Panzer Combat II

Computer-assisted World War II Wargame.

Historically wargames have been developed and played to train officers and to test war plans. The testing of war plans by wargames was used extensively by the Germans in the first half of the 20th century. After World War II, the technique of employing wargames as an analytic tool was further developed. With the advent of computers, wargamers acquired a tool that permitted more comprehensive and complex games to be played. Panzer Combat II is a computer-assisted miniature wargame of World War II ground combat. It is freely available for download at sourceforge. What do you need to play? Miniature tanks of course! And a gaming terrain. The game is suitable for different scales as distances are expressed in distance units. A distance unit corresponds to the length of a medium tank like the Sherman tank, or 5 meters in real world. You will find some free paper tank models here!

Which scale shall I use?

If you have a lot of space 1:35 is nice. I often play in the 1:48 scale, available from Tamiyatm and Gaso.linetm. In this scale a distance unit roughly corresponds to 10 cm. A wooded and hilly gaming terrain of at least 2 meters is required at this scale. The gaming terrain can be as simple as a piece of carpet with some books under it and stones on it to simulate hills and rocks. Add miniature houses, trees and painted rivers in order to improve gaming experience. If you play in 1:72 scale, you can download paper buildings from papertigerarmaments. Why not play outside? Panzer Combat II is available on both Windows and Mac OS X. I recommend the Acer Iconia Windows 8 tablet for playing outside.


Who is the game master?

In contrast with a computer wargame, Panzer Combat II does not recreate the battlefield inside the computer. It uses the computer as a game master by storing the unit characteristics and applying the game rules. It tracks unit status and distances and animates the game with sounds and voice. The game is webcam enabled meaning that shooting is resolved with computer vision. Object detection algorithms allow to estimate the distance to the target and to resolve fire damage.


Prepare for battle

Both players choose an alliance (Allied or Axis ), select their miniatures and the corresponding units on the Panzer Combat II main screen. The miniatures are placed at strategic positions on the gaming terrain. The start button is pressed switching Panzer Combat II from configuration mode to play mode.


Playing the game

Each turn a unit is randomly selected for action by Panzer Combat II. The owner of the unit should decide between the following actions :

Move : in any direction not further than the move range as specified by the computer voice of Panzer Combat II : "Sherman moves over 2 distance units".

Fire : on an enemy unit in line of sight. You need to first select a target before the fire button is activated.

Move and fire : move not further than the move range as specified by Panzer Combat II. You need to first select a target before the move and fire button is activated. There is a penalty to the fire range when firing while moving and the maximum a distance is reduced compared to the full move range.

Defend : this increases the defend value of the unit with one until the unit moves (up to 3 additional defend points can be cumulated).

Panzer Combat II computer assisted wargame An external webcam is placed on the turret of or behind the unit selected for action as shown on the picture. The webcam can be replaced by a laser distance measuring device or a tape graduated in distance units. The laser beam is used to determine if the target unit is in the line of sight of the attacking unit. The terrain type limits the movement of particular troups. For example, infantry and amphibian vehicles don't require a bridge to cross a river, but other vehicles do. When a target is destroyed, mark it with a piece of cotton simulating the smoke plume of the burning unit Victory is obtained when all enemy units are destroyed.


Panzer Combat II computer assisted wargame

Playing distributed

If you like, you can play Panzer Combat II with 2 tablets or portables. At start-up Panzer Combat II checks for other computers running Panzer Combat II on the same network. The first computer to start the game transfers the selected units of both camps to the other computer. From that moment game actions can be performed indifferently on both computers : both will remain in sync. Watch on YouTube.