Wargamers' love of Monster Scenarios

So I download WinSPMBT. Brings me back – I know that most grognards have hardons for WW2, but well, I grewup in the 80s, so I prefer modern stuff.

Lots of great scenarios in the game, it’s great that it work on XP, but…

Dear god, these scenarios are flipping huge! How do you turn a Beer and Pretzels wargame into a complicated affair? Easy! Triple the number of units! As opposed to being able to control a company or so (16-20 units), it comes with 60-100 unit scenarios.


Oh well, I’ll just fire up the campaign generator and make my company and be done with it.

But with most wargames, I seem to prefer a smaller scale that what most of the scenarios designers like – TOAW, Combat Mission, whatever. The moment I see 60 vehicles lined up is the moment when I say “too much” and go find another scenario.

The other part that annoys me is when, in the name of completeness, they’ll start putting things like the company 5-ton truck and tank recovery vehicle on the map during an assault scenario. Great, now I have to put it on the map, and if I can, withdraw it, because there’s no way in hell these things would come on an assualt.

Anyone else feel this way?

you can guess whether or not i agree with you by playing my 7-turn(seven minutes of “real time” although it takes longer to play) cmbo scenario…

my favorite scenarios tend to be smaller than the average scenario. a lot of time in combat mission i get reinforcements and i actually a groan little . “nooo, not another 10 tanks that have to make another twisty 5 minute trip over broken ground!”

One thing to watch out for in SP:MBT’s random campaign generator is the temptation to put together a modern unit of American forces and send them against potential RL foes. Because of the incredible superiority of Abrams tanks and everything else you end up with the very same monster scenarios you might be looking to avoid no matter how reasonable and managable your core force is. Point values have to match up and so you end up with legions of enemies who generally, because there are so many of them, just pile up and rush you. The fighting, especially if you’re using manual opportunity fire, can take forever and not really feel right at all.

My favorite campaigns are set in the 70’s or earlier using less capable units and ending up with more balanced scenarios. Generally I’d pit the two generic factions (Red and Green?) against each other and that tended to work out pretty well. Given a managable number of units the AI does a pretty good job in SP:MBT (better than Matrix’s SP: WaW) and the huge number of victory locations creates a bit more flexibility in how the AI might go about its business.