ACW is a more enjoyable game as far as I'm concerned, but both games have their fans.
Public Beta Patch thread link: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2283793
Pretty much all mods for all Close Combat games are located at the one site, here:
I think by vetmod you probably mean VetBOB, which is a very popular mod. However, it is for Close Combat IV and V and not for Close Combat Cross of Iron.
Hope you like it!! The campaign's aren't random, but they aren't scripted either.
Silent Storm got a bit silly and there certainly wasn't a sense you could "play through" the death of a character and keep going. Nobody died. They just showed up ready to go. The closest to an "X-Com" WWII game was probably that terrible, terrible, Hasbro "Squad Leader" abomination. Not even worth it. Don't bother looking.
Even that didn't have what I really want. Good psychological modeling and detailed real time information about each individual's status with long term tracking of those individuals (ala Close Combat) and random campaigns with randomly generated battle maps and opposing forces (ala Steel Panthers).
Or you could try the old 101st Airborne: Invasion of Normandy game. That was actually pretty intense if, at times, plodding. There was quite a bit of randomization as I recall. You equipped a stick with men and gear, from a larger potential selection, then they got dropped all over a map. The grouping and placement was different every game as were the condition of the men on landing. The biggest concentration on one of the tactical tiles is where you'd start out and you'd be sneaking around trying to regroup with separated individuals. A big factor was weighing how much time you had to complete your mission, and the possibility of casualties and attrition, against finding more guys and improving your odds. Each paratrooper had a unique biography, portrait, skill set and (as I recall) pretty high quality voice acting.
I don't recall whether the placement of Germans and victory locations was random or not (aside from wandering patrols) but the tiles may have been random but within them you'd have the same encounters.
As with Close Combat psychological modeling seemed pretty accurate. Suppressing fire was effective to enable flanking, soldiers on both sides could break with unpredictable reactions, and after breaking a soldier was never quite the same again. Fog of war created a huge amount of tension as could the sheer lethality of the game system. Not only were conventional weapons realistically lethal but there could be traps like minefields or concealed MG nests scattered about.
This brings about the downside of the game. Because of the incredibly lethal nature of combat, not unfairly so but certainly realistic, and your need to scout out much of every map looking for lost men/supplies, victory locations: things could move really, really slowly. You could opt to speed through RT between turn-based combat encounters but odds are fairly good you'd end up swiss cheese sooner or later if you didn't take a more deliberate approach.
There's a fine line between tension and monotony, I suspect, in real combat. I'm not sure how well this translates into a videogame where it can easily be mistaken for leaden pacing.
Not sure if this runs on modern Windows systems but the sequel, if it ever arrives (which I'm beginning to think is the biggest, longest, April Fool's day joke ever), All American 82nd, should. Maybe. Who knows?
Edit: It runs fine on Vista if you load it into its own folder, other than Programs, and I've just been messing around with it. I'll change "good voice acting" to "distinctive voice acting". You can tell the guys apart but some of the voice work is, well, not so hot. Some is very good though. There's no real time movement between engagements but you can do something called a group move that just picks everyone up and plops them down together in the same place, standing up, and ready to be shot. That's why I never used it...
As for plodding, alot of that's in the animation as I'm now remembering. I think there's a patch that speeds up animation but the tradeoff is alot of hyperactive scuttling as your guys zip around. It probably fixes other things as well.
There are difficulty settings but any way you play there's no way to save. It's all Iron Man mode. And even on Easy I lost three guys in my first encounter on a map. I was just messing around and group moved my guys ahead. They walked into a lone patrolling German armed with an assault rifle. He spotted me first. I was two guys down. Another got shot after we went prone and tried to scatter. One's incapacitated but stable. Still out of action. Two are dead. My captain got lost as did another three guys in my stick and one bag of gear on the drop. A quarter of stick are "scattered" which means they could show up as we keep going. A couple guys are injured including one who got hung up on a tree during landing.
Last edited by Brian Rucker; 04-04-2010 at 06:06 AM.
Brian, you yourself touch on the problems a game of this kind would have.
In real life the bonding between squad members happens primarily during the months-long training period and secondarily during downtime in combat areas (which is most of the time). Modeling this would be tedious. Thus, it is hard to get to know the squaddies in a game.
Real firefights are rapidly lethal and unit attrition in a realistic, combat-oriented game is horrible. Combined, these factors lead to only a short time to get to know new guys before they inevitably die. This leads to not caring about the new guys to protect your psyche, just like it was in real life within troops in heavy combat.
To get more time to care about individuals you need to make continuous enemy contact unrealistically survivable. Either the guns have no bite or range or the guys are supermen. It's hard to design a game overcoming these constraints. I am aware of no successful implementations. Maybe it's doable, maybe not.
Or you make the pace of the game very slow which is not so nice, either. The guys die a lot but at least it takes a long time.
Both games have realistic combat and both manage a level of unscripted, emergent, narrative that bring out soldiers as individuals.
Ok, that makes sense. I was thinking about the problems inherent in trying to get to spend a longer modelled time period with the same guys. It's true that it's still possible to tell affecting human stories with people you haven't known a very long time. More the short story approach than the novel one.
Well, you can fake the novel approach as Airborne does. Before you even start a mission you're on the ground in the barracks clicking on the guys to see their abilities and skills. But you also see their biographies and each one offers a quickie audio soundbite as if you're a reporter or writer interviewing them.
From there you can manually or automatically pick your stick from the available guys (they're not all available every time) and then manually or automatically assign them gear, weapons and a spot inside the plane that's dropping them. The first and the last folks seated are more likely to drift off and become either separated or lost.
But over time, even with the super high attrition rate (starting the very moment folks begin jumping out of the transport), and several missions you really get to recognize voices and mannerisms. Sure, by the end of a mission only a handful of guys are left but over several missions (each a new replay not a continuing series of adventures) you get a good feel for these guys.
The thing is that we're really not soldiers. We're players. The difficulty isn't protecting our emotions from getting overwhelmed by what happens to our friends but getting an all too jaded gamer to actually pay attention to his soldiers as individuals with at least basic personalities or proclivities.
Seems to me many wargamers, and flight simmers, are to some extent roleplayers. They enjoy the narrative drama as much as the tactics. Why else bother to write AARs as narratives as so many do? Some of us just like that aspect the most and appreciate the granularity of tactical wargames that show off soldiers as individuals and surprise us with the unanticipated while creating opaque anxieties of anticipation and uncertainty.
Why does someone turn a page in a book? To see what will happen next. That's what one-more-turn is all about for me.
That's what I meant, too. Not that the player would be emotionally scarred (not going to happen) but that why bother to learn their virtual names when they'll be gone within a battle or two.The thing is that we're really not soldiers. We're players. The difficulty isn't protecting our emotions from getting overwhelmed by what happens to our friends but getting an all too jaded gamer to actually pay attention to his soldiers as individuals with at least basic personalities or proclivities.
Absolutely. I still remember fondly my (short-lived) diary of the new IL-2 combat pilot Piotr Ilyanovich.Seems to me many wargamers, and flight simmers, are to some extent roleplayers.
Not that I have any time for either, but of the "new" / re-released Close Combats, which is the best?
I have only played Cross of Iron and Wacht am Rhein, but I prefer Cross of Iron. Recently started the Grand Campaign and was playing the second operation today, stormed to the Kremlin, was repulsed in quick order, then held the previous map in a brutal stalemate for several days before making one final surge back to the Kremlin on the final day, only to be smashed to pieces again. I love how the maps stay persistent between days, with shell craters and burned out tanks sticking around. Not looking forward to the Soviet counter attack, I have few requisition points left and my units are a pale shadow of what they once were.
The Longest Day is my favorite, followed by Cross of Iron.
Otherwise, it just as slow and punishing as I remember from my previous plays many years ago. Hell, my first attempt was aborted before it began after the C47 went down mid-drop taking just under half of my men with it. I'm going to need a lot more practice before I attempt a proper playthrough.
And the talk of Close Combat has me itching to give it another try but I'm curious how the Modern Tactics game holds up against the WW2 versions? Seems to be the 'forgotten' CC game though I think I do have a copy somewhere. Not sure if it's worth digging it out, and if so any must have mods etc?
Gives you a single battle group which you take from the beginning of a campaign to the end
# Allows you to purchase new units for your group, and sometimes commandeer captured enemy units
# Awards scores for achieving battlefield objectives, which affect what units you can buy
# Presents you with a linear campaign of battles, wherein you have no tactical movement or choices
The other two:
# Present you with with multiple battle groups with pre-defined units, some with reserves,
# Involve movement of battle groups on a tactical map
# Give you overall victory conditions and freedom regarding how you reach them
So CoI is much more personal. If you get a Tiger in CoI, it'll be your only Tiger. It is your prize possession. You have to love it, take care of it, hope it does not get stuck in mud. An IS II appears? Worry, fret, be anxious and nervous. By contrast, in WAR and TLR, if one of your tanks is knocked out, shoot, its regrettable, but you've got a much bigger picture to look at. When playing CoI, I miss somewhat the tactical aspect of WAR and TLR and when playing WAR and TLR, I miss the more intimate nature of CoI
Last edited by Lykurgos; 04-05-2010 at 05:00 AM.
For those who may be interested, the second version of Across the Dnepr, an expansion for SSG's Kharkov, is now out, along with the new patch for the basic Kharkov game. Interestingly, the free patch gets you the new updated Husky (Sicily) scenario from Battles in Italy, all gussied up for the new game engine, as well as two user-created (and pretty sophisticated) battles, Kirovograd and Budapest. The former has been around for a bit but the latter is new, and actually has several variants.
The main AotD II battle is huge, and seems really well done. The Husky scenario was always a favorite from BII, and the translation to the Kharkov engine is much appreciated. I haven't done much with the Budapest battle, but despite a rather, um, interesting looking map, it seems very well done.
The only sticking point for some is the price--this is not a stand alone package and it sells for full-game price. Admittedly, the AotD scenario itself is bigger and more complex than the Kharkov battle, which was all you got with the original game, but the three other battles are freebies you can get with the free patch. So some folks are miffed. But really, just think of it as buying another game from SSG, and it works out. It's not like there are a lot of choices in professionally-done wargames these days, and all of them cost a lot too. Battles from the Bulge from Panther will probably be $60 or so and I'm sure War in the East from Grigsby will be at least that.
I own a couple of SSG games, but I've never been able to get into them. I think the problem is that the scale is similar to the Operational Art of War game, which I love, so when I encounter the learning curve of a similar game it's very easy to walk away and find a OAW scenario that covers the same battle.
That said, all their games have been well received. But I did read the comments about this release over on Matrix and it does look like they created a bit of a controversy based on past promises apparently forgotten about in regards to owners of the previous version of AtD.
I think I would love the SSG games if they just had some more accessible entry level scenarios. Your only choice to play is the full on monster scenario and that's just too big for me to get my arms around, so I just sort of give up.
The uproar at Matrix about this release stems from two things, the fact that it's a full-priced product that requires ownership of the original Kharkov game, and to a lesser extent the fact that Gregor of SSG mentioned, more than a year ago, that there would be some sort of discount for owners of Kharkov. Turns out he spoke out of turn, which he has copped to and apologized for, but at the time, he figured a small discount was going to be offered.
It IS a hard sell to people who don't have the original game, because they have to pay about $90 smackers to get AotD II (though of course they also get the very good original too, which is still a great wargame), rather than simply, say, $60 for the original and an expansion. For people who own the original, it's like buying another SSG game, and given that AotD is freakin' huge, it's not that big a deal, but yeah, it hurts to be sold an "expansion" priced the same as a new game. Better they had simply made it a stand-alone maybe, but I guess then sales of the original Kharkov might have tanked. Dunno.
As for getting into SSG games, it's an acquired taste I think. I loved the original stuff they did on the C64, but had a harder time getting into their newer stuff (from The Ardennes Offensive onward). Mostly it was the look, which isn't as austere, sterile, and clean as I like my wargames, daggumit! And the fact that the games are fixed resolution rather than scaling with my desktop as God intended. Once I got over that, the combat system and mechanics were appealing and the AI challenging, but I still feel that often the AI is challenging more because it plays a great "game" rather than fights a great "battle." In that, I mean it's good at playing the victory points, etc. but sometimes in ways that aren't terribly historical, IMO. But I've come to really enjoy the games, because the pace is so much more fluid than the HPS operational games, which I love for their detail and old-school feel, but which take forever to play. Also, I have to play the HPS games both sides old-school solitaire style, because the AIs usually aren't up to the challenge; with SSG's games, I can get whipped by the AI and usually lose.
I have my TAOW III serial number from Matrix but can't find the actual game install anywhere, damn it.
I bought Battles in Normandy a few years ago, and after about an hour of trying to learn it set it aside and played an enjoyable TOAW 3 scenario that covered the same campaign. I've no doubt that SSGs game is probably better and more challenging, but a lot of times I just want to play a campaign and its hard to ignore the ability to play it with a system I know and am familiar with in favor of learning a new approach to modeling the conflict. But then I come into wargaming from a WW2 history buff point of view, so I'm more interested in what the game shows me about the campaign them I am in finding enjoyment in the mechanics of how its presented, even if I can appreciate a good design.