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Captain_Colossus

Scenario Design Option for Surrendering

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I believe Steel Beasts could use a Surrender IF condition. Without that, any unit can theoretically behave as an unbreakable suicide squad; scenarios may create some 'artificial' tendencies, that is, in many cases players have to kill every visible unit in order that the behavioral algorithms can then re-focus on other important tasks. It's a relatively easy thing to pin down tanks with enough enemy infantry because they become mired down in picking off all of them, and cannot do anything else unless the tanks are given orders holding fire. If they enemy sees you kill enough, or takes certain objective, (or even just your very presence in a tank should kind of project an aura of submission) it makes sense that some will at that point give up. Some visible cue like hands in the air, and the computer controlled units know to ignore them. Ideally, a Surrender IF option could also be a condition attached to units and not just waypoints, so that for example a unit doesn't have to reach a waypoint first if it intends to surrender (as if to march through more machine gun fire in order to reach the surrender waypoint), but can do so even in the middle of an embarked route.

An 'artificially' tough scenario might sacrifice a bunch of PCs by throwing them at the player, and when that's done, the tanks, now low or out of ammunition, might be forced to choose between re-loading or facing the follow up waves of enemy tanks or what have you but low on ready ammunition- but often what happens in these cases is that the enemy troops are now scattered all over the battlefield, adding another problem, that is, the tendency to have to clean up each and every visible grunt, computer controlled tanks and tank commanders will tend to prioritize extermination over re-loading main gun ammunition or doing anything else like embarking on certain kinds of routes. Otherwise, cheap, expendable infantry are an easy way to eat up allotted mission time or distract or pin down players, not because the enemy's plan is necessarily brilliant.

So to better get away from turning any scenario into battles of attrition and to better differentiate them, that is, while one scenario might be desirable to simulate tenacious, unshakeable defenders and attackers ideologically driven or by some other compelling means, not all scenarios need to behave that way, (armed civilians or low quality units shouldn't behave the same as militarized fanatics or crack units, for example), I think a Surrender If condition could add more context and definition to scenario design, and certainly not least, remove some frustration. Reward players with the ability to turn the tide when outnumbered if they can come up with some means of taking enemy units out of play other than having to kill every single one, which is historically artificial except for select cases.

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So do we then need to allocate forces to escort/transport/process these PWs, lest they just "escape" and rejoin their comrades?

Oh and is there an intended irony between your post and your signature block? ;)

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Good one. :)

I think what I am requesting is more abstract than not- I rather doubt it's possible to account for things like surrender and rejoin the fight, or offer a token of surrender as a stratagem or possible trick. For all practical purposes, once a unit surrenders it's dead without having to shoot it. I guess it would even be redundant if there already is suicide option or 'destroy if' condition, same practical effect without inexplicably killing off a unit by script and giving credit for the kill.

It's really more just to remove certain obstacles and free up computer controlled attention spans that constrains play to attrition warfare all the time. For example, in theory it's possible to frustrate a scenario by parking a single grunt from a practically destroyed squad from next to damaged, immobile tank on a victory objective, or by simply forcing players in to mop up scattered infantry wracked with losses when follow up forces would probably be sent in for that.

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Sure, but what I'm after is more than that. An enemy can also run out of ammunition or lack weapons to kill a tank to begin with, but still can distract and tie up forces, as long as they are live.

I was playing through a campaign last night, and to underscore how this went:

First wave of PCs comes up, my tanks are busy slaughtering those, I mean, I am the Lord of Murder here. The passengers that manage to disembark are being cut down, and this goes on for a while, however, there's not enough ammunition to practically take on this many infantry scattered all over the place, but friendly TCs and crews are fixated on them, whether they are still charging or laying around, they need to be killed. So I have to jump from unit to unit and try to get each tank to stop shooting (they are all seriously low on ammunition at this point), knowing the enemy tanks are coming and I haven't got enough ammo for those as well. Dropping their weapons isn't really so much the concern is the fact that they exist and the computer wants to kill any and every which are in sight. I can't get my tanks to reload or embark while they insist on continuing in it. Furthermore, it's not really sensible that the survivors of the most wrecked units will still be attacking to move through my lines to reach the objective behind me, there is no fear or sense of inevitability here.

This isn't of course the fault of the program, these units aren't human and don't act like it, they are following the script to take the objective, as they were programmed to do. I propose adding something that adds more refinement. It's not always practical to anticipate and create a drop weapon if or retreat if conditioned route, and even if it were, it doesn't necessarily represent units that have broken entirely and have given up (so that the practical effect is that computer controlled units would stop being so focused on them).

What I propose is virtually the same as 'destroy if' without just simply killing it and adding to a player's tally. Could very well open up new scenario types which require the capture or recapture of POWs.

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Well it can be done via scripting - albeit by adding a bunch more "embark if ..." routes.

So if Red Condition "culminated" (say they take over 40% losses) is achieved, then pop smk and embark on retreat routes off the map or to some rally point.

You could refine this by sector or echelon so say the left flank withdraws but the centre and right continue to press their attack because they are at less than 40%, or the first echelon culminates, but the second continues its assault or similar.

Probably not a dynamic as you want and would require a fair bit of scenario revision, but possible.

Edited by Gibsonm

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Right, what I am requesting is to take effect without having to set embark conditioned routes. This has two effects:

1) Easier than creating routes, also, more realistic- an attacking or moving unit doesn't necessarily have to reach a conditioned waypoint just so as in order to retreat back again (it may get finished off before even reaching it). What you refer to as more dynamic is a good phrase to explain it.

2) Prevent target fixation- retreating units are still valid targets and can still be used in exploits as I mentioned earlier (that is, to soak up time, bullets, resources); a retreat is a tactical movement, not removing the unit as a threat altogether per se; Surrendering units in contrast are no longer recognized as threats by the computer.

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Try "Allied if..."

Or maybe "Neutral if ..." otherwise Blue could end up being reinforced by the Red PWs. :)

But I think that's a "global" setting for a given side, not specific units on a given side.

So ALL of Red becomes neutral, not just Tk Platoon X.

Edited by Gibsonm

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Or maybe "Neutral if ..." otherwsie Blue could end up being reinforced by the Red PWs. :)

But I think that's a "global" setting for a given side, not specific units on a given side.

Correct. I wouldn't recommend that workaround, the side effects probably overpower the good in it.

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Or maybe "Neutral if ..." otherwise Blue could end up being reinforced by the Red PWs. :)

Well that was common practice in the 30-year-war here.

I think the British Navy also had the tradition of taking captured sailors and "offer" employment for them ;-)

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So ALL of Red becomes neutral, not just Tk Platoon X.

True, but in the above mentioned scenario with different waves, you could just make the different waves a different side.

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Very interesting thread,

with several cool idea's I d'like to try out :-)

Very well said also, Captain_Colossus !

(see below)

And like Mark wrote:

Next to an Surrender option, it would also be helpful and historically more realistic,

if scenario designers would simply make Red retreat (or counterattack) under certain conditions.

Currently I have the impression that Red often only has static positions.

I remember one German scenario, where a whole Red Inf. company starts to flee,

after our attack with LAV's. That was quite a Wow-moment.

I believe Steel Beasts could use a Surrender IF condition. Without that, any unit can theoretically behave as an unbreakable suicide squad;

(...)

So to better get away from turning any scenario into battles of attrition and to better differentiate them, ... (armed civilians or low quality units shouldn't behave the same as militarized fanatics or crack units, for example), I think a Surrender If condition could add more context and definition to scenario design, and certainly not least, remove some frustration.

Reward players with the ability to turn the tide when outnumbered if they can come up with some means of taking enemy units out of play other than having to kill every single one, which is historically artificial except for select cases.

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Next to an Surrender option, it would also be helpful and historically more realistic,

if scenario designers would simply make Red retreat (or counterattack) under certain conditions.

Yes.

Ssnake, et al. - please also consider a "Retreat Back" status that can be assigned to units in the same manner I propose "Surrender If", so that Red units can be programmed to behave more dynamically, for example, while on a route, the unit may retreat if it takes X number of casualties, of if some other development occurs.

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Well you can (there is a "retreat back if..." option just like "embark if..."), but it has to be set for each route.

That's fine if you only have a single route that covers a long distance but if you have lots of units and lots of routes you are effectively double scripting (as each leg needs a go forward tactic as well as a go back one).

It not like say Fire Control or the "Dismount if..." choices that have a "no change" option so that what you set on the first route is carried forward to subsequent ones.

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