Panzer General Online – Closed Beta Report
Gamers and grognards! Behold, Panzer General has returned! Well, almost.
Panzer General Online, the browser-based version of that highly revered wargame series of the good old days is currently in closed beta, with its development and polishing coming along as briskly and effectively as Patton’s U.S. 1st Infantry Division liberating North Africa in 1943.
Panzer General Online (PGO) is a free-to-play TBS / RPG / collectible card game deployable right from your favorite browser. In classic isometric 3D view you face off against AI or other players on very well-detailed World War II battlefields. Command Cards are used to give orders to a wide variety of combat units, including infantry, tanks, aircraft, and artillery. As you win battles, you earn coins, gain experience points, and unlock Command Cards to bolster your overall unit strength and command options on the battlefield. To achieve victory, you must destroy all enemy units or deplete your enemy’s Command Points, before your enemy does either of those things to you. The premise is simple, but the wide range of strategies available to accomplish the victory aren’t.
PGO has a single-player campaign that may be played as the US or Germany. I started with the US side, beginning with Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily, and at level 8, I’m only 14% into the operation. The Invasion of Italy is the next op on tap, but I have a feeling that’s still a long way off.
The multiplayer mode lets you battle other live players to reach the top of the leaderboards. When not in combat, you can attempt to parley with other players through the in-game chat to trade Command Cards, with the tactical aim of making your army stronger and making your enemies weaker.
With the facts out of the way, it should be noted that PGO is in closed beta at this time, and no open beta date has been set yet. Some or all of the look and play of the game is open to change in this early stage. The open call for beta testers is still on, so click on over to panzergeneral.com and register for a beta key.
Panzer General is one of the very first computer operational-level wargames I played when I started back in the mid-’90s. I have fond memories of many hours spent battling it out through the original game, and on through the following Allied General, the great Panzer General II, Panzer General 3D Assault, and Panzer General III: Scorched Earth. Is PGO comparable to its namesake games? In my opinion, not even in the slightest. They are simply too far apart, in both years and genres, to be comparable.
Now, that’s not saying PGO is a bad game, ’cause it isn’t. As far as collectible card games go, I’ve never been a fan. However, PGO‘s simplicity, smooth pacing, escalating strategies and rewards, RPG elements, wargame theme, and its relation to its predecessors have found in me the target audience I think the devs and pubs are looking for. I think my PGO tour of duty is gonna last for quite some time.
About the Author
Jim Moreno dropped a quarter into his first video game (Pong) back in 1977 and has been avidly gaming ever since. He joined ArmchairGeneral.com as its first official game reviewer just before the website went live in 2003 and remains a regular contributor of war, combat, and strategy articles. He’s also written for PC Gamer, The Wargamer, The WarCry Network, and is currently a writer of strategy guides for GameFront.com. Jim is also a regular gameplay streamer on TwitchTV, on both his own channel (http://www.twitch.tv/gamer_jim) and on behalf of MMORPG.com (http://www.twitch.tv/mmorpgcom). When he’s not writing or gaming, he’s usually keeping physically and mentally fit, watching the latest sci fi shows and movies, or just being zen with his cat, Spritzer.