World War II

Synchronized-turns strategy. Calling all teamers.
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dustin
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Post by dustin » Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:23 pm

USA also has the ability to help Russia survive longer, by moving pawns from alaska into russia on the first turn, and by retreating chinese guys into russia as added defence.

I agree that russia is the least fun player to play. That's how I remember it being in A&A too tho.

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Post by mbauer » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:16 am

Alright, so I made a WWII_Alt version with a stronger Russia. Would you guys mind helping me test it to see if it works better than the current one in the Plugin Manager? I don't want to upload it to the plugin manager because I don't want to replace that one, in case this one is worse.

So, to test, right click this link to download it, then place it inside your maps folder in the Vox directory.

www.markbauerweb.com/Vox/Vox_mapLAB/WWII_alt.voxb

What I did is took away Caucasus from Germany and gave it to Russia. So now Germany is not right on the doorstep of Russia, at least for the first turn.

I'd love to hear your guys' thoughts.

Thanks,
MB

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Mike
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Post by Mike » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:33 am

First game I played - Russia held, but also, USA easily took over Japan - which I had not seen before.

To clarify Mark - you just changed the Russian Defenses?

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Post by mbauer » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:36 am

What I did is the country of Caucusus on the border of Russia and Germany I transferred to Russia. The one in the plugin manager, Germany has a large army on that space. In this alt one, Russia owns it with a small pawn force.

I also increased US income a tad, but not much.

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Post by mbauer » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:49 am

See this is the trouble I get into when I try to strengthen Russia. The German bot won't go for Russia anymore for some reason. Which weakens Japan tremendously and in the end, kills Germany also.
Last edited by mbauer on Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by RandomGuy » Wed Nov 10, 2010 11:52 am

russia not only gets that extra buffer from german attack, but they also get the entire Russia continent bonus round 1. That's a pretty big boost to their chances. I will have to try it out in a game to see how it plays.

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Post by mbauer » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:00 pm

It's really weird, the bot playing Germany, just will not attack Russia, I don't know why. 50 tanks on the border, and he goes the opposite direction

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Post by Mike » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:04 pm

It'd be good to play test with 5 humans. However, if you wanted to entice the Bot to take the middle ground between Russia and Germany - perhaps make it a 'disputed' region - so that it is it's own continent. Bots tend to go for continents - this might entice the bot to attack more from both ends.

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Post by mbauer » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:18 pm

Mike wrote:It'd be good to play test with 5 humans. However, if you wanted to entice the Bot to take the middle ground between Russia and Germany - perhaps make it a 'disputed' region - so that it is it's own continent. Bots tend to go for continents - this might entice the bot to attack more from both ends.
hmmmm, that's not a bad idea!

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Post by Marauder » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:26 pm

IMHO, balance is not always the answer. Sometimes in war, strategy involves weaker players. I think the challenge of a weak Russia is great for offline play. As for online play, I think it is a unique challenge that other players on the board should have to account for. Maybe your teammate should have to compensate for your lackluster starting position as Russia? Maybe you have to retreat and collapse into Moscow, but that is the reality of starting with a bad position. Happens all of the time, not all starts are created equal. The good players use strategy to adapt to adverse situations.

Anyway, my two cents should be taken with a grain of salt obviously, I have yet to play an online game of Vox.

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Post by mbauer » Wed Nov 10, 2010 12:50 pm

This is true Marauder. But I think there might be a happy median we can find where Russia is not such a crappy start for online games and still works well with offline ones.

I played with some more values and such so here is a new download link:

www.markbauerweb.com/Vox/Vox_mapLAB/WWII_alt.voxb

If you've already downloaded the other one, simply replace it and restart Vox.

All I did was strengthen Japan a little in terms of values and a couple more pawns on the homeland.

Mike, I'm still playing with the "Eastern Europe" continent idea.

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Post by mbauer » Fri Nov 12, 2010 8:59 am

Any thoughts?

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Post by RandomGuy » Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:31 pm

2 hours left to join in round 1 of 18h WW2 host - 3 spots available

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Castle in Urals?

Post by furball321 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:03 pm

mbauer, I'm sorry I haven't tested this myself, but since it's 1941, there would be a justification for having the Russian castle start in the Urals.

Russia had moved much of her production there (and much more in 1942.) In fact, I doubt if Stalin would have thrown in the towel just by losing Moscow. It's reasonable to believe that Germany would have had to defeat Russia's industrial capacity in the Urals historically.

So. . . might you try just moving the castle back to the Urals? Hopefully with very little tweaking of Russian starting dispositions you might find a good balance that makes Russia less likely to lose early, but not too strong.

(Note: Ideally, you could keep Moscow's country bonus as-is; after all, it's still morally important. If that still leaves Russia too weak then perhaps try moving a couple of Moscow's country bonuses to Urals for balance rather than increasing starting units.)

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Post by mbauer » Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:56 pm

That is a fantastic idea! Thanks furball. I'll test that out and post a version.

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Post by furball321 » Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:10 pm

<beam> YAY!

Uh, one more thing? I'm cash-strapped and actually haven't bought the game yet. If/when you post the new map could you repost in dummy language how I could download and test it? I won't be able to get a registration 'til my significant other gets it for me for Christmas, so let me know if I'm out of luck for not being able to access online maps.

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Post by Chike » Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:42 am

First, have to say: I love the WWII map. I bought the game a few days back and have been playing it for hours every night. For me, this map *is* Castle Vox.

I like furball's suggestion, but I'm not sure it will help at high difficulty bot games.

There are two issues I can see:

1) Germany starts with 12 or 13 tanks and gets 11 more every turn. Playing as Germany against bots, it's easy to blitz the UK and wipe out London on the second turn. Alternatively, you can take out Moscow by turn 3 or so, depending on how the bots move. If Germany is a high level bot, it will stack all its tanks and have a massive, unstoppable army by the third or fourth turn, and in my games it usually makes a bee-line for India (if Japan doesn't get there first).

2) It's fairly trivial in bot games for Japan to get the China (+5) and Pacific (+6) bonuses early. When they do, they start pumping out tanks. The "Polymath" bots seem fairly lackadaisical about invading for the sake of interrupting these bonuses.

Given that Russia is caught in between, it's pretty much hopeless that Moscow will survive for very long, regardless of where it is placed.

The biggest challenge in bot games is the Allied teammates don't do enough to support each other. If the UK and US don't put any pressure on the Axis powers, then the Axis will steamroll Russia right off the bat.

I'm not sure there's an easy fix. The two (admittedly weak) ideas I had were:

- Give Russia more pawns at the start. Bots seem more reluctant to take squares that have a decent (+5) defense. (This might be historically accurate, because iirc Stalin threw huge numbers of badly equipped men at the German invasion.)

- Create some kind of physical barrier between Russia, Germany and/or Japan to slow down the approach of Axis powers. Either more mountains, or some clever application of game mechanics to represent the storied Russian winter.

My 2 cents. I'm not a game developer, just an old time Risk fan.

Again, great map & many thanks for creating it and continuing to revise it!

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Post by mbauer » Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:52 pm

OK so here's another revision:

http://www.markbauerweb.com/Vox/Vox_map ... astle.voxb

To install:

1) Download the above linked file (right click or control click and choose download linked file)

2) Take the downloaded file and place it in your Vox map directory. On a MAC this directory can be found here:

Code: Select all

~\Library\Application Support\Vox\Maps (~ indicates your home directory)
I'm not positive about this, Dustin please correct me if I'm wrong, but on a PC it should be here:

Code: Select all

\Program Files\Vox\Support\Maps
3) Open Castle Vox. If Castle Vox was already open then quit and re-open it.

4) Choose WWII_UralsCastle from the map drop down.


I basically did a hybrid of the above 2 ideas starting with the current plugin manager version of WWII.
* Moved the Russian Castle to the Urals
* gave Russia more pawns
* Gave UK more pawns
* Decreased German knight count

The alt version is still available for comparison if anyone so desires. Let me know what you guys/gals think. I kinda like this version.

Thanks,
MB

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Post by furball321 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:20 am

I use a PC and the maps are in
\Program Files\CastleVox\Support\Maps

Mark, I hate to seem like a wimp, but when I right click on your link, I'm given a choice to copy the link but not the file. If I click (or control-click)on the link your file opens in another window. I could select all and copy that text to a local file on my computer, but then it is not a .voxb file, it's just a text file.

Am I doing something wrong?

Thanks!

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Post by RandomGuy » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:09 am

depending on your version of windows, the right-click menu option is either "save link as" or "save target as". If you do that, and the file name populates with .voxb you are good to go.

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Post by furball321 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:34 am

I'm using Windows XP. Unfortunately, Firefox wants to "save link as" a text file. Explorer wants to "save link as" an HTML. Neither wants to actually copy the file over as a .voxb file.

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Post by mbauer » Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:46 am

Can you change the extension to .voxb?

If not I'll post a .zip

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Post by furball321 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:13 pm

sonamagun, that worked! Thanks, Mark.

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Post by furball321 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 4:58 pm

After losing my first game with the uralscastle map, I won the next 5 straight playing as Russia against the Grabby bots. This was done by having 4 pawns in Amur and Kamchatka , all knights in Urals awaiting counterattack around turn 4 (to pick up empty China areas or hit weak Japanese unit) and hold Leningrad, Moscow and Urals at all costs - even letting Japan get the rest of Russia if English didn't help by turn 3-5. I always just defend and build pawns for at least the first 3 turns. I lost the 7th game when Germany surprised me by taking Leningrad around turn 5 or 6 - usually UK has put enough pressure on Berlin by then that Germany can't afford such a strong attack.

Leningrad was the key. After the first turn, Germany usually has no tanks starting in Finland or Eastern Europe, so Moscow and Kazakstan can be held with 4 pawns each, with all else defending Leningrad while only committing new pawns to Urals when the Japanese threaten via Amur and/or Kamchatka.

Notes:

1) I realize Siberia has 0 bonus because it's arctic like the NW Territories. In the interest of balance, maybe consider it gets 1 for Lend-Lease? (And the Axis gets the 1 when/if they take it for propaganda purposes?) :) Just spitballing.

2) In the 7 games I've played on the uralscastle map, Germany has always attacked Russia hard. And Japan has always made a point of hitting Amur and/or Kamchatka. I have no trouble with that, but when Russia survives (5 out of 7 games) the Axis lose.

3) All games I played were over by around turn 8. (It'd be nice if there was a little turn counter box between the color slider at the bottom and the bonus click box.) Although in some games I did manage to have a 4 or 5 knight tank army making offensives by then, the Russian never did get the Soviet Union bonus. Usually USA got Kamchatka or the Germans lost the Caucasus before I could take it. I don't see this as a problem as long as Russia survives.

Mike, I'll keep soloing the uralscastle map, but I hope you can get lots more playtesting with humans on the net. And I hope others will playtest it solo, as well. If Russia can at least solo "sorta well," then in a multiplayer game the Russian can always beg his allies for help if he needs it. Obviously WWII is popular and you have a great map there; it deserves as much tuning as you can afford to give it.

Thanks for a great game, all!
Last edited by furball321 on Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by RandomGuy » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:20 pm

for the two step attack issue - was the first country occupied? if it is empty (even if owned by the enemy) an opponent can skip over it with a tank.

continent bonuses are given out proportionally, if the entire continent is owned by teammates, so having USA hold kamchatka isn't a big deal if you get the rest - you would still get a nice bonus.

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Post by furball321 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:39 pm

Gah! My apologies! Somehow, I just skipped over or forgot that a knight could go through an empty enemy square! I'll edit the post.

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Post by furball321 » Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:19 am

Played a lot of uralscastle games now as Russian, Japanese and a couple as German.

It seems like Russia has a fine chance of staying in the early game now. But that comes at the expense of almost all final victories going to the Allies.

The problem is the UK. They were perhaps too strong in Indo-China, etc., in every game I played.

If your earlier play-testing pointed to a need for a second UK production center, might I suggest it be in Egypt? As much as the loss of Singapore shook the Empire, Churchill and most of the British high command thought that Egypt, as the gateway to Middle East resources, was more important. Leave the 10 pawns and 1 knight in India, 'cause it was vital for morale as well.

In fact, if this wasn't a newbie map I'd propose making a one-way link from England to Egypt, making the units in Syria and Iran independent, and have only the one UK production center in England. But that's for another map. :) (This would require a one-way link to India as well, but again, that's for another map.)

In any event, wouldn't it make sense for the USA units that start in China to be independent instead? Granted, the USA aided China, but the Chinese army fought on its own dictates. I think having them independent would help play balance a little. If there's really no better agent for independents besides "boring" then have both Shensi and Sinkiang defended with 5 pawns each. If there's a more aggressive agent (that won't attack the Soviet Union!) they could maybe start with 1 knight and 4 pawns each.

My thinking is that as a newbie map, this will get played solo a lot. With Russia now able to stay in the game longer, the Allies' advantage in production weighs heavier. Putting the Allies' focus further West with these two changes seems like a good way to balance the longer game.

So, second UK production center in Egypt, USA units made independent in China, with 5 pawns in each province. What do you think?

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Post by mbauer » Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:39 am

furball321 wrote: If your earlier play-testing pointed to a need for a second UK production center, might I suggest it be in Egypt?
We did consider putting UKs 2nd castle in Egypt, but the problem I saw with that is that it was very susceptible to a German take over early, which would then see an England take over early. Putting the 2nd Castle in India, it is still under threat, but by the Japanese, and it's savable. The Japanese have to devote a lot of resources to try and take it, which in turn weakens their defenses.
furball321 wrote:In any event, wouldn't it make sense for the USA units that start in China to be independent instead?
At the moment our only option is the boring bot for independents. I kinda like the US having some forces in China because they can move them into Russia or India to help out their allies. Yes, if they stay in China they'll just get wiped out, but that's intended. Shensi usually always falls, but I've played many games where Sinkiang holds on with a join allied army of Russian and US pawns. I like how it's sort of a lure to try and goad the Japanese player into going the wrong direction. The smart US move would be to evacuate China. But I could experiment with giving them a few more pawns.
furball321 wrote:With Russia now able to stay in the game longer, the Allies' advantage in production weighs heavier.
Do you think it's bad that the initial balance is tilted towards the Allies? The current one in the PM is tilted towards the Axis. I agree it might be a little too much in favor of the Allies now. I had a really hard time winning with Germany against all polymath bots.

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Post by Chike » Sat Dec 04, 2010 3:14 pm

mbauer wrote:Do you think it's bad that the initial balance is tilted towards the Allies? The current one in the PM is tilted towards the Axis. I agree it might be a little too much in favor of the Allies now. I had a really hard time winning with Germany against all polymath bots.
First, thanks for the new map. It's like getting an entirely new game, for free. :)

I love that Russia is much more playable now. On the old map, I had a lot of difficulty just surviving Germany's tanks, much less thriving or taking significant territory. It's the only country I could not win with at the Polymath setting.

Playing as Germany on this map, it's still pretty easy to win, but you're a lot more vulnerable early on in the game. This is okay against bots, because Russia won't attack any of the eastern European territories as long as they have 5+ pawns on them. Which means all of Germany's tanks can land on London in the second turn. (This is a balance issue that can't be resolved. In a game against humans, taking London so early leaves Berlin far too exposed. But it works against bots).

I have to play more Polymath games as the US to test out the new map, to see how the bots sort themselves out in Europe. So far, Germany has seemed to struggle more against invasions from the UK and Russia stacking 20+ pawns on its eastern most territories. With Russia being more defensible, it's also much more difficult for German and Japanese tanks to link up and take territory as a group (a good thing, in my opinion).

Moving the Russian capital to the Urals was a huge improvement, though. Regardless of anything else I think that's a positive change.

PS: For the record, if I'm playing the US, I always abandon China and move those troops into better positions in Russia.

Playing as the UK, I also completely abandon India and let Japan take it. In my mind, the UK's job is to put pressure (and eventually sack) Germany, preventing the Germans from taking significant Russian territory or invading the US via Africa.

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Post by mbauer » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:37 pm

Alright I uploaded the Urals Castle version to the PM so that more people could test it easier. If you turn on BETA maps you should be able to see it. It's titled:

World War II - Urals Castle

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