Quick Look: Tank Chess
Designer: Dragan Lazovic, Predrag Lazovic
Artists: Dragan Lazovic
Publisher: Forsage Games
Year Published: 2016
No. of Players: 2
Playing Time: 10-50 minutes
Each player has figures: light, medium, heavy and command tank. Like a chess game, a die is not used. Basic board is on the back of the box, and other smaller is on the internal cardboard.
In each turn player moves one figurine. Figurines move from field to field. The fastest are light tanks and the slowest are heavy tanks.
The goal of the game is to destroy enemy command tank or to escape with own command tank.
When reviewing the Tuesday board game releases on Kickstarter, one grabbed my attention: Tank Chess. It had the word Chess in it, so I was immediately drawn in. The Son and I love chess-themed games, and I enjoy getting beaten by him regularly at these style games. I immediately backed it at the print and play level. I was then contacted about doing a review of the game. I couldn’t resist. Copious amounts of files were downloaded and printed off. Let’s take a look at it.
Rules & Setup:
The rules and setup depend greatly on the chosen level played. Select a board and then a platoon of tanks. The board is either 16×16 or 20×20. Some have pre-made tanks selected with selected landscape obstacles. The other sides are blank, and they are open to whatever interpretation you and your opponent choose.
Once set up, the white team moves first. Each tank has 4 attributes: speed, armor, gun power, gun range. The rules revolve around these attributes. Movement is one square forward, or a 45-degree turn. Armor and gun power go hand in hand. A gun’s power must exceed the armor from the angle of attack: front, back, or side. Then, gun range simply states how far a tank can shoot.
Theme and Mechanics:
The theme and mechanics marry well. Tanks and chess. Each tank has its own specifics like a chess piece. It seems so simple, and yet it is so strategic.
In the base game, the object is to either take out your opponent’s command tank, or get your command tank off the other end of the board. Each time one of these conditions could happen on the next turn, the player must say “check” or “escape.”
Movement passes between players. Movement can end anytime up to the stated speed of the piece. Then, that piece may shoot its gun, again following its stated direction and range. Attacks are interesting in that not only must the armor be exceeded, but it is also required to be within range, and that starts at 2 spaces away. That means, a piece can never shoot a tank in an adjacent square. This adds to the strategy. You can run right up to a tank, keep your heaviest armor side against it, and it cannot shoot you without moving.
As I stated, this continues until a winning condition is met.
Artwork and Components:
I worked off the print and play files. I eagerly await the physical copies, but the PDFs worked very well.
The artwork and the graphic design work very well. Each of the cut-out print and play pieces has all of these stats easily visible. I feel that this works better than the reference card for the 3D components.
Gameplay is fun and easy to grasp. But even better, there are so many different tanks that have so many different attributes. You can build any setup and combination you want. There are so many different tanks that The Son and I have not even had any time to explore what each of them have to offer. The expansions add so many more components. I look forward to what the new expansions have to offer.
The game really doesn’t have anything to do with chess. This was the reason I was drawn to the game in the first place. I enjoy the game, but it shares very little with the game of chess. The one thing that does match is the “check.” And it is awkward. You have to warn your opponent that you could take out the command tank. The flip is, you also have to warn them that you could “escape” on your next turn. This does not feel normal.
My only other complaint comes from having to constantly refer to the reference chart. Luckily, the print and play pieces have most of the pertinent information on them. Also, I think a lot of this will go away with each passing game.
I was not expecting to get a chance to play this game before the Kickstarter ended. Not only did I, but I am now upping to physical product. While I was expecting more of a chess-like game, a game that could be played on a chessboard, with chess pieces, I was not let down. It was not what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised. After one game, of the base game, my son read the rules for all the remaining pieces we had, and cut them all out. He eagerly awaits a rematch since I was victorious in our first confrontation. Tank Chess offers plenty more opportunities for us to battle for supremacy.
Players Who Like:
Chess, strategy games, variable game options
Find out more at BGG.