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Subject: What? no vehicles? rss

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Pete Mancini
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I know its a squad level game but - really, no vehicles at all? I haven't played but after reading the box and talking to some people familiar with the game it seems there aren't any in this system. Can someone confirm this?
 
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Richard Pardoe
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The scale is too small to adequately have vehicles. From the FAQ:

Quote:
Q: Where are the tanks?
A: There are two primary answers to the question. First of all, the main concern of the design is to focus on World War 2 tactical infantry combat. Second, the mechanisms of the design do not support the larger scale needed to include tanks. Here are some comparative data – between CC and Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) – to support this:
* CC hexes are 30 meters across; ASL hexes are 40 meters across (78% larger in area).
* CC maps are always 10 hexes by 15 hexes (150 hexes), which is about one half of an ASL board; ASL scenarios frequently have 1000 or more hexes.
* A tank in ASL can fire at a target 20 or 30 or more hexes away; the longest possible LOS in CC is 16 hexes (corner-to-corner on the diagonal).
* Tanks in CC will overwhelm the narrative of the infantry action – given the data above.
The Designer is already working on a version of the CC design that will showcase armored fighting vehicles! Thank you for your support.

To clarify that last point. Chad isn't adding tanks to Combat Commander, somewhere on is things to do list is a company-sized game using the CC engine but including vehicles.
 
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Niko Ruf
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There might be a way to fit unarmored and lightly armored vehicles into this game. But since real tank don't seem to work and vehicles would add a considerable amount of rules, I see the point of leaving them out.

Still, I'm sure we'll see some unofficial rules for light vehicles in the not too-distant future. Provided Chad or GMT don't mind fan-created content on the net that goes beyond player aids.
 
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Rob Pruden
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I have to really question the design decision not to ever include vehicles. For the record, I think CC is a great design, and I applaud Chad's fresh approach that created a wonderful game and educational simulation of tactical combat. Because I like the game, I'd like to see vehicles included, in order to depict combined arms battles at their smallest and closest level.

Please note that I believe CC should remain an infantry-focused game, as I agree that it depicts too small an area to adequately handle tank battles. There were plenty of engagements, however, that included a few vehicles in support of an infantry action. I think that CC is flexible enough to handle vehicles, and I'd like to address the concerns I've seen raised against their inclusion:

1. Vehicles would require lots of new rules:

It seems to me that CC:E already includes artillery, machine-guns, and bunkers/pillboxes (with variable "armor" ratings and rules for their reduction/destruction by artillery). What is a tank but a combination of all of those items into one, mobile unit? Therefore there should be no need for many more rules to describe them.

In addition, CC:E has been groundbreaking in its elegant depiction of real-world limitations on small-unit actions. In the same way, vehicles could be realistically limited by restricting their vision/perception of the battlefield around them. Vehicles are noisy, and especially when buttoned up, have extremely limited awareness of events occurring anywhere but directly in front of them. Hence they would not necessarily be able to detect or react to enemy units outside of a narrow "covered arc". In contrast, infantry units can usually detect vehicles sooner and more readily than vehicles can detect infantry.

Vehicles should also not be able to receive actions from infantry leaders, since such cooperation/communication was difficult at best once in battle, especially if the vehicle is buttoned up.

So, maybe a few rules to describe "covered arc", and/or requiring vehicles to use 2 fire cards for one fire action, and restricting leader effects. That shouldn't unbalance the game much, it seems to me.

2. Vehicles ranges would overwhelm the size of the maps.

Most battles in the ETO, outside the steppes and deserts, were limited by terrain-defined sight lines instead of the limits of weapons or optics. Terrain features such as woodlines, ridges, hills, and structures often defined the range at which battles began. This is especially true at the scale that CC:E depicts. The maps and scenarios define the close-in final contact between small units.

Artillery units already have long ranges and savvy opponents soon learn to use terrain to mask the approach of their units when faced by guns or MGs. The same would be true when dealing with vehicles, which would have the same engagement range as the artillery and MGs currently included in the game.

So, the weapon ranges are already set by the game system, and the maps reflect the terrain-defined limits of the battlefield. Again, it seems to me that vehicle weapons, especially if appropriately restricted for detection as above ("covered arc", etc.) shouldn't overwhelm the narrative of the infantry battle.

In fact, I think that including vehicles at the scale of CC:E would enhance the narrative by allowing for additional interesting scenarios, exploring tactical problems of combined-arms and tank-hunting while remaining an infantry-focused game. I would purchase a supplement that added vehicles to the countermix of CC, and would certainly prefer that to a new company-level game at a new scale.

For your consideration...

Rob
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Richard Pardoe
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backwinder wrote:
1. Vehicles would require lots of new rules:

Lots and lots of new rules. IIRC, Chad did have vehicles in the game during its development. The trouble was - the rules never gelled. More and more had to be added to accommodate the interaction between the various units, events, actions, etc. In essence the game started to bog down losing the simplicity you admire. Therefore, they were removed in development.

I see you posted this also in CSW...

Here are some interesting comments by Chad:
http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?13@394.vLjUcybgU3m.131@.1dd...
(where Chad indicates he hasn't found any workable tank rules)

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?13@394.vLjUcybgU3m.131@.1dd...
(Chad hints at a future, larger scale game with tanks)

But if anyone wants to develop rules for Tanks - Chad and John would probably be willing to comment on them. In other words, if tanks come to CC:E - it will be via an outside 3rd party, not Chad et al.
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John Foley
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Richard, thank you for consistently answering rules questions correctly here on BGG and also capturing the sense of our thinking as well.

You have accurately captured the reason why vehicles were removed from the design - since the simplicity was lost. I've written repeatedly that I worked independently on a set of rules to see the problems for myself. I also did this to decide whether this was a credible design decision.

One of the things that Scenario Designers do is include a few very clever Special Rules to simulate a critical inclusion of a vehicle in a particular scenario that cries out for it.

There will be a CC:M scenario that shows a model of how to include incoming fire from a platoon of tanks positioned just off board. Again, the vehicles are not on board, but the presence and firepower are there - within the simplicity of the model in the game design.

Lastly, there are many projects in the works - tanks are NOT forgotten by any means.

We continue to enjoy and encourage the humorous jibes about tanks and so on - because we know that we have loyal readers and players and we all enjoy the discussion and thinking about this topic.
 
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Rob Pruden
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Thanks for the reply Richard. I am still curious though. You wrote "more and more had to be added to accommodate the interaction between the various units, events, actions, etc." Can you be more specific at all? In my experience playing the game and becoming familiar with the cards (event, action, order) I don't see the difficulty. As I mentioned in my post, Ordnance, MGs, and Pillboxes are already in the game and interact well. What am I missing here?

Don't get me wrong. I own the game, play the game, like the game, and have recommended it to others. I like the scale and am interested in seeing it expanded. I greatly appreciate your willingness to look at third-party mods to include vehicles. This discussion might help the development of such efforts.

As a side note, I've played a lot of Up Front and note that it includes vehicles with minimal modifications to the basic rules. The vehicle rules also work well within the existing cardplay interactions. Again, I think that CC could work just as well.

Rob
 
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Richard Pardoe
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backwinder wrote:
You wrote "more and more had to be added to accommodate the interaction between the various units, events, actions, etc." Can you be more specific at all?


I wish I could - I am only distilling comments I have heard from Chad (while chatting with him during in-store events) and read in CSW. For example, I seem to recall a comment from Chad that the rule book was more than twice as thick as it is now just to handle tanks and all the questions that kept coming up during playtests. John Foley (Series Developer) intimated at some of those issues in his post just above yours. But I must leave it to Chad and/or John to provide examples (if they wish) about the difficulties they were having with vehicles.
 
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David desJardins
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backwinder wrote:
As a side note, I've played a lot of Up Front and note that it includes vehicles with minimal modifications to the basic rules. The vehicle rules also work well within the existing cardplay interactions.


I'm not so impressed with the vehicle rules in UF, myself. But, even if you think they are great, the key point is obviously that UF doesn't have a map, while CC:E does. Moving vehicles around on a map is very different from representing their presence abstractly. A better comparison would be the complexity of the vehicle rules in SL or ASL.
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Richard Irving
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Quote:
As a side note, I've played a lot of Up Front and note that it includes vehicles with minimal modifications to the basic rules


Minimal modifications to the rules???? Almost a third of Up Front's rulebook deals with AFV and associated items (anti-tank weapons, overrun attacks, terrain affects on AFV's, etc.) They are spread throughout the rule book making the AFV rules harder to obviously quantify AND making the rulebook the pain in the neck to learn from that it is!

Also AFV's seem to be "detuned" significantly so as not to overwhelm the infantry. AFV's cannot move any faster than men on foot (i.e. they still require a Movement card). Yhey get bogged down rather easily. They are harder to rally once buttoned up (requiring a Hero card) and seem to get buttoned too easily. Etc.

And in the standard scenario, you don't face tanks (except maybe a beat up old junker)--you face armored cars, halftracks, bren carriers, etc. Even though there is a Tiger, Panther, a T-34 and Sherman are in the vehicle card mix, they are not used in any scenario.

That said Up Front is still my favorite wargame. (See avatar at left.)
 
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Rob Pruden
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I don't think vehicle rules for CC would need to contain the complexity of those in ASL. The CC infantry rules aren't similarly complex and it doesn't seem to hinder the gameplay. Any changes made to include vehicles, I believe, should be oriented towards minimal modification of existing rules and preserving the infantry-focus of the game design. Accomodating a hex-map would require movement rates for tracked and wheeled vehicles, and terrain effects on each (Terrain table entries).

As far as the comparison to UF vehicle rules, I mentioned them to illustrate that an infantry-focused card game could integrate vehicles successfully. Yes, UF rules are too wordy and badly need a re-edit, but their "de-tuning" of vehicles is realistic, I think, given the close-in firefight depicted in the game. Tanks tended to operate differently in the infantry support role than they would in platoon-sized formations. Movement speed would be more dependent on that of the supporting infantry when enemy infantry were around. Similarly, the readiness of crews to button-up under fire and their reluctance to re-open the hatches is a reflection of the danger perceived by operating in close proximity to enemy infantry.

I share your high regard for UF, and have played many scenarios involving vehicles. The General magazine contained several scenarios featuring tanks, including "501 City Fight in 4", which was a local favorite a few years ago. That being said, I don't want to make CC into UF. They are fundamentally different games and should stay different.

Thanks for the feedback.

Rob
 
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beresford dickens
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CC DOES have vehicles. We have been told that every leader or hero has a Kubelwagen (or presumably a jeep) which he uses to move artillery pieces around the battlefield.devil
 
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Chadwik
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beresford wrote:
CC DOES have vehicles. We have been told that every leader or hero has a Kubelwagen (or presumably a jeep) which he uses to move artillery pieces around the battlefield.devil

Interesting. Don't recall ever having said, heard or read anything of the sort before just now....
 
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David desJardins
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backwinder wrote:
I don't think vehicle rules for CC would need to contain the complexity of those in ASL. The CC infantry rules aren't similarly complex and it doesn't seem to hinder the gameplay.


The CC:E infantry rules are about as complicated as those in Squad Leader. If you look at the complexity of the vehicle rules in Squad Leader, I think they are considerably more complicated than those I would want to see in CC:E. Furthermore, Chad has said repeatedly that he considered vehicles in CC:E, and found that the rules he needed for them were much more complex than he wanted in the game.

So, I can accept in principle the theory that maybe someone else could come up with a complete, effective, and really simple set of CC:E vehicle rules, that "should" be in the game, but aren't. But certainly that theory remains unproven, and we have some empirical evidence against it.
 
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Dave Langdon
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I can't believe this game won't have vehicles. It's begging for a rule system that allows what would be appreciably realistic vehicles at this scale, somewhere around 1 to 3 vehicles per side. Nothing unusual about seeing a tank in close support or halftracks etc...i think as long as the emphasis is on the vehicles supporting the infantry and not a "Kursk" simulation then vehicles should be provided in the future.

I can see this being done by having a second "vehicle" deck along the exact same lines as the infantry decks (with a national slant), one vehicle per hex. I could easily come up with a deck so i'm sure Mr.jensen could do it In fact if you got any perceived problems just let me know and i'll help solve them.
 
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Harald Torvatn
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Cage wrote:
Nothing unusual about seeing a tank in close support or halftracks etc...i think as long as the emphasis is on the vehicles supporting the infantry and not a "Kursk" simulation then vehicles should be provided in the future.



One of the problems with this wiew is the "a" tank bit. Tanks did not operate alone. German doctrine was that when tanks was to be committed to combat, it should never be less than a company (or none at all). Soviets organized their army to avoid getting tanks committed piecemal: Tank brigade commanders was strictly forbidden to take orders from infantery division commanders. (The French in 1940 sometimes based roadblocking forces around a few tanks.)

From a game point of wiew, a tank is so powerful that I hardly se it worth it to use cards to activate squads if you can activate a tank. The activation system, while very effective at doing what it does, really dont support units that different in power. (Games where you can freely move all your units does that a lot better.)

Given the limitations of the activation system,how well it does what it does, and that the temptation to include armor must have been enormous, I think Combat Commander has the most elegant armor rules it could possibly have had.


 
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Dave Langdon
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Interesting point about power. I think number one the rules do a good job of representing combat, how many thousands of skirmishes occured with the aid of tank support? Why not replicate those actions in game? If you have a tank at your disposal then of course you want to use it, just like all infantry around would have wished, again i can't see the problem of representing that in the game.

What i do see is making sure that if you do put tank rules in that they aren't abused or judged out of context of the combat commander skirmish. So you wouldn't obviously design rules based around a frontal armour duel at 1000 yards between a sherman and a tiger. You could design a vehicle deck to stay within the realms of realistic vehicle tactics at such close range and within the confines of the ranges of the game. Any tank commander in such close proximity to infantry would be cautious and that should be reflected within the card deck.

Tanks operating alone? Starting oob's/doctrines( one word kampfgruppe) never survive contact with the enemy or the attrition of war. Beyond that the scale of the game is such that a tank could easily operate within the confines of a scenario map assuming it was still operating within a platoon fighting in a "larger" battle. Just because oob says Tigers fought in 5 tanks groups doesnt mean you have to pack them all onto one map for "realism". Looking at many of the awards for german tank commanders you can see a hefty chunk were won when only 1 or at most 2 tanks are involved in combat in that "small action" within a larger battle.

I agree of course about soviet general tactics but again you should always look at exactly that to surmise realistically how a soviet tank might end up in action on its own. Many russian tanks held defensive positions that were literally immobile bunkers, so of course you are more likely to see russian vehicles used defensively within the realms of combat commanders battles than the more likely offensive actions performed by the more independant and aggressive german tank commanders. Again the deck should be used to guide a player into the "slant" of a nations general vehicle tactics.

Thanks for your comments Harald, i would still like to see vehicles in combat commander because i believe within the mechanics of the game it would be possible. I also could never bring myself to believe that such a great system as Combat commander shouldn't fully replicate the base combat that happened in ww2 skirmishes...which of course certainly included vehicles.
 
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Niko Ruf
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Harald wrote:
... Combat Commander has the most elegant armor rules it could possibly have had.


That quote should go on the box for CC:M!
 
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Richard Pardoe
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Cage wrote:
I could easily come up with a deck so i'm sure Mr.jensen could do it In fact if you got any perceived problems just let me know and i'll help solve them.

Chad has commented on vehicle rules in CSW (my emphasis):
Quote:
However, if you can come up with a complete set of vehicular rules, mechanics and components that mesh with the existing CC rules, mechanics and components then feel free to send it as a PDF or Word document to either myself or John Foley. We will then post a link to it at the top of this page for public scrutiny. After that - if it works and is desirable by CC players as a whole - we can then begin discussion about possible publication.
http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@394.4FZZcQzmXMe.56@.1dd0...

So, if you can develop not just the deck of cards, but the complete rules that go with them, have at it and let us see the results.

Personally, the scale of CC is so small that while vehicles might be involved in the overall conflict, they just aren't represented in the 10x15 hex (ie 300 m x 450 m) footprint where the players are contesting the game. They are working in the off-board areas. And perhaps that "random sniper" event might just be a stray shot from one of those tanks.

Edit - you might want to read the posts before and after the CSW link above to get a bit of context to the quote. As I noted above, Chad tried during development to get armour/vehicles into the system, but the rules just got more and more involved. A point that is confirmed by looking at the number of rules devoted to infantry compared to the number of rules devoted to vehicles in Up Front and/or Advanced Squad Leader.
 
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Dave Langdon
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Nope that wasn't my offer, it's not my job(happily otherwise employed) to make an expansion other wise i'd already be publishing my own games for all to see. If Chad so chooses to try and expand vehiclewise i'd be more than happy to offer advice. Judging by your link that isn't going to happen though, i'm guessing the old 1000 yard duel game will come out and we won't see vehicles in CCE as it stands.

I couldn't see what exactly the problems with rules would be. As i see it working back from a national vehicle deck the rules could be implemented fine. I imagine the real reason for the reluctance is the same old wargaming dilemma...money. Publishing games is very, very hard, it's probably too niche to introduce a vehicle supplement for CCE compared to a derivative stand alone 1000 yard duel type game. The latter would make alot more money and thats all the incentive needed to make it happen.

Overall i'm very happy that CCe doesn't have vehicle rules as it's allowed the rest of the game to be top notch...too many games in the past have had obligatory rules that have just crippled the system. Brave decision but i'm still greedy for perfection (and i've run out of scenarios to play, roll on CCM)
 
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Chadwik
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Quote:
I couldn't see what exactly the problems with rules would be.

Then you haven't tried doing it. I have.

Quote:
As i see it working back from a national vehicle deck the rules could be implemented fine.

I disagree, though you are welcome to prove me wrong.

Quote:
I imagine the real reason for the reluctance is the same old wargaming dilemma...money.

Not even close. The simple answer is I didn't want vehicles in CC. I designed CC with an eye towards playing it with my local gaming buddies, not for publication.

Quote:
Overall i'm very happy that CCe doesn't have vehicle rules as it's allowed the rest of the game to be top notch

Thank you, Sir. Glad you like it.

Quote:
I'm still greedy for perfection (and i've run out of scenarios to play

Turn to page 22 of the CC Playbook.... cool
 
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Gregory Wong
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Chad Jensen wrote:

Quote:
I'm still greedy for perfection (and i've run out of scenarios to play

Turn to page 22 of the CC Playbook.... cool


Or you could design your own scenario. Do a little research, write up the special rules, playtest, tweak, lather, rinse, repeat. This can keep you occupied for many days. Chad has been very receptive to new scenarios, and some will be published either in C3i magazine or in scenario packs.
 
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Dave Langdon
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Thanks for the reply Mr.Jensen. Now i'm off to crack the code of your decks so i can do my own tank one Hmmmm...
 
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Dave Langdon
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Well after an initial brainstorm, the idea of seperate deck goes out the window, it would push the complexity beyond the original design.

So at the moment i'm running with a standard deck with the addition of between 4/6 thru 8/10 cards split between 2 new orders "Armoured Assault"e.g. Vehicle and infantry simultaneous move e.g Infantry following tank for cover or infantry mounting dismounting apc. And "Overrun" move and shoot as per a standard overun/assault type move. The rest of the standard deck could be implemented for any normal orders, fire, move,recover, rout, artillery and confusion would play as normal but be applicable to an afv/apc. Players hand would be increased by 1 card for standard vehicle inclusion. Only problem i foresee with this is potentially the addition of extra dice rolls to the deck...would that "break" the deck, i don't know the design intended by spread of dice in deck and allocation to certain cards. It'll take some thought to crack that.

 
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Richard Pardoe
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Cage wrote:
i don't know the design intended by spread of dice in deck and allocation to certain cards.

Current decks have 72 cards - depicting each of the 36 possible rolls using 2d6 twice.

And don't forget about the random hexes on the cards - now uniformly distributed amongst those 72 cards (covering about half of the hexes).
 
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