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How to play Combat Mission?


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I have both CMBN and CMBS, but I've never played the games past one or two missions after the tutorial. This is mainly because I don't feel like I know what I'm doing. Sure, I know what the various move types are and how they are different from each other, but things like LOS, artillery support, and scouting are lost on me. LOS is very awkward... an area may look like a good vantage point, but I can' really be sure until I drop down to ground level and have a look for myself. Artillery support.... light/medium/heavy, I don't appreciate the difference, I don't appreciate the inaccuracy, I don't appreciate the effect of arty... that is, until my men are the ones cowering in fear from it. Scouting... how do I spot somebody before he spots me? How come while advancing slowly forward, I get shot at and my guys don't even know where it's coming from? I can replay the action and find out where the general direction is, but I can't see who is shooting.

For some reason, I'd like to revisit the series again, but I don't know where to start. Firstly, do I want Normandy or do I want the modern toys? I feel like I have better understanding of the guns and tanks of WWII simply because of all the movies and games about that time and I feel like the modern theatre just makes things more complicated with drones and F-16/Apache support and whatnot. However, I do like playing with modern vehicles and tanks...

Which brings me to my second point... as much as I have fun with moving soldiers about, I'd really like to have more armored assets to play with. I've only really played with the tank that was in the tutorial mission (farmhouse), and that's it. I'd like to have a feel of what it's like to play with things like the StuG or the Panzer IV or the Sherman. Not straight up tank-vs-tank though; I'd like to play a believeable scenario with proper ground troop support.

Any thoughts, help, suggestions, and advice appreciated!

Thanks!

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Chack out the Armchair General videos on youtube. A great guide to CMBN and how it deals with realistic WW2 situations.

When it comes to which battles or campaigns to play. When you go through the list each one will be marked, "Tiny". "Small" and so on up to "Huge". Then of course, you can always read the briefing and have a look at the set-up zones before you play any mission. There is a lot of variety and you'll probably find some that you enjoy more than others.

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Generally speaking, I think you can learn a lot from keeping the battles as small as possible. CM makes you into the role of every commander down to a squad leader, so only having to think about a single platoon or company is really useful.

Bil's Battle Drill blog is invaluable
http://battledrill.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/combat-mission-tactical-problems-cmtp.html

The Armchair General series of five videos is also fantastic - especially when you go back and find out that one of the scenarios he plays through and wins (School of Hard Knocks - it's the video on attacking) has a load of posts on this forum back from release complaining about how it was impossible, and that the player is supposed to lose.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZ6dDlqye9Q
 

In terms of "where to start" - the CMBN base has the scenario "Platoon Patrol", which is a single US platoon crossing a river. It's entirely possible to play that through in under an hour, and when you know what you're doing you can play through that with zero casualties, with proper fire and movement and control of your platoon. Initially, you're likely to suffer heavily of course.



 

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LOS is very awkward... an area may look like a good vantage point, but I can' really be sure until I drop down to ground level and have a look for myself.

LOS is tricky. Dropping down to ground level is something I do frequently to check the view from a location I am interested in. I used to even drop down to ground level and "walk" over the entire battlefield in order to get a feel for the routes I am thinking of taking.

Artillery support.... light/medium/heavy, I don't appreciate the difference...

Light is not very deadly although it can score kills with direct hits. Mostly I used it for harassment or area denial.

Heavy is good if you really need to destroy a cluster of buildings or something like that.

Medium falls somewhere in the middle and is usually my first choice. It is powerful enough to be reliably suppressive and comes with more ammo than heavy does.

Scouting... how do I spot somebody before he spots me? How come while advancing slowly forward, I get shot at and my guys don't even know where it's coming from? I can replay the action and find out where the general direction is, but I can't see who is shooting.

Scouting is an art that must be acquired through often painful experience, but a couple of tips may be helpful. First of all, don't send your scouting teams off into the blue by themselves. Have the rest of their squad following closely enough behind that they have a chance to spot any enemy unit that has opened fire and return fire on it while your scouts have their heads down trying to survive. Secondly, move them from cover to cover. Once you get them to a good location where you think they might spot something, let them stay there quietly for a while just observing. If there are any enemies about, your scouts may hear them talking or making other noises. This will aid in getting a visual ID on them.

For some reason, I'd like to revisit the series again, but I don't know where to start. Firstly, do I want Normandy or do I want the modern toys? I feel like I have better understanding of the guns and tanks of WWII simply because of all the movies and games about that time and I feel like the modern theatre just makes things more complicated with drones and F-16/Apache support and whatnot. However, I do like playing with modern vehicles and tanks...

I hear you. This is something only you can decide, but from the sound of it, for a while you are probably going to feel more comfortable and learn the techniques of successful play in the WW II setting. Then when you transition to the modern era, you will have a firm base to build on. The modern era in CM can be very demanding. The weapons are much more deadly and all in all I find it more unforgiving.

Any thoughts, help, suggestions, and advice appreciated!

I hope this has helped a little bit. Your best bet is to play a lot and any time you hit something that you can't work out on your own, ask more questions. Search the board too. There is a good chance that your question has already been answered somewhere on it.

 

Thanks!

You're welcome!

:)

Michael

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Oh, and nearly forgot - Slim is producing a series of Tactics, Techniques, and Procedure videos as well, which seem pretty promising:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZaFn-1clic&list=PLmW_vcwM_qxukdDjpfUEerpICUzTrTKek&index=9

His channel also has a playlist of Combat Mission tutorial videos, which include the Armchair General videos from above.

I've also learnt a fair amount from watching Ithikial's AAR's, eg:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYfN9N2-DpA&index=1&list=PLR0_ESlvYtKJBR_hXXCurhEJEugpgpz7W

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CMBN (and CMX2 generally) can feel quite complicated and challenging at first, but there´s just the learning curve that you need to spend some time on to master all the games individual features and at last have maximum fun playing the game. My recommendation is to start on individual aspects of the game that you´re interested in the most. It´s necessary to read the game manual (or parts of it) in order to learn about the basics first. Then launch up the scenario editor, browse all the available maps, particularly the quick battle ones and purchase just those forces that you want to get aquainted with. You do not even need to place a computer opponent at first, so you could try and learn all the features of the game without the need and pressure to achieve anything in your training mission, but your desired training experience. Also you get a perfect overview of what´s in your personal training mission with no distractions from maybe confusing briefing texts and scenario goals.

However, it´s one way of many to learn and have fun with the game. You can combine any method you like, watching videoes, reading tactics blogs, go back to the game´s editor and set up something that you´d like to attempt in practice, or use any the many prefabricated missions. No need to get overworked with all the games possibilities at once. :)

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I think @RockinHarry gives good advice. When I started with CMBN, which was also my first CM game ever, I was quickly disenchanted with my lack of success. Against the computer I struggled. I would eventually win with significant losses, but against PBEM opponent I'd get utterly butchered. 

It took a lot of embarrassing losses to realize that movies and other games were not very good tutors in how to really fight a battle in CM. 

My (not particularly novel) suggestion really is close to what you've seen above: pick tiny maps and tiny battle sizes in QB, with simple forces. Play against the AI with, say, a pure infantry force. Make sure you restrict the computer to that too, which will give it a similar opposition to what you have. If you understand the commands in the game, then what you are lacking experience in is some tactics. That WILL come, but you do have to ponder before and after the battle. Before: what is that map like. You really do have to get down on the ground and consider how to get the objective, and where the enemy might be. And then consider how to get there unseen, or at least, mostly unharmed. After: consider what went wrong. Try to not be frustrated (I know it can be difficult) and think anout what went wrong, and how you might do something different. Don't simply end the battle and not think about it. 

Another suggestion: as intimidating as it may sound, try PBEM after you have done the above a half dozen times. If you play against someone you learn a lot, especially if you make it clear from the get go you're looking for someone who is willing to discuss what they did and how you might have stymied their plans. I firmly believe there are nice, patient people out here who would be happy to do that. 

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Oh, and nearly forgot - Slim is producing a series of Tactics, Techniques, and Procedure videos as well, which seem pretty promising:

I thank you for the vote of confidence.

Don't forget the Monster Combat Mission Tutorial:

https://youtu.be/SbE8795rt2s

I plan to include it in my TTP playlist pending further review.

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I thank you for the vote of confidence.

Don't forget the Monster Combat Mission Tutorial:

https://youtu.be/SbE8795rt2s

I plan to include it in my TTP playlist pending further review.

SLIM, you have two vids that seem to have the same title, but one is 6 min and the other 10 min. Is the longer one an enhanced version of the shorter one or are they separate and if so, which would one watch first? Maybe this is totally obvious but I'm missing it! ;)

 

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Thanks for the great help, gentlemen!

I remember there being an email or newsletter being sent out about a new way to download CMBN but I cannot locate it.  I remember there being a single installer for CMBN + MG v3.0 or something of the sort.  How do I download CMBN now?  I got the original CMBN, the Market Garden expansion, the v3.0, and the v3.1 vehicles pack.

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The thing is, if I click on the link from my email with my CMBN_v300_Upgrade_Setup.exe License key, I am directed to a 9.94GB install file and it says "Full version installer (PC)" but I'm still able to download the 3.10 vehicle pack and the Market Garden Expansion.

Selecting my original CMBN + Commonwealth bundle, I look at a 2GB installer, and the v200 Upgrade gives me a 522MB installer.

I'm not sure that the v300 is actually a full installer and even if it is, is it 3.0?  Or is it 3.11?

I've logged into my store account and even there, I can't find where to download a proper installer.

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