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School of Hard Knocks ....again


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I know this scenario has been beat to death but my question is, why would anyone design a scenario like this? Whats the purpose? I have been attempting it over and over again for a week and have now decided to not finish this campaign, which is too bad because I enjoy campaigns the best and I am a paying customer who just wants to have some fun. In my view this is the most unrealistic scenario of all I have played.....because the attack as it is set up would never have been made by an American at least. Ever heard of air superiority? Which bring up another question....has anyone seen an air attack yet.

This bad scenario brings down the whole campaign which is a terrible waste of time and effort.

Allow me to congratulate and thank the designers that contributed to the "Montcourt" campaign and the "Devils" mod campaign. I will play the German one next and also the "outlaws" one. I hope more are developed because if you only play solo like me, these are the heart of the CM experience. Too bad.

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Well chalk this one up to the designer trying to create something different. Personally as painful as it got, I do like it. Would I like a lot of them? Not particularly, but I enjoy the attempt at creativity to present a situation that could easily have occurred. It was unfortunately not all that rare for US forces to initiate an attack with poor intelligence and not enough preparation.

For those trying to do campaigns using other computer or boardgames it is actually very possible for them to run into quite a few like this. Whether they choose to play those out within CMBN is another question.

I think the real issue with this campaign wasn't that it was poorly designed (I actually think the design was very creative and interesting) but rather the designer didn't put a huge warning label on it saying - if you don't like rude surprises do NOT play this campaign.

Expect some more pain when LLF puts out that Carillion Nose campaign. The casualty rate was extraordinary.

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I'd recommend reading the other threads through for some tips. There's enough good in the campaign to make it worth persisting with, but I'd say it's worth reading the spoilers so some of the rude surprises aren't quite so devastating. Simplest approach is to get some engineers on the bridge before the sun gets up and take a Cease Fire, which skips you to University of Hard Knocks, an altogether less daunting proposition. It will, I would hazzard, hurt your eventual Campaign victory conditions, but you'll get to see it all the way to the end.

I'd also say that the Direct (as opposed to 'Cross Country') approach selected from "Crossroads" looks like it avoids the other 'most problemmatic' scenario (Razorback Ridge), replacing Bumper Cars (which is mostly good) with a nice (though tight, timewise) town attack, and RR with an advance through bocage (which I've only really just gotten started on)

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If CM:BN was easy everyone would play it.

It's not about CMBN, it's about specific scenario design. Anyone can make a meatgrinder of a scenario you can't win (not that I'm saying you can't win C&F, that would be daft, cos I've done it myself) in pretty much any game.

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I think maybe they designed this camPAIN....to be the toughest of the tough. I stopped after the extreme frustration of bumpbercars...A few have mastered this campaign ,but I prefered to move on to the multitude of other battles and campaigns [growing daily] in our excellent repository

I like this SIM to much to let one sadistic campaign sour me on it.

Why is there no Aircraft support showing up in any battles or campaigns that I have played so far,including all stock battles that came with the game ?????????

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I stopped after the extreme frustration of bumpbercars...

Out of interest, what did you find frustrating about Bumper Cars? I thought, of the route I took through the campaign, it was the most engaging scenario with the least head/desk interface, and at least an attempt at an interesting tactical situation (at least as I encountered the AI plan), rather than just making a massive effort to stymie any creative approaches to the situation.

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+SPOILER+++ Bumper cars

What I found most frustrating was that all roads were blocked with impassable non -blowupable Hedgehog obstacles. Then I had no Engineers to blow any holes through the interlocked Hedgerow hell. So all of my tanks in this battle were basically worthless.

I had to depend on my Zook teams and tired Infantry to attain the victory.

Then I read about the extreme "Fun Factor" LOL of Razorback Ridge".... I decided I would save that treat for a later date,if at all

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+SPOILER+++ Bumper cars

What I found most frustrating was that all roads were blocked with impassable non -blowupable Hedgehog obstacles. Then I had no Engineers to blow any holes through the interlocked Hedgerow hell. So all of my tanks in this battle were basically worthless.

I had to depend on my Zook teams and tired Infantry to attain the victory.

+++ MORE SPOILERS FOR BUMPER CARS +++

I got my stuarts to the rear of the map up the left flank with few problems (didn't use the roads for obvious reasons) and they duly did the job of bagging a few StuGs with side shots. And shot the hell out of the German positions for good measure.

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+++ MORE SPOILERS FOR BUMPER CARS +++

I got my stuarts to the rear of the map up the left flank with few problems (didn't use the roads for obvious reasons) and they duly did the job of bagging a few StuGs with side shots. And shot the hell out of the German positions for good measure.

Heh. I knew there was probably a way through somewhere if you looked hard enough. I found ways of making my Stuarts extremely useful in spite of not being able to go 'where I wanted'. Their guns can reach a worthwhile distance beyond the limitations of the barricaded road networks.

Hessian deserter, you might find the other route at Crossroads more to your taste. Bolleville is a nice town attack. If you've got a save of a game after the end of School or University, it's easy to switch.

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Thnx for the feedback, I looked left but must have missed the route you discovered,that enabled you to get to the back of the map. I took all my force's to the right and center until I I found out those were big dead ends for vehicles.

Of course, being a campaign, how hard you find a given scenario is often going to depend on how heavy your casualties in previous scenarios were. If tried 'too hard' on School and then had to gut it out through University, I and K companies could be badly depleted, so if that's what's giving you grief, all the advice in the world isn't going to help much!

If you've got infantry in a reasonable state, though, and you've not wasted any AT rockets against non-armour targets (as I did) you'll have a more than adequate sufficiency of infantry AT to deal with the StuGs when they pop, and not being able to get the Stuarts into flanking positions won't be an issue.

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It's not about CMBN, it's about specific scenario design. Anyone can make a meatgrinder of a scenario you can't win (not that I'm saying you can't win C&F, that would be daft, cos I've done it myself) in pretty much any game.

All scenarios in CM:BN can be "won" although it won't be pretty everytime. Expect losses and to pay for your mistakes. Just like the real thing. Play long enough and you can nearly master AI. Then move onto human opponents.

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"School of Hard Knocks" and "Razorback Ridge" are possibly the hardest scenarios I have ever played (much harder than "Bumper Cars" imo), but they are winnable. Altho' yes, you may have to replay if you have an early disaster.

I wonder if the problem is psychological in that folks are frustrated by the inevitability that one will have nasty surprises, which (esp if one has allowed the troops to bunch up), will cause high casualties.

If one is used to playing CFSF or even CM1, these levels of casualties can be demoralizing and shocking. But, these hard scenarios reward one for not panicking, reorganizing, replanning and carrying on.

It's important to realize that to win in both scenarios one does NOT have to occupy all (or even most) of the objectives. One does have to keep the ratio of friendly-enemy casualties from getting bad.

One can get a victory in "Hard Knocks" by crossing/capturing the bridge and causing lots of enemy casualties with arty. Smoke is the key to minimizing friendly casualties. (While I tried to push surviving troops up on both flanks once across the bridge they did not get that far thanks to enemy HMG's and arty.)

One can get a victory in "Ridge" without using any US armor at all. The inf can do it alone by using the hedges/bocage as cover from enemy fire from the flanks. However, I was satisfied with my isolated platoon simply holding its own, while the main force only got as far as capturing the crossroads and farmhouse in the center of the map. Also, I don't see how I could have advanced further in "Ridge" given how many fresh enemy forces were waiting at the final objectives. (Given the very hard to spot enemy guns on both flanks, I believe that pushing one's armor forward in "Ridge" is suicide for them.)

But there may be several AI set-up plans for all these scenarios, so we could all be talking about significantly different scenario versions.

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I also suspect there are multiple AI set-ups as I cannot imagine taking my armor along the left flank in "Ridge" as someone posted earlier. In the After Game Map I was shocked to see guns and lots of nasty things across the river on the US left flank which appeared designed to ambush any armor (similar to what was on the right flank).

The left flank thing was in relation to bumper cars, the mission before razorback ridge. Like you, I never used my vehicles in razorback ridge (with the exception of blowing a new door into the barn overlooking the first field once I was assaulting the farm). Moving a vehicle in that scenario is just asking for trouble.

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Yes, I realized that and edited... but too late. :(

It's interesting how we used different tactics in "Bumper Cars". I split my armor and recon and did a broad front cautious advance. While, the roadblocks stop vehicles from going all the way, my Stuarts got far enuff on both flanks to get the Stugs in a crossfire and easily took out 2, also causing many enemy inf casualties.

My inf was able to get all the way to the most distant victory zones using both flank map edges. However, I couldn't take the central crossroads position.

BTW: In the final La Haye scenario many have posted that one needs to collect as much ammo as possible in the previous scenario as there is no ammo resupply. However, in La Haye, one does receive several trucks and halftracks which enter as reinforcements full of ammo. So, ammo is not really a problem.

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I wonder if the problem is psychological in that folks are frustrated by the inevitability that one will have nasty surprises, which (esp if one has allowed the troops to bunch up)

We are conditioned these days to be very sensitive to casualties. I remember being horrified when losing an entire platoon the first time (30+) dead in an assault in CM:BN and still winning the scenario. CM:SF and the constant body counts in the media have taken a toll on some of us players.

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I dont think theres anything wrong wtih school of hard knocks. It is what it is.

People are upset because the scenario designer came up with something innovative. Scenarios are primarily designed for the first go round or two, and the first go round you dont know you're gonna get clobbered at the bridge. Usually everyone is up in arms about how the AI sucks. The designers gave the AI kick ass tools and now everyone is acting like it ruins the game.

And FWIW I thought Bumper Cars was an excellent scenario. I had a challenging go of it...

Razor Back Ridge - very difficult and I only progressed further thanks to a 'draw'.

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No, what the designer did was prevent the player using any other tactics apart then "once more into the breach". God forbid any of us have fun!

That it is so bitterly complained about by a community that is used to what Rune cooks up should give anyone pause. It is a turd of a scenario and I hope we do not see its like again.

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No, what the designer did was prevent the player using any other tactics apart then "once more into the breach."

Well, the various threads about this scen show that clearly isn't the case. There are - at least - several ways to skin this particular cat, as there are in all of the campaign scenarios.

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"It is a turd of a scenario and I hope we do not see its like again."

I think that's a bit strong. "School of Hard Knocks" is exactly what the title says. It is a very tough introduction to bloody WW2 combat, but certainly not too hard to get some sort of win if you use sensible tactics. The campaign is aptly named as "Courage and Fortitude" is required of players to recover from repeated shocks and reversals and keep going. From my POV I learned that I had to use a lot of smoke, from arty as well as from the tanks. I also learned to send squads across the bridge split into teams to avoid bunching. And after all that, one still has to accept a high level of casualties - which was pretty much the way it was in RL in WW2.

In addition to the psychological shock that we probably all experienced in this meatgrinder of a scenario, I also felt that my Minor Victory was undeserved due to the massive friendly casualties. I felt that I had not done enough. But, doing "enough" and declaring a Cease Fire to get a win before one's troops are unnecessarily decimated further is a legitimate (historic and current) tactic. But, maybe that is also a factor that frustrates folks.

So, I thought it a very good scenario and campaign. It is a "wake up call" that CMBN isn't CMSF set in WW2, and that perhaps we have become complacent by the experience of (almost) bloodless victories in CMSF thanks to massive technological superiority that the Allies simply did not have in the WW2 era.

Wait till the Russian Front...

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"It is a turd of a scenario and I hope we do not see its like again."

I think that's a bit strong. "School of Hard Knocks" is exactly what the title says. It is a very tough introduction to bloody WW2 combat, but certainly not too hard to get some sort of win if you use sensible tactics.

But to get the "best" win (lowest casualties) you have to use "non-sensible" tactics: a tank rush (once you've nailed the ATGs and blown the wire). While hiding most of your infantry on the baseline.

It's not too hard to get 'some sort of win', no, nor is it worth trying to. Your best bet if you don't think of the tank rush is to not play the scenario at all. Or play it minimally (sneak some engineers onto the bridge VL while it's still dark) and cease fire. Which is frankly a waste of a scenario. And doubly frustrating when you slog out a victory and discover it was pointless and has probably done you no favours for the rest of the campaign. "The only way to win is not to play," makes a lousy game.

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Well, I did not do a tank rush (cos they wuz mostly immobilized or worse) and I didn't think to hide most of my inf at the baseline or in the covered dip by the river bank like some smarter players did. I actually crossed the river covered by smoke. But my inf got into trouble advancing in the terrain on either side of the road when the smoke ran out.

I do agree however, that if one can win by effectively doing nothing and cease-firing, that is a bit silly. I never tried that. I slogged it out, used my arty to kill enuff Germans so that when I felt I had done all I could without risking more men unnecessarily, I Cease Fired and was happy to get a Minor Victory.

After I finish with La Haye, however, I want to go back and try the other branched scenarios as well as "Hard Knocks" again and see if I have learned enuff to get a better win with far fewer losses.

Even taking into account your criticism, I would still describe "Hard Knocks" as a great training scenario when one has gotten a bit cocky as to one's CMBN skills.

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But to get the "best" win (lowest casualties) you have to use "non-sensible" tactics: a tank rush (once you've nailed the ATGs and blown the wire). While hiding most of your infantry on the baseline.

It's not too hard to get 'some sort of win', no, nor is it worth trying to. Your best bet if you don't think of the tank rush is to not play the scenario at all. Or play it minimally (sneak some engineers onto the bridge VL while it's still dark) and cease fire. Which is frankly a waste of a scenario. And doubly frustrating when you slog out a victory and discover it was pointless and has probably done you no favours for the rest of the campaign. "The only way to win is not to play," makes a lousy game.

The problem, well my perception of the problem anyway, is that folks are getting hung up on the winning and not trying to understand the situational feel the designer was trying to produce. For better or worse the idea was to have the player feel what it was like to be sent into a situation unprepared and get a bloody nose. (I apologize to the designer if I am at all mis stating their intent.)

The point isn't to "win" it, but to get the feel of a failed attempt that needed to be reorganized and tried again with the appropriate resources applied. Granted if you are looking for a campaign where you are expected to win every battle progressing eventually to a victorious campaign, this is gonna suck. However for some of us the idea of creating a campaign that will include reversals is pretty original and leads more to a sort of story of a campaign as opposed to just some strung together battles. Yep I got my butt handed to me and despite not being a masochist (to my knowledge, but I do tend to do a lot of my own home repair...) I did enjoy the campaign and the concept. Well so far anyway. I am currently only on Razorback ridge and dividing my time on it with a couple PBEMs as well as my own map.

So the moral of the story Sherman is, we all have different perspectives and our own subjective viewpoint on what we like. For some this was a very interesting campaign, for others it was the worst thing since fluffernutter. The only real answer is...more campaigns. So hopefully we have enough soon for everyone regardless of what you like. Designers, stop reading and start creating already.

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