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Open General and OpenPanzer are classic turn-based strategy games

15 October 2014, Mike Williams

If you’re a fan of turn-based strategy games – or just very old – you might remember Panzer General 2, the 1997 classic which tested your tactics across a range of brutal World War II battles.

Its varied campaigns, scenarios and engrossing gameplay ensured that Panzer General 2 is still remembered fondly today, but it’s not just about memories. The game has also been remade and reimagined in various forms, and old fans and newcomers can try them out for free.

Open General is an open-source Windows “evolution” of Panzer with some challenging and complex campaigns. Just one – “Guderian’s Gambit…” – makes you a panzer commander, and sees you tasked with eliminating the Poles and crushing the French, before heading east and attempting to take Moscow. (Yes, that’s often just as bad an idea in the game as it was in real life).

Take control of your units and move them around the hex-based map

If you’re looking for a quick fix then there are several scenarios, single battles with a smaller, sometimes turn-limited goal: marching on Madrid, invading Malta, fighting in Salerno, North Africa, Normandy and more.

OpenPanzer is an iOS/ Android edition, but that doesn’t mean it’s in any way stripped down. You can play either an Axis or Allied general across lengthy campaigns and 32 scenarios, moving 4,000 historically-accurate units across 20 terrain types as you fight for eventual victory.

Both versions have a familiar interface. You start with various units on a hex-based map, move them around, discover enemy units when they’re within range, then make best use of your men’s abilities to achieve victory.

As you work through the campaign, so your units gain experience, earn prestige points to help them upgrade, or you can buy new units from the Purchase screen.

If you don’t play this kind of game so often then the many options can seem a little intimidating at first, but tutorial scenarios will help you get started, and you’ll master the basics quickly enough.

There are some very modern features for such an old-school game, too, including OpenPanzer’s ability to save and restore games to the cloud for playing on other devices.

The learning curve and relatively basic graphics mean Open General and OpenPanzer won’t be for everyone, but the core gameplay is still great, and if you like your entertainment to have real depth then it’s worth a look.

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