My Disappointment. Campaign Battles = Skirmish

RaduM
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My Disappointment. Campaign Battles = Skirmish

Postby RaduM » Sat 29 Jun 2013 13:00

Perhaps my single biggest disappointment is how the actual battles in the Campaign are simply Skirmish battles.

Yes, there are fixed decks and different starting resources, but other than that, the dynamic is simply that of the standard Meeting Engagement.

The problem I have with all battles being Meeting Engagements is two-fold :

1) That in a situation that clearly has an attacker and defender, the defender is forced to attack over the very ground he is supposedly defending with resources that are sometimes woefully inadequate. This is compounded by...

2) ... a focus on "Resource Gathering" rather than the actual combat. The starting points hover at around 1000, nowhere near enough to deploy a Battalion-sized battlegroup + support. Thus most of a battle is spent taking sectors to build up the forces.

I hope this is addressed and :

1) Attack/Defend situations actually entail one side defending the sectors on the map and the other side attacking.
2) Shifting the emphasis away from Resource Gathering. Ideally, an individual battle would see *no* income whatsoever, and instead both sides have rather generous starting points, enough to delpoy a proper battlegroup (Company,Battalion) from the start, a battlegroup that reflects their parent unit(Brigade,Division), both in type and combat effectiveness. Sectors should only count towards "map control", not income.
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henri51
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Re: My Disappointment. Campaign Battles = Skirmish

Postby henri51 » Sun 30 Jun 2013 16:02

I agree. In addition, there is a clear need for more focused scenarios for new players- for instance how to assault, how to defend, etc. I am an experienced wargamer having successfully played wargames like Call of Duty, War in the East, HTTR, Battles for the Bulge, etc. But I got so traumatized by my first online game (lost everything including all my experienced units and killed a single enemy), that not being a masochist, I now cringe when I start the game and end up closing it and go playing something else.

Adding a pause button would help a bit, as would not permanently losing experienced units, but trying to remember the specifics of 300 units under pressure of a realtime attack at multiple points is a bit much: I mostly remember the performance of my NATO units, but when I click on the Pact units to see what is coming, and when I see that it is heavy tanks supported by rocket helicopters (for instance), my mind boggles as I try to remember what I am supposed to bring out to counter this. I have watched many hours of video, and I admire how easy the posters make it look (mostly after their fifth try), and they are a big help, but not enough to make me better at commanding these armies than a buck private just pulled out of latrine duty and given the rank of general.

There is a great game somewhere under this game (I have only the Escalation version so far), but I have some doubt on whether the problems faced by the player are siilar to those faced by a real commander, or whether this is just a clickfest mascarading as a wargame.

Henri

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Lorik Eolmin
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Re: My Disappointment. Campaign Battles = Skirmish

Postby Lorik Eolmin » Sun 30 Jun 2013 16:51


henri51
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Re: My Disappointment. Campaign Battles = Skirmish

Postby henri51 » Mon 1 Jul 2013 00:40

Thanks for the great reference.I have read Sun Tzu, the USMC Handbook, "The Art of maneuver" by Leonhard, the "Maneuver Warfare handbook" by Lind and many others and played many wargames, but my problem is how to apply that knowledge in a practical realtime situation as in this game. I have spent all afternoon reading the 176-page guide and I feel like I have a better feel for the game (which may well be shown to be an illusion in my next try...).

Part of my problem is that my Boyd cycle is atrociously slow due to my lack of knowledge about enemy units (not to mention my own), and my tendancy to play a wargame like chess, that is perhaps to think too much instead of reacting. The latter may or may not come with practice, or if I can ever remember if a BTR comes or not with ATGM missiles...

I remember reading some years ago that experiments showed that most humans could not take into account more than 5 independent factors at a time to make a decision, but this game seems to require about 300.

Speaking of chess, what I need in this game is Capablanca's ability: when asked how many moves ahead he could see, he replied: "Only one, but it is always the best one...".

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Lorik Eolmin
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Re: My Disappointment. Campaign Battles = Skirmish

Postby Lorik Eolmin » Mon 1 Jul 2013 16:19

If Boyd played chess.... :ugeek:

I can't but "reassure" you about the fact your cycle speed will increase tremendously fast will the force of habits. If you're not easy with the units, play them on easy level, and try all sorts of deck. If you like to take time to study units in the armory, as you seem to do, it's another field for learning. I prefer watching units behave, maybe because I've come to know them. I used to play M1 Tank Platoon on Amiga back to the 90's, when I was a young teen. I really helped me learn what the first three letters of Cold War vehicles' names meant. I started to play the game knowing the American and Russian units way better than my country's ones (France).

When you get to know your favorite NATO, and possibly PACT units, you can start to draw links with their less-known cousins. A Pivads is a faster and more powerful Vulcan, and so on, to take an example you must already know.

I'm pretty sure you'll find your way through the learning process and even enjoy it. Don't get into multiplayer too quickly unless you enjoy it as well, but I doubt it for now - I wouldn't.

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Re: My Disappointment. Campaign Battles = Skirmish

Postby henri51 » Tue 2 Jul 2013 00:06

Well Loric, you couldn't be more right: actually at this point I can't even remember what the armament of a Bradley IFV is, much less that of an Abrams M1A1, except that the latter has thick armor and a kick*** cannon.And I can't even tell the difference between a pact recon unit and a supply helicopter, unless I mouse over it, but then while I am looking at the specifications, the enemy is wiping out my force. I have played the first two tutorial scenarios a number of time and understand well the units there, but unfortunately I have also learned from the videos that the Leopard I is junk, and should be replaced as soon as possible by something like the Patton when I unlock it (and I have done that).

What I really need (that does not exist as far as I know) are a series of tutorials that break up the skills into simple pieces, which is probably how it is done in the real world: a simple defence aganist an infantry attack, defense against a combined arms attack, attacking a static defense with infantry and artillery, and so on. As a retired professor, I know you do not teach Quantum Field theory and General relativity to first year undergraduates, unless you are doing a practical joke to new students (they actually did this at my University, and I wouldn't be surprised if half the class had changed into other programs after the first hour...).

The video tutorials are really good, but they remind me of Richard Feynman's Lectures on Physics: everything looks clear and obvious until you get home and try to apply it to a problem, at which point one realizes that one has really understood nothing!

So I guess that as soon as I can get my courage up, I should try scenario 3 again, despite not having a single experienced unit left...

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Lorik Eolmin
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Re: My Disappointment. Campaign Battles = Skirmish

Postby Lorik Eolmin » Tue 2 Jul 2013 00:27

Sorry Henri, but you are describing a campaign that resembles very much Wargame: European Escalation's. Are we speaking of Airland Battle?

If you want to take time to observe things and the use of units, you can treasure this website:
http://alb-replays.info/#/

Download (and set in your c:/users/eugen/wargame2 folder) and watch replays of 10v10 games, Ragnarok maps. You will see many styles, many units. Focus on something you understand and are interested in, especially in the center of the map rather than the stormy edges. Choose a player you like to watch (instead of "Neutral" in the HUD), just to share his lines of sight and get a feeling of what he knew and did. See how he was wrong or right, and how he handled the game. That could be a game all by itself.

As for testing units and strategies, set 2v2 or 3v3 games with the AI. It will leave you time to try what you want while your AI friends do their little war.

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Re: My Disappointment. Campaign Battles = Skirmish

Postby henri51 » Tue 2 Jul 2013 02:57

You are correct, I am speaking of European Escalation, because there is no Campaign thread under that forum title (and I don't have the newer game), but I assume that the problems are more or less similar in both games. Your suggestion to focus on one player in a 10x10 game sounds good, and I will give that a shot.

BTW, there is something similar to the Boyd cycle in chess, if you consider time as measured by the number of moves; for example, the classical technique of shifting the attack from one wing to the other faster than the opponent can reorganize the defense looks to me like a classical maneuver warfare tactic of getting inside the opponent's Boyd cycle. Although I have never seen a chess discussion where the Boyd cycle was mentioned, since chess is after all a somewhat abstracted form of warfare, it is perhaps not surprising that the principles of war apply.

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Re: My Disappointment. Campaign Battles = Skirmish

Postby Lorik Eolmin » Tue 2 Jul 2013 09:43

I've always been surprised to see how people can relate warfare to chess, especially the warlords themselves, so to speak. I have to admit my best games of Airland Battle reminded me of something similar.

The replays site I've directed you to can only be used with Airland. Also, I suppose you shouldn't rely on WEE too much to approach WAB. The latter has a way better balance between units, the armored can be countered more easily, micromanagement is less required - and setting AI games up is way easier than the campaign/skirmish modes of WEE. And bottom line, you have access to all the units you want.

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Re: My Disappointment. Campaign Battles = Skirmish

Postby henri51 » Tue 2 Jul 2013 18:31

Why do you say Airland Battle requires less micro-management?I it because the battles are better balanced or is there something else? I may get AB sooner or later, but I have only had EE about a week. The latter had gone under my radar because I had the impression from the ads that it was similar to the older clickfest games where the rush was the only viable strategy.

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