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Keeryel

Disappointed by Highland Games last mission... (spoiler alert)

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I just finished last mission in  Highland Games campaign (South Branch one), and I'm somewhat disappointed by it.

Highland games is my favourite campaign so far (I just miss the german one, yet), I highly enjoyed every and each scenario in this campaign, from the desert ones to the urban fighting. It is a very well designed mix of attack and defences from the stressfull advance street by street while an isolated force defend a police station (really got that Black Hawk Down feeling there), to the exhilarating turkey shoot to a double column of technicals in the desert.

Well, the last mission of the southern branch of this campaign left me with a bitter taste for a very bad design choice...

SPOILER ALERT

Bashar is in our Hearts mission begins like Alamo. You just sit with Santa Ana this time. Dislodging Syrians from the ridge is, actually, far easy than it sounds in the briefing.

No extra clever tacticts, just pop the barrel of your 120s challenger guns hull down over the small ridge that, conveniently, cover your force and fire at every ATGM which pops out while big guns roll over trenches with anti personnel shells and your CAP take care of bunkers. then I just pushed on my APCs and swept the trenches clean. 10 mins and every trench was empty. EMPTY.

As briefing told me to secure these trenches, I left my squads in some of them with APCs overwatching from a close distance and MTB from the valley waiting for a counter assault. I thought it was a very short last stand, demonstrating that superior assets and night vision give an edge over a determinated enemy in trenches if you just keep you head low and let a decent combined arms tactics do the work for you. BUT, at 50.00 clock, a couple of enemy SF squad just pop out FROM NOWHERE in the trenches, even in the trenches I was occupying with my scots! and their reaction timing split seconds!. I got 2 squads, 2 APCs and a HQ wiped out in 10 sec.

Just why? where they were supposed to be hiding? under the sand? in a Vietcong style tunnel? why a squad of veteran and trained soldiers, who was occupying the trench for 2/3 minutes wasn't able to spot 10 guys in full combat gear with ATMs ready to fire? I really didn't liked this, it spoiled out my fun, as it was unlogical and somewhat "gamey".

Three choises then, continue fighting with the other part of my force, scoring a very bad result I hadn't deserved (and, as it is the last mission on the campaign, loosing that as well), reload a previous save, mount my boys on APCs and set a target order on the spot where the bad guys will materialize in a couple of minutes, or restart the whole scenario, hide for 40 minutes in order to let every scripted reinforce pop out and than play it again (but with no fun, as I already knew where the enemy is deployed etc.).

I'm really disappointed, as I think this campaign is very well designed (and I simply love CMSF...). Anyone has got the same feelings?

 

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Posted (edited)

can't speak to any of this but I will note this is probably an ideal time to bring it up.  :D  Wil make sure to point some folks in this direction to read.  Thanks Keeryel

Edited by sburke

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On ‎6‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 4:35 PM, Keeryel said:

Just why? 

Getting reinforcements 'right' can be tricky at times...Maybe the scenario designer did not expect you to be in those trenches so quickly...

As i understand it your attack was very swift and succesful until that point.

It happens every now and then that scenario designers gets the timing/placement of the reinforcements wrong when the player does something that he does not expect will happen...A very swift attack in this example... when the designer might have expected a tougher fight...

 

 

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Posted (edited)

IMHO if you are spawning stuff into bits of a map that players can theoretically reach, you have to assume they will reach it.....Always have a cover story.  ;)

PS - Using variants of the techniques @MOS:96B2P has devised it would be possible to 'blow the bunker' and prevent those reinforcements from becoming a factor in the game.....It would be somewhat abstracted, but I believe it could be done.  B)

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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Yeah, that can be nasty.....Did you try the earliest version of Ashsh Al Dababir, where the tunnel-rats all appeared in a couple of waves?

If you were too close, it wasn't really a firefight, just a rapid series of bangs and flashes, finally revealing a pile of assorted corpses once the smoke clears. 

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5 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Yeah, that can be nasty.....Did you try the earliest version of Ashsh Al Dababir, where the tunnel-rats all appeared in a couple of waves?

If you were too close, it wasn't really a firefight, just a rapid series of bangs and flashes, finally revealing a pile of assorted corpses once the smoke clears. 

ha ha yeah.  I think in one run through my guys were right on the spawn point.  Man what a wild party.

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18 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

IMHO if you are spawning stuff into bits of a map that players can theoretically reach, you have to assume they will reach it.....Always have a cover story.  ;)

Yeah. In this specific scenario (Bashar in our Hearts) I think this could be avoided simply by making your APC and mech infantry arrive at the bottom of the valley at the same time the syrian reinforcement (SF squads) arrive to the ridge trenches.

This can make the scenario albait interesting, as it can be easily supposed that it simulates the resilient and better trained special forces that simply manage to hide and keep safe from bombardment and 120mm shells from your Challengers. It will be tricky for the player to advance with a strong belief that the main defences were wiped out by bombardment and just meet a half company of the best trained syrian soldier, well armed and entrenched, awaiting for them. It has a strong WWI trench warfare feeling to me!

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Funny thing about scenario design is you can't really make assumptions about the design in one play through (unless of course you can open in the editor and find there is only one plan and it doesn't really account for your actions).  In testing a scenario recently I did one play through and was discussing my experience with the designer and he'd graciously offered me the opportunity to tweak it and see if I could improve it.  It had two additional slots available, but did have 3 AI plans which I casually looked at but not in depth. <- note to self not to repeat that mistake.

Now in my first play though I had been very aggressive  seizing defensive positions that allowed me to trash the AI as it attempted to attack.  It was exciting, but my casualties were very very minor.  So I tweak it altering some minor items but nothing substantial initially.  Then I launched the scenario and applied my uber effective aggressive plan...…. turns out I got a different AI plan this time.  In 60 seconds I lost 13 men including my platoon commander, was unable to get my men into almost any of the positions I'd hoped for and ended up with a leaderless, rattled force that was practically overrun before my reinforcements arrived to stabilize the situation.

I promptly told the designer I think I didn't need to touch his design....  then I crawled back into my corner and curled up into a ball cowering like so many of my men.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, sburke said:

you can't really make assumptions about the design in one play through (unless of course you can open in the editor and find there is only one plan and it doesn't really account for your actions).

I think you're right on this. I never ever opened the editor in my several hundreds hours on CM... I really should begin doing it. Thanks for sharing your point.

Edited by Keeryel

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With the advent of triggers the game is becoming much more reactive and these can be used in very creative ways.....If reinforcements could be linked to a set of trigger conditions in a future patch, these problems would go away for good.

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