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Kaunitz

How much do you roleplay?

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Posted (edited)

Fellow CM veterans!

First let me make it clear that this is not supposed to be a rant or a suggestion for improvement. I think that CM is already as good as a game can get in this respect.

I'm just interested in how you play the game: Do you roleplay a lot or do prefer a highly competitive approach to the game and use all means available to you, even if some of your actions are implausible from a realism standpoint? What do I mean by this? Mostly, it boils down to letting a unit react to information that would not be available to the unit. Stopping a movement because you know you will be running into a line of fire, for example, or area-targeting the position of an enemy unit which has been spotted by a different unit. Or letting a small section exploit an opportunities regularly and independently of the platoon HQ's knowledge, etc. Things along those lines. So do you usually pay attention to these details, do you wait until enemy sightings are communicated up and down the command hierarchy, or do you "abuse" your godlike player power? :) 

For me personally, it depends. In multiplayer games, I play competitively. Even if both sides would agree to roleplay, you still never know and there will be room for heated discussions and interpretations ("Why did you move that tank platoon over there?" "Ehrm ... they were ... patrolling?" ;)). In single player, I prefer to roleplay. I often play hotseat against myself, roleplaying both sides so that I can speed things up unrealistically when I know the other faction is not using the delay/time anyway. What I find quite interesting is that when I roleplay, communication becomes a major aspect in planning the mission. You have to consider reaction times and command links. If my force is in desperate need of radios (I'm looking at you, WWII-Italians!) I usually assume that there is a pre-determined H-hour at which all units ought to start their attack. I sometimes also integrate limited means of visual communication into the plan (eg. I assume that some units have flares in different colors to signal/initiate a predetermined action to other units). Roleplaying greatly enhances the fun I have with CM. And it can lead to very exciting situations. Ever seen a messenger sprint through an artillery barrage?

On the other hand, roleplaying can lead to some problems as most scenarios are not designed with roleplaying in mind. From my experience, time limits can get very brutal when you roleplay, especially if your communcation-plan turns out to be deficient. But then I don't overdo roleplaying. For example, I reckon that it would take much longer for units to describe the location of enemy sightings (unless in close visual contact so that you can point in the direction). I think that the transfer of information is quite fast in CM. In reality, someone would probably need to get out their map (HQ units only?) then spread the word and instruct his subordinate tanks/squads?  I guess it would take much more time, especially if the battlefield doesn't offer a lot of features that can be called out easily.

Here is an interesting approach by Bill Hardenberger - it's pretty much the pinnacle of roleplaying in CM (it's a bit too complex for me, too much book-keeping, but I might try it out some day): 

Please share your opinion or tell us if and what aspects of the game you like to roleplay! 

 

PS: I can't finish any post without an improvement suggestion, so here we go: Messengers/despatch riders on motorcycles (for WWII themed titles)! :D

 

Edited by Kaunitz

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Time limits are what frustrate me the most. I try to roleplay aswell but sometimes I just have to push things quicker because of time constraints. Id prefer to have, say 3 hours to finish a battle but to do it my way, conquer the objectives and either have the enemy surrender or me have to hit cease fire, although I am aware that this can bring some problems

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I wouldn't say I role-play, but I tend to avoid doing "gamey" stuff such as map-edge creeping.  I play all scenarios "blind"-  I don't peek at the enemy force composition or deployment prior to playing. 

I don't use trucks or damaged vehicles for recon purposes.  Further, dismounted crews are sent to the rear and not used as additional infantry.

I try to avoid being careless with the lives of my pixeltruppen.  Even playing single-player, there have numerous times when I said myself: "I'm not sending them out there" even though I could always save-scum if a mad-dash didn't pay-off.  I just don't do "mad dashes."   Yeah, I'm more George McClellan than George Patton as a commander, but that's my play-style.

Ruthlessly exploiting the game engine and the AI by using every edge and advantage just doesn't appeal to me.  However, I do play to win and trying to beat a scenario within its designer's allotted time adds to the challenge and the fun.  (I tried very hard to avoid those "three-hour-you-suck" consolation scenarios in Paper Tiger's Road to Nijmegen campaign.) 

(I'm a HUGE fan of Scourge of War's "headquarters-in-the-saddle" mode and have fantasized about such a system being in Combat Mission.  However, Steve has made it very clear that they have no intention of ever instituting such a system which is understandable considering how limited its appeal would be.)

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If you roleplay, you should be competitive. I see no distinction to draw here; consider it a 'pro' of playing a simmish game.

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I pretend I actually know what I am doing. :D Then when it all falls apart I pretend my pixeltruppen were insubordinate and did not follow the plan.

Seriously how I play is largely determined by circumstance- my opponent and their play style or the limitations of the scenario itself if against the AI.

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1 minute ago, Rinaldi said:

If you roleplay, you should be competitive. I see no distinction to draw here; consider it a 'pro' of playing a simmish game.

Not sure what that means.  You can have varying degrees of role playing and still be competitive.  There is no conflict there.  The role playing is more about not just having a charge to the last man 90% casualty rate fight just to determine a winner.  Sometimes winning is just having a really fun game.

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I always roleplay. Made a couple themed campaigns designed around specific forces. When CM gets too competitive I feel like it loses its touch a whole lot. I've never had as much fun as I do with limited TOEs

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Never.  Sure there are ways where you have more intel in the game then the guys on the ground would.  On the flip side there are times in the game when the guys on the ground would exert more self preservation instinct then our computer troopers do as well.  It more or less evens out.

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Posted (edited)

I also try to avoid certain tactics like  map edge hogging or specific exploits like for example spraying unspotted enemy AI vehicles with MG area fire in order to trigger a retreat reaction.

I also try to use every asset and unit for its intended role and job i. e. recon units for localizing and screening enemy units. Also try to keep units like platoons together and relieve units that suffered. Keeping C2 intact is also important for me. Really enjoy the fact that CM awards you for most of these considerations.

However sometimes time limits or mission goals force me to utilize every resource available. A situation a real commander could also face.

What I also don´t do is things like sacrifcing units in a unrealistic way. 

When playing multiplayer with my colleagues nobody gives a damn about "competitiveness". We play serious and fight hard but primarly we do it in order to experience "realistic fun". We don´t have a problem to play asymmetric scenarios or self-planned campaigns where one is pitted against an opponent´s superior force. We often define for ourselves how to interpret the scenario outcome.

We also never use cheap tactics like baiting long range weapons, "sound whoring" for fences, or holding objectives with shaken canteen truck drivers just in order to score a win.     

Edited by MANoWAR.U51

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I don't really roleplay at all.  But I don't use cheap tactics like sound exploits to find unit locations.  Despite this I do think roleplaying is better gameplay.  A standard formation with real life tactics is probably going to do better than say a blob of of Brummbars and fanatic stragglers fast moving across the map.

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16 minutes ago, Sulomon said:

A standard formation with real life tactics is probably going to do better than say a blob of of Brummbars and fanatic stragglers fast moving across the map. 

I can recall you doing this in a few of our matches 😉

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9 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

roleplaying can lead to some problems ...  time limits can get very brutal when you roleplay,

A huge problem re C2/communication delays given the tight time limits of the vast majority of scenarios.  I don't think one can play this way normally.

However, I definitely play like there are real human lives at stake and am always asking myself what would I do in a given situation, or what can one reasonably expect from the "guys".  So, no suicide missions... eg recon till you get shot "just to see what's out there" etc.

One of the many aspects of MOS's TOC that is hugely enjoyable is the 4 hour time limit - gives one plenty of time to play as realistically as one wants.  It's currently at Beta 9, so you can be sure it's being tested thoroughly.  :)

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7 hours ago, Myles Keogh said:

Am a HUGE fan of Scourge of War's "headquarters-in-the-saddle" mod

What is this?  Never heard of it.

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10 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

In single player, I prefer to roleplay. I often play hotseat against myself, roleplaying both sides so that I can speed things up unrealistically when I know the other faction is not using the delay/time anyway. What I find quite interesting is that when I roleplay, communication becomes a major aspect in planning the mission. You have to consider reaction times and command links. If my force is in desperate need of radios (I'm looking at you, WWII-Italians!) I usually assume that there is a pre-determined H-hour at which all units ought to start their attack. I sometimes also integrate limited means of visual communication into the plan (eg. I assume that some units have flares in different colors to signal/initiate a predetermined action to other units).

I've also found this (hotseat with roleplaying communications) to be a fun variation. I agree it really does make C2 differences between nationalities more pronounced. One thing with Italians, though, is that since they can't split scout teams (which can represent runners for other nationalities), I kind of abstract in runners by letting HQs decide to move units around but then not starting the units for a few minutes until I figure a runner could have arrived.

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3 hours ago, General Liederkranz said:

I've also found this (hotseat with roleplaying communications) to be a fun variation. I agree it really does make C2 differences between nationalities more pronounced. One thing with Italians, though, is that since they can't split scout teams (which can represent runners for other nationalities), I kind of abstract in runners by letting HQs decide to move units around but then not starting the units for a few minutes until I figure a runner could have arrived.

edit in a couple vehicles, dismount the drivers and use those as runners.  Save you some guess work and also provide the opportunity that your runner doesn't make it. :P 

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Posted (edited)

I'm pleasantly surprised (well surprised not really... ) that so many of you like to roleplay. :) 

One thing which nobody has mentioned yet is treating the wounded. I've been reading quite a few accounts of Vietnam warfare (which admittedly is different from WWII). But getting the wounded off the battlefield was a major concern. In Combat Mission, I have to admit that I rarely wait for buddy aid (aka "kneel if you want to share your buddy's fate") to be finished, or even move up vehicles to pretend they carry away the wounded (well most of the times it's simply too dangerous).

15 hours ago, Rinaldi said:

If you roleplay, you should be competitive. I see no distinction to draw here; consider it a 'pro' of playing a simmish game.

But as mentioned in the initial post, there are some behaviours that can give you an edge yet are unrealistic. The most obvious case is area-targeting a spot at which other units have identified an enemy (but the unit that is firing is not aware of this enemy). It can make a huge difference if the enemy can fire away for 6 minutes or is silenced after only 20 seconds. The same is true for movement. How can a platoon of tanks react to an enemy position neither they nor their superior is aware of? By not waiting until the word reaches the tank platoon (if it can at all!), you can let your units react unrealistically fast which has some effects on tactics. E.g. with less "delay" to everything, artillery is more dangerous as troops are forced to wait in place for longer. This relative spotting is somewhat of a problem, but I don't see how it could be solved in a game without relying on multiplayer events with lots of participants (SoW), which is not what I'd like and expect from the CM series. The good thing is that CM's relative spotting system gives you all you need to roleplay and it doesn't require a lot of note-taking to do so. :)

5 hours ago, sburke said:

edit in a couple vehicles, dismount the drivers and use those as runners.  Save you some guess work and also provide the opportunity that your runner doesn't make it. :P 

I also tend to buy more FO-teams when I roleplay. Not because of their binos or their ability to call in artillery more quickly, but because of their radio. I fear it's not really realsitic (but then again we don't have field telephones...), but a greater number of radios is needed to make full use of good (but seperated) positions. The smaller the number of radios, the more bunched up my force typically ends up. In this way, role-playing also lets you appreciate tank and other (mechanized) formations that come with many lovely radios! :)

9 hours ago, Erwin said:

One of the many aspects of MOS's TOC that is hugely enjoyable is the 4 hour time limit - gives one plenty of time to play as realistically as one wants.  It's currently at Beta 9, so you can be sure it's being tested thoroughly.  :)

I've scanned through the TOC's thread briefly. Please don't laugh at me, but I still don't quite understand what it does and how it works. It's a campaign themed around counter-insurgency played on a large map, using a different scale of time and space? It aims to add an operational level to the tactical level of Combat Mission?

Edited by Kaunitz

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Full contact, all the way.

On the one hand, it feels impossible to either ignore or expect an opponent to ignore the things that CM inadvertently clues you in on: the sound of enemy mortars, holes magically appearing in fences as the enemy drives through them, being able to back plot tracer fire or penetrations through vehicles back to where they came from. Its much easier to keep things simple and say "Do whatever, just don't bomb my setup zone".

On the other hand, exploiting these clues almost always encourages reasonable tactical behaviour anyway: better keep your mortars moving to avoid counter-battery fire, better smash through some walls or fences as part of a deception plan, better play pop-up with your tank destroyers.

Even things like splitting your squads and platoons and leaving them out of contact has a cost-benefit decision attached: do I as the player want more information by spreading my troops out, or do I want them to be able to share information between themselves and benefit from being in contact with the platoon HQ? Its nice to have a recce screen out in front. Its not nice to see it crumble at the first sign of contact because the individual teams are scared and alone.

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For me, the whole point of simulationist games (computer or otherwise) are that you create a feedback loop with real-world information - i.e., with Combat Mission I want to play CM, find an organisation, battle or piece of equipment that I'm unfamiliar with, and play with it in-game. Frequently fail, which encourages reading around outside the game, which should feed back into using the equipment more successfully.

As a recent example, although I was pretty familiar with the British CVR(T) designs, I'd never really understood the Scimitar, or why that survived longer than the Scorpion in service. It took reading about the development of the family to finally grok that the intended purpose of the design was to take on enemy light armour - which will mean BTRs and BMPs in context. With earlier understanding about BMP usage - BMP mechanised infantry are intended to use their BMP as fire support, since it's supposed to be a fighting vehicle, albeit a weak and explodey one. In that sense, a BAOR vs Soviet fight may well have had Scimitars neutralising BMP support, whilst the infantry deal with their counterparts. That's a role which is equally applicable in 2008 Syria and 2017 Ukraine, whereas the Scorpion's more anti-infantry role is less relevant.

So... I'm not sure I'd call it "roleplaying" per se, but I certainly attack these kinds of games as simulations first and games second - I'm more concerned with what it can teach me than how to exploit game systems to win.

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1 hour ago, Bulletpoint said:

When things go wrong, I do my best to swear in the faction appropriate language and accent.

I mix and match a bit, e.g. "Unter den Bloody Linden!" if something goes wrong when playing as the Germans.

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1 minute ago, Warts 'n' all said:
2 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

When things go wrong, I do my best to swear in the faction appropriate language and accent.

I mix and match a bit, e.g. "Unter den Bloody Linden!" if something goes wrong when playing as the Germans.

I reserve "bloody" for His Majesty's Virtual British Army.

Also "Oi", but I don't know if that's historically correct.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, General Liederkranz said:

I've also found this (hotseat with roleplaying communications) to be a fun variation. I agree it really does make C2 differences between nationalities more pronounced. One thing with Italians, though, is that since they can't split scout teams (which can represent runners for other nationalities), I kind of abstract in runners by letting HQs decide to move units around but then not starting the units for a few minutes until I figure a runner could have arrived.

 

9 hours ago, sburke said:

edit in a couple vehicles, dismount the drivers and use those as runners.  Save you some guess work and also provide the opportunity that your runner doesn't make it. :P 

You can also add the dismounted vehicle to the TOE of the unit you want the runner to be assigned.  This will create realistic platoon. company and battalion runners within the C2 system.  I actually wait for the information to be relayed through the C2 system before allowing a unit to react to it.  Example: A tank can't fire on an OpFor HMG position until the tank has at least a tentative contact for the position.  An infantry platoon sends a runner over to the tank.  Generally in a minute or three the tank gets the tentative contact and is then able to react to the HMG.  See the below link for peregrine's command layers.  

 

4 hours ago, Kaunitz said:

I also tend to buy more FO-teams when I roleplay. Not because of their binos or their ability to call in artillery more quickly, but because of their radio. I fear it's not really realsitic 

I've scanned through the TOC's thread briefly. Please don't laugh at me, but I still don't quite understand what it does and how it works. It's a campaign themed around counter-insurgency played on a large map, using a different scale of time and space? It aims to add an operational level to the tactical level of Combat Mission? 

The scenario TOC uses several novel ideas that have not been used before.  Most are explained with accompanying screenshots in the thread you linked.  But in summary it provides the player with time sensitive actionable intelligence and the use of a grid system.  The grid system and intelligence code make it possible for the scenario to report locations and times to the player (some intelligence also comes with a reliability rating).  You "play the role" as the commander of a Tactical Operations Center (TOC) for a four hour shift.  During your four hour shift you attempt to analyze and use your intelligence (SIGINT, HUMINT, TSE, SCIF, S2, UAVs) to keep control of the approximately 7.5 square kilometer area of operation. 

The TOC is located in a Forward Operating Base (FOB) that has a Helicopter Landing Zone (HLZ) where reinforcements will arrive, and other units need to exit from.  There is an S4 section in the FOB that provides additional vehicles and ammo during your four hour shift.  Logistics matter in this scenario.    Another feature included in the scenario is the ability to destroy OpFor base camps thereby preventing the Separatists from receiving their scheduled reinforcements.   

Back to the original topic of roll playing if you do a search for "House Rules" you will find more information on this interesting topic. 

I use a modified form of @Peregrine rules when playing the AI.  See link below.  Also, as discussed above, dismounted truck drivers make good runners for the WWII titles.   

  

 

Edited by MOS:96B2P

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