Originally published on Steam

The Tank Battle series heads back to 1939 and the shocking German attacks on Poland followed by the 1940 conquest of France by German and Italian forces. As a result, this edition contains the widest variety of armies and missions so far. Armament has also been reverted to early war effectiveness. But these are relatively unimportant compared to the new missions.

None of the missions really simulate historical situations, but they do give a feel for them. For instance, I finished the Polish missions which are all defensive in nature. Offensive missions in wargames don't require much more than challenging goals to be enjoyable. But when the roles are reversed, something more tends to be required. Facing the German Blitzkrieg, Tank Battles has solved the problem with a series of dynamic victory conditions that can be quite satisfying to accomplish.

One mission requires the Polish army to defend a crossroads until German reinforcements make the position hopeless. At that point, the goal changes to moving a captain (really just a named Polish infantry unit) to a victory point on the other side of a river. As you might notice, these are more suggestive than historical. The first time I attempted the mission, I used the special unit to defend the first victory point and lost it well before making the escape. For the second try, I started maneuvering the captain toward the goal immediately. Unfortunately, it stumbled upon enemy infantry in the forest and was reduced in strength before slipping across the river. Although my army was reduced to a single hit point of the special unit, I was able to win victory by reaching the goal. Each turn was touch and go as the Germans took shots at my hapless captain.

The more I play Tank Battle games, the more I admire their craft at mission design. It's not the most glamorous thing in the world, but short, challenging and balanced wargames are a pleasure to experience.