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John Kettler vs. CMBN--The Learning Curve!


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Splitting Squads Into Teams

I keep doing it, but it seldom bears any fruit. Believe I have one bazooka kill. The teams seem to have no fire discipline, even when I try to impose it, so the net result is really long range inaccurate shots at ACs which instantly and accurately reply, wrecking the bazooka team.

You know I don't split squads as much any more. I do it when I need to such as putting teams on different floors of a building for example. Or when I want to scout or keep the bazooka team from lighting up the fields 200m away. Much of the time they are together. It makes herding the cats much easier.

Restoring Morale

My men just seem to disintegrate and are useless the rest of the game. Have no idea how to rally them.

I have never seen morale get restored. Doesn't happen. The best thing you can do is keep your guys in C&C - they take less of a morale hit when they get shaken that way. If your guys get Rattled they will still fight pretty well but they are getting close to being broken - make damn sure any rattled teams are in command. Once they are broken don't discard them - sometimes you have no choice. They will provide fire support and behave OK if they are not taking any enemy fire. So, if you keep them behind the guys in better shape and be patient with them running away lots you can get some extra bullets down range that will help your other teams make head way.

Command & Control

How I miss the CMx1 black and red lines! Even in relatively static defense, it's all but impossible to keep critical systems, such as 60mm mortars, in command. Not fun to have a mortar sidelined (with the other one dead) when the Germans infantry comes roaring in, with tanks, ACs, and SPGs in support. Recall a C&C analysis someone did for the game, but can't find it. Do you have a link?

Yeah, this is a challenge. Hopefully someone will find that link for you - I remember reading a few helpful threads on the matter. I usually put my self in the teams shoes and think would I be able to hear the boss in the house if I am standing over here? Big help I know - but after a while I think you will find you can get pretty good at it. And once your guys are in place the next turn you can tweak the HQ position and a team or two and get everyone all sorted. Yes, this is a bit of overhead.

Artillery

Still finding my legs in terms of the best way to do things, but can I run an effective shoot! Target Linear is the answer to my prayers, but I wish you didn't have to be able to see the whole impact zone in order to use it. Still, a huge improvement over not having it. I have similar gripes over the Target Circular restrictions and wish we could designate a concentration box for fires from FA and mortars, through which the shells would march back and forth. Wish we could also register guns on the fly, as was done in reality.

I am using Target Linear more and more - short ones feel down right elliptical even. But you do *not* need to have visibility to the whole line just the end points. But a word of caution spotting rounds could fall anywhere along the line so it is not recommended to have no visibility for large portions of the line. But if your spotter cannot see the ground for most of the line but if they can see the explosions from spotting rounds you are good to go.

For example if you have a line that goes through a town and you can see the end points but there are buildings blocking most of the line - this is not going to work well because the buildings will block a view of the explosions.

But if your end points are along a bocage line but you cannot see the ground for even large parts of the line your spotter can see explosions over the bocage and you will be just fine - ish.

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mjkerner and ZBP II,

I now understand the huge gap in your perspectives on the bazooka and Panzerschreck.

GreenAsJade,

Considering my own brutal learning curve with the CMBN Demo, I'm impressed you've already migrated to PBEM.

General Lee Irked,

The Demo's already repeatedly humiliated me. Every time I think I've got it figured out, it wallops me again.

ZBP II,

The squad splitting stuff is valuable, the inability to rally depressing. C&C clearly is going to take some work on my end, but the bit on only needing to see the ends for Target Linear is simply fabulous and really opens up some options. How I wish our FOs and others calling fires could trace LOS to the top of the burst, as was done in actuality. Granted, in city fighting, there were and are situations in which the observer loses the spotting round in the urban canyon, but that isn't the typical situation.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Morale and leadership: do NOT try to think in terms of red and black CMx1 lines. Instead, think about how the men would react on the battlefield. Is that platoon hq close to them? Can they see and hear their commander? The closer, the better. Don't "game" it, "live" it. :)

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GreenAsJade,

I'm with you!

c3k,

Point taken, but what I don't understand is why can troops be rallied in the real world, but not in our sim world? I freely confess that I am very much used to getting some of my guys back in fighting form via rallying as a result of my decade plus of CMx1 gaming. The red and black lines greatly helped in quickly assessing the situation. Since there's so much more to deal with, I'd love it if BFC put them back in!

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Point taken, but what I don't understand is why can troops be rallied in the real world, but not in our sim world?

They will come back from being in a Shaken or Panic state. In CM2 guys that are broken are not useless just fragile. I forget the names in CM1 but when you could not give orders to your squads and your guys ran around out of control are now Shaken and Panic. Recovering from those states (aka rallying) works better when your men are under command. In fact I often see teams Shaken during a turn end up rallying before the turn is over - more often if they are under command. Guys who panic take much longer to rally if they run away from command. In fact I have repositioned HQs just to go get squads that ran off. Once they are in command again they often rally pretty quickly.

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I think the degree of rally from Shaken/Panic also seems to be affected by other factors than proximity of their leader -- like the leader quality, quality of the troops, and even maybe fitness level.

Two units with the same morale state might even behave differently, depending on other factors -- I've seen Broken troops capable of putting up a limited defense or even a limited attack, and Broken troops that went fetal at the mere sound of their own artillery rounds hitting the enemy several hundred meters away.

The great thing is, you don't need to know all that under-the-hood stuff to know what a real-life commander would know to be effective: Take care of the soldiers, stay close to them, watch them for signs of faltering, give them a mission within their capabilities, and make sure they can rest and recover when necessary so they can stay in the fight.

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John,

search the forum for the discussion about command lines. When CM came out lots of people complained. Now nobody does.

I have never played CMx1 so I never missed them. Get used to it, you don't need them.

Tip from me: play in Iron mode. May sound contra-productive but in this mode you see what a unit sees if you click on it. Helps a lot to understand C2. The manual is a bit misleading: you see ALL your units when you have none selected.

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Probably didn't help that their Platoon HQs got shot up or killed, either.

That's a very big deal. I keep my HQs close enough to my squads to keep them under command, but far enough back so that they aren't the first thing that the enemy is going to shoot at. Keeping them in some kind of cover or concealing terrain is also good when you can. Give them short covered arcs so that they do not reveal themselves by firing.

Michael

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That's a very big deal. I keep my HQs close enough to my squads to keep them under command, but far enough back so that they aren't the first thing that the enemy is going to shoot at. Keeping them in some kind of cover or concealing terrain is also good when you can. Give them short covered arcs so that they do not reveal themselves by firing.

Michael

Good policy, but it's a policy I break selectively now and then -- and it can pay big dividends. There are times when a good leader, leading from the front, can make all the difference in a critical moment. Their superior spotting abilities can ID a developing threat or counterattack faster, the men keep their fighting spirit a bit longer, and sometimes you just need their extra firepower and tommy guns to give an assault that extra oomph. But it's not a "percentage play" as they say in baseball. To torture the analogy a bit more, it's like a squeeze play -- not for the novice, and not for their feint of heart!

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Good policy, but it's a policy I break selectively now and then -- and it can pay big dividends. There are times when a good leader, leading from the front, can make all the difference in a critical moment. Their superior spotting abilities can ID a developing threat or counterattack faster, the men keep their fighting spirit a bit longer, and sometimes you just need their extra firepower and tommy guns to give an assault that extra oomph. But it's not a "percentage play" as they say in baseball. To torture the analogy a bit more, it's like a squeeze play -- not for the novice, and not for their feint of heart!

I agree wholeheartedly with Broadsword. The downside for me is that if anyone in the command group is going to take a hit, it inevitably seems to be the commander, and not the assistants. Broadsword, that has happened to me twice in our "little" dust-up at Carentan. :(

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I agree wholeheartedly with Broadsword. The downside for me is that if anyone in the command group is going to take a hit, it inevitably seems to be the commander, and not the assistants. Broadsword, that has happened to me twice in our "little" dust-up at Carentan. :(

Well, at Carentan you may soon get your chance to even the score in that regard...

And if it's not the commander, it always seems to be the radio operator! But IRL, the enemy always aimed for those two guys first if they could.

In CMBN, I think it has to do with the fact that commanders more often are trying to spot, trying to be visible to their men, and are less likely to simply cower/go to ground at any given moment. So any lead or frags in the air are just that much more likely to catch 'em, plus they're being specifically targeted more. Put those together and you get a lot of telegrams going home to officers' families :-(

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Infantry Maneuver

Worse than herding cats! Hate it! So much to keep track of! I find it overwhelming to simply route march, let alone attack.

Use the hotkeys to turn on the option "show all movement paths". When I played CMx1 games I rarely needed this option, but in CMx2, especially when you have squads split into teams, this is essential so you know where everyone is going.

Splitting Squads Into Teams

I keep doing it, but it seldom bears any fruit. Believe I have one bazooka kill. The teams seem to have no fire discipline, even when I try to impose it, so the net result is really long range inaccurate shots at ACs which instantly and accurately reply, wrecking the bazooka team.

Give bazooka teams a 100 meter or less target arc, and order them to hide. when the target you want them to fire at comes near or into the cover arc, order them to stop hiding and/or remove the target arc. Leave the aiming and firing to the bazooka man.

Restoring Morale

My men just seem to disintegrate and are useless the rest of the game. Have no idea how to rally them.

To be honest, I haven't had much luck with this either. Most of the time, I use the XO team to run around and stand next to panicked guys to try and rally them. Once they have rallied, do not place them in the front of your force, I usually have them form an ad hoc reserve.

Command & Control

How I miss the CMx1 black and red lines! Even in relatively static defense, it's all but impossible to keep critical systems, such as 60mm mortars, in command. Not fun to have a mortar sidelined (with the other one dead) when the Germans infantry comes roaring in, with tanks, ACs, and SPGs in support. Recall a C&C analysis someone did for the game, but can't find it. Do you have a link?

With mortars, I never have the section leader more than 1-2 action spots away from them. Speaking in terms of the weapons platoon, I send my machineguns up front with the rifle platoons, and I keep the weapons platoon HQ behind to babysit the mortars. The only time I let my mortars wander off is to do direct fire on enemy location, then they come right back. If you insist on keeping a seperate machinegun section, park your mortars next to the company hq.

Artillery

Still finding my legs in terms of the best way to do things, but can I run an effective shoot! Target Linear is the answer to my prayers, but I wish you didn't have to be able to see the whole impact zone in order to use it. Still, a huge improvement over not having it. I have similar gripes over the Target Circular restrictions and wish we could designate a concentration box for fires from FA and mortars, through which the shells would march back and forth. Wish we could also register guns on the fly, as was done in reality.

With target line, you do not need to actually see the whole line, only the two end points you place. It is the same with area target, you only need to see the center point, and the one outside point you place to make the circle. Much more important than seeing spots to place artillery, is the fact that if your spotter does not see any spotting rounds when they come in, your artillery may come in off target. Of course, when using one or two TRP's to target line or area, artillery always comes in on target, with no spotting rounds fired.

I hope this helps a little bit. I know most of these have been addressed, but one can never have too much information, no?

- SLIM

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It's just tiresome. The game has moved from "game" to "simulation" which the enthusiasts may regard as better, but frankly, if I have to put my glass of champagne down to press a hotkey I ain't having fun anymore. So that's a lost sale for the next game or expansion.

I'm having a similar bleat on another game forum (AGEOD) where their latest game has a campaign of some 1600 turns, and even on high powered computers takes 5 minutes just to process a turn. I don't think more than a handful of people have actually finished the campaign yet.

Anyway, as long as BFC can sell enough to pay their way I guess it's up to them.

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It's just tiresome. The game has moved from "game" to "simulation" which the enthusiasts may regard as better, but frankly, if I have to put my glass of champagne down to press a hotkey I ain't having fun anymore. So that's a lost sale for the next game or expansion.

Ahh my friend, you have apparently not discovered the straw! To those folks who say "My God, champagne through a straw? That's sacrilege!" I say pshaw, not if it interferes with CM! Hands free drinking to play uninterrupted!

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I'm having a similar bleat on another game forum (AGEOD) where their latest game has a campaign of some 1600 turns, and even on high powered computers takes 5 minutes just to process a turn.

Sounds like my cup of tea. What's the name of the game?

EDIT: Never mind I figured it out.

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Clearly you've never seen the old school monster wargames Drang Nach Osten and Unentschieden--Eastern Front at regimental level!

Time for an old-timers grog debate: As I recall, the standard unit in those games was the division, although some specialized units as small as battalions were present also. I do think that a limited number of divisions could break down into regiments though. ISTR that was a standard feature of all the Europa series of games. Narvik was unique though in that the standard size unit there was regiment/brigade with some units as small as companies. Turn length was different also; instead of two weeks, what was represented less than a week (I forget the exact number of days). Even there, an alternate set of counters was provided that allowed a game to be played at the regular Europa level and rules.

Michael

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I have a friend who has this game. We have not played it ...yet.Though I have a feeling the beta-testers did not do a good job. Or possibly they did but it was published half-cock for reasons of cashflow.

From Wikipedia

The Campaign for North Africa (generally referred to as CNA by wargamers), was an unprecedentedly detailed military simulation game of the North African Campaign of World War II. It was designed by Richard Berg and published by Simulations Publications, Inc. in 1978.

Though some fans of war simulation games appreciate detail, The Campaign for North Africa offered more detail than any board wargame before or since, leading to the ambivalent reaction with which the game is regarded. Even gamers who were initially fascinated with the idea of an extremely detailed war game might have been chagrined when they opened the box to discover 1,800 counters, maps large enough to cover several tables, and a three-volume rulebook of considerable weight and density. The rules cover logistics in extreme detail, far more so than the combat simulation. It is recommended that each side be played by a five-person team, including a Commander-In-Chief and four subordinate commanders, making a total of ten players needed for a game, although it can be played with the usual two. According to SPI, a complete game can run over 1,500 hours. However, the logistics of keeping a ten-person group together for fifteen hundred hours of gaming was a feat beyond even most hardcore wargamers, and completed full games of The Campaign for North Africa are rare.

Legacy

Although The Campaign for North Africa is playable only with great difficulty in terms of time, the game is prized by collectors and has even been praised by some gamers, who consider it something of the ultimate paper war game. A commonly-cited example of its level of detail (and one noted in SPI's advertising) is the fact that the game's Italian troops required additional water supplies so that they could prepare pasta. [Designer's Note: This was included as a humor item which seemed to be taken somewhat seriously by the hobbyists.] The game represents a brief evolutionary step between the relative simplicity of most paper wargames of its time, and the dawn of the era of computer wargames, where complexity and depth need not come at the expense of playability because they are handled by the computer program.

From BoardGameGeek

This is a war game like no other. Although the map is big (10 feet) the game is smaller than other games (Europa for one). There are not as many rules as in ASL. And yet this is the biggest monster game out there for a number of reasons.

The game is detailed to a degree no other game has come close to. If using the full rules you keep track of every individual plane and pilot in the three year campaign. Each counter on the board representing a ground unit is composed of many units which are kept track of on logs. Supplies are kept track of and dispersed in a very detailed manner.

From the rulebook we read how to run a game. "CNA is a logistically-oriented game, and its play requires not only a lot of attention to logistics, but, if you will, a logistically sound methodology." It is suggested that you have 5 persons per side with the following duties.

Commander-in-Chief: responsible for strategic decisions and to settle intra-team disputes.

Logistics Commander: In charge of all supplies. Accepts supply requisitions from the others and keeps all informed of supply shortages. Is in charge of supply dumps, Third line trucks and some second line trucks and is in charge of Naval convoys.

Rear Area Commander: Gets the supplies to the front. In charge of security, reserves, prisoners and construction.

Air Commander: In charge of all planes and pilots. Is responsible for planning air missions and deployment of air bases.

Front-line Commander: Executes all attacks and troop movements in the front line. Helps with coordinating defensive efforts.

Playing time with 10 players is listed at 1200 hours.

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Michael Emrys,

I believe you are, once again, correct. For sure those games went down to the Luftwaffe Flak Regiment (want to say Flak Battalion, but unsure) level, since that bit of trivia is still stuck in my head for games I once wanted so badly it hurt. Much later on, I saw what I'd wanted set up and was glad I didn't buy them, not that I had the money to do so! I vividly recall seeing huge counter stacks balanced precariously in one hex and movements being made using big tweezers. Since my hand stability is not in the "safe to work in a nitroglycerine factory" range, it would've been a debacle. Imagine ruining Kursk with a domino effect stack toppling!

Regards,

John Kettler

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For sure those games went down to the Luftwaffe Flak Regiment (want to say Flak Battalion, but unsure)...

Flak battalion is correct although I would not swear that there were no regiments at all in the game. IIRC there were battalions of Flampanzers as well. I think non-divisional artillery came in regimental or brigade equivalents.

Michael

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