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Hofen Ho Down - 12/21/2012 2:11:26 PM   
HowieWowie

 

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So I played Hofen Ho Down a couple of times as Axis with Realistic orders. The first time it was a draw so I decided to read up on some of the AARs since I'm a new player. There is an AAR which achieved a Decisive Axis victory. I changed my orders to more closely match those in the AAR but again it was a Draw. It seems to me that even a marginal Axis victory would be really tough to get. The US units are really dug in along the objectives.

I noticed that these AARs were from some time ago and so therefore I'm wondering if the patches that have been released between than and now would significantly alter the outcome? Has anyone noticed significant changes in outcomes as a result of updates?
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RE: Hofen Ho Down - 12/21/2012 2:43:14 PM   
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I've played it since and won, Howie - though it wouldn't surprise me if the patch has made things tougher (that said, I didn't notice that). I played it a lot before I got to that point where I could draw even, to be honest, and found it very frustrating because, like you, I read these AARs where people got wins apparently quite easily. But I kept experimenting and fine tuning it and in the end started getting the wins. If you can find and supress the Allied arty (there are only 2 allied arty units) that makes a huge difference. Plus, get near to all (or at least three) major VPs as early as poss so that the Allies aren't getting points out of possession (even if you aren't either). I think it's a good scenario. I'll try it again when the new patch comes out (today sometime, we've been told) and let you know how I do.

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RE: Hofen Ho Down - 12/21/2012 2:56:28 PM   
Major SNAFU


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Howie,

This AAR of mine was done using the current patch. I got a victory after a few tries. Read Lieste's and Phoenix's comments, they are worth gold.


http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2937892&mpage=1&key=�

< Message edited by Major SNAFU -- 12/21/2012 2:57:02 PM >


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RE: Hofen Ho Down - 12/21/2012 6:44:12 PM   
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SNAFU

Thanks for the link. I've only had time to read part of comments but already I've learned something. A project for this weekend!

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RE: Hofen Ho Down - 12/21/2012 7:52:31 PM   
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I also recommend every article in the WarRoom sub forum. If I had time, I would compile it all into a compendium of good information.


Also, If you haven't read the strategy guide, search and find the part about how to put part of your arty on standby so they won't be called by the AI. This will help you conserve ammo, and it helps the supply situation for the arty units.


< Message edited by Major SNAFU -- 12/21/2012 7:54:24 PM >


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RE: Hofen Ho Down - 12/22/2012 9:35:51 AM   
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Waiting for the new patch I thought I'd run Hofen a little, see how it goes, so I can compare to the new patch (which looks like it will only reach us in the New Year now). First thing I notice is that the units appear to rout very easily. Hofen sth was taken within half an hour, as usual (simple move order), Hofen nth proved, as usual, difficult. As soon as daylight arrived the grenadiers were getting bombarded. They're very far from crack units, but still. The lead element had a starting complement of 99 men and lost 10 men to defensive fire and arty. That was all it took. It routed and ran to the woods (at least it did bolt to the woods and not into the enemy's arms, as used to happen). Four other units followed suite on being bombarded. This has - Dave has said - been changed for the new patch. So I look forward to trying again when it lands. Meanwhile, it seems a bit silly to continue with this iteration. It could happen of course that a unit could rout on taking around 12% losses, but surely it shouldn't as a matter of course (and, as I said, 4 units did so here)? A retreat, maybe? Or press on regardless - since I'd ticked all the relevant aggression boxes. When would they have retreated if I hadn't set losses at max, I wonder - 5% casualties? As ever, can't wait for the patch (assuming it does change this), and it's a bummer Matrix haven't managed to get it out when they said they would.

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RE: Hofen Ho Down - 12/22/2012 3:52:20 PM   
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Pheonix rout as we know has been a bone of contention since COTA. It has been improved for BFTB and I'm hoping the patch imporve sit and doesn't make it happen more often!..I've always said I much rather to be a very rare thing to happen especially when dug in..I think most of the time a unit routs it really would just be pulling back a little or doing a fighting retreat but instead in the game the unit routs.

The new routing code is what I'm most worried about in this next patch..for some reason I have a feeling now the suppression and fire code has been improved they could be routing more often and now will move along way back..

We of course should remember that 20% or more casualties was seen as alot in WW2..reading Island of Fire many attacks stalled on the Barrikady due to casualties and not being able to move forward and the casualties where around 10 to 20 men which in a firefight was way too much.

< Message edited by wodin -- 12/31/2012 5:06:14 PM >


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RE: Hofen Ho Down - 12/31/2012 4:48:36 PM   
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Phoenix I'm wondering if you've given Hofen another with the new patch. I've tried a few more times after reading the AARs and trying to duplicate the successes reported. At best I'm getting a draw. I'm able to take North and South but then loose them to a counter attack. I also don't secure the objs until mid 2nd day. I realize that being a new player I've probably made a number of goofs but I'm still wondering if the successes reported in the early AARs can be repeated?

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RE: Hofen Ho Down - 1/2/2013 8:47:44 AM   
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I did try it briefly, Howie, and noted less routing. But then I abandoned it before end and went to try From the Meuse to the Rhine, and I'm still only on day 2 of that, as haven't had so much free time. I'll let you know when I've tried Hofen again. It's certainly a nice challenge - repeat the success of earlier AARs!!! There must be a host of veteran players up to post a post patch 4 Hofen AAR demonstrating their prowess, no?

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RE: Hofen Ho Down - 1/3/2013 9:04:55 AM   
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Played it through, Howie (as Axis), and got a marginal defeat! I was using the same tactics as before. Some strange things happened. I got into Hfn sth no probs, and, by 10am day 2 into Monschau and kalterherberg. By end of day 3 was into Hfn nth, if I recall correctly, and the last reinforcement Bn was on the outskirts of Mutzenich by day 3. But aside from kalterherberg and, briefly, Hfn sth, I didn't ever have possession of these objectives. The AI hung around doggedly.

Strange things. (1) Routing is certainly odder now, I think. It seems to happen less, to me (could be wrong there though), but the units run like crazy, a very great distance, with no regard for cover etc. 2 units routing out of Monschau ran towards kalterherberg a sufficient distance for me to simply task them with taking that next instead of getting back to Monschau (otherwise I wouldn't usually bother with this 10 point objective when you have so few and so poor forces available). (2) I saw a unit of about 80 men routed by, apparently, 1 Stuart tank. the intel could have been wrong, though knowing the OOb I doubt it could have been far wrong as the Stuart unit had been in protracted engagements itself and already routed before it popped back and scared 80 men out of the outskirts of Hfn nth. Sorry, but that seemed silly. (3) I put in an Attack on Hfn nth using 1 full Bn plus 2 co's. After quite a wait to plan it the Bn HQ sat back just nth of Hfn sth and sent a single co forward to attack. All other units were marked as defending and just did nothing (in the details they were marked as left and right guard, I think, etc, but they didn't do that - they sat there out of range of any enemy unit whilst a single co went ahead and was duly routed, then I was told the 'attack had stalled') I think this was clearly broken behaviour. I wanted a strong attack and gave the HQ 5 companies to use. It put in one. Didn't dare risk an attack order after that. Here's a pic below. there may be an explanation (maybe all the other units were too knackered to take part - who knows?) I have a save to send to Dave.

There were various other issues.
I ended up feeling that I was still fighting the game, as opposed to the enemy.




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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/3/2013 9:39:05 AM   
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Pic below of the 'new' routing behaviour. I realise someone asked for units to run a long way (I can't recall who), but I didn't think at the time that it was a good idea (rather I would have liked them to run a realistic distance intelligently). There are 2 circled units below in rout recovery. They have fled along the direction of the line I've drawn in, following a bombardment. Other bombarded units stayed put. That's ok, that diff units react in diff ways, but both have fled from forming up points with higher HQs present. We're supposed to imagine 80 plus men fleeing over 2 km at full speed (that in itself seems unlikely to me, even if they had dropped all their kit, which they haven't), up hills, into woods, down again, over rivers etc. Did the presence of the higher units have no effect at all? My basic complaint, though, is that 2km is too far for this many men to run. I feel that, in reality, they would have hit the cover of the first trees and lay down. If they were then bombarded again then perhaps they would have run a bit further. All intuitive, I know, but I feel routing behaviour (in terms of how far they run, at least) was better pre- patch 4. Just my opinion. I have seen units rout at least twice this distance too.




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< Message edited by phoenix -- 1/3/2013 9:40:57 AM >

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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/3/2013 10:02:18 AM   
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And another rout example. The unit circled has had an interesting time. As an experiment I ordered it to Attack out of Monschau, up the hill to Hfn nth. It has done that 3 times now, each time with the same result. It attacks up the hill, makes contact with the first enemy units (the first shadow box next to the attack marker, in the pic), loses between 3 and 5 men in the exchange and routs all the way across the hills, down into the valley, over the river and back up the hill (to a very exposed position) about 2km away, at full speed (then turns around after a while and tries again). Why not just run back to Monschau? And it's now, for example, 75 men. When it put in the last attack it was 79 men. ie 4 men were killed and off it went. I realise they're all very tired and demoralised and lack cohesion. I realise it's ripe for a rout. But the behaviour described?




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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/3/2013 10:09:32 AM   
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Best I've got is a draw, but I'm a new player. Worst I got was total defeat by doing nothing. I suffered no casualties but the US had two dead which must have been road accidents or suicide because I didn't fire a shot, just stayed in bed for three days. On balance a good decision I would say.

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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/3/2013 2:21:22 PM   
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Yeah I'm not so sure about this routing miles away thing..in real life yes a rout means a run away and not get back into the action, but in this game a rout isn't like a the term rout in real life..it's more a retreat. I think a rout should only happen after excessive casualties to poor units myself. That way it would hardly ever happen and the unit it happens to would be worthless anyway so you wouldn't be to btohered it ran for miles.

However as that isn't the case in game they should rout to the closest cover behind the lines.

The sending in one coy to attack has been mentioned before..the routing feedback and the one coy attacks I've decided to wait for the next patch update before playing.

< Message edited by wodin -- 1/3/2013 2:26:51 PM >


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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/3/2013 7:29:10 PM   
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Phoenix thank you for taking a crack at the scenario again. I've read the earlier AARs after getting defeated and even after trying the so called Decisive Win strategies for the Axis I've not had anything better than a draw. My observations mirror yours. What is really odd is the routing, 3kms in the direction of the enemy lines doesn't do much for my confidence in the game engine. I'd like to play more but until the game designers can clarify/rationalize the drastic change in the scenario results I don't think its worth my time.

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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/3/2013 7:50:52 PM   
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I sympathise, Howie. To be honest - looking, for example, just at the last example in the pic above - that unit routed 3 times in about two hours and ran 2 km each time, then back again each time, I think. It was incredible it kept coming back too, I think. Certainly not the thing we're looking for. But we can't criticise them for letting us at a beta patch which - it surprisingly turns out - is just that. Undoubtedly Dave will have a go at all these things. What I find a little depressing - even though I do understand the process and how it works and the nature of the beast they're trying to ride - is that it's always like this: you look forward to a patch, and it brings changes, but the thing is never, as it were, 'fixed'. Because there will always be something else, so it will never be fixed, I think. As I said, they're trying to write code to mimic a vast range of complex human behaviours. I assume it's no more 'predictable' than the real thing. But the way this happens - when essentially all you want to do is feel like it works and you can play the game without worrying about what's happening under the hood - does make me think sometimes that maybe this beast can't be tamed. And then, like you, I'm inclined to turn elsewhere. But then there is nothing else that is even trying this at the same level (nothing I've found). So. I end up back with chess. A different thing altogether.

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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/3/2013 9:43:00 PM   
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Try Go. Some quite good free Go apps on Ipad and Android. If you can beat them with no stones advantage I'll eat my hat, or should that be rice bowl?

Meanwhile I've still got to get at least a marginal victory before I can give up on this Scenario!



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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/3/2013 9:51:23 PM   
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Go? Ok. Meanwhile, maybe I'll give Hofen one more shot....

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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/4/2013 12:45:57 AM   
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Chess is a perfect game in the sense that every move can be computed. Hence you will now always lose to a computer unless it is deliberately handicapped.

Go, even though it is just black and white stones has not been "cracked" by computers yet and so humans can still win.

Wargames are still more complex and hence humans still win. I think it terribly unfair the way people criticise computer AI in games. It is only a few years ago a computer beat chess champions and that's in a game with only 64 squares and about six types of piece.

Anyway, two more draws and a marginal defeat at Hofen since last post.

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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/4/2013 6:58:19 AM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: phoenix

I sympathise, Howie. To be honest - looking, for example, just at the last example in the pic above - that unit routed 3 times in about two hours and ran 2 km each time, then back again each time, I think. It was incredible it kept coming back too, I think. Certainly not the thing we're looking for. But we can't criticise them for letting us at a beta patch which - it surprisingly turns out - is just that. Undoubtedly Dave will have a go at all these things. What I find a little depressing - even though I do understand the process and how it works and the nature of the beast they're trying to ride - is that it's always like this: you look forward to a patch, and it brings changes, but the thing is never, as it were, 'fixed'. Because there will always be something else, so it will never be fixed, I think. As I said, they're trying to write code to mimic a vast range of complex human behaviours. I assume it's no more 'predictable' than the real thing. But the way this happens - when essentially all you want to do is feel like it works and you can play the game without worrying about what's happening under the hood - does make me think sometimes that maybe this beast can't be tamed. And then, like you, I'm inclined to turn elsewhere. But then there is nothing else that is even trying this at the same level (nothing I've found). So. I end up back with chess. A different thing altogether.



I've no worries the game can't be tamed at all..it's just complex but it will get there..there is a game I test that I do worry cant be tamed and comparing the two honestly there is no comparison with regards to issues each patch. With this game it's just a slow complex process but not one that has ever shown signs of never being playable..COTA was certainly and still is playable..so was HTTR..BFTB has had major changes to certain code and this will entail and long process to get right..but certainly doesn't mean nor seem like the engine is broke and can't be fixed.

Patience is required. I play other games until it's all tied up which it will be have no doubts, obviously no game will be perfect but going by COTA and HTTR I see nothing to say BFTB wont play aswell as they do. I do understand people get frustrated and some are more vocal than others, but I think you just have to wait and except with this series things take along time to implement then test and fix any knock on effects.

The game isn't going anywhere..this patch has been released as a beta and I'm certain the issues will be fixed. Then Dave will enhnce the game again and we will go through the same process until he signs off with BFTB and we get the next game and every release when he has signed off the games certainly isn't broke.

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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/4/2013 9:55:55 AM   
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No one criticises the AI for beating them, Alti. That's good. Usually, it's the 'subordinate AI' that is getting the flak. You are meant not to micromanage in this game - hence the focus on what the AI does with your own units when you leave it to the AI a bit.

OK. I'm going into Hofen now, and I'm going to win......

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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/4/2013 1:07:08 PM   
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Perhaps the AI makes notes of player moves and records them in the save game?

e.g. Really dumb move Alti, you sent them to attack where? A lot of young pixel troops are going to die because of your stupidity. Etc.

< Message edited by altipueri -- 1/4/2013 1:08:04 PM >

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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/4/2013 2:50:40 PM   
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Altt..a learning AI..would be cool but I'm not sure it's that clever.

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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/4/2013 8:22:57 PM   
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Deleted.

< Message edited by phoenix -- 1/4/2013 8:37:30 PM >

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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/4/2013 11:00:10 PM   
phoenix

 

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Well, this is the best I can do. Took a lot of direct, player controlled arty intervention. I'm happy with that, more or less. Feel it would be possible to do better, with more detailed arty management throughout. It's certainly different to the last time I played it, harder to get anywhere against the AI.




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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/4/2013 11:18:05 PM   
altipueri

 

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Yes it seems to me the only way is with lots of artillery management.

Are those the indestructible Stuart tanks north of mon shau?

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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/5/2013 12:04:02 AM   
Arjuna


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quote:

ORIGINAL: phoenix

I sympathise, Howie. To be honest - looking, for example, just at the last example in the pic above - that unit routed 3 times in about two hours and ran 2 km each time, then back again each time, I think. It was incredible it kept coming back too, I think. Certainly not the thing we're looking for. But we can't criticise them for letting us at a beta patch which - it surprisingly turns out - is just that. Undoubtedly Dave will have a go at all these things. What I find a little depressing - even though I do understand the process and how it works and the nature of the beast they're trying to ride - is that it's always like this: you look forward to a patch, and it brings changes, but the thing is never, as it were, 'fixed'. Because there will always be something else, so it will never be fixed, I think. As I said, they're trying to write code to mimic a vast range of complex human behaviours. I assume it's no more 'predictable' than the real thing. But the way this happens - when essentially all you want to do is feel like it works and you can play the game without worrying about what's happening under the hood - does make me think sometimes that maybe this beast can't be tamed. And then, like you, I'm inclined to turn elsewhere. But then there is nothing else that is even trying this at the same level (nothing I've found). So. I end up back with chess. A different thing altogether.

phoenix,

It's fine to whinge about what the AI does or not do or how it can do better. That's all good. But unless you are prepared to put some very serious money on the table than it's pointless whinging about the development process. IIRC you were in the van of those saying we needed to release a patch asap to address the halting issue. I believe we have done that. Yes it's a beta patch and requires further work but it is a significant step forward. You know a little gratitude might be in order, rather than whinging about things that cannot be addressed.



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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/5/2013 10:07:12 AM   
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Thanks Dave. I wish I had money to give you. :( I would if I had, believe me. I've bought everything you've put out from the beginning (and, as we know - when it first docked BFTB was not cheap, as games go) - that's the best I can do. I understand the process, and the nature of it, I think - I hope that's clear from my posts, though no doubt it can be upsetting for you to have people griping about your baby, especially when you put so much effort into it, and - no doubt - especially when the rewards (in a niche niche market...) are probably mainly in the beauty of the product and any positive feedback you can get from 'the community'. So> To be clear. I keep coming back to this game (with the little game time I have available) as opposed to any other because - infuriating as it is at times - it's certainly (as I have repeatedly said in here) the best game out there, bar none, and (as I've also repeatedly said) hats off to you (and many thanks) for that. You are the only people (and I guess that really means you personally) actually trying to do something amazing with the AI. Nearly all other games, after a little while, bore me senseless because of the lack of decent AI (as well as infuriating me, as well as wasting my money). Plus the beautiful maps, the lack of hexes, the way the game takes you to reality, to the history - and all the other great things about it that I've mentioned so many times in this forum. For which, thanks, heartfelt thanks, again.

But, I also think it's fine to 'whinge' about things that cannot be addressed too in the context of discussions in this forum about this game. I wouldn't want you to take those 'whinges', however, as criticism. I'm certain, of course, that you are doing the best you can with a project that must be a labour of love, even if the inherent limits to what you can do (with the funding available) must often be infuriating for you too. And your receptiveness to the 'community' is astoundingly good - almost, again, unparalleled in the gaming world, So, I'll try to make clear in future that that's not what I'm doing - criticising you. Just discussing, as a fan.


And, yes, I was in the van screaming for the patch. That's why I said, in the quote you used - 'But we can't criticise them for letting us at a beta patch which - it surprisingly turns out - is just that.'


Thanks. :) Again.

< Message edited by phoenix -- 1/5/2013 10:05:50 PM >

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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/5/2013 10:18:50 AM   
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The indestructible Stuarts, Alti. Yes. But worse than those are the 2 units just north of Hfn nth - both armored and ample testimony, I've found, of the utter uselessness of arty against armor. They stand between me and a greater victory because they are denying me possession of Hfn Nth. So - lacking means or time to attack them - I spent nearly an hour hitting them with every single piece of arty within range (which is a lot) on max settings. There they sat, through it all, unharmed, until the end.....

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RE: Hofen Ho Down rout - 1/5/2013 10:33:56 AM   
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Should add - a propos of Hofen - I found using Attacks to be a waste of time. Literally. They took too long to put in (given the time constraints), were broken up easily (given the poor quality of the troops in this scenario, perhaps) - usually by a single arty barrage - and never had positive results. Sometimes they were quircky odd looking things with a single company thrown out ahead (almost like a scout) only to be routed before the remainder went in to be duly forced to retreat. As before (pre-patch) I reverted to using Move with attack ticked, and this seemed to work much better. Probes were useful too.

< Message edited by phoenix -- 1/5/2013 10:35:13 AM >

(in reply to phoenix)
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