A look at Tanks: Modern Age

After 2020’s 10mm painting plan didn’t come together, I decided to do some Cold War Era tank combat, as I would not need many models and, as it was solo, there was no rush to paint. I also got some WW2 figs and tanks at the same time. As I don’t like playing German, I decided to go with an alternate history, an offshoot of Solway Miniatures’s “A Very British Civil War” which splits with Edward VIII not abdicating, and the UK splitting into various factions, but I would concentrate on Australia, as I had a desert terrain mat. So I have Soviet backed Republican factions for WW2 and 3, and Royalist Factions buying surplus German kit and later getting US support.

I plan to try out different rules for this, but first, “Tanks: Modern Age” a now out of print low model count game from Gale Force 9/Battlefront. I didn’t know it was out of print when I got it, but they do not make it at all obvious.

Satellite image, Royalist M1 Abrams vs Republican T-72 and T-62M

So, my first battle, a Royalist IPM1 Abrams meets up with a T-72 and a T62M near the abandoned village of Duncan’s Wells.

In the Tanks: Modern Age system, the faster tank moves last and shoots first so, barring damage, the M1 will always have that advantage.

End of turn one

Tanks can move one or two lengths of a arrow marker, which can touch the tank anywhere at the start of the move. At the end of the move the tank must be side, front or rear touching the arrow full on.

The Republicans move forward, the T-72 guarding its flank against the building whilst the T-62M starts to work its way through the oasis.

The Monarchist tank cautiously moves closer. No targets acquired yet.

The Republicans try to prepare for the Abrams, the T-72 staying still and the T-62M advancing slowly to keep itself in cover. The Abrams, however, backs off and seeks the shelter of the buildings, but manages to line up the front of the T-62M

The Tanks system uses attack dice, hit on 4/5/6 and Defence dice, cancel a hit on 4/5/6. More defence for moving and cover, less for a side/rear shot. The T-62M gets hit, the crew rattled and they have to go first next turn.

There is more manoeuvring, the Republicans attempt to catch the Monarchist in a pincer but the Monarchist uses its superior initiative to put the hill between the T-62M and itself and get a close shot onto the T-72. Both T-72 and M1 take light damage.

A 6 on an attack dice is a Critical Hit with Tanks, and you draw a Critical card for each Critical that gets through. The T-62M’s rattled crew card was repairable, so they no longer suffer its effects.

The T-62M, still seeking to close the pincer, moves up, but the Abrams takes a risk, hits the T-62M in the rear, gets a good critical hit and blows it up.

Normally the damage on the tank is equal to the number of the hit dice that get through, but some of the critical hit cards add extra damage, and that was enough to push this tank from damaged to destroyed.

This last turn, the Monarchist tank turns, but the Republicans stay still to maximise their chance of causing damage, but the M1 gets a strong hit on the T-72 and the critical hits, two of them, does for it. The village of Duncan’s Wells is claimed by the Monarchists.

This was a fast game, simple to play. Once in to it I rarely had to consult the rules. However, as Marco Arnaudo of the Marcomnigamer YouTube channel observed when trying the “World of Tanks” game, which is almost the same as this, this suffers in comparison, say, to X-Wing in that because you have the high initiative move last/fire first rule, with no programmed moves of the sort in X-Wing, then the faster initiative tank always holds a strong advantage.

The Tanks system allows for crew and equipment upgrades. Some of them may affect Initiative and I think my next game will be with some of those additions because otherwise this game might be too one sided for long term play.

The mat was a GaleForce 9 mat. The card builds bottom right, hill on the left and oasis on the top middle were 2D card printed images with is PWIW from Griffon Publishing Studio who also publish a WW2 Tanks game called “Panzerkids”. The terrain images were well worth the 1 guinea they cost (£1.05) and I think they look really effective on the mat.

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