Friday 2 November 2018

Skirmish at El'Zakir

After the test game I did with the rejects (Skirmish at Siniyat) I have been giving some thought how to run a bigger game for more players later in the year. One idea that I have been considering is giving players several vehicles each from the start; maybe three tanks in a squadron/platoon per player. This would give players a chance to have a more tactical game and, hopefully, encourage more cooperative action rather than a simple 'shoot out'. At the very least it may stop tanks from picking hull down positions and then staying there for the rest of the game. Earlier this week I had a chance to try this out with someone completely new to the rules.

I've had a couple of days off work this week to spend with my daughter. It's her school's half term break - inexplicably out of sync with every other school on the borough (including my wife's) - so I took a few days off work to look after her. This meant I had her at my mercy and she was given a choice of a day out at a Museum of my choosing or a game with me at home. Outmanoeuvred and outgunned she selected my preferred option, the game at home. I took the opportunity to get her playing What a Tanker! with my collection of British and Italian tanks from Operation Compass. She wasn't all that keen to start with but as soon as she brewed up one of my tanks her enthusiasm increased... I should have known better than face my daughter in combat once her blood is up!

The Setup
I set up the table and gave her the choice at what end she started. There was a lot of terrain and intersecting wadi's so this was always going to be a difficult zone to move around. What I hoped was that the difficult terrain would make cooperative tactics between the vehicles in a platoon much more effective. The aim of each side was simply to destroy the opposition and control the battlefield. 

Order of Battle
Given that she had never played the rules before I decided to give the Padawan the advantage of outnumbering my tanks four to my three. She started the game with Two M13/40's medium tanks and two fast L6/40's verses my three Valentine II tanks. My armour was better but the M13's had better guns so this was an interesting challenge. 

The Action
The Young Padawan hasn't played a game with me for a  long time so I was looking forward to introducing her to What a Tanker! ...I should have known better!

The landscape is hilly and bisected by wadi's and large patches of very rough ground and boulders. Not ideal tank country but affording lots of cover. 

The first few turns of the game involved a few traded shots and manoeuvre for an advantageous position. Most of the shots were against frontal armour and predictably little damage was done by either side. My Valentines with their Armour rating of 5 shrugged off every shot. 

Then the Padawan made a mistake with one of her small L6's. She presented its side to one of my tanks. I hit my target then rolled four strike dice for damage, getting one Temporary and two Critical hits. She failed to roll any saves and the tank exploded sending turret high in the air before crashing to the ground. First blood to the British!

Confidence (and cockiness) made me rash and I decided to cross the small bridge to get cleanly across the Wadi. This separated my platoon and gave the Italians a chance to gang up on one vehicle before it could be adequately supported. 

My Valentine try's to outflank one of the Italian M13's. The AP shot screams past the Italian turret, missing by inches. The Italian tanker responds with an amazing turn of speed putting it behind my Valentine. It fires and misses my rear armour. Just as the commander is counting his lucky stars one of the L6's also whizzes around his rear and gets off a shot. This hits, rattling the crew and more importantly damaging the Valentines Optics. 

Another of my Valentines crosses the bridge and has a nice clear shot at the rear of the Italian tanks that just his his mate. Another miss as the AP fails to hit the tempting rear armour of the Italian tanks. 

I move my third tank across the bridge and position myself behind the Italians. They have continued to hit my first Valentine (top left in this picture) and now in addition to the damaged optics its running gear has also been compromised. I manage to turn my frontal armour towards them and fire...scoring a glancing blow against the M13. 

Calm as a cucumber the Padawan moves her tanks and begins to inflict permanent damage on one of my first Valentine. Now it is almost immobile and is trapped with a wadi to its rear and no cover to benefit from. 

Disaster. I fusillade of shots from the Italians hit the frontal armour of my already damaged tank. One hit must have found a weak spot as the tank erupts in flames. I'm in trouble now...

The speed of the small L6 tanks proves its worth. Zipping round behind my 2nd Valentine the Padawan gets a single shot into my rear armour. She rolls three Critical hits and out of five armour dice I fail to save against any. My tank bursts into flames! This fight has gone south for me very very fast!!

I try to extricate my remaining tank back across the wadi. If I can get a good hull down position I may deal some damage back...but then I roll terrible for movement and find myself in the open with my rear armour facing two enemy tanks. Amazingly I survive the first fusillade of shots, although by now I have lost my tracks and am immobilized.  

The second salvo of Italian AP rips into the rear deck of my Valentine and sends the turret spinning into the air. 
Note to self: "Stop playing games with the Padawan, she keeps beating me!" 

To be fair the young one did very well, handling her tanks as a cohesive unit and concentrating fire on my most exposed tanks. She got to grips with the rules very quickly and I soon learned to regret giving her superiority of numbers as she was clearly never at a disadvantage. On the plus side she seemed to be enjoying herself (despite turning into a grumpy teenager over the last year) and it was good to spend a few hours rolling dice against each other once again. 


  1. When will you learn? playing any game against that Sith Mistress is bound to end in disaster for you ;)

  2. Very fun post. It’s good to see fathers playing with daughters as it gives me hope that mine will still play with me in 10 years time (she’s 5 now). WaT is a good choice for a game. 😀

    1. There are days when I wonder why I introduced her to gaming... usually the days she's thrashed me at my own hobby yet again.

  3. Oh dear Mr H!?!
    Cool looking game though. I wonder if we'll see some Panzers in the coming Challenge?

  4. Great fun, even if dad got thrashed (my sprogs do exactly the same to me...very humiliating)

    1. At least she was off her Xbox/Switch/Mobile and playing a game with her old pa.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always try to reply as soon as I can, so why not pop back later and continue the conversation. In the meantime, check out my YouTube channel Miniature Adventures TV