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What A Tanker - First Impressions

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What A Tanker - First Impressions

Postby Dog who drinks paint » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:40 am

Got the pdf this morning, at Rich's second attempt, so thought I would share my thoughts after a couple of read-throughs.

Firstly, it’s important to accept this for what it is, a ‘fun’ game not a detailed historical simulation. That said, with typical TFL subtlety, there is quite a lot of historical accuracy smuggled into the apparently simple rules. Basic turn sequence is a dice off to determine order of play, then each tank takes its whole move in turn. That consists of rolling (initially at least) six ‘Command’ dice which determine what you can do, much like in CoC, except here it’s 1: Move, 2: Acquire target, 3: Aim, 4: Fire, 5:Reload, 6: Wild. Dice can be used in any order allowing you some tactical subtlety in how you combine movement, targeting and firing.

From there the mechanics will be familiar to CoC players with movement being 2d6 inches per movement dice and one or two dice required to cross obstacles. Firing is two dice to hit on 6 or more under 48”, 7 or more over 48” and then damage done by opposed rolls of firepower and armour dice based on the individual characteristics of the tanks involved. Damage can be the temporary or permanent loss of Command Dice and other damage according to a cumulative ‘ladder’. Players keep track of damage, as well as things like whether they are loaded, buttoned up and have a target ‘acquired’ on a ‘dashboard’ for each tank, and there are some fancy tokens for this in the mail along with the hard copy. Measuring for turns and arcs of fire and observation are done with a simple hexagonal ‘tanker tool’.

Other features include the equivalent of chance cards which are doled out at the beginning of the game and rejoice in the usual Lardy humour (the card giving a cover bonus is called ‘Impressive Bush’) and a campaign system that awards a ‘kill ring’ for each tank you destroy. With 5 kill rings you become an Ace and can upgrade to a better tank. The tank tables are pretty comprehensive, giving all the major nations (including France, Italy and Japan) and a lot of tanks. A limited range of characteristics (Armour, Strike, Tank Destroyer, Low Profile, Fast, Slow, Small, Rapid Fire, Slow Turret, Heavy Armour, Iron Fist. That last one just means very big gun.) produce plenty of distinction between the different classes and there is a points value for each to allow you to balance forces. The lists are limited to things with tracks (tanks, SPGs, TDs) to avoid complicating the movement rules I suspect, but there is a promised ‘Tankulator’ forthcoming to allow you to add more. I’m already pondering house rules for armoured cars and anti-tank guns, as no doubt are many others more creative and talented than me.

The most disappointing element for me was the ‘Scenarios’ section. These consisted of: each side comes on at opposite ends of the table and fights along it, each side comes on at opposite sides of the table and fight across it, each side comes on at a corner and fights diagonally and...er...that’s it. Not sure what these really added and I would have preferred something a little more historical. But then, I refer myself to my opening remark.

All in all, I think this will make for a fun, quick game. Plenty of subtlety to be mastered and enough historical accuracy to keep the geek in all of us quiet. The Command Dice system makes it highly playable solo, so I think this means it might get more use than I thought. When that actually happens, I’ll report back.
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Re: What A Tanker - First Impressions

Postby Etranger » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:11 am

Sounds pretty much what I'd expect. The problem with single tank Vs tank scenarios is that they will almost invariably become a duel, unless someone is able to somehow spring an ambush.
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