Anti-Tank units in the game

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Molve
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Anti-Tank units in the game

Post by Molve » Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:46 pm

monkspider wrote:Good suggestions folks, the quick embark/disembark and higher attack values all would go a long way to solving the eternal question of what to do about anti-tank units. And for what it's worth, the Panzer General games haven't been the only ones to struggle with this. If any of you have ever played Tiller's Panzer Campaigns series, ostensibly a more realistic, hardcore series of games, a common complaint for those games as well is that anti-tank guns aren't well-modeled. it is unfortunate because if you look at orders of battle from World War II, it is surprising how incredibly common anti-tank guns were. They don't deserve to be the pariah that they currently are.

I do agree with Deadtorious though. And I would add that from a gameplay perspective that there is no reason to have the units in the game if they are not really intended to be used.

All of that said, I do trust Kerensky and the gang to figure out something awesome. :D
(Topic broken out of patch thread as linked above)

First off, isn't a lot of AT weaponry modeled simply by infantry having Hard Attack values? Or was all AT weaponry organised into "AT units" like in the game?

Another question: isn't AT supposed to be "poor man's armor"? That is, in the current game, you would almost always buy one unit of armor rather than perhaps two (towed) units of AT. Is this so wrong, if we for a moment disregard how the game greatly encourages you to focus on quality instead of quantity (since maps are relatively small so each hex needs to be loaded with as much combat potential as possible; also because core slots are often very limited).

---

As for myself, I'm more and more leaning towards having a new unit statistic in the game - "core weight". Essentially, the number of core slots occupied by the unit.

Fully mechanized units (armor, self-propelled Artillery, AA and AT) have a weight of 2. Infantry and towed ART/AA/AT have a weight of 1. The size of the core is increased 50% to compensate.

Let's say you can have 20 tanks (core size 20) today. (You would probably not have an all-armor army, but for the sake of example, indulge me...) Then tomorrow you would have to choose between 15 tanks - *OR* 30 unmechanized units (core size 30), or some mixture thereof.

Suddenly units like towed AT wouldn't look so shabby any longer...


/Molve

PS. Aircraft as well as special-purpose infantry (Pioneers, Airborne, etc) should probably also be weight 2.

Essentially, the idea is that the lower weight is assigned to pre-Blitzkrieg units. These are not ideally suited to WWII warfare, but all armies (including the Wehrmacht) do consist mostly of such "bulk" units. Having them occupy less of your core slots would go a very long way of solving the AT issue along with a host of other issues (such as the "Tiger II spam strategy").

Just making them cheaper doesn't really solve anything - unless in very low prestige cases, you would still want to fill that slot with something more suited to offense, since this will save you much more prestige in the long run.

MartyWard
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Post by MartyWard » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:27 pm

The cost isn't what keep me from buying AT guns, it's that they suck compared to other options. I still feel that AT guns need a boost in the HA value and at least a boost in Initative when defending to make them worthwhile.

Kerensky
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Post by Kerensky » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:30 pm

Even on newer maps where the AI is on the offensive and the player on the defensive, I find it difficult to use towed ATG weapons. It's not their cost or stats that are troublesome, it's their mobility that really breaks them down. Unless you are set up in an avenue that you absolutely know where an attack is coming, towed ATG has a really hard time getting into the action. And when they do, the AI is smart enough not to charge headlong into your ATG and engage them in combat because the AI makes decisions based on attack odds, and a tank attacking an ATG is generally never a good idea.

I think a really out of the box solution is to give ATG guns a special 'low profile' trait. The only way you can see a towed ATG is to be adjacent to it (think Submarine). This, plus maybe some stat increases, would make it a really interesting and somewhat historical unit too. I mean, compare Martyward's avatar to some of the tank avatars around here, this weapon was built to be hard to detect and deadly in an ambush, compared to the giant hulking profile of a tank.

rezaf
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Post by rezaf » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:51 pm

In another thread, someone suggested to stop tanks from being stuck in ZOC to properly model mobile warfare doctrine and Blitzkrieg.
Combine this idea with the following: Give AT, and ONLY AT (well, maybe other tanks as well, but that's it) the ability to break this immunity.
I.e. tanks can zip around enemy units and flanks unless another tank OR AT is present, at which point they get stuck in ZOC like it is currently.
IMO, this would make tanks and mobile warfare more useful AND make AT much more useful, even on the offense.

Maybe, additionally give AT the ability to forfeit their attack for an additional unload. I.e., you CAN move towed AT and deploy it in the same turn, but then it cannot attack any longer, you can just use this ability to lock down enemy tanks (or other units, if need be) or quickly establish a defense perimeter.

Thoughts?
_____
rezaf

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Post by Xerkis » Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:37 pm

Yeah, that would surely change the game dynamics and make a new name for “Blitzkrieg” in PzC. I wonder if infantry would be needed -- or survivable? I think you’re right though; AT units would be much more useful. I have to think on this one a bit.
:?

TheGrayMouser
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Post by TheGrayMouser » Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:44 pm

Kerensky wrote:Even on newer maps where the AI is on the offensive and the player on the defensive, I find it difficult to use towed ATG weapons. It's not their cost or stats that are troublesome, it's their mobility that really breaks them down. Unless you are set up in an avenue that you absolutely know where an attack is coming, towed ATG has a really hard time getting into the action. And when they do, the AI is smart enough not to charge headlong into your ATG and engage them in combat because the AI makes decisions based on attack odds, and a tank attacking an ATG is generally never a good idea.

I think a really out of the box solution is to give ATG guns a special 'low profile' trait. The only way you can see a towed ATG is to be adjacent to it (think Submarine). This, plus maybe some stat increases, would make it a really interesting and somewhat historical unit too. I mean, compare Martyward's avatar to some of the tank avatars around here, this weapon was built to be hard to detect and deadly in an ambush, compared to the giant hulking profile of a tank.
Not to argue with one of the developers :) , but regarding the low profile of AT guns: true MOST AT guns had a low profile, but the trucks, tractors and tracks that tow them into position do not. I feel At guns were always a problem , even in the original PG sytem. Considering units are roughly divisions and their capabilities can be abstsracted as that, there were no AT divisions around so there is that odd suspension of belief in dealing with them in the game where they occupy a full hex on their own with the same scale.
This might add too much complexity, but what if ONLY infantry could spot them at ranges over a hex and all other units need to be adjacent to spot, maybe even increase the chances of causing damages in the "ambush", as currently the only thing ambushes do is increase the defenders ground defence and initiative....

spiritxx
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Post by spiritxx » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:27 pm

Nice ideas

the profile of units is something needet, disembark also, must be an trait havy ary and heavy at/AA dont disembark (they are more defensive and not that mobile, but more damage and range) but the others can be used offensive, makes them more useful

to core weight: use greater or an value without an cap than we start with an infantry wehrmacht 1939 lets say 10

make it an motorised unit : 15 (2 units can now do nearly the same as 3 without trucks)

mechanized: 20

Pioneer 15 or 20

tanks begin with 15 for panzer 2 and 20 for Pz 3/4

later on in the war an Pz 4 F2 core weight 30 latest war model of Pz 4 maybe 30 but an Panther cost something like 40 and an tiger 50 points(only sugestions)

that way there are more strategies possible and make airforce more expansive compared to airdefense

in campaign this leads to: as long as you are on the winnig strait you get many prestige and not that many core weight (since you dont need it) but on defense you get more weight but some lower prestige and not that many core slots(high comand is not that pleased but you get better equipment to reach your goals - like an ss tank batalion to aid you - o you can buy such an unit or upgrade your artillery).


second version can be: make units always in two groups low tech/high tech and than an maximum of 50% of your army can be hightech - rest has to be lowtech but we get 25% more core slots

like towed at/aa/ari lowtech mechanized ones: hightech

light tanks: lowtech
heavy tanks : hightech
(on some date the hightech variant can be lowtech if new variants are released)

i think that versin is a little bit better, it represents also the reality of WW2, at the poland campaign only 40 percent of the german army was motorised, most men walk into battle, 60 percent of the artillery and at units transportet with horses- mechanized infantry was an raryty until ´43 (sdkfz output very low before that time)

but most pictures of that time show motorized units or mechanized units with modern tanks, but that was only propaganda

motorized level never reaches more than around 50 percent and some mechanized Panzergrenadier divisons and full mechanized SS Divisons

so motorized infantry is hightech in the beginning until 43 after that they are lowtech

hope i make it clear

(btw with a 3rd level - elite - no more Tiger II spam evtl. 10% elite?)

that way it represents more the composion of an german army

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Post by Kerensky » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:05 am

TheGrayMouser wrote:Not to argue with one of the developers :) , but regarding the low profile of AT guns: true MOST AT guns had a low profile, but the trucks, tractors and tracks that tow them into position do not. I feel At guns were always a problem , even in the original PG sytem. Considering units are roughly divisions and their capabilities can be abstsracted as that, there were no AT divisions around so there is that odd suspension of belief in dealing with them in the game where they occupy a full hex on their own with the same scale.
This might add too much complexity, but what if ONLY infantry could spot them at ranges over a hex and all other units need to be adjacent to spot, maybe even increase the chances of causing damages in the "ambush", as currently the only thing ambushes do is increase the defenders ground defence and initiative....
Not at all, I agree with you. :)
The low profile would not apply to AT guns in transit (it's not the ATG unit anymore it's the truck/half track), making them vulnerable to move around just like any other unit in transport.

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Post by El_Condoro » Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:03 am

rezaf wrote:In another thread, someone suggested to stop tanks from being stuck in ZOC to properly model mobile warfare doctrine and Blitzkrieg.
Combine this idea with the following: Give AT, and ONLY AT (well, maybe other tanks as well, but that's it) the ability to break this immunity.
I.e. tanks can zip around enemy units and flanks unless another tank OR AT is present, at which point they get stuck in ZOC like it is currently.
IMO, this would make tanks and mobile warfare more useful AND make AT much more useful, even on the offense.

Maybe, additionally give AT the ability to forfeit their attack for an additional unload. I.e., you CAN move towed AT and deploy it in the same turn, but then it cannot attack any longer, you can just use this ability to lock down enemy tanks (or other units, if need be) or quickly establish a defense perimeter.

Thoughts?
_____
rezaf
That's a really interesting idea - it's actually what the Superior Manouevre leader does in PG2. Coupled with the suggestion of how ATs would handle it, the suggestion also goes some way to alleviating the lack of overrun and the ability of a 1 strength conscript unit stopping a 15 strength SE King Tiger in its tracks (literally). It will make tanks much more useful - perhaps too powerful? Others' thoughts on this?

impar
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Post by impar » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:17 am

rezaf wrote:In another thread, someone suggested to stop tanks from being stuck in ZOC to properly model mobile warfare doctrine and Blitzkrieg.
Overrun ability for tanks was there for a reason.
Used other units to soften up the enemy defenses, then a tank would punch through them and reach a soft target in the rear. Bliss! 8)
Still miss it. :cry:

As for anti-tanks, especially the towed variant, the problem lies in the concept itself. Their stats say they excel at destroying enemy armour and nothing more really. Even Panzerjagers cant compete with the versatility of a tank.

Their role is one of support, PG and PzC solved the usefullness problem for other support classes giving them the ability to reactively support nearby troops, AD and Artillery.
My suggestion is to make AT units support nearby friendly troops, if those are attacked by an Hard target. No suppression.

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Post by Kerensky » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:30 am

That idea has come up before, but honestly I'm not really comfortable with that it.
It works for arty and AD because they are indirect fire units and/or have ranged attack.

I just can't wrap my head around the idea of unit X being attacked from the North by unit Y and ATG unit Z south of unit X fires at unit Y.

impar
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Post by impar » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:46 am

Kerensky wrote:I just can't wrap my head around the idea of unit X being attacked from the North by unit Y and ATG unit Z south of unit X fires at unit Y.
Option A
Make that 2-hex fire available only for high-tier AT units. More than 7.5cm, for example. (Stug IIIB also has a 75mm and 1 range)
Option B
Support fire only if enemy hard unit is adjacent to the AT (1 range).
In that XYZ case, there wouldnt be support fire.

Option B is probably the best, otherwise a tank being supported by a Panzerjadger would be too awesome.

PS:
Then again;
- Awesome is good :wink:
- AT would have use (the point of this thread, no?)
- Combined arms principle would be satisfied

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Post by Ryben » Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:23 pm

Or maybe we should give up and eliminate AT units from the list...

...and change them to "upgrades" for infantry units.

The same way 40 infantry is upgraded to 43 infantry units (with better values for hard attack, represent better weapons) maybe we could also make an infantry-gun hybrid unit, giving them a unit a much higher "hard attack" value to represent some AT gun regiments attached to regular infantry divisions but lowering the initiative.

This, or allow AT guns to embark/disembark on the same turn to represent their ability to be quickly deployed where needed. Worst part of AT guns is that is so damn hard to place them in the right hex to be useful.

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:03 pm

Ryben wrote:Or maybe we should give up and eliminate AT units from the list...

...and change them to "upgrades" for infantry units.

The same way 40 infantry is upgraded to 43 infantry units (with better values for hard attack, represent better weapons) maybe we could also make an infantry-gun hybrid unit, giving them a unit a much higher "hard attack" value to represent some AT gun regiments attached to regular infantry divisions but lowering the initiative.

This, or allow AT guns to embark/disembark on the same turn to represent their ability to be quickly deployed where needed. Worst part of AT guns is that is so damn hard to place them in the right hex to be useful.
Too funny, i was about to post something similar, ie the old upgrade euipement system that Peoples General had. I think the only drawbacks are A, if you make that case for AT , then the same should apply to AA AD systems and if so then you lose a lot of the variety the game system offers, B it would also be heresy!

A zany idea i also had is allow towed AT units to occupy the same hex as Infantry only ( kind of like how planes do so with all ground units ) IF the hex is ATTACKED only by a hard target, tank etc , the AT in the hex fires at the attacker similar to artillery, the survivers/unsuppressed then fight a normal combat vs the infantry in that hex. AT units by themselves would behave as they do now, maybe even reduced a little in performance for balance .

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Post by Xerkis » Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:41 pm

TheGrayMouser wrote:A zany idea i also had is allow towed AT units to occupy the same hex as Infantry only ( kind of like how planes do so with all ground units ) IF the hex is ATTACKED only by a hard target, tank etc , the AT in the hex fires at the attacker similar to artillery, the survivers/unsuppressed then fight a normal combat vs the infantry in that hex. AT units by themselves would behave as they do now, maybe even reduced a little in performance for balance .
Or a variant of your idea…
Keep them as is with the hex occupancy but let them act as arty does. If in the adjacent hex of the defending unit; they get that supporting fire like artillery does. But like you said – this would only be against hard attackers.

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Post by MartyWard » Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:57 pm

Ryben wrote:Or maybe we should give up and eliminate AT units from the list...

...and change them to "upgrades" for infantry units.

The same way 40 infantry is upgraded to 43 infantry units (with better values for hard attack, represent better weapons) maybe we could also make an infantry-gun hybrid unit, giving them a unit a much higher "hard attack" value to represent some AT gun regiments attached to regular infantry divisions but lowering the initiative.
I like that idea. You could even have 2 types, one for early war and one for later just like normal infantry.

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Post by Ryben » Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:24 pm

Xerkis wrote: Keep them as is with the hex occupancy but let them act as arty does. If in the adjacent hex of the defending unit; they get that supporting fire like artillery does. But like you said – this would only be against hard attackers.
I think that´s the easiest way to fix them without messing with new mechanics. That would make AT guns incredibily useful.

As a drawback to balance maybe AT guns should have it´s ground defence values lowered. Sometimes they are hard to defeat, even by infantry.

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Post by Some1 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:24 pm

El_Condoro wrote:
rezaf wrote:In another thread, someone suggested to stop tanks from being stuck in ZOC to properly model mobile warfare doctrine and Blitzkrieg.
Combine this idea with the following: Give AT, and ONLY AT (well, maybe other tanks as well, but that's it) the ability to break this immunity.
I.e. tanks can zip around enemy units and flanks unless another tank OR AT is present, at which point they get stuck in ZOC like it is currently.
IMO, this would make tanks and mobile warfare more useful AND make AT much more useful, even on the offense.

Maybe, additionally give AT the ability to forfeit their attack for an additional unload. I.e., you CAN move towed AT and deploy it in the same turn, but then it cannot attack any longer, you can just use this ability to lock down enemy tanks (or other units, if need be) or quickly establish a defense perimeter.

Thoughts?
_____
rezaf
That's a really interesting idea - it's actually what the Superior Manouevre leader does in PG2. Coupled with the suggestion of how ATs would handle it, the suggestion also goes some way to alleviating the lack of overrun and the ability of a 1 strength conscript unit stopping a 15 strength SE King Tiger in its tracks (literally). It will make tanks much more useful - perhaps too powerful? Others' thoughts on this?
I really like this idea.

To my understanding a ZoC is a mechanism of non-realtime games to allow player A to intercept a unit of player B by interrupting the unit movement.
So its more a game machanism than a model of a realistic situation.

Nevertheless it would still be interesting. An idea how to decide if a unit class is affected by a ZoC of another unit class could be:
  • 1 ) Enemy unit spotted (always true due to spotting >=1)
    2 ) Weapon strong enough to kill or surpress (strength points of) the enemy unit
    3a) Either weapon range is long enough to attack the enemy unit from static position
    3b) Or unit is mobile enough to be able to bring weapon to bear (still within the same hex field)
    4 ) Weapon able to attack a (swift) moving enemy unit
    5 ) Weapon ammunition >0
Infantry for example has a low mobility and short range as the longest range weapon against fast moving hard targets would most likely be an anti-tank gun. Infantry mortars have a greater range but are more effective against soft and/or slow moving targets. And infantry support guns are not really modelled in the game. Tanks on the other hand are highly mobile, effective against soft and hard targets and have a greater range.
So a tank would surely cause a ZoC against an enemy tank, while an infantry wouldn't. And a towed weapon moved by foot would always be effected by ZoC

But i doubt something like this will be implemented due to the high impact regarding existing maps. It would often be too easy to just outflank infantry to attack the artillery in the back.

Thoughts?

Some1
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Post by Some1 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:34 pm

Kerensky wrote:Even on newer maps where the AI is on the offensive and the player on the defensive, I find it difficult to use towed ATG weapons. It's not their cost or stats that are troublesome, it's their mobility that really breaks them down. Unless you are set up in an avenue that you absolutely know where an attack is coming, towed ATG has a really hard time getting into the action. And when they do, the AI is smart enough not to charge headlong into your ATG and engage them in combat because the AI makes decisions based on attack odds, and a tank attacking an ATG is generally never a good idea.

I think a really out of the box solution is to give ATG guns a special 'low profile' trait. The only way you can see a towed ATG is to be adjacent to it (think Submarine). This, plus maybe some stat increases, would make it a really interesting and somewhat historical unit too. I mean, compare Martyward's avatar to some of the tank avatars around here, this weapon was built to be hard to detect and deadly in an ambush, compared to the giant hulking profile of a tank.
This would indeed make AT guns more dangerous, maybe even annoyingly dangerous, with a high probability of 'surprise contact'/rugged defence.

A similar but possibly more historic aproach would be that units are getting camouflaged during entrenchment (above hex field base value), so above a certain (additional) entrenchment the visibility of a unit would be reduced to 1 hex field. In PG AT guns and infantry were the units which did entrench the fastet so this would fit well.

You mentioned that the visibility of those units could be similar to a submarine, in which case the spotting of recons could work similar to the one of destroyers (if i remember it correctly destroyer always see subs if they are in the spotting range?).

Theoretical recon airplanes could have a higher spotting compared to ground based recons (e.g. 4), but could spot camouflaged units only in the same hex field. So for strategic and highly mobile recon use recon airplanes and for tactical recon with 'de-cloaking' of camouflaged units use recon SdKfzs :wink:

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Post by Some1 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:50 pm

TheGrayMouser wrote:... as currently the only thing ambushes do is increase the defenders ground defence and initiative....
So no 'Rugged Defense' (= using 'Close Defense') in case of 'ambush', 'surprise contact' or 'out of the sun'? Another difference to PG.

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