second chance games

Search This Website of delight

Tank Duel Enemy in the Crosshairs by GMT Games  Tanks in battle; this is what has drawn a lot of us into warg...

Tank Duel: Enemy in the Crosshairs by GMT Games Tank Duel: Enemy in the Crosshairs by GMT Games

Tank Duel: Enemy in the Crosshairs by GMT Games

Tank Duel: Enemy in the Crosshairs by GMT Games

Tank Duel

Enemy in the Crosshairs


GMT Games

 Tanks in battle; this is what has drawn a lot of us into wargaming. Remember the pictures and info of the tanks on the back of Panzer Blitz? What is the first thing we all do with a tank wargame? We check the stats of all the different vehicles to see if they match what we believe. If the numbers are different than what we believe we almost invariably let out a little harumph, and scoff a bit at the designer. When a post is made online about the stats that a tank should have, or which tank is better, you might as well just sit back and enjoy the fireworks. To question someone's stats on their favorite tank is worse at times than insulting their mother! So, let us open up the game and let the fights begin.

 The first thing you will notice is the weight of the game. My scale has it coming in at about six pounds. You can tell by the design on the front that this is a game about Russian and German tanks in conflict. The front picture is somewhat strange. It has the commander of a T-34 pointing at a commander of a Panther, and both of these are standing halfway out of their hatches. The Russian commander is just pointing and the German is looking at him with his arm draped over his hatch mounted MG 34. It is a very well done painting of both tanks. It just leaves the viewer wondering if they are playing 'tag' or something else. The game is for one to eight players. The best part of the game for these long winter nights is that it comes with a 'Full Solitaire System'. No need for us to fiddle or wait until some half baked solitaire system is posted somewhere. This is what comes in the box:

● 129 Battle Cards (100 base Battle Cards, 1 Game End Card, 1 Shuffle Card, and 27 Alternate and City Battle Cards)
● 21 Damage Cards
● 6 On Fire Cards
● 6 Broken Cards
● 6 Anti-Tank Gun Cards
● 8 Anti-Tank Infantry Cards
● 30 Other Cards (15 Scenario Cards, 7 Road/Hill Cards, 4 Solo Move Cards, 2 Infantry Advance Cards, and 2 Deep Mud/Snow Storm Cards)
● 10 Robata Cards
● 4 Reference Cards
● 16 double-sided tank boards
● 3 sheets of counters
● 8 player aids
● 1 Solo player aid
● A Rulebook and Playbook

 The game components are 'marvelous, simply marvelous', and come in Corinthian Leather. Sorry, just a joke showing my age. The Rule Booklet is twenty pages long and is in full color. There are many insets to help the player deduce how to play this beast of a game. The Play Booklet is fifty-two pages long and is crammed full of goodies. The first eighteen pages of the Booklet contains a very well done tutorial on how to play the normal game. There are then three pages of Advanced and Optional rules. These include Anti-Tank Guns, Radios, and Infantry. The next thirteen pages are for the scenarios that come with the game and suggestions for creating your own, or modifying the existing scenarios. The Solitaire Rules for the game start on page thirty-six. The solitaire component in the game is called 'Robata'. There is then a five page Solitaire Play Example. The Booklet ends with three pages of Designer Notes. The Player Aid Cards are well laid out and give the player exactly what information he needs at his fingertips. The Tank Boards have an aerial view of the tank that they are showing. They are large enough for the player to keep track of everything from crew to terrain, and also a penetration table for the main gun. The Tank Boards are as thick and durable as a hard mounted map.

 These are the tanks that you get to play with:


T-34/76 M40
T-34/76 M43
KV-85 M43
T-34/85 M44
SU-100 M44
IS-2M M44



 The question that pops up is why these tanks? Usually with games you get a range of tanks from a certain year or years of the war. This is a smattering of tanks from the middle years of World War II until the end. The biggest gripe a German tank lover will have is where is the Konigstiger? The Soviets get to use the largest beast that actually prowled on their side with the IS-2M. Why then was the King Tiger not invited to the party?

 This is the sequence of play:

1.Draw Phase [6.0] Players refill their hands to their Hand Size [4.2.7].
2. Initiative Phase [7.0] Players bid for Initiative.
3. Tank Phase [8.0] - In Initiative Order: Administration Step [8.1]    a. Discard Active Tank’s Initiative Card.
   b. Score scenario specific VPs.
   c. If the Active Tank is in Smoke, perform a Smoke Check.
   d. If the Active Tank is On Fire, perform an On Fire Check.
   e. If the Active Tank’s crew is Broken, perform a Morale Check.    f. [Optional] Button Up or Open Hatch [17.3.4].
  Action Step [8.2] The Active Player resolves one Tank Action       [8.3] and any number of Field Actions [8.4], in any order they choose.
  Discard Step [8.5] The Active Player may discard one Battle Card  from their hand or, if the Active Tank’s Range counter is in a red box, they may discard two Battle Cards.
4. Reinforcement Phase [9.0] If any tanks have been Eliminated [12.7], their controlling player prepares a replacement tank.

 The best word to describe playing this game is 'suspenseful'. Which side will spot the other first? After I have missed my shot, will I be able to get another one in before my opponent zeroes in on me? Do you worry about the Anti-Tank Gun or the enemy tank first? Do I bet on my crew being able to pass the morale check or do I discard the four Battle Cards to automatically rally my crew? You feel a real sense of accomplishment when you have played your cards correctly and turned imminent defeat into victory. If it could happen on the ground during a tank battle on the Eastern Front in WWII it is included in the game.

 Theses are the scenarios:

1. Merging Forces
2. Hold the High Ground
3. Capture Hill 818
4. Break Out of the Pocket
5. Establish a Bridgehead
6. Streets of Steel
Robata can be used in six of these scenarios.

Historical Scenario 1: Fog of Counteroffensive
Historical Scenario 2: Hungary for Oil
Robata cannot be used with either of the Historical Scenarios.

 There is also a good primer on making your own tank matchups. The tanks are listed by year and also by size. A 'Suggested Tank Matchup' chart is also included. These were chosen by the playtesters. The 'Notes about the Historical Scenarios' in the Play Book is a must read. I like this quote from it: "Crafting a historical CDG drama in the language of Mike's (Mike Bertucelli) Tank Duel is like composing a haiku poem, albeit armor plated."

 There are a few kinds of cards that come in the decks these are:

 ● Battle Cards, which are shuffled to create the Battle Deck [4.2].
 ● Damage Cards, which are shuffled to create the Damage Deck [4.3].
 ● Broken and On Fire Cards, which indicate which tanks are Broken and/or On Fire [4.4]. 
● Anti-Tank Gun Cards, used in certain scenarios [17.1].
● Anti-Tank Infantry and Infantry Advance Cards, used with optional Infantry rules [17.3]. 
● Scenario Specific Cards, used as Scenario Objectives or for scenario specific rules. 
● Robata Cards, used when playing with the optional Solitaire Rules.

 This game is very good from a technical aspect, and it is also a blast to play. Some games fit into either category. You can have a game that while it may not be easy to play or is very involved, it does give the player an accurate description of the warfare portrayed. Then, you can have games that while abstract or completely ahistorical are still fun to play. This game hits the spot on both meters. The best tactical games make the gamer, for want of a better term, 'feel' for the cardboard men under his control. Tank Duel is one of those games. You do care about saving your tank crew, and not just because of points or whatever. This is one of those games where, win or lose, both players want to try one more scenario late into the night. The game also has endless possibilities for add-ons. I can easily see trying to hunt a Char B1 with a Panzer II. Hopefully sales are great enough to flesh out tank on tank warfare from the Spanish Civil War until the Vietnam War. With a little (probably a lot) of work, we may even see M1 Abrams and T-80s going at each other at some point. Thank you GMT Games for letting me review this excellent game and making my holidays that much better. Now excuse me, my Tiger is being hunted by an IS2 and my crew is already a bit rattled.


Tank Duel:



  1. One thing to note is you never actually run out of tanks, loose one then in comes a replacement. A much larger battle is being fought and it just so happens you are controlling 1 or 2 or 3 tanks at any moment. The game ends once a certain amount of time has elapsed followed by the drawing of a certain card. Then it's time to tally up. I like this as the infantry element makes more sense plus gives a more epic feel to a game. Only downside I suppose is you loose any feelings of attachment to a tanks crew. Though maybe a future campaign expansion can work around this.

  2. If you are the gamer and looking for some shooting game in the war, then Best World of Tanks can be the best for you get the experience of real shooting games, or by using the Best World of Tanks Coupons you can also get discount of buying this game.