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No CMC? Solo-Battles & Campaigns in CMBO, CMBB & CMAK: my "Easy Company" rules

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I've still not got CMBN but I'm told it has a good campaign mode, so hopefully a big improvement for the solo-gamer. But all is not lost for CM1 - there's the mainstay that is RoBo's excellent ROQC (found at the CMMODS website). But ROQC is fairly complex, so for those who want a very simple campaign life, I hope you all don't mind if I offer an outline of my own Quick-Battle campaign game rules, which I've called "Easy Company" (because its meant to be very easy to operate). Not exactly "CMC", but nonetheless a campaign of sorts using CM1.

----------Easy Company Rules----------

Initial consideration (all CM1 games, for both campaigns and one-off battles):-

Play with automatically selected armies. Yours to be average-quality troops, but make the enemy of random quality and of unrestricted type, and set fog of war to full, so you never know what you're up against until a little ways into contact. But CMBO is quite limited for the solo-gamer, whereas CMBB & CMAK offer far more, such as:

1) Give both sides casualties to start the game with - I start with 10% or so for my guys but make the enemy random, and so with fog of war set to full you won't have a good idea until well into the fight just how many enemy units are likely to be left.

2) Always play with your troops weakened but the enemy set to random, again this makes judging the enemy strength, make-up and size impossible until well into the battle.

3) Set the game length to variable (so late rushes for the flag are risky). Game length is otherwise up to you, but I go with 50 (variable) rounds for a 900-point battle when attacking, increasing this by 5 rounds for assaults, and decreasing it by 5 rounds when defending. When attacking with larger points-sized battles I give myself even more rounds because of the headache of marshalling the extra troops.

4) Set the weather, time of day, and map features (town or rural, hills etc) all to random.

5) I give the enemy a healthy handicap of +50% to +100% to overcome weaknesses of the enemy AI (such as rushing out of well defended positions or tanks trapped behind woods) and overcome all my gamey tactics (such as flanking down the edge of the map). But this handicap could be altered (see "survival, more on promotion, and purpose" section below).

Further Campaign rules:

1) Your first battle is random (or meeting in CMBO). Then advance a week each battle (a month every 4 battles). But even if you win a battle on points, you call it a draw if you don't have at least one victory flag.

2) Make a note of the map-type (size of hills, settlement, how wooded) and if win go onto a fresh map and attack, if lose retreat to the previous "sector" (i.e. input the same map-type features as noted - or just another a random map if you lost your very first battle) and defend. And if a draw play again in the same map-type. And for every battle in the same "sector" in CMBB and CMAK you should also increase the battlefield damage by one level (something you can't do in CMBO). To help you remember your past battle maps/results, save them after the battle by viewing the map again and save with a short-hand reminder (such as "4104w1 df sectorA thhht MV" meaning "April 41, week 1, defending, location, town, high-hills, heavy trees, Major Victory) and so on. Then you can just use your saved battles list to keep tally of your campaign.

3) The highest ranking infanty HQ unit on your side represents "you", so if he dies or is captured AND your side loses a Major or Total defeat it's Campaign Over (if your side wins/draws then he's recovered wounded/rescued). This makes him cautious except in do-or-die or finely balanced situations. Every time he does something brave (like destroy a tank or alone hold-off or kill two or more enemy infantry platoons) or you win a total victory, he gets a star/rank promotion. But if he routs off the field or leaves before the end to save his own skin he loses a rank/star. Demotion from Captain puts you in the last-chance position of a lieutenant as an Acting-Captain, and demotion from that ends your camapaign.

Survival, More on Promotion, and Purpose:

The idea is from the earliest week in the war try to survive as long as possible, advancing as many map/sectors as possible, and gain as much promotion as possible. Promotion is handled by stars and partly depending on points size of battles. I go with 800-1000 point battles, starting as acting-Captain, then captain, then awarding stars (though you could instead call yourself major, brigadier, general, field marshall, supreme leader of the universe....). Or you could start increasing the point-sizes of your battles (say 1500-2000 for a major). You must also increase the level of difficulty with each promotion, say start off with no force-size handicaps, no enemy experience bonus, and fog of war set to partial, then increase the difficulty of one of these by one notch each time you're promoted (and down a notch each time you're demoted). To reward your efforts, with every two promtions above Captain you get an additional selection options - choice of force-type, choice of force-mix, choosing time of day or night when attacking (night attacks still limited to one a month), etc, and above the initial general rank you can also choose to use other nations' troops. If you're an old hand, you could start off with increased difficulty settings and a higher starting rank accordingly (For example, I usually play as a "7-star" captain, i.e. 900-point force size, enemy handicap of +75%, full fog of war, and enemy experience bonus +3).

Optional Campaign Rules (maps and selecting your own troops):

You could also build your own campaign maps rather than the simple map system outlined above. And I've also played with selecting my own troops rather than on auto-select. If you select your own troops you must have at least one infantry company and note that your own initial casualty level (when playing CMBB or CMAK) - especially if you increase it beyond 10% as yet another level-of-difficulty notch related to promotion - means you won't get all of what you asked for anyway - which is another nice twist to challenge the solo-gamer. When selecting my own troops I stick to "combined forces". And if playing CMAK this way you should further limit your Matilda tanks to one per infantry company. Promotions affect your choices when selecting troops: As a captain you can only have one company (extra infantry have to be independent platoons), an acting-major can have two companies, a major can have a battalion (depending on your points-size of battles). A general can have one unit or platoon (of armour) or up to a company (of infantry) from another friendly nation, and a field marshall can have any friendly troops so long as you still have your core-company and the other friendly nations don't outnumber your nation.

Well, that's how I compensate for no CMC in CM1. Thanks for reading and hope I haven't bored you, or put this in the wrong forum section, and that this gives a few tips to anyone looking for a simple campaign structure.

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Thanks for the comment. Oh, I'll let others post it (or link to it from) elsewhere.

But I forgot to say in my rule-set that the 4 battles per week was really only meant for CMBO. If you are doing the whole war from 1940 (CMAK) or '41 (CMBB) to 1945, then one battle per month is less daunting. Oh, and at the end of a battle, surrenders can happen despite the points-result occasionally going the other way, so for my simple rules they have no impact on campaign or HQ survival. The campaign-ending-capture mentioned above counts only if your individual HQ was captured during a battle (not at the end) and wherein your side goes on to lose by a major or total defeat (if he was captured but you only lose a minor or tactical defeat I have him rescued/exchanged but demoted a notch). If your side wins but surrenders at the end of the battle, treat it as a draw and stay in the same sector but as defender in the next battle.

One key impact of the campaign is that you can get stuck when up against attacking over an open, featureless battlefield. Tough. But at least with CMBB & CMAK, increasing the damage level each time the battlefield starts giving more and more craters for cover, and with promotions you might be able to use a night attack or use more armour. But after 5 attempts (damage reaching "massive"), I call that an impasse, suffer a demotion and take a different route with a brand new map.

I think that's "everything", but of course its all only an offered suggestion as an open-framework for other solo-gamers, if they're pondering their own rule-set, to possibly consider and further refine as they see fit. It's kept my interest in the game going.

Cheers guys.

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