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Subject: A first impression of Panzer General: Allied Assault rss

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Bill Corey Jr.
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Hello, fellow gamers! This is my first review on Geekdo, so I'd like to briefly preface the review itself with two quick caveats on my style of game review (I intend this to be a "standardized format" for my reviews moving forward):

- I do not particularly care to read reviews that spend large amounts of time explaining rules and mechanics in great detail, and so I will not do so in my reviews. Instead, I will focus primarily on the "feel" of the game, what games it reminds me of when appropriate, my overall impression of gameplay, and other intangibles of that sort.

- I am not a "power user" on Geekdo: I am not faithful in maintaining my game collection here, nor do I do a lot of posting (although those are two of my New Year's resolutions for 2010)... so if you're not sure whether my opinions will coincide with yours, please feel free to ask me for further clarification as needed.

In both instances, I encourage everyone to ask more specific questions regarding rules and whatnot, request clarification on anything I may have been unclear on, and provide constructive criticism. Thank you for your time... enjoy!

FULL DISCLOSURE: I received this game as a gift from a person involved in the production of the game, and that person asked me to look at it and write a review of the game.

BASIC OVERVIEW OF THE GAME
Panzer General: Allied Assault (hereafter abbreviated as PG:AA) is a boardgame port of the Xbox Live Arcade game of the same name (yes, the video game came first... weird, isn't it?). PG:AA is a 1-2 player card-driven light wargame with a modular board and multiple scenarios that come included in the base game. It feels very similar to BattleLore (and possibly even more so Memoir '44, although I have not played it) but solves a couple of problems I believe BattleLore to have (see "Flow of Play" below). Regardless of whether you like those games, however, I think PG:AA scratches the same itch, so to speak, and has a solo play option that the others lack.

GAME COMPONENTS
- 36 double-sided tiles that are used to construct different landscapes for the different scenarios. The board tiles are made of a good thick cardstock and are functional and easy to read, with a simple art style that seems to favor playability over aesthetics. That is not a knock on the game in my opinion, although I could see some players being a touch disappointed with the look of the board after it's been constructed.

- 3 sheets of die-cut counters used for various bookkeeping tasks throughout the game, including battle damage, morale gains, and to mark control of areas of the map. These are of average quality and are serviceable and easy to read.

- 3 decks of cards: one common (and very large) Action card deck that both players will draw from, and two smaller Unit card decks (one German, one Allies). These cards are large and of decent quality, although the cardstock used seems a bit stiff for my tastes. The artwork and design of the cards, however, is fantastic. Each card has a photograph and clearly laid-out text iconography that's easy to read at a distance and is visually pleasing. Every card serves a number of different purposes besides it's primary use as a Unit or Action, and all of these uses are easy to identify. Since much of the game involves manipulation of these cards in different ways, this may be the most important component in the game, and it's nice that they're easy to look at and hold.

- a quick reference sheet, tracking board, and rulebook. The reference sheet is adequate for walking players through a combat, but contains nothing to help remind players of other portions of a game turn, which I found disappointing. The tracking board is serviceable and easy to read, although the cardstock it is printed on was bowed noticeably when I opened the box. I backbent it, however, and it's kept its shape well since then. The rulebook is decently written (at least there are no spelling errors, which I generally consider unforgiveable in this day and age) and has a complete sample turn walkthrough with pictures that should help alleviate any confusion new players might have. Much of the rulebook is taken up with scenarios and map layouts, but the rules of PG:AA are simple enough that it doesn't really require that much room to explain everything well. In short, like most of the components in this game, serviceable and clear... but not impressive.

FLOW OF PLAY
In a nutshell, the game moves pretty quickly: on your turn, you draw cards and then activate each unit once, generally either to move or attack. Combat is interesting and interactive, taking into account the terrain the fighting units are in, effectiveness of units relative to their target's type (hard or soft), nearby supporting units, and cards played by both sides that make every combat interesting. This is one aspect of the game that I think really shines when compared to games like BattleLore: the cards make the battles more interesting, but players aren't solely reliant on getting the "right card" in order to execute their plans. Also, the lack of dice in PG:AA will make some folks I know quite happy.

There's very little downtime in this game, even when it's not your turn. Because each combat can involve card play from both players, you're always involved... no boredom here. All scenarios presented in the book have a set number of turns in which the scenario will end, which prevents any deadlocking or dragging out wargames sometimes endure.

FINAL THOUGHTS
I'm not much of a wargamer in general, but I really like this game. The method in which combats are resolved is clever and engaging, the setup time is reasonable, the components are serviceable and easy on the eyes (if a bit simplistic and of less than amazing quality), and the different scenarios should provide a lot of replayability (and there's rules for creating your own scenarios in the rulebook, should you get bored with everything they give you). Throw in the possibility of solo play and I think this is a must-own for casual wargamers (or Eurogamers who occasionally like to dabble).

RATING
(out of 10)
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Colin Houghton
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Similarity to Summoner Wars? (not really!)
Having just got and played Summoner Wars, I couldn't help but notice a few similarities:

- You place and move unit cards on the Board/play area while also using event cards..

- The rules seem simple

- It's err... probably expandable... err


-that's all!!

But I do hunger for thye more simple, less luck-affected and challenging war game that you can set up, play and put away in less than 2 hours max.

This would seem to meet my requirments!
 
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Bill Corey Jr.
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Jeff: thanks for the compliment! I think I disagree with your guess as to playtesting, however. Videogame companies are oftentimes pretty rigorous when it comes to playtesting their games, and when you consider that the XBL game came first in this instance, and that the boardgame version is so similar (I haven't played the XBL version, so I'm only going off of what others have said there), I'm not surprised it has such a polished feel to it. Other than that, though, I agree with everything you said, although I do wish the component quality were a touch higher.

Colin: I haven't played Summoner Wars yet, so I can't speak to your comparison, but PG:AA should satisfy your "hunger."
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Aaron Silverman
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HauRuck wrote:
One card game I did like was "Battle for Hill 218". Way way too simple though but clever and really no luck in it. The better player should always win. Panzer General feels like that game on steroids.


Suddenly I am interested in Panzer General.
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Mark crane
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I too find this game and Summoner Wars in competition with each other in the boardgame-lust-lobe of my brain.

I think my sweet spot would be a $25 portable version of Panzer General with expandable army decks (Yes, I know about Battleground Fantasy Warfare!)
 
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Josh O'Bryan
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Crane,

I should have a copy coming. I'll bring it to game night (when I get it in a week or two) and we'll play.

Josh
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Mike Haverty
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I really like the Xbox version of the game and it sounds like they've preserved the quality in the boardgame version. I'll reiterate the fact that even though a lot of the action is card-driven, you have more choices and control than in Memoir 44. Units can always move or attack -- the lack of the correct orders card won't leave your troops stuck. The fact the cards have multiple uses adds a strong hand-management element to the game, which I really enjoy as well.
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Kevin Whitmore
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DJ Kuul A wrote:


Suddenly I am interested in Panzer General.




Which is fine. But if anyone recalls the old computer games called Panzer General put out by SSI, does this game evoke them? I am a bit dubious that a card game can pull this off.
 
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Bill Corey Jr.
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Kevin_Whitmore wrote:
But if anyone recalls the old computer games called Panzer General put out by SSI, does this game evoke them? I am a bit dubious that a card game can pull this off.
I have not played the old SSI game, but the gentleman who gave me the review copy spoke with me for a few minutes about the history of the game, and it sounds like a priority was placed in being faithful to the feel of the original game, if not necessarily the mechanics. That being said, I would be hesitant to think of this game as a "card game" per se... rather, it's a card-driven board game. The cards (and hand management and so forth) are certainly the centerpiece mechanic of the game, but I don't think the game feels like a card game at all. Would you consider Memoir '44 a card game?

SiddGames wrote:
I'll reiterate the fact that even though a lot of the action is card-driven, you have more choices and control than in Memoir 44. Units can always move or attack -- the lack of the correct orders card won't leave your troops stuck. The fact the cards have multiple uses adds a strong hand-management element to the game, which I really enjoy as well.
QFT, and is exactly what I was trying to say in the review when I said this game is an improvement on BattleLore. Thank you for saying it more clearly.
 
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Mark crane
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It is not priced like a card game either. :whistle:
 
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Colin Houghton
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Kevin_Whitmore wrote:
DJ Kuul A wrote:


Suddenly I am interested in Panzer General.




Which is fine. But if anyone recalls the old computer games called Panzer General put out by SSI, does this game evoke them? I am a bit dubious that a card game can pull this off.


Oh if only they would release an revised version of the original Panzer General I and II for the PC!
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Andy M
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Chou4555 wrote:
Oh if only they would release an revised version of the original Panzer General I and II for the PC!


This is close enough:

http://www.matrixgames.com/products/374/details/Operation.Ba...
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Colin Houghton
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moss_icon wrote:
Chou4555 wrote:
Oh if only they would release an revised version of the original Panzer General I and II for the PC!


This is close enough:

http://www.matrixgames.com/products/374/details/Operation.Ba...


Andy..thanks! Ordered it today!
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Kevin Whitmore
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Chou4555 wrote:
moss_icon wrote:
Chou4555 wrote:
Oh if only they would release an revised version of the original Panzer General I and II for the PC!


This is close enough:

http://www.matrixgames.com/products/374/details/Operation.Ba...


Andy..thanks! Ordered it today!



I hope it works for you. I tried installing it on both of our computers and could never get it to run.
 
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Andy M
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Chou4555 wrote:
moss_icon wrote:
Chou4555 wrote:
Oh if only they would release an revised version of the original Panzer General I and II for the PC!


This is close enough:

http://www.matrixgames.com/products/374/details/Operation.Ba...


Andy..thanks! Ordered it today!


No problem, hope you enjoy it!
 
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Craig Hebert
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PG was made for the xbox? Who would have known. I find it amusing that people are calling it a "Xbox" game and perhaps I tell my age by saying I played PG like others here on the pc many many years ago. Though you did have the AI rolling dice, it was a wonderful game, with excellent combined armed tactics, that had some legs.

I used to play the 2nd version online against real opponents though looking back, that was a bit silly. I think the "3d version" was the last I played.

I wonder how close the Xbox version was to the pc version? I was only drawn to this thread due to my love of the old pc game, but will have to take a look at this one.
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Craig Hebert
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Further, the original game was all about combined arms, troop strengths, and troop quality. You would pound positions with artillery, then send in the tanks to assault the reduced positions - great fun.

Your units would also get better experience and you were always sad to see that damn good grenadier squad get smoked in Stalingrad after having been with you since 1939 France. Getting brilliant victories was not easy, but a hell of lot of fun.

I think if you look enough, you can find PG or PG2 - getting it to run is another thing though I can say with certainly it played fine on xp.

Pity this game is priced far higher than I would ever expect - Ubisoft is new to this genre, clearly.
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Michael Schauer
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JacquesDeMolay wrote:
PG was made for the xbox? Who would have known. I find it amusing that people are calling it a "Xbox" game and perhaps I tell my age by saying I played PG like others here on the pc many many years ago. Though you did have the AI rolling dice, it was a wonderful game, with excellent combined armed tactics, that had some legs.

I used to play the 2nd version online against real opponents though looking back, that was a bit silly. I think the "3d version" was the last I played.

I wonder how close the Xbox version was to the pc version? I was only drawn to this thread due to my love of the old pc game, but will have to take a look at this one.


Just a quick FYI. The new xbox arcade game they are talking about is nothing like the old PC version of Panzer general. As others have said, the xbox live arcade games uses a map with squares, cards, etc., just like this board game.

I too really enjoyed the PC game back in the day, though I had it on a 3DO (a not very well known console). That game had hexes, no cards, dice rolls, etc.
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Thomas Koziatek
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Chou4555 wrote:
Kevin_Whitmore wrote:
DJ Kuul A wrote:


Suddenly I am interested in Panzer General.




Which is fine. But if anyone recalls the old computer games called Panzer General put out by SSI, does this game evoke them? I am a bit dubious that a card game can pull this off.


Oh if only they would release an revised version of the original Panzer General I and II for the PC!


I still have my old PzG II disk and play it on my current system with no issues. You do need to copy the files to your hard drive for it to enable sound, but its no biggie. Still a favorite after all these years.
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Wayne Targo
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Let's see, in the PC series there was; Panzer General, Allied General, Pacific General, Peoples General & Fantasy General. All but Fantasy General (DOS only) work fine on Windows XP. I know this as I own them all. cool
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Craig Hebert
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Yeah funny how the game still has legs. Amongst many things - I think it has much to do with watching your units grow and the angst you feel if you lose them. Hall of fame game to me.
 
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Craig Hebert
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Okay - got it - so tell me - how good is that game and thus this board game?
 
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Reko Ukko
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JacquesDeMolay wrote:
I wonder how close the Xbox version was to the pc version? I was only drawn to this thread due to my love of the old pc game, but will have to take a look at this one.


I've played both the xbox and old pc versions, a lot. I don't think they share that many similarities, mostly because the xbox version is of a more tactical level card game, whereas in the pc version you deal with a bigger map, more units, unit supply etc and overall it has more meat in it and longer, more strategic games.

I know Chuck Kroegel has said that they tried to be faithful to the old SSI Panzer Generals and to some extend, I'm sure they are. But still, in war you deal with similar elements no matter what the game mechanics are and even though you do have artillery supports, victory points, same unit types and all the other things in both xbox and pc games, I still think the xbox version evokes radically different (although not necessarily negative) feelings.

If I'll exaggerate a bit, SSI's Panzer General is the boardgame equivalent of "Eastfront" whereas XBLA's Panzer General is a "Tide of Iron" or "Memoir'44". So for me, it's hard to think of the XBox Panzer General as part of the old SSI-heritage even though otherwise it's a fun and fast XBox Live Arcade game. They are just different kind of games.
 
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Craig Hebert
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Thanks for the reply - how do you like this board game though - can you describe some typical action sequences.
 
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Sam Fleming
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For those of you waxing mostalgic about the old PC game, Panzer General, make sure to read the Designer Notes in the manual for the new BoardGame, Panzer General. Chuck Kroegel talks about the affect of PC-PG on the Boardgame, PG. Very interesting stuff.

SamF7
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