Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Afghanistan '11 changes the paradigm of wargaming and manages to bring Counter-Insurgency and guerrilla warfare to your screen, properly represented thanks to a revolutionary gameplay formula!
DieterNohlen
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Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by DieterNohlen » Fri May 05, 2017 8:11 pm

The concept of "asymmetric warfare" created by this game and its predecessor Vietnam '65 is pure genius, and the realization is beautiful in terms of graphics, gameplay, everything. However, and I've seen this said elsewhere in the forums: even at the highest difficulty levels, it's rather easy to defeat the Taliban in this excellent game. Could the next patch make the difficulty level "elite" a bit more difficult, or perhaps future DLCs could do this? In all my games at difficulty level "elite", I have never seen the Taliban overrun a FOB, for example, even after the US troops retire. But for the Taliban to overrun FOBs manned by ANA should be a relatively common event. Sadly, it keeps happening in real life after all...

CCIPsubsim
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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by CCIPsubsim » Mon May 08, 2017 3:38 pm

Well, as someone who still finds it not easy at all, even on normal difficulty... perhaps you can share your tips with the rest of us on how you managed to crack the winning formula? :D

DieterNohlen
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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by DieterNohlen » Tue May 09, 2017 2:09 pm

CCIPsubsim wrote:Well, as someone who still finds it not easy at all, even on normal difficulty... perhaps you can share your tips with the rest of us on how you managed to crack the winning formula? :D
Subsim, that's precisely the point, once you crack the winning formula, the game is not much of a challenge, even on elite difficulty level, and even configuring a skirmish with all the hardest options (45 turns, severe weather, starting with 40 in hearts and minds, and so on)... I hope this won't be a spoiler for you, but in my case, the first step is to build water towers in order to secure a stable income of PP. I always send "teams" of one husky and one buffalo to do this. Even on elite difficulty level, the Taliban or militia are not very active in the first few turns, it seems relatively easy to build four or five water towers in the villages that are closest to roads. A team of a husky and a buffalo can even survive some attacks, because of course the husky goes always in the front, so if it receives damage, the buffalo can repair it.

By the sixth or seventh turn, it usually happens that Taliban or militia will start showing up close to the HQ. They supplement your income in PP, actually, and the HQ is indestructible in any case, so there is no risk, and you can always destroy them with "low cost" options like infantry attacks (ambushes are without risk, again, you cannot suffer damage if you use your infanty for ambushes). I've never seen the Taliban overrun a FOB, so I assume the HQ are indestructible by definition. This first howitzer is cheap, usually 600 PP, so you can buy one for the HQ and also pound happily on the Taliban.

Once you have four or five water towers, a moderate income should be relatively stable (one has to keep bulding water towers whenever possible), and so you can build FOB's whenever funds are available, usually the income is enough to build one FOB every turn, or every two turns. Again, the first special ops unit you buy is relatively cheap, 500 PP usually. Even on elite level, you get 5000 PP as initial credit, which is a lot. So you buy an American special op unit, and sent it to a FOB to train ANA. By the 10th or 12th turn, I usually have at least two American special ops units training ANA infantry (for free!). The Taliban and militia will start showing up close to FOB's at this point, so you can start training ANA and promote them all the way to special ops ANA very quickly. You only have to ambush three times with ANA infantry (or is it four times?) and they can be promoted to special ops ANA's. Again, since you are using them in ambushes, they run no risk whatsoever. By turn 25th, usually I have already four or five special ops ANA units, and they are all in FOB's training more infantry, with a couple at HQ training ANA helicopters, howitzers and AFV's. All this training of units is for free!

By turn 33, when the US troops retire on the highest difficulty level in skirmishes, I usually have three or four FOBS and six or seven ANA special ops, busily training more infantry, ordnance and vehicles. The Taliban have no chance...

I think that on elite difficulty level the Taliban should be much tougher, there should be many more of them, and ambushes should not exist, only open attacks. Ambushes make it very easy to train your ANA infantry without suffering casualties... After ten or fifteen turns, twenty turns at most, you have lots of infantry units and the Taliban don't have a chance.

Anyway, I hope these tips are useful for you, although I hope they don't ruin your game!!! I'll be glad to answer any further questions.

Every Single Soldier
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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by Every Single Soldier » Thu May 11, 2017 6:33 am

DieterNohlen wrote:I think that on elite difficulty level the Taliban should be much tougher
So the majority of users and the Publisher have mentioned to me the game is too difficult, I thought as I have played it soooo many times that it wasn't, getting the balance right for every level of player is not an easy task...

Having said that, I play sandbox, max difficulty on all the settings and with mountenoues terrain and I still get my ass kicked :shock:

DieterNohlen
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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by DieterNohlen » Thu May 11, 2017 5:15 pm

Every Single Soldier wrote:
DieterNohlen wrote:I think that on elite difficulty level the Taliban should be much tougher
So the majority of users and the Publisher have mentioned to me the game is too difficult, I thought as I have played it soooo many times that it wasn't, getting the balance right for every level of player is not an easy task...

Having said that, I play sandbox, max difficulty on all the settings and with mountenoues terrain and I still get my ass kicked :shock:
That's all right, I will think of some "iron man" rules (no helicopters, for example, one can assume bad weather every turn). But I thought that a skirmish with 45 turns, max difficulty on all settings, and mountainous terrain, was harder than sandbox? In sandbox one has unlimited turns, I believe? I will try sandbox right next, I honestly thought 45 turns in skirmish was more difficult...

I should perhaps add that probably playing countless hours of Vietnam '65 makes this game a bit easier, those of us who played Vietnam '65 a lot are used to the basic logistical and tactical decisions. Having said that, I'm looking forward to further games and DLC's using the concept of asymmetric warfare, as I said before, it's pure genius. Most wars nowadays are asymmetric, and armies have to be organized and prepared for that. Nevertheless, only this team of devs (and particulary Every Single Soldier) were able to conceive and implement the concept for amazing games: congratulations and thanks!!

Every Single Soldier
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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by Every Single Soldier » Thu May 11, 2017 5:40 pm

Thank you for your support ! :D

Next is the British DLC , new vehicles , campaign, uniform etc.

Will another level of difficulty to the Skirmish options :shock:

DieterNohlen
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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by DieterNohlen » Thu May 11, 2017 9:31 pm

Every Single Soldier wrote:Thank you for your support ! :D

Next is the British DLC , new vehicles , campaign, uniform etc.

Will another level of difficulty to the Skirmish options :shock:
The next DLC, as well as the next asymmetric warfare games in the pipeline, sound absolutely awsome, I'm so looking forward to the new material. Afghanistan '79, Angola '75, those games will rock!! And I really appreciate the idea of a further difficulty level for the DLC, that will be amazing, thanks a lot!!! :D

Every Single Soldier
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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by Every Single Soldier » Fri May 12, 2017 5:45 am

This is a journey , really appreciate your support :D

ErissN6
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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by ErissN6 » Fri May 12, 2017 12:32 pm

Maybe remove the 'ambush' (prepared attack) from the ANA infantry, at least at higher difficulty. Only give them when they are experienced (and have survived..).

Every Single Soldier
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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by Every Single Soldier » Fri May 12, 2017 1:28 pm

Not a bad suggestion , we are currently relookin gthe whole infantry rank up thing anyway, to give players choice on the specialisation :shock:

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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by IdahoNYer » Mon May 15, 2017 1:53 am

Removing the ambush "prepared attack" from the ANA is a TERRIBLE idea!!! From a realism perspective, I like the idea of the more deliberate attack advantage to the US and ANA - a bit more leathality at the expense of mobility. And the ANA really isn't operating all by their lonesome, there would be imbedded US trainers working with them as they develop - so using US tactics - although not as effective perhaps which is reflected in the lower percentages.

I am curious to the specifics of what is the difference in the realism levels - I didn't notice anything specific in the manual.

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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by RidgeRunner6 » Thu May 18, 2017 5:09 pm

Idea for a future DLC - Afghan National Police. These could be poor fighters and unable to ambush, but could be better at collecting intel and have increased sustainment times. Their vehicle could be a green version of the Taliban technical truck.

Also, maybe add in an AI surrender option. At lower difficulties, I I can get to a point where victory is inevitable, but I don't want to quit and lose my stats. The game then turns to an exercise in logistics as I wait for the final turn.

Every Single Soldier
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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by Every Single Soldier » Thu May 18, 2017 8:50 pm

Am taking a good look at police, relevant for COIN wars, maybe better at Intel gathering, less at combat and performing particular actions , like check points , watch this space .... :shock:

Yes, definitely room for AI surrender, am trying to calibrate when that is as the game state changes so much after handover, so maybe an AI surrender after handover or maybe an accelerated handover if pre handover surrender conditions, under investigation ... :shock:

Great feedback

ErissN6
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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by ErissN6 » Fri May 19, 2017 9:46 am

Maybe rather call it automatic victory than surrender. Was there so?

neilhammond
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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by neilhammond » Tue May 30, 2017 11:53 am

I agree it's a really great game, and it's refreshing to see something a bit different and challenging. I'm still working through the campaign, but agree there is a 'formula' to the game, even at the highest level. It does take a while to get your head around the various mechanics, to realise it's all about the logistics, and to get the various elements of the game working together.

Some options at the hardest level:

- reduce the points available at the start of the game and/or reduce the points from successful combats slightly
- and/or reduce the effectiveness of ambush. For me, the big issue with ambush is there is no risk. You could introduce a chance that the ambush will go wrong (10-20%?) and the ambusher suffers a hit or some other penalty. This still makes the ambush an effective tool, but allows for things to go wrong on the battlefield.

I notice the balance between keeping control of the game and losing control is finely balanced, which is good. If, as a player, you let the H&M score slip too much the taliban growth seems to pick up momentum (which seems realistic). So it probably doesn't need a big tweak.

But congratulations on producing an excellent game.

Every Single Soldier
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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by Every Single Soldier » Tue May 30, 2017 12:13 pm

Thanks for the detailed feedback, continually balancing the game , being the toughest challenge :shock:

I do agree on your point iro the ambush, needs a tweak or two ...

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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by Captain_Orso » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:54 pm

I'm going to revive this thread because, either the game has changed so much since this thread was opened, or I just don't get the game.

Specifically, I don't get what DieterNohlen is saying in his second post. I understand the words, but my experience is something completely different.

I've started a couple of skirmish scenarios with these parameters:
Map: Plains
Weather: Normal
Starting PP: 15,000
Win: H&M
Turns: Unlimited
I thinks that's all that I changed. The rest I left to default.

DN is saying, just by a few Huskies and Buffaloes and send them out, willy-nilly to build water-towers to suck up a bunch of PP, while casually building a few FOB's.

My experience is, that on the plains, generally getting from the HQ to anything beyond the first town, at the most first two towns, takes more than two turns, sometimes three or more, and for the most distant, far more.

That means, what DN is saying is, IMHO, hogwash, at least in the scenario I'm describing. What I'm seeing is completely different. After playing around and trying a couple of different things, instead of setting up a full FOB with all the extra features, I just started putting up the main FOB. I'm putting them as close to a town as I can, while also keeping them as close together as possible, so that they can support each other, as so that I can move vehicles from one to the other, and not have to leave any in the open at the end of the turn, where they might get attacked.

I think the two biggest issues I'm encountering, is 1. building a water tower costs so freaking much, and 2. I don't seem to be getting any PP from having working water towers.

From playing in mixed terrain, half mountain and half plains, and with the issues I reported in another thread on how I can't keep the FOB's supplies with trucks, I decided to put 4 Special Forces into the HQ right from the start and have them build 3x MI-8's and an artillery. It's a bit expensive, but I am starting with 15,000 PP, so I thought it ought not be a great issue. I need the MI-8's to keep the FOB's supplied later, as long as trucks and convoys don't work.

I then put two battle groups together, each consisting of an infantry Co., an MRAP, a Husky, and a Buffalo. The idea is to have them be able to defend themselves while out building a new FOB or water tower. This works well enough as I've described. I get the first town hooked up to water and the first FOB built, and then send everything back to HQ to replenish supplies, before heading to the next town to the do the same.

Depending on the exact map configuration, I might have to buy a third Buffalo to assist in building roads. Often roads in and out of the HQ have to be added, plus to the town, to be able to support them optimally. Otherwise, getting a Buffalo from the closest FOB to fix a water tower will leave it exposed in the open. I'm not worried about losing a vehicle per se, but every time one gets hit, I lose about 1000 PP, and that kind of sucks. I'm not really complaining about the cost, but it's something I'm desperately trying to avoid.

So, I've got two FOB's up and have built two water towers, and I'm looking to build a third FOB, and I just don't have enough PP's, and I don't seem to be getting any. I'm avoiding losing any vehicles at all costs. I'm keeping the water towers running the best I can, sometimes not having the out-of-order for more than two turns, and I'm just not getting any PP more than maybe 100 or two per turn. That means, if you're below 1500, no more FOB's I can build more water towers, but that just pushes me into negative PP's, out of which I have no way of getting. It seems the only way to gain PP's is through killing Mil and Tal units, but without artillery in every FOB and Special Forces all over to detect them there's just no way to gain PP income and I'm starving on the vine.

In the middle of all this, I also buy a Blackhawk and an extra infantry Co. to send them around to check the towns with the smoke signal. I'm hoping to find some IED's I can disable to gain a few PP's, which I occasionally can do, if they're not too far away. Hey, on the plains everything is far away. :wink:

Once I have the 3 MI-8's built, I buy three more infantry Co.'s to help in checking the outer towns and as a kind of quick reaction force. I've tried to use them to attack and militia or taliban units that towns might uncover, but it's practically impossible. By the time I get there with my air-cavalry, they've disappeared.

I'm really starting to think, the emphasis on hitting enemy units to gain PP is far too great. Insurgents live off the dissatisfaction of the population. The better the population is served, the less they will support insurgents. But if you can't find the insurgents, you can't hit them.

Just thinking about the games I played that I won, they were in mixed terrain with lots of artillery. All I really did was set up 2 FOB's with artillery, put a couple of SF units in the mountains above the towns and wait for the insurgents to come stumbling in. Once in the sights of the SF I hit them with A-10's if within range, or artillery, or if they were close enough with infantry.

But on the plains, without SF outposts in the mountains to watch over things, there's just no source of income. :cry:

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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by cranston » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:35 am

@orso
You've not mentioned anything about locating spawn points.
That's my key strategy point.
You're having problems because you let militia run around.
Camp their spawn points and whack them moles when they pop their heads.
Don't visit villages as soon as you see smoke.
If Intel tells you that a militia has spawned, and you can't see them, visit all the villages you can that turn.
Maybe the militia will be revealed, and since they don't move in the first turn, you've also found the spawn point.

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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by Captain_Orso » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:49 pm

I believe Intel only reports Militia when they start the turn within your detection radius (near HQ Base, FOB, or infantry/SF, and within UAV search area) plus some random reports, or sometimes when your infantry enters a cooperative village when the signal is set. It would be a great stroke of luck to catch a Militia unit just spawning at a cave. But the recorded paths in the Intel report will eventually draw a pattern, which might later indicate the direction from which the Militia is coming. I rather doubt they move only in a straight line from their caves. That would preclude having missions other than on a straight line from a cave. Also, the may tactically avoid detection areas and unit build-ups. I don't recall seeing reports otherwise.

But I did discover one mistake I was making. Actually an important feature I didn't realize. You can have multiple UAV's in the air at one time :o I only just discovered that :oops: I'll have to see how much that makes a difference.

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Re: Beautiful game, but a bit too easy

Post by cranston » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:52 am

@orso
You're incorrect. Intel reports exact numbers of militia and taliban present anywhere on the map.
And it's 100% accurate. (Not realistic, but this is only a game after all.)

I only visit villages when I have an airstrike available, or a few free apache units.
There's no point knowing where they are if I can't hit them.

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