Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Order of Battle is a series of operational WW2 games starting with the Pacific War and then on to Europe!

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Erik2
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Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Erik2 » Thu May 24, 2018 4:06 pm

This campaign covers the war in North Africa from the initial Italian offensive in 1940 to the deciding battle at El Alamein in 1942.
You play the British, of course.
Unit size are regiment/brigades/battalions.


Link in the first post in my campaign thread:
http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtop ... 82#p690982

List of scenarios:
Border Raid
Fort Capuzzo
Girba
Operazione E
Taranto Raid
Operation Compass
First Bardia
Beda Fomm
Operation Sonnenblume
Ras el Mdauuar
Operation Brevity
Operation Battleaxe
Operation Crusader
Bir el Gubi
Dash to the Wire
Second Offensive
Second Bardia
Gazala
First Alamein
Alam Halfa
Second Alamein
Operation Torch
Race For Tunis
Kasserine/Kasserine Pass
Medenine
Mareth Line
Tunisia

Andy2012
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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Andy2012 » Thu May 24, 2018 4:13 pm

Jesus, Erik, when am I supposed to play all this? I havent even finished the original DLC. But well done, great job.

Erik2
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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Erik2 » Thu May 24, 2018 4:27 pm

Just follow my lead:
Make sure there's a strike going on at work and send the wife on a job trip to Shanghai.
Then you can spend some serious leisure time t home with the cat, dog and OOB.

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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Deja Bru » Thu May 24, 2018 11:46 pm

This looks like another job for Deja Bru, CSI*!

*Campaign and Scenario Investigator. :roll:

But my work is of limited usefulness because all I do is look for bugs. Erik needs you to test-play his campaigns, guys, so you can give him feedback on gameplay and balance. Single-player vs. AI scenarios are tough in those aspects. Whatever help you can give him will make his stuff even better.
- Bru

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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Deja Bru » Fri May 25, 2018 12:09 am

To whet your appetites, here is the list of national units that you will be in charge of at various times during this campaign. Yes, Free France, South Africa, Poland, and Greece all make their appearances!
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And he seems to have squirreled an excellent map from someplace to use as the template for his own maps. Sshhh. Don't ask where he got it. :wink:
- Bru

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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Deja Bru » Fri May 25, 2018 12:31 am

Operazione E v. 1.0

Hmmm. You've gone from being loquacious to being rather terse with your communications. I hope it wasn't something I said back in the Ardennes! :wink:
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You need trigger event Turn Start here:
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So you have 5 primary VP's: Sidi Barrini (also handled separately), Charing Cross, Mersa Matruh, Matan el Garawla, and Fuka Aerodrome. This trigger here says if the Italians take three of these, that naturally leaves only 2 for the British, so they ought to fail their objective:
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Fair enough, except for one thing. The first trigger seems to give the British the entire scenario to end up holding three VP's. To me, that implies if they lost a total of three VP's to the Italians, they would still have time to wage a counterattack to take back at least one VP by the end of the scenario. The way you have it with the second trigger, it's over as soon as the Italians have 3 VP's. If that is your intent, fine but if you want to allow for the possibility of a British comeback, you may want to turn this second trigger into a mirror version of the first but with the Italians winning their objective and the British losing theirs at scenario end.
- Bru

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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Deja Bru » Fri May 25, 2018 12:56 am

Operazione E v. 1.0 continued

You need trigger event Turn Start here:
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And here. Also, please consider what I said above about the possibility of a British comeback before scenario end instead of immediately failing their objective if the Italians enjoy early success:
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IMPORTANT: After I typed the above, I took a close look at the map. These locations triggers are looking at secondary VP's. Unless I am mistaken, you only have four (4) secondary VP's on the map: Halfaya Pass, Buq Buq, Sofafi, and El Maktila. All of the rest appear to be the primary VP's or merely capture points.

This trigger is similar to what we saw in Wacht Am Rhein:
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What it is saying is, "As soon as there is any combat anywhere in this godforsaken desert, as long as whatever was just destroyed was not one of my airplanes, I win this objective! Yay me!" My recommendation remains the same as it was when you set up this type of objective in Wacht Am Rhein: Set this objective as achieved at the start of the scenario, and fail it only if and when a British air unit is destroyed.
- Bru

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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Deja Bru » Fri May 25, 2018 1:51 am

Operazione E v. 1.0 continued

It seems you want to construct Italian air strips in Buq Buq, Sidi Barrini, and Mersa Matruh. I was wondering whether they would be built prematurely, since you require only that no British or Italian units be in the destination hexes, and I was going to recommend Check Hex Owner/Italy but the game will not spawn a unit on a hex unless it is owned by that side. But . . . does the trigger fire, find that it cannot build (yet) for that reason, and then the trigger is off for the rest of the scenario?
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Wow, it's hotter than heck out here! :(

All this heat, and sun glare, and sand in my boots, shorts, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth have taken a lot out of me already. So I am going to call it "one and done" for tonight and head for my oasis bed. I will pick it up with Operation Compass tomorrow.
- Bru

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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Erik2 » Fri May 25, 2018 7:33 am

Operazione E:

Fixed triggers and updated link.
The airstrip stuff works fine sine there is originally a proper unit at the location (the airstrip itself).
So the switch does not happen until the original airstrip is destroyed.
The British variant of this trigger spawns a construction group.

Victory/defeat messages.
I usually depend on copy & paste for this. I could write a lengthy version in Norwegian though.

Wach Am Rhein was based on single scenarios in Command Ops/Battle of the Bulge (great game BTW) and there was a lot of excellent prose there.

Desert Rats is a conversion of the single scenarios in the recently released Desert War. I used the excellent maps and the very detailed unit research done there.
These original scenarios use battalion/company units so the unit density is very high. I moved the campaign to regiment/brigade units, that was quite a job actually. I had to do a lot of creative choices to make it work, especially with the British.

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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Andy2012 » Fri May 25, 2018 7:40 am

Erik2 wrote:Just follow my lead:
Make sure there's a strike going on at work and send the wife on a job trip to Shanghai.
Then you can spend some serious leisure time t home with the cat, dog and OOB.
Bru, is your wife also in Shanghai? :mrgreen:
I am seriously thinking about just calling it a day and handing out an 'F' to everyone. They earned it anyways and I can play OoB then.

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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by WarHomer » Fri May 25, 2018 10:02 am

I haven´t played it yet, but will just issue a warning against too big and too dense missions, as this often makes the game tedious, especially in campaigns.

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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by jeff00t » Fri May 25, 2018 10:50 am

many thanks for all your work ! it looks like exciting!
my custom single player mini-campaign in order of battle : normandie-niemen: Image
http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=374&t=79333&p=676302#p676302

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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Deja Bru » Fri May 25, 2018 10:42 pm

Operation Compass, v. 1.1

This situation is different from Operazione E in that the British are on the attack in this scenario and aim to take back Sidi Barrini (even though it may have been held in OE). In Operation Compass, the primary victory points are different and the British are holding none of them at the beginning: Sidi Barrini, Sofafi, Halfaya Pass, Sollum Barracks (not Sollum itself), Ridotta Capuzzo (yum, reminds me of pizza for some reason), Bardia, and Gambut. That's a total of seven primary VP's that the Italians are holding to start.

From this, it is clear that you want the player to begin with retaking Sidi Barrini because the second primary objective is disabled to start:
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Now let's look at this trigger (and please bear with me sometimes when I type things out to help me think):
Screenshot 2.jpg
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If you want the player to take Sidi Barrini first, that is also a primary VP and it counts toward the total. So, if the objective is to "Capture at least 4 other primary locations," you actually are requiring that a total of 5 primary VP's be taken so I believe this should be Value > 4.

You need trigger event Turn Start here:
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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Deja Bru » Fri May 25, 2018 11:31 pm

Operation Compass, v. 1.1 continued

Now this trigger:
Screenshot 5.jpg
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I said above, and see if you agree, there are a total of seven primary VP's and the Italians hold all of them to start. The British take Sidi Barrini; that leaves six. The British take 4 more primary VP's, that leaves the Italians still holding 2. In this case, BOTH the British and the Italians win their objectives. To prevent the British from winning by holding a total of 5 primary VP's, the Italians must hold 3 primary VP's in the end, yes? If so, then the Italian objective should be "Hold at least 3 locations" and it should be Value >2 in this trigger.

Also, you need trigger event Turn Start here:
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Typo: Indian stuff, T6, Event Popup, Title "Reinforcements." Incidentally, on Turn 6, you have an Event Popup for "infantry reinforcements - Additional British units are released" back-to-back with the aforementioned "Reinorcements - Indian unit has arrived" because both occur on the same Allied turn. Maybe one Event Popup announcing additional British and Indian units would suffice?

So, I see on Turn 9 you have the Italian onslaught begin! (By the way, I cannot worry about spoilers when I do this type of thing. IF SOMEONE DOES NOT WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN THESE SCENARIOS, BEST NOT BE LOOKING OVER THE SHOULDER OF DEJA BRU, CSI! :wink: )

You activate AI teams 6 through 13 at that time:
Screenshot 6.jpg
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Here's the potential problem: I advise you to go through the Italian stuff triggers and make sure that you have hit every AI team that you want activated. Specifically, the trigger labeled "Carri Armati della Libia t9" refers to AI Team 14 which has nobody in it and "XXIII Corps t9" is linked to AI Team 15, also bereft of any Italian units. It's probably just an oversight or something that you were planning to do and decided not to. I did a "J" on your map to indicate AI team numbers and nobody is blank, so you're probably okay unless you forgot to put more Italians on the map!
- Bru

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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Deja Bru » Sat May 26, 2018 12:57 am

Special post. Here's where maybe I can pick your brains a bit about this campaign editor.

I noticed before closing out Operation Compass that you have the wrong start date for that scenario; it's the same start date as Operazione E:
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But I see that you have the correct date for Operation Compass in the campaign editor:
Screenshot 9.jpg
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Question: Is this date in the campaign editor just for information purposes only? Because it did not seem to interfere as I nuked from OE to OC and advanced the date in OC as normal; no problem at all.
- Bru

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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Deja Bru » Sat May 26, 2018 1:20 am

Beda Fomm, v. 1.1

In this one, you have three primary VP's: Benghazi, The Pimple (I am no longer thinking about pizza), and Agedabia. All three are in Italian hands at the start. As in Compass, you want us to capture Benghazi first, then another primary objective will activate to "Capture at least 2 more objectives":
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The associated triggers are great! No issues.* Bravo on the reference to General "Electric Whiskers" and including his picture, but it may go over the head of most players as it did mine. Maybe a reference to him in the briefing, naming him as the Italian commander and using his full name and nickname? Also, a nitpicking correction in the Event Popup: "General 'Electric Whiskers' has surrendered at Benghazi."

*Except this one. You need trigger event Turn Start here:
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Oops, you forgot to link this objective, Erik:
Screenshot 12.jpg
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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Deja Bru » Sat May 26, 2018 1:51 am

Operation Sonnenblume, v. 1.1

This type of scenario is tough, I know. You only have one primary objective, and that one is passive in nature. You may have to fight like hell to achieve it but it's still passive in that in order to win, you must hold this one primary VP until the end.
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That means the player must play out all 40 turns and that in turn means an experienced scenario designer such as yourself must ensure that there is likely to be action right up until the end! Otherwise it could be a drag waiting to play this one out if nothing is going on after a while.

That said, it's the usual "You need trigger event Turn Start here":
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I nearly goofed on this one (feel free to point out when I do); I was going to question the Value >3 thinking Tobruk was the only primary VP on the map but I missed the three primary VP's that the Germans own way off in the west. So, when they take Tobruk, that is four victory points and wins this objective for them. British lose theirs as well, scenario over:
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Last edited by Deja Bru on Sat May 26, 2018 3:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Deja Bru » Sat May 26, 2018 2:07 am

Operation Sonnenblume, v. 1.1 continued

You need trigger event Turn Start here:
Screenshot 16.jpg
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Wow, daisy-chaining those AI teams in their forays around the rim of Libya must have been a lot of work, eh? Thank goodness for the Clone function! :)

The only thing that I noticed is that while your four German AI teams made the entire trip, you start out with six Italian teams but end up with only four. Two of the Italian AI teams fall off the daisy-chain after El Adem. Intentional?

You mention these Australian reinforcements in the briefing:
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Minor point: So as to not detract from immersion, why not refer to an approximate date instead of "Turn 24"? Anytime you can avoid calling attention to the structure of the game itself, it's better for immersion, I think. Turn 24 happens to be the fourth iteration of 5 Apr 1941 so maybe you could say something like "late in the day of 5 April." Just a suggestion.

More tomorrow.
- Bru

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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Erik2 » Sat May 26, 2018 8:30 am

Compass:
Objectives fixed
I'll keep the event popups just to display the various graphics.
Some Italian AI temas may have zero units. This is because I originally used battalion units in all scenarios, but decided to move to regiments. During this process I deleted and renamed units effectively removing at least 1/3 of the units. I have fixed other missing Italian activations.

I asked about the branch dates in the campaign editor, but have not gotten an answer yet.

Beda:
General Annibale Bergonzoli 'Electric Whiskers' is properly named.

Sonnenblume:
You were right on the money about the difficulties getting this scenario right. I am still editing it to give Rommel a fair chance of fulfilling the Axis objectives. The thing is that if you play an aggressive British delaying action you stand a good chance of crippling the Germans. The AI likes to drive transported units next to the enemy and of course suffers losses. I think I'll place the German infantry in halftracks and maybe reduce the Allied command points a bit.
Objectives fixed.
Australian now arrives 'early April' and I've used the 'after Date' function which is not as precise as the turn.

Link updated.

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Re: Desert Rats 1940-42 beta testing

Post by Deja Bru » Sat May 26, 2018 2:03 pm

Deja Bru wrote:Question: Is this date in the campaign editor just for information purposes only? Because it did not seem to interfere as I nuked from OE to OC and advanced the date in OC as normal; no problem at all.
So, what are your thoughts on this? Window-dressing only?

Also, for maximum utility of my offerings and to present the best quality product, better carefully review everything I bring up so as to not miss anything. For example, on a hunch, I checked and in v. 1.2, you still have the scenario Operation Compass starting on the wrong date. It's not a big deal as to gameplay, but I mentioned immersion before and details like this count toward that, in my opinion.

As I have mentioned, I am not going back over previous posts to see if you have implemented my suggestions but only for the reason that I respect your judgment and this is, after all, your masterpiece. But it would be a shame to miss bugs that I have pointed out that would take only a few seconds to fix.
- Bru

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