Jump to content

questions/comments/reservations (long post)


Recommended Posts

I've played CM a half-dozen times in the week since I downloaded the demo, and am

generally very impressed with the Beta code. Great job! Still, I've got a few items on my "wish list" of features, plus one major and one minor reservation that--at least to this grognard/military analyst--seems to seriously undermine the fidelity of the game's representation of small unit WW II combat.

First, the wish list:

1. I'd like to see an LOS button added to the hot keys as it is to the unit menu. I've seen the argument on this Board that this capability is "gamey" and you should drop down to view #1 and check things out manually, but would counter that it is much faster and more efficient to be able to check out the LOS from sites of interest without "doing a flyby", and if the function has been restricted to further the first-person immersive "over the shoulder" perspective, then the LOS function doesn't even belong on the unit menu--make the gamer check manually through the squad leader's eyes! Frankly, though, it is a useful tool, and one I'd like to see consistently available. I've also seen a few instances in my handful of games where an opponent--usually armor--seemed to be glimpsed

through obstructing terrain but could not be targetted (and in fact the LOS button from the unit menu revealed that the sight line *was* blocked.) My point here is that the "over the shoulder" view can be misleading, and you ought to give the player the choice--which he currently doesn't have *except* from a unit's location.

2. A hot key pulling up a table of organization/roster of the units would be nice, especially during the setup phase. I'd also like to see it available as a hot key or at least from the company commander's unit menu during play as well, to facilitate tracking the status of my forces during play without looking at each squad one-by-one. While you could argue that this omniscence is "gamey", you can currently get the information manaully. Consider the in-game summary version the equivalent of the C.O. asking for a sitrep from his platoon leaders--certainly this would be happening during a 30 minute engagement.

Now for the niggling problem:

This is more of an impression than something definitive, but at least in the Reisberg

scenario, AT guns seem awfully vulnerable to both spotting and subsequent destruction by

direct fire. Granted the 88mm Flak guns in this scenario have a large silhouette, but

they are supposedly at least partially dug-in (I assume that's what the "foxhole" represents). At 700-800 meters, I find it hard to believe that a single Sherman

shooting on the move can nail one within 3-4 shots. (Yes, I know about gyro-stabilization

in some Sherman models, but I believe this was relatively primative.) What I find

troubling from a historical perspective is that a single Sherman appears to have about an even chance of taking an ambushing AT gun out at moderate (500 meters+) range, and a pair of tanks are virtually certain to triumph. Read the unit histories--whole platoons of Shermans succumbed to singe AT guns under these conditions, with many of the victims never even spotting their attacker!

Now for my major area of concern, morale.

Having let the computer play the attacker once in each scenarios, I am seriously bothered by the historical plausibility of the result. In both cases, the computer continued to mount vigorous attacks through the end of the scenario, despite the fact that in Reisberg his casualties were over 80 percent, and in "the Last Defence" over 66 percent. Operations research literature and WWII unit histories suggest that

a regular unit typically lost cohesion and the ability to continue the offensive after 30-40 percent casualties, with green/ill-trained troops bagging the attack after as few as 10 percent losses and elite units sometimes persevering despite losing the majority of their manpower. Given my experience that CM forces routinely exceed this loss level, I question whether the self-preservation behavior touted in CM's documentation is working on on a number of levels:

1) TACTICALLY, where squads already decimated down to one or two men not infrequently launch themselves across known fire-swept open fields --often the same ones that had already claimed their squadmates. While squads and fire teams historically were "wiped out", this was usually by forces beyond their control (i.e., defenders overrun or attackers caught in the

open by effective fire) rather than the ETO-equivalent of banzai charges. A battered pair or single survivor of a squad arguably would have little interest in continuing to attack,regardless of unit quality, yet in the CM demos such a unit will frequently march back into the heart of the fray. A similar criticism applies to the AI's tactics of throwing HQ teams in as line units--"leading from the front" is taken to the extreme in the AI's tactical

model, with command elements doubling as shock troops rather than a base of fire

support.

2) At the FORCE level, I find it troubling that company-sized forces continue to take the offensive even after suffering overwhelming casualties. This was especially problematic in the Reisberg scenario, where the computer launched vigorous attacks all the way through

turn 30. Even elite troops --let alone Regular quality troops as in this scenario--were hard-pressed to continue to attack despite such overwhelming casualties (that's why behavior such as the FJ first wave at the Maleme airfield in Crete became the stuff of legend), but CM's forces seem to be willing to utterly annhilate themselves in the attack. (To be fair, the squad-level morale model may be keeping this late game attacks from being effective--but my point here is that a company which has been effectively annihilated would no longer be

attacking at all!)

3) This is more of a wish for "CM2", but I wish there were some way to link morale to

the scenario's objectives. In Reisberg for instance, the US objective is described as

"unremarkable and strategically "unimportant". Any US company commander who persisted in executing an unsupported attack against such an objective in the face of demonstrated strong enemy resistance to the point of losing over 200 men would arguably be court-martialled, and therefore would have broken off the attack short of this casualty level.

Similarly, a company on the defense should not fight to the point of annihilation, unless the scenario sets up a "last ditch/hold-at-all cost" premise.

Otherwise, a defending unit should be expected to resist until its position has been compromised/penetrated, then displace in a fighting retreat. In CM, the defender will hold on--or counterattack--until he is destroyed.

Bottom line: I really like game and find it unique. What I don't find, however, is that

the outcome of the two scenarios in the Beta tracks with small unit results from WW II's

ETO. I'm prepared to be persuaded to the contrary, and have already placed an order for CM, but I'd like to know if I'm all alone in feeling that there's something awry here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest L Tankersley

Regarding the free LOS check, I've been on both sides of this issue, but finally decided I prefer not to have it in. It makes it more difficult to identify the "perfect position" and increases the "seat-of-the-pants" feel of CM which IMO is a good thing. It is frustrating sometimes thinking that a position is going to see something and then you finally get there and find that it's worthless. But I'd rather put up with that than with opponents spending hours identifying every squeaky little LOS and setting up in optimal positions.

As far as a TO/roster popup goes, this has been asked for since the beta first came out, and from what I can remember of the discussion something like this _has_ been added for the final. Try a search on roster and see what turns up.

I don't have anything particular to say in response to your AT gun vs Sherman question, but again I think this was discussed a while back - try the search function.

Finally, on the topic of morale and force preservation, it has been acknowledged that the AI in the beta demo is prone to continue an attack piecemeal (particularly with HQ units) after it should have been broken off, and reports are that this has been addressed in the final.

I think part of the reason for the "morale problem" is the timescale of these scenarios. Sure, a unit that takes 50% casualties is going to be wrecked. But 15 minutes into a battle, the men probably have little or no knowledge of what's happening outside their own foxhole, so a unit getting wiped out on the far side of the line probably doesn't have a huge immediate effect. Also, CM has two morale levels, the global level (which I assume represents the overall awareness of losses trickling down to the men) and the squad/team level which reflects what is happening to the particular unit. There isn't any intermediate level (say a platoon morale) which can lead to a situation where (for example) one platoon gets almost completely wiped out, but since they are the first casualties the battalion global morale remains at 90%+ so the few survivors are still willing to continue advancing. Introducing an intermediate morale level might help address a lot of the issues you cite, but it's probably too late for CM1. Maybe that can be an enhancement for later iterations.

Leland J. Tankersley

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From my reading, I would say that the ratios you've mentioned are more appropriate to divisions and regiments, which includes many rear and support troops not actually taking (direct) action in front line combat. Companies and platoons, those grunts that are actually shot at, are reported to sustain much higher casualty ratios. Combat Mission simulates these troops ONLY.

Moreover, casualties in Combat Mission range from lightly wounded to dead, i.e. anything which renders a man combat incapable for the duration of the battle. Only a percentage of these are really evacuated to the rear after the combat (and would appear as a casualty in the AAR), and even a much smaller percentage of these is actually dead. This is not too visible in battles, but becomes much clearer during operations spanning several battles.

These two points (together with the AI tweak mentioned by L Tankersley) make Combat Mission's combat results appear much more realistic for the full version.

But one thing is clear - in the end, combat results will only be as realistic as the player wants them to be. It is his decision to break off contact, surrender, ask for a cease fire or retreat. If he chooses to push on with a futile attack, he will sustain much more casualties than would be true realistically. The AI has been tweaked to prevent this, but there is only so much that can be done.

There is also an automatic "game over" built in, when the global morale drops too low, but it's a risky thing: have games end too early, and people will freak that they have been robbed of a victory.

As it is now (in the full version), I must say that casualty ratios seem realistic - it "feels" right. I am sure that the other testers can confirm that.

And in the end I am happy already when I don't have whole squads being annihilated in three seconds by a tank, like in this *other* game "which emphasizes realism"... (tongue in cheek) wink.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With regards the spotting of firing units I too find this the only real problem I have with CM. I find that small arms especially are far too easily spotted. An MG 42 only has to open up briefly and it instantly spotted by the entire Allied side. Contrast this with reality when where it extremely difficult to spot incoming fire (especially if its aimed AT you). A book I read recently (18 Platoon) states quite often that on attack his entire company (and battalion on occasion) was often pinned down by massed MG42 fire without a single firing position being located. In CM (Beta version) every single one would be spotted immediately.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Iconoclast

In the Reisburg scenario I put an 88 as far up the road as I could just to see what would happen. The 88 took out the first Sherman but was put out of action from 3 unanswered rounds from a Sherman coming into los from just to the right of the road. In the same scenario I saw 3 rapid fire panzerschreck volleys within 30 seconds under withering answering fire. My eyebrows raised over both these events: don't make sense... unless the firing interval for the 88 is a lot greater ...or the panzerschreck interval is very short indeed... or perhaps if the 88 crew is stunned by the first blast & doesn't respond. Never mind the utter futility of employing an 88 against afv's within their answering range. I don't want to rain on anybody's parade either but these kind of results leave me, just as you were left, pondering. Maybe this is not the best forum for these kind of questions because of the 'emperor has no clothes' type of response this kind of questioning often elicits here. I too pine for a los tool. The table of organization suggestion is a very good one also.

Kilroy out

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Killmore,

It doesn't ALWAYS happen. I've had StuGs get 3 and more shots off while hull-down before being spotted. It might seem that way and then is posted here with a bit of hyperbole but it simply isn't that way.

Iconoclast,

Actually when I first played the beta demo scenario (to test it prior to it being posted) I complained that the attacker halted in placed after 40% or so casualties. I asked for an "unrealistic" change to the AI in the beta demo so that attackers would attack until "all dead".

This change was made in the beta demo. I don't see the AI being as "charging" as it is in the beta demo and between the different "halt level", the changes to the AI etc etc those are the reasons IMO.

Dale,

I've seen 88s surviving 5 to 6 minutes of shelling from 2 or 3 Shermans in Riesberg. I have the movies if you want them. I've also seen an 88 killed by the very first 75mm shell.

I do find that 88 crews generally get rattled by intense HE fire, especially since the 88 is such a large target. I find the schrecks are usually in much better cover and thus are less rattled by an equivalent volume of incoming fire.

Dale, I think that such discussion is welcome here. Most of the time I find that most comments are based on a false appreciation of the true vagaries of combat and/or a false appreciation of what might be going on.

Sometimes comments truly do spot an omission etc and it is that 5% which makes the other 95% worthwhile wink.gif. The other 95% isn't all that bad though since its good to set things straight sometimes to help people get over misconceptions.

------------------

___________

Fionn Kelly

Manager of Historical Research,

The Gamers Net - Gaming for Gamers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My thanks to all who've taken the time to reply. I'm encouraged by the thought that some form of TO or roster may be in the final version.

On the AT gun sighting/vulnerability issue, I'm inclined to withhold further fire (no pun intended--I think!) until I see the published version. Reisberg and its 600-800 m. engagement range is pretty close quarters for something like an 88 AA gun that by rights should have opened fire at double or treble that distance to avoid effective return fire from its target. As I write this, though, I'm struck by part of what

bothered me at Reisberg--it's the thought that the probability to hit for an 88 opening fire from ambush with ample time to aim and no incoming fire is just too low! A gun whose optics were designed for use against relatively fast-moving

aircraft at 10,000 meters would have a very high first round P(h) against a lumbering armored vehicle at a tenth that distance. If the target dies--and we already know that the P(k) after hitting is pretty

high--then the survivability of the AT gun rises, especially if there are no other nearby tanks to observe the shot. (I assume spotting of fire is not automatic--having a crewman on another tank looking in the

right spot at the right time is not a given, especially if the tank is buttoned up...)

On the morale issue, I'm not talking about large units, large timeframes, or the defense. Both the reasonably extensive literature on combat behavior (both psychological studies and operations research works like Jim Dunnigan's or Trevor Dupuy's) and WWII small unit histories suggest that a CM-sized force of regulars should stall and go over to the defensive--or pull back--well before the casualty levels typically sustained in the CM betas when the computer attacks. Even a low global morale didn't stop the inexorable and ahistorical assaults I saw, since the computer continued to attack in one case with a global value of ~18 and 80 percent casualties. (The casualty statistics--as represented by the "KIA" to "other" ratios--

track very closely with the observation that 1 out of 4 casualties for most combatants in WWII were 'prompt fatalities'. Good modelling of the weapons systems at work here!)

Part of the issue is a squad-level one, though, that I don't have the sense from the replies seen here is addressed in the post-beta code changes. That is the case where

squads falter after losing the bulk of their manpower (accurate modelling), then frequently rally and press on to their doom (questionable modelling). Sure, the surviving man or two would be motivated enough to do this once in a while (that's what makes heroes and wins Silver Stars, after all) but the normal reaction for a trooper or two who are the last alive in their squad is to lose your enthusiasm and go on the defensive--or retreat. This is *your* squad, after all. You KNOW what happened to these guys--as opposed to at the other end of the battlefield--and according to the literature on combat motivation,

were fighting for them more than some abstact value like patriotism.

Fionn, I'm not sure if I followed your note. Did you request BTS modify the Beta code to allow bloodier attacks (perseverance in face of casualties), but the published code will not behave like this? I hope that's what you meant, that will make me a happy camper.

While I'm here, has the vulnerability of open-topped vehicles to mortars as illustrated in The Last Defense been fixed? Seems kinda' silly that an infantry platoon's best killer of enemy halftracks is its 60mm. mortar.

I don't really care about victory conditions--being of the "you know if you won or lost" school of tought-- but will probably have to search the BB on victory conditions to try to better understand the relationship between victory locations and casualties. (I just finished my first game as the German in Last Defense with a "draw" despite undisputed possession of the victory locations--and the entire town, for that matter. All seven AFV's had succumbed--damned mortars!--but the US casualties were twice my own and they had fewer remaining effectives. Doesn't sound like a draw to me, unless those AFV's count for beaucoup...)

[This message has been edited by Iconoclast (edited 12-27-99).]

[This message has been edited by Iconoclast (edited 12-28-99).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Big Time Software

First, I want to state that no criticism of Combat Mission, which is backed up by rational and factual POV, will be taken as some sort of act of heresy by us (BTS). But understand that much of what is discussed here on this BBS, and in particular this thread, is an individual's opinion (or several individuals). Very often there is no right and wrong, but degrees of both. So long as the counter opinion is backed up by a rational and factual POV, there should be NO charges of "the Emperor has no clothes", as this implies that those in defense of CM are arguing from an irrational, flawed, stand point. It is insulting to do this and reflects poorly on the person making the accusation.

We (BTS) stand by CM and when we find errors we fix them. We have already done this dozens of times for NO reason other than persuasive arguments presented by "random" posters and/or testers. Nothing in CM is beyond reproach in theory. We challenge anybody to find us even one game company that has made 1/10th the effort we have to make CM the best it can be. If we have to make some sort of compromise because of a technical or game reason, we say so very clearly and honestly. And therefore, when we stick to our guns people should understand that it is NOT out of blind faith or corrupt vision, but because OUR opinion is that the opposing view is incorrect. If someone wishes to agree to disagree, fine. There will never be a 100% consensus on anything as complex as CM ever, so why pretend that there can be? smile.gif

OK, now onto the points raised thus far...

1. No LOS button. We don't want a mathematically exact way to know what should be obtained through a guess at best. The 3D nature and God like view of the battlefield already allows you to make better guesses than a real commander, however there is still a large degree of doubt and error. I have been playing CM for 2 years now and I still make mistakes. If I had a LOS tool that could spot from anywhere I would NEVER make a mistake, and that would not be realistic NOR would it be fun (I like making mistakes, because it keeps me on my toes). This feature will not be added.

2. TO&E/OB - we do have some thoughts on how to do something like this without causing gameplay/realism problems. However, time is marching on and we don't think it will get in for 1.0. While some people think this is a real problem, many (including us) don't. CM can't have everything on the first go, and neither can it be all things to all people. We (BTS) don't think this is as important as some of you do, and therefore it isn't at the same priority level for us.

3. DF vs. AT - Sorry, but we disagree with your opinions about the problems with the 88s taking fire. The Sherman's 75 HE was a lethal round against something like the 88 Flak, and it is a piece of cake to spot due to its huge profile. This is bad news at the ranges in Riesberg. When you play the full version and you go up against a Pak 40, or a 88 Flak at 2000m, you will see a HUGE difference. Also keep in mind that in Eastern France and Western Germany (where Riesberg is set) 2000m of unobstructed LOS would be rare, thus necessitating 700m engagement or no engagement at all.

As for the questions about CM's morale/effectiveness modeling, you have to remember that CM is, in the end, a game. There are things that can, and do, happen in CM that are unrealistic. But to FORCE them to be realistic would largely place the human player on the sidelines doing nothing but watching the computer play itself. Yes, you can move a previously shattered unit back into risk if it has managed to recover. But how is the game supposed to know this? Sorry, but there aren't enough CPU cycles to understand complex concepts which require anticipation of ramifications. Therefore, we either take control away from the unit and march it to the rear when some magic number is hit, or we allow a chance for it to remain in control. What the human does with the unit after this is not in our control. The player can either be allowed to do can do dozens of realistic actions, as well as unrealistic ones, or be forced to do nothing but watch the game do one of those things for him. There is little choice from a game standpoint.

We can't simply tell a player they can't make a unit attack. First of all, define "attack". Is it ordering a unit to move laterally to get a better firing position, or is it moving closer to an enemy unit? Should one particular direction (i.e. "forward") be banned, or should it be a particular "hot spot"? In short, how the heck is CM supposed to know what the human player is doing and if that is OK to do or not according to some sort of norm? And if CM can't restrict the human player, should it make some sort of arbitrary decision for the computer player (i.e. handicap one and not the other)? Our answer to this is "no". If the human can do something, so too should the computer player.

However, there are MANY disincentives built into the game to curb the Banzi mentality. The number one is that you will most likely lose if you try this tactic (remember that the Demo's scoring system is defective and favors the attacker WAY too much). Previously shattered units, or ones that are significantly reduced in terms of head count, do not last long in combat. Charging with a 4 man squad, previously routed and with little ammo, is an invitation to lose all 4 men. And with each loss you take, the better the other side will do when the final tally is calculated.

To see how really crappy units react under fire, play Chance Encounter as the Germans. You will find that a large portion of your force will be neutralized in no time flat if exposed to even minor fire. This is why the Germans out number the US forces nearly 3:1. If crappy units were so great, there would be NO way the US could win at Chance Encounter unless the German player was an idiot.

Oh, and a note about the Riesberg Germans... They are fighting with Fanaticism. This is a scenario designer's option that I used. Basically it makes them fight like dogs, contrary to "normal" concepts of self preservation. Think of German units at Korsun, or Allied ones in Bastogne. Such units stuck it out far longer than others exposed to the same enemy pressures. Again, this is a scenario designer decision, and in the case of Riesberg I made the Germans have an above average threshold for losses. So you need to keep this in mind when thinking about how realistic the Germans fight in that scenario.

As for the "Force" level attack decision, since CM can not understand the concept of "Attack" it can only pay strategic attention to losses. This is what the Global Morale is for. The worse it is the less likely you will be able to mount a successful attack late in the game after you have suffered plenty of losses. Decreased ammo levels also plays a vital role here. I have seen the Allied player in Riesberg try for a final push into the town with too few good, supplied units, and drop from something like a minor victory to a tactical loss. Was the player prevented from making this error? No. But was the player punished? Yes. And that is as good as it is going to get.

Ending scenarios early is a really tough thing for many players to swallow. So we cranked back the threshold for premature ending of scenario (not Operation though!). This was done before the Demo was released because our testers, Fionn included, found that they were being "robbed" because CM was cutting the game off too soon. Would it be more realistic to FORCE games to end earlier than they are in the demo? Maybe. But would the majority of gamers out there be happy when their game ended at Turn 12 instead of giving them a second tactical chance to at least stabilize the situation? Our testers didn't think so smile.gif

Spotting enemy units... they are easier to spot in the game than in real life. Why? Because ALL of your units benefit from the knowledge of each other INSTANTLY. If that MG42 opens up on one squad, and that one squad figures out where it is, so does the rest of the entire Battalion (or whatever size force). This is the problem with ALL wargames ever created. CM can only break so many conventions and reshape wargaming to be more realistic with each release. On balance we feel CM's spotting system is more realistic than any other that has come before it, but it is not completely realistic. Future releases of CM will try to improve upon this. To see MUCH more on this subject, use the Search function. This problem is a big, hairy, and complicated one to solve. We'll get it eventually smile.gif

Schweeeeeeew! Longest post I have made in a LONG time smile.gif

Steve

P.S. The accuracy of mortars vs. open topped vehicles has been brought up about a dozen times already. It was fixed about a week after the demo was released smile.gif

[This message has been edited by Big Time Software (edited 12-27-99).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve,

Thanks for taking the time to post the lengthy reply. Most of what I posted I said a priori were impressions (the AT/Reisberg issue, which I said in my second post was probably a range/silhouette issue--although I still wonder about that first round, carefully aimed P(h) ;) or "wish list" features that are conveniences rather than "deal-breakers".

The morale issue I'd put in a different category, but then as a professional military analyst I suspect I'm in a minority with respect to tolerating having my units taken away from my control for the duration because they've become "demoralized". Given a choice between simulation accuracy and game playability, I take the former every time, but realize you've got a market to consider. I look forward to seeing the released version. Thanks again for hearing me out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Iconoclast,

Steve said what I was trying to say above..

I (and others) felt that battles were ending way too early before we really got "into" the battle.

In CE the US forces might have stopped after losing a couple of Shermans and 2 infantry platoons and just set up a defensive position for the rest of the game.

I and others felt this was a bit unsatisfying and asked for a more "fun" and hard-charging AI to be implemented even though it mightn't be 100% realistic. I guess wargamers buying commercial games like to push to the nth degree and want the AI to push back as hard.

One caveat though, operations are different. There conservation of force is a major concern.

Also, the thing with Riesberg is that I think 50% of the units are fanatics. These are "stand and fight to the last bullet, then pull out your entrenching tool and go hand to hand" type guys.

IMO Riesberg gives an incorrect impression of CM since it really is one of these "fighting to the last man" battles. Many people have reported the AI refusing to advance when playing Last Defence if the German tanks are knocked out early and one of the infantry platoons is badly hurt.

I've even seen this myself. The AI sat back in the 2 VLs it captured and tried to tough it out.

As for the FlaK88. Well, it is such a big target wink.gif. The PaK versions are much different beasts though wink.gif

------------------

___________

Fionn Kelly

Manager of Historical Research,

The Gamers Net - Gaming for Gamers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Big Time Software

Hi Ironclast,

I don't think that CM's treatment of morale at the lower level is unrealistic (I have many of Dupy's works, including Attrition). Here is the long reason why smile.gif

Dupy's works mostly concern themselves with operational level casualties. In general a unit (say a Company) that was down to 40% of its established strength was no longer a viable unit. However, in reality the Germans often fought, and fought WELL, with formations that were well below 50%. However, such a unit still fits the definition of "combat ineffective". What I mean by that is the unit was not able to achieve its designed functionality to the degree expected of it by higher formations and national doctrine. In the case of a company at 40% TO&E, that would mean NO offensive capabilities (crazy veteran units and/or dire circumstances excepted). This does not mean that it couldn't do squat if attacked however. Also keep in mind that a unit actively engaged in combat is not the same as a unit that is being considered for new action. Anybody who tries to hold a mutilated company to its original role for a fresh action should be shot at sunrise, but during the battle is a different thing. Maybe two platoons are ineffective, but one could still be very much effective and potentially within reach of the objective. Should the attack be called off or continued? That is hard to say, and it is why CM won't say it until it is in the extreme.

To give you some idea about what I am talking about, try playing the Germans in Chance Encounter. I think you will find it a totally different game than Riesberg (especially if you fight against a Human). Also, check out this...

[note: keep in mind that the Global Morale only counts "effective" or potentially effective (i.e. Panicked en mass) men, not WIA, AWOL, withdrawn off map, etc. See end of this long post for the importance)

I just finished up a small battle. I had a platoon of US Paras and one of US Glider troops. I had a 3 MMGs, one HMG, a 75mm Howitzer FO, and two 60mm mortars. All troops were Regular (i.e. some combat experience, good training). The Germans were Attacking.

My Glider platoon was hit hard and fell apart within a few minutes of intense enemy small arms fire (about 2 VG platoons hit it). 1st Squad was quickly reduced to 8 men (Glider start out with 12) then it Routed on me, 2nd Squad stayed pinned more often than not for a couple of turns, and 3rd Squad (11 men) Panicked after putting up a decent fight. Thus with less than 14% casualties my platoon, after about 5 minutes, was pretty much combat ineffective.

In the ensuing German assault 1st Squad was reduced to 3 men while retreating, was rallied by its HQ, and managed to pop off some shots at two brutalized German squads at about 100m distance a few turns later. Their small contribution, plus some support fire from another MMG, sent the two enemy units back. It was totally realistic that these three men managed to put up another stand. After the battle the unit would be totally spent, but at that moment they had one last "oomph" left. Had the Germans got closer, or if they had some support weapons in LOS, they would have either wiped out 1st Squad, sent them packing, or captured them for sure.

2nd Squad managed to trade shots and hold up the attackers (causing some casualties too), but was pounded by enemy small arms fire. It lost 3 men in quick succession and Panicked (right before my withdrawal orders kicked in frown.gif). During the move to safety it recovered and made good the next time around by holding up the remains of 2 enemy platoons (MMGs did some NICE work, as well as the 75mm Howitzer). At the end of the game it was still at 9 men and Alerted, but was out of ammo and I was trying to get some covering fire so it could pull back.

3rd Squad, down only ONE man, managed to pull itself together and then fell apart completely. It ran away and got mowed down by a HMG42 that was off on the other flank. At the end of the game there were 3 men left, still cowering in the safety of the woods. Total write off.

The HQ got hit by two HMG42s and vanished in one turn somewhere in the middle of the above frown.gif

When the game ended there were 15 men (37%) remaining "organized" (i.e. not wounded, MIA, insane, or otherwise incapacitated for the rest of the game) All the survivors could do was pull back. Thankfully the game ended before I had to do this smile.gif So... on the defensive the platoon become practically combat ineffective within 5 minutes of intense fighting (86% TO&E still organized), and nearly nonexistent after 15 minutes (37% still organized).

My other platoon got chewed up trying to come to the aid of the first. I had only 11 effectives out of a total of 34 men. A further 3 men were Panicked. So the unit was below 50% TO&E, and I can promise you that their ability to counter attack was over smile.gif Had the game continued I would have pulled the survivors back.

Conclusion from this one game... everything looks pretty good, and I think Dupy would be happy with the results. I was attacked 2:1, with the enemy having superior support weapons (damned 81mm and 120mm mortars HURT!!). I managed to inflict a little better than 1:1 casualties. If this were a real battle, the Germans would have taken their objectives BUT would be totally spent for the near future. My force was equally wrecked, yet I would have managed to pull back almost 50% of my starting force (including support teams) to fight another day. If you include all men other than KIA, I ended the battle with 85% of the men I went in with. Obviously some WIAs would die, and there would be MIA/POWs to some extent, but the majority would not be left on the field.

It would be reasonable to expect that I could muster 70% of my starting TO&E the following day if this were real life. The interesting thing to note is that my Global Morale was a mere 41% when the battle ended. So the lesson here is that you can't translate Global Morale directly into losses. Even though the Germans beat me in a bloody battle, I would have had 70% of my force intact to fight another day. Of course, the Germans would have had a similar recovery rate, but probably too low to go on the offensive without reinforcements.

Steve

[This message has been edited by Big Time Software (edited 12-28-99).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest L Tankersley

First, a comment: I don't think there are any actual sycophants here (except possibly for the occasional tounge-in-cheek variety trying to wheedle onto the testing team or get a new scenario, and they don't froth much at all). There are several people who champion CM and help explain why certain design decisions were or might have been made in the absence of a definitive post from BTS, but it's because they believe in the game and not out of a desire for personal gain.

And second, a request to everyone: please, please, PLEASE let's not get into speculating about who Maschen was referring to.

Leland J. Tankersley

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Big Time Software

Well, since I have read every post on this board (all 20k of them!) I feel I can safely say that the number of misinformed, baseless, frothing at the mouth attacks on CM's realism outweigh those that are too strongly supporting CM. For some reason people forget that there is a lot of crap tossed at us quite unfairly, and sometimes irrationally, just as there are people who defend CM too strongly. They are two extremes that balance each other out. The bulk of posts made here are very much in the middle.

As far as our own position about CM's realism, our position is stated above quite clearly. If someone wishes to challenge CM's realism/modeling, and uses their brains backed up by research, we are all ears. Such discussions can only improve either CM or people's understanding of WWII. We have also made a large number of changes to CM because of well informed discussions here on this BBS.

Iconoclast has some valid concerns and presented them in the right way. That is why I responded to him in longhand. We think that CM holds up well in light of his opinions, and say so using rational arguments and "evidence" from gameplay to back those points up. On another game's BBS Iconoclast might have been banned (no need to name the one I am thinking of smile.gif).

We have no fear because the Emperor in our case has a fine set of clothes. And funny enough, the challange to show us a better dressed Emperor has always produced silence on the other end. CM might not be perfect, but no game out there can hold a candle to it's realism and attention to detail. That is why we can safely say that CM is the most realistic WWII wargame ever, but will never say that it is 100% realistic, or the most realistic there ever can be. To say the latter would be idiotic in the extreme.

Steve

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve,

I apologize for the "Emperor Has No Clothes" comment. It was not directed at you by any means or by any meaning. I was trying to point out that concerns raised about the game are often seemingly brushed aside or even put down by others (not you) with unsolicited & enthusiastic responses often without a good basis & certainly without the valid & reasoned response you, the game's designer, always give. I think 'Iconoclast' raised some good questions & I think they were fairly answered by you (at least they satisfied me). I take responsibility for my comment & will respectfully retire & refrain from further inflammatory rhetoric. I think the Emperor can indeed stand proudly on his own - regardless of attire.

Dale

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well since this is Maschendrahtzaun's ONLY post it is obviously just someone who is a regular who doesn't have the courage to put his own name to this statement.

Interesting.

------------------

___________

Fionn Kelly

Manager of Historical Research,

The Gamers Net - Gaming for Gamers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve and Fionn,

Thanks for having taken the time to address my concerns. I liked the system from the first turn of the demo and had already recommended it to my usual PBEM opponents.

I was motivated to write because my "antennae" had started twitching in the Reisberg scenario after seeing numerous squads that had already been reduced to 1-3 survivors mount "fresh attacks" (defined

as charging from cover across 50 m. of open towards known hostiles, not merely lending fire support to others) throughout the final ten turns of the game. Beyond this behavioral anomaly, I was concerned that

the "bottom line" casualty count for the US was roughly double the point at which a typical regular company would have broken off the attack. In a nutshell, those are the concerns I was trying to raise.

After your responses I'm convinced that the ahistorical result in my Reisberg games came from changes to the loss tolerance in the beta to make it more playable and do not represent CM's treatment of operations.

I'll go further--if the current code can generate unit behavior like that in the detailed readout of Steve's Airborne defense post, I'd say the psychological modelling in the game system is as strong as the rest--i.e., state-of-the-art.

I'll be trying the Chance Encounter scenario later (I wasn't aware of its existence until this thread) but will try to avoid generating any more time-consuming posts at a result! <g>

Steve, it's been a pleasure discussing this with you; your open-minded attitude towards "your baby" reminds me a lot of Scott Hamilton of HPS in the days when he was a one-man shop (from coding to order fulfillment and customer support).

Enjoy the rest of your holidays!

[This message has been edited by Iconoclast (edited 12-28-99).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Comment about spotting Stugs,

Someone said Stug's are always spotted after first shot. I was just playing a game where I thought I lost a sherman to a shreck or faust as they were no tanks visible to me at the time. the next turn I got two of those big german markers "sound contact" the subsequent turn one of them became a Stug, the other was still unidentified. after the battle my opponent tells me that both his Stugs on that flank had opened up on my sherman at the same time yet I saw nothing to indicate this on the screen.

Seems like FOW is working to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LOL.

You're going to love CE whichever side you play.

A little advice Iconoclast... Play it as a double-blind PBEM game if you can find someone who hasn;t played it yet.

CM really, really shines when playing double-blind (or even just single-blind vs the AI) wink.gif

Lokesa,

I happen to KNOW StuGs aren't spotted after the first shot cause in my PBEM game with SS Panzerleader when I was the Germans in Chance Encounter one of my StuGs nailed TWO Shermans over the course of THREE MINUTES without being spotted.

When he and I were talking about those Shermans he thought a StuG about 100 metres from them had killed them both but, in fact, it was a StuG about 500 metres away on a hilltop which he didn't spot at all which killed them both.

It fired at least 6 shots whilst being unspotted.

------------------

___________

Fionn Kelly

Manager of Historical Research,

The Gamers Net - Gaming for Gamers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Mikeman

Top notch thread! One of the most informative and thought provoking I've seen on this forum. Now for a stupid question:

How exactly do I play "single blind" against the computer? I don't quite get it.

Mikeman out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fionn, berli is currently having his way with me in CE (to which he refers above) and I have something hilarious to show you from that battle.

A stug goes to the top of the hill on the German right and does a complete reverse pirouette under fire and backs down the hill for no reason other than he didn't quite "get" the hunt command I installed. Its pretty funny to watch if you want to see the movie.

Drawing that kind of fire almost qualifies him as a new kind of hero.

------------------

desert rat wannabe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Correction for Fionn. First post.

Merely agreeing with what Dale H said while pointing out that BTS is far more patient with those who have questions than many of the regular posters here. There is a definite, how do you say "Grundeinstellung", base view (?) of the board that is not welcoming to critical comments. It is like these people enjoy the game less when someone criticizes it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...