The big lesson of the Ghost Panzer tank combat scenario is that moving and shooting just isn’t going to happen. If you’re in one of those massively well-armored T34’s, then you’re going to fail your proficiency check on the turn you’re moving into position. So you wait. The next turn, you’d like to be able to hit a German tank so you stay still. Making you something of a sitting duck. Even then, due to the low-initiative nature of the Russian tank crews, you still have less than a 50/50 chance to take a shot– because the Germans are going to be on the move.
On the other hand, being a sitting duck is not such a bad deal when you’re a Russian. The solid front armor of the T34 tanks are pretty much better protection than anything else you can do. So you line up, hang back, and wait for the Germans to come to you. This is a simple scenario where the winner is the person that kills the most tanks– and the Russians win ties. So they can afford to let the Germans come to them.
The German Panzers are pretty awesome, though. They’re slow and lightly armored in comparison. But they shoot a lot. And critically, their crews have about a 50/50 chance of being able to take a shot while on the go. And the Panzer IV has a gun on it that very nearly ignores even the best armor.
Now… I’ve played this scenario by the numbers and I’ve played it with absolutely no idea about any sort of sane strategy. I have to say… it was fun trying to play this “wrong.” Tanks were scattered all over the board and facing every direction. Germans would position themselves just out of my firing arc so that I’d have to take a -1 to proficiency when I had to change facing. It was an absolute nightmare of carnage and destruction and not a great day for the motherland.
I’ve wanted a playable tank game for a long time. Certainly, whatever it is that miniatures players tend to do is way too complicated for my table. This is just right. In Ghost Panzer, a tank that is shot by another tank is either dead or (more rarely) probably dead. The tanks are described fully by weapon, armor, movement, and proficiency values– in such a way as to encourage players to rediscover their nation’s doctrine. And the only thing that is even close to being confusing in the rules is the terrain modifiers and line of sight stuff.
Especially with the new “Remastered” edition here, you’ve got a MicroGame level of rules density combined with the sort of game components people expect from a contemporary board game. Even better, you’ve got everything you need to blitz Russia!
If you are looking to branch out from euro games and role-playing games and into historical wargames, this is one that is liable to give you a great deal of bang for the buck. Like everything else Jim Krohn has designed, it’s engineered to give you a great deal of flavor and nuance from a relatively small number of “almost invisible in actual play” type rules. Check it out!