STEEL PANTHERS ENHANCED // NORTH AFRIKA

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 Post subject: Handicapping Your Play
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:47 am 
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Location: Combat Information Center, Sir!
This topic deals with a function usually overlooked or ignored, one which can create an increased level of "realism": setting some of your formations to AI-control.

First, let me brief you on how this is done - in your Headquarters screen, in the center display area, there are 4 buttons that affect the Formations:
  • Set Waypoints
  • Toggle Computer Control
  • Change Stance
  • Set Max Firing Range

The first 2 are the ones we are considering here. I'll take them one at a time:
Toggle Computer Control
This button will place the formation currently selected (displayed in the left window) under the control of the computer. It will manuever the units according to the built-in guidelines for AI operation, and will conduct fire and opfire the same as when the AI controls the opposing side. The difference here is that it controls your units at the end of your move/fire phase. That means the only thing the AI will do to support your efforts this Phase may be some OpFire if enemy units OpFire at your units. In effect, this creates a 3-player game, with you (the human) as Player 1, the allied AI as Player 2 and the enemy AI as Player 3. And, it basically makes an AI-v-AI phase, with the computer moving some of your units and firing on them with some of its own.

Set Waypoints
Waypoints are mainly used in scenario design, to direct the AI as to movement of certain formations. There are 10 "waypoints" that can be set, which will "guide" the AI in its movement, rather than allowing it to find the quickest path. It's not foolproof, and sometimes the waypoints are ignored (esp. if there are VH flags in the vicinity for the AI to capture), but the system can often let a designer set up a flanking manuever for the AI, which it wouldn't normally do. To set waypoints, click the button for the selected formation; the screen will shift to the map, focused on the lead unit of the formation. Click on a hex you want the formation to move towards, and a yellow line will appear between the unit and this hex. Continue doing this until you have the route set, then exit the waypoint function (upper right screen), which returns you to the HQ screen.

Why AI control for my own units?

Well, let's say you are playing a fairly large scenario, with a number of formations, and the time it takes to move and fire everything is more than you want to spend each turn; by setting some of your rear-area foramtions, or support units, to AI control, you can leave them to be "auto-run" while you focus on the main combat area. For example, you could set your reserve infantry company to AI control, give them waypoints to move up to the rear of the main engagement zone, and let the AI do all the moving for you. Once they arrive at their spot, you take command back from them.
Or, you have a force that represent 2 battalions or regiments, and you want to control only one of them (basically, taking the "god mode" out of play) while dealing with the uncertainties of your fellow "commander". Maybe he'll support your attack, maybe he'll go his own way, maybe he'll just hold his troops steady and not do anything. Similarly, if you place all your "divisional assets", such as OBA and other artillery, you may not have access to them all the time; your fellow "commander" may have requested artillery fire and now the tubes are not there for you to use.
Another aspect is to use this while playing a Campaign; in most campaign scenarios, units other than the player's Core are marked as AUX, for Auxiliary. Putting these under AI control means you would only have direct control of "your" command, those units your purchased as your core.

You can always take command back from the AI on any turn; simply access the HQ screen during your "phase", click the toggle button back to human control, and return to the map. Those formations are now ready for your direct control. The key element here is that of "self-handicapping" your play, to make your battles more challenging, and to add that extra bit of realism to the game.

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 Post subject: Re: Handicapping Your Play
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:27 am 
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Location: Playing In the Sandbox
I am not sure I go along with this one. I have posted that micro management of your forces is what is
going to take to win against the better players. I see some use for this on very large maps where moving
forces to the front could become tedious if there are a lot of them. But otherwise I would not suggest
you do this sort of thing when playing a PBM game unless you like losing. By turning over units to the AI
your letting a human spank them just as if they were playing the AI and not another human player.
Why bother playing PBM games if your going to do this sort of thing. Just doesn't seem fair to the other
player.

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 Post subject: Re: Handicapping Your Play
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:05 am 
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Location: Combat Information Center, Sir!
Sorry. I didn't realize this area was for PBEM-only type tactics and training. Perhaps we need a different area, one that can help every type of play.
I never suggested that this be used in PBEM; if it were, I would say it would have to be adopted by both players.

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 Post subject: Re: Handicapping Your Play
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 1:16 pm 
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Location: Playing In the Sandbox
A playing the AI tip area is a good idea.

I think that is going to be the best soulution to tips becuse much of what you
would do to fight the AI is not going to work when playing a human player
that keeping the tips seperate is going to benifit players more.

Things players might do against the AI such as putting At guns on hills
and setting up a reverse slope defense on that small hill that is right
in front of the VH are things that they can use but seldom work in a PBM

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