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More (Official) Small Scenarios


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Topic pretty much says it all. Since the original release of CM:BN I have noticed that there are fewer and fewer 'small' scenarios in the CM releases.

 

By 'small' I don't mean literally the label that BFC uses in CM for scenario sizes - I mean a scenario that is both small enough in OOB and map size, and short enough in length, that I can sit down and, start to finish, be done in about 30 minutes. It seems there has been a gradual shift in average scenario size to get bigger, and bigger and bigger with each release of the CMx2 games. CM:RT is a prefect example: out of about 20 scenarios, only 3 of them were "small" or "tiny" (one was listed as small, but was a Bn sized engagement :) ) ChrisND saying in one of his streams that the Morning Coffee was one of the 'small' scenarios in CM:BS only added to this impression: it was a big map, though to be fair, I didn't see the OOB.

 

I know there are tons of folks here who *love* Bn sized engagements that cover a 5km square map and last 2 hours of gametime, let alone how long it takes to actually play it. But, I would like to raise the voice of those of us who don't have that much time to invest into our games. Yes, I am well aware of the scenario editor and QB's, but until we get (if ever) the return of the CMx1 'Combined Arms' selection for QB's, I cant find much enjoyment in playing the AI because of its purchases.

 

I have never played a CMx2 campaign for this very reason. Though I hope to have time to play Paper Tigers campaigns some day!

 

So all in all, BFC and those who are officially designing scenarios, please include a nice helping of scenarios that are on the smaller size, both in OOB, map size and actual game time.

 

Thanks

 

Chad

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Topic pretty much says it all. Since the original release of CM:BN I have noticed that there are fewer and fewer 'small' scenarios in the CM releases.   By 'small' I don't mean literally the label t

Small and Tiny scenarios can be difficult to make because a battalion was the smallest tactical unit that generally fought relatively independently.  If you want to make scenarios with company and pla

I too would love more small scenarios. Alot in CMRT where very big indeed..and I really would have liked the campaign to start small then build up in scenario size rather than starting off with a mass

I know there are tons of folks here who *love* Bn sized engagements that cover a 5km square map and last 2 hours of gametime, let alone how long it takes to actually play it. But, I would like to raise the voice of those of us who don't have that much time to invest into our games. Yes, I am well aware of the scenario editor and QB's, but until we get (if ever) the return of the CMx1 'Combined Arms' selection for QB's, I cant find much enjoyment in playing the AI because of its purchases.

 

I have never played a CMx2 campaign for this very reason. Though I hope to have time to play Paper Tigers campaigns some day!

 

So all in all, BFC and those who are officially designing scenarios, please include a nice helping of scenarios that are on the smaller size, both in OOB, map size and actual game time.

 

Thanks

 

Chad

 

Why don't you just buy the AI's units, I know it isn't as much as a surprise but that should fix your problem to some degree?

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+1...I hope too they include some more tiny to small size scenarios that can be completed in an hour or two.

 

I remember the old CMx1 games used to have a website called "Byte Battles" or something like that. Very small sceanarios that were a lot of fun to play. Would love to see something like that for CMx2.

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Small and Tiny scenarios can be difficult to make because a battalion was the smallest tactical unit that generally fought relatively independently.  If you want to make scenarios with company and platoon sized forces you are dealing with patrol and recon type actions.  Having to create a functional AI plan for both sides also increases the degree of difficulty for small and tiny scenarios.  Also since MGs can effectively engage enemy soldiers out to 1000 meters making a map small enough for a thirty minute time frame that can actually be traversed by walking infantry without having both sides in immediate contact can be a bit tricky.  Larger scenarios are simply more 'natural' to create because they fit what happened much better both historically and in terms of weapons capability.  A 500 x 500 meter map may even be too big for a thirty minute time frame depending on the situation and most players would probably feel time pressure under those circumstances.  

 

Edited to add that modern combat does lend itself better towards company sized engagements because the lethality is a little higher and smaller forces operating independently is probably more normal than during WW2

Edited by ASL Veteran
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I think BFC scenarios, at least lately, have been designed with the notion that mostly CM veterans will be playing. Which makes it a bit of a steep learning curve for newbies sometime. QB has mostly taken over the small newbie practice scenario niche. When CMSF was released they added a number of very basic scenarios to the release. Because everybody had to learn the new game engine from scratch (including scenario designers). Plus the first generation QB generator wasn't all one might hope for. So lots of basic scenarios. 

 

If you've never tried it I strongly strongly strongly recommend you build (and post) your own small scenarios to play. Playing in the editor really is half the fun of owning the game, Scenario making is as easy (or as hard) as you make it yourself. A house, a tree, plus two tanks = a scenario! ;)  

Some of my favorite scenarios were ones I quickly threw together myself. I did one where drunk Marines fight national guardsmen at a Texas shopping mall after rotating back from Iraq. One where airborne units 'liberate' a village cat house from the Italian army in a night time raid. I've had my men fighting up impossibly steep slopes and over high snow-covered mountains, and even unarmed rioters over-running a UN outpost in west Africa! If we can find 25 posters to each make two small scenarios that'll be fifty additional scenarios to play. And if your scenarios any good you might just get 'noticed' and find yourself invited to come play on the beta board!

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Both ASL Veteran & MikeyD said it better than I can.

“If you want to make scenarios with company and platoon sized forces you are dealing with patrol and recon type actions…. modern combat does lend itself better towards company sized engagements because the lethality is a little higher and smaller forces operating independently is probably more normal than during WW2”

“Playing in the editor really is half the fun of owning the game…”

WeGo vs RT factor in to the design. Playing a brisk, smallish scenario in RT w/o pauses is fun. I hope to get my fingers more involved in smallish RT focused scenario making when CMBS is released and I get the measure of making scenarios.
 

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In terms of unit densities the main downside to modern vs WW2 is that every formation has a lot of vehicles in it.  So while you may get a modern company to command there will probably be many more actual pieces to play around with because everyone is riding in something and the actual squads and teams are likely to be smaller or already divided up tactically.  The US command structure in particular seems to give American formations a lot of 'extra' stuff in them with all their attendent vehicles.  Russian formations feel a little more streamlined in that regard.  The reach of modern weapons is generally greater as well so you probably won't see too many smaller maps with modern with all those missiles flying about, although once again since everyone is riding in something the maps 'play' smaller than a comparable map would for leg infantry in WW2 scenarios.  You are probably more likely to see lower unit densities on those maps though.  It only takes about ten minutes to drive a platoon of BMPs two or three thousand meters. 

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In terms of unit densities the main downside to modern vs WW2 is that every formation has a lot of vehicles in it.  So while you may get a modern company to command there will probably be many more actual pieces to play around with because everyone is riding in something and the actual squads and teams are likely to be smaller or already divided up tactically.  The US command structure in particular seems to give American formations a lot of 'extra' stuff in them with all their attendent vehicles.  Russian formations feel a little more streamlined in that regard.  The reach of modern weapons is generally greater as well so you probably won't see too many smaller maps with modern with all those missiles flying about, although once again since everyone is riding in something the maps 'play' smaller than a comparable map would for leg infantry in WW2 scenarios.  You are probably more likely to see lower unit densities on those maps though.  It only takes about ten minutes to drive a platoon of BMPs two or three thousand meters. 

 

Modern vs WW2 differences are very real as ASL Veteran succinctly notes. The large map size is not as a downside in Modern, IMO. With all the 'extra' stuff and mobility I would expect ‘smallish” Modern RT / no pause scenarios to be on a 1x1 km map or better.

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I remember a mission im CMSF that had some Syrian SF ambushing a platoon of canadian dismounted infantry, or it might have been the other way around. Also another campaign that was about the US mentoring Afghan forces that had battles at maximum contained a company of troops. That was so sick. Ill be making missions, but I dont know what of yet. But I will be definately making some small unit RF Recon missions.

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I remember a mission im CMSF that had some Syrian SF ambushing a platoon of canadian dismounted infantry, or it might have been the other way around. Also another campaign that was about the US mentoring Afghan forces that had battles at maximum contained a company of troops. That was so sick. Ill be making missions, but I dont know what of yet. But I will be definately making some small unit RF Recon missions.

by the way I made a i.e browser icon for that RHS site.

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If you've never tried it I strongly strongly strongly recommend you build (and post) your own small scenarios to play. Playing in the editor really is half the fun of owning the game, Scenario making is as easy (or as hard) as you make it yourself. A house, a tree, plus two tanks = a scenario! ;)  

 

Thanks for the replies everyone.

 

I *have* played in the editor, quite a bit. But, heres the problems with creating my own scenarios:

 

1. Foremost, I know the OOB. Not knowing the exact OOB is, for me, half the fun of scenarios. Even if I use random reinforcements to the point where certain forces will appear in one go of the scenario and not in another, I still know the entire potential OOB and this affects my choices ingame.

2. Second, I know all potential setup and reinforcement areas. There goes the other half of scenario enjoyment. Even if it is all random and varied, I still know that potentially such and such unit could setup or arrive in a certain area.

3. Finally, the entire point of this thread, I don't have the consistent time to play big scenarios, let alone make scenarios. While I appreciate the encouragement to create my own scenarios, anyone who has spent five minutes in the editor knows that creating a *good* scenario is a serious investment of time. Sure, I could throw some trees in, a platoon of Shermans and a platoon of Panthers and watch lead fly, but to me, that's not why I own CM. I own CM for the best tactical simulation available, not for a beer and pretzel game.

 

I am a firm believer of the best experience playing any scenario is your first time playing it. You don't know the OOB, you don't know the enemy setup areas. I have been re-playing the CM:SF scenarios while waiting for CM:BS to get back in the modern mindframe. And even after, what, 6 or 7 years, I *still* remembered where things were going to be, that a platoon of T-72's was going to materialize and so on. It took a huge amount of enjoyment out of the, otherwise, great scenarios. There was still enjoyment in playing the game itself because CM is a great game, but it was a much, much less enjoyable experience.

 

As for the suggestion to play QB's, theres the huge limitation of solo QB play to fight against (bad AI purchases forcing me to purchase the AI's forces, see above for how much I enjoy knowing the enemy OOB). The end result is I find myself all excited for the new CM games, but not really having a lot of content that I personally have the time to enjoy. I have yet to play any of the CMx2 campaigns because each time I try, after one or two missions I just don't have the time available to play. The 'large' and 'huge' scenarios never get played because I open them up, see a reinforced battalion of troops, a 2km square map and realize that playing this scenario is going to be a 6 hour investment.

 

Again, there are room for both - big scenarios and small ones. However, as I mentioned in my original post, I have noticed a shift in each release to bigger, and bigger scenarios. As I pointed out with CM:RT, this shift has come to the point where *small scenarios are not even being provided in any significant number anymore*. Where there was once a nice balance between scenario sizes, there are now almost exclusively very big scenarios that take hours on end to play. This is a real shame because its limiting many players enjoyment of the CM series.

 

ASL Veteran, I realize the challenges in making a good, platoon/company sized scenario because I have tried, and failed, to do so. However, the best CMx2 experiences I have had so far have been exactly those scenarios that have been created in that size range. I can keep track of my OOB, I can take in the map without feeling overwhelmed, and more important in CMx2 with the change to 1:1, I feel each loss.

 

So again, I humbly ask those who are developing the official scenarios for each CM release, to please keep in mind that there are those who never play the big scenarios due to lack of time. Please include more smaller sized scenarios.

 

Thanks

 

Chad

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I think there were quite a few smaller scenarios in the Market Garden release ... not sure if you have that module or not, but the Market Garden campaign lent itself a little better to smaller scenarios because of the nature of the campaign.  Each scenario designer who submits something for the disc creates the type of scenario that they are comfortable with making.  Scenario design is as much an art as it is a science and if a designer isn't good at creating something at a certain scale then trying to force them into something is likely going to yield sub optimal results.  It isn't a case of small stuff being submitted and rejected either.  There are just fewer smaller ones being submitted by the designers doing the work so BFC is only working with what is submitted.  In order to get more small and tiny scenarios in the release CD there has to be more designers who work well at that scale and who can create something that is more intricate than a quick battle.  With a 30 minute time limit that basically wipes out reinforcements and depending on the situation probably leg infantry as well so there are a lot of limitations with what a designer can do with those parameters.  How many smaller scenarios are available on the repository?  Is there a designer who does decent small scenario work who puts stuff on the repository?  Who knows, if there are designers who work well at the smaller scale and they put stuff up on the repository perhaps they will get noticed by BFC and asked to contribute.  

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funny thing is I started giving serious thought to doing my first campaign based on an idea.  I wanted to do some small scenarios of a Spetznatz team acting in a behind the lines roll disrupting activities of Ukranian and US forces around Kiev.  It started with an idea for a single scenario, but I knew I could never get it to work for both sides.  Then I thought heck I could do it as a campaign and not have to worry about a Red AI.  Unfortunately I need some practice before I could consider doing that and some better idea of the units I would need, AI programming etc.

 

It might still happen as the idea and scenario mapping I still have, I just need better scenario skills...and of course time which has been in short supply the last few months.

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Small scenarios take a while to create. They can be harder to make because small size units means even losing one asset can tip the scales. So the time it takes to create the map (which IMHO has to be incredibly detailed to make the very small scale immersive - and to provide lot's of tactical options on a micro scale), write the briefings, create the tac/op maps and create a passable AI plan all take time - most likely weeks. To do that for 30 minutes play time? Hmm...not for me - to much time investment for not enough enjoyment reward. TBH playing really small stuff is where QBs come in.

 

If you don't want to know stuff why not create a few with different OOBs then save the first turn. Come back to it a while later when you have forgotten what you gave what. If you do a few at the same time, if your short term memory is like mine you'll never mind anyway!

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It would also help greatly if the "tiny" quick battle setting gave fewer points. In CMRT, it provides enough for a full Soviet SMG company, a battery of 76mm guns and FO, with three or four TRPs to round things off. While that certainly can be a fun force mix, it's decidedly above what I would consider "tiny."

 

I'm not sure if my perception is reflective of the community as a whole, but I think of them as:

 

Tiny: reinforced platoon of infantry (maybe rifle plt + mortar or HMG) or lower-tier AFV + squad.

Small: Two reinforced rifle platoons (with artillery) or a slightly reduced infantry company (with mortars).

Medium: Reinforced infantry company with artillery and maybe a section of light armor or a pair or trio of upper tier AFVs with a pair of rifle squads for support.

Large: Multiple infantry companies with all the trimmings or two full platoons of armor with a platoon of supporting infantry plus mortars/artillery/air.

Huge: Anything above large.

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funny thing is I started giving serious thought to doing my first campaign based on an idea.  I wanted to do some small scenarios of a Spetznatz team acting in a behind the lines roll disrupting activities of Ukranian and US forces around Kiev.  It started with an idea for a single scenario, but I knew I could never get it to work for both sides.  Then I thought heck I could do it as a campaign and not have to worry about a Red AI.  Unfortunately I need some practice before I could consider doing that and some better idea of the units I would need, AI programming etc.

 

It might still happen as the idea and scenario mapping I still have, I just need better scenario skills...and of course time which has been in short supply the last few months.

 

Recon Battallion (New) - with no Tigrs.

 

Ambushing ukrainian supply trucks and US forces moving into the FEBA - cool stuff.

 

Also could have some capture missions on supply facilities, or destroy some Ukrainian AA Batteries.

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Agree with much of what the OP says.  I have plenty experience in the editor and have made my own texture mods, so am familiar with getting pleasure out of CM in ways other than just playing it.  However, when you are in a period of life when time is short, it is becoming an increasingly more difficult series to fire up for an hour's fun play.  QBs and buying the AI's units would be just about tolerable if there was some way of adding randomization into the AI force eg set a % probability for each unit to appear, or buy the AI a range of units eg between 2 - 5 PzIVs.

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Recon Battallion (New) - with no Tigrs.

 

Ambushing ukrainian supply trucks and US forces moving into the FEBA - cool stuff.

 

Also could have some capture missions on supply facilities, or destroy some Ukrainian AA Batteries.

What if someone wants to play as the US forces moving into the FEBA?  What if someone wants to play as the force guarding the supplies?  That's what makes smaller ones so difficult.  ;) Anything that involves one side getting the drop on the other side is going to be difficult to pull off.

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Small scenarios take a while to create. They can be harder to make because small size units means even losing one asset can tip the scales. So the time it takes to create the map (which IMHO has to be incredibly detailed to make the very small scale immersive - and to provide lot's of tactical options on a micro scale), write the briefings, create the tac/op maps and create a passable AI plan all take time - most likely weeks. To do that for 30 minutes play time? Hmm...not for me

 

Hee hee.  With my second scenario (all time not just CMBS) I can now see what you mean.  I probably spent more time on my small scenario than I would have on a medium sized one - just trying to make sure the AI plans work well enough.  Still not sure I have it right - we will see.

 

I took scenario experts' advice and started with small ones but I always planned to make bigger ones.  Given the OP (and other's) request I pledge to make small scenario for any CM release I have the privledge to be asked to participate in.

 

That's the best I can do.

 

OK fine that's the best I am willing to do :D

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While I agree that smaller scenarios need better, more detailed maps, in the end you're spending the same amount of time as you would on a larger map, and most of the time produce a better product. The map can be a deal breaker for me on a scenario, and a poorly made map kills imersion for me. I much rather have a detailed 800x800 map that is made with love and an eye for realism then a 2kx2k monstrosity that looks ugly and nothing like a plausible piece of terrain. Furthermore, small scenarios don't require AI plans, if you just make the player the attacker and are willing to accept a static AI defender. I do understand that Battlefront requires official scenarios to be 100% playable from all sides, but there is no such constraint for user made scenarios. You could make a small 30 minute, 800mx800m scenario with briefing, graphics and full playthrough in a weekend. You'd be working on it all day, but it's possible.

 

I think a lot of people worry about making scenarios that are replayable and extremely challenging, but let's face it, most players will play a scenario against the AI once and expect at least a minor victory if they don't make any agregious mistakes and use basic tactics. These scenarios can be very fun and relaxing. People just need to be willing to make those kind of maps. I much rather have four 30 minute scenarios that I can play over four weekends then a 2 hour slugfest I need to spend all month on. Maybe I am in the minority though.

Edited by SeinfeldRules
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People seemed to enjoy Kiwi Soldiers, and replay it a LOT. And it was surprisingly quick and easy to make, meaning that the enjoyment generated for effort expended is probably amongst the best of any scenario out there.

18 Platoon, Platoon Patrol, and Dead Of Night all also seem to have been well received, and only required modest effort.

The 'trick' is to have a good concept #before# you start messing about in the editor.

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