SSI Panzer General Game Comparisons
This is a feature of the various 5 Star Games. Technically they aren't all "5 Star" games, but I can't think of a better unifying title for all the games of this series. This is a running list. Please add suggestions for this list by e-mailing them to me or by clicking HERE. NOTE: This list does not yet take into consideration all of the great add-ons that have been made for various games. That will come soon, though. Also a very special thank you to Reepicheep for providing extensive PGIII and PGIII SE (Scorched Earth) information! I have also started adding the following codes:
- "U" mains available after an upgrade created by our community of developers and is not part of the stock games.
- "LS" code for features that become active as Leader Specials.
- "P" is for an SSI patch.
- "?" means I'm not sure. Let me know if you do.
- "Y" means "Yes", of course!
BTW, if you're noticing that the columns don't align perfectly, I have seen that as well, though it looks perfect before I post this to the internet. Also note that this list doesn't aspire to show all of the things that the different games all have in common (i.e. tanks units). Suggestions?
Thank you for feedback and suggestions to: Mark Kirby, Andy "Spunkmeyer" Gouky and especially Philip "Reepicheep" Nelson.
Note that some of the missing features have been fixed by add-ins. Most notably PGII has an incredibly array of equipment editors, scenario and campaign editors, map editors, etc.
July 20, 2001 to August 7, 2004
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO SEE THE TABLE. :) This is an HTML problem that I haven't been able to figure out.
|Maximum number of units allowed in equipment file||450||450?||1000||1000||1000||?||?|
|Unlimited Unit purchases during Play||Y||Y|
|Variable Campaign Path||?||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Realistic Equipment Availability Levels||Y||Y|
|Realistic Equipment Strength Levels||Y||Y|
|Leader based promotions||Y||Y|
|Veteran Orders (hull-down, wedge attack, etc.)||Y||Y|
|Scenario Loss allowed||Y||U||U||?||?|
|Defensive scenarios allowed||Y||Y||Y||U||U||?|
|Scenario Loss allowed with modification to campaign file||U||U|
|Historic strategic battles (e.g. Normandy)||Y||Y||Y||U||U|
|Victory by destroying target units||Y|
|Victory by exiting units from map||Y|
|Campaign map displays completed scenarios and locations||Y|
|Player can make some campaign path choices||?||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Map changes during night turns||Y|
|Units stand out clearly against the map||Y||Y||Y|
|Rapid combat resolution||Y||Y||Y|
|Weather Graphics (rain, snow, fog, lightning, etc.)||Y|
|Dynamic icons (turrets swivel independently, etc.)||?||Y|
|Can purchase experienced units||Y|
|Can purchase specials||Y|
|Can purchase ships||Y||U||U|
|Can upgrade ships||Y|
|Can purchase heavy bombers||Y||Y||Y||U||U|
|Can purchase core units from allied countries||Y||Y||Y|
|Unit availability/Units expire as time goes on||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Automatic mount/dismount of towed units||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Can purchase Attachments (extra munitions, etc.)||Y|
|Campaign configuration at startup||Y||Y|
|Weather and Date always visible||Y||?|
|Visibility based on profile||Y||Y||Y|
|Complex reconnaissance visibility||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Simple reconnaissance visibility||Y||Y||Y|
|Discovered hexes visible||Y||Y||Y|
|Movement and combat can be separate for units||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Partial discovery show unit existence but not unit type||Y|
|Partial discovery shows unit type but not strength||Y|
|Naval Night Optics||Y|
|Multiple Move and Shoot per turn||Y||Y|
|Leader Specials w/ Battle Generator||Y|
|Trigger Hexes for special awards||Y||Y||Y|
|Standard Air Combat||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|AI can be "surprised"||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Maximum Unit Strength||15||15||15||15||21||19||19|
|Ranged tank attacks||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Multiple ranged tank attacks||?||Y|
|Multiple attacks/moves possible for any unit||Y||Y|
|Individual Unit Dossier||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|High Score Reset||Y||Y||?||U||U||?||?|
|Ranged artillery support||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Multiple artillery support (can defensively support multiple units in one turn)||Y||LS||LS||LS|
|Aircraft Carriers with Hangars||Y|
|WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? FEATURES MISSING ON ALL OF THE GAMES|
|Allows player can just tab through all of the active units|
|Optional toggle for visibility|
|Managing factories, production, etc.|
Here are some other miscellaneous odds and ends.
- One thing that I really like about PGIII is the realistic force allocations. You just can't have all King Tigers.
- There should be a feature which was one of my favorites of my SSI WWII board game. Units had to be ordered. A tank might take a month, a battleship a year and a carrier 18 months. This made planning a lot of fun.
- Ditto with Mine Layer and Mine Sweeper. You have profile and initiative, which is great.
- You absolutely need an expiration month/year date field. Many of the equipment choices will expire at certain points. For example, the CV Foch class is no longer available as of 2002. F-14s will probably obsolete in a few years, and certainly will not be available for new purchases. So a player can use existing stocks, but that is all.
- Provision for a line of supply back to a Supply Source. A line of supply would be considered any line that could be drawn from a supply point to a unit without going through an enemy ZOC.
- Encircled units should run out of ammo, fuel, etc. This goes back to supply. If a unit is surrounded by three other units, each extending a ZOC to a hex on either side, and each spaced 120 degrees apart, then the unit is effectively unable to be resupplied. Of course, theoretically, there should be some way to resupply by air. This can, and should, be taken to a larger scale as well. If there are 15 units all encircled collectively by units extending a ZOC all the way around them, and they can't be resupplied by air, then they cannot be resupplied that turn.
- Resupply by Air: If a unit or collection of units are surrounded such that they have no ground supply line, then check to see if they have an airfield which can be resupplied. Perhaps the player seeking to resupply has to attempt to get supply aircraft (air transport class) to the airfield without being bounced or shot down. That will then mean X points of supply (each air transport would have so many points. A C-5 will have more than a C-130, etc.). The player must then allocate the supply points. This same method can and should be applied to naval units and naval resupply. This will have the effect of making ports and airfields valuable.
- Naval and air transports should not be organic. SSI has left a fascinating aspect out of its games. You can pick up a naval or air transport anywhere (at any port or airfield). As soon as a unit using that transport has disembarked, it is immediately available for another unit to use. Instead, the transports should be moved to a point of embarkation, protected on the way, etc. Protecting transports and resupply is a huge part of warfare, and, in fact, leads to more intense warfare in the same way that two pawns meeting each other in the center of the chess board frequently lead to large scale supporting build-ups.
- Recovery vehicles. I have never come up with how to model this, but it would be nice to be able to do so. This brings more complicated issues to bear, such as attrition rates which may be too complicated to model without an inordinate amount of work. So it is probably not worth modeling for now.
- HQ/Generals: These should play a part in any game.
- Regarding resource management, I have always wished for my purchases to influence future prices. If I buy Me-109s over and over, then they should start to get cheaper. Then if the FW-190 becomes available, I'm not comparing the original Me-109 price to the new FW-190 price to make my purchase decision, but rather the current Me-109 price. This is what happened in real life and is a very important dynamic of missing in the SSI games. So the T-34, for example, which only had 112 or so built in 1940 might be 500 points in 1940, then 400 points in 1941 (when 1500 were built), then 300 points in 1942, etc. At a certain point, this decreasing scale levels off, kind of like depreciation on a car.
- Battle generators should be for any year. I think they are referred to as Scenario Generators as well. It allows the players to design their own scenarios. I would even scale this up to allow players to design their own campaigns.
- Make the equipment file scalable in number of records and units so that you can sell an add-on pack later.
- Which countries are you going to include? I would include Switzerland. They may be neutral, but everyone wants to fight hypothetical scenarios there.
I have been making some changes to my master database. One thing that occurs to me is that you should model the following additional attributes:
- AA/SAM Range
- AA/SAM Sound
- AA/SAM Damage
- AA/SAM Ammo
- ASM Range
- ASM Sound
- ASM Damage
- ASM Ammo
- ASM Range 2
- ASM Sound 2
- ASM Damage 2
- ASM Ammo 2
To model a normal all-round ship requires all of the above. The Arleigh Burke, for example, has SAMs, Tomahawks and Harpoons, all of differing ranges. It also has guns and ASW combat abilities... Even those could/should be modeled.
To further complicate things, there are also GLCMs with even longer ranges.
Sounds should include at least the following:
- Move Sound
- Fire Sound
- Hit Sound
- Death Sound
Cargo capacity should be modeled properly. A C-5 can carry a lot more than a V-22. It can also carry tanks, for example. Also CVs for instance, should have a max unit size (in height or whatever, in addition to quantity). All smaller carriers can handle helos. Most, but not all, can handle jump jets (Harriers/Forgers), but only larger carriers can handle real aircraft (Su-27s, Rafales, F-14s, F-18s, E-2Cs, etc.). Maybe each carrier should only be allowed to operate its own aircraft? But then again, certainly a larger carrier could recover airplanes from a smaller carrier (that sank, for instance). So this goes back to a max unit size.