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Huge scenario covering Peiper's advance through La Gleize to Stoumont. German vs Allied. Could try H2H but untested. 4 x2.3km map, my interpretation. Any comments good or bad taken on board.  Mis

Far from it. Appreciate all comments good and negative. How can I improve as an amateur designer otherwise? There are a lot of smaller scenarios, which are great and I enjoy...but fewer huge scal

@Bulletpoint Yep, at the moment only one plan but USA reinforcements have variable arrival times which can help or hinder. V2 will include multiple plans, TRP placement already done, building improvem

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Ok, how's this for a solution to the problem of the chore of moving up reinforcements:

You get one hour to clear the first village. You're told in the briefing that reinforcements will arrive at the village after one hour.

If you don't clear the village by then, the reinforcements could appear suddenly in the middle of enemies. This would represent units falling into an ambush.

You then get another hour to clear a number of objectives such as bridges etc. Next round of reinforcements will arrive there. Again, if the bridge is not clear, your reinforcements are seen as ambushed.

As long as you tell the player about this system in the briefing, and you mark out the zones where reinforcements will arrive, I think the player will accept this.

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That's doable enough, I've used similar tricks in various scenarios (usually with spies in the modern titles).

@MOS:96B2P used a brutal variant thereof in 'Coup' for CM:SF2, where the player has to take indirect action to stop a series of executions.  These are structured much as you envisage, but the enemy units are linked to a trigger that will make them leave if the player's units can succeed in activating it, thus ending the executions.

With a bit of mucking about and some lateral thinking, CM can be persuaded to do some dramatically different stuff.  B)

 

 

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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3 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

With a bit of mucking about and some lateral thinking, CM can be persuaded to do some dramatically different stuff

+1.  MOS' concepts have been quite brilliant in re-imagining what CM2 can do. 

Over the past months/years etc. you have talked about some exciting ideas for scenarios for CMA, CMSF2 etc., and am sure we're all eager to play em.  How is progress on your projects going? 

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Me too mate.....I'm really struggling to do anything with CM:A at the moment (which is where I've invested most of my time in terms of scenario/campaign writing). 

The more modern titles seem to work OK, so I'm still getting stuff done for 'Heaven & Earth', mostly maps, but also a three part mini-campaign and a couple of scenarios.....The maps are quite a project, I'm currently converting @LongLeftFlank's Ramadi, into the capital of 'Bong-Hai'.  Where Ramadi has major roads this map, 'Ikke-Phtang', has canals (whether I can make the map 'riverine capable'** remains to be seen, to do that is actually quite difficult, I know because I'm also building a big map based on Halong Bay, just for that purpose).

** Usable with Heaven & Earth's various boats.....To make full use of these it must not be possible for the player (or AI) to drive them up to the top of hills etc. (keep in mind they are ALL actually amphibious vehicles), tailoring a map to prevent this, while keeping it a playable and reasonable looking map, is harder than it sounds and, as always, very, very time consuming.

Apologies to @theforger for going wildly off topic.

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead
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Far from it. Appreciate all comments good and negative. How can I improve as an amateur designer otherwise?

There are a lot of smaller scenarios, which are great and I enjoy...but fewer huge scale that challenge choosing route marches via large maps, when and where do you need agility/feints, fend off counter attacks? force superiority, operational issues?

I've almost finished testing a V2. Added some reece and eventually found Grilles to add  German side!

Improved road net thru initial stages and La Gleize.

Made some building cosmetic changes.

Added 5x Allied AI plans.

Also changed conditions to patchy snow. Looks good and no bogging.

My initial idea was to recreate a taste of  3-4 days 18th-22nd action in 4 hours, tricky to please all. I do acknowledge the scenario takes a lot of effort and patience on the players part.

I will create a bitesize campaign version this year, probably from Vaux Ricard/Stavelot.

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4 hours ago, theforger said:

There are a lot of smaller scenarios, which are great and I enjoy...but fewer huge scale that challenge choosing route marches via large maps, when and where do you need agility/feints, fend off counter attacks? force superiority, operational issues?

Added 5x Allied AI plans.

+1.  Sounds cool.  You're Mission to Mass scenario gave me some ideas for a CMRT scenario that I've been working on.  

FIVE AI plans!!! :o  :D  Now, that's motivation. 

One trick I recently learned is to leave plan #5 blank.  So if I ever want to wipe clean plans #1 through #4 I'll Copy the blank plan#5 and paste it into the plan(s) I want to wipe clean.  A lot faster than going through and deleting every order for every AI group.  With a huge map you're more likely to want to reuse it or a portion of it for some future scenario / campaign.  Or just to start clean with an AI plan you decided you didn't care for etc. 

Good luck.  Look forward to seeing what you come up with.    

Edited by MOS:96B2P
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On 1/19/2020 at 5:46 PM, Bulletpoint said:

Sounds great. One more thing I was thinking about was to maybe remove the German AA units. Especially the open topped ones. They end up just sitting back at the starting line, not playing any part in the battle.

Not with me in command they don't. I like using them for reducing buildings to rubble, a kind of hard core recon by fire.

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In my opinion, it is not a work in progress. It is more just a matter of personal preference. If you like large battles like this it really is a good one. I have played it twice, trying a different approach the second time, and have no complaints or even real suggestions. ( I do wish Battlefront would devise a road movement system.) But if your preferences are different, then this probably isn't the scenario for you. As to your suggestion regarding The Proving Grounds, I agree, but only so more people can have access. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/2/2020 at 1:26 PM, Bulletpoint said:

I think there's a fundamental problem in how the number of clicks needed to bring up troops to the front balloons as more reinforcements arrive and as the distance from the starting area to the front increases and includes more and more bends in the road. It turns into a game of "Waypoint: The Clickening".

Problem is - I simply have no idea how to solve this. I really like the concept of a "one map campaign".

I find excessive waypoint plotting and multiple battles on a huge map that require the player to constantly shift attention and camera rather exhausting too while the multiple battles aspect comes down to preference. However directing vehicle convoys over a road network is one of the most exhausting tasks I can think of when playing CM. Bad ground conditions can make it worse. It can even become more extreme when designers put mud/ditches beside roads or junctions, which is realistic but may stress the handicapped driving AI and your patience to the absolute max.

In the time I´ve developed some work reducing methods:

1) I sometimes "abstract" the plotting and only set few waypoints. Vehicles may navigate to the target in an efficient manner but will veer of the road often. Only use this if the bogging chance offroad is low. Important is to make sure that there are waypoints for key areas that will prevent the vehicle AI from taking unexpected routes or terrible terrain. With time the player gets a "feeling" for how the AI will behave when plotting this abstracted routes.

 2) I often give orders to multi vehicles at once even for road travel. While this otherwise handy "waypoint spread by unit relation" feature is rather hindering when plotting road travel, Engine 4 allows you to drag the waypoints quickly into correct position. It isn´t perfect as every single unit needs to be selected but I think it can save time and work.

3) pause all vehicles when done and make sure to unpause them when there is absolute enough room between each vehicle. One of the worst thing that can happen is when vehicles bump together for too long, triggering into this bypass mode and then the vehicle babysitting is about to happen. Bogged vehicles can stop entire fleets of vehicle. Remove the waypoints from the bogged vehicle if you want them to bypass the bogged one. Not sure if pause leads to the same. 

Great to see that V2 uses ground conditions with less bogging which will makes things alot easier

Edited by Aquila-SmartWargames
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2 minutes ago, Aquila-SmartWargames said:

1) I sometimes "abstract" the plotting and only set few waypoints with "fast" without hitting every single road bent. The AI often will use the road correctly for themselves.

+1 to the rest of your post, but this part is not my experience, I must say. I find I have to click on every single bend of the road. And I find I have to click exactly in the middle of the bend, or the vehicle will drive halfway off the road, which increases bogging risk a lot.

By the way, I started playing Mius Front recently, and in a recent battle, I put my StuGs on the left flank, and then the enemy tanks appeared on the right flank. I was able to just select my AFVs and then click to redeploy them all, using the "move by road" command. I kind of expected something to go wrong, but they all moved perfectly by road to their new destination. Such a relief.

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25 minutes ago, Bulletpoint said:

+1 to the rest of your post, but this part is not my experience, I must say. I find I have to click on every single bend of the road. And I find I have to click exactly in the middle of the bend, or the vehicle will drive halfway off the road, which increases bogging risk a lot.

By the way, I started playing Mius Front recently, and in a recent battle, I put my StuGs on the left flank, and then the enemy tanks appeared on the right flank. I was able to just select my AFVs and then click to redeploy them all, using the "move by road" command. I kind of expected something to go wrong, but they all moved perfectly by road to their new destination. Such a relief.

I´ve just tested it and yes as you mention they veer off the road alot. I´ve corrected 1)

Would be great to have a "stick to roads" command added to CM one day. 

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Have been enjoying this Mission as I love large scenarios on large maps with a good amount of time "to do things right".  Am almost an hour in and find it very satisfying (so far).

People are right about the excessive number of clicks needed when one has a lot of units.  Streamlining the UI so that a player can reduce the number of clicks needed to do things should be a priority for BF ow that the game itself is near perfect.  But, any veteran of CM1 (which featured maps 8Km x 4Km (in CMAK) and one could play with a reinforced Regiment on each side plus many companies of supporting units) will not have any problem organizing the unit and figuring out the best way to move formations to where they are needed.

Also, I found the AA units very useful vs inf even in buildings and they complement the 150mm SP Assault Guns nicely.

 

**********SPOILERS*************

 

The at start units are almost sufficient to take La Gleize.  I decided to approach via the northernmost road as well as the most obvious road from the east.  The east road caught me in a nice ambush and I lost half a platoon of engineers b4 I could get the heavy stuff to kill the US.  Stummels were very useful.  The North road found my units driving right into US reinforcements (looked like a platoon with a jeep and a couple trucks) coming from the North.  All German halftracks attacked immediately and the US were massacred.  However, it was interesting that even though the enemy were in front of the halftrack gun shields, the gunners got shot a lot. As the halftracks were loaded with inf, the gunners were replaced, and then the replacements were shot again.  (WIll they ever learn?)  So, lost maybe 8+ guys from the 6+ halftracks.  Perhaps the short range made Germans casualties worse, but the gun shields do seem to be "ineffective" even when the enemy is in front.

Most of the reinforcements units I sent immediately towards the next town... did not want them hung up in La Gleize.  I ended up needing one platoon of PzV's and an extra platoon of inf to take La Gleize at around the 1 hour mark.

The other units I sent west on the southernmost route - avoiding most of the scary looking forests.  The station (La Gleize?) featured another ambush, but this time it was hammered with HE and I only lost one guy - I think due to the effect of the friendly fire HE.  That's as far as I got in the first hour.

 

From here:  The KT''s have arrived and are now in La Gleize, too late to be useful there.  Note that they can only use the strongest bridges, so have to be careful one doesn't drive em into a dead end.

All but one AC of the Recon units are still in La Gleize.  I need to get them to the front of the column at the station asap.  I see no reason why one should risk going East through the woods so will drive through La Gleize and take the southern route since it seems safe.  I probably should not have committed all the recon units to help at La Gleize,  But the one AC reconned the southern route just fine.  And it was good to send the first two PzV platoons and the inf they carry directly to the next objective and not bog them down in La Gleize.

I used one of the AA trucks usefully in La Gleize as until reinforcements arrive on only has the four PZIV's, two Stummels and a couple of recon vehicles (50mm of the Puma and a 75mm) for direct fire.  I set the 150mm artillery on the TRP I placed in La Gleize (HARASS with one gun), but can't say it was that useful.  I have not found a good use for the artillery yet.  A 81mm mortar firing DIRECT was useful for taking out a US mortar.  Other than that I have not found a use for the mortars yet either.  The (eventually) three on map SPG's can also be used in an indirect mode, but as they only have 15 x 150mm shells each are best used for direct fire support.  Have not used one yet as the Stummels, Pz IV's and Pz V's had enuff firepower.

One challenge of having so many units is that one can get lazy and overcommit, and that's when one usually takes losses.  It's hard to discipline oneself to only use what is needed and keep everything else in reserve.

Question re mortars.  Some 81mm have a range of over 3Km IIRC and others have a much shorter 1.2Km(?).  Am wondering if for accuracy, it's generally best to keep mortars as close to the front lines as is safe, or if they are just as accurate firing close to their max ranges?

 

 

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On 2/10/2020 at 5:57 PM, Erwin said:

Question re mortars.  Some 81mm have a range of over 3Km IIRC and others have a much shorter 1.2Km(?).  Am wondering if for accuracy, it's generally best to keep mortars as close to the front lines as is safe, or if they are just as accurate firing close to their max ranges?

They become less accurate at longer ranges.

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I figured, but thanks for the confirmation.

 

 

*************** SPOILERS *****************

 

La Gleize fully invested after the first hour.  However, the time when you think there are no more enemy is a dangerous period.  Lost 6 guys to unexpected hold-outs being discovered in the last couple of minutes.  :(  The at start engineers used for the assault are mostly broken - maybe only 1/4 to 1/3 strength.  The at start infantry who assisted are very upset and complaining about being depleted to half strength or less.  As usual with my style of play, the infantry (and some halftrack crews) take the losses but the Germans have not lost a single vehicle to date.  Generally this is cos in all CM2 games I have learned to always lead with inf and use armor as support.  This makes sense on the smaller maps we usually see.  However, on this much larger map and with KT's and numerous Panthers am thinking I need to try leading with the tanks more. 

A little after the 1 hour mark about 5 minutes after its capture, another US attack on La Gleize comes from the North.  An HMG unit is getting glimpses of M4's and inf.  Am guessing something between 2-5 M4's and between 1 and 3 platoons of inf.  Am keeping the broken engineers in the safer south area of the town.  The upset infantry are in the North.  However, in addition to the 4 PzIV's and 2 Stummels (and an AA truck) we have 5 Panthers and a company of the Luftwaffe infantry they were carrying.  Have just completed resupplying them and am sending them North to relieve the shaky inf.  (One AC plus Puma and the 75mm recon vehicles are probing west into the woods, partly to guard that flank, and also cos am not sure what else to do with em.

One observation is that one seems to be able to ignore all the more direct roads heading east from La Gleize through the woods to Stoumont.  So there is no real point in the US attacks to retake La Gleize.  One doesn't really need to hold the town since it's possible to funnel all reinforcements via the SW road that leads off by the farmhouse east of La Gleize.  (Design suggestion:  Make it HARDER/IMPASSIBLE for the KT's at least to traverse to the South and then West.  Give the player more motivation to go through the woods/roads to the West of La Gleize.Currently, all units can travel FAST down roads, cross the RR to the south join the road again and continue West with no opposition until La Gleize station.  That ambush was easily overcome with no losses.  

All German reinforcements cross over the two bridges/streams and arrive safely at the open area to the South of the 2nd bridge at the 1 hour 10 min mark.  There they take fire from a 3-floor building to the west.  Infantry riding on Panthers take 5 casualties.  :(   I shoulda kept the mounted tanks back while more recon was done by the single AC that was sent this way!   Overconfidence and impatience strikes again! 

The tanks fire back and silence the enemy in the buildings.  Next will probably have the unmounted Panthers advance SLOW over the open ground with mounted halftracks behind.  Alternatively, I could wait for the 5 x KT's and Grille's with their 150mm which are still maybe 5-6 minutes behind.  But, it's better to keep pushing forwards.

Vorwärts marsch!

 

 

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22 hours ago, Erwin said:

(Design suggestion:  Make it HARDER/IMPASSIBLE for the KT's at least to traverse to the South and then West.  Give the player more motivation to go through the woods/roads to the West of La Gleize.Currently, all units can travel FAST down roads, cross the RR to the south join the road again and continue West with no opposition until La Gleize station.  That ambush was easily overcome with no losses.  

I'd suggest letting the player decide which route to take. I don't like scenarios that force me into a meatgrinder.

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I agree with that.  My point is that the most logical, safest and easiest route is via the southern road.  Why bother with the risky-looking woods roads at all.  IIRC there are 5 AI plans which is great.  But, unless all the ambushes are changed per AI plan, I would not want to replay this as the surprises will be gone.  AI attacks are very predictable so not sure how the game experience would differ if the US attacks simply come from a different direction or at a different time. However, if all the ambushes are different, then yes, that would make for more fun surprises and replayability.

 

**********  SPOILERS *************

 

The US counter-attack on La Gleize (from the N) was larger than expected.  About 12 M4 variants and maybe 9 halftracks.  So, almost a company of armor and 2 or 3 platoons inf.  Was very tough.  AI attacks are not great and I thought I was winning easily.  But as usual, just as I relaxed and started mopping up, 3 tanks that I hadn't noticed killed 4 Pz V's and 2 of the Pz IV's and maybe a platoon's worth of my inf.  Had to wait until the Pz IV reinforcements turned up and the US were caught in a pincer attack.

Assault on the 2nd objective (forgot name) started around the same time - about 1hr 15 mins in.  The ambushes were deadly and US heavy artillery showed up and was very nasty.

Am not impressed with the 150mm Grilles.  First I had a couple Grilles on a hill fire at the town, but all their shots fell very short like they had a max direct fire range of a few hundred meters.  Then I had em move into town, but they are as vulnerable as halftracks and one got killed quickly.  These are not assault guns and one needs to use em at range.  (But, how come they don't seem to have range even though they can fire indirect?)

Sending the KT's and other forces towards Stoumont at the same time.  While it's easy for all vehicles to cross the rivers without bridges (no bogging seen so far), for some weird pathing reason the KT's insisted on using the light bridge and a couple are now stuck on it.  Can't get them to back off.  

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Erwin said:

First I had a couple Grilles on a hill fire at the town, but all their shots fell very short like they had a max direct fire range of a few hundred meters.  Then I had em move into town, but they are as vulnerable as halftracks and one got killed quickly.  These are not assault guns and one needs to use em at range.  (But, how come they don't seem to have range even though they can fire indirect?)

Sounds odd. You should definitely be able to "Grille" the town from that hill.

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