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Road to Moscow

 
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Road to Moscow - 7/2/2005 10:58:41 AM   
daft

 

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Anyone remember this vaporware title from Battlefield Design Group? I think Ubisoft was the publisher. It looked highly ambitious but in the it might have been to ambitious. No hexes, losses were tracked down to individual men and vehicles, subordinates that carried out your plans to the best of their abilitiesThe concept seems brilliant, and I'd love it if Matrix were to try something like it in the future. :)
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RE: Road to Moscow - 7/2/2005 11:58:28 AM   
JeF


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I know very litle about Road to Moscow, but you just roughly described Airborne Assault. Same basic features (no hex, detailed losses, chain of command), but less ambitious. Units are companies, map size is roughly 20x20 kms.

Check out Highway to the Reich and Conquest of the Aegean in the forums below. Don't forget to visit The Drop Zone. The link section is full of interresting stuff about the game serie.

Cheers,

JeF.


< Message edited by JeF -- 7/2/2005 12:00:58 PM >


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RE: Road to Moscow - 7/2/2005 12:02:22 PM   
daft

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: JeF

You just roughly described Airborne Assault. Same basic features (no hex, detailed losses, chain of command), but less ambitious. Units are companies, map size is roughly 20x20 kms.

Check out Highway to the Reich and Conquest of the Aegean in the forums below. Don't forget to visit The Drop Zone. The link section is full of interresting links to other AA sites.

Cheers,

JeF.



Oh, I love HttR. But the sheer scope of the Eastern front makes RtM stand out as one of the best "could have beens" strategy titles ever. It really should be tried once more.

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RE: Road to Moscow - 7/2/2005 12:48:17 PM   
Terminus


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Road to Moscow looked so very very very VERY good when it was in development about six or seven years ago. Too bad it disappeared...

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We are all dreams of the Giant Space Butterfly.

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RE: Road to Moscow - 7/2/2005 9:02:32 PM   
bluemonday

 

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quote:

Road to Moscow looked so very very very VERY good when it was in development about six or seven years ago.


Actually, I don't think Road to Moscow looked all that great. I had a very early beta. I'm not sure it would have been all that great a game had they continued the way it was going. There was a lot of micromanagement of units in the OOB but when you got to the actual gameplay it was pretty bland. The whole game seemed to be in the planning aspect, and once started you just had to watch it play out. I think they were really grappling with how to make it a good game rather than a good idea for a game. That's not to say it couldn't have ended up being excellent, just that it had a long, long way to go and no guarantee of success. I think Panther Games did an excellent job of taking the general concept and turning it into a playable, enjoyable game.

However, Road to Moscow was not like the Panther Games series - you did not control the units in real time. Instead, you drew up "operations" on a planning table and then executed them. Once you executed them you had little control. In HTTR you can constantly adjust and counter-move, which is what makes it interesting.

There is a huge gap between "interesting ideas" and actual "good games" and it makes me admire good designers that much more for being able to bridge this gap.

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RE: Road to Moscow - 7/3/2005 2:02:23 AM   
Arjuna


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Actually one of the key elements of designing a good wargame is striking the right balance in "player involvement". Too much micro-management with lots of units and players feel overwhelmed with the sheer workload. But the converse of setting things up and then sitting back while the play unfolds without an option to influence or change things leaves most pretty cold as well.

One of the things we are considering for future Airborne Assault titles is allowing players to commit the reserves of AI controlled subordinates without forcing that subordinate to do a full replan. This will give the player even more scope to change a plan once underway but at the same time still impose some realistic rigor on just what he can do.

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RE: Road to Moscow - 7/3/2005 5:02:58 AM   
ravinhood


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I agree monster wargames like "Second Front"/"West Front" back in the days of SSI just had too much micromangement per turn and games like War in the Pacific will never see the light of day on my system. I like a 4 hour wargame for the most part. Something I can finish in a setting at least. THough I know games like Civilization and their like and the Total War series take days and weeks sometimes, they are so "simple" to play it's pretty easy to remember or get right back into what you were doing when you come back to them later on.

I swear though, I believe on my commodore 64 I have a game called "Road to Moscow", I'll have to rifle through my old disks to find it or in my manual case, the name sure seems familar though. It was a pretty neat and simplified little game though, nothing like "Second Front" which I just couldn't get into.

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RE: Road to Moscow - 7/3/2005 5:57:07 PM   
bluemonday

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

Actually one of the key elements of designing a good wargame is striking the right balance in "player involvement". Too much micro-management with lots of units and players feel overwhelmed with the sheer workload. But the converse of setting things up and then sitting back while the play unfolds without an option to influence or change things leaves most pretty cold as well.

I have to admit I was skeptical when I heard what you were doing with Airborne Assault. I wasn't sure how that could be fun, partly because I had seen firsthand how difficult it was to make a "planning sim" like Road to Moscow interesting. But you guys sure proved me wrong.

It would be interesting to see how how guys approached a larger-scale situation - I think a game modeling a larger operation could still work with your system, but there would be some design difficulties to overcome.

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RE: Road to Moscow - 7/4/2005 2:13:47 AM   
Arjuna


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quote:

ORIGINAL: bluemonday
It would be interesting to see how how guys approached a larger-scale situation - I think a game modeling a larger operation could still work with your system, but there would be some design difficulties to overcome.


Yes one day I would like to do Trial of Strength ( our first board game which covered the War on the Eastern Front ) on computer using a "scaled" version of our engine. That would be nice. However, as you point out there would need to be very significant changes to accomodate the change in scale. For instance, the notion of Divisions moving "in-formation" is not relevant. You really need to handle this with area of ops, phase lines etc. Combat and sighting would all have to be changed. Plus you would need to add in political and production elements to really capture the flavour. We can but dream.

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www.panthergames.com

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RE: Road to Moscow - 7/4/2005 2:20:52 PM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: bluemonday
Actually, I don't think Road to Moscow looked all that great. I had a very early beta.


You might enjoy this then - I wrote this "review" about a year ago

- - -

As some of you might know I was recently offered the beta 1.10 version of
this Loch Ness monster of wargaming. I promised a review so here goes :

Game Concept :

Detailed geographical map of Europe where units of Brigade/Div/Army level
move and fight - all in real-time. You, as supreme commander literally
"draw" up the battle plan(s) which get executed by your AI commanders
whom you can shuffle around. A very detailed OOB + TOE and a nice choice
of scenario's complete the package.

Concept execution and detail :

The most interesting concept is the drawing board - you literally select
a portion of the battle field - which gets copied to the drawing screen
where you "draw" up a battle plan. You can set primary and secondary
objectives and tell your units where to move to. You then approve the
"plan" which gets executed by the AI.

This all sounds pretty nifty - though we could do without the separate
drawing board - the problem is : it doesn't work.

The reason it doesn't is because you can draw up a plan that looks good
on paper only to have it botched up by the incompetent own unit AI -
sounds like real life (tm) you'd think - not really - especially playing
as the Germans you'd expect the battlefield commanders to be smarter than
the guy sitting in Berlin but they aren't and that's where frustration
sets in because you lack the means to control the action.

Example : let's suppose you spot a Russian infantry army with their left
flank secured by mountains/rough and a refused - but open - right flank.
Let's say you have a German inf div, a mountain div and a panzer div at
your disposal - what plan do you come up with ? I want the inf div to
move up, make contact, make probing attacks but nothing serious and act
as a screen for the panzer division to swing behind and move behind the
Ruskies right flank while the mountain div infiltrates their supposedly
secure left flank. A minimum amount of coordination should ensure succes
in rounding up the Russians. Let's say you draw up this fail-safe plan in
RtM, you sit back smugly and watch it all go terribly wrong as soon as
you turn things over to the AI. The inf div will slam hard into the
prepared Russian positions and take numerous casualties, the mountain
unit will get lost in the mountains and the panzer division will arive in
the Russians rear and decide to await further orders amidst the Russian
rear echelon units.

So where did it go wrong ?

Well, for one thing this game oozes ambition - the entire Russian front -
in realtime - in 1997-1999 on pentium 2/300 machines with 1 MB graphic
cards .. Technically it couldn't have worked on the machines available
back then - my 2.8 gig / GeForce 4 machine has barely enough horsepower
to run it. No wonder it was reported to run in sub-realtime with every 5
minutes of game time taking 15 minutes of computer time - this would mean
a 12 year continuous runtime for the entire campaign. Madness.

The concept of "drawing" up a masterplan sounds good on paper - but the
own unit AI is so incompetent in carrying out your plan that this game
really needs more player control over the battlefield - there isn't,
resulting in player frustration. You feel like the guy sitting in his
Berlin bunker in 1945 moving around armies and nothing happens the way he
plans it.

The reason it survived so long as a "game in progress" - and a financial
sink-hole - is that if you look at a screenshot and read the manual /
concept docs the shear ambition takes your breath away. On paper it's the
game I want to play. It's a game practically all grognards would want to
play so it got financed way too long because it's so beautiful in concept
people wanted it to work despite the technical and conceptual hurdles.

Could it have worked ?

Well, if they had limited the game to let's say a "Kanev Bridge", added
more own-unit controll and had put a lot more effort in the AI they could
have ended up with an "Airborne Assault". And this is really the point I
wanted to make : the RtM game concept is - apart from the over-ambitious
scope - virtually identical to the Airborne Assault series games. RtM is
dead and buried, but if you really want to see that inf div make a
probing attack to fix the Russians in place, the mountain div sneaking up
on them while the Panzer div swings into their rear you'll have to wait
till the guys at Panther Games turn east.

- - - -

Arjuna doesn't know it, but each of my posts contains a sublimal "barbarossa" message - my way of trying to influence his decisions :)

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx


(in reply to bluemonday)
Post #: 10
RE: Road to Moscow - 7/4/2005 2:43:30 PM   
Qwerty

 

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Do you think its still possible to get a hold on this beta? I've just looked up Road to Moscow viewing some of the screenshots (All 4 actually!)

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RE: Road to Moscow - 7/4/2005 3:03:23 PM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Qwerty
Do you think its still possible to get a hold on this beta? I've just looked up Road to Moscow viewing some of the screenshots (All 4 actually!)


Your best bet might be to ask for it in the war-historical newsgroup on UseNet. There's at least a dozen there who have the beta, I know because last year I made this once-only offer to make duplicates and send them the disk. But all will tell you it's a waste of time better spend playing HTTR.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

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RE: Road to Moscow - 7/4/2005 3:59:32 PM   
U2


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna


Yes one day I would like to do Trial of Strength ( our first board game which covered the War on the Eastern Front ) on computer using a "scaled" version of our engine. That would be nice. However, as you point out there would need to be very significant changes to accomodate the change in scale. For instance, the notion of Divisions moving "in-formation" is not relevant. You really need to handle this with area of ops, phase lines etc. Combat and sighting would all have to be changed. Plus you would need to add in political and production elements to really capture the flavour. We can but dream.






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Post #: 13
RE: Road to Moscow - 7/4/2005 6:37:40 PM   
Grouchy


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Ooh yes RtM. Concept was great, a long time believer here. Just by looking and playing the beta you could see the potential. The only problem is that BDG never was able to tackle the technical and conceptual hurdles.

Luckily there was Panther Games, never looked back since RDOA.
Now about Panther Games going east. I really pity the guy who has to do the estabs, map and the grand campaign scenario of "barbarossa"


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Post #: 14
RE: Road to Moscow - 7/4/2005 11:05:59 PM   
daft

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: sterckxe

quote:

ORIGINAL: bluemonday
Actually, I don't think Road to Moscow looked all that great. I had a very early beta.


You might enjoy this then - I wrote this "review" about a year ago

- - -

SNIP

- - - -

Arjuna doesn't know it, but each of my posts contains a sublimal "barbarossa" message - my way of trying to influence his decisions :)

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx




Thanks for the review Eddy. Too bad, since it - as you say - looks like a game a want to play. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what the future brings. :)

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RE: Road to Moscow - 7/5/2005 12:39:59 AM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: daft
Thanks for the review Eddy. Too bad, since it - as you say - looks like a game a want to play. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what the future brings. :)


Well, if you're an Eastern Front junkie and just so you know : Arjuna is recruiting people for a number of teams - one of them is an Eastern front team - check out the HTTR forum thread at http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/m.asp?m=887551

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx


(in reply to daft)
Post #: 16
RE: Road to Moscow - 7/5/2005 9:42:12 AM   
daft

 

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Thanks Eddy. E-mail dispatched to Arunja. :)

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