What a Tanker! | Fortified Niche playtest!

what a tanker review

What if your favorite online multiplayer tank game was a miniature game? Fortunately, that’s the precisely the future in which we live in. You can finally have a use for the miniatures from the Gale Force 9 World of Tanks game with What a Tanker! from TooFatLardies!

Listen to the Fortified Niche episode.

A sandy TTS board set up for What a Tanker!
What a Tanker! is played with a handful of tanks on a table devoid of infantry, anti-tank emplacements, artillery or air support. It’s just a tank vs. tank slugfest, with each tank preferably controlled by a different player.
What a Tanker tank boards
The tank statlines are simple: most have just Strike and Armour ratings, representing how many d6s they roll on the appropriate check. Some tanks may have special rules. All of them start with 6d6 for command rolls. Each dice result is ascribed to a particular action, like moving, aiming, shooting, etc..
What a Tanker! desert board
The goal of What a Tanker! is to kill the enemy while potentially preserving your own forces. As the game is assumed to be played as a series of such battles, nations are given tiered tank rosters per year. A tank crew that collects five kills can either keep certain ace bonuses or reset that counter and get a tank from the next tier.
What a Tanker! A tank hunts a TD on a snow map
But shooting isn’t easy. First, a target has to be acquired. If the target is in a bush somewhere on the other side of the map, you’ll need to have multiple acquire results . For aiming, you just need one aim dice, but additional ones increase your chance to hit. Finally, you roll your Strike value in dice, with the hit number dependent on the armor facing. The enemy then rolls the Armour dice.
What a Tanker! Sherman next to an upturned Elefant
What happens after you hit the target is probably the most complex part of the game, as you need to count temporary vs. critical hits, then compare it to the defense roll, then potentially roll for damage location (turret or hull). Tanks don’t really die easily, as the small maps encourage a lot of front armor shooting, and command dice lost to temp damage can later be regained(that’s one of the uses of a 6 result). But once a tank starts dying, it’s a downward spiral as having lost dice, it become increasingly hard to spot targets. You can’t manipulate dice to reliably get certain results (outside of special abilities of some tanks), and you can definitely be stuck with your tank unable to do anything.
What a Tanker! T-26 rams a disguised Panzer 35(t)
So the matches can be frustratingly indecisive, especially will three scenarios being only about killing. But even before that, selecting your tank just isn’t that fun. There aren’t enough mechanical levers to make them stand out, and too much stuff is left to the player. Why don’t the rules say which TDs have a fixed casemate? Why do we have two identical T-26s in the roster? Why is the only difference between 105mm Sherman and a 75mm Sherman a single die in attack? How am I supposed to treat the M3 Lee?!
What a Tanker! A Sherman looks upon the Elefant that failed to kill him.
All in all, What a Tanker! just didn’t catch our fancy. It’s not detailed enough to be a fitting simulation of your favorite tank and it’s not fast enough to avoid stretches of gameplay where your tanks are powerless to do anything. Knowing this, our future episode on What Cowboy is going to be really interesting!

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