Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Panzerblitz Musings & Other Distractions

A while back I looked into the possibility of using GDW's popular "Team Yankee" for a miniatures rules set and was pleasantly surprised at both the simplicity, relative ease of play, and satisfying results.  Recently I have been thinking more and more on using Panzerblitz for my 1:4 ratio WWII games in miniature.  Rules have been on my mind alot lately, so bear with me.

Panzerblitz was a very special game for me.  It introduced me to operations research analysis, Jim Dunnigan (one of my personal heroes), and 1:4 scale games.  Besides its inherent faults (lack of opportunity fire, Panzer-bushing, etc) it was the perfect game at the time, and one where I exploited almost all that the rules themselves failed to cover [Dave F will remember me racing to the objective in a single stand 251/1 halftrack platoon with no dismounts using road movement.  Winning the game only because the rules didn't forbid what I specifically did.  Was it real victory?  Nope.  But did the rules say that I didnt' win???]  

Still though, Panzerblitz and its necessary spawns of Panzerleader and ArabIsraeliWars delivered.  A satisfying game, a chance to explore for the first time these magnificent machines and formations, and a chance to relive the epic battles that captured the imagination.

Panzerblitz, I believe, is the reason I have enjoyed playing GHQ's MicroArmour rules so much, and the combat systems are seamless, with GHQ (John Fernandes, actually) taking PB to the next level and restructuring them for the tabletop.  

That said, no game was as fast as Panzerblitz.  So I wonder what it would be like to actually use plastic and lead miniatures instead of cardboard counters?  Rulers instead of hexes?  Well everyone who knows me (or reads my blog) knows that if I'm writing about it now, I'm most likely going to attempt it soon.  I know it's been done before and there are some excellent rules mods out there on the internet already.  I would like to try theirs as well as playing the rules as-is before tinkering with the ground scale (which I already know I 'll have to do)

It's playing hell with my painting schedule but oh well :)  

Speaking of rules musings and distractions, does anyone have experience playing Eastern Funker's "Panzerfaust, Iron Fist" rules?  I am still in the infantry combat section of these very comprehensive rules and have been enjoying them thoroughly.  For "tactical" games where I want to game small unit tactics with lots of infantry and a handful of tanks, they are terrific and have a unique command and control system.  For larger games where I want to replay entire battles, a good 1:4 game is probably more appropriate - enter Panzerblitz!

Anyway that was on my mind.  I would be interested to know if anyone out there has tried this and what their experiences have been?

Panzerblitz is still a very popular game and MMP has published a new supplement called Panzerblitz: Hill of Death.  Tosasch miniatures also has a modern supplement out there which looks great.  A quick web search revealed a bunch of "home-made" modern counters with the full complement of NATO and Pact forces available for the aspiring (and cost conscious!) general.


  1. Started with The Arab-Israeli Wars but never got to play PB or PL. Loved the simplicity and have also thought about the conversion to the tabletop. Have you started on this?

    1. Troy,
      I messed around with one of the supplements I found online earlier today and found that some of the modifications in the supplement enabled the game to flow like the boardgame. Playing the game out of the box "as-is" doesn't work well for 15mm miniatures but would probably work well with 1-inch based microarmor and micro-infantry.
      The game was very enjoyable and I am looking forward to incorporating infantry into the mix.
      A few months back I took the Team Yankee rules and used them for miniatures and that turned out to be lots of fun. I think this has alot of potential. I can't wait to try it with Arab-Israeli Wars as well.

  2. Hiya! Yes, Panzer Leader was one of the first gamers I ever had, right behind Fronce 1940 and Battle of the Bulge. PL was my fav of the bunch. I'm considering using "World at War" from Lock n Load games, but its one of those project I'll probably never actually do. PB/PL moderns is probably a better idea.

    1. Hi Chuck,
      The Panzerblitz / Leader series of games were really great games. Took about 15 minutes to learn all of the rules and about half that time to teach them to someone else. I say it's a must-have for any wargamer's shelf!
      One of the reasons I want to do it in miniatures is the sheer simplicity of the game means WAY less time looking things up and more time attacking the enemy! Lock and load looks like a terrific game.

  3. Ah PanzerBlitz. Still have my copy sitting in the bookcase, I think it was the first military boardgame I ever owned. Further to "Panzerfaust Iron Fist" I have a hard copy of a fairly early version of these rules. I must admit I have never gotten around to looking at the PDF version linked on EF's blog to see how much they have changed, so my comments may not be entirely relevant. The first thing to say is they were hyper-detailed (which doesn't bother me that much as I gamed most actively in the era of Firefly, WRG, Ten Rounds Rapid, etc, etc). However, the thing I do remember being rather frustrated by was the lack of common underlying systems in the rules ie there seemed to be some kind of one-off procedure for just about everything - the total opposite of WRG. Probably the best thing about them was the highly detailed and extensive equipment lists.

    Cheers, Dave

    1. Thanks for commenting, Dave and I really appreciate your insight.

      I finished reading through the Panzerfaust Iron Fist rules last night. They are definitely hyper detailed, as you said. They are somewhat daunting to read through. I did like a few things about them. Namely the "pip" movement system and the infantry combat system, which were clever. I'm not quite sure I understood the close combat rules and will have to read through the rules a dozen or so more times until i get them.