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JonS

The Sheriff of Oosterbeek – A Scenario Design DAR/AAR

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@ Aragorn: Don't fret :) There'll be plenty of screenshots, but I'm spending a bit of time on setting the context for the scenario because I think that's important to everything that follows. Once I have the 'story' of a scenario clear in my head, then everything else is a lot easier, and ultimately more coherent. But when I start off with some wooly "I'ma make a scenario!", I usually flounder around and end up with a dogs breakfast, at best.

@ Lt Belenko: agreed, it's a great movie :)

@ British Tommy: We will get to flavour objects and briefings, but if I understand your question I think I can quickly answer that now: Each 'type' of flavour object has a variety of distinctive representations. So, for example, rubbish bins - which can be selected in Flavour Objects 1, iirc - have 6 different syyles of bin. There's circular, square, caged, ornate, and so on. Each of those numbers (1, 2, 3, ...) on the green background represents one of those styles of bin. So, Rubbish Bin -> 1 is always the round bin with the flared top. Rubbish Bin -> 3 is always the square bin. And so on. It isn't the most helpful of UIs, but fortunately there is a chart explaining it all in the manual - go to page 122 of the CMBN base game manual for the chart. The numbers given there map to the white-on-green numbers in the editor.

The posters are just a bit different. The numbers represent goups of posters, which will be randomly selected from when the game loads. So, option 2 is medical-type wall plaques, 3 is propaganda posters, etc. You don't know exactly which one you'll get until you play the game.

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Talking about the battle of Arnhem: my grandfather was there, on the german side. Unfortunately he had passed away long before i developed an interest in history, so i dont know much about the experiences he made there. May he rest in peace.

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JonS, thanks for this. You've been one of my favorite scenario designers and this peak behind scenes is a treat...like reading a Stephen King blog on his process for writing a book (if you're a fan of his genre). It's also may prompt me to try my hand at scenario building at some point

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dawww, scenario groupies! :D

Thanks Smash. If you're thinking about getting into the editor, there's no time like the present ... *hint*hint* ;) You'll probably also find a lot of what's to come makes more sense if you're "following along at home."

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I'll put my 2 cents in here and say a big thank you to as well Jon. For as long as I've been playing CM (and CMBO still has the record for longest game ever on my hard drive at 3 plus years) I've always left the "story" telling and design aspect to people who, in my opinion, are much more knowledgeable and talented than I would consider myself to be.

With CMBN I found myself turned off by the lack of small campaigns. Personally I like battles on the company level with primary infantry forces intermingled with tanks/artillery support at times. Getting company plus (battalion) size battles gives me a headache in the setup phase and then it's a matter of keeping track of everything. So, for me, the smaller is better is my mantra. Because of my opinion that there weren't that many campaigns (not scenarios...just campaigns) that fit to my tastes I decided to give the scenario editor a shot. Like a baby lost in the woods would be a fitting description. I built one scenario and because of my lack of confidence in map editting and really not knowing what I was doing I cheated and used a quick battle map tailored for my one scenario. The questions you've posed (Why this battle? What led to this landmark? etc...) I pondered but I didn't give it the attention/detail that it deserved. And when I got to testing my creation I felt it was missing. Maybe I was my own worst critic and that's not a bad thing. But the notion to plan my own campaign died with my feeble attempt in just making one scenario work right in my book.

This creative process you're going through has rekindled my spirit to tackle a campaign process again. And I'm hoping that by learning how to handle those AI plans (hoo boy did I bang my head repeatedly trying to figure those things out), making my own maps, tailoring units, etc. that it will make my creation worthy of something that other players will like and enjoy to play. Thanks again for doing this.

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Alright, 1 was "Outline Scenario Concept", 2 was "Research" and 3 must be "Drinkin' Scotch"...? The audience is getting restless. Show them a bloody windmill or a Kriegsmariner!:D

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3 - Refined Scenario Concept

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not 'Eureka!', but 'That's funny...'"
Isaac Asimov

You’ll recall that my original scenario concept was, in outline:
* UK Paras vs. German mechanised
* Brits retreating in disorder, trying to form a defensive line
* Germans exploiting success and trying to prevent the establishment of a coherent defence
* “Sheriff” playing some kind of important role
* located on eastern outskirts of Oosterbeek
* British force about company(+), maybe a little bigger
* German force about battalion(+)
* a ‘hook’ of no on-map Germans at-start, and most British forces arriving at random.

My research has nixed that, at least as a historical scenario. I can either amend the concept to a semi-historical scenario, or just go with a fictional scenario. I haven’t fully decided yet, and won’t need to until I start looking at forces and objectives, but I’m probably going to go with a semi-historical scenario. Therefore, my refined scenario concept is as follows:

German forces will be KG Harder, reinforced with a mixed platoon of two StuGs and a StuH. Training state will generally be low, motivation will be highly variable. Support will be by a platoon of 6 or 8 x 81mm mortars. German strength will be around a battalion, with a clear advantage provided by the presence of the armoured vehicles.

British forces will consist of disordered elements of the four defeated battalions (1, 3, 11 PARA, 2 S STAFFS) fleeing back from Arnhem, trying to form a line to defend the ground in front of Thompson’s gun batteries. I might include elements of formed and coherent Glider Pilots coming down from the North, to provide some stiffening. There’ll also be a small quantity of anti-tank guns, Vickers MMGs, and light vehicles. Training state will be high across the board, and motivation fairly high. Fitness, though, will be quite low. The Paras had been on the go non-stop for 24-48 hours by this point, and most had had little or no sleep. Fatigue was a rapidly escalating issue. The units falling back from Arnhem will have low ammunition, and especially will have little or no PIAT ammunition. Ammunition supplies will be available back near the church, or forward a little bit, but they will have to go back to it. Actually, this could be a way of ‘forcing’ the British player to keep his units moving back – without ammunition they’ll be largely helpless once the Germans arrive on-map. Hmm. That’s an idea to hang on to.

The British force will be, in total, company to battalion sized, although any of Thompson’s artillery positions which end up on-map will be in addition to that.

4-1UKUnits_zps280a2a8a.jpg

3.1: Beret badges of main British units in ‘The Sheriff of Oosterbeek’. Top left – The Parachute Regiment. Top right – the South Staffordshire Regiment. Bottom – The Royal Regiment of Artillery. Background is an airborne forces Denison Smock. All images from Wikipedia


The date is Tuesday 19th September. Time of day will be mid afternoon, say 2:30pm. Temperature will be cool or warm, wind is mostly irrelevant, and it is overcast.

4-2SStaffs_zpsacf414be.jpg

3.2: Men of the 2nd South Staffords being led away to captivity on Tuesday 19th September. The man second from the left is Signaller George Parry, and in the foreground, looking towards the German cameraman and in the process of sticking his fingers up at him, is Lieutenant Jack Reynolds. Reynolds was already angry at the destruction of his Battalion, but when he observed a cameraman grinning as he filmed the captured men being marched past, he decided to express his opinion of him. Copyright: Bundesarchiv 497/3531A/34. From: Pegasus Archive website.


Objectives will be, very broadly speaking, terrain based with a lesser emphasis on inflicting casualties. In particular, the Germans will gain increasing quantities of points the further west they advance. Similarly, the British will gain points by holding the Germans as far as possible to the east. The “draw” line will be about where the historic perimeter stabilised.

I’m still not sure whether I’ll be able to use my ‘hook’ of the Germans chasing the defeated battalions on to the map. Luckily that doesn’t matter at this stage. I can carry on with designing and creating the scenario, and will only need to make a definite decision about that quite late in the process.

4-3StuG_zpsaa7228ba.jpg

3.3: A wrecked self-propelled gun on the Benedendorpsweg, Oosterbeek. This is one of the vehicles destroyed by Lance-Sergeant Baskeyfield VC on Wednesday 20th September. From: Pegasus Archive website.


The map will be approximately 1.5km E-W by 1km N-S, stretching from the railway embankment in the east to somewhere past the Oosterbeek Church in the east, and from the Rhine in the south to somewhere in Oosterbeek in the north. Given the map size and predominantly infantry nature of the battle, at this stage I’m estimate that the scenario will be about 90 minutes long.

Now I can open the scenario editor and get cracking!

4-4OosterbeekChurch_zps8a591e8f.jpg

3.4: The ruins of Oosterbeek Church, home of the Lonsdale Force, after the battle and the loss of its spire. Copyright: Municipal Archives, Oosterbeek. From: Pegasus Archive website.


Back to start of thread Edited by JonS

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I take it Lieutenant Jack Reynolds will have high motivation then? Props to him for not taking it lying down, hope he made it home.

He'd seen action before...

Unit : Reconnaissance Platoon, Simforce during Sicily, 2nd Battalion The South Staffordshire Regiment

Army No. : 190738

Awards : Military Cross

Jack Reynolds commanded the Battalion's Reconnaissance Platoon, but during Operation Ladbroke he formed a part of the Simforce, an improvised addition to the 2nd South Staffords force, formed 36 hours before take-off when new gliders became available. Reynolds reached Sicily and participated in the defence of the bridge. Captured after their ammunition ran out, Reynolds was amongst the group of prisoners who were freed shortly after and returned to the bridge in an attempt to retake it. For his conduct throughout he was awarded the Military Cross:

This officer with his party of nine men landed at 2225 hours some four miles south of the Battalion Rendezvous. He led his party throughout the night to Waterloo Bridge encountering stiff opposition on the way during which six of his nine men became casualties. On the way up he collected several stragglers, forming them into an organised group, eventually assisting in the defence of the Bridge, during which two more of his men were killed and another missing.

Throughout the fighting this officer set a very high example of courage and leadership in the face of heavy odds.

-F

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YES! That's an idea to hang on to. Director's Cut is this version.

Just tweak down the ammo so any spawn point campers will not dare to try that shinnanigan, shinnegen, shaganon,....errr...trick.

Jon, what are the east-west boundaries of the proposed map?

Please check your post. 2 easts in there....

I looked through Arnhem 1944 but I have the softcover version and someone said (here?) the maps in there are not as good as the hardcover version.

Keep on cranking! Thanks.

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Regarding Jack Reynolds...

I have seen that blurry photo before and always thought it such a ballsy thing to do to the enemy photographers. I mean he really could have just been pulled aside and shot out of hand.

In a book I got on sale for about $30, Kampfraum Arnheim, some of you have it no doubt, it shows some follow on photos to this sequence and specifically another of Jack sitting as a prisoner much more melancholy. It is in sharp focus. He has his water bottle and is soon headed off to a POW camp. I now wonder if this was the twist in the German PK mind. Less risk to show only a quick blurred moment of enemy defiance (which would have been more tilted towards allied propaganda use if they had the photo) versus a short time later the overall acceptance of defeat. Am I making any sense here?

But then again, these are the rough raw footage and I do not know what FINALLY got into German newpapers, Signal magazinee, Wolkenshau (SP?) newsreels, etc.

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Please check your post. 2 easts in there...

Dammit - the edit time-out has passed. That sentence should read

... to somewhere past the Oosterbeek Church in the west ...

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I looked through Arnhem 1944 but I have the softcover version and someone said (here?) the maps in there are not as good as the hardcover version.

Middlebrook's book? I think I mentioned that the maps in the hardcover of 'It Never Snows In September' are a lot better than the softie, but I don't know about 'Arnhem 1944.'

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YES! That's an idea to hang on to. Director's Cut is this version.

Yeah. I've been spending quite a bit of time on the story and context because I believe that getting this bit right makes a huge difference to the finished product.

Oh, and yeah - I agree about Reynolds. Love that photo. He must have had an astonishingly large and brassy pair. Apparently he was still alive two years ago, and still defiant.

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:(Snows versus Arnhem 1944.

OK, I goofed, my error.

What is 4? Unit selection and objectives?

Aww no couldn't be that, must be something about maps first....

MAPS! This will be a treat to see you do this.

Like I hate the guts out of that famous TV oil painting artist dude who smudges his brush a few times so quickly and makes perfect roses! (Shucks, I think he died...:()

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...that famous TV oil painting artist dude who smudges his brush a few times so quickly and makes perfect roses! (Shucks, I think he died...:()

You mean the old dude on PBS? I used to watch that show, but it's been at least three decades now. It was almost magical the way he could bring a picture to life right before your eyes.

Michael

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YES! That is him. Probably has a lot of posts on the repository.:mad:

Choke his dang neck....shassin fassin snassle snizin...

But he's dead.

OK, I do NOT mean it.

I can be a tad jealous of those who accomplish the wondrous.

At least I admit it.

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Bob Ross

Funny I was just showing a youtube clip this past weekend to my dad laughing about how that guy could put you in a trance. "put some bushes over here and some on the mountain... it's your world..." Died 7/4/1995

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Regarding Jack Reynolds...

I have seen that blurry photo before and always thought it such a ballsy thing to do to the enemy photographers. I mean he really could have just been pulled aside and shot out of hand.

...

But then again, these are the rough raw footage and I do not know what FINALLY got into German newpapers, Signal magazinee, Wolkenshau (SP?) newsreels, etc.

If he's doing the two finger thing the Germans would most probably not recognize it. The difference between the 'forward-V' and 'backward-V' is something few people know here.

'Wochenschau' - 'weekly news'. 'Wolkenshau' would be 'cloud view'. :)

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Mmm, well, the fingers plus the expression on his face don't really leave all that much room for confusion, I think :)

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Very interesting to read that Reynolds was at the Ponte Grande as well.

As a matter of fact I am working on a little Operation Ladbroke campaign for Gustav Line (7-8 scenarios, mostly small to medium ones). I actually am pretty far in development already with only some AI plans and the briefing graphics being unfinished.Although I had set that pretty early on I think I am going to alter the British OOB a little to include Lt. Reynolds' Simforce platoon.

Edit: I bet getting into captivity twice in two different campaigns by two different enemies is a pretty rare occurence.

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Poesel71, OK, thanks. I was working off bad memory. But maybe it is an accidental pun?

"Clouded view" Wolkenshau is the propaganda newsreel wochenschau. HaHaha

I made a German joke and didn't even know it!

Shucks, I have a bunch of those international historic film wochenschau on stinkin VHS. Very interesting stuff. I really appreciate the part where they show Operation Blue (Blue, right? attack towards Stalingrad, right?) All the imagery shows movement towards the right of the screen, i.e., towards the east. Constant shots of different tanks rolling along to some pumped up thematic music...OK, need a classical music grog... probably Wagner? Really low zoomed in shots of bogey wheels, PzKpfW IV suspension with 8 road wheels, then trucks, etc. Shucks, maybe I should go see the newsreels for OMG timeframe....

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"Fall Blau"

You're welcome ;)

Rummaging around yesterday, I ended up looking at the Bundesarchiv site. Putting the image number from Reynolds' photo in, and dropping off the last two digits (the '34' after the second '/') gives this, which includes the image below, which I think might be the one you were referring to in Kampfraum Arnheim?

athene-52ega4y2hrs1gv701gdh_layout.jpg

Apparently Reynolds is the guy sitting reclined on the box to the left.

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Poesel71, OK, thanks. I was working off bad memory. But maybe it is an accidental pun?

"Clouded view" Wolkenshau is the propaganda newsreel wochenschau. HaHaha

I made a German joke and didn't even know it!

Writing "Wolkenschau" instead of "Wochenschau" is even a meaningful pun with regards to content. In german, there is a saying that translates like that: "to tell sombody the audacious lie that the sky isnt blue" ("Jemandem das Blaue vom Himmel herablügen") - and that is exactely what the Wochschau did! So it actually really was more of a Wolkenschau than a Wochenschau.

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Bob Ross

Funny I was just showing a youtube clip this past weekend to my dad laughing about how that guy could put you in a trance. "put some bushes over here and some on the mountain... it's your world..." Died 7/4/1995

Sorry, had to show this....

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