Jump to content

Returning to CMBN


Recommended Posts

I'm back to this after some CMCW.  Do people still think it's worth playing compared to the more recent games? I have a memory of a very atmospheric mission attacking as CW forces with Churchills and I think some Fireflys against a farm defended by several Panthers, some AT guns and I think some pillboxes. Ring any bells? Would like to try it again.

Thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CMBN being the oldest WW2 CM2 release means that it is the most "mature" and has the most upgrades, updates and modules (and also xnt mods that greatly improve the graphics)).  CMBN has a lot of content (scenarios and campaigns) and there are many xnt ones - even though some designers cut their teeth on this title so most are older.  However, in my folder I see 21 (out of approx 445) CMBN scenarios and 2 (out of approx 45 total) campaigns made in in the last 2 years. 

(I say "approx" as there are several doc and txt files in those folders as well.)

Edited by Erwin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think scenarios, campaign... they help new players to get an idea how to play CM. The game is too complex to have even a semi descent AI. In order to balance that the designers boost the defending AI with tons of points. Most scenarios that I saw basically give the defender and the attacker about equal points. If instead of AI you put any human player as a defender there would be no game. Of course there are scenarios designed for H2H games in those AI just can't compete.

I strongly believe that CM was designed with the idea of humans playing vs humans. You want to have a good, fun game - find a human opponent. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

45 minutes ago, Larsen said:

In order to balance that the designers boost the defending AI with tons of points.

For the average designer that is spot on.  However, there are some xnt designers who know how to exploit the AI and the editor's available triggers to make it feel like you are playing a cunning human, and examination afterwards shows that the AI enemy was not that large.  I well recall fighting a scenario where the AI was tearing my units apart, and afterwards it turned out that human had a 3:1 advantage over the AI units, the way it's supposed to be.  The designer had placed a bunch of 2 and 3-man teams vs the human player's squads.  The It was impressive how so few enemy were able to do so much damage with automatic weapons.  (Sadly, I don't recall the name of this particular scenario or maybe campaign mission.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are plenty of very good designers giving as some real challenges. Play on Iron and show some Total Victories. I was disappointed in FR 'To Berlin' they extended the time with the patch up. I already started before the patch up and that would have been a challenge now it ended in a Turkey shoot with the Germans surrendering before I took the objectives. The designer gave us a very good campaign but who made him extend the time for the first mission? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agreed Erwin.

I'm not sure what the exact points difference in "Czechmate" is (CMCW) but I just finished it and the Russians massively outnumber the US and it is very easy to lose as the USSR.  At one point I had a unit destroyed, went to attack the location the fire had come from only to find that it had relocated as it turns out a very significant distance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/18/2021 at 7:31 PM, Larsen said:

The game is too complex to have even a semi descent AI.

I don't agree. While I agree the AI has issues, I don't think it's the complexity that causes it. It's more down to how the game was designed, and how the AI is scripted. There are perfect storms where the designer seemed to have been in your head and the AI puts up a great fight. But in general the AI is limited, unable to 'think' on the fly and react, exploit or withdraw as the battlefield evolves, unless the scenario designer created it that way.

In a sense it's not really an AI at all, but pieces that react rigidly to the instructions the designer gave them. TacAI muddles the question to a degree, but in a broader view the AI lacks the intelligence part. AA is more accurate in my view, Artificial Automoton

Automoton: a machine that performs a function according to a predetermined set of coded instructions,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/18/2021 at 7:31 PM, Larsen said:

I strongly believe that CM was designed with the idea of humans playing vs humans. You want to have a good, fun game - find a human opponent. 

I don't agree. The amount of tools that BFC put in to script the AI, and made UI elements for, is quite extensive.

I'm not saying the AI is competitive, but it isn't because BFC outright gave up on it.

Now, if we could code our own AI via an API of some sort... :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/19/2021 at 12:31 AM, Larsen said:

I think scenarios, campaign... they help new players to get an idea how to play CM. The game is too complex to have even a semi descent AI. In order to balance that the designers boost the defending AI with tons of points. Most scenarios that I saw basically give the defender and the attacker about equal points. If instead of AI you put any human player as a defender there would be no game. Of course there are scenarios designed for H2H games in those AI just can't compete.

I strongly believe that CM was designed with the idea of humans playing vs humans. You want to have a good, fun game - find a human opponent. 

I can tell you for free that 'designed with the idea of humans playing vs humans' is a false assumption.  The rule for bundled scenarios is that they can be played in all modes although exceptions to that rule were made for CMCW in relation to the Soviet Tactical Doctrine primer scenarios and a couple of others in that title.  None of those exceptions include H2H only.  There was no direction given to any of the scenario designers to optimise their scenarios for H2H for any title I've been involved with (CMSF-1 &2, CMRT, CMFB, CMFR, CMCW).

The challenge of following the rule, particularly when making a scenario based on a real action, is that the scenario has to be winnable by both sides in all three modes.  The get out clause is the one-liner in the 'Load New Game' screen where you can say 'best played as (insert side).'  Designing H2H is even more variable:

  • How do you know how skilled every single player is who buys the title?
  • Which of those players is going to take Blue/Allied in your scenario?
  • Which of those players is going to take Red/Axis in your scenario?
  • Is one of those players going to play to their skill level or just have a bad day?
  • Is one of those players going to have a good day and play above their skill level?

Steve from Battlefront posted some time back that the data/feedback he has indicates that most people play the title in Human vs AI mode.  This would likely explain why the rule of playable in all three modes was introduced.  It also reinforces the point that your assumption is not well-founded.

Nonetheless, designing for all three possible combinations is achievable but it generally involves employing most of the victory point combinations, asymmetric objectives and time limits.  Achievable of course does not necessarily mean that your scenario is awesome in all three play modes.  It should be in one of the three and if you can do it in two, then so much the better.  If you can do it in all three then your name is @George MC

Linking the above to your point that designers 'boost' defenders with 'tons of points' - that is correct in many instances.  I 'boost' one side or the other or both sides with victory points in order to achieve the effect I intend.  As an example, to avoid a turn one cease fire resulting in a victory for a defending force that typically occupies all of the high victory point objectives that the attacking player needs to capture I will 'boost' the attacker by giving that side the equivalent number of victory points for friendly casualties at a threshold that will only be achieved by the defender's actions half way through the battle (ballpark figure for illustration would be 20% casualties).  The turn one ceasefire would; therefore, result in a draw.  The intent here is to make both sides commit to the scenario and play it through.  If both sides commit then the attacker will not get those victory points and is not intended to.  You confirm these thresholds by testing and adjusting as necessary if that 20% (or whatever) threshold is achieved too early.  Some of those 'boosts'; therefore, are never intended to take effect if the scenario is played with good intent by both sides through to its time limit or to a point where one player or the other genuinely elects to cease fire.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/18/2021 at 5:18 AM, Bemused said:

I'm back to this after some CMCW.  Do people still think it's worth playing compared to the more recent games? I have a memory of a very atmospheric mission attacking as CW forces with Churchills and I think some Fireflys against a farm defended by several Panthers, some AT guns and I think some pillboxes. Ring any bells? Would like to try it again.

Thanks

Campaign 'The Scottish Corridor' 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/24/2021 at 10:51 PM, Combatintman said:

...the scenario has to be winnable by both sides in all three modes. 

Why is that? Isn't achieving a draw enough? Is maybe the rule that "the scenario has to be winnable by both sides" a result of too many people complaining with the words "I can't manage to win this scenario. This game is broken and still full of bugs"?

Edited by BornGinger
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As defender to be able to withdraw in the last 15 minutes of a game. Final objective for the attacker which is the exit objective for the defender. To expect to wipe out a numerically superior enemy is perhaps a tat unrealistic. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, BornGinger said:

Why is that? Isn't achieving a draw enough? Is maybe the rule that "the scenario has to be winnable by both sides" a result of too many people complaining with the words "I can't manage to win this scenario. This game is broken and still full of bugs"?

No - imagine you decide to play a scenario as ... say Blue and said scenario isn't winnable by Blue even though it is advertised as playable in all modes.  I suspect you'd be pretty urinated off after spending two or so hours playing the scenario (and playing an absolute blinder) when you get to the end and the end game screen tells you that you lost.  The words of complaint would be "the scenario is broken."  Even if you personally won't be urinated off, there will be plenty of others who will.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the scenario is playable as Blue, it's playable even if I don't win. The scenario designer could maybe describe that the scenario is a great and fun challenge to the Blue Player and that if he does a good job he will be able to get at least a draw. That should sort it, I think.

It would of course be a different situation if it's a scenario which is part of a campaign and the player has to win to go further.

Edited by BornGinger
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/18/2021 at 5:18 AM, Bemused said:

I'm back to this after some CMCW.  Do people still think it's worth playing compared to the more recent games?

Thanks

A lot of us are just waiting for updates on the WW2 stuff and hopefully a new CMFB module closing the war. It was a shock to see a cold war game come out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/24/2021 at 10:51 PM, Combatintman said:

[post]

Agree with all of this. Insofar as community scenario designers go, most will make scenarios they themselves want to play (this is certainly true of me, and I suspect, George) and these types of scenarios are rarely 'winnable' equally by both sides. Let me toss my two pence in. 

The simple truth is that the reality of combat means creating a properly balanced scenario is not likely to occur. A clever scenario maker can make the 'unwinnable' scenario winnable through allocation of points, but the reality of the fact is its not likely to be fun for the majority of H2H players. A perfect example is my 'Power Hour' scenario for Black Sea. It was designed to be played, primarily, as BLUFOR v AI but I balanced it and playtested it for H2H as well (to which I'm grateful to @IICptMillerII and @Saint_Fuller for their time and effort). The Russian player has the unenviable task of holding forward positions against a strong breakthrough force. They simply do not have the combat power to stop the attack if it is competently (if unimaginatively) handled by the US player. If they maul the force sufficiently enough they will win, as the US force has strict casualty parameters to balance things out. This is to simulate the fact that a sane commander holding a defence in depth would never presuppose that his forward units could actually stop an initial determined effort; a forward position's mission is to maul the enemy and get out of their way when they are no longer capable of doing so. That's a realistic mission....but not necessarily a fun one. 

When I designed the scenario, I presumed that:

a) the average human player would not particularly enjoy the experience of watching his Russian force get mauled; or

b) that a US player would appreciate how the strict parameters would translate against a human opponent.

My assumptions proved correct: the scenario got rave reviews from those who played it in singleplayer but got generally panned at the Blitz by Russian players, despite them winning more often than not. The long and short of this spiel is that its difficult to actually design a human on human scenario that isn't surreal and a 'realistic' H2H scenario relies on assuming there's masochists like myself or Fuller who are willing to play the 'tough' side and not balk at taking massive casualties. That's not everyone's cup.

Edited by Rinaldi
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...