Hexing: Panzer General Online Open Beta Deployed

By Alice O'Connor on May 7th, 2014 at 7:00 pm.

Nyoooom!

In the vain hope of whipping Team RPS into a lean, mean, organised video game words-writing machine, I have instituted use of collaboration software. We have a nice big virtual pinboard covered in useful notes like “Panzer General Online enters open beta,” under which we can write insightful comments such as “Is it any good? Does anyone care? I have no idea.” But is it, and do you? I genuinely don’t know. Be a pet and sign up then let us know, won’t you? (Hot insider gossip: Alec’s first post on the board was a picture of the Chuckle Brothers.)

People would surely be interested in a new Panzer General in the style of Strategic Simulations’ original turn-based strategy trilogy from the ’90s, but that’s not what we’re looking at here. Blue Byte’s Panzer General Online is digital deck-building board game, with two sides warring across an 8×3 hex grid and cards giving special orders and abilities. It’s also a free-to-play browser game.

“Gasp shock horror how dare they” and all that, but F2P browser games aren’t inherently bad. PGO has a store selling extra cards and the ‘supply’ energy that lets you play battles. How much fun one can have without paying (or paying too much) will be key. Were Ubisoft sensible it’d give Hearthstone a good hard look.

You, dear reader, can now consider yourself a deputised RPS Game Cadet tasked with the important mission of telling your fellow cadets about Panzer General Online. Right after you’ve watched the launch trailer:

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14 Comments »

  1. Stellar Duck says:

    “People would surely be interested in a new Panzer General in the style of Strategic Simulations’ original turn-based strategy trilogy from the ’90s[...]”

    I used to think that I was and then I played Unity of Command and then replayed PG2 and realised that it wasn’t all that good.

    Besides, I think Panzer Corps does much the same as PG did, if anyone wants that experience.

  2. Lykurgos says:

    There is of course, a new Panzer General in the style of Strategic Simulations’ original turn-based strategy trilogy from the ’90s = Panzer Corps, published by Slitherine / Matrix :-)

    http://panzer-corps.com/

  3. Hunchback says:

    Ubisoft…

    The other day i saw a “new” F2P tactical shooter, the Tom Clancy Ghost Recon Something (or something like that). Having never heard of it, i started the DL while checking vids on youtube. Seemed interesting enough to try.
    DL finished, launched the game and saw an Ubisoft launcher, asking me to create a free UbiWhatever account. Closed it, deleted the game.

    Guess no one cares about that, but later on i thought about the experience and what it means for Ubisoft. *ponder*

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      This same thing happened to me, only the ubi launcher crashed as I was trying to close it. Ha.

    • basilisk says:

      You were surprised that a F2P game asked you to create an account? Seriously?

      • Smoof says:

        Probably more along the lines that it was Ubisoft.

        I’m not much of a fan of Ubi, but UPlay has come a long way from what it used to be. It’s still not great, but it doesn’t get in the way as much as it used to; thus some of the hate is undeserved.

    • Baines says:

      Even if it had worked, the f2p Ghost Recon allegedly turns into pay-to-win after a few levels.

      A shame, as the game itself looked good. TotalBiscuit even liked it in his WTF Is. But then again, developer interviews had already flagged warning signs long before the game was offered in any playable state.

      • SirTickleWorth says:

        I played GRO since beta and I must say that I never felt more or less capable of killing my fellow hi-tech men. In what manner does it feel P2W? All guns are potent(indeed some slightly more than others, but enough to not matter that much) and with good use of the device and cover you can pull off good chain-kills with any class.

        And on the topic of Ubi’s launcher and accounts. It’s a F2P game so it will require some sort of registrtion so it can, you know, save your progress. Personally the launcher worked fine but one complain would be the slow-downloading patches.

        • plsdeleteme says:

          You can. But you are always at a disadvantage as it takes ages (and I literally mean ages) to unlock stuff in this game. And “stuff” means “power” in this game.

          While weapons are somewhat balanced (later tier weapons are stronger, although only slightly so. Except the P90 (WAR) which is just op) higher ranked/paying players also have other advantages including: more health, more armor, faster health regeneration, their abilities recharge faster and have a higher range. Also they have no problems earning enough ingame currency (due to there being an subscription service that gives you 100% boosts to xp/currency as well as removing the need for repairs) to afford to buy grenades, magnum ammunition (20% damage boost) as well as pay for armor repairs.
          Good luck trying to do that as a f2p player. You are basically stuck with your started gear unless you are willing to spend hundreds of hours being stomped by fixed teams in the god-awful matchmaking that only knows draws and rofl-stomps.

          Seriously, it’s a money-sink cash-grab that was never intended to be a free2play game. The f2p tag is just there to lure players in. It has never been intended to be a enjoyable experience for f2p gamers. It’s one of those “you can play it for free but your experience will to a large part be miserable” games. And that shows in player numbers. After playing for a few hours you start to recognize that you meet the same people again and again. I doubt all too many players continue after the “newbie” phase has ended and they are thrown in the mix with more experienced players. It’s exciting at first but the longer you play the more you come to notice all the bullshit that went into it’s design.

          Just. Don’t. Bother. Playing.

  4. GentlemanRaptor says:

    Okay, first impressions time: It sure as hell isn’t the old Panzer General.

    With that gripe out of the way, here’s how the game plays. You expend “Command Points” to play cards to order units. Players start with around ten Command Points. Different cards may order different types of units, or different numbers of units, or your whole front line, for example. As orders are played, the cost to play them again increases. Once you empty your starting hand, or before then, you can expend one command point to shuffle your deck and draw a new hand. There are three “lanes”, composed of tiles, but units may switch position to any tile on your side of the board. An ordered unit may move, switch places with another unit, or attack, but can only do one of these per turn. Units advance automatically at the conclusion of every turn, unless the opposing player plays a card that stops this (called Special Forces, iirc). Once units are at the center line, they cannot advance further. For attacking, units have several values: their damage against “soft” targets (infantry, motorized infantry, motorbikes, etc), their damage against “hard” targets (tanks, tank destroyers, etc) and their “counter-attack” damage against each of these types. Their base damage stat tells how much damage they will deal to a target of that type, while their counter-attack stat tells how much damage they will deal in return if a target of that type attacks them. Units in the row behind the frontline “support” attacks, by attacking the target of the frontline unit’s attack with their relevant attack stat. Long-range units attack with random damage up to their max against the type of unit they are targeting. Victory is achieved by either destroying all of an opponent’s units or reducing their command points to zero. This can be done by means of attacking a series of bunkers, which are midway up each side of the board. Clearing the enemy away from the frontline allows these bunkers to be attacked. However, players can replenish their command points with a “Resupply” order. In addition to command points, players can use “Elite Stars”. Don’t worry, this isn’t a premium currency. Certain cards or certain units will grant you these stars, and you can then use them to play more powerful order cards, such as “Sabotage”- which deals 2-5 command points of damage to the enemy General. There are also air attacks, and a premium currency, but I haven’t got that far yet or unlocked the premium store. So far, I’ve been enjoying it, but I haven’t hit the paywall yet. Check it out. It’s worth at least a few minutes of your time.

    (apologies in advance for poor formatting)

    • DatonKallandor says:

      This sounds lot like that famous World War 2 boardgame. What with the different lanes and unit orders being based on cards that only order specific things. Memoir 44?

  5. Opellulo says:

    I remember spending an insane amount of time with People’s General; it switched from WWII to Modern Warfare before it was cool. These card-based timesink really don’t appeal to me; but I think a modernized PBEM format (linked with some social stuff) could be a good way to revamp the old strategy formula.

  6. Kevashim says:

    “PGO has a store selling … the ‘supply’ energy that lets you play battles.”

    Well, I’m out.