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Panzer Miniatures Rules FAQ
1) What is the Scale?
2) What units are currently available?
The various units in The Panzer Miniatures Rules are each presented on their own unique full-color data card. Currently, the following units are available:
3) How are TO&Es (army lists) presented, and what specific ones are available?
In my opinion, the available TO&E information is unprecedented in World War II gaming. At this point, both the Eastern Front (German and Soviet) and the Western Front (German, USA and British, early war French) are covered in great detail. Due to the scale represented in The Panzer Miniatures Rules, the TO&Es include unit formations down to the individual unit. Available TO&Es include:
4) What are the similarities to the original board games?
The Panzer Miniatures Rules includes the best elements of the original Yaquinto Panzer and those developed for the Avalon Hill versions of MBT and IDF. It is much more of a hybrid of the two game systems rather than mimicking any one or the systems. The lessons learned over time have been implemented in the new system.
At this time, there are 72 German, 51 Soviet, 28 USA, 31 British and 13 French vehicles in the unit mix. That does not include the infantry, aircraft and support units. The Panzer Miniatures Rules are much more comprehensive in its general coverage of the different units, but it is also much more inclusive of the early-war units.
As far as the armor ratings, there are armor values for the Turret and Hull for the Front, Side, and Rear aspects at five different angles of incidence -- Front, Front/Side, Side, Rear/Side and Rear. While not quite as detailed as the original Panzer it is more detailed than MBT and IDF.
5) What is the town/village scale?
With a scale of 1" = 50 meters, it represents a group of buildings of the type (stone, brick or wood) presented on the board. A single 40 or 50 meter building would be quite large (roughly 130 to 165 feet in length or width) although not improbable for some larger structures. That is why it is best to consider it a group of buildings.
6) Do the rules cover different turret rates for different tanks? How is this handled?
Yes, for turreted vehicles their turn rate is classified as slow, medium or fast. This is indicated on the individual data cards by a circle, box or blank symbol superimposed over the individual armor rosettes.
During the Adjustment Phase of each turn (the last phase of a turn), turrets are adjusted to new positions. In addition, turret rate also comes into play with Overwatch Fire (opportunity fire). Those tanks with faster turret rates are more able to quickly respond to targets of opportunity.
7) Can you explain why the chance to penetrate is significantly less when armor is hit at an angle?
Without getting into an overly lengthy explanation of the geometry, if an armored surface is hit at an angle varying from the vertical, the effective basis of the armor is increased. This is true for armor that is sloped (e.g., look at the armor on the Panther and T-34) or when a vehicle is hit from the front-side or rear-side angles.
Here is a simple visual demonstration. Take a fairly thick book and set it on end at a vertical position - measure the relative thickness as if a level shell were passing directly through it. Now tilt the book back at about 45° - measure the same level shell. You will notice that the thickness is now about 40% greater. That is why the front-side and rear-side armor values are greater than the corresponding values for front, side or rear.
8) Sequence firing vs. simultaneous firing?
Let me speak to the logic behind the change from simultaneous to sequential fire. With the original simultaneous approach, I received many comments, and I personally observed situations where the superior forces were not afforded the proper recognition of their qualitative advantage. They should expect to get off the first shot MOST of the time. That is why their initiative advantage is not an absolute one — no guarantee. For example, if you look at the total number of T-34s lost during the war to that of Tigers, there truly was a qualitative advantage. The initiative may go one way or the other; that is truly the nature of tactical level games. At times, the balance hinges on just a few events – the trick is to control, dictate or minimize those times or be prepared to, in a sense, ‘roll-the-dice’ on the potential outcome. It is reasonable to expect that a superior force should generally control and dictate the action at a tactical level. With strategic level, or even operational level games, those outcomes tend to balance out.
In addition, having just a grade modifier is not enough of an advantage for the superior troops since that offers little if any difference at point blank range. Remember, that the rule-of-thumb for the US Forces was 5-Sherman KOs for every Tiger KO. The war’s final outcome came down to a numbers issue where quality just couldn’t ultimately defeat quantity.I have often also seen the reverse situation take place where a superior force was counting on controlling the initiative and then at the most inopportune time they lost it.
That’s why you place your order chits BEFORE determining who controls the initiative – one should not be able to totally predict the future.
What I think you will now see with the new system is a change in tactics. I believe it more accurately simulates the real action – it seems to have a better feel to it.
9) It is very interesting to see that the Soviets break on a 01-40 on a morale check whereas the Germans break at 01-50. Why are they seemingly tougher than the Germans?
This is a very good question that deserves some explanation. The Soviets do have a lower basic break number than the Germans. Keep in mind the fact that the Germans will typically take longer to reach their Cohesion Point. So, the Soviet forces typically check for breaking before the Germans ever get to that point. That is one of the unique points in Panzer – while cohesion and breaking are both part of the Panzer Morale System, they are different aspects.
Also keep in mind that Grade also modifies the break determination roll. Given that the German forces are typically a higher grade that also brings the probabilities closer to equal. After researching a great number of accounts, I determined that the Soviets were very good at standing and fighting in spite of absorbing tremendous loses. If you compare the combat casualties between the Soviets and Germans, you would think that the Germans were the victors, however, as we all know, that was not the case. The Soviets also had a great deal of incentive to stand and fight given that the NKVD troops were waiting to shoot any soldiers returning from the front lines. The rank-and-file soldiers had a choice, stand and fight and possibly survive or break and run and surely get shot — that was a difficult, but easy choice.
I believe that all too often, morale rules are one of the methods used to tip the balance in favor of the Germans to demonstrate their basic superiority. That superiority really is not a point of contention. However, in my opinion, that does create an artificial and unrealistic imbalance in the games. It is very common to hear that in many game systems you cannot win with the Soviets – that is certainly not the case in Panzer. Let’s not forget the basic fact that the Soviets did defeat the Germans. They had to win sometime.
In reality, they achieved victory by winning many tactical encounters. Even in 1941, when the Soviets were at their worst and the Germans were at their best, there were a number of cases where Soviets forces defeated the Germans. So, as a consequence, the Panzer break-cohesion system is my attempt to simulate WWII armored warfare.
10) I am interested in buying the rules but would like to hear a little about command and control and the morale rules
The Command & Control system is based on a company-sized unit as the smallest formation for management. The system uses five distinct order types: Fire, Move, Short Halt (fire-move), Overwatch and N/C (no command). Command Control limits the number of unique orders (the four types other than N/C -- any number of N/C orders may be placed) that may be placed within a formation for each turn. Given the limited number of available orders, it means that one or more units may share the same
order, if they are within command range of one another. Those units must follow the rules that govern order sharing, such as staying in command range when moving and firing at the same target with Overwatch Fire – there are also other rules.
Another key element of the system is Initiative. When determining the initiative, a single player from each side roles the two percentile dice (Panzer is a base 100 system so it uses two different colored d10s to determine results) applying any modifiers for grade. The Force with the higher modified result wins the Initiative for the current turn. That Force becomes the First Player (resolves Direct Fire first and moves
second) for the turn. The losing Force becomes the Second Player (resolves Direct Fire second and moves first).
Let me take a moment to discuss initiative and my thoughts behind it. First of all, initiative is not determined until AFTER all orders are place. Players do not have the advantage of knowing who will control theinitiative when determining their orders for their turn. In that way players can not know before hand that they will move second and therefore have the advantage of pre-knowledge of their opponents’
positions. This simple rule made a very big difference in how the game plays.
I view initiative, as the means a superior force dictates action and controls the flow of battle. A superior force should expect to have the initiative more often than the opposing force, but this is not a guarantee. Again, since orders are placed before initiative is determined, a superior force can anticipate controlling the initiative, but it is not an absolute. That is where you now see forces hesitating – which you would expect in battle, especially from an inferior force. In Panzer, Grade is a static trait. However, Grade goes hand-in-hand with Morale. The Morale System is a separate concept from Grade. Think of Grade as knowledge and training to carry out tasks where Morale is the ability to carry out those tasks. A unit does not lose its knowledge or training in effect becoming dumber or untrained, but as its Morale changes, its ability to effectively execute tasks becomes more and more impaired. During a game, battlefield events affect a unit and its formation’s Morale. These can be singular events or an accumulation of losses that
basically render a unit/formation ineffective.
11) Is there was a point system for buying troops and tanks? A sort of balancing system, or is it purely historical from the scenario point of view?
Yes, The Panzer Miniatures Rules and each of the PaKs include tabular information detailing the point values for the troops, tanks, crew-served weapons and aircraft and when the units saw action in an easy to use chart. Each of the scenarios includes the point value information for the included units. The rules also include a detailed description of how to create your own scenarios utilizing the point values and the modifiers for such items as the type of scenario and unit grade. Thanks for your question.
12) What is the best map size for 1/285?
4x8 or 5x10 -- must leave room to reach the center of the table without disturbing the terrain.
13) How do you deal with walls and fences?
Stonewalls can certainly provide cover for leg, towed and vehicle units. For leg and towed units, I believe there needs to be a different level of cover whether the GP fire is crossing the wall and whether it’s
direct fire or indirect fire. With indirect fire one could determine if it is bursting in front of or behind a wall, but that's getting pretty complicated. You probably want to limit the cover to GP Direct Fire crossing a wall. Don’t forget about large and small towed units. For vehicles, I’d go with automatic hull down protection as opposed to a cover modifier. If the direct fire crosses the wall, the vehicle receives hull down protection. Now the issue of the height of the wall must come into play. I suggest using the five vehicle sizes (from “-2” to “+2”) as the gauge. For example, you could state in the scenario that the wall is of such height that it provides hull down for vehicles of sizes “-1” and “-2” only (short wall), or whatever limits you would like to utilize. With this approach, you can even have walls of various heights in the same scenario.