Sunday, 3 July 2016

TANKS by gf9

So its been a while since i posted anything truly wargame related..besides a for sale post.

Mostly due to a complete lack of motivation and gaming, the rest...just sheer laziness.

But something has tickled my fancy...and that something is TANKS by Galeforce Nine.

Its been described as x-wing meets flames of war and it's no real surprise as Battlefront  (flames of war fame) are partly behind the game.
So yesterday armed with a couple of quid and a itch to scratch. I went off to Norwich to Final Reroll (store) and picked the game and an expansion up.

Those of you with sharp eyes will notice the low entry cost of the game. Those 2 sets cost a mere £22.50. RRP for the sets are £18 for the game and £7 for the expansion pack. In fact £36 the price of 2 starters could give you 2 'organised play' legal 100pt forces. Now that is cheap!.

But of doesn't always mean good. So lets delve inside the packets of plasticrack and see if it's good quality.

Inside the box you will find the following, 2 Sherman tanks, 1 panther/jagd panther, a 22 page rulebook, tokens and a bundle of cards.Lets breakdown each component.
First off the gratuitous back of the box shot

Nothing fancy and as expected.

Now lets delve in.

First up the rulebook.
Its not a monstrous tome like many of the books out there, weighing in at a whopping 22 pages.!!!
Quality wise, its full colour, clearly printed with a mix of artistic pictures, a few real life pictures and lots of diagrams to explain the points the rules are making.
A decent book and i look forward to putting the rules through their paces, they do sound good fun!

Next up we have the cards.
There are several types. First off are the tank cards themselves. These contain everything you need to know about a basic naked tank. The 1st symbol is the initiative the defines the moving and shooting order. The second is firepower, the number of dice rolled for shooting (can be modified by range,movement and other modifiers). The 3rd is defence dice. This is your chance to cancel out hits on your tanks (again this can be modified through various means) and finally the health points or damage. There's a couple of ways to record this, either with tokens beside the tank, or if you want there are health dots on the card that you can mark as you play.
Around the edge of the card are various boxes for crew and this brings us to the next set of cards. Crewman.
A vehicle can only have as many crew cards as there are boxes available. A crewman can be anything from a driver through to gunner, loader, commander etc. There are also named 'character' crewman. So if you want to be Wittman or wardaddy you can. The only minor gripe i have here is that there appears to be no restriction on what tank (aside from nationality) that a character can man. So wittman in a stugg is viable if not a little meh.
In addition to crew there are also upgrades you can purchase. Some of these like some of the crew, are nation restricted, some are generic.
These allow you to further upgrade and improve an individual tank.
The upgrades feel very much like the ones from xwing and mean you have to decide between that much vaunted heroic commander and crew in an all singing all dancing super tank, or an extra tank.
The final set of cards are Critical hit cards.
Any to hit roll of 6, that goes uncancelled by defence, generates a critical hit. Aside from potential extra damage, you can also suffer effects like reduced movement or even a bailed out tank crew. All the details are listed there on the cards.
A couple of things to note here.
Tanks are only ever destroyed in the final phase of a turn. So even if your health is reduced to zero, you will still get to activate your suffer a critical hit that causes the tank to be inoperable like bailed out. So you want those 6's up and at em.

German Tanks

American Tanks

British Tanks

Russian Tanks

Crew/upgrade cards (just a selection of them)

Critical hit cards

Also in the box you will find some terrain and tokens.
There's a couple of woods and buildings (with a rules reminder written on them for quick reference). There's also a mix of damage, identity, destroyed, objective etc tokens. All are printed on very thick card that borders on being more like wood. Great print quality and sure to survive the day to day gaming use.

I also picked up a Pershing/super Pershing expansion pack.
Within the box there was the tanks sprues, some more crew and upgrade cards including another named character and a pair of tank cards for either the Pershing or super Pershing tank.
The quality is in line with the boxed game.

My only gripe and it is only minor, is in regards to the instructions for the models. The sprues come with a plethora of options and extras. Indeed in relation to the Sherman kit, you can make the American Sherman 75 and 76mm variant, the British firefly and i think the British Sherman V.
With so many parts, it can be a little difficult to match the explode component diagram up with the actual sprue parts.
Its nothing major, but a little clearer would have been nice, especially for the less experienced modeller.

So that pretty much sums it up. I am hoping to get some games in soon and will give my thoughts on the mechanics in due course. I am also hoping to take part in an 'Organised Play' event over the coming months which is pretty much a 3 mission league tournament.

What? why are you all looking at me like that. It's not like i forgot something is it..

what do you mean models?
Pft ok then,....jeez you lot crack the whip.

As mentioned above, there are a multitude of options on the sprues. Indeed, out the core box you can make 2 complete Sherman's and make the turrets for 2 more. So you could make a pair of 75mm Sherman's and turrets to switch out to 76's.
The German sprue is equally well packed. You can make the panther and if you don't glue the upper hull to the lower, swap out the panthers upper with the jagd panther very easily.
The Pershing box isn't quiet as nice as unlike the Sherman sprues, there aren't enough turret parts to make both the Pershing/super Pershing turrets.Although it may be possible if you magnetise the upper and lower turret halves. But I'm not 100% sure.

Mould quality is good, though you need to take care with things like the hull machine guns, turret machine guns and the likes as they are easily snapped if you rush.
There are minimum mould lines on the kits and they go together very easily with no big gaps etc.
Detail is decent and at 15mm i have seen a lot worse for more money. Sure there are better quality kits, but not for the price your paying.
On a side not. The kits from plastic soldier company are probably slightly better, however they are also slightly smaller in scale.

I know...less waffle, more plastic. So here you go.

Panther/Jagd Panther

2 Sherman 76's and a super Pershing

So my final thoughts.
For the price, your getting a lot of game for your money. There's plenty of early options in the kits included. If your already a flames of war gamer, then the inclusion of cards for British and Russian tanks is a very nice touch, allowing for 4 nations of play fairly quickly.
The models are decent quality, the expansions good value for money and the rules look to be fun and interesting.
I believe the intention of GF9 here was to make a fun x-wing style game, to introduce people to a more 'historical' type of game. If that is the case then i believe they have succeeded well and produced what looks to be a solid beer and pretzels ww2 tank game that should benefit from the popularity of the likes of 'World of Tanks' 'War Thunder' and recent movies like Fury. 

Have fun, keep rolling and may your dice forever roll 1's.
Like mine :(