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Panzer Grenadier: Eastern Front» Forums » General

Subject: Game Advice Needed rss

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Jules Redmand
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Just started playing this game and have spent a lot of time going through the game rules and streamlining them as much as possible and in general I’m pretty good in game with them with few errors. Have got use to the fire or move choice in-game and the risk a player takes when using OF which nullifies his ability to move for the rest of the turn and getting used to how non-lethal some of the units actually are in firefights etc.

I’ve only ever played a few tactical level wargames before this, even though this does seem like a hybrid between tactical and operational on its larger scenarios.

The issue I’m having is that I’m playing solo and trying to use typical German blitz tactics of quickly breaking through and pushing well ahead of the infantry, which I find leaves the armor more exposed to Russian artillery etc. I seem to start well-ordered before the german attack starts to splinter too much.

What I really want are ideas from a tactical point of view, taking into account the game mechanics and rules as well, on what the best strategic play is in this game when attacking and defending in general?

Is there a recommend method on how to play both the Germans and the Soviets along historical lines whilst taking into consideration the regulations of the game?

Also is it preferable to stack to the max of three or try and split units with an officer always close by?

I’ve looked here, on You Tube and even on the PG HQ but can’t actually find anybody discussing an overall tactical approach to playing the game but just the odd tidbit here and there, I may well have missed what I’m looking for though.

Overall I really do like the game so far and feel I would benefit from it a lot more with better approach play.

Thanks in advance for any replies.

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Matt Ward
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You may want to drop in at PG-HQ.com a web site devoted to the series. There are forums there where such information is discussed in detail.

As to the game itself you should note that the number of turns in many scenarios is longer than you would expect. This provides both sides with the opportunity to prepare an objective for assault with bombardment and direct fire. For the Soviets that may be all they should do given their usual morale deficit. For the Germans remember their advantages, specifically the combined arms bonus for assaults using infantry and armor, and watch for opportunities to use your morale advantage.
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Joshua Gottesman
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Stack 3 only if you are brave or in a safe area. That extra column shift against you can be nasty. That being said, lesser quality troops sometimes have to stack 3 to be at all effective.

Germans generally have enough leaders that they can have a lot of independent stacks, at least until casualties begin to mount. Early war Soviets don't have nearly as many leaders and thus become much more fragile as units tend to break. They may rally somewhere behind the front lines, and without a leader to tell them to move forward, they will just sit there.

Soviet artillery shouldn't do too much to German armor. Remember that only X results affect closed top AFVs.

Use the clock if you must. Many PG players (and I'm guilty of this sometimes, too), rush forward right away. If you have artillery and air support, pound the line. Once a few units break, it's much easier to sweep by the opposition. However, given the scale of the game, with no supply considerations, you'll be rushing to objectives, not to cut off units and make them die.
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Tom Oxley
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I stuck to smaller (under 12 turns) scenarios for much of the first year I played while I sorted out the best way to play solo. Nearly 200 games, and only 2 of those face-to-face, I think I am just getting the hang of it. If you have a small area, and can hit those objectives in a couple of turns, hit that enemy line with your arty and all the direct fire you can throw. Like above, the Germans usually have the advantage of leaders, where the Russians have to set up in something like a 3-hex group in order to have a leader in the middle that can activate the group. Russian AT guns should be kept back just a bit so that the German armor has to advance into their range so they don't get killed early on by the German initial barrages and direct fire. Don't keep mounted troops mounted when they are within range of enemy AT capable weapons. Those halftracks make far better support elements for dismounted attacks where their loss wont take an infantry unit and possibly a leader with them, but where they can add their HMG value to the infantry attack and can only be killed by AT fire. Avoid using them in assaults unless you really need those HMG factors, and then use them to the max if possible. Stacking 2 infantry, 2 halftracks and a tank in assault gives you the extra firepower as well as the combined arms bonus in the right circumstances and is the one time that stacking 3 units plus transport in a hex is somewhat safe, but also remember that assault is the one time that infantry can hurt any type of unit, so losses can be taken from armor or halftrack as well as from infantry. Playing solo, I usually roll to randomize the victims of the X or #X results to avoid targeting the most important unit. I enjoy playing the PG games solo and even with a slight bias for one side or the other, I find the dice keep things pretty well balanced. My bulldozer-like push into a town hex has often been blunted by a single mortar or artillery unit rolling on the 1 column and rolling 1s and 12s.

Enjoy the game and start keeping track of your plays in posts on the PG-HQ forum. It has certainly been a great motivator in my own play.

Tom Oxley
 
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Jules Redmand
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Matt: That's another aspect that seems to have bypassed me and that is the element of using turns effectively. My understanding is that the initiative based results are the first action segments played and then both sides resort to alternating action segments and when both pass the game goes onto turn 2.

My question there is, how long should these action segments in a turn go on as you could go back and forth for ever before the turn ends?

If I've missed something in the rules now would be a good time to fix it.

As for the other points you've mentioned I've made a mental note to try them on my next play.

Joshua: The 3 stacking advice is already a game changer for me and saw on a number of images for the game that most stack only 2 non-AFV's which improves firepower and avoids the 1 column shift. Patience as well does seem to be a key as well, with the Germans having advantages in off-board artillery.

Tom: Great advice with mounted troops as in the scenario I've been playing (three times the opening scenario 1 of Eastern Front A Rotten Morning) I've not been sure whether to keep troops mounted in order to reach objectives quicker or dismount them, after realizing that they can be severely damaged in transit I'm now opting to dismount in danger areas and range of Soviet heavy weapons.

In general as I'm playing solo, I 'm trying to work along historical lines of the well organized German attacks against a surprised enemy in the Russians and then doing my best to organize them and hold their ground and slow the enemy rather than a tactical withdraw.

Finally I've often read that this is a low complexity entry level tactical wargame but of the few I've played I wouldn't say it was at all, because without a certain 'tactical warfare knowledge' a player is just going through the motions of moving pieces around without any real knowledge of what to do for the best and making a whole load of errors, it's only when tactical knowledge is accrued that this game really starts to fit and each time I change something or learnt something the game feels more complete.

I for one am in that exact learning curve right now, it was only a few weeks ago that I learnt that artillery is best used to pound the area where you plan to actually attack your enemy and soften him up, before that I just assumed it was there primarily to generally disrupt you enemy or to take out enemy strongpoints regardless of whether you planned on attacking them in that area or not. laugh

I now even approach Memoir 44 trying to use artillery as king. laugh
 
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Mark Stadel
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I've played several hundred games, though none solo. We usually use counter sleds that conceal the counter (it holds it vertically) for units that cannot be spotted ... this adds an interesting dynamic to game play, but doesn't work for solo play for obvious reasons. We also played with the fog of war optional rule (once each side finished three turns you roll 3d6 after every turn ... a 16+ ends the round); this puts more pressure on prioritizing your actions!

For some basic strategies, avoid three stacking, always keep at least one unit with a leader, try to organize your leaders to cascade orders, try to space out tanks for triangulation, always be alert for opportunity attacks.


The Russians generally have poor morale and poorer equipment. They need to work en masse; cascading orders to large numbers of units is key. Without a commissar in play, you will likely have morale issues and will spend a lot of time rallying. The Russians often need to assault and will have to sacrifice units to get in close.

The Germans have high morale, better leaders and troops. They need to trust in their superior stats and press hard; hanging back/being too defensive usually gives the advantage to the Russians. If the Russians have poor/no anti-tank weaponry, stack your tanks (even three) to hunt down infantry ... just be wary of assaults (keep an infantry close).

In our complete playthroughs of Eastern Front and Road to Berlin, we found the Russians won about 50%; the Germans 25% (25% draws). Of course, I always played the Russians
 
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Jules Redmand
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Thanks this is what I was looking for in terms of how to go ahead and fight with the Germans and the Russians and the advantages for both sides.

The first scenario I actually played was A Rotten Morning and played it out a few times with a lot of inconsistencies by me. Next up is Sneak Attack a much smaller scenario in terms of units and I aim to use all the pointers that have been mentioned here.

If somebody could give me a response on the turn/action question that I asked on my last post that would be great?

Also I find it kind of strange on the DF and BF charts that low and high dice rolls are preferable to mid-range rolls and the game doesn't work with the higher the better and the lower the weaker results resolution that is the norm, again what is the reason behind this?

 
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Darrell Pavitt
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As to the way the charts are structured, it is purely a matter of probability.

Take the '2' column of the direct fire table. You have an M1 result on a roll of 2 or 12, and an M result on a 3,4 or 11.

As a percentage, that is 2/36 or 5.56% of an M1 result, 7/36 or 19.4% chance of an M result.

It would not be possible to get these values using just 2 dice if you went for the 'all high results are good' (or or low results) method.
 
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Mark Stadel
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Dawn Raider wrote:
Thanks this is what I was looking for in terms of how to go ahead and fight with the Germans and the Russians and the advantages for both sides.

The first scenario I actually played was A Rotten Morning and played it out a few times with a lot of inconsistencies by me. Next up is Sneak Attack a much smaller scenario in terms of units and I aim to use all the pointers that have been mentioned here.

If somebody could give me a response on the turn/action question that I asked on my last post that would be great?

Also I find it kind of strange on the DF and BF charts that low and high dice rolls are preferable to mid-range rolls and the game doesn't work with the higher the better and the lower the weaker results resolution that is the norm, again what is the reason behind this?



If you don't use the Fog of War optional rules, a turn lasts until all units are activated (since all units can only be activated once, except for opportunity fire).

The charts are based on bell curves, so the lower probability numbers (2,3,11,12) give the more dramatic results.
 
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Matt Ward
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The Fog of War optional rule is highly recommended. After both players have had three activations (note that one may well have had more than two before the second player gets their third), begin rolling three dice at the end of each activation. The turn ends when that roll is at or over 16 (15 for night turns) or when both players have finished or there have been two "passes" in a row.
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Joshua Gottesman
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nomad001 wrote:
I've played several hundred games, though none solo.


I am ridiculously jealous of you.
 
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Joshua Gottesman
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meward wrote:
The Fog of War optional rule is highly recommended. After both players have had three activations (note that one may well have had more than two before the second player gets their third), begin rolling three dice at the end of each activation. The turn ends when that roll is at or over 16 (15 for night turns) or when both players have finished or there have been two "passes" in a row.


Shameless plug - https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/44849/fog-war-possibility...

 
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Russell InNC
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A couple of comments:

First, try to get the V4 rules. This is the latest set and should be considered "standard".

Second, once you have the rules down pretty well, use Fog of War (as mentioned above). Although in the latest rules it is not clear, FOW was pretty much an expected rule. The game mechanics make a lot more sense when you use FOW.

Third, the EF scenarios were written to reflect the history, NOT to be balanced scenarios. Also, there is a lot of potential for draws. (The newer games are designed with much more scenario balance.)

Fourth, LIKE IT OR HATE IT PG plays pretty plodding. It's generally slow blob movement forward. Units die by artillery and assault.
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Jules Redmand
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Is my understanding of fog of war correct in that it's 3 die rolls after each action segment with the aim of getting 16 or more, if this is the case then it's very hard to achieve?

After a few more scenarios I am now fully used to the dice roll system geared up to only do any real damagae on very low or high rolls, which certainly makes the game a plodding affair as Russell said above.

Quickly learning as mentioned above the key to success, are assaults once you get in close enough and artillery bombardments especially off-board if you have them.

Just started playing with the Romanians and love how their yellow colouring looks on the the darker yellow game boards.
 
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Brian McCue
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Dawn Raider wrote:
Matt: My question there is, how long should these action segments in a turn go on as you could go back and forth for ever before the turn ends?

If I've missed something in the rules now would be a good time to fix it.


Eventually you will run out of new units to activate.
 
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Russell InNC
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Dawn Raider wrote:
Is my understanding of fog of war correct in that it's 3 die rolls after each action segment with the aim of getting 16 or more, if this is the case then it's very hard to achieve?

...


Basically correct. (See above post for detailed rule - I'm not looking at the rules.)

The reason for the rule is to force you to decide what your most important activation is because if you don't activate a particular unit you may not get to. It also forces you to occasionally consolidate your units and leader.

 
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Matt Ward
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The FoW rolls can be very disruptive. If you expect the turn to go on forever due to the low likelihood of a 16 or higher may I refer you to Murphy's Law.
 
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Jules Redmand
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I seemed to have overlooked a key aspect of the rules concerning TURNS and now have this sorted out and with all the tactical advice listed above the scenarios are playing out very well.

The scenarios are slow probing affairs with the use of artillery and assault being the way to unlock the enemy position and after playing several scenarios various times, can really see how the mechanics of the game work and have to say really enjoying now how this system plays. I kind of like how most DF and BF confrontations at the moment are most morale rolling affairs which therefore makes step losses more shocking when assaults take place.

Finally is there considered best game in the series like a universal opinion? The two I've seen most mentioned are Elsenborn Ridge and the hard to obtain Cassino 44. Whereas games like Bulge and Afrika Korps I've seen heavily criticized.

 
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Russell InNC
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I personally like Afrika Korps (& Desert Rats). Desert means simple map so you can concentrate on learning the other rules.

Elsenborn Ridge is pretty much considered the gold standard of accessibility to this game system.

Cassino uses "real maps" (as opposed to the geomorphic maps that most of the games have). I would be worried about a lot of terrain rules. (I don't have the game so I don't really know.)
 
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Jules Redmand
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rules_heretic wrote:
I personally like Afrika Korps (& Desert Rats). Desert means simple map so you can concentrate on learning the other rules.

Elsenborn Ridge is pretty much considered the gold standard of accessibility to this game system.

Cassino uses "real maps" (as opposed to the geomorphic maps that most of the games have). I would be worried about a lot of terrain rules. (I don't have the game so I don't really know.)


Well both AK and DR I have as I'm a big fan of the Nth Africa Campaign in general so they were a must and I also got Cassino as I knew it was hard to get and yes the maps in the game do look the best.

At the moment playing Eastern Front the terrain rules haven't been an issue , the only real issue I'm constantly having are the constant die rolls for morale checks and recovery.

I'm getting the impression that in solitaire mode, PG is a series that you play a bit here and a bit there to do it justice, as you really can't rush turns because if you do you'll lose the meat of the game.

I approached each scenario with the idea of playing each scenario in an evening or so, I've now abandoned that idea and will will play each sceanrio over a much longer period while playing something else at the same time.In fact I read on this forum on another post that a player would play a scenario over a week or two by just playing a few turns every so often.
 
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Matt Ward
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Some of the newer games such as Broken Axis and An Army at Dawn are very accessible. There are also two introductory games now, Kokoda Campaign and Invasion 1944. All of the above have the Battle Games which provide for an operational overlay on a scenario arc.
 
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Jules Redmand
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meward wrote:
Some of the newer games such as Broken Axis and An Army at Dawn are very accessible. There are also two introductory games now, Kokoda Campaign and Invasion 1944. All of the above have the Battle Games which provide for an operational overlay on a scenario arc.


I'm playing some of the Eastern Front scenarios at the moment but just the other day I went into a gaming shop here and saw Invasion 1944 and decided to buy it as I saw it was an introduction to the system

So have brought my Eastern Front PG scenarios to a halt for a while, while I learn the ropes better I hope with Invasion 1944.
 
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Russell InNC
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Invasion 44 should have more balanced scenarios than EF.

 
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Jules Redmand
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As I'm playing solitaire balance is not really an issue for me and kind of like the historical one-sided aspect of the Eastern Front BUT am looking forward to Invasion 44 and will play my first scenario with that later on today.
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