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The main complaint I read most about QB maps is that, once you know what you're doing, the AI becomes a pushover, rendering the games rather dull.

 

Might say something about how I play the game but I still find plenty to enjoy with QB maps and thier relative challenge. I also don't normally have a lot of time to commit to PBEM, although I acknowledge the superior challenge a decent opponant can offer.

 

What I'd like to hear about is your recommendation for interesting/challenging QB maps, vanilla or user-made. One thing is that there are a lot of them so it can be a challenge in itself recalling which one you enjoyed late time. What I plan to do in this thread is to post a brief outline of a few I personally enjoy and add a screen captures plus explaining any tweaks I've made in the editor to increase their playability. I want to encourage anyone else to post their own with or without images so that newcomers to the game can make a better informed decision about the kind of challenge they're looking for in SP.

 

I think that, once I've had a chance to experiment more in the editor (esp with randomised events) it'll open thiings up a bit. As it stands I normally add random artillery barrages, and reduce my own force %. I'll post the first as soon as I get a chance.

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The challenge, or lack of it, in QBs doesn't really depend on the maps, but on the AI. Inherently, since the AI plan can't be designed with any knowledge of the forces that will be available to it, the plan will be "sub-optimal" for the forces it does get handed. Combine that with the sometimes bizarre forces the AI picks for itself, and how it allocates them to order groups, and you are looking, at best, at a crapshoot for whether there's any fight in the AI at all. For example, I've handed the AI AAA pieces before, which it has put into a group that starts at a location that is distant from, and out of LOS of any VLs, or any reasonable approach route. The AI group had orders to move up onto positions to defend the VLs 5 minutes in (a standard move that MarkEzra has used in many maps to prevent the attacker simply shelling the VLs on T1 and killing every defender), but AAA cannot move, so they were completely useless to the AI. As more QB AI plans come in with triggers, the responsiveness of the defenders will improve, with possibilities for falling back to secondary positions which weren't really practicable when operating to a strict timetable.

I don't know what you mean by "randomised events".

Oh, you'll note that I've not addressed the AI-as-attacker. That's because the AI poses little or no challenge as an attacker/ME opposition on a QB map, except if you give it enough forces to run your counters out of ammo.

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Fair points articulated more clearly than my original post. The 'randomised events' I refered to are actually AI plans which, if I'm not mistaked, can be from multiple random possible plans. Apologies for not being clear.

 

I do wonder whether, though, many players, newcomers for that matter, care very much that AAA won't move? I see you are highlighting the deficiency of the AI, but that was my point, really. I also wonder whether it's possible to create a QB challenge without simply 'running your counters out of ammo'?

 

Is it really impossible to derive any satisfaction from a QB map without resorting to the editor?

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Fair points articulated more clearly than my original post. The 'randomised events' I refered to are actually AI plans which, if I'm not mistaked, can be from multiple random possible plans. Apologies for not being clear.

Ah, yes. That's one of two bits of randomness. The only one available for QBs, since the other bit is randomised arrival times for reinforcements which are unavailable for QBs.

 

I do wonder whether, though, many players, newcomers for that matter, care very much that AAA won't move?

When they fight a foe that is even more numerically deficient than they expected, then find, at game end, that a proportion of the AI's points-to-spend was left languishing at the back of the play area, ineffective, they tend to be a bit put out, I reckon. I know lots of people have posted here when they've noticed that an AI plan has gone "wrong" and deployed its forces in irrelevant and combat-ineffective locations, then not moved them later.

I see you are highlighting the deficiency of the AI, but that was my point, really. I also wonder whether it's possible to create a QB challenge without simply 'running your counters out of ammo'?

With the AI attacking? Against a competent defender? I would opine that it's not possible without making it "stupid". A billiard-table-flat map (apart from an attacker setup zone in defilade along all of one edge) with little cover or concealment, one VL that can be seen from all along the first crest the AI passes, and you might find the AI does a good job of firing on your locations as soon as you start to try and repel them. If there's any canalising terrain though on the routes of advance of the AI, and you're into "turkey shoot" mode.

 

Is it really impossible to derive any satisfaction from a QB map without resorting to the editor?

No, not impossible. It's extremely hard to get a challenging game, if you want the AI to attack, but the AI can put up a fight as the defender, given just a bit of help in the force ratio. It's not going to be doing any falling back in good order, so it really needs a few more troops assigned to allow it to set up a deep defense. It can help if you pick it a sensible force, too, and, IMO, do so by taking fragments from many "parent battalions" rather than taking the majority of the force from one battalion. It seemed to me, when I did a bit of testing, that the AI assigns all the elements from any given parent formation to the same order group. If you only have one Battalion, only one order group will be used. If you have fragments from many battalions, they are assigned to the groups on a "round robin" basis. This way, at least all of MarkEzra's intentions have a chance of having some resources assigned to them.
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Oh, and they're ideal for developing your SOPs against "soft" opposition, even if you've got no real chance of "losing". Figuring out things like: Blast order delays; the procedure for moving up to and through contact; how to hunt armour with other armour or infantry; how to keyhole ATGs; how long arty missions last, and what can be accomplished by each kind of battery. QBs are ways of getting some entertainment out of finding these things rather than running clinical tests in the scenario editor, and they don't erode the Fog of War that's such an intrinsic part of the attraction of the game, when you come to scenarios where the AI plan has been written and tested to take advantage of the troops available, rather than being a generic "intention".

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