So, remember when I waxed enthusiastic about TANK DUEL by Mr. Jim Wallman, of the UK? How I was charmed enough by his roleplaying approach to the trials and tribulations of tank teams on the Western Front of World War II? How I was looking at running Tank Duel (or some iteration of it) at the Game Camp I run for kids in August? Okay, so you don’t, but I do. Tank Duel is pretty goofy and enjoyable and I’m going ahead with creating a game based on it. Follow the link above to digital rules to get the EPUB I made of it. However, even though I don’t think anyone would kick about it being historical, I do make a valid effort at keeping the content either Fantasy or Science Fiction oriented– to draw the kids into doing historical games (e.g., my evil plan). As a result I’ve put some effort into converting Tank Duel into a more science fiction-y version that I call FUTURE TANK. Future Tank makes a few assumptions that generally match certain observations I’ve made about the evolution of the modern battlefield as part of my day job– without being too sunk into the details. Simply put, the tank battles of the future will be fought by Tanks that can A) see better B) communicate better C) are linked into a network and D) have access to drones for attack and defense. I’ve tried to reflect that in the Future Tank rules without being too technical about it. In a thumbnail, Future Tank is like Tank Duel, only the roles have more to do and there’s a lot of extras in it– it’s more customizable. But still easy… I hope!
It’s Double Blind. I’ve never even PLAYED in a double blind team game before, and now I’m going to run one. This is going to require some finesse! My plan on building the screen between the two terrain areas is to build a curtain from a frame of PVC pipe that extends up about four feet. As for umpiring one? Well, it seems easy enough, we’re just going to see what chaos ensues.
I’m using 25mm Scale. I really don’t want to go smaller than this. 15mm is fine, I suppose but you don’t get the same visual appeal and “chunkiness” of a 25mm game, and I don’t want to spend a huge amount of time driving around and trying to find each other– these are kids, they will get bored. Still, 25mm scale? Who makes tanks that big and how much of an arm and a leg will they command? Games Workshop does, of course.. but yeah, you can keep that. I don’t need to spend 80 dollars on a single tank. Solution: the Tehnolog Bronekorpus series. The wha of the wha? As it turns out, there’s a Russian figure company that I have done business with in the past (they made the figures for Orcs for The Magi) called Tehnolog. No idea what the word means, but they make big, cartoony fantasy and historical figures, and somewhat less cartoony science fiction structures and vehicles. Their stuff is decent looking, though I don’t always approve of the plastic they use. Still, it paints up well. They have a line of sort of snap together tanks in roughly 28mm scale– each tank a bewildering variety of Weapons and Sensors. Being satisfied they will fit with 28mm figures, I picked up a box of four of them. Again, not the best plastic, but wow, I am really happy with the result:
Tanks 2, 11, 4 and 15 more or less done. I have some tidy up painting to do– I want the ordinance to all have thematic colors– missiles and guns different from each other. I suppose I should have painted the camo different for each tank but really, that’s not the point of this game, and it’s science fiction… I’m not trying to be “historically authentic” here.
I may have six kids. I may have 20. I scaled the game that each tank can probably work with three roles or less. If I get less than that I’ll just run something else, with deep regrets. Sigh.
The new rules have more stuff than Tank Duel. YES. They certainly do. That’s not complexity for complexity’s sake. I think there’s a general assumption that if you are simulating something on a near-future battlefield (and I’m projecting forward about 40 years here, so it’s not a stretch), you should include nifty stuff like sensors, and IR, and networks, and drones, and railguns, etc. It comes with the sobriquet “Science Fiction”. That doesn’t mean they have to be too complicated for twelve year olds! These kids are growing up with these concepts. I have faith in their intelligence, shouldn’t you?
This is all largely untested. Yep, well, there it is then. It may suck. It might not. I don’t think it will. Want to take a peek at Future Tank? Contact me through the standard channels in a week or so from this posting. I can get you a draft. You’ll have to have a way of reading EPUB files.
So there we have it… a sort of roleplaying game simulating the complexities of the near future battlefield environment, all done in more or less 25mm scale with miniatures, kids, double-blind, and a very patient and overworked umpire with a stopwatch and a sense of gamesmanship. What have I got myself into?
Six Dollar SF Tanks from Russia (contains a listing of parts, comparison to GW vehicles)