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Thread: Blogging the After Action Reports

  1. #1
    NorseThing's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Blogging the After Action Reports

    This is my first blog post -- the random thoughts of a new member. I will try and keep these posts limited in length. I may be too lazy to make longer posts or it may be a fear of presenting a wall of text. Then again, maybe I ramble too much. In any case, let's get started!
     
    Yes, I am a member because of my interest in the Total War Games. I am not a big player of computer games generally, but historic simulation games do interest me. I was a user of minatures and even played some face to face cardboard counter versions of historic simulation years ago (mostly Avalon Hill products). I may even still have some stuff stashed away in the basement along with some family board games. Yes, I used to be very active as a game player. Most has gone by the wayside with the passage time (the 1970's are long past). I have not even played a serious game of chess or passed the dice in a backgammon game in over a decade. The total war games are perhaps a more 21st century outlet to satisfy my interests. Storage is also easier with digital memory.
     
    I am still learning about TWC. I have participated a bit in the Discussion and Debate forums. I have seen a variety of members from all political slants participating in fairly good natured discussions. Of course there may some posts that get cleaned up. Bur that is the nature of any site on the internet. It happens. It does not mean these people are bad. Perhaps just too committed in making their point. In any case, my goal is not to win debates or change other people to my point of view. My discussion skills will make these outcomes unlikely in any event. I am more interested in what people think and why they think the way they do. I have learned a bit. Hopefully others have learned a bit as well.
     
    I am not likely to become a particpant in the modding community. I will not say never, but... I admire the skills of the community. I may not necessarily be too old to start but I probably lack the patience needed to write and test ideas and models. My hands are not as steady as they used to be either. I suspect my limited computer resources may factor into this as well. If there was a niche that I might be able to make a contribution, I would consider any offer graciously.
     
    Now I am trying to become more familiar with the creative written content areas of the site. There is much to read and absorb. The writers are differant in style which suits me better than simply variations of a theme style of writing. I may do a bit of writing as well if I can take the risk of embarassment. Well the internet is a bit annonymous, so the risk of embarassment is greatly reduced from sending a tome to a publisher and signing up for publicity photos and the whole celebrity bit. That type of publishing is not my thing anyways even if I were skilled enough to write a publishable novel or a short story.
     
    The after action reports are interesting but in the age of Youtube videos perhaps less pictures and more story is a better balance. Has anyone thought to do an AAR with video clips instread of still pictures? How could such an AAR be presented on this site? I am less certain about the blogging aspects though the current AAR's seem to be a form of a blog. Ironic since this post is my inaugeral attempt in a blog.
     
    About the blogs -- The first thing I saw was the 'Blogs' tab the top of the main screen. I was surprised that this was a limited to citizen membership activity. I then proceeded to the questions and suggestions sub forum of the administrative forum and asked my very knew question about blogging. Some useful answers within a day. Thanks to all who responded. So the tab is not really used or used to help staff prepare material for publication according to Frunk. Then another gracious member (name I cannot spell of pronounce, sorry) mentioned another option. I then headed off to creative writing. (now I need to learn how to do links here as well, sigh)
     
    The blogs are interesting, but the usefulness of a blog on this site is not clear to me. I do find it a bit quirky that we have blogging available for members and a differant section reserved for staff and citizens. I would like to know the history of why and how this is. Is there some reason to keep this activity seperated based on member status? Maybe this can be consolidated to improve activity.
     
    I am guessing promotion must be an individual thing like all endevors are on this site. Well, there are some endevors promoted by the site such as modification announcments and new issues of the content staff. There is also the 'what's new' tab for individual posts. I have started to go there first rather than a favorite portion of TWC. It seems self promotion is not discouraged and even considered appropriate if done with some modesty. So in all modesty, how should a blog and blogging in general be promoted?
     
    I want and prefer interchange. A blog seems a bit of speaking out without a need for interaction. Well maybe there will be some interaction here. I will try and focus more on my thoughts related to TWC, but other ideas may get brought up. An old guy very married with cats may be of limited general interest here. I promise to not carp on my health problems or problems with family and other relatives. I will probably break any promise I make though. I am not perfect.
     
    If anything a blog also seems somewhat related to the visiter messaging and private messaging but more of a general broadcast for all to read. I have yet to do much of these methods of communication here. I do not know how popular these avenues of communication really are. I think they serve a need and clearly have a purpose that cannot be easily met with other posts.
     
    One thing I have noted -- there seems to be a desire in the terms of service (I admit to not reading this with care) and the posting rules of the forums to discourage consecutive posts. Or perhaps it is simply traditoin. Blogging and AAR's seems a bit of a violation. Well those who like to make consecutive posts may perhaps find blogging as well as the AAR's useful.
     
    One use of a blog may be to address issues a bit off topic to a discussion thread, but not worth starting a new thread. So posting these tangental ideas here in a blog might be interesting. This might also be a way to cross promote differing forums on this site. Give a link in the thread post that is on topic within the D&D that directs to viewer to a blog post with a tangental discussion of some length. This might be a good means to avoid the wrath of moderation. Well not wrath exactly. But perhaps a bit of consideration to the moderators without taking a thread way off topic which creates some work for volunteers performing the nearly thankless moderation tasks.
     
    In any case, this is my first post as a blog. I encourage some responses to all of the questions that you wish to answer. Comments are encouraged in all cases. I understand that some of my ideas may be shot down and justifiably so. I was just trying to think a bit out of the box.
    Until later --
    NorseThing
    Last edited by NorseThing; April 02, 2018 at 04:33 PM. Reason: title chnge

  2. #2
    NorseThing's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: random thoughts of a new member

    Just a slight addition to the blog:

    The Inkwell is now open!
    Alwyn posted this in a sticky about a year ago. Seems to be another variation on a theme regarding another use of the Blog. This is a bit specialized to be used as an index of writing. More of an announcement and advertising vehicle and not really a blog. People can respond directly within the thread so a bit easier for conversation. It seems to be lacking in current activity though.

  3. #3
    Flinn's Avatar All hail the Dude-hotep!
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    Default Re: random thoughts of a new member

    One thing I have noted -- there seems to be a desire in the terms of service (I admit to not reading this with care) and the posting rules of the forums to discourage consecutive posts. Or perhaps it is simply traditoin. Blogging and AAR's seems a bit of a violation. Well those who like to make consecutive posts may perhaps find blogging as well as the AAR's useful.
    ok consecutive posts are not fine when: a) the time between the two posts is very short (less than few hours) and b) you are basically talking about the same matter; if both options are valid, then simply edit the post above and add what you have to add

    In any case, this is my first post as a blog. I encourage some responses to all of the questions that you wish to answer. Comments are encouraged in all cases. I understand that some of my ideas may be shot down and justifiably so. I was just trying to think a bit out of the box.
    as much as we respect freedom of expression, if you really want to propose an idea, site-wide, and get a response from the site management (the Hexagon council, the guys in bold red, like me) or the staff (either moderators or other staffers) or by any good willed member, then you really have to post in the Q&S.

    finally (for now) if you are interested in writing, the Content staff is always looking for new talented contributors, if you want to learn more about, just PM me

    subscribed, so be warned that you are being watched!

    Under the patronage of Finlander, patron of Lugotorix & Lifthrasir & joerock22& Socrates1984; of the Imperial House of Hader

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    NorseThing's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: random thoughts of a new member

    Yes!! It is time for a blog update. I have been shamed by the enthusiastic Frunk and his blog post to actually do a bit towards activity on this site. I have been attempting to advertise in my signature. So I guess I had also better be a bit more active here as well. I mean what good is advertising if there is no product on offer???
     
    Now a bit of self promotion and a desire for some honest feed back. I have started an AAR that I hope will be a successful series of shorter AAR tales. The first chapter is nearly finished and will be finished in time for Christmas (I hope). The first segment was just a forward or prologue of sorts. I think I called it 'Some Acknowledgements Mixed with a Preface'. The next post was the first post of the first chapter. I was an experiment with footnotes. I still have a bit of tinkering with the links, jump, ectetera. I have been helped by staff and have the tools (I think). Just call me lazy to get things done.
     
    The segment was also a bit more pictorial than the foreword with attachments for some pictures. First mistake was not sizing the pictures properly and I still do not know whether they are seen by others in the proper size or not. It may also depend on whether they are registered and logged in as members. I tried to see without logging in and as a computer user I am a bit of a failure.

    The next segments were more of a narrative of a very very small scale of combat. A limited set of pictures and mostly a narrative of the battle. I tried to focus on the developement of one character (it is a short tale). I have tried to keep the segment post lengths about the size of two Tale of the Week submissions. I do not know what the best length is. I know there is no crime in a shorter or an occasional longer post. But what is the ideal average length for an episode post? When does a reader just start to page down just to look at the pictures?
     
    Another segment or segments are to follow to finish the chapter. When the chapter is finished, I plan to discuss a bit about my problems on creating a character. So if you have some comments about character developement, please wait for the chapter conclusion. Yes unlike the massive tome AAR threads, these chapters are meant to be short. This is both for my sanity and the ability to experiment and give a sense of completion and accomplishment without waiting a year or more to complete the AAR.
     
    First let's look at what I did try as a form of structure to an AAR. I have tried to create a sort of cliff hanger of sorts to end each segment. There is a 'to be continued' (still to be linked) to connect the segments. A Chapter Index will be made to link the chapters when there are indeed more chapters. So this is still a matter of construction dust and details. In other words, this is partially a school for me on what to incorporate into an AAR and partially an experiment on how the public responds to this very differant style of an AAR from the many very very fine AARs on this site. Your responses are needed (and I am not suggesting nor asking for rep points). I want both the critical as well as the agreement. I want both the specific and of course the general. I have had a bit of both, but more responses are needed.
     
    About responses. Responses are import for the success of all AAR threads. They help the writer to better serve the readers and the comments also help to encourage the writer to continue the task of writing the AAR. This is always a labor of love, but encouragement and criticism are definitely important motivators for the future of any AAR. I know the staff think this is important and they do a great job of reading and responding to pretty much all the publication of episodes. I have only really done so on a few AARs within the M2TW subforum, so I cannot imagine the effort it takes to cover the entire site with all the aspiring writers that need some encouragement. So if you are reading this, try and read some more of the AARs and please post a comment or even a rep point on those that deserve some for their efforts! You will also find that the more you read and enjoy the site, the more you may enjoy the games themselves.
     
    Until later, this is all the blog fit to print. Or some such to close out the post. 
    Last edited by NorseThing; December 11, 2017 at 04:47 PM.

  5. #5
    Flinn's Avatar All hail the Dude-hotep!
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    Default Re: random thoughts of a new member

    I was an avid AARs reader during my first times here at TWC, but one actually needs time to properly read and enjoy them, and my spare time nowadays is very scarce, though I'm still following a couple of them. Unfortunately, nowadays AARs have "to fight" against the lazyness of people, that in general prefers to watch videos rather than read texts, but there's no comparison on the quality, written AARs are, at the least, 10 times better. I like video AARs, but at the most they result funny to me, not certainly engaging or exciting.. I remember I once saw an AAR which was partly text (accounts about the campaign happenings and a bit of fictional writing) and partly video (battles), which was a nice idea, though IIRC the poster stopper doing it after a while, because it requested too much work, he said.

    In general, anyone writing AARs should be blessed for his/her goodwill and anyone reading (and commenting), should be blessed as well

    ps, I see that you are promoting the SCW, if you want you can use the sigbar we have made for it

    [CENTER][URL="http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?761439-Scriptorium-2017-writing-competition&p=15460361#post15460361"][IMG]http://www.twcenter.net/images/content/SIGBARS/SCRIPTORIUM%20COMPETITIONS.png[/IMG][/URL][/CENTER]

    simply copy/paste the code you see above in your signature and you should be getting this


    Under the patronage of Finlander, patron of Lugotorix & Lifthrasir & joerock22& Socrates1984; of the Imperial House of Hader

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    NorseThing's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: random thoughts of a new member

    Some Random Thoughts on Creating a Character

    by NorseThing

    These are some very random thoughts by me that came to mind as I wrote "Bandits". I wrote them down as they came to me, so this is a bit disjointed and chaotic. This is not really a lesson on writing nor a lesson on character developement, but it may be a bit of both. I also want your input. I want your ideas. If some of this is useful -- run with it. If not, well it is only digits in the ether.

    Creating characters is a hard task for me. I imagine that this is a hard task for many writers. So I thought beginning a discussion with my fellow writers might give us each some ideas that others find useful. So share your ideas here in the blog commentary and we can all make some tweaks and improvements.

    I really do not know who the character will become until it is written on the page. So how could I create a full and interesting character? Did I have anything to work with? This is a Total War game, so we do not start from a bare beginning. In this case the beginning was the M2TW game itself for the 'Fleury the Bastard' character. It is after all, an After Action Report of a game session. I used him via the General's Card from the game. If you have not already read it -- this is the main character in chapter 1 in my AAR "Tales After the Crusade".

    Yes! I pulled him straight out of the game. He had recently come of age at the location of King Philip the Chivalrous. See, we already have some character developed in that last sentence. Character developement gets easier if you simply look to your surroundings and into your own past for inspiration. Poking a look onto the internet such as at Wiki does not hurt either. Use all that you have. Be greedy. Take everything and use what works for you.

    We can use all or only some of the information available from the general's game card. In this case I used his age and bastard status. His card says he scorns his father. This I did not think would work for me, so I just did not write about it. He was administratively minded. This did not even come up since his father was sending the young man out on a military mission. No admin skills are required in this tale.

    What the reader knows is pretty much what the writer tells and not really any more. So much was discarded and yet some was used. The picture below is what the reader saw within the AAR. So I did not even give the reader the full card to read. Was I cheating? Yes.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    He did have a mentor and a tutor. I could give them names and now we would have a couple of other characters for dialogue without much effort. The mentor in this case was going to be one of the knights of his bodyguard. The tutor, I did not even attempt to work into the story. In a full AAR I would definately take advantage of both characters if Fleury was to be a big focus of the AAR. Even the administrative minded would become useful if the tale lasted even just for several turns. So in the end, use that which helps your story and keep in mind the rest for future developement of the character. It all does not have to be spilled immediately. If this short tale were to be rewritten into a larger AAR, I would of course approach this differantly. But this is a short tale and there can be too much information in the space of a few hundred words.

    This 'general' is a family member and could become important in a full campaign since he is young. This is starting pretty much with a blank slate though. How to write a narrative that is interesting and will get the reader's attention? Notice, I did not even show the whole card. I mentioned this earlier in the blog, but sometimes things need to be stated more than once. This is really important if you are using other materials to help you round out your character. Leaving stuff out may be as important as what gets included. A picture may be worth a thousand or even more words, but we do not need 1000's words on Fleury's character in this short tale.

    First, I thought to take a look at the real history. There is no better place to start, even if the tale is not going to follow history. Any story must deviate from history or I as the writer would simply become Professor NorseThing in a lecture doing what we all can do better in our own ways. A boring and predictable story at the very best.

    So what is the story board behind the real Fleury? His mother was Bertrade de Montfort, the wife of Fulk IV, the Count of Anjou. So how did he become the bastard son of Philip in the game? Well according to a Wiki article, Philip left his wife and snatched Bertrade off from the Count. I assume it was a willing snatch, but the church disapproves of kings snatching countesses. This is especially true if they are both married within the church to other people.

    This resulted in the local clergy excomunicating the king. That is quite a bit of power over a king. Stuff of legends. There was potential here for a whole tale if Philip was the main focus of the tale. Later the Pope made a public show of it. More drama. Then a baby (Fleury) is born and the mother does not claim the father is her husband which she has left. Philip claims the baby I assume. Thus we how have the bastard label. This is all good stuff. So I did the obvious and incorporated this into the story. This tale is not about Philip, but Philip is an important contribution ot the tale. So now we have a man coming of age and he will probably not inherit a title or ever take the crown of king of France. So I still called him Lord Fleury. Flat out. I just did it. No explanation.

    I suppose I could have also called him Prince Fleury, but I chose to emphasize the Lord title. In some ways it seemed to add a bit of distance between the famillial ties with King Philip. So I did take abit more out of the general's card in an indirect way. I had already mentioned that the card stated that Fleury scorns his father. That seemed to harsh for me, but maybe there could have been more to his character if I went that direction as well. We all need to make some decisions, and I went with Lord Fleury

    I suppose I could have created more of a back story on why he was called Lord, but this is a short tale and that was too much information -- I thought at least it was too much information. I decided to just let the reader fill in the blanks if it was needed. The key in writing is to gain acceptance while not explaining everything starting with the creation of the universe. You as the reader can tell me if I succeeded or not. How would you handle this element in a story?

    But what about the man? This is medieval times and he becomes a man at age 14. I cannot imagine this from my own background. I was a brat. I had no leadership skills. I did not even go out for sports. I was in junior high school at age 14, had the usual school yard scuffles, and was clueless about a great many things that Fleury had to know about. I was clearly not a man at 14, but I will be silent on how long that did take. Even today, I am a bit clueless about how a 14 year old son of a king would act over 1000 years ago. Yet Fleury is my character and I need to develop his character to move the story forward.

    So once again, I defaulted to not telling too much information. I did let the reader know that Fleury knew he was a bastard and that people spoke about this behind his back. I recall as a child that I knew a great deal about how other people spoke of me, so that did not seem to be an unreasonable reach in the character development.

    I had also read that William the Conquoror was an illegitiment child, so I knew that great things could and did come despite or in spite of a bastard status. I fudged the inheiritance issue a bit when drawing on William's background though. William became a duke at the young age of 7. Wow! But Philip had an heir from the recognized marriage so this was not the same circumstances. So maybe the title of Lord could be accepted by the reader without further explanation. I hoped so. I wonder how this came off by you -- the readers?

    As the story progressed I would give him moments of self doubt coupled with moments of firm command (at least a tone of a firm commanding voice) I also decided that the cavalry charge was going to be mishandled. I needed that this 14 year old not be terribly flawed, that he had some good training, but he could not be perfect either. He is only 14 and no matter what we may think today, I still could not imagine a 14 year old leading a battle with flawless execution.

    The charge would happen too soon much like I discovered while playing this game years ago before I went on my autoresolve binge. The knights who I am certain King Philip had surrounded Fluery with would be protective. The was their primary job as his bodyguard. And in the story they were protective at great personal risk! He may not be the crown prince, but in some way he could still become king however unlikely the chances. These are rough times and it is not as if there are a great many clear heirs in front of him.

    I also allowed the sentry bandits to take a few gratuitous shots at his cavalry formation. Another error on Fleury's part. His scouts were too far out. Fleury was concerned about finding the bandits and took for granted that the remaining knights would do what was necessary no matter what dangers he may stumble into. This was all pretty much unstated though. I still wonder -- should I have made this more of the story and more in the actual content of the story line?

    Now back to the mentor. I did mention the mentor earlier in this article. Remember? He was not working out.

    So one of the rewrites did an erasure number on him. I had written myself into a corner and the only quick solution I had was the eraser. I admit it. There. Rewrites are like that though. Use what is working and do not get hung up on what is not working. When I write, it is a bit like a stream of conciousness going from my head into the digits on the page. I will cut out almost half if not more of what I write in an edit. Then I add in some more stuff and maybe even take some of the deletes and rework them to be more manageable.

    So in the end, I did draw a bit from my own background and made several half-assed guesses. I meant for the man to be young, but not immature. I wanted him to realize some of his limitations. I did not want to burden the reader with too much information. If I were to do a rewrite, I think it would all be a bit differant. I can be obsessive with endless rewrites. Lofty goals and a bit of uncertainty about the character -- I do not know if I succeeded in my shorter tale titled "Bandits". Of course, I did fail at too much information while writing this blog post.

  7. #7
    Flinn's Avatar All hail the Dude-hotep!
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    Default Re: random thoughts of a new member

    Nice post and some goods ideas there, maybe it is worth to also post it (or link to it) in the WS Lounge? Just a thought, because not all the regular writers or guests check here in the Blog area, and some of the points you made could be useful for other writers too.

    Under the patronage of Finlander, patron of Lugotorix & Lifthrasir & joerock22& Socrates1984; of the Imperial House of Hader

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    NorseThing's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: random thoughts of a new member

    A bonus blog post related to character developement ---

    Now in my next chapter, I will be approaching character developement differantly. I had already decided upon Sicily and wanted to know more of the history. I discovered that Sicily starts out a bit skewed from the historic. King Ruggero (Roger) and his family are all set and okay for game purposes, but the counties are not quite what they should be and Bari I think was in the family controlled by a nephew or some such thing though in constant turmoil. Being Rebel seemed to fit good enough.

    The family d'Altavilla was extended and full of nobles with ties to much of medieval Europe which is the biggest hole in the set up. In the end I was still knowing very little and probably have some facts wrong in my head as well. All a bit confusing, so I thought that this was a good time to not worry about starting with history. Well the break from history had to start at some point anyways. Turn one was as good of a point as any.

    SS 6.4 is supposed to be more immersive than the regular vanilla version of M2TW without the modifications. At least that is what I have read. There is more detail on the cards and there is also the title badges if a general stays a bit in a settlement that does not already have an associated badge assigned. Probably much more that I have not yet discovered as well.

    I do not know if this will work, but I am going to try and incorporate as much of the detail on all of the starting generals and agents that begin for Sicily. I had noted that I simply left out information that did not fit the narrative with the Fleury character and indeed for any character that I chose for the short tale. This may indeed be the case of too much information. I will want your input and reactions after reading the first couple of chapters.

    This time I will incorporate as much of the card information as I can (within reason). I will see where this takes me on this attempt at the AAR short tale. I do not know who will become the main character or characters. Of course I know the general story line, since I already have a title. This will all be done strictly in the narrative. No posted pictures of unit cards. If you follow this modification of M2TW, you can check and see how well I succeed with this approach to character developement by comparing my tale to the starting unit cards for Sicily in the early era campaign.

    I will let the attempt at immersion to lead me for a bit. We can see what happens. So anticipate the first post of Chapter 2 "The Norman Conquest of Italy" to come on perhaps friday 12 / 29. We can call this a special double issue of the AAR for the Christmas holiday season. This is truly a double issue and not the Economist weekly news magazine version where a single issue covers two weeks to give some of the staff time off for the Holiday period. This chapter will probably post every friday or there abouts. Like the first chapter, I do not really know how many segments it will take to finish this chapter until we get further into the details.

    I am learning a bit more about links and BB Code, so I did a bit with my table of contents and linking from one episode to the next within the chapter. Now to go back and some work on the footnotes... Ahhh. I am so lazy, maybe that can wait for a bit.

    As always, I look forward to comments and suggestions. I have actually changed some things as people comment, so I take this communication to heart.

    Chapter 2 The Norman Conquest of Italy
     
    Last edited by NorseThing; December 22, 2017 at 06:38 PM.

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    NorseThing's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: random thoughts of a new member

    I was playing a new game of M2TW with the Lands to Conquer Mod. I started out as the Russians and had the expected Council Mission of taking Smolensk for some of the best units available. Okay. I took Smolensk. It was a easy mission. The Council reward? Nothing but 4 companies of spear militia! The best the council could reward me was with peasants and commoners! Argh! Immediately building of a training facility for cavarly was started even before the necessary roads and farming was improved. I was furious. Peasants and commoners as a reward for a mission!

    I saw this was an odd reaction. This was not my usual reaction. I think writing some AAR episodes has changed my thinking a bit. I also find myself thinking more about what the kingdom needs to build in the settlements generally when an open build slot is available as opposed to my normal thinking about what I as player will do for my punch list. I also found it interesting that I stated out to seige Smolensk. I knew if I waited, that there would eventually be docks finished at the capital. But I did not wait. I assaulted Smolensk. Why wait when I knew I could take it and take it quickly.

    So -- I was so tied up as the King that I stopped thinking as a player moving chess pieces on a game board. What I am saying -- I think that simply writing a bit about the game as a character changes your appreciation on how you approach the game. Now I would not suggest multiple AAR's being published, but maybe just for your own purposes, there is a benefit to writing as you play to more closely immerse yourself into the game. Or perhaps simply think as if you were writing an AAR as you play through a scenario or a short campaign.

    Well that is a short post to start off the new year. I would write more here, but I need to get back to Russia. The poor Prince Vlad is stuck in Riga waiting for the resources to build a small town wall. He is getting impatiant. This is not what a prince of the Russians should be doing with hiis time. I see the docks are finished, Time to launch a few ship keels. Build an empire! Get the cossacks mobile. On to Moscow!!! On to Stockholm!!!!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: random thoughts of a new member


    Variations on a Theme


    I have wondered how many variations of a theme are available to create Total War After Action Reports. I know that it is finite but a very large number. This blog post is a bit like a composer or a chess player would deal with the question. So like the great music composers or great chess players, we are writing variations of a theme each time we play a Total War game. It need not be the same game or even the same modifications of the game, but it is still variations of a theme.
     
    I have been writing some chapters to an After Action Report (AAR) that are mere snippets of many games with sometime an entire chapter taking place over only one turn! Of course you can look at Tales After the Crusade - a collection of shorter tales or better look in the After Action Reports for even more variations on a theme. I have tried to make my AAR chapters to be rich with as much detail as I can fill them. Much of the detail comes from the game itself based upon what has actually happened in that variation of the theme being played out. Even the character developement is driven from the information on the cards and on the character interactions within the game.

    This has made me so much more aware of what many fans and modders have referred to as the "immersive aspects of the game". Things that I never paid attenttion to a year ago are now keeping me fascinated and very entertained. Yes, it is all variations on a theme and it is great!
     
    I have played all the factions over a very long period of time. I have completed a few (very few, I might add) long compaigns, but I have completed the short campaign with every faction using the Lands to Conquor modification and the basic unmodified game. Until I began writing an After Action Report, I did not appreciation the beauty of the variation of themes aspect of play.
     
    I find that the short campaign gives me, as a player, more time to complete the campaign conditions. But the Short Campaign is not neccesary to appreciate the beauty of the variations a theme. Just save the game at any point and try out a few differing decisions at that point in the game. Any point is sufficient. Every point can be a departure for variations of a theme.
     
    I admit to one advantage of the Short Campaign is just psychological in my personal approach to the game. For me, this allows the player to deal with many of the historic complications without feeling the need to rush and bowl over every computer faction as they are met. My short campaign can still often last for over 100 turns and sometimes are never completed. A few have exceeded the game time allotment, but I was having fun! It is important to play well, if that is a priority, but that does not mean a need to play fast or better than the next guy with their version of play. We all place some retrictions on what is allowed and discouraged in the play of the game since the human player is still playing a more or less solitaire game by their 'own' rules.
     
    The human player can ally with his neighbors. Even if the victory conditions are that one or more of the adjacent factions must be destoyed to complete the victory conditions. Remember it does not state the human play must destroy the factions, only that the factions must be destroyed in the course of playing the campaign. You as the human player can be a loyal ally and support the adjacent computer faction. It does make it a bit more interesting and bit more of a challange. If you are a good enough ally, perhaps you will not even complete the condition to 'win' the short campaign.
     
    For example, in Med2TW, as Portugal you can meet your short campaign victory conditions of 15 territories and the elimination of Spain and the Moors without ever going to war with either Spain or the Moors. The same is true for all factions and is true for the many modifications of Med2TW.
     
    In the recent AAR chapter, I am playing as Denmark. There was a comment about the religious unrest that I found while playing. It was not the way I had ever played the faction previously before looking for variations of a theme for the AAR. I was just as surprised at what happens in a region not of the faction's religion when you convert a small wooden castle or a motte & bailey into the citiy line. No mass of church building and no small army of priests to convert the masses were used and it resulted in the death of the faction leader. Interesting stuff. Variations on a theme!
     
    Look at the garrision effect of public order under settlement details before and after the conversion. You will discover the dramtic affect of the difference between the city and castle lines to hold order in a region. I included this in my AAR. It is important in how you would approach the game and no choice is a bad choice unless your goal in play is to be a machine playing just to mow down the opposition as efficiently as possibble. Conquor the entire map well before time runs out! Compare with others or to your previous games on how fast you can achieve the goal. I admit to not having the appeal for this tactic or style in the play, but I know others find it both a challange and entertaining to do so.
     
    The mowing down can be bit akin to playing a computer based solitaire game and comparing the record to perhaps a previous dozens of games with a score. The current game score is better, great. Victory. The current game score is not one of the best, so how can I improve it? Some even go so far as to instruct others with Youtube.com on how to destroy the opposition quickly and efficiently as the goal of the game. The best have many followers and I admit to watching from the sidelines.
     
    I know the ultimate goal of war in real life is to win and for the other guy(s) to lose. But this is by necessity the only goal for the play of a Total War game. I am entertained. I am not being critical here. We are differant on how we approach this for entertainment. Perhaps my my choice of words reveals a bit of my bias on how I approach the game. I am suggesting another way that might also be enjoyable.
     
    I will have to admit to being a better player without using the autoresolve. I can now see much more possabilities by writing the details of the battles after actually playing through the battles. I will often play through variations of a theme with a single battle and see how the tactics change the results. The results of a battle are not just win or lose and by how much though. It may be the addition of characteristics that add to chivalry or dread. It can be the effects of sacking a settlement of occupation. It can be the result of dealing with a tatical or even a strategic loss.
     
    I will admit my experimentation has not often been extermination of a settlement, but then that is simply more variations of a theme that are yet to be explored. These variotions of a theme may take decades in game time to see the effects of a decision. Maybe a battle costs a general the chance to become an heir or perhaps a key marriage may make an adoption likely to become the next heir. These are great features to make a great AAR. They are even better features if you are entertained by the results in your play of the game though. Again, it is really variations on a theme.
     
    One variation that have not yet tried is to play multiplayer as several factions. I think there can be a great potential for an AAR here as well. So, I urge all members reading this blog to try variations of a theme in your play of a game of TW. Just like a composer of music, you too can recreate wonderful variations of a beautiful theme.
    Last edited by NorseThing; September 15, 2018 at 07:59 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Blogging the After Action Reports

    Yes, this is another blog post related to After Action Reports and the play of Medieval II Total War. Today I am focusing on what little I know I do not know about Stainless Steel. This blog post may seem like a single post AAR, but it is filled with a great many unanswered questions regarding tactics and strategy with the Stainless 6.4 modification. Maybe I should have started a thread in the Medival II Strategy and Tactics forum instead of this blog post. I thought each needs more activity, this time the blogs won out.
     
    I dropped the Bug Fix modification a bit ago. My first and only attempt at modification to fix what I thought were erroneous aeshetic effects such as error messages on the campaign screen. In the process I lost my Stainless Steel saved games. My stupidity can at times be frustrating when it comes to computers and programs. In any case I can be honest when I state that I have nothing but admiration for those who have succeeded in making effective and useful changes in the computer code. That is why my chapters in the Tales after the Crusade regarding the Sicilians have been quietly awaiting more posts and why the next chapters were focused on the Lands to Conquor modification. I do intend to head back and complete the Sicilian chapters though.
     
    I have finally stopped (for the time being) studying the ins and outs of Medieval II Total War with the Stainless Steel 6.4 modification I was trying to learn why some of the modification bits were consideered an improvement over the basic game and also over the other but older modifications. The map and more factions were obvious, but I did want to learn a bit more. I had been looking, reading, and enjoying some of the older threads. In particular, there were the threads by Mega Tortas de Bodemloze and an aggregation of contributors incorporated into the opening threads:
    Stainless Steel Standards: Campaign Bible {strategy guide for SS6.2 & older versions}
    Stainless Steel Standards 6.3 Player Resource Listing & Campaign Guide

    These threads are located in Guides & Resources which has only 4 pages of index links. Check them all out. This is time well spent lurking into the past.
     
    His style of writing is entertaining. His enthusiasm is contagious. I can only imagine how exciting it was the read these threads as they grew and developed into what one member termed Mega's rep farm about 8 years ago. These and other threads are worth a first read and even a reread by our members. I still have many unanswered questions, but I am now excited to start out a new short campaign with France.
     
    France seems so weak in the beginning without the stone castle infrastructure and without the potential wealth of trade via ports in both the north and the south. In the basic game, France was almost completely landlocked, but in Stainless Steel landlocked is also combined with the population levels need to build the ports for a grand conspiracy to delay sea trade. Toulouse now being a rebel held settlement with a great garrison did not help matters either.
     
    All the factions start out with the weak units, but the units seem specially suited for defense of walled settlements such as towns and wooden castles. The glory of the Italians their with stone walls is but a dream for the French. As Mega's threads discussed, keep the taxes low to speed the growth of the towns for the minor cities. You will need the stone walls. Except for Paris, they are more than a couple dozen turns in the future. Effective defense will obviously need to be in the field if war does indeed come. Then the alternative is also long into the future which is the French cavalry.
     
    Lacking the chivalry bonuses, you need to use the King and the heir as growth bonuses. But where to use them? Paris seems a good choice as the most populous of the town line settlements. But is there another good choice. Louis starts out in Rheims which is the second most populous town, but Bordeaux is a castle but a few turns away. With the titles that come with the end of the first turn, I though it best to keep all the generals in place and to see how it all worked out. I did not seem to find a better fit for the Prince. He started as Louis the Lazy and keeping him in Rheims may have been one of my many errors during the early turns of the campaign. I may need to try and get him on the move from the first campaign turn and see if that improves his attributes.
     
    I still have not found a real use for the logging camps. Florins in the hand are valuable so even the small cost of 800 florins does not seem to be a good move. I see more value with the stone mason's hut. Then, if I were to be designing this from the ground up I would place options that may be a mistake for most factions even to distract from the goals at hand. In any case, I did invest in some of the logging camps despite my missgivings. I think there may be some value if early investment is made in settlements that will be converted from a wooden castle to a small town.
     
    I did start an early Crusade against Silves. I thought of all the potential options and the immediate advantages to France (advantages for the Papal authority in Rome was not a conscern). The Moors were the most practical for an early Crusade for France. Of course this did mean the fall of Jerusalem on or a bit after the 20th turn.
     
    The French king took on the honor of leading the Crusade with also another general (not a family member). With so few family members, it seemed wisest to not put too many eggs into a single basket early in the campaign. Portugal was not a participant in the Crusade but they were the faction that succeeded in taking Silves. Not a surprise to me, really. Of course a great many Catholic factions were now at war with the Moors and I was hoping that may prove to be a good distraction for the Catholic factions near to the territories of the French. Turmoil in the peninsula was what I was mostly wanting as an outcome of this Crusade. After the Crusade ended with the French king and the army so close to their goal but not close enough, a decision needed to be made. The French army was bloated with Crusading units that were added on. The army, including those troops, were now a drag on the florins in the treasury.
     
    In addition with now not so free of upkeep of this royal army, Paris was now suffering the plague. It was fortunate that the minor city walls were cued up just prior to losing population by disease. A family member was in Paris at the time. I could only hope for the best.
     
    I split the cavalry off from the foot units in the ex-Crusade army and they headed with the King to be followed by the other family member and the mixed army of mercanaries, archers, and militia units. I thought it best to divide the army and hope for the best. The penninsula is quite big in the modified map that SS6.4 uses.
     
    Luck would have it that the Moors asked to cease the hostilities. The French may have been the biggest threat to the Moors. Also the French had not come to blows with the Moors, yet. And probably more important for the Moors, the French were not adjacant to Moorish territory. I am not certain if the adjacentcy issue had anything to do with the offer though. I thought there should still be some profit in this for the French and asked for Valencia (a stone castle). This could be useful if the price was right despite having the Aragonese between the castle and the other French controlled settlements. I paid 10,000 florins up front and 15,000 over time. In the basic game, this would have been a poor decision. In SS6.4, it may also have been a poor decision. The French king and the ex-Crusade army then proceeded to head toward Valencia while keeping within Moorish territory. No need to offend my Leonese ally with the inursion of their territory as the Crusading army returns home. The new castle had only some peasants and a spear for the garrison upon the transfer. I did like the idea on recruiting some javalins though I would have preferred archers in the garrision. In any case, the castle needed repairs, but the stables and the garrison quarters are what I had, so.... I do not know if I was fortunate or simply this is what hapens when the computer faction wants a ceasefire, but no Moorish double cross as I headed by foot toward the castle. It was tense though it was perhaps all in my imagination.
     
    Now with Valencia as a French domain, I was even more concerned about Genoa. The Genoese were already in Toulouse upon a long but successful seige and were now beseiging Lyon in Burgandy. I saw this as an opportunity and struck at the beseiging force with my small and very week army on the border with the Germans. Victory meant a new seige on Lyon by the French. A new war was now hot and active. Bordeaux with some mercanaries then took on the Genoese in Toulouse. Again, the French were lucky as the most of the Toulouse garrison left as the Bordeaux army approached. Another easy win to chalk up to the vageries of the computer program for the computer contolled factions. Not surpising, but a bit of a disappointnment at the same time.
     
    A stall for some rebuilding and recruitment while the seige of Lyon was reinforced from Rheims with spear militia with the second level blacksmith armour upgrades. I had never been much of a fan of the armour buildings in the town line, but I think it essential for all the settlements as weak as the French start out relative to their neighbors. I duppodr only s fw need to upgrade the armour building line and then we do the grand shuffle of units. I am lazy so i began the upgrades in all of the towns. With the success at Lyon, the next logical target was Marseille to remove the last of the Genoese expansion into what I view as needed French space to grow. Of course the Pope had other thoughts, but the loss of the Papal favor rating was not a real concern. I knew from reading that I should be patient and maintain a 9 point rating by building churches. So a drop from 9 to 8 is not a disaster that cannot be fixed with more churches and recruiting more of the priests while taking it slow.
     
    So it is now turn 23 and the French army is poised on the frontier with Genoa. Cash is a bit thin since Paris still has a local plague problem. I was following the advice from Mega Tortas de Bodemloze's threads and was keeping the taxes on low where possible. This is not something I was used to doing with the basic Medieval II or the Lands to Conquor modification. It seems to be good advice. I will need to go back and play a bit with it outside of the SS6.4 and see if it is good for my other play options.
     
    Questions raised or implied in the blog post:
     
    1) I still have not found a real use for the logging camps.
     
    2) The Prince starts as Louis the Lazy. Is keeping him in Rheims one of my many errors during the early turns of the campaign? How can I improve my heir's attributes as an administrator and as the future leader for France specific to SS6.4? I was never as concerned when things moved quickly, but the slower pace seems designed into the modification.
     
    3) Does the adjacency issue have anything to do with the offer of ceasefire specific for the SS6.4 or the sister earlier versions of SS?
     
    4) Did I overpay for Valencia or would it have been better to simply rampage with the Crusade army and fight toward home French territory by conquest? (by the way: the army was the King, a general, 5 spearmen / spear militia, 2 levy archers, a Bretan Light Cavalry, and a Mounted Sergeant before adding the Crusading units 3 Sergeants, a Foot Knight, and 2 Knights) Quite an investment for turn 10 - was it a good idea to accept a ceasefire? I only started the war with Genoa because I had these units available and moving toward Marseille. I hesitate to ever fight a two front war when feasible to do so.
     
    5) Since Genoa is a faction to be eliminated for the short campaign victory conditions, was it too early to start the war once the Crusade ended.

    Other miscellaneous questions:
     
    6) Speaking potential enemies I may have over allied the French with England and HRE initally and a marriage alliance with Poland (resulting in 'trouble at home' for Prince Louis the Lazy). Then France allied with the Papal States preparing for the Crusade. (Call it roll play, but it might have made it possible for the ope to call the Crusade on the Moors. I do not know.) And then Leon's alliance during the Crusade for a trade of maps so I was not marching completely blind. And then Venice on a Council Mission of initiating diplomacy after the war with Genoa begain. This is all contray to what I read with Mega's thread suggestions other than the alliance with England, the HRE, and the Papal States.
     
    7) Mega's suggestion of not building the spy line but wait for the rebel and computer faction settlements to supply the line was not followed. The bump in the wooden castle settlements with the brothel build was too tempting. Should I have followed the advice in the threads?
     
    8) Too many wooden castles? I am used to the 1:3 ratio of the basic game, but it seems the income potential in the early game is not a great problem with a differant ratio. I may find this assumption is wrong to my misfortune. Should I complete the stone castles at Angers, Bordeaux and Antwerp or convert some earlier for the growth gain from the town line? The recent acquisitions of Valencia and Toulouse (both stone castles which is what my concern was for the lack of the stone castles in the north) and the wooden castle at Lyon makes 6 in the castle line. So now by turn 23, France controls 6 castle and 6 town line settlements. The Germans (and the English at Caen in Normandy) are French allies for the moment, but hold Bern and Metz plus whatever farther east an their original holdings. Potential and probable enemies are all around in any case. Should some have already been converted to the town line as small towns? Should some be safely converted now? If not now, when?
     
    9) I am not certain that the auto watch tower placements in the settlements is a good idea. It would seem more of a help for the computer factions. That may be the intention. In any case, in the early game turns, the periodic movment of the administrative generals out of the towns is probably a good idea and setting the towers gives them a purpose for making the moves.
     
    With or without good answers, I do intend to see this through for the short campaign. Some of these questions are rhetorical so I have a record that I can look back on after a few months. There will be much to learn in any event. Observations, suggestions, and comments are always appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog!

  12. #12
    NorseThing's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Blogging the After Action Reports

    Back again. This time a much shorter wait between the blog posts.

    I tried out the Lands to Conquer (LtC) modification again with the idea of keeping the taxes low as in the Stainless Steel (SS or SS6.4) modification. I do not think that can work. At least it cannot work directly with the French faction. In SS6.4, If you do nothing the first turn with France, you will gain 3666 florins for a balance 13666 florins. This would imply a combination of some lowering of taxes and some builds are possible from the start.  
    In LtC, the gain for doing nothing is much more modest. There is a mere gain of 416 florins for a projected balance of 8416 florins. Any sort of combination of just lowering taxes and some sort of modest builds will be burning cash immediately.
     
    In the basic out of the box with no modifications campaign, France is already burning cash. The options for purchased expansion are more modest. I had never intended to do either a purchase option or lower taxes from the beginning.
     
    Now look at the starting province with the capital town of Paris. SS6.4 has a starting population of 4800 with 9500 for the next settlement level and a 4.5% growth rate. In LtC, the starting population is lower at 3800 with a greater 10500 needed for the next level and 3.5% growth rate which is less than the SS6.4. A steeper hill so to speak with Paris for upgrading to the next level in LtC and more money (it appears) in the game with SS6.4. Thus the lower tax rates appear to work better with the SS6.4 modification. The basic unmodified game has Paris with the same starting population but needing only 6000 for the next level and a growth rate of 4.5%. So lower taxes could be an option, but only after the starting cash burn is under control. So there is a link to the SS6.4 tactics.

    As I recall from prior play with LtC, it was essential to broaden the tax base with expansion of territory. In LtC, it is easier to gain settlements early in the campaign by marriage alliance. I would usually go for a simple trade alliance with the English and purchase Angers via tribute. I would look for a marriage alliance with the German princess (or Constance with the German heir, if I must do so) combined with a trade treaty for Marseille. Of course in the original game the computer factions were also more willing to sell provinces for annual tribute during the first turns as well. This is more difficult (at least for my style of play) in SS6.4. So here it seems there is more of a link between the original game and LtC.
     
    Of course there are many improvements in the SS modifications. The overall effect seems to be a better mod I note that the map topography is a great improvement with a special note on the access in and out of the Italian peninsula and more factions in the east on the map edge. Both of these change the game in dramatic ways.
     
    First, the Italian access is more limited by the mountains and the more traditional access along the coast and by the sea is more important. Regarding the east map edge, the Catholic and the Orthodox factions cannot simply expand to the east absorbing only rebel provinces without fear until the Mongol hordes arrive. Now there are the additional steppe factions pushing west from the first turn of the campaign. This makes the decisions regarding direction of growth much more realistic.
     
    So I wonder. If what I see on first glance is true for the game, why did the SS modification put more money into the campaign compared to LtC? It was not because LtC was not playable. I see the merit of giving the human player a better set of options regarding the tax levels, but I am not persuaded that would have been a driving motivation since it appears that option was in the basic game and taken away with the LtC modification.
     
    I have learned to appreciate the population gains within the existing provinces. At least selective use of the tax rates in the basic game is now in my repertoire. Quickly with just the effect of low taxes in only Paris, France has the largest population among the Catholic factions. Through population comes income and that does indeed support the military and production needed to win a campaign.
    Last edited by NorseThing; September 19, 2018 at 06:04 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Blogging the After Action Reports

    This is the first and possably the only guest visitor to my Blog. Cookiegod had made a few responses to me via private mail regarding my recent posts. I learned a few things and confirmed some others. It was well worth my time. Cookiegod agreed to let me post a bit of the conversation. I think we all can learn some from the correspondance.

    Cookiegod pm message: I read your recent blog post about you experimenting on taxation in M2TW, and wanted to give you some feedback:


    I learned to appreciate population gain in my hotseat. The fact that I didn't do it right from the start led to some provinces lagging behind in development for the rest of the game.
    Upgrading them as quickly as possible to the highest possible level (metropolis/citadel) is a huge advantage, especially when playing with a limited amount of provinces, or when playing versus humans.


    The proper way to tax is to keep the taxes always at a minimum, until a building is almost built (1 round left). You need to put the taxation level on very high for that round, so that your governors traits don't suffer. His governing skills are updated every time a building finishes construction. If you have your taxes on low, he'll likely get the bad with taxes trait, leading to lower income, which can be very painful in the long run. If you put them on very high, you get the "good with taxes" trait, leading to higher income.


    NorseThing blog comment: That was his first post. I have to admit that I do not have it 'right ' yet, but I had not even considered the governing skills. If they are only updated with the completion of construction, then I need to start watching more carefully on even building roads. Now for his second private message.
     
    Cookiegod pm message: You also need to keep in mind that taxation is only one of the ways to increase growth, the chivalry of your governor being the most overlooked one. You can create specific character builds and work at having some very chivalrous characters for governing and some specialised on warfare. That also increases the roleplay aspect of the game.


    I also tend to gain characters who are very good at construction for lower cost, and I tend, generally speaking, to send my family members/generals around from town to town, and those who are good at construction, fill up the building queue. Not only does it optimise your game, it is also historic, as no ruler with a somewhat large fief remained stationary until very very late in the medieval ages, and instead they ruled by traveling through their realm incessantly.


    So yeah, it's good to not just blob but to build up your realm. It makes the game a tiny bit harder if you play more defensively, but also gives you access to the high-quality troops sooner that makes the game even more enjoyable, and you identify with your provinces much more.
     
    The AI tends to build up their provinces very well because of cheating, so you are not gaining an advantage by doing it efficiently.
     
    NorseThing blog comment: That is a good point about growth. Even in the single player campaigns, it is important to produce the higher quality troops. If not beating the computer to the punch, at least make a concerted effort to out produce the better troops when the opportunity presents itself. I am not as certain about the cheating as Cookiegod seems to be though. I believe it is simply that we do not understand completely how to use the information we have at hand. So what about human players? Can they also 'cheat' without the others knowing? I know that removal of the fog of war makes things clearer. When I was first learning, this was a standard 'cheat' to learn the game. I think there are times we all cheat or perhaps take advantage of the programing a bit as well, but I might be overly suspicious. Like with the computer, I think we just are not reading the information to the fullest. In any case here is the third private message he sent back to me.
     
    Cookiegod pm message: Yeah, but I mentioned hotseats more because it's where I learned it. And it's not always the case there, because most of the time you simply put the taxation on high and focus on expansion asap.
     
    I didn't learn it immediately and some of my settlements lagged behind because of that, but I became so efficient that I dominated the rest, even though I only stuck to 9 provinces, handed all other conquests away, and even though others had more provinces.
     
    I'm the green one, and my decrease is due to me disarming after roflstomping Egypt, even though it had more provinces than I did.
     
    And yet I'm still twice as strong as the next one and got compared to the USA.
     
    Thing is, I think I forgot to mention that my response was to several of your questions at once:
    2) The Prince starts as Louis the Lazy. Is keeping him in Rheims one of my many errors during the early turns of the campaign? How can I improve my heir's attributes as an administrator and as the future leader for France specific to SS6.4? I was never as concerned when things moved quickly, but the slower pace seems designed into the modification.
     
    The answer is just that: Keep your taxation really low, then in the last round put them on very high. If you don't have the governor you need in that settlement, put the building, just before it's finished, a few slots behind in the building queue. Also: Try not to plunder or raze captured settlements.
     
    So to skill your Louis, send him around. He doesn't need to be around when building starts, but he needs to be there when it is about to finish.
     
    Send him to armies that are about to take settlements, let him take command. He doesn't need to be there when the siege commences, but he needs to be in charge when you take it and spare the population.
     
    I do it that way even in SP. I recently started playing the Abbasids in Broken Crescent again, last time was before I learned that lesson.
     
    Last time: Several of my settlements remained useless. For example the main castle one starts out with, Wasit.
     
    This time: I have several very chivalrous and skilled governors, the main castle is being upgraded right now to a fortress (quite early in the game), I have upgraded almost all my core settlements at least once. All of this quite early in the game.

    Through population comes income and that does indeed support the military and production needed to win a campaign. Oh and one more thing: The money gain through population increase directly is quite miniscule. Especially with regards to taxation. If I recall correctly and with regards to vanilla, you get like 250 taxation from a settlement with the minimum population, whereas in a huge city I think you get about 400. The more your settlement grows, the less the taxation profit increase becomes, eventually going to 0.

     
    Trade is where you get your money from, and you get that especially from buildings. Population is only important to reach the higher city levels. Once you've reached the highest one, you should simply put the taxation on very high and leave it there.
     
    Taxation is only good in early game. It later loses out to trade by a significant margin, but early game trade is almost nonexistent (though I can't speak for SS France).
     
    Mine income does not grow at all, except through upgrade of the mines themselves. It's static, and is the value of the mined resource (each one of them is counted individually, so if you have 2 silver and 1 gold it's going to count 2 the silver twice), multiplied with a constant and then again multiplied with the level of the mines.
     
    This is why there are some provinces in Vanilla where building mines makes no sense at all, since it just has one worthless but mineable resource. Paradoxically, mines don't add to trade output either.
     
    And since I'm here, I might mention the last trade resource as well: Farming is semistatic, it fuctuates around a fixed number, simulating the good and bad years one might have.
     
    Trade is king even in Vanilla, and most mods I know of enhanced that effect. You are correct about that. I don't remember the exact way these were calculated, but I'm pretty sure buildlings had a much bigger role than population. Which is why I immediately switched to very high taxation as soon as I'd reached the highest settlement value. I can look the details up if you like, provided I find them, of course. Right now it's just my memory from 2 years ago.
     
    One useless fact I remember was that the income from import was 1/5th of export. So if you have one province taxing 100 coins worth of weed imports, the exporting province would tax 500 coins on the same ware.
     
    A similar number also goes for merchants, the country that owns the resource they stand on gain as well, though less than the country that owns the merchants does. I remember that, because I forced about a dozen foreign merchants that had intended to travel through my land to stay there on my worthless resources as I blocked all the roads with troops, whilst I snatched up the good goods, making sure I profited and trolled twice. ^^
     
    NorseThing blog comment: That was a great set of messages. I learned quite a bit. I am going to share this on my blog. I hope others can read this and learn a bit as well. So these were the messages I recieved from Cookiegod. A pleasing set of discussions with a player that has learned a bit about Medieval II Total War while participating in the multiplayer games. I guess when I get a bit better and not to embarass myself too much, I may need to give mulitplayer a try. I think the Curia has some debates ongoing to help recognize the contributions of the people that make the Gaming Staff's job a bit easier to accomplish. To be honest, I am not at all familiar with all they do, but TW Hotseat Campaigns might be a good place to start. I suggest you check out the CVRIA threads: [Amendment] Gaming Community Badge Act and [Decision] Gaming Service Shield (Medal) as well.

    Once again, thank you cookiegod for the help!
     
    Well, that is all for this blog post. Until next time, keep playing Total War. I know I will!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Blogging the After Action Reports

    It has been a bit cold recently, so I must catch up on a great deal from the several days away from TWC. I thought one place to catch up is with y fellow members on my blog.


    Getting back into a new game of Medieval II has been like opening a new game. Part of this is because of some discussions on flanking in V&V (Why was flanking so effective?). I took much of the discussion as great reading. For the purpose of my game play, I think the tactical flanking was more important immediately. The strategic flanking is much harder to accomplish in the play of Medieval II. At least it is harder for me to see how to accomplish strategic flanking. Of course, I am referring to the Battle Map.


    Part of this is because my previous settings were not probably the best for a playing experience. My camera was too high. Yes looking at the strategic map is like looking at a chess board. This was true from the first game of Shogun I played. I was also influence by the YouTube "let's Play style of video where a high angle is needed to see all the action. I missed that this is not the best viewing angle in the play on the battle map. I simply thought to play the game as I was viewing other playing the game.


    However the battle map should not be like playing on a chess board. With the lowest angle setting, the battle map appears much larger. Also, you cannot see everything since a line of sight is now limited by the hills and gulleys.


    I also noticed a distinct difference in the sounds when up close to the units. You can hear the wooden ladders being set against the stone castle walls. You hear the men pushing the ram forward. You hear the archers releasing a volley of arrows. You hear impacts. You see better the animations of men and horses when moving fast or slow. Even a company defeating the last man of an enemy unit celebrates. It is not just the celebration at the end of the battle, but that is also impressive animations when viewed up close.


    I am certain this will make for more interesting written narratives of an After Action Report. Attention to detail is important for inspiration (well at least for my writing).


    I also think keeping the angle low means you are more limited in what to order as the commander. Even a cavalry charge that turns into a melee is chaotic. When to withdraw the cavalry is as important as when to order the formation forward to charge. You can also see that the enemy is much more likely to use the wedge formation. The wedge has a purpose, but the enemy bodyguard usually has the commander on the point. This is bad for the enemy commander. Something I did not notice until I was using the low viewing angle.


    I did try and use some of this in my recent post in the Alfonso Papers by keeping the screenshots at the low angle (http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showt...1#post15736519) and only using those pictures that helped to explain the narrative. In the case of the Moors Cavalry charge over the bride, watching the charge actually helped write the tale. You could see the computer ordered charge was broken before they had crossed the bridge and thus the charge lost effect. Perhaps this was due to the wedge formation. Perhaps this is what saved the Spanish. Perhaps not. But it did add to the experience of the battle and did add to the narrative of the AAR.

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