Tank Attack (CDS) Review | The Micro User - Everygamegoing

The Micro User

Tank Attack

Published in The Micro User 7.04

Let wargaming commence

Tank Attack isa micro-mediated board game for two to four players. The package comprises a top quality fold-out playing board, 48 plastic tanks and armoured cars and a book of instructions.

The opening screen calls on you to select which of the four countries you want to take part in the conflict. My first few combinations were rejected without explanation. Close examination of the playing board revealed the cause - adjacent countries such as Sarapan and Calderon have a common border, as do Armania and Kazaldis. Opposing countries have a shaded no man's land separating their official borders.

By choosing the correct countries you can devise conflicts of increasing magnitude such as one to one, an alliance of two against one or a full-blooded four country war. If you are using only two of the four countries you are given the opportunity to double the strength of your forces by using the spare tanks.

Tank Attack

Once you have made your alliances you can get on with the job of placing your pieces in their opening positions. A solid blue line denotes the outskirts of each capital city, and all vehicles startfrom within this line.

Other points of interest on the playing board are the repair centres to which tanks may be returned when damaged by enemy fire - the length of a vehicle's confinement is determined by the severity of the damage sustained. The micro will tell a player when he can return a vehicle to active duty.

On-screen headlines are displayed before each round in the battle - these comprise a newsflash, a weather report and a political comment. Prevailing weather conditions can have a marked effect upon the movement capability of one or both armies, depending on the location of the weather front.

A player's link with the micro is his battle strength display. This shows how many active tanks and armoured cars remain and also reports how many units are currently undergoing repairs. If these figures do not tally with the number of pieces on the board someone is cheating.

At the bottom of the battle strength screen are four icons, some of which will be animated - only the active ones are available. By moving a pointer over them you can choose to move, attack the enemy headquarters or finish your turn and pass control to the next player.

Selecting the movement order icon activates a teleprinter which displays your total movement allowance for the turn - this can be divided up among any number of vehicles.

Once this section is complete, you can engage the enemy or fire on the opposing HQ. Both types of vehicle have a maximum range of four squares - hexagons actually - with the micro making accuracy adjustments to your shots based on the range at which you are firing.

As the battle develops you will eventually come within firing range of the enemy. The micro asks you to input the armour types ofthe two units involved - there are three for tanks and two for armoured cars - the numbers embossed on the underside of each unit relating to its armour strength.

Finally you specify the range of your shot and battle can commence.

The view changes to that of an observer on a distant hilltop, the tanks fire one shot each and the position of the explosion shows whether or not you hit your opponent or were hit yourself.

The teleprinter informs the players of the degree of damage sustained by each vehicle - a repairable tank can be placed on a repair depot, you will be asked to remove seriously damaged ones from the board and your tank tally will beadjusted.

When you reach the enemy HQ to finish him off you must move on to the square itself, as you are not asked for a firing range. This last shot of the conflict is always accurate and always final. There is no need to go through the rigmarole of securing the remaining enemy buildings - the teleprinter display brings news that this has already been carried out and your victory confirmed.

Tank Attack is a superb program that really takes the legwork out of wargaming. By leaving the monitoring of repair times, damage assessment and weather reports to the impartial logic of the micro, the player can concentrate on what really counts - strategy.

Jon Revis

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