PanzerBlitz: Hill of Death reviews?

High Krausen

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Looks good, rules are poorly edited, I've not had a chance to play it yet, some have and posted on BGG and CSW, too early to tell, but the price is right
 

Michael Dorosh

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Looks good, rules are poorly edited, I've not had a chance to play it yet, some have and posted on BGG and CSW, too early to tell, but the price is right
CSW gives me a headache but I'll take a look at BGG. What prompts your comment on the rules editing, if you don't mind my asking?

Thanks for the reply.
 

Whizbang1963

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there have been easily 45 or 50 posts asking for clarification and such on CSW...The editors missed a lot of items. References to tables that don't appear in the manual and so on.
 

Swiftandsure

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I posted 2 series of questions on BGG : things are getting clearer.
PB HoD will be a nice game to play, when the rules´bugs will have been clarified.
 

Swiftandsure

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FYI, I put my Q & Darrel Emge's A on a thread of this forum.
 

DaveStory

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Now that I've given it a good 4 plays, I have had my fill. The game has the initial look-and-feel of the old PB, but the one major change (the chit mechanic) took away any chance of coordinated maneuvers - probably the most interesting aspect of the original series - and replaced it with a highly reactive and maladroit engine.

The majority of scenarios in this initial pack are a repetition of defender holding a couple of victory locations while the attacker starts a handful of hexes away. Move forward, shoot, yawn. However, this type of scenario might be a perfect fit for the chit-pull system; an amusing enigma.

Because the scenarios were not very engaging, and the chit mechanic restricts any compelling decision-making situations, I'm not sure if it will truly appeal to anyone other than the casual armchair wargamer.
 

Swiftandsure

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Hi Dave,
I have begun to set up scenario HOD1.
I would be interested about what answers you can (or did) give to my following questions :

All British ground units "Enter on Hex ####".
This is not a board edge hex, so units don't enter from offboard.
However, there are too much units to be placed all at the same time in the hex (there would be overstacking).

1) How does one proceed to place them / make them enter?

2) Is such entry only possible by drawing a Reinforcement chit?
If so, would that mean that, during Turn 1, the British player could draw several Op# chits without any effect, before able to draw the Reinf chit?

The scenario uses three different expressions about reinforcements.
What is the difference between :
- "Enter on Hex ####"
- "Enter at Hex ####"
- "Place in Hex ####"?
 

DaveStory

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We did have the Brits 'spawn' from the town hex in question, and ignored the stacking limit for their initial entry. If I remember correctly, having one of the waves of reinforcements enter from the edge of the map would make it impossible for the infantry to ever get into battle (since they cannot ride AFVS, and do not have carriers to bring them forward), so that was another reason we went with the literal interpretation of entering from the middle of the map.

There was a workaround to the chit-entrance issue, and I believe one of the SSRs had the Brits entering without chit pulls on the first turn...?

The 'enter at', 'enter on', etc, differences seem to be a lack of consistent rules-verbage and not subtle rules distinctions.
 

Swiftandsure

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We did have the Brits 'spawn' from the town hex in question, and ignored the stacking limit for their initial entry. If I remember correctly, having one of the waves of reinforcements enter from the edge of the map would make it impossible for the infantry to ever get into battle (since they cannot ride AFVS, and do not have carriers to bring them forward), so that was another reason we went with the literal interpretation of entering from the middle of the map.
Thanks.:)
What is strange, is that, for one of the German reinforcements, the scenario card specifically states thate overstacking must not be taken in account.
There was a workaround to the chit-entrance issue, and I believe one of the SSRs had the Brits entering without chit pulls on the first turn...?
Unfortunately, in HOD1, no such SN does give that type of precision.
The 'enter at', 'enter on', etc, differences seem to be a lack of consistent rules-verbage and not subtle rules distinctions.
The scenario cards are full of omissions and of approximations, I am afraid.:(
Even from one card to another, the display conventions vary (e.g. Air support is described at least three different ways).
There is mention, in HOD1, of a reinf chit only for one of the German reinforcements, for an example.
There is no consistency in the scenario card organization (having conventions would be quite a simple job to do IMO), and I don't want to do continuous guesswork.
In fact, I hate to do guesswork (especially when there are only 16 pages of rules), as I may guess wrong more often than right...:OHNO:

There are no simple examples of play, the rules are confusing and the tables are not organized the best way (e.g. the order of combat DRMs in their chart is not logical).
I think that PB HoD has interesting aspects, but that the initial bugs could scare many players away.:rolleyes:

I packed back my PB HoD setup, and shoved the box next to my other wargames... and set an ASL scenario at its place on my playing table.:angry:
 

Chaim628

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Now that I've given it a good 4 plays, I have had my fill. The game has the initial look-and-feel of the old PB, but the one major change (the chit mechanic) took away any chance of coordinated maneuvers - probably the most interesting aspect of the original series - and replaced it with a highly reactive and maladroit engine.

Because the scenarios were not very engaging, and the chit mechanic restricts any compelling decision-making situations, I'm not sure if it will truly appeal to anyone other than the casual armchair wargamer.
Hmm, I had the same issue with TDC where the chit drawing started to goggle up the game. :angry:
Interesting mechanic made to interact but too erratic. We should find a way to mitigate its effects
 

DaveStory

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We should find a way to mitigate its effects
The last game Dick Mitchell and I played, we decided to simply do away with the chit-pull and use the rest of the system as typical IGO-UGO. Although we had to improvise some (ie, the timing of artillery, rallying, etc.), we felt the game played out much better.

I packed back my PB HoD setup, and shoved the box next to my other wargames... and set an ASL scenario at its place on my playing table.
Likewise. Last Wednesday we played a PB scenario. This Wednesday, Dick requested to play (I think his words were) "a more stable and complete system" - aka, ASL.

However, since he wants to have a lighter game to play with his son, he is working on more interesting scenarios and refining of the PB ruleset - so I won't get rid of my PB box just yet...
 

Swiftandsure

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I won't get rid of my PB box just yet...
What I fear, is that many players could be discouraged about this "first try", which could lead MMP not to develop the "generic" (aka modular) version of PB2.
If there is a generic version, scenario rules can be crafted, that limit some of the randomness of the chit draws (as is the case in some of PB HoD scenarios, where the first Chit is defined).
Another fear is : will PB2 make its place next to well known games like Panzergrenadier (which is at the same scale, if I am not wrong)?

Just a final remark : we ASLers will never find PB as good as we would like...
When I look at the "good old" PB, my impression is even worse than for PB HoD (the 'panzerbush' tactic, which allows one to roll from wood hex to wood hex, through open ground, without suffering any defensive fire and without being spotted, is really a PITA)...:OHNO:
All that makes me keep PB in my collection is nostalgia.
But, frankly, I don't have anymore fun playing it, now that I have the depth and fun that ASL offers me...
At least, PB HoD has opportunity fire, step losses, more interaction than the classical IGO-UGO system and a 2d6 combat chart, with "Efficiency" introducing some notion of "Morale" in the game system...

So, if the fits and spurts of PB HoD are fixed properly, I still do hope it will develop in a nice "beer and pretzels" platoon level wargame.
 

Chaim628

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Played HOD8 twice. First with German assault right of the Hill, then on the high side of the hill.
- First a cautious German approach let to both PzIV out by the time the PzGren got into the orchards. British counterassault just added itself to the defenders and stalemate. Germans take only 2 Orchard hexes : British Victory. German losses : 2PzIV, 1PzGren. British Losses : 2 Mech Inf, 1 ATG
- Second session all out assault with Panzerblitz assaults in the first turn. Some good luck for the Germans and some positions taken right away. But then some slump and pretty much the same as the first session. Germans take 3 Orchard hexes : British Victory. German losses : none. British losses : 3 Mech Inf, 1 ATG.

Comments : Chit drawing crucial and erratic. Distruption is disrupting the flow as it reduces chances to move on and make some losses. Maybe should be allowed to recover in the same Phase.
 
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Comments : Chit drawing crucial and erratic. Distruption is disrupting the flow as it reduces chances to move on and make some losses. Maybe should be allowed to recover in the same Phase.
I might be wrong, but I think that disruption IS supposed to be disrupting the flow, hence the etymology of the term. :clown:

And by "same Phase" what exactly do you mean? Same operation? Meaning the same operation that you became disrupted? That doesn't seem much impairment to becoming disrupted at all, and does not allow the opponent to react to your change of status. Or do you mean same turn? Nothing prevents that. You can rally a unit on the same turn it was disrupted, as long as it's activated by another Operations chit. That's what the +3 is on "spent and disrupted markers", it means you must add three to your die roll to recover them on the same turn they became disrupted. Just because a unit is spent doesn't preclude him from being activated for recovery. And being activated for recovery does not leave a unit spent.

Within the scope of a turn, a unit in the old PB/PL was either disrupted or not. It did not recover until the end of the turn and was out of action for all obsensible purposes. In PB:HoD a unit can start the turn disrupted, be recovered by one operation, and then move or attack by another, all within the same turn. Coupled with the fact that you also have a chance of recovering on the same turn that you become disrupted, I would say that overall the game in it's present form is LESS restrictive in regards to the recovery and re-engagement of units than the original. In other words, disruption is, if anything, less...disruptive than in PB/PL.

The rub for you I might surmise is in utilizing the limited number of operation chits in an optimum manner, and perhaps the overall departure from the more chess-like IGO-UGO system. In the old system, you could plan attacks to the "T". Now you have to plan, hope, and pray.

As stated by a few others, the chit system in PB:HoD seems to run smoother than in the similarly scaled Panzer Grenadier, balancing some simulation of command and control with playability. As also noted by others, the game as presented has a number of similar scenarios wherein the enemy are on each other immediately and without manuever. I'm interested in seeing how the game system plays out in a more generic form, with geomorph mapboards depicting the open steps of Russia and the fields of France. I'm tentively liking this game, despite the rules problems (God help the poor bastards who don't read forums)...but I am witholding final judgement until these are available through either MMP or the player community.

R Generic
 
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Chaim628

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I might be wrong, but I think that disruption IS supposed to be disrupting the flow, hence the etymology of the term. :clown:
There is a difference between a unit being disrupted and a process. At one point almost all units were disrupted trying to get out of it. Could happen but with only 6 turns it was too much to get forward with the Germans.

And by "same Phase" what exactly do you mean? Same operation? Meaning the same operation that you became disrupted? That doesn't seem much impairment to becoming disrupted at all, and does not allow the opponent to react to your change of status. Or do you mean same turn? Nothing prevents that. You can rally a unit on the same turn it was disrupted, as long as it's activated by another Operations chit. That's what the +3 is on "spent and disrupted markers", it means you must add three to your die roll to recover them on the same turn they became disrupted. Just because a unit is spent doesn't preclude him from being activated for recovery. And being activated for recovery does not leave a unit spent.
I was wondering with what was being meant by not in the same Operation. I don't see how that can happen since it is an Enemy one, so do they mean the whole of the Operations, meaning the turn, or like you say, just your next Operation.

Within the scope of a turn, a unit in the old PB/PL was either disrupted or not. It did not recover until the end of the turn and was out of action for all obsensible purposes. In PB:HoD a unit can start the turn disrupted, be recovered by one operation, and then move or attack by another, all within the same turn. Coupled with the fact that you also have a chance of recovering on the same turn that you become disrupted, I would say that overall the game in it's present form is LESS restrictive in regards to the recovery and re-engagement of units than the original. In other words, disruption is, if anything, less...disruptive than in PB/PL.
To some extent, it is conditional now and with a +3 quite difficult.

The rub for you I might surmise is in utilizing the limited number of operation chits in an optimum manner, and perhaps the overall departure from the more chess-like IGO-UGO system. In the old system, you could plan attacks to the "T". Now you have to plan, hope, and pray.
Lot of praying it seems, planning becomes very difficult and so the whole operation becomes very reactive from both sides. A way to minimize this is to keep all your troops together, so at least there is just 1 or 2 surprises. Not ideal, the whole concept is very much in vogue but I have not seen it work to simulate command issues.

As stated by a few others, the chit system in PB:HoD seems to run smoother than in the similarly scaled Panzer Grenadier, balancing some simulation of command and control with playability.
Than I'm glad I never bought any of those...:(
 
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Than I'm glad I never bought any of those...:(

LOL I certainly wish I hadn't. Bought three modules hoping the game would improve in playability and scenario balance. Started conversing with some of the designers on the forums and realized that the majority of scenarios were barely playtested! A shame, it's the right scale and difficulty for introducing younger players to wargaming. Hoping PB:HoD will eventually fulfill that role.

R. G.
 

Portal

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Guys, from the tone of these posts and the info you're sharing, I'm getting the impression PB:HoD is a crappy release.

Are there redeeming aspects of this game that really make it worth getting over anything else out there at this platoon-level scale?
 

Swiftandsure

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Are there redeeming aspects of this game that really make it worth getting over anything else out there at this platoon-level scale?
I think that when the correct errata and clarifications will be published, PB2 is an interesting improvement over PB.
The Chit draw system is nice.
The rules of PB HoD are meant to cover the generic module.
If some illustrated game examples are added, and a form of "mini series replay", I think that redemption is possible.
The counter art is nice. Map art is OK.

Of course, this is a "beer and bretzel" game, not a sophisticated system as is ASL.
 

Portal

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Thanks for the input, Robin.

What about earlier posts that suggested the scenario design was a bit bland, one-dimensional, and boring?
 
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