I don’t know Close Combat but I’m reading about it and thinking it may be one of those game I could like a lot.
What are the biggest differencies in the gameplay? (meaning outside the graphic and interface)
From what I’m reading some principles are similar. With squads semi-driven by the AI and some realistic mechanics. CoH sounds more simplified and game-y. Close Combat more operational, but there must be some more relevant differences.
What I’d like to see is a similar game focused on territorial control, with minimal building game and where instead of a well-defined map, like in CoH, you have a “theatre of war” where you can roam freely, without a very directed flow or steps to victory. Given a setting, you decide the flow and tactics. And a match wouldn’t be a quick one, but something like a continued, seamless campaign you play through the course of a few days and without loading transition from a map to the other.
In short getting rid of the last few bits of RTS heritage that are left in CoH for a grander tactical wargame.
It’s been a while since I played Close Combat and I’ve only played CC1, CC2, and CC3. CC you enter a fight with units already determined, there is no building of new units during an engagement. The areas of engagement, at least as I recalled them, were smaller in CC than some of the larger CoH areas – probably the largest CC areas are roughly about the size of the smallest CoH areas (at least for CC1-3). I’m pretty sure CC didn’t have destructive environments. CC tries to be realistic, whereas CoH is much more gamey – for example, no unit upgrades for CC on the battlefield.
I hadn’t thought about until your post, but there definitely are some strong similarities. Squad-based control, instead of individual-unit control. Both make at least an attempt to model morale (although CC has a more comprehensive approach to morale than CoH’s suppression and pining). Both depend on reasonably smarter unit AI than many standard RTSs.
As for your question “Is Close Combat going nearer to this idea?”, I can’t really answer it. A CC-battle definitely wouldn’t last a few days. But some of the newer CC’s which I haven’t played did add more of a strategic component, which might be what you’re looking for. The older ones were pretty close to linear.
Having played both CC and CC3, I can safely say that CC was for me a revelation at the time it came out.
Having only played Command & Conquer and other similarly fast paced “actiony” RTS games of the time, Close Combat was fantastic. Its emphasis on semi realistic tactics, squad based control and most importantly morale was great.
The morale element is what really made the game great - you couldn’t just zerg rush your lowly infantry squads into the waiting machine guns. You had to approach the problems with similar solutions to the real WW2 - supporting bases of fire, use of smoke, covered approaches, flanking, combined arms artillery etc etc
Company of Heroes really picked up a lot of these elements, particularly morale and facing, but it still more “actiony” than the CC series.
If I recall correctly, CC3 straight out of the box is balanced overly in favour of Armoured Vehicles, and the infantry could use some modding to toughen them up a bit.
Its probably even closer to what you are after - territorial control with victory locations to conquer or defend, potentially massive battles (Battalion size engagements at the largest level) and a very very very realistic approach to mechanics. You can download a demo at their site.
The first in the series is Combat Mission - Beyond Overlord (Western Europe), followed by Barbarossa to Berlin (Eastern Front) and finally Afrika Korps (which actually covers the entire Mediterranean, including Italy) I think only the last two are the prominent ones now.
Slightly off-topic, HRose if you’re going to look into CM, you probably should know that new version of CM is coming out in 18 days. While I own CMBO and CMBB I’ve always found them a bit hard to play because to my eye they are very unattractive (I particularly find the 3-person infantry squads ugly). Visually the new CM looks lightyears ahead of the old in terms of graphics.
The new CM also sports both turn-based on real-time modes (being a TBS myself, I’m not altogether sure that’s a good thing, but I’m sure it will widen the audience).
The big downside is that the topic is modern warfare in the Middle East. I don’t mind the modern warfare part, but the Middle East part IMO hits a bit too close to home to make for “light-hearted” wargaming.
Anyway, I concur with Talorc – if you haven’t already looked into Combat Mission, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Close Combat was the first attempt to bring AH’s Advanced Squad Leader to the computer. At the time, the fact that it was real time was a big innovation for wargames, but for the most part it played like ASL: you had a scenario with a predefined map, predefined units (well, I think you could “buy” them, but you had a set amount of funds), and predefined objectives. You deployed your units in predefined starting locations and then tried to get them from point A to point B without getting killed. There were various stances and movement attitudes (walking, running, crouching, crawling), as well as all the usual fire commands. It also modeled individual unit morale–i.e. each soldier’s mental state. It was all pretty innovative at the time, but since then most of what it does has been adopted by other war-themed games as Standard Operating Procedure. That’s not to say that other games play just like it, since most other games follow the Command & Conquer model of RTS’s, but just that the only thing that stands out as unique about it anymore is the focus on realistic operations and tactics as opposed to movie-style warfighting. On the other hand, I haven’t played any of the more current iterations of CC, so maybe things have changed. Like most people, I stuck with them through the first few games, and then my interest waned.
So my guess was correct? CoH made most of CC obsolete and CC can be considered a less accessible and shiny version with a more hardcore ruleset?
About CM I don’t know. I saw some screenshots in the past and noticed it was 3D. For wargames in general I prefer a more stylized graphic.
Wargame for me equals playing with maps. Something like a zoomed out Supreme Commander but where the geography of the map defines the gameplay.
The ideal would be a game with a 2D graphic like the first Commandos and the features I described above.
What made me think about the seamless strategic campaign was a line from a CC review that fascinated me:
Close Combat games come in three flavors: single stand-alone battles (either historically based or plausible/hypothetical variants thereof); “Operations” (a linked series of battles fought over control of a larger salient or geographical area, often see-saw in nature); and full-fledged “Campaigns”, which may cover very long period of time and comprise many linked Operations, and several dozen battles.
Based on the Close Combat games I played (2, 3, 4) the games are still pretty far apart. CoH is a great game and part of what makes it great is the system of cover and using buildings. Its still quite a bit “gamey” compared to Close Combat - two squads of engineers blaze away at eachother at pointblank range with SMGs and it takes a good 15-20 seconds before one side is wiped out.
Again, CoH gets closer to this in that tanks or mortars will occasionally get in these lucky shots that just waste a whole squad but its fairly arbitrary. Suppression and morale were far more realistic in CC; you cant just burn a few munitions points to auto suppress an enemy that is normally fearless or make them run away because of “propaganda”. And im still not sure how V1s could be used tactically, but hey it is fun to use.
CoH is more gamey, somewhat rock-paper-scissors but not quite. While CC does have a more realistic feel, the 2D represented terrain at times really hurts the game (am I looking at a rise or a defile?), with inconsistent and oft-times stupid armored movement (yeah I want to retreat from a tank by pointing my back to it), lack of offboard artillery and other assets, and a very old interface (which playing Cross of Iron shows it wasn’t improved one damn bit). 4 and 5 feature an operational-level game which is way better than 1-3 (and CoI to boot)'s stilted campaign system. At times, CC’s 2Dness actually makes it worse than most wargames. While CC embraces the front-end of stat tracking, it didn’t do anything for the back end (I should be able to export the data and have access to better information tracking than some poorly laid-out screens).
That being said, CM is probably the best of both worlds; you have the hyper-realistic weapon modeling, 3D terrain (where you can actually tell how it looks and unfolds), turn-based combat resolution (on a “we-go” basis rather than “I go, you go”, in one-minute segments), etc. A real wargamer wants better representation of terrain, not ones on ambiguous drawings, even though it may not look as good generally speaking.
I dunno, I wouldn’t put CC and CoH into the same class of games realy. CoH is alot of micromanaging, activating special abilities, maximising the income of resources and either overwhelm the opponent with superior managing or by producing the right mix of units.
CC, as far as I remember it, was more about planing out troop movement and positions, observing what happened and changing orders based on that, trying to counter the enemy force with what you got at the start of the mission. You had to worry about a timelimit, if I remember correctly, in which you had to take or hold specific areas on the map. You also were more concerned about losses as you could not replace them in field and the units carried over into other battles, had to be reinforced, etc. Ammunition was an issue, too.
However it’s been years since I played a CC game last, so I hope I don’t confuse some of it with CM.
Oh - anyone want to embarass me in some CM-Barbarosse games ? :P
HRose, I say this in all truth. You can not be interested in wargames and WWII and not have played the Combat Mission games. It is quite simply the best WWII wargame ever made. Nothing else is even close. The realism, the tactics, the battles . . . it’s the kind of game that makes you want to go read books on combined arms tactics in WWII. Artillery barrages before sending troops in, going hull down with a tank, heavy tanks getting bogged down in mud and snow, studying terrain and LOS for several minutes trying to find the perfect place to put that AT gun, knowing that the front armor on a Churchhill VII can stand up to almost anything but the sides are much weaker, marvelling at the front armor slope of a Hetzer as sots break up when hitting it, using veteran Airborne troops to charge up a hill into woods to go hand to hand with a German position, using machine guns to suppress enemy positions before charging them, getting a tank taken out by a hidden anti-tank team in the woods . . . and all of this without an ounce of resource management or gaminess. It’s a hard core, hard kicking military sim. It’s just the cream of the crop where realistic military strategy games go.
CoH is much, much prettier but CM is the ultimate wargaming grognard’s game.
Eh, I think I grok what he’s talking about; while it’s not exactly a wargame CoH captures a lot of the feel of tactical games (using terrain for cover, combined arms tactics being rewarded, etc)
Anyway, I’d recommend Steel Panthers over Close Combat (plus it’s free). But yeah, Combat Mission’s good. Only think I dislike about it is that its campaigns have always been weak/nonexistent (did modders ever fix this? I’d lurv a great dynamic campaign in CM:Barbarossa…)
CoH and CC are very different beasts. One is and out-and-out RTS, just a slower paced one with a cover system, and the other is a tactical wargame. If you want an RTS which is refreshingly different and fun, you get CoH; if you want a tactical wargame which covers WWII and squad level combat, you can’t go wrong with the CC series, especially as every game was different.
You don’t buy the first, the second was probably the best, the third was tanky, the fourth I hear was bad, and the fifth increases the manpower on the field.
Very different games, no competing with each other. Second one was great, fantastic, non-linear campaign.