WWII - Opponent wanted (small/medium; any but meeting engagement)

Butterblümchen

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Hello fellow grunts and Kameraden!

After a period of absence, I'm in the mood for CM again and I have some time to spare. Unfortunately, my buddy with whom I planned this game had to drop out due to technical issues. But I've already selected my force and done my planning, so I hope someone would like to jump in?

We had agreed on the following settings:
  • Engagement type = Attack; British (me) defend against Germans/Italians (you)
  • Engagement size = Small (attacker budget = 2248 points, defender budget = 1388 points)
  • Map: Attack Small Open 156 (see image below)
  • Duration: Increased from the suggested 30 min to 1h 15min. Plenty of time for the attacker. No need to rush.
  • "common" weather (no night battle, no excessive fog); ground condition is for the attacker to decide (how much dust/arty mitigation do you want?)
  • Game= CM:Fortress Italy, Game Engine 4, Version 2.01
  • Ladder or not I don't care. I don't believe in my reputation anyway.
Restrictions on force selection:
  • No more than 25% of the points may be spent on tracked vehicles (half-tracks and carriers are debatable) (if you want to play without tracked vehicles completely, that's also fine by me; but I think it makes things harder for the attacker...)
  • Soft factors fixed at regular XP and normal motivation. (if required we could change this to "typical"; the idea is just to prevent "superman" tanks/atguns/piats)
  • Fortifications (including TRPs) are allowed for both sides (it's an "attack" after all, not a meeting engagement)
  • Rarity = Strict
Special Rules
  • No arty will be called on the attacker's deployment zone; The attacker can bomb the defender as he wishes.
If you're interested please let me know. I live in Europe and would like to play a few turns every evening if possible. I've not won a single game so far so don't be scared. (In my defence I've been playing against the best!)

This is the map. The attacker enters the map in the corner indicated by the green arrows. It's a bit of a bottleneck. The defender's deployment limit is indicated roughly by red lines. There are three objectives. The abbey (on the left side of the picture) is a major objective.

 
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Butterblümchen

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Two likes, but no takers! I'm still looking for an opponent! :D
As CM:FI, BN and RT are bugged for PBEM-QBs right now, CM:FB is the way to go!

Here are my preferences:

  • Game: Combat Mission Final Blitzkrieg, Engine 4, version 2.01
  • Turn rate: I live in Europe and should be able to play several turns each evening; I'd like to keep the pace steady (roughly at least one turn per evening would be nice); I'm a patient opponent, so no need to feel any pressure. I don't get bored if you take your time for scouting, etc.
  • forces: small
  • Map: chose one of the selection of 4 QB maps in the PDF linked below; for the one with the river crossings we could make some special adjustments (give the attacker extra points)
  • Engagement type: Attack (probe or assault is also fine for me; note that the maps linked below are the "attack" versions)
  • Roles: I prefer to defend
  • Factions: I have no preferences here
  • Time: ample - imho the suggested time limits for most maps (see pdf) are set waaaaaaay too short, 1h15min is pretty much the minimum I'd give to any attacker
  • Force selection limitations: we can agree on these before the game; I'm fine with limits on tracked vehicles or armored vehicles in general; No armor is fine for me too; I'm not a big fan of exclusive armor battles; I'm a fan of setting all soft factors to regular XP / normal motivation or "typical" (except for bunkers which can be set to lower settings to make them cheaper...); I prefer strict rarity; fortifications and TRPs are allowed (but it's okay to ban concrete bunkers)
  • Ingame rules: The attackers deployment zone must not be targeted by artillery
If you are interested please drop me a line.

Link to the pdf containing my map-suggestions: https://www.dropbox.com/s/70ya6o8p3pxuhkp/FB_maps.pdf?dl=0 (green arrows indicate the deployment zone of the attacker).
 
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Butterblümchen

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I'm not fully streched with 1-2 turns per evening, so I can take one more enemy! If you're interested please leave me a message.
Same conditions as above apply (I'd also be okay with medium force size). Moreover, I've listed the wrong (a1 = "assault") maps in my pdf. I'd prefer the a2="attack" versions.
 

Butterblümchen

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After an incredibly disciplined game (only 3 days for 45 ingame minutes/turns!) in which I've made a very unpleasant encounter with a Tiger tank (report will follow), I'm free for another game. Holoween is a very reliable and very hard opponent!

Now that it is patched, I'd love to play some Fortress Italy. As I think the difference of point-budget for attacks is sometimes a bit extreme (100-175%), I'd like to try a probe this time, which is more balanced points-wise (ca. 100-146%). I'd play either role and either faction but feel more at home in the defense.

Conditions as above, but I'm open for any additions/changes (e.g. I'd also be fine with no armor at all).

I'd love if we could agree on a time (e.g. weekends) when we both have time to play several turns.

If you're interested drop me a line!

Map suggestions (all probe): 73, 82, 91, 121 (I prefer small force size, but medium would be okay too)
 
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Bulletpoint

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As I think the difference of point-budget for attacks is sometimes a bit extreme (100-175%), I'd like to try a probe this time, which is more balanced points-wise (ca. 100-146%).
I think the problem is that the points ratios only make sense if (1) the attacker's objectives are sufficiently difficult to reach compared to the mission type, (2) the landscape is in some way defendable, and (3) if the defender gets a very generous deployment zone to set up.

With many maps, that's hit and miss. I've seen QB maps that came with the game in three different versions, one each for assault, attack, and probe, but the map was the same, with identical deployment zones and objectives. That makes the mission type a kind of difficulty setting, which it wasn't intended for.
 

holoween

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I think the problem is that the points ratios only make sense if (1) the attacker's objectives are sufficiently difficult to reach compared to the mission type, (2) the landscape is in some way defendable, and (3) if the defender gets a very generous deployment zone to set up.
It also depends on the time limit. the more time the attacker has the easier it becomes
 

Butterblümchen

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@Bulletpoint & @holoween: I completely agree.

I've also seen maps where there was no difference at all between probe/attack/assault when it comes to the location of the objectives. So it's really hard to tell whether a set-up is balanced or not. I don't mind so much as long as the game itself is fun! :) I've read somewhere that probe/attack/assault also differ in regards to the victory points balance between casualties and terrain objectives. But in the editor, I can't see any difference?

I also think that all kinds of fortifications except perhaps for bunkers and TRPs need a BIG price reduction. How am I supposed to channel the attacker into killzones if only water and heavy woods pose serious obstacles to movement (unless muddy ground condition...) and 50m of barebones (not secured by mines) barbed wire costs as much as a whole squad and can be destroyed easily by a tracked vehicle? I think I've just recently read the suggestion somewhere here in the forum as a work-around? It would be interesting to give the defender +10% points which he could spend exclusively on fortifications.

Another big factor is the question if and how much armor is "allowed". Some maps are very defensible in an infantry-only environment, but not so much in a tank heavy environment.

There are so many factors at play in asymmetrical engagements. "Balancing" them is a tricky affair and depends on terrain, duration and force type. Despite all these debatable issues, I still prefer asymmetrical engagements over meeting engagements which I consider very implausible/unrealistic.

One last thing: I think that reinforcements would add a lot of excitement to quickbattles. Often, you can be quite sure what the opponent still has up in his sleeve and what not. Based on this knowledge, you can feel safer and risk more. I think it would be interesting if you had to consider whether, and what kind of reinforcements may arrive for your opponent. And perhaps even from which direction! The threat of a counter-attack would keep the attacker on his toes. It would be great to have more infantry-heavy engagements in the beginning, with armor and motorized units (especially for the defender) arriving later in the game. You should be allowed to buy reinforcements in the force selection screen. The later they arrive, the cheaper they would be. And there would also need to be some randomness to their arrival time. I've posted this suggestion some time ago in the improvement suggestions thread on the Battlefront forum.
 
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Bulletpoint

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I've read somewhere that probe/attack/assault also differ in regards to the victory points balance between casualties and terrain objectives. But in the editor, I can't see any difference?
I think that's what the designer is supposed to do; balance the map/scenario. But since most designers don't really know how the game works, we're left with the assault/attack/probe missions being basically difficulty levels.
I also think that all kinds of fortifications except perhaps for bunkers and TRPs need a BIG price reduction. How am I supposed to channel the attacker into killzones if only water and heavy woods provide serious obstacles to movement (unless muddy ground condition...) and 50m of barebones (not secured by mines) barbed wire costs as much as a whole squad and can be destroyed easily by a tracked vehicle?
Yeah and when barbed wire often cannot link up properly with other wire and terrain, so infantry can just slip through anyway. Fortifications are a joke in this game unfortunately. It's been called out a hundred times by players, and the only response from BF is the sound of crickets...

One last thing: I think that reinforcements would add a lot of excitement to quickbattles.
Yep, I noticed you posted that, and I think it's a very good idea. However, I don't think we should expect them to add much going forward. They don't seem very interested in their own game. There are so many things they could improve even without code changes, but the series seems caught in molasses.

Example: Artillery is made weaker than in real life, alledgedly because infantry bunches up more. However, it's also because foxholes and trenches are extremely expensive. In WW2 they were everywhere. An obvious suggestion would be to slash the cost of foxholes, and dial up the damage of the arty. This would give the defender a much better survival chance against prep bombardment, while still showing how lethal artillery is against troops caught out in the open.

If they don't have manpower to improve the game's fundamental code, a lot could be done just by adjusting points here and there...
 

holoween

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Fortifications are a joke in this game unfortunately. It's been called out a hundred times by players, and the only response from BF is the sound of crickets...
Tbh i think a lot of it is simply a scale problem.
If you only have 1000 points on the defense you only have a areinforced company of infantry to begin with so wasting points on defenses migt not be worth it especially if you have to defend against vehicles.
Once you have 2500 points this becomes less of an issue because at that scale its easy to simply drop some of the stats for your defenders to buy defenses.

Also i did a bit of testing as a result of the game i just played and wooden bunkers are incredibly tough as long as noone fires ap rounds at them. even 3 155mm arty batteries firing all their ammo at a single bunker didnt manage to knock it out reliably only ever killing the crew but thats easily replaceble.
 

Butterblümchen

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Tbh i think a lot of it is simply a scale problem.
If you only have 1000 points on the defense you only have a areinforced company of infantry to begin with so wasting points on defenses migt not be worth it especially if you have to defend against vehicles.
Once you have 2500 points this becomes less of an issue because at that scale its easy to simply drop some of the stats for your defenders to buy defenses.

Also i did a bit of testing as a result of the game i just played and wooden bunkers are incredibly tough as long as noone fires ap rounds at them. even 3 155mm arty batteries firing all their ammo at a single bunker didnt manage to knock it out reliably only ever killing the crew but thats easily replaceble.
But I'd like to play small battles with fortifications! ;)

Yes, the "bunker" (whatever it may actually represent) is the only fortification that actually works and is not horribly overpriced if you set all its soft factors to a minimum (it's probably an oversight that the price changes with the soft factors - I have not noticed any difference in "performance" whatsoever). The wooden HMG bunkers surprised me very positively in our game. Your Stummel fired 15+ shots at my wooden shelter. True, the crew was knocked out very slowly one by one but the bunker as a whole stayed intact as not a single one of your low velocity Stummel shells ever managed to penetrate (distance was ca. 650m?). High velocity tank guns (and as you say, probably also AP rounds) are a different story though. The bunker also held up reasonably well against your light machine guns. At roughly 250m, only few of your MG42 bursts hit the vison slit, and those failed to hit any crewman. Here I think MG bunkers might be superior to ordinary shelters, as only the gunner is standing in the HMG bunker, while soldiers line up standing at the embrasure in the shelter so that the chance of someone getting hit might be higher?

I also noted that the wooden HMG bunker cannot be suppressed? One would assume that the bunker's HMG crew would at least stop firing for a few seconds when hit by a 75mm HE shell or hit by MG42 bursts from 3 directions. This worries me as I think it is unintended and makes the bunker overpowered? Proper tactics (suppression) should work against it. Also, I found it a bit irritating that wooden bunkers use the "metal impact" sounds for incoming bullets (at least in CM:FB).

So to me, it seems as if bunkers are the only stable way to employ small arms fire right now. Unless placed in houses, ordinary infantry just gets shredded by artillery, "trades" horribly high casualties against other infantry (just watch any AAR on youtube - these are blood baths; true, partly also because they're often meeting engagements and the maps are very dense) and dies like flies to any kind of direct HE fire. As I don't want to "trade" infantry casualties and I think it's also very unrealistic, I think will use wooden bunkers much more in the future. The only role for ordinary infantry in the defense is protecting the flanks and approaches of a bunker and other important weapons (ATGs) at point blank range from a defiladed ambush position (which of course can get blown up by arty once discovered...).

-------------------------------------
One thing which might be interesting is an "armor balance" factor for determining the outcome of a battle. Each force would need to be weighted for their "armor" value (IFVs, ATGs, infantry AT weapons, AT mines). If your force's value was much lower than the opponent's, you should get a "bonus" for victory calculations. I think it would open up a greater variety of force compositions (higher incentive for players to bring "suboptimal" stuff to battle?) and make assymmetrical, quite realistical engagements more fun to play (e.g. an infantry force being confronted with a full tank attack...).
 
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holoween

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Yes, the "bunker" (whatever it may actually represent) is the only fortification that actually works and is not horribly overpriced if you set all its soft factors to a minimum (it's probably an oversight that the price changes with the soft factors - I have not noticed any difference in "performance" whatsoever). The wooden HMG bunkers surprised me very positively in our game. Your Stummel fired 15+ shots at my wooden shelter. True, the crew was knocked out very slowly one by one but the bunker as a whole stayed intact as not a single one of your low velocity Stummel shells ever managed to penetrate (distance was ca. 650m?). High velocity tank guns (and as you say, probably also AP rounds) are a different story though. The bunker also held up reasonably well against your light machine guns. At roughly 250m, only few of your MG42 bursts hit the vison slit, and those failed to hit any crewman. Here I think MG bunkers might be superior to ordinary shelters, as only the gunner is standing in the HMG bunker, while soldiers line up standing at the embrasure in the shelter so that the chance of someone getting hit might be higher?
Funny thing is i even had one 75mm shell fly trough the vision slit and explode inside and that caused no casualties while one exploding on the wall killed 2-3 guys. te only other time i killed someone inside was with an lmg42 from 70meters away.
 

Bulletpoint

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Tbh i think a lot of it is simply a scale problem.
If you only have 1000 points on the defense you only have a areinforced company of infantry to begin with so wasting points on defenses migt not be worth it especially if you have to defend against vehicles.
Once you have 2500 points this becomes less of an issue because at that scale its easy to simply drop some of the stats for your defenders to buy defenses.
But even in a bigger battle, I'd always prefer to buy another Sherman rather than a couple of trench tiles. And I don't see why anyone would ever buy barbed wire, since it often doesn't link up with terrain, so the enemy can pass through.

Also i did a bit of testing as a result of the game i just played and wooden bunkers are incredibly tough as long as noone fires ap rounds at them. even 3 155mm arty batteries firing all their ammo at a single bunker didnt manage to knock it out reliably only ever killing the crew but thats easily replaceble.
Concrete bunkers can be knocked out by 81mm mortars - apparently there's a bug where the shell passes straight through the roof, according to posts on the official forum. It's a bug that has been there before, then was fixed, then reappeared as happens quite often in this game series.



Also, the concrete bunkers can easily be taken out by 75mm HE fire from the front. I tested and found concrete bunkers were as vulnerable as modular buildings.
 

Butterblümchen

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I'm still looking for someone to play a tiny-medium probe (any WWII title).
I'd be very happy if we could agree on some evenings (Europe) where we are both online to keep the game at a good pace.
 

kalidor89

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Hello B.blümchen,
i got myself CMFB, used to play the old CM long time ago. Never played H2H, got myself the cm helper, glanced through the doc and registered on dropbox. I never used it so there might be some hicks in the beginning.
let me know if ure up for a game.
K.
 
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