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Is this worth getting?


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Hi all

I stumbled across the demo for CMSF a few days ago, and have been playing around with it for a few hours. To be honest, I don't quite know what to make of it. I've never played a "strategy" game before (mainly been a FPS guy), and am finding it a little overwhelming.

The manual got me all excited - looking at all the detail it seems like a very "deep" game... but the manual doesn't really tell you how to put it all together, so my attempts at actually playing have been confusing. Sometimes I "win" easily, but it seems to be through sheer luck because I don't really have a clue.... and I certainly haven't paid any attention to 90% of the things listed in the manual (move and target are about all I'ved used!). Does the full game have a decent set of tutorials? Or is there somewhere else I can go to get a better idea of how to actually play this properly?

Most importantly... is this game actually worth getting?

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Yes, definitely! As far as a place to learn more, this is probably the very best.

Start with the stickied "How To?" threads in the strategy and tactics sub forum. Once you have tried some of the basic suggestions there you will have a far better idea of what you are confused about and can ask some more specific questions on the forum.

The search function is your friend. The forum is catalogued back to the beginning for CMSF, so you probably are not the first person with that question.

The games depth is virtually endless by the way.

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Definetely worth getting. It is the best tactical war game out there.

But coming from the frenzy pace of FPS you have to slow down a bit to comprehend what is happening. I'm not aware of tutorials but if you search the forums you can find quite a bit of tactical hints and tips. Use pause a lot, and try to read the terrain from low level cameras before taking decisions. Play some small firefights first to get used to basic infantry handling.... fire&maneuver , overwatch, supressing fire, flanking etc. You'd be suprised on how much is happening and how really deep the game is as you slowly start to grasp the details.

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The trick to playing CMSF is to think "real world".

In the real world would I voluntarily run across an open field into the teeth of heavy machine gun fire? In the real world would I rather be behind a hill or on top of it when being shot at? In the real world would I call in an artillery strike 20m from my own troops? In the real world would I prefer even odds or my 10 guns to their two? :D

The controls are the steepest learning curve in the game, and they're actually pretty simple to master (movement by mouse is best).

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I'd say get the game because even if it doesn't grow on you you'll at least get your money's worth in entertainment value. But bookmark the Battlefront homepage. Chances are pretty high you're eventually going to be picking up the Marines and British Army expansion modules. :D

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I am quite biased and very much a fanboi of CMSF, so you know what I will say already.

And yes the game seems complicated right now for you. This game is doing more under the hood than any game out there. As far as you losing, I for one still lose occasionally. Events in the game sometimes dont go the way you want them to go. But who wants a game they never lose at (except maybe poker :)).. Besides, there are a lot of references on site and on the net to help you get better. And in 5-10 years when you still are playing it, the small investment you make today will be very worth it.

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OK, thanks for all the comments. Seems like I'm going to have to give this a decent try :)

For the record (and because my reputation is on the line here), I might come from the world of FPS games, but I don't "do" the average fast-paced stuff. I prefer games that are remarkably similar to how CMSF feels to me - slower-paced, thoughtful stuff.

Questions: what exactly are the in-game consequences of the whole communication (C2) thing? The manual made it seem like this is a big deal. And how exactly am I supposed to micro-manage so many units at the same time? How much time should be spent looking at all the different unit stats in-game? Whats the best way to use the different HQ elements, since I assume they shouldn't be used in direct assaults etc?

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I'm a big FPS player, but I've been following CM and playing it (the series) since I heard about the original CMBO in a PC Gamer mag preview. I've since played lots of different strategy games, but Combat Mission series and Total War series are the top two on my personal list.

I've played FPS games just as long, now im playing Left 4 Dead, Resistance 2, Call of Duty 5, Killzone 2, Team Fortress 2 and lots of older ones. So I completely understand the transition you go under playing one type vs the other. CM games are pretty easy to jump into in terms of controls (you already clearly figured it out and are using them in the demo) and shouldn't be to difficult after rummaging through the strategy and tactics forum to get an idea of what you can use the other commands for.

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Go to the Repository on the Battlefront website and download the CMSF: FAQ - it has loads of stuff to answer all the questions that come up as you start playing the game!

The manual is always a good bet and wikipedia is great to find out about what modern weapons are capable of.

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OK, thanks for all the comments. Seems like I'm going to have to give this a decent try :)

For the record (and because my reputation is on the line here), I might come from the world of FPS games, but I don't "do" the average fast-paced stuff. I prefer games that are remarkably similar to how CMSF feels to me - slower-paced, thoughtful stuff.

Questions: what exactly are the in-game consequences of the whole communication (C2) thing? The manual made it seem like this is a big deal. And how exactly am I supposed to micro-manage so many units at the same time? How much time should be spent looking at all the different unit stats in-game? Whats the best way to use the different HQ elements, since I assume they shouldn't be used in direct assaults etc?

The way to manage a lot of units at the same time is to play turn based. I won't say turn based is superior to real time, but I will say it is the type of gameplay I prefer.

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I'm a huge fan as well. This has been my favorite game of all time, overtaking Americas Army.

Here's some tips:

*Select a squad and notice that the other squads with brighter icons are in the same unit. Try to keep them as a unit to work together. Obviously, if it's a heavy weapons unit, you may want to divide them amongst the rest of your troops.

*Shift click selects multiple units.

*Shift drag to select with a box.

*Double click an icon to select the whole platoon.

*Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

*Use artillery and air. This is a huge advantage.

*Your apc's are extremely easy to blow up.

*During Realtime play, use ESC to pause and give orders any time you want for easy micromanaging.

*Try to cover your movements.

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Hi Trident-za,

You should definitely get the game. Not only is it fun from a tactical point of view, but you get to learn about how modern armies are structured and equipped, and how this impacts on tactics compared to, say, their WWII brethren. Consider it a tactical laboratory to see what works and what doesn't on the modern battlefield.

I'm in no way the best CM player but here are a few of my own "discoveries" from playing the game:

1. Armour is very vulnerable. As others have said, driving any sort of armoured vehicle into an area not previously reconnoitred by your infantry is a recipe for disaster. Most of your armour can be destroyed by a humble RPG and even the toughest vehicles can be knocked out by missile systems such as "Kornet" or "Javelin". Use your infantry to find the enemy. Assume any spotted position is home to an anti-tank team (a reasonable assumption). Suppress. Once you've done all that, you can consider bringing up armour to finish the job - preferably from a long way away or from hull-down positions.

2. Off-map Support is your friend. If you watch any videos on You Tube of US or British forces in action, most of the time they seem to be calling in artillery or air strikes. This is what you should be doing in CM:SF. Find the enemy by reconnoitring with your infantry, then destroy them with artillery and air support. Why get into a protracted fire fight when you can let the battalion support assets kill the enemy for you from a safe distance?

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OK, I've played through the "training campaign" and tried the 1st mission of the main campaign twice now..... wow! Loving it so far! Got tons of stuff still to learn, but I'm sloooowly getting the hang of it.

The game treats your tactical "errors" very brutally, doesn't it?

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The game treats your tactical "errors" very brutally, doesn't it?

Definitely. There's a balance between "preserving your forces" and "completing mission objectives" and it's very much more on the former than the latter when playing as Blue. If completing an objective is likely to cost any more than a handful of casualties then sit back and suppress the hell out of the neighbourhood first as the guys said above!

One vital tip - your AFVs usually contain several anti-tank weapons (and scads of grenades and other ammunition). Javelins are far and away the best mobile infantry anti-tank weapon, but your Jav. teams usually only carry a couple of missiles - send them back for more when they run out.

When it comes to suppressing stuff with overwhelming firepower... 40mm is great like they said; you can really mess up buildings with enough of it and your Mk 19s can plaster them from a long way away. Mortar fire is rarely powerful enough to disable armour, but can also mess up buildings and is nasty against exposed infantry. Heavy artillery fire against buildings (as a point target) will trash them. It also does a good job on stationary or immobilised armour. Planes and helicopters carry a mix of weaponry, generally a "heavy" strike will be missiles or very heavy bombs (the sort that destroy a building in a single strike), "light" strikes will involve cannon. Cannon fire is generally ineffective against tanks, even old ones.

Your more ordinary option is just to tell a squad or vehicle to fire at the area in question. Tank HE rounds are devastating to infantry in buildings (very much to be watched out for as Blue), and light cannon or machine gun fire will make anyone keep their heads down.

Oh, (and I know it's obvious) but your dedicated FIST guys, if you have them, are generally much faster at calling in strikes than Joe Grunt. Whoever calls in a strike should have a decent line of sight to the target area and preferably not be involved in fighting themselves! And "emergency" fire doesn't bother with ranging shots AFAIK so is very dangerous to use.

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OK, I've played through the "training campaign" and tried the 1st mission of the main campaign twice now..... wow! Loving it so far! Got tons of stuff still to learn, but I'm sloooowly getting the hang of it.

The game treats your tactical "errors" very brutally, doesn't it?

That's how it is. Combat Mission is a very good game, and this is probably the best place for learning more about it.

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