TAO5

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TAO5

Postby Robjess » Sat Feb 18, 2006 7:41 am

Didnt everyone think it was a bit of a shame that SSG broke with tradition and DIDNT release an updated version of TAO with Battles in Italy?

Werent we all looking forward to TAO5? Well the wait is over.

Run5 scenario designer JSS does it again - with an updated version of the SSG Classic "The Ardennes Offensive" (TAO) specially ported to the Battles in Italy gaming engine.

This release - referred to as TAO5 - sees the release of 3 scenarios as part of the battleset. An updated version of the main ardennes campaign, being a cross between the Battles in Normandy version of TAO3 and the Run5 variant "On to Antwerp!", a 16 turn scenario titled 6th Pz Armee which is based upon the TAO2 scenario "St Vith" and the 8 turn "Race to the Meuse".

TAO5 is available for download from the SSG scenario page.
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Postby CESteman » Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:40 am

Awsome Rob! Thanks to everyone including JSS for this wonderful work. I am glad to see them all coming together :)
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Postby Robjess » Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:41 am

We'll continue to make em if you guys promise to keep playing em! And Yes.. well done JSS again..
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Postby davidb » Sat Feb 18, 2006 9:40 am

HERO.


edit: One oversight in the installer: the last installer screen says to copy the scenariopics.xcr file from the main BiI folder to the Churchill something folder. I figured it was some leftover text and meant the TAO5 scenario folder, so I copied the file into that folder. Which promptly screwed up my installation. So I reinstalled and didn't copy anything and it worked fine.

So I'd recommend removing that text from the installer!

Map looks great.
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Postby davidb » Sat Feb 18, 2006 10:25 am

Quick impressions:

I'm not the greatest PBEM player here but I've got enough games under my belt that a few things strike me after a cursory look. And I like them.

The first turn for the Axis may be less predictable. There are no initial overrun opportunities on those strongpoints along the west wall, so using artillery for strongpoint busting may be more popular. I haven't played a turn so I don't know exactly how it will play out.

Second, and most importantly I think, only urban hexes or the (very rare) heavy forested city hexes stop overruns. The Axis player will have a great chance for more penetration in this scenario because plopping a crappy two step unit in a city hex will no longer grind the axis to a halt. They can overrun the unit successfully, especially if it lacks anti-shock capability. I love this change.

Related to the above, there is a more even distribution of Axis alert points in the middle of the map. Lots of 4-5 alert point cities, much less of a concentration around Dinant. You still get a ton of points for reaching the Meuse, of course. The British seem to activate a little earlier in this one, before Dinant.

Far more allied alert points along the south edge; the allied reinforcement hexes now give 10/10 alert points each. An axis strategy involving blocking those hexes is going to be much more difficult.

NO POLITICAL UNIT in Bastogne: This is the only change I'm unsure about. I don't dislike it, I just wonder what it will do to the gameplay in that area. Especially considering Bastogne is a city hex that can be overrun.

Love this one: If the Axis take too many allied alert cities, Patton shows up. A one step elite infantry unit with something like 15/10 attack/defense values... and 4 shock value. Which, I believe, makes it the only American 4 shock unit in the game. Worth 200 VP so I wouldn't advise losing it.

Anyway, I'm sure there's a lot more but I love it so far. The Patton alert unit made me laugh.
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Postby Robjess » Sat Feb 18, 2006 10:52 am

Actually.. I dont know about the political unit in Bastogne either... JSS thoughts? I would like to see it included that way the Allied needs to decide if they want to stay in Bastogne or not.

Thanks for the feedback on the installer.. I will fix this - and yes it was a carry over from the Churchill build.
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Postby davidb » Sat Feb 18, 2006 11:25 am

Yes, with the potentially greated ability of the Axis to penetrate westward, I'm not sure if the loss of the Bastogne pol unit is necessary. It could quite possibly get surrounded, I should think,

Could be wrong, though.
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Postby JSS » Sat Feb 18, 2006 12:16 pm

1. 101st has to arrive, they could of course be used elsewhere.

Its possible to hold out at Bastogne until they arrive... though it can be difficult to do so! Allied defenders are very likely to get surrounded in either case (political unit there or not). As with TAO3, or the historical situation, it is probably a bad German decision to commit the forces necessary to take a well defended Bastogne during the early part of the battle.

2. There are two 4 shock US units. M26 detachment to 3AD is part of OOB. Patton, of course, only shows up if things are getting out of control and need to be put right :twisted:

3. Game should see a wide swing of projected victory. Early on it will look 3000 to US. With a good breakthru it can swing to +1500 German by turn 8 or 9. US can manage a comeback from a large projected German lead.
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Postby davidb » Sat Feb 18, 2006 2:00 pm

Ah, yes, I see the units in the American OOB now.

McAuliffe's HQ arrives on turn 5, it doesn't start in Bastogne. That's interesting and probably works well. The little m26 detachment arrives on turn 9. Only 4/4 but with 4 shock capability, so will likely be quite handy.

Thanks for the clarifications! Have there been any significant but non-obvious changes to the German OOB?

Another minor but significant change; some of the Allied strongpoints at the start, particularly a couple south of Eisenborn, are "fortifications" rather than "strongpoints" with a much tougher CRT. Even a 10-1 overrun gives you a 50% of missing completely with A1-*. No more blowing through those troops like they weren't even there on turn 1.

-David
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Postby JSS » Sat Feb 18, 2006 3:35 pm

davidb wrote:
Thanks for the clarifications! Have there been any significant but non-obvious changes to the German OOB?

Another minor but significant change; some of the Allied strongpoints at the start, particularly a couple south of Eisenborn, are "fortifications" rather than "strongpoints" with a much tougher CRT. Even a 10-1 overrun gives you a 50% of missing completely with A1-*. No more blowing through those troops like they weren't even there on turn 1.

-David


There's three strongpoints South of Elsenborn. These can be overcome but are they there as a subtle hint to the Axis commander that victory lies to the West (also supports the historical frustration that Sixth Pz Armee experienced).

Perhaps the biggest change from TAO4 is that II SS Pz Korps arrives earlier. VPs for German units destroyed are higher. Germans have better reserve OP stockpile.

Something else to look for is a randum turn 2 (by airdrop) event where five US supply depots are placed on the map. Advancing German units can capture these.. they then provide supply to the German side for a limited time. The non-capture of these supply depots was, historically speaking, one of the great lost opportunities to the Germans.
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Postby pete AU » Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:08 pm

Well done JSS

Its one I've been waiting for.

Downloading now.....
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Postby Cpt. Feathersword » Sun Feb 19, 2006 3:07 am

As always JSS, awesomne work, SSG should put you on the payroll, or at the least send you cases of beer, or perhaps both.
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Postby JSS » Sun Feb 19, 2006 11:53 pm

Thanks for the kind words :)

One more note on the release. AI is included for both sides in On to Antwerp. Sixth Pz Armee & Race do not include AI (yet)... Robjess had mentioned an AI design contest. These would both be great scenarios for making a new AI.
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Postby Chris Merchant » Tue Feb 21, 2006 2:50 pm

Well done JSS. I can only imagine the amount of time put into this conversion.

cheers Chris
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Postby HerrCue » Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:00 am

Great job! This version plays so far alot more historical, with brick walls in the north and south, and huge German breakthrough along Houffalize/LaRoche axis, very historical. Great job!

Seems to be a minor bug on the fortifications in the south along the Sauer. I'm in two games, and in both the parent units get jumbled up after a couple turns, with one set of forts showing the parent as 41st recon of 11th armored, which of course is not on the map. The other two regiments seem to swap their forts.

Not sure if that's happened to anyone else
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