First Turn Playability -

F

Fredrocker

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Gentlemen, All Members, and you @Bootie too

We have had some ongoing discussions in the Highway to Hell HQ sections about First Turn Play-ability, etc... It would be great if maybe we can get some club feedback on some of the following, or anything else in play ability to pisses you off, or makes you happy... :
  • First Turn Artillery Strikes (Attackers, Defenders, Meeting Engagement)
  • Pre-Planned but Delayed Strikes (5 minutes or later) (Attacker, Defender)
  • Setup Zones (LOS/LOF, Protected from Shelling, Size)
  • Gamesmanship
  • Anything that figures in the overall Start of a Battle
Items not covered and no need for this thread... though could be interesting
  • Quick Battle Unit Selection Process
  • Rarity
Granted this covers a wide range of items, but I will review alls input and try to create a synopsis on what is posted in this thread in a month or so...

I appreciate all's input... I know in the past their were certain 'Club Guidelines' on how to play QBs, Scenarios, and granted this has been a topic since CMBO days... So this would be helpful too...

Remember the ongoing Highway to Hell Campaign is part fun and part trying to come up with a decent 'Campaign Guidelines' for future Campaigns in CMFI, CMRT, and CMFB as BFC adds modules, all the info will go to good use...

Thanks guys, your the best bunch of ?????????? I know, even you @Bootie... :)
 

Meat Grinder

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Always a hot topic (no, not the Goth store in the mall)!

My personal preferred "house rules" regarding arty is NO pre-planned arty/airstrikes (not even with a delay) in meeting engagements, or for the defender in an attack/assault/probe. Attacker can drop arty on turn 1.

I'll be interested to hear what the others think regarding setup zones. I once had an opponent call foul in a quick battle when one of my Fireflys shot one of his Panthers while it was still in his setup zone (he was attacking). To me, that's just poor map design. A defender should never be able to see into an opponent's setup zone on turn one, unless it's a scenario and the scenario designer intended it to be that way. This same opponent also didn't like it (in a different game) when I used his setup zone for some maneuvers during a meeting engagement. We were probably over thirty minutes into the game, so at that point I figured any spot on the map was fair game. Just goes to show how it's good to discuss such things with your opponents beforehand.
 

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My personal preferred "house rules" regarding arty is NO pre-planned arty/airstrikes (not even with a delay) in meeting engagements, or for the defender in an attack/assault/probe. Attacker can drop arty on turn 1.
Yep same. At one time I advocated and used on occasion pre-planned barrages in meeting engagements (in case any one checks the record :) but I don't think it is appropriate any more. Simple is better.

The defender could have TRPs though. That's fair.

I'll be interested to hear what the others think regarding setup zones.
A couple of us had some discussions with @Fredrocker in a non public forum and in there I said I would be OK with defenders being allowed to set pre-planned artillery if there was sufficient areas in the setup zone that are out of LOS / LOF so that the attacker can stage his forces in any number of locations while they wait for their planned artillery barrages to unfold before attacking. In that case the defender could drop some artillery but they really have no idea where the attackers are so they could get lucky or not. And the attacker is not forced to have an entire battalion in the space where two platoons should be. That way if the defender does do some damage it is up to the attacker's good or poor planning to determine how many casulties they take.

But if asked to vote I'm with @Meat Grinder -> I would go with no pre planned arty for the defender.

I once had an opponent call foul in a quick battle when one of my Fireflys shot one of his Panthers while it was still in his setup zone (he was attacking). To me, that's just poor map design. A defender should never be able to see into an opponent's setup zone on turn one, unless it's a scenario and the scenario designer intended it to be that way.
Well that's dumb. There is nothing wrong with the attacker's setup zone containing locations where they can see and bee seen. It's called overwatch. Plan to use it or not. As long as there are locations where you can assemble your attack out of sight there is no problem with some areas being in LOS / LOF. It is up to you as the attacker to look for those areas.

This same opponent also didn't like it (in a different game) when I used his setup zone for some maneuvers during a meeting engagement. We were probably over thirty minutes into the game, so at that point I figured any spot on the map was fair game. Just goes to show how it's good to discuss such things with your opponents beforehand.
LOL that's even dumber. There is not force field over the setup area. If you don't protect or at least watch your flanks you are offering an opportunity to your opponent.
 
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Fredrocker

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Well that's dumb. There is nothing wrong with the attacker's setup zone containing locations where they can see and bee seen. It's called overwatch. Plan to use it or not. As long as there are locations where you can assemble your attack out of sight there is no problem with some areas being in LOS / LOF. It is up to you as the attacker to look for those areas.
Thus when I open the first turn and see all your troops which can be seen, I can drop my 'Pre-Planned' Arty... without 5 minute delay (but I cant cause I might drop it on a unseen area out of LOS, what if that based upon what you have described is within an action square.. Hello)... or else you are describing the impossible to track, oversee, etc... this is a perfect example of where I get confused... (again, I am just thinking, dont take this personal as I have been accused of being a prick... my name is Rick without the P in front... lol)

Say I am 1500m from the Setup Zone of my enemy, he places a Inf Coy that I can see, all I have is an HQ (with access to arty) and two MP40s (well they are usless from 1500m) and thus am I... ???, since the Attacker put his troops there, or am I Not... ???, since the rule states I cant pre-plan (though the game engine lets me) blow the shit out of the Coy... IMHO... Blow the bastards up, hell you already got a big advantage as an attacking force...

Again, this is why we are here... if I had (8) 75mm Guns that could see that spot, it wouldnt be an issue right.... (Thinking of PhilM and his two TD that have taken down about 4000pts of QB Troops in 5 minutes...)... but if the defense is based upon mostly Arty and has no chance otherwise they are doomed... cause they are 'not' allowed to play the game.... Is it real life type simulation, game life simulation, or personnel preference on how this works...

LOL that's even dumber. There is not force field over the setup area. If you don't protect or at least watch your flanks you are offering an opportunity to your opponent.
As far as moving in a setup zone that is just f..ked up...

----------------------------

My other thing is... Where is the attackers Setup Zone... Does the defense get to know this, I have created battles where the Setup for the attacking force is in the 'NE' corner, how would he know that in a scenario/campaign battle, he has never seen the map, he can just guess, isn't that what real commanders do... """Well the sun is rising, the night has shown an activity of patrols, where are those f..kin enemy, cause I know they are going to attack... So I think I will disperse some Arty here...""" (Now granted what triggered all this was a mini map 384x540, but on a map at 1000x1000 with a 100m setup zone (across the back)... can you really destroy a whole couple Coys if positioned right with some (under 50-80 rounds of Arty) after 5 minutes... to me it sound like ... and I hate to say it... This is the way I play and I cant deal wit that...

And if you dont play out the battle which is one case in this sub convo... the Attacking troops have 2+ Coys (Rifle and Support) and a Medium Gun Troop against NADA... a underfunded and bad leadership Schule Coy (-) with a sIG33 with 50 rounds... but if you give up on in the first 8 minutes you will never know...

(The above example is not necessarily true but just used as an example, the names are changed to protect the innocent)... I will not and can not respond anymore within this thread... I WILL ABSORB... :)
 

Meat Grinder

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My two examples were both Quick Battles. Scenarios are different, because the scenario designer is creating a "situation", and presenting challenges to both sides with his custom map and troop selection (and reinforcements). A scenario is more like a role playing game with the scenario designer as the dungeon master. It could be argued, IMO, that a scenario needs no "house rules" at all, because it is the scenario designer's job to construct the battle in such a way that there is no need for any rules outside what the game allows.

A Quick Battle, to me, is more like a game of chess. Since the players pick the map and the forces there needs to be some agreed upon rules of gentlemen's proper conduct.
 
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MeatEtr

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In my battle from the Highway to Hell cam, some of my 150mm shells are hitting my opponents SZ. IMO this comes down to map design, it heavily favors the defending Germans. I took this as the GM purposely wanted the attack to be hard. Setup zones are roughly this, I control 80% of the map, 10% is no mans land, and the other 10% is his SZ. So naturally, I pushed some of my troops up (shrinking no mans land), delayed his approach and dropped arty on his head. Since I dont know his exact SZ, I put arty on the apparent 5% area of whats left of no mans land. But yeah it's 150mm which isnt exactly accurate. So yeah some will land in your SZ, sorry... wars hell! :D Any further away from your SZ and I start taking friendly fire. I also have 3 TRPs as well. So pre-plotting doesn't have much impact in this battle.

Bottom line is on this map, there's not much choice where to put my arty. Also the attacker doesnt have many choices either. If it were me attacking as the Allies, discovering that my SZ is HOT (within LOS of enemy) I would of took off into the buildings seeking better cover. Not sit in my SZ assuming it has an invisible force field protecting my troops beyond 5 mins. Also consider cutting my losses and retreat, this is after all for key bridges in the Market Garden cam. There's been plenty of retreats in this cam.

On a side note, something I hope can be implemented in CMx2 games in general is more robust options in the delays. Why just 5 min interval delays? Would like to see intervals of 2 min delays. That way players have more flexibility and more randomness.
 

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Thus when I open the first turn and see all your troops which can be seen, I can drop my 'Pre-Planned' Arty... without 5 minute delay (but I cant cause I might drop it on a unseen area out of LOS, what if that based upon what you have described is within an action square.. Hello)... or else you are describing the impossible to track, oversee, etc... this is a perfect example of where I get confused... (again, I am just thinking, dont take this personal as I have been accused of being a prick... my name is Rick without the P in front... lol)
I'm confused - I'm sure its me - I just don't understand what you mean.

The two sentence version for me is: as the attacker I would like to choose how the attack develops. For me that means a setup zone that allows choices for staging or overwatch - my choice - or house rules of some kind to support those choices.

As far as moving in a setup zone that is just f..ked up...
I'm confused again. Are you saying it is OK for the opponent to be upset that half way through the battle the enemy drove on his setup ground, or was that a typeo. I'm with @MeatEtr there cannot be a force shield of protection over a setup zone. Especially a setup zone that is not identified.
 
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Fredrocker

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I'm confused - I'm sure its me - I just don't understand what you mean.

The two sentence version for me is: as the attacker I would like to choose how the attack develops. For me that means a setup zone that allows choices for staging or overwatch - my choice - or house rules of some kind to support those choices.



I'm confused again. Are you saying it is OK for the opponent to be upset that half way through the battle the enemy drove on his setup ground, or was that a typeo. I'm with @MeatEtr there cannot be a force shield of protection over a setup zone. Especially a setup zone that is not identified.
NO to the second, I found it funny that someone would think his Setup Zone is 'off limits'

As far as setup zone, I do UNDERSTAND what you are saying (In fact I actually agree with it :) ) .... BUT... how does one clarify a setup zone, when you can drop "pre-planned" arty anywhere on the map... This is what the game has built in, and the question becomes... How to Refine It??? (not at all, delay, inform the opponent where the SZ is, expand setup zones, have a 'safe place' for our troop Bull Shit, etc)

So to me it comes down to a simple question
PRE-PLANNED or NOT....

and I swore I wasnt going to respond to this again... really I mean it... lol


EDIT- and thank you Mr. Cat for all the input... I love it, and never take me as being an asshole though I am... it is just the NYer in me.... y'all are great
 
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Fredrocker

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Posted to a friend of mine not more than 20 minutes ago:
Hey Phil maybe we can tackle another one... in this the map just killed me, it was no fun... and me I get beat all the time and love a good fight, but this was bad, I never quit like this before...
so hey, it can happen (being SZ problems) anytime, anyplace
 

A Canadian Cat

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NO to the second, I found it funny that someone would think his Setup Zone is 'off limits'

As far as setup zone, I do UNDERSTAND what you are saying (In fact I actually agree with it :) )
Cool - I wondered if we were violently agreeing with each other :D

So to me it comes down to a simple question
PRE-PLANNED or NOT....
Then my vote would be no pre-planned for the defender. But should have TRPs (unless for some scenarios were the defence did not have adequate time to setup).

and I swore I wasnt going to respond to this again... really I mean it... lol

EDIT- and thank you Mr. Cat for all the input... I love it, and never take me as being an asshole though I am... it is just the NYer in me.... y'all are great
Yeah no problem - I have a thick skin most of the time. I do tend to break out the sarcasm if I get annoyed but I'm a long way from that with this discussion. I was afraid people were not getting my point - hence why I repeated myself a bunch of times in an attempt to explain it differently. I have that out of my system now. Or not :D
 

mjkerner

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I'm with meatgrinder on this issue. No pre-planned for the defender on first turn. (TRPs for defender OK.)
IIRC (and I quite likely don't, lol) all the campaigns I've been in here at FGM, and certainly the Normandy one, had that rule, didn't it? Regardless, I never ran into a problem as the attacker having my set up zone hit on the first turn, nor did I ever have a battle in the campaign, either as attacker or defender, where the setup zones were were such that either side could actually see enemy units on the first turn.
 

MeatEtr

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Another thing worth mentioning about pre-plotting, good lord it's practically a neccessity for the Russians. I'm sure most of you guys are aware of the huge wait times. Whenever I forget to pre-plot ( @SlySniper I'm looking at our drums of war tourney battle) my arty support didn't finally show up until the battle was half over.
 

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Seems to me to play out like this. I made a narrative cause I felt like it. Yep I'm bored and I've saved up all my forum words over the past year for now.

Say you're commanding a force in a defensive position not in a CM game, in the big open world. You know you will be attacked, although you aren't really sure exactly when (unless you have some incredibly accurate intel that stays true to the minute...a very long shot. Plus this story isn't about every possible "what if" variation or what if there was a forest fire or a godzilla behind the attacking force, etc, etc. It's about the usual big picture most likely average course of events). You are probably aware the attack is getting close, cause you have a bit of sense. Maybe today or tomorrow? Within the week? Few Hours? Probably not a month. You have some artillery, which is good. One thing you could do is order it to shoot at "that area over there" at 0830 tomorrow morn, then maybe the next day at high noon. Same area or a different one, whatever you're feelin'. You don't really know if the enemy is in that spot or not, just a guess, maybe an educated one. There is a lot of space out there where the enemy force could be staging and waiting, but they really might be in those trees better shoot at them just in case. Man, that pre ordered artillery sure does happen on time, come in nice, and make a lot of noise. And it's so much easier just to call them up the night before and not worry with it once you're actually under attack. You can focus on other things now, arty out of the mind.

But wait. You remember that ammo is not limitless and that if you use all your arty rounds blasting random patches of ground before you actually see any of the enemy that it might be a waste. You also realize that the attack will be coming from areas controlled by the enemy and they have friendly ground at their back and your big guns just don't have enough ammo to carpet the entire area controlled by your foe. Even if you manage to get lucky with your pre-ordered 0900 shelling, hit a couple of their guys, you realize the rest of the enemy force would just back their asses up and hang with their homies in the reserve force, or even just jog over to the other side of the field in order to avoid getting hit. Or maybe the attack was coming in at 10 and you missed your targets by an hour. Hmmm, wouldn't be many dead enemy you think. Advantage attacker, you didn't hurt their force much if any, and you expended your artillery rounds and resupply isn't coming quick enough. Pre-planning blind arty missions seems bad to you.

Dang, maybe you figure it's better to use your remaining days, get some spotters and use a few rounds to range those big guns in a bit. You think yeah the enemy will probably send some troops through that gap in the trees over there. Lets get some guns zeroed on that spot so when things get hot they already have their coordinates and the booms come quick and accurate. You expect to catch some of their guys unaware, do some killing, and you're a bit proud of yourself for making some strategic decisions and look forward to seeing them work. Advantage you. You now have ranged heavy weapons that can be called upon in a timely manner to deliver accurate and precise results when you actually see the enemy and know they are in a certain spot. Feels good. Enemy should be scared as hell.

So now onto a game map in CM. The two choices above still apply, but results play out quite differently. As the defending CO you say hey why not just pre-plan some arty missions? You notice the area your dudes are at and it takes up a whole lot of space in the limited AO. Oh that attack must be coming from that small area of the map where your dudes aren't at, and it's probably going to start exactly now. Hows about you just call up your big guns, give them a fire mission or two you know will come in accurately, require no spotting rounds, and will definitely hit the attacking force en masse. Because even though you can't see them you know they are there by simple deductive logic. They just can't be anywhere else and you know it. You also know they can't just back their asses up to avoid being hit because the map just ends arbitrarily right along that line. Only place they could try and run is right into the sights of your grunts weapons! Perfect setup for an easy victory. Advantage you. Enemy can't run, can't hide, can't do shit except sit and get crushed or advance in a haphazard manner into your waiting sights. What would have been a high likelihood of a losing gamble before sure does pay off once you eliminate those pesky advantages the enemy had in avoiding pre-planned artillery strikes, like organizing good staging areas in their zone of control, doing some scouting, and just not telling you exactly when they would start that attack. Good work, that was fun, you won yay. Now what should you do with the remaining hour you allotted for that game? Doesn't matter cause you won.

Good thing you didn't bother using TRP's. Even when placed well in likely choke points or along potential routes of advance of your enemy, you think about how those actually only cover a limited amount of ground, unlike those nice pre-planned missions. You also realize that the effective area covered by a TRP might have only included an enemy platoon, or worse yet just a squad! No way someone would put their entire force into that small area you zeroed your guns on. And worse yet the enemy could even run away from that area once they realized you had it zeroed. Or they could use a different avenue of approach where you might not have put a TRP! Gosh that would give them a fighting chance. Good thing you didn't do that. You might have even had to resort to actually using a spotter for calling in an arty strike, and who really wants to wait 7 or 15 minutes (or more sometimes!) for that to come about? That would require planning, thought, maybe some stealthiness, and also keeping comm links open. Way too much work, plus the enemy might have even moved in that time and that just wouldn't be helping you win easy. Sure you would probably get your kill on some but just not in the knockout way you wanted. Disadvantage you for using TRP's and not just dropping massive artillery rounds on them when they had no place to take cover. You still might have won, but it wouldn't have been a sure thing and the stress just isn't worth it.

If you didn't want to read my stories, or just want the short version I'm against pre-planned missions for defenders. I also don't think making huge ass maps to compensate for pre-planned missions from the defense leads to better game play. Larger maps just for the sake of having a huge staging area for the attacker would just slow down my machine for no real gain.

Now quote all that someone. ;)
 
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PhilM

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I can't begin this without a big cheer of thanks to @Fredrocker, both for all his work HtH itself (keeping us all moving, motivated and in-line at the same time ...) and for this round up of opinion.

I'd start by saying there is, to me, a disconnect built into the game mechanics: there has always seemed to be too big a difference in capabilities and operation between the in-battle spotted mission, with all the hoops (LOS, spotting, comms, etc) to jump through, and the "god-like" powers (though I understand why in principle they're there) given to setup phase called missions ...

Lots of great points made in the posts above.

To avoid repeating what others have said, I've tried to turn my thoughts into a set of "rules" for campaigns like HtH where players "get what they're given", but which then apply to all turns / battles, and so are clear to all those participating and uniformly applied:

- No setup turn call missions (to avoid the "god-like" powers thing, for both sides);
- Both sides for all battles get a set of TRPs, in addition to whatever other forces they have; numbers of TRPs determined by organiser and related to map size (not necessarily the same number per side ...), so that neither side can blanket the opposite portion of the map with TRP target circles. So, perhaps a standard "pack of five" for large maps, reduced to 3/2/1 (?) for smaller maps, and perhaps related to length of time in that location and so sighting opportunity available;
- battle time to be "what it would have been plus 5 minutes", to allow attacker turn 1 called missions to arrive before any movement would otherwise be necessary, but short delay also allows attacker to move to try and avoid incoming defender arty if he chooses;
- attacker able to place TRPs anywhere on map;
- defender (most difficult aspect??) also able to place TRPs anywhere on map - ie would include, by default, attackers set up zone - given the proviso on TRP numbers above, eg on a small map with only 1 (?) defending TRP, the defender would - with also having LOS - be limited by the TRP circle on how much of the attackers part of the map - including the setup zone - he could target in this way.

I guess what I'm aiming for is a fairly simple and straightforward stating of a set of rules that give a known, definite way of avoiding the potential overkill of setup turn called arty missions, but also giving both sides some limited access to faster responding, non-LOS-based, missions via TRPs ... and of course still allowing normal spotted missions if needed????

Just my two pence worth ...
 

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I think the pre planned artillery on meeting engagements / start zone bombardment rules should pretty much be standard for all matches.
Even with the realism arguments and general gamesmanship aside, what is the fun in playing a game knowing you just destroyed most of the enemy on the first turn using a very cheap, gamey tactic? Its surely no fun for your opponent, so much so that they'll likely never play you again (and let others know to avoid you) and it would just be a quick surrender, plus the most combat you would see is maybe firing a few rounds at a broken unit which just runs away. Thats if your opponent bothered to return you a move at all of course.

As for other things not related to that (and in terms of a game, not just first turn).
I just look at it in terms not so much as "rules" but of common courtesy and respect for your opponent -

Such as, I "could" order that empty HT / truck to do an unrealistic kamikaze fast move over the ridge knowing full well the enemy units will waste their panzerfausts on it and I'd magically know the position of said units (and just as importantly what units are not there) despite the unit not having a radio or even the time to radio those positions if it did.
But I wouldn't do it as firstly its a lame move, it would just annoy my opponent and give me a gamey 'all seeing commander' advantage which would in all honesty cheapen my own experience.
Which would be more memorable? Taking out a bunch of enemy units in a flank attack, or the same example with the addition of knowing those units were in said position because you used a cheese tactic.

Theres a line between playing to win, and winning at all costs.
Just my input and thoughts, cheers.
 
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I think the rules we have in place for the Highway to Hell campaign are quite reasonable and are also observable / enforceable, i.e. it would be noted most of the time that the rules have been broken by somebody. So I would leave those first turn artillery / air support rules as they are, without over-complicating things.
 

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It makes no sense that a defending commander would schedule a pre-planned strike. TRP based strikes would be expected, and defenders in an HtH type campaign game should have a reasonable number of TRPs to use. Unfortunately, on turn one, CM treats any plot of Arty as a pre-planned strike with rounds landing within the first 60 seconds, so TRP based defensive strikes shouldn't be plotted until turn 2.
In contrast, an attack would very likely begin with a pre-planned strike, and should be allowed as the game allows. So, essentially I'm in agreement with @Nathangun, @Vatutin, and @Meat Grinder . Yes, Russian response time is very slow, and I don't know the historical reality of it, but I doubt they were able to use pre-planned arty as a defensive tactic.
 
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