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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips!

 
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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 4:51:08 AM   
Deathtreader


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quote:

ORIGINAL: MarkShot


Start:1 12:00 End: 3 12:00
Last: 2 14:46 Now: 2 18:39


Here we see our motorized infantry on the move to the South of Evangelismos. You will notice that they are no longer traveling in road column formation on the road. They have shaken out into a different formation for better security, since the AI commander is responding to nearby enemy activity. When the threat dissappears and the AI commander feels that they are secure, he will switch back to road column formation on the highway traveling via bounding overwatch.

At Panther Games, AI means what the words actually say.

Also, note due to the new COTA handling of offroad movement, their progress has slowed to a crawl.


Hi,

Just curious as to how one could tell by looking at the highlighted units on the map that they were no longer in road formation. To someone who hasn't played HTTR et al there doesn't seem to be any obvious indication.

Rob.


< Message edited by Arjuna -- 11/2/2005 6:44:05 AM >


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So we're at war with the Russkies eh?? I suppose we really ought to invade or something. (Lonnnng pause while studying the map)
Hmmmm... big place ain't it??
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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 5:59:44 AM   
MarkShot


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Rob,

The things to notice:

(1) The shape of the foot prints. Road column will show up when highlight as a long narrow foot print.

(2) Look at the movement paths implicitly generated by the AI for his subordinates. If his plan was for road column, then the paths would overlap the road. This shows them spreading out.

(3) If I had let that run for a few minutes before taking the screen shot, you would then see the units physically move off the road. For the looks of the screenshot, it looks like they were just changing their formation as I captured the save game.

(4) You cannot see this. But the roles displayed in the left side bar for a selected unit will switch to "left guard" and "right guard". In road column, you are just going to see roles like "advanced guard", "line filler", and "rear guard".

---

Sorry, I am not at my laptop at the moment where I have all the COTA stuff installed. So, I cannot illustrate this with any screenshots here. (The originally one you asked about is reproduced below.)

I hope that helped clear things up.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 10:33:47 AM   
loyalcitizen


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I'm still seeing a lot of squiggly movement lines, and near loop-de-loops.
This has been in the past 2 games. I'm surprised it's still in.
Why is this unit moving 1000m to redeploy 100m away?






Attachment (1)

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 12:48:16 PM   
elmo3

 

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Looks like they are going on a short patrol to me.

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 2:43:33 PM   
Arjuna


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jim D Burns
I just think there is a problem that needs to be addressed here.


I took a look at this scenario again today and stepped through the firing code again. To keep a long story short I agree with you that the direct fire casualties from long range are too high. So I have reviewed the rates and modified weapon accuracies for direct fire across the board based on range - ie a bigger reduction the greater the distance. Essentially there is no mod at all if under 500 but up to 50% reduction when greater than 2000m.

I also interogated the suppression code. It seems to be working OK now for bombardments but I noticed that it was nigh impossible to suppress anyone with direct fire. I have since changed this and run though the Tempe Gorge scenario. Seemed pretty good to me. I also put a mod in the Retreat code, which gets called before the suppression check, so that it now calls the suppression check and if it fails retreats in place rather than runs.

I'll be puting out a new build tomorrow and have asked our beta testers to pay close attention to this aspect. Here is a snap from the game I played showing B Coy 2/2nd Inf Bn nearly 80% suppressed and retreating in place - the suppression was due to direct fire from the German Mntn troops assaulting from the West:





Once again thanks Jim for the feedback. Maybe we should have you on our beta test team.

Attachment (1)

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www.panthergames.com

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Post #: 125
RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 3:23:28 PM   
MarkShot


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Rats!

This has been going on for a couple of years now! Everytime I win one of these scenarios, Dave and the beta team figure something must be broken and start looking for things to fix.

I get no respect.

:(

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 5:51:15 PM   
ChristianKnudsen


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Wow, this is unreal, on so many levels...

First off, thanks for the great AAR MarkShot - this is how an AAR should be! I've been checking the forum frequently for updates, and you have definitely moved up my "when must I convince my wife that we have enough money to afford to buy this game" date.

Second, the level of response shown by Panther Games is unbelievable, and this applies across the board. Not even the fine folks at Battlefront are as involved in their forums, which is saying a lot. I have never seen a comment (however well thought out and observant) elicit a response indicating a possibility for change from a developer with a major release so close. Especially when that comment is off of a (late?) beta build AAR. For this comment to then provoke a change to a just-about-to-be-released product is unbelievably awesome. I realise that you are in the playtest stage and looking for these sorts of problems, but the turnaround time (about 15 hours, IIRC) is unreal.

One of the reasons I have been such a great fan of Battlefront Games, aside from the great games, is the willingness of the team to get out onto the forums and get involved in their fan base in a personable and responsive way. Please keep it up here at Panther!

On the other hand, don't be afraid to tell us all to bugger off for a bit; ie, that well deserved vacation you've been talking about...

< Message edited by ChristianKnudsen -- 11/2/2005 5:58:03 PM >

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 7:04:14 PM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: elmo3
Great new LOS feature. There appear to be shades of gray in addition to white. Does that imply something less than 100% clear LOS but more than 0% blocked?


Yup

quote:

ORIGINAL: elmo3
Edit - Can you click anywhere on the map to use it or must you have a LOS to where you want to click first? Sorry for interrupting your display of the other new feature.


Click anywhere - you're playing the overall commander so it's reasonable to assume he had a map of the area where he was supposed to operate.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 7:20:50 PM   
Jim D Burns


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

I took a look at this scenario again today and stepped through the firing code again. To keep a long story short I agree with you that the direct fire casualties from long range are too high. So I have reviewed the rates and modified weapon accuracies for direct fire across the board based on range - ie a bigger reduction the greater the distance. Essentially there is no mod at all if under 500 but up to 50% reduction when greater than 2000m.

I also interogated the suppression code. It seems to be working OK now for bombardments but I noticed that it was nigh impossible to suppress anyone with direct fire. I have since changed this and run though the Tempe Gorge scenario. Seemed pretty good to me. I also put a mod in the Retreat code, which gets called before the suppression check, so that it now calls the suppression check and if it fails retreats in place rather than runs.

I'll be puting out a new build tomorrow and have asked our beta testers to pay close attention to this aspect. Here is a snap from the game I played showing B Coy 2/2nd Inf Bn nearly 80% suppressed and retreating in place - the suppression was due to direct fire from the German Mntn troops assaulting from the West:

Once again thanks Jim for the feedback. Maybe we should have you on our beta test team.


Great to see such a quick response, I was afraid it was too close to release to see any more changes. I’m also glad I was right, I would have hated to waist your time had my impressions of what had happened in the AAR been wrong.

Basically what I think the adjustment should strive for is to have support weapons (direct fire and artillery) suppress the enemies return fire enough to allow your assault units to close and carry the day. They should also cause casualties of course, just not enough to force consistent retreats unless the firepower being directed at the unit by said support is extremely heavy and sustained fire.

If it’s possible to differentiate range penalties by weapon types, I’d give rifles 100% at 200 meters and reduce their effectiveness out to 500 meters (say 30% at 500). It was a rare case to have an accurate rifleman at 500 meters range, but most men could hit what they were aiming at at 200 meters or less.

Thanks for the beta team offer, but alas my available time is sporadic at best, so I’m afraid I’d be a disappointment as a beta tester (not reliable enough for consistent input). I will spend time with the game once released and will gladly continue to post my impressions here though.

Jim

P. S. Thanks for your tireless efforts, this is truly a ground breaking system for wargaming and will probably prove to be a classic for years to come.


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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 7:33:10 PM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna
Certainly this is not somethinh that out beta testers have commented on in the many hundreds if not thousands of hour of testing. But then again we're only human. Thanks once again for your feedback.


Might I add : as a beta-tester you can't help getting a bit fixated on your own particular hang-ups, be it artillery, path determination, movement speeds, AI performance and a thousand other things that together make this a highly realistic experience.

This fixation is quite human, that's why a fresh pair of eyes can sometimes point out the obvious point that was overlooked - call it the "fog of beta-war"

Then again, I've seen units rout without a single casualty and others getting decimated while holding their ground. There's a dozen parameters + a random factor at play here so jumping in and "fixing" this straight away might not be the best course of action as Arjuna has already said.

I can assure you that the beta-testers have all been fish-whipped properly and will monitor this closely

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 7:39:32 PM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: MarkShot
This has been going on for a couple of years now! Everytime I win one of these scenarios, Dave and the beta team figure something must be broken and start looking for things to fix.


- it's item #3 on the Official Beta Watch List

#2 : When Ray & Eddy agree on something, they're *both* wrong.

and #1 : When Dave says something is fixed ....

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 7:53:43 PM   
Bil H


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quote:

ORIGINAL: sterckxe

Click anywhere - you're playing the overall commander so it's reasonable to assume he had a map of the area where he was supposed to operate.


Hey Eddy, they had maps in WW2 that could show you LOS from any location you wished regardless of whether you own that point or not?

Hmmm.. seems I need to make another "Feature Request" ...

Bil

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 8:31:07 PM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bil H

quote:

ORIGINAL: sterckxe

Click anywhere - you're playing the overall commander so it's reasonable to assume he had a map of the area where he was supposed to operate.


Hey Eddy, they had maps in WW2 that could show you LOS from any location you wished regardless of whether you own that point or not?

Hmmm.. seems I need to make another "Feature Request" ...

Bil



WWII topographical maps at the Army level : sure, they had them - not all of them very accurate - but even Napoleon had topographical maps - LOS and fields of fire can be derived from that, whether you "own" the point or not. When you're talking individual btl, rgt and even div commanders, that's something else. The Germans raiding French gaz stations to get Michelin maps of the area and other such assorted stories are well-known.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 9:10:01 PM   
Bil H


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Eddy, once again you totally misunderstood me

It is damned hard to get LOS manually from a topo map... try it and see. It is the god like power of knowing the LOS from any point at any time that I object to. We used to send out a Commander's recon to ensure visibility from an area was as we hoped. Unless you are on the ground it is near impossible in reality to know what you can and can't see.

That being said, I don't reeally have an objection to the LOS tool... it is very handy, I would just like to see it restricted to within friendly unit footprints... not a big deal really though, so it can wait 3 or 4 games down the road.

Bil

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 9:26:08 PM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bil H
Eddy, once again you totally misunderstood me


Yeah, most of the time I *really* need it spelled out (cfr. our discussion on attack coordination ...) - It's my programming background - in any analysis, everything that can be misunderstood, will be misunderstood.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Bil H
It is damned hard to get LOS manually from a topo map... try it and see.


Years of Squad Leader (the boardgame) and IRL hiking experience here - I'm the wrong person to judge if it's easy or not

quote:

ORIGINAL: Bil H
It is the god like power of knowing the LOS from any point at any time that I object to.


Well, it's certainly a fact that an Army/Corps commander never even knew where his *own* units *were* for sure, yet the game allows this as well. Own unit FOW and all that.

It's that old ultra-realism vs. playability/fun discussion again.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 9:34:03 PM   
Bil H


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quote:

Years of Squad Leader (the boardgame) and IRL hiking experience here - I'm the wrong person to judge if it's easy or not


SL is not a valid comparison... hiking is, but even then you can't tell how high a treeline is and whether standing on hilltop A you can see into valley B just by looking at the map... etc...

quote:

Well, it's certainly a fact that an Army/Corps commander never even knew where his *own* units *were* for sure, yet the game allows this as well. Own unit FOW and all that.


Someday we'll get that Friendly FOW I've been harping about for so long...

Sorry Mark it seems we have hi-jacked your thread.. I'll shut up now. Great AAR BTW... did you win? Inotice nobody ever writes an AAR where the AI wins... how about from one of your early COTA games Mark?

Bil

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 11:26:34 PM   
RayWolfe

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bil H
I would just like to see it restricted to within friendly unit footprints... not a big deal really though, so it can wait 3 or 4 games down the road.

Nice idea Bil. What about putting as a toggle selected at game start like the realism choices?
1 LOS Tool from any point.
2 LOS Tool from owned locations.
Dave, get that into COTA when you've got a second or two .. sounds easy.
Ray

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/2/2005 11:37:45 PM   
Arjuna


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jim D Burns
If it’s possible to differentiate range penalties by weapon types, I’d give rifles 100% at 200 meters and reduce their effectiveness out to 500 meters (say 30% at 500). It was a rare case to have an accurate rifleman at 500 meters range, but most men could hit what they were aiming at at 200 meters or less.


We already attenuate accuracy for individual weapons over range. Most weapons have five range bands. EG a 303 rifle has the following accuracies:

50 - 90%
100 - 81%
200 - 65%
300 - 46%
400 - 28%
500 - 14%

What I did was apply a further global accuracy Mod where the range > 500m. So while this will not affect rifles ( they can't fire at ranges beyond 500m anyway ) it will affect MMG etc.


_____________________________

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www.panthergames.com

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 1:34:24 AM   
MarkShot


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quote:


Hi,

Just curious as to how one could tell by looking at the highlighted units on the map that they were no longer in road formation. To someone who hasn't played HTTR et al there doesn't seem to be any obvious indication.

Rob.


Rob,

Now that I am back at my laptop, I'll give provide some screen captures along with my previous answer to your question.

First, you'll unit roles in the side bar like this when they are breaking out into a more secure formation.




Attachment (1)

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 1:37:36 AM   
MarkShot


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Here we see the same group of units that you had asked about approximately 8 hours later.

The AI commander no longer feels there is a threat and they are once again traveling in road column formation. Notice, the very narrow footprints and that all movement paths follow the road.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 1:39:36 AM   
MarkShot


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You will see unit roles for road columns such as ...




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 1:40:53 AM   
MarkShot


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And ...




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 1:42:08 AM   
MarkShot


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Okay, now that the entire COTA team has had a chance to introduce themselves in this thread, it is time to wrap up this AAR. :)

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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 1:52:53 AM   
MarkShot


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Start:1 12:00 End: 3 12:00
Last: 3 02:13 Now: 3 05:01


New Orders

The sky is just beginning to show a little light.

You'll notice that my armor and motorized infantry are down at Larissa.

7 hours remain in the scenario. If you look at the Win Meter in the top left hand corner, you will see that I am just shy of a decisive victory. Exiting these units at Larissa will secure my decisive victory.

This is the objective labeled "Assemble at Larissa" in the objective list.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 1:56:33 AM   
MarkShot


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Start:1 12:00 End: 3 12:00
Last: 3 02:13 Now: 3 05:01


New Orders

I group all these units together (just do the old mouse drag routine) and give them an order to exit.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 2:00:54 AM   
MarkShot


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Start:1 12:00 End: 3 12:00
Last: 3 05:01 Now: 3 12:01


GAME OVER

And here is the final situation to the North.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 2:17:41 AM   
MarkShot


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Start:1 12:00 End: 3 12:00
Last: 3 05:01 Now: 3 12:01


GAME OVER

And here is the final situation to the South.

You will notice that none of my units exited at Larissa. As a result, this got logged as a bug.

Had this been working right, then the units will dissappear from the map and you'll get a message. With COTA there are no predesignated units to exit. However, you must satisfy the requirements set out by the scenario designer which can be specified in armor ratings, anti-personel ratings, bombard ratings, etc... I have exited units in other games, but these units wouldn't go (and I tried everything).

So, the final result was a marginal victory. And this is now on Dave's task list to investigate. :)

---

Besides giving you a chance to look at COTA and pick up a few insights, one of the nice things about this thread is that it has provided you, the customers, with a chance to see what goes on behind the scenes. As you can see Panther is extremely responsive within the limits of its resources unlike companies which at best use the testers to catch bugs. The testing team is made up of a fairly diverse set of individuals from those who have done extensive historical research to having military service experience to someone such as myself who has neither but has been in systems development for 20+ years.




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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 2:25:26 AM   
MarkShot


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I said I would talk a little bit more about the scenario itself when done.

The force ratio here was something like 10:3 (Axis:Allies) with the Allies having two excellent terrain features to work with: a river and a wooded road choke point to the far North.

So, how can the player lose when playing the Germans?

Remember, I took a hasty attack approach in this AAR. I had played this previously as the Germans and instead took a deliberate attack approach and suffered a marginal defeat. What went wrong?

(1) The deliberate attacks allowed the Allies to reach their defensive positions and dig-in. That vastly improved their situation.

(2) The deliberate attacks along with enhanced defensive situation of the Allies ate up precious time that the Germans did not have.

(3) An unopposed attack generates much more fatigue than an unopposed road march. Remember the 141st Regt and 143rd Regt are also on foot and have a lot of ground to cover. Having the 141st Regt perform a deliberate attack exhausted them to the point that they had difficulty accomplishing their other objectives to the South-East.

< Message edited by MarkShot -- 11/3/2005 3:59:55 PM >


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RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 2:52:48 AM   
MarkShot


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Alright, let's flip the scenario and look at it from the Allied player's perspective. I am not going to do another AAR, but I will sketch in broad strokes a successful plan:

You cannot mass any place as the Allies, even at Tempe. It's not a question of "if the Germans will make it across the river, but more like when and in what condition". So, you have to spread your forces very thin.

You will have two arty batteries and near the end platoon of armor will show up at Larissa to help out. Your entire force of three battalions is on foot.

You are in a hasty defense situation. You have to hustle individual companies to defensive positions immediately. They have to get to cover, halt, and dig-in before the Germans are upon them. Otherwise, what happened to the Allies in my AAR will happen to your men. If they can get dug-in, they will fair much better.

To the North, a well placed company in the woods along the road can tie up the German column of tanks and trucks for an extended period.

You will only want to place a scattering of companies along the river and hold half back in reserve and to exit.

You should set your HQ units significantly back from the action so that they don't get overrun. If HQ units should happen to be in a retreating or routing state, then they will be incapable of relaying any orders to their subordinates.

Your arty should be towards the South well clear of being overrun. They can sit on some objectives for you and also be close to Larissa when the time comes to bug out.

At Tempe, you have some good defensive terrain and it is quite feasible to blow a bridge or two if it comes to that. (The AI does this automatically if it feels it can no longer hold the crossing. This happens when you give the a deny crossing order to your units.)

To the South, there isn't any good defensive terrain around the crossings. The good terrain there is too far set back from the crossings to be effective at night. The best terrain in a couple of cases is, in fact, on the far bank. So, you are going to have to place a couple of companies over on the West Bank.

A suicide mission you say. The situation here for the Allies is that not everyone is coming home and they know it.

If you set up your defense well, then Pz 3 Regt is going to get stuck for a long time. By night fall, you can still have the Germans shooting it out with you at the river crossings. If a defending company breaks, you can try placing a blind slow barrage on the crossing point to slow the Germans up. Eventually, the Germans will regroup and come at you hard and force the issue.

As the sun begins to set, it is time to order unengaged units away from the fighting to Larissa to exit. They will get moving at night fall. It's going to take the remainder of the clock to reach Larissa.

Those units engaged along the river must stay and hold to the last man.

If the river to the South is crossed by the Germans, then you can set up an understrength battalion on the high ground to the West to protect the route South and your artillery.

You can use your late arriving armor platoon to move up the road and delay the Germans at various blocking positions if Pz 3 Regt has broken through.

This plan is good for a marginal victory. I don't know if a decisive victory is possible. In my opinion, the scenario is possibly 6-12 hours too short for the Allies to make it to Larissa to withdraw. They have a lot of ground to cover and start off pretty fatigued to begin with, and, of course, they are being shot at.

However, you may find yourself much more proficient at this game than I am. So, let me know if you suceed in getting a decisive victory as the Allies!

< Message edited by MarkShot -- 11/3/2005 4:01:04 PM >


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Panther Games (RDOA/HTTR/COTA/BFTB) Beta Tester

(in reply to MarkShot)
Post #: 149
RE: COTA (mini-guide): Tutorial, AAR, and tips! - 11/3/2005 3:00:15 AM   
MarkShot


Posts: 6611
Joined: 3/29/2003
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Here, a screen shot of the Allies blowing the bridge when I used the above plan.




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Post #: 150
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