Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tanks Surprise!

I did mention in my Summer Update that it was possible that a new game can suddenly catch fire and gain my attention. And that is exactly what happen with Tanks. Tanks is a World War 2 tank skirmish game by Gale Fore Nine which is the same/sister/parent company to Battlefront whom makes Flames of War and Team Yankee.

I first notice Tanks early in the year when on the podcast we discuss BattleFront's plans for this year. Tanks was on the list but it wasn't a big deal for me. I thought it was going to similar to Tank Ace which wasn't a great game in my opinion. I was also transiting from Flames of War to Team Yankee and it didn't make sense for me to go backwards. I next hear about Tanks in May after Tracy seen reviews of it and was now excited by it. Personally I was still not that interested but I was willing to give it a shot now. Plus the price point of the basic game is a really good deal. When you factor in a Battlefront tank usually cost between $8 to $12 for one, the basic game gives you a rule book, all the components to play the game, stat cards for all the tanks (or at least all the tanks in the first wave) and 3 tanks for $25! I had mix feeling on it after my first game. I found the rules simple and easy to understand but I was worried that they might be too simple. Also losing a game I was up 2 tanks to 1 simply because my tanks had lower initial so I got out maneuvered without there being anything I could do about it almost ruined the game for me. The thought of using different tanks with different upgrades intrigue me enough to give the game another chance. That chance came the following Saturday and demo day for me. Tracy told me there was a lot of local interest in Tanks so he wanted to demo Tanks instead of Team Yankee that week. I wasn't crazy about this as I thought the only way to build up Team Yankee support was to be at the store every week demoing it. Plus I still didn't think the Tanks was going to popular for a logistics reason I will get into in a bit. That Saturday the store was packed and it was nearly an hour before we were able to get access to a table. While we were waiting Tracy was at the front picking up paints. Someone walked passed us and out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw the Tanks's box. I brought this up with Tracy and he mention he didn't think anyone else at the store would have the game. At this point the store clerk told us the HAD copies of Tanks but they were now all sold out.

To say we were shock doesn't give the event justice. Our LGS is notoriously bad at getting Battlefront products in. When I first got into Flames of War I ordered a single Panther pack from our store. To this day that order has NEVER came in. They got the Team Yankee box sets 2 months after they were release and beside the token set, our game store doesn't have anything else from Team Yankee on the shelf. So with how bad the store has historically been getting Battlefront stuff in we were really really surprise that they had Tanks on release. They didn't get much but what they did get sold out before we got there. By the time a table opened up we were having conversations with 3 - 5 people about Tanks. At that point it made complete sense to me to demo Tanks. There was a lot of enthusiasm for the game I didn't realize was there. By the time we left I had play another game with British (I didn't like the German national rule) and for the first time I was excited for Tanks. After talking about it all week, I expected to demo Tanks again the following Saturday. Nevertheless, when we got there we found the appetite for Tanks was greater than we could have imagine. The store has a table in front with new merchandise display on it. That week had a lot of Tanks stuff on it. 2 box sets of the base game, several expansion packs for the Panther, StuG G and Sherman. There was also a single expansion pack for the Pershing which Tracy immediately brought ... damn him. Apparently the store got 5 starters in and probably the same amount of expansions for everything available.

The fact that when we setup the demo table, we weren't the only table in the store playing Tanks is when it finally hit me that this game will be huge locally. There was at least 3 other people whom had already invested in the game and the expansion packs were disappearing fast. With so much interest my willpower to resist failed and I pick up the base game and the Panther and Sherman expansions. A slight issue with the game was that Tracy and myself keep wanting to take some of the same upgrade cards and one basic set didn't have enough for us both. Me having my own copy would mean this would no longer be an issue. In retrospect I wish I either got the Pershing pack instead of the Sherman or I just waited a week for it. With the Starter having 2 Sherman in it, I really didn't need a third at this time. Especially since the unique card that comes with the Sherman pack isn't very good. Oh well, at least I'm building up my collection. The base set does give me my first batch of terrain. It is only 2d cutouts but I now have the option to do my own battle reports.

The biggest thing I realize about getting into Tanks is that I miss Flames of War. I quit playing mainly because Tracy no longer had any interest in it. Also I own very little Flames of War stuff. Tracy had a lot of Germans but not really the stuff I wanted to play with. I picked up a few of my favorite German choices but FoW list are fairly large and I had a long way to go before I could get close to owning my own army. A big reason for this is that infantry is extremely important in Flames as well as more troublesome to put together model wise. It sadden me that I put a fair amount of work developing my fictional WW2 German army and then quit Flames of War before I finish a single model for it. The surge of Tanks is great for me in that I can bring back my Himmlisch Drachen Stamm as well as build up my World War 2 tank collection for when I decide to get back into Flames of War. I don't plan on this happening anytime soon but it will be nice when it does to have parts of my army already done. At least playing Flames of War proper. Adapting Team Yankee's rules to Flames of War is probably something I will get to sooner rather than later. And if I can get something done that is playable I could probably get Tracy to try it.

Lots of prospects for interesting projects. Even just sticking to Tanks the sky is the limit on what to do. Locally there will be enough players to do any tournament, league or campaign that is well put together. Just need to decide what I want to do. Before I choose, I will make an effort to put together and paint the 5 tanks I currently own (and find my unfinished box of FoW Panzer IV Hs). I got advice from Vince Venturella on my priming issues so that will no longer be a road block for me. I will need to get a new can of primer. Think I will go with a red primer to use on Germany and Britain. Grey should work well as a secondary color for my Germans. I have time to think of something different to do for Britain as they are not out yet. Tanks is pushing me to experiment with the hobby. Good times!

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