The Road To Damascus Resurfaced: CMSF v1.11

Anyone wondering whether troubled contemporary wargame Combat Mission: Shock Force is now fit for duty should definitely give the new 1.11 ‘Marines’ demo a spin. Battlefront have lashed together a bland training scenario, a dreadfully imbalanced armour clash (‘Smashing Metal’ – play as the Syrians if you want any sort of challenge), and – thank God – two variants of a quality FIBUA engagement, to showcase a year’s worth of improvements. I still have a few issues with the full game, but nervously hunting Syrian airborne troops through the streets of Tadmur (‘USMC – Going To Town’), it’s impossible not to admire what CMSF has finally become.


Read on for a few beginner’s tips.


The demo scenarios can be played real-time or ‘WeGo’ fashion (plot a minute’s worth of action then watch as that minute is played out). WeGo gives you more time to think and plan, but less chance to speedily extract chestnuts from fires.


If you’re going to play in real-time, quick camera manipulation is vital. It’s worth remembering that the WASD keys can be used in concert with the mouse, TAB puts you behind the currently selected unit, and the number keys switch to handy fixed perspectives.



I tend to play with all unit paths visible (Alt + P) and issue orders via the SPACEBAR menu rather than the multi-pane panel in the bottom right corner. Should you need to drag-select a bunch of units, then hold down SHIFT as you drag.


Tactically, the best advice I can give is ‘Be bloody cautious’. Playing as the US you’re often up against a cagey enemy armed with all manner of portable anti-tank gadgetry. One hit from an RPG or similar can destroy an APC/IFV plus most of its crew and passengers, so it pays to scout carefully and use smoke generously. Most vehicles will pop smoke if ordered (sometimes they’ll do it unbidden). Grunts have smoke grenades too.



There are numerous types of movement order in CMSF. When in doubt ‘hunt’, is a good general rule.


And lastly, all Strykers are not the same. In the non-Marines version of ‘Going To Town’, you’ve three types at your disposal. The basic M1126 comes with an MG good for infantry suppression, the M1126 (40mm) packs a powerful grenade launcher that will level buildings and walls given time, and finally you’ve got the mighty M1128, effectively a poor man’s tank.



  1. SlappyBag says:

    First lol!

    This sounds interesting, never heard of it before – must of missed one of the previous posts – I’ll deffo try it out.

  2. Yann Best says:

    *Feverishly downloads*

    Do we finally have a worthy successor to Combat Mission (2)? I’ve been missing decent simultaneous-turn-based wargaming from my life.

  3. Piispa says:

    Unfortunately the choise of conflict the devs made effectively hindered the game uninteresting that no updating or booster packs can help. It might be realistic for the period, but it’s defaultly so biased that playing as Syrians all you can do most of the time is cut your losses.

    And playing the US is basicly trying to come through with no losses at all.

    CMx1 still holds the ground.

  4. fulis says:

    There was a preview of that russian WWII RTS / RTT game that was hard as hell just a little while ago here on RPS

    Where the hell did it go?

  5. Aorawn says:

    Sigh. Those aren’t Marines pictured; they’re army regulars. Marines wear desert camo in desert scenarios.

  6. Skurmedel says:

    @fulis: Yeah I wonder that too? I read it one day, then I couldn’t find the article any more.

  7. Tim Stone says:

    Aorawn – The demo features the USMC and the regular US Army. Battlefront don’t do elementary uniform gaffs.

  8. cheeba says:

    I’m sorry, but Battlefront can fuck off after releasing such a fundamentally broken initial version and expecting us to suck it for the better part of a year while they beat it into some kind of functional shape. And that interface, what the hell were they thinking?

    And yes, as has been mentioned here, after all that it turns out there’s just not an entertaining game in there. I’m beginning to feel like the CMx1 games were just some kind of happy accident, seeing how methodically they seem to be ruining everything the series had going for it.

  9. FernandoDANTE says:

    This is so confusing.

  10. A Marine who has worn Urban Camo says:

    Aorawn: Been in the marines, have you?

  11. leeder_krenon says:

    this is a decent take on the combat command style:

    link to

  12. Alctel says:

    The Combat Mission series is probably in my top 3 games of all time, so Shock Force made me very very sad :(

  13. Wiggins says:

    This is the second demo from them I’ve tried. The last one was many, many months ago, so I’ll have new drivers and everything, yet this engine still BSODs my shit after a few minutes of play.

    I had two other complaints lined up but they no longer seemed worth mentioning once that blast from the past showed itself.


  14. Ganoa says:

    Anyone else having massive pathing issues?

  15. Tim Stone says:

    Care to elaborate Ganoa? I found pathfinding much improved.

  16. Cigol says:

    I’m still not getting it. The same performance issues, no widescreen support. It seems quite sloppy in comparison to the older titles. In fairness I’ve not given it a lot of time to win me over, so there might be a game underneath all the slop, but I doubt I’ll be finding out any time soon.

  17. Tpyo says:

    I tried CMSF earlier (that is, before 1.11). The game was half-baked but fun in short bursts – the problem is, it had massive issues on 8000 series card (think FPS in the single digits). I don’t know if it has problems with 9000 series cards, or if they’ve fixed them, but hell, it’s worth a try.