Posted 14 May 2012 - 07:12 AM
I think there should be the occasional battle that has victory conditions based on not taking a certain level of casualties. At random, more or less. Once the level of casualties is sustained, the mission objective becomes to retreat.
And here is why:
In real life, remembering this is supposed to be a sim, most battles are manuevering, some shooting, one side or the other takes a couple of casualties and then retreats. That is, most of the time. The battle may be a feint or a reconnaissance in force. The point is not to destroy the enemy force, it is to preserve your own command.
It adds a further tactical situation that needs to be handled as a team with everyone doing their part, the withdrawl. It takes skill and a steady hand to keep a retreat from turning into a rout. Once one team is defeated and needs to retreat, the support units fallback while the brawlers tangle with advance enemy forces, then the brawlers fall back while the scouts paint them for support, the commander calls for an arty-deployed smoke screen and then they withdraw (or some other variation thereof). Instead of, for instance, the entire team turning their backs to the enemy, opening themselves up to all sorts of unpleasantness.
Obviously, some combats are to the death. And sometimes a fight to the death for one side is simply a fight to draw some blood for the other.
Interestingly, this makes it possible, but unlikely, for both sides to complete their objectives, for instance:
Side A is making a push for objective 1, held by Side B. Side B is under orders to hold the objective at all cost. Side A's attack, on the other hand, is simply a feint. Their objective is to inflict as many casualties on Side B as possible, on the out-of-game strategic-level, forcing B's command to move more of their forces to 1, opening up objectives 2 and 3 to the real push. A needs to remain combat effective to keep forces pinned at 1, though. So the objectives would look like this:
A: Neutralize 33%+ of B's forces in vicinity of 1. Maintain 66%+ combat effectiveness.
B: Hold 1 at all cost. Drive back any enemy push on 1.
So, A and B can both succeed. Now, obviously B's objective is much easier to succeed at, as A's mission is not to (as B believes) take 1. On the other hand, if A succeeds, B's strategic position is somewhat compromised. This can be complicated for A by restricting their support options, as they are needed for the pushes on 2 and 3, where B would be rolling in support, because of the value of 1. Or perhaps have A open with a lot of support to give their push the appearance of a major push, while B's support options are fewer because B's support is covering all three objectives, but then shifts as the seriousness of B's defensive predictament becomes known. A, on the other hand, gets less support as the battle progresses, representing a shifting of their support to the pushes on 2 and 3. Tie this into a couple other simultaneous games representing the pushes on 2 and 3 (with a fourth battle where B is attempting a counter driving at 4), all occuring on the same planet, and the whole thing becomes (IMHO) deeper and more fun, without overly complicating the game's design.
In any case, it shakes things up from the typical capture the flag/team deathmatch shennanigans and everybody gets to shoot at things and kill them. So even if the objectives are not fair, at least they are fun! Or at least I think they would be.