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My CM sails are deflated once again from a CMBN campaign


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I have tried to play four campaigns in CMBN and easily have over 100 hours of gameplay. Overall, my opinion of CMBN campaigns is low. Lions of Carpiquet, The Scottish Corridor, Courage and Fortitude (with the Razorback Ridge mission). I gave Road to Nijmegen a try but the first mission really defeated me as you have to send your infantry across a large field and version 4.0 infantry behavior makes this frustrating. 

One thing about CM gameplay is that it takes a great deal of time. Completing an hour-long mission is 60 turns. Orders for each turn take about 5-10 minutes to complete with a few exceptions. Then you watch and re-watch the 1 minute-long action sequence, which can take 3-5 minutes to complete. That's a minimum of about 8 hours for an hour-long mission. That's about 5 days if you game for 1-2 hours a day. Anyway, it's a lot of time. The question is whether it's time spent where you're left feeling like "damn, that was great, glad I did it". 

I rarely feel this way at the end of my CMBN campaign experiences. I just stopped playing the Lions of Carpiquet campaign. Huge 4x company battles, massive maps, but Mission 2 is not winnable and Mission 3 is the exact same map of Mission 1. I successfully defeated the Germans on the map in Mission 1 and now I am asked for some reason to retake the map in Mission 3. There is nothing to be gained from this. The campaign author claims that the campaign is historically accurate, but really? There seems to be something missing here in terms of text explaining why the positions I took in Mission 1 must be retaken all over again in Mission 3. Even with the explanation though, I have no interest in grinding through the same landscape over the course of the next week. 

This highlights the critical importance of excellent campaign design. And it lacks in all of the CMBN campaigns I've played. The missions are either completely unrealistic (Razorback Ridge), suffer from bad final missions that highlight the weaknesses of CMx2 coding (Scottish Corridor's night mission where infantry can't see tanks unless their within 10 m of them for longer than a minute (or something like that)), suffer from infantry 4.0, or have no consistency and repeat maps. I will give the Road to Nijmegen a chance again in the near future and report back. 

Any thoughts?

Note: I have not had the same problem with the CMBS stock campaigns. They all play very very well. 

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If for no other reason... the scenario editor have evolved quite a bit from the early days when the first CMBN campaigns where being made...

Inclution of triggers, more AI-Groups (IIRC) among other things permits easier creation of well made scenarios.

Better scenario editor combined with more experienced scenario designers results in better scenarios in later products.

I'm looking forward to see what the guys can do with the V 4.0 engine in the upcomming campaigns for CMFI and CMRT :)

 

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An acceptable amount of time to complete a one-hour scenario in my mind is about 8 hours. My point is that this is a demanding game. If you want to finish what you started, you have to play over multiple days. This goes double for campaigns. It is therefore important that campaigns are constructed expertly, so that one does not feel like he's wasting his time. But to each his own, I get that. I might be more picky than some here. What I am saying is that the CMBN campaigns that I have played have sucked for the most part imo because the immersion (which is what I play for) is killed by something stupid (as outlined in OP). All those hours feel like a bit of a waste (if I had enjoyed them, they would not have been a waste). 

StieliAlpha is getting at something that has been brought up by many on the forum before: the 4.0 infantry behavior will make many older missions/campaigns "unplayable" for many gamers. 

Cpt. Miller asked if I've ever tried learning and understanding basic tactical principles. Not sure what this has to do with my post. It is about campaign design and resulting enjoyment. I would love to fight you in a PBEM someday though, Cpt. Miller. I would defeat you so fast that you would be left scratching your tactical bowlcut (I imagine you with a bowlcut, sorry). 

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21 minutes ago, Pericles said:

Cpt. Miller asked if I've ever tried learning and understanding basic tactical principles. Not sure what this has to do with my post. It is about campaign design and resulting enjoyment. I would love to fight you in a PBEM someday though, Cpt. Miller. I would defeat you so fast that you would be left scratching your tactical bowlcut (I imagine you with a bowlcut, sorry). 

El em ayyyyyyy oh.

Seriously though thanks for the memes m8

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RepsolCBR, that's a good point about the development of the scenario editor since the days of CMBN. I too am looking forward to more CMRT and CMFI campaigns (which will cause me to buy both titles I imagine). It all seems to boil down to the age of CMBN. CMBS campaigns were great. probably due to the extra features in the editor. The 4.0 infantry behavior (cut-and-run) might not be so much to blame. 

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5 hours ago, Pericles said:

Orders for each turn take about 5-10 minutes to complete with a few exceptions.

WOW !..You are Super-Fast with your turns Orders...It usually takes me twice that, and I only play up to Reinforced Company size Engagements.

Joe

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Not really. I wrote 5-10 minutes, not to brag but to be modest in my estimate of how long it usually takes someone to play through an hour-long mission. 

So taking 10 minutes as an average order time, and taking 3 minutes as an average playback time, that's 13 minutes per turn. Multiply that by the number of turns (60) and we have 13 hours to play an hour-long mission! If you game for 2 hours a day, that's almost a full week for one mission. Now consider that campaigns string together a number of missions and we're talking one week best estimate. 

So my point stands. Campaigns ought to be good, given the enormous investment of time. CMBN campaigns are not good, if you are like me and believe that immersion and realism are what's "good" in CM games. 

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6 hours ago, Pericles said:

I have tried to play four campaigns in CMBN and easily have over 100 hours of gameplay. Overall, my opinion of CMBN campaigns is low. 

......

Note: I have not had the same problem with the CMBS stock campaigns. They all play very very well. 

Just for clarity, you said all the stock campaigns play well, but the user made scenarios are the ones you are critiquing?

 
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6 hours ago, Pericles said:

I gave Road to Nijmegen a try but the first mission really defeated me as you have to send your infantry across a large field and version 4.0 infantry behavior makes this frustrating. 

I know what you mean...Between the 4.0 Inf behavior, and the to far spacing of Inf (inf taken twice as long to finally reach or leave a spot), and the increased Lethality of Small Arms (notably SMG's & MG's) from game engines of old...Scenarios just don't seem to play as realistic..

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4 hours ago, StieliAlpha said:

Try to play against human opponents. That won't change the AI in general, but you'll have to struggle with human behaviour on the other side.

Yeah, It may be a little difficult to play against the AI now, but it will be more so against an opponent.

 

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No no no, sburke, you insufferable sod. Courage and Fortitude is indeed a stock campaign. And we are not saying that 'all campaigns, all scenarios, CM is just too hard now?" To take that from our discussion up to now is to be deliberately trolling or mentally disabled from CM fandom. 

I am saying that immersion and realism is not as high as it could be in some of the campaigns (stock and user-made). And yes, that means sometimes it's too "hard" because your men won't advance. 

That being said, I'm currently enjoying CMBS's "Into the Breach", with map courtesy of you. So thanks for that. But you must see some valid criticisms in this thread?

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12 hours ago, Pericles said:

I just stopped playing the Lions of Carpiquet campaign. Huge 4x company battles, massive maps, but Mission 2 is not winnable and Mission 3 is the exact same map of Mission 1. I successfully defeated the Germans on the map in Mission 1 and now I am asked for some reason to retake the map in Mission 3. There is nothing to be gained from this. The campaign author claims that the campaign is historically accurate, but really? There seems to be something missing here in terms of text explaining why the positions I took in Mission 1 must be retaken all over again in Mission 3. Even with the explanation though, I have no interest in grinding through the same landscape over the course of the next week.

<-- Author of Lions of Carpiquet. It's not a stock campaign and was myself trying a few different things within the limitations of the engine. The big one fighting multiple battles on the same maps as the game doesn't have the ability to import a map state into future missions. The fact you thought the map was the same between my 'clean' and 'ruined' versions means I did something right. :)

Mission 2 and 3 are designed to be next to very hard and historically the Canadians failed in taking their objectives this quickly as per their plans. The track you were going down as a result was the historical path due to the failure of these two missions. But your second attempt at taking the village itself now means you have a lot of toys from 'Hobart's Funnies' and another battalion - that was meant to be the follow up forces for the eastern command complex of the airfield. (That was never taken inside Operation Windsor itself).

 

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Ithikial, I appreciate the work you must have put into that campaign, including the .pdf that provides historical background. It's just the fact that I took the positions on the map in Mission 1 and then in Mission 3 I have to retake them. It's not consistent from the gamer's perspective. That ruined it for me, but enjoyed Mission 1 and being repelled in Mission 2. 

Bulletpoint, you might be misunderstanding my criticism. All I'm saying is that CMBN campaigns often end up with a mission or two that ruin the immersion and realism. And imo that is a problem because immersion and realism are what CM is all about imo. Others don't seem to care as much about immersion and realism and be more into the different vehicles, units, skins, etc. Most of the individual CMBN missions that I have played, both in campaigns and as individual "scenarios", and both stock and user-made, have been immersive and realistic. Not so for the CMBN campaigns. 

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13 hours ago, JoMc67 said:

Yeah, It may be a little difficult to play against the AI now, but it will be more so against an opponent.

 

But "it feels different". You have somebody to blame. ?

Seriously, H2H you know both players have the same restrictions (you may consider those "realistic" or not).

Playing against the AI, you might feel that "the computer is cheating".

I guess that was my point, really.

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16 hours ago, JoMc67 said:

WOW !..You are Super-Fast with your turns Orders...It usually takes me twice that, and I only play up to Reinforced Company size Engagements.

Joe

Yeah, I can easily take 30 minutes or more per turn, even on medium sized battles. More than half of that is spent watching the replay though.

Just last night I finished the Le Grand Hameau scenario from the Road to Mountebourg campaign, and it took probably a week to play it.

That kind of time expenditure is not a problem, in my opinion, since I know and expect that. When I want to play a scenario in 3-4 hours, I do less replay watching, and give just very generalized orders. And the results are usually a bit worse than when I take my time. It's all a trade-off though, and it's great that we have the option to play how we want. Play in real time and make your orders instantaneous, or... take your time and micromanage and sink a week (or more) into a single battle. It's all good to me....

 

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15 hours ago, Pericles said:

No no no, sburke, you insufferable sod. Courage and Fortitude is indeed a stock campaign. And we are not saying that 'all campaigns, all scenarios, CM is just too hard now?" To take that from our discussion up to now is to be deliberately trolling or mentally disabled from CM fandom. 

I am saying that immersion and realism is not as high as it could be in some of the campaigns (stock and user-made). And yes, that means sometimes it's too "hard" because your men won't advance. 

 

Or like when you suffer  a lot of casualties trying to take a building. Finally a handful of men get there and  it seems like it was worth the cost. Then the building is sprayed with a short burst of MG fire and the men sprint out, into the open street, more or less toward friendly lines.

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4 hours ago, Pericles said:

Bulletpoint, you might be misunderstanding my criticism. All I'm saying is that CMBN campaigns often end up with a mission or two that ruin the immersion and realism. And imo that is a problem because immersion and realism are what CM is all about imo. Others don't seem to care as much about immersion and realism and be more into the different vehicles, units, skins, etc. Most of the individual CMBN missions that I have played, both in campaigns and as individual "scenarios", and both stock and user-made, have been immersive and realistic. Not so for the CMBN campaigns. 

I didn't mean to say your criticism has no merit. Like you, I'm more into immersion than just watching various weapons systems fire at each other. I have many of the same frustrations actually, especially with night missions etc. But I just try to skip the missions I find are somewhat poorly done so I can focus on the good ones. Luckily, many campaigns now let us cease fire and move on without too much of a penalty.

As an example, Scottish Corridor is quite generous at letting us skip what we don't like. And for every mission I didn't enjoy in that campaign, it has four or five that are well done and very challenging, I find. Nothing is perfect.

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