Welcome to the official Panzer Corps 2: Axis Operations FAQ and new mechanics basic guide!
What are the AO DLC?
AO DLC Stands for: Axis Operations Downloadable content.
These DLC are the first post launch campaigns added to Panzer Corps 2. The Axis Operations aims to chronicle the journey of your German force across a gigantic campaign from Spain in 1936 to Germany in 1945 and maybe even beyond that. When complete, the Axis Operations could potentially be a Grand Campaign spanning well over 100+ scenarios.
Each campaign can be played individually by itself, providing a decently sized campaign to enjoy. However, the true intention is for the campaigns to link together to form one giant, continuous gaming experience by allowing players to save and then import their army from one DLC campaign to the next.
For example, a player who finishes the entire Spanish Civil War can then bring their veteran army into the Axis Operations 1939 Campaign.
How are they different from the base game?
While the base game serves as an excellent foundation and entry point into Panzer Corps 2 gaming, the Axis Operations are designed to push the game into new territory with new and innovative designs. The Axis Operations are everything the base game is, there’s just much, much more of it. More scenarios, more scenario variety, new AI tactics and settings, new reward systems, new enemy Hero units, and more.
How difficult is this content?
While more advanced than the base campaign, the Axis Operations are still designed for any player to enjoy. Less advanced players should be able to launch into the content and play to reasonable success as they hone their skills, while expert players can test their mettle against the highest difficulty settings and hardest of bonus objectives to complete.
We’ve re-introduced Degrees of Victory into nearly every scenario, so new players will hopefully not be facing campaign ending defeat because they were only able to capture 9 of 10 victory hex objectives!
How many AO campaigns are there?
Currently there are:
Axis Operations: Spanish Civil War
Axis Operations: 1939
Axis Operations: 1940
Axis Operations: 1941 East
More are on the way, provided our players are satisfied with the content and are eager to continue their journey through the war in an extraordinarily long campaign environment.
What should I know before starting the AO campaigns?
Being familiar with the basic mechanics of Panzer Corps 2 is expected of players who try their hand at these DLC. You don’t have to play the entire base game campaign, but at least some experience with it, and a good grasp of the tutorial, will really help you get off to a good start in the more advanced Axis Operations campaigns.
Also, running with Trophies of War player trait is highly recommended. Longer campaigns means more time fighting the same enemies, meaning more opportunities to encounter, capture, and field high quality enemy units while they remain competitive. Spending more than a dozen scenarios in the Spanish Civil War, you’re going to want to field some Trubia or T-26s and not be stuck with only using Panzer Is. Same goes for extended campaigns in France, and eventually Russia.
What is the Commendation Point system?
One complaint about the traditions of Panzer General and Panzer Corps is the lack of mission variety. We’ve all seen maybe a bit too much of ‘Capture all Victory Hexes’ by now, we think.
While we’ll still make appropriate use of this mission type occasionally, players will also see a lot more objective variety moving forward. Missions types such as rescue, escort, interception, mine laying, and others have been spread out across the campaign.
And the way we’ve balanced this is by bringing back Degrees of Victory. Rather than have every mission be a binary ‘win or lose’, we’ve added more variety. Every scenario has a basic objective that you must complete to progress the campaign. This is the lowest degree of victory though, and is suitably easy to achieve.
If you really want to see some very unique rewards and bonuses, you’ll want to push yourself to accomplish the far more difficult and varied bonus objectives.
We’ve even implemented a new currency system to handle this interaction. As you complete bonus objectives, you’ll earn Commendation Points. At various points in the campaign, offers will be made to players who have earned enough Commendation Points… offers of fantastic bounties of captured equipment, special prototype units, and possibly even access to famous and legendary historical aces and officers of the war.
How do Commendation Point rewards interact with existing capture and prototype systems?
Best way to describe the way it works is that units exist in 5 degrees.
CORE, AUX, Captured, Prototype, and Gift.
A. COREof course is your primary nation, and you have unlimited supply of units available.
B. AUXtypically is for nations also assigned for your use, such as Italy. These units provide temporary increase to your army strength on any given scenario. A very popular tactic of Spanish Civil War testers is to rely heavily on supporting Italian CTV units to bolster their early scenario fighter air force before swapping over to much more potent and permanent He-112s and Bf-109Bs as they arrive toward the middle of the Spanish Civil War.
C. Captured units retain their limited spare part supply of the base Panzer Corps 2 game, with one extremely important caveat: It’s now possible to earn huge stockpiles of captured spare parts as rewards for turning in Commendation Points. This should greatly increase the ability of players to field captured units without immediately worrying about running out of spare parts. Of course if you don’t continue to capture enemy units on your own, you will eventually run out of spare parts.
D. Prototypesare generally unaffected. Their implementation is the weakest link, because unlike captured units, there is no way a player can go and hunt for ‘more spare parts.’ Which brings us to…
E. Gifts. Gifts is the primary replacing mechanism over Prototypes. A gift unit behaves like a combination of CORE and Prototype by keeping the best traits of both. A gift unit has NO spare part limitation, like a CORE unit. A gift will always be a unit you cannot ordinarily purchase, sort of like a Prototype unit. A gift unit can come from any nation’s equipment table… including enemy aircraft. Galland just might get that squadron of Spitfires he requested after all these years! A gift is yours to keep indefinitely, and overstrength as you see fit. Be warned though, if a Gift unit is ever fully destroyed, there is no getting it back. So be extra careful with these very special reward units!
How do I issues orders to the AI controlled Nationalist Spanish Infantry units in the Spanish Civil War Campaign?
The user interface function to interact with friendly AI units can be found in the bottom right corner of the screen as a small triangle.
The purpose of AI ally is to cooperate with it. While AI Infantry attack entrenched enemies and destroy AT guns, you can perform flanking attacks against support units such as artillery and air defense units. It’s also mostly your job to deal with enemy counter attack, especially tanks and vehicles the Spanish infantry are not equipped to deal with. AI is happy to assault entrenched positions if you soften up those positions with artillery fire before the Spanish Nationalist turn. Artillery is very useful at suppressing enemies and destroying their entrenchment rating, and your AI allies will take full advantage of your artillery bombardments!
And if they are advancing too far ahead of your forces, changing their orders to hold position is a good wait to tell them to sit and wait, while you ready your own forces for the next offensive.
When issuing orders to the AI, note message prompt says lines such as:
“Spanish Nationalist units will attack the nearest hostile victory hex.”
This should help explain why the AI goes where it goes. There is no ‘free roam’ mode, because many maps aren’t meant to be completely overrun. Focusing AI on objectives keeps them easier to work with because you should have an idea of roughly what they are focused on.
Why are some map edges blocked off with lines of minefields and bunkers?
These regions are reinforcement zones for the AI. Your access to them is severely restricted because we don’t want players to have enemy units seeming to appear out of thin air directly on top of you. These barriers are for your own safety, as they serve as well marked, warning buffer zones.
We don’t want players attempting to capture these bases to try to ‘turn off’ enemy reinforcements, and thus we also will never put rewards or even basic objectives in such places. Any of these behaviors only encourage the same thing: for players to want to investigate these regions.
Because of the potential random nature of enemy reinforcements though, there’s no guarantee when, or if, such a zone will receive reinforcements. As always, good recon and vigilance should be practiced when faced with the potential for enemy reinforcements.
What is an objective to ‘raid’ a location?
The ongoing quest to diversify mission objective types uses a lot of different language for Victory Hex management.
Capture: The standard format, go on the attack, and grab all the terrain, and usually the mission will end the moment you capture and have ownership of every single Victory Hex.
Control/Hold: For defensive missions. It is not enough to have ownership of the required VH, you need to make sure to have that ownership satisfied on the very last turn of the scenario.
Raid: The new type, pretty exclusively used for bonus objectives only. This is satisfied on the spot the instant such a hex is occupied. Meaning you need to fight to the VH, take control of it, and then you are free to abandon it and fall back. This is important for hit and run type attacks, where such a location might be very deep behind enemy lines, and holding on to it in the face of approaching enemy reinforcements is not feasible because it is such a tenuous position.
Importing CORE functions
How does importing my army between Axis Operations campaigns work exactly?
One of the most important features of any Grand Campaign is to allow players to play the individual parts of the campaign, but still keep their forces between campaigns. This system allows players to experience the campaigns as one long adventure. It also is a nice way to partition up hundreds of scenarios into much more bite sized campaigns.
The game handles all CORE saving pretty much automatically, the user needs only to play, and complete, each individual campaign, and the game will know what force is allowed to import to what following campaign.
It works in just a few simple stages:
For example, at the end of final the Spanish Civil War scenario, you will see this new message when returning to the main menu after debriefing.
If you choose the next campaign immediately, you will simply be sent directly into the first scenario of the attaching campaign. [size=125]Making this choice allows you skip needing to re-pick your your character traits over again.[/size] To do that, you need to select the next campaign (in this case Axis Operations 1939) from the ‘new campaign’ menu. When you do that, you will see this new prompt.
Now if you have more than one saved CORE, you can select which one you would like to import, and upon importing, you will be allowed to re-pick your character traits.
As mentioned, importing your CORE is not required to play any DLC content. For anyone who hasn’t completed the previous campaign in the Grand Campaign, or who doesn’t own that previous DLC, a ready made CORE of decent size and strength (with heroes) will be provided when starting a new campaign without importing a force.
What exactly is saved with my imported CORE?
1. Your units, both deployed and reserve units.
2. Their experience, awards, and medals.
3. All heroes, including special Commendation Point awarded heroes.
4. Your prestige.
5. Your stockpile of captured enemy equipment.
So… pretty much everything that makes your army uniquely yours is preserved!
Tips and Pointers
1. Read your briefings
As with the original Grand Campaign, the briefings are as important as they have ever been. They are so important, we’ve created a special briefing officer just to join you on your potentially multi-year, multi-DLC journey. He will always give you critical information about the battle you are about to engage in as well as some historical context. Expect advise on when weather conditions are especially extreme, potential good avenues of attack to engage down, warnings on potential enemy counterthrusts, and more.
When your AI Ally requests artillery support in a briefing, you should probably offer them some good artillery support! 😉
2. Don’t expect to overrun the entire map in every scenario.
Enemy density and enemy reinforcements are a big part of the Axis Operations. You should not expect to walk into every scenario and completely annihilate all enemy units and capture every single square inch of the map. Stick to your objectives, and use natural terrain to funnel, block, and control large enemy forces that otherwise might seem overwhelmingly unfair to engage. For example, in the Spanish Civil War, the first time you approach Madrid… you might want to entrench behind that very defensible river line and not expect to overrun the city as waves of International Brigade forces armed with Soviet tanks reinforce and fortify the city against your assaults!
3. Make good use of recon
To increase replay value, there has been a degree of unpredictability imbedded into where enemy reinforcements will sometimes arrive and also what their composition is. This is one of the biggest improvements Panzer Corps 2 has to offer over the original Panzer Corps. This means that the first time you play a scenario, such as Spain’s Battle of the Ebro, you could be attacked from a North Eastern direction. But the next time you play that scenario on a new playthrough, that enemy assault might have their reinforcements arrive all the way to the South.
There’s no way to pre-determine which base enemy reinforcements will arrive at, so good use of recon to detect enemy reinforcement waves quickly is vital to being able to respond to them effectively.
4. Expect more mobile, more panzer orientated warfare
Instead of facing off against one heavily entrenched position after another, you should expect to see enemy forces on the move much more often. In fact there are many cases where you can intercept enemy reinforcements before they arrive to defend a Victory Hex location.
The AI also has gotten a special trick up their sleeve, in that certain units are keenly aware when they are fighting a losing battle… and they will make tactical retreats back to enemy bases to repair, re-arm, and attack again instead of merely fighting to the death against your army. Be prepared for these special harasser units by maintaining a strong vanguard of recon and anti-tank screening forces, and be especially wary of special Nemesis level enemy units that come loaded with Overstrength, multiple hero abilities, and can potentially follow you into future scenarios if they are not destroyed!
5. Take your time
Mission time limits are generally very generous in the Axis Operations, and you shouldn’t feel particularly rushed to ‘fight the clock’ all the time. A slow, steady, and methodically advancing army should have no trouble completing the lowest Degree of Victory in any scenario, enabling you to continue your campaign experience uninterrupted.
Prestige levels are also more generous, and there is an expectation for the player to use more Elite level replacements to offset the slower experience rate that exists as a result of having such a colossal campaign size.
Of course if you really want to push yourself on higher difficulty levels, and also by reaching for much more difficult bonus objectives… the opportunities are there for players who want to push themselves and their armies to the limit.
6. Don’t be shy about using non-standard resources at your disposal
Very frequently in the Axis Operations, you will have access to non-standard assets to bolster your CORE force. One prime example of this takes the form of Italian CTV (Corpo Truppe Volontarie) Auxiliaries in the Spanish Civil War. Unlike the usual lackluster performance of Italians during World War II, your Italian allies are extremely potent and a force to be reckoned with during the Spanish Civil War. The only way to directly control infantry is by purchasing Italian CTV infantry. Italian fighter aircraft are also far superior to the German starting He-51 biplane fighter. A very common tactic among our testers was to use the maximum allotment of auxiliary slots to deploy a host of Italian infantry, fighters, and artillery to supplement their primary Condor Legion forces. The extra cost in prestige to buy auxiliary units is more than offset by the extra firepower you can bring to the battlefield!
7. Utilize the reserve system to its full potential
More than the base game, Panzer Corps 2’s reserve system plays an important role in the Axis Operations DLC. Sudden explosive growth between scenarios is extremely rare now, and many scenarios have aspects that promote or inhibit certain unit classes. The standard example of scenarios with extreme rain and snow where you are better off putting your air force into reserve are standard, but some missions will also favor bulking out on more infantry in a dense urban battle, or fielding more tanks in a very wide open plain. To prevent excessive battlefield clutter growing out of control as the Axis Operations continue, some big operations are actually followed by smaller missions. An extra large core slot allotment might be made available for extremely large battles such as Battle of the Ebro or Battle of the Bzura, but then you will be required to put some forces back into reserve in the following, smaller scale conflicts. Kursk was the largest tank battle in history, but it nowhere near the last tank battle of World War II! 😉
8. Have fun!
The Axis Operations campaigns are decently long, and the scenarios within them are quite sizable as well. Battle of the Ebro by itself can potentially be a full day affair to get through. Don’t feel crunched to blow though it all in a single sitting in a single day. An Axis Operations Grand Campaign is an extraordinarily long journey, and these are just the first steps. Enjoy!
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