Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

First impressions of 'What a Tanker'

Well, having read through the What a Tanker rules now I must say that they have piqued my interest. They seem to use nice clean mechanisms and have effectively grafted on a clever activation system based around the hand management concept. The major difference here from a traditional hand-management game such as the Commands & Colors series is that the Lardies rules writers have you managing dice instead of cards.

To continue with the hand management parallel, the dice act as if they were move cards, acquire target cards, aim cards, shoot cards, reload cards and wild cards. Players 'play' their dice in the order they choose, and resolve each action before moving on to the next. In addition to the activation play, the player may need to dice for move distance or for combat.

So while the game play relies on random 'hand generation', the system gives players some control over their own destiny, and I think gamers all appreciate that, even if that sense of control is more illusory than real!

I think this will work well with a casual group, and I can envisage five or six people, a big table, and a few tasty beverages making for a very pleasant evening or afternoon.

It also has an interesting role play aspect that you can factor in if you want to. Your tank crews gain experience, which gives them some advantages on table. After a certain number of kills, they can 'level up' to a better tank, and start over again. I think you would really appreciate this if you had a dedicated crew of people meeting fairly regularly, and it's something I'd like to try if the conditions at some point prove propitious.

But for now my main concern is building forces. What do I use? I have some 6mm models and I can find 1/72 kits here in Japan, but probably 15mm (1/100) is a better scale: more durable models than the 1/72 modeller's kits and a better look for a skirmish game than 6mm.

The downside is that I have to order in from overseas, pay quite a bit, wait for them to arrive, make up the kits, paint them, and then source terrain. If I go with 6mm I can start right away, can easily and cheaply expand forces through the trusty Heroics and Ros, and I already have a bit of scenery I can use.

Hmm, decisions, decisions!

Anyway, it's quite nice to have another project to work on and in a different style from what I'm used to.

14 comments:

  1. Yes it is always good to have project ! :-)
    And H&R is a good choice !
    We don't know that rule but if they write that it is needed to have "a few tasty beverages " to play... it is a very good ruel ! ;-)

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    1. Yes, nice when we can! Japan has zero tolerance for drinking and driving though, so everyone has to take the train :D

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  2. The rules seem to be getting universal praise, the only negative comments I have seen so far came from Phil Dutre’s blog (Tiny Tin Men) in which he said he was underwhelmed. Just for comparative sakes you might find his post interesting. Link text below.

    As for models, There are a number of companies that now do 1/72 specifically for wargamers i.e. tanks have much fewer parts than traditional models and the running gear generally come as one piece items. Have a look at Plastic Soldie Company, also Italeri have a wargaming range, for example you get two Tiger I’s in the box and each has just 10 parts.

    You may as well have a knock around in 6mm to get a feel of the system before investing time and cash. Look forward to your observations.

    Phils LINK http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/2018/06/what-tanker-first-game.html

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    1. Thanks Norm, I'll enjoy taking a look at Phil's comments. He's always worth a read.

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  3. That dice as action selector mechanism sounds like a direct steal from any number of boardgames published over the last ten years or so.

    Did you come up with a solution for indicating turret rotation on one piece models?

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    1. Yes, D-Day Dice and Sword & Spear came to mind of the ones I know, but I didn't want to affix a 'derivative' label as I know there's a stable of Lardie games and they might have been using the dice mechanic before this.

      I have a couple of possible solutions to the turret rotation issue, but it's probably easier just to buy new models, and leave the turrets movable!





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  4. There's got to be some more robust 1/72 stuff out there, and I know people have mixed 1/56 and 28mm figures for Bolt Action.

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    1. Yes, my problem is it's just not really my area of expertise, so I don't know what's out there. Local model shops have plenty of Tigers and Panthers, but I suspect it'll be a more interesting game with PzKw IIIs and IVs.

      Plenty to think about, anyway!

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  5. Although I still haven't picked up the rules, I had a great time playing it at the last con I attended. 6 or 7 players, with only one or two with previous experience. The game played well and most of us had the basics down by turn 3. Great fin for a convention, IMO.

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    1. Yes, that's the impression I got too, Dean. I also hope it'll be good for people who are not hardcore wargamers but enjoy card games or similar.

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  6. Three words for you to consider: Girls und Panzer!

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    1. Haha, yes, I should've thought of that earlier!

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  7. Aaron, there are several companies that make 1/144 scale tanks. Dragon Models is one that comes to mind. ?They are made in Hong Kong and may be available for direct order.

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    1. Thanks Bill, that's useful. I've put in an order with H & R for now, but will think about 1/144 too!

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