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Treeburst155

"Brits At Anzio" - feedback without spoilers

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This is my opinion on the CD scenario, "The Brits At Anzio". The opinion is based on a two player non-blind PBEM. By "non-blind" I mean that both players had knowledge of enemy setup zones and force makeup; but had never played the scenario. It was simply looked over BRIEFLY in the editor by both players. No spoilers below.

The scenario is not much fun from the Allied perspective due to severe imbalance. The imbalance is caused by the designers' apparent assumption that the Germans would be forced to use the roads due to the wet ground conditions. A warning about sticking to the roads, due to the wet conditions, is even mentioned in the German briefing. The truth is, "wet" in CMAK is very little hindrance to even the most bog prone armor. This fact makes the German task much easier to accomplish than was apparently intended. I suspect this scenario was never tested with the Germans trying more than a little off-road maneuvering.

Change the ground conditions to DEEP mud before playing this one with a human. This will give a much more balanced battle.

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Thanks for posting. I was thinking of playing this one myself. After your comments, I am not sure if I will.

I notice Rune does not post his scenarios to the Depot anymore. I guess he does not want feedback.

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It is not deep mud because historically it was not deep mud. It was play tested both single [which it was designed for] and two player. Treeburst is entitled to his opinion that it is imbalanced, but sorry, not going to change history. I even got feedback on the scenario from a father of a user here that was at the battle. If he wishes to post his name, he can do so. I will put in part of an email I got from him:

"Just to say thanks again for doing this. I finally got CMAK here in the UK last week, and was over at my father's at the time and was able to show him the scenario and his character... he was really pleased! So you've made an old WW2 vet happy!"

Nope, I no longer post scenarios to the depot, doesn't mean I don't like feedback. Email me and I will respond. Nothing to do with Admiral Keth, just sick of scenario ratings being trashed to elevate someone else's higher on the list. I have responded to critiques in email from people like Grog Dorosh, Panther Commander, Berli, Holien, and others. Always open to suggestions when treated kindly. Come in and attack me, and I ignore you. [in General, not you personally] I will give my resources, and if wrong, at least you know why something was made a certain way.

It is also the reason I do not post reviews. I do not want the appearence of trashing someone elses work.

I have been lucky enough to work with some good talent. When time comes for CMX2, I will again ask those who I want to make scenarios for the CD. being a while away, please don't ask me now if you are reading this [for anyone reading this].

Everyone also remember the majority of the scenarios on the CD are made to play the computer. Also remember for each user here on the forum, there are a lot more that bought the game but don't get online or come here. AI is still the #1 way the scenarios are played off the CD.

So, again, thanks to all the guys who made scenarios for the release. It has been a honor to work with you. Look forward to working with some of you again in the future on CMX2.

No, there is nothing to say about CMX2 yet either, everything is still internal.

Rune

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And speaking of feedback, if you have sent me an email recently, and I have not replied, please resend as my computer has died and is awaiting repair, but I got another in the meantime.

Tim

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Originally posted by rune:

Nope, I no longer post scenarios to the depot, doesn't mean I don't like feedback. Email me and I will respond. Nothing to do with Admiral Keth, just sick of scenario ratings being trashed to elevate someone else's higher on the list. I have responded to critiques in email from people like Grog Dorosh, Panther Commander, Berli, Holien, and others. Always open to suggestions when treated kindly. Come in and attack me, and I ignore you. [in General, not you personally] I will give my resources, and if wrong, at least you know why something was made a certain way.

It is also the reason I do not post reviews. I do not want the appearence of trashing someone elses work.

Rune

Rune, scenario reviews are certainly useful for the designers, but also for the players who want to choose among the numerous offers. I'm not convinced not posting the scenario is a good soilution, as it deprives the player who are looking for something to play, and who are able to tell the unfair reviews from the others. Especially if the author responds to the critics.

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Simon,

During that battle, due to the rain and the sandy terrain [not mud], yes, the tanks tried to stay on the roads. Unfortunately, we do not have a sandy/dirt terrain, so used wet. So, to answer, mainly the tanks stayed on the roads, but also could and did move offroad on occasion. It is in the briefing to stay on the roads, and most players do try to stay their with small exceptions.

The scenario was made to show the contribution of the British at Anzio. I think most Americans think it was an American operation. That piece of terrain was to switch sides multiple times during the course of the operation, and before it was over, the factory would change hands several times. The british fought hard and suffered many casualties at Anzio, and I wanted to honor their contribution there.

As for the scenarios posting, it is my call. They get posted on Boots and Tracks, so are available to download. If you want to know more, feel free to send me an email.

Rune

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So, to answer, mainly the tanks stayed on the roads, but also could and did move offroad on occasion. It is in the briefing to stay on the roads, and most players do try to stay their with small exceptions.

I didn't stay on the road and won a Decisive in a PBEM match by deploying the German armor on a broad front. Only by channeling German armor along a narrow front does the Allied player have a prayer and the more lenient bogging treatment in CMAK removes this restraint. Therefore, I'd have to rate this scenario as 'not successful', at least for 2 player. And probably solo, too. Sorry, Rune. I'm going to use the road net if it's in my tactical interest, not because the briefing tells me to do so. If historical recreation was the primary goal, It would have been better if the Heavy Mud parameter been used, after all, Heavy Mud, Wet, Damp, they're just labels.

[ January 23, 2004, 06:46 PM: Message edited by: PeterX ]

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No they aren't just labels, they amount of bogging changes. I am not going to restrict the tanks from doing something they could do historically. If you feel that strongly about it, and are going to ignore what is in the briefing, then change the parameters.

Funny, I get people saying everything should be historical, and I get others saying to change historical settings. Can't win either way.

Paterx, thanks for the comments. I never said it was for two player however, and I always mark the scenarios I make for two players. I also don't believe all scenarios have to be balanced. If you learn something from the scenario, then that is what matters. I still think Chris did a great job on the scenario for being 14 when he made it.

Rune

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Originally posted by rune:

No they aren't just labels, they amount of bogging changes.

That is exactly why he said they are just labels. Who cares if it is called "Heavy Mud" if the chance of bogging is the same as the historical terrain, which may have only been "wet".

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Perhaps the editor should not describe ground conditions with words. A high chance of bogging could be described in an historical account in several different ways. The historian might call it muddy, boggy, very soft, prone to bogging, saturated, very wet, almost impassable, etc..

This means historical accounts might not transfer to CM literally. "Mud" to the historian might translate to "Deep Mud" in CM. If, historically, an armored force avoided roads due to ground conditions, then it is safe to assume there was a very good chance of getting stuck. In CMAK, this very good chance would translate to "Deep Mud", even though the historian may have described it as "soft sand".

Instead of "ground condition" in the editor, the parameter should be called something like, "bog/move difficulty", with a separate parameter for snow cover to trigger graphics only. A "bog/move difficulty" set to "4" could mean deep mud or 3 feet of snow, or saturated sand, etc.. A "bog/move" factor of 0 would mean very firm ground, easy to move on, and very little chance of getting stuck.

[ January 24, 2004, 12:34 AM: Message edited by: Treeburst155 ]

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The exact term used in historical accounts was soggy. You also ignore the point that some tanks did indeed move off the road, however slowly. It had less to do with mud, but more with the wet sandy type of dirt. I can think of several types of terrain that wasn't covered. In a Finnish scenario, a forrested Marsh, in Russia, near leningrad, the same type of sandy dirt, same here. Heavy mud would not allow the tanks to move off road at all, not historical. Mud with increased bogging would not be historical either, sinces the tanks did move off, but due to the type of terrain, slowly. If you look above at previous messages, it is what I stated. I went with wet for Chris, slows down movement, with the lowest chance of bogging. There is not a proper way to just slow down the tanks off road. You do what you can.

As I said, if you don't want to behave as the scenario asks, then change the parameters. I will not change it and change the way the battle happened. I also understand the points raised, and have no problem if you want to change the parameters, as long as you know why it would be different then the historical battle.

Rune

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I never do what the designer intends, when possible. This keeps opponents off guard. smile.gif

I'm just saying it might be better if the editor treated ground conditions similar to the way hurricanes are treated. Instead of "Deep Mud", it would be Category 5 or something like that. The higher the number, the more chance of bogging, and the slower troops move. This way the designer can describe the ground in an accurate way in the briefing, and fine tune the CM engine to have the desired effect on movement.

There would have to be a separate Snow parameter to trigger the snow graphics however.

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Rune:

I also don't believe all scenarios have to be balanced.
I agree. Balanced scenarios are the hobgoblins of little minds.

Somewhat OT: It would be great if there existed ladder sites which assigned battles and opponents randomly. After a while, it becomes well known which side has the advantage in user created scenarios. And expecting players never to glimpse at the Scenario Editor before beginning a match is a pipe dream.

Treeburst:

Instead of "ground condition" in the editor, the parameter should be called something like, "bog/move difficulty", with a separate parameter for snow cover to trigger graphics only. A "bog/move difficulty" set to "4" could mean deep mud or 3 feet of snow, or saturated sand, etc.. A "bog/move" factor of 0 would mean very firm ground, easy to move on, and very little chance of getting stuck.

Excellent idea, Treeburst. I'd also extend this flexible approach to vehicles by removing the -overly abstract- Ground Pressure rating and replacing it with a numerical value based on bogging tendancies. That would represent a painless way of including chassis design, wheel base etc. Even breakdown frequency.

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I agree with the poster that this is a failed scenario. I suspect it wasn't tested by the developer from the German point of view.

There are no Allied air attacks (in 1944!) which is a huge omission.

The presence of wet terrain doesn't affect the Germans ability to manoeuver.

The Allies are given divisional artillery, that is not quick enough to respond (5 minutes!). Historically, the artillery would have EVERYWHERE pre-registered to be fired at. This is a glaring

omission, one that cannot be excused. There should be 5-6 artillery registered target markers for the allies.

Could have been good, but not enough care put in.

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Not that I care anymore, but if you read my first post, oh look, it was tested both single player both sides and two player.

Secondly, the attack takes place in the rain. Air support did NOT occur during rain storms.

Third, again if you had bothered to read, it was sandy terrain. tanks DID go off road, to make it deep mud would restrict the Axis in a way that did NOT happen in real life. if you didn't follow the briefing, who is at fault, you or me?

Last, unfair? Let's look at band of brothers.

Outcome

Another result.

Rune

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Originally posted by blue division:

There are no Allied air attacks (in 1944!) which is a huge omission.

There were no allied, or axis, air attacks in the rain (for the entire war!) which is historically accurate.

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Well... Sheesh... Dare I admit?... that I actually *Liked* this scenario... even though I suck on the attack and could only pull a Draw in a PBEM against a brave and determined British opponent...

However, had I known this was a "Rune" scenario, I would have immediately bitched a storm about it, instead of having fun... Hehe.

Cheers,

Ken

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No your not the only one Ken.

I played this scenario via PBEM (double blind v1.03) last year. Both myself and my opponent had a great time with it. Both sides have problems to overcome but this makes the battle an enjoyable challenge.

As the British player I pulled a draw against an experienced PBEM opponent who I've been wrestling with for years on and off (no, he didn't use the roads either). I can't check the files because they are on an old computer, but IIRC it went right to the wire.

Thankyou Rune, keep em coming!

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Peter X

"And expecting players never to glimpse at the Scenario Editor before beginning a match is a pipe dream."

I am somewhat distressed by your assumption. You obviously play with some unsavoury characters or are unduly suspicious.

I have never looked in the Scenario Editor before a game.

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Tree,

Always good to see somebody taking time + effort in writing notes/feedback for scenarios designers. Many thanks (again) for your feedback on my "bludgeoning-all-that-moves-in-the-river-valley" scenario, aka Botrytis II.

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Originally posted by rune:

Not that I care anymore, but if you read my first post, oh look, it was tested both single player both sides and two player.

Secondly, the attack takes place in the rain. Air support did NOT occur during rain storms.

Third, again if you had bothered to read, it was sandy terrain. tanks DID go off road, to make it deep mud would restrict the Axis in a way that did NOT happen in real life. if you didn't follow the briefing, who is at fault, you or me?

Last, unfair? Let's look at band of brothers.

The battle went on for days historically. It wasn't raining all the time, and air support was available during the course of this long battle.

To not allow it is to unbalance the scenario. Why? Because the Germans are allowed too much leeway to form up for their attack, with no effective response from the Allies (due to the lack of prompt artillery fire).

So my point is not that airstrikes weren't available during rain, it is that this scenario needs allied airstrikes to even the odds out by making life more difficult for the Germans. Either that, or you provide pre-registration markers for the artillery. Or you get rid of the rain (looks nice, but it spoils this scenario) and make the terrain muddy. In short - more mud, less rain. Your choice.

Also, tanks were bogging down all over the place in the actual battle. None of this happens in the scenario and this has a profound effect on the gameplay.

The whole reason for the battle and the Germans determination to take Aprilia is because it was at a road junction. Without access to roads, they could not counter attack effectively because their heavy weapons could not be brought up.

So you say that the roads weren't important and that the tanks could traverse the mud??????? Why did the Germans make such a big effort for this group of buildings then?

You haven't mentioned my comments about artillery - I take it this has been noted. Anzio was notable for the extensive use of artillery by both sides (of all calibres).

[ July 11, 2005, 07:44 AM: Message edited by: blue division ]

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Again, if you read the briefing, it was the first counter attack that did occur during the rain. There was NO airstrikes during this part of the battle. This is NOT an operation that covers multiple days, but a single battle from the overall battle. The British took the town on the 25th and the first counter-attack occurred during the 26th.

There was NOT deep mud there. Terrain was sandy, and the tanks did move off the road. They wanted the road junction becuase road travel is much easier then overland travel, especially in the rain. How do I know this? How about I chatted with a veteran of the battle, you can find him on one of the 17 lber crews. I will go with the veteran's account thank you very much. We discussed a lot INCLUDING artillery since he served with the artillery there.

If the scenario need air to even it out, tell me, how did those players win as British? Oh yeah, in any of the messages where did I say roads were not important? Matter of fact, I state the Germans should stick to the roads, with an occasional going off.

Artillery comments, where do you find any spotter with a 5 minute time? 3 miinutes at most without TRPs. For some reason, the Brigade Commander had to authorize any Defensive Fire Missions. [Remember, I talked to a veteran] I have no idea why this varied from standard practice of the British FOO, who could order at any time. A trp would allow almost instant firing, which also would NOT be historically correct.

Rune

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