First thoughts

Discuss Crisis in Command Volume II: Drive on Moscow. Designed by Ted Raicer
Baldie
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First thoughts

Post by Baldie » Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:14 pm

Let's share some early thoughts about the game.

My first impression was that the AI is actually quite more competent compared to the Bulge which is good. At least he no longer leaves his units unsupplied if he can avoid that.

Really liked new units. I haven't had an opportunity to use an air drop but the Soviet cavalry rocks! If left unchecked it can really wreak havoc behind the enemy lines, especially on mud turns while German Panzer and Panzergrenadier units move only one space. Also some new and exciting strategies for the Germans - deep encirclement, Blitzkrieg at its best (at least in the first turns). New types of objectives are also good, you have to look after them because you can lose one on the last turn and kiss your 2 or 3 points goodbye.

So many thanks once again Shenandoah!

Tigre
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Re: First thoughts

Post by Tigre » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:43 pm

everything sounds nice, but I can get past the turn 7 on the campaingn, twice now it freezes on both sides ... going to try the scenario, typhon ^^

Dugrim
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Re: First thoughts

Post by Dugrim » Thu Nov 21, 2013 5:58 pm

Better AI, better combat interface (finally with the number involved in combat, so you don't have to remember everything), good graphics, new units.
In DoM Axis and Russian have a lot more strategic options than in BotB.
Good job!

Peter_TSS
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Re: First thoughts

Post by Peter_TSS » Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:13 pm

Tigregarou wrote:everything sounds nice, but I can get past the turn 7 on the campaingn, twice now it freezes on both sides
Hmmm, it's not supposed to freeze until turn 12 (sorry bad joke). Is this in an AI or GC game? If you still have the game, or encounter the freeze a third time, could you submit a bug report from within the game (just open the menu and tap feedback to send us an email). That way we can look at the save and see what's going on.

alex0809
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Re: First thoughts

Post by alex0809 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:26 pm

This is how a sequel should be done!

I bought an iPad once I saw Moscow announced, because while I thought it might not be worth it just because I want to play Bulge, seeing DoM screenshots which looked (and is, imho!) even better, I just couldn't resist. Glad to see that this was a good decision.

Katleman
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Re: First thoughts

Post by Katleman » Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:32 pm

Enjoyed the games I've played, thought there was a bug when i surrounded a Cav unit, but then read the special rules on that unit and the para.

Disappointed that the continue the game feature didn't come along from Bulge. Why not make it a standard feature in all the games?

Tigre
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Re: First thoughts

Post by Tigre » Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:44 pm

Peter_TSS wrote:
Tigregarou wrote:everything sounds nice, but I can get past the turn 7 on the campaingn, twice now it freezes on both sides
Hmmm, it's not supposed to freeze until turn 12 (sorry bad joke). Is this in an AI or GC game? If you still have the game, or encounter the freeze a third time, could you submit a bug report from within the game (just open the menu and tap feedback to send us an email). That way we can look at the save and see what's going on.
it was AI, if it occurs again, I'll try to send you the feedback !!

Question,
1) is the elo the classical chess one ?
2) are all games (including the scenario) rated the same by the in-elo system ?

thx

Baldie
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Re: First thoughts

Post by Baldie » Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:18 pm

Peter_TSS wrote:
Tigregarou wrote:everything sounds nice, but I can get past the turn 7 on the campaingn, twice now it freezes on both sides
Hmmm, it's not supposed to freeze until turn 12 (sorry bad joke). Is this in an AI or GC game? If you still have the game, or encounter the freeze a third time, could you submit a bug report from within the game (just open the menu and tap feedback to send us an email). That way we can look at the save and see what's going on.
Came across the same thing. Turn 18, big campaign, vs the Axis AI. The game just crashes. When I try to restart the game and load the autosave it crashes again. I tried to restart the app and to reboot the iPad, nothing helps. Sent a feedback by email couple of minutes ago.

I think that means we need to wait for a bug fix and you guys still have a job to do :D

glenndrover
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Re: First thoughts

Post by glenndrover » Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:09 pm

Really enjoying the game. I've played two campaigns: one as the Germans and one as the Russians.

Played a conservative game as the Germans. I tried to avoid over-extension and focus on destroying Soviet units by encirclement.
I didn't have a legitimate chance to take Moscow or the VP spaces around it, but I was able to take all other objectives and keep a strong, intact line to prevent the Soviets from counter-attacking effectively. I won a substantial victory (can't recall the score).

As the Soviets, I played against the von Bock AI (figured I'd tackle the second stringer before trying my luck against the ace).
I was able to encircle and cut of the entire German left wing on turn 2 or 3 (about 11 units), though I wasn't able to prevent the Germans from breaking through to rescue them two turns later. This did tie them down and greatly slowed their advance though, which allowed me to build up a credible defensive line.

The AI made some mistakes and allowed me to encircle their spearheads (one driving toward Moscow and another in the center). It then compounded the mistake by allowing me to cut off the left wing again. From there I was able to slowly chew them up and begin my major counter-attack early (turn 12 or so). By turn 18, it was all over: I had destroyed every German unit on the map and taken all objectives. Seems like the von Bock AI is just a little too aggressive, and doesn't value the continuity of his line.

daviddunham
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Re: First thoughts

Post by daviddunham » Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:42 pm

There does seem to be a rare bug that confuses the AI. If you get an un-launchable game, you may have to temporarily turn off Restore State by finding Moscow in the Settings app.

Given the length of the Campaign, we weren't able to tune the AI over as many games. You'll probably find that the AI generals do a better job in the shorter scenarios.

glenndrover
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Re: First thoughts

Post by glenndrover » Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:02 am

Hi David,

Will you be adding a patch that upgrades the AI for the campaign?
Bulge seemed to do a fine job with the campaign, so it seems do-able.

Seems like the AI, especially the Germans who have more units and combat power, should be able to maintain their offensive while also maintaining the integrity of their line to avoid getting cut off.

daviddunham
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Re: First thoughts

Post by daviddunham » Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:37 pm

Battle of the Bulge is a very different game — fewer units, fewer spaces, and fewer turns. The latter especially compounds skill differences. Let's say you have a slight edge over the AI — you’re 10% better. Over 22 turns, you would have done better in 12 of them. If we improve the AI and cut your edge in half, you are still likely to do better in 12 of them.

We’re going to continue to work on our AI, but by the nature of the game, I don’t expect it to be as challenging in the long Campaign as the shorter scenarios.

Dugrim
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Re: First thoughts

Post by Dugrim » Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:07 pm

Another thought: sometimes the hit rate in combat sucks.
It's frustrating when you had a good strategy but suddenly everything go south for a combat shifting from 3-0 (or better) to 0-1 (or worse).
If someone know PanzerCorps (if not give it a try), there's a "cheat" code (chess) that makes all combats play exactly as they were predicted.
This means more focus on the strategy and less on luck (1pip Infantry in forest who hold ground against 9 pips Pz Corps for example).
I don't know if a feature like this would be simple and easy or a bloodbath for the devs, but... Think about it.

My 50 cents

glenndrover
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Re: First thoughts

Post by glenndrover » Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:34 pm

I totally get that the big scenario has more variables, but it is also by far the most interesting, and therefore the one that most players will want to play. Also most of us will be playing solo, so the AI is pretty important.

I just played my third game and completely demolished Zhukov, took Moscow, and scored 68 VPs.

I love your products and wish you continued success.
If the AI doesn't get a significant upgrade there is a risk that your customers could lose interest, and we would all be the poorer for it.

I hope you make this a priority and solve the challenge.

daviddunham
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Re: First thoughts

Post by daviddunham » Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:30 pm

We hear you.

But is there a reason you're not playing via Game Center?

Baldie
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Re: First thoughts

Post by Baldie » Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:46 am

Dugrim, I agree, sometimes it's really frustrating, but that's something that makes sense historically. There are many examples when an unsupplied and encircled unit repelled multiple attacks and enflicted heavy casualties on the attacker. Sometimes that happens.

spacerumsfeld
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Re: First thoughts

Post by spacerumsfeld » Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:29 pm

daviddunham wrote:We hear you.

But is there a reason you're not playing via Game Center?
David, while I'm very sympathetic to the "We designed a great balanced multiplayer game for a platform that is perfect for that, why aren't you playing it that way?" line of thinking, I urge you to reconsider single-player for two reasons. One is simply practical: while I have (I counted) ten separate Drive on Moscow games in progress, I am home early from work today, but there are no Drive on Moscow games on my iPad that are my turn. So while I'd love to sit down right now and play some Drive on Moscow while my wife is out shopping, I can't. And tomorrow I am at work all day and all evening. So no Drive on Moscow for me. I can't play Drive on Moscow when I want, because the single-player game isn't interesting.

But there's a less practical but perhaps more meaningful reason asynchronous multiplayer games aren't as good as they could be, and that's pacing. You guys have designed a terrific game with turn-to-turn tension, some of which is lost with the erratic pacing of the typical asynchronous game. Oh, is this the game where I snuck into Kalinin early? No, this is where my panzers are trapped in Zvenigorod. Has he used his airborne drop in this game? Etc. A real back-and-forth game of Bulge or Moscow is a rare pleasure to play. Drive on Moscow, especially, is a tremendous design, and I love it to death. But you lose a lot of its elegance playing one impulse every 18 hours, with other games and whatnot mixed in between. You get the benefit of the superior opponent via Gamecenter, but lose the beautiful pacing. I think it's a significant tradeoff. I wouldn't write off AI so easily.

glenndrover
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Re: First thoughts

Post by glenndrover » Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:28 pm

Spacer is dead right. Playing a human opponent is great, but too slow and lacking continuity.
I really am a solo gamer when it comes to my strategy games. I love and respect games that have a strong AI.
I find myself playing them over and over for years.

I love the games in this series, and will buy every game that Shenandoah publishes, so I was very excited to hear that you were growing your staff and getting advice from some great stalwarts of gaming.

Good AI is one of the toughest aspects to perfect, especially in a robust game.
Gook luck overcoming the challenge and thank you for the great games.

blahblah3502
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Re: First thoughts

Post by blahblah3502 » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:11 am

re: the waiting for online multiplayer question, I remember discussions about similar issues amongst players of the iOS/PC/Mac turn-based tactical battle game Hero Academy (which has no AI single player option at all, just asynchronous multiplayer). The original version as far as I know hasn't done anything to address this issue, but the developers sold the China rights to a Chinese developer which added a time limit option for "speed games" (you have to make a move in 5 mins or whatever, or lose your turn) which has been very popular in China (but this is only in the Chinese version and is still unavailable in the original US version hence the player discussions).

Perhaps a similar mode could be implemented in DoM and BotB. But instead of losing your turn if you don't make a move - the AI will make a move for you at the end of your time limit!

daviddunham
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Re: First thoughts

Post by daviddunham » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:33 am

Space,

It’s fairly clear that the AI experience doesn’t work for some people. (It’s also clear that it does for others.)

But it’s not obvious why the Game Center experience doesn’t work for some people. Hence my question. Thanks for the answers. Some things we may be able to improve.

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