Saturday, June 9, 2018

Playing What A Tanker!, fantasy style

I recently played What A Tanker! (WaT) with my friend Jim (as discussed here), a WW 2 tank game, and enjoyed it.

In brief, WaT is a fun light tank combat game where your roll 6 d6 Command Dice in order to qualify to be able to move, acquire, aim, shoot, reload your tank, and lastly with a die roll of 6 being a wild die, allowing you to do a variety of things. Easy rules, but fun overall.

1  - You can move 2d6 forward, 1d6 backwards, over obstacles, etc
2-   You can acquire the target
3-   You can aim on the target
4-   You can fire on the target
5-   You can reload
6-   Wild die

Today, I wanted to try it again, but my friend Jeff is not a big historical guy, but is a great lover of fantasy.. so I decided to do a fantasy version of WaT and play it out with him. Instead of using WW 2 tanks however, I decided to use some converted Hot Wheels vehicles I originally planned to use for a fantasy version of Gaslands instead (I discuss my conversion efforts here).

I proxied the stats in the game for two groups of one U.S Stuart, one US Wolverine Tank Destroyer, and  one US Sherman tank each to have identical stats and points for both me and Jeff.

Jeff had the Green Necromancer tank, the Magical Flame Tank and the Magical Water based tank...

while I was more mechanically based, having a Da Vinci tank. a Steam Tank,  and a Magical Ice Tank..

Necromancy tank and Ice Tank..... Sherman stats
Flame Tank and Steam Tank... the Wolverine Tank Destroyer stats
Water Tank and Da Vinci Tank.. the Stuart stats.

I set up the landscape early this morning to replicate the land of Byteknightica, on the lava planes of Mount Doom. The tank battle was set in the year 2944 of the Second Age, during the Great Wizard's War,  near the old Wizard's Tower crossroads between Skull Fang Pass and the Blighted Tar Pits..

Jeff and I started at either end, with the intention of destroying each other.

In the first couple of turns, we both moved up to the crossroads unmolested at first by the other..

My Da Vinci light tank got to the Wizard's Tower, but I was nervous about Jeff's flame tank to my right...

I had hoped my Magical Ice tank would cover him... 

But then Jeff's infamous great dice rolling came roaring, as he managed to roll an ocean of "6s", wild dice for all his tanks, accomplishing great movement where he suddenly sandwiched my Da Vinci tank before I knew it between his Magical Water tank to my front and his Magical Flame tank to my rear..

He moved so fast, my Da Vinci was left isolated up front, while my Steam and Magical Ice tank were still coming up.

He tore my Da Vinci a new one with further great damage rolling, blowing it up on the spot..

and had tons of more "6s" rolled up, allowing his Necromancy tank come up to my left..

I was now down 2 tanks to his 3...

Then more frustratingly, I couldn't roll any "1s" to move for either of my remaining tanks, while Jeff's Magic Flame tank pranced around like a deer and came up to my right behind me..




He now had a shot at my Magical Ice Tank's rear and my Steam Tank's side, which are vulnerable to damage per the rules, requiring lower dice rolls to damage.

Meanwhile, I was stuck and took a feeble long distance shot at his Magical Water Tank, but missed.

He took a shot at my vulnerable rear of my Magic Ice tank, and destroyed it on the spot..

and had plenty of great dice rolls remaining to get behind my steam tank for the next turn..

while his Magical Water Tank and Necromancy Tank were coming down the road and closing in..

On the next turn, I got 2 drive dice, allowing me to move twice.. I chose to back up twice and get behind his flame tank so I can fire point blank at its rear or side.. However, I rolled going back only 2 inches on the first drive, and another 2 inches on the second d6 roll.. a total of just 4 inches.. not enough for me to get behind the flame tank..


Yes, you guessed it.. I was still in the front arc of his flame tank and got blown to bits...

I lost sooo badly, I did not even get a scratch of any of Jeff's tanks.. It was a complete dice fiasco on my part..

We played the scenario again, citing my bad dice rolls, this time adding one more piece of terrain so I can get more cover on my side..

The second time we played this scenario was a little better for me... at first.. my Da Vinci was about to fire on Jeff's water tank, but I couldn't get AIM of the target.. and then Jeff's horseshoe rolls brought up his Necromancer tank right behind his Magic Water Tank..  I was loaded.. I was ready to fire, he was in my firing arc, but for the life of me, I did not have the dice to AIM and now I was in the arc of two of his tanks. I got out of dodge away from his LOS and headed again toward the crossroads.. .

My Steam Tank fired at his Water Tank but missed..

while my Ice tank was making bad moving rolls, and I was lagging a bit behind, trying to cover the crossroads..

Jeff's flame tank on the left did not destroy me outright, but kept damaging my Da Vinci tank, all the while I missed, or couldn't aim, or reload, or some other problem..

He damaged my Da Vinci so badly, that, per the rules, my crew had to bail out.. The tank in effect, was killed. It was particularly frustrating as Jeff's Flame tank drove past my abandoned Da Vinci tank without a worry on his part.

Meanwhile on my right, I backed up my Steam Tank a bit, and then, Jeff moved a little too far forward, allowing me to take a shot at him at his frontal armour..

I rolled a double 6, a critical, allowing me to add 2 more damage dice, for a total of 10 damage dice.. This was going to hurt Jeff badly..

However, of the 10 dice, I only rolled 2 successes.. just 2 out of 10 damned dice!!  and Jeff rolled one save, which meant, per the rules, that he only had temporary damage of losing 1 command die.. In effect, I just scratched his paint, despite having overwhelming fire power on him..

To make matters  worse, Jeff's Flame tank at the crossroads fired to the side of my Steam Tank, about 3 to 4 feet away, and rolled an avalanche of critical hits, blowing up my steam tank..

That was it.. after both scenarios where I couldn't touch him and after hours of rolling the worst dice rolls of my life, I conceded the game and called it quits..

Where last time, I won the WaT battle, this time I was soundly beaten twice.. That is the way the cookie crumbles I guess...

WaT, I discovered, has both "enjoyable frustration" as I mentioned in my first session playing it, but also some exasperating frustration, as I now encountered with Jeff.

It is still fun though. Light enough with the rules, but engaging nonetheless. and I've shown you don't have to be wedded to the WW2 era.. A space or fantasy tank mini can just as easily use Panzer IV stats, as a Panzer IV tank... it's all good and clean fun to be creative in the scenario setting.

Jeff said, not surprisingly, he liked the game and rules.

Thumbs up.. sorta.. :-)


  1. Ha ha! Brutal. Love the idea to use WaT for fantasy.

  2. My one criticism of this game is that it is so dice based that luck is more of a factor than strategy. Your genre bending never fails to amuse though!