From: Washington D.C.
4 CSGs is definitely doable, especially when you start to understand a CVW as an integrated strike force and deck cycles. One of my problems I have with scenarios involving multiple carriers, is that very often they're asked to do too much. I haven't played the Desert Storm scenarios though, so I can't comment on them specifically. From what you've said, I like them in principle. I usually get annoyed by the execution in commercial scenarios. I should download that one and see. If I can't quickly read a scenario briefing and immediately say, "Today my target is the power station in I-don't-care-istan, and it consists of 3 generator buildings, a transformer, and an admin building," then it's probably a badly written scenario.
That being said, one of the challenges in CMO is that yes, you're wearing a lot of hats. At some point you're faced with the "too many hats" problem where you're making too many decisions and it ceases to make any sense. It's on the scenario designer to not do that. There's two limiting factors for the player. Those are task saturation and realism. The task saturation issue is just a function of player skill with the software. A good player can handle a couple hundred aircraft with some reasonable intelligence. The sweet spot is generally about 100 airplanes, though. The realism limit is when the person commanding a force that large would have little or no influence on the kinds of decisions you spend your time making in Command (e.g. weaponeering, routing, timing, sequencing, etc.) that's the subject for a whole separate topic. At that point you probably need to pick a few targets and make a scenario for each of them. The "one scenario to rule them all" mentality is a non-starter. Those aren't really interesting either because CMO is probably the wrong gaming tool for those. The scenario designer really wants to be playing a different game.
I like both larger and smaller scenarios, provided they're realistic. The sins I get frustrated with are:
1) Too many injects: I'm not against injects per se, they can serve a purpose, but very often there are too many of them, and they're not very realistic. They cloud up your decision making and make planning impossible. The sky is not falling all the time, and forcing the players to act as though it is creates a false impression of what exactly the problem they're facing actually is. For example, the scenario starts off "strike a bunch of SAM sites" but really it's about SOF support. Too often, it's just an annoyance that consumes resources that you'd prefer to put elsewhere. If that's the case, just assume that whatever SOF team you want me to support somewhere has some sort of dedicated CAS already and it doesn't belong to me from the beginning. Make a separate scenario for that. Scenario designers should ask themselves, what's the point of an inject? Does the scenario really get more interesting because of it? Would this sort of thing normally be planned for in advance and would be better handled by giving the player fewer forces to work with up front? If all you're doing is adding one more task to the player to penalize them for failing to do, then it doesn't need to be there. What is the challenge of this scenario anyhow?
2) Responsibility without authority: The scenario designer decides when you get to fly a plane or not, and very often has a specific idea of what you're "supposed" to hit with it. I don't like being told what to do. When you build a scenario, it should be the player's circus to run. Give it to them. Furthermore, when I play, I plan very carefully and very thoroughly. It's rare for me to parcel out airplanes ad hoc. I have my own ideas about how I want to accomplish a task, and playing with them is part of what wargaming is about. It's not hard. Just tell me how many planes I've got up front, let me plan and execute. Parceling out airplanes is back-door way of forcing players to do what the scenario designer believes to be the "right" thing and I'm not interested in the scenario designer's opinions. If I didn't know I had enough airplanes to do a strike, I wouldn't do the strike. The whole scenario would be off.
3) Distances are wrong: I've got 500 mile jets, bombers that can fly half-way around the world and back, and 1000 mile missiles. Why is everything piled on top of everything else? Squashing everything together is another way for scenario designers to force a "story," at the expense of player agency. Effectively, it eliminates the player's OODA loop, and destroys the value of ISR. If everything is right there in weapons range, there's no need to maneuver. You don't have to plan routing, or fuel consumption, or where to put your tankers. It reduces a scenario to a fast violent exchange of weapons where you've got no choice but to go full tilt Leeroy Jenkins from the very beginning. That's not how things work. You're forcing a situation that both sides strive to avoid.
< Message edited by SeaQueen -- 10/21/2020 1:50:48 PM >