicians going off with their state militias or serving as junior/senior officers, like Jefferson Davis was a Colonel in the Mexican War.  

We need to INCREASE the chances that they are wounded or killed (more than we have now), and also increase the chances for those political leaders to gain military skills, command, traits (leadership, military leader, efficient, disorganized, incompetent, etc), and points!  I propose something like the following-

 

Easy battle, WIN- 1-2 figures die, 1-4 get random traits, 1-4 get military/skills increase. LOSS- 2-4 figures die, 1-3 get random traits, 1-3 get military/skills increase.

Moderate battle, WIN- 2-4 figures die, 3-6 get random traits, 3-6 get military/skills increase. LOSS- 3-5 figures die. 2-4 get random traits, 2-4 get military/skills increase

Difficult battle, WIN- 3-5 figures die, 5-7 get random traits, 5-7 get military/skills increase. LOSS- 6-9 figures die, 3-5 get random traits, 3-5 get military/skills increase.

There are a lot of variables here, but I really think this is one area of the game that could be improved dramatically without MUCH change.  Example below-

Fighting a battle in the Mexican War (based on current 1848-50 stats in the game).  There is a moderate difficulty battle that is won by the US over Mexico.  There were 166 politicians that meet my above criteria, 73 Whigs, 93 Democrats. 

A Moderate win means that 2-4 pols die, 3-6 pols get random traits, 3-6 get skills increase.  I roll for those.  3 die, 3 random traits, 6 get skills increase. 

Randomly they are-  Stephen Miller is killed.  William S. Ashe is killed.  Lewis McKenzie is killed.  George Meade gains Leadership.  Eppa Hutton gains Disharmonious.  James Shields gains incompetent.  All the following gain +1 military skill- Benjamin G Humphreys, Lawrence O Branch, Thomas L Crittenden, Henry Smith Lane, Milledge Bonham, David Dixon Porter.

Not all of the above, but MOST of them are known for their leadership/military ability in the Civil War.  Meade commanded the Army of the Potomac.  Shields was a Union division and I think Corps commander.  Humphreys (MS), Branch (NC), and Bonham (SC) were Confederate Generals and Crittenden was a Union General and Lane served as a Lt. Colonel in the Mexican War.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT!! It's NOT TOO LATE to make this modification.  It adds SO much flavor and is really not a difficult adjustment.  Also, I believe this part would appeal to MORE gamers (there are more wargamers than political gamers out there).

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Interesting!  I do think your math on lengths of wars is an important one.  I wonder if the issue is that I'd added a rule about doing a 50/50 roll to see if you do another battle.  Originally, it was much more scripted -- you knew exactly how many battles would be fought each term and exactly how many you needed to win/lose.  We had a human player using that knowledge to his meta-gaming benefit to intentionally set up a war that he knew would be lost after he left office (and I'm glad he did, that's the kind of stuff I want to catch in these playtests!) so we made it more random/less able to be manipulated in meta-game manners.

Notably, our active military involvement in Afghanistan was 20 years (and most people didn't expect that when we started).  Likewise, Vietnam was about 10 years and Iraq was 9, while World War II was less than 4.  So I do think some randomness to it is good -- you never know when you're going to easily breeze to victory and when you'll get sucked into a quagmire (you can make a reasonable guess based on your military preparedness, which functions at least somewhat similarly to the meter you propose.)

I do really like your idea about "all hands on deck" for major wars.  I'd put an age limit on it, say anyone 50+ isn't serving unless they're named General, but otherwise I'd enjoy testing that out.

Edited by MrPotatoTed
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Just chiming in on this. Matt is correct about the discussion we had. I do believe we should extend the number of losses per military phase and my reasoning is below.

While we were discussing the length of wars I simulated how long the Civil War would take given the current 5 wins to win the war, 5 loses to lose the war, and 2 losses per phase to end the military phase. If we took an "average" military, so 3 ability individuals with neutral military prep, 2 of the 4 military benchmarks met, and rolling an average battle difficulty it would take fighting 13 battles to end both the Eastern and Western fronts of the Civil War. The problem with that is the percent chance to win each battle. Both Eastern and Western fronts, with the above average setup, would only have a 37% and 39% chance to win each battle respectively. So you are losing 2 out of every three battles you fight, which then means only 1 win per phase. If you need five to win, on average you will take 10 years to win each front but if you are allowed only 5 failures then you lose each front after 6 years.

Hopefully that made sense. So in the end, having even an average military setup leads to being very disadvantaged in a war. If we take Matt's idea of a momentum meter but tweak it to add a scaling -15 to +15 it could work because it would then simulate both morale of the armed forces in a war after winning successive battles and battlefield logistics and recon. You could have it be maybe for every 2 battlefield victories add +5% chance to win to the next one so that once you build up a steamroller of an army it becomes more difficult for the opposing force to stand up to you, but when they do you get knocked down -5% from the scaling meter to simulate reorganizations adapting to the loss. Just my thought and they could definitely be fleshed out more.

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I fully agree with Matt. It would add a ton to the game. Major wars should have consequences that are lasting. 

Imagine a major goes badly, now a ton of your young and promising guys are dead and out of the game and you're left picking up the pieces. Huge stakes. Imagine getting Eisenhower killed early because of World War I? It's an east change that the computer can easily do.

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3 minutes ago, MrPotatoTed said:

I like the deaths/traits/etc thing.  I'm still not fully grasping how the momentum meter would be fundamentally different from the military prep meter.

So say after everything is added (general, prep, difficulty modifications, etc)  you have a 63% chance of winning. But you’ve been doing really well in the war and Congress just increased war funding. So now you can 15 or something to that 63%. So you end up with a 78% chance of winning. 

And vice versa, if you just reduced war funding your 63 could go down to 48%. Essentially, the more you win battles, the more congress passes legislation to help the war, the more things go right, you have a better chance of winning. Theoretically, this would help wars go faster since you are winning more battles (or losing more).

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1 minute ago, MrPotatoTed said:

I like the deaths/traits/etc thing.  I'm still not fully grasping how the momentum meter would be fundamentally different from the military prep meter.

I understand what you mean about the differences.  Preparedness just shows how prepared we are to fight- something that Congress and the President are largely responsible for.

As I envisioned it, a momentum meter is dependent largely on winning battles and having the "public support" back home, which as we now know, is crucial to fighting any war.

If you get some "good rolls" and some good results on the battlefield, morale improves and the momentum swings more to your side, showing improvement in logistics, supply, and leadership.

Also, I can't stress enough how important I think it is to GET your faction involved in the war!

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54 minutes ago, matthewyoung123 said:

Also, I can't stress enough how important I think it is to GET your faction involved in the war

Or to stand AGAINST it in some cases, like Lincoln as a Whig, the copperheads in the Civil War, etc. Lots of opportunities to make a name for pols as an anti-war voice

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Ok, take a look at this draft @MrPotatoTed @Willthescout7 @10centjimmy @matthewyoung123

The changes are these:

  • Naval battles contribute to success and failure to ground phases. I did not delete them from being parts of wins and loses because we have naval wars. Spanish-American War was arguably won at Manila Bay. 
  • Decisive battles now contribute to the raw # on @MrPotatoTed's scale
  • See Sum Up Progress of the war for momentum
  • See @MrPotatoTed scale to determine if the war ends, plus my modifier for lengthier wars. 

There may now be some outdated terms in some sections that @MrPotatoTed can delete when he goes through the rules. I'm also okay with @matthewyoung123 "all hands on deck" thing but let's have that be for all wars prior to the creation of the Department of Defense. That's because you aren't having politician soldiers commonly with Truman on. 

Order of Phase

Notes

Ground and Naval Battles

You will get to fight at least one ground and one naval battle per Military Phase, if both kinds exist. You will start with the Naval Phase. If you win a naval phase, then the next land battle will play out with a 75% chance the battlefield general operating with +1 mil ability for that battle only. If the naval battle was lost, then the same but at -1 mil ability.

Battle Name and Difficulty

Each war will generate a war-specific Battle Name and a difficulty.

Planning Phase

For Ground Battles, combine the Admin ability of the Sec of War/Defense and the Mil ability of the highest ranking military officer*. For Naval Battles, combine the Admin ability of the Sec of Navy (otherwise War/Defense) and the Mil ability of the highest ranking.  Naval officer. If a president has a mil ability of 5, then they replace the highest ranking mil/naval officer. Add the abilities of the cabinet officer and military officer together to get a number from 2 to 10. If the President has “Crisis Manager” or the Sec of Defense/War/Navy has “Crisis Admin” and you are in a win or die scenario, then add 10%. Use Sec of Navy/Defense for Naval battles. Prior to creation of Sec’ys, you will double the mil ability of the highest ranking officer. 

Military Officer Leading the Battle

The battlefield general or battlefield admiral leading the battle will be randomized unless the Sec of War/Defense/Navy or the highest ranking military/naval officer has “efficient,” and an ability of at least 4, in which case they have a 50% chance of choosing the officer. Multiply the officer’s Mil ability # that is leading the battle by 10 to get a number from 10 to 50. 

Apply the Meters

Military Preparedness and the Foreign Relations Meters are applied at this time. For the first meter, roll according to the meters to get a number from 0-15. There’s a chance an unprepared military could suffer immediate defeat. Check your Foreign Relations Meters to see if you get a further +5 for this state. A major war will require 2 more “Allies” than you have “Enemies,” a minor war will require 1 more “ally” than you have “enemies.” An operation doesn’t require allies, so you automatically get +5. Add your meter numbers together to get a number from 0-20.  

Era Military Benchmarks

Each Era will have 4 military benchmarks. Add +5 for each achieved to get a number from 0-20. 

Chance of Success

Combine the numbers from the steps above to get a number up to 100 pts. If the battle is Easy, subtract 0 from this number. If the battle is moderate, subtract 10 from this number. If the battle is difficult, subtract 25 from this number. The total number will be your chance of success. Increase the chance of success by 10% if the general/admiral leading a win or die battle has “Decisive General”

Fight!

If successful, immediately proceed to the next battle. If failed, see the “max phase attempts” and the “max attempts until US defeat in war.” If neither has been reached, proceed to another battle. Alternate between ground and naval. 

Sum Up the Progress of the War (for the entire war, not just this half term)

Sum up your victories and defeats to get a raw number using this method. Give yourself +3 for winning a difficult battle, +2 for moderate, and +1 for easy. Then subtract -3 for losing an easy battle, -2 for losing a moderate battle, and -1 for losing a difficult battle. If a decisive general wins a difficult battle, then improve that +3 to a +5

Determine Momentum

If the war had been active the previous term, determine if you scored the same or more raw points this half-term. If so, then roll a six-sided die: 1-2 for extra +1, and 3-5 for extra +2, and 6 for extra +3. Do the reverse, if you scored fewer raw points

Determine if the war is over.

Every war has an End War Multiplier and you will multiply this number by the number you got in the previous step. Almost all wars will have a multiplier of only 1. So, if you have a +4 x 1, then you have a +4. An historically lengthy battle might have a multiplier of 0.5, so a +4 will equal +2 for the scale below (round up if at a #.5). . 

 

-10 = 100% chance you lose the war

-9 = 90% chance you lose the war

-8 = 80% chance you lose the war

-7 = 70% chance you lose the war

-6 = 60% chance you lose the war

-5 = 50% chance you lose the war

-4 = 40% chance you lose the war

-3 = 30% chance you lose the war

-2 = 20% chance you lose the war 

-1 = 10% chance you lose the war

0 = The war continues, no roll required

1 = 10% chance you win the war

2 = 20% chance you win the war

3 = 30% chance you win the war

4 = 40% chance you win the war

5 = 50% chance you win the war

6 = 60% chance you win the war

7 = 70% chance you win the war

8 = 80% chance you win the war

9 = 90% chance you win the war

10 = 100% chance you win the war

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Ok, take a look at this draft @MrPotatoTed @Willthescout7 @10centjimmy @matthewyoung123

and to the above also added a multiplier to make wars that were historically a half-term in length much more likely to end sooner. 

End war multiplier is now on the War Chart and replaces how many phases for the war and how many need to be done each turn. 

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12 minutes ago, Willthescout7 said:

@vcczardo you have guidance for the all hands on deck idea? How many are rolled to die/gain traits/gain abilities or vice versa. I ask since ranges were proposed depending on the margin of victory or defeat.

I don't know yet. Why don't you, @matthewyoung123, and @MrPotatoTed and anyone else come up with a proposal and put it in the suggested fixes and then I'll amend it and add it to the rules on Monday or Tuesday. 

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20 minutes ago, Willthescout7 said:

@vcczardo you have guidance for the all hands on deck idea? How many are rolled to die/gain traits/gain abilities or vice versa. I ask since ranges were proposed depending on the margin of victory or defeat.

Maybe losing an Easy battle should result in the most potential deaths, and least skill & traits given.  I know experience is a hell of a teacher so maybe more deaths in a loss no matter what difficulty the battle was, and the more difficult the fight, the more skills/traits are rolled for.

Thoughts??

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2 hours ago, MrPotatoTed said:

I do really like your idea about "all hands on deck" for major wars.  I'd put an age limit on it, say anyone 50+ isn't serving unless they're named General, but otherwise I'd enjoy testing that out.

Yeah, I would say any politician under 55 years old wouldn't qualify for this marching off to war thing.

You still had men in their 50's actively campaigning as Civil War regimental and brigade commanders though, but not much older than that.

The real "cream of the crop" will be the ones aged 25-45.  And of course, the ones on the military track.  It also makes you think more carefully about career tracks.  Do you place a promising politician with 1 Military on a career track OTHER than military to keep him from going off to a war that may break out soon (like joining the National Guard to prevent from being sent overseas) to protect him? 

Also, I would say that pols with the trait "pacifist" wouldn't go and fight, and perhaps even MOST politicians from a faction that holds the pacifist card.  Still working this out in my head and on paper here!  Thanks.

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59 minutes ago, matthewyoung123 said:

Maybe losing an Easy battle should result in the most potential deaths, and least skill & traits given.  I know experience is a hell of a teacher so maybe more deaths in a loss no matter what difficulty the battle was, and the more difficult the fight, the more skills/traits are rolled for.

Thoughts??

If everyone's dead, I don't think historians will look back and say "That sure was an easy battle."  Haha.  I'd propose having few deaths for easy, most deaths for difficult.

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On 9/2/2022 at 3:32 PM, matthewyoung123 said:

Yeah, I would say any politician under 55 years old wouldn't qualify for this marching off to war thing.

You still had men in their 50's actively campaigning as Civil War regimental and brigade commanders though, but not much older than that.

The real "cream of the crop" will be the ones aged 25-45.  And of course, the ones on the military track.  It also makes you think more carefully about career tracks.  Do you place a promising politician with 1 Military on a career track OTHER than military to keep him from going off to a war that may break out soon (like joining the National Guard to prevent from being sent overseas) to protect him? 

Also, I would say that pols with the trait "pacifist" wouldn't go and fight, and perhaps even MOST politicians from a faction that holds the pacifist card.  Still working this out in my head and on paper here!  Thanks.

This goes hand in hand with the “war hero” suggestion I had made earlier and adds a lot to it. Nice job!

one caveat is most of our statesmen lived through the wars they fought in, otherwise they’d have never made the list.    I agree with having some skin in the game and risk/reward, but be careful how many budding statesmen get killed off (that role was filled by other people).    It’s good seeing some have a chance to earn some skills to help them get elected when the war is over (and the game will give us our new crop of legends and hero’s to tell stories about which will increase the immersion and fun factor a ton)


One addition might be to allow each faction to flag x number who will not participate in the actual fighting (they could be at West Point if on career path, training troops at home, or other meaningful tasks on the home front).   This idea brims from World War One where Captain Dwight Eisenhower requested an overseas assignment but was denied, promoted to Lt Colonel and made commander of a battalion that trained tank crews.   While he yearned for combat, this move possibly saved him for bigger things In the next war.    So being able to mark a handful of our “unemployed” as safe, it potentially preserves them for the bigger things in store for them.    Game example, I have Ike on the Military career path because he starts with a 3.    It would be nice to have him at 5 in time for WW2, and not get killed off if we enter The War to End all Wars,    So concept is both historical and possibly game saving.

i think just like elections, this would be a beneficial stand alone test.   Going through each war and seeing who survives for the next one plus making sure the wars are winnable with the new formulas (saw Tyler’s computation that Civil War battles had 37% success odds).   After a couple runs, you’ll get a good idea regarding how many get killed or made heroes, and be able to make some adjustments accordingly.

last question:   How Will the French alliance come into play for the Revolutionary War in this system.  Currently it ensures victory.   Leads me to think some of the other historical wars should have that “secret sauce” that ensures victory if you’re able to get it.   No one wants a Game Over if we can help it.     Great work on all the details you put together 

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6 hours ago, Vols21 said:

This goes hand in hand with the “war hero” suggestion I had made earlier and adds a lot to it. Nice job!

one caveat is most of our statesmen lived through the wars they fought in, otherwise they’d have never made the list.    I agree with having some skin in the game and risk/reward, but be careful how many budding statesmen get killed off (that role was filled by other people).    It’s good seeing some have a chance to earn some skills to help them get elected when the war is over (and the game will give us our new crop of legends and hero’s to tell stories about which will increase the immersion and fun factor a ton)


One addition might be to allow each faction to flag x number who will not participate in the actual fighting (they could be at West Point if on career path, training troops at home, or other meaningful tasks on the home front).   This idea brims from World War One where Captain Dwight Eisenhower requested an overseas assignment but was denied, promoted to Lt Colonel and made commander of a battalion that trained tank crews.   While he yearned for combat, this move possibly saved him for bigger things In the next war.    So being able to mark a handful of our “unemployed” as safe, it potentially preserves them for the bigger things in store for them.    Game example, I have Ike on the Military career path because he starts with a 3.    It would be nice to have him at 5 in time for WW2, and not get killed off if we enter The War to End all Wars,    So concept is both historical and possibly game saving.

i think just like elections, this would be a beneficial stand alone test.   Going through each war and seeing who survives for the next one plus making sure the wars are winnable with the new formulas (saw Tyler’s computation that Civil War battles had 37% success odds).   After a couple runs, you’ll get a good idea regarding how many get killed or made heroes, and be able to make some adjustments accordingly.

last question:   How Will the French alliance come into play for the Revolutionary War in this system.  Currently it ensures victory.   Leads me to think some of the other historical wars should have that “secret sauce” that ensures victory if you’re able to get it.   No one wants a Game Over if we can help it.     Great work on all the details you put together 

Thanks for the comments and kudos!  Much appreciated.

There are several politicians in the game who were killed or died in combat.  There are several who died in the Civil War in their 20's, 30's, and 40's (and have Frail as a result).  Also, remember George Washington narrowly escaped being killed in combat himself more than once.  I want to find a balance between "all my military guys are dead" and "none of my guys are in danger of being killed."  Ideally, military guys are on the line, and there is a chance to lose them, but also a chance for gains.  Sort of like the retirement/death phase of the game, only my phase is only enacted in major wars.  I plan on playing with that whole concept of all hands on deck when we play the next round of military in my 1772 play through.  We already know that a great deal of the political rules WORK, but there are a few new things to try.

Good question about the French alliance.  If you think back historically, there may not be another instance where once alliance won us the war, but alliances could have lost us one.  In the War of 1812- we were "de-facto" allies with Napoleon as we were both fighting the British, but we had been in a "Quasi-War" with France in the previous decade.  Mexican War was a Western Hemisphere thing, and I believe it was really our intent to try and keep European powers out of it.  Now, for the Civil War, if the Confederacy manages to get the British or the French or both to ally with them, then it's likely game over for the Union and they have to come to peace terms with the South.  That would be an interesting twist!  

So when we started the 1840 game, I asked a number of questions that there weren't any answers for yet, and I don't think have been answered.  When the "big" Civil War happens, what happens to all the politicians from Southern states?  Do they disappear?  Do they "sleep" until the war is over if the Union wins?  I know there is a Southern Unionist trait, so I think those players still remain active.  Will all the states that seceded do so historically, or is there a chance that say, Virginia doesn't leave?  Or, do Missouri and Kentucky officially leave and join the South?  Or what if the President doesn't call for 75,000 volunteers after Sumpter and just asks that the Upper South stay out of the conflict while promising to maintain slavery in the nation?  Could a player play AS the Confederacy with the politicians that they have (same basic setup we have now, but with only Southern politicians/generals being used)?  Using my setup of "all hands", factions would take a double beating in the Civil War since their factions are literally at war with each other.  That would help to make it more impactful AND have real consequences for players. And I know this is a political and diplomacy game, but the ULTIMATE extension of both of those things is WAR.

Off the top of my head, I can think of a few things that may need to be adjusted for the American Civil War.  First, for the Civil War, I think you need more generals somehow.  The regular US Army in 1861 was about 26,000 men.  By 1863, there were 53,000 casualties in one battle (Gettysburg).  Maybe a solution here is to have "brevet" generals for factions.  I'm just thinking out loud here, stream of conscious like!  Or maybe my "all hands" idea is good enough...I don't know.  Secondly, US Ambassadors during the Civil War need a more specific mission...like keep the UK & France out of the war!  Third, how will we militarily represent native tribes, or do we want to do that at all? Just some food for thought.  Thanks again.

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