My ol’ pal Eric Turner was running a game of OH WHAT A TANKER! by Too Fat Lardies Friday, and I resolved I would play a session to give the game system a try. I bought it at Cold Wars but I haven’t tried it yet. Here’s Eric explaining the game’s dice command system to us players.
Oh what a Tanker is a game of single tank engagements. Or multiple tanks on a small battlefield. The bare necessities of tanking boil down to: a tank has to move, a tank has to see a target, a tank has to aim, a tank’s weapon must be loaded to fire, and lastly, the tank has to shoot. That is pretty much all of the design philosophy of this game in a long sentence. Oh what a Tanker! achieves these goals by using a dice pool to represent the tank itself. On the player’s turn he* rolls the dice, and assigns the results to those critical functions. For instance, 1 means moving, 2 means acquiring, 3 means aiming, 4 means shooting, etc. I think.. You get the idea, anyway. Then the player assigns those rolls to functions and acts based on what is possible to do based on the dice rolls. There are some nuances, particularly with inflicting and recovering from damage. However, that is essentially it— the rest of the game is about scenarios and campaign systems.
I was a plucky Canadian, driving BUDDY the Sherman tank, in a company of three or four more Shermans. We were driving up a road when were suddenly ambushed by a Panther tank and a Panzer IV. Tough odds.
Being cautious, I noticed the Panther had me bore-sighted coming down the road, so I buttoned up and moved in the direction of minimal cover. He shot at me and missed. Is hot at him, and the improbable happened. My first roll thrown playing the game took out the Panther tank. Eric gave me a gimlet eye for a few seconds. There’s a story there, of course. I paused for reflection.
So this is what’s happening at this point.
Gee this tanker stuff is pretty easy, right? Just a matter of shooting the bad guys. I asked Eric for some Army man advice.
Hey, even an eternal optimist like me can be realistic. The Panther crew bailed, and a StuG chugged up to replace it.
The Panzer IV, skulking in the woods.
The Panther’s view. Before getting knocked out. That’s Buddy directly in front of him
Things started to go pear-shaped pretty quick. My tank platoon buddies in “Barbara”, one Sherman over, got knocked out crossing a field.
Buddy tryin to get in cover. Barbara on the right.
The guy running the tank on the far right had more luck, and managed to exchange some shots with the StuG. That did not deter the StuG from trying to kill Buddy’s crew.
The StuG, using the Panther’s hull for hard cover.
The Panzer IV, meanwhile, stayed in his minimal cover and started blasting the Sherman at the far end.
Right about now, the pressure was on from the StuG. He was shooting every turn and kept missing, but Buddy was feeling the pressure now. A lucky shot damaged the suspension on the right side of the tank, curtailing extra movement and putting a hole in the side armor. Barbara got knocked out, and was replaced with the last Sherman, Be Good. Buddy’s crew knew his days were numbered.
Buddy and Barbara got to about here on the map.
Barbara burning up, Be Good chugging onto the firing line.
Of course, the inevitable happened.
I rolled badly, got stuck with no movement, and got hammered. BOOOOOOM.
And that was my first game of Oh, what a Tanker! It was fast and and fun.. I got up to get some water after my tank got killed, when I worked my way back to the table they were finished playing. A German win, but we killed a Panther, so that ain’t bad! Eric was his usual happy self, and the models were excellent. I’d play this again.