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Panzer (second edition)» Forums » General

Subject: Scenario balance? rss

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Steinar Vilnes
Norway
TØNBERG
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I have the game and the expansions and have played three games, but wonder if all the scenarios are designed for balance or realism? I have not played enough to determine whether they are balanced or not, just curious.
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Brent Pollock
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SteViln wrote:
I have not played enough to determine whether they are balanced or not.

Well, that makes two of us. However, I have played enough (part way into second scenario) to get the feeling that they have been designed to be fun to play!
EDIT:
For what it's worth, we just finished the first part of The Battle of Brody (Exp #2) and my Germans came through with the following losses:
1 x Pz IIIG
3 x Pz 38(t)C
1 x Pz IIIF
1 x half-squad

Compared to the printed OB, to be used if you play the second battle as a stand-alone scenario, this puts me:
+1 Pz IIIG
-2 Pz 38(t)C
+1 Pz IVE
+1 half-squad
+1 SPW 251/1

...which seems pretty darned close.
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Jim Day
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Ellicott City
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Play balance is one of the bigger challenges when designing small unit, tactical game scenarios. The outcome can be impacted by so many factors. One main issue centers on the tactics employed by the players -- sometimes good and sometimes not so good.

This isn't necessarily apparent to the players as seldom do they feel that their actions contributed to the negative outcome. Panzer is designed to model realistic interactions between the various unit types. For example, I witnessed Scenario 1 played a dozen times with the Germans starting from both of the setup options -- they won half of the time.

Sometimes the German player played very well, sometimes not. Sometimes the Initiative favored one side over the other. Some got lucky hits, while others did not. So goes the potential factors that can impact the outcome of a scenario.

I've stated in other posts that the Soviets actually defeated the Germans in tactical battles in 1941 while the Germans did the same to the Soviets in 1945. That's what make tactical battles interesting -- at least for me.
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Steinar Vilnes
Norway
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Thanks for the answer. The reason I asked is that I am introducing this game to a couple of non-wargamers, and they may be put off if the battles were unbalanced the same way the majority on "in the box" GBoH scenarios are. See it can be difficult though, as these scenarios give each side a lot of potential choices.
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Jason Cawley
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Anthem
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Tactics not scenario forces will decide most of the game. You can pick one that has tons of heavy armor against vanilla and infantry forces and the heavy armor will be favored, especially with newer, weaker players, but just don't pick one of those.

As an example, in the first intro scenario, but played with the advanced armor rules (nothing else really needed from the advanced game), there are the following matchups between the German's Panzer IV longs and the Russian's T-34/76s -

At 11-12 hex range in the open, the Panzer IV is a 3 to 1 favorite. Those hex ranges are "medium" for the Panzer IV's higher velocity gun, "long" for the T-34. The T-34 just won't penetrate the IV's front full - it needs a turret hit. So it ends up with only about a 13% chance of an effective hit. The IV penetrates all plates, hits more often with the shorter range category, netting a 42% chance of an effective hit.

But make the range 8 to 10 hexes and put the T-34 on a hill one level higher than the Panzer IV, and the T-34 is a better than 2 to 1 favorites, instead. Both are "medium" range shots, for the same base 50% chance to hit. But the IV's rising shot with glance off the T-34s well-sloped front hull (24 armor value vs rising), while at those ranges the T-34 can just get through the IVs hull front.

One side being in cover and the other not can also give an edge - or just one stationary and firing while the other is moving into view, not yet firing back. Or one side using clever positioning in "keyholes" to let most of its tanks see only half their number of the enemy, thus getting "2 to 1" firefight odds, while the rest of the enemy force has to spend its time driving into line of sight - by which time the firefight is half over.

There will also be a swingy impact of initiative, particularly on turns when lots of both sides end up in plain view at closer ranges - the side shooting first in those situations will get a big edge, KOing enemy before they can return fire.

Those are just examples of the small tactics in the game. Any one of them can give a 2 or 3 to 1 edge to one side or the other in the local firefight. Layered on top of the luck of the individual shot rolls, there is lots or room for skill in tactics, in other words, even in combat between two seemingly very similar forces.

The imbalance newer players are likely to see is that a more experience player "gets" these tactics and uses them, while the new guy is still trying to learn how to read the data card or when he can give which order. The solution to that is to play through again after people have the basics down, and can focus on the tactics.

I hope that helps.
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Brent Pollock
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You forgot about trying to find hull down positions. Admittedly, in both our games neither of us has remembered/bothered to try this yet.
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