Der Graben - World War 1 trench defence
Posted on 04/29/10 @ 01:12 AM (updated 05/15/10
This is August, 1918. The World War have been raging for four years. You are Hans, a young German hauptmann (captain) who was harshly put on command of the 16th Bavarian battalion, one of the thousands units that exhausted in the Spring Offensive. Now the offensive was broken, and the British are mounting counter offensive. You and your men are sent to defend a newly captured sector, which was flooded into an isolated mud land by heavy rainfall. Here the young hauptmann would face the full terror of war which would shock him forever......
This scenario is based on a modified database, therefore many aspects in this scenario would be very different the original AOC, especially in units. Please refer to readme for more details
NOTE: This file requires the absence of the 1.0c patch to work.
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Der Graben - World War 1 trench defence was a very fun game to play. You get control of the German force in their attampt to stop the British. It's a very hard scenario to beat(Heavy Scorpions in particular) but neverthe less fun to play.
The Balance, like I said above, was very hard and probably impossible to beat. You take command of German soldiers and British soldiers swarm over you and the trenches. If it wasn't for those machine s(bombard s) I would of been toast.
The creativity in this scenario is what makes it so good. There are machine s, s, artillery etc... without changing any graphice. The Machine s fire with a very neat effect and my favorite unit are the janissaries who carry fully automatic s.
Another thing is the trenches, very creative in my opinion. All in all this area deserves a 5.
Map Design: 5
The Map Design looked quite nice and looked like a battle torn land. You command three trenches and as the British attack you get thrown back. Each time you lose a trench you get a counterattack force to retake the trench. A five in this area as well.
The instructions simply expplain what units each side can command and their strengths and weaknesses. However, there weren't many hints/tips on how to defeat the British so it was much harder. A 4 in this section.
All in All this is a very fun, creatve scenario. If you dont mind mods, and like WWII style battle then why not give this scenario a try.
'Der Graben', which literally means 'the trench' when translated, is a single-player scenario set during the Great War and utilises modified data and language files to dramatically alter game play in the mould of trench warfare. The scenario is fixed-force and you fight as the young and innocent Captain Hans and must repel ten waves of British counter-attacks against your trenches, including infantry, cavalry, and even devastating tanks.
The Spring Offensive of late 1918 (christened Operation Michael) has ground to a halt, and the Germans have failed to reach their objectives at Amiens and Arras at the cost of a quarter of a million lives. Both sides are exhausted from years of grinding one another down, and the scenario commences when British and 'dominion' forces begin counter-attacking along the whole front. It was the time, more respectively, when the hopes of the German army were sorely let down by the High Command and the German people began losing faith in Ludendorff and Hindenburg to win the war.
For Captain Hans, it is his first time in battle and through prolonged assault he questions the validity of his duty in the trenches as well as that of Germany's continuing sacrifice in the face of poor leadership back home...
PLAYABILITY: For a scenario set during bleak period of the Great War, at least four hundred years after the time of 'Age of Kings', 'Der Graben' somehow manages to exceed, at least to some point, the confines present in this timeless game. Not since the Battle of the Argonne Forest designed in 2005 by Era Productions has there been a scenario meld around the tragic setting. Utilising modified data and language files to give players a slightly more realistic experience in the scale of trench warfare, the scenario is hugely-entertaining, challenging and in more than a few ways realistic too. The game play takes shape over a series of three trench lines, and one way or another you must hold them from overwhelming enemy assault. To get the job done, you are given a plethora of individual units each with their own unique abilities. You can expect anything from Mauser-wielding infantrymen to battlefield-winning machine gun squads; even devastating howitzers that can level an entire company of enemy soldiers. Want to take a trench or wipe out cluttered-groups of enemy units? Then the grenade-hurling 'Grenadiers' will suddenly prove useful. Of course with that said, the changes are in name and stats only, so anyone hoping for altered graphics here will be disappointed. Not a fatal flaw, and the playability is challenging enough at points that I keep returning to this to give it another go. Victory is by no means always acquired and strategy plays a great part in the game; a solid placement of riflemen, coupled with a machine gun squad or two, can prove almost impregnable to any assailant. Hordes of enemy soldiers literally fall against the ground like a receding tidal wave, and it is equally as engaging when you're attempting to retake a lost trench and your men are likewise mowed down by the enemy machine guns. Generally you opt to hold what you still have instead. Bombarding the enemy with the German staple, the 5.9 inch howitzer, thus becomes the key to victory or defeat. Trenches are lost and retaken and then lost again, and become unusable after the concussive string of incessant bombardment. Although I would have preferred had the trenches lasted longer under a single bombardment, the mechanic of this is to be commended. After several waves, however, the fighting becomes repetitious, or maybe that's the point? And after an hour or so of fighting you're relieved to see some kind of peace in it all. On the down-side, there is excessively much lag throughout the game and while on screen seconds pass units jot sluggishly down the map. Although this is only temporary, as the more units you kill the less lag there is between waves, it is evident something should be done to remedy this. Players will also have to somehow uninstall the 1.0c patch for the changes from the modified data files to take place and for the scenario to work properly. However, the hassle involved getting this set-up is well worth it if this appeals to you. 4.0 +
BALANCE: The scenario is very challenging, and after several waves of enemy troops bearing down on your position, you begin to feel the pressure. However, after a while I feel it's merely up to the player to find a steady position and work from there, particularly at the last trench and there's very little the enemy can do to make any ground. With that said, you can still expect to be kept on your feet for the duration of the game and any minor hiccup can quite easily lead to catastrophe. Trenches are lost quickly to the hardened enemy assault; quick-thinking and micromanagement skills are mandatory here. If you can't hold a trench, then falling back will also prove to be another useful skill. Enemy tanks lumbering unhindered over trenches make victory all the more desirable and horsemen galloping madly through the quagmire prove the need for units to work as a cohesive unit. Of course, after all that, you can still decide if you want to try and retake one or two of your lost trenches, or keep the reserves you just received and hold what you have, using reinforcements to plug any holes made in the defences as on-going assault hampers your desire to survive. On the whole, I felt there were too many machine-gun squads (I had at least twenty serving me by the end of the game) and lacking more bayoneted riflemen to counter the trenches with. Perhaps the enemy should receive some too? 4.0
CREATIVITY: The scenario utilises modified data files to really make an impression here and much of what is here is new to the game and works well with the content. There are many strokes of creativity, and I applaud the mechanic of the howitzers, and their two minute reloading time, as well as the destructible trenches, although it may have been better to feature actual sandbags instead of haystacks. The music in particular is well-chosen, and works with the rest of the game. However, I'm afraid I do not understand the point about visuals and must wonder why units shoot arrows instead of bullets? 5.0
MAP DESIGN: The map design is slightly above average and sluggishly depicts a barren wasteland that has seen years of war, hounding months where two sides have ground against one another, watching while the surrounding countryside quickly falls apart into a quagmire of rubble and mud. It is technically well-designed and contrasts well with the strategic element of the game play, and trenches dividing the map in three parts form the stage where the majority of the fighting takes place. Still, a little too much 'eye candy' can become an eye sore, and stumps, craters and rugs in the rivers? 3.0
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: It is not so much as a story as it is the conversation two friends are having in the lull of the fighting but it still works nicely with the rest of the game, and the author allows you to feel for the protagonist 'Hans' and his companion 'Johann'. However, it is a shame this was intruded by some terrible grammar and spelling, which however is not penalised too much for as the author's first language is not English. Instructions are however lack-lustre, although the author has provided detailed descriptions in scout in the form of weapons and unit details present in the game. The file includes a nice bitmap that fits well with the rest of the game. 5.0 -
OBSERVATIONS: The game requires the absence of the 1.0c patch to work properly, otherwise the player will not receive the full-experience that this scenario has to offer, and indeed will not make it past the first wave. To uninstall the 1.0c patch, I believe you will first need to delete your language and data files before reinstalling the game, which shouldn't take a minute to do. A bit of hassle involved but certainly worth it.
CONCLUSION: 'Der Graben' is an inspired scenario, with loads of creativity and fun new stats and units to play around with. I'd like to see more from the author involving trench warfare.
In a sentence - A realistic take on the Great War, although still in need of further polishing.
In closing - I highly-recommend this download to FF enthusiasts.
[Edited on 10/03/12 @ 07:42 PM]
August 1914. Four years of living and dying in the trenches. Artillery pounding the ground into mush. Poison gas. Disease. And ferocious fighting. Battalions of men ordered 'over the top' to simply charge into the machine gun fire, to be mowed down in human wave attacks. Millions have been sacrificed on both sides, all in the name of King and Kaiser, honour and loyalty. In this setting a young German captain faces the full brutality of war and begins doubting what they are really fighting for..
The author brilliantly captures the mood and feel of the Great War, through his extensive data modifications and scenario design. Trench warfare is well represented by the different units, the riflemen, grenadiers, machine gunners, tanks, artillery. I must say, there is nothing that really captures the imagination than a single howitzer shot demolishing a column of tanks and dozens of infantry. Or machine guns shredding infantry to bits, cavalry making futile charges trying to use steel against bullets. Troops getting massacred over and over and over, and still coming over the bodies of their comrades, until there were none left. It really fit the scene of the war. The music score was well chosen and fit the scenario very well.
While there were a lot of tactics one could use, in practice this was difficult ( see balance ). Also, there was excessive lag in the scenario towards the end, making in near unplayable at times even on my rather well equipped computer.
To be frank, this scenario was actually really hard. Even though you could supposedly use a lot of tactics, such as retaking trenches, using grenadiers against tanks and so on, in practice it didn't work well for a number of reasons. The only tactic that really worked was putting your infantry in front of your machineguns on hold position and letting machine guns and howitzers massacre everything. Retaking trenches would simply be too costly in terms of soldiers, and the halberdiers and grenadiers were awful units- the former having no good attack or hp while being melee, and the latter simply being too situational and ineffective. One thing that annoyed me was the lack of spotters for my artillery particularly when the outer trenches are taken, the guard towers around should IMO have served as such if they had not been so burnt that my units couldn't garrison in them. Also, while the trenches did absorb their share of damage from the enemy bullets, it did not give you anything like sure protection- enemies could just shoot over it.
Also the tanks were overpowered in my opinion. I couldn't win the scenario, though I lasted till the last wave, where there were too many tanks and the massive lag made it impossible to micro anything.
As I've already highlighted, the creativity is the high point of the game. Don't know what else to say. It's not easy making a modern day scenario in Aok. This is one of the few that really feel genuine.
Maybe the gunners should have just had bullets instead of arrows. That's about it.
Map Design: 4
The map design is quite good and well functional. Trenches, ruins and no-man's land. It can definitely use improvement though. Subtle changes like putting a hanging man ( easily accomplished by using Tree F and a pikeman with data editing ) as a warning to deserters, would really breathe life into the map. Apart from the war zone, there is a church for some reason that's not clear, and the area with the howitzers looked odd. Maybe use boulders to surround them instead of haystacks?
I felt that the story was very well done. The horror, the despair of war pervaded the game in the form of a conversation between the two friends. I didn't find that many grammer or spelling mistakes in it. The instructions were quite good, and there were hints and scouts info. It would be better to have a counter informing how many waves are left.
This is probably the best modern War based scenario and one of the best games this year. Highly recommended for downloading.
Note- This game can work with the 1.0c patch if you rename the data file present to empires2_x1_p1.dat rather than empires2_x1.dat and then place it in your data directory. I'm not sure about the language files ( didnt use them ).
Tip on battle micro- Hotkey your trebuchets ( howitzers ) to Ctrl+1, 2, 3, 4, to target them from miles away. If you issue an attack command and the place isn't bombed within a few seconds, it means it is on cooldown, so press S ( stop ) to cancel the order. You can also hotkey your machine guns and try to save them as much as you can. Have all units on hold position to prevent them from wandering around.