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Bil Hardenberger

Hard Cat Rules v2 - Simple to Use Command & Control Rules

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This thread is an offshoot of the Co-op AAR that @IanL and I have ongoing in the CMFS 2 forum.  In that game we tested a set of realism rules we called the Hard Cat Rules.

Well I have been doing a lot of talking about perhaps adding some rule additions to that basic set and got some great feedback and ideas along the way.  What follows are my extended rules, my intent was to maintain ease of use, and the basic rules fit on one standard page, so they can easily be printed out and referred to during play.  My main goal was to create the feeling of Command and Control without overwhelming the players with spreadsheets or writing stuff down (like my previous attempt).  

I am looking for feedback and suggestions with these, if you think they are too complex tell me why.. if they don't make sense to you  let me know, etc.

Here are the basic rules - a formatted PDF Version available at this link This PDF includes all of the latest additions (version 2g) - UPDATED 29MAY19

Click the image to see full size.

HARD-CAT+Rules+v2g-01.png

The following Advanced or Optional Rules also fit on one page, they are on page two of the PDF linked above. 

Click the image to see full size.

HARD-CAT+Rules+v2g-02.png

Edited by Bil Hardenberger
Uploading the latest version of the rules

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Hello...

Some kind of rules like these will be intresting to try...😎

One question that comes to mind though...especially with regards to the WW2 games...

Will not 'special teams'...like machineguns, AT, engineers etc run a risk of being penalized when it comes to areafire, targetarc and multiple movementpaths...

The player may decide to 'assign' such company, battalion assets to move along the with the various regular infantry platoons...

Even if the player decides to group (assign) the teams to certain platoons...they will still not be asigned to these platoons as far as the gameengine goes...

And might end up far out of C2 of their organic HQ...and that organic HQ may be far from having LOS to intended target are...

The platoon HQ that the player have 'assigned' these teams to may very well have LOS to the needed area...but that does not help the teams as these are still assigned to their organic HQs...

This could sort of limit the usefulness/flexibility of these teams...could it not ?

IRL such teams could be temporarely asigned to a different platoon HQ as needed...

This is not possible in game...

 

Thanks for sharing these ideas 😁

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16 minutes ago, RepsolCBR said:

Hello...

Some kind of rules like these will be intresting to try...😎

One question that comes to mind though...especially with regards to the WW2 games...

Will not 'special teams'...like machineguns, AT, engineers etc run a risk of being penalized when it comes to areafire, targetarc and multiple movementpaths...

The player may decide to 'assign' such company, battalion assets to move along the with the various regular infantry platoons...

Even if the player decides to group (assign) the teams to certain platoons...they will still not be asigned to these platoons as far as the gameengine goes...

And might end up far out of C2 of their organic HQ...and that organic HQ may be far from having LOS to intended target are...

The platoon HQ that the player have 'assigned' these teams to may very well have LOS to the needed area...but that does not help the teams as these are still assigned to their organic HQs...

This could sort of limit the usefulness/flexibility of these teams...could it not ?

IRL such teams could be temporarely asigned to a different platoon HQ as needed...

This is not possible in game...

 

Thanks for sharing these ideas 😁

Good point.. I think adding the following rule might solve the issue with attached units:

  • ATTACHED UNITS - If a support team has been attached to a formation other than its organic HQ, it is considered to be within C2 as long as it can fully spot the HQ unit that it is attached to. 
    • Example using Iron - An HMG Team has been assigned to 2d Platoon - Click on the HMG Team, the floating icon for the 2nd Platoon HQ unit it is showing direct LOS (the HQ Team is visible on the map and the fully identified floating icon (not showing a UI icon or no icon at all for that HQ unit)), this HMG Team is considered to be within C2

Thoughts?

Bil

Edited by Bil Hardenberger

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There is one realistic and hardcore feature - to use the camera on eye-level only or at least on one step higher. And do not close the camera to the enemy objects. There is would be great, if some "fog of war" existed over terrain in 200-300 m from any unit, especially for crews of armored vehicles. 

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I get where you are coming from @Haiduk but that isn’t what I am going for with these. ;) 

I think as the over all CO you still need to be able to view the map from any angle, especially from above. 

Edited by Bil Hardenberger

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I am adding one more rule... it should be the last one.. it will be an Advanced/Optional rule but it answers a need (brought up by @BletchleyGeek in the other thread:

  • 8. HEADQUARTERS UNITS
    • a. A unit may check for C2 against a higher echelon HQ
      • i. Example: a Squad is not within C2 of its PL – but clicking on the Squad shows that it can spot the Company HQ unit, it is considered in C2 and may receive orders as such
      • ii. This check is only applicable in the following circumstances:
        • 1. The HQ unit is in the unit’s chain of command (i.e. if a Platoon, then the superior Company or Battalion HQ, a neighboring Company HQ is NOT eligible)
        • 2. The HQ unit has not suffered a casualty to its Commander
      • iii. NOT applicable to Command Squads and XO Teams.
    • b. HQ Casualty:  If a formation loses its HQ or its officer as a casualty, the lowest numbered surviving Squad/Team/Vehicle takes over. To be in C2 all subunits must check LOS to determine whether they are in C2 or not.

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I'm still reading but I'm posting as I go...

2c my understanding is the BMP's do use thier smoke system as part of thier platoon's standard maneuver. In this case this rule would restrict a realistic activity. Except list?

3a I thought you did not like this one? I found it frustrating - normally I use it to find out which if my units have spotted the selected unit.

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Rule 5.

Interesting but yuck. :) It seems like the single leg move orders is well intentioned but... Let's say I have a squad that has been separated and they need to relocate. They pick a nearby building. That would be a perfectly reasonable squad leader decision but we all know to execute a proper building entry, even a safe one, requires more than one waypoint. First to the front door then inside. At the very least.

 

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8 minutes ago, IanL said:

I'm still reading but I'm posting as I go...

2c my understanding is the BMP's do use thier smoke system as part of thier platoon's standard maneuver. In this case this rule would restrict a realistic activity. Except list?

3a I thought you did not like this one? I found it frustrating - normally I use it to find out which if my units have spotted the selected unit.

Can you show me where BMPs using their smoke grenades tactically is SOP?

re: 3a.. yeah I also found it frustrating... I see the reason, but in practice it was a pain.  Maybe I'll get rid of it.  ;)  

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19 minutes ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

Can you show me where BMPs using their smoke grenades tactically is SOP?

Dang. I am sure I read it on here but I went looking for an external source but could not.

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"The Russian Way of War" certainly talks about them using Smoke pots to protect against top-attack munitions, but in general getting decent info on Russian tactical stuff is difficult.

Certainly there isn't much distinction made there between smoke from artillery and smoke from vehicles - other than to point out that vehicle smoke is worst at protecting from aircraft, since the cloud height will be lower.

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I know Russian armored vehicles have smoke generators that they use tactically (not represented in CM). But I do believe the smoke grenades are mainly for protection.  

Happy to be proven wrong though. ;) 

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I like the thinking behind these ideas, but they are not that simple to use, and they are not really enforceable. I've seen good, intelligent, and honest opponents forget way simpler house rules.

Instead, these good design decisions should be implemented into the actual game system, forming the core of a new, optional difficulty level above Iron. Something which many players have politely requested for years.

One funny thing:

16 hours ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

    a. Players CANNOT click on Enemy Icons or Units during a Game, only visual examinations allowed

This is clearly an oversight by Battlefront. There's a whole realism level (Elite) only dedicated to turning the contact icons into "plain infantry markers" to prevent the player from knowing which type of support weapon is where. But they forgot that we can still click the enemy icon and see if it's a mortar or MG etc...

This oversight has persisted until the point where people are starting to make elaborate house rules around it - why not just fix it? :)

 

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1 hour ago, Bulletpoint said:

I like the thinking behind these ideas, but they are not that simple to use, and they are not really enforceable. I've seen good, intelligent, and honest opponents forget way simpler house rules.

Not simple?  Hmmm  I remember the old days of memorizing 100 pages of war game rules, so to me these are pretty easy.

..as for enforceability.  You are correct, they aren’t enforceable.  If you have to worry about that then you need a new opponent. ;) 

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20 hours ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

I am looking for feedback and suggestions with these, if you think they are too complex tell me why.. if they don't make sense to you  let me know, etc.

+1.  Very interesting stuff here.  It will take a little while to read through, think about and experiment with a few of the concepts.   

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14 hours ago, Bil Hardenberger said:

I know Russian armored vehicles have smoke generators that they use tactically (not represented in CM). But I do believe the smoke grenades are mainly for protection.  

Happy to be proven wrong though. ;) 

Oh, the specific quotes are talking about the vehicle mounted smoke pots, rather than the backline smoke generators, used to mask movement - but it's still not clear from that source their actual use tactically (since it's hard to find detailed low-level stuff).

In a practical sense, the Russian forward-throwing smoke pots certainly seem like they're better offensively than defensively, and work well in that role, but I'm aware that's not the question. You could make a similar case for disembarking western troops under a smoke screen.

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10 minutes ago, domfluff said:

Oh, the specific quotes are talking about the vehicle mounted smoke pots, rather than the backline smoke generators, used to mask movement - but it's still not clear from that source their actual use tactically (since it's hard to find detailed low-level stuff).

In a practical sense, the Russian forward-throwing smoke pots certainly seem like they're better offensively than defensively, and work well in that role, but I'm aware that's not the question. You could make a similar case for disembarking western troops under a smoke screen.

I am going to remove that specific rule about vehicle smoke grenades for now.  We can revisit it later.. it was the disembarking under a smoke screen that sealed it for me.. that definitely is a good tactical use of them.  This is why the back and froth is so valuable.. its hard to keep the full picture in view throughout.

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Okay, I have updated the initial post with the very latest rules.. I used images instead of the text as it was impossible to keep formatted correctly.  Click on the images to zoom in, or simply click on the PDF link, as that is also the latest version.  I appreciate all the input its been invaluable.

Bil

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Thanks for putting this together Bil!

I like the tweaks and changes you've made. I agree with the others who said that allowing manual use of smoke dischargers on vehicles might be the best way to go. I know that on Soviet IFV's they were originally designed to be "offensive" smoke dischargers. The idea was that as the infantry was preparing to deploy and assault through the objective, the BMP would launch its smoke far forward, giving the infantry some extra space to maneuver behind the concealment. That said though, I can't seem to find that specific tactical reference at the moment, so please take it with a grain of salt. 
I also remember reading about US Bradley's popping smoke to provide cover to dismounted infantry in urban environments, but again I can't recall where I read it.

Regardless, I think these rules look great in their current form.I'll try to give them a playtest soon and provide some feedback but I'm a bit swamped at the moment so it might take me a bit to properly test them out. Still though, thanks for putting this together!

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3 hours ago, IICptMillerII said:

Thanks for putting this together Bil!

I like the tweaks and changes you've made. [snip]

Regardless, I think these rules look great in their current form.I'll try to give them a playtest soon and provide some feedback but I'm a bit swamped at the moment so it might take me a bit to properly test them out. Still though, thanks for putting this together!

Thanks, I'm looking forward to hearing how your play test goes. 

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HARD CAT RULES v2

1b. Once placed indirect artillery cannot be cancelled.

If I understand what this one means.  A player is two minutes into a fire mission that will last for a total of about six minutes and decides to cancel the remaining four minutes?  I’m just curious what the thought process was for not being able to cancel.  I seldom cancel, usually preferring to adjust.  The few times I do cancel is usually when I have a poorly spotted fire mission and the impacting rounds are about as much danger to my advancing troops as they are to the OpFor.  I think a real life commander could in most cases get a fire mission cancelled.  So it’s not a big deal since I think it rarely happens anyway.  Just trying to understand the thought process.

1d. Follow Rule 4 for all Area Fire by artillery or (indirect firing) mortars.

I think this rule means no indirect fire on turn number one (rule 4a).  The following turns can use indirect fire if the requirements of 4b, 4c or 4d are satisfied.  This seems workable in most situations.  One situation that comes to mind is the attacker in an attack vs defense scenario.  Would this mean the attacker would not be able to call artillery during setup which could (depending on chosen parameters) impact on turn number one?  Or maybe he could call it but have to give it at least a five minute delay (so it doesn’t impact on turn #1)? 

3a.  Players CANNOT click on enemy icons or units during the game, only visual examination allowed.

This one is pretty cool.  There is a related mod created by @RockinHarry that makes all OpFor contact icons and markers (those triangle things along the top of the screen) invisible.  The mod could facilitate rule 3a.  Friendly icons are still visible.  Just FYI since the rule reminded me of the mod and vice versa.  Link to forum thread is below.

 http://community.battlefront.com/topic/134532-cmbn-invisible-floating-unit-icons-mod/?tab=comments#comment-1780103 

 

4d.  AF-Type 3  i.  Players can order a unit to area fire on an AS that a superior of the team has a positive or tentative contact in, as long as the unit is in C2 with said superior.

I wonder if this one allows too much leeway.  If a player has a battalion HQ on the map and is doing a good job of maintaining C2 that Bn HQ will have a lot of tentative contacts all over the map.  Much the same god like view as the player except mostly tentative instead of confirmed contacts.  This will probably result in multiple fire teams and vehicles being able to area fire into an AS that they don’t have an OpFor contact in.  And possibly their platoon HQ and company HQ don’t yet have a tentative contact in that location.  As an example the players Bn HQ gets a tentative contact for an AT gun.  The player then might have several teams and vehicles, without the contact info, area fire into said location.            

5d   CMSF 2 – Irregular Forces Movement – these units can ONLY plot SINGLE leg movement paths regardless of their C2 status.

I don’t know the thought process behind this one.  IMO insurgents are generally viewed as having the advantage of being one with the land and population.  Having grown up, lived and fought in the area for generations.  A fish in the sea bla, bla, bla……. It seems the irregulars are having one of their few advantages (mobility in familiar terrain/culture) taken away.  Maybe it would be the opposite.  Irregulars can plot multiple leg movement paths regardless of their C2 status?  But I don’t know the thought process so I might be missing something.  Also irregulars in CMSF 2 would probably include, Fighters, Combatants, Spies, VBIEDs etc.

6.  Attached Units – If a support team has been attached to a formation other than its organic HQ, it is considered to be within C2 as long as it can fully spot the HQ unit that it is attached to.

So when clicked on during Iron playback phase (not orders phase) the HMG team needs to see a confirmed floating icon of 2nd Platoon HQ.  This will probably prove more difficult than desired.  Imagine fighting in an urban area with buildings and walls etc. or even the bocage of CMBN or any large woods.        

The default in game C2 for voice contact is 50m unhidden, 20m if a unit is hidden. It is automatic as long as the distance is satisfied even with a tall wall between teams.  It may be better to go with the default distance for attached teams.  An easy way to check the distance is to give the platoon HQ a 50 meter 360o target arc (for simplicity ignore Hide postures).  If the attached HMG team is in the arc it is in C2 just like the platoon’s organic fire teams.    

I haven't got to the advanced rules yet.

A lot of interesting things are getting talked about in this thread.  Thanks for taking the time to do this.     

Edited by MOS:96B2P

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Great questions @MOS:96B2P..  I will take them one at a time:

Quote

1b. Once placed indirect artillery cannot be cancelled.

If I understand what this one means.  A player is two minutes into a fire mission that will last for a total of about six minutes and decides to cancel the remaining four minutes?  I’m just curious what the thought process was for not being able to cancel.  I seldom cancel, usually preferring to adjust.  The few times I do cancel is usually when I have a poorly spotted fire mission and the impacting rounds are about as much danger to my advancing troops as they are to the OpFor.  I think a real life commander could in most cases get a fire mission cancelled.  So it’s not a big deal since I think it rarely happens anyway.  Just trying to understand the thought process.

My intent was to get people thinking about property planning an artillery mission and especially thinking about duration... maybe today its easy to cancel a fire mission.. but in WW2?  I am not so sure.

Quote

1d. Follow Rule 4 for all Area Fire by artillery or (indirect firing) mortars.

I think this rule means no indirect fire on turn number one (rule 4a).  The following turns can use indirect fire if the requirements of 4b, 4c or 4d are satisfied.  This seems workable in most situations.  One situation that comes to mind is the attacker in an attack vs defense scenario.  Would this mean the attacker would not be able to call artillery during setup which could (depending on chosen parameters) impact on turn number one?  Or maybe he could call it but have to give it at least a five minute delay (so it doesn’t impact on turn #1)? 

If you look at Rule 1.a an attacker in an Attack or Assault scenario can indeed fire indirectly on turn 1, so he could plan it during setup.  

Quote

3a.  Players CANNOT click on enemy icons or units during the game, only visual examination allowed.

This one is pretty cool.  There is a related mod created by @RockinHarry that makes all OpFor contact icons and markers (those triangle things along the top of the screen) invisible.  The mod could facilitate rule 3a.  Friendly icons are still visible.  Just FYI since the rule reminded me of the mod and vice versa.  Link to forum thread is below.

This rule has been removed from the latest iteration of the rules.  It was more a hindrance to be honest than a help in play test to be honest.  I have seen RockinHarry's very interesting mod, but I really need the enemy icons to be honest... I would rather the unit info box be blacked out.. that would be more in lone with what we really need.  Maybe an enterprising modder can whip that up.  ;) 

Quote

4d.  AF-Type 3  i.  Players can order a unit to area fire on an AS that a superior of the team has a positive or tentative contact in, as long as the unit is in C2 with said superior.

I wonder if this one allows too much leeway.  If a player has a battalion HQ on the map and is doing a good job of maintaining C2 that Bn HQ will have a lot of tentative contacts all over the map.  Much the same god like view as the player except mostly tentative instead of confirmed contacts.  This will probably result in multiple fire teams and vehicles being able to area fire into an AS that they don’t have an OpFor contact in.  And possibly their platoon HQ and company HQ don’t yet have a tentative contact in that location.  As an example the players Bn HQ gets a tentative contact for an AT gun.  The player then might have several teams and vehicles, without the contact info, area fire into said location. 

When I say "superior" I meant direct superior.. so if the unit is a Squad, it's Platoon Leader would have to have the UI contact and the squad would have to be in C2.  I have an example of this rule in action in the CMSF 2 AAR thread... this post and this one.

Quote

5d   CMSF 2 – Irregular Forces Movement – these units can ONLY plot SINGLE leg movement paths regardless of their C2 status.

I don’t know the thought process behind this one.  IMO insurgents are generally viewed as having the advantage of being one with the land and population. Having grown up, lived and fought in the area for generations.  A fish in the sea bla, bla, bla……. It seems the irregulars are having one of their few advantages (mobility in familiar terrain/culture) taken away.  Maybe it would be the opposite.  Irregulars can plot multiple leg movement paths regardless of their C2 status?  But I don’t know the thought process so I might be missing something.  Also irregulars in CMSF 2 would probably include, Fighters, Combatants, Spies, VBIEDs etc.

My thinking behind this rule is that irregular forces should not be able to maneuver as flexibly as a regular unit... it has nothing to do, in my opinion, with how well they know the ground but is a reflection of their less than professional leadership and training.

Quote

6.  Attached Units – If a support team has been attached to a formation other than its organic HQ, it is considered to be within C2 as long as it can fully spot the HQ unit that it is attached to.

So when clicked on during Iron playback phase (not orders phase) the HMG team needs to see a confirmed floating icon of 2nd Platoon HQ.  This will probably prove more difficult than desired.  Imagine fighting in an urban area with buildings and walls etc. or even the bocage of CMBN or any large woods.       

The default in game C2 for voice contact is 50m unhidden, 20m if a unit is hidden. It is automatic as long as the distance is satisfied even with a tall wall between teams.  It may be better to go with the default distance for attached teams.  An easy way to check the distance is to give the platoon HQ a 50 meter 360o target arc (for simplicity ignore Hide postures).  If the attached HMG team is in the arc it is in C2 just like the platoon’s organic fire teams.    

I would do this check during the order phase... I will keep the distance check in mind for this rule.. but I like the ease of clicking and checking for LOS to the HQ... also I expect that HQs would want to keep these teams close... at least until they dropped them off in a position.. but they would have to return for them eh?  Adds to the challenge.

Great questions!  I hope my answers were sufficient.

Looking forward to your analysis of the Advanced rules.. make sure you use the latest version.

Bil 

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