Get playing TANKS!
Flames of War is a fun game – right? But sometimes you just don’t have 3+ hours to invest in a game - I mean you want to because it’s a cool game but real life has a nasty habit of getting in the way. Part of what makes Flames of War cool is the tanks – WW2 has some awesome looking tanks and I’m sure that even beyond aesthetics if you play Flames of War it’s because Tanks are awesome.
So you have 30-45 minutes… You have a table… You have some friends… what better to play than GF9’s TANKS!
First up, let me say I had my doubts about Tanks. I had my doubts because I thought that it was going to be a dumbed down, contracted version of Flames of War that really didn’t scratch my gaming itch.
Let me say now – I was wrong.
It is not a Flames of War *Lite* it is a fast moving, easy to grasp and (in our case) a laugh a minute game that you can get out, played, and away again inside an hour. #Amazing
So having a large – don’t tell my wife – collection of painted tank models for WW2 I decided to just pick up the Tanks box set and give it a whirl. Mainly because, even if I wasn’t keen on the game, for a low value price I got a Panther/Jadgpanther and 2 Sherman 75mm/76mm which is clearly fantastic value. Frankly, I am astonished at how much you get in the box set for your cash:
A 20-page Rulebook
12 x Dice
16 x Movement/Destroyed Tokens
3 Plastic Tanks (1 Panther, 2 Sherman)
4 x Objective Tokens
2 x Measuring Arrows
28 x Damage Tokens
40 x Tank Identification Tokens
2 x Cardboard Forests
22 x Tank Cards
16 x Crew Cards
7 x Hero Crew Cards
16 x Upgrade Cards
32 x Damage Cards
4 x Cardboard Houses
That is a TONNE of stuff and it means that you can – with a little bit of glueing – play the game out of the box. We had some Flames of War terrain at the club which we used so it looked a little prettier but the flat cardboard is fine for use on the dining room table (as my 9-year-old nephew will testify to).
Which neatly brings us on to gameplay. The rules are simple – there is no way of getting around that – but just because they are, does not mean tha the game is missing complexity; chess is at its core a simple game after all. The core mechanics are well laid out but there is some finesse to certain rules that you need to be aware of and get your head around – the order of operation in cancelling hits for example – but the majority are quick to pick up.
Another great thing is, almost everything you need to know about your tank is on a handy card that you keep in front of you! So from left to right we have the tanks: initiative, firepower, defence and hits.
Initiative: important as it dictates when you move and shoot in a turn; the high the number the later on in the turn you get to move and the earlier you get to shoot.
Firepower: the number of dice you roll when shooting. Generally speaking, these are usually unmodified so for the Panther you will be rolling 5 x d6. To score a success you need a 4+ with the roll of a 6 being a potential critical.
Defence: the number of dice you roll when being shot at. These dice are modified by things like how fast you moved, how fast the shooter moved, and any cover you have. To score a success you need a 4+ with the roll of a 6 able to block a potential critical.
Hits: the number of damage that you can suffer before becoming destroyed.
So all pretty simple.
So simple in fact that, after we played a few rounds of the out-of-the-box scenario 'Barkmanns Corner', we’re happily belting through turns and feel comfortable afterwards picking 100pt forces based on what we had learnt.
That is something else I loved about the core box set – you get all the unit cards for the American, British, Russian, and German stuff that is currently released. This means, if you have extra models like my gaming group does, you are off and running with your current collection!
Our first 100pts foray
Germans: Stug G, Panther, Panzer IV H, Panzer IV H.
British: 4 x Sherman Firefly
We played the scenario King of the Hill with a single objective in the centre of the table, and the Germans took a terrible beating! To quote Admiral Akbar “Our cruisers can't repel firepower of that magnitude!” so it’s back to the drawing board!
With the impending release of the Puma Armoured Car and the beast that is the Tiger 1E I think that an arms race is about to kick off locally!
Wait a minute, is that a box of Team Yankee T72’s in my pile of birthday treats…
Oh, it is! I’m such a magpie…