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Axis - CMBN Buying The Farm - Crowd-sourced DAR


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IanL and I are trying a little experiment. We're going to play a CMBN mission with a DAR, but with a little twist: we'll be reading and commenting on each others' post as we're playing, and we invite everyone to post suggestions as well. Feel free to suggest strategies, tactics, orders, whatever you think we should do on our next turn.

Here's a bit of background on how this experiment came about. IanL and I are very good friends in the real world. As the forum regulars will know, IanL is a pretty serious CM player. He's a very active member on these and other boards, he's very knowledgeable about the game, and he's even written software to help players get more out of the game. I, on the other hand, am not that experienced with CMx2. While I own just about every CM game released by Battlefront (even the CMx1 titles), I've probably played less than a dozen CMx2 missions, all of them almost exclusively against IanL. To say that I get regularly pummelled by him would be an understatement.

During our last battle, we were discussing problems I was having as the defender. Clearly, everything was wrong: strategy, tactics, orders, etc. The chat eventually morphed into a broader discussion about how to get new players up to speed faster. Obviously, reading posts on the forums or on blogs (such as Bil Hardenberger's excellent Battle Drill) is a big help. But nothing really teaches something as complex as battle strategies and tactics like a skilled practitioner's experience. So we started comparing CM to other strategically and tactically complex games (like bridge or chess), and started thinking about how they train new players. One method they use is open play: a strong player plays against a newer player, and they talk aloud about what they're thinking and doing, and why. We thought this would be a good idea for CM, and that's how we ended up here.

Here's how we're going to proceed. IanL and I will follow the usual DAR format; we'll each start a thread discussing the mission from our respective sides. We'll provide screenshots and our thoughts on what we're PLANNING on doing and why. But before we actually give orders and send the turns, we'll read, comment and take advice from everyone on the boards, including from each other. We'll normally post our plans, and give forum members 24 hours to provide advice before playing our turns.

As mentioned in the inital paragraph of this post, if you have any questions or suggestions about anything we're doing, feel free to post. The idea here is to learn and get as much insight as possible into CMx2. There are a large number of skilled players, all with different strategies and tactics, tips and tricks, and I'd like to soak up as much as I can.

And remember, this is an experiment, feel free to comment on this idea as well.

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IanL and I are trying a little experiment. We're going to play a CMBN mission with a DAR, but with a little twist: we'll be reading and commenting on each others' post as we're playing, and we invite

Ian and I had a chat, and we decided to end this game. As Hobo mentioned, once troops in the real world realized there was no hope for victory, they would give up and save what remained of the men.  I

This idea sounds interesting.  I look forward to it.  Will you wait for comment before playing every single turn or maybe every five turns or so?  Or maybe when decision points are reached.  I was jus

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before we actually give orders and send the turns, we'll read, comment and take advice from everyone on the boards, including from each other. We'll normally post our plans, and give forum members 24 hours to provide advice before playing our turns.

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This idea sounds interesting.  I look forward to it.  Will you wait for comment before playing every single turn or maybe every five turns or so?  Or maybe when decision points are reached.  I was just thinking it could become long and drawn out if you waited before every turn.  Especially in the first 10 minutes (turns) while the scouts are using the hunt command to find the defenders.  

 

In any case this is different and I hope to learn from it.     

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This idea sounds interesting.  I look forward to it.  Will you wait for comment before playing every single turn or maybe every five turns or so?  Or maybe when decision points are reached.  I was just thinking it could become long and drawn out if you waited before every turn.  Especially in the first 10 minutes (turns) while the scouts are using the hunt command to find the defenders.  

 

You're right, it could take a while. I plan on waiting 24 for each turn, but if there's really nothing going on, then I may just go ahead and send my turn to keep the game moving.

 

I can speak for IanL, but he may decide to do it every few turns, given his experience with the game.

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The idea is very interesting.

 

Now, I am not an expert of youtube, twitch, broadcasting in general. But what would really improve your idea is a voice commentary, I mean, I have no idea of how this could be made, but I wonder of a video format, where you two both comment live, like in a radio chat. Maybe over the span of few turns. (probably this idea will be the future, if a save replay of battles feature will ever come).

 

But a very good idea that can help a lot new players or people looking for ideas and concepts on "how to play".

It won't be easy to act like you don't have all the information you are going to learn by looking at your enemy's plans and positions, so you'll need to show a lot of "mind discipline".

Edited by Kieme(ITA)
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Would it be feasible to post the two setup turns to a publicly shared dropbox, and possibly occasional subsequent turns too? That way, the collected kibbitzers can get a proper look at the terrain from the perspective of the Master and his Padawan... :) Or at least let us know which map you're using.

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would really improve your idea is a voice commentary,

 

Yeah, I have made a few youtube videos but I do not currently have the setup for recording my voice (at least not well). I figure that occasionally a video would be the right way to explain something though so there might be a few.

 

It won't be easy to act like you don't have all the information you are going to learn by looking at your enemy's plans and positions, so you'll need to show a lot of "mind discipline".

 

True.  These kinds of slip ups are not too important to the goal of this though so I'm not going to spend a lot of time worrying about it.  You can be the arbiter of this and remind us i you like :)

 

Would it be feasible to post the two setup turns to a publicly shared dropbox, and possibly occasional subsequent turns too? That way, the collected kibbitzers can get a proper look at the terrain from the perspective of the Master and his Padawan... :) Or at least let us know which map you're using.

 

That is a good idea.  We are playing the Buying the Farm scenario from CMBN.

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Great idea!!

Just reading your initial post, I can already spot your issue: you must ATTACK!

No doubt your losses to IanL are due to your men feeling morose and forlorn. Can you blame them? A tentative commander, with a loose grasp of battle, hoping that somehow hiding behind earthworks like some sort of prey run to ground, will defeat an offensive force is a mistaken commander.

Let your men know that you're serious. Nothing better displays that kind of fortitude than a gamey first turn flag rush.

Zerg zerg!

;)

This should be intersting. We'll need screenshots, maps with big arrows, and pots of coffee.

Ken

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LOL, Yeah I'm not sure you should listen to the attack advice but Ken writes a good AAR - if you have not seen this  yet it is worth a read just for the fun of it: http://community.battlefront.com/topic/110127-allied-cmbn-market-garden-beta-aar-the-better-beta-beater-reader/

 

Screen shots and maps with arrows we will provide.  The pots of coffee with have to be brewed by each of us.

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But what would really improve your idea is a voice commentary,

That would definitely be an interesting idea. Like IanL though, I'm not setup for it at the moment, so we'll have to leave it for a future experiment.

 

 

It won't be easy to act like you don't have all the information you are going to learn by looking at your enemy's plans and positions, so you'll need to show a lot of "mind discipline".

Having far more information that we normally have will definitely change the results of the game, and I will try to make my decisions as though I don't know what IanL is doing. But at the same time, the goal is learning, so we won't put too much time on the battle results.

 

We may do another DAR later, which will be a double-blind game, and we'll review decisions after the fact.

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MethodGamer:

 

You've lost to him 12 times? Would you mind giving us a quick self critique? For example...Do you not read the briefing and didn't understand the objective of the scenarios and lost by points? Or were they QB's and you purchased poorly and brought a knife to a gunfight? Or on the attack did you make rash moves and get slaughtered?

 

This isn't your first mission so it is not like we have to explain the basics, right? 

 

Ian is a very methodical player from observing him in one battle. He will blast away at a suspected position with tank fire until 110% sure of destruction.

This will be fun because I hope we can help you kick his a$$. But because of his reading your posts it is very limited in what we can do. He'll see any special tricks we recommend. 

 

Here is a recommendation. Open up the same exact scenario as a hot seat head to head battle and you will play both sides. I know you can see Ian's stuff but handling the enemy from his vantage point is a good way to see things in my opinion. Make your passwords a simple single letter like x. You want to see the feedback to various things right away and the 24 hours per turn will be a big obstacle. 

 

If this is just to have an AAR then no problem. But you are calling in lots of inputs. You can actually try 5 different guy's ways of some particular move if you play against yourself and use save turns to go back and change what you do. :D

 

Don't forget to give us the self critique! 

 

startrek100quatloostr_mug_zpsdmsoww3u.jp

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You've lost to him 12 times? Would you mind giving us a quick self critique? For example...Do you not read the briefing and didn't understand the objective of the scenarios and lost by points? Or were they QB's and you purchased poorly and brought a knife to a gunfight? Or on the attack did you make rash moves and get slaughtered?

 

I don't know the exact number of times I've lost to him, but yeah, something like that. I've won once or twice, but my win rate is probably something like 5%.

 

There was only one game where I misunderstood the objectives, so that's not the issue. I think it's really three things.

 

1. I don't understand many game mechanics. Line of sight and targeting has problably been my biggest problem. In many, many, many cases, I'll have a unit that can see the enemy, but as soon as I try to fire at it, I get the "Target out of Sight" or "Reverse Slope" message, and I can't fire. I just don't understand how to position my units to be able to target the enemy. Another example is action squares.

 

2. I don't know how to apply strategies and tactics effectively. For example, in one game I was the attacker. I know enough to not move units in the open, to have one unit on suppressive/covering fire duty so other units can move, etc. However, I failed miserably when trying to apply this tactic. Either I put my suppressing units in a position where they can't fire (see problem #1 above), or when they are in a place to shoot, IanL's defenders pound the crap out of them so they're the ones being suppressed.

 

In another example, I was defending. IanL was using tanks very effectively by pounding a position before moving his infantry in to capture it. I couldn't get any AT units in position (tanks, AT Guns, AT Infantry, etc) to take a shot at his armor. I get that a large part of this was IanL playing the game well and protecting his tanks. But it was so one sided that I can't help but think that I was doing something completely wrong.

 

3. I don't use individual units effectively. For example, I've never been able to use artillery as a defender correctly. It seems that my artillery arrives after the attacking unit has moved on. Similarly, in my last game against IanL where I played the defender, I had an AT Gun so completely out of position that it didn't fire, and it didn't take any fire in the entire game. I might as well not have had it.

 

 

Ian is a very methodical player from observing him in one battle. He will blast away at a suspected position with tank fire until 110% sure of destruction.

This will be fun because I hope we can help you kick his a$$. But because of his reading your posts it is very limited in what we can do. He'll see any special tricks we recommend. 

 

IanL is definitely very methodical, and he's thought me a few things that have really helped. But like I mentioned above, even though he'll explain a strategy or tactic, and even though I'll understand it, I can't seem to apply it effectively. That, plus sorting out some of the game mechanic issues I'm having are the two big things I need to sort out.

 

And while kicking his behind would be nice, I'm ok with losing, as long as I put up a good fight and have good stories to tell afterwards.

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1. I don't understand many game mechanics. Line of sight and targeting has problably been my biggest problem. In many, many, many cases, I'll have a unit that can see the enemy, but as soon as I try to fire at it, I get the "Target out of Sight" or "Reverse Slope" message, and I can't fire. I just don't understand how to position my units to be able to target the enemy. Another example is action squares.

This is the main thing I would like to see @MehodGamer coming out of this at least starting to get.  Frankly I suspect this is one of the biggest barriers to new players success.  So, lets hope that we all contribute and do a good job discussing the problems and solutions as we play.

 

2. I don't know how to apply strategies and tactics effectively. For example, in one game I was the attacker. I know enough to not move units in the open, to have one unit on suppressive/covering fire duty so other units can move, etc. However, I failed miserably when trying to apply this tactic. Either I put my suppressing units in a position where they can't fire (see problem #1 above), or when they are in a place to shoot, IanL's defenders pound the crap out of them so they're the ones being suppressed.

In another example, I was defending. IanL was using tanks very effectively by pounding a position before moving his infantry in to capture it. I couldn't get any AT units in position (tanks, AT Guns, AT Infantry, etc) to take a shot at his armor. I get that a large part of this was IanL playing the game well and protecting his tanks. But it was so one sided that I can't help but think that I was doing something completely wrong.

 

Yep, you did get one tank kill though.  This kind of behaviour is going to be more difficult with this scenario.  It is a lot tighter quarters.  I see much less opportunity to keep tanks 100m + back from the enemy and still have them firing on you in this one.  Your biggest problem in that last game was not trying to cause attrition slowly from the beginning.  In this game, and even more so in our last, the defender needs to find a good place to ambush the attacker.  Hit them and then move back to be ready to do it again.  Easy to say more difficult to do.

 

3. I don't use individual units effectively. For example, I've never been able to use artillery as a defender correctly. It seems that my artillery arrives after the attacking unit has moved on. Similarly, in my last game against IanL where I played the defender, I had an AT Gun so completely out of position that it didn't fire, and it didn't take any fire in the entire game. I might as well not have had it.

 

AT guns are tough to place in most scenarios because the ranges are so short.  In these tight spaces AT guns can be used to cover a specific avenue of advance and they work best if they have  very narrow field of fire so there is also a very narrow area that the can be effectively fired at from.

 

Artillery is a big one.  I still have not looked at your order of battle but as the defender you might have target reference points (TRP).  Those allow faster artillery calls, do not require your FO to have LOS to the area and eliminate spotting rounds.  Very useful - but you have to correctly "guess" where the attacker is coming from.  Regardless artillery really only works if you can get the other guy to stop for a while.  If you can setup a defensible location and start shooting at the attacker and then while they figure out what to do / bring up assets to deal with your defenders you drop artillery on him.  In other words your plan for your artillery should be to hit the enemy after your defenders made him stop.  Do that multiple times and hopefully the attackers will not have enough troops in good order left to press the final assault.

 

 

And while kicking his behind would be nice, I'm ok with losing, as long as I put up a good fight and have good stories to tell afterwards.

Yep, if you cannot have fun loosing you should not be playing this game (or any game really). After I started getting the hang of this game I joined theBlitz and went straight to playing only guys in the top 10 on the ladder (as measured by ELO score) to this day I still have a less than a 60% win rate there which is one of the lowest of the top 20.

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One "trick" with artillery that's easiest to do and most useful with assets that have longer call times is to keep adjusting a mission called drastically early, before you get to "Spotting" so that it's "loitering" waiting to arrive when you know you've fixed the other guy in place for long enough for the spotting rounds to fall. If your opponent commits to a route that isn't covered by that observer, you lose a turn "Ceasefire"ing that mission so that a different spotter can start the "call, adjust-to-stall, let-it-fall" sequence.

 

Another trick is to bring in two half-sized missions on the same rough location. Hopefully, the spotting rounds will confuse the enemy as to quite where you're planning on dropping the strike, so he might not just high-tail it out of the danger zone. The AI does this to me all the damn time :)

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Another trick is to bring in two half-sized missions on the same rough location. Hopefully, the spotting rounds will confuse the enemy as to quite where you're planning on dropping the strike, so he might not just high-tail it out of the danger zone. The AI does this to me all the damn time :)

 

I like that idea.

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Yep, you did get one tank kill though. 

Pure luck. I didn't give the order to kill that tank, and I don't even know who took the shot.

 

AT guns are tough to place in most scenarios because the ranges are so short.  In these tight spaces AT guns can be used to cover a specific avenue of advance and they work best if they have  very narrow field of fire so there is also a very narrow area that the can be effectively fired at from.

I wonder what part luck has to do in proper positioning. In our last game, there were a few avenues of advance you could have used that could have been covered by my AT gun. But with so many choices, how do you decide?

 

 

Artillery is a big one.  I still have not looked at your order of battle but as the defender you might have target reference points (TRP).  Those allow faster artillery calls, do not require your FO to have LOS to the area and eliminate spotting rounds.  Very useful - but you have to correctly "guess" where the attacker is coming from.  Regardless artillery really only works if you can get the other guy to stop for a while.  If you can setup a defensible location and start shooting at the attacker and then while they figure out what to do / bring up assets to deal with your defenders you drop artillery on him.  In other words your plan for your artillery should be to hit the enemy after your defenders made him stop.  Do that multiple times and hopefully the attackers will not have enough troops in good order left to press the final assault.

This is what I try to do, but some parts of my other game are too weak to put this in into practice. For example, in our last game, the attacking force was focused in one spot, and I had no defenders in place to slow them down to bring artillery in.

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Looking at your list of things you want to improve on, I'd say my list would be about the same. I rarely buy artillery any more because I find it frustrating use effectively, unless I am attacking prepared positions. To use it in meeting engagement or even defensively is something that drives me mad. I compensate with direct fire firepower. Often effectively, but that's maybe because I've gotten better at compensating for my handicaps than good tactics.

And the LOS/LOF stuff, while most times I am not having issues, I have stumbled upon the very problem you describe now and then and wonder WTF???

So this will be a very helpful thing you both are doing.

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MethodGamer,

 

This should be fun, especially with kohlenklau (as the Ferengi, no less; though I fear Star Trek™ original series anachronism has crept in, what with that triskelion) betting on you to win and c3k there to impress his signature "offense to the limit" approach to warfare, even when it's you defending!  Since I don't know the scenario, and therefore have no idea what you have to work with, I shall urge you to analyze his potential approaches and how you plan to handle such maneuver options from his end. Try to see the ground as he sees it. Get into his head. No, not his hygienic facilities! For your sake, I hope you have an FO, TRPs (tied to something painful, say 120 mm mortars), mines and HMGs, the linchpins of the defense. Snipers and barbed wire would be nice, but are hardly in the same class as the other items. Certainly, depending on the size of your setup area, you could use the wire to block some access points and funnel him into a preplanned kill zone. I suspect you won't be getting fortifications, but that's not necessarily a problem, for many Normandy buildings are thick, stout stone and offer great cover. Be sure to cover obstacles with fire. This changes them from annoyances and minor casualty producers to potential scythes slicing his men down wholesale.

 

Put out enough of a forward screen so that you can figure out where he's coming from and maneuver in time to thwart whatever he's up to . Your screen needs to be able to put down enough fire so that he has to deploy to stop it from seriously hurting him. This dilutes his force concentration and buys you pricelessly time. Time is your friend and his enemy, since he wouldn't be attacking without some larger scheme in mind. Every minute you delay him is that much less he has to do whatever it is higher contemplates. If you're still sitting on the objectives when the timer ticks down, you'll almost certainly win. If you can, position your men so you can sting and move, bleeding him to death a bit at a time. Of course, ambushes that create mass casualties are okay, too.

 

Speaking of such, it is most important that you put Cover Arcs in place on everyone to avoid premature revelation of your fire positions. I once had an entire attack blown because an impetuous LT started his own little war, rather than slip across the fields in the dim light of dawn, and woke up a bunch of sleeping 88s. They cut me to pieces pretty much at the start line. Granted, that's from the other end of things, but the principle still holds. To defend effectively, you must impose fire discipline on your men, so be especially attentive to those command lines, for they are what will help hold your defense together and keep your men under control. If you have good officers, they'll put steel in the men's spines and keep them fighting when they otherwise would yield the field, as well as kicking them back into line should they start to lose enthusiasm when the lead flies and their comrades start getting hurt. It's a lot harder to attack than it is to defend, so think in terms of how you can frustrate him at every turn, constantly pouring sand or emery dust into the gearbox of his battle plan. His troops are secondary to driving him nuts as he tries to coordinate his forces in time and space while under fire. And if you can hit him without being located, so much the better. MGs should always be mutually supporting, and if you have HMGs, site them relatively deep in your defense, for then they can shoot and be hard-impossible to locate, while thoroughly screwing up the advance and steadily inflicting galling casualties. If you can keep them alive long enough, they become outright meat choppers as a result of major changes in how they fire on close targets. It involves lots of shots and in a short time period!

 

The Fatherland is counting on you!

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

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