EMPIRES - SUPPLY RULES & ARMY LIMITS
Rules under discussion on this page apply only in European Empires. The other versions of the game don't use the supply rules.
SUPPLY & MAKE ACTIONS
Quite a few people in current games seem to be having trouble with SUPPLY actions. There's probably nothing actually wrong (it's hard to say when I'm not getting proper error reports, and the system seems to be working fine for most people) but I've often found in the pst that some people have quite high misorder rates on actions that have more than one format.
The solution is simply to split the action into two or more different ones, each of which has only one format. In this case the SUPPLY action has two different formats, and four different uses, viz :-
1. Simple Supply Move
2. Supply Chain Move
3. Supply By Sea
4. Build Supply
I think everyone can cope with formats 1 & 2 being the same action. You can move supplies quickly along a supply line, or slowly from area to area. Makes sense.
Format 3 is more difficult to use, because you have to say where the ships are rather than where the supplies are. It's quite explicit in the rules, but people do insist on trying to play without referring to the rules (bad idea: I think it comes from the amount of time people waste trying to read usless help files on their computers). Maybe this action should be renamed so that it says it's about the ships rather than the supplies. Make it the UNLOAD action, perhaps.
Format 4 is a completely different action, that builds supply trains rather than moving them, and it's probably the one causing the problems, if people are expecting the other three formats to build supply trains the same way (and move them as well). It would be possible to do that, of course, but a simpler change would be to make it a different action (say, you use the MAKE action to build new supply trains).
ALTERNATIVE NAVAL SUPPLYAn alternative to the current supply rules would be to have supplies work the same way at sea as on land, with supplies actually carried with the fleet and supply lines trailing behind. You'd order supplies to move from base to fleet the same way as now, but you'd be unable to send supplies to fleets with broken supply lines. That's actually unrealistic, of course. Ships don't need to protect their supply lines. Navies protect the supply lines of the armies or the economy they're protecting.
LESTER LEE GAYTON - CONVOYS AND SUPPLY
Concerning ships and carrying supply. Although the current rule suits me as it makes life easier I must say that I do find it very unrealistic as I do not think a ship could carry enough supply to feed an army and the ships crew. Therefore I think to move armies from one place to another using the navy at least one ship MUST carry supply or the armies start to collapse. I do NOT think there should be one supply ship per army as this would make everything annoying and expensive and few if any coastal attacks will occur.
I don't think the idea is that your warships are actually carrying the supplies. It's that the warships are controlling the sea area so that supply ships can come and go at will. Perhaps the key phrase is "it makes life easier" as I don't want the game to be bogged down in logistics, so I don't want to mess around counting supply ships and calculating what they can carry. The one-for-one ratio between warhips and the delivery of supplies is just because it saves writing and remembering an extra rule.
The real question is whether it should be necessary to trace a supply line at sea the same way as you do on land, or whether it's appropriate that we assume the supply ships can make whatever voyages we feel like. An alternative might be to check instead whether there's a possible route, allowing supply lines at sea to shift about at will, rather than just check the current route for blockages. That would probably be more realistic: the way to block a supply line at sea is to blockade the port in which it originates, or maybe block a key landfall on the route.
A distinct rule for blockading ports would be quite simple, obviously. On each action for supply by sea we'd just need to check that the entrance to the base is owned by the empire making the action. Easy, simple and logical.
LESTER LEE GAYTON - CAPITALS
I find it bizarre that really you lose nothing when you lose a capital. You keep all your treasury and reserves the only loss is a supply base. The losing of a capital should be of major importance, historically Austria and Prussia surrendered almost completely once their capital was taken, it should be something the players want to avoid at all costs. I recommend that a player that loses half the treasury, half the naval and army reserves. This should ensure the capital is protected or moved to avoid its loss.
That's not actually true. Prussia fell apart when their army was destroyed, and the key battles of both the 1805 (Austerlitz) and 1809 (Wagram) campaigns were fought AFTER Vienna had fallen. One the key strategic elements of Napoleon's success was that he understood the objective was the destruction of the opposing army, rather than the capture of the capital. Capturing Moscow had no effect on the Russians in 1812, and occupying Madrid didn't help to conquer Spain.
It's also a lot more inconvenient to lose your capital then you might think. For a big country the BP cost is usually minor, but you'll still need to waste actions shifting your supply lines to the new supply source.
At present it's easy and not especially expensive to change your capital, or nominate a new one when your capital is captured, and it's also quite easy and cheap to build new naval bases. On the other hand, these are things you do need to be able to do, sometimes. We don't want an empire to be completely crippled by one mistake.
A first step might be to make these actions more difficult by taking the BP cost (ten, in each case) from treasury instead of current balance. A lot of the time you'll know an opponent can't do it, because they don't have enough BPs in the treasury. Anyone can always raise 10 treasury BPs, just by TAXing and STASHing, but it means they can little or nothing else that turn - and that's probably disadvantage enough.
ED BUCKLE - SUPPLIES
I think the option to trade supplies is a good idea - it's just not one that you will use every turn.
The proposal as it stands is that you could send supplies to someone else by using a SEND action. This would work either like a "simple supply move" (ie. to an adjacent area on land) or a "supply by sea" (moving them from the relevant naval base, to an area held by your fleet and depositing them in an adjacent coastal area - all in a single action). I'd want it to be a distinct action, so that it doesn't happen by accident (if we use the SUPPLY action you could easily be sending your supplies to the enemy by mistake).
To send supply trains longer distances overland to an ally you'd have to use two actions, one to SUPPLY them along a supply line, and then another to walk them over the border with a SEND. Not too awkward, I think.
MARTYN WILLIAMS - SUPPLIES
In a recent turn I moved 2 armies and they took 9 supply trains with them, which I didn't really want as I was only moving them into a defensive position. I didn't realyl want any supplies moved. An option to state how many if any supply trains are moved with armies would be something I would find useful.
I doubt that feasible, since specifying the number of supplies separately from the number of armies would need an extra column on the turnsheet. Simpler just to return the ones you didn't need, by using a SUPPLY action. But I think I can make a case for limiting the supplies carried by a moving army to be equal to the number of armies.
Perhaps it would be simplest if armies didn't carry supplies with them at all so you always had to follow the MOVE with a SUPPLY action if you want the supplies to move as well, but I think once the armies are really on the move you want to stop thinking about supplies and supply trains, and be able to rely on them turning up when they're needed. We want supply to be something we deal with in peacetime, and as part of the preparations for a campaign, not something we have to keep stopping to deal with once the troops are one the march.
LESTER LEE GAYTON - RESERVES
I seem to remember seeing a comment about allowing only reserves to be placed in supply bases but I would disagree with this. Placing armies only in supply bases is too restrictive. It would take me ages to get the armies where you want them. I'd prefer that reserves should be able to appear anywhere along a supply line.
I'm in agreement with this. For realism I think new troops (ie. reserves) should be assembled in supply centres, but for practicality we need them in close support of the troops in the field. That's what sets up the tension in the current system: you pause and wait for your reserves to come up, or press on and accept that they won't reach you for another turn.
I think the proposal is that the action format changes to "RESERVE FROM TO NUMBER" where FROM is the supply centre that matches the area the troops are going TO, and the NUMBER being limited by the number of supply trains available in the supply centre instead of the arbitrary armies+ships+pop in the destination area. And the supply trains would be moved along with reserves.
That'd mean you can only place reserves where they can be supplied, together with the supplies they need. That rules would make supply lines more important. Battles will still be decided according to whose reserves arrive in time and whose don't, but you can manouever into situations where you know the strength of your opponent and can choose whether to fight or not.