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Old May 28th, 2017, 09:32 AM

G. K. Zhukov G. K. Zhukov is offline
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Exclamation No love for a little brigade command? (SP3 scale)

Make no mistakes. I love both WinSPWW2 and WinSPMBT. They are fantastic upgrades of the classic Steel Panthers and Steel Panthers II, which I think were some of the best PC games ever. The new ones make it very difficult for me to go back to similar boardgames like ASL/ATS and the current crop like Panzer/MBT, Combat Commander, Ghost Panzer, you name it...

But deep in my heart I have always been a platoon-scale wargamer. Panzerblitz/Panzer Leader, Panzer Grenadier, Command Decision, Fistful of TOWs... Meaning big, decisive brigade/divisional-scale battles (1 counter/mini = 1 platoon/battery), not simply battlegroup/battalion/company "skirmishes" with one counter/mini = 1 real life vehicle/squad.

Are there any plans to refloat old "SP III: Brigade Command" and recode it so that we pathetic old fart big battle junkies can send our brigades (divisions even!) in wide flanking maneouvers and crush our digital enemies like our real life ancestors did?

Thanks and sorry for the rant.
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Old May 28th, 2017, 11:12 AM
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Default Re: No love for a little brigade command? (SP3 scale)

SP3 was incredibly flawed in its execution.

What was a track hit in the other games translated to a kill in it, so the best anti-tank weaponry was artillery - even 60mm mortars slowly attrited M1 Abrams platoons over time. Large calibre artillery blew armoured formations to kingdom come, especially since the artillery model was the old SSI one where you adjusted in your turn, and the arty fell at the end of your turn so the adjustment was instantaneous.

In addition - what were in SP1 and 2 damaged results (e.g gun damaged) also were treated as a kill from the tank platoon.

The AI had only one deployment model - basically 1-2 hexes behind its start line. Since SP3 allowed pre-game bombardment in all battle types, if you wanted to hurt the AI then a turn 0 bombardment of that zone usually worked wonders.

Again, since track and damage hits translated into kills, then armoured cars working the flanks did a number on tigers, provided you popped in and out of cover.

SP3 infantry melted away like snow in Lucifer's kingdom as well, especially since your arty could be instantly adjusted on target. Because SP3 infantry were a large accumulation all in the same hex, it was impossible to spread out. In addition, the company command units were instantly recognisable as these were the little ones. I also hated those numbers attached to platoons.

Tank company HQs were also instantly identifiable from the small number beside them, so it was easy to target those first and kill the company command points.

The move amounts were incredible - so much so that armoured cars were a must-have if the map had roads. The AI hardly guarded its flanks, so you could traverse the map in one go and get into its artillery park. All arty was on-map and clumped into singleton units which died horribly to close range MG fire from little scout cars..

In order to properly play it then you really had to use the simple objective system and the command points model - it seems that was not popular with casual end users, who would turn the orders option off in preferences.

All the messages and things in SP3 came up in dialogue or message boxes which were plonked right in the middle of the game map, thus obscuring any action that was going on.

As a beta tester for SP3 I got a free copy of the game. Otherwise, I probably would not have bought it knowing what I did. It wasn't very popular I think, compared to SP1 and 2.

The idea of a brigade level game is not a bad one however - but it probably would need orders to be compulsory so that it actually is a reflection of the higher level of command involved. And some sort of "fuzzy" reporting of platoon sizes depending on your intel level on the unit. Plus damaged tanks would have to be spawned off as singletons - which means an awful number of spare free unit slots would be needed for cripples.

Its doable - but I am not really sure of the interest level for such a game. "Casual" end users would be put off by having orders required (the same effect was seen in tabletop clubs, rules that needed a plan (OMG - I have to think!!) were less popular, only appealing to Grognards).
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Old May 28th, 2017, 11:40 AM
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Default Re: No love for a little brigade command? (SP3 scale)

I know for absolute certain that *I* have no interest whatsoever in a revitalized SP3

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Old May 28th, 2017, 12:45 PM

G. K. Zhukov G. K. Zhukov is offline
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Default Re: No love for a little brigade command? (SP3 scale)

Thanks for the prompt and comprehensive answer, Andy.

I do agree on the main (flawed) points of SP3:

1. Any damage resulted in a loss.

2. Company and higher command units identifiable at plain sight.

3. Incredibly accurate artillery model.

4. Rudimentary AI.

I also agree on the compulsory command and control system matter. At this high scale I feel it is a must. I am even a staunch supporter of using it at the WinSP scale (my dislike of ASL for the lack of C&C is notorious).

I think the Camo Workshop has done a very good job at improving problems No. 3. and 4 above. So what could be done to solve 1. and 2.?

The solution perhaps is going the abstract way.

No. 2: Company and higher command units identifiable at plain sight.

Command units should be abstracted. I.e., the command tank or the infantry command section should be "floating somewhere" inside their company areas, and they should not be specifically represented on map (thus avoiding being individually targeted by enemy fire). Effects on command structure would be randomly assigned by the computer ("bad luck - they knocked out the captain's tank").

E.g.: this way, you would see three tank platoons of a Soviet tank company, each probably with a generic icon representing 3 tanks (one of them, even with the same 3-tank icon, might physically be 4 to account for the company command tank). Command & Control would be working if the 3 platoons were within "X" 200-meter hexes of each other. Otherwise, the separated units would be "out of command" (determine randomly which two are OOC if all three are too far away from one another - meaning the command tank is temporarily attached to the not-out-of-command platoon).

1. Any damage resulted in a loss.

This is a good one. I concur creating new sub-units with immobilized individual vehicles would be a no-go.

I remember Frank Chadwick's "Command Decision" (up to 3rd Edition I think) and "Sands of War", where vehicle platoons where treated as single vehicles and consequently were treated as damaged vehicles when they suffered a "step loss" or "damage" result. Tch tch tch...

AFAIK the most satisfactory way of representing losses to a platoon.sized unit is via "cohesion hits" or a similar concept. Games like "Panzer Command", The "Grant Tactical Series" and "Clash of Armor/Kampgruppe Commander" work like that. Meaning that progressively successful attacks against a platoon-sized unit will make it suffer progressively worse (and normally cumulative) results: from "suppressed" to an outright "step loss" (the former similar to the current WinSP suppression resuults and the latter meaning effective loss of vehicles/heavy weapons/manpower). You would be able to "rally" a platoon that has several "cohesion hits" - but not a step-reduced one.

One last thing: sprinkle a bit of battlefield chaos and C&C degrading due to losses and C&C structure failures on top of the above and you can have a nice brigade group turning into a mass of routed units running for their lives and surrendering en masse.

Thanks in advance for putting up with all this.
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Old May 28th, 2017, 03:04 PM

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Fallout Re: No love for a little brigade command? (SP3 scale)

God this brought back memories, and not all of them good. The artillery issue was absolutely ridiculous (Though I did like the concept of the pre-bombardment as in RL.) and this from a strong advocate of artillery. Because of it the AI as pointed out never really to some degree stood a chance depending on the battle. And flanking maneuvers were definitely a piece of cake, and it got to a point where I would just stop executing that maneuver against the AI and just "slug it out" on the main line of attack/or defense.

I honestly thought though it was better then SP1 but, it really wasn't much better, if at all, than SP2 (Which I enjoyed more.) and possibly was a step backward to some extent.

Fear not!! My ever "shrinking gut" tells me Andy and Don are far from pulling "rabbits out of the hat" in regards to the software and game play that, will render games like SP3 a long distant memory. Of that I'm sure. SP3 was pushed out to fast and SSI was under pressure and would change hands about three or four times until UBI-SOFT bought them out and is now barely a "shadow" of it's former self.

I my opinion SP3 offered little to the player over SP2 however from a developers point of view the three games combined offered a very good platform to take a broad spectrum of the good, the "needed" and bad and apply them to another platform/design.

Thank you all for this topic, it was a nice diversion from the norm and brought back many good memories from where many of us started from and truly learned there are different meanings to the term "I'm having an all nighter..." though I have to admit, some of the other meanings are fun too!!!

From the point of view of cutting my teeth, learning game play tactics, play ability and other factors...
A. First a HUGE THANK YOU to Mr. Charles S. Roberts he started so many of us down the road to war-gaming.

B. I received my degree from Avalon Hill with so many good games I owned.

C. Got my Masters from SSI with the intro to PC Gaming.

D. But received my PhD. from SPI with my thesis papers "played on"...
1812/Ardennes Offensive/Austerlitz/Battle of Stalingrad/Bundeswehr/The Battle for Cassino/Chinese Farm (And not whom the title implies.)/Don will like this...Canadian Civil War/Desert Fox & War/Red Star White Star including update (Favorite)/Fighting Sail/Sixth Fleet and Star Force plus so many more.

I owned at least close to 60 board games mostly from A & C above, now I remember why in my dish washing days in high school I never had a BIG savings account!?! But I had so much fun though.

Para 5 of the last ref MIGHT be useful to someone out here-maybe?

"If something is not impossible, there must be a way of doing it." - Sir Nicholas Winton

"Ex communi periculo, fraternitas" - My career long mentor and current friend -QMCM/SS M. Moher USN Ret..
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