Chances are that if you play or have any interest in Flames of War then, you've heard of Tanks. A game released in 2016 by Gale Force 9 in coalition with Battlefront Miniatures. It is a strange take from the Flames of War rule set. In fact, it's nothing like Flames of War except that the miniatures provided are straight from the Flames line with all the excellently crafted and designed parts and sprues you would expect. I think ideally the game was released to combat X-Wing from Fantasy Flight. The game certainly is quite reminiscent of that system in that each tank is represented by a card with only a couple of stats and special rules. You purchase upgrade cards on a per tank basis to give them a little more power or individuality and you play using a per-designated measuring device.
The initial price point and intro starter box as pictured above is even quite comparative with what you'd get out of the X-Wing starter and for an excellent cost. From this link on Amazon you could pick up the set for roughly $25 shipped. The box contains:
- Contains 2 unassembled shermans and 1 unassembled Panther tank models
- Contains 2 measure arrows, 4 objective tokens and 40 tanks identification tokens
- Contains 6 cardboard scenery pieces
- Contains 22 tanks cards, 7 Hero cards and 16 crew cards
- Contains 1 Rulebook and 12 dice
I bought the starter set and assembled the models and got him to play a game. The rulebook which is available online from Gale Force 9 and you can download here. The game is quite simple to play and dispenses with a lot of the core rules from Flames of War. There are a number of excellent walk through video's out there but the one I found most useful for us was from Beats of War which i've embedded below.
I know plenty of people whose kids are well advanced into gaming and this game may even be a little to slow for them, but for my 11 year old it seemed about right. I think even for adults the game could actually be quite good and really that hinges around the card upgrades that you buy your tanks. I think the customization there is what really drives the deeper gameplay and the other thing I really like about the ruleset is the critical damage cards. Things that you cannot always anticipate such as damaged tracks which slow or stop your tank from moving. Smashed optics which reduce your firepower, or jammed turrets which keep your turret from being able to traverse.
I'm going to make one final comparison to X-Wing though and this is the most unfavorable one. Each tank kit comes with unique cards and obviously for those of us who already own Flames armies and have tons of tanks it hurts to have to think about buying even more of the same tanks we already have to get more cards. That said, I'm thinking this game will be able to get quite ab it of mileage out of the starter box for my son and I. My Flames friend Jim is also talking about trying the game out with me at some point to see what we think of it on a more adult basis. So if your looking for something to dip your toe into WWII gaming Flames of War style then I'd recommend this set. For only $25, there really isn't much to lose.