Back to Basics is a full conversion mod for Company of Heroes and its expansions. The aim of the mod is to create an environment that respects the nature of the original Company of Heroes gameplay, while enhancing its core features that put focus on tactics, proper decision making, and player skill. Along with new units, abilities, upgrades, and commander trees, the mod features an entirely new weapon damage model and hitpoint dynamics, as well as brand new gameplay mechanics. Back to Basics AI is proudly unique and advanced. All AI systems have been worked on and improved, to the point of creating a completely new AI battle experience. The result is an AI opponent that can be challenging and unpredictable, while also being both fair and enjoyable to play against.

RSS Americans Revision

Showcase of one of the major features of Company of Heroes: Back to Basics 5.0; the revised Americans faction.

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The next topic we are covering are the design changes for the Americans that are part of the upcoming Company of Heroes: Back to Basics 5.0 update.

Introduction

The American tech tree is non-linear, featuring a broad range of units available in the base arsenal. The faction was heavily orientated around utilising Commander Tree specific units to complement the capabilities of the main infantry unit: Riflemen. This resulted in a limited amount of viable strategies which in turn led to repetitive army compositions.

While Riflemen were a capable infantry unit, they lacked efficient anti-vehicle capabilities. This resulted in the Americans having to resort to using Anti-Tank Guns or expensive infantry units such as Rangers and Paratroopers. These options forced certain tech progression or Commander Tree choices, which constrained the possible strategies players were able to choose.

A further reliance on Commander Tree specific abilities and tools was forced as the base faction arsenal lacked efficient indirect fire support. This made the faction perform inadequate against defensive playstyles, while also lacking a proper counter to indirect fire support of other factions.

The dependence on Commander Tree specific units left the Motorpool (T3) often in the shadow of the Tank Depot (T4) during later stages of the game. Players would often favour Supply Yard upgrades in conjunction with elite infantry to potentially transfer into T4, over the tools available in T3.

Core design changes

Our goal was to reduce the overall forced Commander Tree choices by increasing the versatility and flexibility of the base arsenal. Additionally, we aimed to permit a broader range of strategies and increase the general appeal of T3.

To summarise addressed items:

  • Reorganized the base unit arsenal to make both Barracks (T1) and Weapon Support Center (T2) openings more appealing and diverse.
  • Introduced six new units into the base arsenal: the Staff Sergeant in T1, Command Squad in T2, Medic in the Triage Center, the M3 GMC in T3, and the M36 Jackson and M26 Pershing in T4.
  • The M36 Jackson replaces the M10 Wolverine as default tank destroyer in T4, and may be exchanged for M18 Hellcat. The M36 Jackson features a powerful 90 mm main gun, capable of tackling armored threats at range while having decent mobility. The M18 Hellcat features a 76 mm main with superb mobility, and can be upgraded with an M2Hb .50 cal HMG. The M10 Wolverine is available as a unique call-in through the Airborne Strategies Commander Tree, and is a hybrid of the two mentioned above.
  • Introduced two new infantry units into the Commander Trees: Pathfinders (Airborne Strategies) and Armored Infantry (Mechanized Strategies).
  • Pathfinders are specialized assault infantry that may infiltrate the battlefield through glider landings. Equipped with M1 Thompson Submachine Guns, Pathfinders are orientated around aggressive, close ranged combat.
  • Armored Infantry are versatile infantry equipped with M1 Carbines that thrive in close and medium ranged combat, but can hold their ground on longer ranges. Armored Infantry may be upgraded with an M18 Recoilless Rifle for increased anti-vehicle capabilities.
  • Riflemen have access to grenades by default, and may now be upgraded individually with two BAR’s or a single M9 Bazooka.
  • Revised Sniper into Sniper Team, that is now available in T1. Sniper Teams no longer one-shot-kill infantry targets, but excel at dealing consistent damage at long range and shine against infantry in cover.
  • Moved the Jeep to the Headquarters (T0). Jeeps are capable of capturing territory, strong spotting capabilities and providing early game fire support.
  • Introduced a global upgrade “Assault Engineers” that enables Engineers to become more combat efficient.
  • Removed the Sherman Crocodile from the base arsenal and revised it as a unique toggled feature for M4 Shermans available through the Mechanized Strategies Commander Tree.
  • Split the M4 Sherman into the M4 Sherman (75 mm main gun) and M4A3(76)W Sherman (76 mm main gun).
  • Supply Yard production upgrades were rebalanced and an additional toggled “Level 3” production was introduced.

The tech tree remains as follows:

tech tree0

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hq T0 – Headquarters



engineer Engineers (3) (210 mp)

A small but adaptable engineer unit equipped with M3 Submachine Guns. Decent at supporting mainline infantry in close ranged combat. Can perform repairs to structures and vehicles, and when trained to Assault Engineers, throw Grenades. Can be upgraded with a Flamethrower for increased firepower, or a minesweeper to counter minefields. Engineers construct basic defensive structures as well as all base structures.


jeep Jeep (180 mp, 5 fuel)

An agile reconnaissance vehicle capable of capturing territory, strong spotting capabilities and providing early game fire support. Jeeps offer additional utility in the form of Mark Target. Marked units will temporarily suffer from increased received accuracy and damage.


assEngi Assault Engineers (150 mp, 15 fuel)

Increase the combat effectiveness of Engineers by equipping them with Mk.II 'Pineapple' Grenades, Demolition Charges and M1 Thompson Submachine Guns. This upgrade will also make them more resistant to suppression.

Assault Engineers synergize well with the suppressive capabilities of Heavy Machine Gun Teams and the bonuses and utilities provided by Command Squads and Staff Sergeants.

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t1 T1 – Barracks (160 mp, 15 fuel)



rifles Riflemen (6) (280 mp)

The iconic 6 man infantry unit. Equipped with M1 Garand Rifles and Grenades by default, Riflemen are one of the most versatile backbone infantry squads available. Received an overall boost in squad survivability, and a higher cost.

Riflemen are a competent force at any range, but thrive best in medium ranged combat. Their combat efficiency can be further strengthened by equipping squads with M1918 Browning Automatic Rifles for greatly increased firepower, or an M9 Bazooka for anti-vehicle capabilities.

While capable on their own, Riflemen synergize well together with officer units such as the Sergeant and Command Squad, especially when fighting at longer ranges or when facing specialised assault infantry.


sgt Staff Sergeant (1) (210 mp)

Offers an overall boost in combat efficiency to all infantry in vicinity, whilst also able to use Inspire; temporarily increasing the firepower of singular squads. Captures territory twice the default rate, especially useful for early game map dominance. Gains veterancy through shared veterancy from nearby infantry squads. Can throw Smoke Grenades to screen units from fire.

Staff Sergeants are great at scaling infantry capabilities throughout the course of the game. While synergizing well with mainline infantry, the provided bonuses also boost the combat performance of specialised units such as Sniper Teams, HMG teams, and Mortar Teams.


sniper Sniper Team (2) (300 mp)

Specialised anti-infantry unit. Equipped with M1903 Springfield Sniper Rifles, Sniper Teams excel at dealing consistent damage at long range. The one-shot-kill mechanic was removed because it was deemed oppressive. Instead, Sniper Teams feature a combination of high damage and perfect accuracy, especially useful against defensive positions and team weapons.

Sniper Teams offer a way to efficiently soften up infantry targets, and are great for initiating attacks or effective fire-support while screened by other units.


sticky Sticky Bombs (100 mp, 15 fuel)

Equip Riflemen and Armored Infantry with improvised Anti-Tank weapons.

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t2 T2 – Weapons Support Center (160 mp, 15 fuel)



cmd Command Squad (3) (240 mp)

Offers an overall boost in survivability to all infantry within a circular radius. The Command Squad offers additional utility in the form of Observed Fire; an off-map mortar barrage, and Mark Target; marked enemy units will temporarily suffer from increased received accuracy and damage.

Captures territory twice the default rate, especially useful for early game map dominance. Gains veterancy through shared veterancy from nearby infantry squads.

The squad received an overall boost in squad survivability and combat capabilities by gaining an extra squad member that wields an additional M1 Carbine. This permits the Command Squad to provide decent fire-support to team weapons, in addition to the shared bonuses and overall utility it provides.


hmg Heavy Machine Gun Team (4) (280 mp)

A typical Heavy Machine Gun Team, capable of using AP rounds to deal with light vehicles. Great at dealing area suppression and supporting advancing infantry. The .30 cal M1917 is devastating on mid and long ranges, synergizing well with fire support from Mortar Teams, or the offensive capabilities of infantry such as Riflemen and Assault Engineers.


mortar Mortar Team (4) (270 mp)

Mortar Teams offer effective indirect fire support with the M2 60 mm Mortar. Besides the default mortar barrage, Mortar Teams can also barrage areas with smoke to screen units from fire.

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t3 T3 – Motorpool (240 mp, 45 fuel)



atg M1 57 mm Anti-Tank Gun (4) (260 mp)

Anti-Tank Gun capable of tackling vehicles with great precision at long range. Can use HVAP shells for temporary guaranteed armour penetration capabilities.

Anti-Tank Gun mechanics have seen a series of quality of life improvements, including more responsive crew behavior for easier and more comfortable setup and relocations, and the HVAP ability can now be activated while on the move.


m3 M3 Halftrack (260 mp, 25 fuel)

Lightly armored troop transport mounting a .50 cal M2Hb Heavy Machine Gun that can provide reasonably efficient fire-support. Up to 12 infantrymen, or two squads in total, can be loaded into the halftrack. Loaded infantry will visibly occupy the truck's open-top compartment, and can independently target enemy units with their own weapons. May capture territory with infantry loaded, and can Set-Up in friendly territory to offer a small reinforce radius. The M3 Halftrack offers great mid-game synergy with infantry orientated tactics, though countered heavily by anti-tank weaponry and may also be damaged by small arms fire.

The M3 may be upgraded to an M16 MGMC, equipping the Halftrack with the Maxson M45 Quadmount. The M45 features quad-mounted .50 cal M2Hb Heavy Machine Guns, capable of laying down devastating suppressive fire.


m8 M8 Armored Car (280 mp, 35 fuel)

t17 Alternative: T17 Armored Car (280 mp, 35 fuel)

The M8 “Greyhound” and T17 “Staghound” fill out the same role of fast and agile reconnaissance vehicles suitable for offensive endeavours against infantry and light vehicles. These vehicles are excellent at clearing flanks not covered by anti-tank weaponry.

The Greyhound can be upgraded with a .50 cal M2Hb Heavy Machine Gun for increased firepower and has the ability to lay down mines. In contrast, the Staghound can be upgraded with a Tank Commander for increased sight range, and can fire canister shells. Both vehicles can be globally upgraded with Armor Skirts or Sandbags for an increased hitpoint pool.


gmc M3 GMC (300 mp, 50 fuel)

The M3 Gun Motor Carriage (GMC) features a powerful 75 mm M1897A4 Field Gun mounted on the lightly armored but mobile M3 Halftrack chassis, capable of both direct and indirect fire. Supercharged high-explosive shells permit for effective barrages at long range, mending the faction's missing mobile indirect fire support.

The GMC lacks the dynamics to lead offensive attacks and is vulnerable to any form of anti-tank weaponry, and should therefore be kept at long range and in the fire support role.


skirts Armor Skirts (120 mp, 20 fuel)

Equip all M8 Greyhounds with Armor Skirts or all T17 Armored Cars with Sandbags, making them more resistant to hits by increasing the maximum hitpoint pool of the vehicle.

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t4 T4 – Tank Depot (260 mp, 70 fuel)



m36 M36 Jackson (360 mp, 55 fuel)

hellcat Alternative: M18 Hellcat (340 mp, 50 fuel)

The M36 Jackson is a tank destroyer mounting the M3 90 mm tank gun. Whilst being a highly capable and accessible counter to light vehicles and tanks, the Jackson performs adequately against infantry targets, and is vulnerable to any form of anti-tank weaponry.

M18 Hellcat is a highly agile, but lightly armored tank destroyer that mounts the M1A2 76 mm tank gun. Though not packing quite the same punch as the Jackson, the Hellcat is vastly more mobile and benefits from a .50 cal M2Hb Machine Gun for increased anti-infantry capabilities.


m4 M4 Sherman (420 mp, 80 fuel)

The M4 Sherman is a flexible tank, forming the backbone of the armored forces. The featured 75 mm tank gun is capable of tackling both infantry and most vehicle threats. The Sherman can be upgraded with a .50 cal M2Hb Heavy Machine Gun for increased firepower against infantry and light vehicles.

Additional utility upgrades are available in the form of the Crab Mine Flail to clear out minefields, or a Bulldozer blade to clear impassable obstacles.

Shermans can be converted to Crocodile Tanks through the Mechanized Strategies Commander Tree, enabling a unique ability to toggle between the main gun and the secondary Flamethrower.


e8 M4A3(76)W Sherman (440 mp, 90 fuel)

Mounting the powerful 76 mm M1A1C main gun, the M4A3 specialises in the anti-vehicle role. The M4A3 is capable of effectively engaging armoured threats at range, and can be upgraded with a .50 cal M2Hb Heavy Machine Gun for increased firepower against infantry and light vehicles.


m26 M26 Pershing (680 mp, 150 fuel)

A formidable heavy tank that combines strong frontal armor with the devastating 90 mm M3 tank gun. The adequate agility and reliable survivability make the Pershing suitable as a spearhead unit, capable of handling any threat type with great efficiency. However, its lack of secondary armaments leave it vulnerable to flanking infantry attacks equipped with anti-tank weaponry. Can be upgraded with a Tank Commander for increased sight range.


advT4 Advanced Tank Depot (150 mp, 35 fuel)

Enables the deployment of the M4A3(76)W Sherman and M26 Pershing.


smoke Smoke Dischargers (100 mp, 10 fuel)

Equip the all M4 Shermans with Smoke Dischargers. Smoke dischargers are mounted on the turret, next to the gun mantlet, and can be fired in a sequence of four shells onto a designated area to form a smoke screen. Smoke is excellent for screening units from fire.

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taux Auxiliary Tier – Supply Yard (100 mp, 40 fuel)


The Supply Yard decreases unit upkeep costs by 15% by default.


lv1 Level 1 Production (150 mp, 50 fuel)

Decrease unit upkeep costs by another 10%.


lv2 Level 2 Production (200 mp, 90 fuel)

Decrease the unit upkeep costs further by another 10%.


lv3 Level 3 Production

Level 3 Production is a toggled ability that further reduces unit upkeep by an additional 15%, while lowering fuel income by 50%. The general concept behind this ability is to permit strategies that are heavily orientated around infantry, without letting the player bank large amounts of fuel.


popcap1 Level 1 Quartermaster Corps (350 mp, 10 fuel)

Expand operations by increasing the maximum population cap by 20 population.


popcap2 Level 2 Quartermaster Corps (350 mp, 10 fuel)

Expand operations further by increasing the maximum population cap by an additional 20 population.

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Epilogue

Thank you for reading this article! We hope you continue to stay safe and take care of one another during these times. If we've piqued your interest, please consider joining our Discord.

This discord server is where we keep our on-going changelogs, and offers the opportunity to be in direct contact with us concerning the mod. The platform is also the entrance to gaining access to the Back to Basics 5.0 Sandbox.

btb discord


Cheers,

AGameAnx and Celution

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Comments
Wingflierx
Wingflierx

I've played the 5.0 revamped Americans quite a bit over the past few weeks, and I have to say that I'm extremely impressed.

True to form, they are the most diverse and versatile faction in the game. They are able to adapt to basically any situation with their incredibly powerful backbone Rifleman infantry. They shine early game, and can capitalize on that advantage to crush their opponent and apply overwhelming pressure until they've won by attrition (VPs). Their units seem cheaper than other factions (such as Rifleman 280 mp vs. Commonwealth's 320 mp infantry), but just as, or perhaps even more effective for their cost. They pay for this immense advantage with much higher hidden base upkeep ratios on their units, which engages the player into a delicate balancing act between fielding enough forces to hold the field, while researching the expensive upkeep upgrades to prevent resource starvation.

It is a unique playstyle that is particular to the USF, and I have to admit I've been having a *lot* of fun with it.

One component I love about the B2B reworks is that each of the 4 factions is still impressively unique, but the Allied and Axis factions are much more similar to each other, respectively, in playstyle, than they are to their opposing factions. So for example, the BC have less of an emphasis on upkeep management than the USF does, but still significantly more than the Axis factions do. There are plenty of interesting and unique similarities between allied factions that make their playstyle more alike, but creates a "team" dynamic against the opposing factions, who themselves are much more similar to one another.

The Americans are an extremely infantry-based lineup, perhaps more so than any other faction in the game (unsurprisingly, the British might come in second place). Their vehicles are of course diverse and powerful, but they generally serve the role of supporting a well-established infantry force more than they do as armies unto themselves. To this end, much of the USF armor have abilities that directly benefit the American infantry, and even a tech tree called "Combined Arms" (but more on that later). Unsupported USF tanks left out in the open will generally be overwhelmed and destroyed very quickly, so the player needs to be careful to use them in a support role, instead of as self-sufficient beasts (this is much more indicative of Axis tanks).

The American faction is generally pretty mobile. They have few buildings, and even their artillery pieces tend to be on wheels (Pack Howitzers and Sherman Calliopes, for example). Their playstyle emphasizes a constant shifting of forces, tactfully moving around the map to achieve dominance in every engagement. USF is at its strongest when the enemy feels as though its opponent is everywhere at once, while struggling to even gain a foothold on the map. Contrast this to the playstyles of some other factions (the British, for example) who thrive on create static positions in key locations, while endlessly repelling their opponents' advances like an impenetrable wall.

The USF faction trees are (in my opinion) the most diverse and individually useful in the game. It is *painfully* difficult to choose between them, because they all offer such an assortment of invaluable things. Combined Arms for example gives you access to Rangers, Assault Shermans, and an incredibly powerful upgrade to all your infantry units, now and forever giving them a permanent 1 star veterancy upgrade. Airborne offers the adaptable Paratroopers, which are strongest at a range and can be upgrade with Recoiless Rifles. Their brutally efficient short-ranged counterparts, the Pathfinders, are invaluable as well. Having access to supply drops, air strikes, and two Wolverine tank destroyers rounds them off as an incredibly potent choice that excels in almost any situation. Finally, Mechanized Command not only increases the survivability of your Calvary units, but gives you a vehicle (the CCKW truck) which completely alters the way the game is played. The Crocodile Sherman is an absolute terror on tracks, roasting infantry alive while still retaining decent staying power against enemy armor. The Calliope is of course, a spectacle to behold.

As I said, I feel that the Americans have the greatest diversity and difficulty of choice between their Commander trees. That isn't to say that the other factions don't have amazing options as well, it's just never as hard to decide. No matter which you choose, the USF trees offer something special.

Anyway, I could go on. All this to say that I'm very happy with the USF rework. They've retained their identity as a potent, infantry-based, mobile, early-game powerhouse whose high upkeep costs require a careful balancing act to continue bringing the pressure into lategame. They are just as, or more adaptable than ever before, making them a great option for both beginners and hardened veterans alike.

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AGameAnx Creator
AGameAnx

Really high praise... Awesome comment, thank you so much!

Reply Good karma+1 vote
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