Land Warfare Mechanics discussion

This is for, what the discord lovingly calls, 'top hat beaver' content and ideas. Mechanics that will be used to flesh out the game over the absolute necessary mechanics of the core concepts. Eventually, as the development of the SOTE project continues, things in this forum may move to the 'Core Concepts' forums as things are completed and what were once future ideas become pressing and more important to develop
Zerodv
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Land Warfare Mechanics discussion

Post by Zerodv » Sun Jun 25, 2017 1:29 am

Hi! I opened this thread to make a place where one can focuses solely on how one would go about representing battles and what values can be used like "shock", "fire" and so on. I´d like for naval, air and other type of battles and also sieges to not be discussed there if possible, just because battle themselves are a big topic.

First of all those are organization/hierchical stats for base troops:

I would start by saying that morale shouldn´t be a value that simply progressively increases and should be a volatile number(less so for the non-battle one), changing depending on the nature of the troops and the cause they are fighting for.

Another value would be discipline, I would represent that by making the troops more capable of accepting particular orders and prevent morale loss in certain situations, also probably low discipline should diminish the power of strong generals, making it not so that you troops become godlike simply because of one man if those troops are not capable of receiving orders.

Another value is organization, this would be a mechanic that would represent how structure the battle lines are, not sure if this value needs to be tracked during a battle or only translated at the start into more or less strong battle lines and morale. For example if you make your troops build a camp organization has to go to down as the troops gather resources.

Another value would be loyalty, this could be determined by a couple factors and would overall reduce or increase the chance of double agents, bribes and so on.


Basic Combat stats:

Attack: Normal base damage.

Range: Simple range of attacks, even relative small advantages would mean a lot.

Anti-armour: A value that would reduce the efficacy of armored units.

Armor: Well armor.

Marching/Running speed: Speed with which troops move in the battlefield.

Battle morale: connected to the normal morale, quite volatile.

Breakthrough/shock: the value that would simulate the cavalry charges or any other type of charge.

Formation defense: the collective defense of a unit formation, it affects how resilient it is against charges.

Formation HP: the status of the defensive lines in battle, having it low means the enemy is going to do more damage and receive less.


Those are only 2 categories, other important ones are situational combat stats, tactics, logistics, reconnaissance, magical elements, overall expertise, non-combat troops etc.

Jonnicon
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Re: Land Warfare Mechanics discussion

Post by Jonnicon » Sun Jun 25, 2017 2:24 am

Zerodv I really like the ideas you proposed. Below is just some ideas of mine that can be ignored or whatever.

I think for morale we can make it percentage of 1 to 100%. That morale could be how willing the troops want to fight. For example, if morale reaches 0% it would be route for your army. In addition, we can add scenarios where army morale can significant drop by simply encountering new species such as orcs. I propose morale bar for each individual army of a nation, instead of it being globally like eu4.

The value of discipline, I propose that discipline should not increase soldiers damage like eu4. The reason being is that people will just stack discipline discipline discipline we will have Prussian nation of beavers on our hands.
beaver prussians.png
125% Discipline Beavers
beaver prussians.png (95.52 KiB) Viewed 2054 times
Discipline can be used to determine how fast morale drops by percentage in battle. I really like Zerodv proposal of discipline determining what tactics on the battlefield your troops will be capable of using. I think discipline should factor how well troops hold the line instead of organization.

The value of organization, I propose organization as percentage that scales how fast army can organize itself. The higher organization army has the faster they can build camp and fortifications. High organization can factor how well protected supply lines for the army. It can even affect the speed of the army when marching from point a to point b.

Zerodv idea of Loyalty I really like as well. How about taking it a step further by having troops that are more loyal to the general then the state. For example, soldiers so loyal to the general, they are willing to overthrow the current ruler to replace them with the general. This scenario can occur if the ruler chooses to not reward a general properly for his great achievements or ambition.

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soy de river beaver
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Re: Land Warfare Mechanics discussion

Post by soy de river beaver » Sun Jun 25, 2017 4:43 am

Zerodv wrote:
Sun Jun 25, 2017 1:29 am
Formation defense: the collective defense of a unit formation, it affects how resilient it is against charges.

Formation HP: the status of the defensive lines in battle, having it low means the enemy is going to do more damage and receive less.
formation based battles sounds awesome, it could be similar to the CKII, where not only a tactic has a bonus and a penalty for each unit type's atack and defense, but also has a bonus against certain tactics acting as a counter and duing absurd amount of damage.
what should change is the amount of flanks, where ck2 is limited to 3 flanks, maybe this number would change when the time goes by, as the battles get less/more complicated and ''phases'' are not as important or might not even exist anymore.

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nicccky
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Re: Land Warfare Mechanics discussion

Post by nicccky » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:09 am

There's a game I've played that uses a combat system that's very similar to what you guys are proposing. It's called "Hegemony III: Clash of the Ancients" and it's set in pre-Roman Italy with various tribes and city-states fighting for (you guessed it ;) ) hegemony over the region whether that means being dominant by having strong trade, a large diplomatic league, a large navy, influential culture, or a strong military. It doesn't operate based on tiles, but on cities, which are the main driving force of your success. Cities generate income, recruitable population, and skill points you can use to invest in new techs that improve your army, navy, and economy. Each faction in the game starts with some number of cities and can expand by having a surplus of food to upgrade the pop of your cities, or by training units in your cities to fight against other factions and conquer their cities. Supply lines are crucial in this game, if you don't keep your cities and units supplied with food and a source of income, their morale will drop and they may even revolt against you. There's also a system of morale and discipline in the game, each unit starts with a base of 100% morale and if they run out of food or sustain casualties, their morale will drop. If it gets to 0%, the unit will rout back to the city where it was trained. The amount of max morale can be increased by generals, unit upgrades, and faction-specific traits to name a few. Each unit has different stances you can order it into, with each having its strengths and weaknesses. If you want to see what I'm talking about, this series does a pretty good job showcasing the core concepts, although it's more story-driven than the sandbox scenario. Anyway, hope this was helpful and not just wordvomit :oops:

Demiansky
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Re: Land Warfare Mechanics discussion

Post by Demiansky » Mon Jun 26, 2017 11:59 am

Yeah, Zerodv, I like it. I think discipline really needs to revolve around the notion that your soldiers are trained enough and obedient enough under pressure to actually do the thing you tell them to, rather than just "oh, I kill stuff better." Discipline didn't make soldiers fire better or swing a sword better or take a bullet better, it made them capable of doing what you told them to do while under pressure. I think tactical battles need to be MUCH more about dealing with your limitations as opposed to doing fancy maneuvers. In Total War games, you've got pimple faced militia men doing all kinds of fancy encirclement maneuvers and it paradoxically makes the battles LESS thoughtful.

I envision a system in most cases by which you can build a *few* of the soldiers you want in a professional army, but end up having to just make due with what you get. So for instance, in Total War, you can just spam the very best soldiers all day long: whatever happens to be the best soldier you can build at the moment. This always annoyed me, because what this actually meant was that my truly elite soldiers never had a chance to shine because, well, they were all elite soldiers. In SOTE, you instead are able to support a smallish professional army most of the game (these are the movers and shakers on the battlefield), but then when you actually need to fight a serious war, you declare a call to arms and the ranks of your army are swarmed with citizen soldiers who are willing to fight for a few months, but must be home before the harvest (unless they are defending their homes, in which case they'll fight as long as they need to). These soldiers are equipped with whatever they happen to have (which is based on what's actually in your society, whether there is a smithing industry, or whether there are smithing cultures near by which you can trade with).

Maybe you have a pretty decent middle class who you drill fairly often, and you end up with a decent chunk of guys with actual swords or longbows with some small degree of discipline and morale. You might be able to give these quasi trained citizen soldiers 2 or 3 orders throughout the battle based on their discipline, and they might be willing to sustain 1/3rd casualties before they run for the hills. Maybe you have a class of nobles who are glory hounds, and they show up with war horses and fine armor. They might be quite powerful but undisciplined, allowing them to wreck havoc on the enemy lines but whom refuse to take orders once the battle commences. Or maybe you've just got piles and piles of dirt eating peasants and you shove some crude spears into their hands (who cares if they can't take orders and run at the first sign of trouble, you've got enough to overwhelm your opponent anyway).

This kind of mish mash of soldiers makes you really think about how you want to fight your battles. If you've got 3000 peasant soldiers who you can only line up and point in the right direction + 200 trained companion cavalry who will obey your every command, how you decide to fight that battle is EXTREMELY different than a battle where you have a professional army of 300 swordsmen and 150 heavy cavalry. Add in the fact that you are ALSO facing off against an army who's composition will reflect the culture you are fighting and you get some very dynamic warfare.

This system also allows your elite soldiers--- whom have survived 5 campaigns--- to really shine in battle. Seeing 3000 peasants with crappy spears break and run before a heavy cavalry charge would be very satisfying.

dowdpride
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Re: Land Warfare Mechanics discussion

Post by dowdpride » Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:23 pm

While that is definitely the case in the modern total war games unfortunately, Medieval 2 total war was great for that. You not only had recruitment caps on your most elite units, but all of your cities had population which you needed to split between growing their respective sizes as well as recruiting troops. This meant that you had to plan which units you wanted to put in your armies, and in many cases you just cant recruit your better units, forcing you to rely on the poorer quality levies. The battles were not great at representing the lack of a levy units ability to take commands, but units did have traits like "unreliable" which meant they would charge at enemies without orders, and other neat little things like that.

With regards to "discipline" making you swing your sword better and such, while it is true that it wont magically make you a death machine, having a high discipline implies a high degree of training and professionalism, which probably does mean that those troops are better at swinging their weapons than their compatriots :P. Perhaps splitting discipline into "training" and "resilience" might work out better? That way you could have highly trained troops with very little ability to actually form a strong battle line (imagine orcish berserkers or some such) and also units which are capable of resisting morale shocks and troop losses, but arent really capable of completing complex formations or doing much return damage, like a pike wall.

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soy de river beaver
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Re: Land Warfare Mechanics discussion

Post by soy de river beaver » Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:45 pm

dowdpride wrote:
Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:23 pm
With regards to "discipline" making you swing your sword better and such, while it is true that it wont magically make you a death machine, having a high discipline implies a high degree of training and professionalism, which probably does mean that those troops are better at swinging their weapons than their compatriots :P. Perhaps splitting discipline into "training" and "resilience" might work out better? That way you could have highly trained troops with very little ability to actually form a strong battle line (imagine orcish berserkers or some such) and also units which are capable of resisting morale shocks and troop losses, but arent really capable of completing complex formations or doing much return damage, like a pike wall.
you could think of dicipline as the ''resistance of a unit to low moral'', so if the dicipline is high, the unit wich thinks has little chance to win will stand still and fight as if the fight is equal, and also performing tactics better or faster. at least thats what dicipline is like in my opinion.

dowdpride
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Re: Land Warfare Mechanics discussion

Post by dowdpride » Tue Jun 27, 2017 7:22 pm

soy de river beaver wrote:
Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:45 pm
dowdpride wrote:
Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:23 pm
With regards to "discipline" making you swing your sword better and such, while it is true that it wont magically make you a death machine, having a high discipline implies a high degree of training and professionalism, which probably does mean that those troops are better at swinging their weapons than their compatriots :P. Perhaps splitting discipline into "training" and "resilience" might work out better? That way you could have highly trained troops with very little ability to actually form a strong battle line (imagine orcish berserkers or some such) and also units which are capable of resisting morale shocks and troop losses, but arent really capable of completing complex formations or doing much return damage, like a pike wall.
you could think of dicipline as the ''resistance of a unit to low moral'', so if the dicipline is high, the unit wich thinks has little chance to win will stand still and fight as if the fight is equal, and also performing tactics better or faster. at least thats what dicipline is like in my opinion.
I would only half agree in that regards River Beaver, as morale can also result in troops fighting harder than an opponent in a desperate situation, discipline does not guarantee that. What it does tend to guarantee however is that no matter how disorganized the fighting becomes, they are able to maintain their individual formations and training without breaking into a rout, which would be where "resistance" would come in.

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kukumarro
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Re: Land Warfare Mechanics discussion

Post by kukumarro » Tue Jun 27, 2017 9:33 pm

Hello folks, please forgive me for entering here like a bull in a china shop, but I want to contribute my opinion on the matter of discipline and it is quite passionate xD.

By a disciplined troop, i would understand a troop with cohesion, that is quick and efficient in reacting to/holding to orders. Something like at what degree the warriors function as part of a bigger war machine instead of individuals. I would illustrate this as case of the roman legions fighting against the gauls. One-on-one, gaul warriors were braver and more skilled fighters than the roman legionaries. But their indiscipline meant they would not abide to a battle plan, so a gaul unit would charge without orders in disadvantageous situations and by avalanche effect drag the whole gaul army with it, being easily tricked by the romans (like the siege of Alesia, where the gaul army had Caesar surrounded in his own fortifications and needed only to keep positions, but charged instead and got wrecked). They were impossible to make into formations or maintain a battle order, a disorganization that also meant panic would propagate as fire in their ranks if their neighbor units started to rout, even if their individual bravery meant they would take a longer beating until the first man starts to run.

Romans instead were considered the paramount of discipline: they focused on their battle units moving as a single man, and individual legionaries would not act on their own and do something stupid while looking for individual glory (this role was delegated in their officers). Their discipline meant order was easy to keep and panic had a harder time to propagate. They could react quickly in face of unexpected situations, and recover from situations that would have caused full rout in other armies.

Something I've seen while reviewing many ancient famous battles in wikipedia is the disparity of casualties. Take a look at the battle of Cynoscephalae, for instance (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Cynoscephalae). In most battles, the main phase of fight did provoke comparatively few casualties, these happened in the final phase after the moves that had decided the battle. They battles were not decided by inflicting more casualties in face-to-face combats, but things like outmaneuvering or breaking flanks, exploiting a gap in the enemy line, encircling or flanking enemy units and provoking total chaos and disarray: then carnage started and the loser suffered x10 the casualties both sides had suffered while holding the lines.

So discipline is a value that could easily be represented as a number between 0% (individual warriors not listening to anyone) and 100% (perfect robots), affecting how fast will units (regiments or whatever) reacts to orders from HQ or officer initiatives (e.g. roman officers could act of their own if they saw an exploitable situation), how prompt are their soldiers to act on their own (e.g. gaul warriors charging into an obvious trap), how difficult does panic propagate from neighboring units, and how easy would disorganized/routed units recover in the appropriate circumstances.

Out of battle, discipline would also affect desertion, speed (waking up an army every day and putting it on the move is difficult), the willingness of the troops to obey his commander (you can tell the legionaries to build a fort every night before going to sleep, good luck if you ask the gauls to stop drinking and maintain lookouts), and things like that.

Demiansky
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Re: Land Warfare Mechanics discussion

Post by Demiansky » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:51 am

So it really sounds like the fundamental nature of discipline is that when you are disciplined, you do what you are supposed to do or are ordered to do, not what you FEEL like doing. It's kind of like if you want to lose weight and you don't eat the cookies because you made a rule for yourself not to go over X calories in a day. Not eating the cookie despite wanting to demonstrates "discipline." I think in the end we would need to create a system based around the combat system we ultimately settle on.

I would also really like issues related to demography and geography to influence warfare. So for instance, in Total War, you recruit your soldiers and go into battle and regardless of who dies or where they were initially recruited, the outcome is the same. In SOTE, I think WHERE a soldier was mobilized in a call to arms should matter. So for instance, if you lead your army into battle and everyone from your border province gets massacred but no one from your capital gets touched, there should be extreme anger and discontent in the border province. "You sacrificed our young men, now they won't be returning to their families and farms." In this way, the steps you take in a battle are not just about winning the battle but also about the geopolitical consequences of each of those steps. Likewise, in a battle with allies or mercenaries, they might lose their patience with you if you hang them out to dry, allowing their soldiers to get killed while yours are unharmed.

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