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Player Control - 10/3/2012 7:19:08 AM   
RebBugler


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To ease the frustration of player control (division level and above) that many have noted in several of these threads, try the following orders: Hold to the Last.

This is not as strong as TC, but, when playing on division level, will guide your brigades more accurately to the selected division formation location. Also, your brigade commanders will not be TC zombies, eliminating much micromanagement, and, will not switch orders resulting in placing themselves in reserve or attacking recklessly.

Still, you must TC battery commanders and guide their gun's placement, or they may very well remain in their initial hold position. Once positioned, TC off and give the same 'Hold to the Last' orders, they will then stay and withdraw on their own if threatened. If they are supported by infantry they are most vulnerable to capture, as they then won't retreat automatically when threatened, so be aware.

Note: Only the upper level commander needs this order as it will carry down through the ranks. Once your desired formation and position is established, then set individual orders or TC for your desired strategy or tactics.

< Message edited by RebBugler -- 10/3/2012 7:58:43 AM >


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RE: Player Control - 10/3/2012 3:42:10 PM   
MarchingThruGeorgia


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Yes, that very often works, but not always. Not long ago I commanded a division where the center of the line was weakening. I brought up my reserve brigade and told the commander to 'hold at all costs'. He filed into line, surveyed the situation for perhaps 30 seconds and then sent 2 regiments charging straight into the attacking enemy. They routed 3 rebel regiments and split their line in two. Enemy resistance quickly dissipated. It shows just how human-like the AI is. This commander was rated as daring. He correctly concluded that a thrust would win the battle in his sector. I would not have made that decision, but the AI is often a better general than I.

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RE: Player Control - 10/3/2012 4:26:43 PM   
RebBugler


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quote:

ORIGINAL: MarchingThruGeorgia

Yes, that very often works, but not always. Not long ago I commanded a division where the center of the line was weakening. I brought up my reserve brigade and told the commander to 'hold at all costs'. He filed into line, surveyed the situation for perhaps 30 seconds and then sent 2 regiments charging straight into the attacking enemy. They routed 3 rebel regiments and split their line in two. Enemy resistance quickly dissipated. It shows just how human-like the AI is. This commander was rated as daring. He correctly concluded that a thrust would win the battle in his sector. I would not have made that decision, but the AI is often a better general than I.


Cool, it also shows the strength of using orders to keep your officers active and effective, rather than turning them into vulnerable TC zombies and freezing their troops. Gotta watch the less experienced officers though, they tend to be suicidal getting in too close to the action.



< Message edited by RebBugler -- 10/3/2012 4:27:24 PM >


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RE: Player Control - 10/5/2012 8:07:46 PM   
RebBugler


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Hmmm...

As Norb as clarified the nature of SOW, he is not inclined to submit to proposed 'Player Control' alternatives that may be requested without just cause.

Since this thread has no responses as of yet regarding the effectiveness of this command towards alleviating player control frustrations...I have no substantiating info either way to promote this cause. It is my hope that this order will suffice.

I remain...watching and waiting.

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RE: Player Control - 10/6/2012 1:22:22 AM   
JiminyJickers


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I'm still making my way through Brigade level scenarios. Will post back when I have tried it out on division level ones. May be a while though.


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RE: Player Control - 10/6/2012 8:19:46 PM   
redmarkus4


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I tried a couple more battles a couple of weeks ago but the whole changing position thing every time a Bde needs to adjust its fire 5 degrees just annoys the hell out of me. I tried a Napoleon Total War battle as a comparison and the difference was so striking that I found myself starting a new NTW campaign game...

I just wish that either Norbsoft would take some lessons from NTW, or Total Civil War would come out.

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RE: Player Control - 10/6/2012 9:16:55 PM   
RebBugler


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Hey, whatever loads your musket.

I bought TW Rome several years ago, I found the AI boring and just being able to field a few hundred sprites turned me off big time. I need epic battles with tens of thousands of troops depicted, and if selected, available for control...TC2M and now SOW fit that bill. Granted, SOW is a work in progress, but the AI won't let you down, for sure the enemy's, and, if you don't sweat the small stuff, the friendly AI and player control, once mastered, provide for all the entertainment and historical immersion most General's can wish for.

Still, the TW series is primo for it's eye candy appeal.

Thanks for the input, BTW, how many troops can TW field now?

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RE: Player Control - 11/6/2012 9:48:13 PM   
redmarkus4


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Hi. With Napoleon the TW series has moved on, what, maybe 5-10 years? You need to download mods to get the best out of it, but I am able to field armies of 40 units with 200+ sprites per unit IIRC. Pretty large and convincing battles. The AI is OK but not great. If it decides to defend you can end up with a reasonably convincing engagement. When it attacks it comes at you all at once in a rush and as long as you are not outnumbered too greatly it can generally be beaten.

SoW beats TW hands down for battlefield scale and historical accuracy. TW beats SoW hands down for unit control, graphics and low-level atmosphere - realistic smoke, sprite movements, etc.

The main advantage of TW over SoW is the campaign level. Of course, in SoW you are pretty much locked into the historical set of battles plus some what-ifs, but you don't make any strategic choices that affect what happens next. I find SoW somewhat boring after fighting each battle once for this reason. No overall objective.

I just wish the two developers could get together somehow.

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RE: Player Control - 11/7/2012 12:17:54 PM   
Little Powell


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quote:


The main advantage of TW over SoW is the campaign level. Of course, in SoW you are pretty much locked into the historical set of battles plus some what-ifs, but you don't make any strategic choices that affect what happens next. I find SoW somewhat boring after fighting each battle once for this reason. No overall objective.

I just wish the two developers could get together somehow.


Well the current SOW engine was designed for tactical combat with no grand decisions, hence the historical scenarios and what ifs. It is a historical battle simulator, which is why each release concentrates on a specific battle.

However, stay with us and you just you might get your wish of a campaign style game... :)

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RE: Player Control - 11/7/2012 5:13:44 PM   
phoenix

 

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There's no real comparison, imho, between NTW and this game, simply because the TW AI is completely risible if what you're after is some kind of realistic tactical sim. As has been observed many times, of course, TW looks spectacular.....

RedMarkus has a point about some of the little animations though. But, as you said, it's wip...

The Hold until Dead command doesn't work for cavalry, right? Because it's not there as an option (at least, I can't see it). I've mentioned this before. But, my question is, if you give that order to the overall commander and he has cavalry too, will they also Hold Until They Drop?

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RE: Player Control - 11/8/2012 2:33:44 AM   
Little Powell


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Cavalry has the "hold to the last" command just as infantry do.

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RE: Player Control - 11/8/2012 1:53:28 PM   
redmarkus4


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quote:

ORIGINAL: phoenix

There's no real comparison, imho, between NTW and this game, simply because the TW AI is completely risible if what you're after is some kind of realistic tactical sim. As has been observed many times, of course, TW looks spectacular.....

RedMarkus has a point about some of the little animations though. But, as you said, it's wip...

The Hold until Dead command doesn't work for cavalry, right? Because it's not there as an option (at least, I can't see it). I've mentioned this before. But, my question is, if you give that order to the overall commander and he has cavalry too, will they also Hold Until They Drop?


I agree that the TW AI is poor.

If I could see just one TW feature adopted in SoW it would be this: the ability to align your troops behind a wall, fence, etc and have them stay there, yet still adjust their fire 20 degrees this way of that. Or even the ability to just have them stand still in any situation, although I'm going to have to try again with that 'Hold' command.

The one SoW feature that drives me nuts is the constant moving about and snaking around, sometimes with the troops on the right flank deciding that they need to run all the way down to the left flank. The unit holds fire until they get there. Surely I can't be the only unhappy customer in that regard?

I REALLY like the series. I just want it to be even better.

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RE: Player Control - 11/8/2012 4:17:02 PM   
Little Powell


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The only way to truly get units to stay completely stationary is to TC their commanders (although they will still wheel to face enemies). The idea behind this engine from the very start was to create units based on historically researched personality ratings, and give them freedom to make their own "decisions". For example, a green regiment is going to make green decisions. An experienced one will be smarter. But either way, regiments, if not taken control of, are going to always want to make their own decisions (move around, away from walls etc.), and yes sometimes those decisions can appear to be dumb ones...

For example; if I'm playing a brigade size battle, of course the regiments will only move where you want them to and will stay put.

Division size, I will also TC my brigade and battery commanders, occasionally un-TC'ing one depending on the situation.

Corps level, there are times when I will keep an entire Division un-TC'd for the whole battle. Give them general orders in an area of the field, and see how they do. Yes, they may move around and make some foolish decisions, but they just might surprise you with their effectiveness.

There is always room for improvement in this area, but it has been fine tuned since the first release to a level that we are happy with.

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RE: Player Control - 11/8/2012 7:10:56 PM   
phoenix

 

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Didn't realise the 'done' thing (it must be that if Little Powell does it...) was to TC so much (when playing smaller battles). I've had a lot of fun without doing that, though the behaviour redmarkus mentions - the snaking about - is irritating. In particular, sometimes you give an order just to fine tune a line, turn it a little, move sideways a little and it suddenly disolves into this snakelike S figure, where what seems to be happening is that the left end becomes the right end (eventually) for no reason I can see. If you play at ground level, without a God's eye view then, I have to say, all that movement looks more realistic, just like battle chaos, or some kind of insane drill. But it shouldn't happen, surely? I'll TC more and see if it declines.

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RE: Player Control - 11/8/2012 8:15:15 PM   
Little Powell


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Also keep in mind, regiments will sometimes take funky looking paths to get around other units. This is all done to help prevent units piling up on each other and getting in the way of a firing line.

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RE: Player Control - 11/8/2012 11:13:57 PM   
Queeg


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quote:

ORIGINAL: redmarkus4

I tried a couple more battles a couple of weeks ago but the whole changing position thing every time a Bde needs to adjust its fire 5 degrees just annoys the hell out of me. I tried a Napoleon Total War battle as a comparison and the difference was so striking that I found myself starting a new NTW campaign game...



I agree with this 100%. It's by far my biggest complaint with the game and a problem I'm sorry to see they haven't fixed.

And my comparison is not with NTW, but with the earlier Take Command games. The brigades in SoW are much more "jumpy" than those in TC - it's immediately noticeable and very frustrating. The units in SoW sometimes spend more time repositioning themselves than they do actuall fighting.

Not sure why they haven't fixed this. Just make it work like it did in TC.

< Message edited by Queeg -- 11/8/2012 11:24:47 PM >

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RE: Player Control - 11/8/2012 11:43:12 PM   
Little Powell


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I'm sure it will be addressed again in our next major release. There is some room for improvement, but again, the regiments must move to get out of the way of other regiments so there isn't unrealistic firing through friendly forces etc. Realism is the factor with this game, much more than TC2M was. Like a previous poster mentioned, zoom down to head level and it will make much more sense.

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RE: Player Control - 11/9/2012 11:54:19 AM   
Yogi the Great


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Little Powell

Realism is the factor with this game,



The movement issues described in this and other posts are an example of non-realistic problems. You want real? They would take fence lines, and other natural lines. They wouldn't constantly illogically shift around, the lines would not be artificially long and in the open because of how long the artificial lines from how many soldiers are in it. Those lucky guys at the end get to stand out in the open, and that's realism?

The game has many things going for it to love and appreciate. But let's get "real" and stop claiming the faults are examples of "realism" Such arguments just aren't "realistic".

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RE: Player Control - 11/9/2012 12:47:40 PM   
Little Powell


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Fair enough Yogi. Glad you are enjoying the game.

This kind of feedback is what has helped the game evolve and grow into what it is today. We will give these concerns a serious look for our next major release.

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RE: Player Control - 11/10/2012 9:18:12 AM   
redmarkus4


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Little Powell

Fair enough Yogi. Glad you are enjoying the game.

This kind of feedback is what has helped the game evolve and grow into what it is today. We will give these concerns a serious look for our next major release.


Thanks LP. I am confident you will do as you say because of your long history of taking player feedback in a positive way. I am going to download and play the new release today, as a loyal fan who dreams of even better days to come!

I do need to stress though that the snaking around problem occurs at all sorts of times and places. It doesn't appear to be closely linked with units needing to navigate past each other.

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RE: Player Control - 11/11/2012 4:24:48 PM   
Queeg


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quote:

ORIGINAL: redmarkus4

.... the whole changing position thing every time a Bde needs to adjust its fire 5 degrees......


This is the essence of the problem. The pathing is OK - not perfect, but units generally end up in reasonable positions. It's what happens after they get there that's the problem. Instead of minor readjustments, they too often do the wheel about the center routine. It's like the AI doesn't know how to use the / and \ pivot buttons.

A common situation: I'll have a brigade facing an enemy brigade - all good. But then an enemy appears and lines up next to the other brigade, overlapping my flank. What my unit should do is refuse that flank - step back a few paces on the overlapped flank. But instead they often go into the wheel about the center movement, laboriously pivoting on their center while getting blasted by two enemy brigades.

Units in TC don't do this. It's a glaring difference between the two games.

< Message edited by Queeg -- 11/11/2012 9:41:35 PM >

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RE: Player Control - 11/11/2012 6:40:03 PM   
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Right, the pathing is fine. By default they don't allow regiments to march through each other, that's all it is. This gets complicated so people who don't understand get really frustrated.

However, using waypoints, players can get regiments to go exactly where they want. What we need is more player education on how to use waypoints effectively. It's easy once you get used to it -- but I don't think it's obvious. Maybe youtube videos demonstrating it would be helpful.

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RE: Player Control - 11/11/2012 7:14:48 PM   
phoenix

 

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Well, he's not talking about pathing, Garnier. He's talking about when they get to the end of the path and line up. But I think the point has been made and accepted.

As to using waypoints - I can't get that to work. The tutorial says press control and double click. Doesn't work.

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RE: Player Control - 11/11/2012 9:40:36 PM   
Queeg


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quote:

ORIGINAL: phoenix

Well, he's not talking about pathing, Garnier. He's talking about when they get to the end of the path and line up.


Right. The units are too "jumpy." They reposition themselves too often and too dramatically. They move almost every time a new enemy appears. And they pivot too much (i.e., 45 degrees when 5-10 would do).

It's a great game otherwise. But this one area is a step backward from the TC games.

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RE: Player Control - 11/12/2012 2:18:51 AM   
Garnier

 

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Sorry I replied to phoenix's post but it got lost somehow.

To use waypoints, hold CTRL and give a sequence of double-click movement orders. Then the regiment will follow this sequence exactly, and if each segment is unblocked by other units, they'll not do any unusual pathfinding.

As for pivoting, players can solve this by TCing -- TCed regiments don't wheel on their own. But for the AI, I agree they should avoid wheeling unnecessarily. The problem is deciding what their optimal facing is, and not just that, but how do you get them to face the right way always without wheeling? Perhaps a threshold where they won't change facing until the alternate facing is a certain "amount" better, which is influenced by time. But I can imagine this stuff is really complicated to code without loopholes.

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RE: Player Control - 11/12/2012 5:37:58 PM   
redmarkus4


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Queeg

quote:

ORIGINAL: redmarkus4

.... the whole changing position thing every time a Bde needs to adjust its fire 5 degrees......


This is the essence of the problem. The pathing is OK - not perfect, but units generally end up in reasonable positions. It's what happens after they get there that's the problem. Instead of minor readjustments, they too often do the wheel about the center routine. It's like the AI doesn't know how to use the / and \ pivot buttons.

A common situation: I'll have a brigade facing an enemy brigade - all good. But then an enemy appears and lines up next to the other brigade, overlapping my flank. What my unit should do is refuse that flank - step back a few paces on the overlapped flank. But instead they often go into the wheel about the center movement, laboriously pivoting on their center while getting blasted by two enemy brigades.

Units in TC don't do this. It's a glaring difference between the two games.


Exactly...

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RE: Player Control - 11/12/2012 5:47:51 PM   
redmarkus4


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Garnier

Sorry I replied to phoenix's post but it got lost somehow.

To use waypoints, hold CTRL and give a sequence of double-click movement orders. Then the regiment will follow this sequence exactly, and if each segment is unblocked by other units, they'll not do any unusual pathfinding.

As for pivoting, players can solve this by TCing -- TCed regiments don't wheel on their own. But for the AI, I agree they should avoid wheeling unnecessarily. The problem is deciding what their optimal facing is, and not just that, but how do you get them to face the right way always without wheeling? Perhaps a threshold where they won't change facing until the alternate facing is a certain "amount" better, which is influenced by time. But I can imagine this stuff is really complicated to code without loopholes.


A couple of observations.

1. In reality, infantry don't generally wheel to change their direction of fire within a 45 degree angle left or right of the main axis (i.e. 90 degrees total) - they just swing their muzzles left or right by the required degree. So, any rifle unit should be able to cover three times its front without changing location or facing - use an 'arc of fire' approach and many issues will be fixed.

2. When a unit does wheel it normally does this in relation to a right or left 'marker' (the man in the front rank on the extreme right or left of the file). It wheels around that right or leftmost point, not around its centre - the direction of the threat determines which flank becomes the centre of the wheel. This might seem like a minor thing, but I bet the business of troops running from left to right flank would go away if wheeling was designed this way.

3. A civil war infantry unit should focus on conforming to terrain rather than keeping a straight line. There are many games on the market that have cracked this.

Focus on this and the game will leap ahead by one great big stride.

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RE: Player Control - 11/27/2012 9:04:43 PM   
Swedewolf


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Little Powell


quote:


The main advantage of TW over SoW is the campaign level. Of course, in SoW you are pretty much locked into the historical set of battles plus some what-ifs, but you don't make any strategic choices that affect what happens next. I find SoW somewhat boring after fighting each battle once for this reason. No overall objective.

I just wish the two developers could get together somehow.


Well the current SOW engine was designed for tactical combat with no grand decisions, hence the historical scenarios and what ifs. It is a historical battle simulator, which is why each release concentrates on a specific battle.

However, stay with us and you just you might get your wish of a campaign style game... :)


Very nice!! Campaign and good tactical AI !! I like. Bytheway New owner of gettysburg since Monday.

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RE: Player Control - 11/28/2012 3:49:26 AM   
Queeg


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quote:



A couple of observations.

1. In reality, infantry don't generally wheel to change their direction of fire within a 45 degree angle left or right of the main axis (i.e. 90 degrees total) - they just swing their muzzles left or right by the required degree. So, any rifle unit should be able to cover three times its front without changing location or facing - use an 'arc of fire' approach and many issues will be fixed.

2. When a unit does wheel it normally does this in relation to a right or left 'marker' (the man in the front rank on the extreme right or left of the file). It wheels around that right or leftmost point, not around its centre - the direction of the threat determines which flank becomes the centre of the wheel. This might seem like a minor thing, but I bet the business of troops running from left to right flank would go away if wheeling was designed this way.

3. A civil war infantry unit should focus on conforming to terrain rather than keeping a straight line. There are many games on the market that have cracked this.

Focus on this and the game will leap ahead by one great big stride.


These are good suggestions, but frankly the problem is even more profound. I'm convinced that the unit formation coding is fundamentally broken.

Do this: Do the first tutorial. When the regiment shows up, order it into line formation. Then order About Face. Sometimes, the men simply turn around. But about half the time, the line snakes in on itself - the guy on the right flank marching to the left flank, the guy on the left flank marching to the right flank, and everyone waving to each other as they pass in the center. It looks more like a spirit line at the end of a grade school girls' soccer match than a Civil War regiment.

I just finished a sandbox match that provided one of the most ridiculous experiences I've had in 20 years of computer gaming. Sad.

< Message edited by Queeg -- 11/28/2012 5:12:40 AM >

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