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Supply by Unit - Inf. and Artillery
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Author:  D. Hampel [ Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:13 am ]
Post subject:  Supply by Unit - Inf. and Artillery

ATTN:Richard Walker - Scenario Designer:

I know there is talk of some updates to be made to the game engine and I would really like to see supply updated in the OOB file by unit; added onto the end of the current unit data.

I would like to see that infantry units get a 20 ammo supply (reduced from 40 shots to simulate the 20 minute turns) and allow the supply wagons to resupply them up to 20. In addition I would like to see that an artillery caisson be added as a supply wagon and it could supply artillery units. The artillery units would hold a total of 40 shots. I believe this would put a more realistic supply setting in the game. Currently the low ammo is based on a random calculation and has nothing to do with a unit truly running low. I've also run into a scenario where I captured the enemy's guns, which were out of ammo, and magically resupplied them and turned them on the enemy. My nearest supply or artillery unit was on the other side of the map. Really had not chance that I could have resupplied and used his empty guns.

I would also say that if an infantry unit is at or less than 20% of ammo it will go to Low On Ammo status. This would represent a more realistic supply level in the battle and require more attention to units over the course of the battle. In addition, I think a scenario would be able to be adjusted to represent the true supply levels of current units.

Here are the current game rules for Supply:
Supply refers to the ammunition that units have available to fire during the battle. A unit may become Low On Ammo or Out Of Ammo during the battle reducing or eliminating their ability to fire their weapons. Supply Wagons are used to maintain supply levels for the forces on the map. Each unit of strength of a Supply Wagon represents enough ammunition to resupply 10 men. Each time an Infantry unit fires, there is a certain probability that this will result in a reduction in the unit’s ammunition level (see the Design Notes for a discussion of why this can result in reduced ammunition levels in the first turn). The ability for Artillery units to fire is based on the Ammo Level for their side. If the Isolation Effects Optional Rule (see the Main Program Help File ) is being used, then Artillery units can also become Low or Out Of Ammo when Isolated.
The probability chance that a unit will suffer a loss of ammo while firing is determined by Parameter Data.
A unit that is Out Of Ammo cannot fire again until it is resupplied. A unit that is Low On Ammo can only fire Defensive Fire (see the Design Notes for why this is the case). Being Low or Out Of Ammo affects the Morale of the unit.
Units can become resupplied at the beginning of the player’s Movement Phase provided they are not Routed and they can trace a path no longer than 5 hexes long which does not go through enemy units or empty hexes in their Zone-Of-Control to a friendly Supply Wagon. This resupply will reduce the Strength of the Supply Wagon by 1 unit for every 10 men in the Unit. Supply Wagons that are reduced to a Strength of 0 are automatically removed from the map.

I would love to hear more feedback on this idea and provide some thoughts to Richard for review.

View of Caisson: ... aisson.jpg

Field artillery in the American Civil War: ... _Civil_War

Author:  KWhitehead [ Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Supply by Unit - Inf. and Artillery

Small arms ammo supply is difficult to simulate on the game scale of HPS/JT games. Reality is every unit that fires at maximum rate during a twenty minute turn would be ammo depleted at the end of that turn. A CW soldier can fire once every 20 seconds for 60 shots in a 20 minute period. So obviously more is going on that just firing away as fast as you can. In practice regiments controlled their fire rates very carefully in order to not run out of ammo at a critical time. They almost never fired at long ranges like we do except by a few designated sharpshooters.

Which means to implement more accurate ammo rules requires a lot of additional complexity to allow the player to control his fire. Some games use special rules that allow units to fire at different rates depending on situation which would increase the chance of ammo depletion.

Something like cutting the effectiveness of the fire tables for ranges greater than one hex to reflect that regiments couldn't afford to run out of ammo shooting the air. But allow a doubling of fire if you designated a special target like infantry flank or column or artillery crew who were being overly effective against you so you could suppress them.

While tracking small arms ammo use on a unit level would be nice, you would have to add rules to cover how to conserve that ammo, use it appropriately in desperate situations, the various ways regiments resupplied themselves (they could draw ammo from adjacent units, ammo chest carried by men to the regiment, the dead and wounded, etc.).

That is why game designers just take the easy way out. Die roll of snake eyes and you ammo deplete.

Here are some thoughts for improving with minimum work:
*Reduce effectiveness of ranged fire and lower the odds of depletion considerably for it.
*Make fire more intelligent - units don't fire at targets they have almost no chance of damaging.
*Link ammo usage to situation - adjacent units using maximum rates.

Bottom line for implementing a complex small arms ammo tracking is that you would need the AI handling of a regiment to be considerably "smarter" than the current system of if it can see it, it will shoot at it. And, all fire takes place at the same rate.

For example, a regiment being approached by a larger enemy regiment that obviously wants to close and melee it. It's long range fire would be limited if at all. They would wait until the unit was about 100 yards off and volley fire. A really well trained regiment would hold fire until about 25 yards and deliver a point blank volley that would break the charge. Ammo usage depending on how the regiment handled the situation would vary from 3-4 volleys to just one. They could keep this up all day without running out of ammo.

Then you have the situation where the enemy isn't charging but probably both sides are behind cover. They wouldn't volley fire but keep up a steady low rate of fire to suppress the other side. Again they could probably keep this up all day since men could be easily sent back to pick up ammo sufficient to sustain the regiments. Probably only kill a few unlucky soldiers in the process.

It does get complicated.

Author:  C. Hecht [ Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Supply by Unit - Inf. and Artillery

More detailed supply is surely interesting, also because ti may open a way of setting how a unit fires, but if we get someone to work on the engine there are much more important things that should be taken first, afterwards we can see what we can do.

Author:  S_Trauth [ Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Supply by Unit - Inf. and Artillery

Disclaimer: am designing scenarios for a similarly scaled series.

My take is -that it is about what you would know as a commander on the battle as a whole, and as a commander as a battle as a whole, in my opinion there is no way that in the larger battles that you would have any idea about the supply level of regiments stretched across your battle line. In effect making the if units run low on ammo to be an unpredictable event, because of this by assigning a finite amount to a regiment (granted artillery rules work differently), this actually seems to run counter-intuitive to what a commander would know in the majority of situations.

I think (but am not positive) that there might be ammo low probability levels in some series- where you might be able to flag the probability of going low ammo, and have it based per a nationality (will have to check that).

Author:  D. Hampel [ Sun Jun 04, 2017 5:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Supply by Unit - Inf. and Artillery

Hi Steve/Ken/Christian,

Great to hear from you guys!

Well, regarding my original post, my intentions were not to micro-manage the supply levels. The intent was to improve the current format with a simple programing change (which could be added to any version update). I would like to eliminate the current things like fresh units going Low On Ammo with their first shot (a role of "Snake eyes") or that a unit fires endlessly through a major engagement. I would like to see a simple change to the OOB which puts a simple number of rounds a unit can fire before running low our out. In addition, to like what Ken mentioned, when a unit uses it's ammo for long range fire it comes at a greater risk of running low for little results. This in it self will prevent the endless 5 hex firing that we currently see as players would have to reconsider using that ammo without the risk of running low or out.

Here is my suggestion to the OOB file - Ammo is added to the end of the current unit data (20 for inf. and 40 for artillery):
B 1st Bde (Phelps)
L 3 5 100 Col. W. Phelps
U 123 4 I M 58 5 22nd New York 20
U 111 4 I R 58 5 24th New York 20
U 6 5 A H 28 1 1st New Hampshire 40
Supply for artillery is added as "C" for Caisson:
S 300 36 Supply Wagon
C 300 46 Caisson Wagon

Ken, I have to agree with you on the grounds that there is no need to overcomplicate things. No one wants to micro-manage ammo types by weapon or have to consider that ammo amount on the field by individual soldier or casualties as reserve supplies. The attempt mentioned here is a simplistic overview of a units limit supply of shots (artillery or unit).

With this suggestion the intent is that the commander would have to consider:
-How much supply does my unit have
-should I use my current unit in combat; based on the distance and possible reward for expending that shot?
-Can I resupply that unit if it runs low/out?
-Is my ammo supply in range to cover my current combat units?
-If I capture an enemy's guns...will it have ammo?
-Can I get a Caisson there to reply it if needed?

As the game designers mentioned before, the game is built on a simplistic level and this update would adhere to that concept. A small modification for a big return (IMO). I'm not looking to completely redesign the game but just enhance it with minor improvements (an update! :D ). A major redesign would almost surely have to be a new series Battleground series to the HPS Campaign change.

Author:  D. Hampel [ Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Supply by Unit - Inf. and Artillery

How about we just add this update to Petersburg and focus on the BIG engine design later? :D

I would buy the Petersburg version for such a change. I'm looking for game improvements and not just new releases of scenarios of the same old cookie.

I think it was mentioned that the painted map versions would be added to that release too (updated by Old Banshee...I think). Would like to see some other changes while the time is right.

Author:  C. Hecht [ Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Supply by Unit - Inf. and Artillery

Well we already seem to get something new for Petersburg based on this posting: ... 89#p109989

I guess what should make it into the release version is already set, so I doubt any suggestions will make it into the release of Petersburg. Afterwards any additional changes will surely depend on the sales and whether they justify the programming effort that would be necessary.

Author:  Berto [ Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Supply by Unit - Inf. and Artillery

C. Hecht wrote:
Well we already seem to get something new for Petersburg based on this posting: ... 89#p109989

I guess what should make it into the release version is already set, so I doubt any suggestions will make it into the release of Petersburg. Afterwards any additional changes will surely depend on the sales and whether they justify the programming effort that would be necessary.

Sale figures will have little or nothing to do with it. Programming effort, and updates, will happen in any case. And at a faster pace than heretofore.

Author:  D. Hampel [ Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Supply by Unit - Inf. and Artillery

Hi Berto,

So do you think the supply change would be a viable update to a current version or added to the list of BIG changes for down the road?

If any assistance would be needed to update the OOB, SCN or PDT files to match the change, I'm available to help.

Author:  Berto [ Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Supply by Unit - Inf. and Artillery

Most likely these not insignificant changes to the supply system will have to wait for the next round of updates. For now, we are anxious to finish and release Campaign Petersburg 1.0. In its initial release, we don't foresee any radical game play departures from the earlier games. After Campaign Petersburg's 1.0 release, anything goes. Well, not quite, but much can be looked into and if feasible, changed.

Author:  John Ferry [ Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Supply by Unit - Inf. and Artillery

I want to point out the significance of what you have seen on this thread, for the first time:
Asking Rich Walker or myself, as designers of Petersburg and Overland respectively, to change the way supply works in these games, or limit LOS, or any number of measures which call for an engine change, is misunderstanding what we do. We design scenarios and put them together in a box and call them Campaign Such and Such. We have nothing to do with engine changes. That is way above our pay grade and level of programming knowledge.
Berto is the real deal. John Tiller has seen fit to give him the key to the engine room. He is working hard, listening to suggestions and wish lists and is very aware of the responsibility that has been placed him. He will do his best, and it will have nothing to do with sales, but rather with improving a system whose time has come. No change for change's sake, no fixing something that is not broken, and adhering to the KISS principal. We are proud to be working with him.
John Ferry
Overland co-designer

Author:  D. Hampel [ Sat Jun 10, 2017 10:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Supply by Unit - Inf. and Artillery

Hi John,

You are correct. I should have addressed this to Berto and not Richard. As he was mentioning the Petersburg release and possible changes I listed him instead of Berto.

Looking forward to the updates and change discussions. As always, I'm a supporter for the ammo/supply update. :D

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