Jump to content

My Crack Pipe Battlefront Game Suggestion


Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

I think the developers should consider a series of linear warfare games with a 1:1 representation as the next generation of projects. Specifically American Civil War and possibly Napoleonic wars too. At the brigade or possibly Division level of representation. There is no shiny armor in those eras but there's still a variety of highly mobile artillery overwhelmingly influential and requiring severe mitigation from infantry commanders.¬†ūüėČ

The Civil War genre is utterly starving for good tactical games, has a huge interest, and I don't think it's ever been done close to justice in gaming or cinema. The games that are produced are generally poor and, of course, everything is severely abstract and not 1:1. Not that people don't adore them, because if you like the genre you have no choice.

Battlefront is extremely good at representing the psychological level of combat and the effect of visibility and spotting on what the individual soldier can accomplish. That era of combat is so poorly represented that even most buffs have little idea what it actually could have been like despite great multitudes of first rate research existing.

It would be a complex operation to represent that only a top-tier wargame maker like Battlefront could do.

Stragglers and shirking soldiers peeling off the formations. Brothers and cousins grabbing their wounded relative and dragging them off the field. Sergeants and officers trying to keep soldiers in ranks and keep them firing while the enlisted men's firepower is further degraded with poor visibility from black powder smoke. Battle lines devolving from well-dressed into confusing clusters of soldiers. Pixel-volunteers mucking up reload processes. The effect of discipline and the experience of the officers and enlisted men on their ability to function. Solid shot, unreliable fuses on shells, Artillery carriages breaking down, artillery horses getting shot. The effect of field officers and visible regimental colors on command and control. Riderless horses. Spotty and rare hand-to-hand combat. Lines giving way rather than facing or completing a bayonet charge, like a game of chicken. Soldiers dropping their weapons and ducking through enemy files and showing themselves to the rear as a prisoner.

Right up Battlefront's ally IMO.

I'm a Civil War buff first but I've frequently drifted to WWII because of the superior production quality and variety of offerings. It makes me (and a lot of us) depressed to be disappointed so many times. One company just came out with another overhyped pile of garbage for a CW RTS game. This is a common pattern for buffs looking or decent tactical games in the genre - hype and disappointment. 

I'm only recommending this because this company has always impressed me and I think they've pushed the envelop to a new standard and continued to do so with the 1:1 changeover. Not because I actually think it'd be done. If there was interest Battlefront would find an overwhelmingly supportive fan base and stupendous amount of primary accounts. Twenty-five years after Sid Meier's Gettysburg! I never would have imagined how barren the choices are. 

 

I've followed these games since the beginning BTW, This is my second or third account, I long-since lost access to the e-mail¬†addresses for¬†my old accounts¬†ūüė™

Edited by Poorlaggedman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was a company that developed a couple of ACW games that looked like/had similar detail to CM.  But, the problem, I think, is that at the tactical level every battle started to feel the same.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I don't know of any that does a 1:1 representation, let alone well. The base unit is always a regiment or artillery section or higher. One, called Scourge of War, did a heavy abstraction of units but the settings could be made so they bled 1 casualty for each casualty in the game, thus carpeting the map with dead pixel troops - not entirely realistic since many casualties will leave ranks with minor wounds.

 

At the tactical level, you'd probably want to be able to break it down to platoon size with the main effective unit of maneuver being a battalion of companies each of around 15 - 40 soldiers. I find the concept very fascinating because the tactics were not 'outdated' as many believe. There were logical reasons to keep the men in close order (command and control, massing firepower). An attempt at dispersed formations would not have been successful in holding ground or in taking ground. There's much writing that suggest they were more psychologically willing to hold or advance if they were massed.  The officers hated the skirmish lines because they were much easier to pick out and hit than in line of battle.

 

I imagine most of the player actions being similar to other games, deciding where to fight and making adjustments. Do you send companies of skirmishers out or do you advance without them and risk a devastating unhindered volley by an enemy whose not already engaged and not shrouded in any smoke cover? Do you try fighting on the tip of a crest or are your men going to be silhouetted against a skyline behind it? Is the quality level of the troops/crews good enough to perform the task you want them to? Are they in a condition to do so? How quickly are they going to respond to commands or are they so heavily engaged that they're going to respond slower and only look to the color guard for cues?

 

 It's really no less complicated than any era of combat, it's just always been abstracted. Aside from FPS games, which are their own hot mess. There's nobody alive who experienced it either but their writings indicate no less complexity than any other period in time, you're just much more closely connected with the style of fighting that existed for most of human history. The base element of combat - the human - is the same across history. 

 

I don't expect anything to come of my suggestion but BF is about the only developer I could see pulling it off and the demand has been there for that type of project for most of my life. 

Edited by Poorlaggedman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps not yet, but I think Grand Tactician could become a worthy contender. It's still a bit raw, but has the potential to be the king of American Civil War games.

Same guy who made Seven Years War, and while that title never convinced me really, this one has much more promise. Still in EA.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/654890/Grand_Tactician_The_Civil_War_18611865/

To get to that point though, it need some work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Grand Tactician is specifically the game that was my last straw before suggesting BF switch gears. I don't see a shadow of a chance that game lives up to pre-release expectations. I know a lot of CW gamers and by Steam's count eleven of my friends own it with many more having it on a wish list, most declined to purchase thus yet. I don't know any who got the early release (I didn't) who still plays it or has anything but vague hope, I had previously taken a very keen interest in it. Notice the reviews are mostly positive. The same for "Ultimate General Civil War." It's because these are the only serious RTS games in the genre. The fan base is there. Both games have tremendous issues. Ultimate General doesn't even have multiplayer - a step back from it's predecessor version. The studios making them are never up to any of it.

 

There are good strategy games for the American Civil War, like AGeod's Civil War II  - RTS is mostly an epic fail though and has been ever since after Sid Meier's Gettysburg. It could be done well on the abstracted level but a competent 1:1 representation of brigade / division level fights would generate a super nova of interest, guaranteed. I legitimately think CM could swoop in and steal the entire genre, assuming 1:1 representation of a few thousand pixel troops is achievable. Such a game could serve as a good base game for a new CM engine. I have to imagine the studio has some vision for the future beyond the Cold War. Just want to throw my six cents out there.

Edited by Poorlaggedman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was no good reason to keep the men together in the absence of shock cavalry... not that it really matters as I doubt how often the US Civil War was really fought by "lines of men" anyway.

 

Stories about "Marching Lines of men" during the gunpowder era tend to be exagerrated myths... for instance French "Column" tactics were not at all like what is usually portrayed in movies & books*, the British Infantry at the Somme did not "walk at a steady pace" out of their trenches** & most US Civil War Battles involved (poorly motivated) men taking long ranged pot shots at each other from ditches or behind fences or walls (or, eventually, field fortifications).

 

In essence, BFC would just need to give the CMFI Italians really poor rifles & artillery.

Still, I'd love BFC to reinvent 'Age of Rifles'...

 

*French Soldiers did NOT fight like this

**Well actually a dozen battalions did do so... although that was because they were, often succesfully, following creeping barrages.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They should have a more strategic game which complements our present game. That way we get campaigns on the go. Division level and if we want to, play it out on a tactical level as we do at present.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, 37mm said:

There was no good reason to keep the men together in the absence of shock cavalry... not that it really matters as I doubt how often the US Civil War was really fought by "lines of men" anyway.

 

Stories about "Marching Lines of men" during the gunpowder era tend to be exagerrated myths... for instance French "Column" tactics were not at all like what is usually portrayed in movies & books*, the British Infantry at the Somme did not "walk at a steady pace" out of their trenches** & most US Civil War Battles involved (poorly motivated) men taking long ranged pot shots at each other from ditches or behind fences or walls (or, eventually, field fortifications).

 

In essence, BFC would just need to give the CMFI Italians really poor rifles & artillery.

Still, I'd love BFC to reinvent 'Age of Rifles'...

 

*French Soldiers did NOT fight like this

**Well actually a dozen battalions did do so... although that was because they were, often succesfully, following creeping barrages.

Oh my god Ages of Rifles, with this  and Aide de Camp2  ! how much I was playing with this game and principaly the editor where you can represent more periods of war, including Napoleonic time!!

A must on this time !

Thanks @Aquila-SmartWargames and @37mm to remind me !

Edited by JM Stuff
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Well they definitely used close order formations in the Civil War. I was curious a very long time ago on how true it was and I've since encountered dozens of first hand accounts of soldiers marveling at seeing formations operating as if on parade. It's not like these are rare either.

"I was left on the field with a bullet in my left breast. There I saw for the first time the rear of a rebel line of battle while on the the advance. I had seen them on the retreat but here they presented altogether a different spectacle. There was discipline of the strictest kind, every man in his place, each officer in his; and the line dressed as if on review. I could but admire them, suffering though I was." - Lt. Bruce, Co K 7th Wisconsin 

This being within a minute of most of those regiments getting mown down with as high as 75% casualties, Scales brigade at Gettysburg. The wounded writer didn't expect to survive the storm of canister and small arms himself. That's just something I ran into in a Milwaukee Newspaper, from the 1880s, it's not even published

 

Heck, the project I'm working on now revolves around a regiment <75 yards away (some accounts say as little as 50 feet) from the enemy while silhouetted on a crest and are busy dressing to the right as a first volley is shot at their faces. To that point there's no smoke cover. They lose a third of their regiment and then they charge, driving the enemy away. There was no hand-to-hand combat, the enemy wisely decided to run. The circumstantial evidence of the space the regiments take up generally shows frontages consistent with how many troops they have. It can be difficult to picture for sure.

 

Europeans observers were not that impressed but I'm not sure how much they actually even saw outside of camp life and distant battle lines. Judging on a recent podcast I heard, not much at all climbing up trees to try and see battle by reserve artillery trains. Regular army regiments were more professional based off how others admired them but many veteran volunteer regiments nearly matched them. The black powder smoke immensely effected what could be seen or not. Reenactments give a skewed perspective of this. If they used full charges you wouldn't be able to see a thing after the first volley or two.

 

 That doesn't mean they didn't get disordered. You would not have succeeded against a close formation without one unless there's some massive disparity in numbers or we're dealing with fanatics who aren't suppressed or bothered by fire at all. Even the U.S. sharpshooters with Breechloading Sharps Rifles were driven off by a rebel infantry regiment. You can't hit anything if you can't see it. That's why first volleys could be spectacularly devastating. You just aren't going to be able to control that volume of firepower from behind rocks and fences.   Check out this essay written by the former chief historian at Gettysburg

Edited by Poorlaggedman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

indecisive

2 hours ago, Poorlaggedman said:

"I was left on the field with a bullet in my left breast. There I saw for the first time the rear of a rebel line of battle while on the the advance. I had seen them on the retreat but here they presented altogether a different spectacle. There was discipline of the strictest kind, every man in his place, each officer in his; and the line dressed as if on review. I could but admire them, suffering though I was." - Lt. Bruce, Co K 7th Wisconsin

I would love to read the newspaper article.

Records indicate that Lt Bruce of K company, 7th Wisconsin resigned due to wounds one day after the Battle of Mine Run... which was an indecisive struggle fought in heavily wooded hills.

There isn't an army in history which could maintain close order in such terrain... never mind the fact there would be no need to do so.

 

PS

This Battle summary describes the mud, the rain, the thick & tangled forests, the poor visibility, "the skirmishes" involved at Mine Run. At Payne's farm it explicitly describes Federals repeatedly running low on ammunition whilst fighting unseen Rebels.

Edited by 37mm
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Resignation dates are not always a good indication of when someone is present or not. For example, the 2nd Wisconsin (a sister regiment of the 7th) has two Captains resigned effective July 1st, 1863 which raises some eye brows since it's the first day of Gettysburg. I think it was Company's G and K off the top of my head.  Further research indicates neither Captain was there, one being out for disability for many months and another with a lame ankle and unable to keep up on the forced march. The resignations were probably back dated to give their Lieutenants credit for commanding then.

 

I'm pretty sure Bruce never returned to service after Gettysburg. He wasn't walking wounded and he was shot in the torso somewhere. They had to carry him off on a litter and he wasn't hit in the leg AFAIK, which is usually a bad sign. They kept people on the roster until they were discharged for disability, resigned, or confirmed dead.

 

You're welcome to contact the Wisconsin State Historical Society yourself and request them a copy of the microfilm from the Milwaukee Sunday Telegraph January 23rd, 1881 titled "Bruce's Experience." It's a good read, they don't seem to be charging for one-off articles anymore.

 

 

As far as the tactics, if the enemy is massing then you have to mass too. For some reason they put a premium in driving the enemy off the field. I suppose they wanted the best platforms to post their artillery. If you tried to hold or take something while dispersed, you were going to fail. Give people the same weaponry today and nothing changes. You can find people who will say all sorts of crazy stuff and publish it. Some Civil War historians only publish novels. 


There were innovations that worked really well in the Civil War. You might call it the granddaddy of the blitzkrieg. They stacked regiments one after another and attacked one point. They tried it at Spotsylvania and it worked great against trenches. Longstreet (CSA) used some similar concepts in offensive operations by stacking brigades and divisions one after another, most successfully at Chickamauga.  Perhaps, if they did fight more dispersed, someone would have gotten the idea of putting men shoulder to shoulder and punching a hole in the enemy defenses that way. It wasn't unheard of for entire companies on skirmish duty to be taken prisoner when a battle line chases them down. About every battle that happened had skirmishing going on constantly. At the start of the war, certain companies were designated for skirmishing. After that, all companies were usually trained for that. If you were on a skirmish line and the enemy skirmish line started advancing towards you, you knew there was a battle line coming behind it and that was your cue to run like hell back to your own battle line or risk obstructing their fire like what happened to the 5th NY Zouaves  at 2nd Bull Run.


No amount of dispersed rifle pits are going to stop that. It's impossible. Braxton Bragg thought his stood some chance against the onslaught when Grant broke out of Chattanooga because they were posted on an insanely steep hill. Hell, the yankees weren't even trying to break out just yet. They broke orders and just kept going because they had overwhelming local superiority. Because in the end, that's what it was about then and is still about in modern infantry combat. 

 

That's all I have to say about tactics.

Edited by Poorlaggedman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well whether or not Lt Bruce actually saw what he said he saw even he says it was a most unusual sight... which is what one would expect if most Civil War battles were more like Mine Run than some kind of Frederician Parade ground.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Other than the cookie cutter battle maps how much different than the Napoleon Total War mod sets that were done for that game. Granted TW has a grand strategy map is a big plus. Each man in the regiments in those games are represented by a single model soldier.  There are massive mod sets in TW that do the Civil War well. BF would do it better ofcourse, but there is much to learn from where TW got it wrong.

 

Edited by Pilaf
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Total War is a good game, I've played many campaigns since the original Shogun Total War. The problem with controlling both strategic and tactical level decisions on such a wide scale is that the AI can't compete and the games are seldom designed with multiplayer in mind. Total War becomes a measurement of how badly you can stomp the AI. The graphics are great, the design is pretty decent. It just can't compete with human intelligence on both the strategic and tactical level to any respectable degree so it gets boring after a while. 

 

Total War's AI is overall not that great. Even campaign battles where I'm cussing and swearing that I got trapped into fighting I still win half the time. My win to loss record in a full campaign usually ends up being 100-1-ish. That whole series has about played out for me until they take the time to let the AI catch up, which they won't. When I was younger I never expected the level of graphics to outpace the advances in AI so horrendously. It makes the old turn-based hex-based games more appealing.

 

I never even tried the ACW mod, I know people who did and most weren't impressed with the bugs. It is a lot to micromanage, partly because the game doesn't allow you to group units together well and even if they did you're still always better off doing it yourself.

 

The newest top strategic/tactical level ACW game is a complete bust as far as I'm concerned. The fact that it still has great reviews should tell you something about how starved the genre is. There's never good AI to go with complex games and good AI is essential. The whole game should be built around what the AI can handle and I feel like that doesn't happen at all. Even CM's AI performs much better in static defensive positions (with the Tac AI doing most of the work) than any sort of offensive action where it has to maneuver. The Tac AI I refer to is unit behavior that neither the human nor the AI opponent has direct control over.

 

The Tac AI in most games consists of very little. In Total War it's only apparent when the units are in melee combat or when they're routing off the field. Otherwise the individual man in the unit is just a target or a source of a projectile. I wouldn't really call it a 1:1 representation the way CM is much closer to being.

Edited by Poorlaggedman
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...