Sunday, January 24, 2016

Tank on Tank: West Front

I've been playing a ton of Battles of Normandy the past several weeks, interspersed with the occasional turn of Campaign Series: Middle East. I really need to suck it up and post some more about both games.

During that time more than a couple of new board games have shown up on my doorstep though. I haven't made time to play them, mostly because I don't want to take the time to learn complicated rules while I'm still coming to grips with Battles of Normandy.

I made an exception for Tank on Tank: West Front from LnL Publishing. This is a great little, quick-to-play game of WWII armored combat. It's ideal as an introductory game, either for yourself if you've not played board wargames before, or as a game you can quickly teach someone else that's new to the hobby. That's why I picked it up: I hope LnL has a presence at Origins this year and I'll be able to use it as a teaching game in the Grogheads booth.

The rules booklet is a slim ten pages, and that includes three pages of scenarios, and a page of instructions on how to use a simple point-buy system to create your own scenarios. There aren't a ton of complicated charts, either. The combat system is very simple:

  • Roll two six sided dice,
  • Add any modifiers for terrain or attacking from a flank
  • Add the number of units attacking
  • Compare the final number to the target's defense number (the middle number of the counters pictured above)
If the result is equal to or greater than the target's defense rating, it's hit and destroyed. Otherwise, it's a miss.

Movement is equally simple, and the core of the entire game (and the part that makes this really fun and interesting) is an activation point system where the player never knows if he has two, three, or four action points in a turn. Action points are use to move and fire, so not knowing how many APs you have adds a lot of tension and uncertainty to the game. Running out of APs at the wrong time can leave you with a tank in a vulnerable position, liable to be picked off by the enemy in his next turn.

This is it, the only chart needed to play the game.
Nice color rule booklet
The scenarios in this game, even for someone not familiar with wargaming, can easily be played in under an hour. The game system is elegant and incredibly fun. Despite the ease of play, the system provides a great introduction to basic tactics. Combined with the high-quality components, including giant 1 inch counters this game packs in a ton of value for not a lot of money. Even as an experienced grognard, Tank on Tank: West Front is a great game for those times when you want to play something fast, but fun. It's even great solitaire!

Five stars on this one guys. I plan to pick up the sister game, Tank on Tank: East Front very soon.