Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Some of you may remember my first stab at a set of rules to enable a player to simulate the Command, Control, and Communications (C3) layer in the Combat Mission (CM) games.. the rules for that version were over 20 pages in length and were too detailed and fiddly to really be viable.  I have taken a fresh look at this problem and have condensed the rules to about a page and a half.  I have dramatically simplified the Battle Log, I got it to work in Google Sheets (the original was in Excel), and the amount of bookkeeping has been reduced to a minimum.  See the examples at the bottom of this post.

The goal is to create a viable system that would simulate the command friction that every commander throughout history has had to contend with.  Using the inherent C2 layer in the Combat Mission games it is possible, with a little help, to attain a reasonable and believable simulation of friction.  The help is my simple rules and my Battle Log (new and improved).  I am going to lay out all of my rules and introduce the new Battle Log in this first post, then I will play a game in CMBN (Roadblock) to show it in action.  This game will be against the AI.

Refer to @MOS:96B2P 's thread on Command and Control and information sharing for more detail on how the communication layer works in the CM games.

Use the following link to access the latest ruleset:   COMMAND FRICTION RULES

The contents of this document follows.

That is the extent of the rules... the only thing that remains is to illustrate how to apply them in the game.  I will get into the details of each of the above as we move through this scenario.

The Battle Log is significantly different than my previous iteration... the link will take you to the Google Sheets Battle Log that I have setup for the CMBN Roadblock scenario.  this should be a view only version.. let me know if it isn't ;) 

FORCE COMMAND TAB:

This is where the player sets the Command Task (overall scenario mission), he/she also assigns any tasks for any high level support assets that are assigned to the highest command level.  Often smaller scenarios will not have a Battalion or higher command echelon, in these cases this tab (like it is below) will mainly be only for assigning the Command Task (look for the blue text, the Command Task for this scenario is in the ACTIVE TASK Column - Attack has been assigned at scenario start) .  the Command Task can be seen in the Company Tab at the top, look for FORCE MISSION.

The MANEUVER FORMATIONS section identifies the main combat power of the formation in this scenario.  The SUPPORT ASSETS area is empty, but this is where any Battalion level support would go and be assigned Tasks. 

Battle+Log-Roadblock-COMMAND+TAB.png

COMPANY COMMAND TAB:

There will be a separate Company Tab for each Company level unit in the scenario.. in this case there is one Infantry Company (Charlie Company), Dog Company's tanks are one platoon that are actually support assets for Charlie Company in this scenario.  Thus the parts of this tank platoon present on the map have been placed in the SUPPORT ASSETS section of this tab.  AS reinforcements arrive the entries on this tab will grow.

Note the blue text, it identifies HQ TASKS and UNIT TASKS so you can get an idea of which is which.  I have also assigned, as examples, one NEW TASK and one INITIATIVE TASK.  

For these to become active the white column (CHANGE TASK/USE INITIATIVE) must be either equal or higher than the entry in the yellow column (DIE ROLL).  The white column numbers are based on Training and Leadership ratings for each unit... the yellow column is a percentage die roll (1 to 100) and will identify which tasks become active in the next Orders Phase.  In the example below, the 2nd Squad INITIATIVE TASK fails as the Unit's Leadership/Training level (white column) is less than the die roll (yellow column), while the HQ TASK change for the tank Platoon passes as the white column number is higher than the die roll.  Obviously the higher the Leadership/Training level (white column) is, the better chance the Unit Task, HQ Task, or Initiative Task has of being successfully implemented.

Battle+Log-Roadblock-COMPANY+TAB2.png

Edited by Bil Hardenberger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a link to a Battle Log template, you can copy it, play with the values etc.  Feel free to play around with it if you are interested, while you wait for me to start posting the AAR.

EDIT:  I have two new templates in my latest post.. feel free to use this template to change values and play around with, I will leave it up for experimentation.

Edited by Bil Hardenberger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very cool!!  I was thinking of your old Battle Log, the other day, while playing a scenario against the AI.  I think this will be especially useful for missions against the AI and will make them much more realistic and interesting.  Looking forward to the AAR. .  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fantastic. I was hoping for a more condensed and updated version. I had just recently discovered your older work after seeing a Youtube comment that directed me to it, and the entire system you've created made the game much more challenging against the AI. Unfortunately, I ended up having to simplify some of the rules since I ended up getting bogged down quick with bigger battles, but it looks much more approachable here. I also noticed that the formatting for the spreadsheet got an update as well. Looks great! I'll definitely have to give it a whirl.

Edited by Bird of Flawed Neutrality

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will be starting the AAR tonight, starting with filling in the Battle Log spreadsheet, and working with Google Sheets.

For that, and if you want to follow along, I have two updated templates:

ALLIED TEMPLATE

AXIS TEMPLATE

The only differences are the color scheme.  

Please make a copy to your own Google Drive, try not not make any changes to these documents so everybody can get a clean copy.  In fact, at the start of a new scenario I will save a copy specific to that scenario and name it appropriately.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SETTING UP THE BATTLE LOG - the spreadsheet is the heart of the system, it is fairly simple to use Google Sheets, but I will give a few basic pointers as we go, apologies to those of you who are more advanced users.

Starting with the template, the first thing I do is save a copy, this is done in the File menu.  Once that is done I start with the FORCE COMMAND tab... at the bottom of the spreadsheet you will see two tabs, one called FORCE COMMAND, the other COMPANY.  Clicking on these will take you from one to the other.

In this scenario there is no Battalion HQ or support, so I hide the SUPPORT ASSETS section by clicking on the #8 row (on the left side, click the number to the far left, this will select the entire row, then use shift click to select the rest of the rows in this section.  Right click and select Hide Rows... 

Template-02.PNG

Template-03.PNG

 

After this I then use the same techniques to delete two of the Company rows (only need one in this scenario) and then assign the COMMAND TASK.  The following image shows the choices available for this Task type.  All entries are drop downs except for the COMMENTS field.  Remember I am playing the Roadblock scenario and reading the scenario briefing this scenario is an ATTACK scenario, so that is what I select for the COMMAND TASK. 

I also click in the TRAINING and LEADERSHIP fields (one at a time) and hit delete so there are no selections in these as we do not have a Battalion HQ.

Template-04.PNG

 

The Company tab is next.  According to the scenario briefing and the in game exploration I know that I will need two Platoons and two rows for the tank support.  I am putting the tanks in the SUPPORT ASSETS section of this tab.  So I pare down the available entries on this tab to just what I need.  In a later post I will explain how to add rows and copy entries to quickly add another Platoon, more tanks, etc.

Template-06.PNG

 

In-Game-01.png

I then start to enter the information, direct from the game to the spreadsheet, ensuring the training level (red circle in the above image) and the leadership rating (blue circle in the above image)  matches.  Again, these are all done through drop down menus...

Template-07.png

Template-08.png

 

It just takes a few minutes to fill out the details for both platoons and the two tanks:

Template-09.PNG

NEXT:  SETTING HQ and UNIT TASKS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ASSIGNING TASKS:  At game start, and whenever reinforcements arrive you can assign HQ and Unit Tasks, any other time during the game Tasks can only be set by assigning a New Task and testing for success.  The assigned Tasks will remain in effect until changed, even when using Initiative the HQ or Unit Task remains in effect, as Initiative is meant to be temporary.

The Company HQ (not yet on the board) HQ task is set first.  Though the FORCE MISSION is set at ATTACK a battle is not so simple, I always start my games with an Approach march, so I select Move to Contact for the initial Company Mission.  Note, as the Company HQ is not set to arrive for 10 minutes, this will not be able to change until he arrives on the scene.

Note available entries for the Company level HQ Task in this image:

Template-10.PNG

 

The Platoon level HQs have more flexibility and finer detail in their selections.  1st Platoon will be in the reconnaissance role for the Company:

Template-11.PNG

 

In the below image you can see that each of the squads in 1st Platoon have been assigned individual Unit Tasks, this makes them relatively independent units, while the  other two platoons have only received HQ Tasks, this means that they will operate as formations, not individual units.  I also add some quick descriptions on what I expect the formations to do.  this is important, you need to set the boundaries of the Task, otherwise you could tend to "cheat" the system.  

Template-13.PNG

 

We are now ready to start the game.. give your orders in game and get moving.  these are my initial orders, assigned with the instructions laid out in the Battle Log as constraints.  Note that 1st Squad has been split and each Team given separate orders.   

In-Game-ORDERS.png

Edited by Bil Hardenberger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

I also add some quick descriptions on what I expect the formations to do.  This is important, you need to set the boundaries of the Task, otherwise you could tend to "cheat" the system.  

I think the comments section is very useful.  Right now I use a Word document to record unit tasking.  It is often three or four RL days (8 or 9 game turns) since I ordered a unit to do XYZ in order to accomplish something.  The unit tasking helps to remind me and keep the various units focused on their sub mission and the intent/desired outcome.  The comments section serve much the same purpose.  It allows you to add / record the details of what is to be done, the intent & boundaries.  I may not need my Word document anymore.  :)    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please read this post all the way to the end.. I assign a NEW TASK and I'd hate for you to miss it. ;) 

Not a lot happens in minutes 45-40, 1st Squad is reconnoitering the field toward the St, Martin Farm, the rest of the company is either in support by fire positions or in reserve.  there has not been any enemy contact, other than those UI contacts that were shown in the setup.

You are free to follow along and play with adding rows and unit information in one of the template files I linked to you earlier.

REINFORCEMENTS (MINUTE 40):  In the 40th minute I receive my first reinforcements.  This includes another mortar, HMG team and ammo bearer belonging to 4th Platoon, the 2nd Infantry platoon, and two more tanks out of an eventual five. 

In-Game-40.png

 

So now we need to add these units to the Battle Log.  Don't worry, this is painless.  note, this is all done during the Orders Phase.  We will add the two tanks first.

We need to add two rows below the 1st Tank's row, so we select two rows, right click and select add two rows below... 

NOTE:  Please note in the image below that 1st Squad now has three individual Team rows... this is because they are all acting independently and required their own Tasks.  This was done in the turn one Order Phase.  They can now each use Initiative as the situation warrants, rather than having to operate as a Squad.  2nd and 3rd Squads are not split.

Log-40a.png

 

Once we have the two rows, I select only the 1st Tank Row.. I want the information in the two new rows to be identical to the 1st Tank's row.  Select copy from the right click menu, then select the two new rows, right click and select paste.  They both will now read exactly like the 1st Tank's row.. change the identity of each tank, ensuring that the Leadership rating and training levels match the in-game information and you now have all of the tanks accounted for in the Battle Log.

Log-40b.png 

 As these new tanks are in C2 Range they instantly fall under the platoon HQ's HQ TASK that was set in the first turn:

Log-40c.png

 

I now do the exact same thing with the 2nd Platoon and the new 4th Platoon units... once you are used to the process it takes just a few minutes.

NOTE:  the new 4th platoon units are not in C2 Range, so each must be given a UNIT TASK, they DO NOT immediately fall under the 4th Platoon's HQ TASK.  However, as they are reinforcements you can instantly give them Tasks, so I just order them to move forward and link up with the 4th Platoon HQ.

Log-40d.png

 

ASSIGN NEW TASK:  I decide that I now want to maneuver the tank platoon toward the St. Martin Farm, so in the 40th minute Order Phase, in the NEW TASK column I select Move from the available selections (blue circle).  

NOTE:  New Tasks are not rolled for in the turn they are identified.. they are rolled for in the next turn's Order Phase.  this simulates some prep time by the HQ unit prior to implementing the New Task.  If the New Task fails, then it the New Task stays as it is and rolls for in the succeeding turn again.. you will do this until it passes.  Once identified, the NEW TASK cannot be deleted until it passes.  This simulates the unit taking longer than expected to complete plans for the New Task.  

REMINDER:  If a Unit or Formation is under the NEW TASK process it cannot use Initiative (see the rules in my first post). 

So for now this New Task is not in effect and the Platoon must sit on the road.  Next turn we will determine if the New Task passes and takes effect.

Log-40e-NEW+TASK.png

Edited by Bil Hardenberger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

CONTACT!  USING AN INITIATIVE TASK:

The very next turn after my reinforcements arrive, one of my scout teams (B Team) runs into enemy fire from a German HMG, as they were under Hunt orders they immediately stop and take cover.. not the best situation.

In-Game-39-CONTACT.png 

To recap:

Quote

Initiative Tasks:

  • Units MUST have an Enemy Contact in order to use an Initiative Task
  • A Unit CANNOT use Initiative if it is also scheduled for an HQ or Unit Task Change that turn, i.e. an HQ or Unit Task change was identified at the end of the previous turn (this simulates the Leader being too busy in planning to be able to react effectively to other events)

In the image below you can see that all of my Scout Teams are out of C2 Range (the command lines are black), this means that they cannot change Unit Tasks, they must use Initiative to get out from under the fire.

In-Game-39-OVERHEAD.PNG

This unit DOES have an enemy contact and it is NOT scheduled for a Task change so it can use Initiative.

In the INITIATIVE TASK column for B team select the drop down menu and select the task you want.  I am choosing Withdraw, this will allow me to use the withdraw button and get this team out of harm's way.  

A word on the available Initiative Tasks... they are very limited as these are supposed to represent a leader's hip pocket orders.  Any waypoints for this Task MUST be within LOS of the team.

NOTE:  The DIE ROLL column updates with every entry, so now that we have the Initiative Task specified and we have no other New Tasks or Initiative task to specify we are done.  Remember, last turn we specified a New Task for the Tank Platoon, we will see if it passes the test this turn along with the Initiative Task.

REMINDER:  Initiative Tasks take effect immediately if they pass, New Tasks can only be rolled for in the turn following when they are entered.

Comparing the HQ or UNIT QUALITY column entry for B Team - 50% - to the DIE ROLL entry right next to it - 31% - this unit PASSES as the QUALITY field is greater than the Die Roll field.

LOG+39a.png

 

I can immediately give the order to B Team.

In-Game-39-WITHDRAW.PNG

 

NEW TASK for the Tank Platoon:  the DIE ROLL column updated when we entered the B Team Initiative Task so all we have to do is scroll down to check the Task Platoon's New Task results...

Comparing the HQ or UNIT QUALITY column entry for the Tank Platoon - 63% - to the DIE ROLL entry right next to it - 80% - this unit FAILS as the QUALITY field is less than the Die Roll field.

The Tank Platoon cannot receive orders this turn and must remain on its original Idle-Reserve Task sitting on the road.  The New Task remains where it is and will be rolled for in the following turn.

LOG+39b.png

 

After all the checks are done you will want to delete all of the Initiative Tasks that might have been tested for, whether they passed or not.  Initiative is done fresh each turn, they do not carry over turn to turn like New Tasks do.

So give me your thoughts so far, I'm interested in what you are thinking... is this viable?  Sound interesting?  Boring?  Stupid?  

Edited by Bil Hardenberger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Am always amazed at the work good folks like you do to make CM more realistic.  My concern is that using your method would slow down a game which already takes a long time to play due to its existing complexity - especially when one takes on a larger scenario with more units.  In addition, by making it an "accounting" challenge it strips away the "fun" parts (for me). 

Of course for those with that sort of mind the accounting aspect of your system may be fun.  And there is no reason why players who enjoy this sort of analysis shouldn't play using your system.  It's just a question of what players enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bil,

  Am following this with interest.  I didn't check out your more complex previous version.  This one seems very smooth.

  Maybe I am getting ahead of things, but what happens if you lose an HQ?  I have a tendency to keep my HQs close up to the squads and as such, they often suffer casualties or in worst case scenarios, they get whacked.  Does the XO (if there is one) take over with penalties assessed?

  If you cover this as your battle goes on, then disregard.

  Thanks for your hard work on this.  It looks great.

Heinrich505

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Erwin said:

Am always amazed at the work good folks like you do to make CM more realistic.  My concern is that using your method would slow down a game which already takes a long time to play due to its existing complexity - especially when one takes on a larger scenario with more units.  In addition, by making it an "accounting" challenge it strips away the "fun" parts (for me). 

Of course for those with that sort of mind the accounting aspect of your system may be fun.  And there is no reason why players who enjoy this sort of analysis shouldn't play using your system.  It's just a question of what players enjoy.

Totally understand, I know that this isn't going to be for everyone.. but for people like me, and MOS that take notes while we play, this really doesn't add much overhead.

 

23 hours ago, Heinrich505 said:

Bil,

  Am following this with interest.  I didn't check out your more complex previous version.  This one seems very smooth.

  Maybe I am getting ahead of things, but what happens if you lose an HQ?  I have a tendency to keep my HQs close up to the squads and as such, they often suffer casualties or in worst case scenarios, they get whacked.  Does the XO (if there is one) take over with penalties assessed?

  If you cover this as your battle goes on, then disregard.

  Thanks for your hard work on this.  It looks great.

Heinrich505

Yes, the HQ when it is lost will need to be replaced with whatever unit takes control.. as I am playing this game as we go along I don't know yet if I'll be losing a leader.. I'll have to see if I can make that happen. ;)

 

1 hour ago, SLIM said:

Every time I open the document, the "Die Rolls" column changes.
Is this intended to be saved, and re-opened on each turn to represent new die rolls?

Yeah... unfortunately the DIE ROLL column will change every time you open the file, and will update again every time you change a field entry.  I don't find this to be an issue as you do the comparison only after you have entered all the NEW TASKs and INITIATIVE TASKs for that turn... if you want to save the values you will need to either do a print screen or download the document to a PDF (I'll show how to do this in my next post).

Thanks for your comments fellas,very helpful.

Edited by Bil Hardenberger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hope MOS doesn't try this with what I just sent him.....He'll wear his keyboard out!  :o

I do find this fascinating from an old school table-top wargaming perspective, but suspect for CM my overall position is closer to Erwin's.....I do tend to prefer abstracted wargaming systems these days too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎6‎/‎4‎/‎2017 at 11:35 AM, Bil Hardenberger said:

Yeah... unfortunately the DIE ROLL column will change every time you open the file, and will update again every time you change a field entry.  I don't find this to be an issue as you do the comparison only after you have entered all the NEW TASKs and INITIATIVE TASKs for that turn... if you want to save the values you will need to either do a print screen or download the document to a PDF (I'll show how to do this in my next post).

That's alright. Working as intended, roger that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apologies for not updating this for a few days.

If you are playing with the templates, please download these new versions, I have changed the DIE ROLL so higher numbers are more prevalent.  This will help insure that the worse led and poorer trained units will have a harder time getting a New Task or using Initiative versus the better units.  These are a work in progress and I will improve them as I think is warranted.   

AXIS TEMPLATE

ALLIED TEMPLATE

Edited by Bil Hardenberger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm looking forward to seeing how the system evolves with further playtesting as the AAR plays out. I'm planning on waiting to give the system a try until after the AAR is done, so that I have a good example to go by and to benefit from any changes to the system you make. Looking forward to it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...