Bob Khan
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I like Panzer Grenadier, I really do, but there is one aspect of the game that I hate beyond measure. Leaders, I don't know if I'm alone in this but the command aspect of this game (leaders) feel more like Tetris and less like a game. It's incredibly immersion breaking in my humble opinion as I spend excessive amounts of time attempting to game the system to get the best spread of modifiers possible while maximizing my activation economy.

I just got rid of the damn things and developed a hybrid Fighting Formations/Conflict of Heroes type of system that uses them as points/tokens of a sort. This has increased my enjoyment of the game immensely, reduced the board clutter and has sped up play considerably and eliminated the "puzzle" aspect of creating a "chain of command".

I'm curious as to whether or not anyone has messed with this mechanic as well, or has any clever house rules for command in this game.
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Peter Lloyd
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You are probably in a small minority with your leaders opinion. I find that leaders are what make the PG system unique, and generally better (IMO), than other tactical & grand tactical games I've played. They force you to try and maintain a cohesive force structure, add "character" to the formations, and increase the replay value of a given scenario.

That said, perhaps you should share your system. I hope you haven't created a "hive mind" system. The army needs to be stress as the C&C sytem breaks down.
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Bob Khan
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plloyd1010 wrote:
You are probably in a small minority with your leaders opinion. I find that leaders are what make the PG system unique, and generally better (IMO), than other tactical & grand tactical games I've played. They force you to try and maintain a cohesive force structure, add "character" to the formations, and increase the replay value of a given scenario.

That said, perhaps you should share your system. I hope you haven't created a "hive mind" system. The army needs to be stress as the C&C sytem breaks down.


Absolutely, keep in mind this variant is in a very rough stage at this point in time and I have yet to refine it in any meaningful way. There are a couple of things I wanted to avoid when I set about figuring out how my new system was going to work.

#1 Command should not be plentiful enough to essentially become meaningless. Since my over the course of my plays in KSF one thing stuck out about the PG system was the fact that difficult decisions had to be made in the deployment and configuration of your C&C.

#2 Command shouldn't remain static in terms of effectiveness and availability regardless of the actual situation. Command would have to degrade over the course of a scenario as casualties and other mishaps mounted.

#3 I wanted to try and maintain as many of the PG command rules as possible. I completely agree with you that the leaders and the mechanics associated with them are a huge part of the PG system...if I cut out or tinker with too many things I'm not really playing PG anymore.

I'll provide the more through rules when I remember to e-mail them to myself from my work computer (I composed them during breaks, lunch, and every once in a while on company time when I needed to focus on something other than data bases, spreadsheets and reports to maintain my sanity so they are rather quick and dirty.)

Availability of Command

Each leader indicated in the scenario is worth 1 command point. I use the actual leader counters as tokens. The stats on the counters don't mean anything at this point. When command is used it is typically placed either on or adjacent to a friendly unit, or in the case of modifiers it is placed directly into a spent pile. When the order the command was used for is resolved all activated units are marked as spent and the command that was placed is put in the spent pile.

Activations

Each activation requires the placement of one command token, the can be used to activate any adjacent hex and the hex it was placed in. Further command can be spent in a similar fashion to in any of the six hexes that comprise the first tokens zone of command to model subordinate activation.

Combined fire requires one additional command point per eligible adjacent hex.

Assault requires one command point to initiate, command may also be committed to an assault for the relevant table modifier. If it is committed to the assault it stays attached to said assault for it's duration. When the assault is fully resolved the command is placed in the spent pile.

OBA requires one command point, as does on board artillery in the case of units that aren't able to spot their own targets. The token is placed adjacent to any friendly unit and LoS is drawn from the token itself.

Modifiers to morale and fire power cost one command point per point (maximum of 2) and retain the same function/restrictions as they normally do.

Command Replenishment

All spent command is returned to the available command pile at the start of a new turn.

Loss of Command

Initiative Loss

Each time a side suffers enough step losses to lower it's initiative it loses one command point permanently. This occurs even if no actual initiative loss would occur (if my reading of the rules is correct initiative can't go below 0)

Step Losses

If during the course of an assault/direct fire/bombardment a side suffers a step loss it must check for leader casualties as per the standard rules. If a leader casualty occurs that side removes 1 command point permanently.

Fog War variant

When any side completely exhausts its command it immediately makes a Fog of War check at 3d6 with a 16+ ending the turn. If the turn does not end that side retrieves 1d6 additional command from it's spent pile and a cumulative +1 modifier is applied to the next FoW roll.

Surrender

If at any time any sides has no command in it's spent, available, or command currently being used to resolve an order it immediately loses the game. The other side achieves a major victory.

meeplemeeplemeeple

I'm sure there that covers most of it and should give you a basic idea of what I'm aiming for. I do have some concerns with my system:

I don't know what in the hell I'm going to do about AFVs, currently command is universal and tank leaders just add an additional command point like any normal leader would. I think I am going to fix this in the future as it seems odd.

I'm really unsure about the cost of applying modifiers and whether my approach is balanced or not.

I currently have no answer to simulating demoralized/disrupted leaders, this is a glaring omission in my opinion as it plays a rather large part in proper PG. I'll have to think long and hard about how I want to implement this.

The way command works in assaults under my variant needs more thought placed into it. I could imagine long into a particularly bloody scenario that having command tied up in assaults would result in grid lock for the rest of that sides units.

The irony of my variant is that while I claim that the default system can feel excessively gamey at times. This variant can be abused to an even greater extent, so it's probably not suitable for anything outside of solo play.
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Joshua Gottesman
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Quote:
#1 Command should not be plentiful enough to essentially become meaningless. Since my over the course of my plays in KSF one thing stuck out about the PG system was the fact that difficult decisions had to be made in the deployment and configuration of your C&C.


This is the case more with the Germans, however even it doesn't hold up as leaders/units get disrupted/demoralized. That's intentional, to reflect their better C&C. If you want a leader challenge, try playing the Russians in a 1941 scenario where they have 1 leader to every 4 or so units. It's next to impossible to do anything cohesive. There just aren't enough leaders around to both keep units moving into the battle and to rally the demoralized ones.

Quote:
#2 Command shouldn't remain static in terms of effectiveness and availability regardless of the actual situation. Command would have to degrade over the course of a scenario as casualties and other mishaps mounted.


Well, it does with the demoralizations/disruptions/casualties. Again, some forces are better at it and have better redundancies than others.
 
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Peter Lloyd
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Basically, I think I get pretty well. I don't think it will reflect command breakdown very well, and it decreases the replay value, so philosophically I don't much like it. Mechanically the concept is reasonable though, as you said, it needs some work. Some thoughts:

About Activation I think you are going to want more command points upfront. There are a few things that normally happen without leaders initiating the action which will still need to be done. Artillery fire and rallying demoralized units are probably the most common instances. That and you are going to eat up a few more creating fire-teams. I think roughly a 50% overage is what you will likely need. I can see the overage being based in troop levels, semi-random additions based on leaders assigned, but I won't give a firm suggestion just yet.

Leader losses Frankly, that doesn't happen very often when leaders are in a unit. So you wouldn't lose a lot of command points that way. Just a note.

Fog of War 1d6 is probably too many. It looks to like you could do quite a lot with 3 or 4 command points. I would just give them 1. Also I think I would end the turn on the opposing player's next activation (let them spend a little of their potential surplus). Could they pass and hold the newly acquired command point?

AFVs I would let any AFV fire when stacked with a firing activated unit as part of a combined activation. Combining fire rules still apply. AFVs with inherent leaders (armored cars, German tanks, & such) may move or fire without a command point being spent. For a side requiring Tank Leaders, give some Armor Command Points equal to the number of tank leaders assigned. Such AFVs may move or fire when activated with an Armor Command Point, or may fire when activated by a regular Command Point. Armor command points are lost a "casualty roll" of 5 or less (30% chance) when a tank counter is eliminated.

I hope that gives you something to work with. It also gives me an idea for tank command since I never liked the tank leader rule in the original game.
 
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Bob Khan
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I've pretty much done a complete 180 in regards to my thoughts on command and leadership in the series after more plays and getting a better handle on how to effectively use leaders. The variant I devised basically turned the game into a crappier Conflict of Heroes, which coincidentally started hitting the table more frequently.

I was initially under the impression that I absolutely had to activate my entire, or damn near my entire army at once, which is always a good idea in theory but tended to break down rapidly and catastrophically in practice. I am now focusing on setting up my activations in a far more practical (and I'd dare say more realistic as my PG battles were playing out like Roman line battles as opposed to the dynamic and fluid nature of modern combat) I now tend to focus on smaller, but more effective chains which has made the game a lot easier to manage, and far more enjoyable. It was definitely more of a "I have no idea what I'm actually doing" problem and not the initial "This system sucks!" problem I thought it was.
 
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