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Czechmate Battle- baffled by map design (vague spoilers)


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Personnally, I think its a great scenario to show the use of infantry as to when a force needs to lead with infantry, not armor.

From the comments, it sounds like more proper guidance in the briefing could have been used to help the gamer along the correct path.

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I went in expecting a game focused on some aggressive Soviet recon, centred on a contested river crossing, versus a Cavalry unit doing what Cavalry units can do, and defending a chokepoint against superior numbers.

All of that sounded extremely promising, with both sides having both non-trivial and plausible, period-appropriate tactical problems to solve.

That the map was also really well made for that was even more promising, hence the disappointment.

If the intention was for this to be a puzzle-like scenario for playing the AI, then sure, that's valid. It should say that, but it's valid. I do think that's a bit of a waste of the map though - this is halfway to being one of the strongest scenarios in Cold War.

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I wasn't going to go through the kind of explanation that @ASL Veterandid but now that he did I'll say that I playtested this as the US and I saw how the Soviet AI approached it, which is very close to his description. I never saw all that infantry cross the river. I had to move those Bradleys off that ridge on the right before that. They got off a shot or two before being driven back/destroyed. All that dismounted infantry showed up on my side of that large patch of woods and started pitching ATGMs left and right into the town and it was impossible to suppress enough of them. There are too many of them and I'd reveal a keyhole tank or TOW and it would come under fire. I did cause a few wrecks near the bridge but didn't block it. So the Soviet tanks took a beating from my TOWs and tanks, but the infantry eventually accounted for the vast majority of my forces and I called a cease fire when it was obvious a non-suicidal commander would have retreated.

You might get lucky and block the bridge, but the majority of the force got across the river and forced me out of the town. In real life that's a victory. Someone can come along now shortly and shove those wrecks aside and the way is clear for the 3d line to motor on through.

(If you play the US, click on the FO that is your starting position. Voila!  There I am, SGT Anderson.  Bit of a demotion but hey, I'm ready for war.)

Dave

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Well, I mean from my perspective I made something where the AI won the scenario as the Soviet and the AI won the scenario as the American.  There is only so much testing that can be done.  Now I'm sure that domfluff is an accomplished head to head player, but this scenario wasn't designed as a puzzle scenario (which I'm sure is meant in a disparaging manner coming from a head to head player).  I picked a patch of ground, plopped some forces on the map, and I worked on some AI plans and this is the result.  There was no thought of 'well the Soviet has to do this that or the other thing' (as in a puzzle type solution).  No, that was never any part of the design process whatsoever.  The terrain dictated the route of advance, just as it does in real life.  I found a covered route of advance and used it - domfluff did not.  If domfluff went back to the commissar and gave a report that he retreated after five minutes he would be shot. 

The Soviet force that's currently in the scenario now is a lot more powerful than the force Slysniper had when he tried it and the American force is actually substantially weaker than it was originally.  In fact, I strengthened the Soviet force and weakened the US force based on his feedback.  However, the terrain is what the terrain is and there are only so many ways you can advance up the valley.  I took it right off Google Earth so unless I want to use a different patch of ground then that's the terrain that was used.  Now if during testing I could not make a viable Soviet AI attack plan well then I would have to make adjustments obviously.  But for the player, if you drive the BRDMs up the highway and they explode then you have to look for an alternate route and if a player just plays for five minutes, throws up their hands and says it's impossible then I can't respect that.  Especially when the AI plan, which most players who play Head to head would say is a worthless opponent, can succeed where the player fails.  You can't make the scenario 'better' using this map because it doesn't matter if you have a battalion of Soviet tanks driving up the highway - if the TOWs are still in the same place then you are going to lose some tanks - there is just no two ways about it.  The Soviet force already outnumbers the US by 3 to 1.  Some guys want to say that it's not their tactical acumen, but rather it's the scenario that's broken.  In this case I don't think that's a valid position to take.  The AI won the scenario from both sides during testing.  That's as good as I can do.  What you do with the force and situation provided is up to you.  Now if someone has some trouble finding an alternate route when they first play it - sure I get it.  Not everyone is going to find a covered route of advance right away - and even if you do find that route you still have to execute the attack.  At least Slysniper kept working the problem until the time expired.  I can respect that.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, slysniper said:

Personnally, I think its a great scenario to show the use of infantry as to when a force needs to lead with infantry, not armor.

From the comments, it sounds like more proper guidance in the briefing could have been used to help the gamer along the correct path.

Yes, I did that for the Seelow Heights scenario, but I had a lot more feedback on that one since it was in the oven for a lot longer.  I certainly could have included better 'orders' in the briefing for sure.  At the same time though there are those who don't want detailed orders in the briefing so it has to be a balance.  Seelow Heights is another one where the AI won from both sides and the complaining was continuous from the Soviet players about how hard it was and I had the opportunity to include a very detailed briefing off of that.  For me though - it's like - well the AI won from both sides what the hell am I supposed to adjust?  If the AI is winning and you aren't then it can't be the scenario it has to be you.  If the AI wins from both sides then that's as good as you can get from a design perspective.  I don't know what else to do.

Edited by ASL Veteran
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Posted (edited)

That Soviet AI plan certainly did a job on me. And while don’t claim to be a CM whizz player I was an Army officer during this whole time training for exactly this so I employ what we trained on. More or less. 
 

Personally I really like this scenario. And I like ones like this where the enemy does the unexpected and waxes me. Then I’ll play it again with hindsight figuring , ok I’m the squadron CO and smarter about Soviet possible advances. Let’s see what I can do. 
 

The fact that road and bridge are death should be obvious from analyzing the map and figuring out likely enemy positions. 
 

Dave. 

Edited by Ultradave
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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, ASL Veteran said:

  I don't know what else to do.

I found understanding the game of chess gives me more insight. Hypothetically my HQ units use flares it is the excuse I use to cancel artillery strikes. I play on Iron for the reason I know at what distance I am likely to be spotted. Infantry are the pawns and they spot German armor. Engage 3 JS2 for spotted German armor, organizing the C2 is challenging 2 radio sets for the ground forces. The Soviet armor is the key to organize the C2 that makes the tank riders are the only infantry with communication, they need to communicate with the other ground forces too. I never let armor engage without a contact icon. I am sure otherwise the German armor gets in the first hit. Leave me in the dark my game is progressing. The Queen represents the C2 it enables me to strike anywhere on the battle field, the King represents the morale of my units, every time you become nervous or rattled the enemy checked me. If it happens often enough it becomes checkmate aka surrender.  

Edited by chuckdyke
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1 hour ago, ASL Veteran said:

Now I'm sure that domfluff is an accomplished head to head player, but this scenario wasn't designed as a puzzle scenario (which I'm sure is meant in a disparaging manner coming from a head to head player).

I can assure you that Dom does not mean it in a disparaging way. I've talked to him at length about the scenario (and CM in general) and he has a ton of great insight. There is no ill will or intent here.

I'm kicking myself for not getting a chance to play this while still in beta. If I had the chance to get to it there are a few recommendations I would have made. I love the map and I think there could be a few changes made to the Soviet forces that could turn this scenario into a "how the Persians could have won at Thermopylae" type thing. This speaks a little to what Dom means when he talks about a tactical puzzle. He does not mean that it is some game like chess or something that has a code to crack it, he means it in the military sense that the bridge is crucial key terrain that must be seized in order for the Soviet advance to continue, and that it is the obvious bottleneck. Overcoming this bottleneck as the attacker, and properly defending it as the defender despite being outnumbered, is the tactical "puzzle."

Do you think it would be worth the time to converse (perhaps in the beta boards) about some recommendations I have? Again, this is partly my fault. I meant to get to this during beta but was not able to, for which I apologize. If you would rather move on I completely understand. Just let me know!

I really do love the map by the way. Hot damn is it great!

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11 hours ago, IICptMillerII said:

I can assure you that Dom does not mean it in a disparaging way. I've talked to him at length about the scenario (and CM in general) and he has a ton of great insight. There is no ill will or intent here.

I'm kicking myself for not getting a chance to play this while still in beta. If I had the chance to get to it there are a few recommendations I would have made. I love the map and I think there could be a few changes made to the Soviet forces that could turn this scenario into a "how the Persians could have won at Thermopylae" type thing. This speaks a little to what Dom means when he talks about a tactical puzzle. He does not mean that it is some game like chess or something that has a code to crack it, he means it in the military sense that the bridge is crucial key terrain that must be seized in order for the Soviet advance to continue, and that it is the obvious bottleneck. Overcoming this bottleneck as the attacker, and properly defending it as the defender despite being outnumbered, is the tactical "puzzle."

Do you think it would be worth the time to converse (perhaps in the beta boards) about some recommendations I have? Again, this is partly my fault. I meant to get to this during beta but was not able to, for which I apologize. If you would rather move on I completely understand. Just let me know!

I really do love the map by the way. Hot damn is it great!

Up to you.  You can always put something in the thread if you want to, but unless there is a patch coming out I can't change anything.

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Well, when a player losses and complains there is something wrong with the battle. I do not give it much weight normally.

paying $35 bucks, jumping into a battle and playing the game does not make them great military minds. So normally its something to review and weigh once again maybe at the most.

But as to the feed back you have received so far it sounds like to me you have a great and challenging Scenario and it might need no real adjustment.

 

I mean, even in the comments  you can tell that the methods that lost, there was a reason for it and it had nothing to do with the Scenario design. but the players use of their force.

 

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I liked this one as well.   After reading this thread I am even having much better success as the Soviets.  I personally tend to think less about infantry in modern titles than I should.  Now learning that in CW, the tech is good but not 21st century good.   The grunts have way more utility.  Also glad that I was a tanker in the 90's and 2000's, not the 70's or 80's.  LOL

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, The_Capt said:

If that is the strongest negative emotion the Soviet Campaign delivers to you, then you are doing astoundingly well.

The strongest negative emotion I can deliver is a scenario where you get a battalion of reinforcements.. But they spawn in a crossfire of ATGMs, tanks, machine guns, and artillery. Then after your poor performance you will be ejected from the campaign for failing this realistic scenario. LOL I actually considered doing this. I was so "WTF". 

I left my t62s and my atgm brdms to fight but they got mopped up. SAD.

 

I am definitely the type to start thinking of a ceasefire once I lose two and half troops. I hate losing anything. :D

Edited by Artkin
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1 hour ago, Artkin said:

The strongest negative emotion I can deliver is a scenario where you get a battalion of reinforcements.. But they spawn in a crossfire of ATGMs, tanks, machine guns, and artillery. Then after your poor performance you will be ejected from the campaign for failing this realistic scenario. LOL I actually considered doing this. I was so "WTF". 

I left my t62s and my atgm brdms to fight but they got mopped up. SAD.

 

I am definitely the type to start thinking of a ceasefire once I lose two and half troops. I hate losing anything. :D

Well it depends which version of the Soviet Campaign we are talking about.  Standard actually allows the player to lose the first battle (i.e. they get a second chance).  March or Die...well sorry but as the name suggests...win or die.

Scenario one is tough (though not the toughest) but it is built straight from Soviet doctrine for an ME (less main force):

image.png.c21fe80c02a22c796c32bedca4ceab74.png

The trick on this one, at least as I saw it, was to advance up the right hard and fast with the FSE.  You are going to take loses but if you can get infantry in those trees on the first small ridge you are in a good position.  You need to keep clearing up on the right until the Adv Guard shows up...and from there I wish you luck. 

If you hate to lose "anything" I am not sure the Soviet Campaign is for you then.  The overall strategy here has to be "lose enough but not too much", which is a really hard balancing act.  I specifically designed the Soviet Campaign to be a significant challenge for the advanced player, it is also one of the more realistic set of scenarios for the Soviets in the game.

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1 hour ago, The_Capt said:

Well it depends which version of the Soviet Campaign we are talking about.  Standard actually allows the player to lose the first battle (i.e. they get a second chance).  March or Die...well sorry but as the name suggests...win or die.

Scenario one is tough (though not the toughest) but it is built straight from Soviet doctrine for an ME (less main force):

image.png.c21fe80c02a22c796c32bedca4ceab74.png

The trick on this one, at least as I saw it, was to advance up the right hard and fast with the FSE.  You are going to take loses but if you can get infantry in those trees on the first small ridge you are in a good position.  You need to keep clearing up on the right until the Adv Guard shows up...and from there I wish you luck. 

If you hate to lose "anything" I am not sure the Soviet Campaign is for you then.  The overall strategy here has to be "lose enough but not too much", which is a really hard balancing act.  I specifically designed the Soviet Campaign to be a significant challenge for the advanced player, it is also one of the more realistic set of scenarios for the Soviets in the game.

Thanks, the first time I played it (March or Die) I had everything reconed out. Rounds didn't even hit the ground before the FSE smashed their way onto the map and subsequently got obliterated... I tried to rush all the infantry in the BTR's to that little ridge you suggested. But I had lost my tanks, my atgm brdm.. very sad. Times like that I call it quits. HAHA

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For what it's worth, I approve of the somewhat misleading briefing.  In the real world, Intelligence sometimes gets it badly wrong, your plan goes for the proverbial ball of chalk and you have to improvise.  I also approve of the difficult terrain when played as Russian.  However, the issue that I have with this scenario is that your units start exploding on the start line before they have had a chance to move.  There is absolutely no advance to contact, nor is there anywhere where you can deploy your vehicles out of harm's way while sending your infantry forward to recce and identify the enemy (US) positions.  Why? Because the setup zone/start line, which is on the eastern edge of the map, is in plain view. 

In the real world, once your lead units (probably recce elements) had started exploding, someone would have sent out the Soviet equivalent of 'Contact, wait-out.' Any survivors would have reversed out of danger and a sitrep would have been sent immediately after.  Even if there were no survivors, no contact report and no sitrep, the columns of smoke and the exploding vehicles would have told even the most unobservant Soviet commander that there was something pretty nasty up ahead.  This would result in flanking manoeuvres if the terrain permitted, or the adopting of a defensive posture until sufficient forces had arrived to deal with the situation and the Soviets had SOPs for both.  What they wouldn't do is to blindly move reinforcements into the killing zone, which is what is currently happening the way the scenario is set up. However, once the enemy was spotted and once they were satisfied that there were sufficient reinforcements to win the firefight, they would go in mob-handed, and being Soviet, they would happily accept heavy casualties in order to do so.  

Were the map extended 150 - 200 yards to the East, and the setup zone/start line changed to an area that was unobserved by the US forces, the scenario would be world class. 

SLR 

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18 minutes ago, SpitfireXI said:

Whats the point of this reinforcement if I cant doing anything with these units?

To get a real sense of the Soviet approach to warfare.  The FSE is not some sort of mincing recon package, skulking around in the trees for hours.  It is an opening punch that is going to come straight down that road and crash into the lead US tripwire.  It can be done btw, testers managed to not only take Mansbach and wipe out those M60s but keep pushing up the mountain...now they needed a couple tries....

Good luck. 

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Posted (edited)

Sorry to derail the thread here but I think its worth it. ;)

Just reading how hard the campaign was going to be and then seeing the FSE get eliminated was disheartening. Luckily my game crashed so I owe the campaign another serious try. I tried again twice after, but only for fifteen minutes or so. Both times my FSE (t62s, the bdrm, and the .. shilka firing on the move.. :angry: ) succeeded in killing the pattons and the m901 atgms. 

But then my Shilka fired all 800 or so 23mm rounds into the sky for a whole turn and wound up killing nothing  

After air support totaled more and more heavy assets of mine I realized the Soviet doctrine... Definitely fast and heavy mechanized punches. 

Before the air came in I hadn't lost a single man 

:unsure:

Edited by Artkin
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46 minutes ago, Artkin said:

Definitely fast and heavy mechanized punches. 

Before the air came in I hadn't lost a single man 

There you go!  I do think a some frustration with playing the Soviets is built into the learning curve adaptation towards Soviet style warfare, which seems to actually work for them in this title.  

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4 hours ago, The_Capt said:

To get a real sense of the Soviet approach to warfare.  The FSE is not some sort of mincing recon package, skulking around in the trees for hours.  It is an opening punch that is going to come straight down that road and crash into the lead US tripwire.  It can be done btw, testers managed to not only take Mansbach and wipe out those M60s but keep pushing up the mountain...now they needed a couple tries....

Good luck. 

So the designers intentionally put the reinforcements into the M-60 line of fire for shock effect? Huh?

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43 minutes ago, SpitfireXI said:

 

So the designers intentionally put the reinforcements into the M-60 line of fire for shock effect? Huh?

Well, not really.  Scenario designers put reinforcements where they think the Soviets would have put them in the scenario.  The shock effect is organic based on where the scenario designers also think the US would put troops.  I mean there is a bit of drama at play here as well but nothing you are seeing is really unrealistic for a Soviet FSE/Advance Guard on the move to establish a breakout in the Fulda area.

The player can crack this one successfully, even if they take loses.  In the Soviet Campaign overcoming these types of tough challenges was kinda the theme.  It is also why we suggested the Soviet campaign be played last, but players are free to play anyway they like.  Way back when we started pulling the campaign together some of the old timers said "AI will never truly compete with a human player, the best you can hope for is a Draw".  So we worked hard at building a campaign that challenges that assumption but still employs realistic doctrine on both sides.  Some players might see some "gotchas" but hey it is all in the spirit of good fun.  

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