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Subject: Combat Commander vs. MBT / Panzer rss

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Dustin Larsen
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I've had my eye on the new version of MBT (second edition) that's currently scheduled to be released at the end of the year. At first I was nervous about the apparent complexity, but upon closer look it has a basic version of the rules that are much simpler than the advanced or "full" version of the rules. I like the concept of a small-scale wargame where each counter represents a single vehicle or squad of infantry, and MBT looks like it could be a lot of fun. I already own and like Thunderbolt Apache Leader, though I'm not sure how the two games compare.

However, after researching other wargames of a similar scale, Combat Commander: Europe (or its sister game Combat Commander: Pacific) looks like a very tempting alternative. I'm not dead set on having vehicles in my game; I just want a game at a small scale that will provide an interesting narrative. I expect to play solo as well as with another player.

So my question is how do the Combat Commander games compare to the Panzer / MBT games, and why would you choose one over the other?

For reference, some other wargames I enjoy include Commands & Colors: Ancients, Julius Caesar, Fading Glory, Space Empires: 4X, and BattleTech.
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Paul Amala
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I really like both. CC is a card driven infantry game. Panzer etc. focus is tanks. I personally don't consider one rules set more complicated than the other. In CC I really like the managing infantry units with some of the random card stuff thrown in. In Panzer I enjoy the details of lining up the best killing shot from the best position of not getting shot back at.

My advice is if you can afford it get CC:Europe and Panzer and check out each system. If you can't afford that go through both sets of living rule sets downloads from GMT and see which you like more. From the list of games you provided I'll inclined to think you'll like CC a bit more.

I'm P500 on MBT and I hope GMT does IDF next - one of my favorite games.
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Silver Bowen
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You want both. CC for infantry and MBT 2nd ed. for tanks. Also look into Panzer 2nd ed. The older version of MBT (and follow up IDF) are well liked as well. Finally, Panzerblitz/Leader and Arab-Israeli War are simpler tactical tank games, with the bonus of being usable w/ the Tactical GameX rules (more or less).
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Confusion Under Fire
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Transmuter wrote:
I'm not dead set on having vehicles in my game; I just want a game at a small scale that will provide an interesting narrative.


I do not own MBT, so cannot comment on that game but the above quote from your good self sums up Combat Commander in 2 sentences. Combat Commander is soloable but it is a different game played face to face. The main reason for this is the non active player has more options available to him than the active player.
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Arrigo Velicogna
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Combat commander solo is crap... FtF not much better. The narrative is absurd and the system is suspicious. In my own view it is one of the poorest tactical system out there. I am no fan of CC and despite the effort that has been put into it for me falls flat and not because it has no vehicle. Mainly is because the friction often is more a result of abstract and arbitrary mechanics rather than the situation on the board. It is a card driven game but with several other mechanics built over it. I am fine with the fire card representing the fact that your fire is often ineffective and the lack of fire card does not represent your troops not firing but their fire being largely ineffective, but then you have a the fire mechanics that is largely favouring the defender and, on top of that, because it is based on card draw rather than die roll can be predicted (yes I had an FTF opponent playing that way). Of all tactical games I have played CC has been the poorest and most boring, got a bad deck and the game experience is going down (I am ok in limiting players option, but basing player options entirely on card draw in a tactical game seems, to me, stupid).

On the other hand Panzer/MBT appears more complex but...

it is more believable, encourage realistic tactics, works well with vehicles and infantry. I have played the original MBT version for decades, and I have the full set of the new Panzer games and found them much much better than CC. As far the narrative is concerned it is there aplenty. Plus what you do in the game makes sense (at least a British Armour officer told me so...).
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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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Both are fun. The neat thing about Panzer to me and presumably MBT is that the advanced rules are modular. You can pick and choose which ones you like and put them in on top of the base rules and still have a fun game. I really liked in Panzer that one had to roll for where the shot hit and you could have a track go, and if ones crew stayed with the tank, they could still shoot, just not move (And I believe that was an advanced rule we put on, shot location/bailing out, rather than just being hit and done for). I had one Pz IV crew that sat there immobilized and pulled a 'Fury' ending against the Russian hordes.

Good narrative indeed.
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Sean McCormick
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I'm really not a big fan of either system. I would be more inclined to take a look at Chad Jensen's later design, Fighting Formations: Grossdeutschland Motorized Infantry Division, which is a massive step up over CC in my opinion (which seems to be a minority one), or look at Band of Brothers: Ghost Panzer, which is the best tactical system around, bar none.

If you are really interested in narrative and solo play, I would also suggest having a look at Fields of Fire.
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Jason Cawley
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Panzer is a great game system. Its focus is definitely on getting the armor war right. The infantry rules certainly work, but they are not the focus. Don't think that you will stop at the basic game, though - the advanced game isn't that much more complicated and it is vastly more realistic and interesting as a result. You will want to learn the whole game and will be playing the advanced game quite soon.

I heartily recommend it, if that isn't obvious...
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Les Marshall
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Both games are rewarding to play IMO. Unlike some others here, I'd say that the rules complexity in Panzer/MBT is somewhat higher than CC:E and is probably a a more faithful simulation.

Combat Commander has no vehicles and is unlikely to be adapted in any meaningful way to embrace them. It has some controversial fog of war mechanics entirely focused on the card decks. Hand management is crucial to successful play alongside tactics of maneuver and concentration. I personally find the unexpected events to create a highly narrative experience which fairly guarantees no two plays, of even the same scenario, will be the same.

Panzer/MBT focuses primarily on vehicles with somewhat rudimentary infantry rules. Despite the rule complexity, I find that the game design rewards intuitive play so that even a novice can do well deploying common sense tactics. Just make sure someone has invested time with the rules as there is a lot to chew on. Fortunately, there are stages in which the rules are introduced and quite a few optional rules so you don't have to take them in at first play.
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Phil Hatfield
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I feel the MBT system will give you a better tactical game with good representation of the units and vehicles involved. Combat Commander isn't bad, but when I played it once, it didn't leave a lasting impression on me. I played MBT once and was hooked.

I own the old Avalon Hill version of the game, and love it! The new version looks like it should hold up pretty well, too.
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Nicholas
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Combat Commander's biggest strength is building an interesting narrative. It stands head-and-shoulders above other tactical games in that regard, but you are giving up control to gain that narrative. Sometimes I'm more in the mood for the control of a game like Panzer or Band of Brothers.

CC has a very tight and uniquely modern system that does rub some people the wrong way, but I think it's safe to say based on it's extremely high ratings that they are a vocal minority and for the majority of people, CC tells great stories while still allowing for meaningful and historically accurate tactical decisions.

DriveThruReview did a recent video review on the game that does a good job of capturing what makes it unique:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/66844/combat-commander-eu...

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seanmac wrote:
I'm really not a big fan of either system. I would be more inclined to take a look at Chad Jensen's later design, Fighting Formations: Grossdeutschland Motorized Infantry Division, which is a massive step up over CC in my opinion (which seems to be a minority one), or look at Band of Brothers: Ghost Panzer, which is the best tactical system around, bar none.

If you are really interested in narrative and solo play, I would also suggest having a look at Fields of Fire.


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Roger Hobden
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silverbowen wrote:
You want both. CC for infantry and MBT 2nd ed. for tanks. Also look into Panzer 2nd ed.


+1
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Roger Hobden
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Rulesjd wrote:


Panzer/MBT focuses primarily on vehicles with somewhat rudimentary infantry rules. Despite the rule complexity, I find that the game design rewards intuitive play so that even a novice can do well deploying common sense tactics. Just make sure someone has invested time with the rules as there is a lot to chew on. Fortunately, there are stages in which the rules are introduced and quite a few optional rules so you don't have to take them in at first play.


You can even add the "advanced" rules bit by bit if you want, without losing the essence of what the game is about.
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Bill Florig
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MBT / Panzer hands down. What is modern combat without vehicles? This system started with Yaquinto in 79-80 and is even better under the great direction of Jim Day and GMT. MBT is much more versatile, realistic, and adaptable to tabletop miniatures, and other systems. Buy all of them from GMT. Sorry, not too partisan am I?
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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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The hokey tank art of Band of Brothers puts me off. YMMV of course, but taking actual pictures of the vehicles and putting them through a filter just doesnt look good in my opinion. Ive never played the game though, and art does not make a game.
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Roger Hobden
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The CC:E and Panzer systems are both among a handful of the best wargames ever created in the past sixty years. Both of them are to be enjoyed as well-crafted designs that generate intense and exciting challenges.
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I have never seen a game polarise players as much as CC:Europe. I would advise caution in making any decision based on the more extreme views expressed, either untempered proselytising or hyperbolic hatred, both of which seem to crop up whenever the game is discussed.

My 2 cents? Barring Battletech, I own and enjoy all the games you've listed (which is significant given my limited collection). I also own and really enjoy CC:Europe and given that our tastes seem to be similar, chances are it would be a good fit for you.

Brent.
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dan pancaldi
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Mad Archeologist wrote:
Combat commander solo is crap... FtF not much better. The narrative is absurd and the system is suspicious. In my own view it is one of the poorest tactical system out there. I am no fan of CC and despite the effort that has been put into it for me falls flat and not because it has no vehicle. Mainly is because the friction often is more a result of abstract and arbitrary mechanics rather than the situation on the board. It is a card driven game but with several other mechanics built over it. I am fine with the fire card representing the fact that your fire is often ineffective and the lack of fire card does not represent your troops not firing but their fire being largely ineffective, but then you have a the fire mechanics that is largely favouring the defender and, on top of that, because it is based on card draw rather than die roll can be predicted (yes I had an FTF opponent playing that way). Of all tactical games I have played CC has been the poorest and most boring, got a bad deck and the game experience is going down (I am ok in limiting players option, but basing player options entirely on card draw in a tactical game seems, to me, stupid).

On the other hand Panzer/MBT appears more complex but...

it is more believable, encourage realistic tactics, works well with vehicles and infantry. I have played the original MBT version for decades, and I have the full set of the new Panzer games and found them much much better than CC. As far the narrative is concerned it is there aplenty. Plus what you do in the game makes sense (at least a British Armour officer told me so...).


Tell us how you REALLY feel!
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BrentS
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danpancaldi wrote:
Mad Archeologist wrote:
Combat commander solo is crap... FtF not much better. The narrative is absurd and the system is suspicious. In my own view it is one of the poorest tactical system out there. I am no fan of CC and despite the effort that has been put into it for me falls flat and not because it has no vehicle. Mainly is because the friction often is more a result of abstract and arbitrary mechanics rather than the situation on the board. It is a card driven game but with several other mechanics built over it. I am fine with the fire card representing the fact that your fire is often ineffective and the lack of fire card does not represent your troops not firing but their fire being largely ineffective, but then you have a the fire mechanics that is largely favouring the defender and, on top of that, because it is based on card draw rather than die roll can be predicted (yes I had an FTF opponent playing that way). Of all tactical games I have played CC has been the poorest and most boring, got a bad deck and the game experience is going down (I am ok in limiting players option, but basing player options entirely on card draw in a tactical game seems, to me, stupid).

On the other hand Panzer/MBT appears more complex but...

it is more believable, encourage realistic tactics, works well with vehicles and infantry. I have played the original MBT version for decades, and I have the full set of the new Panzer games and found them much much better than CC. As far the narrative is concerned it is there aplenty. Plus what you do in the game makes sense (at least a British Armour officer told me so...).


Tell us how you REALLY feel!


Please don't encourage him.
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Silver Bowen
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CC:E is also in print and easy to get a hold of for reasonable prices. And if you don't like it, you can sell it on no problem. GMT Panzer is OOP and a little spendy. AH MBT is pretty cheap and easy, AH IDF not so much. Panzerblitz and Panzer Leader are cheap on ebay and regularly show up at Goodwill. Tactical GameX rules/charts/cards are free (PnP) and you could send the rest of your life PnPing counters and maps from the Imaginative Strategist. Fighting Formations is going for $30 at CSI (huge value, IMHO). Fields of Fire is OOP and spendy, but may (eventually) be reprinted, just like Panzer. GMT MBT isn't out yet, of course. Ghost Panzer I don't know much about.

Ultimately, you probably will want to try all these games
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Mark McG
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Transmuter wrote:

However, after researching other wargames of a similar scale, Combat Commander: Europe (or its sister game Combat Commander: Pacific) looks like a very tempting alternative. I'm not dead set on having vehicles in my game; I just want a game at a small scale that will provide an interesting narrative. I expect to play solo as well as with another player.


Can I suggest for your research
Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #1
Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #2
Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #3

ASL has been going 30 years, still attracts hundreds to conventions.
The Starter Kits are cheap, and self contained. They strip out a lot of the chrome of full ASL without detracting from the game. Squads, Guns (Kit 2) and vehicles (Kit 3), the whole she-bang.
http://www.multimanpublishing.com/Products/tabid/58/Category...

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BrentS
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Quote:
Squads, Guns (Kit 2) and vehicles (Kit 3), the whole she-bang.




Now that's just false advertising. ASL may be the complete package but I think I could say with 100% confidence that it's never given a boost to anyone's sex life.....probably just the opposite.

Brent.
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Mark McG
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goshublue wrote:
Quote:
Squads, Guns (Kit 2) and vehicles (Kit 3), the whole she-bang.




Now that's just false advertising. ASL may be the complete package but I think I could say with 100% confidence that it's never given a boost to anyone's sex life.....probably just the opposite.

Brent.


Clearly you haven't heard the story about a couple of guys that hired strippers in Cleveland to roll their ASL dice.

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BrentS
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Minedog3 wrote:
goshublue wrote:
Quote:
Squads, Guns (Kit 2) and vehicles (Kit 3), the whole she-bang.




Now that's just false advertising. ASL may be the complete package but I think I could say with 100% confidence that it's never given a boost to anyone's sex life.....probably just the opposite.

Brent.


Clearly you haven't heard the story about a couple of guys that hired strippers in Cleveland to roll their ASL dice.



Classy.....but I don't think hiring strippers has ever done much for anyone's chances of finding true love either.

Brent.
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