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Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer?

 
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Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/23/2012 10:07:46 PM   
robc04

 

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Hi,

I have been playing strategy games for a long time, some of them being war games. I know that is a very broad category. I tried the demo and don't think I have played anything like Command Ops. I think most of them have been tactical (Combat Mission, Close Combat), lightweight operational (Panzer Corps, Unity of Command, Panzer General) or strategic (some Hearts of Iron 2, Civilization, etc). I'm sure the demo mission was designed so anyone could win (and I did). It didn't seem like I really needed to do much at all. I'm sure it is because the scenario was so easy.

Do you need to really enjoy military history to get into this game? I see all of the different equipment in the game and it doesn't really mean too much to me. Do you need to get familiar with the equipment or can you just play using the different ratings for the units? Is there a good AAR or something to look at for a new person to get a better feel for what decisions you need to make in this game?

After playing more lightweight operational games, is it too big a jump to move to this one? Would Operational Art of War III be a better step?

Thanks for any help.

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/23/2012 11:49:42 PM   
Lieste

 

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The demo scenario is heavily weighted in favour of the assaulting US forces, which superiority is a reasonable 'pseudo-historical' situation for either side in a well organised attack - if the fight is 'fair' you've screwed up badly...

There is still a lot of scope for force management to transform the attack from a successful assault of an inferior delaying screen to the rout and destruction of the enemy forces in sector, and further gains that can be found in reducing friendly casualties. These do tend to be the result of careful analysis of potential, correct assessment of enemy intentions and capabilities as each sub-force is located and engaged, and a carefully orchestrated manoeuvre and fire-power plan, rather than a frantic 'click-fest' - most of the time spent 'playing' is actually (continually and appropriately) thinking, planning ahead and considering options while time passes and more details of the situation become apparent. Only some of the situations will require a change of plan, and too much adjustment will harm your operation more than the 'better' plan will improve it, and this is one of the challenges - to detect as early as possible when the situation is about to require a correction, rather than just being allowed to develop.

A knowledge of the equipment, organisations and employment of forces is an advantage - it allows a much better assessment of what a unit should be capable of - the unit values are ok for getting a rough idea, but they count 20 weak guns as being 'superior' to 4-5 stronger guns, while in real-life, and in the combat resolution of the game they may actually be virtually worthless for causing casualties against a medium tank. All the required information is displayed in the TO&E pages of the in-game display, but ultimately it is using the equipment as part of a coherent plan that will have the best results - getting the world's best tanks isolated without fuel or ammunition will allow them to be destroyed with little risk, while a relatively lightly equipped force correctly deployed within (ie not on the fringes of) bad going and supported well with ammunition, food and artillery will be very tough to dislodge.

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/24/2012 12:18:17 AM   
wodin


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It's a game that you really have to think about especially at the start of a scenario...sometimes it's beyond me and I end up paralyised with not knowing what to do. I find checking the Obj's and times they are open for helps in knowing where I should be at a certain time.
I would recommend the game to any wargamer, though. This would be a game that ramps up the difficulty your used to but you will have a great time learning it.

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/24/2012 2:29:27 AM   
Arjuna


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robC04,

Thanks for your post. You indicated you have gone through the demo scenario. Have you looked at the tutorial movies that came with the demo? If not, I recommend them to you as they do give a pretty good run down on the types of decisions you will need to consider and make.

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/24/2012 2:41:53 AM   
robc04

 

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Thanks everyone for the replies so far.

Yep, I watched all of the tutorial movies. I guess I really didn't have any idea how the units would perform, so I didn't really understand how many units I would need to overcome the enemy, how much bombardment would disrupt the enemy, when I should separate some units off from the rest of their group and then reattach them, etc. The mechanics of issuing orders was easy enough, but I think I am far behind when it comes to operational concepts, personel and equipment capabilities, etc. I think without a significant time investment the game may be beyond me for the time being. For some reason it just seems much harder to get into then other games I have played.

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/24/2012 3:24:04 AM   
Arjuna


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There are many places to go for an understanding of operational concept of war. Just google it. But basically, like tactics, it boils down to fire and movement. You can google "fire and movement" as well. Essentially you want to suppress an enemy with fire while you move close enough to destroy him or force him to retreat. From this basic manouvre all other concepts are derived, whether it being conducting attacks, pursuing an enemy, defending or delaying.

You don't need to have a detailed understanding of all the equipment to play BFTB. But you do need to understand what units are capable of. For instance, if you want to build a bridge over a blown crossing you are going to need an engineer unit with bridge. You can use the display fileters to show you only engineers on the map and then just look at their icon to see if they have a bridge symbol. Pretty easy really. If you want to attack an enemy, then the golden rule of thumb in WW2 and today is to have three times as much combat power as the enemy. A force with less ( say 2:1 ) can still prevail but the probability of success is less. As a rough rule of thumb attack a company ( a single unit of arounf 120 men ) with a battalion ( three line companies plus support mortars and a HQ ).

Combat power is a complex thing. In part it is derived from the firepower of your weapons ( ie the "hard" factors ) and this can be determined from the firepower values displayed in the side bar when you select a unit or group of units. So all you need to do is compare them. Just lassoo the enemy units; note their firepower; lassoo the frienly units and note their firepower; then divide the friendly firepower by the enemy firepower and you have a base combat power ratio.

But there are other "soft" factors to consider. These include the force's current morale, fatigue, cohesion, experience, training and fitness. Not to mention that much depends on the quality of the commanders and their staff. Supply levels and weather conditions also play a part as does the deployment of the defenders. So even though you may have a battalion of infantry attacking a lone enemy infantry company if that enemy company are entrenched veteran troops with high morale and plenty of supplies they may still defeat a poorly trained battalion low on ammunition with a timid commander.

Within the game we try and make it as easy as possible for you to assess this information. Use the display filters to see different states of data in the unit Info Box at the top right of each unit icon. At a glance these can show you what units have good morale, cohesion and fatigue; what their supply levels are like, what their deployment state is ewtc. There is even one that indicates what their current combat power is. Before I copnsider an attack I usually cycle through the display fileters to gain a good appreciuatioon of wehat units are fit for attack and only use those. Committing poor unready and unfit units to an attack is a good way to have them destroyed or routed.

One of the good things about our engine is that you can readyly experiment and learn. You can easily play a scenario in an hour or so. If you make some mistakes, so what, try again. We learn the best when we make mistakes, reflect and retry.

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/24/2012 3:50:43 AM   
robc04

 

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Thanks for the informative post. I was pretty much using the combat power rating to determine the strength of the units. In that scenario I don't think there were any supply problems for the allied forces. Thanks for the 3:1 ratio rule as I didn't know that. Maybe my next step should be to do a little reading on the operational concept of war like you suggested and maybe look at the manual a bit. Thanks for your post.

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/24/2012 7:22:29 AM   
Lieste

 

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The 3:1 rule is less about success of the initial assault, and more about being able to hold the ground taken if the enemy counter-attacks the weakened, confused and depleted forces once they are on the objective.

With a closer force ratio the attacker will probably take a greater proportionate number casualties because the attack will take longer to dislodge the enemy and clear & secure the objective. With a smaller starting force this only compounds the problem of too few troops to successfully stand in the front line.

With the 3:1 ratio you have the ability to support the advance of one portion of the force, while fixing the enemy with fires from another group, and finally exploiting and securing the gains with a fresh, well supplied force.

Note that the force ratios need not be absolute, it can be enough to use time, visibility and surprise to overwhelm each element of an enemy force one at a time, with equivalent starting sizes.

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/24/2012 3:19:25 PM   
wodin


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rob,

It's all a matter of time and how much you have and can invest. This is not a rock paper scissor game which I think is probably more your cup of tea. I personally don't like that kind of game so I wouldn't buy one. I'd feel bad if I told you to buy it and you just didn't like it at all. No one can afford to throw money away these days. What I will say is keep trying the demo and over time and if your interested enough follow Arjunas advice about reading up on things, then maybe you might grasp it better and thus enjoy the game.

Again it's down to how interested you are in warfare, with regards to WW1 and WW2 I'm an Obsessive yet even then certain theatres hold no interest for me (Africa WW2 for instance) and very rarely will I buy a game covering a theatre I' not into, unless it was at my favorite scale which is tactical, I wouldn't buy a Panther Game set in Afirca for instance ad I think the series is one of the best wargames out.

So lots of factors go into getting the most out of a game especially if it's at a scale or complexity you have no interest in. So take your time, dip in and out of the demo when you get the urge and pick up knowledge along the way.

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/24/2012 6:00:00 PM   
robc04

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

rob,

It's all a matter of time and how much you have and can invest. This is not a rock paper scissor game which I think is probably more your cup of tea. I personally don't like that kind of game so I wouldn't buy one. I'd feel bad if I told you to buy it and you just didn't like it at all. No one can afford to throw money away these days. What I will say is keep trying the demo and over time and if your interested enough follow Arjunas advice about reading up on things, then maybe you might grasp it better and thus enjoy the game.

Again it's down to how interested you are in warfare, with regards to WW1 and WW2 I'm an Obsessive yet even then certain theatres hold no interest for me (Africa WW2 for instance) and very rarely will I buy a game covering a theatre I' not into, unless it was at my favorite scale which is tactical, I wouldn't buy a Panther Game set in Afirca for instance ad I think the series is one of the best wargames out.

So lots of factors go into getting the most out of a game especially if it's at a scale or complexity you have no interest in. So take your time, dip in and out of the demo when you get the urge and pick up knowledge along the way.


I think I want to find a good game that is of more complexity then a game like Panzer Corps or Unity of Command, but maybe not as much as this one. It might not be that Command Ops is super complicated, but it is quite different then the games I have played. I think I may revisit this one after I get some other operational level games under my belt. Do you have any recommendations of operational level games that are a step up in complexity from Panzer Corps / Unity of Command, but maybe not as big a step as Command Ops? Again, I was thinking maybe Operational Art of War III since that seems to play in a similar fashon then the games I mention but perhaps a bit deeper.

What are some of your favorites or ones that would be good for a player like me?
Thanks

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/24/2012 6:21:09 PM   
wodin


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Well I found TOAW to obtruse for me.. with the combat mechanic. SO I found BftB easier!!

I haven't played it but Decisive Campaigns Warsaw to Paris is very well received and maybe what your looking for. or if you don't mind restricted resolutions one of the SSG games. I'd go for the latest Kharkov game.

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/24/2012 8:20:42 PM   
Max 86


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Those SSG games make my eyes hurt. I would recommend TOAW for you. It really sounds like that is what you are looking for.

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/24/2012 8:45:13 PM   
simovitch


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Seriously though, Command Ops can be as complex or as easy as you want it to be, and this diversity caters nicely to a long but mildly sloping learning curve.

I remember when I first got HTTR and breezed through the tutorial before playing my first scenario. So I just ordered the Sr. (Divisional) HQ to attack the main objective... and hit "GO" and 15 minutes later I got a major victory. Not much fun but I was rather impressed to say the least.

To my suprise it took me quite a few more tries to beat that score commanding at the Battalion HQ level but eventually it all fell into place.

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/24/2012 9:16:53 PM   
Major SNAFU


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Well I own both TOAW III  (TOAW since day 1 and all of the versions) and BFTB.  They are both great and they scratch similar but very different itches.

Plus there is a breadth to TOAWIII that is amazing.  WWI (or before) through to modern warfare.  Small to large.  And an amazing set of scenarios concerning the Vietnam war that are very detailed and in depth (boonierat's stuff).

It sounds like TOAWIII might be more like what you are looking for/used to BUT have you tried the demo of BFTB?  What did you think.

And the programmers on TOAWIII are very much as dedicated as the Panther Games team for BftB is, so you won't want for support.

The AI is much, much better in BftB.  TOAW is more scripted, and if the scenario designer didn't do their job well it can fall a bit flat.  But it does allow for some really fun games. 

Would I give up BftB to play just TOAWIII?  No.  If I had to rebuy both of them?  BftB because it fits better for what I wand and need from a game at this point.




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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/25/2012 1:24:34 AM   
wodin


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As I said I found TOAW3 more difficult than BftB. SO much I packed it in. The timed combat mechanic was just to much of a pain.

You will see threads in TOAW3 saying it's not newbie friendly, you wont get that in the DC forum.

if the SSG make your eyes hurt (I quite like them, but can't play due to the restricted resolution) then I suggest DC Warsaw to Paris.

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/25/2012 7:03:16 AM   
robc04

 

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I'm just consolidating some of the games mentioned here to get them in one place:
Decisive Campaigns Warsaw
SSG games
stick with Command Ops
The Operational Art of War III

From looking at some screen shots I have to agree with one of the above posters about the SSG games, they look so busy that it makes your eyes hurt. Specially in the mountainous regions. Didn't look like the SSG games had any demos to see if the screens were as busy as they look.

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/25/2012 7:33:57 AM   
wodin


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I love the counters in the SSG games..but thats a decisisive issue...you can get one of their old ones for free to try. it's a Bulge game...google it.

Honestly I'd say Warsaw or wait for the east front version thats due out if you fancy some east front action.

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/25/2012 9:43:11 AM   
phoenix

 

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There's a filter specifically for bridge units, Dave - '0' on the keyboard. Oh but you know that - you invented it....

And I bet you would buy a Panther Africa game, Wodin....

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/25/2012 12:13:11 PM   
wodin


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Phoenix...yeah your probably right mate:)

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/25/2012 1:50:13 PM   
robc04

 

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I forgot to say thanks for the suggestions in my above post, so thanks!

I think I am leaning towards Decisive Campaigns or TOAW 3.

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RE: Is this a good game for a general strategy gamer? - 1/25/2012 6:58:27 PM   
Deerslayer


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quote:

ORIGINAL: robc04

I forgot to say thanks for the suggestions in my above post, so thanks!

I think I am leaning towards Decisive Campaigns or TOAW 3.


If you like "hex" games then these are great choices. DC is well done and attractive. Myself I am growing tired of hex style games (after 40 years...) no matter what flavor or subject. Hence my love for Command Op series of games as a much different animal and excellent to boot. Enjoy whatever you do!

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