New player needs help with tactics/strategy

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valmont
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New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by valmont » Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:21 am

Can anyone point me to some good material on beginner strategy for Panzer Corps? This is my first wargame and I lack knowledge of war tactics. I have the base game and I also bought Afrika Corps. I guess I am looking for a strategy guide which explains the hows and whys of moving units in a particular order, who should be out in front, etc. I find that I am confused about where to position my different units and I end up having them all mashed together which I know is probably not a good thing.

Thanks for any suggestions!

KeldorKatarn
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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by KeldorKatarn » Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:22 am

Phew big subject. While not being the most experienced player here I guess I can give you the basics...

In front should be the units with the best defensive values of course, but you also have to look out for the terrain. Usually your best defensive units will be tanks (at least mid campaign, early tanks are not so tough) and anti tank units. In close terrain like forests or cities your infantry is better holding the ground however, since tanks would get mauled in there when infantry attacks them. Then these units should be covered by artillery if possible. if you can't cover everything, cover the most vulnerable positions. The AI will either not attack those at all or take heavy losses in the process.

When attacking, try to hit harder to kill units with artillery and/or air first to supress some the unit. The UI will indicate how much supression is going on. If you don't know where I'm sure you'll find that in some thread here with good screenshots. If you need to attack with more than one unit to kill an enemy unit, don't let all artillery fire at once, spread it out. Supression only lasts until the next regular attack, so if you put all artillery fire before the first attack, the second attack will have to face the full remaining strength. better to have some more artillery left to do some more supression then.

When moving forward, try to move in a way that you can support your units with artillery but also end up in a good defensive posture for the enemy turn. Getting this right will take some experience.

As for defensive postures, do not put too many units in one large ball. Make use of zone of control (very important to understand, look that up). It allows you to maintain gaps in your line which allows you to build a wider front line and more importantly, keep gaps in the line your units can retreat into if they should get overwhelmed. if they don#t have those gaps they can be forced into a surrender. this is especially important when approaching a position that is supported by artillery and/or fast moving units.

In general: Try to keep a 1 artillery per 2 infantry/tank units balance. if you have 6 tanks/infantry, have 3 artillery to support them. you can have additional units like recon, anti-tank, pioneers or whatever, but your main front troops should have this artillery balance in your core.otherwise you won't have the necessary cover and offensive support and you'll take too many losses. Also don't be too offensive with your fighter aircraft. They are not just for destroying the enemy air force. They are primarily for defending your forces, bombers and ground units from enemy air attack. Especially against better or outnumbering air forces, a defensive stance can mean the difference between winning or losing your entire air force.

And as a last rule of thumb: Prefer killing one unit to damaging two. if you cannot kill a unit, try ending your turn with at least one, better two or three units adjacent to it (an air unit directly above counts into this), so it cannot fully reinforce its strength in its turn. Also.. if you cannot detroy a unit adjacent to you, but you might get one more attack in... make sure that attack will NOT cause that unit to retreat unless you can follow it in the same turn. if it retreats and you cannot follow, you have no units adjacent anymore and it can completely reinforce. Rather not do any damage at all this turn and wait for the next one to completely destroy it.

In general the most important aspects to learn first are: How does zone of control work? How do I use artillery and air effectively? What units are good on what terrain? To understand those mechanics should be your first priority.

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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by El_Condoro » Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:21 am

Hi valmont - welcome to the forum! :)

There are many aspects to playing the game - it's one of those, 'easy-to-play-hard-to-master' ones. The way that I learned Panzer General 2 - which taught me the basic principles for Panzer Corps - was to play games against human opponents. You can play against the AI to learn the basics, but the more advanced (or even commonly regarded as standard) tactics come by watching the replays of other players. Get into a Multi-player game or two and ask questions, watch and imitate the good moves. It's a start but maybe advertise you're a new player and let the other guy decide if he wants to tutor you. :)

As has been said, it's a big topic and the best tactics will vary from situation to situation. Plenty of guys here on the forum will be happy to help you, though.

Cheers

fliegenderstaub
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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by fliegenderstaub » Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:23 am

Welcome to the fascinating world of Panzer Corps! Keldor Katarn already mentioned many important things. I want to add some general stuff.

Well, reading a lot is good, experimenting with units and tactics is in my opinion much better. Learning by doing...

I guess you have played the tutorial. If not, try that one first. If you start the campaign, begin at the easiest difficulty level. Turn off the options that seem to complicated to you, such as "fog of war" or supply. Turning off fog of war lets you watch the complete battlefield. Activate the undo option and use it during the game.

During the game use the "battle preview" by keeping the Ctrl-key pressed when you attack. So you don't attack but see a detailed combat prediction.

Btw There is one important cheat: Reform units! When you lose a core unit it is gone forever. By activating "reform units" a destroyed core unit can be reactivated at the beginning of your next scenario. Unfortunately you have to activate this cheat at the beginning of every scenario. To be quite honest, I usually forget it. So I hope this might be promoted to an option by a future patch.

And most of all: Save your game often, even during your turn and especially before trying something risky. So you have the option to replay the situation.

Have a look at youtube. There are quite a few videos by players. I recommend for example deducter's videos.

Panzer Corps has so much to offer, if you like turn-based strategy. By the time you will gain experience, you might raise the difficulty level, turn the fog of war on, experiment with units and tactics and so on...

And in case you have further question: This forum is a great place for getting help.

Most of all: Have fun!
...and like the once-mighty Mahi-Mahi, you will end
up on a poo-poo platter in the Tikki Hut of life! -Al Bundy -

Tarrak
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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by Tarrak » Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:17 am

The previous posters covered pretty much everything i could say here but i have a few remarks.

First i would not recommend starting the game at sergeant level. It reduces the strength of AI units by 5 making them very very easy to dispose. The game is a total walkover then but you actually don't really learn anything as you don't need any strategy at all to win. It may be OK to learn the maps and blast the enemy to pieces but that's it. The second difficulty level is where the real game starts imho.

I am personally strongly against turning off the "Fog of War" too. It allows you to see all the enemy units but it applies to the AI too. It behaves then totally differently then with the "Fog of War" turned on as it perfectly knows your troops positions. This changes the game totally and limits what you can learn for the real game with fog turned on. If you enjoy it go for it and try it but i am afraid you won't be able to learn much from it for the real game .. rather on the contrary you may develop some habits which are bad for playing with the fog on.

I can only second the idea of watching Deducter's videos. Here is the link to the first one. He is playing the Grand Campaign DLC series and not the stock campaign but the general strategy used by him applies to both. You can really learn a lot from watching him play. Except from that just have fun and if you have more questions just come back here and ask. There are a lot of helpful people around here always happy to help you out.

fliegenderstaub
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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by fliegenderstaub » Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:44 pm

Tarrak, in general you are right referring to Fog of War and Seargeant difficulty. But vandemolt wrote he is an absolute beginner to wargames. And you never know how high his frustration level is... :wink: Well, when I started playing Panzer Corps I started at Seargeant level, although having been a Panzer General veteran. But after a few turns I considered the game way too easy, so I switched to Lieutenant. Piling up prestige after the 39 and 40 DLC I switched to Colonel. And today: Just finished 39 and playing 40 on Guderian (a real challenge by the way).

I turned off Fog of war once starting on Colonel level. I considered it way too easy and turned it on again.

Maybe a new player will make similar experiences? Or totally different?

Vandemolt, if you are reading this and if you don't mind will you give us a littler feedback, please, considering your experiences? Thx. :)
...and like the once-mighty Mahi-Mahi, you will end
up on a poo-poo platter in the Tikki Hut of life! -Al Bundy -

valmont
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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by valmont » Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:22 pm

Hello again and thank you to everyone for the suggestions, all great advice! I think I did stumble upon the youtube videos mentioned so I will definitely watch those. As I said my experience with this type of wargame is minimal. I do have Hearts of Iron 3 and I messed around with it a bit, created units and dealt with my economy but never got to the tactical aspect. I have played Europa Universalis 3 quite a bit but the military aspect is nothing like PC.

In PC I am playing through the tutorial missions. I have not even attempted a real game yet. I can get through the first few tutorials but now I am on the 4th mission and it seems to require more tactics than the other tutorials. I have restarted it quite a few times :)
Usually I march my troops down the road trying to keep the artillery in front so I can stay 2 hexes away and blast at the cities. I know I should take out the anti-air before I start flying my planes over but not sure if I am supposed to use tanks or the artillery for that. I am also not sure what to do with the paratroopers, how best to position them or where to drop them off.
Should my tanks head behind the cities and try to kill the enemy artillery?
Should I buy the grenadiers or just basic infantry? Or are they considered 'upgraded' infantry?
Do recon vehicles just get close enough to remove fog of war then retreat? Should they just go out first before I move the rest of my troops anywhere? I get wrapped up in the turn limit knowing that I will fail the mission if I take too many moves so I think I end up moving my troops into useless positions in an effort just to get closer and start the fighting... if that makes sense.

Thank you for your help!


I am making notes of everything you folks are telling me so please know that I do appreciate it very much!

KeldorKatarn
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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by KeldorKatarn » Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:21 pm

This rushing forward makes sense yes. It is a very common mistake to make as a beginner. Don't do that. Remember, everytime you have to spend a turn to repair a damaged unit that took hits because you rushed it forward, will be one turn you lost. Also one unit cannot kill anything usually. It always takes a combined effort, so keep your units together.

As for anti-air.. a common tactic is to hit anti air with artillery once, supressing it, then attacking it with a bomber, then finish it off with infantry or tanks.

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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by BloodCat » Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:51 pm

fliegenderstaub wrote:Tarrak, in general you are right referring to Fog of War and Seargeant difficulty. But vandemolt wrote he is an absolute beginner to wargames. And you never know how high his frustration level is... :wink:
I think it'll be kinda easy to switch to higher difficulty level if enemy 'hitpoint' count is all the difference -- game principles would stay the same, you'll just need to be more careful. Fog of war is a completely different story, turning it off changes too much IMO.
valmont wrote:I do have Hearts of Iron 3 and I messed around with it a bit, created units and dealt with my economy but never got to the tactical aspect.
HoI is all about warfare, and it's much more detailed there than in PzC.
valmont wrote:I know I should take out the anti-air before I start flying my planes over but not sure if I am supposed to use tanks or the artillery for that.
Depends on your force composition and tactical disposition. Sometimes I even have to suppress AA with my arty and finish it off with CAS planes.
valmont wrote:Should my tanks head behind the cities and try to kill the enemy artillery?
They definitely should -- historically tanks were meant (besides other tactical roles) to bypass enemy strongpoints and hit vulnerable spots behind. And you that getting right beside enemy flag will forbid him from spawning any units on that flag? Tanks are ideal for such tasks.
valmont wrote:Should I buy the grenadiers or just basic infantry? Or are they considered 'upgraded' infantry?
Grenadiers are 'heavy' infantry, they pack a heavier punch and thus they're slower. Use what you think fits your situation and playstyle best.
valmont wrote:Do recon vehicles just get close enough to remove fog of war then retreat? Should they just go out first before I move the rest of my troops anywhere?
In my opinion they should go scouting before any other orders are given. Running into an ambush is not a pretty thing to happen in PzC (and mostly deadly when happens IRL).
KeldorKatarn wrote:This rushing forward makes sense yes. It is a very common mistake to make as a beginner. Don't do that.
I second to that. Though I still find myself rushing more often than I should. Got a DV in Eben-Emael (DLC '40) on turn 8, but had to spend more than a thousand prestige points to get my army back into fighting state after that.

valmont, reading some military history books will give you a bit of WWII basic tactics understanding.
You tried anything from Close Combat series yet? It's a real-time wargame set on a much smaller scale than PzC (squad level management, typical force size from platoon to company+), but much more detailed. Mistakes are much more obvious there, so learning goes really fast. And all the soldiers having names makes you real careful not to get them killed needlessly.

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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by orlinos » Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:41 pm

valmont wrote:Can anyone point me to some good material on beginner strategy for Panzer Corps?
It's mine so I cannot tell if it's good, but I'll advertize it anyway:

Panzer Corps Basics - forum topic
Panzer Corps Basics - the guide itself

I haven't updated it in a while, unfortunately - if you find any information lacking, please mention it in the forum post.

Deducter's videos, already mentioned, are also a must - moves and tricks are shown and explained, so a new player can easily learn the ropes by watching and trying to copy some of it.
Piotr 'Orlinos' Kozlowski

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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by captainjack » Sun Dec 23, 2012 7:04 pm

Hi Valmont,
The first time I ran through the tutorials I was very confused, even thoughj I had played Panzer General Forever a lot. The second time round it started making sense. So my first advice is have a second go and really read the messages and hints - they really do help. Reading and acting on the briefings is very important - especially in Afrika Korps and the various DLCs.

Personally I would start with weather off. This means you have one less distraction while learning how your troops move and fight and deal with terrain.
When you start feeling in control, and have some confidence in what's going on, you can switch the weather on and learn to hate rain, snow and mud like the rest of us.

No matter what level you start at, after attacking, press Control+L to show the result of your last combat. It may take a bit of study to understand all the info but it's worthwhile as it helps show if the result was due to tactics or luck.

A combination of the above and reading the forums - including the AAR nad Open Beta ones - has got me from being confused in the Tutorials to being able to go through the main campaign unbeaten at General, and with mostly Decisive Victories in Afrika Korps in General.

Good luck!

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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by deducter » Sun Dec 23, 2012 7:12 pm

Geez, I feel a bit overwhelmed, being referenced three times in this thread about videos, which I always say I'll make more but I just keep putting them off due to work on the mod featured in the videos. However, I want to add a disclaimer: those videos are really meant for players who are having trouble with the Grand Campaigns and want to know how to beat specific maps. I assume the viewers have the basics of the game down, that they understand, for instance, to suppress with artillery before attacking. I those videos I just play and explain advanced techniques when I use them, but I never make a video to demonstrate a specific technique. You can learn lots of little tricks, but I'm not sure its too helpful for absolute beginners.

I think the most important thing to learn early on is to learn to use artillery. In the stock game, you can go pretty heavily on artillery. Overstrength your artillery, always use them before attacking with your tanks and infantry, and you should be on your way to victory on Colonel difficulty.

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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by KeldorKatarn » Sun Dec 23, 2012 7:19 pm

I agree. Also deducter's videos show him playing with his modded units. Several of those have different characteristics than units in the stock game, so some of what he does might be missleading for a beginner. They are great for advanced tactics once you get the basics down however, since then you are able to abstract his equipment changes away and get the idea behind the tactis.

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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by valmont » Mon Dec 24, 2012 3:52 am

Again, thanks to everyone for the great advice. No, I haven't yet tried the Close Combat series.. is that something that would give me a better understanding of how best to utilize my units? I am replaying tutorial 4 over and over again and I am getting close to winning. This last time I played I was on the last turn attacking the last goal but I couldn't quite make it. I bought more artillery and tanks and tried to use those as suggested in this thread. Overall I think I am improving a bit and I am keeping my infantry behind the art and tanks. I also downloaded the pdf mentioned above so thanks for that!
In the 4th tutorial I found that if I go around the mountain to the left instead of going across the river it works out better for me. Without buying an engineer unit my troops get a bit gridlocked trying to cross the river in this scenario. Is it a good idea to take out the forts before I deal with the cities? I know where they are at this point since I have played this mission so many times.

I have been using the preview feature before attacking but the screen is a bit confusing to me. I will take a look at the manual again to see if it explains it better.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday. I am on vacation so this has been a perfect time to get into this game, I am really enjoying it!

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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by KeldorKatarn » Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:16 am

Forts only need to be taken out if they block an objective. If they don't it is actually best to go around them. They cannot move, so they are no danger in your back.
Only attack such strong points if they are really in your way. Remember, you only get awarded prestige for taking hexes with a flag on it, not for destroying units.

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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by adrianoku » Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:57 pm

Read this AAR, it's old school (not video) and regards the vanilla campaign, it's one of the best ever seen for this game, ironic and well done: viewtopic.php?f=145&t=26166
... oh ..welcome to this forum!

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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by polarlings » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:53 am

:D Hey buddy,
I am also new to panzercorps and am a veteren of the panzer general series {the series that inspired this game}.
although im not a brilliant tactician i have a few basic pointers for beginners.

Also i have started a quicky game {open} kind of tutorial for myself and one other if your interested to learn the ropes. :D .

1. Always have a few scout units they are very very handy. Have these move ahead of the main group. If you know where your opponent is you have a much easier time of it.

2.Soften targets up as much as poss with arty/airstrikes etc. they may not damage them but getting units out of dug in positions is vital to taking well dug in position and isolating them.

3. suround opponents where possible this will increase damage and if a unit is surrounded and cannot retreate they will surrender.

4 pay attention to the odds before attacking they are pretty spot on so better to not attack at all than take heavy casulties.

5. take some time to study unit stats to maximise there effectiveness.

6. dont spend all you prestige in one hit that way as you discover more of what your up against you can adapt your forces.

7. I only use transports on larger maps as they cost money and also never use transport movement to move adjacent to enemy movement this is suicide as they are packed and very vunurable.
8. take notice of terrain and weather forcasts they are invaluable tools also.

9. dont cross a river unless you REALLY have to without help {brige/engineers pontoons etc.} even if you not next to an enemy unit you may come under fire from enemy arty or air assets.

10. At all cost try to keep core units alive and topped up {elite reinforcements{ as these are the units that will see you through the campaign.
the extra units wil be gone at the end of each mission so i wont mater if they are nearly dead.

11.Lastly Dont allow anyone to use these tips against you :D

hope this help a little.
see you on the battlefield.

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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by GSlapshot » Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:20 pm

A key thing to remember is you don't get extra prestige or units for completing early. For example if it says you must capture all objectives by turn 18 and you can do it by turn 10 wait. George look for captured units or capture additional objectives to gain prestige. Let one remaining victory hex dangle in the wind while you clear the board of units, gain experience and look for bonus units

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Re: New player needs help with tactics/strategy

Post by dragos » Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:57 pm

KeldorKatarn wrote:This rushing forward makes sense yes. It is a very common mistake to make as a beginner. Don't do that. Remember, everytime you have to spend a turn to repair a damaged unit that took hits because you rushed it forward, will be one turn you lost. Also one unit cannot kill anything usually. It always takes a combined effort, so keep your units together.
Sometimes when you have a great deal of experience, you are approaching the last objectives and you have the feeling AI is going to spam units around that city, you may take the chance of sending one or two units ahead to block that city. It is very risky indeed, and I can't stop doing it even after almost a year of playing PzC a lot, but sometimes you have to take risks as a Panzer General 8)
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