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NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
12-20-2017, 04:29 AM,
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
Ideally, the game engine would not differentiate between smaller or larger scenarios, and would handle the historic oobs in a manner suiting both. Of course, with large battles, replays etc can take a lot of time. Also, playtesting them can be quite a task. But I believe I am not the only one enjoying a large team game, like a 3x3 game with division each. I've played a version of the Prokhorovka from both sides, and especially with Germans there's a neat formation available, while with Soviets the sheer amount of troops they had at Kursk can be a tad daunting.

As for Artillery and Headquarters, especially in JTCS they are nothing but cruft, as Artillery calls supply from baseline using the scenario supply level. We added a Arty Ammo parameter to Middle East, but I am pretty sure that too bypasses Headquarters. I need to doublecheck that.

I actually would like to have Artillery HQs play a role. Depending on how you view their abstraction, they can be perceived to include both the signals/communication capability as well as the calculations for fire missions based on FO observations. To lose such a capability should be a hard hit.

As for Bn Headquarters, yes they have a shortish range, and are at constant risk at frontlines. All in all I prefer scenarios with shorter visibilities, WW2 was not about long range duels for most part. There's the range, and there's the visibility of course, and being visible should put one at risk with long range indirect fire...
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12-20-2017, 09:30 AM,
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
This scenario is ruthless.

Meticulously researched and modeled to a high standard.
The original (1/2 scale version) was always a favorite of mine.
They share the same challenge for the German players, which is hanging on by your fingernails.

If the German had more ground to give...it would help.
If it extended to the west behind the Germans a few more kilometers it would help the German a lot.
And please don't get me wrong, the map is beautiful, a very nice piece of work.

The following constructive criticism is offered with respect to the effort and time spent on this scenario.
I myself spent many weeks, playing both sides.

Several design choices make this one tend to play and score towards the mean.
This is my primary concern.

The incredible number of 1 and 2 strength Russian tanks running around mean shot after shot after shot...mostly for no effect. Then you add in the low supply level meaning the majority of these low strength tank platoons are now firing at half strength and you realize why no one is getting results. The Germans also have a lot of low strength units.

You end up with a lot of shots, mostly for no effect, and in the end with all those rolls I believe the scenario will tend to score very near the mean. Time after time.

The high number of artillery units, with many low strength, leads to the same condition with indirect results.

It ends up being a real meat grinder.
I still enjoyed the scenario.
Just wanted to find better balance.
There is a place for meatgrinders in this CS world and this scenario is definitely worthy.


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12-20-2017, 06:52 PM,
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
In the data base at the blitz there are more than a few scenarios that follow the historical outcome which is lopsided for one side. The fact is these scenarios have just a few games played. That's the tradeoff when a designer wants to depict a certain historical battles.
I think the consensus is players don't want to play them because there is little enjoyment when we're here for the competition which more balanced scenarios provide.
That should not stop a designer who has a desire to do so. Because there are those who like historical scenarios even when they are a burden to play as one side. The discussion were having now is how it will be for everyone of those scenarios. If You make an unbalanced scenario(even if it is historical) people are not going to play it for the most part.
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12-21-2017, 12:00 AM,
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
Cheers zap, while I agree that certainly no one likes to play scenarios that are no fun, how about this:

Lopsided battles are what each commander opts for in his planning, where for instance he'd order his schwerpunkt to hit a particularly weak sector of enemy defence, right. So "lopsided battles" are not an anomaly as such, but of course to design a scenario with a particularly lopsided battles comes with an added difficulty.

Often, in play testing, when it becomes obvious the initial design makes life more difficult to either side, you try to address this. Even lopsided battles can be fun if the objectives are very clear from the beginning. Playing Thermopylaee as Spartans, you'd know at the end everyone dies, but how long did you delay the Persians this time, and how much damage did you cause.

With Blitz H2H system, there's a recommendation that SM 10 scenarios would not be entered, as testing them causes such a strain, takes such a long time, and many times the process is left unfinished.

Prokhorovka certainly is a SM10 scenario and then some, but luckily there's been players who've persisted with it, so there's good feedback what works and what not. I've also discussed this a good few times with Alan, and we have a decent idea as how to redesign this in EF III with the new game engine that offers so much more.

Here's a few concrete items:

First, Adaptive AI (AAI). There's currently like 100 parameters that effect the game play and the various odds, probabilities and AI behaviour too. Those can now be set per scenario, like a likelihood for Opportunity Fire for instance as just one example.

Then, Event Engine. First, Event Engine can alter Adaptive AI parameters dynamically. There can be a positive or negative trend for most all AAI parameters, or they can change per an event occurring. So for instance, since I picked the Opportunity Fire likelihood as an instance, that can be altered. For instance, as the day goes on, units "tire", and the likelihood for a prompt Opportunity Fire against a moving hostile lessens. Just a sample

Specific to Prokhorovka: Event Engine, based on events like turn # or a unit moving beyond a certain line, or an objective changing hands, can then have things happening (or not). A Release or Reinforcement can be triggered (or the arrival removed altogether).

So for instance for Artillery they could be made available for the initial barrage for Soviets, but soon after they would not be available anymore. Objective values can change during the game, additional Event Victory Points can be added, and so on. Morale can go up and down. Supply (and Arty supply) can go up and down.

Quite a lot of tools for scenario designer, which is the reason why I said there'd likely be no more Prokhorovka versions for JTCS EF, but certainly a lot of food for thought for the EF III version come the day it will be redesigned for the game.
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12-21-2017, 01:05 AM,
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
Except for the time it takes to play them I have nothing against large scenario designs, that are made to the scale of the game.
I think I have been consistent in that since I first started to post on the forum.

Where I butt heads is when a designer tries to justify the "days" of time and "miles" of the hexes. A total disregard for scale. And, there are plenty of games that have the days and miles. Play them. Don't change mine.

Earl, I too am old.

And, sadly, not looking forward to EFIII. Originally did. But, not much anymore. Hamster Wheel


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12-21-2017, 03:28 AM,
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
Battle cat, that is my hope and same point you have made. Which is, balance can be attained in multiple ways without changing the eventual historical battle outcome. I appreciate your attempt to make that happen so you can add this EFIII. Alan, contributed many scenarios are those going to be used for EFIII? If so they will have to be worked on for the same reason Prokhorovka 5 needs works. They are all so unbalanced.
That brings up the question are any of the present scenarios available to play for EFII going to be ported over to EFIII?
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12-21-2017, 05:53 AM,
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
EF III will feature a set of new scenarios built specifically to it. As for existing scenarios, it is not for us to take over anyone's previous work. Having said that, all scenario designers are certainly welcome to port their work over. A full set of editors continue to be available and we will be available to help on any new design features etc.

As for porting things over: maps should convert automatically, org and scn files need to be put together anew. Even for maps, there's more terrain available now, so it pays to look them over to benefit from new terrain types such as anti-tank ditches for instance.

Then there's the AAI parameters per scenario (optional), or Event Engine files per scenario (optional).
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12-21-2017, 07:16 AM,
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
Battle Kat I understand what you are saying but not convinced the porting over of maps will be a smooth process because with the addition of new terrain types the coding between the old and  new tiles may change. In fact it has to doesn't it?

Also I accept the new coding for org files and that there will be no backwards compatibility between the old and new. But as a scenario designer like myself you have to remember the most tedious things about building a scenario is the time needed for making the map and then next editing/introducing/building the forces into the scenario, the write up and reinforcement entry.

Sure you can copy and paste the write up probably but the reinforcements have no direct connection to the org file structure.

By that I mean you can see in the reinforcement dialogue that on turn 4 a platoon of Panther tanks comes in and where but it doesn't tell you what division, regiment or battalion it came from in the org file. Sure if you have a single battalion of Panthers then you have a pretty good idea but if you have 4, 5 or 6 battalions like in some of the mega scenarios you have to do that by memory and quite frankly mine is not getting any better. One has to be careful with that or the historical entry of forces in a particular scenario could be fouled up.

In fact to make an old scenario into a new one at the very least one would need 2 screens or another computer. One running EFII and the other running EFIII. So you can look at what you did and what your building anew.The larger you go with a scenario the more work and time involved. No easy task by any stretch of the imagination.

One thing is for sure, any way you slice it there will be some work involved in rewriting some of the old great EFII scenarios into the new EFIII.

Ivan the Big Cigar5
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12-21-2017, 09:05 PM,
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
Cheers John,

Maps: they should convert as-is, in principle. The new terrain types are a add-on, so what is there remains as they were. There are a few exceptions, for instance the old "Field" will translate to "Produce Field" that uses that slot, iirc, so should you like to have "Grain Field" instead those need to be manually altered. And as I mentioned, then you'd need to add any new terrain type for instance Ditch or Crest, or Airfield, ..., where you choose.

Similarly, some map tiles have altered in that there's more of them. Instead of six Special Building or Industrial Building types, there's now twelve of them. City tiles might be the same iirc (I am typing this from work, hush...).

OoBs are totally renewed, so those need to be created anew. Old JTCS files should offer plenty of help, and imho you don't actually need two monitors, if your display is decently sized. You can have on the left half and the other on the right half.

(Just in case this is not common knowledge, you can handily do this by selecting an app like JTCS Org Editor, then pressing Windows key + left arrow to have the app take over the left half. Then take the new Org Editor, and press Windows key + right arrow, that app now takes over the right half of display).

So yes, I agree it is not a free pass, and there's work involved. I find maps taking really the major part of any scenario design work, so I am glad those are the files that convert for most part.
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01-06-2018, 06:35 PM,
RE: NEW: Prokhorovka 5: The Historical Battle
Alan has further revised the Prokhorovka scenario, with some changes to Soviet orders of battles:

Quote:I am sending you updated files for my Prokhorovka V scenario in East Front and my Prokhorovka scenario in Kursk '43. Both contain the same corrections. The Russian 136th Guards Rifle Regiment has been moved from its old set up area in the 2nd Tank Corps to the defense line in front of the 18th Tank Corps with its sister regiment from the 42nd Guards Rifle Division. Its seems that according to recent new sources, including Christopher Lawrence's book, that the 136th Guards Rifle Regiment was not moved to the 2nd Tank Corps area until the 14th of July.  It seems that the old sources that I used when I made my first Prokhorovka scenario 15 years ago were incorrect when they said that said the 136th was with the 2nd Tank Corps on the 12th. My guess this was due to translation errors when translating Russian documents into English.

I always thought that the 2nd Tank Corps looked a little strong with the attachments of the 53rd  and 55th Guards Tank Regiments and the 136th Guards Rifle Regiment to its structure, certainly string enough to attack the 1st SS Panzergrenadier Regiment of the LAH division in the game. Yet Rotmistrov considered it too weak to attack on the 12th and only had some of its support units support the 2nd Guards Tank Corps assault on Das Reich. The 53rd and 55th Guards tank Regiments were only attached to the 2nd Tank Corps as a reserve in case the Germans attacked and broke through the 2nd Tank Corps thin front line. They were not allowed to attack. As it were they were already part of Group Trufanov and when that group finally moved south in the early afternoon of the 12th, those two tank regiments also moved out.  Any way on the 14th, Das Reich was the only division attacking and that was to the east. Both the 183rd Rifle Division and the 2nd Guards Tank Corps had to stretch their defensive lines to the south to contain Das Reich and that meant the 2nd Tank Corps had to stretch its line too. As it was still too weak, Rotmistrov decided to reinforce it with the 136th Guards Rifle Regiment which moved over during the night of 13/14 July.

I also made some corrections to the attached artillery regiments in the 5th Guards Tank Army. I finally got all the designations and compositions correct, again using the more recent sources as my guide.

Please download the scenario for the latest revision, including an updated Design Notes.
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