Panzer General: Allied Assault Susan Taylor 22 October, 2009 Arcade Games, Features, Game Reviews Storyline Panzer General Allied Assault follows the last two years of World War II. It is June 1944 and America has joined the Allies in the war against Germany. It is up to you to gather your troops and march across the battlefields to defeat your opponent. You will take the beaches of Normandy, fight for victory in the Battle of the Bulge and seek to take control of strategic German cities in Operation Lumberjack. Gameplay If you loved Magic: The Gathering, than this is the next game for you to buy. Panzer is a strategical card game played on top of a board game setting. The object of the game is to commander a large unit of troops across the board to defeat your enemy. As this is a strategy game you really need to concentrate on thinking tactically, as one wrong move could cost you the lives of your men. There are three game types for you to choose from – Campaign, Skirmish and Multiplayer. The campaign is your basic singleplayer mode as you work through the story of the war up to it’s end. Skirmish gives you control over what map you play, which faction and side you play on and even the objectives for the game. Multiplayer is what it says on the tin, online gameplay with others. It is clear from the start that Petroglyph Games have put a lot of thought into how they would set up Panzer. With an in-depth “How to Play” system and a tutorial that is very easy to understand, this game can be easily picked up and enjoyed by gamers who are new to this genre. I personally found Magic: The Gathering, to be a bit overwhelming, but Panzer has given me the chance to get my teeth into a decent card-based strategy game that has clear and concise instructions on how it is meant to be played. “Prestige” is the currency of the game, which is can be earned by taking over neutral/enemy tiles (which is rewarded to you at the end of your turn) and destroying enemy units. Prestige is used to buy new cards to add to your hand. You are given four new cards at the beginning of each turn and may hold as many cards in your hand as you like, but you cannot purchase new cards once you are holding ten. There are two types of cards that you can hold, Ability Cards (Action and Combat) and Unit Cards. Unit Cards hold the key to game, without access to your troops you would have no chance in beating your foe. Units range from light infantry to heavy artillery. Each card has important information about your Unit; it’s health, defense, attack and any special support bonuses they offer the rest of your troops. Action Cards can only be used during your main turn and not during combat. They require you to select a specific target on the board depending on it’s action. For example, you may want to call in a bombardment to destroy an enemy unit that has taken hold of a town you need. Combat Cards can only be used during combat and never your main turn. You can use as little or as many combat cards as you please during combat, just thinking carefully about your choices. Before each game you are given a mission briefing and objectives that need completing. Most games have more than one objective, but you do not have to complete them all to win the round. In fact, all you need to do is complete ONE objective to win. The game begins with each person setting up their units onto the board and each player takes a turn to begin moving their troops across the map to achieve their goals. Combat arises when a unit is adjacent to an enemy and the decision is made to attack that enemy. This is where you can now use your combat cards to influence how the battle goes. Panzer has a very useful combat display at the top of the screen that shows the health, attack and defense values for the two units locked in combat. This game also goes one step further and shows you the potential values if you use X, Y or Z combat card. So instead of a unit being able to retreat, you can select the correct card to use and the display will update to “Unit Will Die.” Once your combat card selection is done, you are then given a chance to sacrifice any card from your hand to further increase your attack or defense values. You may think you have the upper hand in combat with an attack of 20 versus your enemy’s defense of 10 and health of 5 – But if your enemy then sacrifice a card which increases it’s defense to 15 and you’ve not increased your attack power, than you have wasted a whole turn as you will not damage your enemy at all! So think wisely and seal their defeat by picking the right card to sacrifice in the moment of need. Don’t think it’s over yet, there is one last aspect to combat that can be the make or break of your attack and that is the die roll. Once you’ve played your combat cards and sacrificed a card a single die is rolled, with a range from -2 to +3, which is then added/removed from the attack value. I was all prepared for a unit to die, but with the roll of the die my enemy’s attack value was decreased by 3 points and my men lived to see another battle. Another great aspect of this game’s combat system is the supporting unit structure. For example, if you have a group of Paratroopers trying to destroy an enemy tank (which would be impossible to do alone), any of your units that are within range (tanks, artillery etc) are able to take part in the combat and increases the attack value, working in your favour. This means that placing your units around the board randomly is a bad idea – You need to think tactically! Once you have successfully destroy an enemy unit, you are given the choice to either gain a certain amount of Prestige or to take that amount from your opponent. You are also faced with the decision of advancing forwards onto the tile where you enemy just stood. Sometimes it is in your advantage to move onwards and take it over, but if your enemy wasn’t defeated and merely retreated back than you may be in for some trouble. There is a section for you to customise your deck (which feeds the hand you hold), but the system itself is quite confusing and Panzer has lost a few points from me here. As you progress through the Campaign you unlock new cards to use and, if you’re anything like me, you want to give those new cards a test-run on the battlefield… Good luck finding them! Graphics As this game is an Arcade game, don’t go expecting mind-blowing graphics with top-notch cinematics, because there aren’t any. None of this take away from the game itself as, to be fair, Panzer is a board game and I don’t think you could really make the game look anymore like a board ‘n card game than it already does. Each map is based on famous battles and battlefields from World War II and although they aren’t exactly picture-perfect, they are interesting nonetheless and the terrain tiles match the terrain of that location. Panzer is a very colourful 3D game which doesn’t have cringe-worthy pixel in sight. Audio The musical score is very similar to what you would hear in other movies and games based around World War II, big brassy sounds and notes that inspire you to battle onwards to victory! Sounds effects include troops shouting commands such as “Return fire!”, the sound of the waves, a seagull flying above, planes overheard and the sound of gunfire off in the distance. It’s the small details like this that really get you into a game and I am glad great attention was paid to this. Overall Score & Replayability Panzer General: Allied Assault is a highly addictive game if you’re the type of gamer who loves a) card games b) strategy games and c) World War II games. With a very steep learning curve, even the novices of this genre can pick this up for 800MS points and enjoy the pleasures of taking down their foe through their mind alone. Be sure to try out the multiplayer side of Panzer as well, especially if you’re an achievement whore looking to get a few new points to their name! It is a shame that this game can be fully completed in a very short amount of time and has very little replayability within the single player mode and unless new maps are released (highly unlikely) than even the multiplayer mode will soon grow repetitive and tiresome. That being said, if you’re looking for a nice little game to get addicted to for the meantime, definitely give this game a go. Shin00bie Have to agree with the comments about deck-building being a pain, but otherwise I am loveing this game like Patton loves Tanks.