Tank Shock Cover Art

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Cover art for Tank Shock is “On the way!” Kurt Leffler has been commissioned to make a B&W piece that will show a T-34 dueling a PzKw IV in the birch forests of the Eastern Front!

Concept drawings will be uploaded soon.

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2015 in review

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It has been very exciting to see the international scope of viewership. Greatly appreciate everyone’s viewership.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 210 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Anti-Tank Infantry get an upgrade!

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As the tank centric Kursk scenario continues to be play tested and the actual battle continues to be researched it makes sense to increase their range from 4 hexes to 5 hexes. This is due to their primary use as a defensive weapon with established fields of fire and range markers and due to the fact that most guns were crewed by specially selected personnel.

The basic Infantry only has a range of 3 hexes and only hits a tank on a die roll of 6. Anti-tank hits on a 5 or a 6, gets to roll an extra D6 and does not go into Take Cover when getting hit by the Tank Shock Action Card. That is why Anti-Tank costs 4 Victory Points (VP) vs. 2 VP for basic Infantry.
Miniatures courtesy of juniorgeneral.org.

AK Battle Brothers Review

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AK Battle Brothers review, 28-30AUG15, Anchorage, Alaska

Much gratitude and respect for the organizer, Thomas Hoellering, the volunteers, the enthusiastic gamers and the other vendors and demo volunteers and especially to the Board of Directors of Lumen Christi High School who allowed us to use their facility. The atmosphere and attitude was so positive and refreshing.
Was very comfortable running Tank Shock games and doing quick demos for people that wanted to see TS but had to get back to their tournaments. This is due to five years at my hobby store where I did demos almost every day, ran tournaments, campaigns and leagues.
The deadlines motivated me to work fast and get all the hard copy components upgraded, including the two new transparent mapboards that overlay forest print fabric. Deadlines are good for productivity!
My standard presentation was “Tank Shock is a WWII wargame. It has card driven actions for units down to the squad level (Strength 1 represents a squad). ALL combat is simultaneous with Return Fire and the defender can play any hand from their hand as a React card when a Fire card is played on their unit (I should have said “it is always your turn”). The art is from actual WWII posters (everybody liked this aesthetic). All the terrain is multidimensional (the tournament organizer described the terrain as “2.5 D”). All action cards are CHOSEN for your hand, unlike most games that require randomly drawn cards.”
“Paper models have all the unit info printed on them, this speeds up the play.”
Why doesn’t TS have miniatures? (The gamers attended the con to play miniatures games: Warhammer 40K, X-Wing, Warmachine, Bolt Action and a 28mm pirate ship game). The Magic:The Gathering players never left their tables to look at anything else LOL.
ADG “I need to get this game to a publisher, they will deal with miniatures manufacturers and other hard copy components.”

Lessons learned: I promoted the event but did not adequately promote TS demos. Almost 100% of the gamers at the con were there because they registered to be in tournaments for their favorite game. At the next con I will encourage gamers to register for TS to create more advance buzz.
I should have had a banner for “Arctic Dragon Games” and should have had several signs on the table stating “Tank Shock.” I did have ADG business cards all over the table and I passed out quite a few of them and got likes for the FB page. I should have had a rack for the ADG T-shirts. My shortages were immediately noticed by me when I saw the two other vendors and the Gaslight demo. There were about 6-7 other demos but TS was the only demo game that was a prototype. Am very thankful to have had the opportunity to present it.
I felt validated as a game designer. Everybody liked the TS mechanics, especially the simultaneous Return Fire and the React cards. The partisans caused lots of discards with their accursed economic warfare, very thematic. I usually played against the partisans. I was satisfied with the point values and thematic special abilities of the Elites, Cavalry, Mortars, Motorized Infantry, Scout Cars, Snipers and Anti-Tank Infantry. Tanks will have their survivability improved and a few units will have a few terrain modifications adjusted. Will also add Steep Hills. Everybody liked the 2.5 D terrain. That made it intuitively obvious when line of sight was obstructed or when terrain modified survivability or movement. Glad that Artillery units were removed and replaced with a few Artillery cards, that made the action flow faster.
Was invited to do demos at “Hobbies, Crafts and Games” in Soldotna. Planning to go there in a couple of weeks.

Arctic Dragon Games's photo.

Tank Shock: WWII. Play Test #40. The Balkan Bridge

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Thoughts for Play test #40, “The Balkan Bridge.” Invaders usually need to preserve bridges, but this bridge cannot support the mechanized forces of the Wehrmacht. It needs to be controlled or destroyed by the Wehrmacht because it can support the light weight Infantry and Cavalry of the Balkan force.

Terrain: mountainous with rivers and creeks and multiple small villages. Partisans are in the villages. The bridge could be lightly defended with a sandbagged outpost at each end with wire in the adjacent hex.

The onsite defending units could be Strength 1. There would be larger forces in the adjacent and nearby villages. The Wehrmacht Engineers would be the main effort. The Wehrmacht Infantry would initiate the assault to establish a foothold that can be exploited for possession of the bridge. As a fallback they could provide security long enough for the Engineers to blow up the bridge.

The Balkan force has a Strength 2 Mortar unit at one of the villages and there are Cavalry as a mobile reserve at some distance from the bridge. It is always hard for defenders to know the time and place of the assault, so they must have reserves and flank protection. They do have the advantage of modifying the terrain. They do this by clearing fields of fire, establishing accurate ranges for all weapon systems, creating barriers and obstacles that canalize the attacker’s movements into engagement areas. “Canalize” is a derivative of canal. Just as a canal diverts water in a certain direction, canalization also diverts movement of units.

The attackers have the advantage of deciding when and where to attack. Their challenge is the rapid massing of units; easy to say but hard to do. Attackers have to weigh the risk of being canalized versus spending time and resources to breach obstacles.

Breaching an obstacle has four phases:

  1. Suppressing the enemy weapon systems.
  2. Obscuring the obstacle, usually with smoke.
  3. Securing the flanks for the breach element and securing the obstacle by breaching, usually done by bunker busting assault troops, engineers, flamethrowers, bungalore torpedoes, etc.
  4. Reducing the obstacle. The breaching action leads to a breakthrough.

Note that phases 2 through 4 require distinct specialized units dedicated to those tasks. I hope that my quick introduction into maneuver doctrine is not too basic for you, just thought it would help you get more familiar with the design criteria for scenarios and the general Tank Shock design criteria.

Play test #36. Dnieper River Bridge

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and here is another play test report:

Play test #36. Dnieper River Bridge
Opponent: Janko Kosel, Wehrmacht
Me: Red Army

Second time online!

German armor/infantry/artillery must cross the bridge on the Dnieper River.

Units:
Sustain: Basic Infantry Platoons are a good baseline unit for all the other types of Infantry. Partisan special abilities and values are getting very close to final approval, strongly reflecting lightly sustained hit-and-run guerilla fighters. Sniper values and special abilities are good.
Review: Mortars might need to have VP increased due to the value of indirect fire and their long range. Artillery have many procedures that require continuous tracking, too fiddly. Might become an off board asset, as is done with Air Strike. Engineers need special ability when assaulting bunkers, perhaps +1D6?
Janko: What happens when you cross the wire with a tank or infantry? What happens when you cross sandbags?
Me: Wire should be removed once crossed. Sandbags should stay.

Action Cards:
Review: Maneuver is now a React card. Will have to do lots of play testing to identify situations where this usage will be complicated.
Janko’s Idea: Action card: Flame thrower: engineers get +4D when attacking an adjacent bunker unit?
Me: Yes, Engineers need to have bunker busting added to their special abilities. Perhaps +1 to hit when adjacent to a bunker. More cost effective to add to their special abilities than to commission a new card.

Mechanics, etc.:
Sustain: Camouflage is a good feature.
Review: Need to clarify if wire and sandbags remain in play if vehicles run through them.

Play Test #35 for Tank Shock:WWII

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This is the format for play test reports.

Play test #35. Partisan Raid

Opponent: Janko Kosel, Wehrmacht

Me: Red Army

First time online!

Partisans raid a 3 armored cars and infantry posted in a village and at roadblock/checkpoints along the road.

Units:

Sustain: Basic Infantry Platoons are a good baseline unit for all the other types of Infantry. Partisan special abilities and values are getting very close to final approval, strongly reflecting lightly sustained hit-and-run guerilla fighters. Sniper values and special abilities are good.

Review: Mortars might need to have VP increased due to the value of indirect fire and their long range.

Armored Cars need more play testing, might need higher value for Maneuver.

Action Cards:

Review: Maneuver is now a React card. Will have to do lots of play testing to identify situations where this usage will be complicated.

Mechanics, etc.:

Sustain: Camouflage is a good feature.

Review: Need to clarify if wire and sandbags remain in play when vehicles run through them.