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CMx2 WWII? Scenarios & Quick Battles?

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I have all 4 games.  I am curious just how replayable the scenarios and campaigns are?  As the original CMx1 had something like 6,000 user created scenarios (many of them vs AI).

I notice that there are hundreds and hundreds of QB maps supporting AI play.  How is such play.  CMx1 QBs against the AI was kind of pointless.  Is CMx2 better?

(Yes, I know PBEM.  But I don't PBEM.)

Thanks!

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I find the replayability to be quite good. Often scenarios will have more than 1 plan for the A.I. and that certainly improves replay. There are so many scenarios, that should I revisit one, I can usually not remember the exact way it plays out. The way the TAC A.I. is arranged also improves replay.

QB's are quite good.........however you will want to choose the opposing units as the computer choices are often not very good. What I do is make a dozen or so QB's and l save them on the first turn. After a while I forget which is which and what forces I picked for the A.I. So it becomes like a "new scenario".

I imagine you can also have a friend design a few QB's for you, again, with the opposing forces chosen by a him/her, and then send them to you. That way they are completely blind.

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Yes, I found (google) a lot of criticism of the QB.  I just went in to the editor to take a look.  They are filtered and they do have at least an AI plan which may not be more than an axis of advance and identification of good terrain.

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I was reading about some hot new game (involving a goose, I think), the reviewer said total play time was 3 1/2 hours. I gasped at that. I'm used to CM products whose play time and replayability stretches into months and years!

The reason why there are so  few 3rd party scenarios these days (which is a bit of a shame) is because CM Quickbattles have made great strides compared to where they started from. The maps are truly excellent. If somebody wants to fight modern Brits versus Bundeswehr in a dense city environment you don't need to make your own, you just adjust QB parameters.

That being said, the editor is a game unto itself. I've spent enormous amounts of time building mountains, or flat open farm country, suburban sprawl, rural villages, even ocean islands!. then I test out the landscapes in deep snow, heavy rain, at midnight and noon, dense fog and clear skies. And then, as icing on the cake, I add forces, whip up AI orders sets and fight battles across them. If you're not making your own you're missing half the fun. ^_^

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1 hour ago, markshot said:

Yes, I found (google) a lot of criticism of the QB.  I just went in to the editor to take a look.  They are filtered and they do have at least an AI plan which may not be more than an axis of advance and identification of good terrain.

If you went this far already, all you need to do is count the number of AI groups for a particular map, then purchase some units for each side and then add them to the groups. Bang! Done! Simple, basic scenario. Save it to your scenario folder with a cool name like markshot scenario 001 and the go make another, and another and another. Do like @MikeyD does, change the time, date, weather, ground conitions and see how much of a difference it really makes. By the time you have made 15 or so quick ones, they will start to blend together and playing them will be a treat. For another option, select only equipment you haven't used yet, it changes the game completely when you take armored cars instead of tanks, light mortars instead of 155mm howitzers. 

Edited by Heirloom_Tomato

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QB has the obvious limitation that the map designer has no control over what forces get selected. Are you creating AI movement orders for an infantry platoon or a tank company? That's why properly made scenarios (or human v human battles) are superior. But sometimes just for fun 'good enough' is still plenty good for your purposes.

When people play the *most obvious* side in a scenario they're often missing the AI performing at its best. With scenario 'X', you're obviously meant to play allied attacker against the German defenders. But the German AI involves sitting there waiting. If you instead were to play German defender you're likely to see the scenario designer doing heroic work getting the AI-controlled allies to stage a respectable assault (results may vary depending on the scenario). I recently joked its ironic that the most difficult part of scenario design is the stuff that the player is least likely to see. ^_^

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My background is systems although my exposure to AI is more rule based/heuristics and narrow AI like chess engines ... not neural nets.

We are in an era where games like CM can be learned and played at better than human levels by the most powerful neural nets (like Googles LC0).  But given Moore's law ... in 10-15 years, your phone will be able to PBEM  you to total defeat.

Although I don't really want to build what is supposed to be a quick surprise game for me, I do appreciate that a human can see in 30 minutes, what weeks of programming fails to find.  (But, of course, like traditional chess engine programming has gone on for 30 years.  Last year Google's LC0 neural net beat the best programmed engine in the world with 8 hours of practice against itself.)

I will definitely try QB after going through the stock scenarios/campaigns.

I had not considered that it was the improvement in QBs that reduced the number of 3rd party scenarios.

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I did get many years out of CMx1.  Although I didn't PBEM, given my age and 6,000 scenarios ... by the time, I recycled those scenarios, I had well forgotten where ATGs and tigers and other key assets were located.  Sometimes senescence can be just as powerful a tool as dynamic AI.  :)

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I'd rate the replayability as 'limited'. It's funny you mention senescence, as I've been saying lately that forgetfulness is the key to enjoying a Combat Mission campaign a second time. AI plans help, but only go so far. I'm replaying the CMRT campaign called Blunting the Spear. I played it three years ago, and while I recall the maps, the other details are lost to time, so it regains the ability to surprise me, which is key.

A case in point. Here's the map for the opening battle of the CMBN tutorial campaign Task Force Raff.

 

(Incidentally, there was talk in another thread about whether any scenarios had any pre-spotted units and this battle was mentioned, and here those units are)

raff.jpg

It was also the battle in the demo, which was my first taste of CMx2. When I played it then, I suffered significant casualties, with an ill-judged assault on St Martin Farm, and a Sherman and Greyhound knocked out along the road. When I recently got back in to CM after a layoff of about a year I reinstalled CMBN and played Task Force Raff to get back in the flow. It's a nice little campaign, a great primer for CMBN as it is fairly easy, has attack and defend, paras, bocage, off-board artillery and a nice combined arms battle at the end. Playing the first battle a second time years later the AI surrendered with zero American losses. Partly perhaps this result was down to my improved ability and understanding of CMx2, maybe also affected by engine changes, but mostly I'd say it's down to simply knowing what's what and where. I knew where the AT guns were and I knocked them out before they could fire a shot, and one of them I knocked out before it was even spotted, as I knew where to bring my mortars down. I knew the enemy were Ostruppen which, shall we say, lack enduring motivation and determination? So I had a much better plan this time, since I knew what to expect.

With campaign content limited for Combat Mission, the equally limited replayability is a weakness in my view. But getting older and allowing some time to pass can help to mitigate the issue :)

As for QBs, I play them a little bit, but the limitations of the purchase UI and options make we stay away from them for the most part, aside from PBEM games, which is their best use in CMx2 for me. I enjoyed QBs in CMx1 more than the newer games. There are some really fantastic QB maps. But I miss the Combined Arms setting for the AI purchase, and while the maps are great, I miss the random map generation too. Sure, it could throw out some wacky stuff, but it never bothered me.

Campaigns is where it's at in Combat Mission for me. There are some very talented folks generous enough to share their work with us and I am grateful, because playing CM campaigns the first time is a great experience.

Edited by landser

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Landser,

That was my fear looking at how long the games have been out and the relatively limited third party content.

Yes, QB maps do have basic plans, but given the hundreds that there are and variability under which they are used, there is no way they can rival the packaged hand crafted scenarios.

I know for those who are CM grogs; only PBEM counts.  (yet I just don't)

I have reached the age where I will happily invested 1 year in learning everything about CM, but I will be very unhappy if after another year I am out of content.  Neither BFC or third parties or putting out content that fast for someone who is retired and takes CM to be their main hobby.

The game and what it simulates looks fantastic, but I want to still be playing in 2021.  One of my hopes is that the large and huge scenarios will be amenable to almost a campaign style approach where you can approach them with multiple solutions.

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9 minutes ago, markshot said:

I have reached the age where I will happily invested 1 year in learning everything about CM, but I will be very unhappy if after another year I am out of content.  Neither BFC or third parties or putting out content that fast for someone who is retired and takes CM to be their main hobby.  

I've been playing CM as my main game/hobby since about 2012.  There are many, many scenarios & campaigns I have not had time to play.  Not sure if you are aware of the below site: Scenario Depot.

https://www.thefewgoodmen.com/tsd3/

Between the stock content that ships with the games and content at the Scenario Depot (which also includes campaigns) and the stuff in the pipeline I would suspect we will all be very busy for a very long time.  Modders / scenario designers also come up with many new ideas like the southeast Asia CM

 

Everything from historical operations, to missions on different continents (outside the stock releases) to fictional stuff to police mods:

 

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The editor is a entirely different game / addiction.   

 

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30 minutes ago, markshot said:

I have reached the age where I will happily invested 1 year in learning everything about CM, but I will be very unhappy if after another year I am out of content. 

I think it comes down to how broad your tastes are, and which titles you play. If you have say SF2 and CMBN you have a ton of content. If you enjoy single scenarios, QBs and campaigns it will be a long time before you run out, if ever. If your titles are CMRT and CMFB maybe you will. For campaign players with only some of the titles this point can be reached.

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I have CMBN/CMFI/CMRT/CMFB and mission packs.

For the moment, I have just two combat interests.  The ancient world (like Alea Jacta Est and FOG2 ... and some heavily modded TW (for the Roman period) and WWII (probably CM and MIUS).

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4 minutes ago, markshot said:

I have CMBN/CMFI/CMRT/CMFB and mission packs.

For the moment, I have just two combat interests.  The ancient world (like Alea Jacta Est and FOG2 ... and some heavily modded TW (for the Roman period) and WWII (probably CM and MIUS).

I sure wish FOG2 was WEGO realtime.  that would be insanely good.  I've only played it a little, as a change of pace from CM.  I don't have the new FOG Empires -- do you? if so, you're thoughts?  

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I have generally hated TBS games with a passion.  I only ended up with FOG2 (didn't even know it existed), since it was bundled with FOGE.  I am a former member of AGEOD and friends with the primary developer.

But after I purchased FOG2, I fell in love with it.  First, although it is TBS it is far richer than any of the uber TW mods (RTW1/RS3, RTW1/EB1, MTW2/EB2, RTW2/DEI).  Second, it can be configured to be one very fast moving TBS game due to a superb UI design.

Yes, I have FOGE, because I worked with Philippe Malacher and Philippe Thibaut, since they released Birth of America around 2005 or so.  I love AJE and I plan to later play both ACW titles.

FOGE has quite a bit that makes it unique.  You win by culture vs decadence and not painting the map.  It may turn out to be the first grand strategy game where the snowball affect is negated.  In TW, they try to negate it by having everyone turn on you by mid-game.  It is neither TW nor Paradox.  FOGE introduces that nations progress through life cycles.  This isn't totally new.  Philippe Thibaut introduced this maybe 20 years ago in Great Invasions (set post collapse of the Western Roman Empire).  But FOGE fleshes it out much better.  Also, FOGE as grand strategy, is not TBS, but WEGO.  Another thing fairly unique about FOGE is that buildings aren't just a tech tree, they are part of a whole sophisticated trading dynamic.  You probably know you can auto-resolve battles like the old AGE engine (this is built on Slitherine's Archon) or export to FOGE.  Another thing which is special is that many factions are truly unique; not just graphically unique (like TW and Paradox out of the box).  Pocus has a reputation of patching to perfection.  The first ACW game has something like 16 patches.

About the only thing that I am not excited about is warfare.  A turn is a year with every 4th year being like Winter, because the game is 500 turns.  I enjoy AJE where a turn is one month.  Playing the civil war between Caesar and Pompeus one must consider economy, revolts, cut grain shipments to Italy, army supply/size, weather, and the campaigning season.  Great fun.

I hope that helps.

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3 hours ago, markshot said:

I have CMBN/CMFI/CMRT/CMFB and mission packs.

I'm not sure you actually will run out of content. Check out my master list of content: http://www.combatmission.lesliesoftware.com/index.html

CMBN campaigns: 26
Scenarios: 383

CMFI campaigns: 14
Scenarios: 112

CMRT campaigns: 9
Scenarios: 120

CMFB campaigns: 7
Scenarios: 39

And that's not including any quick battles.

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3 hours ago, markshot said:

I have CMBN/CMFI/CMRT/CMFB and mission packs.

You're good to go I'd say. Unless you only like playing night battles or battles on Tuesdays, then you're not going to run out of stuff to play. And if it appears you might, add Shock Force 2 to extend your playtime by another decade.

Are you the same Markshot from Combatsim and Shoot to Kill fame?

Edited by landser

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LanL,

An interesting list.  Pity that many of the links are broken.

COGNOS?  My first professional position was a racket arrange by one of my school professors (department head).  We had to do an internship program, but he siphoned off the best students to his personal company.  But getting paid, getting an A+ without submitting anything, and being 30 minutes from school was worthwhile.  My first professional offer after school (CUNY-BC) ... one of three was COGNOS in the early 80's.  However, I choose to do systems programming work on Wall St. instead.

I have bookmarked your site.  Thanks.

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4 hours ago, landser said:

Are you the same Markshot from Combatsim and Shoot to Kill fame?

You do go back, way back!  :)

Yes, Falcon3, Flanker, and the Spit9 all had guides and/or online students/classes.  Got to the top of the Compuserve Falcon3 ladder in '94.  Remember modems and a time before the Internet?  I even remember PONG, the first mass computer game.

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16 hours ago, markshot said:

LanL,

An interesting list.  Pity that many of the links are broken.

Yeah the repository died and I am still in the queue for some time from Bootie - who has a ton of things on the go - to get everything that was there moved over or connected back up.

16 hours ago, markshot said:

COGNOS?  My first professional position was a racket arrange by one of my school professors (department head).  We had to do an internship program, but he siphoned off the best students to his personal company.  But getting paid, getting an A+ without submitting anything, and being 30 minutes from school was worthwhile.  My first professional offer after school (CUNY-BC) ... one of three was COGNOS in the early 80's.  However, I choose to do systems programming work on Wall St. instead.

I have bookmarked your site.  Thanks.

Cool you read more of the site than most. Cognos was involved in that racket? Yikes that sound bad. I was there in the 90s. I was a good place to work. An excellent first job.

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17 hours ago, markshot said:

You do go back, way back!  :)

Yes, Falcon3

Yes indeed. But I imagine most around here are of a certain vintage eh? No idea what the average age of CMer's is, but if I had to guess I'd reckon 50 or thereabouts. That's slightly in my rearview, but yeah, been around a while. I was on the staff of Frugalsworld for years and if you moved on in to Falcon 4 you'd have visited there I'm sure.

Combatsim was my first forum really, and was in to Steel Beasts, EAW, MiG Alley, Flanker 2.0, all the Jane's stuff and those sorts of sims at the time. Seems an age, but it's 'only' been twenty years.  And of course that was just about the time that CMBO came out and here we are :)

Edited by landser

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IanL,

No, COGNOS was not involved in any racket.  It was one of my professors/internship/1st CS job.  But COGNOS was one three offers I had in my first search (2nd resume job).  I think I would have been working building applications with their generator for clients.  They were $1,000 USD beyond the others, but even then, it was not a lot of money.

I didn't so much chose Wall St. (of course, it would be 2/3s of my career), but I choose the interviewer/job.  My interviewer and later manager was one of the sharpest system designers who I had ever met.  I wanted to get to work with him.  I learned that interviews are not just to screen applicants, but to sell the company/position.

I didn't want to work in applications, but be a systems programmer/researcher working for DEC, IBM, Data General, Stratos, Sperry ...  So, how did I end up on Wall S?.  In every tech cycle, the start of the loop begins with custom systems software.  The use of super-minis on Wall St. was experiencing that.  So, I did a lot of work in assembly, F77, and C working on building proprietary DB, queuing systems, logging/recovery, screen generators, communication links ...  (Marriage forced me out of academia, but it was an amazing job for Wall St.)  It was a time when HW was expensive and people were cheap, and brokerage companies had the cash to reinvent the wheel every few years if it gave them a competitive edge.

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Landser,

You mention Jane's.  Boy, did learning to fly a helo give me trouble.  :)

I miss teaching/flying my Spit9 more than any other.  G_d, teaching people how do slow motion scissors and barrel rolls on the very edge of the envelope.

75% of the community were air show fighters ... quick aerobatic tricks.  Why?  It is was easy to catch the less talented.  I taught energy fighting.  I would gain on you in every maneuver by a fractional amount ... eventually when I had enough in the bank, I would cash in for coming around and with angles to achieve lead pursuit and fill your little plane with lead.  It was a great time to enjoy a hobby that I could have only dreamed of as a kid.

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19 hours ago, markshot said:

No, COGNOS was not involved in any racket.  It was one of my professors/internship/1st CS job.  But COGNOS was one three offers I had in my first search (2nd resume job). 

Whewww glad to hear. The CEO at the time would never have allowed Cognos to be involved in something questionable if he knew about it. At least that was my experience.

Cognos was my first job. I agree about working for a good person. My first manager was great too - I didn't have multiple offers to consider so I was somewhat lucky in that regard. But hey luck counts.

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