Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Review of Combat Mission Battle for Normandy

So this is a computer game that has a long history, the first game was made in 2000 and based on the miniature game Advanced Squad Leader(ASL), the first game was set in WW2, and over the years got many expantion packs, basicly covering the whole of the european and north african theater.

It was slightly abstraced, squads were just a few soldiers to represent 12 soldiers ect. But the game was very detaled in armor protection and combat.

Then in 2007 Strike force came out, it was the same type of realistic game, but set in Modern conflicts, like Iraq, then a stand alone expantion to this was released dealing with the Russian invasion of Afganistan in late 70s and 80s.

And now this, the series is back in WW2, and we are in Normandy 44, The game has only Americans and German heer, no ss, or fallsjermjegers, No british, but trust me, they are comming, the game is gonna be expanded on for years and years, we are gonna get british, italians, free french, russians, SS ect.
Mabye even Marines and Japanese some day, AND if the creators don't make it, you can count on the modding comunity making it.

The game has 3 game modes.

Campaign, you get 4 campaigns some American some German, the campaign got a goal, taking a town or area of normandy, casualties are transferd over from one mission to the other, so if you bungle the 2nd mission and loose 50 soldiers, you'll have 50 less soldiers on mission 3.

You then have battles, You get 21 pre made battles to choose from, again some german some US, from what I understand each mission has atleast 3 diffrent deplyoments, so you nevner know exactly were the enemy is.

And finnaly you have quick battle, this is really fun and what I've spent most of my time on, you choose the size of the battle, from platoon level to regimental level, each soldier shown as is, so with a regiment on each side you might have 1000+ soldiers on each side.

I have mostly played around with small battle, that is about a company on each side, with suport options.

Other then the size, you choose the time of day, the month, the weather, if the forces will be infantry only, mech infantry, tanks only or a mix. Also you can choose the type of game, probe? Attack or Assault. Each of these 3 options let you choose from 50ish maps. so there is probebly 100-150 maps to choose from, the maps are small, medium or big, each size has a number of options, a big city, a big town, a small city a small town ect. Some maps are very heavy in the green stuff while others are more open.

When all this is choosen, you get a screen that lets you "buy" units based on the size of the battle, it's called credits, a small battle you have 1800 credits, thats enough for a company and some extra units or suport, On large, you get a full battalion and enough credits to get some nice stuff.

Like in One game, I choose large battle, that gave me enough credits to buy a single battalion of American Paratroopers, I also bought air suport, naval artillery and rocket artilery.
So Instead of close to 700 soldiers I hade some 550 soldiers and lots and lots of firepower.

The battles them self are played much like a miniature game, you give orders to squads, and american squad is 12 strong, and you got special units like pinoneers, mortar crew, MG teams.

Generarly the Germans rely on MG power, they got the best Mg and lots of it. a single mg will cut down a squad in the open easly, Bigger squads like 12 man Us squads can be divided into smaller fire teams, that means, you divivd a 12 man sqauds into 3 teams, that way when moving troops in the open, if worst comes to worst you'll only loose 2-4 men, and not a full squad.

The big killer is not rifles, rifle fire is very inacurate, and you need lots of rifles to do any damige even to soldiers in the open, in less it's close range, the big killers are, MGs, Artillery and Mortar.

The hedges in Normandy are so thick they actualy provide alot of cover not only from rifle fire but even direct fire explosives like AT and Tanks guns, often tanks won't be able to get throught the hedges not by raming them and not by shooting at them.

They are not 100% bullet proof, close fire mg will still take out the od soldier behind it, so there will be some atrition with prolonged firefights.

Mortar and off map artillery can be fired indrectly be using spotters with radios, more uniqe forms of suport like air suport and some more rare artillery like rockets and naval needs designated forward observers, on map mortars and MMGs, HMGs needs to be deployed to fire, that includes MG42s on tripods, M1917, M1919A4 ect, while LMGs like MG42 on with bipod and M1919A6 doesn't need to.

The games can be played two ways, Real time, thats is the clock tick down all the time, in single player you can ofcoruse pause the game, but the game is REALLY ment to be played turn based,
In both Single and Multi Player when using turn based, the game is devided into two, first there is a paused part, were you give orders, that can be, fire zones, movment, ordering artillery, deplyoing mgs ect. you then click on a buttoen and the game calculates thats gonna happend the next minute, you then see this minute played out infront of you, you can't do anythnig, what happnes has allready been calculated, but you get to zoom around the map, watching the action.

After the minute is up, you again get a chance to give orders, and you continue to do this until someone looses or the time runs out. in quick battles and Multiplayer, the time can be set from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

The game is a computer version of a really realistic miniature wargame, but in one game you can play from a small skirmish to a big regimental level game. But the trick is, that a regimental miniature wargame is abstracted, very few ww2 games lets you play with 700-1000 minuatures a side, so what you get is a game that can be played with a 1000 soldiers, but is as detailed into the microscopic as a platoon level skirmish game. were each single soldier with a K98 or Carbine is caluculated.

The game is as adictive as Crack(I think, never tried crack) but I asmue that this is simular to beeing on crack.

PS. I'm gonna write two AAR about two battles

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