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TGIF 2016: scenario list, discussion, and house rules


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Yeah, Red won that one.[*]

IMO, this was driven by the disparity in the number of players on each side. it was originally 8 Red players vs. 8 Blue, but 3 Blue players dropped halfway through, making it 8 Red humans vs 5 Blue. Up to that point, it had been a stalemate around the FEBA, but after the drops, Red steadily pushed Blue back.

The central design objective of the mission was to ensure that a player rarely, if ever, had to control more than a single vehicle (there are never more than 10 combat vehicles in play on each side at any time). After the drops, a greater portion of Blue vehicles were under AI control, and AI vehicles tend to have poor survival skills. It became a vicious cycle. Blue's AI vehicles were quickly attrited, which then caused another wave of reinforcements to spawn, meaning that Blue's players were again overloaded (compared to Red) with AI-controlled vehicles, which were quickly attrited, and so on.

[*] Technically, it was a defeat for Red, which was on the cusp of taking the objective when the mission time limit was reached.

Edited by MDF
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MDF,

Did you make any adjustments to the scenario after the last time we played it?

Yes, here is the change log:

v.0.63 (10 Oct 2015) [following first TGIF play-through]

> If the friendly offensive objective is not taken, points are now awarded for the extent of enemy territory held at mission end. These points, together with points for unused reinforcements, will not be sufficient to earn a "Victory" rating, but may be enough to avoid a "Major Defeat" rating.

> Friendy reinforcements now spawn further rearwards when the enemy captures territory close to the friendly defense objective. Likewise, friendly reinforcements spawn further forward as territory nearer the friendly offensive objective is taken. (Previously, friendly reinforcements would not spawn forward of the FEBA).

> replaced all HEAT rounds with sabot (both sides)

> removed small river behind Blue objective and replaced with 2D 3 meter stream linear object.

> added navmesh

> radio message about reinforcment arrival now includes reminder of number of remaining reinforcement waves.

> Increased mission duration by 20 minutes.

> added thermal TRP panels along portions of lateral boundaries that were extended rearward in version 0.55

> removed all phase lines (except FEBA). Intent is to facilitate the CO's creation of terrain-appropriate phase lines without the added clutter of the arbitrary phase lines in previous versions. Added checkpoints at the vertices of the (invisible) boxes representing capture-able terrain chunks in the mission scripting.

v. 0.64

> added castle towers at intervals along lateral boundaries to assist in visial navigation and avoidance of boundary violations.

> added lighthouse object to center of each side's objective area.

> added additional thermal TRP panels to lateral boundaries.

v. 065

> Because the scripting logic counts SP arty as a tank, all events/conditions depending on the number of operational "tanks" in play -- such as the reinforcement logic -- had to include the SP arty in the count. This was problematic, because the reinforcement logic would be thrown off if any SP arty vehicles are destroyed somehow. Fixed this by adding a new (invisible) "Play Area" zone encompassing only the areas of the map where player-controlled tanks may operate and excluding the areas occupied by the artillery. Now, the reinforcement logic counts only the number of tanks in the Play Area rather than "anywhere."

> amended briefing to mention addition of castle towers along boundaries.

> moved towers so that they are just outside of the play area and can't be used for cover.

> extended penalty zones further rearwards for both sides.

v. 0.66

> modified territory-capture scoring to require presence of friendly tanks in zone (rather than merely clearing of enemy).

> edits to briefing.

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One thing I did not change was the ammo for the M1A1's. In the post mission discussion, some of the Blue guys expressed concern that the M829 round with which the Blue M1A1's were equipped lacked penetrating power compared to Leo2's with DM33. I note for starters that the mission editor says both rounds have 600mm penetration (M829A1 is 700mm). So, might the kill disparity in our one playthrough of the mission be the product of something else -- say, the Leo2A4's better fire control system or armor protection?

I talked this over with Volcano, and he noted (as did I during the post mission discussion) that the SB Wiki (all Hail!:cvcsalut:) asserts that M1A1/M829 vs. Leo2A4/DM33 is the most balanced matchup in all of Steel Beastsdom. He strongly disagreed with the suggestion that the M1A1's be given the M829A1 instead of the M829.

I also looked at the AAR for the mission, and nothing jumped out at me in terms of disparity. Sure, there were times when a Leo absorbed a lot of punishment before destruction, but the same was true for the M1A1s at times. During several TGIF games after the FEBA Madness mission, with this issue firmly in mind, I found myself in a Leo2A4 trying to kill M1A1s and being dismayed at the number of rounds needed to dispatch them. And as I set out a few posts above, the kill ratio in our playthrough was at least arguably driven by the disparity in the two sides' player counts and AI ineptness. I note that MANY of the Red-on-Blue kills came from flank shots.

So, in my personal experience and opinion, whatever advantage the Leo2 may have in terms of fire control or armor thickness/layout (if any) is essentially outweighed by the superior protection (or at least crew protection) of the M1 series -- at least as these vehicles are modeled in SB.

I think we need to play the mission a couple more times before we can say that there is an imbalance in the two sides' material. Volcano and Sean will be the ultimate deciders.

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Well, a lot of people want to claim the Leopard 2A4 is better, and they can certainly do so, but seldom is this proved in a typical TGIF scenario because the primary basis of the argument usually depends on precisely where you shoot both tanks. People can argue which has the larger weak spot, sure, but usually it comes down to one side or another getting shot in the flank more than the other, and frontal aspect engagements coming down to who can mass more fire, or who is luckier in general.

Many times a scenario was "balanced" after first play because of loss ratios, only to find out that another time it was played it was screwed too far the other direction as less flanks were presented to the enemy. You just cannot balance those tactical decisions, and in most cases there is always going to be a minor disadvantage anyway. In nearly every case though, the winner of a good evenly matched tank battle is usually the one that can shoot the other guy in the side more often.

Just sayin' -- the Leo2A4 vs. M1A1 match is close enough as is without having to boost either one. ;)

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The bottom line is that a single playthrough is not a sufficient basis to claim a mismatch between two vehicle types. This is all the more so given that this particular vehicle matchup has been a TGIF mainstay.

Anyway, I ran the mission HTML report through Excel and came up with the following numbers:

ENY Vehicles killed

US: 40

GE: 68

Ratio (US/GE): 0.59

Hits on enemy vehicles

US: 220

GE: 337

Ratio (US/GE): 0.65

Number of hits per kill

US: 220 / 40 = 5.5

GE: 337 / 68 = 4.95

Number of ENY vehicles destroyed by flank shots

US: 33

GE: 61

(This last number is somewhat misleading, since the HTML report does not distinguish between hits that actually destroyed the vehicle and subsequent hits on an already-destroyed vehicle. Accordingly, the above number overstates the number of live vehicles destroyed by flank shot.)

Proportion of ENY vehicles killed by flank shot

US: 33 / 40 = 0.825

GE: 61 / 68 = 0.897

(Again, this number has to be taken with a grain of salt given the imprecision of the flank shot kills value)

So, while the M1A1's required a greater number of shots to kill the Leo2 (5.5 vs 4.95), it is at least partly due to the fact that the Leo2's achieved a higher percentage of flank shots (~90% versus ~83%). More significant is the disparity in the number of HITS achieved -- 337 for the Leos and just 220 for the US. This tracks to a degree with the ratio of vehicle losses, and would seem to explain the latter better than the two sides' ammo types or protection levels.

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I guess the only way to truly balance a scenario would be to have the same gear on both sides. Not suggesting to do it to this scenario, just a random thought.

I think we actually discussed this after the mission. Someone even half-jokingly suggested that we also remove friendly map updates, for a truly chaotic experience.:1:

Another possibility -- if it is actually determined that the M1A1 is undergunned -- is to equip only a fraction (say, 1/3 or 1/2) of the Blue force with M829A1 and leave the rest with just M829's.

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Yes, the ultimate balanced scenario: same equipment and numbers on both sides and on THE flat map (the featureless map you get when you start the Mission Editor). But then you still run into the issue of both sides not having the same people with same capability, so all participants then have to be cloned. ;)

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Yes, the ultimate balanced scenario: same equipment and numbers on both sides and on THE flat map (the featureless map you get when you start the Mission Editor). But then you still run into the issue of both sides not having the same people with same capability, so all participants then have to be cloned. ;)

OR; No Human Players.

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Good game today! Very close.

Yeah, it was another draw, both sides earning a "Major Defeat." Red "won" on points: 84/1000 versus Blue's 0/1000. The battle was largely a stalemate just west (i.e., on Blue's side) of the FEBA.

The kill ratio was 1.23:1 (59:48) in favor of Red. Again, however, compared to Blue, Red achieved a greater number of hits (Red:Blue = 726:682 or 1.06:1) and an even greater ratio of flank shots (330:258 or 1.28:1). The ratio of Red/Blue flank shots (1.28) basically corresponds with the Red/Blue kill ratio (1.23). Also, it should be pointed out that Red had six tanks so badly damaged that they had to be fratricided, whereas Blue had only one such instance (a second Blue fratricide was by an AI vehicle). Thus, the true kill ratio is closer to 60:54, or 1.1 : 1.

So, one still has to wonder whether the outcomes were driven by:

(a) better armor on the Leo;

(b) by better target acquisition (i.e., the hunter-killer capability of the Leo) allowing the Leo2s to spot their prey more quickly and and get in "surprise" flank shots;

© better fire control on the Leo;

(d) an aggregate player skill advantage on the Red side;

(e) randomness (after all, this is only the second playthrough of this mission).

Anyway, Volcano and I decided to slightly beef up the US side by giving half of the Blue M1A1s the KEW-A1 sabot round, which has 670mm armor penetration. The remaining M1A1s still have the M829, which (like the DM33) has 600mm penetration.

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Yes, the M1A1 and Leopard 2A4 w/ 600 RHA ammo is a very balanced one, but the "fair match" always took into the equation that there would be plenty of maneuver space to flank and that IFVs would also be available in a standard battle. With neither here, then the feeling is that the Leopard 2A4 holds a very slight advantage in this specific situation, but not enough to warrant a change to the "fair match" list to give the M1A1 better ammo, or to give all of Blue better ammo in this scenario though.

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5 FEB scenario:

Clash of Armor 2014c

This one is a large tank pure battle over a central city and surrounding area. Both sides (Blue/Red) have the same type and number of tanks - a good mixture of many different types of tanks. Own party map updates.

NOTES:

  • Avoid studying the enemy's side; only gather intel from the briefing and exposed enemy unit icons (enemy intel), and briefly looking over both sides to figure out which one you want to CO. Anything beyond that ruins the fog of war element.
  • To avoid passwords, open the scenario in Network Session as HOST and choose the side you want to play and go to planning phase. You may briefly look at both sides like this to see which side you want to play or CO on. As CO, once you choose a side, go to that side and create your plan.
  • Remember to play within the TGIF House Rules and SB.com community rules.

Edited by Volcano
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  • 2 weeks later...

12 FEB scenario:

!Conglomerate Steel-Leo2-3028-OMU

NOTES:

  • Avoid studying the enemy's side; only gather intel from the briefing and exposed enemy unit icons (enemy intel), and briefly looking over both sides to figure out which one you want to CO. Anything beyond that ruins the fog of war element.
  • To avoid passwords, open the scenario in Network Session as HOST and choose the side you want to play and go to planning phase. You may briefly look at both sides like this to see which side you want to play or CO on. As CO, once you choose a side, go to that side and create your plan.
  • Remember to play within the TGIF House Rules and SB.com community rules.

Edited by Volcano
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