Feedback and questions for other players
I’ll post early release feedback here later on, once I get my thoughts together. Right now I don’t have a whole lot to offer. I picked it up like an hour ago so still trying to get my head around stuff. I posted some initial thoughts on the steam page but they way steam forums are it probably will get burried so seemed easier to start a discussion here.
Aside from GUI stuff which I expected to be a bit of headache (since I knew it would be new, at least compared to what I’m used to) the main thing that stood out for me from an Online play perspective is not having a general chat function.
I can understand not having a massive all-user lobby with a couple hundred trolls tearing down the house on launch day, but I definitely expected to be able to talk to peeps once the game was launched. Ideally when joining a created game before launching it, but certainly once it was launched.
I recall reading something about exchanging notes between teammates but I couldn’t figure that out. In any case just having a chat by team isn’t enough anyway, everyone needs the ability to communicate openly or you lose out on basicaly half the experience of playing. Not being able to talk to my opponent at all would feel very isolating for a game of this sort, and problematic for a whole host of reasons.
So anyhow that’s my first question, has anyone been able to send messages or notes in game and if so how? So far the only thing I saw was basically a way to flag a territory with a generic ‘defend here’ type flag that you could add text to for a notation. But it seemed limited to one per territory, and functionally doesn’t work for general communication in game. As a carrier pigeon it doesn’t do what I need it to do. Has anyone else figured this out yet?
A&A isn’t really like Risk or monopoly or a simple card game, where you can just catch a match with randoms on the fly (subbed in for an AI or whatever) and really expect it to work. Even for experts who spend most of their game silently blasting through turns at warp speed, you invariably still need a way to talk at some point right?
It could be that I misunderstood the asynchronous design philosophy. I had figured it was basically going for a PBF/PBEM style of gameplay (which is great and very popular here clearly), but even in a Play by Forums game there is still an initial interaction/conversation between opponents when you set the thing up. Live play with a chat is more useful for newbs, because unlike many other types of games new players in A&A tend to lean on the experience of others in their play groups, and ask lots of questions. Even in PBF you might want to know for example whether a player has experience or at what level in order to try and set up an appropriate handicap.
Even if you’re not cut throat, and people are willing to play Allies without a bid, an inital conversation
may help to determine which person should take Axis. Whether you’re playing best 2 out of 3. If you want to try a restricted opening or whatever to try and make the challenge more fair for both teams etc. Or even if you’re just trying to figure out whether you actually want to play vs each other or would rather wait to play with someone else. Its kind of a commitment after all, since games can take hours or days sometimes.
I haven’t played a PVP game yet, but I wanted to offer my take on the tutorial and the Vs. AI modes.
Hopped in today. Game is going for a certain aesthetic. I’m not big on it as I prefer minimalist designs, but I can live with it. The UI is cumbersome and overdone, but that’s not an issue for the most part as I can disable the animations and mute the music/SFX via the options menu. So far so good.
That’s where the nitpicks start for the UI, though.
The lines each unit leave behind to indicate that they’re advancing from point A to point B can cause a fair bit of clutter. This is especially painful on turn 1 for countries with denser initial setups, like Germany and USSR. At multiple points I ended up accidentally not moving a Fighter simply because I though that I’d already moved it. TripleA handles this by actually having the units move into the territory you’re trying to attack, instead of awkwardly hovering halfway between the origin territory and the target like this game does.
At the start of each new game phase, the camera warps back to the maximum zoom setting. I play the game zoomed out as far as I can by default, so needing to zoom back out for each and every phase of my turn was frustrating.
I can’t select multiple units from a territory at once when trying to move them. It’s time-consuming to have to click on a unit and then click the target territory for that unit multiple times until I clear out the stack. I was trying to finish off Moscow G4 with a 12 INF/13 TANK stack and it took me almost 90 seconds to get the battle setup. In TripleA I just have to shift+click West Russia and then click Moscow and boom, done.
Transports feel a bit clunky as well. First you have to click the transport you intend to load, then click on any units in any adjacent territories you want to load on the transport, then click on the destination for the transport, then click on the unload target. If you accidentally click on any other unit during this process you have to start over. It’s irritating. Additionally, you can’t click on a land unit then click on the transport. You have to click the transport first. It’s slightly counter-intuitive, but that’s probably just my years of reflexes from playing TripleA getting to me.
That’s it for UI nitpicks, but I’d also like to add that the game takes a while to play out. Can’t really put my finger on why, but everything just feels “slow”. I know I’m not exactly being descriptive here, so I’m sorry about that.
The tutorial mode was fine, loved the thick British Accent on the commander guy. It really needs sections on Naval Combat, Strategic Bombing, and Naval Bombardment, though.
The AI is complete crap (I could use more colorful language but that’d be rude) at the game. I was able to beat it as Allies on turn 5. Yes, I won 42SE as Allies with no bid on turn 5 (for reference, I’m not the greatest A&A player out there, and the TripleA Hard AI actually gives me a pretty rough go of things on 42SE no bid if I take Allies). The Germans attack into bad situations in a desperate bid to take VCs (Leningrad in particular), and the Japanese fail completely at taking out the initial British Fleet and have a tendency to hang their fleet. The AI just kind of sucks at naval combat in-general. When I was playing as Axis, the USN let my starting Submarines basically roam the board and snipe all of their transports without even trying to stop them. One turn they even built 3 Transports right next to my submarines with 0 cover.
Other than that, the game’s functional, and an accurate simulation of 42SE. Only issue I can see are the general balance issues for 42SE that have been talked to death already. Would appreciate it if the 42.3 balance patch was implemented and included as an alternate setup. It shouldn’t take too much effort, as it’s the exact same map and starting territories as the base game, just with different units assigned to each territory.
Super happy to finally be playing this. Hoping to play some PVP tomorrow and provide more feedback.
I’ll also be posting this on Steam to try to get discussion going.
@DoManMacgee Are there any particular things that you feel it does well or better than TripleA?
DoMan seems to match my experience. I think I saw you earlier Online but couldn’t load in.
I started a thread over there at steam too:
Right now the main thing it has going for it is I guess the sense of immersion, but that is achieved mainly by a succession of mini cut scenes or animations, which as noted above you kind of just want to turn off ASAP soon as you’ve seen it a few times, so you can get along with actually playing. It does have a more self contained feel to it than does tripleA, lots of screens similar I guess to Iron Blitz, but for functionality it has a ways to go in my view.
Thanks for the feedback! We’re reading and listening.
@redrum The Dice Server/RNG isn’t a total crapshoot like TripleA’s can be sometimes. As in, I don’t walk into a big naval battle, get 0 hits on offense, and get hit on 7/7 enemy destroyer rolls.
That, and the graphics are pretty if you’re enthusiastic about a 1940s-esque aesthetic.
@DoManMacgee Well, my guess is you just haven’t played enough yet to get an unlucky battle as I’m sure the RNG has very similar implementations
@redrum That’s fair. I’ve only played about 3 rounds of AAO where I’ve probably played hundreds of rounds of TripleA over the years.
That, and with AI delay at like 10ms I can speed through a 5 round solitaire game Vs. AI in like 45 minutes. Takes a lot longer in AAO currently (first game with all animations on took about 2.5 hours to play 4 rounds, second two games with all animations off and a better grasp on the UI took about 1.5 hours to play).
One thing that Axis and Allies Online does that TripleA doesn’t is to enforce a strict separation between the combat movement phase and the non combat movement phase. This is a bit of a double edged sword in my view.
On the one hand many players there don’t necessarily understand the ruleset they are playing under, or might be returning from Classic or Iron Blitz with no experience of the newer maps, so I’m not sure I would trust anyone to player enforce stuff where a rules violation might occur. In that sense the stict separation between combat move and non com is probably a good thing for learning and rules clarity (no bad habits to pick up.) On the other hand it does feel slower and a little strange coming to it from TripleA, which allows for non combat movement to occur during the combat phase, primarily for speed of play.
So in the case of 1942.2 in tripleA it may be possible for players to make certain illegal moves without realizing. Simple example might be an air attack requiring a specific carrier movement during non com, but where the carrier has already noncom moved to a different location in the combat phase. This might require an edit in tripleA. Another illegal move one might make in tripleA without realizing it, is to load 2 inf units onto a transport during the combat phase, but then only unload one of them for an amphibious assault, leaving the other on board as a floater. According to the manual both inf units would have to unload for the move to be legal.
So there’s that I guess, but in other areas its really hard to make a comparison because many core features of TripleA are still absent. A basic lobby or chat, a way to export or view saved games, an editor, handicapping via bid, tools like a battlecalc, alternative playstyles like LL. So it really has a long way to go before it could support anything like a Tournament. I’m hopeful the devs take a close look at what’s out there to chart their plan for future development.
Right now the primary feedback for bugs or suggested features and the like is being submitted directly to the beamdog site. The primary user discussions are going on at Steam, which means most serious topics will likely be burried and pushed from view as those forums get inundated with quick Qs and random posts from newcommers. Steam forums aren’t separated by category or anything, so its hard to know how valuable it will be for development discussions, as more topics pile on. I’m hoping that eventually they bring it home to their own forums. Currently the best way to connect with others for a game seems to be via Discord, which has an A&AOnline chat room, set up by players.
Anyhow that’s where it’s at right now. I’ve been bombing those boards pretty hard for the past week so thought I’d stop back by here for an after action.
It’s nice that A&A is getting some new action. Seems as if it came out a little too soon from what I’ve read. The Beamdog people seem pretty cool, and that’s important imo. However, why would one do that when they can just triplea ? I understand the reason (Capitalism) why people need to be financially rewarded for their work and understand how the future can be better, but I’d probably just go triplea.
@Black_Elk All the credit is yours: https://steamcommunity.com/app/898920/discussions/0/1643170903490462635/
@Black_Elk Your point about discussion being buried in the steam community forums is a major part of why I’ve been copy/pasting my opinions/feedback here and on Steam. This forum has a smaller but more dedicated userbase, and recent posts bubble up to the top of the board, so the Beamdog Folks can see what I posted more easily.
Also holding out for the QoL updates that you mentioned, but I’m trying to stay on the optimistic side of things, since it’s still Early Access and Beamdog seems to be having enough trouble making the base game playable right now. Not much of a point in yelling about LL and chat features and replays when there’s still issues with the core A&A gameplay.
EDIT: Can’t access the Steam Community from work but I’m assuming there’s a new QoL update coming, @JuliusBorisovBeamdog ?
@DoManMacgee That is about no combat during T1 as a very good solution to “the game favors Axis”. As for the patch, we plan to release a big one today at 12pm PDT.
Right on haha. I will say it’s cool that someone other than me likes those ideas. Thanks Julius
But its also important to remember that when Greg was asking for guidance about the Tournaments from Larry, we did offer suggestions about starting income adjustment, turn order, or phase skipping alternatives, and these were all passed over in favor of a starting unit set up patch.
It’s all cool if people like my proposed solution, but I think if that’s all we get (with no bid or tournament patch) people will be rather disappointed, and justifiably so. Not least because they know that it was proposed as a workaround, not because of its already glowing popularity, although a workaround I happen to think might work pretty well. I’ve been trying for a while to come up with and popularize alternative solutions to the standard bid, but it’s pretty hard. The bid does things many enjoy, even if it falls short in others areas, it’s still the go to. Most people commenting in here were also participating in that conversation, so a lot of what we’re talking about now is a re-hash for Beamdogs benefit. As to the Tournament patch itself, there is a thread ongoing in the 1942 sec ed section with some discussions about the pros and cons there. It’s also important to recall that the patch was offered for a specific Tournament with fairly strict time limits, so whether its the best solution for the long form game is hard to say.
For myself, I didn’t really find the process of arriving at that tournament patch particularly inspiring or insightful from a design standpoint, because it kind of felt like Larry was just riffing and pulling stuff out the hat like “what about this? and this? and then stick the bomber in Ukraine. Go!” without providing a whole lot in the way of background thinking or thematic or historical justifications for the specific changes. I know there’s a depth of knowledge and design experience there that doesn’t really require further explanation and justification, but just felt kind of off the cuff.
I like a rationale for why changing the set up that dramatically would be fine for a tournament, but why having an official balancing or handicap system built-in to the base game isn’t something we have yet? Or like more of an explanation about what sorts of historical battles the first turn is trying to emulate in the patch or preserve from OOB, and how specific set up changes are meant to get closer or farther away from those. Still it was better than the base set up, so obviously I’ll take it haha. I just think it falls kind of short in terms of what A&A (and this map in particular) needs to be viable longer term. A hard set up change is among the least adaptive of long term solutions, since it just provides a stop gap really while people are try to figure out how the balance of the changed set up shakes out.
But what we need is some official balancing and handicap conventions built-in to the thing, that can change as the specific players change, or as the board gets older. The sort of stuff that would have its own section in the game manual, and it’s own tutorial or whatever. Otherwise the game is just kind of stuck for some. Its not like we’re perpetual malcontents over here, or trying to railroad the game into being just what we want, instead of what it actually is (even if it probably seems that way sometimes hehe). I love the game and want it to be something that stands the test of time, but the balance/bid thing always comes up with A&A boards, so we need an official type solution that is supported by the publisher.
ps. I wanted to post a link to the tournament patch discussion thread at harrisgamedesign, but something seems to be up with that website. Site is down with a bunch of weird text displaying over it in the google search. Has anyone visited that place in a while? Too bad if all those discussions got canned, because there was a lot of info in a lot of threads over there. I guess A&A org is the now the site of record?
“For myself, I didn’t really find the process of arriving at that tournament patch particularly inspiring or insightful from a design standpoint, because it kind of felt like Larry was just riffing and pulling stuff out the hat like “what about this? and this? and then stick the bomber in Ukraine. Go!” without providing a whole lot in the way of background thinking or thematic or historical justifications for the specific changes. I know there’s a depth of knowledge and design experience there that doesn’t really require further explanation and justification, but just felt kind of off the cuff.”
This why he makes the games and we play em. I’ve tried to make quite a few games and trying to make the perfect? Good luck.
The patch we have has made the tournament dynamic and fun again, at least. I enjoyed it again.
There is a link to what has been “web-archived”:
Only a fraction of the original content, unfortunately.
Luckily Larry’s setup modification is discussed here:
with the changes noted in the first posting of that thread:
@Black_Elk Let’s be real, 70% of this site just wants G40 and won’t accept/play anything else, not matter how balanced it is.
I argue that LHTR should be included as an alternative setup. Even give them different map names like “Spring 1942/Winter 1942” or something to differentiate them from one another. They can even have fun with it and write short historical writeups for each setup to set the tone. “Spring 42” can be marketed as taking place before the Axis majorly botched the war IRL (Stalingrad, Midway, etc.) to handwave the massive advantage they have in-game, and “Winter 1942” can be marketed as taking place in the middle of the Stalingrad battle to explain why Germany’s setup has them hanging a Bomber in Ukraine for no reason other than to cut Russia some slack. Just tossing out ideas.
The reason I’m clamoring for extra setups to be included is because it’s a perfectly reasonable stepping stone for getting some of the other maps included. 42 1st Edition, Revised and Classic are all relatively simple from a programming perspective compared to AA50/G40 (no NOs, no China rules, etc.) and more-or-less follow the same core rules engine as 42SE (aside from nitpicky things like SBR rules, AA Guns and the myriad of bizarre Classic rules that people on that forum have been arguing about lately).
This game is great so far but it has potential to be even greater.
Wow bummer. I guess I had just taken for granted that’d always be around. Now I wish I had visited those boards more over the past few. Is War Room just like newsletter stuff now?
Well anways, I do agree that more set ups would be cool. They are the easiest probably.
One reason I was frustrated with the tournament patch is because it kind of dispelled the notion that there is some proportionality or ratio between the starting units and historical starting forces for the start date. You know how people always say a unit isn’t just a unit but representing x, y, z as well, still some kind of correlation there. Or similarly that the units are where they are because battle such and such is meant to take place in the opener, because of the start date. Or really the frustration might have been just the number of changes or variables involved, whereas you could probably just pick one alteration and focus on how that changes stuff, while still preserving the earlier idea of correlation.
For example, if it said “well we really don’t want Pearl to happen on J1, or at least not without setting up a major TUV exchange with the US, because the start date is 1942. But people have found a way to game it with the Japan fighter in a way that wasn’t really anticipated, so we are going to give the US another destroyer.” That might be a big change right there to balance, but it’d just be on one dimension where it might be easier to parse out what the result will be. The tourney patch tweaked a lot more stuff. But I suppose once the notion is dispelled it does free up the idea, that units can be moved around and it doesn’t violate some really clear 1:1 for the OOB starting forces.
Alternative scenarios could be fun. If in addition to the tournament patch, maybe they just offered a couple riffs on different set ups. Still retaining the basic core rules of 1942.2 but with a few other start dates.
Winter 1942, would definitely be cool. Or Summer, nobody ever does summer hehe. Just stick like 3 scenarios up there with a couple different approaches and see how they pan out under testing.
Or maybe build the alternative simple scenarios around themes, or even around a particular unit type?
Naval expansion: like regular 1942 with more ships added to the starting unit set up to get something new going on.
Air expansion: similar deal but just with focusing on added air to the starting set up to get something new going.
Or I’d like to see a scenario where the production profile is changed somehow in a novel way. Like with a few 1 ipc starting factories or something to make peripheral areas of the map more significant. There are some fun spots it might be cool to try with that concept. I’d give 2 more starting factories to each player…
Russia: Evenki and Novosibirsk
Germany: Finland and Algeria
UK: Western Canada and Eastern Australia
Japan: Malaya and New Guinea
USA: Hawaii and Szechwan
Then just add a few unit tweaks and another start date, Summer 42 or whatever, let the players have fun with it for 6 months. Come out with another set up every year or so, and just see which ones are the most entertaining or well received using the 1942 ruleset. Just with more set ups like the tournament one that Larry did to kick it off, but maybe add in another couple others over time to mix it up. Veering off topic now I’m sure, but stuff like that seems like it would be simple. Maybe drag Larry out of retirement with Barbecue or something and see if he has some other ideas that would be fun to try out hehe. After everyone has had a run at the tournament 1942.3 game, just do it again the following year with another set up and keep it going that way, for the smaller scale board. I wouldn’t mind if we got like 5 editions out of 1942 in the end, each with something different going on. Or throwbacks, with Classic or Revised in there. I think AA50 would be killer. Global even better. But alternative 1942 set ups would be much faster to get up off the ground, using the same ruleset already in place for the base 1942 game.
@Black_Elk I do think they have plans for more maps and more games. But what you’re talking about requires modding to crowdsource the effort–letting the community open up the engine and see what it can do.
I don’t think that the licensed nature of this particular game would allow that. Once the engine is completely finished, it could be used for other similar games, as AAA has been. But, that may not be permitted.
Alternative setups can be fun but allowing user-generated custom maps poses a level of security vulnerability that I’m not sure the game needs right now. All it takes is one bad actor embedding a virus into a map file for this game to face even worse backlash than it’s already gotten.
@DoManMacgee The backlash is from alot of sad, sad folks who think that $18 is a fortune and expect early access games to be polished Activision-level products from day one.
@DoManMacgee The backlash is from alot of sad, sad folks who think that $18 is a fortune and expect early access games to be polished Activision-level products from day one.
I mean, you’re not wrong.
I don’t know, somehow this seemed fitting…
Saw it floating around as a meme in a nursing group of all places haha.
Recalled to mind the various A&A digital platforms that have come and gone. Maybe a cautionary lesson in there somewhere.
@Black_Elk There are many similar phenomenon, where people will avidly buy an item that has been “discounted” from $8 to $6.99, where they will not purchase the same item that has had a price increase from $5 to $5.99.
Finally managed to lose a game, bringing me to something like 5-1 overall. I take back my previous praise of the dice server. I got diced to a ridiculously unrealistic level on R1. I Lost the battle for W. Russia despite bringing literally everything
I played the game out for like 4 rounds because my opponent wasn’t the most skilled player out there, but obviously ended up losing Moscow by G4. Bah.
Of course I’m just miffed about my “perfect record” going down the tubes due to dice, but at least there’s no ranking system, so it’s whatever.
Zooming Issue still hasn’t been fixed, as an aside.
UPDATE: 6-1 now. Lots of people like “deleting their game” instead of surrendering. No idea why since there’s no actual ranking system, but to each their own. No idea why people are rage-quitting after like turn 2/3. Games aren’t usually decided until like turn 4/5 unless it’s a curb-stomp (which none of my games have really been yet, save the one I lost).