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Topic Subject:Applied Military Theory
Mokon
Skirmisher
posted 07-01-05 12:15 PM EDT (US)         
Applied Military Theory

Introduction
Welcome to this thread, here I will be compiling a bunch of various real world military theory articles and than applying them to the real time strategy game world. I would like to get these together before AOE3 comes out so we can have a head start on strategies. Either if you would like to give a link to an article or if you want to annotate an article, meaning applying it to the RTS genre than please do so. The reasons that I am doing this are two fold. First I hope that with these real world military articles lower rated people will be able to improve their gameplay. Many of these guides layout it simple terms the complex concepts of RTS games. While many of them do not apply directly they will still give some of the basics needed. Second I hope that with this some new strategies will arise. Personlly I have read things like this for a long time and it is just intriging to me when you read about some strategy in a book and than try it in the game, and it works well. So please enjoy and contribute!

Here construction note, I think this is to long so im gunna edit out the text and put links in instead.

Abbreviations
Here are some commonly used military theory and real time strategy gaming terms that you might want to know before you go through the following articles.

    Rush- An early attack aimed at slowing the enemy down and giving the advantage to the rusher, sacrifices economy for military. Weak vs. a Turtle, Strong vs. a Boom.
    Boom- An economic strategy aimed at expanding economically in an exponential rate and with the resulting gigantic economy than sending masses of troops at the enemy. Effective against the turtle and ineffective vs. the rush.
    Turtle- A defensive strategy wherein the player builds military units early on but uses them in defense in such a way that they gain the greatest cost-efficiency. Some turtle’s relay on defensive structures and base layout as well. To be effective a turtle must than be followed up by what I call a snapping turtle strategy, or aka a counter attack to gain map control. Effective vs. the rush by ineffective vs. the boom.
    Defense- When one tries not to loose things.
    Offense- When one tries to make the enemy loose things.
    Micro- aka micromanagement, a small scope management of the game, generally moving units and controlling them to do things.
      EMicro- Economic micromanagement, managing your economy on a small scale
      MMicro- Military micromanagement, managing your military on a small scale, IE retreating weak units, force firing, formations, realignment of battle orders to allow counters to work properly, or hit and run attacks.
    Macro- aka macro management, a large scope management of the game, for instance keeping up unit production, expanding your base, deciding the generals strategy to go in. This also can be divided into EMacro and MMacro.
    MeatShield- Units used in front of weaker units to defend. IE Pikemen guarding a cannon or archer battalion.

Links
Here are some great sites for guides.

Bellum.nu
US Military Field Manuals

Artilces
Please note if the link says annoted there will be some additional thoughts on it below.

FM 7-8
-----From the United States Militart Field Manauls, Relates to RTS's in topics on MMicro, and Leadership, Good read. Annoted by Mokon
BLITZKRIEG
-----From the Bellum.nu, An interesting overview of the blitzkrieg.
The Art of War
-----From the Bellum.nu, The old classic by Sun Tzu

-----------------------------------------------------------
----------------------Annotations----------------------
-----------------------------------------------------------

FM 7-8 Excepts attained from globalsecurity.org. 8 Sections

Quoted from 1-2:

1-2. COMBAT POWER

a. Maneuver - Notice position of advantage, IE Chokepoints. Maneuver realtes to RTS's in that it is raids on the economy and on weak units in the back and just overall movement on the battlefield.
b. Firepower- Forcefiring in RTS's. Notice the quote "combine fire with maneuver", think of hit and run attacks. Also "identify the most critical targets quickly and direct fires onto them", IE firing at the units with spalsh damage.
c. Protection- Two quotes I like here are "conservation of the fighitng potenial", and "never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage". The first really is retreating injured units with MMicro, and the second relates to an overall important concept for experts. Also under (2) notice "always wants to set the time and place of battle". That is why in expert games you see much of the battles are more or less squables wherein quickly they both pull back. Only fight on your terms.
d. Leadership- Ah, this one is really interesting. Truly this quote "Leaders must know their profession, their soldiers, and the tools of war. Only this kind of leader can direct soldiers to do difficult tasks under dangerous and stressful conditions. " is one that comes to perfectly describe experts. They know the game they are in and they can do so in circumstance that are stressful (ok there life isn't threatened. ) and require quick thinking.

Quoted from 1.3-1.5:

1-3. LEADER SKILLS


I like the quote "They cannot rely on a book to solve tactical problem". I think that that truly is one of the most important points for any student of strategy. While going through article like this can be helpful you can not relay on these. I mean look at some of the best players, they are good because they do many of these thing, however, they do these thing intuitively. People truely have to relize that after you read these guides and study them you than have to acturely play the game. These concepts are important but always remember to improvise and acturely do.

Another good quote is that tidbit of the estimation process. While formulas are great games like this require speed as well as knowledge, therefore a good intuition is the best attribute you can have. Following that you have technical knowledge and mental aglity mentioned. Really thats the combination of build orders and yet that intuitve knowledge that the masters have.

Quoted from 1-6:

1-6. MOVEMENT

Quoted from 1.7:

1-7. OFFENSE

Quoted from 1.8:

1-8. DEFENSE


Thanx, Mokon

This is underconstruction so please bare with me.


Mokon | | | AoE3 Rate 2200~ | | |
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  • [This message has been edited by Mokon (edited 07-01-2005 @ 01:09 PM).]

    AuthorReplies:
    Steel_Cat
    Skirmisher
    posted 07-01-05 12:39 PM EDT (US)     1 / 14       
    For the infantry training, you don't think that will be present in AoE III do you? Unless it is referring to the classic "upgrade" system, wherein you "train" your musketeers into elite musketeers (or whatever the instance names may be).

    Also, under Protection, the "cover and camouflage" does not really apply, since the units will be outlined. Kind of hard to camouflage yourself when you glow!


    "Its never the things that happen to us that upset us, its our view of them." -Epictetus
    Dual GeForce 256MB 6800 GT over SLI PCI Express x8...aaaaw yeah.
    My ESO2 Stats | Screenshot Archive
    Mokon
    Skirmisher
    posted 07-01-05 12:46 PM EDT (US)     2 / 14       
    Yeah, i know a lot of it wont apply, but really it is interesting when you look at it more in a general sense. It gets the mind stimilated

    anyways anyone who has some good links for the aoe3 time period that would be great to


    Mokon | | | AoE3 Rate 2200~ | | |
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  • fhertlein
    Skirmisher
    posted 07-01-05 12:58 PM EDT (US)     3 / 14       
    Now I have to go dig out my Art of War book.
    oratowsky
    Skirmisher
    posted 07-01-05 01:36 PM EDT (US)     4 / 14       
    Good post Mokon!

    You know, I've tried to do something like this, gather together strategies used in real world warfare from books like The Art of War and The Prince and apply them to AoK / AoM. Its never worked very well. Perhaps with AoE3, with physics and such, it will be easier to apply real life concepts to the game. I sincerely hope so, and it sounds like this might be the case, I believe ES has hinted at elevation bonuses and similar considerations in battles. Imagine the top rated player having read The Art of War 15 times as his route to victory. That would rawk.


    "Are the boy villagers or the girl villagers better for chopping wood?" -n00b
    "Founded |AKA| (now e8) with hoopdreams."

    [This message has been edited by oratowsky (edited 07-01-2005 @ 01:38 PM).]

    OldGrex
    Skirmisher
    posted 07-01-05 05:03 PM EDT (US)     5 / 14       
    For quite a long time, the US Army taught these "Principles of War" to mid-level and senior officers as sort of a checklist for developing a concept for an operation. Most of them are very applicable to any sort of force-on-force engagement at the operational and tactical level (which is what AoE3 "wars" will tend to be), although they tend to be less valuable at the grand strategic level and in counterguerrilla/counterinsurgency operations.

    Mass: Concentrate combat power at the decisive place and time
    Objective: Direct every military operation towards a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective
    Offensive: Seize, retain, and exploit the initiative
    Surprise: Strike the enemy at a time, at a place, or in a manner for which he is unprepared
    Economy of force: Allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts
    Maneuver: Place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power
    Unity of command: For every objective, ensure unity of effort under one responsible commander
    Security: Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage
    Simplicity: Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and clear, concise orders to ensure thorough understanding


    Strive For Ataraxia
    Ketch
    Skirmisher
    (id: Swordsworn)
    posted 07-01-05 09:34 PM EDT (US)     6 / 14       
    Here are some more definitions some facts about them.
    Square Formation A box formation used by mustket men to defend against cavalry. The soldiers would form a square around thier colors and officers and atach bayonets. The first rank would kneel with bayonets, then the second rank would stand and also atach bayonets while the third rank would be able to fire over the first and second ranks shoulders. Very hard to move but extremely effective against cavalry. Ineffective against skirmishers.

    Skirmishers and Skirmish OrderElite troops who had very good aim. They would be spread out in front of a formation in skirmish order to pick off the officers and drummer boys of the enemies formation. Skirmish order looked a little like this (*=man _=space)

    *____*_____*______*
    __*_____*_____*_____*
    This formation was effective against square formations, line formations, ram formations, and infantry charges. Ineffective against cavalry charges. Reduses splatter damage. The British were famous for thier Skirmishers.

    Ram formation The ram formation or other wise known as a column was used by the French during the Napolionic era. It consisted of a bunch of soldiers packed together in a column so that they could break through the enemy line. Not extremely effective against anything but recruits.


    Well I'll add more later.


    {|Ketch|}
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little
    temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    -Ben Franklin
    Mokon
    Skirmisher
    posted 07-01-05 11:32 PM EDT (US)     7 / 14       

    Quote:

    AoK / AoM. Its never worked very well.

    Well thats the great thing tho. When it really comes down to it you can. Yes you have to move things around a teany bit, but in RTS games if it is a balanced on real military theory can apply.

    Mokon | | | AoE3 Rate 2200~ | | |
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  • jakes_button
    Skirmisher
    posted 07-02-05 12:01 PM EDT (US)     8 / 14       
    Its interesting because I have always had the same problem. When I apply military theory from "The Art of War" or "The Prince", it has often never worked well for me in AoE or AoK. It is only when I apply military techniques from successful generals of the past such as Alexander the Great, Julius Ceaser, King Richard, and Charlemagne to these games that they work well. It is also important to adapt these military strategies to the time period in question. Obviously the exact same battle tactics can't be used as Alexander did in the Battle of Issus since in Ao3 we will be using cannons and musketeers and not hoplites but the basic strategy can still be used. In this game, I believe those of us interested in military theory will be looking just as much towards Napoleon, Wellington, Green, Cornwallis, and Jackson as we will towards Alexander and Julius Ceasur. Excellent idea Mokon!

    [This message has been edited by jakes_button (edited 07-02-2005 @ 12:04 PM).]

    Hal4
    Skirmisher
    posted 07-02-05 01:00 PM EDT (US)     9 / 14       
    Problem with The Prince is that it's a treatise on ruling, not killing. So when he talks about the importance of building castle in conquered territories, it's about the politics of such a move. You aren't running around AoE worrying about nettlesome dynastic families trying to seize your throne, or rebellious city-states you've subjugated, or the risk that your courtiers will poison your wine. Unless you're playing Shimo, I suppose.

    All I really recall from Machiavelli that translates to AoM is that it's foolish to use mercenaries.


    Well, now we will finish talking and go to his funeral dinner.
    Don't be put out at our eating pancakes-
    it's a very old custom and there's something nice in that!
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    oratowsky
    Skirmisher
    posted 07-02-05 09:02 PM EDT (US)     10 / 14       
    Hm....this thread seems to be dying. Thats too bad, I thought it was pretty interesting. Anyway,

    ^^^ Lol, yea, thats the thing. His book [which is a great read, I must say] mostly deals with siezing and holding a political position. As Hal4 mentioned, the only thing that transfers over to AoM is the use of mercenarys being a no-no. In fact, theres an entire chapter devoted to the topic. I havn't read The Art of War but it sounds like that it goes into much deeper detail of military tactics.


    "Are the boy villagers or the girl villagers better for chopping wood?" -n00b
    "Founded |AKA| (now e8) with hoopdreams."

    [This message has been edited by oratowsky (edited 07-02-2005 @ 09:03 PM).]

    OldGrex
    Skirmisher
    posted 07-02-05 09:14 PM EDT (US)     11 / 14       
    A Prince who aspires to be successful in war will read Machiavelli, Sun Tzu and Clausewitz, Grasshopper
    (But, if you're only gonna' read one of those three to improve your AoE3 play, make it Sun Tzu.)

    Strive For Ataraxia

    [This message has been edited by OldGrex (edited 07-02-2005 @ 09:26 PM).]

    Mokon
    Skirmisher
    posted 07-03-05 09:50 PM EDT (US)     12 / 14       
    See guys the key is dont look at the specifics, look at the broad points that they make.

    Sry i was away for the weekend so ill update the thread tonight


    Mokon | | | AoE3 Rate 2200~ | | |
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  • Doggiedoodle
    Skirmisher
    posted 07-04-05 00:39 AM EDT (US)     13 / 14       
    I think its generally more important to have gameplay that is fun than gameplay that is lifelike. I wouldn't want to have real military theory fully applicable in an RTS because military theory is based on a few things such as:
    all it takes is one hit to disable a unit-there goes micro
    morale exists-do we really want our units to run away and/or stage mutinies?
    armies are massive-All you can lag buffet.
    guns are the most efficient small scale weapon-do we really want a ranged only contest?

    [This message has been edited by Doggiedoodle (edited 07-04-2005 @ 00:39 AM).]

    KingOfTheHill
    Skirmisher
    posted 07-04-05 12:03 PM EDT (US)     14 / 14       

    Quote:

    I wouldn't want to have real military theory fully applicable in an RTS because military theory is based on a few things such as:
    all it takes is one hit to disable a unit-there goes micro
    morale exists-do we really want our units to run away and/or stage mutinies?
    armies are massive-All you can lag buffet.
    guns are the most efficient small scale weapon-do we really want a ranged only contest?

    Agree.

    Quote:

    I think its generally more important to have gameplay that is fun than gameplay that is lifelike.

    Realism that gives us more option to defeat foe is more appropriate/fun given todays trend.


    ...

    [This message has been edited by KingOfTheHill (edited 07-04-2005 @ 12:07 PM).]

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