Home Forums WWII What a Tanker, solo 6mm game

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  • #128887
    shelldrake
    Participant

    At the start of December I printed out my PDF copy of “What A Tanker” and carefully read every page whilst starting to put together a bit of scenery for a game.

    As I don’t have a lot of room, I decided to try playing the game using 6mm figures on a tray I had intended to use for a skirmish game, but found it to be a bit too small.

    I printed out the tank Dashboards, laminated them, and used magnets to display them on a white board. This allowed me to move the board around a bit, and but using other, smaller magnets, I can update the status of the tanks without counters falling off.

    My What a Tanker whiteboard

    I haven’t finished making the scenery I want, as I have some items on order that I need to arrive first to build other bits of scenery with (things like gates and buildings), but I wanted to play through the rules to see what they are like.

    So, to that end, I played my first solo game today with a German Pz IV vs a British Sherman M4. Things were looking to be in favour of the Pz IV at first, but a few dice rolls in a row that prevented any useful action on behalf of the Pz IV meant that the M4 soon gained the upper hand.

    Thanks to some poor dice rolling for the German side,  and a lot of luck and wild dice for the British,  in the second half of the game, the M4 was able to get behind the Pz IV and earn it’s first kill.

     

    I enjoyed the game very much, and it was fast and easy to play, even as a solo gamer having to play both sides. Most of the time I spent invovled taking photos.

    I printed my copy of the rules on A4 sheets, but in A5 size, so as to make an A5 book. It came out better than I had hoped, and the smaller size matched the small playing area, allowing for it to be a bit more portable.

    Having played the game, I will try a game with more tanks and see how that goes.

     

    As I start a new job next week, I will have more funds available for the hobby, so I am intending to start up a campaign, which will involve buying lots of tiny 6mm tanks to cover all bases.

    I am still trying to make up my mind if I will run a campaign for both the Britsh and the German side of things, and if I will attempt to take a Tank Troop/Platoon from the start of the war, through to the end of the war. That might be a bit ambitious, so I need to think about that a bit.

    I would like to take a British Troop through the Battle of France, to the Western Desert and Italy, before heading to Normandy and in to Germany.

    Alternatively, a German Platoon through the Battle for France, in the the Desert, then to the Russian front and then the Defence of Germany.

    It would be nice to do both, but that might be too much. So, I shall sit down, figure out what 6mm tanks I can buy/need, and decide on what I want to do.

     

    #128889
    ian pillay
    Participant

    Great review / play through and thoughts Shelldrake. Looks like a fun little game. I really draw inspiration when people share their small gaming projects.

    Good luck with the new job!

     

    Tally-Ho!

    #128891
    shelldrake
    Participant

    Thanks Ian! Appreciate the feed back on the project, and the good luck for the new job 🙂

    #128900
    Thomaston
    Participant

    Very cool. I like your tray. It doesn’t look that small, but maybe the rules require something bigger?
    I vote German campaign, simply for the variety of opponents. Playing the British you’re only facing Germans and some talians. As Germans you’re lkely facing differnt enemies at each front.

    I’m guessing 3mm is too small for your preference?

    Where did you get the tray from? Looks like it’ll be simple to have several for different terrain types and stack them for storage with the minis stored inside.

    Tired is enough.
    I like tiny miniatures

    #128913
    JozisTinMan
    Participant

    Looks great! I think you just pushed me over the edge to get these rules.

    http://jozistinman.blogspot.com/

    #128928
    shelldrake
    Participant

    Very cool. I like your tray. It doesn’t look that small, but maybe the rules require something bigger? I vote German campaign, simply for the variety of opponents. Playing the British you’re only facing Germans and some talians. As Germans you’re lkely facing differnt enemies at each front. I’m guessing 3mm is too small for your preference? Where did you get the tray from? Looks like it’ll be simple to have several for different terrain types and stack them for storage with the minis stored inside.

    Thank you 🙂

    The size of the tray will be ok for two tanks per side. Three might be ok. I will have to play a game with more tanks to find out.

    I actually decided on playing the Germans last night for the very reason you mentioned. I was reading my books on the different German Divisions hoping to find one that saw action against most nations, but I will probably do one that was in France during 1940, then have them slog in to and out of Russia. Further research on my behalf is needed.

    I did think of using 3mm. I certanly would have plenty of room in my tray for more tanks, but I want to be able to move the turret as per the rules. It is one I may rethink in the future though.

    The idea for the tray began with a much bigger tray that isn’t for wargaming, and I couldn’t find another one the same size, so I went with this tray that I found at a large Home and Hardware company we have here in Australia called Bunnings Wharehouse.  The tray was only about $12AUD.

    It is 37cm x 28cm on the inside. The original tray I had the inspiration from is 53 cm x 32 cm and has folding legs, so I could sit in bed when i was sick and play (which was actually the situation when I came up with the idea).

    Stacking the trays and using them as storage is a great idea too.

    I am currently looking at artists wooden boxes to see if they are big enough to do what I want, and be the complete storage and travel package for me

    For example, this one I found is 40 cm x 28 cm. I would gut the box and use this type of thing quite happily:

     

    #128929
    shelldrake
    Participant

    Looks great! I think you just pushed me over the edge to get these rules.

    The rules are great fun.

    I read the rules carefully and watched a lof of youtube videos on the game before playing my first game.

    I think ‘What a Tanker’ would be in the Top 5 of my favourite rules.

     

    #128933
    Thomaston
    Participant

    With that folding box I’d be tempted to stick a game mat on each lid s when it opens the mat lay flat across it for playing surface. The gap underneath can be used for storage and accessable when the lids are at 90 degrees.

    Tired is enough.
    I like tiny miniatures

    #128934
    shelldrake
    Participant

    With that folding box I’d be tempted to stick a game mat on each lid s when it opens the mat lay flat across it for playing surface. The gap underneath can be used for storage and accessable when the lids are at 90 degrees.

    Brilliant! I hadn’t even thought of that.

    This is one thing I love about forums. A simple idea turns in to something much better thanks to another’s way of thinking.

    #128938
    shelldrake
    Participant

    I have been tinkering with artist canvas to use as a playing area.

    This is a flat one I experimented with, but I am not happy with the permanet roads, so will probably flock over them:

    It is 40 cm x 30 cms. Just a bit bigger than my tray, but easier to get hands in to whilst playing.

    I have a canvas on a wooden frame that is about the right size (40 cm x 60 cm) for what I want, but now I am starting to head away from the compact idea of the playing set up.

    But, this artist box will hold up to a 62cm canvas, so it might be perfect for what I want:

    A shop my wife goes to sells these, so I will take a look at one to see if the shelves are deep enough to hold trees and buildings etc.

     

    #129083
    shelldrake
    Participant

    Update: I have started planning the first part of my campaign.

    What a Tanker campaign notes

    Concept: To form a German tank platoon and play it through the entire Second World War

    The Platoon: 5 tanks, as per German Orbats for tank units (non-heavy tanks)

    Time Scale: One game equals a week, although if I have time to play extra games, one game will equal
    one day during a major battle. For example The Battle of Kursk lasted from 5 July 1943 – 23 August 1943, so each game played represents a day of this battle, rather than a week. This will be an adjusting time scale, so I won’t have to play then entire battle, just extra games if I have time.

    Attrition: A system for replacements will need to be included when tanks and crews are lost. Maybe one die roll at the end of each game week, with an increasing chance of replacements per subsequent week if a die roll is failed.

    Rest and Refit: If during the game the entire platoon has no more tanks, then the unit will be sent to the rear to rest, be re-equipped and build up to full strength again. At this point the unit can be moved to a new area of conflict if I feel like a change – i.e. taken from Russia and sent to Europe.

    Starting Point: I will be ambitious with this campaign, and start with the Battle of France (10 May – 25 June 1940). I really hope to get some Tank upgrades, or more importantly, some Aces, before heading in to Russia.

    Starting Tanks: I think I will keep it simple, and go with the PZ IV D, mainly because I can’t find any 6mm IV Bs or Cs to buy.

    Upgrades: I will try to keep using the IVs until such stage as I can upgrade to something with a lot of teeth, should my tanks be able to upgrade to higher levels.

    Enemy: I will try to stick to historical enemy troop/platoon orbats, and create a “Theater of operations” chart to provide random enemy tanks per each game. This will include different tank types, and a chance for opposing Aces to be included. The Aces will depend on the historical situation at the time, thus an Ace for French tanks will be less likely at During the Battle of France, but when Germany is on the defensive/retreat later in the War, there will be a greater chance to encounter them.

    Background for my platoon: I will loosely base my platoon as part of the 2nd Panzer Division.

    Created as one of the original three German tank divisions in 1935, participated in the campaigns in Poland (1939) and France (1940) before it returned to Poland for occupation duties (1940–1941). It took part in the Balkans campaign (1941) and then transferred to the Eastern Front in September 1941.

    The division fought with Army Group Centre in the battles of Moscow (1941) and Kursk (1943). After heavy losses on the Eastern Front it was sent to France for rehabilitation (1944). It fought in Normandy and was almost completely destroyed in the Falaise Pocket (1944). It was rebuilt once more and fought in the Battle of the Bulge (1944) and in the defence of the Rhine (1945), surrendering to US forces at war’s end.

    The biggest difficulty for this, is the Balkans campaign, and the enemy tanks I would need for it. I have found some Light Vickers Tanks that were used agains the Germans, but this would be very one sided, as a machine gun won’t do much harm to a Pz IV. I might skip the Balkans part due to ‘sportsmanship’ on my behalf.

    To Do:
    Buy tanks – I will be using H&R simply because they are cheaper, thus allowing me to buy more tanks, and because they seem to have the biggest range of different tanks available.

    Make more dashboards – I have enough for four tanks at the moment , so I will need another four minimum to begin with. I might have to have a smaller size printed to get them all on my magnetic white board.

    Buy/make scenery – I have some gates and telegraph poles on the way, I will need some houses/farms etc, and make some roads, hedges etc.

    Plenty of research for historical dates for battles and theatres. Although the games I will be playing wont actually be that historical, I need the dates and locations to plan the game and have the setting as historical as I can make it.

    Find out when the Germans started painting their tanks in camouflage and what styles of camouflage. I can start with my tanks painted grey, but need to know when the colours changed so my upgrades will look the part. (Note – the web page I found the image of the Pz IV above, actually talks about the cammo, which was very helpful.

     

    I have created charts to determine what my Platoon will be upgainst during the Battle of France. It is based on tanks in the rule book, and tanks I can find models of.

    It seems I didn’t save my word file for enemy tanks for my campaign, so it was lucky I had a screen shot of it!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    #129085
    Thomaston
    Participant

    That’s a long list of to-dos. H&R are nice and cheap. I wonder if you could paint a few hulls in grey and camo and swap turrets for different ank variants.

    I don’t know if the rules have anti-tank guns. If it does maybe Balkans could use them and have an ATG hunt?

    For reinforcements how about simply rolling higher than the number of tanks you have? And if you have a full platoon of 5, maybe on a ‘6’ command felt generous enough to attach a tank destroyer to your platoon or something.

    Tired is enough.
    I like tiny miniatures

    #129089
    shelldrake
    Participant

    That’s a long list of to-dos. H&R are nice and cheap. I wonder if you could paint a few hulls in grey and camo and swap turrets for different ank variants. I don’t know if the rules have anti-tank guns. If it does maybe Balkans could use them and have an ATG hunt? For reinforcements how about simply rolling higher than the number of tanks you have? And if you have a full platoon of 5, maybe on a ‘6’ command felt generous enough to attach a tank destroyer to your platoon or something.

    Most of the to do list has kind of already been done over the last month, so it is really just actioning them now.

    I have my initial H&R shopping list ready to go once I get my first pay cheque, and I am working on some scenery whilst waiting for things to get rolling. Fortunately I have some H&R tanks lying around to help with making the scenery.

    I will probably not need to buy and paint too many different hulls to need turret swaps to begin with, but it isn’t a bad idea for later Pz IV variants.

    The Rules don’t have anti-tank guns… it is purely a tank game, but I was thinking over the weekend of maybe using AT guns for the Balkans myself… did tanks get kill rings for AT guns?

    Great idea on the reinforcements – I will give your idea a try. Thank you.

     

    #129100
    Jim Jackaman
    Participant

    What a brilliant idea! I think your magnetic board thing is genI use – I’ll definitely be pinching that!

    #129158
    shelldrake
    Participant

    What a brilliant idea! I think your magnetic board thing is genI use – I’ll definitely be pinching that!

    You are welcome, but I suspect someone somewhere already thought of this before me 😉

    #129162
    shelldrake
    Participant

    I went scavaging through my wardrobe lead pile of shame last night and came across these, which I had forgotten about:

    I was a bit worried they wouldn’t work for WW2 Eastern Front, as a lot of the buildings on the market seem to be almost all wooden buildings, but I did a quick search and put my fears to rest:

     

    So I am happy I can use these, and have a small village, and a bridge for my Russian Front part of my planned campaign.

    The bridge is wide enough to take a German Panther, so I shouldn’t need worry about fitting models on the bridge.

    #129166
    shelldrake
    Participant

    Just found an excellent set of articles on German tank markings and colours:

     

    https://mistertretiakpresents.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/world-war-2-german-camouflage-and-tactical-markings-part-i/

    This first link has the tank colours for the different years of the war, so it looks like I can initially get away with grey tanks from the start of my campaign, until the start of 1943. It will let me play a lot of games before I really need to worry about tank upgrades and cammo schemes.

    https://mistertretiakpresents.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/world-war-2-german-camouflage-and-tactical-markings-part-2/

    So my tanks will be numbered 221, 222, 223, 224 and 225, designating them from the 2nd company, second platoon, 1st to 5th tank respectively, from the 1st Battalion, of the Panzer Regiment they are from.

    Now, I won’t be painting numbers on the turrets of my tanks, so I will have to come up with a way to tell them all apart… maybe a small base with numbering on the top? I don’t want too large a base, so will need to think about this.

    #129183
    Thomaston
    Participant

    Maybe paint/write the numbers on masking tape and stick it on top of the turret?

    Tired is enough.
    I like tiny miniatures

    #129213
    shelldrake
    Participant

    Maybe paint/write the numbers on masking tape and stick it on top of the turret?

    hmm, it might work. I will have to try it out and see what it looks like

    #129326
    shelldrake
    Participant

    I have updated my whiteboard for the game.

    I shrank the dashboards so that I can fit eight of them on my whiteboard.  This allows me to display the full German platoon of five tanks (not that I will always use all of them at once), and three enemy tanks, which was the norm for many Allied nations in early to mid war. The exception to this is the US tank platoons, and the Late war British platoons.

    I supect I wont always be at full strength with my platoon, so I can add extra Allied dashboards in placement of German ones, should the need arise.

    The red and blue magnets are just used to hold the dashboards in place. The numbers on some of them were from a different game I was using them for, and haven’t cleaned them yet.

     

    I have also started glueing small pieces of foliage clusters to the flocked canvas board to represent hedges:

     

    It will take a while to get this finished off, but it will be a way to relax next week when I get home from my new job.

    The mini in the photo is a H&R 6mm Panther, and the house is one of those I found a few days back that has been undercoated, but not painted. The large clump next to the house is foliage cluster waiting to be used, not a big tree.

    #129332
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    What little I have seen of What a Tanker has not impressed me but this is certainly a very neat use of the opportunity of the game, a crossover between traditional wargaming and RPG role playing.  My own observations would be that:

    (1) You should stick rigorously to the one battle in each week of the war approach rather than being flexible

    (2) You should do everything, including the campaign in Greece to get a total view of the war

    #129333
    Thomaston
    Participant

    That’s looking good. The clump actually looks good as a tree.

    Tired is enough.
    I like tiny miniatures

    #129408
    shelldrake
    Participant

    What little I have seen of What a Tanker has not impressed me but this is certainly a very neat use of the opportunity of the game, a crossover between traditional wargaming and RPG role playing. My own observations would be that: (1) You should stick rigorously to the one battle in each week of the war approach rather than being flexible (2) You should do everything, including the campaign in Greece to get a total view of the war

     

    I want to do the Balkans, but the rules don’t have lists for the armour the Greeks had, and if they did, it would be very one sided, as the Greek armour only had machine guns on them.

    #129409
    shelldrake
    Participant

    That’s looking good. The clump actually looks good as a tree.

    I thought the same when I saw the photo I took for the first time. May have to look deeper in to that.

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