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"WW2 tank skirmish rules" Topic

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1,411 hits since 28 Feb 2017
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Deserter28 Feb 2017 9:26 a.m. PST

I would like to know how many WW2 "pure" tank skirmish (only armour, 1:1) wargame rules are there out?

I have:

- NUTS – Hell Hath No Fury
- Panzer Kids

others that you know?

thank you

marcus arilius Inactive Member28 Feb 2017 9:39 a.m. PST

Battleground WWII link

Rod I Robertson Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member28 Feb 2017 9:47 a.m. PST

A second vote for Battleground WWII.

Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.

rmaker28 Feb 2017 9:49 a.m. PST

CinC's Stalk I.

Londonplod28 Feb 2017 10:12 a.m. PST

Does Tanks! count?

Russ Lockwood28 Feb 2017 10:29 a.m. PST

Skirmish Action can be played only with tanks, but its Army Lists also have infantry, guns, etc…

Personal logo DColtman Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2017 10:46 a.m. PST

OP is asking for purely tank skirmish rules – these fit I think:

Tigers & Stalins

GuyG1328 Feb 2017 10:51 a.m. PST

Mein Panzer, but that also has rules for Infantry, artillery, etc.

SBminisguy28 Feb 2017 10:53 a.m. PST

I've enjoyed Battleground WW2, but find that NUTS Hell Hath No Fury to give good results with fewer charts and dice rolls. For example, in BGWW2 you roll to hit (generally). If successful you roll a d20 on a detailed vehicle aspect chart (each vehicle has a hit location diagram for top, front, rear and side) and see what specific part of the vehicle you hit. Then you compare armor penetration value of the attacking weapon to the armor rating on that part of the vehicle. If it fails to penetrate by a certain amount it does the surface damage listed on the hit location diagram. If it penetrates you roll 1d20 on the penetration table and compare the result as modified by how much the attacking weapon beat the armor rating, and then see what happened.

Sounds cool and cinematic… but in practice it usually ended up resulting in BOOM! after lots of dice rolling, almost from any spot on the hit location tables.

Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2017 11:00 a.m. PST

Toofatlardies have a new set of tank vs tank rules in the "nearly ready" pipeline, I believe. "What a tanker!"


Personal logo Weasel Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2017 11:19 a.m. PST

Nuts is pretty fun for this, especially if you want to follow a particular tank crew.

I'll note you could take larger scaled rules and let each tank move individually without too much fuss, though the detail might be lacking.

But if you want, say a company each, it might be more workable, we did it with Command Decision and had a good time.

Who asked this joker28 Feb 2017 11:44 a.m. PST

Tigers and Stalins

Stalin's Tanks which is a board game but could easily be converted to miniatures.

Mark 1 Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2017 12:24 p.m. PST

Mein Panzer, but that also has rules for Infantry, artillery, etc.

I am a big fan of Mein Panzer, but even though these rules are 1-to-1 vehicle scale, I would hesitate to call the "skirmish" rules. They play well up to a company or more per player, up to a battalion or more per side.

(Not to mention that they are great for true combined arms gaming. Best rules I've played for gaming that combines tanks, infantry, AT guns and artillery.)

For more of a tank-vs-tank skirmish set, I would suggest PanzerWar. These rules are golden for a platoon or more per player. They have a wonderful level of detail (backed by superb research), and play very well so long as you don't use too many models for each player.

If you want your gaming experience to give you a feel for the difference between fighting with a Pz IIIj vs. a Pz IIIm, while still seeing games turn on tactics matched to crew skills, then PanzerWar is the best set I've seen.

And they're free. Hard to argue with that. Worth twice the price just for the data contained in the vehicle lists.

(aka: Mk 1)

SBminisguy28 Feb 2017 1:56 p.m. PST

Here's an AAR for a NUTS! Hell Hath No Fury game done some time back:


coopman28 Feb 2017 3:13 p.m. PST

PanzerWar looks pretty complicated. 8 pages of tables…

NKL AeroTom28 Feb 2017 6:04 p.m. PST

Ostfront started as Tanks only. We then added infantry, artillery, etc. over time. Still works fine as a tanks only game:


Lee49428 Feb 2017 8:13 p.m. PST

Enlighten me please. What is the difference between a tanks only game and a game that allows for tanks, infantry artillery etc where you opt to just play using only tanks?? Perhaps I'm missing the obvious. Cheers!

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2017 8:32 p.m. PST

The house rules we've been using for Girls und Panzer games were designed specifically for tanks-only skirmish. You can find links to the google-docs about a third of the way down the first page of this thread, in the post with the photo of the pizza box storage for Anzio TMP link

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2017 8:33 p.m. PST

Panzer War is a game that represents pretty accurately WWII gunnery, penetration dynamics and the nuances of weapons platform strengths and weaknesses in a game. Unfortunately you cannot get that level of play with a D6 and some modifiers.

IIRC one of the uncommon features is that one tank can engage and knock out multiple targets with a single die roll. It's very well researched using real WWII documents, not previous game rules and mechanics.

The WWI & WWII naval games give the best representation of naval gunnery (my opinion of course but I'm a gunnery geek).


Andy ONeill28 Feb 2017 11:32 p.m. PST

We used to use wrg 1925-50 without any infantry many many moons ago.
Depends what you mean by skirmish really though. It plays pretty fast.

7dot62mm01 Mar 2017 6:23 a.m. PST

Phoenix Command would do great :)





John Thomas8 Supporting Member of TMP01 Mar 2017 7:56 a.m. PST

Chain of Command is playable with just tanks. I've done 5 v 5 with no problem, most within 2 hours playing time.

JMcCarroll Inactive Member01 Mar 2017 7:56 a.m. PST

If you want super detailed tank on tank small skirmish rules I recommend " Tank Charts " it is old but detail is there in excess.

JMcCarroll Inactive Member01 Mar 2017 7:59 a.m. PST

Iron Ivan rules are detailed also.

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP01 Mar 2017 8:42 a.m. PST

Tank Charts is good too and has an active Facebook support group.

If you've really played Phoenix Command rules you are a better man than I am. I have all of their books and I think the concept is brilliant because it does take into account reaction speeds and the aim time and shot accuracy using historic values for turret rotation and rate of fire.

I feel their rules for armor penetration and damage details are overkill but I'm sure some would like it. If you like detailed movement and maneuver rules they have some good ones to borrow.

I've been playing a simplified version I developed that uses turns as a timing mechanism to gauge reaction speed (rather than just a reaction check or activation) to perform an action in a future turn. That includes players selecting aim times to trade accuracy to get off a shot before his opponent. You never know the exact turn your opponent will fire nor is it random.

I've also been able to get about the same level of detail on hit location, damage and armor penetration with less die rolls and less charts. I can still use historical rotation and ROF as Phoenix Command too.


Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP01 Mar 2017 9:28 a.m. PST

And if your idea of fun tank skirmish is calculating angle of fire, angle of armour, and penetration of shell for every shot go find an old copy of Tractics!

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP01 Mar 2017 10:46 a.m. PST

Tractics is probably the first attempt at portraying the armor vertical and horizontal angles. I agree it is pretty painful to work out. However, there are now easier ways to pre-calculate those and determine ricochets from angles over 70 degrees without the math and multiple steps.

I've found if your knowledge of tank warfare is generalized and gained from watching the History Channel almost any heavily abstracted game will be enjoyable. There are a number of good ones out there. Once you really get into the science of gunnery versus armor, nuances of vehicle protection schemes and engagement limitations of different vehicles you'll be looking for something that can address those details. Unless you are looking to socialize over a simple beer and pretzels game, nothing wrong with that either.


coopman01 Mar 2017 2:46 p.m. PST

How about the old Angriff rules?

Khusrau01 Mar 2017 4:15 p.m. PST

And even when your knowledge of tank warfare isn't based on the History Channel, abstracted games are still a huge amount of fun.

In my view, much more so than trying to replicate some of the detail that you can. (I say some, because you can't replicate every detail, so actually black boxing outcomes gives a more accurate representation than trying to account for the mere mechanics.

Just tto take some examples of factors that aren't modelled. Is the gunner distracted and hungry, is the commander blinded by flying dust, is there a wasp in the tank, has the shell been sabotaged, has the supply depot not managed to get lubricants up to the line for a while? Are the amphetamines making the gunner shake, does the tank have an off-balance bearing that causes vibration, etc etc.. has a bird just flown across the range-finder? Were the optics damaged in a previous engagement? etc. Just trying to manage the mechanics of shell impact (does it spall?) only covers one tiny component of armoured warfare. Much more accurate to use averaged engagement data to inductively create a chance model, than try a deductive model that has to be inadequate.

Lee49401 Mar 2017 4:17 p.m. PST

Ahhh yes. I remember Angriff. And Tractics. And WRG. My big problem with Angriff was that they used "raw" armor data without slope. As I recall the Panther had 80mm and so was always getting shot up by guns that in real life mostly would have bounced off. I've done a lot of research and that's led me to a rather cynical conclusion. Random chance plays a much bigger role that many gamers would like to admit. I've read cases where supposedly invincible tanks were beaten or at least driven off by tanks which theoretically couldn't hurt them. At least on the wargame table. But battles occurred in real life. Whole new perspective when your life in on the line. Just consider Pegasus Bridge. Some Paras with supposedly a single working PIAT got in a lucky shot, knocked out one tank and caused the whole German counterattack to hold up until dawn. Not an isolated case the Germans stopped an advance when confronted by feeble resistance. So that 57mm round comes whistling by or bounces off of your Panther. Problem is unless you see the gun your not 100% sure what size it was … Or if it has Bigger Brothers lurking in the shadows. When your life is on the line you're much less likely to gamble that "it can't hurt me". That's why I like a healthy dose of random in any combat results system. Because I think that Random is not Beer & Pretzels. It's Real. Stuff happens! Cheers!

Murvihill02 Mar 2017 9:56 a.m. PST

By skirmish do you mean:
Each player has one tank
Each player has a section of tanks (2)
Each player has a platoon of tanks (~5)
Each player has a company of tanks (~18)

Khusrau02 Mar 2017 6:01 p.m. PST

Lee494 +1 yep, as soon as you introduce humans it is never so neat as 'rate of turret turn+ wind + angle etc… Yawn…

Deserter03 Mar 2017 1:55 a.m. PST

2-5 tanks each player (from section to platoon)

of course, even a set of rules that includes infantry artillery etc but can be used only with tanks;

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP03 Mar 2017 9:34 a.m. PST

There are lots of rules for 1:1 tank skirmish but I think you need to decide on the turn sequence type you'll be using and the type and amount of detail. They all have their advantages and disadvantages:

Alternate Random Activation: Use chit and dice pulls or cards.

IGOUGO: Traditional sequence sometimes with some type of turn interrupt or reaction rule.

Reaction/Turn Interrupts: Can be used in most systems

Crew Actions/Action Points: Good if you want to role play crews

Reaction with timing: Based on historic weapons platform performance and differences in crew performance with a die roll/variable thrown in based on an tactical advantages/surprise/ambush. Other variables can include Fog of War, failures/breakdowns and SNAFU chances. Somewhat predictable but not random.

Keep in mind all of these can be customized to your liking.

Other factors to consider:
How much detail do you want to portray for over watch and opportunity fire.
How much detail do you want to portray for for gunnery, armor/penetration and hit location.
What type of reaction or turn interrupts do you want, especially in an IGOUGO game
Do you want a crew RPG type game or treat the crew as a whole

Chaos versus predictability: There are many players who like to portray a battle with chaos ruling the game. Anything can happen at any time, turns can end with no warning leaving some players not moving or shooting for 1-2 turns. Total chaos means no player control, total predictability is boring.

For me one of the most important aspects of a 1:1 skirmish game is allowing a player to make historical risk-reward decisions. I've seen some systems where the turn mechanics constrict the player so much that he ends up being mostly an observer and random number generator. However, if you want to portray the player being a Company Commander who does not have complete control and decision making on individual tanks that would be pretty accurate. It's a game so there is no right or wrong way to play and entertainment is most important.


christot03 Mar 2017 10:20 a.m. PST

"Chaos versus predictability: There are many players who like to portray a battle with chaos ruling the game. Anything can happen at any time, turns can end with no warning leaving some players not moving or shooting for 1-2 turns. Total chaos means no player control."

What? You mean a bit like real combat?
Heaven forbid!

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member03 Mar 2017 12:25 p.m. PST


"What? You mean a bit like real combat?
Heaven forbid!"

You're right that real combat doesn't have a turn sequence, but I don't understand what point you're trying to make. It would be pretty hard to play a wargame if we didn't have some sort of game mechanisms for activation, combat, morale, movement, and some concept of how they interact (AKA, a turn sequence, no matter how random).

Do you mean 'Heaven forbid that a player gets to make any decisions in a game?' Or are you saying that no one in combat has any control over anything? Or just certain levels? Or what?

Sorry man, I'm just not following.


daler240D Supporting Member of TMP03 Mar 2017 1:03 p.m. PST

I think he is saying that people that like strictly contolled gaming that has predictable turns and activation are not appreciating the flip side of the coin of gaming that tries to capture the chaos and fog of war and the interruption of plans that happens. I think it is a little tongue in cheek as the possibilities for unpredictability are not binary extremes where a player has no control or is an omniscient being.

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member03 Mar 2017 1:41 p.m. PST


I agree with what you're saying, but only the first part of the quote ("Total chaos means no player control…") was addressed, while the second part ("…total predictability is boring."), which gets to your point, was disregarded.

Which is why I am confused.


Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP03 Mar 2017 8:37 p.m. PST

Hey Marine, what's up? How are the kids? My son called tonight and he's been recommended for promotion to Sgt. He gets out in Sept and hopes to transfer his SigInt experience to an OCONUS contract with one of the agencies.

So far so good but last year he did get a med flight to Germany. On a mission with a Force Recon Team he was the first guy in a stick going into an occupied house and fragments from an AK round punctured his lung after bouncing off his SAPI plate. He said he didn't even realize it until after he got finished doing his EPW interrogations and someone pointed out to him the blood on his uniform. He said he got to call in his own medivac. They super glued the slit closed and re-inflated his lung. He got back to Pendleton without even a light duty chit. He said it reminded him of playing paintball and that Force Recon is awesome. They had some really tricked out FN SCAR's with nickel plated bolts.

Back to the discussion. I think everyone has a point made in this discussion. I'm kind of in the middle of the road in the chaos-control spectrum. Why? I love the unexpected happening but I'd like some type of reason which is why I don't like the all or nothing activation check.

A tank driver may panic but it's not from some random event, card or activation roll. It's because his unbuttoned tank commander took a 75mm APC round in the face and his headless corpse fell back inside the tank on top of him. Laugh but it's a true story. That happens in our games too.

Otto Carius is quoted as saying, "Everything depends on prompt identification of a dangerous target, usually seconds decide"

I see that as a timing issue, not randomized, activation or chaos. That's why I like the differences in crew efficiency reaction speeds combined with weapons platform performance and tactical advantage. This is TMP where there is no consensus and you can't change anyone's mind. Even in chaos units will fall back on their training.

I've heard GM's during a game explain things like Khusrau mentioned about why your gunner did not fire or you didn't move because of chaos or not reacting.

I attempt to recreate the FoW and chaos by rolling on the SNAFU Chart whenever rolling doubles when firing. It includes many of the things I've read in historical AAR's, equipment breakdowns, crew miscommunications, loading the wrong round, etc. I'm also going to have some put into the card deck we use. Maybe I can call it controlled chaos?

Lee494 makes a great point on his Pegasus Bridge remark. I can imagine what happened when a tank blew up and no one heard a shot. Maybe they though the Brits had AT guns with silencers?

Any decision Deserter?


christot04 Mar 2017 2:39 a.m. PST

Jack, Some rules actually don't have a lot of structure (crossfire, which you are familar with, being the obvious one, though not great on armour), what I meant was a set of rules with a very specific turn sequence (oddly, for example, another Concliffe set, Spearhead springs to mind) where ATGs ALWAYS fire before vehicles, movement ALWAYS occurs before firing, stuff is ALWAYS spotted at a specific distance. Its that sort of hard and fast structure which is pretty open to abuse (abuse a a bit strong a term, but you get my drift).
I think sets of rules like that lead players into the game mindset of as long as I do X, A and B can't EVER happen to me, or if I do Y then my opponent MUST do C.
Players eventually start to think that thats how the real world actually is, with very few surprises.
For my personal take the lower level of combat you are trying to re-create, the greater the leaning towards "chaos"(friction) whereas, the higher you go, the "Chaos" gets less and less influential.

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member04 Mar 2017 6:39 p.m. PST

Wolfhag – Hey Marine backatcha ;) Damn, I didn't know your boy had been hit, but sounds like everything's working out. He needs to go Air Force style and parlay that into 250% disability ;) On topic, I'm with you on the chaos-total control spectrum, and I'm a fan of 'x' happened for a reason (decision), rather than 'x' happened and just make up a reason why later (total chaos), though I get that abstraction is necessary as you just cannot physically account for everything that could happen to, or be caused to happen by, every troop and piece of gear on the field of battle.

Christot – Ahh, I gotcha, and I agree wholeheartedly! Like I said, I get that there has to be mechanics for various aspects of warfare (shooting, melee, movement, morale, etc…), and I get that you have to have some sort of means to cause things to happen, but there's nothing worse (to me) than the certainty that comes to a player-commander that knows he'll get to do something before the enemy can act/react, simply because that's the turn sequence.

I don't begrudge others that prefer that, it's just not for me. But I also know that some rules get a bit too carried away on the 'friction' end, to the point the player is pretty much just a spectator, with no real decision making.


Lee49404 Mar 2017 9:31 p.m. PST

I like the term "friction" and I think it's directly related to Troop Quality. At the skirmish level – perhaps all levels – the better the troops the less the Friction as regards C&C. Commanding a platoon of Rangers you should experience less Friction than when commanding a platoon of Ost Truppen. The British Paras at Pegasus Bridge experience less Friction than the defending German "static" infantry. That's for the C&C aspect. As for weapons IMHO there is always some random chance or Friction Factor when firing (did the gun jam?) and in dealing with Armor Penetrations.

Larger issues of Friction such as the scattered Para Drops in Normandy or the events that led to Frosts being stranded at Arnhem Bridge should be built into the scenario at the skirmish level. Bottom line I think the Friction Factor should vary depending on the Troops, the Weapon and the Situation. Cheers! Lee

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