Saturday, May 6, 2017

Steel Division Normandy 44 - Scouts Out

Some wargamers tend to see their reconnaissance units as pawns. Let's them do what they are meant to.

This Panzer IV moves for the kill. Targets and safe route to contact kindly provided by scouts.

Use multiple waypoints to ensure the computer doesn't pick some odd route towards the observation position. This is also useful for any type of unit off course. Also note that the mode of movement is "Hunt" (Q), just to make sure that if the reconnaissance unit comes into trouble you will have time to pull it out.

This German reconnaissance unit can dismount its scouts (note them running towards the buildings). This is very useful for having eyes beyond the mobility shortcomings of this wheeled vehicle.

Dismount scouts are also great to move through terrain that forces the vehicles into roads. The dismounts are in the background (outlined red), peeking around bends in the road.

The line of sight tool is critical to determine if your scouts are observing what they are supposed to observe. In Steel Division, roads and non-restrictive terrain have to be observed as much as you can.
Although scouts and reconnaissance vehicles can be used sometimes to hold critical terrain for short periods of time, they are not per-se combat units. I confess to having held a bridge against light opposition with one scout unit. But don't abuse that. One of the cool things is that you can combine scout units with combat units like grenadiers and tanks to emulate a small panzergruppe with enough hunter-killer punch.



Anonymous said...

Agree - scout/recon units in this game are really valuable. I also set mine to the "only shoot if being shot at" mode (forgot the real term, it's the shield button in the lower right corner)

Two things:

I like the dismount option but US scouts with jeeps seem to "sell off" their jeeps when dismounting, meaning they disappear and I have not yet found a way to mount them again - any idea or is this a "feature"?

Also: really like the LOS tool but would love to have a hotkey for it when a unit is selected (there is a hotkey for the "free form LOS" tool but once a unit is selected, you need to click the little button to switch LOS on/off

Anonymous said...

Tried it and was utterly dissapointed.
This is RTS! Not a tactical historical game.
Spammfest of low cost units, ridiculous behaviour of units under pressure (paniced but won't run away or tanks showing their butt to the enemy).
Best strategy to kill unaemed AA? Strife attack by plane.
First impression is really bad.

Chris Ad

George Ross said...

Hmm, I'm still rather wary of this title - though what I've read about being able to change game speed is at least encouraging.

When their "Wargame: European Escalation" came out, I was pretty excited, especially reading player reports - but when I actually got it myself, I was pretty disappointed; it was indeed very RTS-y and ran at a breakneck pace, meaning the entire game all I could do was react rather than think. And while it ought to be expected given the title, every battle boiled down to a frenetic escalation indeed - the game nudged you to fight and kill quickly, so you could build up and kill even more quickly. While it definitely encouraged careful resource management, planning your force and your moves before you even place your first unit, and some good common-sense art-of-war sorts of principles (using terrain, flanking, force multipliers etc. to your advantage; and luring the enemy into disadvantage) - what it didn't encourage is any tactical nuance, or thinking on the spot in anything except practiced click sequences and broad strokes. So it didn't reward creative thinking, and made me feel dumb (not to mention slow!) But of course it didn't take me very long to realize I'm not the target audience...

So I'm eyeing this new game of theirs very warily. I love the engine they built; all of this company's games look very smooth and scale effortlessly and run extremely well on even modest hardware. But after Wargame, I just get the feeling that if I get excited by its looks as smoothness, I'll be burned on gameplay again...

JC said...

Sorry to hear it is not working for you guys.
I play at very slow speeds, with a tactical leaning and I'm having a blast.
I agree on it being RTS-gamey in many aspects, but I also try to come around those by choosing small battles.

YMMV, off course.


Johan said...

George, gameplay wise, this is almost exactly the same as the previous games. It's just the setting that has been changed from modern to WWII. So, if you did not like the previous ones, I'd advice you to stay away from this one too.

Anonymous said...

You know, the thing about this engine is that it could work brilliantly with for the high density battles of the Napoleonic era. The pace would be manageable, and the seamless zooming in and out would mitigate issues caused by having to render thousands of polygons at once. Zoom out, see the brigades and squadrons in less detail; zoom in, and see the saber cuts and bayonet thrusts of just a few group of soldiers.

George Ross said...

Just for the record, I don't think Wargame (and by extension this one) is by any means a bad game - I think it's a clever design, and I was really happy when they took what was already a clever formula and great engine they created with RUSE, and took it to the next level :) I still really like battle reports and screenshots from it, cause it looks great and head-to-head multiplayer with well-matched opponents always seems fun! For people who like this type of RTS, I'd recommend it in a snap - it's one of the best.

It's just doesn't click for me personally - and I can say the same about many other games along these lines, from Assault Squad, to Company of Heroes. When I was a teenager, RTS games were my favourite genre and I still have a lot of appreciation for them - but it's not a genre that I particularly enjoy playing anymore. But give me something like Graviteam Tactics or Combat Mission - then we're talking!

And I'd love to see their engine get used for a different gameplay style - wish there were mods or "side projects" the creators would allow to take the same technology in a different direction.

Anonymous said...

"Tried it and was utterly dissapointed.
This is RTS! Not a tactical historical game.
Spammfest of low cost units, ridiculous behaviour of units under pressure (paniced but won't run away or tanks showing their butt to the enemy).
Best strategy to kill unaemed AA? Strife attack by plane.
First impression is really bad."

To each his/her own (and in the end, it's really what you enjoy spending your time with) but it sounds like you use the term "RTS" as a catch-all argument to reject this (and as the opposite of "tactical hostorical game") and I don't think that's fair - history and real life doesn't happen in turns either and many gamers seem to be willing to accept the (serious) shortcomings of turn-based wargames a bit too easily. I'm playing this game now mainly on "bullet time" setting (yes, you can follow individual projectiles at that speed) and it gives you a lot of time to watch and react (but still conveys the battlefield stress and the important of time).
There is also no simple "spamfest" of low cost units but it (quite realistically) portraits the development of an encounter, starting with the recon units and then bringing in the main forces.
The "ridiculous" behavior you mention is factually incorrect described: units go (incrementally) through multiple stages of battlefield stress and will run when they are under too much pressure for too long and tanks pointing their rear towards the enemy only happens if you make them, if you use the "backwards" order the units are suprisingly good at moving backwards and keeping their strong armor towards the enemy.
Not sure what you mean by "unarmed AA" (if it is unarmed, it can't be anti-aircraft, right?)
I'm generally not a bit RTS fan myself but this one is worth taking serious IMO

Fierce Freddy said...

It's a notch up from Company of Heros. As units die nothing is felt. Make another. When that rifle team goes in CM. It stings.

Anonymous said...

My impression is simply based on comparison of CoH like approach versus Graviteam approach or CM approach.

In terms of reality the old Close Combat games represented the historical accuracy better. And for God sake it's been 20 years. I see little improvement in the mechanics (AI control where are you?) only better graphics.

I'm not sure what this sub-genre should represent? RTS is the obvious reference as the concept seems very similar.

It all boils down to what do you want to see. A 3d version of Command Ops or another iterration of CoH.

Chris Ad