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Some Reactions Which Might Provoke Some Edifying Discussions

 
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Some Reactions Which Might Provoke Some Edifying Discus... - 3/8/2019 1:56:38 PM   
Anthropoid


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Well so far, I both like this game a lot, but also find some of the overall design decisions questionable. From my standpoint, NATO is very difficult to play and "weak" compared to Soviets. I understand there are tactics one can use (basically keep your range, and avoid being spotted by recons) to level the playing field against Soviet Computer Opponent. NATO conventional being outmatched by Soviets makes sense from an historical standpoint. So all of these points so far sum up to: challenging to play as NATO.

Now here comes the "questionable" design decision part: nukes are almost non-existent in the game. A quote from one of the Devs "There are only a couple of scenarios in which nukes are available and you suffer a 5000 VP malus from using them . . ." The VP malus is debatable, as a NATO defense against Soviet invasion prior to 1991 wouldn't have been so much about "Winning" as about "Surviving," but I find the minimal inclusion of nukes in the game at all difficult to reconcile with my own limited knowledge of the doctrine and balance of forces in Europe at this time. Unless I'm wrong, a sizeable Soviet conventional invasion of Western Europe at any point between 1960 and 1991 WOULD HAVE almost assuredly resulted in a nuclear war of at least limited if not full scale extent.

The game is well-done, engaging, and includes many design elements that are innovative and exciting. But IMO, the failure to realistically engage with the prospect of nuclear weapons is a major shortcoming.

I need to play the game more before I form a final opinion. It also deserves to be noted that: the game is highly moddable, so if I cared enough about it, I could "fix" everything that I consider to be "wrong" about the game, and that right there is an enormous strength or selling point of the game.

There was an old scenario for The Operational Art of War III, something like "Tension . . " ah hold on, here it is: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1184480&mpage=1&key=�

"Next War: Tension 1979"

And while the UI/UX in that scenario/game are much worse that FCRS, as well some of the game mechanics are very "old school" in that the player has an unreasonable degree of Command and Control integrity, from a gameplay standpoint, the apparent degree of historical detail and thoroughness, and the honest effort to cope with the hypothetical of a WWIV in Europe in which nuclear weapons are not simply set on the shelf as being "unlikely and too complicated to bother with," I have to say that my memories of playing that one are much more positive than my experiences of playing this one so far.

If the FCRS devs have not played that one, they really should.

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The x-ray is her siren song. My ship cannot resist her long. Nearer to my deadly goal. Until the black hole. Gains control...
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RE: Some Reactions Which Might Provoke Some Edifying Di... - 3/9/2019 1:33:13 PM   
Ginetto

 

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Good points. The Soviets are much more numerous and have excellent equipment, especially the T-80 which can shoot a 5 km-range AT missile from its gun barrel. In general NATO should avoid big sweeping movements a la Rommel and instead dig in and conceal themselves in urban areas and woods and wait for the Sovs to come forward. Those 5 km missiles are useless in the middle of trees and buildings and occasions for ambushes plenty.
As for nukes, Allied doctrine changed. In the 50's and early sixties the West had the "tripwire" doctrine. The troops in Europe, both US and Allied, were to be just enough to slow the Soviets down for a few hours to give time for nuclear retaliation. The US in those days fielded the Pentomic Division.It was called Mutually Assured Destruction. The thinking behind this was that neither side could realistically survive and wasn't so stupid as to want suicide. Then came TNW (Theater Nuclear Weapons) which were mini battlefield nukes which made identifying the threshold between conventional war and MAD more difficult. TNWs were supposed to be weapons of last resort, but who can or is entitled to describe when this moment arrives?
To remove ambiguity and danger, NATO came up with the doctrine of flexible response. JFK was president. This meant essentially that NATO conventional assets were to be beefed up to allow us to duke it out with the WP on decent terms. The US at this time introduced the ROAD division, a much more substantial outfit than its tripwire predecessor. The US also introduced REFORGER, which detailed plans to rush reinforcements from CONUS to Western Europe as quickly as possible. Also during this time the US and the USSR negotiated a series of nuclear disarmament treaties essentially aimed at making the possibility of nuclear war progressively less likely: SALT, START and CTBT.
Anyway this is why nuclear weapons aren't so evident in Flashpoint.


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Gino

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RE: Some Reactions Which Might Provoke Some Edifying Di... - 3/9/2019 6:28:34 PM   
StuccoFresco

 

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IF you dig in and choose for close encounters for NATO i don't see you coming out on top. WP units are bigger, and closing in you negate your range advantage. Few WP tanks have Gun-ATGMs, all of them have powerful guns that will absolutely hit you and tear you apart at less than 1500m. Of course if you manage to reach for the objective first and dig in, you are gonna win the encounters, but you risk being overwhelmed. Look at some AAR, you'll see how WP gets slaughtered if it gets caught in the open at mid-to-long range. Rushing in and look for close encounters are WP's strategy; NATO can be effective in it because of course if you ambush the attackers you'll gonna tear them apart, but it's not its optimal solution nor the only one.


I also believe the reason nukes are under-represented is because they will render almost all scenarios moot: nukes drop, attacker mops up survivors. There is no reason to use nukes in a tactical game unless you enlarge the scale of the battles (and then it becomes quite slow). And even then, it's not like you can do something to defend yourselves from nukes in such a game. It would become a boring "superweapon".

(in reply to Ginetto)
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RE: Some Reactions Which Might Provoke Some Edifying Di... - 3/9/2019 7:04:55 PM   
MikeJ19


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I like the fact that there are no nukes - like Stucco said - they often overwhelm the game - that is my experience in TOAW. In a short game like this one, their use would not add to the enjoyment.

I have mainly played the NATO side and found that I can usually hold my own. The different command cycles of the two sides are really well done and make this a very enjoyable and challenging game. My first attempt as the Soviets just ended with a loss.

Have a good day

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Mike

Retired Gunner

(in reply to StuccoFresco)
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RE: Some Reactions Which Might Provoke Some Edifying Di... - 3/10/2019 3:04:52 AM   
Ginetto

 

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I played the Pied Piper scenario by having the German brigade dig in on the edge of Hammeln. The Soviets came at them and drove into a brick wall. When you are dug in closed terrain all the enemy's more advanced weapons are virtually useless. Anyway the bridge was defended successfully and the Soviets retired with huge losses.

(in reply to StuccoFresco)
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RE: Some Reactions Which Might Provoke Some Edifying Di... - 3/15/2019 5:41:26 PM   
IronMikeGolf

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Anthropoid

...

Now here comes the "questionable" design decision part: nukes are almost non-existent in the game. A quote from one of the Devs "There are only a couple of scenarios in which nukes are available and you suffer a 5000 VP malus from using them . . ." The VP malus is debatable, as a NATO defense against Soviet invasion prior to 1991 wouldn't have been so much about "Winning" as about "Surviving," but I find the minimal inclusion of nukes in the game at all difficult to reconcile with my own limited knowledge of the doctrine and balance of forces in Europe at this time. Unless I'm wrong, a sizeable Soviet conventional invasion of Western Europe at any point between 1960 and 1991 WOULD HAVE almost assuredly resulted in a nuclear war of at least limited if not full scale extent.

...


Here's a few points to consider:

1. One of the central design goals of this game is to present the player with the situations, dilemmas, and decision points of a Battalion, Brigade, or Regimental commander and staff.
2. In the doctrine of that period, commanders of US brigades were to fight the assault regiments of the 1st echelon WP divisions. Commanders of US divisions fought the 1st echelon WP divisions. US corps commanders fight the 1st echelon WP armies AND disrupt the 2d echelon divisions of 1st echelon WP armies to prevent dogpiling the US divisions.
3. The decisions surrounding the use of nuclear weapons, from release to target selection, reside in echelons above that of which the player assumes the role. The use of nuclear weapons has a large political component. For NATO, use would likely be part of the deep battle. For WP, the majority of nuclear weapons (according to declassified planning documents) would have been used in a preemptive fashion to cause a degradation of NATO capability across the board, as opposed to opening a hole in the FLOT for an Operational Maneuver Group to exploit.




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Jeff
Sua Sponte

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