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Gen’l,

February -21 brings more player requested features, as the recruitment system is upgraded with an option for faster creation of units, and policies are overhauled. Since January, the 1864 campaign was added along with performance improvements and a lot of other changes, big and small. Let’s take a look at the most important ones!


Faster Recruitment Options Available.

Quality of Life — Recruitment

Many in the community have requested speeding up the flow of recruitment. Especially when starting a new campaign, it takes time to get the recruitment going, getting weapons upgraded, and so on. To make life easier, we have added a speed recruitment option in the army management panel.

The functionality is quite simple. First you select the Headquarters you wish to add the new units to. Then in the quick recruitment options select the number of units per type to be recruited. You can also change the initial strength of the units, from 50% to 75% to full 100%. The smaller units will start growing in strength later with additional reinforcements. Once happy, click to recruit, and the units appear under the selected HQ. The recruitment state is chosen with fastest arrival time (recruitment delay & movement to join the army) in mind.

You can also upgrade weapons for the best types available by simply clicking on the Headquarters in question, and then upgrade.

Other recruitment related improvements are the availability of volunteers via militia, and other, acts. Also the recruitment delays are slightly increased. These combined mean that it will be slower to recruit large armies early on in the campaign.


New Looks & Revised Effects & Research Times. And a New Act!

Policies Overhauled.

Another requested feature has been the policies and how they work. We also thought that the policies are not well balanced enough, and that it was too easy to activate the maximum amount, as research took quite little time. Instead of minor changes here & there, the whole system, along with policy effects, was revised. This is part of the campaign balancing, which has been ongoing, and will continue till the game is released in full.

First change is in the pre-war policies, which are chosen when the campaign is started. These policies included many weak ones and a few overpowered ones, making the choice — for those who wish to change them from the historical ones — rather simple. Now the policy effects are more balanced, so the choice should be more interesting. As an example, some of the pre-war policies are required during the campaign to proceed past certain policies: pre-war industrialization is required for industrialization III-IV policies, and so on.

Also the policies <-> subsidies link is changed. Previously they made too little difference, as without any policies you could invest up to a million to each subsidy, and policies would eventually increase this by 50% at most. In the revised system, without a policy there are no subsidies available at all, and the subsequent policy levels increase the investment cap with increasing steps. The level IV policies for industrialization, agriculture and military will also include a bonus to nation’s morale, support or military experience.

With the changes in place, the policies and acts will become more powerful and interesting to use. The previous updates, which made the research speed depend on national support, and multiple simultaneously researched policies slower, adds to this. Now the player needs to think a few steps ahead.


The Confederacy is Cut in Half, but not Giving Up!

1864 Campaign.

The late war campaign, that was added in January, kicks off right before the Overland Campaign and Atlanta Campaigns commenced. Lt.Gen. Grant, now in command of the Union armies, has the task to end the war, preferably before the presidential elections of 1864 in November. Previous summer Lee was defeated at Gettysburg and Grant captured Vicksburg. But this does not mean the Confederacy is beaten. Already the Red River Campaign by Banks has failed to capture Shreveport.

The main forces in this campaign are those of Grant, Lee, Sherman, Johnston, Banks, Kirby Smith and Butler. And the fighting ahead would be the bloodiest during the war.

With the new campaign, we have also updated the campaign map and the number of commanders available within the game files has been bolstered to more than 1700!


Terrain Blocking Command & Combat Radii: Lee’s Army Cannot Reinforce Battles in the Shenandoah Valley.

Other Changes.

Common:

  • Performance increase, with +10 FPS on average,
  • First steps with scalable UI,
  • Some UI improvements with very high resolution screens,
  • Fog of War calculation changed to instant when loading a campaign/battle,
  • Fix for the blurry screen after a fresh install, when using high refresh rates.

Battles:

  • Battle type improvement, with defensive/offensive operations changing the initial deployment,
  • Rebalanced skirmishers’ effectiveness in general,
  • AI use of cavalry improved,
  • Rebalanced unit routing and army retreats, that should lead into less casualties per battle, especially early in the campaign when units are green.

Campaigns:

  • Terrain now blocking combat and command radii of armies, mountain ranges now block arrival or reinforcements,
  • Rebalanced autoresolved battles, sieges,
  • Added rolling text information on the map informing about casualties from skirmishing, rear guard action, movement speed changes,
  • Changed raiding functionality so, that raiding armies no longer capture terrain, infrastructure is burned only within the combat radius of the unit, and raiding armies will skirmish with all enemies within their combat radii,
  • Improved AI defensive operations near capital city,
  • Before Military II -policy only early armies can be formed, and after the policy grand armies with multiple corps can be formed, grand armies made more flexible with rebalancing of command radii of armies,
  • Rebalanced intelligence gathering by armies, making scouting and use of cavalry much more effective in spotting enemy movement,
  • Added a large number of Grand Herald news from the Civil War, and around the world, for further immersion.

…and many more improvements and bug fixes, that can be found in the patch release notes.

The Next Steps.

The work continues to get the game ready. With recent feature updates, focus is back in fixing bugs reported by the community. In the background we are writing a proper game manual, creating more battle maps, preparing new tutorial videos and improving the game play experience with fixes to most requested topics, such as campaign & battle retreat routes, and melees & surrendering in battles.

Most Respy,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Designer.

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Gen’l,

It’s 2021, happy New Year everyone! It has been some time since the last look into the latest new features in Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865), so here’s a quick summary of what has happened during the holidays and what is currently being worked on.

More Information.

While under the hood, there has always been a lot happening, the cause and effect -chains have not been always clear to the player. For example, why is national morale dropping, why are the units moving so slowly, or what is happening during naval engagements? Here we have introduced a lot of new information for the player in a few different ways:
-Improved tooltips. On strategy panel the tooltip now shows, for example, all effects on national morale. Perk tooltips explain the effects more accurately, including what needs to be done to level up the perk. Army supplies are now explained with more detail in the unit panel.
-Rolling texts. These texts appear on the campaign map to inform player of certain events and effects. For example, there’s information given about automatically resolved battles, sieges, troop movements including rear guard action and pursuit after battle, inflicting further casualties. While all the described effects have been there, now hopefully the player will also have the information in a timely fashion.

Re-enforcements Arriving!

One of the often requested feature has been control over reinforcements in campaign battles. Previously the system worked so, that offensive armies were to automatically reinforce, while defensive would not march to the sound of guns. We have now improved the engagement interface with further information about the engaging armies and the available reinforcements — and we now allow the player to choose which available units he would like to order to join the battle, regardless of their stance.

Navy has also received improved functionality in the form of raiding-order. Under these orders, the fleet in question will launch surprise raids against blockading fleets, engaging only a small part of the fleet. This allows numerically inferior fleets to engage and possibly sink a few ships, and then to disengage. With successful raiding the CSA can try to wage a war of attrition along the coast against the much larger Union blockading squadrons.

Currently we are working on improved retreating mechanism on the campaign map, including better retreat path-finding, retreating to forts, and disintegration of units that have no-where safe to retreat to. This is in addition to already implemented much shorter retreat routes, more orderly withdrawal, and additional capital city defensive moves by the AI.

Oh, that's what's taking all the time!

Balancing.

A constantly ongoing work has been the game balance, including AI improvements, in both campaigns and battles. This line of operation, so to say, contains working on the already implemented features to make the game play experience smoother, more challenging and fun. Here are just a few examples from this work:

Battles:
-Fatigue and morale effects balancing,
-AI now acts more directly and aggressively, if it encounters a force with considerable numerical inferiority,
-Couriers now move faster, reducing order delays a bit, while unit movement speeds have also been readjusted,
-Reworked objective placement in historic battles,
-Defensive battles are being improved to allow the defender larger deployment area and objectives that are already held.

Campaigns:
-Policies: implementation times have been adjusted, and researching multiple policies or acts will make the progress slower,
-Recruitment numbers have been revised, so that acts will have bigger effect on available recruits, recruitment subsidies will have bigger effect, over longer period of time, and drafts can be used to reinforce depleted volunteer units. This happens without support loss, unlike recruiting full draft units,
-Commanders getting wounded or captured may return during the campaign, but their attributes are affected,
-Commander attributes are now correctly affected by their experience, and experience will drop accordingly when appointed to higher command. Also if within range from the higher HQ, the commander will influence his subordinates’ attributes. For example an aggressive commander will feed aggression in his subordinates, and vice versa,
-Intervention armies are more of a threat now, at least that’s what the troops of V Corps, told me when visited by the Army of Canada.

More than just Fremantle this time, eh...

The Next Steps.

Work continues as planned, with focus now on finalizing added features, bug-fixing and general improvements. New content is being worked on, with the 1864 campaign database being implemented, and already adding the historic battle of New Market. Our map guru Wasel is working on the generic “random” maps, Peter has been adding commander portraits and improving the visuals here and there, and our friend History Guy Gaming is producing more Tutorial Videos as we speak — you may check out the ready ones from our YouTube playlist, HERE.

All in all the start of the year 2021 looks busy, but also the full release is slowly getting closer and closer.

Most Respy,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Designer.

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Gen’l,

Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) was launched in Early Access on Steam on Aug 21, 2020. Early Access means the game is not yet in its final, intended form. Instead, we want to improve it further before calling it “ready”. By purchasing the Early Access version (for a discounted price), the player can already play the game, but for a more complete and polished experience, it is recommended to wait for the full release. If you’re marching with us with the Early Access release, the going will not be smooth and there will be many hardships along the way. But, instead of turning back when facing adversity, the march will continue until the final victory – the full release of the game – is achieved!

During the Early Access period, we will follow the Road Map shown above. The Road Map steps are not in order of priority, but represent the order in which the missing features and content are finished. We will tackle the bugs and main feature improvements from the start.

During this time the other team members will be adding the content, which did not make it in the Early Access version. This includes, among other things, more commander portraits from Peter, further improvements in the campaign map, game balancing, maps, scenarios, and so on. The main steps on our march to victory, the final release, are listed below:

Load & Save for Battles – Victory Achieved on Nov 20, 2020!
One of the most important and requested features. As the battles take a long time to play, it is only fair that the player can save the progress to continue playing later. This feature has been added to the game along with unlimited saving for campaigns.

Map Pack #1 – Victory Achieved on Dec 23, 2020!
This package includes 10 new historical battlefields, that are available for fighting battles during the campaign. Included are maps of Cumberland Gap, Honey Springs, Honey Hill, Winchester, New Market, Carnifex Ferry, Mine Creek, Champion Hill, Fort Stevens and Olustee. Olustee also came with a historic battle. For more info, See here.

1864 Campaign – Victory Achieved on Jan 28, 2021!
The late war campaign scenario starts in May, 1864. Union armies are preparing to launch decisive campaigns to defeat the Confederate armies. Union commanding general Ulysses S. Grant is leading armies in the East to invade Virginia, to defeat Lee’s famed Army of the Northern Virginia, while his trusted lieutenant William Tecumseh Sherman is to move with his armies to defeat Johnston and take Atlanta, Georgia. The odds are heavily favoring the Union, but with the presidential elections closing, severe setbacks in Lincoln’s war effort may demoralize the people. If Lincoln is not re-elected, the Confederacy has a chance to enter peace negotiations, eventually preventing the nation from being overran by the northern armies. The campaign also includes new historic battles – Olustee, Wilderness and New Market.

Tutorial Videos:
As the game is very complex, it can be easy to lose oneself in all the details and different functionalities. We have started adding tutorial videos, produced by the one and only History Guy Gaming! First videos can already be found in the game, and more will follow.

Find the tutorial videos also on YouTube, here:

Tutorial Video Playlist.

Map Pack #2:
This package will include a number of maps that will be randomly picked when fighting in regions where historical battle maps are not present. The functionality of the feature is already in, tested and it works, but the number of maps will be expanded to allow more diverse battle fields across the continent.

Campaign AI & Balancing:
This work is already underway, with each patch in beta also addressing these issues, but we are determined to improve the campaign AI and campaign experience a lot further. The campaign is what our game is all about, and we really want to make it the best we can!

After the Early Access release, we will keep the players and followers up to date about our progress by updating the Road Map. After the final step, the march will be over, and the final version of the game released. We welcome you to join us on this march! With the updating Road Map it should be easy to see the progress!

Cheers,

The Grand Tactician Team

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Gen’l,

To-day we will reveal to you the contents of Map Pack #1, a collection of 10 new historical battle maps that have been created during the Early Access period. The maps will appear, when fighting at the appropriate locations on the campaign map. Some of them have already been included for some time, as we’ve been adding them when ready. The Map Pack is one of the six mile stones on our Early Access Road Map.

Cumberland Gap, Kentucky.

The first map is that of Cumberland Gap, a strategically important mountain pass allowing movement from Virginia and Tennessee to Kentucky. During the Civil War this Gap was first captured by the Confederates. In 1862 7th Division, under G.W. Morgan attacked through the gap, and this map is part of his return route along the Kentucky State Road during his attack from Kentucky to Tennessee.

Honey Springs, Indian Territory.

Located in modern day Oklahoma, Honey Springs was a Confederate depot in the Indian Territory, along the Texas Road running from Texas to Kansas. In July 17, 1863, the largest scale battle in Indian Territory was fought here between mainly Native American troops of the CSA, and USCT troops of the Union. In this battle the Union Army of the Frontier under J.G. Blunt, with some 3,000 men, defeated the approximately 6,000 Confederates under D.H. Cooper and captured their depot.

Olustee, Florida.

In February 20, 1864, the largest battle of the Civil War in Florida was fought here between Confederate general Joseph Finegan and Union general Truman Seymour. In the battle Finegan defeated Seymour’s army and forced it to withdraw. Seymour was attacking on his own initiative from Jacksonville towards Tallahassee along the Florida, Atlantic & Gulf Central Railroad. Finegan placed his defences along Seymour’s axis of attack at Olustee Station, a natural choke point with Ocean Pond covering his left and a large swamp his right flank. The Historic Battle of Olustee is already available in Grand Tactician!

Carnifex Ferry, West Virginia.

This map saw two battles in fall of 1861: The Battle of Kessler’s Cross Lanes on August 26, and that of Carnifex Ferry on September 10. The fighting was part of the early West Virginia campaigns. At Kessler’s Cross Lanes Confederate general John B. Floyd defeated Erastus Tyler’s 7th Ohio Infantry Regiment in a surprise attack. After the battle Floyd moved south to Carnifex Ferry, where, just north of the ferry site, he dug a defensive line, from which he fought against general Rosecrans’ three brigades. After initial success and inflicting higher casualties on the Federals, Rosecrans’ artillery proved problematic, and Floyd withdrew across the Gauley River towards Lewisburg. The image shows the ferry site, and Floyd’s defensive position just north of it on the plateau.

Honey Hill, South Carolina.

Honey Hill is a small high ground along the Grahamville Road. On November 30, 1864, during Sherman’s March to the Sea, Coastal Division under John P. Hatch fought a small battle here against G.W. Smith’s Georgia militia. In the battle the entrenched Confederates inflicted heavy losses on the Federals, forcing them to withdraw. Hatch’s movement to Grahamville to cut the nearby railroad failed.

Champion Hill, Mississippi.

On May 16, 1863, Union general U.S. Grant was moving south along the Mississippi river to take Vicksburg. In a cunning and brilliant move he bypassed the fortified city and emerged south of it to first attack and drive away general Johnston’s small force at Jackson, then turning west to engage John C. Pemberton’s army of some 22,000 strong with his own force of some 32,000 men. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee attacked along the three roads, Raymond Road, Middle Road and Clinton Road in three columns, and the main fighting took place on a high ground called Champion’s Hill, shown in the image, looking from the Champion House. Grant defeated Pemberton and continued to Vicksburg to eventually capture it in what would be one of the main turning points in the war, paving way to his promotion and the eventual Union victory.

Winchester, Virginia.

Located in the northern mouth of Shenandoah Valley, Winchester and the surrounding area saw a number of battles during the war, including 1st – 3rd Battles of Winchester and 1st and 2nd Kernstown. Winchester was of strategic importance, as it was positioned along the Shenandoah Valley Turnpike, the macadamized road running through the valley, and also the ending point of Winchester & Potomac Railroad. In the 1st Battle of Winchester “Stonewall” Jackson defeated Banks, while in the 3rd Battle Phil Sheridan defeated Jubal Early’s Army of the Valley after they had withdrawn from the gates of Washington D.C…

Fort Stevens, District of Columbia.

Talking of Early nearly taking Washington, D.C., here is the map where he was stopped. The Union capital was the most fortified city in the world during the Civil War. But when the fortifications were tested in July, 1864, they were manned by green troops. Early moved down the Shenandoah Valley, defeated the Union defenders in the Battle of Monocacy, and then marched down towards Washington D.C. along the 7th Street Turnpike. Along this pike was Fort Stevens, and its entrenched defensive line. On July 11 Early was facing only a hodge-podge Emergency Division, but Grant’s reinforcements, the VI Corps and a detachment from the XIX Corps arrived on time to engage the overstretched and exhausted Confederates. Even President Lincoln was observing the battle at Fort Stevens.

New Market, Virginia.

Probably the most requested map, New Market is located in the Shenandoah Valley, south of Winchester along the Valley Turnpike. A sleepy small town, but made famous due to the Battle of New Market on May 15, 1864. In that battle, Franz Sigel’s army moved up the Valley to Staunton to take the important supply hub and to threaten Lee’s flank in concert with Grant’s Overland Campaign. Confederate general Breckinridge moved in to meet Sigel, and the engagement took place at New Market, where the approximately 5,500 Confederates forced Sigel’s 10,000 men to turn and withdraw. In this battle, the Virginia Militia Institute Cadet Corps was Breckinridge’s reserve, and he committed the young boys to attack Federal positions at Bushong Farm. The rest is stuff of legend.

Mine Creek, Kansas.

August 1864, general Sterling Price launched his raid from southern Arkansas to Missouri. His force wreaked havoc during September and most of October. When moving south from Kansas City he was pursued by Union cavalry from general Samuel R. Curtis’ army. A battle took place at Mine Creek, Kansas, where Marmaduke’s cavalry fought against Benteen’s. Union emerged victorious and Confederacy lost approximately 1,200 men versus Union’s 100. The battle was one of the largest ones between two opposing mounted forces.

Most Respy,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Topographer, &c.,
The Grand Tactician -Team

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Gen’l,

Grand Tactician: The Civil War (1861-1865) was released in Early Access two months ago. On August 21 we marched straight into the Wilderness, and have been fighting ever since. After desperate fighting and even some repulses, the advance continues. The game is being improved all along, and recently we have started adding content that has been requested by the Early Access players!

Into the Wilderness.

After August 21, things have advanced with Grand Tactician. During the first weeks after the release we have been dealing with major bugs, crashing, corrupted save files and even a nasty memory leak. But we’re happy these major issues are already behind us, and even as there is still a lot to do, the game is stabilizing. Plugging the memory leak was one of the more tedious projects so far, but now we have been able to focus on game play, AI and balancing, and producing additional content – on our way towards the full release of the game.

We have received a huge amount of bug reports, save files and logs, as well as feature requests from our Early Access players along the way. We have logged and prioritized them and are working through the list to constantly improve the game. Development patches have come out every 2-3 days, while official patches have been released weekly, on average. While first patches were focused on technical issues and stability, lately the point of main effort has been in campaign and battle game play.

While the team uses 90% of available effort in bug fixing and balancing the game, we have also added in playable content. Early on the 1863 summer campaign scenario was added, with a bonus summer 1861 scenario released a bit later, and just now we also added one more historic battle in the mix – the 1864 Battle of Olustee in Florida. This is the second regimental level battle, along with Wilson’s Creek, and the battle preferences have also been re-balanced in these two battles to improve playability and AI performance.

At the same time we have started adding more maps in the game, integrating them in the campaign map as well. The recently added maps are the before mentioned Olustee (FL), along with Cumberland Gap (KY) and Honey Springs (Indian Territory, modern OK). More maps are in the making, and will be sneakily added in the game with the coming patches. And while I have been adding the maps with our paper map artist Wasel, Peter has added more commander portraits and soldier images. Though, it does not help in his task that more commanders have also been added, the number now standing at 1591.

Save the Nation!

After resolving the major crashing issues we have slightly diverted from our Early Access Roadmap due to player requests. We have already added a number of player requests, like moving Headquarters units only, saving of filter settings and most recently unlimited campaign saving option and (optional) reworked battle objective system. More subtle changes have also been made according to feedback, like some changes in the campaign map, some font changes, pause default settings or game balancing.

As per our EA Roadmap, the steps described are already being taken not one by one, but simultaneously. While the first new maps, along with bonus battles have been already added, the work on the 1864 campaign is also ongoing, as is the work on allowing mid-battle saving and loading. We are also happy to announce that the first tutorial videos are being worked on by a renown history enthusiast and wargame YouTuber. The manual is also being planned with an American author and editor, who is a huge Civil War enthusiast. Like said, while more content is being created, the main focus is still in bug fixing, balancing, AI and performance improvements.

There are a number of larger topics that the community has requested so far, like scalable UI, hotkeys, or further game play options. These we have stored on our list and will start implementing them once we have advanced further with bug fixing and adding playable content.

We believe it’s a good idea to work with the community this way, even if it means the full release of the game may move further into the future this way – the Early Access players have been very encouraging and patient towards us, providing great feedback and cool new ideas. At this point we want to thank all the Early Access buyers for the continued support! The march to victory continues, even if there has been some setbacks along the way.

Most Respy,

Gen’l. Ilja Varha,
Chief Designer.