Combat Mission

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Combat Mission

a brief review of Battlefront's two games

by Ken Chan


The games covered in this brief review are Combat Mission Beyond Overlord (CMBO) and Combat Mission Barbarossa to Berlin (CMBB).  These two computer wargames are produced by Battlefront for the PC and the Mac.  As you clever guys will no doubt notice from their respective titles, CMBO covers the period between June 6 1944 and the end of World War Two in the NW European Theatre whereas CMBB covers the invasion of Russia by Germany in June 1940 to the fall of Berlin in May 1945.  CMBO was published about two years ago and CMBB was released last September.  The games cover company to reinforced battalion levels of operation.  Vehicles and support weapons are modelled individually; smallest infantry elements are sections, whereas artillery and close air support are modelled abstractly.   


Game Play

The games come with a lot of scenarios and a quick battle generator.  In the generator you can decide the type of action and the size of the action (in terms of points).  You can then either purchase units or let the computer assign units to you.


The game is played in simultaneous turns each comprises of 60 seconds of action.  You give individual orders to your units, and, depending on their training and whether they are in command or not, a delay for the execution of those orders is added to the units.  After the completion of the order phase, you can view the outcome of your orders during the action phase.  It is displayed as a video and there are mechanisms to zoom, replay, change angle of view etc., just like a VCR.  After you are satisfied with the result you go back to the order phase and the cycle begins again until the predetermined number of turns has been reached, at which point the computer will announce the result .




The games not only have the main belligerents but also include minor powers such as Poland, Hungary and Finland, etc.  Actually, apart from the early war in the west (pre D-Day) that is not catered for, you can use the games to simulate just about any European battle.  Unfortunately the two games are not compatible with each other, thus you can not port the data from CMBB to CMBO.


During vehicle combat, individual vehicles shoot at each other and the results are calculated using actual ballistics data, armour thickness and slope, hardness number, etc.  The most sophisticated part is that if a shot misses its intended target, the program will carry on the calculation until the shot either hits something harmlessly, affects others or falls out of sky due to lack of energy.


The games not only allow playing against the computer but also cater for play by email (PBEM) and internet play via TCIP.  In fact I have been playing against a lot of players from US, Australia etc. for the past two years using PBEM.


The games also come with a scenario editor and map editor which allow custom scenarios and maps to be generated; thus you can virtually simulate any battle within the scope and time frame of each of the games.



As the games do not cover the western front before D-Day, one cannot play any battle for France or North Africa .  However, all is not lost as there are a number of skin modifications (MOD) to cover these.  Unfortunately, this only applies to the skins of the vehicles and the uniforms, the underlying algorithms remaining the same.


Due to the superb graphics, people with slower machines (I use P3 450Mhz, 512 MB SDRAM and GeForce 4 graphic card) may experience some sluggishness during play.



I personally rate these two games highly and they continue to be played despite having been bought some time ago.  They are a definite buy for anyone interested with World War 2 armour actions.  Those interested can buy the game from Battlefront directly via this link


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