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Planning to buy - 5/9/2012 11:27:06 AM   
Rosmarus

 

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Joined: 12/9/2009
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Heya

So, I've been lurking here for a couple of months now and I'm thinking of buying this game as well as its expansion pack. However there are still couple of things that keep giving me head aches. How much replayability does BFTB and HTTR have? Are the scenarios scripted all the way from bottom to the top or is every game unique apart from starting positions? From what I've read I've understood that BFTB sports top of the line AI, but after many disappointments with plethora of other games and their AI I want to make sure that I'm not buying a set of scenarios that play out pretty much the same every time I fire them up.

Thank you in advance!
Post #: 1
RE: Planning to buy - 5/9/2012 11:33:05 AM   
Marshal Villars


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Joined: 8/21/2009
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Honestly, the best way to play is against another human opponent. But PantherGames has made that real easy. You just enter the IP address and choose a host and boom you are playing. However, the AI is pretty decent. But you are still not getting Watson here (the computer that won Jeopardy). And you can't expect to. The costs of developing that kind of AI would be astronomical. Having played this game on and off for years since the release of HTTR, you can be assured that even the originally good AI has been improved on.

This is really a world class game. And *IF* you like World War 2, then you shouldn't be disappointed. In fact, IF you buy the game and aren't happy with it, and IF you buy the physical packages, and IF you send me the game, and IF you send me the receipt with it, and IF you drop it in the mail within three weeks of buying it, and IF it is in the license agreement that the product ownership can be transferred between individuals in such a manner, I will send you 66.66% of your money by PayPal after I have received your package. :P Seriously. That is how sure I am that you won't be disappointed.

That offer is valid ONLY if you buy BFTB and/or BFTB plus the BFTB HTTR expansion.

< Message edited by Marshal Villars -- 5/9/2012 12:26:43 PM >

(in reply to Rosmarus)
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RE: Planning to buy - 5/9/2012 11:57:40 AM   
Lieste

 

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The scenario setup can take a number of different 'cases' with differing strengths and starting locations (while still being essentially 'the same') the reinforcements will also arrive in their own sweet time.

Once the forces are in play (and sometimes there *is* only one setup, or no reinforcement), the AI has the starting position, and a set of 'operational objectives' - terrain features to take/hold/occupy/deny/withdraw to, and the destruction of enemy forces. While this means that any given situation will play out 'according to a structure' the individual movements to accomplish the various tasks, and the strength of AI resistance in each sector will vary significantly from one run to the next, with the AI actually being quite competent and aggressive (but within sensible bounds most of the time) the same AI acts as a layer within your own forces, where the player essentially gives the grand-tactical orders between the 'operational objectives' and tactical actions on the ground that accomplish these tasks.

The tutorial is perhaps one of the least varying scenarios, and yet it seldom plays out the same way even over one day, and is 5 days long. There is a certain 'arc' of action/reaction and course of action that is expected (A US Arm'd Division hitting a single VGD Regt (+) of 3Bn doesn't leave much scope for the dramatic and unexpected swing - but still the situation on the ground when the German mechanised forces arrive, and what they can accomplish to slow/stop the Divisional attack is quite varied, depending on whether the advance mission is complete or still in progress, and how much of the force can be tied up by the German Defence (note this is usually played as Allied).

The 'course of action' does tend to have a similar flow if similar decisions are made, but neither the AI nor player are likely to make identical actions and the end state varies a considerable amount.

Most of the time the attacker has sufficient forces to 'guarantee' his advance, so that is seldom in issue, but how fast and how costly this advance is does vary, and the force preponderance can alter over one scenario and the decision to halt the advance and switch to a defensive posture is often needed (or vice versa). Also to keep your artillery protected and supplied (Of course you want to do this for all forces, but artillery is the God of War and frequently the bulk of the combat ability of a formation, and needs much more supply to keep it active...)

Local counter-attacks are often required (and made).

Probably try the demo, and see if you can consistently destroy the 12VGD(+) forces ~ this is possible. See if you are happy with the different approaches to delay the AI attempts, and the options to control your forces. Note that this is very unbalanced as a scenario, and the AI deliberately isn't given much to work with to begin. It should be played with realistic or painfully realistic orders delay and standard reinforcement and supply options at first ~ you can add an additional Bn of VG infantry and improve supply delivery if you find it a bit too easy.

(in reply to Rosmarus)
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RE: Planning to buy - 5/9/2012 12:42:24 PM   
Lieste

 

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Forgot to add:

Because it is 'continuous time' there is less 'thinking about what I will do' and more interpreting what he has, where it is and what his capabilities and intentions are ~ and then getting your forces where they need to be to defeat his unfolding plan.

This seems more fun and more realistic to me, than calculating movement points and combat ratios... plus scenario play time is independent of size ~ within narrow variations a 5 day scenario with a division a side plays in the same time as one with a Corps per side, or Army (though bigger scenarios are less easy to follow, and might actually run slower if they exceed what your CPU can push...). The minimum time-step is one minute, and a practical minimum order cycle is about one hour before forces get underway.... though frequently much longer.

This is quite different from 'counter-pushers' like TOAW where modest increases in unit density or shorter turns dramatically increase game duration, and where game mechanics largely prevent the fluid situations that frequently occur, and (in BfTB) you find yourself 'taking what you can get' rather than the 'optimal' solution.

< Message edited by Lieste -- 5/9/2012 1:18:14 PM >

(in reply to Lieste)
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RE: Planning to buy - 5/9/2012 1:16:20 PM   
Arjuna


Posts: 17788
Joined: 3/31/2003
From: Canberra, Australia
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Rosmarus,

Welcome. Just to add to the above responses. First the AI does not use "scenario specific scripting" which is the most common form of so called AI in games today. Rather it is "generic" in that it starts with a set of objectives just like a real commander does and then develops its own plan of action to fulfill the objectives. It conducts its owen assessment of the situation based on its own situational awareness. Because the enemy can do things differently so to the factors that go into its planning considerations change and hence it may choose a different course of action. It has the power to prioritise and cull objectives and the ability to allocate resources across the objectives as it sees fit. So from one iteration of a scenario to another things can pan out quite differently.

_____________________________

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com

(in reply to Lieste)
Post #: 5
RE: Planning to buy - 5/9/2012 1:27:07 PM   
Marshal Villars


Posts: 966
Joined: 8/21/2009
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lieste

Forgot to add:

Because it is 'continuous time' there is less 'thinking about what I will do' and more interpreting what he has, where it is and what his capabilities and intentions are ~ and then getting your forces where they need to be to defeat his unfolding plan.

This seems more fun and more realistic to me, than calculating movement points and combat ratios... plus scenario play time is independent of size ~ within narrow variations a 5 day scenario with a division a side plays in the same time as one with a Corps per side, or Army (though bigger scenarios are less easy to follow, and might actually run slower if they exceed what your CPU can push...). The minimum time-step is one minute, and a practical minimum order cycle is about one hour before forces get underway.... though frequently much longer.

This is quite different from 'counter-pushers' like TOAW where modest increases in unit density or shorter turns dramatically increase game duration, and where game mechanics largely prevent the fluid situations that frequently occur, and (in BfTB) you find yourself 'taking what you can get' rather than the 'optimal' solution.


Well put Leiste. This is what puts this game head and shoulders above all the others in terms of simulating what it is like to be a commander in action. Other games (especially turn based games) are really just that -- games. This game isn't about "stacking limits" or calculated ratios required for overruns. This is about what real commanders worry about -- men per kilometer frontage, speed, eyeballing the situation and reacting.

Rosmarus, you should know that THIS is the ONLY wargame my father (who used to be a US armored company commander and general's aide in 1960s Germany) EVER gave his thumbs up to. And he has seen me play well over a hundred wargames (board and computer). He is so into it, when he visits we play together and he calls out orders while I execute them (he is too busy to learn to play on his own). First and foremost, he is a fan of the real time aspects and the many real life decisions which real commanders have to make. It doesn't come down to calculating odds with arbitrary maximum stacking limits, etc. He has never even bothered with another game I have played.


< Message edited by Marshal Villars -- 5/9/2012 1:42:52 PM >

(in reply to Lieste)
Post #: 6
RE: Planning to buy - 5/9/2012 5:19:59 PM   
Rosmarus

 

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Joined: 12/9/2009
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Thank you guys so much for your answers. You've cleared up a lot of things and it looks like my wallet is about to have a negative change of mass. I will post here if I something pops into my mind later, anyone else wondering something about the game and thinking of buying, please, feel free to post here.

PS: Oh yeah, something already popped into my head. How many scenarios are there, BFTB and HTTR combined and are there more expansions and content on the way?

(in reply to Marshal Villars)
Post #: 7
RE: Planning to buy - 5/9/2012 5:33:50 PM   
Lieste

 

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There are 40 scenarios in the two, but understand that each comes with 'several' balanced at-start conditions, (except for hypotheticals, this includes one as close to historical as possible), plus increased/early/delayed reinforcements and higher or lower supply allocation. I'm not even going to try to calculate what combinations there actually are ~ but well over 100 "distinct" different scenarios.

I suspect that most players haven't really scratched the surface of that though ~ probably having some favourites that they return to - trying out alternative strategies ~ or even just repeating the application of the same overall plan and seeing whether the performance can be improved.

I know I have played Hofen dozens of times, the tutorial close to 100 (mostly for Beta purposes ~ but still it is 'fresh' each time - well mostly).

There are 5-6 expansions/scenario packs 'under way' and there is a thread near the top of these forums somewhere describing them, and the tools to build your own mods exist (and are 'the same' as those used internally). There are a number of user created scenarios and it is easy to 'adapt' ones that already exist for what-ifs, or to follow a different interpretation.

(in reply to Rosmarus)
Post #: 8
RE: Planning to buy - 5/9/2012 6:44:06 PM   
Rosmarus

 

Posts: 54
Joined: 12/9/2009
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Thank you Lieste. And every one else of course, again. I will propably post some noob questions here in a couple of weeks. Cheers!

(in reply to Lieste)
Post #: 9
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