Thursday, April 21, 2016

Graviteam Tactics Mius Front - Battle Editor

Withe the right amount of direction yet no so predictable as in other games, the AI in Mius Front takes care of itself and kicks arse even when you know where from where the enemy is coming.

Like Forrest Gump's box of chocolate, you never know what you gonna get .... Two German halftracks try to outflank my positions.

The setup: A German mechanized platoon (blue icons) will move via the path I provided them with the battle editor. (black lines, here shown for just one halftrack command unit).  The two German infantry platoons have a more straightforward attack route (not shown here) towards the hill (flame icon). My dismounted Soviet infantry company (red icons) will try to stop them. The red circle is a fortified position on a hill.

The long run: scouts move towards the hill, which is around 1 km away.

A panoramic view of the hill as the first scouts (purple dot indicators) arrive and take positions.

A German halftrack moved in a wide flanking maneuver, pretty much in the way I plotted their waypoints. Here shown taking long distance shots (it backed up considerably after spotting my troops).  But where is the rest of the platoon?

Here they are! They just cut their flaking maneuver short and approached my positions directly from the west, pretty much in support of the regular infantry. 

Other vehicles from the German halftrack unit took an intermediate route. Two of those got canned by hand grenades of one of my infantry groups down the hill (purple dots).

The Germans, with major effort, made it to the hill and assaulted it. It was a savage fight in the trenches. In this picture Major Lieutenant Dulepov goes "I like this pistol!" after taking credit for the explosion on the background.

Side note about the AI in Mius Front: I ordered this scout squad to move to scout towards the end of the blue line. They sneaked from right to left through the trench to avoid detection. In this screenshot they are starting to get out of the trench in preparation for their move towards the background.
What a wonderful addition this battle editor is. It allows to give your battle a general theme (units moving from here and there) without becoming a "catch a waypoint" type of game. The German halftracks deviated from their route and attacked my men from several directions, which surprised me in a very good way.



Anonymous said...

I just found your blog, and it looks interesting. I thought I'd throw this out, perhaps to inspire a discussion (or even a new posting). I'm a long-time wargamer (40 years), retired military officer. I"m familiar with boardgames, computer games, professional games (i.e. army wargaming). I'm familiar with the computer games that came from professional gaming (Decisive Actions, TacOps).

I'm commenting here, because I am consistently disappointed in what would be considered 'high level games' due to their lack of vision and focus (and by here, I mean on this Mius Front post).

Several games that should be a hit with me, and that I wish I loved, but don't, have this problem. Here's a partial list.
Mius Front
Command Ops
John Tiller's operational games (can't remember the title-the giant battalion level games).
AirLand Battle and its offspring (Wargame: Red Thunder or something similar).

In essence, these games are all designed based on the principle that if the computer can handle the data, throw in the data and let the user figure it out. If he's a serious gamer, he will figure it out. If not, he's not a serious gamer so he doesn't belong here. Specific examples:

Command Ops: I downloaded it and played around. After over half an hour, I couldn't figure out how to move a unit. I did, however, as a division commander, notice that I could look up how many 9mm rounds my individual companies had on hand.
Mius Front: I could barely figure out what to do. Once I got a scenario going, I, as a brigade commander, watched a battle between my four squads and the enemy. I was watching the destruction of an individual machine gun emplacement.
Tiller's Panzer Campaigns (just remembered the title). Move thousands of units. Enough said.
Wargame: Red Thunder: enormous amounts of data that have to be memorized and sifted to even understand what your units can do (for example: I couldnt figure out what kinds of aircraft I had in the basic scenario: fighters or fighterbombers? The difference meant winning or losing the scenario).

In each case, the designer has the obvious philosophy: if boardgame could present you with 2 pieces of data (combat-movement), and computers can present you with 200 pieces of data (how many pistol rounds do you officers have, general?) the 200 is obviously 100X as good.

This constant inability to understand what is important at a given level of simulation (division commanders have division commander problems, brigade commanders don't watch individual machine gun nests being destroyed, etc etc) repeatedly creates games that are simply chores to play.

There are discussions about the latest Combat Mission and how CM2 models each individual soldier, and that this is an improvement in 'realism.' A similar problem: As a company or battalion commander, I'm not keeping track of individual soldiers. Making me as a player do so is not more realistic, but less so. it is more 'throw numbers at the player because the computer can.' No vision as to what a game should be simulating.

Which is unfortunate, as I would love to play games at an operational level of command, which simulate an appropriate collection of decisions. Command Ops in particular is a game that I would theoretically love. But the UI and the above mentioned problems (throw numbers at the player and let him sort it out) make it utterly uninteresting.

This is a Mius Front post, so my response is only tangentially related. But I'd be interested in your views regarding this-perhaps in a separate post.


JC said...

Hi and thanks for your comment.

I can relate. I've seen games where you are commanding an Army Group and you are given stats for a single company. I am a Field Marshall for God's sake and I don't care how much sausage or how much bread the field kitchens can deliver per day! :)

Command Ops and Scourge of War could be your best choices for a full command experience. The problem is that these games give you the option to go full micromanager and move every single unit. And that leads to confusion sometimes. And both games' strong suit is the grand-tactical level of war.

Games like Panzer Campaigns put the player in a sort of "God position with fog of war" where he can access every square kilometer of the battlefield. The designer never intended it to be a command simulation/game but rather a collection of tactical actions that are assumed to be driven by the many HQ units in the field.

Wargame Red Thunder I can't comment because I never played it.

As for Mius Front, this one is a game that talks to me. Although it doesn't have what you are looking for (command decisions, etc), it is a fine game.


Anonymous said...

Hi, great blog.

Maybe Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa could be a game you should try. I'm only starting into wargamming and I found it quite easy to grasp and enjoy. You are basically commander of the eastern front and you get informations down to divisions level. Did you also try the Close Combat series ?