Sunday, 25 June 2017

TANKS - The WWII Tank Skirmish Game

While at various shows for Battlefront (Salute, London Toy Fair, UK Games Expo) I've played hundreds of games of TANKS, showing new players this fantastic little skirmish game and waxing lyrical about the many expansions and countless ways to enjoy the game.

Think X-Wing meets World Of Tanks. You control a tank (or several if you're building a platoon) and the basic concept is to win by destroying your opponents tanks, or crippling them so they can't achieve any missions (of which there are four).

The starter set comes with three tanks (2 Sherman and 1 German Panther), card terrain, tank ID cards, counters,

I really love this game as it takes no time to set up; you don't need lots of models to get started and the rules are very easy to pick up even after just one game. In fact you could be tricked into thinking it is a very simple game and several experienced wargamers have expressed such a view when I've run them through the first couple of turns.

Overview Of The Game

The game is broken down into three phases: Movement, Shooting, Command.

Movement: The tank with the lowest Initiative moves first, proceeding up through the Initiative order to the Tank with the highest Initiative. To move a tank, place the measuring stick touching the tank and facing in any direction. Then move the tank anywhere against the stem of the Measuring Stick. You can move twice - place a Speed token showing how fast you moved.

Shooting: Start with the tank with the highest Initiative and work down the order. Create a pool of Attack dice based on the Attack value of the tank shooting (EG: A Panzer IV has an Attack value of 4 so roll 4 D6). Any score of 4, 5 is a hit while a 6 is a Critical Hit. If you didn't move and don't like the scores, you may re-roll all your dice.

The Target tank creates a pool of Defence dice based on the Defence value of the tank. You add  +1 die for each time the shooting tank moved, +1 die for each time the defending tank moved and +1 die if the defending tank is in cover. You deduct -1 die if the shooting tank is within 1 Measuring Stick of its target and -1 die if any part of the shooting tanks is behind the front of the target tank. Any score of 4, 5 cancels a hit or Critical Hit chosen by the shooting player, while each 6 cancels a Hit or Critical Hit chosen by the target player.

Each uncancelled hit causes 1 point of damage For each uncancelled Critical Hit draw a Critical Damage card and apply its effects.

EG: A Panzer IV which moved twice shoots at a Sherman Tank in the woods which moved once. The Attack pool rolls 2,2,4 and 5. That's two hits. The Sherman has 1 defence die, plus 3 more: 2 for the Panzer IV movement and 1 for it's own movement. It also gains another die for being in cover for a total defence pool of 5 dice. The rolls are: 2,3,3,3,5 (the famous JP dice rolling, ladies and gentlemen!). The Panzer IV cancels one of the hits with the 5 meaning one hit gets through.

Command: In this phase players roll to repair damage or activate any of their tanks special rules. The Panzer IV for example has Blitzkreig which allows it to make a free move in the command phase if it didn't try to repair damage.

The above image shows the breakdown of a Tank ID card and what all the numbers mean. In the starter set you get cards for a wide variety of Tanks so if you're a veteran Flames Of War player and already own some tanks you can get playing them in skirmish games straight away.

There are currently 12 expansion packs each one with a Tank, its ID card and more Critical damage and Crew Upgrade cards.

North Afrika - TANKS hits the desert.

With the release of 4th Edition Flames Of War and the focus being on Mid-War and the North African campaign, it was only a matter of time before new expansions featuring the same plastic kits were released. 

While I currently have a couple of Shermans and a US Jackson, plus the Panther and Tiger for Late War, it will be with the new Mid War Desert Tanks that I'll be launching my skirmish gaming in earnest.

The first four kits being released in June are:

  • Panzer IV
  • Panzer III

  • Grant
  • Honey

And while I've painted way too many Grant tanks for my Desert Rats army, I'll be buying the expansion for the ID and upgrade cards. Next month the Crusader gets released along with the Tiger so I'll be adding to both my Mid War platoons with those.

Painting wise I'll probably be going for a different scheme than my FOW army, something a bit more basic and quicker to do. 

I'd like to get into TANKS as a serious contender for tournament play, which is something I'll be exploring on a work level, as this is something that hasn't really taken off yet, but which has the potential to be huge.

Do you play TANKS? What forces do you use? Leave a comment below.

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