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Compared to Flashpoint ot WinSPMBT?

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Compared to Flashpoint ot WinSPMBT? - 11/1/2019 7:29:21 PM   


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AB looks to be similar scale and includes same time frame as Flashpoint. AB is sort of RT while Flashpoint is non-synchronous turn-based. It would be great to have a good tactical game for this time period. Flashpoint has a unique turn system but I found the game hard to really get into. The old and continually updated WinSPMBT is OK but doesn't capture post-ww2 ranges or command very well. How does AB stack up?
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RE: Compared to Flashpoint ot WinSPMBT? - 11/1/2019 9:02:39 PM   

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I'd describe AB as being most closely related to the original close combat games but on steroids, scaled up (if you wish) with better graphics. The combat is good, there are lots of tools available to provide the player with control, and a massive national equipment variety. There's also a robust modding suite if you want to modify or tweak pretty much anything about the game-- including command radius, order delay, artillery support times etc.

I like the game a lot, the devs are cool, they're thorough with their research, and it's clearly a labor of love-- the only thing I don't care for, and this my pet issue; is that, all the fire support assets, on-map, and off-map, don't have their stats tracked. So you can have a mortar platoon or artillery battery banging away an entire campaign and none of its kills are recorded. Doesn't seem to bother anyone but me though!

< Message edited by Artillerist -- 11/1/2019 9:16:59 PM >

(in reply to ctimmerman)
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RE: Compared to Flashpoint ot WinSPMBT? - 11/1/2019 9:05:21 PM   


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AB is more like Graviteam's games, or a platoon/company scale Combat Mission, than it is like any turn-based game. I get that people want to compare it to those, but the differences are real. Events occur within the scale of a hex, and within the timeframe of a turn, that are necessarily abstracted in a turn-based game. That leads to more realism in unit placement, terrain utilization, and similar factors.

That said, Flashpoint was in large part based on the idea of unit capabilities being degraded over time, and the abstractions of things like electronic warfare and casualties led to the turns reflecting "getting inside the enemy's OODA loop". That is, it's built into the game structure. With AB, you've got a more traditional approach, but unit training, morale, experience, comms and doctrine all play a role in things like how quickly a unit responds to orders. These can then be affected over time by losses, terrain, EW, fatigue and so forth. So to me, the process of wearing the enemy down (however you do it, with firepower or hit and run or whatever tactics fit) seems to be more realistic. The game clock doesn't change to disadvantage one side, because the sheer effects of losses (material and morale) will do the job over time.

I also find that the huge variety of possible scenarios is far beyond the sort of set piece fights I recall from Flashpoint (which, to be honest, I played quite a bit of a few years back, and liked it). It's refreshing to be able to customize fights to fit what you want to sim at the time. And the different factions have different fighting styles (doctrines) needed to fit the equipment and training and terrain they function in. That's really hard to portray in turn-based games without added rules, but in RT unit-based games, it just falls out of the TO&E and terrain and other elements of the situation.

So for me, I like the turn-based games, but I'll take pausable realtime over that every time. I still play the turn-based stuff at times, but more often I'm doing the RT tactical games. Just more realism and flexibility and interesting stuff going on.

(in reply to ctimmerman)
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RE: Compared to Flashpoint ot WinSPMBT? - 11/1/2019 9:20:47 PM   

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Scale and play are different. AB like MBT are tactical in scale with single vehicles and squads on the map and map area is in meters with a more realtime flow of play. FPRS is 500 meters per hex and as noted above is played in an asynchronous WEGO. We also look at unit size in a grand tactical way with companies and platoons versus single vehicles, but we resolve down to the same level. All three in my opinion are good games and they each look at the same time in history with a different flavor.


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RE: Compared to Flashpoint ot WinSPMBT? - 11/1/2019 9:30:49 PM   

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Yeah, AB is kind of its own thing - it doesn't quite have the scope and command sophistication of Flashpoint, nor some of the finer detail (in terms of controls, not looks) of WinSPMBT. And it's a real-time game, albeit with order delays and the option to play in "rounds" (during which the game cannot be paused - this isn't forced on the player, but can be a neat way to add a layer of challenge.)

It is its own sort of odd beast - yes, mechanically it is definitely most similar to Close Combat, except it is almost opposite in terms of scale. My main hangup with CC has always been that its maps are just too small and its battles a little too scripted to deliver fast, high-casualty combat - but Armored Brigade is anything but small, if anything its maps and scope often feel almost too big, and almost too unscripted at times! What AB has in spades is that it captures the importance of scouting, the long stretches of nothing happening, the sudden, brutal, irreversible nature of armored combat at long ranges, and the fact that from the moment you make contact in a scenario - chaos only increases and your ability to control the situation decreases. It's not always a "fun" game by classical definition, but it gets across some hard truths about this type of warfare in an elegant way. And yes, IMO it is very good at representing realistic engagement ranges for modern (or at least Cold War-era) equipment, especially where armor is concerned.

The main thing to look out for is that it's not always in a comfortable zone for players looking for a certain kind of experience. Its controls feel Close Combat-y, but in reality you often have limited input into how units behave. You cannot simply order a unit (except a mortar/SP gun) to fire on a location or a specific target for suppression - that is for the units themselves to decide (and that's a case in point for many things). On the other hand, you still have to do a lot of work in terms of managing formations of units and getting everybody into the right position - the AI isn't so autonomous as to just be given a general instruction and execution area and going off to do that work on its own. You have to move units or formations there yourself, set up their ROE, and change it by hand as needed. So you're not quite dealing with mostly-mindless drones in your AI that will follow your exact orders - but you're not dealing with units led by clever-thinking leaders, either. It's somewhere in between.

Personally though, I really like it - what AB really has going for it is flexibility and ease of use. It's not hard to learn, and it's one of those games you can jump into almost any time, and whip up an infinite amount of custom-generated battles (or even campaigns) to your preference within minutes, and hop right in and play them. It's an easy go-to if you just feel like some Cold War fighting on a totally unplanned evening. But it's not really like either WinSPMBT or Flashpoint at all - it's a less heady, "what you see is what you get" kind of game. Whereas in those (especially Flashpoint) you have to really learn to digest a lot of abstract information and visualize a complex battlefield in your head - AB is general and often broad-strokes, but very concrete. That is, "tank sees tank? tank shoots tank!" is about the level of sophistication of its combat - even though that combat happens in realistic ranges and, arguably, in general does a surprisingly good job of representing its particular form of warfare.

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RE: Compared to Flashpoint ot WinSPMBT? - 11/2/2019 10:41:59 AM   


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I haven’t played mbt but my perception is that AB is somewhere in between close combat and flashpoint as has been mentioned above. Playing operation flashpoint you really have to think far ahead and not fall into the trap of head to head engagements or remaining in los of the enemy too long. AB has some of the same dynamic but you can correct to a much greater degree than in flashpoint

(in reply to CCIP-subsim)
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RE: Compared to Flashpoint ot WinSPMBT? - 11/9/2019 7:24:18 AM   

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What about when compared with Command Ops(2)? or the even older Tacops?


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RE: Compared to Flashpoint ot WinSPMBT? - 11/9/2019 12:50:38 PM   


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What about when compared with Command Ops(2)? or the even older Tacops?

I'm not familiar with Tacops. While similar to CO2, the time frame is different. In CO2 it's not uncommon to have 7 day battles with supply depots and isolation being critical features. Managing battle fatigue is on a daily scale with units resting etc.

In regards to combat and such AB has solved an issue I always had with CO2, where is your unit, exactly? Is it in the tree line, next to the treeline, in the open? It was hard to determine at times what was going on. I do miss the erroneous scouting reports stating that a company of heavy armor was coming in only to discover it's a platoon of bicycle infantry.


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RE: Compared to Flashpoint ot WinSPMBT? - 4/7/2020 8:01:38 AM   


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Of all the games mentioned, AB is most similar to Tacops.
Unit scale is identical, they both deal with company/battalion/brigade sized battles.

Formations are handled differently. Multiple units joined together in a formation in Tacops are represented by a single icon, the software handles their formation positions abstractly.
Tacops AI is 100% scripted. Used created scenarios have no AI, must be played head to head.
Tacops runs in real time, but with 1 minute turns divided into 15 second "impulses"

I first heard of AB on the Tacops forum about 10 years ago and downloaded the shareware version and have played it since. Considering where I heard of AB, I am kind of surprised the AB developer isn't more familiar with Tacops.

Tacops was first published in the early 90's. The developer had a newsletter called Tacops Gazette in which he published responses to player questions and explained reasons for many of his design decisions. Well woth reading by AB developer.

The two games are so similar that if a Tacops II were to be published today as a evolutionary development of the original, it would be a direct competitor to AB.

Many would buy both,

I have both and still play Tacops 14 years after its last update.

(in reply to TitaniumTrout)
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RE: Compared to Flashpoint ot WinSPMBT? - 5/9/2020 5:51:00 PM   

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There is no doubt many war-games left their legacy in Armored Brigade, but interestingly enough Tacops is not one of them. However, few days ago I went out to read Tacops Gazette and I was surprised to see on how many points our design philosophy overlaps with decisions taken by creator of Tacops.

However, maybe it doesn't comes out as a surprise as many features in AB were implemented based on feedback of former soldiers and Tacops creator was a USMC Major.

(in reply to mmacguinness)
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