I have got some more detailed remarks to HEW FV mod for ACFB.
Firstly I must say again that it is impressive mod which have had many versions since 2003. Notice how many positive changes were implemented there. It was great job and now with patch 4 it is quite interesting game, nevertheless still have some problems. I find many things which still needs some improvements. Here I put some remarks, maybe somehow Gex will read them and make new patch in the near future.
Artillery transportation is little bit spoiled this time and new unit limber have troubles. Before this patch installation foot artillery 6 pounder guns were automatic carried with limbers, however their animations looked strange, nevertheless it worked. Now limbers are separate units which do not work well. Strange is also that limbers drivers wore different color than artillerymen uniforms.
Foot artillery guns speed movement has been slow down in patch and it could be fine, but guns maneuvers on position worse now. Earlier foot guns were transported and turned too fast, but on positions they worked smooth. Now artillery guns have more visible troubles, they can seize or jam and even veer round sometimes, and that is bad.
Players can create smaller formations with 20 cavalrymen which can represent cavalry squadron in the game now, and it is very good. Nevertheless cavalry still needs few improvements in cavalry battle tactic e.g. cavalry should not attack infantry squares and then fight so long time to the last cavalrymen. Historically when cavalry charge was not successful and did not broke infantry formations, then cavalry did not stopped and fought with infantrymen so long. Normally in that case cavalrymen withdraw or pass around and soon tried attack enemy again. Cavalry charge was more psychological and dynamic case than long static combat hand to hand. Cavalry got big fear on weakened, inexperienced and unprepared (not in square) infantry, and took huge advantage with horse weight, speed, maneuverability and force of inertia. However good fired volleys and full formed squares formations can stopped cavalry charge, but it should be done in right time and before cavalry charge came and hit. Fire too soon or too late and not formed squares were not effective and in that cases cavalry can broke infantry formation, pursued and killed flying soldiers. Charging cavalry in majority cases broke static and unprepared formations, even it was other cavalry formation. Therefore attacked cavalry made counter-charge or flied away. It should be more visible in the game.
Cavalry still can passing through any other formations and it is quite unrealistic. Horses are big animals and they can not crossing packed formations, because they can make disorder and even trampled friendly soldiers. In that case cavalry formations also could lose needed good order. Passing through, crossing and mixing formations are well known problem in Cossacks and AC games. It should be somehow solved. Maybe implement optionally, occasionally disorder and dismiss the troops in that case. Then players will try avoid such stupid passing formations practice.
Infantry still can so easy crowds and passing through other formations and it looks bad. Huge crowds placed on very small place are well known bug in Cossacks and AC games which looks horrible and spoil the game. That problem was little bit improved in C2, but I do not know how really improve this problem in HEW. It still exist in this game and crowded and mixed formations on battlefields make many problems. Maybe implement some kind of penalty for crowds, mixing and passing through formations in the game. They should be slower in advance and easier go into panic too.
Infantry still can fight to the last man and it is quite unrealistic. I think that weakened infantry formations which is tired or lost 10% men should/could try withdraw to safe place or under cover of friendly formations. If formation can not do it in right time and still fight and lost too many men, then should broke.
One more idea for infantry tactic will be welcome. Do not know is it possible or not, but it could be interesting. During Napoleonic Wars infantry used sometimes skirmish chains. Experienced troops sent their skirmishers companies in front of infantry formations and it was efficient in many cases. Maybe in the game could be this ability for experienced formations which will can send 15 men from their basic 100 men formation in front of this formation and put them as skirmish chain. They still should be members of this formations, but special animations will be needed to show this thin skirmish line in front of line or column formation. It could increase resistant points in fire fights, but when enemy will advance this skirmish chain could get back to the formation line or column. French modeled infantry was very famous with this tactic.
Small troops and skirmishers
Small infantry formations for detached skirmishers, sappers, gendarmes and other infantry should represent foot companies in the game, and it should include 15 men fall into two ranks instead 30 men in three ranks. Lessen men in two ranks better represent companies formations and they could be created faster in the game. These small companies will be welcome in many cases as like defenders strategic points, escort and guard prisoners of the war, and many detached, thin skirmish chains.
These smaller skirmishers companies of course should be more resistant on enemy fire attacks, at last it was not so easy hit men in extended order which still moved or were hided behind terrain obstacles. What is more, historically big, static formations fired rarely on enemy’s skirmishers and sometimes did not fired on smaller troops because it was pure waste of ammunition. Against enemy skirmishers were send “our” skirmishers or cavalry. Stronger formation against smaller units sometimes used bayonets.
In the game skirmishers under enemy’s fire attacks should not be so static. They should move and still try hold the safe firing range or hide somewhere. It makes difficulty in aiming and weakened enemy’s fire and give more resistant points for skirmishers. When enemy formations advance, skirmishers should slowly withdraw, still firing on the enemy. If our army advance, then skirmishers goes first, scout terrain and try weakened enemy’s lines. These were common skirmishers tactics. Next one was defending strategic points. In that case skirmishers used effective terrain obstacles which make them more resistant on enemy fire.
Skirmishers were agile and skilled men, can fired well at long range, but they were not always fast runners. Many times skirmish chain went slowly or with the same speed as had other attacking at long distance infantry. Therefore skirmishers in the game should have two types of speed movement. Cavalry can trotting and galloping, why skirmishers can not running and walking there? They could running on the position and should walking when they fighting, stopping shortly only for fire shoots and reloads. Normally they did not shoot in volleys.
Prisoners of the war
Capture commanders, artillery and peasants exist in the game. Why shocked, encircled generals, officers and common soldiers could not be optionally captured or surrender? It was quite often situation during Napoleonic Wars, and many surrenders were very famous, and even encircled formations surrender sometimes. Think that in the game should be implemented surrender option for shocked soldiers, flying from destroyed formations and waiting around military buildings. If they can not form formation, can not hide under cover friendly formation and still are shocked and encircled they should sometime optionally surrender. This prisoners of the war could went under escort to POWs camps. In that case smaller 15 men infantry companies will be welcome too.
These camps could be recaptured and then prisoners could be freed. Capture POWs could change little bit game play. It can stop stupid killings everyone man existing in later stage of game play. These cases will not occur any more, and game could be more realistic and have better the end.
Units prepared by Gexozoid looks quite fine, however many units have many small mistakes or were not so good chosen. It is a long story and authors choice which and what units improvements he would like implement. If somebody will interesting I can get more details about this units. Now I only put few short remarks there.
Flags are beautiful painted in the game, but flag bearers could not carried so big flags, because it was too heavy and too expensive in reality. Therefore flags should be little bit smaller scaled in the game.
Russian Musketeers got more cold steel attack now, but they should got lessen points for theirs fire attacks. Russian were strong men, but have not good skills in firing and therefore they tried fight with bayonets.
Saxons Musketeer added to the Staff should be added also to Rhinebund Faction. Saxony was important member of Rhine Confederation and gave many soldiers there. Saxons soldiers took parts in many important battles and sieges as like Gdansk, Wagram, Leipzig. They even organized few Corps in French service for few campaigns e.g. Austrian 1809 or Russia 1812 Campaigns.
Swiss Fusilier added to the Staff should be added to French foreign infantry. It could be create in Diplomatic Center or even common barracks. French used many foreigners and Swiss gave them 4 infantry regiments in majority it were fusiliers not grenadiers which Gex put into the game. Historically Swiss Grenadiers formed mainly companies in Swiss battalions and they were not Imperial Guardsmen
Supreme Commanders and General units
Supreme Commanders should be in game not only as Staff units in editor mode, but also on random map in SP. They can be create in palace building or could be placed at start of every game play together with peasants and few infantry formations. Supreme Commander takes command under all Army and could gathering troops.
Generals units should allow to create more complex army organization. I remember that in earlier version EW mod with Awars AI they have ability to create groups of formations which can represent brigades and it was interesting. However there were some problems with these groups which did not hold their positions when they moved.
If it will not be possible implement more complex army organization, then Generals units could be detached as filed major commanders. They should have 3 or 4 little bit different ranks, which gave them some specific skills e.g. increase troops morale, make them less prone for routing, gathering troops, stop panic etc. General with one star rank could take command under brigade level, it is from 2 to 4 basic infantry or cavalry formations. He could service close to this formations and can increase their morale as priest can do it for units now. Maybe he could be attached to one of these formations. Next one General with two stars can take command under division 5-8 formations. He can increase troops morale and make them less prone for routing. Next one General or Marshal with three stars could command Corps, it is 10 to 16 formations. Only Corps and Supreme Commanders could gathering other generals, officers, drummers, flag bearers and soldiers from destroyed formations.
Generals costs creation and maintenance should be decreased. Then in these organization players could use more Generals units on battlefields and it will be more interesting and fun.
SP game balancing needs many improvements e.g.
- cavalry still is too expensive, it needs too much food
- all troops costs too much in gold and needs too much coal and iron for firing
- many buildings a specially barracks are too expensive
- casualties ratio still is too big and too many soldiers are killed in action
AI for SP
Last but not least, I know that this game was prepared mainly for Hawks battles in MP, but must admit that many players like SP and therefore AI for all nation is must there. I remember that in earlier version EW mod have AI which can use more nations than only French one. It is still open question.