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Subject: Where to start? rss

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Jules Redmand
United Kingdom
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I've recently got into playing the Panzer Grenadier series and have noticed that the ATS looks similar in how the games are presented with a number of expansion modules and like PG seems like a very established system with a hell of a lot of modules out there.

Questions are:

1) How similar is this to the PG series in terms of play?

2) Are we talking a major step up in terms of complexity compared to PG, as I've noticed some of the games have a weight rating here averaging in the 4's and is it on a similar complexity level as ASL?

3) Finally where is the best place to start with this series, as I've noticed that there are some introductory modules?
 
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mochara c
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1) Not very. The scale is different, the level of detail is miles from PG and is a great deal more complex. The only functional similarity they share is that both games are nominally tactical-level, although I must say that PG never felt tactical to me.

2) Yes. ATS is not difficult, but it is rather detailed so there is far greater depth & breadth to the rules.
I speak only for myself, of course, but I found ATS no more difficult to learn than PG, with the larger rules overhead of ATS mitigated by PG's awful rulebook.
Complexity is a little lower than ASL; ATS has its share of special cases and rarely-used rules, but significantly fewer than in ASL.
Vehicles/guns rules are more meaty in ATS vs. ASL but actually work smoother, I believe.

3) I am not a fan of the Basic Games, but they at least provide everything you need right off the bat.
Picking up an older, boxed game or an early edition of D-Day Rangers would also get you the rules, playaid cards, combat unit and marker counters you need. The only drawback there is that those old, all-in-one editions have an older version of the rulebook, which is still very serviceable but not to the same standard as the current version.

Picking up something new is now more like getting into ASL; the rules/playaids/system markers are a separate purchase, then you just add in the game or module, which contains the scenarios, map & combat markers.

I hoped that helped. I'll sub in case you have further questions.
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Jules Redmand
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moly19 wrote:
1) Not very. The scale is different, the level of detail is miles from PG and is a great deal more complex. The only functional similarity they share is that both games are nominally tactical-level, although I must say that PG never felt tactical to me.

2) Yes. ATS is not difficult, but it is rather detailed so there is far greater depth & breadth to the rules.
I speak only for myself, of course, but I found ATS no more difficult to learn than PG, with the larger rules overhead of ATS mitigated by PG's awful rulebook.
Complexity is a little lower than ASL; ATS has its share of special cases and rarely-used rules, but significantly fewer than in ASL.
Vehicles/guns rules are more meaty in ATS vs. ASL but actually work smoother, I believe.

3) I am not a fan of the Basic Games, but they at least provide everything you need right off the bat.
Picking up an older, boxed game or an early edition of D-Day Rangers would also get you the rules, playaid cards, combat unit and marker counters you need. The only drawback there is that those old, all-in-one editions have an older version of the rulebook, which is still very serviceable but not to the same standard as the current version.

Picking up something new is now more like getting into ASL; the rules/playaids/system markers are a separate purchase, then you just add in the game or module, which contains the scenarios, map & combat markers.

I hoped that helped. I'll sub in case you have further questions.


1) Agree with the opinion about PG not really being that tactical even though it is labelled as one.

2) Glad to hear this about the ATS level of complexity not being that heavy and yes the PG rulebook is one of the worst I've read and I'm even doing by own easier to read and understand version of the rules. I actually find PG a tricky game to play in terms of the rules BUT that is largely down to its rulebook complicating things much more than they actually are.

3) Based on what you've said I may well pick up one of the older boxed games and/or one of the introductory modules.

Another question I have is, how popular is this system compared to both PG and ASL as both these systems still have a constant supply of new modules coming out?
 
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Brian McCue
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I agree with Mo. ATS hexes are 40 meters and counters are squads or individual vehicles; PG hexes are 200 meters and counters are platoons.

The current ATS rulebook is a lot thicker and wordier than PG but it's mostly special cases: start with a Basic Game to learn the fundamentals.

For me, the two systems scratch different itches and I have a large number of each.
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Jules Redmand
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brianmccue wrote:
I agree with Mo. ATS hexes are 40 meters and counters are squads or individual vehicles; PG hexes are 200 meters and counters are platoons.

The current ATS rulebook is a lot thicker and wordier than PG but it's mostly special cases: start with a Basic Game to learn the fundamentals.

For me, the two systems scratch different itches and I have a large number of each.


If you had to suggest a couple of starting basic games, which ones would you suggest? Also are the introductory ones recommended?
 
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mochara c
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Quote:
Another question I have is, how popular is this system compared to both PG and ASL as both these systems still have a constant supply of new modules coming out?


I would guess, and it is purely a guess, that PG and ATS have roughly the same number of adherents and that neither have anywhere near the player base that ASL enjoys.

There is a constant stream of ATS titles, more than I can keep up with or afford

I suggest you browse the Critical Hit website. It's in a reasonable state of organization at the moment. If you see anything of particular interest there I would also recommend asking around here or on the Critical Hit message board for opinions and content-related information. It can be a bit tough to discern the difference between the various editions of some of the games as Critical Hit are inveterate tweakers, often issuing revised editions of their stuff; I'd estimate there are at least five iterations of their Stalingrad set and four+ versions of D-Day Rangers in various guises.

One more comment: anyone who purchases the rules set directly from Critical Hit (in hard copy and/OR .pdf form) gains access to the large library of VASSAL modules which, of course, opens one to more opponents. ATS works very well in live or PBeM play via VASSAL.
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Nerijus S.
Lithuania
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Quote:
If you had to suggest a couple of starting basic games, which ones would you suggest? Also are the introductory ones recommended?


Yes, a cautious "try-before-you-spend-a-fortune" is highly recommended.

Suggested plan of action for purchasing a Basic Game:

1. Register to www.criticalhit.com;
2. Receive weekly newsletter- find 30% discount code;
3. Choose your topic for Basic Game: Normandy bocages OR Stalingrad factories;
4. Buy the game from http://www.criticalhit.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Cate...

My vote goes to Stalingrad.

N.
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mochara c
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Normandy!

(Good call on the mailer + 30% off, though cool )
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Lawrence Hung
Hong Kong
Wan Chai
Hong Kong
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My vote go to Stalingrad too. The base game is not hard to learn but the full rules are notably more wordy to cloud the base. Sometimes I wish to use just the Basic Rules to play the modules but apparently they can't, as Mo said that there were a lot of special cases to go by. I have always good experience with the system though. In one recent encounter, my German motocyclists were riding under the moon in Parker's Crossroad. I have to check up the rules relevant to them.
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Albert Taylor
United States
Texas
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I believe the best place To start with ATS is with one of the boxed games (with the exception of Omaha or Berlin but including the original Clash Along the Psel and ATS Stalingrad) prior to the introduction of ATS TT. They are complete games with everything needed to play. Though rules version 2.95 is a minimum and 3.09/3.12 is best. Another reason I recommend the older boxed games is that the addition of the Advance to Contact SoP adds a layer of confusion to the 4.xx rules that I do not believe is adequately addressed by those rules.
 
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