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Gustav Kiwi Soldiers scenario: i need help


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"Teaching someone how to lose" is a poor, in my opinion, business strategy. It accounts for, in my opinion, the initial flurry of forum posts when a new module comes out, then some posts on "challenging", "great, challenging battle" posts, then....silence, and very few battles talked about on the forum. Because, I will posit, after the incredibly hard "challenge" people either rage-quit, or rationally decide that such brutality is unfun. I consider this series the heir to PanzerBlitz/ASL/CC/CM1, and attracting 16-30 year old gamers would seem to be important. Thus one would have fun, easy, initial battles, and then lure people into learning WW2 tactics and history.

I agree that we need some easy on the brain training missions. I think what Bill H is doing is the way to go for that kind of thing: http://battledrill.blogspot.ca/

This scenario is *not* an easy training scenario it is challenging. It is not clear to me why people think small = easy.

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I agree that we need some easy on the brain training missions. I think what Bill H is doing is the way to go for that kind of thing: http://battledrill.blogspot.ca/

This scenario is *not* an easy training scenario it is challenging. It is not clear to me why people think small = easy.

I agree with both your paragraphs.

I am just noting that someone relatively new to CM2 could accidently pick the smallest scenario, as small = smaller number of units to move, and be in for a frustrating time--and have no idea the battle was not typical. I actually become sad thinking about that.

But that goes to an old issue, often raised, of labeling/grading battles according to likely skill level needed. Even if imperfect, I think that would be hugely helpful, and very popular--and that you would find an initial craving for easy or very easy battles.

The game itself, to my knowledge, does not reference the Bill H site--possibly, with his permission, they should.

[by what measure can one currently judge the difficulty of a battle if not by size? Of course, the initial CMBN was only sortable, IIRC, alphabetically. But then that meant I did "Courage...." before "The Road to ....", which was likely the wrong order to go with]

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But it raises this issue to me: since so much about the engine has changed since CMBN 1.0, and I am thinking about the under the hood stuff, wouldn't it be reasonable to have the battles/campaigns updated, as a decisive issue, to reflect these changes. This, it seems to me, is more important to pay for than a battle pack--and I would pay. Otherwise, they are useless, and all the play-testing that went into them deceptively unhelpful.

There is a valid point there in that engine changes can and have altered some scenarios significantly. There are two issues though.

1- When do you update them? Version 2.0? Version 3.0? Every version update?

2- Who would do that? The same designers that would do the updates are the same designers everyone is expecting more material from. There are already complaints on this board about lack of new campaigns for CMRT, suggestions to pay some mystical group of professional designers etc. The pool of designers that contribute to the BF releases is finite and you can only tap those people so much.

Honestly I don't think there is any good answer. Granted not every change is going to necessarily alter the outcome of a scenario, but things like Artillery and MG changes, AT weapons firing from indoors etc can. Some scenarios may get harder, some may get easier.

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There is a valid point there in that engine changes can and have altered some scenarios significantly. There are two issues though.

1- When do you update them? Version 2.0? Version 3.0? Every version update?

2- Who would do that? The same designers that would do the updates are the same designers everyone is expecting more material from. There are already complaints on this board about lack of new campaigns for CMRT, suggestions to pay some mystical group of professional designers etc. The pool of designers that contribute to the BF releases is finite and you can only tap those people so much.

I have little faith in the "free" buiz model atm, as in relying on the designers to supply scenarios/campaigns for free. BF needs to change that. Either start paying them or get somebody else. Otherwise, whenever there's a problem or complaint, the customers are sour, and the scen designers are sour. It's always a sore sight to see in an otherwise very nice commercial product.

And as the various modules and engine upgrades march forward, scenarios/campaigns will be left behind because there is no incentive to upgrade them. So why should I buy V3.0 engine for BN/FI, if the contents are essentially the same? (I didn't buy it, boasting this exact thought.)

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meh... i'll probably be dealing with triggers in cmbs. you know, the one that ships with campaigns built for 3.0 spec, instead of something DLed from the repo..

yeah, but a good bit of the stuff on the repo is done by the same folks.....and will be designed for 3.0 and yet will not work for you. Your choice, if you don't feel it is worth it, don't buy it. However there will be content specifically designed for it no different than if CMBN had been released at 3.0. Odds are those will be out before CMBS.

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yeah, but a good bit of the stuff on the repo is done by the same folks

That is the general saying, but I can still feel the difference... But you know sburke, you and many others here are diehard CM fans and taking it all in. I'm a bit more picky. I suppose that's what it comes down to.

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FWIW, I think assigning a difficulty rating is an unreasonable expectation, and not something I would support.

I assume that it would be technically trivially easy to add a ‘difficult’ rating, with arbitrary words indicating some nebulous conception of difficultness, but it’s worth observing that designers have never been able agree on what size means in a consistent way. Heck, sometimes I don’t even agree with myself about size. It seems improbable that large and disparate group will ever agree on something as intangible as difficulty in a way that’s even vaguely useful.

But let’s assume they can and do agree … that still leaves the audience, whose skills vary markedly. Some found Kiwi Soldiers to be difficult. Some folk found it so challenging they took the Kobayashi Maru option :D But some won it on their first or second try. Whose perception is correct?

The basic problem I have with a ‘difficulty’ setting is that I don’t really design scenarios to be ‘hard’ or easy’. I design them to be ‘interesting’ and ‘plausible’, and I rate other’s scenarios on the same basis. I believe most designers design in a broadly similar way. KS was designed from the outset to be a tiny scenario where the only thing you have to do – as Kiwis – is unpick two mutually supporting positions. I actually thought it was going to be easy – you have plenty of time, a reasonable amount of fire support, and significantly outnumber the enemy. Yet this very simple and straightforward concept ended up ‘hard’. Go figure.

What interests me most about all this is that having perfect knowledge of the enemy, acquired after the first play through, doesn’t confer much advantage. Also, practically everyone who’s posted about KS has been intrigued enough to play it a couple of times, often many times. Those things – perfect knowledge not mattering and replayability – are elements I would love to be able to reproduce in other scenarios.

Tiny in CM usually = simple but, as we should all know from the game of chess, simple != easy, whatever 'easy' means.

As a player I’m not remotely interested in a ‘difficulty’ setting, and I’m even less interested in it as a designer.

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But let’s assume they can and do agree … that still leaves the audience, whose skills vary markedly. Some found Kiwi Soldiers to be difficult. Some folk found it so challenging they took the Kobayashi Maru option :D But some won it on their first or second try. Whose perception is correct?

Indeed. We really should go back to the more important question: How do we help people learn this game? Once someone has some "training" then they are much less likely to get frustrated and rage quite when they hit a tough scenario because they will realize it is tough and they have to learn more to get through it rather than be frustrated because the know they cannot eve handle some basic troop movements and coordination.

What interests me most about all this is that having perfect knowledge of the enemy, acquired after the first play through, doesn’t confer much advantage. Also, practically everyone who’s posted about KS has been intrigued enough to play it a couple of times, often many times. Those things – perfect knowledge not mattering and replayability – are elements I would love to be able to reproduce in other scenarios.

Agreed. This scenario is unique for me in that it is the only one I have played multiple times (not counting design testing). And you are right the added "perfect" knowledge made very little difference. I think that is because you already know where the enemy is and what they are capable of (from the briefing) and the specific info about exact numbers matters very little.

A very well done scenario.

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About the scenario. I don't get it. One squad suppress the 2nd floor. Some other guys suppress the 1st floor. Another squad left idle ready to kill any kiwis coming outta the gate. Then the squad at the 1 story flat buildings by the side -- move in for the kill. The enemy soon surrenders. Easy peasy. What's the fuss all about?

:P

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FWIW, I think assigning a difficulty rating is an unreasonable expectation, and not something I would support.

I assume that it would be technically trivially easy to add a ‘difficult’ rating, with arbitrary words indicating some nebulous conception of difficultness, but it’s worth observing that designers have never been able agree on what size means in a consistent way. Heck, sometimes I don’t even agree with myself about size. It seems improbable that large and disparate group will ever agree on something as intangible as difficulty in a way that’s even vaguely useful.

But let’s assume they can and do agree … that still leaves the audience, whose skills vary markedly. Some found Kiwi Soldiers to be difficult. Some folk found it so challenging they took the Kobayashi Maru option :D But some won it on their first or second try. Whose perception is correct?

The basic problem I have with a ‘difficulty’ setting is that I don’t really design scenarios to be ‘hard’ or easy’. I design them to be ‘interesting’ and ‘plausible’, and I rate other’s scenarios on the same basis. I believe most designers design in a broadly similar way. KS was designed from the outset to be a tiny scenario where the only thing you have to do – as Kiwis – is unpick two mutually supporting positions. I actually thought it was going to be easy – you have plenty of time, a reasonable amount of fire support, and significantly outnumber the enemy. Yet this very simple and straightforward concept ended up ‘hard’. Go figure.

What interests me most about all this is that having perfect knowledge of the enemy, acquired after the first play through, doesn’t confer much advantage. Also, practically everyone who’s posted about KS has been intrigued enough to play it a couple of times, often many times. Those things – perfect knowledge not mattering and replayability – are elements I would love to be able to reproduce in other scenarios.

Tiny in CM usually = simple but, as we should all know from the game of chess, simple != easy, whatever 'easy' means.

As a player I’m not remotely interested in a ‘difficulty’ setting, and I’m even less interested in it as a designer.

For me, this is not about what you or I think, but looking at the market, and potential market for CM2. I would look at is from the idea of how to triple, or quadruple, or raise to a factor of 10, the number of sales, without compromising the fidelity of the series.

I find it hard to imagine that more than 1-2 people ever won that Kiwi scenario on the first try--I am not going to say zero, because there always seems to be some super gamer somewhere that never loses.

If you can't rate the difficulty, that does not mean no one can. And if you wouldn't like a rating system, try imagining those people who would.

Even little blurbs in the Designer's Notes will be helpful "Though there are few units, there are significant tactical challenges here, at it will likely need to be played more than once to succeed."

Or, in the Designer's Notes, and list of specifically more specific "spoilers" the player could roll down, with the last ones being very specific on what will likely work.

Otherwise, as it is now, if a player has trouble with a battle, there is no help. Even the forum comments on remarkably few of the battles. That is because, and I will be happy to be corrected, most of the battles are played by very few players. And I would be very interested to see any estimations on how many customers ever finished --any-- of the CMFI campaigns.]

[Ah, I see the "Invasion of Gela" campaign was also in there. Probably what you meant when you have said you had training battles. But the first battle, labeled as "tiny" would, I estimate, take a newcomer 8+ hours to run through once. And if that customer did not succeed, and did not have fun....that customer is probably gone forever. Just messing with the UI and camera controls is an, unavoidable, issue. Do we really need to enter the concept of "fire base" and "over watch" to a gamer who, literally in the terms of the CM2 universe, does not yet know how to shoot a gun? No intro to "section", "squad", platoon?

And who below the age of 35, "follows along in the manual" for any game.....or car....or electronic device?

In my opinion, you need to hook the customer, and then teach them, not rely on the other way around.

Content? I estimate CM2 has, conservatively, very conservatively, about 1500 hours of content. But with the changes in the mortars/MGs etc, the initial CMBN/CMFI content obviously needs to be changed to adapt to them, as a priority, or it will be a continuing liability. The Module/Family/update model may have been financially reasonable, and I have no doubt it was (especially after the trauma of CMBB), and that is good, but, I don't know if this was realized at the time, that requires that not only the engines of the Families be updated, but there should be a simultaneous update of the battles/campaigns reflecting those engine--most importantly the under-the-hood stuff, not so much the command lines and eye candy.

My alt-game is EU4. I know steep game learning curves, and about games that have to bring new people in and still satisfy the veterans (I came into EU at about 2.6)

But CM2 is incredible. The under-the-hood physics, and the tweaks to it to achieve "the feel", the modeling the AFVs and soldiers, the graphics--though, the graphics are never the big issue for me, hence the other game I follow. I just strongly disagree with some of the marketing philosophy, which seems to be tied to scenario design philosophy.

If sales are booming, and the above does not make sense, please ignore me--I will be pleased. Really. This is, admittedly, not a real life or death issue.

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Most board commenters are old-timers, so the initial release scenarios they probably played so long ago that they've already forgot about it. My initial post of this thread was back in May. I can barely recall the scenario now which limits my ability to comment. Also there's this congenital fear of 'spoilers' so posters are loath to get into the nitty-gritty of beating "Alvano Anvil" or "Casa Nostra." Best to avoid the topic entirely. Its also complicated by most scenarios having multiple AI orders so you could go on for paragraphs detailing the finer points of playing "Butera Station" only to find in the next attempt the enemy zigs left instead of zagging right. :)

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This guy did a youtube review and won this battle.

Yeah, but he played on a very low difficulty setting.

I actually only won this one (on iron setting) only after about 30+ attempts.

My strategy was focused on taking the farm first with 2 squads, then suppress and attack the station.

I did use the offboard-artillery to harass the station, send some of my BARs to the right side of the wall. They continued the harassment of the station while in parallel I rushed 2 squads and the Bazooka along the right side of the map towards the farm. I then attacked the farm from it right angle and eventually cleaned it (with many casualties). The bazooka did help.

Finally used my on-map mortar to smoke the LOS of the MGs in the station. Suppressed it from both the farm and the surviving BARs.

Assaulted the station with the remaining squad and HQ.

Timing is everything. There are some blind spots that you could us.

Great scenario.

Tough, tough nut to crack.

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this sounds so simple.

Sometimes the simplest things are the most difficult. I've played this against the AI at iron and didn't finish and h2h where my opponent disappeared.

One would think a very small and simple skirmish would be easy and simple.

As it is its tough. If you add any sort of supporting arms (artillery, armor) to either side it changes the equation dramatically.

I have 2 h2h games going at the moment and the poor bloody infantry plays a vital role, but its not the main one as is the case for Kiwi soldiers...without supporting arms Italy can be a real meat grinder if you're not careful, patient and on top of your game.

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I actually only won this one (on iron setting) only after about 30+ attempts.

My strategy was focused on taking the farm first with 2 squads, then suppress and attack the station.

I did use the offboard-artillery to harass the station, send some of my BARs to the right side of the wall. They continued the harassment of the station while in parallel I rushed 2 squads and the Bazooka along the right side of the map towards the farm. I then attacked the farm from it right angle and eventually cleaned it (with many casualties). The bazooka did help.

Finally used my on-map mortar to smoke the LOS of the MGs in the station. Suppressed it from both the farm and the surviving BARs.

Assaulted the station with the remaining squad and HQ.

Timing is everything. There are some blind spots that you could us.

Great scenario.

Tough, tough nut to crack.

Bazookas and BARs? :confused:

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Hello guys, I haven't seen this thread till now. Thanks for posting my older video but as has been said before I was very new to the series and the combination of real-time plus poor tactics lead to a slightly silly experience.

I felt the need to film another attempt (its actually been at least a year since I last played the scenario) so if you want to check out an attempt filmed and played more professionally on the highest difficulty settings check this out:

Yes I do win hehe! My tactics are resorting to a "fingers crossed" fire-fight with the house on the hill before using smoke and covering fire to assault the huge German MG squad in the train station. Despite a suicidal company commander (oops) and a messed-up section the result was actually really good. I didn't even have to assault the house.

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  • 6 years later...

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