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 Post subject: World War on New Paradise AAR
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2003 8:52 am 
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Location: Wargaming.Net
source: comp.sys.ibm.pc.game.strategic
author: Henri Arsenault

If the campaigns and scenarios of Massive Assault are tactical puzzles
fairly difficult to solve, the World Wars are that rarity in wargaming,
battles involving grand strategy, maneuver, combined arms, and battles
that are both operational in nature as well as tactical. The world Wars
are marred by a bug that prevented me from finishing my first try at the
large war on New paradise, but after the developer assured me that the
bug is a rare one that has less than 1/100 chance of occuring, I
decided to take another chance. so far so good - at least as far as the
bug is concerned.

New Paradise is the largest planet in Massive Assault, containing maybe
20 territories on half a dozen islands of different sizes. The largest
island in the North is in the form of an inverted U. Below it are two
large islands and in the middle of those three islands is a very small
island. In the south are a couple of small islands, one to the SW of the
West Island and one to the S of the E Island. So far I have played about
10 hours and the war is not over yet.

My opponent and I each had five territories, and we had to unveil two
right at the start. Most of my territories were in the South, one of
them on the small island in the middle and one on the small island in
the SW. Not good for the early game, because after they were all
declared it turned out that my AI opponent had most of his territories
on the humongous horseshoe island in the North. This meant that he could
expand faster than I could, because I would have to buy transport ships
to move between islands, whereas he could expand without any ships.

The good news was that one of his initially declared territories was in
the south right between two of mine. Although I did not know what he was
going to declare, I declared two territories to the East of that, and
decided to wait until he had committed to declare the other side of the
sandwich.

As soon as he saw that I had a territory adjacent to his, he quickly
moved everything he had there to cover the border against an invasion.
When he had a solid line there, I declared my territory on the opposite
side and invaded. Despite five guerilla LAVs appearing to oppose my
invasion, he could bring in no further reinforcements into that
territory while I had units in it, and he was doomed because my two
territories on each side kept bringing in reinforcements. He had no
other territories in the vicinity, so there was little that he could do
here to prevent my taking over this territory.

In the meantime, the enemy quickly declared all of his territories and
began to expand rapidly on the North island where most of this
territories were. He had another territory in the North of my leftmost
big island, but he kept his disposition there flexible since he did not
know if I controlled an adjacent territory that I could use to surprise
him along with the guerillas that would appear to defend against an
invasion.

The defence against an invasion is standard: you try to maintain a full
line of LAVs on the border to prevent the enemy from entering your
territory so that you can keep getting reinforcements, and you use your
guerilla force to delay as much as possible. You keep any stronger units
behind the line. The mathematics for this are simple: a tank costs four
points, can move 2 hexes and can fire only on adjacent units, and a LAV
costs half as much, fires with half the power and moves half the
distance; but two LAVs have 8 hit points wereas a tank has only 5, so
unless fast movement is important, choosing LAVs over tanks for defence
is a no-brainer. There are other factors such as the fact that it takes
twice as many ships to move LAVs as it does to move tanks, so one has to
adapt to the situation. The bottom line is that most attrition battles
are fought with LAVs in the front lines hopefully backed up by Bots,
Rockets and Mortars shooting from behind the line. Putting a Rocket unit
that costs four points and that has 3 hit points in the front line is a
no-no unless one is really desperate to plug a hole. If necessary tanks
and Bots (a Bot has 7 hit points) can be used to plug a hole, but one
can be assured that they will be the prime targets of the enemy and have
a short life. Tanks are useless in the rear since they cannot shoot, but
they are useful anyway to zip through a hole. I usually have about one
tank for every 3 or 4 LAVs.

Despite easily winning the battle in the South, the enemy expanded much
faster than I did because of this large island. I had to waste money on
sea transports to bring some of my units to the bigger islands, and
invading from a single ship is too risky: a ship can transport four
units, but guerilla forces that appear when one invades vary btween 4
and 6 LAVs, and they shoot first, killing 4 to six hit points on their
first response to the invasion. If the invaded territory is controlled
by the enemy it is even worse, because he may have an even stronger
force if he has declared the territory and is getting reinforcements on
every turn. I also had to buy transports because it turned out that the
enemy cities were mostly far from the border from which I invaded, and I
needed to get to the city quickly once I had broken the enemy main line.

So as the game progressed, I nvaded nearby territories when I could,
sometimes using naval transports to bring forces across the water. Soon
I owned all of the Southern territories except for the two on the small
island in the far South. So while I transported or moved my troops to
the North, I sent some units in sufficient numbers by sea to take the
island. While most of my southern force was moving to the North by land,
I sent one full transport by water accompanied by a destroyer along the
East shore, but it was a long trip and it only arrived much later, just
in time to defend in a desperate situation.

I had one of my territories on the big island in the North, and I waited
to disclose it until the AI attacked the adjacent territory to the West
of it. The guerrillas threfore belonged to me, and I supported them with
the troops from my newly declared territory. Taken by surprise, the
enemy did not have enough forces to beat both the guerillas and support
from the neighboring territory, and I soon had two territories on the
big Northern island.

My heart skipped a beat when I saw what the enemy was bringing down in
response ╜ a huge army of over 25 units, supported by at least 12
destroyers, a battleship and four amphibians. It was clear that my
forces were insufficient to hold against such an army, so I opted for a
strategy of delay in the newer territory while I reinforced my original
one on the island. To make things worse, the latter was being atttacked
from the other direction with a force stronger than mine. For the ice
cream on the cake, two destroyers were coming down the East side of the
big island.

Now things were coming to a head. I owned the two large and narrow
islands South of the Big Northern Island, the small central island
between the three, and two territories on the Northern island. But I had
no navy to speak of, and there still remained a number of neutral
territories to conquer. I had a guard tower on the small central island,
and four of five LAVs. The enemy forces sere still pretty far away, so I
had time to prepare for the onslaught. I did have an air force,
consisting of some eight planes and an aircraft carrier. The problem was
to get them to the North island as well as whatver units I could spare
from the ongoing conquests. Planes have a range of six, but can fly 12
hexes wehen rebasing. There seemed to be an inordinate number of bases
separated 13 hexes apart!

So here is the situation: my territories on the Northern island are
being approached by a humongous and growing land army conosisting of
most of the enemy land units (fortunately without transports) from the
North at least twice as strong as my defenders, a huge fleet is
approaching the center island, defended by a tower and four measly LAVs,
and the peninsula North of my Eastern island is being approached by a
couple of destroyers and a couple of amphibians in support of the force
that have just captured my original city a few hexes away on the big
island. My potential reinforcements are either dispersed, on the way,
far away or busy trying to conquer more neutral territories. My only
chance was to do the old Greek trick against the three Horace╧s and to
take them on piecemeal. If they all hit at the same time in coordinated
fashion, I was a goner.

The first order of business was to recapture my city near the peninsula
with the support of planes before the destroyers in the East arrived,
while my defending force on the left of the big island delayed the
advancing juggernaught as much as they could.

The enemy fleet of a dozen destroyers, a couple of battleships and four
or five amphibians decided to go after the small island in the middle,
which was well-placed strategically for air control of the sea in that
intersection between four large islands. I was a bit relieved that they
did not go in support of the attack on the mainland where I was fighting
a losing battle against the humongous enemy army consisting of more than
30 units, with a measly force of fewer than a dozen units. Fortunately I
managed to throw the invaders from the East out of my territory with the
help of airplanes based on the peninsula to the East and even captured
the adjacent territory to the North; my planes also managed to wipe out
the two enemy destroyers coming from the NE. My transport ship arrived
from the SE with four land units and a destroyer just in time to bolster
my defensive line. By now I had lost the westernmost territory in the
horseshoe and had backed down almost halfway through my original
territory.

When it became clear that the enemy navy╧s priority was to take the
small central island where I had three planes, a guard tower and four
LAVs and no chance to bring in reinforcements due to the massive enemy
navy, I realized that the enemy had no naval transports in the area,
which meant that he would have to take the city with his amphibians. So
these became my number one priority for the 3 planes. Of course the
island was so small that the enemy ships with their ranges of two or
more could pound my land defenders on the island, which they did. The
invasion came a bit too piecemeal, and my planes along with my LAVs
managed to kill the four amphibians before they reached the city,
although I lost my tower and two of the four LAVs. The enemy could have
easily wiped out the two remaining LAVs, but he had no units to invade
the land, so he shifted his attack to my big western island, where I had
a guard tower on the tip that could hamper his operations. I was
relieved at this, because my units on the mainland could do without
enemy ships joining the fray there. My two aircraft carriers with four
planes each had to divide their strength as described above, taking out
enemy rocket units and supporting the front-line battle, and blasting
enemy destroyers who came too close for comfort. The 3 planes on the
small island could not concentrating an attriting the enemy navy, taking
out 3 hit points on each turn. Since a destroyer has 5 hit points, this
was a slow process ╜ but it added up over time.

While all this was going on, I was conquering the two territories on the
small southern island and finishing to conquer the last three
territories on the big western island. Each conquest gave me new units
to create and freed the invaders for further duty. Some of them were
already on the way North, mostly by ship, which was the fastest way.

The future of the game now had two main possibilities:

1)If I could hold on to my two territories on the big Northern island, I
would probably win, because it appeared that the enemy had used up most
if not all of his reinforcements (conquered territories have only 8
turns of reinforcements), whereas I had a bunch of new territories. The
enemy was attacking me with land units consisting of mostly tanks. The
bad news was that I was taking twice the dame on the front line that I
would take from LAVs, but using tanks for attrition against LAVs is not
a good tradeoff in cost, because a tank has only five hit points whereas
two LAVs have a total of eight hit points. Other things being equal
(which they were not), I would win the battle of attrition. Another big
factor was the air force: I had 14 planes, 8 of them on aircraft
carriers and another carrier coming up in a few turns, whereas the enemy
apparently had none (actually he had about 7, but none of them had
participated in the battle which was too far from any enemy city, and he
had no aircraft carriers).

2) My forces in the North would be overwhelmed, and I would be faced
with the necessity of carrying out an invasion by sea on the big
Northern island, not to mention the possibility of an enemy invasion of
my own territories. If the enemy built planes with the new points from
his victory, I could not risk invading sea transports within six hexes
of any enemy city, because 3 planes can sink a 3-hit-point naval
transport and its 4 passengers in a single turn. This would severely
reduce the number of places where I could invade and allow the enemy to
deploy his land forces accordingly.

So I figured that I had to hold out at all cost on the big northern
island. The question was would by reinforcements arrive in time, and
could I neutralize the enemy fleet in the way.

The enemy destroyed the guard tower on my Western big island, while my
planes from the small central island hammered them mercilessly, with
participation from some planes from the carriers and my growing navy. I
had to keep some planes to destroy the Bot and rocket units in the main
battle if I were to have any chance of holding out in the land battle,
where the only reinforcements available now were a few units from the
newly acquired adjacent territory. No further reinforcement could be
brought in until I controlled the sea lanes.

Fighting an enemy navy with aircraft carriers is touchy business. The
planes have a range of six, but the carrier can move only 3 hexes. Enemy
destroyers can move 3 hexes and have a shooting range of two hexes,
which gives them a pretty good ability to reach out and touch someone.
Battleships can shoot 4 hexes, which means that a carrier has no chance
of escaping from a determined battleship with its 8 hit points.

Eventually I won the sea battle with a combination of attrition mostly
by planes, but with the help of some naval forces striking at the edge
of the enemy fleet. By coincidence this occurred just in time to open
the way for my reinforcements arriving by sea from the south. Some of
these reinforcements were far to the Northwest, and since they would
arrive too late to affect the land battle, I decided to stage a few
invasions on enemy territory, which was almost free of defenders. Of
course I would have to fight the guerilla defenders, but two ships full
of any units can wipe out any guerilla force.

This is when I found out that the enemy had an air force. Fortunately
his planes did not sink any full transports, but they did help the
guerilla forces put up more of a fight against my invasions.

One invasion was not far behind the main line of battle. It had the
desired effect of the enemy removing half of his force to meet the new
attackers, which allowed my faltering line that was now reduced to 4
LAVs, a couple of tanks and two Bots to survive. With the help of my
carrier planes that could now put their full force against the enemy
land units, I quickly wiped out the latter, and then made short work of
the rest of the units in this territory.

As soon as I captured a couple of territories to the NW, I reached a
level of 300%, which is what is required to win the game. I could have
continued and I did, but at this point the war becomes a mopping up
operation.

Henri

[/b]


Attachments:
File comment: replay of the Battle
Paradise war.rep [192 KiB]
Downloaded 300 times
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 Post subject: Thanks and Happy Birthday!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 7:24 pm 
Henri,

Thanks for taking the time to write an AAR, glad you're enjoying MA.

Vadim,

Happy Birthday!

Regards,

- Erik


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