PanzerBitz   Optional Rules    
  Optional rules are just that, optional. They are neither the designer's nor the editor's wish list nor the logical tournament rules. They are just a set of additional rules that have been left out largely on the grounds of usefulness versus playability. Some of them you might play with always and others might be appropriate to a particular scenario; a hasty mobile defence scenario might use, say, 'heavy equipment' and 'revealed movement.' Use them sparingly and they can enhance the game without burdening it too much...more

Our new standard spotting rule exposes vehicle units to spotting when entering concealing terrain and that's a penalty to those whose doctrine is stealth and mobility like aggressively handled medium anti-tank batteries and late war tank destroyer platoons. This optional rule restores the ability to stealthily enter a concealing terrain hex, but only when unspotted and at a tactical cost. And unloading certain types of heavy equipment may optionally reveal units anyhow; but tank destroyers and medium anti-tank guns can now slip into concealment if they have time.

A unit entering an adjacent concealing terrain hex may do so using 'concealed movement' by expending its entire movement allowance; a vehicle unit must also be leaving a hex not in line-of-sight of an eligible enemy spotting unit. A unit may expend no other movement factors during the movement phase it moves using 'concealed movement.'

Limitation: The 'concealed movement' does not negate impassable hex sides1 and a vehicle unit still must cross impassable hex sides via a road to enter an adjacent concealing terrain hex.

NOTE: Units with a movement factor of one (1) always benefit from concealed movement unless using quick march or the road movement rate.

Concealed movement exists solely to provide a method for units to enter concealed terrain hexes without being spotted.

Loading and unloading
It also seems clear that the original loading and unloading rules were crafted for an earlier version of the game where only infantry heavy weapons and medium anti-tank guns were intended among unit types in the game.  In a game turn of six minutes, which is just about enough time to set up a battery of 81mm mortars in haste, it seems improbable that heavy guns, especially indirect fire artillery, would be set up and registered in a single turn. So beyond our standard transporting rule we offer the option to restrict the mobility of some heavy artillery.

This is one of those rules not intended to be played as much as it is intended to convince players and scenario designers of the inadvisability of moving heavy, immobile equipment around in the very short time frame of a typical scenario.  It also considerably enhances the value of the self-propelled versions of the same equipment; which is intentional.

Heavy Equipment
Units with a movement allowance of zero (0) require a number of full turns to load and unload depending on the range of the unloading unit as follows:

Range Turns d
0-16 1  
17-32 2  
33-48 3  
49> 4  
Figure 1: Unloading and loading markers
At the completion of the move in which loading or unloading commences the range of the unloading passenger unit is used to enter the first column of the accompanying table. A 'count down' loading or unloading marker2 denominated with the number of turns from the corresponding second column is then placed on the transporting unit. At the beginning of each of the owning player's subsequent player turns the loading or unloading turn marker is removed, and the next marker reducing the turns remaining by one (1) is replaced on the unit; when the last marker is removed the unit is loaded or unloaded and may move in transport or fire freely, respectively, in the ensuing phases of the current player turn.

Alternatively, a player may choose to commence loading an unloading unit, or vice versa, in lieu of replacing the next marker; in this case the corresponding opposite type of marker of equal value replaces the current one and the 'count-down' is not decremented.

Note: The replacement of any loading or unloading marker of sufficient denomination at the commencement of each owning player's player turn triggers spotting for both transport and passenger units in concealing terrain when within the line of sight of an eligible opposing unit.

Note that the use of the range factor for quantifying the number of turns required penalises 'H' class artillery over 'A' class anti-tank guns; this is intentional.  In a perfect world certain weapons like the pedestal-mounted 88mm gun would be further penalised but not in this game.  The housekeeping associated with this optional rule is bad enough and the rule really intended to dissuade players from redeploying artillery except where strictly necessary, as when entering the game in transport. Click on the image in Figure 1 for a full-size version of these counters suitable for editing or printing.

Revealed movement exist solely to enable spotting of loading or unloading enemy units in concealing terrain but also in line-of-sight of an eligible friendly unit.

Whenever a loading or unloading turn marker of two (2) turn value or greater is placed in a concealed hex within the line of sight of an eligible opposing unit the transporting and passenger units are considered 'spotted' as if entering the hex during the movement phase.

Note: Revealed movement can be an exception to the rule that all movement must occur in the movement phase; marker replacement may be performed at the beginning of the player turn before the combat phase.

See the standard spotting rule for further clarification.

Indirect fire
The 'rolling thunder' rule allows the use of powerful artillery in certain scenarios without having to deploy it on the map-board; off-board artillery was first introduced in Arab-Israeli Wars:

A player may be provided with '(H)' class units stipulated in the scenario but not placed on the map, though off-board counters are used to record their indirect fire segment activity. 

These units may conduct indirect fire attacks normally once each during the friendly indirect fire segment and may have registration markers placed for them in any map-board hex (disregarding range) in line-of-sight of an eligible, friendly face-up observing unit during the registration segment.  Exception: The scenario designer may restrict off-board artillery by turn and unit, map area, portion of map area or hex row or any combination thereof, as sees fit.

Off-board artillery may also include naval artillery where appropriate counters are provided.

Recording: After firing the attacking unit(s) are inverted.

Note: Observation for 'rolling thunder' may only be conducted by forward observer units stipulated in the respective scenario.

This rule is a concise restatement of the off-board artillery rule provided in Arab-Israeli Wars except: units are represented by counters, units may not be freely combined with other artillery unless markers for identical types of firing units are present in the target hex or units are eligible for and using 'barrage,' and the registration marker method is used for pre-registering fire, avoiding written orders.

Here's another optional rule to use when there is only a little artillery and it would be handy to have opponents guessing where it was committed each turn:

One (1) friendly registration marker may be placed per turn for each friendly, undispersed indirect fire unit as normal but each indirect fire unit may have two (2) registration markers on the map-board at one time and may declare an eligible registered indirect fire attack on units in either of them, but not both, in each indirect fire segment

Figure 2: 'Shell game' registration marker examples for two each of German and Soviet 120mm mortar units
Two (2) specific registration markers are provided for each indirect fire unit, one marked 'odd' the other 'even' and both with the unique identifier of the firing unit. The 'odd' marker is placed in odd-numbered turns and the 'even' marker in even-numbered turns. In most cases the pending marker is the 'stale' one of the unit's current on-map pair; it must be removed. Friendly 'stale' registration markers are removed from the map-board and new ones (re)placed at the owning player's discretion, but only on hexes spotted and in current line-of-sight of undispersed, eligible, friendly observing units .

Note: All other limitations and allowances governing registration markers pertain. The scenario designer may stipulate providing 'shell game' markers for selected units only.

This rule gives the indirect firing player a bit more flexibility at the expense of an increased population of markers and deferred housekeeping. Click on the image in Figure 2 for a full-size version of these example counters suitable for editing or printing.

Most organic artillery could make 250m adjustments to pre-registered indirect fire relatively easily, this rule penalises 'shoot from the hip' half as much for targets in hexes adjacent to the unit's registration marker and permits 'nearby' interdiction during the opponent's movement phase, mostly for organic indirect fire units:

An '(H)' class unit conducting a 'shoot from the hip' indirect fire attack into an eligible target hex adjacent to the unit's registration marker suffers instead an additional die roll modifier for the attack of plus one (+1) only. An 'M' class unit die roll modifier is unaffected.

Also, an eligible indirect fire unit may conduct an 'interdiction' indirect fire attack once during the opposing player's movement phase when a spotted opposing unit enters a hex in line-of-sight of an eligible, friendly face-up observing unit and adjacent to the indirect fire unit's registration marker. This attack suffers an additional die roll modifier of plus one (+1) for both '(H)' and 'M' class indirect fire units. Other 'interdiction' restrictions apply.

It is intended this rule could apply to all, some or none of each faction's artillery, as the scenario requires. This rule is appropriate for most defending factions, however basic in observation, with a minimum of registered indirect fire capability and could be used by any defending major power from early in the war. In the attack this ability assumes a higher degree of sophistication for the faction; for example German, US, post-invasion British and late war Russian.

A little rule to make open-topped vehicles more vulnerable to bombardment:

'(H)' and 'M' class units enjoy a minus one (-1) die roll modifier when resolving indirect fire attacks against 'C(I)' and '(H)' class vehicle units.

This is intended to discomfit SdKfz 251s, Bren carriers, M3A1 half-tracks and open-topped self-propelled artillery which do not share the protection of most armoured vehicles from plunging fire; applies to air attacks too.

Shaun Appleby
v0.1 Revised: April 05, 2013

1 Woods hex sides.
2 Unloading markers for multiple turn unloading; required to unload longer range weapons with the optional loading and unloading rules.
Opportunity Fire
The original PanzerBlitz was marred by a rules shortfall which excluded firing at moving units. But can this oversight be remedied without making things worse?


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