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Subject: Scattershooting after an initial play rss

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Mike Windsor
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I hate to give these random thoughts the dignity of a "review," but I'll post them here anyway. I played solo through the first, basic scenario last night, and posted this to CSW. A few impressions of the game:

The game sets up and plays quickly.

The basic game will be an EASY game to teach, and once someone is taught, I think thaey are going to want to start putting more meat on the bone with some advanced rules.

Having just made the previous point, I think that wargamers with a bit of experience are going to want to get into more advanced rules sooner than later. A lot of the game seemed like tanks taking medium shots at each other seeing who could get two damage hits first. At that range, there was no possibility of any other type of hit. (That is also a reflection of my really poor play the first time out.) The basic rules already seem too basic.

I was not sure how to use the "spot/move-fire" markers. Initially, I wanted to put them on everyone, but there weren't enough. Later, I realized that almost everyone on the board was spotted. I quit using any markers, but I wished I had a few "not spotted" markers. In the basic game, these tanks really could not do much damage at long range, so spotting distance (ex. the extra distance you get when a unit fires) was not an issue.

The rule book layout works well for the basic game. There is always a good bit of flipping back and forth in any rule book, and I didn't think this one was worse than usual. I do think that once I start adding some advanced rules, there may be a lot more flipping back and forth, but I'm not there yet, so I'll reserve judgment.

I thought that the charts were a bit difficult to use at first. There are a ton of charts on the included sheets, only a few of which were used in the basic game. I kept having to hunt for the right chart. This, along with reading the data cards, should get easier quickly. However, for teaching new players, someone might create a form that has only the charts you need for the basic game.

While I'm not always a fan of programmed rules, I wish that these rules contained something (even a flow chart) for adding complexity. For example, you only want tank-on-tank battles, what rules can you add to start making those more and more complex? Then you can add leg units, then aircraft.... I can read the rules and decide which ones I want to add on my own, but (a) I'm not positive they will work together, and (b) I'm lazy and I'd rather have a chart already done.

I'm going to give the basic game another run (maybe try to move the tanks a bit more, and maybe try to stack a few in better terrain), and then start adding some of the advanced rules.

Edit: corrected name of spotting counters.
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Jim F
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Where the heck did this interest in WW1 come from?
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I have to say I recognised a lot of what you said here. I thought the basic rules were very basic and actually felt a bit deflated after trying them out.

The advanced rules make much more of a game of it and when I was soloing one of the scenarios I got the buzz that I get when I start to realise that I'm enjoying myself and getting a grip on the rules.

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Adam Parker
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mwindsor wrote:
Having just made the previous point, I think that wargamers with a bit of experience are going to want to get into more advanced rules sooner than later.


Hi Mike I totally agree with you. "Basic Game" is a bit of a misnomer - I'd prefer to call it "The Foundation".

Good news is, you can then add whatever you want - and this is a huge improvement to the rules layout as offered by the older MBT/IDF games.

To really get the fullest enjoyment out of this game I think that gamers will need to develop two things:

1. A sense of hex scale - what does a hex really represent in a battle environment?

2. A sense of armored tactics - what do they want to simulate?

There is a superb book out there called Panzer Tactics http://www.amazon.com/Panzer-Tactics-German-Small-Unit-Armor....

Similar, but not as thorough outlines, can be found in books like Jentz's Panzer Truppen Vol 1 http://www.amazon.com/Panzertruppen-Complete-Creation-Employ...

And really, any book that discusses tank combat at the intimate level, will work too. One I recently found was Panzer Destroyer Memoirs of a Red Army Tank Commander http://www.amazon.com/PANZER-DESTROYER-Memoirs-Army-Commande...

I think that the Panzer series would indeed benefit from its own publication or manual along these lines. I recall Sid Meier doing this with his landmark PC game Gettysburg in which he included a mock Civil War drill manual inside the box.

Those were the days!
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Mike Windsor
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The hex scale comment is dead on. In my first game, I never stacked units. At 100 meters (300 yards) across, there's plenty of room in each hex. When you consider the advantage you get from cover such as woods and towns, there's no reason not to stack some tanks in that terrain.
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Johan R
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mwindsor wrote:
The hex scale comment is dead on. In my first game, I never stacked units. At 100 meters (300 yards) across, there's plenty of room in each hex. When you consider the advantage you get from cover such as woods and towns, there's no reason not to stack some tanks in that terrain.

100 m = 109 yards
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Jim F
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Where the heck did this interest in WW1 come from?
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I'm really pleased that GMT are supporting this series with a new expansion on P500 already. I knocked up my own scenario today to see how a mainly infantry game would play out. Answer - it was a lot of fun. Give me British Paras and I might have found my WW2 game of choice.
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jay white
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How would you fellows say that Panzer -feels- different than other WWII tactical wargames? I'm not so much interested in rules differences than in how those rules differences give you a different tactical wargaming experience.
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Mike Windsor
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Quote:
100 m = 109 yards


Of course, I've lost my mind.

300 feet = about 100 yards = about 100 meters.
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Mike Windsor
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coffee demon wrote:
How would you fellows say that Panzer -feels- different than other WWII tactical wargames? I'm not so much interested in rules differences than in how those rules differences give you a different tactical wargaming experience.


This will make you want to say, "Duh," but what is different is the emphasis on armor combat. Most of the tactical games that I can think of either emphasize a smaller scale where each building is represented (ASL, LnL, BoB, CC, etc) or a larger scale where formations of units are used (PG, TCS, etc.). While most of the smaller systems have armor rules, the emphasis is really on armor as it supports infantry. Consequently, many of those rules feel like the armor rules are grafted on or abstract. At a larger scale, you lose the feel of tank vs. tank combat.

My feeling is that with Panzer, you are going to have room enough to maneuver your tanks and use real world tactics. I think that the difference in performace at different ranges will be important (and how to get closer if you're on the wrong side). I also think that working hard to get shots from multiple aspects of the target will be very important in Panzer. In short, I think that in Panzer, you're really going to have to learn to get the most out of your tanks, while in many other games, the tanks are just a hulking presence with a lot of firepower that you need to sneak past.
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Mike Windsor
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I replayed the 1st basic scenario tonight. Since spotting was almost never an issue, I was able to skip that step almost every turn. Set up was fast, and the game played in an hour.

Instead of having everyone stand around taking shots from medium range (which decimated the Soviets in my first game), I had the Soviets charge in as fast as possible to close the range, and hopefully even the odds.

In this game, learned that it is worth paying attention to the tank data cards. For one thing, the T-34s can move faster than the Panzer IVs. As long as the Soviet tanks aren't damaged, they can control the range at which the battle is fought. This is important because at short range, if the Soviet tank hits, the penetration to armor difference is +4, which knocks out the German tank in one hit. At short range, the German gun actually penetrates better, but the Soviet frontal armor is so thick that the best the German can do is damage the Soviet (2 damage results = a knockout). If the Germans can close the range to point blank or increase the range to medium, the Soviet loses the advantage.

The Soviets captured all of the objectives. Only one German tank survived. About half the Soviet tanks survived, and of the survivors, only one was undamaged.

I want to start adding some advanced rules. I'm interested to see if morale and command rules give the Germans an advantage. I also want to start using elevation rules to see if the German tanks on hills can find softer Soviet armor at longer ranges.
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Cédric Balmat
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You should try the 7.12 Variable Penetration OR.

It's really easy to implement and add a lot of realism and fun.

Without it, especialy in a"front fire attack", I feel that I know too much about my target armour. With the variable penetration it is less chess and more warfare.
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David Janik-Jones
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Juppe58 wrote:
mwindsor wrote:
The hex scale comment is dead on. In my first game, I never stacked units. At 100 meters (300 yards) across, there's plenty of room in each hex. When you consider the advantage you get from cover such as woods and towns, there's no reason not to stack some tanks in that terrain.

100 m = 109 yards

That's only needed for those few countries slowly inching their way towards using the metric system.

whistle
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Jay Sheely
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I've always been amused that we call our American system 'Standard'.
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Paul Klimstra
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mwindsor wrote:
I was not sure how to use the "spot/move-fire" markers. Initially, I wanted to put them on everyone, but there weren't enough. Later, I realized that almost everyone on the board was spotted. I quit using any markers, but I wished I had a few "not spotted" markers.
At Home Depot (or any other hardware store) you can find tile spacers, small "+" shaped things that keep tiles apart. Hundreds for a few dollars. They can also easily be used with wargames as generic markers, and with different colours of paint can be used for multiple information markers.
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