I spied this WWII game in my local model shop a few months back, and decided to pick up a starter pack. This comes with:
- A 24 page rulebook
- Game tokens
- Unit cards
- Critical hit cards
- Upgrade cards
- Some 2D cardboard starter terrain
- Dice and measuring sticks
- Four 15mm tanks (two Sherman variants, and two Panther/Jagdpanther)
GF9 is basically the same as Battlefront, so the models and rules are reminiscent of Flames of War - very high quality, clearly laid out and easy to follow rules. The cut-out tokens in particular were extremely sturdy and durable; you can feel the quality.
Tanks! is a skirmish game, where you control a platoon of several tanks. It's a very simple dice-based wargame, with the creative addition of collectable upgrade cards. It's really cheap - the starter kit, which as I mentioned above includes everything you need to get going and costs a very reasonable $24.99 from the website. Individual tank packs, including the model and unit card, cost $9.99. There are British, German, US and Russian tanks available.
We recently got together for a long overdue game in the sangar (Mike's attic), and had a really enjoable evening. Aside from the very fun game, it was great to see everyone after a long break for various travel and work related reasons, and we took our time playing this nice easy scenario.
Verdict: Tanks is cheap, fast and enjoyable game - although experienced gamers might find it a bit 'shallow'. That last comment is a bit harsh - I just feel like I have to say something negative in the name of balance. Tanks is not designed as an intense, ultra-realistic game, and I enjoyed it for that very reason. It's a perfect relaxed social game, with minimal rules-fussing and it's really cheap to get started.
(For those who are interested, Meeples & Miniatures did a very extensive review when Tanks was released last year. They gave it 3/5 stars, citing lots of concerns about movement rules which were open to abuse, and other historical accuracy points. I felt this whole review was unduly harsh and missed the point of this game - sure, they could make loads of rules which restrict movement and make it realistic. It would probably not fit into 24 pages. I might well play such a game, and enjoy it - but that's not what Tanks is. Someone in the comments described it as a 'Beer and Pretzels' game - that's a perfect description.)
|Ze dastardly Chermans plotting away, unaware of my arial reconnaisance flight subtly photographing their upgrade cards...|
|I played the Comet tank today. You upgrade your tank with a series of cards which give bonuses; there are 'national' bonuses (marked with the Union Jack), and 'global' bonuses available to everyone.|
|Wait for it... wait for it...|
|The Germans cautiously approach the open area in front of the chateau...|
|I take an 88 shell, but escape with minor damage and a 'crew stunned' result.|
|An impeccably-dressed Ollie picks up the dice to fire that fearsome 88 - largely avoiding the Panzer IV, we focus all our efforts on bringing down the Tiger.|
|But too late for Mike! His Firefly goes up in smoke, but not before damaging the Tiger.|
|His valiant sacrifice - and a stunning round of shooting from the Comet, blows the Tiger up at last, but with his final shot Ollie takes me out as well. How futile is war! As last tank standing, Kieran and the German team are the winners.|