As part of mail call yesterday, I received a huge package from GMT Games, filled with P500 items.  I figured I would post something about a few of the games I received, starting with Panzer North Africa.  This is the sixth game in GMT's Panzer series (a remake of Yaquinto's Panzer series from around 1979), and is the second stand-alone volume in the series, which created a perfect opportunity for me to pick it up, and see how I like it.  It's quite a large package!  GMT lists the box as 3.5" deep, which I did not verify, but certainly seems accurate.  Speaking of the box:

We have the front and back of the game box.  Very nice looking art, and a striking cover.  The back of the box obviously talks about what is included, but we'll spend more time looking over the components in this article.  The Solitaire rating is a 9, given that a solitaire system is included with the game.  The Complexity of 6 may just be for the basic game, disregarding the advanced rules... but they don't specify, and I haven't played this yet, so I can't really guess.  Either way, this game seems a bit on the complex side.  That's appealing to me, although that does mean this is probably sitting on the shelf a while until I find someone eager to play it, since it might be tough to teach.  We shall see.

The back of the box mentions six double-sided geomorphic maps.  Let's take a look at them:

First thing I noticed when pulling these out was how long they were.  Other games with geomorphic maps (for instance, Advanced Squad Leader) have maps significantly shorter.  It feels a little awkward, but the focus on armor might want longer range in the game to showcase the units effectively, and probably will play just fine.  These two maps are on the same sheet, just on the backside from one another.  One with a giant hill dominating the landscape, and the other, fairly open, but with some rough terrain batches.

All of these maps are really nice looking, I will say.  This set has another very open looking setup, and then a map with some groves around a small oasis.  I think the groves block line of sight, so this one could be quite interesting.  And looks like it has a gully off on the right?  Very cool.

Another open map (these battles are in North Africa, for the record, so this is expected), and one with an airfield with some small towns on either side of it.

Another open map with a (paved?) road, and then a series of hills with a lot of other pieces of terrain incorporated.  That looks like a nasty map to have a fight on.

I worried for a second there that I had already uploaded these.  But nope- more open maps.

Finally, more open maps, but one with a gully down the center.

Admittedly, these are not the most exciting series of maps I've seen in a game, but as I have mentioned- this is North Africa.  If you look at maps of some of the areas of major battle, you see that this isn't far off.  Plus, as we'll see in a second, the maps are designed to be more flexible than they appear.

So, when I refer to flexibility here, what do I mean? Overlays:

These go on top of the map, modifying it. They look incredible, and you get six sheets in this package (first one visible above).

These will turn any map into something interesting and unique.

Included next are a series of books.  Six of them, in fact.

This is the TO&E Manual (Table of Organization and Equipment).  There is a lot of detail about the organization and orders of battle of the formations involved in this theater and period of the war:

There is a ton of information in this book.  It looks like its primary use is for designing your own scenarios (the published scenarios have the information on included units).  A great source of information, certainly.

A 68-page Basic & Advanced Rules book.  GMT provides this online, here.

A 24-page Optional Rules book.  Again, GMT provides it here.

A playbook, which essentially tells you how to read the scenarios, but also provides the solitaire system for the game (the way I will mostly likely get it on the table, alas).

Two scenario books are included, providing 32 scenarios and a campaign game.

The first such book, with its table of contents (so you can see what scenarios are included.

And the second book, with its table of contents.  A decent looking selection of scenarios, from my brief glance.  Plenty of play in this box!

There are eight countersheets included, providing forces for the Germans, British, and Italians, plus a lot of status counters.  I love seeing the turret facing counters, without knowing much about the system, I already know I'll like it, just from that, haha.

The counter art looks sharp, and since this is a stand-alone game, having all the status counters will at least give me some flexibility in buying other expansions (although I guess I won't have I need to play the scenarios in other expansions yet, but I can make up some scenarios).

Next, we have some player aids.   First, a set to help players read the counters/cards:

There is information on both sides of these, and are not duplicated.  We also get a pair of player aid/table cards for the game, with information on the front and back:

Dice are included (d10s):

Finally, we get a bunch of data cards for the units in the game (contents say there are 49 such cards):

There are thick and very nice quality!

Finally, here is a close-up of the front and back of one such card:

You can see quite a number of other sample cards for the various nationalities on GMT's official page for the game, as well.

Without a doubt, this is a great product, with a lot of replay value, and tons of options for playing.  I do not have much knowledge of the game itself, yet, other than reading enough about it to convince myself I would enjoy it enough to order.  But the presentation is fantastic- I can't wait to give it a try.