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Panzer Expansion #4: France 1940» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Out of the Box—A Glimpse at the Solo Rules rss

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Adam Parker
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Here's a peek at the GMT Panzer Expansion 4 solo rules received today.

As you can see, they've gone full gloss heavy paper again with this manual as opposed to the re-release of the Base Game that went light-weight matt. Gloss is never the best under lights and at just 22-pages it's as thick and weighty as a standard 50-page manual.



But there's also now, another quirk to the series. See the grey German vehicles and the blue German infantry? With Panzer in 1940, we now get blue French vehicles and grey French infantry. And by way of another note for the art department: they've positioned those infantry ID numbers awfully close to their top corners. Remember, lots of us round our counters now. Given the size of the vehicle counters here, I use a 3mm trim for this series. [Edit: See positive outcome below.]



Anyway, my main impression with the rules at a glance is: players will want to be well-versed with the system's Advanced and some Optional rules first. These solo rules call heavily on both, especially the Optional Hidden Unit mechanism.

Yes, Panzer is a not a light combined arms system to learn but once you put aside that initial terror, things do gel reasonably quickly. I reckon solo enthusiasts will like what's inside this new box. It's not a comprehensive solo system yet, rather geared to just 2 scenarios right now. But this game is also aimed at a robust DYO.

It's just going to be a bit of work for newbies to get there first and I'm really looking forward to taking the French behemoth out for a fight. There's German 88s in that counter-mix and every nationality in the series now has armor leaders included there too. But for me, it's going to need practice on the Eastern Front.

By the way, the four double-sided maps included (some deliberately historic) are no longer split-accordions. They seem a thicker card stock too and artistically, they're trending finally, towards being more topographically natural.



Happy gaming,
Adam.
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Adam Parker
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And a quick update. These well-centered counters handled the 3mm Oregon Rounder treatment just fine.


Counters after 3mm Oregon Standard Rounder trimming.


Data cards, I noticed, are slightly smaller than those provided to date— across the Base Game and first three expansions. As with the first printing of the Base game, given the thickness of these cards, there may be some slight off-setting too (as seen here at right) but it's not uniform nor widespread in my box.


Data cards for Panzer Base Game (left) and Expansion 4 (right).


In sum, this is a truly exciting addition to the series. The East Front sits complete prior and those wishing to experience the West Front pre-D-Day can now do so with only the Base Game's ownership as a prerequisite.

I truly like the non-accordion maps offered in these West Front Expansions 3 and 4. Like Ponyri with Expansion 1 and Villers Bocage in Expansion 3, you'll find precise locales in Expansion 4 too: Stonne for example. While plenty of other geomorphic vistas present themselves for the open-ended DYO scenario mind as well.

North Africa is now spoken of next, but as Jim Day says on the forums that's a large project, a stand alone game; requiring new art too. It'll be some way off yet. I think I've enough to play with for now.
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Steve S
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I don't play the game, but without knowing more, it does strike me as odd that on that counter sheet, there are four different colors (light and dark gray, light and dark blue) and the battle will be between light gray and dark blue vs light blue and dark gray.

S
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Jefferson Krogh
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SDawg wrote:
I don't play the game, but without knowing more, it does strike me as odd that on that counter sheet, there are four different colors (light and dark gray, light and dark blue) and the battle will be between light gray and dark blue vs light blue and dark gray.

S


The darker ones are for leg units only, as far as I can tell. This is the norm in the Panzer/MBT system. Just adds a little more contrast to make it easier to pick out the infantry, perhaps.
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Adam Parker
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SDawg wrote:
... it does strike me as odd that on that counter sheet, there are four different colors ...


Not really that odd but eventually with its breadth, an anomaly had to creep in.

Yet, here's the Panzer series art scheme to date. I'm pretty sure we've now everything we'll need in the ETO.

North Africa, when it comes, promises a whole new show

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Eric Teoro
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My appetite is whetted even more. Thank you, Adam.
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Adam Parker
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Hey Eric, you're welcome! This expansion should allow some very interesting actions from a few Chars meandering up to a rendezvous at Stonne to some really swirling low-powered tank blitzes where everyone will be mixing it up close unless there's some 88s parked in a treeline
 
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Rio Chang
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Thanks for the review and the cool pics, Adam!

I stayed away from Panzer series but got into MBT. However when you mentioned North Africa, I thought I may have to go into the deep end with this series.
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Brian McCue
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Yojimbo wrote:
I stayed away from Panzer series but got into MBT. However when you mentioned North Africa, I thought I may have to go into the deep end with this series.

Indications are that 2nd ed 88 and IDF (Israeli Defense Force) are some ways off.

In the meantime, I'm trying to look into the feasibily of playing 1st edition 88 with the second edition rules--specifically, the second edition's rules for turn sequence, orders, and initiative. Movement and combat should be fine, unchanged. It all seems clear, but I won't know until I've tried it and I don't know when that will be.
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Adam Parker
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brianmccue wrote:
Indications are that 2nd ed 88 and IDF (Israeli Defense Force) are some ways off.


Yep that's what Jim's said. Both big projects but they'll arrive some day
 
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Adam Parker
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Yojimbo wrote:
Thanks for the review and the cool pics, Adam!

I stayed away from Panzer series but got into MBT. However when you mentioned North Africa, I thought I may have to go into the deep end with this series.


Hey Rio, you're welcome. I think starting with MBT puts you way ahead on the Panzer learning curve! The desert's going to need some big maps
 
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Allen Dickerson
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Really glad to see a game printed with a disincentive for that awful, attention-deficit counterclipping. BRAVO, GMT!!!!!
 
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Allen Dickerson
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All I can say is, the nationality symbol in the top left is now earning its keep.

It was obviously NOT a good idea to confuse colors like that between forces of the same nationality.... but the nat symbol makes it all good, I'd think.

The maps are truly exciting, what little of them I've seen. They're the first in the series I could even remotely call "professional quality". The previous lot are all embarrassments, IMO.
 
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Adam Parker
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Stiglr wrote:
Really glad to see a game printed with a disincentive for that awful, attention-deficit counterclipping. BRAVO, GMT!!!!!


LOL and MBT is even less forgiving for the counter clipping fan. Their infantry counters are purely 2mm candidates, at 3mm you lose half their IDs for sure.

But the 3mm tool is doing just fine here I'm afraid
 
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