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Subject: 20 Reasons to Like Panzer (and a few quibbles) rss

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Fen Yan
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La Mirada
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20 Reasons to Like Panzer (GMT Games 2012) and a few quibbles--after playing three games: one two-player, one three-player, and one solitaire

1. The box cover art is magnificent.

2. You can make realistic tactical decisions and the game will reward you accordingly. Confirmed by a buddy who was in the military, who played the game after briefly looking at the data cards and with almost no knowledge of the combat charts.

3. The rules, though they appear lengthy, are easy to understand.

4. You can stop at the basic rules and have hours of fun with the two base scenarios as well as the design-your-own point system. For those sticking with just the basic game, I would highly recommend incorporating the advanced AP Fire combat procedures which introduce the different armor locations (and hence a lot of the maneuvering strategy).

5. The game is simpler and more streamlined than its previous cousin MBT (Avalon HIll 1989); yet retains the tactical flavor and grit. And of course you get WWII. So Panzer is a more accessible game. The changes and adjustments to the rules and data cards are numerous; this latest version from GMT is a giant improvement from its first publication as Panzer (Yaquinto 1979).

6. All the vehicles, guns and infantry have point values so you can easily design your own scenarios. There are also scenario design rules and guidelines included, as well as historical Tables of Organization and Equipment in Expansion 1.

7. The orders system, which is the crux of the game, forces you to commit your forces carefully: Fire, Short Halt, Move, Overwatch or No Command.

8. The scenarios appear long (many are 15-20 turns) but the turns go by quickly. The scenario length is there to allow you to use patience and reserves--no need to charge into a blazing hail of fire on turn 1. FYI we clocked in at around 2.5 hours for each of the 15-turn games of Scenario 1 and 2.

9. Like a miniatures game you can easily team up with multiple players--it plays equally well with two or many players.

10. Solitaire is fun but you have twice the work as you have to play both sides. The orders system is a benefit to solitaire play, and you can use the optional variable spotting rules to help increase the fog of war as well as Fire Priority, which simulates the training of tank crews to attack the closest ("most dangerous") target. There are no actual solitaire rules at this time though I've seen posts that some people are working on them.

11. With the base game and two expansions, you have all the important German and Soviet units to play almost any encounter on the eastern front in WWII--you've got 24 re-playable scenarios and 12 geomorphic maps including the large base game map.

12. It's fun to gain the tactical advantage over your opponent via terrain, flanking and use of overlapping fields of fire.

13. The movement rates are designed just right--no tanks racing exorbitant amounts across the board (though the German player witnessing T-34s on a paved road may disagree).

14. The base map is well designed and an interesting battlefield for at least the first two scenarios (haven't played the other eight base game scenarios yet).

15. With the initiative, command and morale rules, the game allows you to play asymmetrical battles where numerically inferior forces have a chance to defeat larger yet lesser quality opponents.

16. The game is modular in that it is very easy to include (or not use) individual Advanced and Optional rules as you prefer.

17. There's a lot of flavor you can add: Hidden units, Artillery, Aircraft, Variable Armor Penetration, Searching for Hull Down, Minefields, Bogging Down and much, much more.

18. It's not just about blowing up tanks. You can suppress the enemy with GP fire (high explosives or small arms). This hinders his movement and fire, allowing you to maneuver on his position.

19. Infantry can hold terrain, tanks alone will usually have a hard time rooting them out of a village.

20. The designer has definitely done his research and play testing to give you an excellent game to spend an afternoon or evening with your buddies.


A few quibbles about Panzer

1. No rules Index.

2. The Expansion maps are bit fiddly due to an extra cut to help the maps fit in the box. This was difficult to avoid however due to the size of the maps.

3. The Expansion maps are double-sided. If they were single-sided, there would be more scenario design options.

4. It would be convenient to have an extra set of data cards, hope GMT doesn't mind if we make our own photocopies.

5. The initiative system can be quite severe if you have a string of bad rolls (easily modifiable to your taste however).

6. The game could have been simplified further with a d20 system instead of d100 and most likely would have retained the same tactical feel.

7. A few people have been confused by the spotting rules, but the designer and others have stepped up at Consimworld and Boardgamegeek to further clarify.
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Russ Williams
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Thanks for the useful concise list!

fenyan wrote:
2. The Expansion maps are bit fiddly due to an extra cut to help the maps fit in the box. This was difficult to avoid however due to the size of the maps.

Can you explain this more? I'm not sure what you mean by an extra cut. Do you mean they are not just a rectangle of paper, but also have some cut from the middle of an edge to the middle of the rectangle (as some Columbia Games maps do, for example)? I.e. instead of
+-----------+
| |
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+-----------+


is there a cut from the middle of an edge to the middle of the rectangle:
+-----+-----+
| | |
| | |
| |
| |
+-----------+


...or something else I'm not understanding/imagining?
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Fen Yan
United States
La Mirada
California
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+-----+-----+
| | |
| | |
| | |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
+-----------+


Thanks--The expansion maps are like latter of your diagrams, with the addition of three folds along the length of the map.
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