TITLE: Achtung Panzer! Fast Play WWII Rules for N Scale
AUTHOR: Ben King
PUBLISHER: Small War (Note: May be out of print, no longer listed on distributor’s web site.)
PUBLICATION DATE: Unknown
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
PRICE (with date): $18.00 (in 2008)
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: World War II
Achtung Panzer is a comb-bound book of 33 pages. It has a color cover and black and white interior. The rules occupy 20 pages, army lists, charts and templates the rest. There is neither a table of contents nor index, but the rules are laid out in sequence of play order. In general there are few examples and no diagrams of play. There is a detailed Play Sequence chart with extensive notes provided.
SCOPE: Achtung Panzer! covers all of World War 2 from 1939 to 1945. It includes the Japanese but not the Chinese, and covers many minor nations.
ARMY SIZE: Not stated.
BASE UNIT: The base unit in AP is not defined. However army lists and data are at the platoon level.
- Ground Scale: 1” = 50 Yards
- Time scale 1 turn = 15 minutes
- Figure/Base Ratio 1 infantry figure = 4 men, ratios for equipment and vehicles vary
- Recommended Figure Size: 10mm / 1:144 / N Scale
- Table Size: None stated
- Game Length: Most games should be playable in one evening
Only infantry and cavalry have specific basing sizes. Vehicles are unbased and crew served weapons should fit the base. Given base sizes are:
- Infantry: 3/8” width and 3/4” depth per figure
- Cavalry: 5/8” Width per figure and 1” depth per figure
- Initiative: Both players roll percentile dice. The high roller must move first.
- The Movement Phase: The player who won initiative moves his forces first, followed by his opponent.
- Indirect Fire Phase:
- Direct Fire Phase:
- Close Support Aircraft Phase:
- Infantry Weapons Phase:
- Close Combat Phase:
- Morale Phase:
Movement: Movement in Achtung Panzer! (AP) is quite detailed. In addition to different movement rates for terrain, unit type etc., certain movement tasks are accounted for separately. Actions represent part of a turn though I could not find a definition for how many actions comprise a turn, now was there an example. Actions include digging on, emplacing a weapon, crossing a hedgerow and cutting barbed wire.
Movement: As one would expect, each unit must be in a specific formation (line, column or square). Further, groups of units should maintain a Combat Deployment. The Combat Deployment will determine the most important modifiers for combat. Combat Deployment is limited by the army’s tactical doctrine.
Charges and Support Charges are also part of movement. A Charge is simply movement that ends with enemy units in base-to-base contact. A Support Charge is made after all normal movement is completed, and allows a player to protect one unit with another. The remainder of the rules are simple enough covering wheeling, formation changes, terrain costs, etc.
Morale Rating: The combat effectiveness of units in Shako is called their Morale Rating. Each casualty reduces their Morale Rating by one. Once they have been reduced to an MR of zero the unit is considered Broken. Broken units are removed from play.
Artillery Fire: Artillery is a powerful weapon in Shako, and can inflict a significant number of overall casualties during a battle. Shako distinguishes two kinds of artillery fire, long range using Ballshot and close range using Canister. Artillery fire operates in a Beaten Zone.
The Ballshot Beaten Zone is represented by the farthest half of the gun’s range. Every target in the Beaten Zone is attacked when a battery fires. For every eligible target a die is rolled. If the result is greater than the target’s strength it is Staggered. If the die roll exceeds the firing units Kill Number, the enemy unit suffers a Kill result. A unit may suffer Staggers and/or Kills from the same fire. A Kill reduces the target’s Morale Rating by one.
Fire Combat: Ranged combat comes in two varieties: Skirmish fire and Volley fire. Both work in roughly the same way. Fire operates against an area. A die is rolled for each target in the firing unit’s range. If a 5 or 6 is rolled, a hit is scored. On the closest target the first hit is a kill. All other hits are Staggers. Skirmishers have a 45 degree fire arc - volley fire must be straight ahead. Note that Skirmish fire is resolved first, so a unit could be eliminated by skirmish fire before having a chance to fire itself.
Melee: Melee is resolved through an opposed die roll. The Morale Rating of the involved unit is added to a die roll and a short list of modifiers. Modifiers include having supported flanks, terrain etc. The higher roll wins. The loser retreats and suffers kills equal to the difference in the die rolls. Melee is obviously deadly as the best units can only take 6 kills total!
Large Battles: Shako may also be used for larger battles. The base unit becomes a division which are grouped into corps. Most of the rules mechanisms remain the same with some exceptions:
- Skirmish fire and volley fire are combined with melee into a single mechanism. The procedure remains the same, although the list of modifiers changes with the new scale.
- Light Infantry units and skirmishers are reflected in a pre-combat procedure. Each unit has a Divisional Skirmish Rating (DSR). The unit with the higher DSR rolls for hits against the enemy with the first hit being a stagger and the remainder being kills. One die is rolled for each point of difference in the DSR.
The rule book includes one scenario - Waterloo - as well as army lists for several major nations. There are no lists for Spain.
Also included is a short appendix adapting the rules for the Seven Years War, including rules changes and army lists.
Shako is a very easy read - clear and unambiguous. There are numerous examples of each mechanism and simple black and white charts where required. As with any set of rules there will probably arise some situations not covered or where there may be differing interpretations of the rules, but in the main these are very clean.
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