Tuesday, November 23, 2021

AAR: What a tanker (1st game)

4 corners type setup...eventually 2 more gamers showed
 Largely my gaming has had the crimp put on it by my young children (1.5, and 4.5). Besides the fatigue and time sink (big big time sink) involved with raising kids I don't feel great about abandoning my wife to manage two children for most of a day. It's hard when it happens to me so golden rule.....



Fortunately this weekend, one of the newer local gamers hosted "what a tanker" which is super easy to drop in/out of and it turns out he lived mere blocks away! I carved out 2 hours of daddy time (entirely thanks to the wife) to try out the (new to me) ruleset.



Soviets rushing forward. Already one Sherman brewed first turn
Each player took a single tank from Nick's 15mm collection. People trickled in so the rules were explained about 3 times before we started and in a most auspicious sign, everyone took pretty reasonable vehicles despite the numerous Tigers, Kingtigers, Jadzpanthers, IS-2's and SU-whatever is huge with a big gun in the box.  We saw a soviet Sherman, T34 (without the upgraded gun), Stug4, Su-76 (tank destroyer), panzer 4, and a marder. All largely 'mid war' stuff. 

Panzer 4 hiding in the trees still ends up taking heavy fire

What a Tanker has the active player roll 6 dice, and each dice result allows you to conduct different actions. Move, acquire, aim, fire, reload, and a wild die. Various tank abilities let you convert one of your dice into a set result (like fast lets you convert to a move, tank destroyer to an aim). The hilarity of the game is you often don't get the full spectrum of dice you need, so you are able to move to position, acquire and aim at the target but for some damned reason, your crew just can't seem to get that shell down range. This largely matches the friction of war and makes planning pretty challenging. Given the wild die and abilities you are often able to do *something* useful, even if it isn't turning your opponents into piles of flaming wreckage. 



A Sherman ices by Stug who was otherwise distracted


Target rolls are civilized (base 6+ to hit within a couple of feet) with a moderate number of bonuses/penalties, all of which are a single point change (aiming per dice used, obscured, each obstacle in the way, long range, target is small, etc). Once you hit there is another first full of dice rolled for the attacker it's 'strike' and the defender 'armour'. You are looking for 5+ (in most cases) and compare the difference in number of successes for the result of the hit. A great roll will see your opponent brew up immediately, but more often there is a steady loss of function (loss of command dice, and reduced effectiveness of actions). 



I was around for 2 hours which included set up, 3 rounds of rules explanations, and about 5 turns with 6 people. We had 3 tanks brewed up already, and I'm reliably informed that it got bloodier as it went on. The table was certainly sparse terrain wise, but it makes sense for an intro game. Russian steppe or something. I appreciate the ease with which a knocked out player can re-enter the game, and how simple the basic mechanics are to grok. Definitely a good ruleset to break out for beer and pretzels or a fun fun convention game. I'm not sure how it's make out for people who care about the actual results and a campaign system but what do I know, I've only played once for 2 hours. 

I'll tank this one as a play again.

A nice clean side shot on that T34 distracted me from the git in the woods


  1. That was a fun afternoon; good game, good banter and it was great to visit with you after such a long lay off.

    1. It was a good time! I wish it was easier to make it out for games. One day the children will be older......

  2. Kids are the hobby’s worst enemy… that is until they are old enough to hold a brush or roll dice themselves!

    Heard good things about that game. A good and easy beer and pretzels system that works perfectly with limited time available

    1. Sorry your comment got hung up in moderation for some reason.
      I do occasionally ruminate how to prep for when my daughter(s) want to play a game. It would make sense to be ready to roll for when it finally happens. Though at this point it's pretty simplistic board games...