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Tank Chess by Forsage Games  Forsage games sent me their excellent Age of Dogfights:WWI game of aerial warf...

Tank Chess by Forsage Games Tank Chess by Forsage Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Armor





Tank Chess

by

Forsage Games










 Forsage games sent me their excellent Age of Dogfights:WWI game of aerial warfare in World War I. They asked if I would want to review their other game 'Tank Chess'. I was a little reluctant to agree. I really like most games about World War I plane combat, but I was not so sure of a wargame that had Chess in its name. I was thinking that it would be a weird creation of half chess and half tank warfare, or tanks that would have to move like Chess pieces on a board. I am a die hard wargamer who loves thick rulebooks, and lots of counters or blocks on a map. So, in the end I agreed, not really knowing what I would be getting myself into. I had it in the back of my mind that I was just going to ship it back, and say that it was really not my cup of tea. It even took me a bit to decide to open the 'game' and see what I had to deal with. Follow along, and let us see what we actually have inside the box. This is what the game comes with (they also sent me an add-on to the game, more on that later):


- Box 24 x 24 x 4 cm (9,5 x 9,5 x 1,5 in)
- 2 double-sided boards:
        47 x 47 cm (18,5 x 18,5 in)
        38 x 38 cm (15 x 15 in)
- 30 tank pieces
- 30 flags/antennas
- 26 obstacles
- 4 border surfaces
- 2 reference sheets
- Notepad
- Blank scheme pad
- Rules
- Brochure





 The two different sized mounted boards are a really nice touch. If you only want a short game, then pick the small one. Each of the boards has a completely blank side, and the other has an already planned out battleground for you to use. The two premade sheets of obstacles mean that you will never have to play with the same setup twice. It also comes with two blank black sheets to create your own obstacles. The four page rulebook is written well and has numerous examples of play. The brochure is nine pages long and has a lot of different pre-made setups to use on the boards. It also has some mods to play such as capture the flag, etc. The plastic tanks and other armored vehicles are very well done for their size. They are small, but you can easily tell the difference between the units. The game is a neat little package that even includes a notepad for you to write down whatever you want. The game components and little additions just seem well thought out. 





 The game itself is extremely easy to learn. Like Chess the player has to move one piece, or change its orientation, each turn.  Even though some of the units are tanks with turrets, you can only fire in an arc of the three spaces at the front of the tank. The Tank Destroyer and the Heavy Mortar can only fire in a straight line. So, the game does have some Chess like rules thrown in. The game rules seem fine to me, except the rules for the Heavy Mortar. You do not need a line of sight to fire a Heavy Mortar. It can fire over obstacles that other units cannot see through. This rule is a two-edged sword. While the ability to fire without line of sight is more gamey than wargames, it does give the both players something to keep their eyes on. Maybe a house rule of only being able to fire the Heavy Mortar on other units if it, or another unit, has the target in its sight? That would make the Heavy Mortar use more in tune with a wargame. However, the ability to rain down destruction when your opponent thinks he is safe is also a plus. It is a bit like playing Chess with two boards with only one unit on one of the boards. The play is fast and furious, as the designers intended. It is still a very good strategy game even though it is not completely in the wargame category. 

 The units in the basic game are:

Light/Command Tank
Medium Tank
Heavy Tank
Tank Destroyer
Heavy mortar





 I like the game and it is fun. It delivers everything it is designed to, and its advertising is spot on. The basic game is a blast, but where Tank Chess really shines is when you play with one or all of the expansions available. Forsage Games was nice enough to include the Tank Chess 'Fun Set' expansion. 

 This expansion adds these tanks and armored vehicles to the mix:

Recon Tank
Super-Heavy Tank
Tank Hunter
Assault Tank
Amphibian Tank
Twin-Gun Tank
Light Mortar
Rocket Launcher
Light Howitzer
Heavy Howitzer
Heavy Bulldozer Tank
Minesweeper Tank
Bridge Tank
Recovery Vehicle





 The new vehicles make the game even more of a strategy game. However, it is the addition of the following obstacles that really make it shine:

Two types of Land Mines (one is Remote-Controlled and hidden)
Low Obstacles
Water obstacles
Hedges
Mud
Trees





 The obstacles are see through different colored plastic pieces that are of different shapes, like the obstacles from the basic game. The expansions that can be bought are:

Fun Set Deluxe
Fun Set Light
Fun Set Pocket

 Do yourself a favor and pick up the standard or deluxe expansion. It adds a great amount to the base game. There is also an expansion that is called 'Central Square', and it also comes in a standard or deluxe model.


  Thank you Forsage Games for letting me review Tank Chess. To put it mildly, I was very skeptical of the game in the beginning. I was happily proved wrong by the game play. 

Forsage Games:
https://www.gamesforsage.com/

Tank Chess:
https://www.gamesforsage.com/product-page/tank-chess-standard

Robert

Heroes of North Africa by   Lock 'N Load Publishing  This is the largest game in the Lock 'N Load tact...

Heroes of North Africa by Lock 'N Load Publishing Heroes of North Africa by Lock 'N Load Publishing

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Armor



by









 This is the largest game in the Lock 'N Load tactical series yet. It is about the desert war from 1940-1943: North Africa WW II Rommel, Cruewell, Montgomery, O'Connor, Graziana, and Gariboldi plus lots and lots of sand. For your gaming pleasure LNL has brought you the forces of Italy, Germany, Britain, France, and the US. Let us go through a checklist of what comes with the game.






 Large box -  check, seems like the holidays
Counters large and easy to read -  check
Large easy to read colorful manuals - check, LNL standard fare
Mounted maps - Nope, none here; these are paper maps, but there
   is a ton of them and they are well made





 The game comes with the following manuals and player's aids:

LNL Tactical World War II Era 1930-1959 Core Rules Manual 
  Version 4.1
Heroes of North Africa: Module Rules and Scenarios
Heroes of North Africa: Rules Reference Card
Heroes of North Africa: Player-Aid Card
Heroes of North Africa: Skill Reference Card
Heroes of North Africa :Sequence of Play, and on the other side  
  Weapons, Ammo, and Targets
The Turn Record Track also has some information on it.






  Most of the scenarios are ones in which the English are fighting the Italians. The game comes with twenty scenarios, but your imagination and history can come up with many more. There are three I saw that had Germans and Italians fighting as allies. There are even a few with US troops fighting Vichy French troops. Most of the scenarios only use one map piece, but there are a few that use two. There is only one scenario where three map pieces are used. There are actually six 8.25 X 12.75 single sided maps, and six double sided 8.25 X 12.75 maps. The hex size is fifty meters across. This is tactical warfare up close and personal. There is not much room, if any, to maneuver, and sweeping encirclements are not happening. 







 There are six sheets of 700 plus counters. The counters come in three sizes. The largest is for vehicles, including tanks, and the next size down is for artillery pieces. The troops and markers are the smallest and most numerous of the counters. Unfortunately, the counters are a mixed bag as far as getting them off the sprues. On two of the counter sheets, the counters popped out like they had been buttered. One of the sheets was tough to get them out without damage, and then they had cardboard flanges stuck to their middles. The other sheets were average as far as undoing the counters. 






 This is a link to the turn sequence aid:

http://forums.lnlpublishing.com/resources/lnlt-rule-sequence-guide.101/

  This is a link to the World War II Core Rules:

http://forums.lnlpublishing.com/resources/lnlt-world-war-ii-era-core-rules-final.94/

 The rules are what you would expect from a detailed tactical simulation. It even has rules to simulate the Italians' lack of supply and sometimes indifferent training. This is not a knock against the Italian armed forces in WW II. It was unfortunately the truth for them. Some of their forces were elite troops that you will have your hands full with, and all fought to the best of their ability. No matter how under-gunned and under-armored the Italian tanks were, they continually were in the thick of the North African fighting. The Italian army was very well equipped to fight a war in 1936. However, by 1940 and later most of their equipment was outdated. The amount of scenarios will show how much fighting the Italian Army was involved with.




 



 This is my first foray into the LNL 'Heroes' series of tactical games. It seems like LNL is trying to supplant a game which shall not be mentioned as our 'go to' tactical wargame (don't you hate buzz words?). As mentioned, these core rules are for tactical gaming for the years 1930-1959. LNL has a plethora of games issued and forthcoming in this series. 





 The Italians are brittle, as they should be. The British are stolid, and the US troops are green. The German troops and equipment are better than most, at least in the early years, unless an armadillo of a British Matilda crawls slowly into view. With the core rules and separate modules rules, on the outset it looks like a player would be overwhelmed. With the player's aids and the turn sequence clearly delineated it helps to ease the player's learning curve. I have to thank LNL for printing everything  in large easy to read type. The play examples are well thought out and also help you learn the ropes. The line of sight rules are a bit lengthy and are probably the hardest part of the game rules to get right. The game does not have many votes, but its 8.44 rating on BGG I think is spot on. With the small area of play the battlefield Carnage adds up fast. Very few games now give you this much gaming in one box: Panzer IIIs and IVs, Crusaders, Valentines, and early Shermans along with French Renault 35s and of course a lot of the Italian tanks to name just a few of the pieces. The map pieces along with all of the counters for bunkers etc. give the player the ability to play out any scenario, historical or not. 

 Below is a setup for the scenario 'Mon Cheri I'. Italian armor is trying to break through dug in Free French forces.







 This is a link to a print and play mod that adds units and more to Heroes of North Africa:

 http://forums.lnlpublishing.com/resources/heroes-of-north-africa-desert-raiders-print-and-play-mod.226/


Robert
PixelPLaybox.co.uk