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Question about rarity points and force composition.


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I've read the posts about the new rarity system and how each vehicle is given a certain number of points which is then deducted from the "rarity pool". My question is not so much about the basics of how the system works as it is about the relative rarity values of the vehicles.

I play CMBB right now and quick battles generally end up with the German force comprised largely of Tigers and Panthers. In the real world, these vehicles were fairly rare, and seeing 8+ Tigers on a single battlefield probably almost never happened. But, the German player - even with rarity on - is generally better off buying a dozen Tigers/Panthers over buying twice as many PzIVs and Stugs because the big cats have better guns and are much more likely to survive a hit or two. It comes down to having one tank that survives the whole game versus two or three that are taken out easily early in the game.

Will the new rarity system "discourage" this sort of thing and prevent such a force? Are we more likely to see more historically accurate force selections with Stugs and PzIIIs/PzIVs doing the brunt of the work, and a Tiger or Panther thrown in occasionally for good measure?

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I've read the posts about the new rarity system and how each vehicle is given a certain number of points which is then deducted from the "rarity pool". My question is not so much about the basics of how the system works as it is about the relative rarity values of the vehicles.

I play CMBB right now and quick battles generally end up with the German force comprised largely of Tigers and Panthers. In the real world, these vehicles were fairly rare, and seeing 8+ Tigers on a single battlefield probably almost never happened.

How come? That's less than two platoons of tanks. It'd be more unusual to see lone Tigers than a bunch of them. Wittmann's first attack on Villers-Bocage was an exception, and in the later fighting that day many more Tigers participated.

Will the new rarity system "discourage" this sort of thing and prevent such a force? Are we more likely to see more historically accurate force selections with Stugs and PzIIIs/PzIVs doing the brunt of the work, and a Tiger or Panther thrown in occasionally for good measure?

Surely you don't think that Panthers were rare compared to PzIV's and StuG's in 1944? If your problem isn't rarity but that players use big cats, then agree with your opponents not to use them. Or don't play quick battles, and specifically meeting engagements with tanks on both sides. If you want to see historically accurate quick battles, play Combined Arms forces attacking Infantry Only defenders, because that's how it was most of the time.

You could set rarity to strict, but that would also limit many other things. A lot of the interesting things, such as Marders, were not too common, so maybe you should just agree with your opponents eg. that no more than 2 vehicles worth more than x points each.

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How come? That's less than two platoons of tanks. It'd be more unusual to see lone Tigers than a bunch of them.

I'm not saying that having eight Tigers on a battlefield would be unusual. I'm saying that having eight Tigers on EVERY battlefield shouldn't be commonplace. I realize that the Allies went up against Tiger battalions, but they didn't go up against a battalion of Tigers in EVERY SINGLE ENGAGEMENT, as happens in CMBO/CMBB quick battles.

The same holds true the other way around. I would not expect to see the Americans using nothing but Jumbo Shermans or the Brits using nothing but Fireflies, since those vehicles were relatively rare in the real world. Seeing them in scenarios, or seeing the odd one in quick battles is one thing. But having forces comprised mostly of these uber-vehicles is par for the course in quick battles.

Surely you don't think that Panthers were rare compared to PzIV's and StuG's in 1944?
Yes, I do think so, because they were! Panther production in 1944 was just over 4,000 (total wartime production was ~6,500). PzIV production in 1944 was over 6,600 (total wartime production was ~13,000). Over 10,000 StugIIIs and StuH 42s were built throughout the war. Even assuming that Panthers took fewer losses than lighter armored vehicles, you'd still expect Panthers to be outnumbered on the battlefield by other, more common vehicles.

You could set rarity to strict, but that would also limit many other things. A lot of the interesting things, such as Marders, were not too common, so maybe you should just agree with your opponents eg. that no more than 2 vehicles worth more than x points each.

I was under the impression that rarity was supposed to make rare things, well... rare. It didn't work that way in CMBO/CMBB and I'm hoping the new system works better. I don't want to have to make a "gentlemen's agreement" before every single quick battle to do something that is supposedly built into the game in the first place.

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WWII buffs love Tiger tanks! Would you want to take that away from them? There are plenty of tools available for making battles exactly how you like 'em without imposing a draconian "tyranny of the typical" on all QBs. One person is disappointed that Tigers are in the game at all while another is disappointed they can't embed their Tiger into a rubbled building firing out the picture window, like in all those model dioramas.

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I'm not saying that having eight Tigers on a battlefield would be unusual. I'm saying that having eight Tigers on EVERY battlefield shouldn't be commonplace. I realize that the Allies went up against Tiger battalions, but they didn't go up against a battalion of Tigers in EVERY SINGLE ENGAGEMENT, as happens in CMBO/CMBB quick battles.

I think you might be exaggerating just a little bit... or you just have very boring opponents, as that certainly hasn't been my experience. What do YOU purchase when you play as Germans? Tigers?

The same holds true the other way around. I would not expect to see the Americans using nothing but Jumbo Shermans or the Brits using nothing but Fireflies, since those vehicles were relatively rare in the real world. Seeing them in scenarios, or seeing the odd one in quick battles is one thing. But having forces comprised mostly of these uber-vehicles is par for the course in quick battles.

It's not really the same because eg. Fireflies were deployed alongside with vanilla Shermans, not put in their own platoons and companies like Tigers.

Yes, I do think so, because they were!

They weren't rare in any sensible meaning of that word. Pz III was rare, while IV and V were equally common. Some submodels were more common, some more rare. Production figures from the start of the war don't mean a thing in that.

I was under the impression that rarity was supposed to make rare things, well... rare.

Your problem isn't the rarity of Panthers but their usefulness that makes them desirable even despite the steep costs. It's a bad idea to change rarity values for such a reason. Point costs alone should reflect the usefulness of units. You shouldn't have to use rarity for that, otherwise you miss out on a lot of other units that were rare but which aren't overused. I prefer to play CMBB with rarity turned off for that reason - I want to see more than just T-34's on the Soviet side.

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I play CMBB right now and quick battles generally end up with the German force comprised largely of Tigers and Panthers. In the real world, ...

Yes, of course. That's because CM has no sense of history. It has no idea - and no care - what was in the last QB, or the next, or any other. As far as CM is concerned, the entirety of WWII consists of this battle. The rarity pool points does a nice job of guiding purchases and limiting gross excesses, but it can't really do much more than that.

The only practical way to implement 'real world' rates of encountering different vehicle types is with external heuristcs (such as "Fionn's Short 75" rules, or whatever) because you are the only one who knows what vehicles you've encountered in previous battles.

Regards

Jon

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I think you might be exaggerating just a little bit... or you just have very boring opponents, as that certainly hasn't been my experience. What do YOU purchase when you play as Germans? Tigers?
This is where you end up in a CM arms race. If you want to win, you buy Tigers and Panthers (because there's nothing really to discourage it). If you want a fun, balanced game you don't. But since most people play to win you end up with game after game of uber-tanks.

They weren't rare in any sensible meaning of that word. Pz III was rare, while IV and V were equally common.
Were they RARE? No. But they were not so widespread as to compromise almost the entirety of the German forces in every single battle.

Your problem isn't the rarity of Panthers but their usefulness that makes them desirable even despite the steep costs.
Yes. This is true. In CMx1, having rarity on doesn't make things any more rare at all. It makes things more expensive, but you can still buy nothing but the most "rare" vehicle if you want. I'm curious how this works in CMBN.

Point costs alone should reflect the usefulness of units.

Agreed. But you'd still be able to buy nothing but Brummbars if you wanted. I think it's really a question of rarity *and* unit cost.

So I guess my question is, what are the unit costs and unit rarities like in CMBN? Are uber-units going to be expensive enough to dissuade putting all your eggs in that basket? Are rarity values going to be such that you can't just assemble a force composed completely of "rare" vehicles?

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WWII buffs love Tiger tanks! Would you want to take that away from them? There are plenty of tools available for making battles exactly how you like 'em without imposing a draconian "tyranny of the typical" on all QBs. One person is disappointed that Tigers are in the game at all while another is disappointed they can't embed their Tiger into a rubbled building firing out the picture window, like in all those model dioramas.

I'm not suggesting taking Tigers out of the game, or that they should almost never appear, or even that they shouldn't appear constantly. My gripe is that they appear in virtually every single QB (in CMBB. I dunno about CMBN) AND that they generally comprise the majority of forces. Tigers and Panthers are expensive, but any CMx1 player will buy them anyway, because they're still better than their cost reflects even WITH rarity enabled. And enabling rarity doesn't make them rare, it just makes them more expensive (but still worth the cost).

The new system seems to work differently, but I'm not sure what effect it will have on force composition because I've not seen any information on how many rarity points each side will get in a QB (the same as purchase points, it seems), how many rarity points certain vehicles will cost, or how many purchase points certain vehicles will cost.

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Well, don't forget that there is an auto-choose function for having the PC randomly choose your units, with the ability thereafter to modify them. Just keep in mind that the smaller the unit size on auto-choose, the more likely you will get a unit selection that is less then balanced(for instance, in CMSF terms, a platoon of Humvees to take a town, a company of AT missile troops for attacking through a forest, etc.)

CMSF had only the option to autochoose in it, which was Battlefront's response to the problem you are talking about. I think most would agree that the cure was 10 time worse then the problem.

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Yes, I do think so, because they were! Panther production in 1944 was just over 4,000 (total wartime production was ~6,500). PzIV production in 1944 was over 6,600 (total wartime production was ~13,000). Over 10,000 StugIIIs and StuH 42s were built throughout the war. Even assuming that Panthers took fewer losses than lighter armored vehicles, you'd still expect Panthers to be outnumbered on the battlefield by other, more common vehicles.

I cannot for the life of me find the monthly availability reports for the Western front '44, but I'm fairly certain the number of Panthers and Pz IVs were about equal for that time period. The production numbers you posted are for the chassis. Once you factor out all the Stug IVs and Jagdpanzer IVs there were 3,126 Pz IV tanks produced in '44, 7,394 for the war. That compares to 3,777 Panther tanks in 1944, 6,132 for the whole war.

Tigers and Panthers are expensive, but any CMx1 player will buy them anyway, because they're still better than their cost reflects even WITH rarity enabled. And enabling rarity doesn't make them rare, it just makes them more expensive (but still worth the cost).

It's been many a year since I played CMx1 PBEMs, but I used the Pz IV almost exclusively when playing as Germans, and with great success, particularly in the early months before Jumbos and Pershings become a possibility. But maybe I was a little lucky.

The new system seems to work differently, but I'm not sure what effect it will have on force composition because I've not seen any information on how many rarity points each side will get in a QB (the same as purchase points, it seems), how many rarity points certain vehicles will cost, or how many purchase points certain vehicles will cost.

I would like to know the difference between the various rarity settings myself. It does appear from this post that the rarity value of a unit can be much more than it's base price.

But I doubt that Panthers will be much affected by rarity in any case, so regardless of how the system works you could resort to the old Fionn's Rules. I know you said you don't like gentleman's agreements, but these worked pretty well back in the day,

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BTW, years ago when the original rarity system was being discussed for CMBB I argued in favor of a system where rarity would be measured by whether or not the unit would be available for purchase. So in the case of rare units you usually wouldn't even be given the option of buying them (subject to random die roll). That's the only system I can think of that would result in somewhat historical proportionality. To this day I'm not sure why they didn't do this.

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I'm not suggesting taking Tigers out of the game, or that they should almost never appear, or even that they shouldn't appear constantly. My gripe is that they appear in virtually every single QB (in CMBB. I dunno about CMBN) AND that they generally comprise the majority of forces. Tigers and Panthers are expensive, but any CMx1 player will buy them anyway, because they're still better than their cost reflects even WITH rarity enabled. And enabling rarity doesn't make them rare, it just makes them more expensive (but still worth the cost).

I cannot agree that Tigers/Panthers are the must buy items in QBs. Far from it. It's neither the wise thing to do and nor is it, in my experience, common for players to go for the Big Kittehs.

I like to have one or two for the pointy end, sure, the rest boring TDs or PzIVs or whatnot for bulk firepower. Not that I don't occasionally sin and get myself a Crack Panther platoon, I am only human, but more often I go entirely without too.

In CMx1 you get far better bang for your buck by opting for some low end tanks to back you up. Especially with the British ATGs to whom a Tiger might just as easily fall victim as a PzIV, but the PzIV has some extra buddies to back him up.

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I cannot agree that Tigers/Panthers are the must buy items in QBs. Far from it. It's neither the wise thing to do and nor is it, in my experience, common for players to go for the Big Kittehs.

I like to have one or two for the pointy end, sure, the rest boring TDs or PzIVs or whatnot for bulk firepower. Not that I don't occasionally sin and get myself a Crack Panther platoon, I am only human, but more often I go entirely without too.

In CMx1 you get far better bang for your buck by opting for some low end tanks to back you up. Especially with the British ATGs to whom a Tiger might just as easily fall victim as a PzIV, but the PzIV has some extra buddies to back him up.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that this whole Rarity business will, at the end of the day, be less of an issue than most of us are thinking it will. Maybe not a non-issue for some minority I am certain- after all we are talking grognards here, but I have a hunch it will work just fine. One scale for point cost based on the performance value of the unit and a second to take into account how far along the scale from ubiquitous to ultra-rare a unit sits.

I'm not saying all the comments amount to teeth gnashing (more like fun :D), but it's hard to judge when you don't even have the game yet to make an informed decision.

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Soooo... if you're pretty sure your German opponent will buy cats in a QB, what's the best thing in the mid-'44 US arsenal to counter them IYHO? M10s? Swarms of zooks? Piles of artillery smoke?

All of the above, plus I might insist on a map with few long lines of sight.

There's a reason why I used to always choose the British when playing as Allies, at least before the 90mm armed Jackson appears in the Fall.

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Soooo... if you're pretty sure your German opponent will buy cats in a QB, what's the best thing in the mid-'44 US arsenal to counter them IYHO? M10s? Swarms of zooks? Piles of artillery smoke?

All depends on the terrain, visibility, and where the interesting VP's are. I was quite fond of opponents who bought expensive tanks as they had a tendency to show them early and you could then start deducing the make-up of his force. Huge maps also diminished the value of uber-tanks as flanks became vulnerable, and uber tanks tend not to have the numbers to be everywhere.

I am not a beta-tester but I imagine until the British arrive smoke, artillery, air support will be your chief weapons. When I say chief weapons I don not mean that all the kills of kittys will be theirs but the threat of them may force Kittys to less than optimal positions where infantry can attend to them. : ) I am assuming though large maps where the Allied advantages artillery etc can be deployed [safely for the US pixeltruppen].

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I am not a beta-tester but I imagine until the British arrive smoke, artillery, air support will be your chief weapons.

And 14" naval guns. :D The Americans have über units too, just different kinds of über units.

My experience when facing Big Cats has been similar to yours. If the map isn't a billiard table they can usually be suckered into exposing a side hull, eventually. But I have to admit that the mere presence of a tank I cant take out from the front can completely alter a gameplan.

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Size ain't everything in a naval gun.

Bear in mind this is the Western Front, Tigers and Panthers were a hell of a lot more rare in the West than they were in the East at least until the Bulge.

I doubt it will happen but It would be cool if BfN simulated the high-breakdown rates of axis vehicles both in a strategic AND tactical sense. You'll be less inclined to use that Tiger all the time if it can self-immobilize. :D

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Someone long ago posted the reported unit strengths for German tanks on the Western front. The gist of it was that Panthers and Tigers were no less reliable than the PzIV.

...

Looking through the CMBM unit list, one other option for the American player would be the 105mm armed Shermans. They do carry HEAT rounds and although they're not the most accurate guns in the world IIRC they can kill almost anything this side of a Jagdtiger.

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Bear in mind this is the Western Front, Tigers and Panthers were a hell of a lot more rare in the West than they were in the East at least until the Bulge.

Uh ... not really. The Germans sent a dozen panzer divisions* to Normandy, along with three of their heavy panzer battalions. 7th Armee and 5th Pz Armee were two of the best equipped armies the Germans ever had.

Jon

* 1SS, 2SS, 9SS, 10SS, 12SS, 17SS, 2, 9, 11, 21, Lehr, 116

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