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Back in the CMx1 days ... I had CMBO, but mainly ended up play CMBB/CMAK, because the improved HMG modeling.

Anyway, I had about 6,000 missions and ops someone shared with me after the original Scenario Depot went poof.

I only played once (usually always the attacked; as it was was well known the AI could not attack).  Once because the whole excitement was "what and where".  Of course, I would say with 6,000 over 12 years, I played the collection 4 times, since I would forget the details and play it fresh.

Now, CMx2, I see greater randomness than CMx1 with multiple plans and also, there are just far fewer missions.  Finally, many missions are really hard to win with just good technique and the first run through.  I find CMx2 missions more akin to puzzles than CMx1 which were "mystery novels".

So, do you replay scenarios?  Or just only once?  Both sides?  Any in house rules as to replaying and time between replays?

(just curious how people play)

Thanks.

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I've noticed there are two types of player. The first is the 'win at all cost' competitive player and the second is the 'I'm in a war movie!' immersion player. The immersion player can replay scenario

Kevin, You don't feel you are missing something by playing mainly QBs.  Scenario designers do far better with their resources than the AI.  Of course, the ultimate is PBEM where trick like trigge

There are a number of games inside the game. QB's, The Editor, Scenarios, Campaigns.  A few things that keep QB's interesting for me, with the inherent randomness of these in mind- I most often u

It really depends, both on the scenario or my mood.

Sometimes I feel like you can get a lot out of scenario as a tactical problem, attacking it in varying ways and trying out different ideas. Clearly the latter attempts are easier, even with varied AI plans (even just being familiar with the terrain will help), but when talking about a single player game, I'm not sure that matters. It does mean that "high scores" and the like are pretty meaningless.

This is a large reason why multiplayer quick battles are nice - you're doing everything only once, ever, and you can't know what you're fighting.

In any case, it's nice to attack a CM scenario like a project. Many of them will take multiple hours to complete, so you can sit down and work on them.

To actually answer the question, I think I rarely if ever replay campaign scenarios during a campaign, but will certainly replay campaigns. I fairly often will replay a given scenario, particularly if it's asking an interesting question or two. Sometimes I'll replay a scenario having made changes to the forces.

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I'm fairly new to CM (and only RT followed by BN so far) so I haven't had time or inclination to repeat many scenarios while there are still so many I've not tried.  There are some which I will return to at some point I'm sure, but as you say, playing first time without any 'ill-gotten' intel from a previous try is far more challenging.

I do remember re-playing Gog and Magog which was about my third battle in RT, so I didn't have much of a clue what I was doing the first time.  My pre-conceived notions of what medium and heavy panzers could do to the Soviets got the better of me the first time, with unhappy consequences.  I thought I must be able to do better, and second time around I did a lot better, but admittedly it was partly because I knew where some of the surprises would come from.

Edited by Vacilllator
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1 hour ago, markshot said:

 I find CMx2 missions more akin to puzzles than CMx1 which were "mystery novels".

 

Mystery Novels sounds good. I never played CMx1, now maybe I should...

I play CMx2 Quick Battles mostly.  There is no way to really replay a game there, unless you save it beforehand at the start. So on my next try I will use the same map, but will just let the computer opponent pick forces randomly again and deploy them differently. I guess that is only fair, because knowing everything beforehand is not quite right either.

 

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There are some very good but very hard campaigns in which if you lose too much men and equipment in earlier missions, you find that 3 or 4 missions later you can't win and are kicked out of the campaign.  You are forced to replay the previous 3 or 4 missions until you get to get through them without losing too much just so you can win the problematic mission and continue the campaign.  I find replaying these missions horrible and tortuous.

Yes scenarios may have alternative AI plans, but there is no way AFAIK to know that you will face a different AI plan or the same one.  (Being able to have the system "deselect" the AI plan one has already faced would be another good innovation for CM2.)

However, in my 20 years experience with CM, I cannot recall ever enjoying replaying any scenario or mission (unless sufficient time has passed so I have forgotten everything about it).  Once the surprises of a mission are known it is rare to see any new surprises that are so amazing that the scenario becomes entertaining again.  

Probably the larger the map and the scenario the more opportunity for a completely different strategy and the more entertaining experience.  eg if the map is 3Km+ per map edge, one could have choices as to whether to attack along the right flank or the left flank, and that could provide a sufficiently different play experience that would make the mission enjoyable to replay.

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Kevin,

You don't feel you are missing something by playing mainly QBs.  Scenario designers do far better with their resources than the AI.  Of course, the ultimate is PBEM where trick like triggering AI traps with just a couple of scouts won't work.  A human will wait to they have something substantial in the kill zone.

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I've had any number of conversations during scenario play-testing where 'play once' involved getting slaughtered early into a scenario, quitting out and restarting using your acquired knowledge to do better. Some scenarios offer you just one route to victory, others give you multiple options. 'Would I have done better if I had entered the city from the left instead of the right?'

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2 minutes ago, MikeyD said:

...'play once' involved getting slaughtered early into a scenario, quitting out and restarting using your acquired knowledge to do better.

These sorts of scenarios are dreadful imo.  A relatively experienced player should have a better than 50% chance of winning first time through.  I would say 90% actually - especially if winning is the requirement to move to the next mission in a campaign.

Perhaps this "play it again and again until you get it right" comes from FPS games.  Hated those.

Edited by Erwin
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Yes, I could win CMx1 70-75% of the time, but I feel like CMx2 are much harder ... simply good scouting and tactics will not win them ... perhaps 20% of the time, or put another way 20% of the scenarios.

They remind me of Sub Command and Dangerous Water Scenarios where you had to know the riddle's answer to beat them.

I, of course, prefer winnable on the first play if gross mistakes are not made.  Of course, training does involve getting killed and repeating exercises, but the whole point is to avoid getting killed in real life.

If a beta cannot beat a scenario from the get go, then what chance does a player have?

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50 minutes ago, markshot said:

Kevin,

You don't feel you are missing something by playing mainly QBs.  Scenario designers do far better with their resources than the AI.  Of course, the ultimate is PBEM where trick like triggering AI traps with just a couple of scouts won't work.  A human will wait to they have something substantial in the kill zone.

I played about a dozen or more scenarios as well, and maybe one CMSF1 campaign back then. No PBEM though. All good stuff anyways.

It is just my personality that I tend to put my time and thoughts in these sandbox-type randomized games for now. At least it is relaxing. Maybe it will lose its appeal when I figure the computer out, to such a point that I always win. But I am not there yet. ;) 

 

 

 

Edited by Kevin2k
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 I've noticed there are two types of player. The first is the 'win at all cost' competitive player and the second is the 'I'm in a war movie!' immersion player. The immersion player can replay scenarios any number of times because he gets his enjoyment from being in that world. The competitive player is goal oriented. He's there to win. Once he's won there's no point in returning to it. I know which type I am. i have favorite scenarios that I return to, play 3/4 the way through then quit out of. Because its not about points totals, its about approaching an isolate village on a snowy night knowing danger awaits you.

Edited by MikeyD
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MikeyD,

I do love the CM movies.  In fact, one of my biggest criticism of Graviteam is great graphics without replay.  A waste of a a GPU.

I like watching the movies for being there.

I also like watching the movies because they are part of a story or picture of the elephant.  Watching movies from different spots on the map convey information.

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I don't think you got my type of player.  I want a good fight.  I am perfectly happy to lose the fight or get a minor win.

But I don't want to lose by being tricked.  I want to lose because I advanced without clearing my flank or posting a rear guard.  And the enemy came up from behind me.

Another example of a fair loss is letting my platoons all get bunched up, and then the enemy calls down arty on a TRP which was intended for exactly that purpose.

---

So, I want an intellectual challenge.  Not a riddle.  I want to put all the pieces I have been taught about movement, recon, fire support, combined arms ... together and test my problem solving skills.  I want a chance to win.  I don't mind missions where objectives cannot be taken if they are constructed such that they permit victory conditions that can be achieved.  Maybe like simply a recon in force ... touch points along the enemy's main line meaning that you determined his strength and withdraw without excessive loses.  That's fine.

---

I hope I am being clear.

---

As you are a beta, I have a question about QB maps.  In CMx1, they were dynamically generated, but in CMx2 they are selected from a large library.

Do all of them come with basic attack plans for the AI such that the AI can make a credible attack or are CMx2 QB AI attacks the gravitational force movement of uncoordinated elements towards some objective which they were in CMx1?

Thanks.

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1 hour ago, MikeyD said:

The first is the 'win at all cost' competitive player and the second is the 'I'm in a war movie!' immersion player. The immersion player can replay scenarios any number of times because he gets his enjoyment from being in that world.

Then there must be a 3rd type of player - one that likes to have 'I'm in a war movie!' immersion, but no longer has that immersion feeling when replaying a scenario where one knows where the enemy is and what tricks the designer has implemented.  Then it becomes a FPS-type experience where one already knows what is needed to be done.  (And of course if one is in a campaign where one must "win at all costs" in order to not get abruptly terminated and continue the campaign...)

Senility/poor memory helps a lot of course.

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58 minutes ago, markshot said:

As you are a beta, I have a question about QB maps.  In CMx1, they were dynamically generated, but in CMx2 they are selected from a large library.

Do all of them come with basic attack plans for the AI such that the AI can make a credible attack or are CMx2 QB AI attacks the gravitational force movement of uncoordinated elements towards some objective which they were in CMx1?

Thanks.

I can answer this one - QB maps are essentially just like normal scenarios only without all of the briefings, graphics and of course pre-set forces.  The mechanics of creating the AI plans in the editor for QBs is the same as those for normal scenarios.  So your QBs have plans made by humans - getting them right is an art I haven't mastered yet because you have to understand a lot more variables than those in scenario design.

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Just now, markshot said:

So, are QBs more worth the time in CMx2?

I don't play them much but then I spend most of my time in the editor knocking out content.  It is also a long time since I played any of the CM1 titles.  Some QB maps are better than others I guess is the best way to put it.  Some people love them and some people hate them, a lot of the earlier QBs were a bit rough around the edges and a lot of people were put off by the enemy autopicks which quite often would just buy a shedload of anti-tank guns or some other crazy force selection.  Most of the dumb autopicks have been eradicated over various patches but there are still some anomalies.

If I do play a QB, its usually because I've had a sh1tty day and just want to blow stuff up without investing too much brainpower whereas with scenarios I do like to plan and play them through as if it was for real ... but that's just me.

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3 minutes ago, Combatintman said:

I can answer this one - QB maps are essentially just like normal scenarios only without all of the briefings, graphics and of course pre-set forces.  The mechanics of creating the AI plans in the editor for QBs is the same as those for normal scenarios.  So your QBs have plans made by humans - getting them right is an art I haven't mastered yet because you have to understand a lot more variables than those in scenario design.

AFAIK QB plans are more limited then what is available for scenarios. As Mark Ezra explained a while ago, and as I found out by making a QB map: You can lay out plans of successive  objective areas for the computer force. I would say for a good map you would need at least three different sets to keep things unpredictable. In the QB the computer force will follow a random set. It will also randomly decide to follow the set as a whole, or stop and defend an objective halfway through. The computer can also randomly decide to split forces and have each group take a different set. 

 

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There are a number of games inside the game. QB's, The Editor, Scenarios, Campaigns.  A few things that keep QB's interesting for me, with the inherent randomness of these in mind-

I most often use the "Suggestions" button (top left of the UI) to keep the FoW aspect, but this also allows some control over what the selection is. Click it multiple times until a sensible parent formation appears. The game engine will also assign attachments, so individual tanks, etc. will be added without the player seeing that. I'll sometimes do a hybrid- peeking just enough to strip out hefty amounts of arty/air support, etc.

The player should also be aware of the map sizes of a QB, and choose forces/transport for each side accordingly. Making an infantry formation run 2k to contact isn't likely to yield useful results, regardless of AI plan. A 4k by 4k QB map is possible, but only really useful for wheeled and tracked forces, lots of ammo, and an extended time-period.

I'd also point out that the QB designer can't dictate which plan is used by which force- there are some variables to this that can be planned around, but the entire endeavor is based in randomness. The randomized forces get assigned to an AI plan, but which forces/AI plan is random (attack, meeting, or defense). Add 3+ randomized AI plans (if designed), and that's a lot of randomness to play within.

I tend to pick maps that are based on actual terrain, or close to it. I prefer something random on a historically-derived battlefield, with nearly accurate forces, that extends the game beyond the scenarios and campaigns in an interesting way.

Matching map sizes and forces isn't a bad initial idea, if one wants somewhat expected results. Not necessary, but it helps. People can put Huge forces on Tiny maps, but it's going to get varying degrees of weird. That's CM, though- it does things based in real world data, but it can also get strange, if that's the plan. Not my plan for the game (my stats- realism/experience expected, play at level 1-3 mainly, icons "off" as much as possible, Iron Man when icons "on", embrace chaos as part of the experience side, observe from ground level as much as possible). Huge sized, all-flamethrower forces on tiny maps aren't my thing- but I don't begrudge that method of experimentation a bit. QB's serve all types of play, on the fly- you just need to set some parameters to get the right mix to suit.

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1 hour ago, benpark said:

I most often use the "Suggestions" button (top left of the UI) to keep the FoW aspect, but this also allows some control over what the selection is. Click it multiple times until a sensible parent formation appears.

 

Yes, obviously for some factions this is mandatory. 

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I have no issue playing a battle again, but I also have no issue with playing the battle with a whole new battle plan and I also have no issue with playing the battle like I do not know what the AI will do and will allow myself to be taken advantage of something that I know I can avoid. 

In otherwards, I have many little rules I control my own actions with to help give the AI a better fighting chance.

I want it to get results as close as I can make it possible as to if a person is playing.

To tell you the truth, when I replay a battle, I might just play both sides, since I know the forces anyway. And then I can make both sides play in a much more realistic manor.

Head to head play is what I love, and only in a battle that is designed and has not been seen by me before. (but since that is not always possible, everything else I do is preparing me for that type of engagement - Its some type of training for it) 

 

 

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Some battles have been so good, I've played them again (the Road to Mounteburg springs to mind, and the CMSF2 one where you're clearing the big valley - there are others). It can also be fun to get into the editor and try it with a different but equivalent attacking force, of a different nationality.

I share the frustration with having to replay campaign battles though - I'd usually rather give up...

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Thanks.  I am happy to find some do need to replay missions (experienced players).

I was worried that maybe I (age) was the main factor which accounted for my improved CMx1 victory rate than CMx2.

You may think that it a stupid concern, but I assure it is not.  About 3 years ago, I joined one of the World's biggest Chess sites and studied and practiced hard.  I was playing 30 minute games which I thought was a fair pace.  I found that I consistently lost on time.

It seems that the average age of the community was 20 years younger than me.  Now, I could see the impact of my age.  They had skilled challenge tests graded on correctness and time.  I always scored lower because of more time spent than the average.

I later took a class in neuro science and cognition.  We are at our neurological prime in our 20s.  After that both longitudinal and cross section studies show that executive function (managing projects), problem solving, and new memory formation diminishes.

So, it is quite possible to get too old to play CM and win.  But now I know it is not just me, but the core game itself.  I feel less deficient.

Thank you.

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Replayability is one of Combat Mission's core weaknesses in my view. Battles are compelling when I do not know what I face, but once I do the game loses a big part of it's appeal. AI plans address this issue in a way, but it is position, not composition. Having the AT gun moved to a different spot does fundamentally alter the scenario, but how many AT guns I face does not change. Once I have played a scenario I know what I face, have a general idea of enemy positions (AI plan alterations notwithstanding), reinforcement location and timing, off-board assets, key terrain, avenues of approach, covered ground and best vantage points. There is little built in to Combat Mission to offer a new or different experience once the scenario has been run-through. And as mentioned above, there is no guarantee the player will actually get a different AI plan, even in those scenarios where the designer took the time to make them.

So I very rarely play something twice. And frankly all I play are campaigns, aside from a QMB or three when I first buy a new CM title. Single scenarios are not my bag really, but I like campaigns, and there are a few that I really like that I've played more than once. Devil's Descent and Blunting the Spear are two that come to mind. Quality offerings that I liked enough to give another go, but if I'm honest the subsequent runs had lost some of their luster, as it's difficult for me to forget the details. Forgetting the details then becomes key to replyability for me. But it takes many years it seems for the memory to recede enough to make the scenario feel novel to any degree. But like most CM players I imagine, we have good memories borne from analytical minds.

Blunting the Spear for example I played six years apart. I remembered all the maps, but there were details of the battles I had forgotten, enough that the second run felt unfamiliar enough to carry me through.  Without this though,  I don't have proper motivation to replay it, as Combat Mission then becomes more like painting by numbers and less free-hand artistry, if you'll indulge this analogy. I need to be surprised, and not simply apply experience to what I know is coming.

A good example is the opening phase to the first battle in Blunting the Spear. The big map is divided left-to-right by a river. On the near side of this river on the right-hand side is a small village. There is no enemy deployed here. But since I couldn't know this, I cleared it house by house, deploying smoke screens, bounding overwatch, covering and speculative fire, fire by recon -- all the things I feel I need to do when approaching terrain that could hold the enemy. In the end, it was all expended to no purpose, aside from the knowledge gained that the enemy is somewhere else. This took many turns, expended a lot of smoke and ammunition, but it followed the maxim to plan based on the capabilities of your enemy not their intentions. Since the enemy could have been there, I needed to approach it as if they were.

If I were to replay that mission I would just ignore this part of the map entirely. Perhaps an alternate AI plan would catch me out by doing so, but then again perhaps not. In the end I would make faster progress to where the enemy actually is, risk fewer units crossing open terrain and have more smoke rounds as a result. For me this is part of the reason why replaying scenarios loses the compelling aspect of unknown tactical problems. There are a number of ways I feel this could be overcome in the series, but that's better left for a different discussion, or, offering my thoughts on what Combat Mission is, not what it could be.

 

Hmm, why doesn't the italics thing work? Nevermind, I worked it out

 

Edited by landser
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You need to replay scenarios a lot when building & testing. I play it as though I hadn't played it before. It's sorta like self-hypnosis. I start the game and maneuver in a common sense manner as though I didn't know where that hidden AT gun was. If I know where triggers are I ignore that knowledge and follow 'best practices' in deployment and maneuver. For a scenario designer its not about being surprised, its about creating a logical chain of events. So you play thinking 'if I go this way will the scenario play out logically? if I go that way will the scenario play out logically/'

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6 minutes ago, MikeyD said:

You need to replay scenarios a lot when building & testing. I play it as though I hadn't played it before. It's sorta like self-hypnosis. I start the game and maneuver in a common sense manner as though I didn't know where that hidden AT gun was.

You may be exceptional.  My experience is after playtesting a game more than 3 times, it leads to the worst burn-out.  I have been unable to play for fun any game that I have already played 2 times - perhaps 3 times when playtesting as one is usually trying to "break the system".  

Playing as if one doesn't already know where the enemy is can be done for playtesting purposes, but for most of us that is work, it is not fun.  

But, we are all different, so...

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