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Using another game to "create" operational or tactical encounters for CM

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I have asked this before without satisfactory results. Wouldn't it be great if there were computer games available where at an operational or strategic level players could maneuver their forces to contact.... Then the units and terrain could become the components of a constructed CM operation or tactical battle. The results of this contact (the CM battle) could then be translated back to the strategic game in terms of losses and ground gained. Then another strategic turn would be made, etc.

This type of game would solve all kinds of gamey purchasing, would give meaning to victory locations and would give a player a reason to retreat and save his forces. Yes there may be some very unbalanced encounters but that would be the "fault" of one of the players, not of a scenario designer or the AI.

Big Picture Toad

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CMMC (COMBAT MISSION META CAMPAIGN) is not a computer game. It is a game made up of about 200 players from around the world filling out real World War II officer rosters for CORP level engaements. Thanks to a some ardent supporters we have programs (COCAT) that assit in the operational aspects of the game. We have GMs to enforce the very in depth rules system and to make decisions on the game. We have staff level officers that never play CMBO but operate as CORP, DIVISION, and BRIGADE staff officers that run the operation. There is a full FOW system and each player has a "character" that they play. CMBO is used as the tool to resolve tactical encounters by the allies and the Germans. Obviously it is also the inspiration for the entire game. It is hard to explain the depth of the game but in depth it is. Gaining intel, capturing prisoners, engineering feats, artillery strikes and counter battery strikes, Air Force command, interrogation, operational supply, capturing vehicles, and much much more are all in the game. Also the fact that the battle that you fight might effect those on you flanks, or to the rear of you, or even alter the whole operation mixed with the fact that your character that represents you is on the field and in danger brings a whole new level to the game. You wanna risk that platoon in a recce assignment well you had better think about it long and hard because you do not just reload the game and get a full force back, no you have to wait for replacements and hope you get some at all. For the fans who like realistic play then CMMC delivers.

If you want to know more and get in on the action contact me at my address in my profile. This goes for anyone. The more the merrier. We may not have immediate spots for line commanders or staff officers but we always have room for reserve officers which still usually means a battle every operational turn!!!!

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The Vicar is right. The stress of going into battle knowing that not only do you lose all the units that are lost in battle but failure to acomplish your objective could effect many many more people than just your ego.

And Toad there is something I forgot to tell you in my long winded email..the battles are not designed to be balanced. If you send a battallion to an area that the other sends a company into then somebody is out numbered.

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Following this thread, as is my duty as a lurker, and I realize I've been curious about this same sort of thing. The Meta Campaign sounds great, but also sounds like it absorbs a LOT of effort and time. What I'm more interested in would be more on the scale of The Operational Art of War producing the clash of forces for a CMBO level scenario. The only problem I see with that approach is feedback from a CMBO scenario back into TOAW. Anyone ever try this with success?

Ken "looking up the chain of command" McManamy

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This is precisely the question. Is there a game that one could play on a strategic level and transfer units, results, terrain etc. back and forth from a tactical game (CM). It could probably be done from a (dare I say it) board game with two pbem players each having the game and being completely trustworthy. But I really dont want to retro to a board game.

Maybe all that is needed are three maps, some grease pencils, a telephone and a referee.

Strategic Move / Tactical Battle Toad

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Louie and c3k,

what you're talking about was the inspiration for the CMMC. It got rather involved and detailed by necessity rather than desire - and its getting more complicated as the campaign progesses. Players are discovering that they want to do things that hadn't been considered, and rules and procedures are being hashed out on the fly, as it were.

Fighting the tactical battles presents no problems - we have CM for that. Its all the behind the scenes stuff in a realistic fashion that gets tricky: When do reinforcements arrive? Which road do they enter on? How much ammo does this battery have? Is the battery even within range? How are my forces deployed on the field? What will they do if they get ambshed, or shelled, while on the move? How will we know if there are any enemy forces around? And of course ... how are the results of tactical battles fed back into the 'game' (remembering that CMMC is the Game - the tactical CM battles generated from it are used as a way of 'rolling the dice'*)

And these are only some of the questions that have to be considered. As it isn't a PC based sim/game, all the bookeeping and planning has to be done by hand. Given the scale (a full Corps/Korps on either side) its working remarkably well really smile.gif

There are other 'higher level' campaigns on-going also: JasonC started one recently, as did ScoutPL (IIRC), and I'm fairly sure there are at least two or three others. I seem to recall one being based on HPSs' "Panzer Campaigns: Normandy '44", but don't know if it got off the ground.



*This isn't to diminish the importance of those battles. Another way of looking at it is that the CMMC gives a very large number of CM battles an overall context.

[ 10-01-2001: Message edited by: JonS ]

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Another game on the lines of what you are talking about is Jason Cawley's Operatonal CM game. It has been very interesting so far; however, I am one of the few players that has full-bore involvement

For a bit more on it, including Jason's recent recap of the first day's action, see this thread.

The organization of it was mostly on this page.

Also, ScoutPL is running a larger scale operational CM game. I don't know the status of that one, not being in it.

I still have the idea in mind to run a "mass" operational CM campaign, any month now. This would allow an artitrary number of players on two teams to face off, playing tournaments essentially within the two sides, using battles generated "by hand", the way Jason is doing, from operational level moves.

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JonS:

I seem to recall one being based on HPSs' "Panzer Campaigns: Normandy '44", but don't know if it got off the ground.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I was the instigator of the abortive Normandy '44 campaign game. At the risk of drawing volumes of hate mail down upon my head, I'll share my experiences using Normandy '44 as a scenario generator for CM. As far as I got (about 4 turns), the HPS game, with a few minor adjustments, served admirably

It fulfills many of the criteria requested in this thread: appropriate sized units, translatable terrain, and a time frame (2 hour turns) that seemed reasonable to wrap CM scenarios of 30 to 45 minutes within.

With regard to maps, the small scale ones I ordered took much longer than anyone expected to arrive. So during the actual period I just used the abstracted terrain within the hexes of the Normandy '44 map as a guide to making the tactical maps, i.e. a village in the upper right corner of the hex and fields in the south, were reproduced on the CM map. A few buildings and areas of vegetation to add variety, and I think the spirit of the terrain was communicated. And the Normandy'44 units are editable for position and other details. So I was able to put back into Normandy '44 the results of the CM scenarios.

Some other adjustments I had to make was that the unit sizes Normandy '44 were consistently slightly higher than those in CM. I just assumed that these were support personnel and when a Normandy '44 unit took casualties, I reduced the CM unit proportionally rather than arithmetically. Also, ammo supply, morale and physical condition are tracked in Normandy '44. When applied to the starting point of the CM scenarios, I used these factors as guides: low ammo in Normandy '44 meant reduced ammo loads in CM. fatigue and/or low morale in Normandy '44 meant reduced troop experience ratings in CM to reflect reduced effectiveness.

Problem areas were of my own making. I tried to include too many people. This is probably been the undoing of many of the campaign games out there (with CMMC an obvious exception.) It was for the game in which I acted as player. Did I underestimate the workload? Yes, but not as much as you might think. Where I found the most unexpected work was dealing with people who's units were not actually on the map yet. As many of you know, there was an ongoing influx of units on both sides into the invasion area from H-Hour on. I found it very hard with commanders of units not yet on the map to communicate the situation without breaking the mood. They wanted to DO SOMETHING! I finally had to say in a couple of cases - Look, you're off the map, I don't know exactly where. You're going to be ordered to move, I'm not going to give away when so just sit tight. But it didn't made much difference in the long run.

Things I think were well done was the detail I was able to give the players re: what was going on around them. By stepping through each action in Normandy '44 I was able to inform the unit commanders about what was going on around them: Near and distant fire, artillery attacks, things seen by scouts, etc. Had to make some judgments re: distance that action could be heard, but that was no big deal. Here was a typical report to a unit commander:

OK here's what happens. As your men police up the area, you count your casualties: 2 KIA and 3 wounded. Your men find 6 German dead and over a dozen wounded. Plus your 2 prisoners. Dispositions?

There is small arms fire going on all around your unit. W, N, NE and SW.

About 20 minutes after the end of the firefight, you get a nasty surprise. Medium artillery starts pummelling your position. Your men scramble for cover in the German prepared entrenchments. It rains all around you, fairly accurately targeted, lasting five, no, ten minutes. It finally slacks off. After a few minutes of relative quiet, broken only by the sound of more distant artillery (like what you hear with ambient sound on in CM), you haul yourself out of the foxhole. The lieutenants and sergeants report no casualties.

One of Lt. Winters runners arrives. Even in the darkness, you can see he is covered in dirt.

"SIr, Lt WInters says there's a village just NW of here. Maybe half a mile. That's where those bastards were shelling us from, pardon my language, sir. I would have been here sooner, but they almost got me."

He pauses as though trying to remember something. "Oh! And Lt. Winters says some Kraut infantry is moving north into the village over there." He waves to the west. "And the Lieutenant told me to tell you: "Not in good order", sir."

He sounds a little sheepish. "Sorry, sir. That incoming must've scrambled my brains for a moment."

While he is reporting a particularly sharp exchange of small arms begins north of you.

You sense your men are tired. The adrenaline from the first fight is wearing off. They probably won't fight as effectively as they did until they can catch their breath, maybe get some chocolate bars into them.

Ammo is also an issue - not so much for your riflemen as your mortar team. They fired all the HE they had with them from the jump.

You look at your watch. It's 0535. You look up. Is the dim light coming through the broken cloud layer - is that moonlight? Or the first light of dawn?

Maybe I went a little overboard with that one.

Regarding the original campaign game, I developed a significant health problem between the time I announced the campaign and the time it got underway, but thought I would be able to continue in spite of it. Just over a week into the actual game, I got a "you're going into the hospital" ultimatum from my doctor. This devolved in to an in and out, better and worse, better and worse situation that required a total of 30 days in the hospital through the beginning of June. I should have been more communicative with the players, but the prognoses that the doctor provided gave me repeated hope that I would be able to resume the game. These hopes were unfounded, and, gloomily, I'm still in much the same health situation.

I'd be happy to discuss my experience with the campaign with anybody via this thread or email.

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