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New WF Scenario: First Battle of Tembien
05-04-2010, 05:43 AM,
#1
New WF Scenario: First Battle of Tembien
Gents: :)

I have uploaded my new West Front scenario: First Battle of Tembien to the Blitz Game database.

You may access and download the game files HERE.

Originally, I submitted it to H2H Productions... but after two scenario revisions and 8 test reports... was unable to achieve a 8.0 or better score needed for H2H approval. There is nothing more I can do to this scenario to make it "more" balanced without evolving this semi-historical battle into a pure fantasy one!

Historically, the Ethiopians had little chance against the Italians... but a skilled Ethiopian player has a chance at either a "Draw" or a possible "Minor Victory." One play tester, employed a brilliant defense during the test rounds, and demonstrated that a skilled player, using correct tactics, has a chance at a "Draw" or "Minor Victory."

I believe that my "First Battle of Tembien" is the first CS scenario to simulate this "forgotten" battle.

I hope you will enjoy playing it... as much as I enjoyed developing it!

Many thanks to all play testers! cheers

** First Battle of Tembien
20 January, 1935

Tembien, Ethiopia: [Best Played versus Human Opponent] [HISB] [GD] On 3 October 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia without a declaration of war. The inital campaign began with 100,000 men organized into four corps, marching southward in three columns south from Eritrea. The Italians met no resistance at the border: Ethiopian Emperor Haille Selassie had ordered his frontier troops not to fight, that Italy might be clearly established as the military aggressor. General Emilio De Bono adopted a slow and cautious advance since invading East Africa was not like fighting a war in Europe. There were virtually no paved roads. Water, food, and shelter were scarce. Furthermore, East Africa lay at the end of an over 1,000 mile supply chain. But Mussolini grew impatient with De Bono's pace, and in December, after a brief period of inactivity and minor setbacks for the Italians, De Bono was replaced by General Pietro Badoglio. In early January 1936, the Italian position was precarious. Their line ran a length of about 150 miles, from Asmara to Makalle, across high mountains punctuated by passes and ravines. Ethiopian forces were in the hills everywhere overlooking the Italian positions and launching attacks against them on a regular basis. Ethiopian leaders Ras Kassa and Ras Seyoumm armies were excerting pressure from the Tembien and Badoglio decided he needed to dislodge these troops from their strong positions in order for the Italians to continue the advance towards Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. On 20 January, elements of the Italian 2nd Eritrean Division, made up of the Eritrean ascari who provied the regular colonial forces of Italian Eritrea, and the 2nd Blackshirt Division (28 October) named in honor of the Fascist March on Rome (28 October 1922), advanced through the area around Abaro Pass and assaulted the Ethiopian forces in the hills overlooking the pass. [All: No EA: No VV] (Note: Ethiopian Retinue units function as HQs.)
Regards, Mike / "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week." - George S. Patton /
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05-04-2010, 07:03 PM,
#2
RE: New WF Scenario: First Battle of Tembien
(05-04-2010, 05:43 AM)Kool Kat Wrote: Originally, I submitted it to H2H Productions... but after two scenario revisions and 8 test reports... was unable to achieve a 8.0 or better score needed for H2H approval. There is nothing more I can do to this scenario to make it "more" balanced without evolving this semi-historical battle into a pure fantasy one!

I am curious... What was the particular problem regarding "balance"? I admit I have not seriously tried to develop a scenario, but I've done a couple of "mock-ups" to learn about the mechanics involved.

Was it not possible to set up the victory levels accordingly? Ethiopians should receive a Major Victory should e..g. their losses not be too appalling in addition to holding into a VL or two?

Is it possible to use negative numbers for victory levels? Or to give them a victory location in a place that is in practice unreachable?

Again, just curious as why the balance was so difficult to achieve?

Thanks cheers
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05-04-2010, 08:47 PM, (This post was last modified: 05-04-2010, 09:16 PM by Kool Kat.)
#3
RE: New WF Scenario: First Battle of Tembien
(05-04-2010, 07:03 PM)Cpl K. Kat Wrote: Again, just curious as why the balance was so difficult to achieve?

Thanks cheers

Hi Petri: :smoke:

Actually, my scenario "First Battle of Tembien" received a score of 7.79 (8 test reports) and fell a little short of H2H approval. But in the end, it was a good thing. It proved that the H2H method of developing CS scenarios works.

A scenario that is H2H approved should allow two players (of equal skill levels)... an "equal" chance of achieving a victory. In "First Battle of Tembien," between players with the same skill levels... the Italian player will win the majority of battles. Therefore, this scenario is not "balanced" in true H2H terms.

Now... to your question on achieving balance. My scenario had victory hex locations and values adjusted 3 times prior to it being submitted to H2H for "official" testing of the design. It also went through 2 revisions while in H2H development. Multiple test games demonstrated that if the Ethiopian player adopted a "passive" defense... hid in the rough hill terrain and just reacted to Italian advances... he would be defeated. Other test games demonstrated that if the Ethiopian adopted an "aggressive" defense... used "hit-and-run" tactics... threatened Italian HQ and artillery units... surrounded and attacked the Italian tankettes... then the Ethiopian player had a chance at either a "Draw" or "Minor Victory."

In addition to adjusting victory hex locations and values 3 times, there was some thought given to reducing the game turns - from 15 to maybe around 12 or so. But again, historically, the Italians were not under a time constraint... and introducing that element into the scenario seemed to be "gamey" and artificial. So; in the final game version, I "beefed" up the Ethiopian force with IP's in the victory hexes and the starting artillery positions, a calvary company and some anti-tank capability.

Historically, the Ethiopian forces had little chance against the Italian AFVs, artillery, and airpower. Several play testers knew this military history and rated the scenario balance accordingly. There were also test report comments that cautioned against adopting a completely balanced scenario since historically there existed no balance between the Ethiopian and Italian forces. However, from battle accounts I have read on this conflict, when the Ethiopians "historically" and also in "pure game terms," adopted aggressive hit-and-run tactics... and were led by capable leaders... they had a chance at a victory on the field of battle.

I believe my "First Battle of Tembien" reflects that chance rather well.
Regards, Mike / "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week." - George S. Patton /
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05-05-2010, 01:09 AM, (This post was last modified: 05-05-2010, 01:15 AM by Crossroads.)
#4
RE: New WF Scenario: First Battle of Tembien
Mike, thanks for your thorough answers! I appreciate the effort you've put to this scenario!

(05-04-2010, 08:47 PM)Kool Kat Wrote: Actually, my scenario "First Battle of Tembien" received a score of 7.79 (8 test reports) and fell a little short of H2H approval. But in the end, it was a good thing. It proved that the H2H method of developing CS scenarios works.

A scenario that is H2H approved should allow two players (of equal skill levels)... an "equal" chance of achieving a victory. In "First Battle of Tembien," between players with the same skill levels... the Italian player will win the majority of battles. Therefore, this scenario is not "balanced" in true H2H terms.

:chin: (LOL surely a time-and-place for this annoying little smiley)

The purpose of the H2H productions, that of to create balanced scenarios has been explained to me well in the other thread. I can see the point, it is a fine goal.

Given what you say, the average balance of your scenario was less than 8.0, I assume (sorry, too lazy to check) some of the testers have felt 8 is the proper balance score, but a couple of more felt the proper score is 7. Fine. That is how they felt.

Unfortunately this means your scenario is doomed as far as the H2H process is concerned. That is fine too. I do understand it is not properly balanced for, well, balanced playing!

I do not know... Maybe the H2H should come with two approval stamps?

H2H Approved for Play Balance
((balance*1.6)+(enjoyment*1.2)+(briefings*0.2)/3 ) >= 8.0

H2H Approved for Enjoyment
((balance*1.2)+(enjoyment*1.6)+(briefings*0.2)/3) >= 8.0

Surely, tough criteria to meet still?

I am mostly for the latter camp, again that's just me, but it somehow saddens me that after all the work and testing the scenario is considered a failior (as far as H2H is concerned)?

Somewhat OT, I thoroughly enjoyed the **Morning of Fire... that hangs there in high seven average balance as well. I surely hope it does not end being uploaded to DB without a H2H stamp too...
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05-05-2010, 01:43 AM,
#5
RE: New WF Scenario: First Battle of Tembien
Hi Petri:

Thanks for your questions! :cool2:

(05-05-2010, 01:09 AM)Cpl K. Kat Wrote: Given what you say, the average balance of your scenario was less than 8.0, I assume (sorry, too lazy to check) some of the testers have felt 8 is the proper balance score, but a couple of more felt the proper score is 7. Fine. That is how they felt.

Yes. The H2H test ratings reflect the average score for the categories of Balance, Enjoyment, and Briefings.

(05-05-2010, 01:09 AM)Cpl K. Kat Wrote: Unfortunately this means your scenario is doomed as far as the H2H process is concerned. That is fine too. I do understand it is not properly balanced for, well, balanced playing!

Yes. "First Battle of Tembien" cannot carry the H2H Productions approval... but it was tested thoroughly for play against human opponents... so it does carry that testing "approval" with it! And, it can be played and enjoyed by other players since I did load it into the Blitz game database! :smoke:

(05-05-2010, 01:09 AM)Cpl K. Kat Wrote: I do not know... Maybe the H2H should come with two approval stamps?

H2H Approved for Play Balance
((balance*1.6)+(enjoyment*1.2)+(briefings*0.2)/3 ) >= 8.0

H2H Approved for Enjoyment
((balance*1.2)+(enjoyment*1.6)+(briefings*0.2)/3) >= 8.0

Surely, tough criteria to meet still?

Yes. Reaching the 8.0 approval score can be tough, but be careful when you equate "balanced" with "enjoyment" and "fun." Actually, just because the game is not optimally "balanced" does not mean it is not an exciting scenario to play. My last test game, against a very skilled Ethiopian player, ranks as one of my most exciting games! The final outcome was not decided until over 3/4's of the game had been played.

(05-05-2010, 01:09 AM)Cpl K. Kat Wrote: I am mostly for the latter camp, again that's just me, but it somehow saddens me that after all the work and testing the scenario is considered a failior (as far as H2H is concerned)?

It is a little sad for me too.... it is "my baby" you know! :eek1: But again, I am happy for the insights, fun, and enjoyment I derived from both the development and testing of "First Battle of Tembien."

(05-05-2010, 01:09 AM)Cpl K. Kat Wrote: Somewhat OT, I thoroughly enjoyed the **Morning of Fire... that hangs there in high seven average balance as well. I surely hope it does not end being uploaded to DB without a H2H stamp too...

Hopefully, more players will set forward and help play test that scenario? :chin: (Had to throw in this smiley for you!) :cheeky:
Regards, Mike / "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week." - George S. Patton /
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05-05-2010, 02:18 AM, (This post was last modified: 05-05-2010, 02:26 AM by Crossroads.)
#6
RE: New WF Scenario: First Battle of Tembien
(05-05-2010, 01:43 AM)Kool Kat Wrote: Yes. Reaching the 8.0 approval score can be tough, but be careful when you equate "balanced" with "enjoyment" and "fun." Actually, just because the game is not optimally "balanced" does not mean it is not an exciting scenario to play.

And vice versa? That, my friend, was my point exactly, hence the two ratings :chin: errr :cool:
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05-05-2010, 04:48 AM,
#7
RE: New WF Scenario: First Battle of Tembien
I see in the scn description that it needs to be played without EA. Why not tick on the rule and surely it gets a little bit tougher for the Italians.
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05-05-2010, 05:47 AM, (This post was last modified: 05-05-2010, 05:54 AM by Otto von Blotto.)
#8
RE: New WF Scenario: First Battle of Tembien
As one of the play testers I feel putting EA on would hamper the Ethiopian player more than the Italian one.
The best chance the Ethiopian player has is to play aggressively disrupting and assaulting the edges of the Italian forces whenever the opportunity arises, with EA on you would just have to sit back and wait for the inevitable.

I will say I did think of suggesting this option at one point after the first test but discounted it during the second round as it became clear that disrupt assults are more helpful to the defender than the attacker in this one.
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05-05-2010, 07:28 PM,
#9
RE: New WF Scenario: First Battle of Tembien
(05-05-2010, 05:47 AM)Otto von Blotto Wrote: As one of the play testers I feel putting EA on would hamper the Ethiopian player more than the Italian one.
The best chance the Ethiopian player has is to play aggressively disrupting and assaulting the edges of the Italian forces whenever the opportunity arises, with EA on you would just have to sit back and wait for the inevitable.

I will say I did think of suggesting this option at one point after the first test but discounted it during the second round as it became clear that disrupt assults are more helpful to the defender than the attacker in this one.

Good observations. Excellent points. :thumbs_up:

cheers

HSL
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