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Mission to Maas

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Posted (edited)

I've continued playing this scenario for some hours after taking La Gleize, and while I hate to say it, I think there's a fundamental problem in how the number of clicks needed to bring up troops to the front balloons as more reinforcements arrive and as the distance from the starting area to the front increases and includes more and more bends in the road. It turns into a game of "Waypoint: The Clickening".

Problem is - I simply have no idea how to solve this. I really like the concept of a "one map campaign". Maybe I should just forget about moving all the many halftracks and only focus on getting the armour to the front?

Edited by Bulletpoint

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@Bulletpoint I think you are making a very valid point. Traffic management does become a chore after a while. This scenario would have been perfect for the old style "Operations" that we had in CMx1 with the front line adjusting across this great map in bite sized pieces.  

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Or if the game allowed reinforcements to arrive further into the map, if and only if the player had cleared a given area. So when the Panzerspitze troops had taken La Gleize, follow-up forces could appear there, etc.

Right now, the game only allows reinforcements to arrive at a certain time, so if the village isn't clear, the reinforcements appear in the middle of the enemy. Which is not good.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Attilaforfun said:

There just needs to be a main drag through the first village.

Why didn't the locals think of that? Those Belgians are so inconsiderate.

Edited by Warts 'n' all

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4 hours ago, Warts 'n' all said:

@Bulletpoint I think you are making a very valid point. Traffic management does become a chore after a while. This scenario would have been perfect for the old style "Operations" that we had in CMx1 with the front line adjusting across this great map in bite sized pieces.  

+1  It's a shame that feature was eliminated from CM2.  I keep hoping for something similar in CM3.

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Some words about balance

I don't think I spoil anything by saying there are a LOT of enemy forces in this scenario.

Obviously when you get loads of heavy panzers, they need something beefy to fight. But remember that even Tiger IIs are routinely taken out by lowly Shermans - what happens is that the Sherman spots the Tiger moving into range, but the Tiger doesn't spot the Sherman. It just sits there taking hit after hit, until the optics are shot and the main gun gets taken out. So even having 4 Tiger IIs doesn't mean this mission is easy in any way. It's hard.

The channeling effect of the forest and hills means the player can rarely use his armour effectively. This is of course expected from a Peiper scenario, but it also means that the player's force is not as powerful as it seems "on paper". This should be factored in to the balance considerations.

Counterattacks

I understand why you included counterattacks; clearly they are an important part of the historical KG Peiper tale. But I don't find AI attacks work well in Combat Mission. They tend to turn into fish/barrel situations, and the brainless way the AI advances sort of breaks immersion too. I'd probably just take them out if I were you, and remove some of the player's forces to compensate.

Endgame - tactical overload

There's a limited number of tactical situations the player can keep mentally track of at the same time. In the beginning of the mission, I'm having fun with the limited units and small objective of La Gleize. I was hoping that later, I'd keep just having one "tip of the spear" point, with the rest of the forces trailing behind. But the number of tactical situations expands quite a lot once the main attack splits up to attack the two villages, while I conduct mopping up operations behind the front, plot a bazillion waypoint to move troops up, and fend off counterattacks. At that point, I just get worn out mentally. And I'm a quite decent player with many years of experience with the game. You said in your introduction to the scenario that it probably wouldn't be everybody's cup of tea - I agree, so don't let this feedback discourage you. It is just that: Feedback.

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An idea for making this into a mini-campaign

I know this idea goes against the whole purpose of the 'campaign-on-one-single-map', but if you wanted to, this is how I could imagine it would work better from a gameplay perspective. Make it into three separate scenarios:

First scenario: Take La Gleize. The player only sees the first 1/3 of the map. Panzerspitze troops.

Second scenario: Open a route ahead. The player must occupy several small areas around bridges and road junctions to clear out potential ambush sites. The player now sees the first 2/3 of the map, and his forces and reinforcements start after La Gleize. Panzerspitze troops with a few Panthers.

Third scenario: Take the two villages. The player now sees the whole map, showing his progress so far, giving a sense of scale. All tanks arrive, and the player's forces now start much closer to the front. On-map self-propelled artillery and a spotter appear back at the original starting position. Off-map support also becomes available.

The two first scenarios would have 1 hour each, and the final one 2 hours.

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Posted (edited)

More on the quality of Peiper's troops

"The condition of Peiper’s force is well described by his senior American prisoner, Major Hal McCown. He was the commanding officer of a battalion of the 30th Infantry Division and had been captured in the Stoumont fighting. In an official report made immediately after the battle, McCown, who ended up as a major general during the Vietnam era, said, “An amazing fact to me was the youth of the members of this organization—the bulk of the enlisted men were either 18 or 19, recently recruited, but from my observation thoroughly trained.

McCown continued, “There was a good sprinkling of both privates and NCOs from the years of Russian fighting. The officers for the most part were veterans but were also very young. Colonel Peiper was 29 years old, his tank battalion commander was 30; his captains and lieutenants ran from 19 to 27 years of age. The morale was high throughout the entire period I was with them despite the extremely trying conditions. The discipline was very good…. The physical condition of all personnel was good, except for a lack of proper food…. The equipment was good and complete with the exception of some reconditioned half-tracks.

All men wore practically new boots and had adequate clothing. Some men wore parts of American uniforms, mainly the knit cap, gloves, sweaters, overshoes and one or two overcoats. I saw no one, however, in American uniform…. The relationship between the officers and men [...] was closer and more friendly than I would have expected."

https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/2015/09/30/joachim-peiper-led-his-troops-to-safety-during-battle-of-the-bulge/

 

As I see it, that would probably translate into game terms as veterans, fit, +1 morale, +1 leadership.

Edited by Bulletpoint

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

But the number of tactical situations expands quite a lot once the main attack splits up to attack the two villages, while I conduct mopping up operations behind the front, plot a bazillion waypoint to move troops up, and fend off counterattacks. At that point, I just get worn out mentally.

Obviously it's a matter of personal taste but having multiple engagements all over the map is exactly what I enjoy in huge scenarios. 

In CM1 it was not uncommon to have maps up to 8Km x 4Km and what was enjoyable was having to think operationally:  "Where do I recon, where to probe, where to defend, where to strip forces from to create reserves and where to place them, and eventually... where will my main assault be?"   One could end up having many engagements of differing types and sizes all over the map.  I admit that handling a reinforced regimental TF is mentally arduous, but it's more fun than just having one huge battle with everything all in.

I agree the issue of bringing up large numbers of reinforcements along a road however, is a bit of a "make work" timewaster and not fun.  Can only hope that CM3 will feature some sort of road march feature that will allow all units to follow a leader in a sensible way.  

The CM2 game system is very good as is.  But, getting units to do things can often be arduous.  Streamlining the UI and reducing the number of clicks and commands needed to get things done hopefully will be more of a BF priority in future.  

eg:

A convoy command per above.

A new ACQUIRE system in which units can swap/acquire from adjacent units (with time penalties and quantity limitations).   

A "Wait in Ambush, Shoot, then Immediately Displace" (to safe secondary position) command for snipers and AT teams etc.

Bring back the "one click 180 degree covered arc" that we had in CM1.

Am sure players can think of many more that would reduce the irritating "make work" aspects of the gameenabling more player time to be spent on the fun tactical decisions.

Edited by Erwin

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

Second scenario: Open a route ahead. The player must occupy several small areas around bridges and road junctions to clear out potential ambush sites. The player now sees the first 2/3 of the map,

+1.  Nice analysis.  One of the problems that players will point out is the lack of persistent map damage.  The battle damage that occurred to the town of La Gleize, in the first scenario, will not be present in the following scenarios unfortunately.  But given the tools at hand your suggestions are probably the best way to turn the scenario into a campaign (if that is what @theforger decided to do).   

This is an interesting scenario that has given me several scenario ideas.  IMO it is interesting to have a company size combined arms force on a huge map that allows maneuver.  The combination of a huge map and a relatively small force can help to give an operational feel to a scenario.  This also can provide many interesting command decisions for the player as  he works multiple missions / situations on the same huge map. 

But a few more screenshots from Mission to Maas.........

TezxcfLh.jpg

 

These things are deadly in overwatch.......... go ahead shoot at my two man scout team :D

wplZqCLh.jpg 

Edited by MOS:96B2P

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1 hour ago, Erwin said:

Obviously it's a matter of personal taste but having multiple engagements all over the map is exactly what I enjoy in huge scenarios. 

Yes, +1. I can definitely see how it is fascinating to have lots of stuff going on at the same time, so that the various engagements make sense and affect each other. I just think the CM game system is poorly equipped for the player to handle many different tactical situations at the same time.

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On 1/2/2020 at 2:28 PM, Bulletpoint said:

Or if the game allowed reinforcements to arrive further into the map, if and only if the player had cleared a given area. So when the Panzerspitze troops had taken La Gleize, follow-up forces could appear there, etc.

Right now, the game only allows reinforcements to arrive at a certain time, so if the village isn't clear, the reinforcements appear in the middle of the enemy. Which is not good.

More options With regards to objektives and reinforcements would indeed be welcome...😎

Things like:

Reinforcements by trigger

Timed objektives

Unit specific objectives

Minimum Unit value in objektives

Would add a lot of flexebility to scenariodesign...

And would not require anything else then a number of changes to the editor UI i belive...They Will have no impact on game performance Or AI behavior...

 

 

With features like these...higher HQ Will be able to give the player some more specific instructions...😎

- Hold this possition in company strenth until...

- After capture of the village 2nd platoon are to deploy in defensive possitions on the Western edge of the village...supported by first tank platoon...

- the bridge should be secured no later then 1600

- The reminder of the force Will be released ones hill 154 have been secured..

Stuff like this..😆

 

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10 hours ago, RepsolCBR said:

Reinforcements by trigger

MOS had had some very innovative ideas for simulating this and maybe some of the other features you mentioned. I highly recommend that you play his brilliant TOC scenario for CMBS and his equally amazing COUP scenario for CMSF2.

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On balance and artillery

You give the Germans quite little artillery, and the US forces have a ton of artillery, much of it 150mm.

In my experience, you could tone down the US artilley and dial up the German artillery.

As an example, I'm not assaulting Cheneux, after pummelling it with 140 shells of 105mm, and 240 shells of 120mm. The town is still crawling with US forces.

It's of course up to you to create the balance for this scenario, but the artillery support given hardly makes a dent on defenders in buildings.

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12 hours ago, Erwin said:

MOS had had some very innovative ideas for simulating this and maybe some of the other features you mentioned. I highly recommend that you play his brilliant TOC scenario for CMBS and his equally amazing COUP scenario for CMSF2.

Those scenarios are at the topp of my

- to play list -

Very impressive work indeed ! 😎

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Two hours in and just ready to assault Cheneux and Stoumont. Really enjoying the decisions required at this scale. Can't imagine the amount of work required to make this, but it is greatly appreciated! As mentioned in other posts, a road movement system would help, but the work required does help to model the problems the Germans had of moving so many vehicles over such a limited road net.

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38 minutes ago, Frederico said:

a road movement system would help, but the work required does help to model the problems the Germans had of moving so many vehicles over such a limited road net.

True, but Peiper wouldn't have needed to call up every single halftrack and say "Feldwebel Schmidt, your orders are to drive forward 90 metres, then turn 45 degree to the left, then drive forward 50 metres, then turn 45 degrees to the right..." etc etc etc...

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Agreed. I was trying to put a positive spin on what is a lot of (work) detail. Just finished and I do feel that the work was worth it though. I personally like large scenarios, but I know some do not. I have been playing CM since the beginning and I think a road movement system would be at the top of my list of improvements. However, still an enjoyable scenario.

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9 hours ago, Frederico said:

Agreed. I was trying to put a positive spin on what is a lot of (work) detail. Just finished and I do feel that the work was worth it though. I personally like large scenarios, but I know some do not. I have been playing CM since the beginning and I think a road movement system would be at the top of my list of improvements. However, still an enjoyable scenario.

I'm impressed you finished it. I have been working on it for many evenings now, and I don't think I can get through to Stoumont. Not only because the defences are tough, but also because I'm just burnt out mentally at this point from all the movement clicking.

But yes, a very interesting and in many ways extremely well done scenario.

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5 hours ago, Bulletpoint said:

I'm just burnt out mentally at this point from all the movement clicking.

My condolences...  I also enjoy the larger scenarios and have felt the same way for years now - it leads to burn-out.  Have repeatedly mentioned on these forums the hope that BF focus in future more on overhauling the UI and streamlining the way that things get done so that more of the tedious "make work" aspects of the game is automated.  

eg:  Convoy command for multiple units; ammo/weapon sharing between adjacent units (with time penalties and quantity limits); single-click 180 degree covered arcs (like we had in CM1); "Wait in ambush, shoot, and scoot to secondary location"...  Am sure other layers can come up with many more game items that could do with streamlining and simplification/automation in order to cut down the clickfest that CM2 has become (at least for the large scenario enthusiasts).

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19 hours ago, Erwin said:

eg:  Convoy command for multiple units

I just found a post more than a decade old (from 2008!) saying that a road movement feature had long been in high demand even back then:

"But what about stuff like convoy driving (we still don't have a "follow me" command)?"

https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/5811/combat-missions-wrong-left-turn-uncanny-valley

Edited by Bulletpoint

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