Panzer Kids Action at Williamsburg Muster

What's become the "standard" set-up for
Panzer Kids free-for-all introduction.
Feb. 19, 2018 – We had a great time this past weekend running Panzer Kids games at Williamsburg Muster. This event is a friendly, regional wargaming convention with programming that includes miniature wargames for experienced grognards and beginners, tournaments for games like Warhammer 30K and SAGA, a variety of dealers, and a board game room complete with lending library run by the Tidewater Area Gaming Society (TAGS). We always like seeing old friends here, but revel in the increasing presence of kids interested in trying new games.

Allied players maneuver their tanks in the
early stages of the engagement.
Saturday morning we ran what’s become our standard introductory Panzer Kids event, a free-for-all tank skirmish between German and British tanks converging on a North African village in flames. The game filled up nicely with four players on each side, a good mix of kids and adults. Each player had two tanks except for one German player with a single Tiger tank. After a brief introduction to the basic Panzer Kids rules (available for free/pay-what-you-want online), players slowly advanced their tanks toward the village, most using the available terrain for cover. The Allies were far more cautious than the Germans, who moved their tanks into the village. Those on both sides with better ranged guns went after those with shorter ranges for the advantage. Eventually tanks from each side maneuvered around buildings, trying to find targets without becoming targets themselves. The game lasted nearly two hours with players on both sides demonstrating some good tactics. Eventually, though, time ran out and we had to end the game; with each side losing three tanks each, the engagement was a draw...but everyone seemed to have a good time.

A German player measures the move for a Panzer IV
advancing into the town.
Allied tanks hold back and use the
oases for cover.
German tanks move into town.
A German player checks line of sight using the laser.
The mid-game situation from overhead. German tanks
still hold the town while the Allies cautiously hold back.
More Allied tanks move into town. Red beads indicate hits.
French R-35 tanks move up the road to St. Lucien.
The afternoon game used 6mm micro-scale tanks rather than the usual 15mm tanks from the earlier game. We ran the “Vichy’s Last Charge” scenario from the Panzer Kids Deluxe rulebook with a host of French R-35 tanks and some American M3 Stuarts and halftracks with 75mm gun mounts. Five players, three French and two American, fought a historical battle that occurred one day after the Operation Torch landings in North Africa. The French started with two tank squads on the road toward the town of St. Lucien, with one squadron peeling off to slowly cross the open desert. One American Stuart squadron rushed down the road into St. Lucien while the other and the halftracks drove over open country to meet and try to outflank the French. Alas, the Stuarts on the road fared poorly against the French tanks, especially after the second squadron of R-35s entered the fray. After that, despite moving into range with their opponents, the American forces just couldn’t hold their own against superior numbers...though they valiantly fought to the last tank. The game lasted longer than the morning’s engagement and the attention of the two younger players waned as the battle waged on, but participants seemed to enjoy it, particularly the victorious French who were initially dismayed at the hideously poor speed of their early war tanks.

Stuarts bog down in combat just outside St. Lucien
as the French R-35s spread out.
West of town the French slowly wear away at
the second Stuart squadron.
Both events drummed up a lot of interest in the Panzer Kids rules as introductory games for kids and newcomers and as a more basic wargaming system for fielding large forces of tanks in a reasonable amount of time. Participants walked off with various goodies, including a bonus “Tiger by the Tail” scenario, stat cards for the tanks they commanded, and custom Panzer Kids dice.

Williamsburg Muster isn’t a huge convention but has a friendly community atmosphere with other con trappings like dealers, hospitality suite, and a raffle. Thanks to all the members of the Old Dominion Military Society who organize and host the event; thanks to all the volunteers and referees who help run and host events at the show; thanks to all our friends, old and new, we see each visit; and thanks to everyone who came by to observe or join in a Panzer Kids game.