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      Special Upgrade 4 Tech Tips   12/27/2016

      Hi all! Now that Upgrade 4 is out and about in large quantities we have now discovered a few SNAFUs that happen out in the scary, real world that is home computing.  Fortunately the rate of problems is extremely small and so far most are easily worked around.  We've identified a few issues that have similar causes which we have clear instructions for work arounds here they are: 1.  CMRT Windows customers need to re-license their original key.  This is a result of improvements to the licensing system which CMBN, CMBS, and CMFB are already using.  To do this launch CMRT with the Upgrade and the first time enter your Engine 4 key.  Exit and then use the "Activate New Products" shortcut in your CMRT folder, then enter your Engine 3 license key.  That should do the trick. 2.  CMRT and CMBN MacOS customers have a similar situation as #2, however the "Activate New Products" is inside the Documents folder in their respective CM folders.  For CMBN you have to go through the process described above for each of your license keys.  There is no special order to follow. 3.  For CMBS and CMFB customers, you need to use the Activate New Products shortcut and enter your Upgrade 4 key.  If you launch the game and see a screen that says "LICENSE FAILURE: Base Game 4.0 is required." that is an indication you haven't yet gone through that procedure.  Provided you had a properly functioning copy before installing the Upgrade, that should be all you need to do.  If in the future you have to install from scratch on a new system you'll need to do the same procedure for both your original license key and your Upgrade 4.0 key. 4.  There's always a weird one and here it is.  A few Windows users are not getting "Activate New Products" shortcuts created during installation.  Apparently anti-virus software is preventing the installer from doing its job.  This might not be a problem right now, but it will prove to be an issue at some point in the future.  The solution is to create your own shortcut using the following steps: Disable your anti-virus software before you do anything. Go to your Desktop, right click on the Desktop itself, select NEW->SHORTCUT, use BROWSE to locate the CM EXE that you are trying to fix. The location is then written out. After it type in a single space and then paste this:

      -showui

      Click NEXT and give your new Shortcut a name (doesn't matter what). Confirm that and you're done. Double click on the new Shortcut and you should be prompted to license whatever it is you need to license. At this time we have not identified any issues that have not been worked around.  Let's hope it stays that way Steve
MisterMark

Managing Lots of Infantry... A real pain!

25 posts in this topic

Love the CM2 platform for a variety of reasons but am I the only one that finds it tedious and daunting to manage anything more than a few platoons of infantry? 

And once you start splitting infantry up into teams and trying to use them with sound coordinated tactics, the workload obviously multiplies.  Furthermore, when the bullets start flying and units get spread out and disorganized, my willingness to control them with same level of detail as before goes out the window.  Am I too focused on micromanaging?  

For large engagement with a company or more of infantry, is it better to use generalized grouped orders and not be as concerned with organization and losses?  In my combined arms battles I consistently find my infantry to be responsible for very few enemy casualties as compared to my mortars, tanks and artillery. 

Any tips from the CM2 veterans out there on how to organize and manage large formations of infantry and still keep the game fun?

Thanks,

-Mark 

 

Edited by MisterMark

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11 minutes ago, MisterMark said:

Love the CM2 platform for a variety of reasons but am I the only one that finds it tedious and daunting to manage anything more than a few platoons of infantry? 

It can be.

11 minutes ago, MisterMark said:

And once you start splitting infantry up into teams and trying to use them with sound coordinated tactics, the workload obviously multiplies.  Furthermore, when the bullets start flying and units get spread out and disorganized, my willingness to control them with same level of detail as before goes out the window.  Am I too focused on micromanaging?  

Yes, probably. :)

11 minutes ago, MisterMark said:

For large engagement with a company or more of infantry, is it better to use generalized grouped orders and not be as concerned with organization and losses?  In my combined arms battles I consistently find my infantry to be responsible for very few enemy casualties as compared to my mortars, tanks and artillery. 

Yep same.

11 minutes ago, MisterMark said:

Any tips from the CM2 veterans out there on how to organize and manage large formations of infantry and still keep the game fun?

I use a lot of bulk orders - usually on the platoon level. If you select the whole platoon and give them all orders all I do is check quicly that no squad has ended up crossed. And to add some pauses so they leap frog each other etc. Only when elements actually engage do I consider splitting. Even then I only do it if they don't spread out well on their own. Or if there is a specific job that requires it. I have my squads recombine as well once the job is done before going on the march again. 

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As we were talking in another thread, if squads or Cie could be represented with different colors...this will be really helpful.

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I am also a compulsive micromanager. (Why does this sound like an AA session?) I usually split squads early and move each team as carefully as I can. With a company plus sized force, each turn can take half an hour to a hour easily. I am willing to invest that much time to avoid disastrous screw ups, though I often wish I didn't have to. But the very complexity and fidelity of the game demand it IMO. When I get tired of moving all the teams, I just save the game at that point and go do something else: play a different game; read a book; watch a movie; eat (oh yes, have to do that now and then too).

My point is, everyone has to find their own style of play that they feel comfortable with and that renders the maximum interest for the time and effort invested.

Michael

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Given how unforgiving many CM2 scenarios can be to even one mistake, one does have to micromanage, and that is normal.  As a "veteran", having played CM games for almost 20 years (that's scary) I still find some scenarios one has to replay more than once to figure out how to win.  I would never recommend giving group orders.

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2 hours ago, Erwin said:

I would never recommend giving group orders.

I have under the following circumstances. If I have to move a group (never larger than a platoon) a long distance and I am confident that they have almost a zero chance of coming under fire during the move, I will give a group move just to cut down on the fiddly stuff for a few turns. Even then, I may tweak the move of a unit or two just to keep them out of trouble.

Michael

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"if squads or Cie could be represented with different colors..."

BFC has to contend with color blind players (yes, that's a real AI design problem for a sizeable proportion of the public) so are compelled to limit the color cues they use.

There are some people who live by the motto "more is always better" but sometimes that's just not the case. If you're not having fun commanding multiple battalions on a huge map don't pay multiple battalions on huge maps. If your work-to-fun ratio is ideal playing company-size engagements play company-size engagements! For me, going all the way back to CMBB days, I'd sometimes open a scenario and discover a huge map with a veritable hoard of troops to command. And I'd say to myself "Nope, not gonna do it, not gonna even try." I know where my 'sweet spot' is on the force-size-to-enjoyment curve.

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7 hours ago, MikeyD said:

"if squads or Cie could be represented with different colors..."

BFC has to contend with color blind players (yes, that's a real UI design problem for a sizeable proportion of the public) so are compelled to limit the color cues they use.

I'm pretty sure you ment UI there.

What @MikeyD says about force size is spot on too.

The OP says he is not enjoying commanding large numbers of units so he has to reduce the number of units he is playing with, or change they way he is playing with those units. I'm not seeing other alternatives. Perhaps there are others. I look forward to hearing any.

Personally I don't think, "you have no choice" or "just learn to like it" are super helpful, even if they might be a valid perspective. I suppose taking a break could work - I've done it from time to time especially during set up. I'm not sure if I would like to play every turn with a break or two.

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One approach I have taken for playing with large numbers of infantry (and out of laziness) is to just detach a small recon force and leave the rest behind in the rear area as a reserve.  Once contact is made I move in only what I think is necessary to deal with the threat and focus on the point of contact as a abstract objective.  I'm still inclined to bring in heavy weapons and tanks over a smashing force of infantry.  There is of course great satisfaction in taking a localized area of the map but because of the time constraint and the fact that I've not mobilized most of my infantry to deal with the rest of the map, I usually end up losing the the battle. 

On a side note, am I even using my infantry the correct way?  Meaning, for battles that I win, I usually use my infantry as 'bait' to reveal and locate enemy positions and use mortars, tanks and artillery to take them out rather than taking the positions with an appropriate amount of infantry.  Like I stated before, in the AAR my infantry usually account for very little of the enemy losses.  Is this typical?

All thoughts welcomed,

-Mark

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, MisterMark said:

for battles that I win, I usually use my infantry as 'bait' to reveal and locate enemy positions and use mortars, tanks and artillery to take them out rather than taking the positions with an appropriate amount of infantry.

I think this is pretty much how the Allies won the war.

As long as you have tanks, mortars, and artillery, and plenty of time, that's the rational way to fight. However, I personally like infantry centric battles, and I find I've slowly come to learn when I need to micromanage, and when I can be more loose with the orders.

Usually what I do is that I will have some scout teams run forward and detect safe routes of advance, and I will then loosely move platoons up along those routes. When I detect enemy presence, I will then form up the platoons (again, in a loose way), and move them closer. Then before real contact, I will start splitting squads and consider the finer points of the terrain.

I very rarely play battallion+ sized battles.

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Since the game does not give one the sort of info that recon units would normally provide, one normally has very little idea of where any enemy fortifications (or any defensive positions) are located.  Given that reality, it is realistic that in the game one scout forward very slowly and carefully, starting from one's set-up positions. 

However, while there are a few scenarios where one can come under fire and take casualties almost as soon as any unit has moved a few meters, the vast majority of scenarios allow one to advance one or two hundred meters before there is any danger of coming under fire.  It seems that in the majority of scenarios the designer expects one to rush forward those 100-200 meters like a medieval "Braveheart" charge.

If one is being cautious and careful scouting one can find oneself short on time later when you desperately need the time.  So, generally I now run forward a few two-man scouts a hundred meters or more until they actually come under fire (and usually someone is shot) just so I don't waste 20 minutes carefully scouting those first 100m.

And yes, using the minimum force to accomplish missions is ideal.  I also like larger scenarios where one has enuff units (and it makes sense) to keep reserves.

 

 

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I tend to give group orders to platoon size units, and only in the beginning of the battle. About the only time I 'need' to split up squads is for urban and heavy woodland combat. Since the infantry TacAI behavior improvements in 4.0 there is even less of that micro. As the rest have said, it's got to be fun. I really don't enjoy anything over a couple companies at most in CM, but in something like Steel Panthers a couple battalions is just fine.

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17 hours ago, MikeyD said:

...BFC has to contend with color blind players (yes, that's a real AI design problem for a sizeable proportion of the public) so are compelled to limit the color cues they use.

...There are some people who live by the motto "more is always better" but sometimes that's just not the case. If you're not having fun commanding multiple battalions on a huge map don't pay multiple battalions on huge maps. If your work-to-fun ratio is ideal playing company-size engagements play company-size engagements!...

 

All agree with you but, admit that no matter the size of battle that you choose, a rational view of a map with different units, would be much more useful  and better to the eyes if you could follow the color of your units and all subunits ... or if possible, changing the shape by arrows double line dotted line...to differentiate your orders and commands.

Edited by 3j2m7

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20 hours ago, MisterMark said:

On a side note, am I even using my infantry the correct way?  Meaning, for battles that I win, I usually use my infantry as 'bait' to reveal and locate enemy positions and use mortars, tanks and artillery to take them out rather than taking the positions with an appropriate amount of infantry.  Like I stated before, in the AAR my infantry usually account for very little of the enemy losses.  Is this typical?

Completely and utterly typical. Almost anyone with sense would sooner "purchase real estate" with bullets rather than blood. Plus infantry can be broken down into very small elements (two man scout teams) that still present a credible threat that forces the enemy to unmask himself to deal with. They don't do it for some elements of the defense against human players though -- for example, a smart human player will keep his HMGs further back and ATGs silent while tasking some small, non-critical element of the defense (typically a squad of rifle infantry) with dealing with the approaching scouts then enduring the resulting pain when their overwatch goes into action -- but the idea is that the enemy just can't hold fire everywhere in an effort to assassinate your key systems.

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Taking a break is good advice, i took one, bit longer than intended but im back playing with V4 and loving it.  For moving lots of inf. Im busy playing Nedforce battle as ze germans just now, which is 3 companies plus heavy weapon support and a company of Panthers, which is a lot to sort out.  For the infanrty though i have my designated lead company with a lead platoon with 2 man teams out front, the lead platoon is a good ways out and they are my immediate fire support for the two man teams, everything else is staggered in tactical bounds.  This means i concentrate on the two man team and lead platoon and move them tactically everything else just gets long move orders that bound them forward because i know that theres nothing there, this cuts down on micro dramatically and if i need to i can always go back and tweak their oders as and when required but basically i just forget about them whilst they are taking in their leisurely stroll.

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4 hours ago, Doc844 said:

Taking a break is good advice, i took one, bit longer than intended but im back playing with V4 and loving it.  For moving lots of inf. Im busy playing Nedforce battle as ze germans just now, which is 3 companies plus heavy weapon support and a company of Panthers, which is a lot to sort out.  For the infanrty though i have my designated lead company with a lead platoon with 2 man teams out front, the lead platoon is a good ways out and they are my immediate fire support for the two man teams, everything else is staggered in tactical bounds.  This means i concentrate on the two man team and lead platoon and move them tactically everything else just gets long move orders that bound them forward because i know that theres nothing there, this cuts down on micro dramatically and if i need to i can always go back and tweak their oders as and when required but basically i just forget about them whilst they are taking in their leisurely stroll.

That is quite much how I handle it, too.

Or, as a more general statement; In larger battles there is no or little need to micro manage each unit. That is for me much more an issue in small battles, where each unit and each wrong step may count.

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5 hours ago, Doc844 said:

Taking a break is good advice, i took one, bit longer than intended but im back playing with V4 and loving it.  For moving lots of inf. Im busy playing Nedforce battle as ze germans just now, which is 3 companies plus heavy weapon support and a company of Panthers, which is a lot to sort out.  For the infanrty though i have my designated lead company with a lead platoon with 2 man teams out front, the lead platoon is a good ways out and they are my immediate fire support for the two man teams, everything else is staggered in tactical bounds.  This means i concentrate on the two man team and lead platoon and move them tactically everything else just gets long move orders that bound them forward because i know that theres nothing there, this cuts down on micro dramatically and if i need to i can always go back and tweak their oders as and when required but basically i just forget about them whilst they are taking in their leisurely stroll.

Ditto.

If I'm using a battalion, I'll generally do what you've described for each of the "up" companies. So, If I'm attacking with a battalion, I'll have 2 companies "up" with the third in reserve. (Or just one up and two in trace. Shrug.) The "up" companies will generally have one or two platoons in the lead. Each platoon will have one or two squads up front...with 2 man scouts leading them. So, for a battalion attack, I'll have about 8 "leading" scout teams and their respective squads, or less. That's manageable to me. And it's rare for all the lead elements to be moving at once. I'll generally stagger the movement so that someone, somewhere, is in overwatch and/or has flanking fire opportunities if something kicks off.

Trailing elements or support elements just get platoon-sized group moves. I'll tweak the endpoints and a waypoint or two (like keeping them in the field instead of the swamp), but otherwise not worry about them. It's about shifting centers of gravity. Once bullets fly, I'll get more precise for the units in contact. Othewise: Find, Fix, Flank, Finish. 

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Until my follow on company thats enjoying its stroll gets stronked by arty and gets wrecked, b******s.  Oh and a Panther receives a one in a million shot with an arty round penetrating through the top of the turret.  Double b******s.

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I've done a couple battalion level games(Batt HQ,3 rifle companies, 1 weapon company) against AI. While they can be tedious, it can be a ton of fun sometimes. I like to play on big maps too, so that helps aid you in maneuvering without getting too bunched up.

Biggest thing I have found that you need to do is form a battle strategy. Who is going where, who is supporting by fire for who, and timing it to act in concert. If you rush that, you'll take un-needed casualties. I managed to pull out a pretty crushing defeat taking only 30ish casualties whilst destroying 300 men. Very rewarding.

I manage mine in stages. It starts with deployment. What companies will be in reserve, who will be available for immediate react to contact, what units will be scouting, etc.

I create mini-objectives within the game to give myself coordination and help create that battle plan I talked about. An example would be a farm field with a few structures surrounded by fencing. This will be the firebase for weapons company indirect to support the rifle companies. What do we need to do? Scout it, eliminate enemy forces, then occupy and defend. A good terrain analysis will help you figure out where to get the men you need in position to take your self-defined objectives and aid in deploying your men to accomplish this.

Next, I'll issue my initial movement commands. I'll issue specific movement commands to my scouting elements, and "mass" orders to each platoon within the company. Again, I use my deployment to give me the spacing and formations I want them to maneuver in. I will never issue movement commands to elements larger than platoon size.

Finally, when we arrive from our point of departure for company maneuver, we will start managing squads to execute the battle drills. I won't give you the specifics as to how you should be fighting the battle itself, since obviously that gets extremely details. I will say you can keep it fairly simple, the AI in my opinion, is sufficient to take care of itself. You'll have to sort that out for yourself.

With all that being said my final point is to fight your battles by "objective" at a time. No matter what elements have been dedicated to executing your plan, focus on one part of the plan. Other elements that aren't actively participating in that fight should be in a defensive posture. If they aren't moving, or fighting, they should be defending their terrain.

Repeat these steps until you have won, or ground your force down to an ineffective mass of bodies. Your mileage may very. Take your time, fighting these size battles can take some serious time (I remember one taking me 9 hours, with a couple breaks in between).
 

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All sounds good.  9 hours to complete a large Bn sized scenario seems very fast to me (unless the defenses suck).  Am playing Mission #4 (2 battalions+) of dragonwynn's Heart of Darkness campaign (for CMSF) and it's taking days due to needing rest breaks to let brain cool down.

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MisterMark,

When I first got into CMBN back in 2013, and having played only CMx1 games before that, I found both the game system and dealing with individual troops traumatic, likening it to herding cats. Worse, the bocage itself is a problem, for when you order your guys to walk on the near side of it, they finds a gap you didn't see, walk out in plain view and gets shot up! I did better in a different scenario, which was kind of a dawn sneak attack. Things were going great, but I neglected to put short cover arms on the men I was largely moving in groups. Next thing you know, this gung ho idiot declared war on the Wehrmacht, and the Germans shot back at my very exposed force going across a substantial plowed area--using really impressive guns. The fire is deadly, the advance hopelessly blown and exposed. I pulled the plug on the whole thing, but never again will I move a force without putting short cover arcs on anyone who could cause trouble by opening fire prematurely. My last outing with CMBN was in a MG scenario vs SLIM as Germans.  I tried to do everything by the book, but I was too slow and SLIM knew exactly what he was doing. We had to stop because of I forget what on my end, but he almost certainly would've won. In that fight, I did a lot of moving building to building and occupying and leaving various levels. Had to do a lot of splitting and recombining squads, sending out recon teams across exposed grassy fields, trying to suppress (preferably kill) every HMG I found the hard way, and more. Believe I had a full Airborne Company, and it was a lot of work doing all that stuff more or less simultaneously and on a considerable front. Unless you absolutely need your officers to shoot, give them short Cover Arcs (15 meters, and that goes for everyone else given one, too). that way, they won't start banging or blazing away and get shot generally or by a sniper.

Erwin,

Now, you just stay put. The nice men with the white coats and big butterfly nets will be along soon. Wow! You're running a Battalion (+). While you may need some time in the rubber room, another Forum Member is running a Regiment. A Regiment!

(head explodes)

Regards,

John Kettler

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On 15.8.2017 at 0:24 AM, Doc844 said:

Until my follow on company thats enjoying its stroll gets stronked by arty and gets wrecked, b******s.  Oh and a Panther receives a one in a million shot with an arty round penetrating through the top of the turret.  Double b******s.

Yep, that can happen.

Then let them run. And later reform somewhere and try again.

As for the Panther: That's life and can happen, too.

Micromanagement is not controlling every panicked squad. Rather concentrate on the "up front" troops.

And if all goes wrong, remember: "We take the  sh *** and the glory."

Edited by StieliAlpha

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1 hour ago, StieliAlpha said:

Yep, that can happen.

Then let them run. And later reform somewhere and try again.

As for the Panther: That's life and can happen, too.

Micromanagement is not controlling every panicked squad. Rather concentrate on the "up front" troops.

And if all goes wrong, remember: "We take the  sh *** and the glory."

True words.  I actually hate seeing my pixel truppen die, i try and keep them alive and not squander them which is a downfall of mine at times, more so when im attacking. However i just started another campaign For king and Country.  It grabbed my attention because firstly its by Dragonwynn and he creates superb content and secondly its Gold beach.  I had a strong inkling of what would happen in the first minute but nothing prepares you, i almost had tears running down my cheeks as the German arty tossed my pixel trupp around, i had a WHOLE company go down in 3 mins, horrendous.  It is though a brilliant first mission, i now have a big line of shermans just area firing everwhere.

Its a tough test using fragments of companies to push forward and close with ze germans.  If this is the first mission cant wait for the rest.

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