Friday, October 23, 2015

A Crazy Idea


Going to a gaming show has focused my mind, I am planning a new game.  I've tried writing wargames rules and board games in the past, and come to the conclusion I am generally better at the former; how someone goes about designing a big game like Le Harve, or 7 Wonders is beyond me at present.

However when it comes to the mechanics of battle I have a much better handle on things, and have long thought about ways to combine the best board game and card game mechanisms into wargames rules.  It isn't just a case of novelty too as often they can offer a very real way to reflect more accurately command and control, or replicate luck without resorting to dice.

One project I'd come up with a couple of months ago was for a tank combat game driven by a card mechanic.  The concept would be based on a style of game known as 'Deck Builders', in which players begin with a set range of cards to control play but can choose to buy other cards into their deck from a shared supply of options to develop strategies and gain victory points.  I pondered this a while and left it on the back burner.

In part the idea was inspired by a sweet, but frankly bonkers Japanese anime series Girls Und Panzer.  In the tv series High School girls practice tank combat as an after school activity, it being elevated to the state of a sport thanks to the use of safe ammunition and a culture that sees tanks as unsuitable for men.  Did I mention it's bonkers?  Anyway, the show nicely displays how tank combat can be presented as a sports activity, and divorced of the need for infantry, artillery or air support can be boiled down to the sort of essentials a card mechanic could handle.

Whilst at Essen I had adequate down time to think about the many deck building games I've played (Dominion, Tanto Cuore, Streetfighter, Arctic Scavengers and Trains to name a few), and which elements I could combine and add to to make my own idea work.  Finally once home I got started.

Work in Progress
And the ideas flowed quickly, too quickly perhaps; I have Masters work to do as well!  Still the idea has proved to have legs, and soon I can try it out in a somewhat raw form.  Obviously this is a game about fun rather than deep simulation of tank combat, I flogged that horse for well over a decade and got nowhere with it!  But it will balance elements of command and control, battlefield tactics and logistics as well as featuring distinct profiles for different vehicles.

If I can mash two very different genres together with as much success as the animated inspiration does, I'll be more than satisfied.

Stay tuned...


  1. Girls und Panzer is one of my top 5 favourite anime series of all time, and I have been wanting to put together a small tank force to represent Oarai High for a while. So I will watch the development of this with great interest.

  2. This is exciting. I loved GUP pretty seriously. Like you say, it makes no sense, as it's hard to even explain it properly. But people who've given the series a chance just KNOW.

    I look forward to seeing what you are up to!

  3. Girls und Panzer has a marketing deal with World of Tanks currently, so they are looking to branch out. Go for it!