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Michael Peck Review - 6/22/2012 1:00:02 AM   
Arjuna


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Hi all,

Michael Peck has done a nice review on DefenceNews here:
http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120621/TSJ01/306210004/Game-Review-8216-Highway-Reich-8217-?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Training%20&%20Simulation%20Journal


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RE: Michael Peck Review - 6/22/2012 9:29:16 AM   
Apollo11


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Hi all,

Very nice Dave!


Leo "Apollo11"

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RE: Michael Peck Review - 6/22/2012 12:45:16 PM   
wodin


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Great write up but two things always bother me when people write about CO, first they say it's realtime which will put in peoples mind a type of game totally unlike CO. CO is continuous time, it doesn't run in realtime as such.

Another issue is when they say things like "player has little to do" or "can play itself". These comments drive me nuts. CO is one the most mentally demanding games I've played, especially formulating some kind of plan at the start in a large scenario. There might be little micromanagement (Thank god) however your always thinking of or actually doing something during gameplay. If you think it plays itself you aren't playing it properly.

Apart from that it's a worthy appraisal.

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RE: Michael Peck Review - 6/24/2012 4:00:40 AM   
OldSarge


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Congratulations, Dave! It is a spot on review and he hits on all of the points I like about the game/sim.

Defense News is widely circulated in DOD circles and ends up in many office waiting rooms and distro boxes...can't vouch for the readership numbers though! I'll have to see if an issue with the review in it is floating around my building.

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RE: Michael Peck Review - 6/24/2012 11:06:46 AM   
kipanderson

 

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Hi,

“Another issue is when they say things like "player has little to do" or "can play itself".”

Actually this is true, I have noticed it ;).

The friendly AI is so good, does what it does so well and can be commanded from such “a senior level” that I found myself wondering what I was supposed to be doing. I sit there admiring it :), but, to be honest, getting a little bored ;). This struck me playing one of the bigger Bulge scenarios. For long periods I had nothing to do.

The comments from Wodin have provoked me into posting early on this subject. I was planning to eventually anyway.

I was going to suggest that there be an option to play the game more from the level of the manoeuvring battalions in the old definition of operations used in the West. “Having the right battalion, in the right place at the right time.” What I mean is that you can still move all the individual units if you wish but the most senior HQ you can issue orders to and thus to its subordinate units is the battalion HQ.

So you attach the companies you wish to your battalion HQ, assign it the artillery support you wish, then issue an order to battalion HQ to attack or move. But you cannot give group orders to brigade or divisional HQs.

Being able to issue orders to brigade, divisional or even corps HQs and then have that HQ in turn issue orders to the subordinate HQs through the stunningly clever, friendly AI can get boring.

It removes the player’s involvement in the game.

Having said all this do not get the impression that I am anything other than an unhinged fan of Command Opps, I certainly am. I tell all my chums there are only three wargames that really count, and they are all so good they are forms of military history. Combat Mission, Scourge of War and Command Opps. With a patch that came out maybe a year ago maybe two, time flies, Command Opps matured into one of the all time greats. I am almost desperately looking forward to the coming Eastern Front versions.

But would it be better still if we were allowed, as an option, turn off the ability to give group orders to brigades and above, yes it would... :).

Looking forward to way more Command Opps games,
All the best,
Kip.
PS This has provoked me into wanting to play Command Opps again, after a run will be launching it for my fix.... I really am a fan even without the above option :).





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RE: Michael Peck Review - 6/24/2012 6:23:46 PM   
RayWolfe

 

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From being involved in this game for more years than I care to remember as player, tester and scenario developer, my guess would be that most people play at the battalion level.
As most scenarios run as, at least division size, there's little time for boredom.

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RE: Michael Peck Review - 6/25/2012 1:08:54 AM   
Arjuna


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kip,

Nice post. Tell me if we provided such an option ( ie limit your ability to issue orders only to Bn level units then how would you manouvre Div assets?

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RE: Michael Peck Review - 6/25/2012 8:36:37 PM   
jimcarravallah

 

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Arjuna,

I think the current command and control system is just fine.

Patton had a rule that he would never issue orders more than two echelons below his command level, i.e., as a division commander his concerns were with the operations of the regiments / brigades and battalions / squadrons and coordination among them. The companies / troops, platoons and squads were the responsibility of his subordinate commanders.

He would pick the assignments for those echelons where he chose to issue orders based on his knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the subordinate commanders and knowledge of the unit's capabilities as modified by fatigue and supply, a utility available in the Command Ops system.

Having an engine that allows command at that "Patton-like" level is really nice for students of warfare and the command structure / commanders who conduct it (which is the purpose of the other simulation software Panther produces).

Granted, as the commander's viewpoint is moved up in the OB, the Patton method may not provide as much trigger pulling or adrenalin rush in multiple division OBs, but there's plenty of monitoring progress, assigning reinforcements, and planning for the next phase that can fill that time in quite well.

That said, with the current system, a commander can still choose to ignore Patton's methods and manage at a lower level. It comes at the risk of distorting the traditional order of battle (which occurs when a commander digs too deep into the organization to issue specific orders), but provides plenty of action for someone who wants to tinker from minute to minute to drive his command to success.



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RE: Michael Peck Review - 6/25/2012 9:18:33 PM   
kipanderson

 

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Dave,

quote:

then how would you manouvre Div assets?

I would give them individual orders.

I am really talking about the option to play the game as divisional commander. So if I had three divisions then I would play the game as “three divisional commander.....” as opposed to as a corps commander. As in CM you play the game as a cross between a squad/section or platoon commander even if you have at your disposal four entire companies of troops.

I should add that the above is how I would often wish to play Command Ops when up against the AI. I would pause the game a lot and get down and dirty in the detail.

When playing live down the internet v a chum the current way is certainly the way to play. In such games there is a need for lots of “thinking and watching time”. All very tense, waiting to see what the other guy is up to :).

BTW. I really agree with all Jim above said. But the ability to play as a divisional commander, even in games with more than one division, would be fun.

All the best,
Kip.



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RE: Michael Peck Review - 6/25/2012 10:10:46 PM   
Lieste

 

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Nowt stops you. Just give orders to Bn, Rgt Rump, Division Rump. Nothing forces the use of whole divisions, and except for non-urgent administrative movements and organisation of static LOC chains I run in this way, regardless of scenario size.

The rationalisation being that a single Bn is the smallest useful tactical grouping, and a Regimental disposition while under the control of Regt in details is defined by Division in how the boundaries and phase lines for Regiment are planned. In game, Regiment takes too much initiative in how to use forces, with less coordination with adjoining and supporting forces than would be required - too many wide detours, and 'switches' in flank/rear attacks which waste time fuel and fatigue.

Divisional attacks are possibly even more problematic, with negligible contact between formations, and inappropriate formations for what can be widely varying mobility corridors. Here the use of Bn combat and support elements as the basic element of command gives a more plausible direction to combat actions if the player is careful to maintain these factors.

Division should be capable of not only 'commandeering' each Bn, but also of tasking Regiment to deploy and control a Bn in support of a Divisional objective... this currently is not possible, as Regt can only have a single unitary objective that frequently isn't universally appropriate (particularly the inability of HQ to displace without re-tasking all subordinates) - Regt should retain control of all Regt assets in most cases, but may have 2-3 forward missions, plus rear area operations occurring. These should impose a higher load on Regt than a single administrative tasking, but not a substantially higher load on Army HQ.

I do rarely pause the game to give orders (only certain ones that don't stick without pause, like end-times or duration for e.g. artillery), which makes up for some of the lost 'delays' - the time spent 'focussed' on a particular tactical action, or on checking unit statuses is lost to generation of new orders scenario wide.

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RE: Michael Peck Review - 7/2/2012 8:32:21 AM   
wodin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: RayWolfe

From being involved in this game for more years than I care to remember as player, tester and scenario developer, my guess would be that most people play at the battalion level.
As most scenarios run as, at least division size, there's little time for boredom.



I agree.

Yes the game can play itself, however if you think it will do a proper job compared to you then your wrong. I'm constantly evaluating the battlefield even if not issuing orders at the time. During periods of down time on my side I time accel.

Seriously though I maynot be "doing something" in game it doesn't mean I'm not having to "think" about whats happening and what needs to be done. I'm constantly monitoring the situation.

Another thing if you give out a general attack order to a very high HQ one your order delay becomes HUGE and two really you've decided to play the game in a very boring way. I tried it once as an experiment in HTTR. Realised the game was no fun plus the oder delay was massive and probably wasn't designed to be played that way either. If someone gives an order to the highest level HQ then compliant they have nothing to do is missing the whole point of the game.

Also like any commander most work is done at the start of the scenario and after that your having to instantly evaluate the situation and alter plans when needed (you always have to).

I will say one thing if you think CO is hands off, try Tigers Unleashed with it's hardcore friendly FOW and tough order delays. That game is alla bout the starting plan\SOP's and orders.

< Message edited by wodin -- 7/2/2012 8:50:33 AM >


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