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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!

Forsage Games

Tank Chess


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

 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:

Tank Chess:


Age of Dogfights: WWI by Forsage Games  From Germany we have Lothar and Manfred von Richthofen, Immelmann, Boelck...

Age of Dogfights: WWI by Forsage Games Age of Dogfights: WWI by Forsage Games

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

Forsage Games

Age of Dogfights: WWI


Forsage Games

 From Germany we have Lothar and Manfred von Richthofen, Immelmann, Boelcke (whose 'Dicta' is still used in air warfare today), and Werner Voss (possibly the greatest of them all). From France we have Rene Fonck (the Allied Ace of Aces), Georges Guynemer (French children were taught, just flew up until he reached heaven), and Charles Nungesser. From England and the Empire we have William Bishop (the top Empire Ace), Edward Mannock, and the young Albert Ball. The skies of World War I were an incredibly dangerous place. Many pilots' lives were spent in a few weeks at most. Those that survived their ordeal were strapped into their planes again and again to fight until the war ended or their luck ran out. A good number of pilots kept a pistol on board to save them from a fiery death. Parachutes were well known in WWI, but they were never handed out to pilots, at least for most of the war. So Forsage Games has asked me to take a look at their Kickstarter game Age of Dogfights: WWI. Let us kick the tires and take her for a spin.

 This review is more of an unboxing and quick run through the rules etc. than I am used to doing. So the first thing you notice when holding the box is the heft of it. Once you open it, you find out that Forsage Games has handed you pretty much everything but the kitchen sink in the box. It is one of those boxes where you are not sure after looking at the contents if you are going to be able to close it up again properly. Let us look at what they put in there:

Board (3 bi-fold segments) total size 70 x 63 cm.
4 Board Extensions
54 Plastic Aircraft Pieces
100 Plastic Altitude Stands (5 Heights x 20)
18 Plane Control Panels
60 Red and Green Counters for use on the Plane Control panels
24 Photo markers
30 Bomb markers
30 Plastic Damage Markers
24 Plastic Ace/Rookie markers
3 Plastic Tilt Compensators
6 Plastic Task Zone Markers
3 Initial Position Markers
Sun and Wind Indicators
10 Plastic Cloud Markers
5 d6 Dice
Shooting Chart

 No wonder I didn't think I could get it all back in the box! Oddly enough, there is not a small bottle of castor oil included in the box. The manufacture of the pieces is really well done, you could even say excellent and not lie. The Map pieces are made of what seems like laminate on top of cardboard. They are not as thick as usual mounted maps, but they seem very sturdy. The game is played in eagle eye fashion so you are looking down on the aircraft. The map does not really show any details like houses or anything, but resembles what a pilot would see from a great height. Most of the pieces being plastic and not cardboard means that they will be here for a good long time. The plane pictures on the pieces are a bit small, but you can easily tell the difference between the planes. The Control Panels are also well done. They are easy to read, and some gamers will be familiar with them from other aerial games. The plastic Altitude Stands are also sturdy and I think they are a great innovation. The Plane Pieces have a slot built into their bottom to slide onto the clear plastic part of the Altitude Stands. All of the game components have the look and feel of parts that will last, and were well thought out in the designing process. The Rulebook is thirteen pages long, with two extra pages including a summary and a look at the expansion for the game. More on that later. 

 These are the planes that come with the standard game:

Albatross D.V
Aviatik DFW C.V
Fokker E.IV
Fokker Dr.I
Fokker D.VII

Hanriot HD.3
Letord Let.5
Morane Saulnier AI
Nieuport 24
Salmson 2

Airco DH.2
Armstrong Whitworth F.K.8
Bristol F.2 Fighter
Handley Page O/400
Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5
Sopwith Camel

 A far as the rules, it is one of those simple yet hard to master games. One of Forsage Games' blurbs says you will be playing in five minutes. If you are used to aerial warfare games that seems about right. The use of stands for the different heights of the planes has been used before in other games. In this game, at least to me, the use of them just seems easier. One interesting point the rules look at is the 'Gyroscopic Effect'. This is the effect where rotary engine planes could turn to the right much easier than turning left. This is due to the nature of the rotary engine and its spinning. I am a nut about World war I planes and aerial warfare, but I have not played many board games on the subject until recently. It is really only the last year that I have started playing aerial warfare board games; before that I was just a PC simulation player and voracious reader. I have made up a lot of lost time in the past year though. I have to say that Age of Dogfights is now my favorite World War I aerial warfare game. The game is extremely easy to set up and start playing. It is not as deep as other games, but it makes up for it in sheer ease of play and fun. 

 As was mentioned, Forsage Games had already designed an expansion that you can buy with the game itself on the Kickstarter campaign. This includes six planes each from Austria-Hungary, Russia, Serbia, Italy, Bulgaria, and the USA. Tell me how many games let you fight above Serbia and Bulgaria in the First World War? With this add on and hopefully many others to follow, we may see a very large stable of WWI aircraft to play in the game. The game itself is $48 on Kickstarter, and the game and the expansion are $76. The game has hit nine out of ten of its stretch goals. It only needs about $3000 more pledges to hit all ten of them. Forsage games has already run more than four successful Kickstarter campaigns.  If you are looking for a simple, but deep game on WWI air warfare look no further. For those of us who are into the aesthetics of games this is also for you. 

 Forsage Games has also generously sent me 'Tank Chess' and its add-on 'Fun-Set' to review. look for them in my upcoming reviews. Thank you very much Forsage games in allowing me to review your products. Now, please get to work on a ton more expansion planes.

 Sorry, I forgot to add a few things. I was sent the 'trial version' of the game, so some things will change. Here they are:

The game will actually come with 6 altitude levels.
The Cardboard Counters will be wooden blocks.

Forsage Games:

Age of Dogfights: WWI on KS:

Tank Chess: