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Is there anything that comes close to the CM games?

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

I recently bought into SB motivated by the high resolution terrain, and a more realised simulation of infantry, UGVs and UAVs. That video they made featuring a Central African locale pretty much sold the new iteration to me.

If I had to compare, SB can play like TacOps but with a fully realised simulation behind that you can check yourself by jumping into vehicle stations. Still they need to simulate soft factors better,  scaling up the sim as they have means that more and more clever automation - with humans in the loop perhaps - is needed to provide a good red challenge.

Graviteam's come a long way since 2011. I only play CM with other humans these days,  and I find that the Ukranians' sometimes clunky and sometimes brilliant game offers to me a more interesting single player experience. Infantry models are not detailed as in CM, but they seem to have a system that determines casualties depending on the weight of fire on a given area, which I find quite acceptable if I want to see Regiment level action on my screen.

I think that is a fair assessment of both non-CM games.  I play CM a lot less these days than I used to, mainly because of SB and Graviteam.  But I still come back to CM for WW2, especially on the western front.  I still like WEGO and I think CM2's simulation of small infantry unit combat is very good.  If I want a WW2 sandbox for tactical combat, there isn't much out there, other than CM.  But as soon as I get an itch for anything cold war or modern, its SB.


And SB just got a complete retooling of its terrain engine.  It's very cool.  And if you want to see detailed effects of HE and fragmentation, its SB.  The next major phase for development is the UI and there is a push to add more wargame-like functions.  Because of WW2, I'll continue coming back and continue buying everything CM.  But I go weeks without playing CM now.  But play SB weekly in single player on community scenarios and ones I built myself.

I'll also point out that just because SB was designed as an AFV trainer, doesn't mean its not a wargame on par with CM.  The disadvantage is the devs prioritize the training and simulation of individual AFVs and systems.  But the advantage is the devs recognize that putting in some wargamer-like features helps with the wargaming crowd.  There are a bunch of us that play SB as a wargame.  The advantage is the combat simulation is based on an incredibly realistic underlayment.  That underlayment really shines in scenario development and AI capabilities.

Edited by Thewood1
Just an added point.

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I agree with most of what has been said. Learning curve is something I consider as well. I try SB now and again but it seems to me the learning curve makes it difficult to enjoy. 

The Graviteam games don't appeal to me at all. It is not difficult to get started with and the graphics look very nice, but the  style of gameplay lacks something I can't quite explain. It is also RT which is not my favourite type of play.

CM is a game that makes sense to me in it's high level of detail, design, flexibilty and gameplay.  I found it very reasonable to get up to speed and enjoy the scenarios. That you can choose RT, PBEM, or Online play is quite useful and unique. Yet there are problems to resolve and a new engine would be very welcome.

One recent game that checks all the boxes for me, and oddly enough gives me the same feel as CM is an ancients game called Field of Glory 2. I think of it as Combat Mission in the Ancient era. 

 

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2 hours ago, Thewood1 said:

You have to be joking.  I might have missed the sarcasm.

Why? If he happens to like a game why is that any of our business?  He explicitly said it was not really comparable to CM. I used to play a game on my palm pilot called drug dealer. It was pretty silly but fun. Killed time on the bus ride to work. 

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The development of the games is a disaster.  HPS has stiffed a number of people in taking $90 for a game (POA2) that really never worked.  Its been under development for at least 12 years and still only releases beta updates that break more than fix.  My comment has nothing to do with comparing it to CM.  It has everything to do with a white knight showing up every 3-4 years to try and lure the masses into buying into POA2 again.

I have seen several prominent wargamers, including a a couple former frequent posters to these boards,  step and talk about how they had a personal conversation with the Scott Hamilton and got his personal commitment to finally fix the game(s).  And there is activity for a couple months and then the white knight gets frustrated and starts berating HPS and it cycles all over again.  And its always a different forum that the cycle plays out on...wargamer, gamesquad, dogsofwar, etc.  No one ever goes back and looks at the history of broken promises.  For some reason, each of those white knights thinks HPS should get a fresh start.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Thewood1 said:

The development of the games is a disaster.  HPS has stiffed a number of people in taking $90 for a game (POA2) that really never worked.  Its been under development for at least 12 years and still only releases beta updates that break more than fix.  My comment has nothing to do with comparing it to CM.  It has everything to do with a white knight showing up every 3-4 years to try and lure the masses into buying into POA2 again.

This has been my experience with Tigers Unleashed.  Very expensive game, didn't work at all for years.  Now I've heard that it sort of does, but I couldn't care enough to re-install it.  And the dev is the worst I've ever seen at communication--basically ZERO communication with the player community--as in not a single forum post, etc.--despite turning out expensive, half-baked games.  I'll certainly never buy anything from that guy again.

Edited by 76mm
revised

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3 hours ago, Thewood1 said:

The development of the games is a disaster.  HPS has stiffed a number of people in taking $90 for a game (POA2) that really never worked.  Its been under development for at least 12 years and still only releases beta updates that break more than fix.  My comment has nothing to do with comparing it to CM.  It has everything to do with a white knight showing up every 3-4 years to try and lure the masses into buying into POA2 again.

I have seen several prominent wargamers, including a a couple former frequent posters to these boards,  step and talk about how they had a personal conversation with the Scott Hamilton and got his personal commitment to finally fix the game(s).  And there is activity for a couple months and then the white knight gets frustrated and starts berating HPS and it cycles all over again.  And its always a different forum that the cycle plays out on...wargamer, gamesquad, dogsofwar, etc.  No one ever goes back and looks at the history of broken promises.  For some reason, each of those white knights thinks HPS should get a fresh start.

Ouch! I stand corrected. And thanks...saves me the time to bother even looking. 

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Posted (edited)

I'm surprised, nobody mentioned Panzer Command: Ostfront. Unlike most other games mentioned here, it follows the CM formula. It's basically CM 1.5. I like that game, well enough -- but I prefer CM2.

I think SB is a great tank simulator, and the editor is nice. However, it doesn't ship with campaigns or any sort of quick battle generator. It's not a "game", and not marketed as such.

Big fan of Graviteam games, but they've moved the basic operational unit from platoon to company. Which makes the battles more fun, but less like CM -- to which the earlier Achtung Panzer was more akin. After years of owning their entire library, I am still mystified by how battles on the operational map are translated to the tactical map. The shape of the battle area, center of the battle area and units in the battle area, seem to be arbitrarily chosen.

The battle's result's translation onto the operational map is just as arbitrary. Points I've captured on the tactical map, will be uncapped on the operational. A german company that I've encircled will reappear in its safe space. I once had a german infantry battalion attack a valentine squadron -- and I decided to retreat before they even came in range. Apparently, all my tanks were all routed on the operational map. At that point, I put that game down.

Steel Panthers is a fantastic title. Albeit, it's quite a retro looking, hex-grid turn-based tactics game. I still find it more realistic, and detailed, than Armored Brigade.

Theatre of War trilogy is very analogous to CM games. BFC used to publish them, and I wish they continued that series. They are quite clunky and get a bad rep -- but I've enjoyed the lot. Pick them up on sale and try it for yourself.

Edited by DerKommissar

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Six or seven years ago, I would have put PCO up against CM.  But it hasn't aged well.  If development had kept up, it could be a very good CM competitor.  But a game with zero development future focused on on front and time period doesn't float my boat.  Especially when CM looks so much better and does a all the same stuff+.

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Sure the command & control and morale system is well done in CM. The We-GO is rather unique in for CM compared to others. But I am surprised this feature hasn't been mentioned yet - I consider it to be the most distinguishing feature of tactical combat in CM. In fact, dumb down most other features and keep this one and IMO that will still distinguish CM from the rest. Certainly a feature that some consider a bit rough around the edges - especially when not in full daylight. I am of course talking about relative spotting.

Now when I play any other game of you controlling units with ranged firepower something is always amiss. This is just one anecdote but it is the same for all other games: I was playing Armored Brigade and I was defending. I had setup an ATGM for (only) flank shots with excellent concealment and cover in some woods. In fact it could only be spotted when the enemy moved past it. And it got some kills. But that stopped the moment it was spotted. Because like any other game, a unit is either spotted or not. And when my unit was spotted the entire enemy brigade in that sector, all started turning their gun towards the ATGM unit simultaneous in a display of amazing synchronization. Anything that was technically in range and had some >0% chance of hitting turned to fire. Fifty machine guns and some dozen HE shots reduced that ATGM unit in less than 2 seconds. I felt cheated. Not because I lost my ATGM unit, I might have anyway. But in the manner that it happened.

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5 hours ago, Thewood1 said:

The development of the games is a disaster.  HPS has stiffed a number of people in taking $90 for a game (POA2) that really never worked.  Its been under development for at least 12 years and still only releases beta updates that break more than fix.

I'll see you POA2 and raise you 82nd Airborne. That f***er has been in "development" for 19 years and they still claim it's being "worked on". They post once, about every five years. The last time they claimed they couldn't finish the game because Microsoft kept changing Windows! And all the "morons" are supposed to buy that b***s*** line. WORST developers in wargaming.

 

Mord.

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I don't know if anyone has mentioned "Tank Crew" from 1c. Still early access with limited gameplay, but may have potential.

Problem with any simulation is you eventually see all the flaws and compromises from reality the Devs have made. Sometimes you have to take time away from a game to appreciate it.

Overall, CM is still the best at what it does, i.e. WW2/modern company level armored/infantry tactical warfare.

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1 hour ago, Muzzleflash1990 said:

And when my unit was spotted the entire enemy brigade in that sector, all started turning their gun towards the ATGM unit simultaneous in a display of amazing synchronization. Anything that was technically in range and had some >0% chance of hitting turned to fire. Fifty machine guns and some dozen HE shots reduced that ATGM unit in less than 2 seconds. I felt cheated. Not because I lost my ATGM unit, I might have anyway. But in the manner that it happened.

That, and similar occurrences, have knocked that game dead in the water for me.

Great post by @Thewood1 on those two white elephant games... and @Mord's coda was quite fun too.

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1 hour ago, Muzzleflash1990 said:

I had setup an ATGM for (only) flank shots with excellent concealment and cover in some woods. In fact it could only be spotted when the enemy moved past it. And it got some kills. But that stopped the moment it was spotted. Because like any other game, a unit is either spotted or not. And when my unit was spotted the entire enemy brigade in that sector, all started turning their gun towards the ATGM unit simultaneous in a display of amazing synchronization. Anything that was technically in range and had some >0% chance of hitting turned to fire. Fifty machine guns and some dozen HE shots reduced that ATGM unit in less than 2 seconds. I felt cheated. Not because I lost my ATGM unit, I might have anyway. But in the manner that it happened.

This highlights one of the many strongpoints of CM in my opinion. The lack of borg spotting makes the battlefield much more realistic. Borg spotting in an otherwise great simulator/game can go a long way to hindering any other features of the simulation, like what you mentioned in Armored Brigade. I think its just one more example of how even in a similar genre of games (simulation/wargame) CM still stands above. 

FWIW I do enjoy Armored Brigade for what it is. At the least, I am always looking for a way to scratch my cold war itch. I think AB does a lot of things well, and it is still being supported and developed by the devs which is always a good sign to me. If there was a CM game that covered the same conflict that AB does however, the CM title would be the dominant game for me by a lot. 

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Posted (edited)

And as I mentioned, non-borg spotting can be taken to the next level in SB.  You can have real friendly FOW.  That includes AI running cover on your flanks with no input from you, or even visibility.  To the point that you might have to send a unit over to see what the heck is going on.  You can have a whole army's worth of friendly units with no control from the player's perspective, or even a true FOW around their progress.  There is no cheat like clicking on an empty part of the map or waiting for the orders phase to see where all of the friendly units are and what they are doing.  It depends on the skill and goals of the scenario designer and some of your own choices.

Or if you want to play it like a traditional wargame, get rid of FOW completely.  btw, heavy FOW was the one thing that POA2 did attempt to do well.  And it kind of worked.

 

adding:  I like 90% of Armored Brigade.  But its a little rough around the edges.  Its just a little too set piece for me.  No flexibility in setting up the battles.  Very little real planning.

Edited by Thewood1

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3 hours ago, IICptMillerII said:

This highlights one of the many strongpoints of CM in my opinion. The lack of borg spotting makes the battlefield much more realistic. Borg spotting in an otherwise great simulator/game can go a long way to hindering any other features of the simulation, like what you mentioned in Armored Brigade. I think its just one more example of how even in a similar genre of games (simulation/wargame) CM still stands above. 

One of the many things I DON'T miss from CM1 days. You could count the life span of an AT gun in seconds once it was spotted. It'd go from nothing to 20 target lines laser beamed in on it as soon as something saw it. You really don't get just how crappy Borging is until you no longer have it.

 

Mord.

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11 minutes ago, Thewood1 said:

To the point that you might have to send a unit over to see what the heck is going on.  You can have a whole army's worth of friendly units with no control from the player's perspective, or even a true FOW around their progress.  There is no cheat like clicking on an empty part of the map or waiting for the orders phase to see where all of the friendly units are and what they are doing.  It depends on the skill and goals of the scenario designer and some of your own choices.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGvBbxATf_E

Ou est la baise Grouchy!?!

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All I can think of is Lee looking for Stuart at Gettysburg.  There is a point when a game becomes more like work than fun.  Friendly FOW to the extreme that the entire playing experience is about getting info from your peer and subordinate units starts to feel like work.

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Posted (edited)

I am more of a nerd in Napoleonic warfare, but indeed, there's plenty of notorious recorded incidents involving that "age old problem" in the American Civil War.

Indeed, you're right that how to make fun out of that is difficult.

As years have gone by, I am finding myself of the view that in simulations/games that try to be convincing from the perspective of "realism" when it comes to command in WW2, you need to care less about the "shot trap" on a Panther frontal armour and more about uncertainty about how long it will take for a platoon of Panther tanks to get in position to tackle on the flank an enemy armored counterattack before they overrun a company of infantry. Also, for a game about the Ia Drang campaign, it is more important to have in place mechanics that allow a - simulated - young Lieutenant to sometimes send his platoon on a charge after a couple of riflemen who took a couple potshots and run into the bush,  starting a chaing of events that led to a whole battalion to be pinned down and encircled by two regiments of the North Vietnam army. And you should care way, way less about whether the M-16 was a piece of crap compared with the AK-47. 

Just two examples I have in mind recent from my reading. We tend to "categorize" games as "tactical", "operational", "strategic" or some other arbitrary label, when I think that it is more useful to think along the lines of what is the focus of the simulation, what is the ability of the player to influence the events happening during gameplay, degree of FOW etc.

There's kind of a Kriegsspiel revival at the moment and I am in contact with people who play games like "Le Vol de l'Aigle" (https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1813031/test-time-four-year-old-review-le-vol-de-laigle), even if that means insane amounts of manual work by the umpire to make it work. An analyst at a defence institute I know quite well when shown CMANO said "jeez, it looks like work, does people pay for that?". So one person "work" can be another person "fun".

The major problem to make FOW heavy games games fun - from my point of view - is how to deal with the downtime between events of interest. This is generally a problem with RT games, like Take Command or Scourge of War, as you have to wait your ass off for very long periods of time where nothing much happens... until it **all** happens at the same time and it is game over. In CMx2 we have WEGO, which in single player allows you to skip uneventful 60 second intervals until "something of interest" happens. When you play CMx2 WEGO H2H this cannot be done - I am now playing a game organised by the Blitz and it's been 25 minutes (almost one month in real time) until my US opponent has finally stumbled its way onto my outpost line.

CMx2 is very close to be able to deal with that... since unlike SB, probably because the underlying sim has lower fidelity, allows perfect rewinding of the simulation to any point in time, and it can be replayed. I am pretty sure that Charles could modify easily things - adding a magic shortcut key - to allow saving games at any given point in time, and allowing to replay stuff. I am pretty sure that @Bil Hardenberger would love that feature very much, as well as any tester trying to replicate one of the curious bugs which have been discussed recently on these forums.

The gameplay design problem is how to come up with a "fair system" where players can have issue commands to respond to those "events". Interestingly, Kriegsspiel, which was invented in the 1820s, prescribes that time advances not by turns of fixed length, but in bounds set by "interesting" events judged to be so at the leisure of the umpire. That's the high water mark... and it was set 200 years ago!

 

Edited by BletchleyGeek

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13 hours ago, Thewood1 said:

The development of the games is a disaster.  HPS has stiffed a number of people in taking $90 for a game (POA2) that really never worked.  Its been under development for at least 12 years and still only releases beta updates that break more than fix.  My comment has nothing to do with comparing it to CM.  It has everything to do with a white knight showing up every 3-4 years to try and lure the masses into buying into POA2 again.

I have seen several prominent wargamers, including a a couple former frequent posters to these boards,  step and talk about how they had a personal conversation with the Scott Hamilton and got his personal commitment to finally fix the game(s).  And there is activity for a couple months and then the white knight gets frustrated and starts berating HPS and it cycles all over again.  And its always a different forum that the cycle plays out on...wargamer, gamesquad, dogsofwar, etc.  No one ever goes back and looks at the history of broken promises.  For some reason, each of those white knights thinks HPS should get a fresh start.

Ah ok. Missed that. Like I said I like the "potential" possibilities. Whether it all works now is a different question. I wouldn´t write it off, considering it´s a one man show on a hardly tameable beast.

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14 hours ago, sburke said:

Why? If he happens to like a game why is that any of our business?  He explicitly said it was not really comparable to CM. I used to play a game on my palm pilot called drug dealer. It was pretty silly but fun. Killed time on the bus ride to work. 

I well understand the griefs. But that wasn´t my point as said. If BFC would put all that "intended to work" stuff into their games I´d pay 100$ + for sure. I don´t excpect that to happen before say.... 2030 or 2040 though.

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Posted (edited)

My point is I am hoping we aren't starting a new cycle of a white knight riding in claiming HPS/Scott only needs more time to fix it.  Please don't be that person.  Do I have to go around the web and string together all the links of the supposed white knights and their journey?  Its starting to sound like Indiana Jones and the Wargame's Holy Grail.

I mean seriously.  I don't want anyone to run out and buy POA2 or TU because someone is inadvertently promoting it.

Also, not sure why you are posting in odd colors.  Makes a little harder to read on some devices.

Edited by Thewood1

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One small point...CM's VCR-like function is one of the main things that draws me back almost every time.  SB has the AAR function, which is their equivalent.  The good is that it jumps right to an event and shows incredible detail in reports on penetration, casualties, damage, HE effects, APS, etc.  Its also a replay of the entire session, not just a turn.  The bad is that it only replays in 4 second increments and potentially skips over things like shots that miss if the timing is wrong.  Some of us have been trying to convince esims to get it down to 1 second, but they claim the file gets too large to transfer for their military customers.  A fair point on their side and an example of the military side of the business effecting the game side.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Thewood1 said:

A fair point on their side and an example of the military side of the business effecting the game side.

Not surprised about that degree of granularity causing space problems. In SB you can see the main gun of a Leopard oscillate up and down as it races through cross country between battle positions. That's some non trivial physics being simulated right there, which may not be possible to recomputed from scratch. CMx2 files get quite big too, until I got fiber to the premises uploading a turn of the big scenarios could take an hour (and kill the Internet for everyone else in the house).

Edited by BletchleyGeek

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In case anyone wants clarification on POA2 and Tigers Unleashed, here are three of the white knight cycles I am talking about.  In each, there are one or two people who keep pushing that they are in touch with the devs and everything will be sorted soon.  Its amazing seeing pattern repeat.

http://dogsofwarvu.com/forum/index.php/topic,2907.msg30136.html#msg30136

http://www.gamesquad.com/forums/index.php?forums/point-of-attack-2.52/

http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=17642.msg508963#msg508963

I know there are a couple that go back further than 2015 on wargamer.com and a magazine site, but I can't be arsed to bother with that.

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