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Subject: Tank Battle: Not as cool as its playing pieces rss

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Judd Vance
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Tank Battle is a 2-player WWII game by Milton Bradley from the mid-1970s. It is a mixture of checkers, chess, Stratego, and Battleship.

Components:

The game board is sturdy and represents off-road terrain overlaid with large numbered squares.



The game pieces are the best part of the game. All parts come in equal amounts for both sides. One is desert sand colored and the other is forest green colored. The specific pieces consist of 12 plastic replica tanks (6 Panther V and 6 Shermans), 12 flags, 10 anti-tank guns, 2 fuel dumps, 2 ammunition dumps, and 2 headquarters. There are also 12 numbers on paper to place in the back of the tanks (#1-6 for each side).





The game also comes with a spinner. Like the tanks, the spinner comes unassembled and must be assembled before playing.



There is also a peg board and white and red pegs (the same ones used in Battleship).



The rulebook is brief, easy to understand, and well illustrated, as was typical for Milton Bradley games from this time period.



Objective of Play:

The goal is to destroy all 6 of your opponent’s tanks.


Set-up:

Each player starts by placing his “installations” (fuel dump, ammunition dump, and headquarters) on his half of the map in different vertical columns and not on the back row. He then placesthe five anti-tank guns anywhere on his half of the map. No two pieces may occupy the same square. The headquarters is placed with the opening facing him.

Then each player places the numbers in the back of his tanks and sets the tanks up on the back row (closest to him) with the numbers facing him.

Afterwards each player writes picks two locations for mines. He cannot select a location that has a part already on it. He writes the numbers of these squares on them and places them in the headquarters, so that he can see them at all times.

Finally, each player takes 6 red pegs and 5 white pegs.


Overview of Play:

Tank Movement
On the first turn, the green player moves first. On each player turn, a player moves his tanks a total of 6 spaces. He breaks these movements up among his tanks. He does not have to move all 6 spaces, but one tank must move at least one square FORWARD each turn. A tank can only move 3 squares and may only move forward and sideways, but not backwards or diagonally unless it reaches the other end of the map. If he does this, his tank becomes a “command” tank and may utilize these additional movements. Furthermore, his tank is designated by placing a flag piece on top of his turret. This is similar to getting crowned in checkers.

In addition, a tank also cannot move on to a space containing another tank, an anti-tank gun, or any of his own installations, but he can move on his opponent’s installations.

If a player gets down to 2 or less tanks, some of the restrictions are removed. He may move a tank more than 3 squares and if one of his tanks is a command tank, he does not have to move one square forward each turn, so long as the command tank moves one square in any other direction.

Firing Shots and Land Mines
Before the green player takes his second turn, each player first places 6 red pegs in his peg board, corresponding to the squares that he thinks his enemy will end his tank movements on. He may only select unoccupied spaces. He does this every turn.

In addition, one time per game, he may have his anti-tank guns each fire a shot. This is representing by adding a white peg for each anti-gun firing to the pegboard.

After tank movement, if a tank ends up on a selected shot, it is announced, and the pegboard is revealed for confirmation of the hit. The tank is removed from the game, but its number is not revealed. In addition, if a white shot was used, the player must announce that he has fired a white shot(s) whether or not it hit anything.

If a tank ends its turn on a square that was selected as a land mine, the player announces the hit, and shows him the slip of paper taking care to cover the other mine with finger. The tank is removed from the game and the number is not revealed. From then on, that square is safe to land on, as a land mine can only be used once per game. Note: land mines do not attack friendly tanks.

Tank Attacks
If a tank ends up in front of, behind, or beside (but not diagonally) of another tank or anti-tank gun, it then conducts a tank-to-tank or tank-to-gun attack. If it ends up next to multiple targets, it fights all opponents one at a time until his tank has defeated all opponents or is destroyed, but the attacking player selects the order.

If the two tanks are fighting, their numbers are revealed. The higher number wins and the tank with the lower number is removed from the game. If both tanks have the same number, both are removed from the game.

If a tank attacks an anti-tank gun, the attacking player spins the spinner, revealing the loser. The losing piece is removed from the board.

If a tank lands on the headquarters, the headquarters is immediately removed from the game and any active land mines on the board may no longer be used.

If a tank lands on the ammunition dump, the installation is removed from the game and the defending player may now on each turn he may only fire as many shots equivalent to the number of tanks he has in the game.

If a tank lands on the fuel dump, the installation is removed from the game and the defending player may now on each turn only move his tanks a total of four squares instead of six.

If a tank moves on to an installation creating combat with anti-tank guns or tanks at the same time, the installation is removed first, and then the combat is conducted.


Results:

Tank Battle is a fair game. The game pieces are beautiful for its time, but the satisfaction level does not match the appearance. I don’t know what it is, but it leaves something to be desired. There is a certain level of strategy, but the replay value is not very high. This may be because it is not a very original game.

If you can find it at a thrift store, it’s worth picking up, because it can be a gateway game for younger players who are bored with checkers but aren’t ready for Power Grid.
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Bob
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Re: Tank Battle: Not as cool as it's playing pieces
Thanks for the review Judd! thumbsup

I haven't thought about this game since I was a wee lad... laugh
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Robert Wesley
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Re: Tank Battle: Not as cool as it's playing pieces
Yes, while in comparisons, then Mission Command Land (the successor for this one) has truly misleading 'box-art'
as you don't have any M60s, and they couldn't take the time and efforts to provide 2 styles of vehicles based upon the predominant "protagonists" currently around?

It would have gone a much longer ways in having SOVIET types for that included, instead of just 2 varying "color" schemes upon the same USA types!
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Michael Edwards
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Everett
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Re: Tank Battle: Not as cool as it's playing pieces
Dang, had this growing up. I do recall being somewhat disappointed that the cool pieces were not supported by an equally cool game.

Then again, if there were any realism to it, 6 Panzer V's (and the 88's) would eat up 6 Shermans. But the Americans would have 12-18 Shermans and air superiority.

But mostly, I recall that we always, always referred to this game as "Tanks for the Battle!"
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Freddy Dekker
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No, the game was rather boring truth be told.

But at the time... wow real tanks.
Well you all have experienced a great looking game that than turned out to be horrible.

Hm, my game never did have a spinner though...
Probably Dutch variation?
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M H
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I got my Panzerschlacht from a friend. It doesn't have a spinner, but a six-sided die with single pips. One side has a red pip instead of a black one.
Sadly about half of the little flags are missing. But i don't think it is a big deal. The tanks are fine and complete.
I find it somehow funny, that it says "Milton Bradley" under the top part of the tanks. But when assembled only "Bradley" is visible. But Bradley tanks came later than the game.
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Dave Large
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I remember being gutted on Christmas morning when this arrived. I had *so* looked forward to it and on opening found that instead of Panthers and Shermans I had Panthers and Panthers, just in different colours to distinguish them.

Dave
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James Hughes
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I think the version that was released in the UK had Panthers for both sides. I bought a copy when I was in the UK, and was similarly disappointed to find all Panthers! And I distinctly remember playing with a friend's copy as a kid (here in the States) that had Shermans for the green side.
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Steve Norton
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RGMWlargie wrote:
I had Panthers and Panthers


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M@tthijs
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Basically Battleship with moving pieces. Which makes it a nice game. I have a lot of fun playing it with 5-9 year olds. Got to start somewhere, on that long way to grognardship.

Thanks for the review!
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Derek Blair
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I just played this with my son. I had the game since it came out and couldn't remember it was good or not. I always loved the playing pieces. I used them all the time when I played war on the bed. I would use blankets as mountains and put the pieces all on either side of the mountain. Playing it with my son I can see why I just used the pieces. The game play is not great. My son killed me with the anti-tank guns that you can fire before the person moves. I never got to his side of the board. I may have to change the rules a little.

I must be one of the lucky ones that has two different tanks for the pieces. I bought (or got) this in Canada.
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M@tthijs
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sagitar wrote:

No, the game was rather boring truth be told.

But at the time... wow real tanks.
Well you all have experienced a great looking game that than turned out to be horrible.

Hm, my game never did have a spinner though...
Probably Dutch variation?
Neither does mine. But my Dutch game has a dice, with 4 black pips (AT destroyed) and 2 red pips (tank destroyed)
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Stephen Naylor
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Thank you for that detail, just prerehearsing my sons christmas present and the die has only one red dot and I felt the AT's had little effect on account of this, so perhaps a little red paint will sort this out (I like the game).
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Kevin Kenz
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My original 1975 copy has Sherman's and Panthers, a spinner vs a die, and the fronts of the pegboards are also matched to the tanks your side controls. Many years later I came across several incomplete games and used them to make a complete one for a friend. These had all Panther tanks, just in different colors, had a die vs a spinner, and the pegboards both had the same fronts as well.

Personally I liked the game back in 1975, and still think it is fine for what it is.
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