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I’m apparently part of a small breed of the CM community that misses the old CM1 style operations. This is something I've talked about for some time on and off but over Christmas started to put my mouse where my mouth is... and started designing the thing. I hope to use this forum thread to update the community on my progress with this experiment and for others to chip in their thoughts/ideas/solutions to problems encountered. Introduction video first (I plan to do more down the line), followed by some written thoughts to get the ball rolling. For those younger CM Generals among us, CM1 Operations were essentially one large map with an end objective to reach by the end of a set time period broken up into multiple engagements. Force preservation and forward thinking were key to success. For example: “Okay, I’ve taken this village, do I keep pushing now while the enemy in front of me is disorganized or do I wait until sundown before creeping forward with additional forces that are due to arrive.” It wasn’t a perfect system by any means, for example there were issues regarding how the CM1 titles calculated the deployment zones for follow up missions based on how far the player pushed forward. (It could be gamed a bit). The CM2 Campaign system is more Designer controlled and is suited to following a more narrative structured series of events over multiple locations. My biggest issue with the current system is depending on how the Designer builds the campaign and handles reinforcements/replenishment; it can heavily encourage players turning to a ‘save scum’ mentality, (a constant reloading of older saves when something goes wrong), knowing they are unlikely to achieve victory later on if they lose ‘x’ number of units now. Or worse, you get the feeling you've progressed through the campaign well only to get to a mission that is simply unplayable due to previous losses. The fact we now see designers (or the community through websites such as @IanL 's) outlining in briefings and in supporting Read Me's released outside of campaign file, pathway and replenishment details is, I think, testimant to this problem. The margin for error before it becomes unwinnable (beyond the point of being a hardy worthwhile challenge) in a lot of campaigns is simply so small. Thing is I think we can create something close to a CM1 style Operation inside the CM2 engine. This is now largely possible due to: - The far greater map sizes and units the engine can handle now compared to CM2’s debut. - The variety of forces now on offer in most titles once modules and packs are released. - General beefiness of current computers. So a CM2 campaign is essentially a series of linked scenarios that form either one or two pathways to another dependent on 'winning' or 'losing' a preceding scenario. If we switch up the usual formula for a campaign to include the following: - The player has one large map to clear over a series of engagements that are spread over a tight timeframe. - A player must hit numerous terrain based objectives in a set order to reach the final objective which ends the campaign. The longer it takes the less the degree of campaign victory. - These terrain objectives are provided in an order set out by ‘higher command’ (the designer). - If the player wins, they move on to the next objective in the next allotted time slot. - If the player loses, they repeat the same scenario with time progressing to the next allotted time slot. - As time progresses both sides receive reinforcements and replenishment though given the small time frames there would be at set periods or only in small increments. - An extensive initial Campaign Briefing would be required. - Briefings between missions would be minimal to represent the lack of orders from higher command during a prolonged engagement. It's up the Battallion Commander (the player) on the ground to make the call on what to do next to meet their final objective. Perhaps limited to some on the ground intel or feedback to the player on what type of support is coming up in future engagements to help them make an informed decision around ‘commit now or later.’ - Forces on both sides would be nearly all Core Units and tracked for the duration of the fight. The thing is why do we always think of campaign progression as a ‘line’ and why not a ‘table.’ If the player ‘loses’ a scenario, let them try the same mission again with what forces they have on hand but push the time along a little bit for the follow engagement. The major limit to this approach is the fact that the CMx2 engine doesn’t support terrain damage carrying over between missions. The designer would have to be a little bit creative here and slow damage / rubble down the map as time progresses depending on the circumstances. Perhaps at a set point you damage key focus points on the map to take into account pre-planned bombardments from Army HQ assets. Using this St Lo period engagement that historically occured on the map in the video over two full days of fighting is a nicely contained and smaller situation to test out these ideas. If this theory works it would be good to have a crack at the 502d/101st Ab's push towards Carentan. Dreams are always bigger than reality.
Cross posting from the CMAK forum because we might be seeing a problem in the CMBB OPERATION To the Volga. Has anyone else noticed whether weather has an impact on the continued availability of air support during operations? Our concern is that one battle of non-clear weather (or night) might prevent the air support from showing up for ensuing daytime battles that have clear weather. If so, then Operations should always have air support built into the reinforcements. The manual seems tacit on this.