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RE: PzcK vs CMBB

 
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RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 5:17:53 AM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1
So there is no chance armor will see a unit coming up behind it?


Not unless you change its facing. Mind you, we're thinking of adding a small rear-sighting ability based on a suggestion someone posted pre-release, but right now the rear 180 is a big blind spot. Stationary infantry can on the other hand see a full 360.

Regards,

- Erik


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(in reply to thewood1)
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RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 5:19:59 AM   
thewood1

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm

quote:

This range and arc thing is really wierd. I can't imagine anything in real life such precision would be a model of. Just how are these soldiers going to judge an angle?


I find your reaction to covered arcs (quoted, and in the post above) really puzzling. Real soldiers use these things all the time, indeed, devising a "range card" is one of the highest priority tasks for a platoon leader when setting up a defense. As stated repeatedly, the "arc" part is just a game mechanic. What really happens is this:
1) Platoon leaders assign sectors of fire based on land marks ("you cover from the left edge of that treeline to that building with the white roof").
2) Certain weapons, such as MGs, use stakes implanted immediately in front of their positions to delineate their firing sectors.

Range is dealt with in a similar manner ("don't fire until the enemy crosses that road"), based on the platoon leader's estimate of the range based on the ground and a map analysis.

At least from my experience in a modern US tank company, this is basic stuff; I suspect it was the same in WWII (or WWI, for that matter). The arcs are just an elegant means of accomplishing the same end. Why do you think it's unrealistic?



I think one of the issues is SL's use of terms like boresighting. It was the same thing when CM came out. A lot of people take SL/ASL as gospel, not realizing some liberties were taken with terminology and process. It was easier to write the rules that way.

If you want some education on the covered arcs and why they were implemented research some of the old BFC CM forums. There were military historians, current military, regular historians, SL grogs, etc. debating and discussing how best to implement a mechanism that became the arcs. There were many SL rules experts there talking about how SL did it as well as people with actual military experience debating how accurate the term boresighting was.

(in reply to 76mm)
Post #: 212
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 5:32:24 AM   
Mobius


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quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm
quote:

This range and arc thing is really wierd. I can't imagine anything in real life such precision would be a model of. Just how are these soldiers going to judge an angle?

I find your reaction to covered arcs (quoted, and in the post above) really puzzling. Real soldiers use these things all the time, indeed, devising a "range card" is one of the highest priority tasks for a platoon leader when setting up a defense. As stated repeatedly, the "arc" part is just a game mechanic. What really happens is this:
1) Platoon leaders assign sectors of fire based on land marks ("you cover from the left edge of that treeline to that building with the white roof").
2) Certain weapons, such as MGs, use stakes implanted immediately in front of their positions to delineate their firing sectors.

You must of been reading manuals again. Yes the sectors are assigned each tank. But it takes time to co-ordinate the plan. Often it is written down first and distributed to the platoons and then to the TCs. I just don't see it being something that could be done on the fly with any precision. And then without landmarks. It has prompted me to read the M1 tank manual again and I will post what it says about sectors and TRPs. TRPs are what might have been bore-sighted back in the old days.

Then again the M1 and M60 manuals that indicate sectors are cold war tactics. No actual WW2 combat books I've read have anything of the sorts.

< Message edited by Mobius -- 5/1/2008 8:11:03 AM >

(in reply to 76mm)
Post #: 213
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 6:19:09 AM   
Mad Russian


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mobius

quote:

ORIGINAL: PDiFolco
Sure it's (cover arc) a "precise exageration" of a real order - which would be "engage up to 500m, and watch the 9-12 quarter before the hill".
Covered arc is the technical gizmo that allows such a complex order to be given , note that the tac AI will sometimes override the order and engage outside.successfully in CM, maybe with "too much preciseness". There's nothing to even give a firing max range in PzC (like when I want an AT gun to open fire when it will be effective only).
Call me CM fanboi if you want but I never saw anything more ingenious in any game.
I was reading a book by a tank gunner and it told of the difficulty in judging precise ranges over 400 meters. They basically have to go by size of the tank and the number of mils it measures in their sights. Then do some quick math. Trying to sight to a range on flat land would be very difficult and prone to error.
This bring into question the ranges such as 1000yds or 1500yd stated in any AAR report unless attested to by AT or tank gunner or trained artillery observer.


This is also a very valid reason that most WWII tank combat took place at 400 meters or less. Some gunners were capable of extremely good shooting. Some guns were capable of making long shots because of their flat trajectory or their very good optics.

Good Hunting.

MR



(in reply to Mobius)
Post #: 214
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 8:48:57 AM   
bardolph


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quote:

ORIGINAL: 76mm

quote:

This range and arc thing is really wierd. I can't imagine anything in real life such precision would be a model of. Just how are these soldiers going to judge an angle?


I find your reaction to covered arcs (quoted, and in the post above) really puzzling. Real soldiers use these things all the time, indeed, devising a "range card" is one of the highest priority tasks for a platoon leader when setting up a defense. As stated repeatedly, the "arc" part is just a game mechanic. What really happens is this:
1) Platoon leaders assign sectors of fire based on land marks ("you cover from the left edge of that treeline to that building with the white roof").
2) Certain weapons, such as MGs, use stakes implanted immediately in front of their positions to delineate their firing sectors.

Range is dealt with in a similar manner ("don't fire until the enemy crosses that road"), based on the platoon leader's estimate of the range based on the ground and a map analysis.

At least from my experience in a modern US tank company, this is basic stuff; I suspect it was the same in WWII (or WWI, for that matter). The arcs are just an elegant means of accomplishing the same end. Why do you think it's unrealistic?


quote:

This range and arc thing is really wierd. I can't imagine anything in real life such precision would be a model of.



Thanks 76mm, I was just going to post the same thing...I've probably got a range card or two around here somewhere lol.

The problem here seems to be a failure to understand what computer simulations are capable of versus what real command is like.
In the military you generally issue commands one level down, and are usually aware of the location of elements two levels down. So a company commander gives orders to his platoon leaders and has a rough idea of where their squads are.

The problem with simulating this in a computer game using current computer technology is there isn't an AI out there that is as smart as the human leaders and soldiers a real company commmander has working for him.
Ideally, you would issue an order to your platoon leader, and the platoon AI would have enough sense to put units in useful places looking in useful directions, and the squad AI would take it even further.

So you unfortunately need to be able to play the parts of each level of command yourself. Or you get things like issuing an order to defend a treeline and half the platoon wanders out into the open. The only way to prevent this currently is to allow the player to manage each squad... and as Thewood1 said the platoon order system as implemented seems to cause the player to fight the program, not the battle. Ideally, I would like to be able to select a platoon, draw an area on the map, and have the platoon take up the appropriate positions and stance there.

I have long wished for a game that would let me play a given command level and have the computer take care of all the decisions under(and over) that level. A true command simulation. But it ain't gonna happen any time soon. The Take Command series or the Panther Games series are the closest I have seen so far. Or multiplayer map games, which leads me to...

My current favorite game system is the reprint of Von Reisswitz's 1824 Kriegsspiel. You need a lot of players, and a lot of umpires to make it work but there is nothing more educational than trying to run a battle based on garbled reports and glimpses of the enemy through the smoke and haze and woods and hills. You think not knowing where the enemy is is fog of war, try not knowing where most of your own troops actually are half of the time. A quote from a chap that played in a game recently
quote:

I had a completely new insight into what being a general is all about…..Mostly confusion and blamelaying
If this could be replicated in a computer game I would need nothing more gaming wise. But again, it ain't gonna happen anytime soon.




< Message edited by bardolph -- 1/14/2013 10:39:48 PM >

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Post #: 215
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 12:49:06 PM   
thewood1

 

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POA2 is the only computer game I have see that sinulates friendly FOW.  It is one of the most interesting games to play.  It comes closest to simulation of command of any wargame out there.  It had very long teething problems.  CMSF tries to do it, but it is somewhat anemic.

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Post #: 216
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 2:34:52 PM   
76mm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mobius
Yes the sectors are assigned each tank. But it takes time to co-ordinate the plan. Often it is written down first and distributed to the platoons and then to the TCs. I just don't see it being something that could be done on the fly with any precision. And then without landmarks.


Yes, it takes time, but I don't know what you mean by "on the fly"--this is one of the first things to be done setting up a defensive position, so would be realistic in a defense depicted in PCK. If by "on the fly" you mean on the attack, I agree, in this case you would typically tell your TCs before moving out which direction they should cover by reference to the "clock" ("every tank scan between 11:00 and 13:00" or "Tank #4, watch the right flank by keeping the main gun at 15:00"). Or if there is a suspected enemy position, you can order tanks to watch that specific spot as you move forward or overwatch. Again, the arc captures these practices very well.

Having them orient on a point as I understand PCK does it obviously means that that you can't use the "clock" method. This isn't necessarily the end of the world, but I'm really mainly posting to say that I think the arc method worked very well, and was realistic.

All of this is obviously based on modern (or late-eighties anyway!) practice, and things might have been different in WWII, although I seriously doubt it. I am pretty sure that I've seen sketches of WWII range cards in some of the books I've read, but not certain...

(in reply to Mobius)
Post #: 217
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 2:57:01 PM   
Mobius


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quote:

ORIGINAL: bardolph
In the military you generally issue commands one level down, and are usually aware of the location of elements two levels down. So a company commander gives orders to his platoon leaders and has a rough idea of where their squads are.

Very true. Besides being usually aware of the location two levels down the combat power two levels down. This is what I saw quoted on the Global Securiy site.

quote:

ORIGINAL: bardolph
My current favorite game system is the reprint of Von Reisswitz's 1824 Kriegsspiel. You need a lot of players, and a lot of umpires to make it work but there is nothing more educational than trying to run a battle based on garbled reports and glimpses of the enemy through the smoke and haze and woods and hills. You think not knowing where the enemy is is fog of war, try not knowing where most of your own troops actually are half of the time. A quote from a chap that played in a game recently
quote:

I had a completely new insight into what being a general is all about…..Mostly confusion and blamelaying
If this could be replicated in a computer game I would need nothing more gaming wise. But again, it ain't gonna happen anytime soon.
This is the experience people get when playing table top games with a number of other players. After the first few moves the battle plan gets forgotten or mis-understood and things go much differently than planned. That is why I suggested playing the games with a number of other people on the same side. Controlling parts of the same platoon or even just different whole platoons. They would get a different perspective of what being a company commander is all about.

< Message edited by Mobius -- 5/1/2008 3:02:03 PM >

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Post #: 218
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 3:27:38 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rick
And as I play more I find myself actually giving fewer orders than I did in CMBB, I think. Mainly minor adjusments to alignment, like as wood says, lining up in woods line. Sometimes targeting if I have a specific need.


This is the same experience I've had, honestly. I recognize there are some instances where the current orders model leads to more work, but for me overall over the course of a scenario it leads to less.


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Post #: 219
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 3:30:44 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: PDiFolco
I agree, the problems with the platoon commands are not that frequent, but due to the relative inflexibility of the system, several "special" cases have to be handled with more or less fake/gamey methods, such as running in place. It's not a game breaker but it's an inconvenience, a more open/flexible system would handle it better.


Ok, if you agree that these are special cases where the system is not ideal, then let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let me pose this question to you: If you were suddenly today the lead designer for the next Panzer Command game, how would you make the orders more open/flexible without losing the point to them, which is to try to limit commands to what could be realistically communicated every 40-80 seconds in the midst of a battle?

quote:

And while that's rare to have widely separated inf squads, what about tanks and transports ? Platoon default move orders to move everyone 200m right ahead (or to the left), make not much sense when the units are 200m apart and always have to be cancelled and redone. I'd still prefer to do it only once per unit properly (and even in CM you could give a PzC like platoon move order by double clicking on the HQ, set the order and target, so it's not even an unique time saving feature).


You should not normally have your platoon elements separated by 200 meters on most of these maps. Perhaps on a wide open steppe map that would make sense, but with the unit concentrations we have per km, I find spacing of about 50m between makes a lot more sense.

Regards,

- Erik

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Post #: 220
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 3:33:26 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1
I had the three P4s bounding and the lead two came into LOS of the three SU76s on the road. The HQ was may 50 - 100m behind in overwatch. I told the lead tanks to halt in reaction. They engaged the SUs, but the HQ stayed behind cover and didn't have LOS. It might have moved a little but still didn't have LOS. had to issue a move order to the HQ and then go cancel the order to the other two.


Sure - I don't see this as a big problem, but I understand your point.

quote:

One suggestion is that if a unit is out of command throw the penalties at it, but seperate it from its HQ after a certain range and then reattach it within that range.


I don't like the idea of dynamically attaching/reattaching units without player interaction personally. I can see this causing a host of issues from interface to unit tracking/player information and the campaign system as well.

Regards,

- Erik


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(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 221
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 3:41:20 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1
I think the platoon orders also make sense, as long as they are not artificially restrictive.   Right now PCK seems to have gone a little too far.  It restricts or makes difficult some real world tactics with restrictions a commander in the field would not have.  I have always thought command delays struck a nice balance of simulating a command net, or lack there of. 
Platoon orders is a good idea, but right now, there no inherent flexibility in the system.  And, in some ways it doesn't do enough.  If all I have to do is one or two more clicks, what is the point?  Instead of trying to reflect a real world limitation, you are just making a player click through a few more times.


Honestly, I think that while we need to reduce the special cases that result in extra work for the player, the base system actually does its work well. It allows for some micromanagement with the right orders and bends the reality line a few times to increase fun and playability, but limits the player to what could realistically be communicated to a platoon in a short time under battlefield stress. Since our scenarios start from first contact, I don't consider this unrealistic.

What I'd like to do is find the areas where the system is frustrating on an interface level and fix and improve those, then take another pass through the orders and see if we can better organize, re-name or streamline them to increase ease of use. One thing I would really like to do is get rid of "Mount" as a separate order if at all possible for the next release, instead modeling it with a slight delay to "mount/unmount" units or buildings.

quote:

In my mind, the platoon orders system is kept the same as it is, but add detach/attach, morale penelties based on communications capabilities, experience, training, and current morale.  Add in delays based on the same parameters.  Now you have a flexible system where the player has to make coices, plan ahead, can react, and has the flexibility to put troops where they are needed, not based on whether he wants to deal with the menu system.


I think add/detach is not that appropriate for this scale and could lead to a lot more work and potential trouble/confusion than the benefits it would add. Perhaps there's a better way we can do that, by allowing a unit to share a platoon's orders without actually being part of the platoon if it's close enough to the platoon HQ. We'll have to think on that.

I think the current system encourages player choice, planning ahead, reaction and does have flexibility. I think you're not quite getting it yet if it's a fight with the interface for you. I appreciate the constructive suggestions, but I think this summarizes it a bit more negatively than how it really works right now.

quote:

Without some of these things added, it really is only a less flexible menu burden, not a true command burden.


That's not how it feels to me at all, but I'm interested in finding out what really makes it feel that way to you so that we can improve the interface and keep it from getting in your way.


< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 5/1/2008 3:42:06 PM >


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Post #: 222
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 3:43:57 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Prince of Eckmühl
The platoon orders routine incorporated into PCK appears to be a compromise of sorts that allows for some reasonable handling of larger unit actions. On the other hand, in an infantry, platoon vs platoon action, some of the limitations in play with the PC-engine could appear to a reasonable person to be genuinely onerous. Of course, if I were looking for a contest at that scale, I'd likely turn to the Close Combat series, as I consider it superior for those purposes.


Thanks, I think that's basically correct and how it feels to me as well. I do think that there's certainly room for improvement, but I think the basic limitations are realistic for this level.


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Post #: 223
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 3:49:12 PM   
thewood1

 

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I would keep the command system.  I would get rid of the reaction phase but put significant delays on reposnding to orders not set by the platoon commander's main stance order.  IOW, have 40 second turns.  Basically today, you have 40 second turns.  But in one turn you are limited in the oderers you give.  From what I can tell you are putting a 40 sec. delay on all orders every other turn that don't align with the platoon's orders.  That part seems very artificial.  Just keep the platoon command but have variable delays in changing stance and executing orders outside the platoon's stance.  You could even go so far as to not allow orders that go against the platoon's stance/orders.  Delays and elimination of orders could all be effected by experience, morale, fatigue, training, distance to command unit, and even overall communications capabilities.  The big thing is not to stop players from doing stuff, but put as real as possible penalties on doing stuff.  For example, russian conscri[t squads should be heavily penalized for acting independent, to the point they may have a very limited set of orders if not with 10m of HQ.  The other side is certain support weapons and AFVs.  They should have limited penalties becuase they are trained and expect to operate in support of other units.  Now recon units become important becuase they can operate completely independent with no issues.  Another thing is penalize platoons for changing stance.  put a small delay in for less experienced platoon HQs changing stances if not with a certain distance or radio connection to company HQ.

You may want to like SP and make it a switch to turn off and on, but the above is reasonably realistic, yet still playable.  You can do a lot with the units, but penalties are there to balance it.  That is the to me in tactical wargaming.  Don't stop a player from doing just because we think historically they wouldn't, but penalize him enough that if he goes outside the command structure, he has to have a very good reason.

I would put some form of covered arc in for setting fields of fire.  Even put delays in having it take effect.  Without some form of covered arc the, in ambushes, you are playing the system, not a tactical recreation.  Everything has to line up with the turn exactly to get an ambush to execute.

Sorry for the brain dump/rant.

(in reply to Erik Rutins)
Post #: 224
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 3:52:26 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1
PCK tries to remove the squad command with out providing the perfect TacAI or the other tools needed at that level.


We don't try to remove it, we try to put it in the player's hands. In my experience, if you plan ahead there is far less need for reaction or adjustment. It's never done away with entirely, battle being what it is, but I find that once I accept that I as the company/kampfgruppe/battlegroup commander can only intervene in a total way every 80 seconds and can make minor adjustments every 40, the whole thing works. If I don't accept that premise, that my ability to intervene is somewhat limited, then it makes no sense. The TacAI in CM largely does just what the player in PCK can do through planning ahead and Reaction orders.

Though the current system works well for me, I think there's room for improvement and I recognize that it's not as easy to handle for everyone. However, I'm interested in discussing improving the existing system rather than tossing it and starting over with a copy of CM's orders and TacAI. I think we can get to a point where the current flaws can be ironed out, special cases handled and _just enough_ TacAI added to cover unusual situations so that it all meshes better than it does now.

quote:

The HMG and small mortars are assigned to support the attak, based on a commanders plan.  The entire weapons platoon is not still connected to the HQ of the weapons platoon.  It may be formal, or it may be ad hoc.  If you are going to have platoon orders, you have to have the tools and flexibility that a real world commander would have, especially if you are not expected to take the role of squad/team leader.  At the same time, penalties should be there for someone not following the command structure.  If I decide to take a squad and move to the other side of the map and it wasn't part of the commanders plan, make them pay the penalty.


Ok, I'll think on this and let's discuss it further.

quote:

I can tell you right now, in an attack by the soviets in BFC, you keep your commanders nearby because it will fail.  While the platoon command structure is not very rigid, it is flexible enough to allow ad hoc attaching and detaching, with sometimes severe penalties that depend on nation, experience, and morale.


One of the key parts of Soviet attacks in PCK is also inflexibility. You have to plan even further ahead due to command delays, so that if you decide to change course while under fire, your troops and units are often exposed and waiting for new orders or reorganizing to execute them for much longer than the German troops in the same situation.

quote:

In the end all I'm saying is that if you put platoon orders in place for a game that details squads, give the player the tools to manage the squads as needed, with the penalties needed to make the player feel the burden of real command.  Otherwisw, why not make a platoon level game that doesn't show the squads or abstracts them.


I don't entirely understand this request because it's so general. I think there are a lot of squad management tools built into the game. Sure, we've come up with some special cases (support weapon platoons used to support widely spread out infantry platoons) where it's not ideal, but that hardly can be expanded to say that the whole system doesn't model command or doesn't allow squad management.

Regards,

- Erik

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(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 225
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 3:57:40 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1
That brings up another thing I noticed in PCK in my test. There is no way to group order or select beyond the platoon. Not a huge deal in the deail of a firefight, but when moving a large force to contact, makes giving general orders a pain.


On the current maps, not really necessary. Also, I'm a bit surprised that you'd want to do this given that at the same time you're feeling the need for more squad-level management. Wouldn't this make the issues you are reporting worse?

I have to say that in CM I never used the group selection and order ability except when not playing seriously. I occasionally made a quick battle, grabbed my side or several parts of my force and just sent them forward to watch the carnage. I got some fun out of that when I had no time to really sit down and play, but it wasn't wargaming. Whenever I was really playing a scenario in CM I found myself always commanding at the squad level and micro-managing path waypoints and order chains. I honestly find that I can do a turn much faster in PCK with fewer clicks, though I certainly also have less precise control over my units.

One of the things that surprised me when I first started actually playing the PC series is that the results tended to be just as realistic with less micromanagement. Obviously, I'm sold on the system but I think to some extent it's a relief to not have to micromanage each squad.

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Post #: 226
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 3:59:07 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1
I thought regroup only applied to platoons.


That's right, but it's a good way to reduce micromanagement by reorganizing your platoons when you are preparing for an advance in a new direction or after they've gotten a bit spread out or separated due to other events.

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(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 227
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 3:59:25 PM   
Mobius


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thewood1, I figured out how to use the SU-76s in your test battle. The first time I tried this I placed the SU-76s on the far side of the map in a small woods. Unfortunately this was out of effective range to the PZIVs. When the German tanks did sight these the PZIV could fire while hull down behind the road berm. Not a good situation for the Russians.

Instead of placing them in the small woods I set them far to the south. In the open but ready to move. From there they will rush into the woods along the N-S road and cover the center flag from a shorter distance. They gathered there along with the large infantry platoon. To the north one platoon will occupy houses and foxholes east of the RR station. Two BA-64s will rush to support them. The T70 will hide behind a house with its gun able to train on the RR station. Thus German AFVs getting to the station will be side attacked by the T-70. The T-60 will join the SU-76s in the woods along the NS road.
It will be order to Defend>Hold while the SU-76s are ordered to Defend>Hold>All Fire so not to give themselves away by firing at scouting ACs or half-tracks.

This plan went well as the large body of Russian infantry moved north along the road woods until German infantry were engaged in the orchard. Then the infantry, and T60 engaged them. The northern force took the RR station and held it.
One SU-76 fired and destroyed a German half-track as it neared the central flag. I guess I missed setting it to hold all its fire. Luckily no German panzers saw it fire and I set it to hold all fire.
Finally the German panzers neared the road to cross over to get to the central flag. One apparently saw my trap and fired at an SU-76. Luckily it missed. Knowing the game was afoot I unleashed the SU-76s on the one seen PZIVG at around 325m. I got a number of hits but none to the turret. One SU was destroyed however.

T10 The first shot from the SUs knocked out the panzer. In the reaction phase one more panzer appear near the road.

T11 Now one panzer is firing at the 4 remaining SUs but another is just moving across the road. It was hit several times but looks unharmed. One SU receives some non-killing hits. Reaction phase, two SUs will continue to fire on the facing PZIV while two more will take side shots on the one crossing the road. The results were good. Two dead panzers no more losses for the Russians.

I went on to easily destroy any German tracks and ACs and capture the flags for a Legendary victory. The game basically centers on whose tanks will dominate. If you can destroy the other sides armor the infantry can be defeated with little trouble.

< Message edited by Mobius -- 5/1/2008 4:02:30 PM >

(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 228
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 4:06:34 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Capitaine
Yes, this is what I'm getting at. Just when do you believe this "commander's plan" is being made? I'm suggesting that the commander's plan to attach a support weapon to a platoon is made at set-up or scenario start; not once the game begins. I suppose there could be an in-game process for this, where the platoon leader determines the need, gets radio contact with his CO, makes the request, awaits confirmation, awaits arrival of the support unit, etc. How many turns would this be? In games like ASL and CM (derived from ASL), you do not need to wait. There is no hierarchy to worry about. Some lieutenant doesn't just reformulate an attack and begin adding units to be under his command. He's already got his marching orders.


I think this is a good point and a lot of what we consider and discuss here needs to take the battlefield "from first contact" limitations into account. In general for both CM and PCK, there's not an extended "pre-battle" phase to a scenario.

However, the general point of allowing support weapons to be spread out more historically without penalties is a good one. I'm wondering if simply allowing some mixed platoons will solve this entirely or if we really need some kind of "during game" mechanism for this.

quote:

In pbem games of CM, I would see players moving and positioning units like surgeons, achieving pinpoint accuracy in every detail. That is not warfare to me. Wargames need to reflect command with much more blunt instruments. Frustrate those who desire intricate precision and concert of forces. No plan survives contact with the enemy. Have the Russians bring on the human waves because the troops cannot be controlled effectively. Force the players to make a good but simple overall plan, not pirouette around from covered site to covered site, looking to snipe or ambush at every turn.
Oh, you can still play a finesse style in PCK, but the game makes you work at it a little more, and forces the command hierarchy on your plans.


I largely agree with this as well as far as what PCK was trying to achieve and what I think is a more realistic philosophy of command at this level.

I think from feedback so far that once we've addressed some corner cases and improved the interface a bit more to make thing more flexible interface-wise, that there will be fewer frustrations. I think most wargamers agree with this philosophy, but they don't like it when the interface gets in the way and there are a few cases where that seems to be happening.

quote:

PCK embraces a much more sophisticated approach to command by limiting the means by which players control their forces. You must respect the units' organization and, to a certain extent, the limits of communication on the battlefield. (The latter could be a little beefed up IMO.)


In what way would you beef it up?

quote:

The turns are ONLY 80 seconds, with a chance to react every 40 seconds. These parameters can be debated, but Erik has put a lot of thought into this and his judgment should be respected. I honestly don't see orders changes happening in real life as often as some players claim to need to make them.


We _could_ go down to 30 seconds, but honestly I think that the current timing is probably about right and perhaps a bit too frequent already.

I do think that some improvements in the order options will help here. For instance, allowing Hold Fire to have a target type as well is a logical thing to do and would be perfectly realistic to communicate. We could allow some combined options there so that you could just Hold Fire (Good Shot) or Hold Fire (Vehicle) or combine the two in Hold Fire (Good Shot - Vehicle) to only shoot vehicles that are in effective range.

Regards,

- Erik

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(in reply to Capitaine)
Post #: 229
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 4:21:34 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1
I have a platoon that is charged with defending a cross roads.  I place a squad in a building 100 meters on a flank as flank coverage.  Now I want to shift coverage around for my HQ.  Or I want to move another squad.  I want one squad in defend and another in engage.  (I am still not quite sure what the difference is in a lot of the menus)  I have go back to that squad and say nevermind, this isn't for you.  It's even worse for a support weapons with a connection to another HQ.


I don't quite understand your example - are you trying to use two different platoon orders within one platoon? When you say that you're not quite sure what the difference is in the various orders, I encourage you to take another look through them and re-read that section in the manual. Understanding the order options is key to realizing what your options really are. 

I'm actually very interested in specific examples of problems you are running into as a relatively new player. For one thing, perhaps I can help explain something, for another it may highlight an area that needs improvement which we're not seeing. Be as specific as you can, it will help. Your next example was great, but I still have more questions.

quote:

I have an infantry platoon with a MG in support.  It is line abreast.  I need it to occupy a tree line 100m to the front.  The tree line is at 35 deg. from perpedicular ro the line of advance. 
In real life, I would just tell the platoon commander to occupy the tree line, but don't fire on anything closer than 100m, and stay out of sight and use this MG as your base of fire.  Fall back if you take heavy fire.  We will move on the the village up the road and deploy around the village.
In CMBB, I would group select the entire platoon and MG, give a move/advance command to the leader to the edge of the tree line.  I would then grab the waypoint of each unit, except the leader and move it out of the open and into the treeline.  I would give a cover arc of maybe 120 deg to the front and a range of 100m and hide.  btw, the MG becomes attached to the platoon HQ by default.  Any fallback has to wait for the 60 sec. for the turn to end.


That's pretty much exactly what I'd do in PCK, conceptually.

quote:

select the leader of the infantry platoon.  Select Defend/Move.  Put the end point on the tree line.  Now select each squad and make a new order to the tree line.  Then select the MG HQ.  Select Defend Move.  Put the MG HQ's line 1m away.  Now select the MG I want with the platoon and change its move point.  I assume I would then have to tell every to hold fire in the same sequence.  I then have to hope no one passes through during the action phases before I can tell then to go off hold fire in the same sequence.  I would also now have to be careful when I issue new orders to the MG HQ if it moves on the village and deploy because I will have to go back to the platoon MG and adjust its orders again.  Fallback can happen at any 40 sec. interval.


Why Defend -> Move? That's limited to 50 meters since it's intended as a "sneak" or "crawl" adjustment move. You want to move 100 meters, so try an order like Advance or Bound (or even Rush or Regroup if you don't want them to respond to fire while getting there faster). Once they stop moving, they'll automatically default to Defend at the start of the next phase, which effectively "hides" them.

Also, usually if you set the HQ's movement point in the tree line you won't need to adjust both of the other squads, often just one is off the tree area if you placed the HQ towards the middle.

Why move the MG HQ 1 meter? Why not just leave it on Defend or Defend -> Hold Fire Good Shot if you want it to support against any nearby threats that appear? You can have the HQ on Defend -> Stay and the other team on Defend -> Move, there's no reason the HQ has to move in order for the squad to move. Defend is the base order, not Defend -> Move - they only have to share the base order.

Why would you be telling your guys to Hold Fire after you told them to move? Honestly, in reading this I'm getting concerned that you're still pretty confused about how orders work in general and I'd like to help make sure you're understanding them.

My sequence would be:

1. Select infantry platoon, choose Advance, set move point to center of woods. (I play with "side" rubberbands on, so I can then see if either of the squad move bands ended up out of the woods). Adjust squad moves if necessary.

2. Set supporting MG to Defend -> Move (if you only want it to move 50) or just leave it on Defend if you want it to support until the infantry gets to the woods.

3. If you want the supporting MG to move all the way to the woods, change the MG HQ to Engage -> Hold and give the supporting MG Engage -> Move orders to the woods.

I recognize that this example of spreading out a supporting MG platoon between widely spaced squads can lead to some issues, but I don't think they're as bad as you think they are. I also think that on most maps, I have not had this problem because my platoons are not generally that widely spaced that one order to te supporting MG platoon can't cover all possibilities. You really have to spread out pretty widely to make this a problem.

Regards,

- Erik

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(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 230
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 4:25:30 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1
As Erik said about my test scenario, one play may not represent the actual product.  I am a little stunned Mobius has never played more than a demo scenario or two of CMAK.


Mobius is a grognard, but from the board gaming/miniatures gaming school. His viewpoints come from decades of wargaming with those rules and he's not strongly influenced by CM or any other computer game.

I've played more CM than probably anyone else on the team and own all the games. Stridor has played some CM, but he got into it late. It's worth keeping in mind that PCK is originally (and in some cases more loosely than others)based on a miniatures wargame (Panzer-War) of which Mobius is the designer. So he's got a lot of experience with that miniatures system and the design choices that went into it (and the years of playing and testing that it has gone through, over 20 years if I'm not mistaken). The result in our various development discussions has been a good synergy of viewpoints and I hope we can get some of the same here in this public discussion.

quote:

CMBB has many issues that will never get fixed.  My main draw to PCK is that whatever issues it may have, Erik has shown a real willingness to listen to reasoned discussions and opinions.  If someone came to me today and asked what is a better game for east front tactical combat.  I would say in a vacuum, CMBB.  If they asked which one to buy, I would say PCK should be the first one.


Thanks, I think that's a pretty fair point of view.

Regards,

- Erik

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(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 231
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 4:28:53 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1
How many times to I have to say the PCK's platoon orders system is good.  Look at my recommendations.  No where do I say get rid of it.  In fact, my recommendations are somewhat a cross between the two.  And I do believe that having the fluidity to cross asign is better than almost no cross asign at all.


Ok, well in a few cases you had me going as well as far as wondering just how much you would keep or throw out.

quote:

Why do you even need to be defensive about it.  Try re-reading my posts.  Open your mind a little.  I am not disagreeing with you.  What I'm saying is there is a flaw in the logic of how PCK does it that is just as flawed as CMBB.  Adopting a little of what CMBB does would cover a lot of that flaw up.  You don't have to be on one side or the other.  I am just trying to keep a discussion going about getting PCK over the hump and draw in some other CMBB players.


That's the same discussion I want to have as well.

quote:

The one thing that does annoy me a little is people making assumptions about CMBB and dismissing it off hand.  I think Erik's been pretty open that CMBB is a good game.  PCK does some things better, but could learn a lot from CMBB still.


Sure, I love the CM games and I want to improve PC and make it more accessible for CM-fans while staying within the general design philosophy that I think makes PC its own game.

Every game has flaws and as someone who's deeply involved in Panzer Command, it's not always easy for me to see those flaws, so outside advice is critical in keeping the design and improvement process fresh.


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(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 232
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 4:30:10 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

Posts: 32945
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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1
I think even if it had been released within a year or two after, it would've be an easier road. But six years of community building is a lot to overcome. PC:WS didn't help a lot. It is/was a decent game, but was lacking the polish it needed to compete with CMBB. I know a lot of CMBB friends looked at PCWS and were turned off. I think if PCK had come out as an original, there would be even more buzz about it.


Agreed.

quote:

That is what PCK is competing against. If we want it to succeed, everyone has to be open minded and not just assume that CMBB doesn't have anything to offer just because you don't like a feature, the developers, graphics, etc. PCK needs to capture some BFC people to succeed and that means taking a hard look at CMBB and admitting it had something going for it.


Agreed as well. I have no animosity towards CM at all.


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Post #: 233
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 4:30:54 PM   
thewood1

 

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From Erik:

I do think that some improvements in the order options will help here. For instance, allowing Hold Fire to have a target type as well is a logical thing to do and would be perfectly realistic to communicate. We could allow some combined options there so that you could just Hold Fire (Good Shot) or Hold Fire (Vehicle) or combine the two in Hold Fire (Good Shot - Vehicle) to only shoot vehicles that are in effective range.

end quote

These are exactly the kinds of things I am talking about.  There were numerous instances where one unit of a platoon had LOS and others didn't and it took quite a bit of moving, clicking, and canceling of orders to get all units engaged, without bothering the unit that already had LOS.  Think about the ambush example.  Trying to get one SU76 into position while making sure I didn't screw up the others in the platoon is an unrealistic and unnecessray burden on the player.

The tools I am talking about are exactly the things you are mentioning.

Also, in the real world, of course orders don't change as much as this.  But we are the brains of most of the units on the field.  If I can tell a squad to go to that stand of trees and stay until you see anemy armor than come back, I wouldn't need to send that many orders.  But to do this in either CMBB or PCK requires detailed orders and time to intervene to make sure they are followed.

< Message edited by thewood1 -- 5/1/2008 4:31:47 PM >

(in reply to Erik Rutins)
Post #: 234
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 4:34:50 PM   
Mobius


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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1
I would keep the command system. I would get rid of the reaction phase but put significant delays on reposnding to orders not set by the platoon commander's main stance order. IOW, have 40 second turns. Basically today, you have 40 second turns. But in one turn you are limited in the oderers you give. From what I can tell you are putting a 40 sec. delay on all orders every other turn that don't align with the platoon's orders. That part seems very artificial.

You are right. There is a cadence there. But is a 40 second cadence better or worse than a 60 second cadence?

quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1
Delays and elimination of orders could all be effected by experience, morale, fatigue, training, distance to command unit, and even overall communications capabilities. .
That seems too many things depenednt on seat-of-the-pants subjective factors.


quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1
The big thing is not to stop players from doing stuff, but put as real as possible penalties on doing stuff
should be heavily penalized for acting independent,
should have limited penalties because they are trained
Another thing is penalize platoons for changing stance
but penalties are there to balance it.
but penalize him enough that if he goes outside the command structure, he has to have a very good reason.


Yikes! So many penalties, so little time.
Speaking of artificial these penalties are much more artificial.

First they are a game mechanism, there's no document anywhere to support any particular delay time with actual data. Thus much of playing the game well would be dependent on some subjective seat-of-th-pants factors by the game authors.

Next the penalties are all precise. The player again knows too much. Doing this will cost 19 seconds. Doing that 41 seconds. Knowing the delay time before its done. More of the same uber-control.

(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 235
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 4:35:42 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

Posts: 32945
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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1
These are exactly the kinds of things I am talking about.  There were numerous instances where one unit of a platoon had LOS and others didn't and it took quite a bit of moving, clicking, and canceling of orders to get all units engaged, without bothering the unit that already had LOS.  Think about the ambush example.  Trying to get one SU76 into position while making sure I didn't screw up the others in the platoon is an unrealistic and unnecessray burden on the player.
The tools I am talking about are exactly the things you are mentioning.


Yeah, that's what I'm aiming at. I think Mobius point that assigning a "precise" angle and range is unrealistic unless a unit has a little time to prepare a position is correct. Within our time scale and given that we're starting from "first contact", it doesn't make sense.

However, I could see improving the Hold Fire conditions without having to get super-precise. Basically, if you can imagine communicating something to a platoon commander under battlefield conditions in say 10 seconds, and it's realistic that the platoon commander could execute it with little preparation, then it's probably realistic and something the system should support.

I could also see some more detailed "covered arc" style or TRP type orders that would only be available during the setup phase. This would allow constructing a more intricate set defense which assumes there was a period (even as short as 30 minutes) before the battle for the defender to stup properly.

quote:

Also, in the real world, of course orders don't change as much as this.  But we are the brains of most of the units on the field.  If I can tell a squad to go to that stand of trees and stay until you see anemy armor than come back, I wouldn't need to send that many orders.  But to do this in either CMBB or PCK requires detailed orders and time to intervene to make sure they are followed.


Hm - conditional Withdraw orders?


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(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 236
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 4:39:18 PM   
Capitaine

 

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quote:

In what way would you beef it up?


In one of my early impressions, I noted that the Germans don't have any orders delay.  You explained about tactical flexibility and that it was intended to reflect the German advantage.  You also have made the point that the orders system indirectly reflects the penalties associated with widely spread out squads.  So I'm on board with this general rationale.

thewood has raised some issues where, if you did address them, variable delays and/or limited orders could be placed on separated squads.  It would be dependent on how you choose to treat wide separation and effectively detached units.  So in addressing special cases where the current status isn't ideal, some additional "beef" to the orders communication system may help with a solution.  You're a lot more familiar with the theories behind the game so that's paramount, but I think identifying the "less than ideal" situations is the first step and then see what command limitations could help solve them.

(in reply to Erik Rutins)
Post #: 237
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 4:45:20 PM   
thewood1

 

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I don't understand the precise comments.  They aren't precise.  There is probability around all of it.  You can even put probability into delays.  I find penalties a better tool than just plain not letting someone do something.  They then have to make a decision.  This is what commanders do.

Mobius,

So first parts are too precise, then parts are too subjective.  Which do you prefer?

(in reply to Erik Rutins)
Post #: 238
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 5:04:48 PM   
Mobius


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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1
I don't understand the precise comments.  They aren't precise.  There is probability around all of it.  You can even put probability into delays.  I find penalties a better tool than just plain not letting someone do something.  They then have to make a decision.  This is what commanders do.
Mobius,
So first parts are too precise, then parts are too subjective.  Which do you prefer?

If you are going to have some penalties why do things by half measures? Make them ignore the order all together (the runner got lost or shot) or get the order wrong (Assault the house on the right? My right or his?). Playing with a group of people you see this all the time.

(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 239
RE: PzcK vs CMBB - 5/1/2008 5:10:08 PM   
thewood1

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mobius

quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1
I don't understand the precise comments.  They aren't precise.  There is probability around all of it.  You can even put probability into delays.  I find penalties a better tool than just plain not letting someone do something.  They then have to make a decision.  This is what commanders do.
Mobius,
So first parts are too precise, then parts are too subjective.  Which do you prefer?

If you are going to have some penalties why do things by half measures? Make them ignore the order all together (the runner got lost or shot) or get the order wrong (Assault the house on the right? My right or his?). Playing with a group of people you see this all the time.



That happens in CMBB, especially if dealing with conscripts as your overall force.

edit: only the not following orders thing. If they could have them assault the wrong house anf things like that. It would be great. I'm not sure the AI is up to the task though.

< Message edited by thewood1 -- 5/1/2008 5:14:55 PM >

(in reply to Mobius)
Post #: 240
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