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Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam

 
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Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/14/2021 5:14:09 AM   
Rosseau

 

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Here's a review of the game. I'm posting it primarily because the plucky devs continue to release free content, despite a serious lack of feedback from players.

IMHO, I can recommend this game with two caveats. The first is that this product is not for players new to wargames. For those gamers, Panzer Corp 2 might be a better, albeit more expensive, choice.

For experienced players, the game comes closest to Matrix Games' The Operational Art of War III-IV, although CAOS is much simpler to pick up and play.

Here's the short-list of positives for this product:

1. The OOBs are exhaustive, and the historical units will be familiar to wargamers. The NATO symbols are a delight.
2. All the nitty-gritty details for a moderately complex operational wargame are here, including Air Units, Supply, a Comprehensive Orders Menu, Zones of Control, WEGO turn playback (10 "impulses" shown per turn) and a multi-page combat resolution display showing lists of units involved in the action and combat losses.
3. The developers continue to add the equivalent of free DLCs worth of content, including the latest WW2 Operation Husky campaign in Sicily.
4. The AI is definitely up to the task. In my experience, it may be getting a little bit of "help," but that is hard to determine, as so much is going on under-the-hood, with the movement and combat calculations hidden from the player in fog-of-war.
5. The latest version of the game, and the Operation Husky add-on, appear bug-free.
6. Many aspects of the game are text-moddable, and I have yet to "break" the game after seriously messing with the text files!

Using the Interface
- Right-click on a unit or stack on the map, and an OOB breakdown appears below. Choose the entire stack or highlight an individual company/BN/Regiment below by left clicking. Then *left-click* on a destination on the map, and right-click to exit orders for that unit.
- When deploying units at the start, or during a game (reinforcements are a new addition to the sim), left-click on the OOB box below to highlight the unit, and then *drag* it onto the map on the highlighted blue squares.
- Selecting the Air button in the lower right corner of the screen allows one to choose bombardment/air support/recon and doing the left-click to select the specific target, unit to be supported or recon square.

(Check out the images shown on the Steam purchase page to see the plethora of information available on the various unit screens.)

For those who want to "tool around" and are familiar with the Cheat Engine application, it's easy to search for (and increase) the number of build points on the deployment screen using the "double" value-type search option. I am happy to help anyone who needs it regarding use of Cheat Engine when playing against the AI. This allows one to deploy an unlimited amount of friendly units at the start, or during, the game.

And finally comes the second caveat, which applies to some players: All the stats and formulas appear to be there, but the visual resolution of combat is minimalist in the extreme. Even the old (but great) HPS and John Tiller games featured a combat resolution box during turn resolution, as each attack was made. In this game, you will have to search for the results by using the replay feature and selecting the units with "combat resolution" icons over them.

Personally, graphics and whiz-bang resolutions come a distant second in comparison to historical fidelity, lots of unit stats and formulas, etc. But I still found that the game is a bit less "exciting" than it should be, considering all that it is simulating.

For $20 USD, it is still a solid buy for most wargamers, especially because the devs continue to work hard and release free content. It's also "different" enough in its own right to find a place with a 1,000 other wargames released over the past 40 years!

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1466610/Combined_Arms_Operations_Series/?l=latam

Post #: 1
RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/14/2021 2:41:13 PM   
Alan Sharif

 

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It's a fun game, and I too have difficulty fighting the AI. Glad it's not just me. Been waiting for the Operation Husky update in order to play a 'historical' scenario. I'd certainly recommend purchasing this title.

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RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/15/2021 12:18:34 AM   
ThomasJay

 

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Thank you both so much for your reviews/comments! It's been on my radar since it came out but I was put off by no initial historical scenarios and lack of reviews and discussion. I was a little afraid the devs might drop it.

Based on your comments it's time to pull the trigger.

(in reply to Alan Sharif)
Post #: 3
RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/15/2021 12:26:33 AM   
76mm


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Thanks for your review, I will take a look. Does it have a map editor?

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Post #: 4
RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/15/2021 1:25:47 AM   
Rosseau

 

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No map editor yet, but has these so far:

Al Hudud, Ardennes, Baghdad, Bastogne, Khokhlovo, Lake Okum, Odland, Paris, Seine, Sicily, Snake River, Somme, Tobruk.

And that's a good point that Alan brings up: Difficulty against the AI without cheating (either modifying unit files or using CE) is pretty brutal. But leave it to him to handle the challenge!

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Post #: 5
RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/15/2021 7:18:37 AM   
Alan Sharif

 

Posts: 1106
Joined: 8/1/2001
From: UK.
Status: online
I have experimented with a slowly advancing solid front line, blitzkrieg like breakthroughs, and all points in-between. Either way, the AI finds a gap and it's all downhill for me once that happens. Still fun to play. I think I need more practice, but wont put any serious effort in till Operation Husky is released.

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RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/15/2021 4:52:13 PM   
76mm


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If will try to buy it this weekend. I won't really use it much unless/until it has a map editor, but its good to support anyone working on something like this (at least for $20 it is!).

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Post #: 7
RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/15/2021 9:17:26 PM   
LarryP


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From: Carson City, NV
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I almost buy it then I back off. I have so many hex type games and I love that style, but not sure if this will be as good as what I already have.

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Post #: 8
RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/15/2021 9:37:03 PM   
jwarrenw13

 

Posts: 1895
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From: Louisiana, USA
Status: offline
After looking on Steam this reminds me somewhat of Desert War 40-42. And their upcoming Wego WW II Stalingrad.

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Post #: 9
RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/16/2021 12:41:00 AM   
burbigo

 

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Thank you so much for this review.

SHAREit MX Player

< Message edited by burbigo -- 11/17/2021 4:41:20 PM >

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Post #: 10
RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/17/2021 7:01:16 PM   
LarryP


Posts: 3827
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From: Carson City, NV
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I bought it. My city names on the map are a green font in a green box. Makes it impossible to read city names.

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Post #: 11
RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/17/2021 8:41:53 PM   
Zovs


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I was kinda excited until I read that this is a “hypothetical WW II” game….

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Post #: 12
RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/18/2021 1:40:57 AM   
Rosseau

 

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LarryP, I will save you the trouble and post on Steam so maybe they can fix your issue. I bet they can.

Good thing is I think the scenarios will get more historical as they are introduced. We'll see how long the devs stick with it!

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Post #: 13
RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/18/2021 3:40:34 PM   
76mm


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I bought it this weekend as well, but haven't messed with it as all. I have no problem with a "hypothetical" game as long as it includes a full editor. I'd prefer that the devs focus on adding features/programming, and let players develop scenarios.

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Post #: 14
RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/18/2021 4:27:42 PM   
gekkoguy35

 

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FWIW, I believe that some historical scenarios are in the works.

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Post #: 15
RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/18/2021 5:12:39 PM   
LarryP


Posts: 3827
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From: Carson City, NV
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rosseau

LarryP, I will save you the trouble and post on Steam so maybe they can fix your issue. I bet they can.

Good thing is I think the scenarios will get more historical as they are introduced. We'll see how long the devs stick with it!


Thank you!

(in reply to Rosseau)
Post #: 16
RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/23/2021 6:40:40 PM   
76mm


Posts: 4659
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From: Washington, DC
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hmmm, I just tried this game, kind of a strange experience... I chose a Russian map, and German forces, but found that my opponent was the US. But it didn't really matter, because I never found an enemy unit. At the end of the "game" I occupied 80% of the map but none of the victory objectives (which I couldn't find any way to idenity), so I lost. Can't even say how combat plays out, because there wasn't any. I must be doing something wrong, but it is hard to tell, because there isn't a manual (as far as I can tell). Anybody have any tips.

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Post #: 17
RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/24/2021 1:40:49 AM   
Rosseau

 

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I would chose Sicily as the map. Maybe you as the Defender, so the AI will tend to be very active. With the choice of "Objective" I usually choose "Meeting."

Number of turns, whatever, and battle size "Corps."

The AI nation you face and its "year" is your choice. You don't get to pick your nationality and year until after the game starts.

From there, you pick your specific units based on maybe 150 points. This is where I use Cheat Engine to give myself an edge. As Alan states above, it's really hard to win.

You can also buy replacements on the same screen. With this game, I've found one really needs to study the interface, as rather important stuff is not always that noticeable.

And, worse case, you can at least refund on Steam if the game is not for you. I like it because of all the hypothetical what-ifs, but that's not a feature everyone desires.

(in reply to 76mm)
Post #: 18
RE: Combined Arms Operations Series on Steam - 10/24/2021 3:39:06 AM   
76mm


Posts: 4659
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From: Washington, DC
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Huh, thanks, didn't know most of that stuff, the interface is indeed not especially intuitive. Several times throughout the game it went back into the deployment screen, and I had to click through to keep playing. Didn't even see a way to choose the objective type. I'll take another look in the next day or two.

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Post #: 19
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