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Archidamian Campaign suggestions and feedback

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Level 9 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 30, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Since I'm usually playing the Phillip scenario, as I'm fascinated by the new features and the new dynamic that's brought to that scenario alone, I decided to take a break from that and actually try out the Archidamian Campaign so I can give my feedback and suggestions to that, and for now, here are some initial thoughts of that:

**Having the extra objectives in the beginning of raiding the Peloponnese Coast is much better, and at least gives the player a sense of direction, however, I do have a couple of suggestions to that

1) The objectives for watchtowers are literally pointless, I mean I get them, and now what? As I really can't stay there for a long term campaign, so I have to leave, thus eventually the Peloponnese League will get them back. Perhaps change the objectives to crop burning? or something along those lines.

2) The entire Peloponnese League cities should be viewable from the start, because what happens as I send my Trireme around to discover the lands, the AI will see that one little ship, and start building Trireme's of her own. The what happens when I actually go in there, I have to deal with all these Trireme's, which sort of takes the element of surprise out of there I feel. I mean my memory is good to sort of remember where things where based on my many playthroughs of the Phillip scenario, but still not perfect, so I always have to scout that area first before doing that, thus comes the problem of them actually preparing for me down the line since they already saw me. (So now that Pheia city I have to capture, which was unwalled when I saw it, is now Walled when I try to attack it)

3) Since Athens is based of naval superiority there has to be a better way to land troops in groups, as I find it very difficult to get them off the ship all at the same time, and prevents large amphibious invasions (which is my strength as Athens) difficult for the moment. Granted, with time and practice I'll probably get better at it, but it's still a pain never the less.

**Athens at war with basically everyone... (I know Alpha 6 lessen the aggressiveness which helps slightly)

1)This can be annoying, as not only are you dealing with the Peloponnese League, but literally everyone else too, granted Truce can help with the new diplomacy price changes, but I think if some initial truces were out there as the game started it would greatly help ease the player into this massive empire you just acquired.

2)The Odrysian Kingdom are showing a lot more power then I think they initially were at 431 BC, I mean weren't they already on the decline? I think somehow the game should reflect that in someway (either by making their units lower in morale, or something else, not sure), but that's just an opinion.

**The Persians..

1)I think all Greek Hopolites that Persia controls should be considered mercenaries because if I recall that's what they were, so their lower morale should be reflected in battle because right now, they can usually beat any of my Athenian Hopolites on a straight on battle which I don't think should be the case, unless I'm overwhelmed by their units or flanked.

**Mines.. why are they all empty?

1)Honestly, the first thing I always do is create workers and moved them into the Mines, so why not can this be done already for you? It would save me the initial 15-20 minutes of doing that for all the mines I have. Which in turn would leave me to focus on other matters.

And that's pretty much all I have now, will have to restart my campaign again since those coastal provinces are way to prepared any kind of invasion I would throw at them with the initial scouting trireme I did, never the less, I'll continue to play and hopefully get further enough to post more additional feedback or suggestions, but those are just my initial impressions of the scenario so far.

It defiantly is a jaw-dropping reality check from the simpleness of the Phillip campaign, and the fact that you always had superiority on the land which is a very interesting change when controlling Athens instead. (As I find myself actually use Peltast units for once, lol which I've never done in the Phillip campaign)

Level 9 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 30, 2010 at 10:53 pm

**Sea Lanes getting destroyed by Infantry sieges..

1)Hmm, not sure if this is intended but the Odrysian Kingdom has been sieging me non-stop (unless I don't do a truce with them), and I noticed that eventually my Sea Lanes near that city being besieged will get destroyed, now is that intended? I understand if the faction had Triremes and blockaded it that way, and I can see how your Sea Lanes get destroyed, but I don't think it should be case for Land Units.. Since they're sieging the walls, and not the ports, as it kind of limits the advantage Athens has in those territories with it's sea lanes still viable, as was the case during it's time.

**The Units in Potidea?

1)I noticed, that I have 2 starting Hopolites in Potidea, and what point does that serve? In my 4 restarts of the campaign (trying to find the grove here, which I haven't, lol), I've lost that battle every single time, is that there for some historical purpose or something?

**Some city-states connected poorly, and farms not connected at all in some city-states..

1)I noticed, that some cities are connected very poorly, and others are not even connected at all. The area near Propontis, the City States there (Starts with an S, Sembrlya I think or something like that), the 3 farms there are not even connected, so I have to connect them myself. Also, some cities are not even connected to any farm lands, for example Thasos Island since it's the easiest that comes to mind, only has one city state connected to a farm, while the other connected to two cities without any farm source. Now if I understand the supply lines correct, that won't help at all, since no food will be traveling that direction, then the latter city always needs to depend on another city-state that has a farm. Those are just two examples, but there many city states that have this kind of "bad" connection or no connection at all to farms which can be a little bit of a pain to micromanage that aspect to get everything exactly the way you want it should be.

**A Way to check your supply lines through the Asset windows or something..
1)Not sure if this is possible, and I know someone already suggested this in the forums, but since I've always played the Phillip scenario, I never felt a need for it, since your basically building every supply line from scratch. But with this campaign the majority of your lines are already built, and it's naturally a royal pain to find out the bad connections, or what's connected properly. So I think the next step is developing some sort of way to track this if possible.

Compared to the Phillip scenario, to me the Archidamian Scenario seems a little rough around the edges, or maybe it's because I'm thrusted into a massive empire that's basically being attacked from all sides which makes it frustrating for me in the beginning and all. I know with time, and your continue improvements this can be improved, so hopefully some of my suggestions are good feedback for you guys and as I continue to play it, I will indeed post more thoughts :)

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 30, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Thanks for the feedback on this. We were definitely going for a different feel with these campaigns (more following history since the sandbox is there to provide free conquest and expansion) so I expect there to be a fair bit of tuning to do. The Ionian War will probably be roughed in for the next update and you'll find it's also quite different in very different way.

1) The objectives for watchtowers are literally pointless, I mean I get them, and now what?

Fair enough, we were trying to replicate Athens actual raids around the Peloponnese at the start of the war with the closest targets we had in game. The idea is to recreate historical events that did actually have an impact on the real war and use objective rewards to indicate this impact. However, I can see trying to balance that with something that feels more directly purposeful.

2) The entire Peloponnese League cities should be viewable from the start ...

I could see having the areas already discovered in the new campaigns. It would be more realistic and the primary reason we hid things in the Philip campaign was to ease new players into it but the Archidamian War isn't intended for new players.

... thus comes the problem of them actually preparing for me down the line since they already saw me.

A good point, we don't really want to penalize scouting. The AI building walls is actually just coincidental as that isn't currently determined by immediate threats.

... I find it very difficult to get them off the ship all at the same time, and prevents large amphibious invasions ...

This is something I'm working on. My plan is to auto-beach a group of ships when you click to move onto a shoreline so it would look like it does when the AI lands an amphibious raid where they're all lined up on the beach.

Athens at war with basically everyone...

Yes, the number of distractions at the start of the Archidamian war is not ideal. The tweaks to ai aggression in version 6 were a few last minute adjustments to try to improve the situation but we are looking at better fixes for this. A few truces already in place isn't a bad idea.

The Odrysian Kingdom are showing a lot more power then I think they initially were at 431 BC ...

I believe the united odrysian kingdom did peak with Sitacles' father a few decades earlier but Sitacles was still able to bring over 150,000 guys against Macedon during the Peloponnesian War so they were still a significant force. There is a series of objectives (Northern Diplomacy) about settling things with the Odrysians but there is also some AI work I'd like to do that would likely ease the distraction.

I think all Greek Hopolites that Persia controls should be considered mercenaries ...

Historically they were and very early on in development we had them that way but due to a number of complications we had to simplify things. In Philip's time when the Ionian cities were more integrated with Persia the Greek Hoplites were probably better than mercenaries in Hegemony but during the Peloponnesian War when those cities were far more independent our definition of mercenaries would probably work better. Unfortunately, I don't know if we'll have time to play with this but it's a good point.

Mines.. why are they all empty?

We've discussed the starting conditions of the Archidamian war a bit in the office but were mostly waiting to try it more before deciding what was the best approach. I think the empty mines were a result of wanting to give the player a manageable (meaning small) number of units to begin with but not wanting to give them an excess of money since Athens was really tight on money at the start of the war. However, building workers on all those islands and throwing them in mines was also not the intention so we'll have to think about it.

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 30, 2010 at 11:53 pm

**The Units in Potidea?

This was intended to indicate the ongoing siege that Athens was involved in at Potidea at the onset of the war as it was one of the most significant events at the time. However, we have discussed that the way we're doing this might not be necessary or effective.

**Some city-states connected poorly, and farms not connected at all in some city-states..

There's definitely some work to do on the starting conditions for this campaign.

Level 9 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 31, 2010 at 7:56 am

thanks for the feedback as always Rob, good to hear some of my suggestions may make it into the game.

Also, I noticed you didn't answer my question about Sea Lane supply lines being destroyed by Infantry units while they are besieging the city-state, is that intended? or can that be changed if possible?

Another few thoughts which can help hopefully:

Allied Units:

This is more of personal taste, then anything else, but I think it would be nice to see Allied Units, on both sides of this war, wearing their normal colors in terms of their units. Naturally the Strategic Map can stay the same color for gameplay purposes, but to further give the sense many different factions out there (especially in the Peloponnese League)the actual unit colors should remain unique. Not sure if that's possible or to difficult to implement as just an option or something, or if it's even a silly concept for that matter, but just a thought.

Triremes Limit for the Peloponnese League:

If my history is correct, Athens was the Naval Power, and the Peloponnese League was the land power, thus I think the campaign should reflect that, at least in the first scenario (since I know eventually the Peloponnese developed it's own navy to take care of Athens), but I find it kind of silly that the Peloponnese League, can all of sudden muster about 3-4 triremes per city state as my own Triremes get closer to the Peloponnese Coast. I think if you put AI limits to amount of Triremes it can be build, it would highlight Athens major strength during this war. That is if you wanna continue down this historic path with these scenarios, which I think would make sense.

As to some of your own comments:

Fair enough, we were trying to replicate Athens actual raids around the Peloponnese at the start of the war with the closest targets we had in game. The idea is to recreate historical events that did actually have an impact on the real war and use objective rewards to indicate this impact. However, I can see trying to balance that with something that feels more directly purposeful.

Ohh totally understand, and figured that's what you were trying to do and all, but even from a historical strategic standpoint, I seriously don't think Athens, invaded the coast to take watchtowers and just leave, lol, so it's good to know that those objectives may be reworked, If possible, may I recommend actually have more cities involved in this? Although I'm not sure how that would work since siegeing is very difficult in this secnario unlike Phillip, but will be looking forward to the possible changes.

I could see having the areas already discovered in the new campaigns. It would be more realistic and the primary reason we hid things in the Philip campaign was to ease new players into it but the Archidamian War isn't intended for new players.

Ohh totally agreed, in fact now that I think about it, perhaps the entire world should be visible (naturally still with the FoW though) from the start, only because, you're right, this scenario defiantly is not for new players, and we've all played Phillip, and explored ancient Greece in it's entirety, so I see no reason why all of it shouldn't be visible from the start, but I'll totally settle for the Peloponnese territories for starters, lol.

We've discussed the starting conditions of the Archidamian war a bit in the office but were mostly waiting to try it more before deciding what was the best approach. I think the empty mines were a result of wanting to give the player a manageable (meaning small) number of units to begin with but not wanting to give them an excess of money since Athens was really tight on money at the start of the war. However, building workers on all those islands and throwing them in mines was also not the intention so we'll have to think about it.

Lol, lucky I did that then if that was not your intention, however, if that was the case and something does get reworked with those mines (like making workers higher in cost, in off-set the income of the mines), then perhaps link more Gold to all objectives, at least this way as you continue to have success against the Peloponnese League, your gold goes up that way. Then, at the same time, you should be able to accumulate slaves to be able to work in those mines.

believe the united odrysian kingdom did peak with Sitacles' father a few decades earlier but Sitacles was still able to bring over 150,000 guys against Macedon during the Peloponnesian War so they were still a significant force. There is a series of objectives (Northern Diplomacy) about settling things with the Odrysians but there is also some AI work I'd like to do that would likely ease the distraction.

Fair enough, but I had no idea there was a series of objectives for them (didn't see it on the main map columns), guess I had trouble seeing it and probably it's because of the fact that all my cities are constantly besieged by them unless I go for a truce, lol. Any idea on what region triggers that objective? Or is that not in yet? (As I would certainly try to settle affairs with them first, as having all those cities under constant threat is annoying)

Historically they were and very early on in development we had them that way but due to a number of complications we had to simplify things. In Philip's time when the Ionian cities were more integrated with Persia the Greek Hoplites were probably better than mercenaries in Hegemony but during the Peloponnesian War when those cities were far more independent our definition of mercenaries would probably work better. Unfortunately, I don't know if we'll have time to play with this but it's a good point.

But then that leads to the problem of Persian Greek Hoplites being better then Athenian Hoplites which should not be the case at all I think. So perhaps, down the line you can make a unique unit specific to Persians that use Greek Hoplites, this way you can find tune them to have the right stats, and not be better then a standard Greek Hoplite.

And naturally can't wait to check out the Ioanian Scenario, as I assume that you'll be controlling the Spartans in that, thus it'll be nice to be going back to superior land units, hehe :)

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on October 31, 2010 at 10:50 am

I noticed you didn't answer my question about Sea Lane supply lines

I hadn't answer that yet since I hadn't have a chance to look at the code. I do agree however that land units should not affect sea supply routes.

This is more of personal taste, then anything else, but I think it would be nice to see Allied Units, on both sides of this war, wearing their normal colors in terms of their units.

I agree that wouldn't be interesting flavour but it's a trade off for clarity in gameplay. The allied factions should have their own shields but that is a subtle difference. We'll keep this in mind.

Triremes Limit for the Peloponnese League:

The Peloponnesian League definitely had the inferior navy at this point and we will work on making that clear in the gameplay. Currently their triremes are slower than the athenian ones.

I seriously don't think Athens, invaded the coast to take watchtowers and just leave ...


Historically, Athens did sail around the coast grabbing targets and then leaving immediately as a demonstration that they could land anywhere they want and damage peloponnesian interests. In reality the targets were small villages that aren't represented in Hegemony but historians say the actual damage was inconsequential. However, as I said I will keep this in mind and we may tweak the objective.

Fair enough, but I had no idea there was a series of objectives for them ...

We've already had a few comments about objective discovery not being clear so we will likely be improving this.

make a unique unit specific to Persians that use Greek Hoplites

They are their own unique unit in Hegemony already but we could adjust their stats further.

Level 9 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on November 1, 2010 at 2:01 pm

thanks for the additional feedback again Rob, but I do have another interesting question..

I noticed, in terms of Required Objectives for the Archidamian Campagin, it's only 8. Are all objectives not in yet? or is it truly 8? (with naturally some side-objectives as always), if that is the case and there indeed is only 8, that seems rather low compared to how many the Original Phillip Scenario had (29 primary, and tons and tons of secondary objectives), so just curious about that. Unless the 2nd scenario has a bit more, which in the end could lead to what Phillip had, since we are dealing with 2 scenarios here.

Level 9 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on November 2, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Alright,

So I finished all 7/7 Required Objectives in the Archidamian Campaign, and now since I have a good feeling I've fully explored what the Scenario has offered at least, to what's available in this Alpha 6 Version, here are my final conclusions and thoughts based on Alpha 6 preview of this scenario: (This is gonna be a long post, so grab a cup of coffee, soda, or whatever floats your boat, hehe) Note I won't really talk about any bugs or such, since I've already posted them in the news thread, this just an overall feedback-suggestion post.

** Army Make-up of the Peloponnese Army and Feel of the Campaign

I have mixed thoughts about this, I know I spoke about this before and you gave some very nice feedback on that Rob, but overall I was a bit disappointed with the fact that most the armies I dealt with, were mostly made up of Spearmen and Peltast, at the same time some battles, especially near Attica in the beginning against Thebes, and naturally down the line towards the end at Plyos, we're truly epic because it feels like they throw every single unit at me and at times I was sweating bullets, even on these lowly units. However, I think if more Hoplites were thrown into the mix, if possible, I would feel a lot more pressure, and a lot more resistance, and even more epic the battles would seem. Also, in the entire 18 hours or so I played the scenario, I do not think I encountered one single Spartan Hoplite, perhaps towards the end in the climatic areas of Pylos, you guys can script some actual spartan units to come at you there? (I'll go more on the main required objectives in a bit)

As to how the overall campaign felt, I think it was a nice change of pace from Macedonia, you truly are a massive empire, with at times, everyone seems to be against you, but as you gradually turn the tide, and gather your own allies (I had the Phocians and Argos on my side which helped big time), you can start to turn the tide, and I really like that fact. However, I did have to side-track a lot and wipe out certain areas because they were just to much of a threat like Thebes and Corinth (especially after I allied with Argos, since Corinthians came at me non-stop after that), so I had to take all their cities, because they were just too dangerous to leave around, so I do feel some Objectives should maybe touch up on that too, so it feels you consistently accomplish something towards working towards a truce with Sparta.

**Comic Book Style Cinematics

I hope this maybe is in towards the final release, but those Comic Book style cinematic were awesome for Phillip, and I only wish there was more of them there, if possible, I highly recommend to do something like this here because you have much better story to tell, and I think it would truly give a sense of attachment to all characters that you control.

**Shortness compared to Phillip Scenario

This is difficult to judge because I'm seeing one half of 2 scenarios pertaining to the same war plus it's not a final-release product yet, but overall this playthrough took me 18 hours, while in my many Playthroughs of Phillip Scenario, I've easily eclipsed over the 60-70 hour mark, with still about 5 or so primary objectives left to go after, besides naturally the many secondary Objectives still to do. Again, not sure if all the entire features of the first scenario are in yet, but never the less, I am pointing that out, in case you wish to add more objectives, or something to lengthen the scenario if possible.

**Breakdown of all required Objectives

So, since I've completed all 7 required objectives, I'd like to give my feedback on that, and perhaps some suggestions to each required Objectives, if you guys feel it's viable and within the historical confines that you are trying to accomplish for this scenario.

1)Ravage the Megarid
A very straight forward objective, and probably the first major battle that any player would encounter with Corinth and also Thebes which will send help , so I enjoyed it a lot. There is not much critiquing I'm really going to say about this, as I think this objective served it's purpose in many ways (between lower the hostility with Thrace, and the extra Heroic points for the Generals). If anything perhaps you should also get some gold for accomplishing this, since this was one of Athens first major offensive moves in the war.

2) Pericles Predicament
A another interesting objective, to get Potidea back, and again not much critiquing to be done here, the reward of objective of 500 gold is quite handy for accomplishing this. Granted, I'll give 300 of that back most of the time, since I have to do a Truce with the Chalcidian League, or else it becomes to much to handle there, but overall it was rather fun and most importantly showcases Athens naval strength which is good.

3)A Plague Upon Thee
Not much to say here, very straight forward, lose one awesome General, but gain another awesome General instead. I think here would be a perfect time for a nice Comic Book Style cutscene, if you are thinking about using that.

4)Hipponicus and Eurymedon at Tanagra
This objective can be a little deceiving, as you got to move these guys into a Theban controlled city, so naturally it needs to be conquered first. But at the same time, it's a huge catch-22, because then you'll stir up the Hornets Nest of the rest of Thebes. I do think this objective needs to be a refined a bit more. It seems this main objective was to knock a seriously blow to the Boeotian Allies, but in reality, all you're doing is just tickling them, because you still have to do way more in Boetia to settle things there. In my case, I just went after the rest of their cities to truly silence that front once and for all, and I think more objectives within this one here should reflect this. Again, just to give progression of the overall sense that you're moving towards a truce with Sparta, and this is one step along the way. Now, if you say this may not be historical or something? Well, you did make us conquer Sparta as a required objective in the Phillip Scenario, which Phillip, or Alexander the Great never did, so I feel some liberties can be taken here in my eyes.

5)Demosthenes Plan, Trap a Spartan, and Catch of the Day (Since they are all around the same area)
Here's where it starts to get epic, and really well done I think, I like this idea, of raiding that little area, fortifying my position there, and prepare for hell which is what basically happened :) I think, here, if possible, the game could use some nice scripted sequences, especially with an actual Spartan army if that's possible. It would truly be an awesome climax to the scenario I think, but overall these string of objectives are well done.

**Final Thoughts..

Well, that's my opinion so far from Alpha 6 on this, Overall I really enjoyed it, and naturally there's massive potential in this. I think, if anything, there needs to be more raiding on the coast objectives, to reflect the true damage Athens did to that Peloponnese Coast, I think also adding more objectives like this would increase the shortness I felt in the overall campaign I think. Overall though, this is going to be one awesome experience come final release, so I do hope this feedback helps, and naturally looking forward to more play testing, and also checking out the final scenario of this War :)

Level 17 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on November 4, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Thanks for the very thorough response. Feedback from you guys is extremely helpful and much appreciated.

... disappointed with the fact that most the armies I dealt with, were mostly made up of Spearmen and Peltast ...

I'll definitely work on improving this, you should mostly be encountering hoplites.

I allied with Argos, since Corinthians came at me non-stop after that), so I had to take all their cities, because they were just too dangerous to leave around, so I do feel some Objectives should maybe touch up on that too

For the objectives in the new scenarios we were trying to stick to events that actually happened but your point is noted.

I hope this maybe is in towards the final release, but those Comic Book style cinematic were awesome for Phillip,

They're all done and just waiting to be added to the game. There are four new scenes (one for the opening and closing of each scenario). Check out our facebook page for a few previews.

Shortness compared to Phillip Scenario

I think we mostly covered this in another thread. Our aim was to make the scenarios shorter so more people could complete them.

4)Hipponicus and Eurymedon at Tanagra

The history on this one is a little vague. I believe it just talks about a couple of the generals doing some campaigning against thebes in the area one year so there might be some room to play with it. I believe this objective mostly came from needing a way to introduce demosthenes (and rick wanting to drop a star trek reference). Regarding history in the Philip scenario, I'll admit there are plenty of non-historical objectives in that one but by separating the sandbox from the historical scenarios in gold we hoped to more clearly define both.

Again, thanks for the feedback and we'll definitely take your comments into consideration.