Page 1 of 1

OpenGen* Suggested Readings

Posted: 2019-10-21 11:10, Monday
by LuisGuzman

***** to be updated *****

HOW TO INSTALL ... and keep updated

Download the official all-in-one installer: Open General Installer and run it.
From that page, you can, at any time later, download engine updates, icons updates or specific equipment files updates.

Once the installer has finished copying files, click on the new icon you will find in your desktop and that will launch Open General, after the intro video, you will see a dialog showing all campaigns for the different equipment files installed. There are also a couple of short tutorial for those who have never played PG2.


The main source for information is my website:, where you can find documentation about game features, files structures, the combat formulas, etc. as well as manuals, tutorials, and other interesting documents.

If you are new to Open General I strongly suggest reading the nice Manual made by Guillermo Bores (aka Guille) explaining step by step the basic components and most important rules. Although it is not updated to the latest additions, it is yet a good source to start. If you played PG2, it would be good to have a look at this topic: post below: PG2 / OG differences

Another interesting reading is "A tactical manual for Open General player" written by Blitstopper.

Although written for PG2, Pzmaniac compiled in this topic Campaigns: PG2 scenario&campaign design - Essential Reading the most important concepts, making yet a good reading to get an idea of some basic but important ideas regarding design.

I am copying below what Pzmaniac wrote to be updated later.


Except the aforementioned PG2 scenario&campaign design - Essential Reading there are not many documents regarding the different aspects of design, so any of the experience designers, are invited to write specific documents about any of the design aspects which I'll host and will reference here too.

Any suggestion will be welcome either email me or post in this forum.

PG2 scenario & campaign design

Posted: 2019-10-21 11:12, Monday
by LuisGuzman
(by pzmaniac)

This post will contain Whoopy-Cat's old articles in Panzer Weekly on scenario and campaign design. The articles have been revised by myself and references to Lasse's scenario editor have been removed, since most likely anyone making scenarios and campaign will nowadays use Luis Guzman's Suite. I have also taken the liberty to add some of my own ideas, especially when it comes to campaign design issues, where you can find serious faults even in campaigns released in 2006.. :-!

Please note that this is not a "How to use the Suite" topic, it's more about general ideas on scenario and campaign design that should be read by anyone wanting to create new scenarios and/or campaigns..

Since Whoopy wrote these articles there has been an astonishing development in scenario design, so these articles will only give you the basics in scenario design.. There are a lot of things that you will need to find out on your own, or ask in this forum..

Scenario Building: Objective Hex Basics

Posted: 2019-10-21 11:15, Monday
by LuisGuzman
(by pzmaniac)

Perhaps the single most important part of building a scenario is the placement of objective hexes, that is, Victory Hexes. There are three types of major objectives in PG2 scenarios. Victory Hexes (sometimes abbreviated VH) are designated by large flags with yellow (or gold?) borders. Supply Hexes (SH) have green borders around a large flag. Lastly, there are combination Victory/Supply Hexes (VH/SH) which naturally have a large flag with a half green, half gold border.

The gold-bordered flags -- both the solid gold VHs and the half-green/half-gold combination VH/SHs -- are truly major objectives. To win a PG2 scenario, of course, you must capture all the enemy's VHs.

The green-bordered flags are considered important objectives not because they need to be captured to win a scenarios, but also because units purchased during a scenario can be deployed some of these hexes (depending on the campaign designer’s settings).

In addition, green-bordered SHs are important because of the extra prestige which can be had for capturing them. Each objective hex -- a VH or an SH -- is worth 80 prestige points when playing at 100% prestige. Combination VH/SH hexes are worth 160 prestige. So they are not only important for winning a scenario, but also for the extra prestige which is associated with capturing them.

So how and where the objective hexes are placed in a scenario is quite important to how the scenario will be played. This is, in fact, probably the single most important factor in any scenario -- how many VHs need to be captured to win the scenario, and where they are placed.

But the actual placement of these objective hexes can be a bit tricky. If you place the objectives incorrectly, you will have a major problem in your campaign. What will happen is this: as soon as a player captures a flag – any flag-- a minor town or a major objective -- the scenario will end with a victory for the player who captured the first flagged town or city. This is obviously not how most scenarios are designed to work. So this problem can be quite upsetting when a lot of effort has been made to create a scenario. You get all done only to find out the victory conditions are all messed up!

THIS is the question which is so commonly asked by first-time scenario designers. This is the question I referred to earlier: "Why does my scenario end as soon as I capture one flag instead of having to capture all the VHs??"

Here's the solution: ALL major objectives need to be placed for one player, and owned by the other.

For instance, if I am making a scenario in which the Germans are playing against the US, and I want the Germans to capture one Victory Hex to win the scenario, I need to place a German Victory Hex on the side of the map originally occupied by the Americans. That will show up on the map as a gold-bordered German flag. Then I need to place an American ownership flag on that hex. That will turn the VH into an American flag, and the scenario cannot be won by the Germans until that American-owned German Victory Hex is captured by the Germans.

Most scenarios have more than one VH which must be captured before a victory is obtained. This procedure must be repeated for ALL such Victory Hexes in the scenario.

Normally you must place at least one Victory Hex for both sides in this manner. So I will have to place an American Victory Hex on the side of the map originally owned by the Germans, and place a German ownership flag on top of that American VH. Again, this will change the large VH flag to a German flag.

Some people understand this concept right away. Others are very perplexed by this problem. It is obviously a common misunderstanding, because, as I already pointed out, this is easily the most often-asked question regarding scenario-building. To emphasize this point it should be noted that even SSI realized this was a commonly misunderstood aspect of scenario design because they even included their own attempt to clear up this point in the ReadMe file that appears on the PG2 disk.

I was always perplexed as to why this was so confusing to some people, yet so easily understood by others. Lasse Jensen helped me understand why this is so. Whether this concept is confusing or not seems to be dependent on how you look at a scenario. When you start to play a scenario, you see two kinds of objectives on the map -- "his" and "mine". But which is which?? How you answer that question may well determine whether this concept will be confusing to you or not.

When I look at the map, I think of "my" VHs as being the ones I currently own. "His" are the ones I need to capture to win the scenario.

But Lasse pointed out to me that some people look at a scenario in the opposite way. If I was Lasse, I would look at a scenario like this: "my" VHs are the ones I need to capture to win the scenario. "His" Victory Hexes are the ones my opponent will be trying to capture -- the ones I originally own and need to maintain control of if I am to win the scenario.

These two different ways of referring to the VHs -- the two different points of view concerning which VHs are "mine" and which are "his" -- is the reason some people are confused by the placement of VHs and others seem to understand it properly right from the beginning.

To understand how the placement of VHs should be, you need to look at my" VHs as the ones I need to capture – NOT the ones I own at the beginning of the scenario.

Therefore, I place "my" VHs (the ones with my nation's flag) on my opponent's side of the map. The addition of my opponent's ownership flag to that same hex helps to indicate that he starts out owning that hex, and it is my job to take it away from him if I am to win the scenario. The flag changes to my opponent's flag as soon as I assign an ownership flag to my VH. This helps me identify who starts out owning that hex.

Scenario Parameters -- Player Settings

Posted: 2019-10-21 11:16, Monday
by LuisGuzman
(by pzmaniac)

In the SSI Scenario Builder, it is important that you get the settings exactly as you want them. You must understand in your own mind what it is you are trying to accomplish. Are you building a scenario for a campaign? A scenario you intend to be played against the A.I.? Against another human in an on-line or e-mail game? Which side do you want to represent the Axis and which side will be the Allies? These things are important to consider when setting the scenario's parameters.

In the lower-right quadrant of the Scenario Parameters screen there is a section in which you set the side, player, and country. We will call this section the Player Settings section of the Scenario Parameters Screen. It is easy to mess this section up, so you will want to get it right. There are three primary concerns in this regard: the player, the side, and the country.

The Player
The Player is determined by the line. Whichever player is indicated in the top line of this section will be Player 1. In a scenario designed for a campaign, or designed to be played versus the A.I., Player 1 will be the human player and Player 2 will be the computer player. Player 1 is the player who will move first in each turn of the scenario. Player 1 is the player who must take objectives to win the scenario.

In the Scenario Builder Screen (the screen you see after you click the check-mark button in the Scenario Parameters Screen) you will see a Player Indicator in the upper-right corner. The number shown corresponds to the player number you set in the Scenario Parameters screen. When a "1" is showing, you are dealing with Player 1, etc. Whatever action you choose in the Scenario Builder Screen, it will effect only the player whose number is currently shown in the Player Indicator.

The Side
Whether the player is a member of the Axis or Allies is determined by the number -- 1 or 2 -- you choose next to each player. Click one of the numbers to highlight it. If you highlight the number "1" next to a player, he is Axis; "2" is Allied. (Do not confuse this with the "Number of Players" button which is just to the left of the "Side Indicator" buttons. The Number of Players buttons are numbered from one through four in the extreme left of the Player Settings section. The Side Indicators are the buttons with the numbers 1 and 2 that are just to the right of the Number of Players buttons -- just to the left of the Player's Main Country flag. There is a 1 and a 2 next to each player -- these are the "Side Indicator" numbers.)

The program does NOT recognize one country or another as either Axis or Allies. The only factor that determines if a player is Axis or Allied is the "Side Indicator" button. You could, for instance, assign the United States as an Axis nation and Germany as a member of the Allies if you wish. To do so you would place a number "1" next to the US flag and a "2" next to the German flag (the opposite of what you would normally do).

In a three- or four-player scenario you must have more than one Axis and/or Allied player. There is no third option.

The Country
What country is represented in the scenario is determined by the flag(s) you place next to the player. The first space is for the Primary Nation. This is the first nation that will be displayed when purchasing units, and this nation's flag will be displayed whenever you place a Victory, Supply, or Ownership flag for that side on the map.

The next four spaces are for secondary nations. You can place units from these nations on the map when building the scenario using the "Select Nation" scroll arrow in the Requisition Unit screen. In the same way, the player will be able to purchase units from this nation (or nations) during the scenario.

To change a flag, simply click on the flag and a window with a list of other flags appears above the Player Settings Section. Click on one of these flags and it will replace the flag which was originally there. To remove a flag, right-click on it. To close the window with the list of flags above the Player Data Section, click the "X" button in that flag window.

Only 14 nations' flags appear in this list. But you can use as many nations as exist in the equipment file you are using by using a scenario editor like Luis Suite.

Once you have changed or added those countries, you will be able to requisition units from that country in the SSI Scenario Builder, and if you changed the Main Country, any Victory, Supply, or Ownership flags you place will be represented by the flag of that country.

Sometimes you want a flag on the map representing one of your minor countries. You can do this as well by using a scenario editor. Be sure to reload the scenario afterwards in the SSI Scenario Builder and save again to make sure the changes are saved.

Back in the SSI Scenario Builder... In the Player Settings Section (lower-right quadrant) of the Scenario Parameters screen, there are two more pieces of information you can change.

The first is a set of buttons with the numbers one through four on them. These are the "Number of Players" settings; you can find them to the left of the "Side" Numbers ("1" or "2") next to each player. This is supposed to indicate the number of players in the game. How it works, I do not know. In my experience these numbers are not necessary. If you assign flags to the first two lines, the scenario will be a two-player game. You do not need to highlight the "2" to tell the game there are two players. It is possible you would need to set the "3" for a three-player game or the "4" for a four-player game. I suppose, but I do not know. To my knowledge these numbers do not function, or at least don't need to be changed to make a successful scenario. My advice is to ignore this first column of numbers that says "Number of Players".

The other function you will want to look at is the "A.I. Stance" or "Posture". This is the set of buttons on the far right-hand side of the Player Settings area -- one button with a sword icon and another with a shield icon. These buttons determine how the A.I. (artificial intelligence -- the computer player) will behave. In a scenario designed to be played in strictly human vs. human contests, this setting is entirely irrelevant. If, however, you are designing a scenario to be played solitaire-style against the computer, or as a part of a campaign, this setting is crucial! Of course, the A.I.'s Posture only matters for A.I. (computer) players. So the A.I. Stance setting for Player 1 is meaningless since Player 1 is the human player in almost every instance. (The only exception is a computer-vs.-computer contest, which only involves humans as spectators to the scenario.)

In a scenario designed to be played against the computer, the A.I. Posture for Player 2 is very important. If you click the button with the shield icon for Player 2, the A.I. will be set to "Defensive". If you select the sword button for Player 2, the A.I. is set to "Aggressive". Of course in simple terms, when the A.I. is set to Defensive, the human player (Player 1) is expected to take the offensive in the scenario and the A.I. will defend (a standard scenario). And when the A.I. is set to Aggressive, the human player must defend against an assault by the computer opponent.

But this is not the whole story... Next week we will further explore scenario design and how it relates to the A.I. when set to "Aggressive". Until then...

Scenario Building: When the A.I. Attacks

Posted: 2019-10-21 11:17, Monday
by LuisGuzman
(by pzmaniac)

In a scenario designed to be played against the computer, the A.I. Posture for Player 2 is very important. If you click the button with the shield icon for Player 2, the A.I. will be set to "Defensive". If you select the sword button for Player 2, the A.I. is set to "Aggressive". Of course in simple terms, when the A.I. is set to Defensive, the human player (Player 1) is expected to take the offensive in the scenario and the A.I. will defend (a standard scenario). And when the A.I. is set to Aggressive, the human player must defend against an assault by the computer opponent. But this is not the whole story...

In EVERY scenario, Player 1 is required to take all of his Victory Hexes to achieve a victory; Player 2 wins if Player 1 fails to do so in the allotted time. This is independent of the A.I. Posture setting. Setting the A.I. to "Aggressive" does not change this aspect of PG2. Typically, when the A.I. is set to "Aggressive", the player (Player 1) will first have to repulse a computer attack and then will have to switch to the offensive and set out to take his Victory Hexes on Player 2's side of the map. Again, changing the A.I.'s stance does NOT change the victory conditions! It only changes the A.I.'s behavior.

How does the A.I. Stance setting effect the A.I.'s behavior? Well, it's rather complex, and I'm not sure anyone has a complete handle on what all is involved. But, in short, when the A.I. is set to "Aggressive", he will move almost all of his units forward to attack the known positions of Player 1's army. It is rather important, therefore, that the A.I. player be given good recon units so that he will know where he should attack. If he can't see the human player's unit's, the A.I. will move aggressively toward the human player's Victory Hexes. If you aren't careful to give the A.I. good spotting assets, he will run into surprise after surprise, blunting his own attack prematurely. While this is a lot of fun for the human player to watch, it doesn't require much skill on his part to be successful.

To make a "good" scenario, it is better to ensure that the A.I. player can see much of what he is up against. You can do this by assigning a lot of recon units to the A.I. army, by making his recons leaders (increasing their spotting ranges), assigning scout planes to the A.I. player, or by using Recon Bunkers if the e-file you're using has them.

The A.I. will normally leave only one unit guarding each of his Victory Hexes. So once the A.I. attack has been stopped, the human player will have little difficulty taking his objectives. Perhaps this is what you want in your scenario. If so, just place one unit on each of the A.I.'s Victory Hexes, and he'll usually leave them there. But you can make it more difficult if you want. Towed units which cannot move without transport are a good tool in these situations. Simply requisition towed units for the A.I. player and make sure they do NOT have transports. These units will be forced to sit where you place them even if the A.I. is set to "Aggressive". In this way you can ensure that the A.I.'s Victory Hexes will be more heavily guarded when the human player eventually tries to take them.

Please also note that when the AI is set to attack the AI also aggressively hunts for all friendly-owned vic hexes, so if you want the AI to attack the players units you should be careful with what flags you decide to make owned by the player, as this will influence on the movements on the AIs units (as well as the risk that the AI will drive a tank into a city just to occupy the hex... :-!

Scenario Building: When the A.I. Defends
Postby Pzmaniac » Wed 23 Aug 2006 [18:50 ]

The other type of basic setting (as opposed to the when the AI attacks) is of course the when the AI defends. This is by far the most common setting in the traditional SSI Blitzkrieg of course.

The AI behaviour in these scenarios are very passive, as long as the AI hasn't spotted any of your units, the AI rarely moves any of its units (there are however occasions where the AI can send out a recon). Once it does start to move units, it tends to move these units in the direction of a friendly owned vic hex. (As soon as you have captured a vic hex, the AI immediately loses interest in it - unless you have occupied the hex with a very weak unit, and the AI thinks it has a chance to reoccupy the hex)

The main problem with these scenarios is that if you start with all enemy units on the map, by the time the player reaches the last vic hexes to capture, there will be layers of enemy units crowding these vic hexes, something which the player will find annoying..

One way to deal with this crowding is to let enemy units arrive as reinforcements during the scenario. However these entries have to be timed carefully to avoid teleporting units - ie units that arrive in the middle of the player's units, which is also an annoying feature for players.

Scenario Building: How to place stationary units on the map

Posted: 2019-10-21 11:17, Monday
by LuisGuzman
(by pzmaniac)

Stationary defenses can also be placed using forts and bunkers. Most e-files have several types of bunkers although you normally can't purchase them as ordinary units. Often you have to place these using the unit codes for bunkers. For this, you will need a list of the unit codes for that e-file. If you can't find such a list for the e-file you're using, write to the equipment file's author and he will provide you with such a list.

This is how you make a fort or bunker in your scenario:

Place a unit on the map in the SSI Scenario Builder. It makes no difference what unit it is, but it is best to use a unit with no transport. Note the unit's hex position on the map. Save the game and exit. Then start up a scenario editor like Luis Suite and just replace this unit with the fort/bunker you wish.

In Adler's e-file for instance, he has assigned specific forts and bunkers to several nations, but he has also included several types of stationary forts in the "All Nations" category, meaning you can use them for any country. Typing in the code 334 assigns a bunker; 335 is a fortification (range 2); 601 is a nasty two-range anti-tank bunker; 951 is a Coastal Battery (awesome against ships!); and 305 is a wicked artillery bunker; and 986 is the code for a Radar Bunker with a spotting range of 25! (This is a good idea if you want the A.I. to have superior knowledge of where the human player's units are!)

Type the appropriate code number in the space labeled "Unit Code". Then repeat the process for the line named "Unit Mount Code". Lastly, make sure the line called "Unit Appearance" has a zero in it. While you are at it, you can change the unit's experience level and/or bars, the unit's strength, and its level of entrenchment -- all in the sections below the series of lines listed as "unknown" unit data. When you are satisfied with your changes, press F10 to affect the changes. Press Esc. to return to the main screen, press F9 to save, start up the SSI Scenario Builder again, load the scenario, and save it again.

When you look at the map you'll notice that the unit you had placed on the map is now a fort or a bunker!

Another thing you can do to make the A.I.'s attack more effective is to create a "second wave" of attacking units. This can be accomplished with reinforcements or by assigning prestige to the A.I. (Player 2). This will probably require some experimentation and some trial and error before you get it just right. Try to guess how many turns it will take the human player to defeat the initial onslaught of A.I. units. Then calculate how long it will take the player to move his units from their defensive positions and assume an offensive posture. If you want a second attack to occur near the Victory Hexes the A.I. is defending, try and determine how long it will take a player to get there. Then place units as reinforcements, or assign a chunk of prestige to the A.I. so he will requisition new units. Since the A.I. is set to "Aggressive", these units will be flung head-long into the on-rushing human player's army. Remember that the A.I. isn't all that smart about his approach, s you might want to assign extra strength or numbers to his units to make up for this fact.

To make a unit appear as a reinforcement, you will need to use a scenario editor.

When the unit arrives, it will be deployed in the hex in which you placed it in the SSI Scenario Builder. If another unit happens to be occupying that hex when the unit arrives, it will be deployed in an adjacent hex. If all adjacent hexes are occupied, the unit will not arrive as a reinforcement. This is certainly something you will want to consider when placing the unit on the map.

The other setting you must change determines when the unit will arrive. This is set in the entry called "Reinforcement" which can be found nearer the bottom of the list, just after the unit's experience bar entry and just before the unit's entrenchment level. Normally a unit will have a zero in this space, indicating that it does not appear as a reinforcement, but is present on the map at the start of the scenario. To make a unit appear as a reinforcement, change this zero to a number. The number you type in will be the turn number in which the unit appears. For A.I. reinforcements, the unit will appear in the Player 1's portion of that turn, NOT AFTER Player 1 has ended his half of the turn!

Both the unit's reinforcement turn number AND the Unit Deployed entry must be changed for a unit to enter the scenario as a reinforcement. If the Unit Deployed entry isn't changed to a "1" the unit will appear at the start of the scenario. If the Unit Deployed is changed to "1" but the Reinforcement turn remains zero it will never enter the game. Both must be changed for the reinforcement(s) to appear properly.

Save your changes, load the scenario in the SSI Scenario Builder, and save again.

When you reload the scenario in the SSI Scenario Builder, you will notice that the unit has disappeared from the map! This is how you know you correctly converted the unit to a reinforcement rather than a unit which is deployed at the start of the scenario.

Campaign Building: Making Scenarios for a Campaign

Posted: 2019-10-21 11:18, Monday
by LuisGuzman
(by pzmaniac)

There are essentially two completely separate types of scenarios you might want to create for PG2. The first type is a scenario which is made specifically to be played as a "stand-alone scenario." That is to say, a scenario which you intend to the player to play outside the context of a campaign. The second type of scenarios is one that is created to be played within a campaign. By nature, the two are often quite different.

In the first place, a stand-alone scenario has no core army. All the units of both sides are essentially the equivalent of auxiliary units. Neither side will carry these specific units into battle in any subsequent scenario. Players tend to treat core and auxiliary units differently -- whether intentionally or subconsciously. It's almost unavoidable. This needs to be taken into account when one designs a scenario.

For another thing, in stand-alone scenarios not only are the units not carried over into any subsequent scenario, but the prestige isn't carried over either. So prestige issues are dealt with in a different way when creating scenarios for a campaign as well.

Another important factor to keep in mind is the fact that stand-alone scenarios are often played human-versus-human, whereas campaign scenarios are exclusively played versus the A.I. This can be important in terms of balancing the two armies in the scenario.

Before you begin work on any scenario, you should have in mind your specific target audience.

If the scenario is meant to be played on-line or by e-mail against another human, you will probably want to carefully balance both armies and their prestige. You will want to keep in mind that whoever plays as Player 2 has only to keep Player 1 from achieving a victory, whereas Player 1 must be proactive, and must actually take Player 2's Victory Hexes if he is to achieve a victory. If the scenario is meant to be played by e-mail you can create out-of-balance scenarios if the scenario is meant to be played in some sort of mirrored fashion, where both people are playing both sides of the scenario (two separate games taking place either simultaneously or concurrent with one another).

If the scenario is meant to be played as a stand-alone scenario versus the A.I. you will have to determine how hard or easy you want to make the scenario for the player. And you will want to determine what about this scenario will make the player want to play it again or recommend it to other players who enjoy playing solitaire single scenarios.

Is your scenario meant for a campaign? If so, you will want to consider the context in which the scenario will appear inside the campaign. How hard or easy are the scenarios directly preceding and following this scenario? What kind of core army will the average player typically enter the scenario possessing? How much prestige will he have? Approximately how much prestige do you wish the player to leave the scenario with? How much experience will his core army likely have at this point in the campaign? Will the subsequent campaign path be effected by the player's results in this scenario? What kinds of scenarios has the player faced previously in the campaign? How do you want the A.I. to behave in this scenario? These are all vitally important questions you need to answer before you even begin making a scenario for a campaign.

There are many factors which need to be determined before you even begin creating a scenario. Some of these factors you may consider unconsciously, but they MUST be considered one way or another if your scenario is to make any sense.

In very rare cases, some designers are actually able to create such artful scenarios that they can be played BOTH in a campaign AND as a separate single scenario. This is a truly rare talent, and sometimes has as much to do with luck as skill.

But for most of us, deciding how the scenario will be used is in fact probably the single most important decision to be made in the scenario-building process.

Making Campaign Scenarios: Designated Deployment Hexes

Posted: 2019-10-21 11:19, Monday
by LuisGuzman
(by pzmaniac)

When building a scenario for use in a campaign, the core army is an important consideration. The core army are the units the player carries with him from one scenario to the next within a campaign. During a campaign, any time the player requisitions ("purchases") a new unit, it becomes a part of his core army. Unless sold off by the player or destroyed by the enemy, the units which comprise the player's core army will travel with the player through every scenario throughout the entire campaign.

When playing a campaign, the core army can be distinguished from the auxiliary units by the black strength number in the small square just below each unit's icon on the map. Auxiliary units have yellow strength numbers. Even if they survive the current scenario, auxiliaries never travel with the player to the next scenario the way core units do.

It is important to note that inside the SSI Scenario Builder you cannot tell core units from auxiliaries relying solely on the color of the number in strength box below each unit. This distinction only applies while playing a campaign. Inside the Scenario Builder there is no way to tell a core unit from an auxiliary. To tell which units are core units you must understand how a unit becomes a part of the player's core army.

In most campaigns the player starts the first scenario already owning some core army units given to him by the campaign designer. To assign core units to the player at the outset of a campaign, place designated deployment hexes using the "designate deployment" button in the SSI Scenario Builder. Then deploy a unit on that designated deployment hex.

You should understand that, when designing scenarios for your campaign, the first scenario of the campaign is the only one in which you should see the core units in the Scenario Builder. In subsequent scenarios you will only assign locations for the player to deploy his core units. All other units you place on the map will be auxiliary units.

It is also crucial that you understand how the designated deployment hexes work, and it is essential that you recognize that they are used differently in the first scenario of your campaign than they will be in all subsequent scenarios.

In the SSI Scenario Builder, there is a series of buttons along the right-hand side of the Scenario Builder screen. At the very top of this column is the toggle-switch that determines which player you are currently working with. Under that indicator the first button is a button for designating Supply Hexes, another for designating Victory Hexes, and a third button for designating ownership hexes. The fourth button is called the Designate Deployment button. The Designate Deployment Hex button can be identified by the icon of a hexagon circumscribing a curved downward-pointing arrow. This is the button used to assign designated deployment hexes.

In the first scenario this button will assign the hexes in which the player's core army will be deployed at the beginning of the campaign. In subsequent scenarios, by selecting this button you can designate hexes that can be used by the player to deploy his army. In later scenarios if you place units on hexes that you have made designated deployment hexes, those units will not appear in the scenario!

Incidentally, this is how designers make their campaign scenarios balanced and playable as stand-alone single scenarios. They simply create units which approximate the core army that would appear in the campaign version of that scenario, and deploy them on the designated deployment hexes. In campaign play these units will not appear since they are sitting on designated deployment hexes and it isn't the first scenario of the campaign. But when the scenario is played by itself, the core army doesn't come into play, so the designated deployment hexes don't mean anything. Therefore the units which were placed on those designated deployment hexes will appear and the scenario can be played as a single scenario which is fair and balanced.

In subsequent scenarios the designated deployment hexes are used by the player to deploy his core army before the first turn starts. In scenarios after the first, it is important to remember that these designated deployment hexes, unlike the six hexes surrounding a normal Supply Hex (large green-bordered flag), can only be used to deploy the player's army BEFORE the first turn of the scenario. Once the player closes the initial deployment screen these designated deployment hexes can no longer be used for deployment.

{To the uninitiated player this can cause chaos, as is so common the first time a player tries his hand at Novgorod in SSI's Blitzkrieg campaign. He starts the scenario, sees the deployment situation, closes the deployment window to make changes to his army, and then can't understand why he can no longer deploy units at, for instance, Staraya Russa -- a vital Victory Hex!}

After the initial deployment screen has been closed the player will only be able to deploy additional units on friendly Supply Hexes and the six hexes surrounding a friendly SH. If you assign no Supply Hexes to the player, he will not be able to deploy his army except on those specially designated deployment hexes, and he will only be able to deploy units on those designated deployment hexes before he closes the initial deployment window.

If you want to force a player to only be able to use a limited number of core army units in a particular scenario, you can accomplish this is by assigning no friendly Supply Hexes to the player, and then providing only a certain number of designated deployment hexes. If you assign a normal Supply Hex that is set as a deployment supply hex for Player 1, the player will always be able to deploy his entire core army for that scenario.

Next week we will continue by addressing several other deployment issues you will need to keep in mind. Until then...

Campaign Scenario Building: Deployment Hexes (continued)

Posted: 2019-10-21 11:19, Monday
by LuisGuzman
(by pzmaniac)

One thing that can often cause a lot of confusion for designers who are new to scenario building is the concept of deployment. So let's examine some of the issues involved.

As we discussed last time in there is a "Designate Deployment" button in the SSI Scenario Builder. It has a downward pointing arrow for an icon. When you click on this button and then click a hex on the map that hex will become a Designated Deployment Hex. After assigning some designated deployment hexes, you will be able to see them again by selecting the Designate Deployment button. When you do, you will see all the hexes you have assigned as designated deployment hexes.

This button will be used differently in your campaign's first scenario than in subsequent scenarios. In the campaign's first scenario this button will be used to designate which units are the player's starting core army. Any unit which starts the first scenario on one of these Designated Deployment Hexes will be a part of the player's starting core army.

In subsequent scenarios the units of the player's core army will not appear when you are building the campaign. Instead, you will place a number of Designated Deployment Hexes (and/or some friendly Supply Hexes) where the player will be allowed to deploy his core army when playing the campaign.

It is important to understand that you will NEVER use the Designate Deployment Hex button for the computer-controlled side (Player 2 in a campaign scenario). This is often a source of confusion for new designers, so I'll say it again. If you place any Player 2 Designated Deployment Hexes, they will do nothing. (...nothing positive, that is.) So don't place any Player 2 Designated Deployment Hexes. There is no reason to do so.

You may want to give the computer side (Player 2) one or more green-bordered Supply Hexes. This will allow the computer player to purchase and deploy new units (if you give the computer some source of prestige such as turn-based prestige).

As mentioned previously, in scenarios subsequent to the first one, you must understand how Supply Hexes and Designated Deployment Hexes differ for the human player (Player 1). When the scenario first starts and the initial deployment window opens, the player will be allowed to deploy his core army on any of the Designated Deployment Hexes you assigned for him. But after that window is closed (whether accidentally or on purpose), those Designated Deployment Hexes will disappear forever.

On the other hand, if you assign one or more green-bordered Supply Hexes for the player, he will be able deploy units at those hexes before or after closing the initial deployment window.

Again, I mentioned this in the previous article, but I'll restate it. In scenarios after the first one, if you place Player 1 units on Player 1 Designated Deployment Hexes, those units will not appear in the campaign. They will appear, however, if the scenario is played as a stand-alone scenario. If you make the scenario playable as a single scenario, the units that were placed on the Designated Deployment Hexes will appear. This is how a designer can simulate the core army units when he wants the scenario to be both a part of a campaign as well as playable as a single scenario.

Making Campaign Scenarios: Controlling the Core

Posted: 2019-10-21 11:20, Monday
by LuisGuzman
(by pzmaniac)

We have already discussed using the Designated Deployment Hex to give the player a core army that he will start the campaign with. Generally the campaign designer also assumes the player will add to this core army by requisitioning new units throughout the course of the campaign.

By way of review, let's remember that it is really quite simple. Core units will be the ones the player purchases and receives as prototypes, added to the ones that begin the first scenario on a designated deployment hex. Period.

All five of the stock SSI campaigns begin with the player possessing a specific core army. The player may start with a little prestige as well, but not enough to buy more than a unit or two. However, some innovative campaign designers have created campaigns in which the player gets to buy his own core army in total, as the first step in the first turn of the first scenario. This can be an interesting idea, especially if the campaign is not intended to be a strictly historical campaign. The way you do this is to give the player a large sum of prestige to start the first turn of the first scenario.*1 Then the player gets the added fun of "shopping" for his core army -- he can spend his prestige any way he sees fit. This creates a huge range of diversity in the campaign since every player is likely to have a different starting core army, and quite often two different players will have completely different core armies to start the campaign.

If you want to create a campaign like this, there are a couple things to keep in mind. First, you will assign no designated deployment hexes in the first scenario. (They will be unnecessary unless you want the first scenario to be playable as a stand-alone scenario that starts with Player 1 owning some units that would not appear in the campaign version of the scenario.) Rather, you must give the player some regular deployment areas, i.e., Supply Hexes at which he can deploy the units he purchases.

Another thing to keep in mind is Designer Control. Although it sounds like something out of Orwell's "1984", I'm actually referring to the ability to predict what a player's core army will look like at a particular point in the campaign. This is crucial when trying to determine how your campaign's scenarios should look. In general, it is best when the campaign designer maintains some level of control over the player's army throughout the campaign. (If you don't like the word "control", substitute "predictability" in its place.)

It isn't hard to control what the player's core army looks like in the first few scenarios. But as a campaign gets longer, it becomes increasingly more difficult to predict what the player's army will consist of and how powerful and capable it will be. This makes it more difficult to create scenarios that are of the proper difficulty level. If you underestimate the average player's core army going into "Scenario X", you might create a scenario that is too easy for the player. By the same token, if you overestimate the player's core army, you will make a scenario that is too difficult; and you even run the risk of creating scenarios that are accidentally impossible to win!

This brings up an important aside. Everyone wants to make at least some challenging scenarios in their campaign. I've never met the designer who WANTS the player to be able to cruise through his campaign without any difficulty whatsoever. A campaign like that is unlikely ever to be played again -- at least by that player. Every designer wants his campaign to have at least a little more replayability than that. But, in trying to create difficult or challenging scenarios, it is often easy to simply be lazy. A GOOD challenging scenario doesn't simply consist of a mass of super-strong, super-advanced, super-experienced enemy units which keeps all but the most powerful, advanced, and experienced core armies from succeeding. A good scenario (regardless of the difficulty level) will make the player want to play it again and again.

Creating a difficult, but do-able scenario can actually be much more difficult than playing a difficult scenario. You must use your head when making such a scenario. Many critics of poorly designed difficult scenarios use the cliché description "fifty airplanes arriving on Turn One" to describe the stereotypical "hard" campaign scenario. Surely there is a time and a place for "fifty airplanes" to indeed "arrive on Turn One." But many aspiring campaign makers resort to this modus operandi time after time. There's no way a player's core army will be able to adequately cope with such a huge horde of enemy planes all arriving at once, therefore the designer thinks he's created a difficult scenario. Well, it's true. He has indeed created a difficult scenario, but not a very original one. Neither is it a scenario which is likely to be replayed.

Ideally, a challenging scenario will end in a loss the first time (or perhaps the first several times!) it is played. But after receiving the loss, a good scenario will still beckon the player to try again. Sometimes a scenario can be so artfully created that the average player will come away shaking his head wondering how such a small OpFor was able to defeat his core army. He will be dumbfounded as to how he could have possibly lost that scenario. Other times there will be a trick -- the scenario will be more like a puzzle that has one specific solution which is not readily apparent, but can be figured out with some thought or replaying of the scenario.

Still other times (though hopefully rarely!) the player will come away absolutely astounded that anyone could be expected to win that scenario. In this case, perhaps you intend that only the most experienced, most innovative, and most stubborn players will ever find a way to win that scenario. If so, you probably should not force other players to lose the entire campaign based upon that one loss. You must remember that if the player does not come away from the campaign with positive thoughts, he won't return to it, nor will he recommend it to others. That won't do either of you any good. The player will be discouraged and will have a sour taste in his mouth from the experience, and you will have lost at least one person who would potentially enjoy the campaign that is the fruits of your labor.

This brings us back to Designer Control. If you, as the designer, have created a campaign in which it is nearly impossible to predict what the player's core army will consist of at a specific point, it is nearly impossible to create a GOOD scenario for that campaign. Once you have lost control of the player's core army, you have to do a lot of guess-work. That means you will inevitably have some scenarios that are too easy and some that are too hard. If you're lucky you'll get a few that are just right. But in most cases, you will end up with scenarios that are BOTH too easy for some players AND too hard for other players. Normally this is not good because it limits your ability to accurately playtest the campaign when checking for difficulty and for replayability.

So when you are making your campaign, it is a good idea to always have a feel for what the typical player's core army will look like before, during, and after each scenario. You should know how much prestige is available for each scenario. This is easy to keep track of, but takes some discipline on your part. Simply add up the prestige you have given to the player. As the campaign's designer you have all the information you need to come up with an accurate total...

First add up all the flags. At 100% prestige, the small flags will be worth 40 prestige, a large flag with a yellow (VH) or green (SH) border will be worth 80 prestige each, and a large half-green/half-yellow bordered flag (a combination VH/SH) is worth 160 prestige. Remember that the player will not get any prestige for the flags that start out as his own flag, and he gets no prestige for retaking flags the A.I. captures. After you have added up all the flags, be sure to add in the prestige that is available each turn, as well as the prestige available at the beginning and end of each scenario.

Yes, there is some uncertainty in these numbers. You have to use your own judgement to determine how many of the flags an average player will be capable of taking and holding. Similarly, you have to remember that a player who ends the scenario early will miss out on some turn prestige, and one who plays until the last turn for a Tactical Victory will get every last penny. In the same way, you must keep in mind the scenario awards you assigned to each type of scenario-ending result. Do all players get the same prestige after the scenario? Or did you assign more or less prestige to certain types of victory or loss? You will probably have to come up with at least two sets of numbers: a high and a low. You should determine the largest amount of prestige a player could possibly have at this stage in the campaign, as well as the minimum amount a player could have.

You cannot control or even accurately assess how much of that prestige will be used during the scenario on taking replacements. And sometimes you will have difficulty estimating how much prestige will be lost when core units are destroyed. You will have practically no control over the prototypes which might be received after Brilliant Victories. But if you diligently keep track of the numbers that you as the designer DO have control over, you should have a good basis of knowledge upon which to rely. And that knowledge should help you create better scenarios with scenarios that have more appropriate difficulty levels.

This brings us to the last point. Whether you give the player a core army with which he will start Turn 1 of the first scenario or you give him prestige with which to purchase his own core army, there is a very important principle you must keep in mind at all times. Although the units that are given to the player from beginning of the campaign will be indistinguishable from those purchased by the player during the campaign, the game treats them a bit differently in regards to the prestige cap (a.k.a. "Jensen Cap).

At the end of each scenario, the prestige value (price) of those units which have been purchased by the player will be added together with any prestige the player currently has. If that amount exceeds the Prestige Cap value for the next scenario, the excess prestige will be deducted from the prestige award the player would ordinarily receive for completing the current scenario.

Units that were originally given to the player at the beginning of the first turn of the first scenario of the campaign do not count toward this total. Therefore, when it comes time to determine the value being assigned to the "Prestige Cap" for each scenario, the designer must take into consideration not only the size of the typical player's current core army, but the designer must also remember that those units which were given to the player at the outset of the campaign do not count toward the player's total core army value.

So, if you give the player a sum of prestige to start the campaign, instead of giving him a starting core army, you must remember that the player's entire core army (aside from prototypes received) will count toward his Jensen Cap*

In summary...

When designing scenarios for your campaign, it is very helpful to have a running total of the amount of prestige that has been given to the player throughout the campaign, as well as a rough idea of what his core army will consist of and look like. Although this will not always be an accurate reflection of the player's actual core army, it will at least help you judge how easy or hard your next scenario should be. Your own good judgement, playing experience, and simple creativity will also be key ingredients. But if you have the cold, hard facts to work with, you will be better able to judge exactly where your creativity should lead you.

Some additional comments by PzManiac

*1 – Please note that this sum has to be given as Starting Prestige and not as Turn Prestige. If you give it out as Turn prestige to be had on game turn 1, the prestige will be affected by the prestige slider, so that anyone playing the campaign at 25% will only have 25% of this amount, which can make it impossibile to play the campaign at lower prestige settings.

*2 The controlling the core is not as easy as Whoopy makes it out here :poke . It’s one of those things that most campaign designers struggle with. AND it is in fact much easier to control the core if you don’t assign a core army, since then you will be able to control the core more easily (only prototypes will remain as unknown factors). In addition you will also be able to easier compensate player losses by using the prestige and the Jensen cap (With the cap you can ensure that ONLY players having a low core army value will receive the after-scenario prestige necessary to buy replacements)

If you on the other hand assign a big core army, you will have to limit after-scenario prestige a LOT in order to control the core.. In addition you will have other problems with the campaign.. A big fixed core army with not much after-scenario prestige will NOT make the campaign fun to replay, since no matter how many times you play the campaign, it will probably play the same.. So basically IMO a big fixed core army is really NOT a good way to make a campaign attractive. In some cases (when you make a historical campaign for instance) it can be justified of course, but be aware that if you assign a big fixed core it will probably make players less prone to replay the campaign.

Captured SH Deployment

Posted: 2019-10-21 11:20, Monday
by LuisGuzman
(by pzmaniac)

Sometimes, if the scenario calls for such a thing, you can use an enemy Supply Hex for friendly deployment. In this case, the player will be able to deploy his core army (or units purchased during the scenario) at this Supply Hex, BUT, only after he has captured the hex from the computer player.

To do this, you simply place a computer-player (Player 2) Supply Hex somewhere on the map. Then use a scenario editor to change its status to allow Player 1 deployment but leave the ownership as Player 2..

The first step is to place a Player 2 Supply Hex. If you want, this can be a combination VH/SH. In that case, you place a Player 1 Victory Hex, then change ownership of that Victory Hex to Player 2 by placing a Player 2 Supply Hex on it. Then we save the changes and exit PG2.

That's how you can make a scenario in which the player can only deploy the remainder of his core army after capturing a specific objective. This can be a lot of fun, and sometimes can be used to accurately depict the arrival of reinforcements in historical scenario. But if you're going to use this trick in a campaign, be careful, as with anything else, not to over-do it. When used occasionally, it can make a fun scenario. When used in scenario after scenario, it can get old.

Of course it makes the most sense, in a scenario like this, to NOT assign Player 1 any Supply Hexes at the beginning of the scenario. If you do, it usually defeats the purpose of making a Supply Hex the player is forced to capture. Instead, allow only limited deployment of the core army by using the Designated Deployment Hexes. This way the player can only deploy part of his core army in the beginning. To deploy the remainder of his core he will have to capture the objective that you have assigned as a Player 2-owned hex, and a Player 1 deployment Supply Hex.

Campaign Scenario Making -- Air Deployment

Posted: 2019-10-21 11:21, Monday
by LuisGuzman
(by pzmaniac)

As we have discussed, when making scenarios for a campaign, the first scenario will use Designated Deployment Hexes to show which units are the player's starting core army. Any Player 1 unit placed on a Designated Deployment Hex will start out as a part of the player's core army. All other Player 1 units in the first scenario will be auxiliary (non-core) units. In subsequent scenarios Designated Deployment Hexes, as well as the hexes surrounding a friendly Player 1 Supply Hex will act as deployment hexes for the player's core army. Surplus core units can be deployed in the hexes surrounding any Player 1 Supply Hex (as long as Player 1 owns them at the time). If no Supply Hex is supplied for Player 1, he will not be allowed to deploy the rest of his core army if he has more core units than Designated Deployment Hexes.

Air units are a different story.

In the case of air units, they can be deployed at the beginning of the scenario only if Player 1 begins the scenario owning an airfield. If the player does not own an airfield at the beginning of the scenario, he will not be able to deploy any core air units unless and until he captures an airfield. If there are no airfields in the scenario, no core air units can be deployed -- not ever! By "no airfields" I mean airfields that have been given one or more ownership hexes. There could be fifty airfields on the map, but if none are given an ownership hex (and therefore cannot be taken or held), no core air units can be deployed.

If an airfield is given to the player at the beginning of the scenario he will be able to deploy his entire core air force. He might have to move one or more air units from off of the airfield before he can deploy his third or fourth (or more) air units. But he will be able to deploy ALL his air units on the first turn (or any subsequent turn).

Similarly, if no airfield is given to Player 1, but one or more airfields are given to Player 2, once the player has captured one of the computer's airfields, the player will then be able to fully deploy his core air force.

Unlike ground units, there is no way for a scenario to be created in such a way that a player will only be able to use a portion of his core air force. It's all or nothing. In this regard air fields are to air units what friendly Supply Hexes are to ground units. If one exists at the beginning of the scenario, the entire core can be deployed on Turn 1. If none exists, and the A.I. has an airfield, once it is captured by the player, ALL his air units can then be deployed from it. So, if it helps, you can think of airfields as being SH's for air units.

However, unlike ground units there are no Designated Air Deployment hexes. You cannot deploy air units on Designated Deployment Hexes. Only ground units can deploy on Designated Deployment Hexes.

A word of caution. Like anything else, limited air deployment should be used with discretion. It's okay to include some scenarios in which the player does not start out owning an air field. This makes all enemy air fields (or at least the first available one) like a major objective since the player will have to take an airfield before he can deploy his core air force. It's also okay to include a few scenarios in which there are NO airfields, which means that no core air units can be deployed at all (although this also means that auxiliary air units and Player 2 -- computer-controlled -- air units may not be able to resupply). But in either case, these methods can get old if overused. So try to limit the use of these types of scenario.

You might decide, for whatever reason, that you don't want to allow the player to purchase any core air units. In this case, you can achieve this simply by making sure that none of your scenarios have any airfields with ownership flags. Since this means that no auxiliary or enemy aircraft can be resupplied, this can present some unique limitations. But it can be achieved if that's what you want for your campaign. You can also partially solve the problem of enemy air resupply be making sure that any enemy airfields are heavily guarded and/or are made so that they will be the last Objective the player will take. In that way, even if a player does purchase some core aircraft, he will only be able to deploy them on the last turn of the scenario, rendering them so nearly useless that most players won't bother to buy any air units. However, once again, I should warn you that many players will dislike this kind of campaign. Most players like as many choices as possible in their core army, including the right to decide to purchase or not to purchase air units. But it can be a unique device if properly designed and executed. And most players will be able to tolerate this fact if they are forewarned that they will not be able to deploy any core air units.

Scenario Building: Sea and Airborne Deployment

Posted: 2019-10-21 11:21, Monday
by LuisGuzman
(by pzmaniac)

If you are making a scenario in which the player is to deploy some or all of his units in sea transports, you simply place Designated Deployment Hexes in the ocean. When the player begins the scenario he will be able to deploy his core army in these ocean hexes. They will automatically be deployed in sea transports.

As with ground Designated Deployment Hexes, once the player closes the initial deployment window these hexes will no longer be available for the player to use for deploying his core army.

Last week we discussed deploying air units. There is no such thing as Designated Deployment Hexes for air units. Rather, the player's core air units can be deployed at any airfield he owns that has an ownership flag.

If you place Designated Deployment Hexes on airfield hexes, the player will be able to deploy core ground units on those hexes. It will not effect his ability to deploy core air units.

You should be aware that, if you place Designated Deployment Hexes on a Player 1 airfield, the player will be able to immediately deploy his airborne and/or airmobile units in air transports. So, if you don't want the player to start out with units in air transports, you should not place Designated Deployment Hexes on airfield hexes.

On the other hand, if you want the player to be able to immediately deploy his airborne and/or airmobile units in air transports, you should place Designated Deployment Hexes on the player's airfield(s). Of course you must also assign air transports to the player. When you build a scenario the Scenario Builder automatically gives both players 3 air transports; that is to say, the player (and the A.I. - at least in theory) can have up to three units in air transports at any one time.

If you want to give the player more or fewer air transports, you must change the number in the scenario editor and then be sure to reload the scenario in the SSI Scenario Builder and save it again.)

You should also be aware of a cheat. If you give the player Designated Deployment Hexes in the ocean OR if you make a port hex into a supply hex, and there is at least one air transport available, the player can use this to give himself an almost infinite number of air transports. However, this cheat can now be eliminated by using one of the options in the Luis Suite that allows you to “turn off” the possibility for players to use a ocean hex to use airtransportable units from an ocean hex. [this possibility was introduced in the unofficial PG 2.00 exe]

Campaign making: Prestige allocation

Posted: 2019-10-21 11:22, Monday
by LuisGuzman
Please note that this post is one of my own, so don't blame Whoopy if you think it stinks :p

One of the most common mistakes in campaign making are wrong prestige settings. In fact I even maintain that very few campaign designers can handle prestige. Even campaigns with brilliant scenario design often runs into problem, because the campaign designer hasn’t understood this issue.

The trouble with setting prestige is that there are several factors you will need to deal with:
Playability issues, Core size issues, Scenario design issues. AND in addition the different uses a player can make with the prestige also complicates the issue.

However before going into the abovementioned factors. I would like to clarify what prestige is and just how a player can use it.. Prestige is the “money” you have available during AND after a scenario, and which can be used in four ways: to buy new units (either during a scenario or at the beginning of a scenario), upgrade units at the beginning of a scenario, refit units during a scenario, overstrengthen units at the beginning of a scenario.

Prestige can either be allotted (by the campaign designer) in three ways – flag prestige, turn prestige and after-scenario prestige. (flag prestige and turn prestige are often called in-scenario prestige)

flag prestige (ie by putting a flag on the map or by setting a flagged hex as vic hex, supply hex or vic/supply hex)..(By using the Suite you can of course set flags or any type of vic/supply hex to NOT give out prestige as well, but I won’t go into that matter at this stage)
turn prestige (by awarding a certain amount of prestige to be given to the player at the start of a certain game turn)
after-scenario prestige (by giving the player a certain amount of prestige after a certain victory - Brilliant Victory, Victory, Tactical Victory or Loss)

It’s extremely important to know that flag prestige and turn prestige (ie the in-scenario prestige) are affected by the prestige slider, whereas after-scenario prestige is NOT affected by the prestige slider. This means that a player that choose to play a campaign at 50% will receive ALL after-scenario prestige but only 50% of the available flag AND turn prestige.

In consequence some prestige types are better used than others when you want to assign prestige. As a campaign designer you need to ask yourself exactly what do you want the player to be able to do with the prestige.
- If you would like the player to be able to upgrade his tanks to two-ranged tanks, you should most likely set this prestige as after-scenario prestige, so that players regardless of difficulty level could do the upgrade.
- If you on the other hand don’t want that the best players (meaning in this case players who regularly play at 50% or maybe lower) should be able to field two-ranged tanks, then you should probably give out this amount as flag and/or turn prestige instead
- If you want weak players (meaning in this case players that regularly play at above 100%) to be able to refit their units more often in a difficult scenario you will probably need to set this prestige as turn prestige

Regardless of what type of campaign you’re making, you should always have a mix of after-scenario prestige AND in-scenario prestige (ie prestige awarded during the scenario – meaning flag and/or turn prestige). If you only give out after-scenario prestige, your campaign will play the same way regardless of what prestige setting player chooses (ie 50%, 100%, 200% etc). If you only give out in-scenario prestige, the campaign will be extremely difficult to play at lower prestige settings. (ie 0%, 25%). It’s very difficult to give any more specific guideline on how to obtain this mix, since prestige allotment depends on many other factors as well. The best way to check if you have obtained a mix is of course to have the campaign playtested at different prestige levels in order to check if it actually plays differently at different prestige levels. But why is it so important to have the campaign play differently at different prestige levels? Well, because some players like to replay campaigns, but they don’t want to replay a campaign that play exactly the same the second time around. That’s really the main reason why a campaign like Millerblitz gets replayed. This has nothing to do with excellent scenario design, in fact many of the scenarios are really of rather poor quality (at least if you compare it to some of the more exciting new campaigns out there)…but in compensation it has good prestige settings which allows it to be played with different cores and different approaches, which in turn leads to replayability of a campaign.

Core factors
Another issue you have to consider is are core factors (size, expansion, upgrades) Many players play PG2 because it allows them to build their own core. Campaigns with fixed cores with small possibilities to expand the core may therefore be not as popular as other campaigns. (The replayability factor will definitely not be high, since there is really no need to replay a campaign that plays exactly the same every time you play it.). Letting the player buy his own core will definitely make it easier to control the size of the player army (if you use the cap in a judicious way- I will get back to it in another post) but it might also mean that the player buys a completely ahistoric core. Personally I’m not particularly fond of big fixed core campaigns, and I really fail to see the point of them. A campaign designer might as well give purchasing directions in the introductory texts instead.

Anyhow the expansion rate and the expansion size of the core are important variables to consider. How fast and how much would you like the player to be able to increase his core size? And do you want weaker players to be able to expand quicker than stronger players? The first question really gives you an indication of how much you should give out as prestige between two scenarios. The second question gives you an indication of how much should be given out as in-scenario prestige as opposed to after-scenario prestige. Clearly if you want everyone to be able to increase their cores as quickly (regardless of which prestige setting they are playing at) you should have a mix of in-scenario prestige and after-scenario prestige, where the after-scenario prestige is more important.

The other core factor which is important to keep in mind are upgrades. If your campaign is set in a very specific time-frame (like Jorge’s Stalingrad campaign for instance), this issue will NOT be important. If you on the other hand make a campaign stretching all through the war, you will at one stage have to consider what types of upgrade the player should make AND if you want the weaker players should be able to make more/faster upgrades than stronger players. Generally speaking money for upgrades should probably most often be given out as after-scenario prestige.

But depending on whether you want players at lower prestige levels to be able to upgrade or not, you might have to consider giving out some of it as in-scenario prestige. Let’s say that you have a case when you’ve reached the conclusion that a player at this stage of your campaign would probably field four PzIIIH tanks, and at this particular scenario you would like players to be able to upgrade all four of them to Tigers if they play at 150%, and players playing at 75% would only be able to upgrade two of them now, while players at 25% should not be able to upgrade a single tank to a Tiger. In such a case you will have to give out most of the prestige as in-scenario prestige (either as flag prestige or as turn-based prestige)

Scenario design
Please remember that when you use flag prestige you will have to take into account that the setting of flags will ALSO affect scenario design, since flags will affect how the AI will move its units. So by NO means should you put a flag on every town/city hex on the map, just because some of the SSI scenarios (like Sedan) have them.

Campaign Design : The Cap (also called The Jensen Cap)

Posted: 2019-10-21 11:23, Monday
by LuisGuzman
:yep This one is also by me... (pzmaniac)

So as a campaign designer why on earth need I bother about this? The first and foremost reason is that the Cap is the BEST</strong> way for you to control the players core size. Together with careful prestige allocation the cap is a tool that can allow you hold the players core size down, (I recently played a new campaign release completely without caps so that’s why I’m taking up this matter, you would have thought most campaign designers knew about this, but evidently not)
How does the cap work? The cap checks the players core army value at the end of a scenario and compares it to the cap setting for the next scenario. If the sum of your core army value + the accumulated prestige you have available + the after-scenario prestige you’re about to receive exceeds the cap, the after-scenario prestige will be reduced (or even not given out).

If you set very low after-scenario prestige (I’ve seen campaigns where you only get 50 for a BV :rolleyes players won’t bother about staying below the cap, so giving out very low amounts it’s really questionable (unless of course you’re making a campaign with an extremely limited time-frame, Jorge’s Stalingrad campaign comes into mind).. On the other hand if you gives out larger amounts of after-scenario (you should however avoid to give out HUGE amounts since this will make the campaign play the same at different prestige levels, something which you of course wouldn’t want :naughty the player will strive to hold his core size below the cap in order to constantly maximize his prestige earnings.

How do I know if the caps work? An easy answer but a very time-consuming work – you will have to playtest the campaign at different prestige levels to check.

How do I know if the cap doesn’t work? If you hit the cap when playing a 25% or 50%, then your caps are too low.. If you never hit the cap when playing at 150% or 200%, then your caps are too high.. (Please bear in mind that the perfect cap doesn’t exist, it’s only an approximation of how big your core army should be at a given stage of the campaign)

What happens if I don’t set caps? There are fine campaigns without caps (like Steve’s BWDIC) but the main problem with no caps, is that there is no stopping the player from continuing to buy new units, and as a campaign designer you either lose control of the players core OR you will have to resort to idiotic scenario design tricks in order to try and balance a player core that has run amock. Admittedly there are some difficulties in controlling the player core, but giving up setting caps is not a viable way to handle this difficulty.

An additional problem with campaigns without caps is that in general they get very difficult to play at lower prestige levels, and conversely they get extremely easy to play at higher prestige levels. This is often accentuated by the campaign designer’s use of scenario design tricks use in a desperate attempt to control the player’s core army (such as overstrengthening all enemy units to 15 :yuck and other “tricks”.

Campaign making: Some special issues

Posted: 2019-10-21 11:24, Monday
by LuisGuzman
also by PzManiac (other issues will probably be added in this post)

The awarding of prototypes is a very contentious area in campaign design. Generally speaking campaign designers hate them (because they unbalance the campaign, and make it harder for the campaign designer to hold track of the size of the player’s core army and players love them (because they add a certain randomness into campaign play).

Since the advent of larger efiles (the 4000/4000 efiles) this issue has become more serious, since campaigns using these efiles give out prototypes more often than earlier. (basically because there are more units available as prototypes as I understand it).

On the other hand campaign designers have now the possibility to restrict the giving out of prototypes (either by not allowing any prototypes after a scenario or by manipulating the range for prototypes – if you just want to avoid that the player gets a certain prototype available at a certain month).

I personally think campaign designers should avoid to completely remove the chance of prototypes in a campaign (unless they have very good reasons to do so), but most likely there is also a good case for some sort of restriction of giving out prototypes. Getting 5 prototypes in a row seriously unbalance every try to control the player’s core and makes it extremely difficult for the campaign designer to set caps.