Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Panzer Command - Nothing Quiet on the Ostfront

You can argue that Panzer Command Ostfront (PCO) will not win any awards for its looks ... But there is more than polygons and textures in this massive tactical war game.

Despite heavy AT fire, a Russian T-34 attempts to join a botched thunder run in the town of Niemirow.
I played the first scenario that the game's single battles menu threw at me. Quite interesting setup: I played the Germans defending the town of Niemirow with a mix of infantry and (half-assed) Pak 36s against a blitz of Russian tanks supported by infantry.

I intended to write an AAR about this battle but in the interest of time and of not spoiling the scenario for you, I will post just some screenshots and notes about the game and the scenario itself.

Infantrymen: you are not to be massacred in close terrain. Infantry in PCO is abstracted, meaning that the pixel troops you see in the screen are just a representation of a squad's position, strength,cover, concealment and posture. The German squad in the screenshot above had enough abstracted cover and concealment to survive the seemingly direct line of fire from the BT7 Russian in the background. The German squad eventually knocked out the tank, as you can see.

I placed my AT guns deep in the town, overlooking the most likely avenues of approach. The scenario features a battlefield that is roughly 1 square kilometer and it was hard to make choices for the best AT gun positions. I ended up with a thin line of guns. To make matters worse, I couldn't figure out how to reposition these during the battle.

The Russians closing onto Niemirow. The Russian infantry got suppressed and bailed out to remain pinned in the open, while the tanks pressed onto the town. My AT guns were placed deep in the town and the marauding Russian tanks got into a dicey situation. German combat engineers hidden in the houses proved lethal to the Russian iron beasts.
A panoramic view of the battlefield. Niemirow is located in a small depression around the center. The blue flags are victory location. The Russians attacked from the far background
I earned a "legendary victory". My troops repelled the Russian attack, knocking out 15+ tanks to the loss of 2 AT guns and a few infantry casualties. Part of my victory is just pure luck: most of the Russian tank losses were BT7s. Just when the things were getting hotter than what I expected (a few hard-to-knock-out T34s closing in), the bell rang.


Max from Italy said...

First of all thanks for this AAR. SOo would you somehow recomend this game? I played its predecessor, and was not too impressed, cos the environment was not destrucyible and you could shoot with a tank to a group of soldiers hidden in an house and this house could actually give cover for such a long time cos the structures and the terrain were never demolished. From what I read it is the same in this new chapter? can you confirm? Thanks again for your helpful posts.

Anonymous said...

I'm currently playing the same scenario and having a blast. I love the way they have developed this series (I have the previous two titles). Being a east front not I feel like I'm reliving some of my best moments from Combat Mission Barbarossa to Berlin.

Anonymous said...

Excellent screenshots. I would ask though that you do indeed take the time (and don't worry about spoilers) to do an in-depth AAR. Some of us who are comtemplating purchasing this game would appreciate it.


Jomni said...

My biggest problem about the game system is that WEGO takes so much of my time! Pace is slow for a tactical game. I realized I prefer Real Time or Turn Based for this scale. WEGO was good during the Combat Mission days though.

Jomni said...

Sorry... Just to add PCO has lots of content in it and is worth the price if you like WEGO tactical games.

JC said...

Thanks for your comments!
A new AAR will be coming soon ... I'm just too busy with the day work. :(