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Is Red Thunder secretly the best CMx2 WW2 game?


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Hello there,

for almost 2 weeks now I am debating with myself whether or not to spend the money on Fortress Italy Big Bundle right now, or wait a couple of weeks and maybe be able to pick up Normandy on a slightly lower purchasing price when it comes out on Steam. (Yes, budget doesn't look so great currently...) And so I went on with endlessly ruminating the different settings, TO&Es, and timelines but as of yet came to no conclusion.

Then it occured to me: why not buy Red Thunder instead? It is a bit cheaper than both the big bundles of FI and BN, has as many weather types as FI, big, heavy tanks on both sides, Partisans etc.

But somehow I have that idea stuck in my head that Red Thunder is somewhat the worst game of the series. I don't know where I got this idea, or why but it is what it is...

 

So let me ask you: are my curious apprehensions of Red Thunder somehow justified? To be sure, I've just played both battles of the demo and had a blast. It has a delightful difficulty to it as well (maybe because I am not used to put my units into the meatgrinder...). I guess, to put a at least a couple of concrete questions out there:

- has RT a problem with terrain variety? does it get boring quickly because you either get wide open fields with no cover (tank battle), or you get little forest areas (ambush scenario), and not much else?

- why is it so unpopular? E.g. you even find very few videos on RT on Youtube, unlike to every single other CMx2 game!

- why do I at the same time feel that RT is the secret best CMx2 WW2 game? (harsh difficulty, somewhat unique equipment, well thought out scenarios etc.)

 

 

Inb4: I will get all CMx2 games eventually, having finally found my way into it, and having played not much else in the past 3 weeks, which is quite remarkable for me. However, I have to think hard about for which game I spend 90 euros first. Then recuperate for a while, then buy the next one, obviously.

 

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I think the terrain in the base game is a bit same-y and only the German campaign is that fun to play, with Fire and Rubble the game really comes into it's own and you get so many more units to mess around with, snow, real urban combat, really excellent scenarios and four really excellent campaigns. I think it's unpopularity is largely due to the fact that many more people in the western world are interested in the western front as opposed to the eastern, that and it's a lot harder to make scenarios and campaigns that take place in the eastern front because most of the primary source documentation you can find is in German or Russian which not a lot of people speak.

I would say you should buy the game set in the theater that interests you the most, if you really like the Eastern front buy CMRT, if you really like Italy buy CMFI. Red Thunder is a great game and I've gotten many hundreds of hours of playtime out of it and still have a bucketload of scenarios and campaigns I haven't even touched so you can't go wrong there if it's the game you end up choosing.

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Having all the WW2 titles is like my own personal harem of super shaggable babes. When I grow bored of my bella Italiana I can head east for some bearskin rug romance with my red haired Katyusha. Then in the winter I hear the trumpets call me to the Bulge where she warms me in her Rollbahny bosom. ...or on a summer day I can sip Calvados and relax with mon amour.

I mean to say that they all are great to play and when you already plan to buy them all, then just have at it and it all gets its own rhythm. New scenarios pop up or campaigns or mods or modules or battle packs and you swing different directions.

DISCLAIMER: I am a faithful married man and the above was for discussion purposes only. 😄

 

 

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2 hours ago, Sunbather said:

- has RT a problem with terrain variety? does it get boring quickly because you either get wide open fields with no cover (tank battle), or you get little forest areas (ambush scenario), and not much else?

- why is it so unpopular? E.g. you even find very few videos on RT on Youtube, unlike to every single other CMx2 game!

There is plenty of variety in the terrain especially in those that take place in Poland and on the Polish/German border. Once you bet the game bundle there are I think around 128 or so Quick Battle maps of all kinds of terrain from city to forests to rolling hills...etc.

Type in "Combat Mission Red Thunder" on Youtube and you will find a lot more than a few videos on it. A lot of people are focused on the Cold War game and now with the Ukraine war the Black Sea game is getting a lot of interest. There are still RT scenarios being developed and an updated Battle Pack for RT will be released later this year.

Red Thunder is more popular than you think.

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Now with the base game and one module out, it is about as comparable as any of the games.

It really just comes down to what you are most interested in. As said, at some point you will get bored playing the same time frame and units. So having the choice to move to a different game is great, but at some point you will find once you have multiple choices, they are all fun, it just then comes down to what you are in the mood for.

I have them all, I have not played CMBN or CMFB much at all for a few years.

I HAVE BEEN ENJOYING SOME OF THE OTHER OPTIONS, BUT SINCE ITS BEEN A WHILE I AM REALLY WANTING TO GET BACK TO THEM AND ENJOY SOME OF THE ASPECTS IN THEM I CANNOT FIND ANYWHERE ELSE.

So dont worry about it, just go for the one that interest you the most now,

by the time you want to move onto something else, you will have the money. 

There is huge amounts of hours you can spend in one version before needing to move on.

 

 

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Times have changed in war gaming. Soviets' vs Nazis was popular because there was not much sympathy for either one on humanitarian grounds. Two baddies make the perfect wargame. Stalin Tanks vs Tiger tanks had some parity. 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Codreanu said:

I think the terrain in the base game is a bit same-y and only the German campaign is that fun to play, with Fire and Rubble the game really comes into it's own and you get so many more units to mess around with, snow, real urban combat, really excellent scenarios and four really excellent campaigns. I think it's unpopularity is largely due to the fact that many more people in the western world are interested in the western front as opposed to the eastern, [...]

I would say you should buy the game set in the theater that interests you the most, if you really like the Eastern front buy CMRT, if you really like Italy buy CMFI.

Thank you very much! I was worried about lacking variety in the base game but I intend to buy the whole package anyway! The statement that the Eastern Front isn't popular in Western media is certainly true. Ahh, if only it was so easy to decide which theatre interests me the most!

 

12 hours ago, kohlenklau said:

Having all the WW2 titles is like my own personal harem of super shaggable babes. When I grow bored of my bella Italiana I can head east for some bearskin rug romance with my red haired Katyusha. Then in the winter I hear the trumpets call me to the Bulge where she warms me in her Rollbahny bosom. ...or on a summer day I can sip Calvados and relax with mon amour.

Ahh yes, that's the relatable answer I was looking for. My own personal harem is growing slowly but steadily by promising potential members that from now on I will keep a distance to AAA games and only have eyes for Battlefront games. In other words: a monogamous promiscuity. So far, it works great! (What I don't like is that I have to pay for my Harem but I guess, they must eat too and get engine upgrades manicures etc. etc.)

 

10 hours ago, Commanderski said:

There is plenty of variety in the terrain especially in those that take place in Poland and on the Polish/German border. Once you bet the game bundle there are I think around 128 or so Quick Battle maps of all kinds of terrain from city to forests to rolling hills...etc.

Type in "Combat Mission Red Thunder" on Youtube and you will find a lot more than a few videos on it.

Not really a fan of quick battles (AI issues) but I get what you mean! Curiously, looking for Red Thunder on Youtube gives me even less results than looking for CM: Afghanistan. It might be the algorithm or me not typing in the right trigger words.

 

10 hours ago, slysniper said:

I HAVE BEEN ENJOYING SOME OF THE OTHER OPTIONS, BUT SINCE ITS BEEN A WHILE I AM REALLY WANTING TO GET BACK TO THEM AND ENJOY SOME OF THE ASPECTS IN THEM I CANNOT FIND ANYWHERE ELSE.

So dont worry about it, just go for the one that interest you the most now,

by the time you want to move onto something else, you will have the money.

Yes, thank you for the capitols. Ehh, capitals.

And thank you for your optimism. I am sure that as a trained anthropologist, I will be rich very soon!

 

10 hours ago, chuckdyke said:

Times have changed in war gaming. Soviets' vs Nazis was popular because there was not much sympathy for either one on humanitarian grounds. Two baddies make the perfect wargame.

I must admit, I don't get this statement. It implies that somehow Steel Division 2, Mius Front and Red Thunder once had been popular but aren't anymore. If I remember correctly there was a severe lack of Eastern Front games just a few years ago. Suprisingly, only Call of Duty featured remarkably good Soviet campaigns in its early iterations. From a logical point, I also don't understand how "two baddies" would make the perfect wargame? Surely as a player you want to identify with at least one side?

 

10 hours ago, chuckdyke said:

Stalin Tanks vs Tiger tanks had some parity. 

Yes!

 

@all: Just got a call that one of my jobs is "expanded" (not: expandable, although it is) which means more cashflow. I guess, it is time to reward myself. ; )

Edited by Sunbather
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15 minutes ago, Sunbather said:

I must admit, I don't get this statement.

You were not brought up in the 50's or 60's. Nazis former enemies and communists the cold war enemies. Perfect for war gaming a game against British or Americans not so much. 

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Try searching for Fire and Rubble on YouTube, most of the recent content that has gone up has been for the module. 

I think the best value game is CMBN, closely followed by CMFI just for the sheer amount of stuff you get. If I were to choose between the two honestly I'd actually go for Fortress Italy as it spans a longer timeframe and has more variety of units. It goes from 1943 all the way to the end of the war, you have hills, mountains, snow, beaches, rolling grassy slopes, urban warfare, the lot. Plus you have Brits, US, Brazilians, Indians, South Africans, French, Heer, Fallschirmjäger and Waffen SS to play with (I may be missing some too) and the available equipment changes depending on the timeframe (no Fausts for the Germans early on).

But go with whatever theater interets you, for me my personal favourite is Red Thunder because that's the theater I am most interested in. Italy is a close second.

MMM

Edited by Monty's Mighty Moustache
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38 minutes ago, Sunbather said:

(What I don't like is that I have to pay for my Harem but I guess, they must eat too and get engine upgrades manicures etc. etc.)

well, the mods for the games are free. Honking my own horn a bit, there are some mods for CMRT that are totally free and change the game quite a bit. If you have questions, PM me. Continuing to milk the "harem analogy", I guess it is like a free wig to make your red head look like a Blonde for the evening's fun? 

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Personally I think Normandy is the top WW2 title. And objectively I think my opinion comes down to two things...content and subject matter.

But I have Red Thunder too and it's great, although I skipped Rubble's on Fire. It it had been called anything else I might have bought it. Like Red Thunder: Reckoning. Then yeah, of course :)

But seriously, I think which one you see as 'best' is simply a matter of preference.

Red Thunder could hold this spot for me, but there are too many holes in its game, namely, too narrow in timeline, not enough campaigns and a module focused on the least interesting part of the war in the east. I know folks like big urban battles, but I think Combat Mission is ill-suited in some ways to this type of warfare and anyway I just don't find it fun.

Edited by landser
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55 minutes ago, landser said:

It it had been called anything else I might have bought it. Like Red Thunder: Reckoning. Then yeah, of course

Dude! If you buy it, I can make you a new splash background that says exactly that.

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59 minutes ago, landser said:

But I have Red Thunder too and it's great, although I skipped Rubble's on Fire. It it had been called anything else I might have bought it.

I think "Rubble's on Fire" would have been better than "Fire and Rubble" as a title. But you can never top "The Balalaika Boys take Berlin" in my humble opinion.

As for finding a game fun, that is the most important thing. And we all have our favourites in that respect. I don't like fighting up mountains, so I don't like Fortress Italy, other players love it.

OK back to the wintery wastes for me. My Stugs need to start nailing some T-34s pretty damn sharpish.

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1 hour ago, Warts 'n' all said:

"The Balalaika Boys take Berlin"

Top shout mate. I could get behind that.

When it became known that whatever had been the original name for the module was infringing, and Battlefront needed to find another, I put forward several candidates. All were rejected in favor of the glory that is Fire and Rubble. I don't trust me either, so that logic follows and no hard feelings haha.

These were my punts

Across the Oder

Final Assault

Red Vengeance (maybe too much in that?)

Reckoning

Red Thunder: Reckoning though, does it for me. It's alliterative, and there's value in that. And indeed the time period covered by the module was a reckoning for what had come before. But there was also fire. And rubble. I saw some pictures.

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I quite like "Across the Oder". I think that it would have made a decent title. It reminds me of my curse of choice if I do something stupid when playing as the Germans. The air gets filled with "Unter den Bloody Linden".

Edited by Warts 'n' all
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I love the east front, but one of the reasons RT gets somewhat of a bad rap is because of the timeframe BF choose to use in this game. I think most people would have preferred a 41-43 timeframe for the game, including myself. That being said, RT is a great game, there are a ton of good scenarios and campaigns. 

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1 hour ago, zmoney said:

I think most people would have preferred a 41-43 timeframe for the game, including myself.

Hopefully some day. I would put down $60 for CM: Barbarossa right now to help fund it even if it meant only getting it in another couple of years. Or maybe it will be CMx3's launch title 😉

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2 hours ago, Codreanu said:

Hopefully some day. I would put down $60 for CM: Barbarossa right now to help fund it even if it meant only getting it in another couple of years. Or maybe it will be CMx3's launch title 😉

I'm hoping for CM Kursk and beyond, so mainly summer 1943 until the beginning of 1944. Although much overlooked these battles are extremely interesting and a great subject for a new game. John Tillers Panzer Campaigns series also is going to pay more attention to this period (Kiev and beyond).

Edited by Aragorn2002
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8 hours ago, Codreanu said:
10 hours ago, zmoney said:

I think most people would have preferred a 41-43 timeframe for the game, including myself.

+1.   Koh is doing sterling work in attempting to create mods to enable 1941 and NA Afrika Korps scenarios.  But, there is a limit to what a modder can do.

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