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Subject: Nations at War vs Panzer Grenadier vs Other rss

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Steven Larsen
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I am looking hard at platoon level games, where an armoured counter equals three to five vehicles. Panzer Grenadier I am familiar with. Nations at War is one I haven't tried but it seems cleaner than PG. Some reviewers though were down on it as a simulation.

Any thoughts on how these or other platoon level games compare?
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Martin McCleary
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Have only played a little PG, a bit more NAW. Prefer the latter simply because it plays pretty quickly and is not fiddly. It's more of a game than a simulation but is quite fun. FWIW I did preorder the East front version of NAW.

You may also want to look at Compass games they have a new platoon level system by Brien Miller that looks pretty interesting due out later this year I believe.
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Steven Larsen
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Rallye72 wrote:
Have only played a little PG, a bit more NAW. Prefer the latter simply because it plays pretty quickly and is not fiddly. It's more of a game than a simulation but is quite fun. FWIW I did preorder the East front version of NAW.

You may also want to look at Compass games they have a new platoon level system by Brien Miller that looks pretty interesting due out later this year I believe.


Thanks Martin.

I am always interested in why people consider something a game or a simulation? Is it just the complexity? What does NaW lack? I believe simple games can be accurate simulations if designed properly.

I saw the Compass Games series rules and there are too many morale checks for me.
 
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Sten Stenson Sten
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I prefer PzG, even with the large stacks etc as it to me seems to model the interaction between infantry and vehicles in a way that fits with what I have read about platoonlevel tactics.

NAW is great for short gaming sessions as all the senarios covers tiny forces, normally you end up commanding a reinforced battalion. In PzG you get a much larger variety in size.
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Eric Walters
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My current favorite is the Panzer Grenadier series of games with the 4th Edition rules. There is a huge variety of situations in all the games and additional scenario books. The system rewards suppression in order to maneuver--forces slowly degrade rather than suffer catastrophic destruction over the length of the scenario. Balance is often an issue in the scenarios, but there are those that are tight competitive contests. Yet the game is really meant more for the history-minded. The series is pretty much a matter of taste; there are huge fans of it but there are also plenty of folks that really don't like it. Try out their free demo game to get a taste of the system.

Nations at War Series is pretty simple and streamlined--plenty of fun and a relatively short playing time. Here's hoping Lock 'n Load Publishing, LLC. comes through on future games in the series.

War Storms Series is worth exploring--it was first seen in A las Barricadas! quite a while ago and Compass Games has spruced it up a good bit. La Bataille de France, 1940 game and early Russian Front game, Paths to Hell followed in short order. Some have complained that the system is a bit too fiddly, but I'd say that of many tactical games! I like the period feel in the counter graphics and love the maps (but not every one does). Not sure whether or not the company is going to produce more games in the series; haven't heard any plans to do so, at least so far.

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Lawrence Hung
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WSS will be continued with a new Spanish publisher:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1727562/war-storm-series-ne...

The system is not fiddly by today's tactical standard, just that it needs a bit of re-writing at some critical expression of key concepts like LOS, hills and spotting. The system is perfectly fine otherwise and it works like charm for people who don't like tactical actions at squad level. I am one of the converted. laugh

WWS is much meatier than Nations at War system-wise and requires a bit more thoughts and planning. Of course, if you are looking for a fun, short, bang-it like no tomorrow, with no pause in between, go for Nations at War.
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Martin McCleary
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Rollo il Gatto wrote:
Rallye72 wrote:
Have only played a little PG, a bit more NAW. Prefer the latter simply because it plays pretty quickly and is not fiddly. It's more of a game than a simulation but is quite fun. FWIW I did preorder the East front version of NAW.

You may also want to look at Compass games they have a new platoon level system by Brien Miller that looks pretty interesting due out later this year I believe.


Thanks Martin.

I am always interested in why people consider something a game or a simulation? Is it just the complexity? What does NaW lack? I believe simple games can be accurate simulations if designed properly.

I saw the Compass Games series rules and there are too many morale checks for me.



My idea of a simulation is more along the lines of some of the old SPI titles where they really tried to capture the details and intricacies of the subject: MechWar 2 comes to mind. You can argue it's just more complexity but I think the key is the attempt at detailed modeling of all the pertinent factors. Whether it makes the game any more fun is debatable and you could probably argue that despite the added complexity the outcomes between a simplified and a complex game are about the same.

NAW is designed to be fun and play quickly and it succeeds but I think in general it's a wave top look at the subject and I certainly wouldn't recommend it as a subject reference. That said at present it's my preferred system at this level because I have limited time and space available it's fun and frankly it looks good. At the end of the day is it any more or less accurate in outcome than any other game at the same scale? Probably not.

I've made the same argument for the old PanzerBlitz which was designed with the intent of being a simulation. I think PB is a great game and I'd play it any time and while it may be technically deficient in some areas I think the outcomes are about the same vs a game designed to be more technically precise.

Anyway, I hope this doesn't trigger a debate, it's just my 2 cents in reply to your question. Let us know what you finally settle on and why.
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Russell InGA
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ericmwalters wrote:
My current favorite is the Panzer Grenadier series of games with the 4th Edition rules. There is a huge variety of situations in all the games and additional scenario books. ... Balance is often an issue in the scenarios, but there are those that are--the game is meant more for the history-minded. ...(Emphasis mine.)


This is very true for any of the older stuff.

The newer produced games follow a few new principles:

* Each game box is complete. There are basically no "expansion books" (which used to require this from this and that from that.)

* Scenarios are balanced! Scenarios are now designed to be balanced to play. In the past scenarios implementations of history without regard to who might or might not win and how. The scenario writing has dramatically improved in terms of balance and victory conditions.
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Steven Larsen
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Thanks to everyone for the help.

I am getting the impression that Nations at War is a big shoot 'em up festival. That is something I really don't want. I like Panzer Grenadier for its simulation of casualties at the level of combat it portrays. Artillery is nasty at long range. Infantry kills at 100-0 yards. Does NaW follow this model at all? The slow degradation is better for this scale than the total destruction of lower level games.

I keep trying to like PG. I have the playtest kit. What kills me is the stacking and the Op Fire rules. Keeping track of two op fires per unit per turn with counters pushes it over the edge. If Jim Krohn could get a hold of PG and streamline it, I would certainly be a fan. Still, I can't help thinking that if I played a few games and internalized the rules, I might learn to love it, so I keep PG on list.

I noticed Fighting Formations is supposed to be platoon level, but that only seems to apply to infantry, not vehicles. Too bad.


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Steven Larsen
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Lawrence Hung wrote:
WSS will be continued with a new Spanish publisher:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1727562/war-storm-series-ne...

The system is not fiddly by today's tactical standard, just that it needs a bit of re-writing at some critical expression of key concepts like LOS, hills and spotting. The system is perfectly fine otherwise and it works like charm for people who don't like tactical actions at squad level. I am one of the converted. laugh

WWS is much meatier than Nations at War system-wise and requires a bit more thoughts and planning. Of course, if you are looking for a fun, short, bang-it like no tomorrow, with no pause in between, go for Nations at War.


Are you at all bothered by the many situations that require morale checks?
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Russell InGA
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Rollo il Gatto wrote:
... What kills me is the stacking and the Op Fire rules. Keeping track of two op fires per unit per turn with counters pushes it over the edge. ...


Stacking plus two Fire markers can be a pain. I think most of us just get used to how this works.
 
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Joshua Gottesman
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rules_heretic wrote:
Rollo il Gatto wrote:
... What kills me is the stacking and the Op Fire rules. Keeping track of two op fires per unit per turn with counters pushes it over the edge. ...


Stacking plus two Fire markers can be a pain. I think most of us just get used to how this works.


That's what it is for me. I know that sometimes there will be big stacks with lots of markers. And many times there won't. One thing that's changed with me is the number of times I trigger Op Fire in the 1st place. A lot of PG scenarios give you time to soften up the enemy before charing. You don't have to resolve them in the 1st 5-6 turns. So, I'll often do long bombardments and even some lower odds attacks to hopefully disrupt a few guys before launching my forces forward. Then the opponent (often me) has to make the decision as to whether to op fire with that disrupted guy, or try to recover.

And a lot of times it's a stack moving towards an enemy , so the 1st op fire goes after the 1st moving unit, the 2nd goes after the 2nd moving unit, so the "2 counters" problem isn't there for long.

Essentially, for me it's become a problem that only rears its head every once in a while, not all the time.
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Daniel Rouleau
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Rollo il Gatto wrote:
What kills me is the stacking and the Op Fire rules. Keeping track of two op fires per unit per turn with counters pushes it over the edge. If Jim Krohn could get a hold of PG and streamline it, I would certainly be a fan. Still, I can't help thinking that if I played a few games and internalized the rules, I might learn to love it, so I keep PG on list.

Disclaimer: I am a developer for the PG series.

I can't help you with stacking.

For Op Fire, I suggest playing a small scenario, say less than 20 counters per side, and try to keep tab in your head of how many Op Fire each defending unit has taken. It became easier after a game or two and I was able to significantly increase the limit over time. I am sure I make mistakes here and there but the time I saved by not having to place and remove Moved/Fired markers is worth it in my opinion.

I sometimes play NaW when I want to play something quick and bloody. I don't view the two series as substitutes for each other. I know a few other PG players that enjoy both series.

I tried La Bataille de France, 1940 but it was too similar to PG for me to invest further in a similar series.
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Nicolas Eskubi
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Hi Eric,

We, War Storm Series have close to go two new tittles (with a new editor, Draco Ideas, reducing substantially the price and improving the quality of the components) a SOLO expansion and multiplayer for all the WSS games already published and the future ones, "Alone in the Storm"



And the same time another new one, "Normandy, The Beggining of the End"


And after that ones will come:


(Isn't a ALB expansion, BGG must fix that, is a complete game about the SCW compatible with ALB)



Best
Niko
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Steven Larsen
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Just to confirm...Do people find NaW too bloody for the scale it represents. Is it all a shoot out or does it in some way model real tactics at that level? I have the rules but it is hard to tell from that. I saw a youtube video and it seemed to play out like PG but that could be atypical for an NaW game.

 
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Lawrence Hung
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rules_heretic wrote:

* Scenarios are balanced! Scenarios are now designed to be balanced to play. In the past scenarios implementations of history without regard to who might or might not win and how. The scenario writing has dramatically improved in terms of balance and victory conditions.


Hi Russell, I'd like to know starting from which game the scenarios are improved dramatically 'cos Avalanche Press Ltd. are reprinting so many of their games recently after a period of inactivity. I would also like to dive into the system some days and maybe catch a few new games with the new style.
 
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Lawrence Hung
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Rollo il Gatto wrote:

Are you at all bothered by the many situations that require morale checks?


Not at all, Steven. You can't do without morale check at platoon level, which is still counted as tactical level wargame. NaW feels a bit much of hardware-centric, though it might be argued morale has already been factored in the to-save number. I still prefer an explicit check on morale. There are only a few key morale checks in WSS. Out of command units (not within the leader's command range) can be activated by passing a morale check. A morale check is required pre-assault (close combat in the same hex), losing an assault (they use a different term: after hand-to-hand combat but I figured that it refers the same to assault). And I am pretty sure WSS has far fewer morale checks than the legendary...ASL. gulp
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Lawrence Hung
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One more thing to consider, Steven, is the availability of Vassal module. Avalanche Press doesn't like Vassal at all. I can't find any in the official Vassal page. Perhaps they have some in the company's page.
 
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Martin McCleary
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Rollo il Gatto wrote:
Just to confirm...Do people find NaW too bloody for the scale it represents. Is it all a shoot out or does it in some way model real tactics at that level? I have the rules but it is hard to tell from that. I saw a youtube video and it seemed to play out like PG but that could be atypical for an NaW game.



no it's not "too bloody". The trick is time management. Given the chit pull for formation activation and the use of end of turn markers to abruptly end a turn it keeps things hopping. The system essentially forces the attacker to get moving very quickly. The C2 rules and the use of HQ's also tends to reign in those who are just used to taking platoons and running willy nilly all over the battlefield. If you look at the rules it also mentions "fate and chaos" so there are opportunities to overturn die rolls etc. It can really keep things dicey (yuk yuk).

As far as "real tactics" I'm not sure what that means in tactical level games, I guess it's a case of beauty in the eye...

LnL has the 2nd Ed of White Star Rising out. You can find earlier 1st ed's fairly inexpensively. Same goes for Desert Heat I think. As far as I can tell there's not a lot of difference as far as the rules go. I elected to keep my 1st ed for the West Front, I'm happy with the way it plays. Once the East Front version ships I'll be able to compare the changes in the system.

Also have you looked at PanzerBlitz Hill of Death by MMP? I really like this game but it seems to have been panned by many because it wasn't an updated clone of the original. Copies are readily available. An East Front version is in the works.

Almost forgot: MMP's Tactical Combat System. I decided this was too much work for me but it does require you to make a plan and requires rudimentary graphics on a map.
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Steven Larsen
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Lawrence Hung wrote:
One more thing to consider, Steven, is the availability of Vassal module. Avalanche Press doesn't like Vassal at all. I can't find any in the official Vassal page. Perhaps they have some in the company's page.


Yes. I think the modules are on the site.

I will take another look at the rules for Battaille. Maybe the morale checks aren't as bad in practice as they look in print
 
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Steven Larsen
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Martin,

I have been looking at MMP products since returning to the hobby recently. Most of them seem long in play time and large in footprint. They sound great though, much like what I would have grabbed up when I was younger with more time on my hands.

If I go with NaW I will wait for the second edition of Desert Heat. Supposedly it is improved in several ways.
 
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Russell InGA
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Lawrence Hung wrote:

Hi Russell, I'd like to know starting from which game the scenarios are improved dramatically 'cos Avalanche Press Ltd. are reprinting so many of their games recently after a period of inactivity. I would also like to dive into the system some days and maybe catch a few new games with the new style.


These are links to the AP website and should be available right away:

These represent "newer" titles. As I posted, in recent years, the scenarios in the box games have tried to be more balanced. They certainly should be more balanced than East Front!

http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameArmyAtDawn.php
http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameElsenborn.php - This one is actually a little older but has always been highly recommended, especially as an intro game.
http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameCounterAttack.php - I just got this one and it looks pretty cool. Nice mix of different nationalities fighting.
http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameNorthFlank.php
http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameSouthFlank.php
http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameLiberation.php
http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameSaipan.php
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Robert Stuart
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Rollo il Gatto wrote:
If Jim Krohn could get a hold of PG and streamline it, I would certainly be a fan.

I have several Panzer Grenadier games and have no intention of selling them (except for one). However, neither do I plan to buy more until I've figured out whether I like the system enough.
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Steven Larsen
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rules_heretic wrote:
Lawrence Hung wrote:

Hi Russell, I'd like to know starting from which game the scenarios are improved dramatically 'cos Avalanche Press Ltd. are reprinting so many of their games recently after a period of inactivity. I would also like to dive into the system some days and maybe catch a few new games with the new style.


These are links to the AP website and should be available right away:

These represent "newer" titles. As I posted, in recent years, the scenarios in the box games have tried to be more balanced. They certainly should be more balanced than East Front!

http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameArmyAtDawn.php
http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameElsenborn.php - This one is actually a little older but has always been highly recommended, especially as an intro game.
http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameCounterAttack.php - I just got this one and it looks pretty cool. Nice mix of different nationalities fighting.
http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameNorthFlank.php
http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameSouthFlank.php
http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameLiberation.php
http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameSaipan.php


Army at Dawn looks quite nice. That's the one I have my eye on. The scenarios don't seem too big either.
 
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Ater playing both games, I can only say Nations at War is great. Its a fast and simple but excellently narrative system. I prefer it to Panzergrenadier, which is too fiddly for my taste.
 
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