Thoughts and opinions on the game?

Discuss Crisis in Command Volume II: Drive on Moscow. Designed by Ted Raicer
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ijontichy
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Thoughts and opinions on the game?

Post by ijontichy » Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:22 am

We've had three months now to play with this game, so I was hoping to get the thoughts and opinions of everyone. I enjoy the game very much. The Moscow campaign scenario is a great way to spend an hour (or maybe 90 minutes, I lose track of time). The graphics are pretty (I wish I could make maps like this!), the interface is almost perfect, and the historical simulation aspect is quite satisfying.

That all said, I do have a few criticisms.

* The non-ribbon AI is lets say unchallenging, unless you make some rather obvious errors. The ribbon AI (e.g. Rokossovsky) is good but too slow. Further efforts in speeding up the ribbon AI would be greatly appreciated, if not in this game, then for future games in the series. Easier said than done I'm sure!
* I feel that too much of the game hinges on supply. It becomes a game in itself to try and put as many Soviet units out of supply as possible. I think this is mostly a function of map scale. Having a relatively small number of spaces on the map makes it really easy to cut the supply of a large number of units, sometimes with just one little motorised or cavalry unit.
* Playing as the Axis, it seems like I can do too much during the Mud turns. Again, this is mainly due to the course grid. A one-space move is actually quite huge, you can go halfway up the map in a few turns. Not sure how I'd improve this situation beyond making a finer grid and larger map.

I haven't played any online games, so would especially love to hear the thoughts of those of you who have.

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Re: Thoughts and opinions on the game?

Post by sa-oas » Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:14 am

My opinion is: I'm really glad there's somebody out there like Shenandoah with the passion and commitment to make high quality strategy games like this. It takes a lot of devotion to your craft to produce something as excellent as Drive on Moscow. And that's rare.

Providing a worthy opponent is a real problem though. I like the AI since, even with the delays of the advanced ones (if there are 3 units on a space, go away and do some errands around the house while it thinks for 15 minutes), it gives its full attention to the game and will move as soon as it can. So you can count on sitting down and playing Typhoon all the way through. The problem is, even the advanced ones aren't as challenging as a human online opponent. On the other hand, with an automatched human online opponent, it's hard to sit down and play a game through in one sitting. You'll be making moves back and forth, when one turn, your opponent disappears without warning. You sit there for 30 minutes waiting for him to move but nothing happens and you realize you're wasting your time waiting. He moves the next day, but you're not around until the day after. Kind of spoils it if you were looking forward to sitting down and playing a game through.

Maybe if there was some way to advertise your intentions when you ask for an automatch online. Sort of like advertising for a roommate: "I'm looking for somebody to play the soviet side of Typhoon all in one sitting".

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Re: Thoughts and opinions on the game?

Post by s_wwalker98 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:19 am

sa-oas wrote:My opinion is: I'm really glad there's somebody out there like Shenandoah with the passion and commitment to make high quality strategy games like this. It takes a lot of devotion to your craft to produce something as excellent as Drive on Moscow. And that's rare.

Providing a worthy opponent is a real problem though. I like the AI since, even with the delays of the advanced ones (if there are 3 units on a space, go away and do some errands around the house while it thinks for 15 minutes), it gives its full attention to the game and will move as soon as it can. So you can count on sitting down and playing Typhoon all the way through. The problem is, even the advanced ones aren't as challenging as a human online opponent. On the other hand, with an automatched human online opponent, it's hard to sit down and play a game through in one sitting. You'll be making moves back and forth, when one turn, your opponent disappears without warning. You sit there for 30 minutes waiting for him to move but nothing happens and you realize you're wasting your time waiting. He moves the next day, but you're not around until the day after. Kind of spoils it if you were looking forward to sitting down and playing a game through.

Maybe if there was some way to advertise your intentions when you ask for an automatch online. Sort of like advertising for a roommate: "I'm looking for somebody to play the soviet side of Typhoon all in one sitting".
There are good solutions to the problem you described. Mainly, some games (e.g. Lords of Waterdeep) create a turn timer (think chess clock) as part of the game setup. So if you want to sit and play a match all the way through and your opponent does too, then you match up on a 1 hour (each) game. If you are going to be taking turns on lunch breaks and at bedtime then you set it up for 3 days or a week. Of course if you exceed your turn time, you forfeit.

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Re: Thoughts and opinions on the game?

Post by kapowsin » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:01 am

I am really satisfied with the game.
I don't think it's realistic to expect your opponents to play a whole game in one day...Especially for the full scenario...
If you play multiple games you can still get a lot of game playing even when opponents only move once a day.

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Re: Thoughts and opinions on the game?

Post by s_nkarp » Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:31 pm

>Maybe if there was some way to advertise your intentions when you ask for an automatch online. Sort of like advertising for a roommate: "I'm looking for somebody to play the soviet side of Typhoon all in one sitting".

Note that you can actually write a message when you issue an invitation to play to a known opponent. It's trickier with automatch, which is designed to get you a game fast. Even filtering by side and scenario might leave a lot of people waiting.

I typically have half a dozen games going at once, so there's always something going on. When I really want a head-to-head game I'll send someone a note and make a date to play, often using FaceTime - actually a great way to play!

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Re: Thoughts and opinions on the game?

Post by JT62 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:46 pm

I am very happy with the game. The AI could be faster but I can live with that. It's on an IPad and it has its limitations. I also find the AI (Rosskowsky) to be quite a challenge. I can beat it quite regularly but only after a pretty tense stand off in Moscow. Every game I play seems to develop it's own strategical and tactical problems which increase the replay value. The thing I miss is a sort of campaign where a few random things are thrown in, for instance, the units could be set up differently, reinforcements could be randomized, weather etc. Just a few things to spice it up.

I have BoB too and I am very satisfied with these games, in particular the game system, with the impulses and the gridded map. As a player I am constantly confronted with choices to make in a kind of chess like fashion.

Gonna buy whatever Shenandoah puts out on the market. Looking forward to the next game.

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Re: Thoughts and opinions on the game?

Post by s_SamR » Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:53 am

I've been really happy with Drive on Moscow. I think the Crisis in Command system elegantly captures the conflict without getting burdened down with an excessive number of rules or details.

However in this game I do think some tweaks to the overall system could have improved it.
Given the much bigger scale than BotB I think the restriction of one activation per phase is stretched beyond where it should go. For the Axis, particularly in the beginning, one ends up with many units doing nothing on a turn. This isn't really realistic. Somehow the ratio of units to phases needs adjustment. The prepared offensive does this somewhat but not enough.

I like the supply rules. They make you consider supply at every phase and really add to the "chess like" nature of the game. But supply seems a little too tough with regards to movement. Historically cut off units did sometimes break out. How about breakout rules that would allow some chance of an OOS unit moving one space. Infantry could do so without penalty and motorized units would suffer automatic damage ( to reflect abandoned equipment).

After reading the recommended book on the campaign I also expected that weather would cause damage to Axis units even if they weren't engaged. What about damage to Axis units in the snow period. This could be random like fuel shortages.

The new AIs are great. I'm not worried about their speed. And if you write newer, tougher ones. I'd be happy to buy them as add ons.

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Re: Thoughts and opinions on the game?

Post by DaShox » Sat Feb 22, 2014 2:05 pm

I love this game. It has great mix of complexity with ease of play. It replay-ability is very strong. I found the AI good for learning the game and punishing you for stupid stuff. But there is only so much of what u can do with an AI. If u want a tough opponent then u need to play online.

I love how the game makes you make decision on choosing where you offensive are going to come from. You can't just attack across a broad front (not enough activations). It makes for a great cat and mouse game against your opponent.

online implementation is what makes this truly a great game. Without it u would tire of this game and the Ai. But you have at you fingertips a tough opponent that bring different gambits each game. I found the online games move along at a good clip. But you also have to keep you expectations in check. Most of us do have lives and work so you may only get 2-3 returns a day. But that is the beauty - you can have as many online games as u your time permits.

I' am really looking forward to their next games as they have really opened up the IOS system for war gaming and they have made big leaps between bulge and Moscow.

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Re: Thoughts and opinions on the game?

Post by Weids » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:54 pm

nkarp wrote: I typically have half a dozen games going at once, so there's always something going on. When I really want a head-to-head game I'll send someone a note and make a date to play, often using FaceTime - actually a great way to play!
When playing many games and each game lasts for many days, problems arise. For example, in BotB, one cannot verify wether Axis commando was used in the previous day and one can also forget about it. When they happen at the same time, it becomes a problem because, for some players, Axis commando is "a very big deal". I don't like it when game designer put more responsibilities on us players.

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Re: Thoughts and opinions on the game?

Post by s_nkarp » Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:58 pm

Weid wrote:For example, in BotB, one cannot verify wether Axis commando was used in the previous day and one can also forget about it. When they happen at the same time, it becomes a problem because, for some players, Axis commando is "a very big deal". I don't like it when game designer put more responsibilities on us players.
Yes, that was an issue in DoM as well (with the airborne). Fixed it. It's a bit harder for BotB commandos, but maybe in the next update?

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Re: Thoughts and opinions on the game?

Post by Weids » Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:16 am

Note: In BotB, The retreat rules are bugged, when only a part of the defenders retreat. The displacement rule is also bugged:

IF you assume Sedan is under allied control on 23 and 24 and Patton will not be delayed for all entry points are full with three units, THEN 4Arm would be delayed until 24 IF and ONLY IF Arlon is under Axis control on 22 and Herbeumont is under allied control on 22 and is under Axis control on 23. 4Arm is usually delayed until 23.

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Re: Thoughts and opinions on the game?

Post by Weids » Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:06 pm

The DoM map is large, and I think it would be useful to implement a set of "symbols" denoting each space so that when we discuss the game we can refer to spaces by their assigned alphanumeric values.

I would also like to see more competitive plays. Neither typical Game Centre matches nor AI matches are challenging enough . )

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Re: Thoughts and opinions on the game?

Post by s_nkarp » Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:22 am

Weid wrote:The DoM map is large, and I think it would be useful to implement a set of "symbols" denoting each space so that when we discuss the game we can refer to spaces by their assigned alphanumeric values.

I would also like to see more competitive plays. Neither typical Game Centre matches nor AI matches are challenging enough . )
The "Space Locator" tab in the help section has a grid to help find spaces.

Suggest challenging Brian Reynolds (GC: "Cattlesquat") if you want a worthy opponent!

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Re: Thoughts and opinions on the game?

Post by jimkehn » Sat May 24, 2014 12:26 pm

I have been playing Wargames since Squad Leader came out back in 75 or so. Played them all from simple little games with 4 pages of rules to War in Europe and the Europa series. I dont claim to be as good as most of you are at playing these games but I have always enjoyed them.
I love the Shenandoah games. I have both Bulge and Moscow and plan to buy everything they release as its released. I think these efforts should be rewarded with our purchases to encourage even more production from Shenandoah. I love the area grids....the layout and which grid is connected to what grids makes you do some serious planning and thinking. I can also see these werent just random, they reallly put some thought into the grid shapes and layout. The variable number of impulses per turn injects some excitement and fog of war into the game. You really have to prioritize your moves cuz many times you cant move everything in a turn, and on the other hand, there are times when all you want to do is Pass. As a personal preference, I like the fact that each turn you only have to move one area....I do not want to spend hours figuring out and conducting a single turn (Grigsby's War in Russia....a great game but a LOT to do and consider). Its nice to get in the game...make your move...and move on. I cant wait to see what Shenendoah comes up with after the African game...I am liking the concept of deciding between refit or continuing the advance with what you have. I am just thinking how this system would work for Stalingrad, Mannsteins backhand blow, MAYBE even all of Barbarossa. Good Job Shenendoah and keep forcing me to spend my money...I dont mind. lol

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Re: Thoughts and opinions on the game?

Post by thedudeabidez » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:48 pm

I've really enjoyed playing the campaign many, many times. Typhoon is also quite good for competitive play, the other two scenarios less so. I think DoM allows for greater variation in strategies than BotB, and it's also more balanced between experienced players, whereas Bulge was heavily tilted towards the Axis. Having said that, i think there's an Axis bias in DotM too. Between skilled players, the most likely result is an Axis win on points, with the Soviet feeling like he needed one more turn to get it below 42. This is not written in stone, though, unlike Bulge, where proper Axis play was virtually unbeatable.

Re. the above posts, the player who complained about too many Soviet units being cut off from supply really needs to read up on the campaign, this is what's supposed to happen. I'd also suggest you'll find this harder to do against humans than the A.I. As for additional supply effects against the Axis, not needed IMO. The slower movement rates and loss of forest cover and replacements simulate the difficulties well enough.

Well done, Shenandoah. The only problem is El Alamein seems a bit tame after this epic! Budapest '45 or Stalingrad '42 through to Kharkov '43 would be a great sequel!

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