This is the official and comprehensive list of Kriegspiel V5’s economy, combat, and gameplay changes, courtesy of the mod’s developer.
I had bought CoH2 a year earlier during the 2014 Valentine’s Day sales event and never touched it since, for whatever reason. It was just sort of the obligatory game purchase since I had played CoH1 (a copy of which had picked up from a Goodwill thrift store, of all places). I enjoyed CoH1 and admired its graphics but wanted something more in terms of gameplay.
CoH2 impressed me, despite my initial neglect of it. Not quite because of the gameplay, but because of the multiplayer system. It was easy to get into multiplayer and get a game started. Moreover, it was easy to get a game with multiplayer game started with mods. Not only having workshop auto-download the mod for you was great, but having it auto-download for other players made it fantastic. It was too good not to be left unutilized.
I played vanilla CoH2 for a week, then Spearhead for another week, and then decided to punch out and create my own mod. I did some research, downloaded the tools, and voila within an hour I was modding. I only really sought to increase weapon range and damage at first, and how sophisticated this project has gotten would be unfathomable to me now. My creation I named ‘Kriegspiel’ – after one of many Avalon Hill board games that had been handed down to me by my father. ‘Kriegspiel’ – German for ‘wargame’ – was a cold-war setting hex-grid strategy game that pioneered future hex-grid games, like Panzer Leader, Panzer Blitz, and the Talonsoft Battleground series.
Kriegspiel development has been entirely done by myself up until this point, and still is published independently by myself. I’ve had my series of setbacks and delays due to long intervals of training and deployment during my military service, which accounts for several remakes of the mod – hence V5. During that time, I took the experience I learned as an infantryman and integrated it into the mod. I had the ‘good’ fortune of being able to deploy to Iraq with Third Battalion Seventh Marines, and getting a glimpse of what war looks like without serious detriment to my safety.
I must endeavor to remind players, I am not a professional game developer. I don’t know much about scripting and neither can read Java. I am not a team and had little prior experience modding games. I was a simple soldier and as such this is a soldier’s mod. This mod exists as an idea, an idea that pure, almost unfiltered realism produces gameplay balance, and the two concepts are not at all exclusive of each other.
In the future I’d like to see a game that follows the spirit of Kriegspiel with the Essence engine or one that is very similar; one that actually successfully merges RPG and RTS elements into one seamless flow with the utmost dedication to replicating the power of real life weapons and the delicacy of human behavior.
– Critical combat. Every weapons has a chance to instantly kill what it penetrates.
– Rates of fire redone. In the original game, ‘burst’ weapon rate of fire is relative to distance from the target, which makes no sense. I made all weapons use their real mechanicalrate of fire.
– Burst rates overhauled. Machinegunners will hold bursts longer, up to 5 seconds in close-quarter environments. Consequently they need to reload more frequently.
– Projectile velocity changed. Each projectile has it’s own real-life velocity. APCR shells will have a higher velocity for instance than their APHE or HE counterparts
– Ballistic weapon accuracy and damage has also been reworked, relative to the type of weapon, projectile, range, and the skill of the unit. Close quarters combat is quick and vicious while long range skirmishes may ensue for a considerable amount of time. Moving units no longer engage like a rabble of CoD kiddies and must be stationary to be effective.
– All weapons have the potential to suppress, not just machine guns. It largely comes down to rate of fire, so stack multiple rifle squads against an enemy unit to suppress.
– Scatter altered. Projectiles now travel along a more linear path and fall much further from the target if they miss.
– Larger caliber cannons have ammo switches between AP, HE, APCR/HVAP, HEAT, and WP shells.
– Mortars, grenades, and all other explosives have a larger and ‘stratified’ area effect radius, to simulate the effect of both the blast, concussion, and fragmentation. The range at which this effect occurs is dependent on projectile size and the cover of the target unit.
– Most explosive weapons have physical shrapnel. Airburst will rain down shrapnel from above from afar.
– ‘Flak’ cannon are now potent anti-personnel weapons, with their high rates of fire and shrapnel area. Flak weapons can toggle between API-T and HE-T and can be an efficient counter to light vehicles.
– Flamethrowers engage at their real respective ranges.
– Incendiaries instantly immolate infantry, and can start fires in vehicles. Vehicles can burn for some time before forcing the crew to abandon and causing the vehicle to be destroyed. Vehicle fires have a chance to be put out by the vehicle’s fire suppression system.
– Close proximity to fire can cause infantry to rout.
– Anti-tank rockets and launchers overhauled. Bazookas, Panzershrecks, Panzerfausts, Ratakenwerfers, etc., are armed with devastating shaped-charge HEAT warheads, which rely on their explosive power to penetrate armor, rather than velocity.
– HEAT retains consistent penetration at all distances, though they suffer from poor accuracy.
Infantry movement is slower and more fluid. Infantry acceleration is calculated to fit a 180 lb.-200 lb. man. (The average soldier at the time was likely under 160 lbs., but gear is a factor here.) Soldiers are slower and rotate slower while in the prone. Infantry auto-sprint while in combat.
Crewed weapon speeds and rotation rates vary by weapons size. Crewed weapons are considerably slower than vanilla and completely impractical to use as offensive weapons. In real life, a .50 cal machinegun with tripod weights around 120 lbs., and every 100 rounds was at least another 50 lbs. The average AT gun weighed several hundred pounds.
Team weapons can be “carried” in trucks and halftracks. Light AT guns can be garrisoned in buildings as well.
Vehicle speeds are changed. Base speed is 1/3 of real-life top speed, and can be toggled to 2/3 of real life speed. Vehicle speed can be heavily affected by water, deep snow, and mud. All vehicles have the chance to get stuck in deep snow, sand (water) and mud, which wheeled vehicles being more likely to get stuck than tracked vehicles. Acceleration is calculated with the vehicle’s speed and real-life power-to-weight ratio.
Vehicle transmissions are as correctly modelled as the game allows. Tanks that have triple and double differential transmissions can rotate noticeably more efficiently than those that rely on clutch braking.
Aircraft speed is increased to real life speed and fly in a much wider pattern than the comical ways they do in vanilla and other mods.
Doctrines and doctrinal abilities are available from a custom building called the Communications Tower.
– Armored Warfare Doctrine. This doctrine gives you a hefty fuel modifier and access to heavier tanks, like the T-34/85, King Tiger, Pershing, and Firefly. Infantry units with this doctrine are veteran and elite.
– Combined Arms Doctrine. Fuel and munitions income increased slightly. Provides an aerial recon, a large airborne drop, and a “light” and a “heavy” air attack. Light air attacks will search and destroy an enemy crewed weapon or light vehicle, while heavy attacks will do the same for heavy vehicles. Infantry in this doctrine are veteran and elite.
– Fire Superiority Doctrine. Large munitions bonus and access to heavy howitzers and rocket launchers. Infantry in this doctrine are regulars.
– Static Defense doctrine. Gives you access to emplacement weapons, quicker construction times, and paradroppable anti-personnel mines.
– Mass Assault doctrine. Augments battlephase manpower and manpower trickle income. Increases the size of infantry sections from 3 to 4.
– Intelligence Doctrine. Hides your units on the minimap and gives a combat experience bonus, allowing you to reach a new battlephase faster. (Coming soon – Partisan insertions and camps)
– Battlephase system. There are three battlephases, and they now apply to all factions. Battlephases advance ‘by the year’ – meaning that they unlock weapons, vehicles, and equipment in the same order that they were developed and brought to the field in real life. Battlephases advance automatically for players, based on the number of command points they accrue. A big effect this system makes on gameplay is with antitank warfare, because HEAT munitions wasn’t fielded until 1942, meaning that the only way an infantryman could kill a tank was through an anti-tank rifle, large explosive, or incendiary weapon.
– Limited manpower. There is a small manpower income but this is to simply allow the AI to maintain functionality. The AI doesn’t like fighting for free, I guess. Manpower comes in increments, or ‘waves’ with each battlephase, a bit similar to Steel Division’s battlephase reinforcement system.
The amount of manpower every battlephase is the same for every battlephase and every player, and is roughly equivalent to the size of a platoon in strength.
– Base fuel and munition income. It is still very important to hold as much of the map as possible but this allows some games to go longer than an hour if the enemy gives smart reisstance, and it gives players a chance to bounce back.
– Munition costs. All weapons, even small arms, cost munitions. All barrage abilities cost munitions. Munitions costs are based on guns size or number and size of projectiles fired.
– Starting munitions. Each player starts with 100 munitions. This allows early game accessibility to anti-tank wepaons and prevent players from immediately getting overrun by vehicles.
– Munitions and fuel caches. All factions can build them, however, they cost manpower to represent the dedication of human resources to logistics.
– All factions have fuel and munition switches.
New Units & Weapons
– Soviet T-60 Light Tank: Armed with an extremely high rate of fire 20mm TNsH cannon, the T-60 represents an imposing threat to infantry and other light vehicles. Reload time is very long, however. Available with Armored War doctrine.
– American M4A3E2 Sherman Jumbo: With armor similar to a Tiger, the Sherman Jumbo represent’s America’s heavy armor contribution to the war effort.
– German GrW 36 50mm Mortar: Can auto fire.
– German GrW 42 120mm Mortar: Heavy mortar for Germany.
– American M2 107mm Mortar: Heavy Mortar for Britain and America.
– Soviet RM-38 50mm Mortar: Can auto fire.
– Soviet 72-k 25mm Flak Gun Emplacement. Available with Static War doctrine.
– British Z-Battery Rocket Launcher: The Z-Battery was a predecessor to the landmattress, and used as an anti-air weapon.
– German PaK 36 37mm Light AT Gun: Can shoot APCR and a large but inaccurate HEAT grenade with an arced trajectory.
– German PaK 41 55mm AT Gun: A taper-bore gun that squeezes a 75mm solid shot (APCNR) projectile down to 55 for extremely high penetration. Available with Static Defense Doctrine.
– American M3 76mm AT Gun
– German LG40 105mm Recoilless Rifle
– American M1917 .30 cal Machine Gun
– American Trench Rangers: Armed with Browning Auto 5 shotguns, these troops can be devestating at short range for a cheap munitions price.
– Soviet Conscript Assault Section: Armed with PPsH submachinguns.
– British Polish Dragoons: Similarly armed to ‘Tommy” Infantry, but more veteran. Available with Armored War doctrine.
– British Paratroopers: Available with Combine Arms doctrine.
– German Waffen SS Panzergrenadiers. Available with OKW Armored War doctrine.
– German 20mm Fliegerfaust: A 9-shot rocket launcher designed for anti-aircraft use. Rockets launch with a 0.1 second interval to prevent premature combustion of each following rocket.
– American 57mm M18 Recoilless Rifle: Available with Combined Arms doctrine, the M18 shoots a 57mm HEAT shell that has lower penetration but higher velocity, accuracy and range than a bazooka rocket.
– Soviet 125mm Ampulomet Molotov Launcher: An early war anti-tank weapon that launches 125mm glass orbs filled with incendiaries.
– American 12-guage Browning Auto 5 Shotgun: A semi-automatic shotgun with a long reload due to each shell needing to be hand-loaded. Can switch between slug and buck shot.
– German HHL3 HEAT Hand Mine: A powerful HEAT mine that is magnetically attached to vehicles. Replaced in 1944 by the Panzerfaust.
– German M39 ‘Egg’ Frag Grenade: A German grenade with similar properties to the American MKII.
– German Panzerwurfmine: A fin stabilized HEAT grenade. Allows for a heavier HEAT weapon to be thrown as far and more accurately than smaller competitors. Available with Combined Arms doctrine. Replaced in 1944 by the Panzerfaust.
– German Sleeved M24 Frag Grenade: Stick grenades are a smaller explosive but can be thrown further than a conventional grenade, and a frag sleeve gives it a similar fragmentation effect to the American MkII.
– British No. 69 Frag Grenade: A special frag grenade with an impact fuze.
– British No. 77 WP Grenade: A special WP grenade with an impact fuze.
– British No. 74 HE Grenade: An anti-tank HE grenade that will stick to the target.
– Soviet F1 Frag Grenade: A Soviet grenade with similar properties to the American MKII.
HOW PENETRATION IS CALCULATED
In CoH2, armor has a chance to be penetrate by this equation:
penetration/armor x 100
A SU-85 tank destroyer encounters a Panther. A shot is fired, and the front armor of the Panther is hit. What are the chances of penetration? The SU-85 has a penetration value of 170, the Panther a front armor value of 270.
170/270 x 100 = 63%
The game stipulates that anything below a 3% to penetrate is nullified. This creates an issue however, with armor values limited to the hundreds rather than the thousands, armor has a chance to be penetrated by almost any value lower than it.
CoH2 has no side armor values, only the front and back. CoH2 does not account for angled hits.
PENETRATION IN THE MOD
Kriegspiel front and real armor values are derived from the effective thickness of the vehicle’s front and back armor.
The mod overcomes CoH2’s armor penetration issue by organizing armored vehicles into brackets, ranging in 20mm increments. Tanks with 60mm-79mm of from armor are in the same bracket, as are tanks with 80-99mm of armor. Projectiles have penetration multipliers against any armor type to ensure they definitely do penetrate or do not. Shells have a chance to penetrate one bracket above their “on-paper” penetration; and a chance to deflect one bracket below their “on-paper” penetration. This is to account for shots that aren’t made on the front upper glacis plate, or at an angle.
Overpenetration is accounted for. Overpenetration reduces damage for all shot types, affecting solid shot projectiles like APCR the least and APHE and HEAT the most. When a projectile that can penetrate a much higher bracket than the unit’s bracket it hits, damage is much lower. this is due to either the decreased mushroom effect of a solid shot, or the “premature” detonation of an APHE or HEAT shell. Conversely, damage can be higher if the projectile penetrates above its “on-paper” penetration. In WW2, American tankers would stack the sides of their tanks with sandbags and logs believing that they helped stop hand-held HEAT ordnance, but with the inconsistency of German impact fuzes the extra width in “armor”| gave them the delay time they needed to achieve their greatest effect.
Physical Projectiles, Shotguns & Shrapnel
In vanilla CoH, and all other mods at the time of this writing, CoH uses a sort of ‘hitscan’ system for small arms. Bullets are not physical objects, they are a special effect laced with a RNG “dice roll” that determines whether or not the target unit is hit. The only effect terrain has on this system is ‘green; or ‘yellow’ cover, where there is a modifier against this chance of a hit being rolled. All other objects and elevation do noting to impede the effect of the hitscan bullet against the target. The result is that you have units being killed in trenches or behind hills or multiple trees when in reality there is no direct line of fire.
With Kriegspiel’s much longer ranged weapons, it became imperative to develop a system that utilized physical projectiles, like the tank and artillery shells did.
With the creation of such a system, new possibilities have come to fruition. Kriegspiel is also the only mod that has a physical canister shot and a physical shotgun, as well as a physical shrapnel system. Many types of explosives produce shrapnel that can be lethal for very long range, and like all other projectiles, shrapnel has a chance to kill in a single hit.
– Auto-Sprint. Soldiers in combat automatically sprint. They lose attention of nearby hidden enemies while in combat.
– Auto-Heal. Soldiers automatically heal themselves while out of combat.
– Auto-Smoke. Vehicles with smoke dischargers automatically pop smoke when their hitpoints are below a certain threshold, or suffer an incapacitating critical, like a destroyed gun, turret ring or immobility.
– Auto-Retreat. Soldiers will attempt to finish their fight and retreat when they are the last man of their squad.
– Auto-Prone. With the prone ability toggled on, soldiers will only prone in the open or behind light cover.
– Auto-Camo. Soldiers and crewed weapons automatically camouflage while behind cover. Camouflage is disabled while they are in combat.
– Auto-Abandon. Crews may abandon vehicles before they blow up.
Kriegspiel is a mod with sophisticated weapons, and utilizes toggles that the AI can’t use. Winning a game requires predictive intelligence – procreativity. You must expect enemy tanks to come through that field or infantry to attempt to infiltrate though that forest, or an airborne attack. You must be able to have a response to being smoked and fragged.
AI, of course, is incapable of this. The AI is good at calculating raw damage-per-second strength, knows your blind spots, remember units it has seen and can react to it. It is good at being aggressive. But setting up an anti-tank gun in a hidden position in expectation of an enemy tank? Never. Modifying AI is like teaching a caveman how to kill with a rifle; you can only teach him how hard to beat you with the club.
Kriegspiel AI is modified to have the same “higher” intelligence at all difficulty levels. The only factor that differentiates mod difficulty levels are resource modifiers. If you want to play a game without modifiers, play on Easy difficulty. The AI can do those things I mentioned above, and has an extremely high emphasis on using cover while in combat and has increased aggression. Custom abilities, upgrades, and constructions work for AI as well, and the AI will pick their own doctrines.
The impression of my players so far has been that Hard and Expert AI are pretty challenging, which is good. I have often seen that when players drop from a match and are replaced with Hard AI, some of the remaining players actually question if the person actually left because of how often the AI uses cover and how the AI learns to avoid open fields covered by hidden machineguns and anti-tank weapons.
- Total Tank Simulator: Classified Weapons Tier List
- Möbius Front ’83: Tips and Tricks on Campaign Tactics
- Lawless Lands: Abbreviation Lists
- Gunfire Reborn: Best Weapons for New Players
- Cogmind: Weapon Playstyles Guide