Friday, December 01, 2006

WWII Miniatures Review - Mein Panzer

I first tried Mein Panzer at Fall In this year. I was sufficiently impressed with the demo that I bought the rules. The system is fast paced and produces reasonable results.

Mein Panzer is a squad level simulation of 20th century ground combat. Each unit is one vehicle, gun, or infantry squad. For micro-armor, the scale is 1 inch = 50 yards. The individual elements are grouped into platoons according to the correct TO&E. The core rules only cover armored combat, but the are "drop in" modules add things like Artillery, Infantry, Airpower, etc. The system is designed to allow players to adjust the complexity of the game to their tastes. There is also a basic set of rules that you can use the learn the system.

During a game turn, players alternate activating platoons. Each unit in a platoon can perform one of several actions when it activates, such as move, shoot, rally, overwatch. In addition, a unit in command can perform a bonus move, which is an additional move activation with some restrictions. Units that fire have to first hit their target, and if they do, then roll on the damage table. The To Hit roll is modified by things like firer status, target cover, target range, etc. If the firing unit scores a hit, you compare its Offensive Value with the target's Defensive Value, and then roll on the damage table. Possible results include kills, suppression, immobilization, and no effect.

Here are some typical unit values, using a Pz III J (special) as an example. It can move 4" per turn cross country, or up to 8" if you include the Bonus Move. Its offensive modifiers are +1 if stationary and -4 if it used its Bonus Move. It cannot fire on the move since it doesn't have a stabilized gun. The offensive value (i.e., penetration) of its 50L60 gun is 7 with regular AP ammunition and 13 with APCR. It has no size modifier, and its armor values are 6, 3, 5, 2 for front, side, rear, and top, respectively.

Now for a quick example of fire combat using the basic rules. Lets assume our Pz III is firing at a British Grant tank 20" away. German regulars have a TQ of 12, so the base to hit value is 12. The German tank is stationary, so its offensive modifier is +1. At 20" range, there are no range based modifiers. The Grant has a target size modifier of +1. Lets assume that its in the open and not moving, providing no other target based modifiers. The final to hit number is 12 +1 +1 = 14, so the German player must roll a 14 or less on a d20 to hit. Lets assume that he hits the Grant on its front armor. The OV for the Pz III J is 7, and the Grant's front armor is an 8. To find the effect of the shot, you would roll a d20 on the -1 row (7 OV - 8 DV) of the Kill Table. A 6 or less would kill the tank, 7-10 would result in some damage, and 11 or higher would result in no effect. If the panzer used APCR instead, he would be rolling on the +5 row (13 OV - 8 DV), which results in a kill on a roll of 16 or less. The APCR makes a big difference.

I like the rules a lot. The core game is very straight forward, and once you understand the basic rules, the advanced rules can be added on an as-needed basis. The combat results tables seem to be a bit deadly, but I think that forces the players to be a bit more crafty in how they maneuver their troops. The activation system works very well, and I do have to admit that I'm a big fan of alternating impulse systems. I have not tried any of the drop-in rules, and I'm looking forward to doing so. One final thing to consider, the game is easy to teach and plays very quickly. This is a great benefit when introducing new players or if you are interested in playing a large scenario. I would definitely recommend the rules set.