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How much effort do you put into a BFC scenario before moving on?


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Posted (edited)

I am kind of stuck, but even stuck admitting I am stuck.  :)

Generally, I assume all BFC included scenarios can be won; unless an engine has skewed the difficulty.

I used to beta, and I know we we did not do regression testing on everything.

Edited by markshot
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- Not everything is supposed to be played from all sides.
- Not every scenario is fair.
- Engine changes can and will mean that a scenario that was once balanced, is no longer so.

However, you typically have enough tools to do *something*.

So, "every scenario can be won?". I don't think that's necessarily true, but I think it's a reasonable ideal

I don't think I've seen a scenario that I believe is completely unwinnable, but I've certainly had some I've given up on as not being worth the effort, or that winning it would require some ahistorical or gamey strategies to complete. I've seen many more that I'm not sure are actually winnable against a vaguely competent human opponent.


My ideal scenario tends to offer some kind of tactical problem to solve. Typically that means being given a doctrinal formation of some kind, and then some kind of wrinkle to overcome - perhaps you're given a Rifle platoon but then tasked with a river crossing, or you have to go and accomplish a task without sufficient support from armour or artillery.

The very best of those will give both sides an interesting tactical problem (or problems) to solve. Perhaps the defenders in that rifle platoon example have a tiny force, and do not have the numbers to defend the entire front over this terrain, so they're forced into an elastic and mobile defence - perhaps there are two points where the river is fordable, but they only have the numbers to properly defend one - do they split their force and try to defend each weakly, commit to one, or have a combination of up-front forces and a reserve to commit where the enemy are trying to cross? That kind of thing.

Even with this approach, it's never going to be balanced. One side is always going to have an advantage, but if you can present both sides with an interesting problem, then that shouldn't matter all that much.


This kind of scenario represents one option of two - the other type tends to aim for a more narrativist method, particularly when recreating historical battles.


Part of this comes down to scenario design in general. Scenario design is game design, and game design is hard - you're creating arbitrary problems for the player, and how you decide what you're presenting here is tough. The more asymmetric the design, the harder it is to find a "balanced" position. In CMBN, you could throw down a town and a couple of rifle companies, and have a reasonable battle letting them fight over it. That's not true for CMSF, as the other extreme.

In an ideal world, scenario victory conditions would make up for this - it would allow for the weaker side to lose, but still end up with a winning score. That's something which a lot of scenarios attempt, but it's a very difficult task to get it right, so it's also something that many of them fail to do in a satisfying manner. That's no criticism, it's just a reflection of how difficult this kind of thing can be.

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Asking the real questions:

How many saves\loads it takes before scenario becomes exhausting? 

Ideally, I would call it a well designed mission which being played correctly, doesn't require any s\l at all.

Sad that at best I interrupt game 5 times or so to load. Sometimes it would be dozens of attemps 🥵

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Posted (edited)

Usually I give any scenario in the game one go as a series of saves from various points I consider "junctions" in my plan and see how often I need to save-scum my way to victory. Two or three reloads is ok to me but if I have to go more than that I discontinue and hit up the editor. 

Edited by SimpleSimon
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For me it's about "am I challenged/having some fun or just frustrated?" and "am I at least learning anything?".    If it's not fun, move on to another battle and campaign, there's more content than I will probably ever finish.  Some things can't really be won, it's just a matter of fighting your best fight -- for example, last time I checked, Kampfgruppe Piper did not reach Antwerp, so sooner or later you're gonna lose that campaign.  Moving to another title and/or era also helps; change of scenery is nice after a bad time.

 

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A real tactic should work, and you have a decent game. Tank hiding standing behind a tree and is impossible to brew up bridges which can't be crossed. Doors which can't be opened. The customer has the last word in any business and there is some real competition out there.

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Posted (edited)

Why is it so necessary to win a scenario battle?

If you play a scenario just for the fun of looking at the replays of how your units do its best whether you win or not then the difficulty to win a battle isn't so important. Unless you of course are the kind of person who must win.

It's of course also a different situation if you play a campaign and must win a bunch of scenario battles to be able to finish the campaign.

The only thing that is frustrating to me when playing scenarios is how some troops, both mine and the enemy's, are able to spot one of the opponents behind a forest from the other side of that forest which actually should block the view. And also how easy it is for vehicles to get stuck in little mud. But whether I win or loose isn't important.

Edited by BornGinger
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2 hours ago, BornGinger said:

Why is it so necessary to win a scenario battle?

If you play a scenario just for the fun of looking at the replays of how your units do its best whether you win or not then the difficulty to win a battle isn't so important. Unless you of course are the kind of person who must win.

It's of course also a different situation if you play a campaign and must win a bunch of scenario battles to be able to finish the campaign.

The only thing that is frustrating to me when playing scenarios is how some troops, both mine and the enemy's, are able to spot one of the opponents behind a forest from the other side of that forest which actually should block the view. And also how easy it is for vehicles to get stuck in little mud. But whether I win or loose isn't important.

It's particularly important in campaigns. High losses usually mean that you will be in trouble the next mission and won't see part of campaign at all.

That's huge downside of campaign mechanics.

Besides, I feel compassionate to my pixeltruppen and want them to come back to their pixelwifu. 

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I'm a bit more willing to engage with the individual scenarios on the grounds of them being really challenging since there's no overall-link to preserve. A lot of the time the campaigns are really painful about their core-troop usage though and the need to preserve a given force while also facing serious penalties for failure to achieve objectives are often incommensurate with the given challenge facing the player. 

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On 5/26/2021 at 4:58 AM, danfrodo said:

Some things can't really be won, it's just a matter of fighting your best fight -- for example, last time I checked, Kampfgruppe Piper did not reach Antwerp, so sooner or later you're gonna lose that campaign. 

You can win that campaign though.

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Quote

How much effort do you put into a BFC scenario before moving on?

A lot. I can be really stubborn, and I don't save/reload to fix my mistakes. So if I lose, I start all over again and try to not cheat by using artillery on known positions etc. It's a bit masochistic, but I find it helps me improve my tactics much more than if I keep reloading. I do reload if there's a bug, glitch, or bizarre pathfinding going on though.

But I only keep working on a scenario if I find it's interesting, well done, and at least theoretically possible to win. Sometimes, I can spend a lot of time pondering what it is that I'm doing wrong, or if there's something obvious that I'm overlooking.

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I have to admit I am very stubborn.

It is very hard for me to just move on.  Easier if it is a player created scenario.

When I was starting my career, one of my managers wrote on my annual performance review, 'Mark does not tolerate short comings in others easily.'  She meant this as a negative in regards to my team interactions.

I wrote in the box next to it for my comments.  'Thank you.  Few really understand the value excellence.  I will NOT slack off.'

So, it is very hard me to just write in my scenario log I keep "detour".

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1 hour ago, markshot said:

Now, with AI plans, I am not even sure did I figure it or was I fighting against a different plan.

It might be nice if the AAR indicated what plan you did battle with.

If you have loaded a scenario from a save the AI plan that you were playing before the save will remain the same.  If you load the scenario fresh and start a scenario again then you may get a different plan.  The only way to tell which plan you faced is to remember what the enemy did in the game and then look at the various plans in the AI section of the editor which of course means that you end up in spoiler territory.  I agree, it might be a nice idea if the AAR screen could offer that information.

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That was 40 years ago?  :)

No, I don't reload from saves.  I play until, I have lost too many of men to achieve my objectives.  At which case, I record a loss my log.  I will replay, unless I feel the designer was making absurd demands of the player.  And so, replay starting with a reload and deployment.  So, I don't know, but like I said might be nice the AAR screen to see:

Plan 3 of 5 ... give you some idea if replay is worthwhile (even if you won)

---

I used to play Sub Command and Dangerous Waters.  They both have very powerful scenario designers and all types of levels of randomness possible.  Also, truly the scripting language was very close to a general purpose programming language.  But this resulted in two problems with player written scenarios:

(1)  Not knowing what the real victory conditions are.  They is something to be said for the simplicity of kill ratio or flags.  Sometimes, it got so bad, you would have read to script to find out what was expected of you.

(2)  Given the great deal of functionality, quite a few of the scenarios had logic bugs in them.  No you could not crash the game.  But you could easily create a scenario where if the play arrived 5 minutes late nothing would ever happen ... and player could patrol 1/2 day waiting for the action.

So, for player use, I am not in favor of very complex scenario editors.  I think BFC has reached the bounds of both map and scenario design where an ordinary Joe can build something worth while.

Take Graviteam's quick scenario designer.  It is easy, graphic, and very intuitive.  Anyone who plays can set up something interesting in 30 minutes.  (But you cannot go beyond.)

I think the the optimal approach for companies that want something powerful would be a two level approach.  Something with intuitive and easy defaults, but permits very detailed elaboration for your hardcore designers.

Effectively Graviteam Quick Mission Editor with BFCs elaborations (or SubComand and/or Dangerous Waters trigger language).

PS:  Does anyone know that BFC was actually the first publisher of Dangerous Waters?  That's right; a sub sim!  :)

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I don't remember giving up on a scenario. I have gone back to earlier saves plenty of times though; and I usually give myself more time in the editor, so if I can't finish it in time, I can take it more slowly and carefully.

I have given up on a few campaigns though - some of them are just so long...

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1 hour ago, Freyberg said:

I have given up on a few campaigns though

I agree and some have glitches and bugs. Road to Nijmegen and Knock Them All Down Bridges and Doors. Some minor issues like blowing gaps in Bocage but not able to go through. 

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I only ever play a scenario seriously once. I play ironman and only keep one save I overwrite every turn. The maximum amount of time I can 'rewind' is thus limited to 60 seconds. So if I want to 're-roll' my turn I can do that (or if I forgot to give an order I intended to, etc.), but I cannot go back to fifteen minutes ago and move down another approach route.
Whatever result I get at the end, is what I get. If I get my butt kicked fair and square I give a friendly nod to the scenario designer and move on. I may play it again from the other side just to experiment or see what was the situation from the other side, but I don't take those seriously and I rarely finish them. Once I've seen what happens in a scenario it's difficult for me to go back and do it again given I've already seen it once, I wouldn't feel it was 'fair'.

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Some sides of a scenario are definitely tougher than others, eg most Syrian/Red Force in SF2. Some sides can be won handily but losses are significant but are exceptionally hard to reduce further even when the same win result arises.

On the other hand, some scenarios are so easy to win most of the their forces are unneeded, See this for example: 

 

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Well, time ain't the problem for me in this one.

But timing may be.  In the sense that the Germans counter-attack.  I think I need to get deployed into good positions to take them out as they rush to counter-attack.

The other part of it is I am unsure what event in the scenario triggers their counter-attack,  Killing a pillbox?  Taking out an AA gun?  Stepping on certain area of ground?

I was actually moving slowly and carefully as I have 170min for a scenario (small) which really is a lot of time, but I think only greater speed on my part will jam up their counter attack.

---

Well, we will find out.

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1 hour ago, markshot said:

Well, time ain't the problem for me in this one.

But timing may be.  In the sense that the Germans counter-attack.  I think I need to get deployed into good positions to take them out as they rush to counter-attack.

The other part of it is I am unsure what event in the scenario triggers their counter-attack,  Killing a pillbox?  Taking out an AA gun?  Stepping on certain area of ground?

I was actually moving slowly and carefully as I have 170min for a scenario (small) which really is a lot of time, but I think only greater speed on my part will jam up their counter attack.

---

Well, we will find out.

1 and 2 highlighted = no because scripted AI plans have no mechanism to react to individual pieces of equipment/fortifications/structures getting whacked.

3 highlighted = possibly as terrain triggers work on either friendly or enemy units reaching a particular piece of ground which can be a single spot, a defined area or linear.

The other possibility is that it is just set to move in a particular time window (i.e., exit between 4:59 and 5:00) which, in my case, is generally how the majority of my AI plans are put together.

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(Third possibility is that you can trigger off another order starting - that's mostly useful for co-ordinating the movement of different groups together. The order that's triggering off could itself be on a trigger, so this could go quite a few layers deep). 

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