The webmaster has long toyed with the idea of comparing different
game systems by introducing identical scenario parameters into each
and using them to compare and contrast. Kevin Prouty has very
competently stolen the webmaster's thunder in this very entertaining
and well-informed article, and has graciously permitted his work to
be published here.
Command: Kharkov vs. Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin
by Kevin Prouty, 8 May 2008
I decided to compare
Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin (CM:BB) and Panzer
Command: Kharkov (PC:K) based on six or seven years of playing
CM:BB, and a month of playing PC:K.
I played Squad Leader, Advanced Squad Leader, and other board
games for over 35 years, and have played computer wargames for over
CM:BB is still the
reigning champ of east front tactical warfare for the PC. PC:Kís
predecessor, Panzer Command: Winter Storm, really didnít
match up well from both a game play and extensibility perspective.
PC:K comes close on the game play side, but blows CM:BB out of the
water in extensibility with modability and campaign generators.
I think its game play is
still slightly less than that of CM:BB. Here are a few key reasons:
PC:Kís units are a
subset of the units CM:BB provides. No allied armies, more limited
timeframe, few infantry type options, etc.
No covered arcs. In
fact some of the designers/developers are dead set against them.
Order system that is
still not completely matured.
No waypoints, chaining
movement types, or color coding of movement lines for quick
No/Limited TacAI to
handle events in the middle of the action phase
No fatigue model
Use of buildings by
A significant feel
that this is basically a board game with computers; phases,
opportunity fire, reaction, dice rolls, factors, etc.
What is good about PC:K:
New and interesting
platoon command system
Heads Up Display (HUD)
that allows you to select units from list
Events list that
brings you to unit when clicked
Flexible camera system
Limited command delays
Mini map for good
To make a true
comparison of the two games, I was interested in comparing how PC:K
and CM:BB played out on similar scenarios. I had a random scenario
generated in PC:K and then recreated it in CM:BB. A major point is
that you really canít effectively do it the other way around (due to
the lack of a map editor in PC:K).
Here are some graphics
comparisons I did while building my comparison scenario. The dates
are important in CM:BB because it changes the unit textures, grain
fields, and foliage. The date is July 1943.
Here is the PC:K picture looking from the northeast corner.
Here is the CM:BB
picture from about the same point. PC:K's camera controls are more
flexible so I had to pick the point in CM:BB and then set it up in
One thing I noticed is
that the vehicle graphics are a little better in PC:K. Remember,
both of these images are unmodded. There are some very nice CM:BB
mods out there, but PC:K seems like it has more potential to mod.
Here is the PC:K PzKpfw
Here is the CM:BB PzKpfw
Note that I ran all of
these at 1024x768 resolution (due to monitor limitations) with 32
A few things I noticed
in the map building process:
There is some kind of issue with the Kharkov 12b map. In the
southwest corner, there is a ploughed field that has no trees, but
when you place a unit there, it says light trees. This happens in a
couple of spots.
I noticed the trees are built from 2D
sprites in PC:K. They look OK from a couple of angles, but are
pretty ugly in comparison to CM:BB from any other angle. CM:BB
trees and leaves sway in the breeze. I don't really care how itís
done, but CM:BB looks better. Whatever CM:BB does for trees it
seems to do well. While graphic details aren't something that I
really get hung up on, seeing the tall pines sway in a strong wind
is kind of nice in CM:BB. There is a lengthy discussion on
the Matrix forums on this subject.1
I didn't see any grain
in the PC:K map. It is automatically placed in the CM:BB map. It
is one of those things controlled by date. The CM:BB grain looks
OK from certain angles, but blocky from high elevations.
The PC:K maps have a
much higher fidelity to reality. The CM:BB terrain comes in 20m
tiles and looks blocky. Not much of an issue in fields, but in
smaller tree stands is noticeable. It is also an issue when
placing roads, fences, hedges, etc.
Human representation is much, much better in
PC:K. This is especially true in infantry support weapons which
feature realistic animations.
CM:BB has quite a bit
of variability in weather, including wind, rain, snow, mud, night,
etc. on the same map. PC:K has only what the map was built with
and some ability to change visibility.
I don't see a lot of
difference in buildings. It seems PC:K buildings are a little
CM:BB roads are more
visible, but less integrated into the surrounding terrain.
CM:BB roads also only
run at certain angles. PC:K had smooth turns and various angles.
PC:K has a haze that
makes it difficult to see more than 500 or so meters. It seems to
be there on all maps. Also some buildings disappear at certain
angles. In fact, it made it difficult to do screen shots. I was
looking at the train station from 100m and took the shot. It didn't
show up in the shot. All the terrain and the train did, but not the
building. I changed the angle a few degrees and took the shot
again. It was there then. Weird.
The map building process
in CM:BB probably took two hours. I think it would have been one,
but I had to keep alt-tabbing back to PC:K to see what terrain types
were. I am no map maker. This is probably only the 4th or 5th map
I have ever made. I also chose a pretty flat map in PC:K, mainly
because there was no way I could see to check elevations. This
allowed me to just use a flat CM:BB map.
A general thought
looking back at some of the screenshots.
CM:BB looks better up
high at an angle. PC:K looks better up close and down low. Up high
you don't really notice the detail from the high fidelity. Down low,
the CM:BB stuff looks too clean.
The soldier graphics
though are hands down better in PC:K. No amount of modding can
I think the AFVs aren't
that far apart, except on round objects like wheels. CM:BB appears
to have a low poly count. I have seen CM:BB mods that look as good
as some of the PC:K models, but I'm sure PC:K will improve beyond
that with modding.
In the end, you can
build maps in CM:BB, you canít build them in PC:K. PC:Kís maps look
better and probably have a better slant towards realistic terrain,
but how much a role that plays will show up in the scenarios.
The random scenario from
PC:K gave the Germans a platoon of PzKpfw IVGs, three SdKfz 251
halftracks, a PSW 231 armored car, two platoons of Panzergrenadier
infantry with a platoon of machine guns and mortars.
The Soviets got two
platoons of SU 76s (six vehicles total), a platoon of T70s, a single
T60, 2 x BA64 armored cars, and two companies of infantry with no
support weapons, other than three 50mm mortars.
Each side got a flag.
There was one flag at the train station and one in the middle of the
map, surrounded by woods.
I was pretty much able
to match the units, with some minor deviations due to limitations in
selecting units in CM:BB.
I pretty much left the
default setup in each so to make it as easy as possible to compare.
Here is turn 1 from
Orders for turn 1
were for all light armor to head for cover because I could see some
armor ahead. What is interesting is all the armor is unidentified.
The 64s are just listed as AC. The T70/60s are listed only as light
armor with 45mm gun. There is also some unIDed infantry coming down
the RR Track. I start T1.
14 sec. into T1, one of my PzKpfw IV targets a still not completely
ID T70 (I know itís a 70 because I built the scenario). After taking
a shot, the T70 starts to reverse (the better part of valor).
Meanwhile, another PzKpfw IV fires on the infantry coming down the
RR track. My last PzKpfw IV is area firing the T60 in the woods
because it doesnít have an ID on it. Also, my light armorís dash for
cover is only partially successful, I lose a 251 and the 231 AC to
Comments: The TacAI did a very good job here. The T70 reversed
because it had no chance at killing a PzKpfw IV (or probably even
hitting it) at over 800m. The TacAI knew light armor was in the
woods and had the PzKpfw IV area fire the woods to suppress the T60.
I gave no orders except move and hunt. All combat was run by the AI.
Next turn, I will tell two of the PzKpfw IVs to only fire at armor
and have the other continue to suppress the Soviet infantry coming
down the road. I will also continue to move the infantry around to
get them in position, but keep them out of LOS until I can deal with
There was a lot of
discussion about the T70 reversing and TacAI taking control on the
Matrix boards. As you can see, in this instance, it was probably a
Order phase for T1 in
First turn orders are similar to CM:BB. Order the lights to seek
cover. The 2 251s got there before the SU76s saw them. The major
difference is I ordered the 231 to engage and advance up the road to
see what it could see.
Comments: It is not as easy as CM:BB to fine tune the positioning of
the infantry because of the order sequence with platoons. Also note
that no one has seen the T70s and T60 yet or the infantry coming
down the RR track. Also the replay in CM:BB is much easier with the
VCR type controls.
The picture is actually the beginning of the reaction phase.
I order the 231 to withdraw to cover after a few shots from the
SU76s. At end of T1, some SU76s target 2 PzKpfw IVs, I donít think
they fired yet. It is hard to catch it. At the beginning of T2, I am
ordering the PzKpfw IVs to target the SU76s because they wouldnít do
it on their own. I think it is because of the poor to hit chance.
Comments: You can see the difference in individual spotting here.
The 251s see 4 SU76s and 2 ACs. The PzKpfw IVs only see 2 SU76s.
Right now this isnít a big deal because the other SU76s are out of
LOS of the PzKpfw IV anyway. The other thing is that PC:K only
partially solves the
borg spotting issue. Without
simulating the command net, any unit that spots an enemy unit
immediately transmits the info to all other units. They may not be
able to target it, but they know its there immediately.
There is definitely something different in either the spotting or AI
reactions. My PzKpfw IVs have yet to spot any light tanks in PC:K.
In CM:BB they spotted a couple in the first 10 seconds. It may be
because the CM:BB AI moved them right away and the PC:K AI held
back. Something I'd like to point out again is that the CM:BB TacAI
has not gotten a single positive ID yet. The PC:K TacAI, once it
spots, has immediate ID, as well as knowing its status.
Also, the event list is the best feature of the entire PC series. It
lets you jump around to events all over the map. Half my time in a
CM:BB replay is spent looking for what is going on. In the end PC:K
gives you much better situational awareness.
From a replay perspective, the frame by frame advance in CM:BB
allows pretty fine tuned reviews. I have struggled with the controls
in PC:K. CM:BBís replay mechanism is intuitive like a VCR.
CM:BB Turn 2 and a
couple of things of interest
One thing I have
always liked about CM:BB/AK over CMBO was the FOW on killing AFVs.
My last 251 was killed by a T70. It took some time for the crew
to bail. The T70 pumped three or four more rounds into the 251.
It too almost 40 seconds for the AI to realize the 251 was dead.
If it had exploded, the T70 would have stopped right away.
Now the bad side of
the TacAI comes into play. The same 251 was about 15m away from
some cover in woods. Off to its right, the killer T70 appears.
Most humans would have kept going full tilt and in 20m be out of
sight. The 251 stopped, threw it into reverse, and had about 70m
to get to cover behind it. This does not happen with great
frequency, but it does happen. The only way to stop this from
ever happening is the PC:K does it. Shorter turns and more
control by the human player. I do like the TacAI making decisions
for me when I can't intervene, but sometimes it is annoying to
start a turn and 5 sec. in see it happen and not be able to do
anything about it. In PC:K, the 251 would have just kept on
going. It may have still gotten killed, but it would have been a
little more satisfying.
I am seeing a lot of
deflections in the SU76 battle with the PzKpfw IVs. But the SU76s
are standing their ground. I will have to check their morale and
I rushed the infantry
in the back left corner into the woods. I exhausted them. I will
try the same rush in PC:K and see what happens.
The order delays for
the Germans in CM:BB are around 7 sec. I managed to get a HMG out
of command and its delay increased to 15 sec. It should be only
temporary because I am sending him over to another infantry
One thing to keep in
mind with CM:BB's TacAI is that it accounts for experience and
morale. A veteran experience unit, even in an inferior AFV, will
stay for a while and try to take out or damage a superior foe.
Soviet AFVs in 1941/42/early 43 tended to be inexperienced and
scared off easily.
That to me is part of
battle. You, as commander, say to an 18 year old tank commander
with a T70, "Go there and hold that position." He starts out, his
driver sees a German medium tank with a long gun, and the TC says
screw this, I'm heading back to my unit. That is not only
plausible, but read some of the unit histories of US tankers bugging
out at the first sign of a German tank with a long gun after 43.
FOW plays a huge role in
it too. If you misID a T-34 as a BT7, you'll have a bad day. If
you misID a BT7 as a T34, you'll pull back when you shouldn't have.
In the end if you give a unit good morale and good experience, they
are not likely to bug out or misID. If its a T70 against an IDed
Tiger or Panther, they should bug out without me intervening. Some
people like to have total control and predictability based on stats
and thatís fine. I happen to like having a little of the chaos and
confusion of the real battle thrown into my plans.
Turn 2 for PC:K
Orders phase a couple of the SU76s are now visible. A PzKpfw IV
takes a few shots with one deflected with no damage. My infantry
are now in position. I have started my HMG moving to a building
about 70m to the front to set up cover for my infantry advance. By
the end of the turn, I have spotted a couple of T70s on the road in
corner. A couple of infantry are now spotted coming down the RR
In the reaction phase the SU76s start advancing towards their
objective, but about 5 sec. later 3 are killed by my PzKpfw IV.
Meanwhile, the PzKpfw IVs started shooting at the BA64s that are
just sitting there. Three shots from each of two PzKpfw IVs later
one is dead and the other damaged. btw, after three shots each from
the PzKpfw IV, the ACs never reacted. Not much else happened.
Comments: The situational awareness in PC:K shines here. While I
am looking at the HMG movement, I saw the kills of the SU76s. I am
still having a very hard time finding units, even with icons on. I
have to go right down to the ground to click o infantry units or
keep clicking on the unit list until I find it. One disappointment
is I wanted to have the HMGs enter the building, but they will
arrive, I am guessing, about 5 seconds into the next turn. That
means waiting at least 35 seconds outside the building while I wait
for the turn to end. Also note ammo selection seems to be good.
Thin skinned SP gun got the APHE love. One thing I am surprised at
is that the SU76s decided to head for the objective even in the
middle of a firefight with my PzKpfw IVs.
borg spotting reared its ugly head?
Yes and No; I think it is less about borg spotting than different
spotting routines that has the impact. T1 CM:BB saw 5 squads
immediately coming down the RR track. PC:K only saw two on T2.
Once again, I don't know what the PC:K AI is doing with them so some
may be stationary, but I doubt it.
As far as relative spotting goes, I don't think in this particular
scenario it has made a huge difference. I really thought it would.
The SU76s that were spotted by other units were out of LOS of the
PzKpfw IVs anyway so it really didn't matter. What mattered was
knowing they were there.
Turn 3 in PC:K
Orders: I don't give
any orders except to mount the HMG in a building. I get one HMG
into a building, but the other is stuck outside. I'll have to mess
around a little to get him cover. The PzKpfw IVs are heavily
engaged now with the SU76s. The 76s have stopped their headlong
flight to the objective to engage the PzKpfw IVs. More infantry is
pouring down the RR track. One PzKpfw IV is engaging them with HE.
They kill one squad. As soon as my HMGs are in place and the 76s
are taken care of, I'll start moving out to the RR station. I have
seen two T70s in the back corner heading my way, but I'll just keep
an eye on that. I also saw at the end of reaction an infantry squad
pops up in that corner.
Comments: It seems difficult to suppress infantry in open movement
with HE. My PzKpfw IV fired 6 rounds, eventually killing one
squad. But none of the other squads nearby even blinked. They
walked right by the bloody bodies. In CM:BB, nearby squads would at
least go to a cautious state and slightly susceptible to
Turn 3 CM:BB - a
disaster for the Germans
First my PzKpfw IVs are in a long range duel with the remaining
SU76s. If I was the Soviet commander, I would have moved them back
out of LOS by now. But it pays off for him. I lose a PzKpfw IV
while he loses (I think) another SU76. It was reversing at the time
and went out of LOS so it may not be dead. But still a good trade
for the Soviets. The rest of the SU76s seem to be moving back
behind cover, as a good assault gun should.
Second, I was moving my HMGs to support to different platoons in an
upcoming assault. One HMG took a casualty and is pinned in the
open. I hope they crawl to cover before any more damage is done.
The other is diverted to cover by the TacAI. I will let is rest and
then bring it back over. All my light armor is dead except one
251. I will bring it up behind cover to support the assault on the
I did manage to kill one of the T70s that killed a 251. Luckily,
the other is preoccupied pumping rounds into the dead 251.
Comments: Not much to say on this one. I was over confident. I
left one PzKpfw IV in LOS of all three remaining SU76s and paid for
it. I let my only two MGs get caught in the open by the armored
cars, two of which are now dead. The third reversed out of sight
after witnessing the demise of its brothers and cousin SU76s. My
PzKpfw IVs are now occupied with the SU76s and the infantry squad,
after a few minor casualties, is coming down the RR track
unmolested. I am putting a platoon of PG into the RR station.
Hopefully they can hold it off until the HT or a P$ can help. As
the scenario designer, I know that the T70s will start coming and
keep the PzKpfw IVs even more occupied.
Turn 4 for CM:BB
I suck. I lost another PzKpfw IV. Thought I was smart and hunted
my two PzKpfw IV's forward and two SU76s popped up and killed one
with 4 combined shots. My HMG broke and ran. I did get my PG
platoon to the station and my other HMG, along with the useless 50mm
mortars into position to suppress the SU76s. Without giving any
orders, the HMG opened up on the lead SU76 and forced it to button.
Comments: So far CM:BB seems a little better at target selection.
My PzKpfw IVs have appropriately switched targets and prioritized
them as I would have. The HMG, once through its setup, opened up on
an SU76 that was 200m away to button it. I am hoping to shock it
with a crew casualty. While the SUs were out of LOS, my PzKpfw IVs
went back to suppressing the infantry coming down the RR track and
forced a lot of them to ground and cover. This gave me time to get
the PG to the RR station.
Turn 4 PC:K
I am much better at PC:K. My PzKpfw IVs advance slowly forward and
stop. At the same time I rush the 251 that was on their left to the
RR station. It distracts the SU76s, which had stopped to engage the
PzKpfw IVs. The PzKpfw IVs pick off two of them after they fired 6
or 7 shots at the 251 before killing it. I am guessing it took
between 10 and twelve shots for the PzKpfw IVs to kill the SUs.
Seems like a lot for non-moving target less than 500m away. I also
start the other 251s forward to scout out the T70s I saw earlier.
The infantry coming down the RR track seems to have paused, but I am
most worried about them.
Comments: One of my PzKpfw IVs became obsessed with the BA64 and
ignored SU76s for three or four shots. Only when the BA64 was dead
did it switch targets. In the CM:BB turn, the PzKpfw IV immediately
switched from the BA64s as soon as it spotted the SU76s. That is why
the one 64 got away.
Turn 5 for PC:K
I don't want to speak too soon, but this is a cakewalk. I just
finished off the last of the SU76s. The BA64s are dead. One T70 is
dead. Infantry is the only real threat left. The PzKpfw IVs have
turned their attention to the company coming down the RR tracks. It
previously killed one and now has one suppressed. On the other side
of the map, I accidentally moved two squads out into the open when I
was trying to move a platoon HQ up to a jump off point. I withdrew
them in reaction with no issues. I did have to rush a couple of HT
out of LOS of a T70. They started the turn in LOS after the T70
came out of a clump of woods about 200m away. I had to sit through
40 seconds of the T70 missing shot after shot until it was distract
by a 50mm mortar moving a few hundred meters away. At least the 50s
are good for something.
Comments: I am not sure what I am doing differently between PC:K
and CM:BB. I have totally different results. In PC:K, no more than
3 hits were scored by the SU76s on the PzKpfw IVs. The only AFV
they killed was the 251 sprinting across the map. In CM:BB, the
initial volleys from the SU76s and the PzKpfw IVs were off, but they
homed in quickly. It also seems like I am able to suppress the
infantry in CM:BB more readily, but they recover quickly after the
fire is lifted. In PC:K, it seems that once the infantry is
suppressed, the odds are they won't recover and eventually are dead.
Turn 5 in CM:BB
I still suck. Two PzKpfw IVs down and the T70s are coming on
support by the two (one?) SU76. That last AC is still hanging
around suppressing some infantry. I have started dropping mortar
rounds on one SU to see if I can suppress it. I still have almost a
company of PG left, but one platoon is stuck in the RR station and
the other tow are in the woods waiting to jump off. They have a lot
of open ground to cover and I can see T70s hanging around along with
at least a platoon of infantry. If I can just KO the SUs, I have a
chance to take on the T70s before range closes and the 45mm becomes
Comments: I still suck. The firefight ranges for the armor battles
were generally between 800m and 600m in both. The final firefight
in PC:K was about 600m. The ongoing fight in CM:BB has not been
below 650m. All hits have been front hull or turret. Also, it may
be just the fact the infantry is walking down the middle of the road
on the suppression issue. One difference between CM:BB and PC:K is
that the PzKpfw IVs in CM:BB engaged the RR track infantry with hull
MG while also shooting at the SUs. This kept that infantry company
in check for a while. In PC:K, they kept switching targets, but
never engaged two at the same time.
Turn 6 in CM:BB
I don't suck as much. The PzKpfw IV killed the last two SUs just in
time to start suppressing the infantry coming down the RR track. I
have given it an armor covered arc and hunt command towards the
center of the map to hopefully pick off the T70s. For those not
familiar with CM, the covered arc tells the PzKpfw IV to only
engage enemy in an arc set by me. An armor CA means only engage
armor. It will ignore the CA if threatened outside the arc. Hunt
means move until a valid target appears, stop, engage, and keep
moving if enemy is destroyed. I think itís similar to defend move
in PC:K. I am having all infantry remain in place until I either
win or lose the armor battle.
Turn 6 in PC:K
I am 3/4 of the way to victory. I am bounding the PzKpfw IV platoon
to the RR station. My infantry is somewhat useless at this point.
I have set up a platoon in woods in the middle of the map to cover
the PzKpfw IVs flanks, but the PzKpfw IVs are picking off the T70s
as they do their bounding movement.
Comments: Something about this was way too easy. It may have been
the initial setup. I let the computer pick setup in PC:K and then
copied it CM:BB. I do think something is a little off in PC:K. 6
SU76s sitting in LOS of three PzKpfw IVGs should have taken out at
least 1, probably 2, before being wiped out.
Turn 7 in PC:K
All three PzKpfw IVs firing at the rifle company on the RR tracks
broke their back. In over 80 seconds, three squads dead, the rest
heading for the hills. But it is a little dicey on the right
flank. All that infantry and the remaining T70s are making a run at
the Soviet objective in the middle of the map. They killed a second
251. A remaining 251, two 50mm mortars, and a gaggle of infantry
are holding them off. I would like to send a PzKpfw IV over there,
but am not sure I want to deal with the command issues. I may just
send the whole platoon over.
Comments: One of the 50mm mortars is taking an immense amount of
fire and shrugging it off. It is the first real heavy fire any of
my infantry have seen.
Turn 7 and Turn 8 in
I suck again. That SU76 I thought I had killed wasn't dead. It
engaged my PzKpfw IV at the end T8 from 800m just as it cam around a
corner. Now I have to deal with that threat. If I had been more
careful in tracking how many SUs my PzKpfw IV killed I wouldn't have
been surprised. One of my issues is keeping the two games separate
in my mind.
What is amusing is that in RL, I couldn't have done the coordination
I have in either game. I would have had the infantry jump off at a
selected time without knowing what threats had been dealt with. My
god's eye lets me hold back the infantry until the armor affair is
Here is the final
turn/screen in PC:K
It only took 10 turns. I kept my PzKpfw IV platoon together to clear
out the train station. They killed the last T70 from across the map.
That allowed me to rush up my 231 AC and that help wipe out the
infantry on the right flank.
I suck, but not as bad as I thought. I had to make an infantry
assault to finally push the soviets to the breaking point. I had
already captured the objective, but it was a hidden objective and
the soviets built their last stand around the wrong flag.
My lone PzKpfw IV had a final confrontation with an SU76 and won,
but in the middle of the fight a soviet mg killed the TC, who was
unbuttoned. The shocked PzKpfw IV shrugged off 3 hits. I was very
lucky. The PzKpfw IV went on to wipe out the last soviet armor and
pin the cluster of squads defending the false flag. I had to do the
final assault to end the game and took a few casualties doing it.
The final score really doesn't reflect how close it was. If I had
lost my last PzKpfw IV, it was over. If they had managed to take and
hold the true objective, I would have had at best a draw.
Comments: I gave myself 45 minutes in this and in the end, if it had
been 30 minutes, I would have lost.
I am not sure what to
make of the completely different way the two games played out. I am
going to replay the PC:K scenario again straight through and see if
it was a fluke.
Off hand I would say the PC:K AI waited too long to bring the T70s
and infantry company on its left into play. If it had been
coordinated with the SU76s and the company on its right, they may
have taken both objectives and decimated my infantry.
What I have a problem with is the "uberness" of the PzKpfw IVGs. 6
SU76s should have been able to get more than 3 hits on 3 PzKpfw IVs
not moving in open at 650m on average. I am going to go back to the
editor and check the experience/morale of the SUs and see if they
The other thing was the complete uselessness of infantry on both
sides. I am not sure what to make of that either. Is it they were
handled badly by both myself and the AI. I don't know.
Now as to why I did this...I have seen BFC fans completely ignore
any thing that remotely competes with CM:BB. I am hoping some of
them look at this and it allows them to make a rational decision.
Face it CM:BB/AK is dead. So, depending on your priorities, you
should look at any new bandwagon that comes to town.
Comments on command
I think the platoon
orders also make sense, as long as they are not artificially
restrictive. Right now PC:K seems to have gone a little too far.
It restricts or makes difficult some real world tactics with
restrictions a commander in the field would not have. I have always
thought command delays struck a nice balance of simulating a command
net, or lack there of.
Platoon orders is a good idea, but right now, there no inherent
flexibility in the system. And, in some ways it doesn't do enough.
If all I have to do is one or two more clicks, what is the point?
Instead of trying to reflect a real world limitation, you are just
making a player click through a few more times.
In my mind, the platoon orders system should be kept the same as it
is, but add detach/attach, morale penalties based on communications
capabilities, experience, training, and current morale. Add in
delays based on the same parameters. Now you have a flexible system
where the player has to make choices, plan ahead, can react, and has
the flexibility to put troops where they are needed, not based on
whether he wants to deal with the menu system. Without some of these
things added, it really is only a less flexible menu burden, not a
true command burden.
In the end all I'm
saying is that if you put platoon orders in place for a game that
details squads, give the player the tools to manage the squads as
needed, with the penalties needed to make the player feel the burden
of real command. Otherwise, why not make a platoon level game that
doesn't show the squads or abstracts them.
I actually had more fun
with CM:BB, mainly because of the lopsided nature of the
engagement. Once the SU76s were gone, it was basically over except
some minor skirmishes that occurred because I was rushing to get the
Frankly, the platoon orders continue to annoy me. Its not that I
don't mind the concept, but I have to constantly make adjustments to
orders. Part of that is that the hot keys aren't second nature yet,
but getting a platoon into a non-linear tree line is a click fest
unless I want squads hanging out of cover. This is what makes it
artificial feeling. If I could detach, with penalties, I would find
it much more believable.
The turns also played faster in PC:K because the better tools for
situational awareness meant I didn't have run through the turn ten
times to see what happened.
I just played my same
scenario from the Soviet side. The Germans rushed a bunch of HTs
and infantry forward that were quickly dispatched by the SU76s. I
kept the SU76s back in over watch while I moved the rifle company
down the RR track. I captured that flag. I was unable to get the
infantry and T70s across the field in any semblance of order and
that attack feel apart once it crossed the tree line on the road.
By the way, 5 of 6 SU76s were killed between Turn 4 and Turn 7
without hitting any of the PzKpfw IVs firing on them. I checked
their morale/experience. They were all veteran. To say the least,
I did not fair well. It took a little longer than as playing as
Germans, and I scored a few more points, but the end result was only
slightly less lopsided.
Conclusion on follow up
It isn't necessarily the
AI that caused the lopsided German victory (or my tactical skills).
It would seem this particular setup favors the Germans. Also keep
in mind I left the setup as scenario default. Adjustments would
have helped. One issue I had was trying to set an ambush by my T70
to catch a PzKpfw IV in the flank. If I put it on hold fire, the
PzKpfw IV usually came in and out of sight too fast for me to
react. If I took it off hold, it would pummel away on a hapless HMG
team until the PzKpfw IV showed up to blow it apart. I tried this
ambush several times. What I would like to do is force it to face a
certain way and not change. Any suggestions on this are well
To balance the
commentary, here is my game in CM:BB as the Soviets.
The main difference in this game was I rushed the rifle company on
the RR tracks to the station and held it with supporting fire from
the SU76s. They all got killed quicker than in my germen game, and
only killed one PzKpfw IV. The main difference is my rushing
infantry to the flags early, setting up a defense and hammering the
AI's infantry assaults. Once again, all Soviet armor was destroyed,
but getting to the flags early won the game.
Would I buy PC:K?
Is it a better
tactical game than CM:BB? No, but it is close, and closer
than anyone else.
Why would you buy
it? It has a developer listening intently, has a unique
command system, is growing, is completely moddable
is the downside? It still feels and operates like a table
top game. Phases, opportunity fire, dice rolls, a lot of subjective
(right click and select "Save Target as"
or "Save Link as")
original discussion at the Matrix Forums occurred here.
An update to Panzer
Command entitled Panzer Command: Ostfront is slated for
release in the spring/summer of 2011. The first Second World War
title of the second generation Combat Mission game engine is
also expected to be released in April 2011.
Update: Combat Mission: Battle for
Normandy was released on 17 May 2011.