Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Tank-Wing err X-Tracks err Battlefront\GaleForce9s new Tank Skirmish game

Which is called Tanks!

This is probably the first problem as it seems they have chosen a name that will cause most search engines to explode with a million results none of which will be what you are looking for. Anyway on impulse I bought a copy and was very pleasantly surprised. I was going to write a full Blog about contents and play-style etc but to to be honest Rollingcrits got there before me and sums it up pretty well in his blog here  rollingcrits .

So I will have a quick muse instead. The game is very close to X-Wing in a number of ways, in fact so close one could be forgiven for thinking this was just X-Wing but with tanks instead of TIE fighters. I'm sure that at Battlefront\GF9s HQ bunker buried deep within The Shire that a meeting took place where someone said "That X-Wing game is raking in the ££\$$ - wish we had something like that". From the outset this game is aimed at pretty much the same market -"Organised Play" tournaments. There are a number of differences \ issues that could or should be mentioned however in any comparison.

First, and possibly crucially, this game uses the Flames of War plastic 15mm 1:100 tanks. To digress a moment FoW was very late getting into plastics - Plastic Soldier Company stole a head start and in my opinion still hold it. Much of FoW production is still resin and metal with plastics bulking the range out. The quality of the FoW \ Tanks kits is excellent, but the range of plastic kits available is limited and all the current ones are used in this game. The omissions are noticeable - no Tiger or Churchill for instance. It is (in my opinion) highly unlikely that the parent company will produce any kits for Tanks separate to the FoW range due to cost implications inherent in plastic tooling, so new additions to the game after the first two release waves are unlikely, at least until FoW get back to refreshing their WW2 range which may well be some time as they seem to be concentrating on Team Yankee at the moment.

The second issue with Tanks when compared to Darth and his game is that the Tanks models are unassembled and unpainted, where X-Wing are not. The kits are actually easy to put together as far as I have seen, but unlike the Zvezda "Art of Tactic" models they're not really "quick build" either - you need glue and a little more skill and effort. I suspect that may put some players off - particularly the younger target groups. I mentioned these were FoW kits - actually there is one main difference. These sprues are colour coded to something like the base colours of each faction - so for instance the Germans are a sand yellow, USA olive green etc rather than the standard grey plastic used for most FoW models. That's a good idea as it takes some of the painting burden away from the casual or new player as sides are easily identified, but it also pretty much excludes their resin and metal kits from being released as part of this game in their current format. Further the Tanks! kits don't come with decals or magnets even though the "parent" ones do.

Lastly, it's not Star Wars. OK everyone knows a bit about tanks but it doesn't have the sex appeal of Star Wars. Given two other similar games, both with much better \ high profile settings (D&D and Star Trek Attack Wing) have both failed to gain traction in this market, why should Tanks succeed?

On the plus side the other components such as stat cards an damage counters are of high quality.

So to sum up, its a plagiarised version of a successful game with inferior models to X-Wing, with quite limited room for expansions, so why play it?

Because it works and seems quite a lot of fun. The mechanics are built on the tried and tested X-Wing ones, so they have a solid track record (pun), with some local rules that work rather well such as speed and shooting. The games are short and usually seem balanced, which is nice. Price point is good too - the starter set contains sprues to build 2 Shermans and either a Panther or JagdPanther, plus rules cards and counters for about £16-£17, with the expansions around £6-£7 each. That's not earth shattering at all - in fact from some angles its a bargain! All in all I'm rather happy with Tanks and would recommend it as long as you can live with the abstractions. Give it a try :-)


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