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Experience ratings in sceanrios


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Sometimes I get started with a scenario and halfway through I'll save and request a cease fire. Not infrequently my side has the upper hand. But then I discover that the entire opposing force is rated Crack, even Elite. I won't name any authors, I'm aware of the work involved and the maps are often superb, but it kinda disturbs the atmosphere. Not to mention that the battles play out in a peculiar way. Normal tactics don't apply. Nor is taking the attacking side on steroids any more convincing.

It's questionable that by late 1944 an entire battalion of Germans should merit such an exalted rating given the losses suffered. Or the Allies, especially American troops with their screwy- 'repple depple'- replacement system. Granted, there are exceptions.

Generally when coming across this exp inflation the scenario gets deleted, never to be played again. Surely it's better to inflate the numbers of the (for example, defending) side than endow endow them with implausible ratings. Thoughts?

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If you are talking about late 1944 you must be referring to MG scenarios rather than Normandy scenarios. Are there any crack or elite German units in MG scenarios? If so perhaps that is unlikely, as you say, although genuine Hohenstauffen units might properly designated as such by late 1944.

If on the other hand you are referring to Normandy scenarios, I do not think it is unreasonable for some German units (say elements of 2nd Pz; 1SS; Lehr; or perhaps 3rd Fallschirmjager) to be treated as crack or elite although one might disagree with those designations for other units - for example in the scenario Sticking it Out, a 12SS PzGr Co is designated as veteran. I would say that 12SS ought to be treated as regular at best and possibly green, but with extreme / fanatic motivation - given that as a whole the unit had not seen action before and was, by some accounts, tactically naive. But this is all interpretation and presumably scenario designers have at least half an eye on creating a challenge for the players as much a they do for ensuring strict historical accuracy.

FWIW, my view is that elite units in Normandy should be limited to elements of the parachute regiments only in 82nd and 101st divisions, the 6th Airborne division and the US Ranger and British Commando battalions (albeit these latter are not modelled). Remainder of those units and elements of 2nd Pz; Lehr; 1SS; 3rd Fallschirmjager should be treated as crack or veteran at best; elements of 2SS; US 1st, 2nd Armored and 9th divisions and UK 50th, 51st and 7th Armoured divisions should be treated as veteran at best and everything else regular or green.

Other units with reputations, such as 9SS, 12SS, 4th and 29th US, 3rd Canadian, 3rd, 15th, 43rd UK and Guards Armoured ought to be differentiated by higher motivation rather than classifications which denote experience which they did not necessarily have.

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Not enough information here to make a judgement. Are you playing a historical scenario or a fictional scenario? If you are playing a fictional scenario then it really doesn't matter what experience ratings a unit has because it is fictional. If the scenario is historical, then the scenario author has to attempt to factor in numerous sources of information and make a determination as far as what experience levels to assign.

If the author has information about the battle that is detailed enough then the author should be able to make a determination as to whether the battle plays out in an appropriate manner or not. If you are playing a scenario without fully understanding the historical context and just making a snap judgement that "Elite and Crack are bad" then perhaps your judgement is the one that is faulty and not the scenario designer's judgement. Your perception of what Crack and Elite mean might be different to that of the designer's as well. Maybe you think that the only troops that rate as Elite is modern Delta Force soldiers but maybe the author did a detailed study of the battle and determined that, for that particular engagement, that particular force on that particular day fought as effectively as a Crack or an Elite force might and the scenario outcome matched the historical result.

Aside from that - you are also discounting the morale effects. The morale rating of a squad has more of an impact on a unit's staying power than the experience level. Maybe all those Crack and Elite troops have low morale?

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Some thoughts:

* If I were you, I'd e-mail or PM in a polite and friendly manner the scenario authors, first thanking them for their effort and then asking what's the rationale behind the ratings.

* I wouldn't ever rate any German force bigger than a squad as 'Crack' nor 'Elite', with the exception of GrossDeutschland Div infantry. And that in 1942. 'Salting' units with a diverse set of ratings can be busy work on the editor, and I wouldn't be surprised that the scenario authors would correct that themselves (or invite you to do that yourself) if they got feedback. The comments system in the Scenario depot is quite unhelpful I reckon, unless e-mail or PM notifications are being sent to authors when somebody makes a comment.

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The morale rating is generally as high as the experience rating- down to the Kubelwagen drivers. There's a least one scenario bundled with MG like this and more than several on the Repository. I get it: the author's eager to create a challenge for the player , an 'evil' scenario. What he really gets is a very strange battle.

Paper Tiger goes in the opposite direction.

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Yeah I think it can be off putting as well and make you take a step back and scratch your head.

I feel the the vast majority troops used in CM engagements in the theaters covered by CMBN and CMFI would fit between the Green - Veteran brackets depending on the unit and it's history. The rankings of elite and crack should be used sparingly and only for individual teams/vehicles where appropriate. Perhaps you can fudge the experience level for a formation if its well documented that they fought 'exceptionally well/above expectations' in a particular engagement.

As I dabble more and more into scenario design under the CMx2 engine, doing quality unit research not only during the engagement you're modelling but also covering the events leading up to the scenario itself is the key to getting this balance right.

As an example, I'll use the Carpiquet project I'm slaving away at. (Slaving be the key word. :( ) I agree with the above poster about the 12SS HJ, first impulse is to dump the defending force under 'Crack' and be done with it but this wouldn't be historically right. Regular experience as they were trained but with no real combat experience going into the Normandy campaign, (though by 4th of July they had been fighting for a few weeks). I'd also add a smattering of Veterans representing the leadership elements brought over from 1st SS when the 12SS HJ was formed. Combined, I think this would be more accurate representation of experience levels. What makes this unit stand out and where misconceptions can come from is the high motivation levels. High motivation which can at times be more problematic for a player going up against an AI opponent. There would also be some fanatic level teams a part of this force who just don't know how to quit.

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The morale rating is generally as high as the experience rating- down to the Kubelwagen drivers. There's a least one scenario bundled with MG like this and more than several on the Repository. I get it: the author's eager to create a challenge for the player , an 'evil' scenario. What he really gets is a very strange battle.

Paper Tiger goes in the opposite direction.

I'm only quoting you because you mention Paper Tiger, but my response isn't necessarily directed at you specifically. Paper Tiger has his own theory about experience and morale levels and within the context of what he does it works. He has a lot of fans who enjoy playing like that and his stuff will play a certain way because of that. He also has preferences as far as scenario time as well that some like and some don't like. The thing about this is that it's all subjective and each designer has to come up with some means of assigning experience and morale levels within their scenario. BFC provides the designer with several experience and morale ratings to choose from and designers are free to choose from that menu however they prefer to choose. What works for some may not work for others and I think that most designers will have their own 'stamp' as to how their stuff plays out. Because experience and morale are a subjective assignment there is no demonstrably 'correct' or 'incorrect' rating that can be assigned to a particular unit unless there is some sort of a detailed historical yardstick that can be applied and even that is still subjective.

I think the best thing to do is just mention the specific scenario or contact the author, indicate your displeasure, and then move on. Many designers don't get enough feedback when they post stuff on the repository so they may welcome some comments from a player. Most of the stuff that comes with the DVD has been play tested, in some cases extensively, so if it's on the DVD and the scenario looks a certain way then the playtesters were generally fine with it in the form that you see it in. If the author continues to make stuff that you don't like then I think deleting them or not downloading their stuff is the way to go.

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I always assumed that when the AI troops are rated so high, it's to overcome the inherent limitations of the AI itself. When I make my own scenarios, I always give my cyber opponent high level experience.

Depends whether one is seeking a chess-like experience, a challenging game, or the atmospherics of a WW2 experience. In CM2 an Elite American squad of 12 Audie Murphy's can win the attrition battle in the open against a Regular German platoon. And vice versa. They're that powerful.

ASL Vet: Paper Tiger belongs, iirc, to the school that infantry ratings are too high across the board, that units recover from suppression too quickly and don't reflect real world brittleness. Like JasonC. He uses terrain features, intelligent placement and number disparities to achieve his goals. But it's all subjective, as you say.

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