Playing Achtung Panzer

About a week ago, we arranged a game of the new Achtung Panzer game at our local wargames club. Several club members were interested in seeing how the rules worked, so our table ended up with four players plus a games master (myself). I had initially intended to play, but my friend Chris K (of the WS&S Podcast fame) couldn't make it.

Achtung Panzer is primarily a tank-on-tank game. While there are elements that simulate the effects of infantry and anti-tank weapons, these are reflected in the event cards used in the game, rather than physical models on the table. There is also a clever mechanism where some terrain features are marked as 'ambush terrain'. Each section has to be cleared in order that event cards (such as infantry popping up with a PIAT) cannot be played from them.

I had four players to contend with, so while the event cards do add to the game, they'd just be an extra mechanic to explain. Therefore I chose to ignore the cards for speed of play, so marking 'Ambush Terrain' also became unnecessary. We used whatever terrain was available at the club, although I told the players I felt we could have done with more. Line of sight and cover does play an important role in the game, I didn't want it to be a turkey shoot as the Axis guns outranged the Allies.

We roughly balanced out the Allied and German forces. The Germans, played by Joe and James, had two Tiger 1s and two Panthers. Facing them were the allied Alex (US) and David (Britain) players: The US player had a Pershing, a Hellcat and a standard Sherman 75mm. The British player had a Firefly, Cromwell and a Sherman 75mm. The Germans had better crews.

The game is a slow burner. A turn consists of three phases; in each phase, a tank may move and perform one action (such as loading a shell, spotting an enemy, aiming, etc.). Players can risk a snapshot or choose to wait another phase to get that all-important aimed shot. As such, not a lot happened in the first few turns of our game as the two sides closed, but once the players became more confident with the mechanics, then all hell broke loose.

The damage system is clever. If a shot connects, it can possibly hit the track, the hull or the turret. A good shot can knock a tank out, but usually, a hit will either 'bounce' or cause minor damage. However, those minor damages add up, get three and the vehicle is destroyed.

Joe remarked: "It’s amazing what taking out a Sherman with a side armour shot can do to your mood. It certainly was close and I’d have happily taken that game as a draw tbh… we did have the heavy armour…"

David said: "More terrain (as Guy pointed out) would have forced more movement, which would have been good. Fielding 10 tanks was also ambitious - great for introducing the game to more people, but 4 or 5 tanks is probably ‘pace-ier’. For simplicity we also left out the event cards and etc - in a smaller game I think they introduce a lot of fun because of the ‘randomness’ of effects they cause. And yet - it was very good fun." 

I kept Chris K updated via Messenger so he knew how the game was progressing. He sent some funny comments back on the photos, so it was too good not to repost it here.

Leave a comment

Related Posts