Author Topic: Today's Article: A Review of Combat Mission Black Sea  (Read 3470 times)

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Offline bayonetbrant

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Today's Article: A Review of Combat Mission Black Sea
« on: February 15, 2015, 02:09:45 PM »
Here's Boggit's review - what do you think?

« Last Edit: February 21, 2015, 08:10:27 AM by bayonetbrant »
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Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: Today's Article: A Review of Combat Mission Black Sea
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2015, 08:11:49 AM »
lots of game discussion here: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=12570.0

any thoughts on the article?
The key to surviving this site is to not say something which ends up as someone's tag line - Steelgrave

"their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights'...and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure." Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

Online Con

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Re: Today's Article: A Review of Combat Mission Black Sea
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2015, 09:16:59 AM »
My 2 cents is while I liked that the article was tilted more towards the factual aspects of the game (it was really more of a technical specifications read IMO). Here is what you get, here is how you play it etc.

I know it is difficult because it is more subjective and qualitative but I was hoping more for an impressions or first drive type of review of CMBS  (Disclaimer I am a first day buyer and have been playing it a significant amount every day).  So for me this review was not going to change my buying decision but was more to see if there was alignment with how I enjoy CMBS and its specific modern day warfare nuances compared to the reviewer.

Thanks
Con
 

Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: Today's Article: A Review of Combat Mission Black Sea
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2015, 09:32:57 AM »
good points, Con - thanks :)
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Offline Boggit

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Re: Today's Article: A Review of Combat Mission Black Sea
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2015, 04:17:35 PM »
My 2 cents is while I liked that the article was tilted more towards the factual aspects of the game (it was really more of a technical specifications read IMO). Here is what you get, here is how you play it etc.

I know it is difficult because it is more subjective and qualitative but I was hoping more for an impressions or first drive type of review of CMBS  (Disclaimer I am a first day buyer and have been playing it a significant amount every day).  So for me this review was not going to change my buying decision but was more to see if there was alignment with how I enjoy CMBS and its specific modern day warfare nuances compared to the reviewer.

Thanks
Con
I appreciate the feedback Con. :) I can see why you think it didn't address some issues you'd have liked. I understand where you’re coming from on this.

We wanted to get the article out fairly quickly because of the interest CMBS was attracting. However, given the time constraint to get something out quickly, I felt I had to be focused on the key aspects of Black Sea - essentially what was different to the rest of the Combat Mission series, together with what I thought about it, so I decided to do it as a flash review.

As I had a tight deadline to get the article out, I thought a flash review was the best way to help folks to get what was new to this game, what made it different, and what I thought of it. I appreciate that there is a heavy emphasis on a factual description, but that is part of the point of the article. I also gave my opinions on what I did, and what I didn't like about it.

Could I have done more to focus on the nuances of playing CMBS as a first time drive through? Yes, but that would have been an issue for a couple of reasons.

The first is that it was not the purpose of my article. As a flash review my target audience was people who had not yet got Black Sea. I wanted them have the facts before them - to know what it was about, what they got, what was different, plus my opinion on it as a game/reflection on modern warfare.

I also had a limited time to get the article out. In fact I finished the article after about 10/11 days from download, having been researching/writing/making notes constantly while playing the game, which I had been doing whenever I had any spare time. With more time available (bear in mind that each scenario/quick battle can be several hours play) I could have focused more on the mechanics of the gameplay, which useful for new players, but to be fair I have done that previously in other CM based articles, and I did not see the benefit of going over old ground again. In that respect a veteran Combat Mission player might easily find my commentary on the game mechanics dull as they already know it, but I concede would be valuable to new players. Moreover, apart from the new features and equipment - which make the battlefield a considerably more dangerous place - CMBS is not hugely different from any other titles in the series, although it does have a different ‘feel’ to it. To go into any meaningful depth on the nuances of the new features in gameplay potentially would be quite involved, and on the edge of being outside the scope of a flash review - like you said it was "Here is what you get, here is how you play it etc.", which is what a flash review is all about.

To be honest, the more I’ve pondered about your post, the more I think you would have appreciated an AAR/Tactics article. The flash review was mostly aimed at CM players who didn't yet have the game. An AAR/Tactics article would have been a better platform for what you may have been looking for, as you already had the game and had been giving it a lot of play. Had I written one, I would have been much more focused on capability, what I was doing in terms of plan, tactics in the light of the new features, etc. With Black Sea you just can't get away with some of the things you might do in a WW2 game. I know I risk teaching you to suck eggs on this, as I know you are up to speed with the game. IMHO, CMBS does require a different style of gameplay to the other CM games. In large part, the forces are quite symmetrical, and the quality of spotting and firepower makes the game quite unforgiving. In CMSF, and CMA you have modern weapons but the Opforce is generally different qualitatively.

I find the use of suppression/smoke is so much more important, as the spotting capabilities, and weapons are just so much more effective than in the other CM games. So much so, I'd suggest it makes a player far more defensive in approach unless they are prepared to accept substantially higher casualties to maintain momentum. On reflection, it kind of encourages a WW1 style thinking, in that all things being equal the defence has the benefit from the improved firepower. Of course, UAV's offset that to some extent, but it's often the case that just being seen means you attract a ton of fire, so you either put down as much suppression as you can or stay out of sight if possible.

In terms of my enjoyment of CMBS, I think it's great fun, although there are elements of the V3.0 game engine that I'd like to see changed, which I mentioned in the article.

In respect of your question of alignment of views on gameplay, I really think that is more appropriately dealt with in either an AAR, or an article focused on gameplay/tactics rather than a flash review.  As a flash review, all I ever intended was to show you what you got and briefly what I thought of it.
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Re: Today's Article: A Review of Combat Mission Black Sea
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2015, 05:56:33 PM »
Hi boggit

I hope I didn't imply that the review was not good in my previous post.  I totally get that reviews are subject to deadlines and that the target audience can be very different based on the scope of what you want to review.  CMBS is essentially a line extension of the previous games with new features.  Also are you writing for some one new to the game new to the series or new to the theater (all requiring a different emphasis on the information provided in the review).  AARs are something I like but they need to be well written and sometimes you need to have them from both viewpoints in order to really get the feel of the ebb and flow of a battle - I could see this as something that requires considerable more time and resources than a flash review (but is also very entertaining to read as well).

I guess what I come back too are the methodology of car reviews.  There are technical specifications, first drive impressions and long term road tests.  For my selfish reasons of already being a convinced buyer and player the style of review that would currently pique my interest the most is a first drive impression style of review  (not necessarily an AAR).  Of course I recognize that what I am looking for might be the tiny minority or might be the least useful and perhaps too provocative way of writing the first of many pages of digital ink that will be written on CMBS.

However I am always appreciative for those who put forth the effort in creating something (like a review) and I don't mean to criticize but just provide my feedback (since BayonetBrant asked for it so blame him  ;))

Thanks
Con

Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: Today's Article: A Review of Combat Mission Black Sea
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2015, 08:35:23 PM »
I'm married, I'm used to getting the blame whether it's mine or not
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Offline Boggit

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Re: Today's Article: A Review of Combat Mission Black Sea
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2015, 10:11:46 PM »
Hi boggit

I hope I didn't imply that the review was not good in my previous post.  I totally get that reviews are subject to deadlines and that the target audience can be very different based on the scope of what you want to review.  CMBS is essentially a line extension of the previous games with new features.  Also are you writing for some one new to the game new to the series or new to the theater (all requiring a different emphasis on the information provided in the review).  AARs are something I like but they need to be well written and sometimes you need to have them from both viewpoints in order to really get the feel of the ebb and flow of a battle - I could see this as something that requires considerable more time and resources than a flash review (but is also very entertaining to read as well).

I guess what I come back too are the methodology of car reviews.  There are technical specifications, first drive impressions and long term road tests.  For my selfish reasons of already being a convinced buyer and player the style of review that would currently pique my interest the most is a first drive impression style of review  (not necessarily an AAR).  Of course I recognize that what I am looking for might be the tiny minority or might be the least useful and perhaps too provocative way of writing the first of many pages of digital ink that will be written on CMBS.

However I am always appreciative for those who put forth the effort in creating something (like a review) and I don't mean to criticize but just provide my feedback (since BayonetBrant asked for it so blame him  ;))

Thanks
Con
@Con :)

No offense taken at all. O0 Feedback is good, and I write these articles for the enjoyment of the Grogheads community. I realise you liked the review, but would have preferred more emphasis on the nuances of the gameplay as you already had the game. I wrote the article primarily with the non-owners in mind, and make no apology for it, but I understand and respect your comment regarding the focus of interest for existing owners.

I think your comments were helpful, and it has made me think about the wider audience, rather than just the target audience. I think there is something to be said for a first drive impression article. It's not something I've done too much, and certainly after playing for hours at a game I think it's hard to maintain that 'freshness' of that 'first impression', as you rack up the knowledge and experience of the game to be able to talk with any authority on it. My concern with the first drive approach is that readers who are potential buyers might feel short-changed, and/or left wondering if they have enough information to make a buying decision, simply because there is so little depth to it. But of course if you've already got the game it is a different angle to look at, which more interesting for an existing owner of the game. Better still, I suppose is an article that focuses on tactics and gameplay for a particular title, but that is a huge investment of time if you are to do that properly, and unfortunately, I don't have that sort of time for just one game. I play a lot of Field of Glory, but having played it now for over a year, several digital leagues etc, on it would still be a big task - and probably a bit of a let down for some when I think of the knowledge of some of the veteran players in the community. Horses for courses I guess, they're different types of article for different audiences.

One thing that might provide a happy medium is to write up in a couple of paragraphs my first impressions of the first scenario played as I play it, then fit it into the main article. It's not a perfect solution, and runs the risk of being a little disjointed with the rest of the article, but it might work. What do you think?
The most shocking fact about war is that its victims and its instruments are individual human beings, and that these individual beings are condemned by the monstrous conventions of politics to murder or be murdered in quarrels not their own. Aldous Huxley

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On a good day, our legislature has the prestige of a drunk urinating on a wall at 4am and getting most of it on his shoe. On a good day  ::) Steelgrave

It's kind of silly to investigate whether or not a Clinton is lying. That's sort of like investigating why the sky is blue. Banzai_Cat