Reds second edition review

Posted: September 1, 2012 in Rus Mod, Wargaming

Boardgame designed by Ted Raicer, one of my pet boardgame designer.


The chit cup is ugly however 🙂

  1. Baris says:

    Cup is bad indeed 🙂
    But I like Random events table. I think the activition is theatre based. And movements are special for leaders as Tuhacevski etc.

    • Clovis says:

      Random events . By other ways, FY is built upon. Not only cosmetic random events named plague, or economy sunrise, but unpredictable outcomes from player choices, leaders fixed,etc.

  2. Baris says:

    Definetely. Random options is there in FY.
    I always wonder if ww1 gold game built upon cards game. Why not RUS or ROP had some counter effective options in official version? Do you think AJE will have those?

    • Clovis says:

      From what I’ve seen in the event files, some scenarios, if not all, will be heavy loaded in randomization.Now the options and Regional decisions seem mostly of the flat type: spend x EPs, get y units or loyalty. Are added some MCE for great strategical choices.

      • Baris says:

        Maybe will be a good game in its scale but I have only a few interest in Roma 🙂
        After Rus I though engine was enough to simulate pre ww1 game or slight after the period for study about operational gaming. There are many conflicts with more precious historical data. It is sligtly pity to miss it currently. Maybe in the future.

      • Clovis says:

        The hard AI can’t manage fronts, so WW1 and WW2 is just impossible. I would add AGE hasn’t had rules fully compliant with the notion of continuous fronts, and the region sytem is less suited than good old hexes for. There will never be in POn a real WW1, until the AI will get the “understanding” of contuous front.

        Now, I’ve noticed in FY some sort of AI fronts. My method has certainly to do with. I would do investigations if I discover how to reach the AI to care about flank regions, but unfortunately, I just don’t have any clue about. Not in SVF I will find a solution, or in ROP.

        Roma: interesting period, to a condition: fight battles. Ancient war is about battles. 90% of the wargames published about Ancient period portray battles, not campaigns. ANd the 10% having larger scope are focused on a few key conflicts, mainly the 2nd Punic War.

        There are many reasons: primauty of tactical over operational in players preferences, quickness of the game, less scarcity of historical sources, better knowledge of the key battles in historical culture ( 2nd Punic war is less studied than Cannae and Zama). However, there’s one more, imho the primary one: players are right when they think battles are more important to play than campaigns in ancient time.

        Battles in Antiquity are truly decisive moments: one unique battle decided of the victory. Campaigns were indecisive in themselves, battles rarely. The longuest wars in Antiquity are those when one side refused battle, like Roma after Cannae, or Athens against Sparta. Others opposed mega empires which could survive a defeat and rebuild an army ( Darius III against Alexander) or, to the contrary, war between smalertainlyl opponents unable to take a fortified city soon ( Many early Roman wars, against Samnites or Etrusques certainly). Even in this case, annual campaign were genreally ponctuated by ONE battle, deciding of the success of the campaign: think about Darius III losing one part of his empire after each defeat.

        Battles were decisive and unpredictable.Only very superior leaders, like Hannibal, Scipion, Caesar, Alexander, were mastering battles to the point to be eager to engage in battles. And yet, any of them suffered from the sheer crudity of lack ofrecon, command and control, communication process which rendered battles unpredictable. All were on the verge or suffered defeats during battles because the center, the right or left wing encountered unpredicted circumstances they weren’t able to cope with.

        Battles were a camapign in themselves: a good campaign didn’t assured a victory in battle and a lost battle signified the defeat in the campaign. Take Cannae: Romans lost, Hannibal had won the campaign. Roma was saved by the impossibility to Hannibal to assault Roma walls and the very large manpower reservoir of Roman Army. Yet cannae could have turned differently if Roman Consuls had displayed a bit more talent in battle dispositions.

        So what’s a game without player comitment in battles? Let’s take a medieval example: you create a game about William’s invasion of England, and Hasting is resolved only by a battle report….Not sure it would be highly popular. If 2nd Punic War is a rather popular subject, It’s mainly thanks to the obligation for Roman player, whatever the game system, to engage himself in a very assymetrical game, avoiding battles against Hannibal until he gets the right tool, named Scipio.

        Let’s add many war in Ancient times are too one-sided to be interesting: war between Roma and hellenistic armies ( not for the impossibility to see Romans lose battles, but because Roam had at this time an upper hand by its resources and operational advantages. You may counter this by adapting victory conditions, but the play itself will remain close to boring for hellenistic player). it’s a little better with Clets and Barbarians if you allow them to fight a petty war rather than force them to go slaughtered by the first combo of legions in a ranged battle, like they did, from Buddicca to Alamans at straburg in 357 AD).

        Athens versus Sparta is an interesting subject, because both cities are totally assymetrical in their strategies to win the war and forced to try to adopt the opponent one to win, as it was the Spartan solution to end the conflict.

        So, battles. Players are right: battles can’t be abstractly simulated in an ANcient game. Or at least, like in Miranda’s trajan system ( google it for this gem) , player are resolving abstractly battles with a few decisions to do, by using strategems: a compromise.If not, you maneuver against Pompeius, encounter it in a provincia, and then at the end of the battle, you ‘re informed you have won, or lost, without having be part of Pharsalus. Your role will be limited to stack your best legions and alae under Caesar, with 10 chariots for supply, and launch them in the pursuit of Pompeius…

        For all its errors, anachronisms and rather blend features, Rome Total War is restituing rightly an ancient campaign: you maneuver an army against another, the battle is joined, you fight the battle and anything can happen…and With gorgeous gfx, Real time, players are easily convinced.

  3. Baris says:

    Very good writing,
    I think in order to simulate roman campaign, they will make supply and geography more of an enemy than actual enemy. I don’t think there will be heavy skirmishers every turn as it was in Rus.IMHO It will be more of a strategy game than wargame where each side try to get a little stronger before battles takes place. I think casualty rates in battle will be high as they can not become partisan or run away in the middle of no where 🙂 But I’m pretty sure it will be much more playable than Pon, no doubt.

    I know many people still like Rome total war and especial with mod Imperium Barbarorum(more historical I think) or something like that. It seems it is still popular game.

    • Clovis says:

      I’ve got Shogun II. I can’t say I’m in love with the strategical layer but both at this level and for battles, AI is far more competent than in RTW. I know some mod like the one you have named are reputed for AI or more historical flavor. I will evntually buy RTW 2, mostly because from time to time, it’s fun to play a lighter strategy games with gorgeous gfx 🙂 WHEN the AI is able to put a creditable stand.

      For the gameplay of AJE, I will wait to have played it before forming my mind. 🙂

  4. Baris says:

    I think Both Fraxis(may be not) and Creative assembly understood some of their loyal fans are moving to Paradox games that has at least little more plausable AI so they started to improve the AI

    Definetely, in previous total war games AI was having difficulties when sieging so they improved that with Shogun 2. Now soldiers are climbing the forts in case they forgot to bring siege equipment 🙂

    I also liked shogun 2 AI. I played many campaigns especially Fall of samurai and campaign AI and diplomacy much better than previous titles. Battlefield AI was also much better. In rome total war, AI cavalry was waiting in the flank doing nothing even she has excellent position to assault.

    The only minus point is AI does not have much artilery armies in normal level. Artillery change the outcome of battle pretty quickly.

    They will definetely improve the AI more in Rome 2 and even it is light strategy it will be very good game. But need to buy a new pc 🙂

    • Clovis says:

      maybe; or they just have needed time to get a good AI.

      I’ve begun to mod the AGE AI around 2007….and I’ve got results from 2010 only. Unless you consider AI as a liability (95% of people) or a perpetual WIP, you may only get results when you learn how the AI computes the map. I don’t say think, I say compute.My method isn’t complex, and is based on a few principles. But these principles have been formulated after years of attempts, wrong ideas, long studies of log files and actual play. The most interesting point is the main principle is in FY event files without being written in ;-), as a sort of buddhist meditation for AI :-).

      If you write events leading AI to act like a player, it will not work. If you write events based on actual AI behaviour, you get FY in AGE.

  5. Baris says:

    Most obvious mistake for total war series was abandoning chess type movement concept on a strategical map after the first Medieval game. It created more problems for AI but it is much better in shogun 2. I haven’t tried any AI mods in total series but I’m pretty sure what you have done in fatal years can not be compared with total war mods. I slightly disagree about they need the time.

    I also liked shogun 2 and it created many hopes for Rome 2 for me apart form good graphics. I’m waiting for this game and some historical mods after it is published. With good AI this can be a very good game. I want to see total war series more of a complete historical strategic game. I have tried some online play on battlefield but it has/will be short lifespan for me if only limited to online battles.
    But as said before better AI in Rop should make me happy more than anything 🙂

    Now I get the second second hint from the post. AJE AI have some faults as thinking as human player:)

    Not related to the topic but for 1 week I’m playing SÄ°ns of Solar empire-Rebellion and I like the AI and everyting so far. It is maybe the fourth version of the series and they did everything right this time. I think it is good that if companies survive long they improve their game and AI.

    • Clovis says:

      About AJE AI, I don’t know if it will be good or not. First because only a look at event files ins’t sufficient to assess value of the AI, secondly because the hard AI may have been improved since the last RUS version. Then, events files may be modified on September 19th. Last, what they are are doing, which seems a copy of Hobbes AI in his scenario, isn’t without value, even if I feel from experience it works in small scenario much better than in large campaign, and for very small armies. That’s just a guess though. I’m only sure of 2 principles: if you only tell AI to take a region, it will genrally do otherwise, or will perform the task in clumsy way. And AI events must be built before or in the sam time than other events and options. If not, you’re building a boardgame where AI will be challenged by its unawareness of the “rules”.

      Sin of a solar empire is a good game, even if I’ve no more time to play it. I hope next years find again time to play. With SVF, I can’t even play FY these days 🙂

      • Baris says:

        Yes I have seen that scenario. It is a short scenario. But didn’t try it.
        He seems to distant himself from testers and waiting feedback from developers. Which is a mistake for a modder.
        I will wait for AJE for some time. Sİns of Solar Empire was a break for replenishment 🙂 I will return to fatal years while you working on SVF.

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