Welcome to the training area, tankers! The big day is fast approaching, and before you know it, you’ll be in the thick of the action with your units. Over the last few weeks, we’ve covered all the basics of armoured combat, and the instructors tell me that you’ve all been revising and practising diligently between lectures. Now it’s time to get out into the field and put that knowledge to use. Mount up – we’re going on manoeuvres!

We’ve discussed lots of individual aspects of tank warfare previously, and looked at a few aspects of the battlefield in isolation, but here on the training area we’re dealing with a much more complete battlefield picture – complete with enemy infantry, tanks, and all manner of obstacles. Don’t worry – the explosions and gunfire you’ll hear today are only simulated, using blank cartridges and pre-sited pyrotechnics to get you used to the sights, sounds, and smells of battle so the real thing won’t seem so shocking, but the mission profiles you’ll be rehearsing are all based on real-world experiences from our tankers already in the field. Pay attention, Trooper Smith – you’ll need all the help you can get when you’re ordered to clear a village crawling with enemy tank hunters!

A generic mission map. “It’s a barren, featureless desert out there.” Naturally, actual mission maps will be far more detailed, with a recommendation of at least eight terrain pieces in a game, each of which has the capacity to conceal ambushers…

Naturally, all missions are arranged according to our standard military organisational chart at the planning stage – this lets you brief your crews and draw up an initial plan of action. Wherever possible, there will also be maps of your operating area, but sometimes you might find yourself fighting over a table that you’ve never seen before – or the maps might be off! By and large, however, all pre-mission briefs will contain a number of standard elements – your objective(s), for which you will be awarded Victory Points, the conditions under which you may bring on Reserves, and the length of time the mission is expected to last. Certain missions may also have unique conditions, which will also be outlined in the brief. In your Achtung Panzer! rulebook, you’ll find six ‘core’ missions – these represent classic tank engagements, some of which have even starred on the silver screen – but you can also use them as inspiration to create missions of your own!

It’s important at this stage to address a key concept in Achtung Panzer! – time! What is time? Well, let’s not get too metaphysical, but for gameplay purposes it’s a measure of how long the game lasts! Now, in battle, your perception of time can get a little… funky – you might think you’ve been fighting for hours, when in reality it’s only been a few minutes, or you might blink on Monday and open your eyes on Wednesday! We represent this with a simple mechanic in Achtung Panzer! – you’ll note the time tracker card. At the end of every game turn, roll a d6 – that’s how many minutes elapsed in that turn! When the mission time limit is reached, the game ends, and you check victory conditions to see who’s won – nice and simple! If you’re after fast, furious action, you can even roll 2d6 per turn for elapsed time, which is perfect for getting a few games in an afternoon!

The Action & Elapsed Time Tracker – in this example, 16 in-game minutes have passed.

With that tricky temporal topic touched upon, let’s look at one of the core missions to see what sort of things you can expect to come up against when you’re ‘over there’ with your units. We’ll use Mission 2: Block Clearing. This is a classic scenario for tankers, and one that can lead to plenty of sleepless nights if you aren’t fully prepared! One force must advance through dense terrain, crawling with enemy troops, clearing out buildings and woodblocks with high explosive shells and machine gun fire, while the other must stop them (and save their troops, if possible!). We can see a few things right away from the briefing sheet: Reserves are optional for both attacker and defender, the game will last for 45 minutes (of game time – remember, that’s not ‘real’ time!), and the victory conditions – the attacker gains 1VP for each piece of Ambush Terrain cleared at the end of the game, while the defender gains 2VP for each enemy tank destroyed, knocked out, or abandoned! This tells us what kind of game to expect – the attacker needs to husband their tanks while clearing as much terrain as possible, while the defender needs to get on the front foot and knock out enemy tanks quickly! Needless to say, the attackers will need to use their mobility to get around the table whilst managing the risk of taking hits to their more vulnerable side or rear armour, whilst the defenders must balance the availability of good defensive positions with the need to get forward an destroy the enemy as quickly as possible.

Each mission in the Achtung Panzer! rulebook is presented thusly, with clear and concise set-up, special rules and victory conditions.

As you can see, this isn’t a straight-up fight (that’s ably catered for by Mission 1!), but rather a genuine tactical engagement that will require skill and guile (and not a little luck) for either side to pull off a win. The variable nature of game time also means that no two playthroughs of this mission will ever be the same, even assuming you leave the terrain exactly in place between each game (and who does that?!), and the clever deployment of Asset and Event cards can have a huge impact, particularly as the attacker’s tanks will need to get in and amongst all that nasty Ambush Terrain! See how all those hours of practice and study come together when the battlefield’s laid out in front of you? Now, mount up, start up, and let’s run through this operation. We’ll do it half-speed first, and remember – we’re all on the same side here, so play fair – save your nasty tricks for the enemy! We’ll be out in the field for a few days, so I hope you packed extra socks. When we get back to camp, we’ll be going over an essential part of any commander’s job – force selection and composition!

A dash of HE will clear that strongpoint, all right.

The game’s afoot, tankers. Attackers, you will go on my first whistle…

Blood & Steel!

Command a platoon of armoured vehicles on the battlefields of World War II in Achtung Panzer!

The Blood & Steel starter set contains highly detailed plastic tanks for British and German forces, plastic ruined scenery and a host of event and asset cards add further atmosphere and jeopardy to your games. The rulebook explains how to recruit your crew, select your tanks, assault guns or armoured cars and introduces a campaign system that allows your crew to progress after each encounter and your tanks to be upgraded to be more effective in the next battle.

Missions are close-quarter engagements between opposing armoured vehicles on battlefields dominated by buildings, ruins, woods and other terrain – battles are close and deadly firefights!

The player who best exploits the strengths of their tanks and crews, who plans their movement carefully and uses the terrain to their advantage will prevail – will your tactical prowess and the fighting aptitude of your tank crews win the day?

Rules, Cards & Tokens Supply Drop

Already own a veritable horde of tanks? Jump straight into the action with the Achtung Panzer! supply drop. This awesome, great-value, Warlord Webstore-exclusive bundle nets you the rulebook, essential tokens, and every single tank Data, Ace, Ace Skill, Asset, and Event card produced for the game’s launch!

With this supply drop your late-war British, US, German and Soviet forces will have everything they need to do battle on the Achtung Panzer! tabletop!

  1. Looks like a good mix of AP and HE might be required, so some role for the 75s over 76s!
    And I’ll add my early endorsement of the time tracking. If this works out I can see it being stolen for other games.

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