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Multi-Player Grand Campaign


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I was wondering if there would be any interest from the CMBS community in setting up a large PvP campaign.  I have helped run/participated in projects like this in many different tabletop wargames over the past 20+ years.  Applying CMBS would not be a problem as it is very similar to many tabletop games.  

 

Below is just a brief outline explaining rules/setup etc. 

 

Abstract:

This project will be created to make a free flowing PvP Combat Mission: Black Sea Campaign based on both creating an element of strategy to the base tactical game rules. Also creating a form of narrative within the game, allowing for army creation, and design for players who wish to build upon their own army within their faction. This addition will create a form of imaginative play which will see players develop their armies to a new level.

 

Aims and Objectives:

· To create a base rule system for a grand strategic game play option.

· Player progression with both armies units inside, as well as characters with in the game.

· Narrative creation for the players, allowing them to create their own back story within the game.

 

Objectives:

· To create a fun gaming experience for the players.

· To allow players to tailor a narrative to their characters and army.

· To allow expansion and a new mind set in gaming instead of playing normal PvP

· To give the player a personal experience and a sense that victory creates progress within the game, as opposed to the self-contained battlefields of normal PvP games.

 

Campaign:

Being that of the localized war zone within the Ukraine,  2 teams of players will be pitted against each other on a single contained AO (Area of Operations).  This allows for gaming interactions between 2-10 players as a base. 1 real time week = 1 Campaign turn.  Players would have a week (subject to change depending on player feedback before the campaign starts) to complete their battles in CMBS.  Both Victory/Defeat screen caps must be submitted to the Adjudicator.  The Adjudicator would be responsible for creating the AO map. (see example screenshot below)

 

Kriegspiel:

An aspect for this campaign creation will be taken from the German military war game Kriegspiel. This will be that of players having the ability to fight on individual sides, but also by having an adjudicator(s) to watch them when playing the games. This will be done to upkeep the sporting nature of the hobby. The Adjudicator(s) will be responsible for the following actions, much like a Campaign manager or Dungeon Manager within role play games.

 

These actions include:

· Assigning narrative content to the players.

· Assigning mission objectives to the players.

· Development and design of the world the players are battling on.

· To assure the players that the lists are of the correct points value.

· To act as an independent adjudicator for rule disputes.

· To insure the community is having fun.

 

Obviously other details like total points cost per side, setup, team objectives would need to be addressed but it would not be that hard to do so.  

 

Example Campaign Map 

 

CMBSPvPCam1632.png

Edited by xIGuNDoCIx
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Yes, this is a great concept. PBEM games, at least in my experience take longer than a week. If I had the time, I'd love to participate.

I figured as much.  Maybe make each campaign turn = 2 weeks real time.  Keep the battles around Company sized,

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I was wondering if there would be any interest from the CMBS community in setting up a large PvP campaign.  I have helped run/participated in projects like this in many different tabletop wargames over the past 20+ years.  Applying CMBS would not be a problem as it is very similar to many tabletop games.

Yes. However I would likely need to sit your first one out since I already have a lot going on. I just want to say that I am interested in general even if I will not be participating right away.

 

allowing for army creation, and design for players who wish to build upon their own army within their faction.

?? do you mean choose your 90 000 point army or do you envision a tank factory pumping out new gear (please say you mean the first option) :)

1 real time week = 1 Campaign turn.  Players would have a week (subject to change depending on player feedback before the campaign starts) to complete their battles in CMBS.

Ah, yeah, one week: that would be a 5 to 7 minute battle :D Well it would for me.

Check out this similar idea that is in progress right now in the CMBN forum:

http://community.battlefront.com/topic/118369-cmpzc-campaign-the-road-to-eindhovenare-you-interested/

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Yes. However I would likely need to sit your first one out since I already have a lot going on. I just want to say that I am interested in general even if I will not be participating right away.

 

?? do you mean choose your 90 000 point army or do you envision a tank factory pumping out new gear (please say you mean the first option) :)

Ah, yeah, one week: that would be a 5 to 7 minute battle :D Well it would for me.

Check out this similar idea that is in progress right now in the CMBN forum:

http://community.battlefront.com/topic/118369-cmpzc-campaign-the-road-to-eindhovenare-you-interested/

Nice!  I may have to contact Kohlenklau and pick his brain to see what adjustments he made/used for running CM in this type of scenario.

 

Yes each I envision each team getting a set amount of points to start with to purchase units in Company sized blocks.  Overall army commander (1 per side) has final say but I would think that he would discuss this with his Staff (remaining players) to figure out exact force composition.   Points can be lost or gained throughout the campaign based upon what OBJs your team is in control of.  I think that there would also need to be some sort of constant supply of points at the beginning of each new campaign turn in order to refit/augment units.

 

Don't worry about sitting this one out as there is still a lot of stuff to flesh out before we could kick this off.  If there is enough interest I would want to talk with everyone and hash out some details that way everyone gets a say and keeps all players on the same page. 

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So far it looks as if we have 8 players!  I will contact you all in order for all of us to get together to go over/work out some rules.  I will burn the midnight oil to get something more concrete than this post out to you all in the next day or so.

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That's perfect I was thinking 45 turns but if 30 proven to work then we can go with that.

 

Oh btw, JasonC has written many good words regarding his experience with the issues of an operational-level PBEM campaign in CMx1, most of which I believe are still applicable to CMx2, since we're still the same players, there are the same incentives, similar enough games, etc.:

As for campaigns as a solution, I've run 3 CMx1 campaigns as a human ref, with an operational layer. Reinforced regiment scale on a side, dozens of tactical fights in each. Players do try to control losses much more realistically, but the losses per fight are still on the high side, and over multiple fights throughout the campaign hit wipeout levels in a couple of days, max. Now that did actually happen from time to time, in the intense fighting periods, and it is much more realistic than complete wipeouts in 30 minutes (for smaller elements, to be sure). Still on the high side.

Notably, players often pushed such fights to total armor wipeout, meaning one side or the other would go "all in" on a particular tactical fight at one point, and either get an operational edge from victory in that one fight, or lose their entire remaining armor force (often down to half strength or so by the time this happened) in one go. That also happened in real life, so realistic enough. It does mean, however, that folks expecting a continually realistic combat environment from embedding the incentives of limited scale in something larger, can only get part of it. Whatever operational force players command, they will risk all of it or its major effective strength, on one tactical engagement, somewhere and soon.

 

 

noob - from running several operational campaigns in CMBO and CMBB, I can tell you that the rate determiner is referee time, and the other difficulty is herding cats to round up players to execute the tactical battles. They basically need to be done TCP-IP because PBEM turn around is way too slow. For the campaign to keep moving, all the tactical fights generated by a given operational move need to be resolved in parallel by separate pairs of tactical commanders, and basically on a weekly time scale. With some allowance for slippage some weeks for real life reasons (especially on the referee side, in my experience). I also strongly recommend keeping operational commanders to one per side. They need to generate their operational orders on a quick turn around of 2 days tops, for the rest of the schedule to move.

As for the scale of tactical fights, even one battalion on a side is way too large for an average. If occasionally the largest fight of the week pits a single attacking battalion against a defending company or two and change, that is about as big as you can afford to go. And there need to be operational rules that prevent local giantism, from the op commanders shoving all their strong assets into a single location and then trying to win by stringing those together in sequence. The right scale for the average tactical battle is much smaller - one company on a side or two companies against one.

It is simply a matter of tactical command attention and the time it takes to get results from all the fights that can happen in one op move, at several locations on the map. If you try to have 2 km x 2 km tactical maps with a battalion on a side, you will wait around for 2-3 weeks to hear what the results were. And half your players will lose interest and quit in the meantime.

The way I ran it, I tried to keep tactical maps well under 1 km on a side most of the time, depending on forces engaged, with 1 km on a side the largest allowed. In addition, I penalized local "overstacking" by requiring large forces to arrive piecemeal. The first company on the frontage would always start on the map, but the second would be roughly five minutes delayed, and the next 5 minutes more. Stacking more than a battalion on the frontage would result in a stream of reinforcements but not an appreciably larger initial force. And I did not up the time limits for those larger forces, so the late arrivals would often have difficulty closing up to get licks in before the buzzer. By design. This also has force to space effects, and basically allowed a company on a single "op location" to act as a normal and adequate defensive screen.

I modeled the forces at the operational level by platoon as strength or "steps", but only allowed platoon redeployments for armor or specialists. Artillery by battery usually, occasionally section for rare types. The infantry forces had to be company commands, but a company might be 4 platoon strength or it might be only 2.

My comment about a battalion being the largest you want to allow means you need to reduce the scale several steps. Im my campaigns I typically tried to depict roughly a regiment sized force attacking a similar sized enemy, though the defenders might start with only a battalion and change for the whole operational frontage and rise to more like regiment strength in the aggregate, only counting all the reinforcements they'd receive over the course of the operational campaign. The attackers might total 2 regiments or one and attachments, depending on the operational situation being depicted.

Trying to do full division or even worse, corps level battles or upward, with literal force structures, is a mistake and will result in unplayable epics that just try player patience and lose continuity.

As examples, in my Bulge campaign depicting early fighting for Skyline Drive and the approaches to Wiltz, the Germans had a VG regiment of infantry at the start, and later received a reinforced battalion panzer division force that the VG was trying to clear a route for. The American defenders started with a single infantry battalion, a tank company, and a couple of artillery batteries. They had a few smaller forces - cavalry platoon here, a couple of engineer platoons from rear areas, etc.

In my Kursk campaign the German attackers had Panzergrenadier regiment of 2 battalions and a company of armor, plus small additional forces of Panzerjaegers and the like. The Russian defenders eventually totaled a rifle regiment, plus about a battalion of mechanized later in the campaign. Note this mean the Russian defenders eventually had manpower odds - but in the early fighting the manpower was about even while the Germans had a large edge in both armor and artillery.

Both of those were playable and basically successful, in my opinion. But even at that scale, we were pushing it in the number of tactical fights that could be resolved with any forward movement in the campaign, and especially referee time to implement all the results and generate all the new scenarios.

If I were using full Normandy 44 I would not remotely try to resolve all the operational fights as tactical CM battles, even at 2 times reduced scale. Instead I'd just pick a few fights per turn - 2-3 - and use the match ups the operational game generates to make the tactical scenarios for the week, in effect.

I mean, it is perfectly normal for a single early turn in Normandy 44 to involve 10-15 battles, some of division vs. regiment scale. There is no way you are going to get all of those resolved as CM tactical fights on anything like a weekly time scale. If it took a month, you'd lose half your players or more before the next turn.

Just pick the highlights of the operational game and make "scale reduced" forces and the op map's terrain and support variables. The goal is then just to use the ongoing op game to generate good scenario design ideas, effectively, not to resolve every event in the campaign tactically. Can't be done, not for a full Normandy campaign, even at double step reduced scale. Too much happens and player command attention will not cover it all.

I hope this helps.

 

 

Fourth point - your stated rule envision tying tactical commanders to specific operational formation and each of them fighting every op move, and imagine letting those not engaged watch the other fights will be a kind of second prize for those not fighting. This won't be what actually happens, remotely. For two reasons, operational incentives within the campaign and player availability realities.

Forces in CM battles frequently lose a third to half of the engaged force even on the winning side. Sometimes the engagement is relatively inconclusive and the losing side losses are similar, but frequently they will be near 100%, total force kills. If op commanders pushed to engage everywhere along the frontage in every op move, the forces involved would evaporate completely in 3 to 5 operational moves.

Instead, campaigns typically open with such overactivity as the op commanders haven't yet realized how important force preservation is going to be, but then rapidly scale back in aggressiveness. With frequently only 1-3 locations having actual operational combat thereafter (sometimes none, sometimes numerous collisions some of them unintentional, to be sure). Unless the op rules also strongly prevent it, the op commanders will tend to "overstack" into these active fights, bringing large portions of their remaining live heavy forces, armor especially.

The next comment is about the passages on your site that mention that attack defend fights will always be 3 to 1 point odds supposedly to compensate for the strong defensive terrain. Um, if the odds don't depend on the op moves the overall commanders make there is no reason to have an op layer in the first place. If every fight is at the same odds, what the heck are op moves supposedly accomplishing? The whole point of the op layer is to let the overall commander seek a local odds edge here rather than there, and the like.

Second, 3 to 1 point odds in CM fights typically result in blowout wins for the side with 3, regardless of tactical role or terrain. If the side with 3 arrives staggered, the weaker side might live, but not normally.

Overall, I'd say the set up still needs work. I hope this helps.

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Good info Apocal!  I did not have time to read it in its entirety but will do tomorrow.  I know that this is going to be a massive undertaking both for the players involved and for myself but seeing as we all play PvP games anyway why not make the most fun out of it with a nice narrative!

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I'm interested. CMMC (for CMBO - 12 years ago?) was one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had. 

 

Given that lots of people tend to drop out as games like this drag on (CMMC was something like 9-12 months?) maybe there should be a more dedicated staff pool (the core players) and then just let anybody drop in if they just want to fight. This way they don't have to worry about being dual hatted as a battle player and a planning player. IIRC in CMMC I wore three different hats at one point.

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I'm interested. CMMC (for CMBO - 12 years ago?) was one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had. 

 

Given that lots of people tend to drop out as games like this drag on (CMMC was something like 9-12 months?) maybe there should be a more dedicated staff pool (the core players) and then just let anybody drop in if they just want to fight. This way they don't have to worry about being dual hatted as a battle player and a planning player. IIRC in CMMC I wore three different hats at one point.

Great idea!  

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Can everyone that is on board with this project please PM me your email address.  It will be much easier to communicate with everyone that way instead of sifting through what is to become pages of message boards.  I am in the process of writing up a more dedicated rule set but again before we start this I want to give everyone involved a chance to go over it and express any concerns that they may have.

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This is what I have come up with so far, keep in mind this is all subject to change as I gain input from all the players.

 

Campaign Flow

 

Setup:

Players are divided as evenly as possible between the two sides and a General  for each side is chosen as well. A teams General is the man in charge!  He dictates the teams overall strategy and is responsible for assigning players to command units.  He should  be in constant communication with both his team and the Adjudicator.

 

The total point cap will be 90,000 point per side,  Generals can begin to allocate said points in the creation of combat units.  Units cannot be larger than reinforced sized companies (13,540 points).   Do not include large bore 105mm or greater off map artillery support in your companies.  You allocate points for them per usual but they will get their own unit icon on the campaign map and have their own rules regarding support fire missions (see below)

 

Ex.

General  1 has 90,000 points for his sides total army.  He and his staff decide that they are going to take  6 Armored  Rifle Companies.  Attached to each company they have decided to add  1 Platoon M1A2 SEP,  2 x Javelin teams w/ transports (M2),  1 stinger team, 1 M107 Sniper team w/transport (MK19).  They also decide that they want 3 x 155mm Paladin Batteries at 1490 points each.  Total point cost so far is 85,710 which leaves them a little over  4000 points to spend on other assets to augment some of their companies.  Teams can also save points to use during the weekly Refit Phase to replace lost units.

 

Artillery Rules

Large bore artillery (105mm or greater)  is purchased as normal but they are not added into your battle companies point costs.    Instead they get their own icon on the campaign map and they are only available for fire support missions if they are within 5 hexes of where the battle is to take place.  If a Battery meets the hex requirement then the commander who is taking part in the battle may go ahead and add that battery into his force roster for that battle.

 

Ex.

Commander  1 has a Reinforced  Armored Rifle Company  for a total point cost of 13,519.  There is also a Battery of 155mm Paladins 4 hexes away from the battlespace , therefore he gains the ability to go ahead and add this fire support asset to his force roster even though it puts him over the point cap of 13,540.  If the artillery battery was 6 hexes away  he would not be able to use them in his upcoming battle.

If an artillery unit on the campaign map comes into contact with an enemy unit it is destroyed outright  and is no longer available unless repurchased during the Refit Phase.

 

Once units are purchased the Generals will let the Adjudicator know where he would like to place his units on the campaign map.  Both teams will get a copy of the map at the beginning of the campaign but only with their units shown.  Enemy units will become available as they are discovered.  Once an Enemy unit is discovered it is shown for the rest of the campaign or until it is destroyed.

Campaign Turn Phases

 

1. Intel Phase

At the beginning of the  campaign turn each team may twice elect to reveal information about an enemy unit or to see if a blank hex contains and enemy unit.  If the blank hex does contain an enemy unit it is then revealed to your team.  However, the only thing shown is an “unknown” unit icon with no further information.  In order to gain information about a particular enemy unit you must either engage it in battle or spend one of your “Intel” actions (up to three times per enemy unit)  to gain knowledge about a unit (name, force composition, etc).  The “Intel” action spent on reveling information about a unit  provides the General with a better understanding of what he is fighting against. 

 

Information reveled will be provided in this order:

1st Intel Action

Name/Type of Unit

2nd Intel Action

Force Strength %

3rd Intel Action

8 sub-units within the parent unit will be revealed at random

 

2. Initiative Phase

Initiative will be determined by a random process (coin flip, number guess) with both Generals  and the Adjudicator taking part.  The team that has the initiative can either elect to have his units move first or his opponents.

 

3. Movement Phase

All units may move up to 3 hexes on the map.  Only one unit can occupy a hex. Once a unit comes into contact with an enemy unit a battle must be fought.   Hexes will be identified by a letter followed by a number (A3, B7, C39) for easy reference.  Terrain also has an impact on how far your units may move.

 

Roads – Units can move an extra hex for a total of 4 hexes

Large Rivers/Water Features – Impassable unless there is a bridge on the campaign map

Forests – Units lose a movement hex due to the thick terrain for a total of 2 hexes

 

Generals will consult with their staff and plot movement orders, Generals must submit to the Adjudicator their planned moves so that he can update the overall campaign map.  The General with the “initiative” can opt to change some or all of his teams movement orders based upon the enemy teams movements.  Once both teams movement orders have been received and the maps updated the campaign will move on to the Combat Phase.

 

4.Combat Phase

Battles are to be fought on “Large” stock QB CMBS maps.  Maps will be chosen based upon the terrain from the campaign map that the units are fighting on. The point cap for battles is 13,540 with the exception of additional fire support if the supporting artillery unit is within 5 hexes of the battlespace hex.  Players have 2 weeks to complete their battles and submit their Victory/Defeat screenshots to their respective General.  Players must also take note of KIA tallys so that unit rosters can be updated during the Refit Phase.

 

A victorious unit stays in the hex where the battle took place for the remainder of the campaign turn.  The defeated unit must retreat 3 hexes away from the enemy unit and towards the closest friendly unit.   If a unit is unable to retreat (ie surrounded by enemy units) it is considered destroyed/captured/surrendered and removed from the campaign map. Battles will be conducted on a Unit vs Unit basis.  If a battle is not completed within the two week time period it will be considered a draw and both units must retreat 3 hexes towards the closest friendly unit. 

 

***If a player is unable to complete a battle please let your General know and he can sub in another player  to take over.***

 

5. Refit Phase

At the end of the campaign turn team Generals may allocate any points that they have in their point pool in order to purchase and replace destroyed units.  To simulate supply both teams will always receive 4000 points at the end of each campaign turn.  Generals can stockpile points but may never exceed their total army cap of 90,000 points.   Once both Generals complete the Refit Phase the next Campaign turn begins starting with the Intel Phase.

Edited by xIGuNDoCIx
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