Panzerfäuste – Operation Tea Chalice

First order of the day, my apologies for the prolonged absence. There has been some change in my (family) life and we are planning our relocation abroad (China). Needless to say this has severely impacted on gaming time but cannot be helped. Anyways, some of you may remember the Panzerfäuste Kickstarter I brought to your attention a while ago. The miniatures are being delivered and I was lucky enough to sneak into Wave 1 with my Orcs.

Moreover Rob from Hysterical Games has been kind enough (again) and given me an additional (miscast) Orc MG team in addition to my Orc Infantry and Command sets. Short version, I have asked for a full Orc Support Team, as well as a Dwarf Grenadier team to fight it out with “Da Orcz”, delivered after the Salute 2016 show but now a review and one by one.

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The game

Panzerfäuste is taking traditional Fantasy races and sets them into a (hilarious) WWI/WWII environment. The Germanic Dwarfs have ruthlessly/rightfully invaded “Les landes des Gnomes” (French Gnomes). Teutonically outraged by this, the British Orcs did not find this “Cricket” and deployed their Orcish Expeditionary Forces (OEF) to meet this dwarfish threat to the free world.

Be prepared to see French Foreign Legion Gnomes, Iron Clad Dwarf Sturmtruppen and Orc Highlanders in Tartan. And if that does not have you rolling on the floor in laughter you may go on and even play the intended game.

The miniatures

The miniatures are 28mm resin casts. Resin seems to be the current material of choice for a huge number of companies and with the advances particularly Prodos, Rob’s old employer, has made over the last couple of years there is no reason this will not continue. While it requires new skills for us gamers (“How to work with resin”) Rob has a lot of experience with resin casting but take a look for yourself.20160405_144923

 

The miniatures have been cleaned and take my word for it, it was an easy job. I may need a little more filing here and there but in general the miniatures are extremely detailed (fingers on the trigger!!!) and have no major flaws. Flash has been a little more than with Prodos minis which have virtually none.

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In Rob’s defence: Being a one man outfit essentially I was not sure what to expect. I am more than pleasantly surprised that the quality is as it is. I had almost 20 Orcs and 4 in total I needed to subject to the hot water treatment for being out of shape. Three of those were minimal corrections (the bajonet) and even the biggest one (bent rifle) was corrected in no time. If you have no experience with resin, get a Prodos blister and then your Panzerfäuste and if you are a veteran be pleasantly surprised at what comes out of Rob’s casting grounds.

Also there has been some critique for “gaps” when attaching the arms to the orcs. I have experienced two or three cases of minimal gaps which I had to fill with Vallejo liquid putty, the amounts being minimal. It was also my experience that gaps are minimised if you press the arms in a little stronger. The designs are very much fitting, so you need to attach and align properly (which is easy).

The rules

So far I have only briefly looked at the skirmish rules. They are, simply spoken, a one factor ruleset called “Guts” which influences everything your guys are doing. It is however not a simplistic system because their actions success or failure does alter the guts level of your soldiers. This allows for a very simple and straightforward statline but immediately alters your soldiers’ performance (morale factor?).

There are a number of modifiers to the current guts level of your soldier, depending on proximity of leadership, type of action, whether there is cover or not etc. etc. so that depth is achieved and the system is by no means a simplistic exercise. A lot of questions did arise by merely reading: Should I move my boys and risk being shot at or do I take an aimed shot with a dude that has already lost some of his starter level of guts?

There is a lot of tournament potential in there both for hardcore tournament players as well as people just having a laugh and a not so serious attitude towards gaming. Rob encourages gamers to update the rules with him and the beta rules are free to download via wargamevault (http://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/8516/Hysterical-Games?term=hysterical+games). He is also very clear about the aim of the game: Having fun, so if any rule does not work for you, you and your gaming partner should feel free to change it.

The company

Hysterical Games is Rob Alderman’s and Steve Blease’s company. After leaving Prodos Rob is now his own boss and decided to rejuvenate Panzerfäuste. Since it is a young and small company I am naturally interested.

So far Rob and Steve have successfully funded a Kickstarter to relaunch Panzerfäuste and considering the quality I expect this little gem to spread a little further over the next couple of months and years to come. Knowing Rob for almost 2 years now I also know he is very dedicated to get a “fun” product into peoples’ hands to (and I quote) “make them happy”.

Their cooperation with Maveryc Games will see a fantasy version of the Panzerfäuste idea being let loose on you (Roman Legionaries as Orcs!!!!!!) called “Pax Bochemannica”. Current sets are made in metal and I have already told Rob I will definitely have one on order once I have settled in my new location.

Knowing a face behind a company always helps me to make my decision and talking to Rob almost daily, I am convinced his effort is genuinely aimed at making people happy with his art.

The verdict

Get them while you can. I suggest visiting Hysterical Games at Salute 2016 or another convention they attend. Have a game and grab some Blisters. If there was anything negative to say I would opt for the current absence of startersets for one or two players. I doubt this is going to stop the true connoisseur of gaming to get their resin fix from my preferred resincrack dealer.

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