Men in Tanks – Lazarus’ War Guide

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Men in Tanks is a modular action-packed hybrid family battle game. It is easy to learn and not very complex. The modular board, variable units, and flexible mechanisms ensure great replayability. It is great fun for a wide variety of players regardless of board gaming experience.

Introduce the Setting

Lazarus Croft, the dictator of Arcadia reigns over four nations, but now he’s lying on his deathbed with no son behind.

Therefore, he orders a dramatic battle among the four generals, which decides who will win the throne with complete power over the whole empire. The battle takes place at Cloverfield, a place covered by rocks, deep blue lakes and grassy fields.

Overview

  • Players: 2-4
  • Recommended age: 14+
  • Playing time: 50 minutes

Men in Tanks is a military themed game. Players move soldiers on the board and engage in battle with other players. Soldiers get in tanks or trucks to have stronger firepower or move faster.

Origins

Men in Tanks draws some inspiration of the classic shooter video game, Battle City. The board has a square grid, and there are lots of obstacles on the field. At the beginning of the game it kind of looks like there are tanks in a maze, but as the game proceeds players destroy the majority of the rocks.

The Goal of the Game

Men in Tanks

Capture the flag! Players start from their bases from the corners of the battlefield. There is one flag in the center. Players have to get the flag and take it back to their bases. The game can be played in 2V2 team formation too. In that case, team mates should start from diagonal corners.

How to Play

There are two action modes to choose from before the game starts. One is to play casually with family and friends, and the other is for more experienced players who like to play more strategically.

  • Dice Mode
  • Card Mode

Dice Mode

Quick and easy action mode, where available actions are given by chance in each turn. Dice is not a usual one as sides are numbered with 1-2-2-3-3-4. There is no bad side, because if a player throws 1, gets an extra gold for free. In Dice mode, there are Pass, Redistribution and Action buy mechanics too.

Card Mode

Tricky and consistent action mode, where all players start with identical action cards. The number of actions is determined by the card played.

When card 1 is played, the player also gets +1 gold. A player must place the cards played face up on top of each other. This way, only the latest action cards are public. In Card mode, there’s Pass, but no Redistribution and Action buy mechanics.

Setup

Join the 5×5 cell sized modules forming a large rectangle, then put the 6 green fields in the center of the map.
Players select colors and place their bases onto corners. Then, each player gets 10 gold coins. If there aren’t four players, then the rest of the gold stays on the table in stock.

Put rocks on all shadowed fields of the map, the rest of the rocks goes into stock. There must be exactly 16 gold, 5 medal, 8 death and 21 empty tokens left in the bag.

Appoint the starting player, place the flag in the center of the map, to the rock farther from the starting player.

Gameplay

Men in Tanks

Players are free to decide who starts and where the round goes. First turn starts with rolling the dice / playing a card and the first unit should be purchased.

Purchasing and placing a new unit on the base costs no action. Mobile units must enter the battlefield from the base. When the player has run out of actions and completed the turn, the next player follows.

The turn player can do a number of actions. These can be:

  • moving on the board
  • shooting other units
  • building new objects
  • exploring secret rocks
  • upgrading a unit in the field

Apart from these there may be Quick operations to be performed. These are:

  • Purchase and placement of new units on the base
  • Using basic skills in the same field
  • Using extra skills
  • Combination of units in the same field
  • Picking up tokens from the same field

Game Items

Men in Tanks

Base

Each team has an invulnerable base in one corner of the map. Mobile units must enter the battlefield from here.

Flag

Invulnerable item that can be picked up only by soldiers. Once a player brings the flag to his/her base, achieves instant victory. No extra skill can be used in the same field with the flag. If the flag carrier is killed, then the flag remains on the current field.

Gold

Gold is the only accepted currency in war, for which the player on move can purchase soldier, vehicle or other units from stock. Gold can be obtained from rocks, by passing or by redistribution. Players can own up to 10 gold at the end of each turn. Excess must go back into stock. Gold on the battlefield can be destroyed by an explosive shot or an exploding rock.

Medal

Some rocks hide medals. Having 3 pieces means instant victory in individual formation. Otherwise, a medal can be exchanged for 2 gold coins anytime. Medal on the battlefield can be destroyed by an explosive shot or an exploding rock.

Soldier

Price 1 gold.

Basic skills: Shoot another infantry with his rifle, drive truck and tank, build bridge, rock and anti-tank barrier. He can move across rocks and water fields, he can use his skills in all kind of fields and also from vehicles, in 1 field range.

Extra skills: Use rock as a cover in the same field. Once attacked, can try to defend himself. Unless attack comes within the same field or from an exploding rock.

Truck

Price 2 golds.

Any skill of a vehicle can only be used if there’s a soldier in it. The seats are identical, the driver can sit anywhere. The truck has no weapons and cannot cross rocks or water fields. It can be destroyed by an explosion or collision with another vehicle or rock.

Basic skills: Move.

Extra skills: 1 field free move in each turn, even if the driver boards after a few actions for example.

Tank

Price 3 golds.

Tank is the bulldozer of the battlefield that can cross anything except the water fields. It can be destroyed by an explosion or collision with another tank.

Basic skills: It flattens almost anything on the move. Its explosive shot destroys everything in the target field, the shooting range is 2 fields. The target field can be chosen freely, but it can shoot behind rocks or vehicles only if they are neighboring.

Extra skills: 1 field free move or 1 free shot in each turn. Tank is a cover too; its driver survives one explosion.

Gear

Price 1 gold.

A symbol of anti-tank rifle, detector and new extra skills, but useless on its own. If a soldier takes it on his back, then he becomes a specialist. A gear can be purchased from stock or may be found on the battlefield. Dropping a new gear on any field costs 1 action, on the base it’s free. Soldiers in a vehicle can be upgraded too.

Specialist

Price 1 Soldier + 1 Gear. Or 2 golds if you just buy them.

Basic skills: His anti-tank rifle means the same firepower as a tank, in 1 field range. His detector can reveal the content of any neighboring rock. In that case, a token randomly taken from the bag should be checked and placed face down under the rock. Plus all the soldier’s skills.

Extra skills: Developed vehicle handling skills mean +1 field free move in truck and +1 range in tank for the vehicle. Plus all the soldier’s skills.

Bridge

Price 1 gold.

Can be built on water by a soldier. Passage for any unit. Only an explosion can destroy it.

Anti-tank barrier

Price 1 gold.

Can be built on ground by a soldier. Invulnerable item and impenetrable barrier for vehicles. Building it under a vehicle, makes it immobile forever.

Rock

Price 1 gold.

Rocks are dangerous covers. A rock can be destroyed by an explosion or tank weight. It can protect other units in the same field from a distant shot. It may hide a gold, medal or skull. Its content is decided by a random token from the bag.

In case of gold or medal, the rock must be replaced by the token, which can be gained by any active player who reaches that field. Skull means a sudden explosion; everything gets destroyed within a 3×3 field squared area around the rock.

Surrounding rocks must be revealed at first, because chain-reaction is also possible. Only invulnerable items and new tokens survive these explosions. Any gold or medal that was present in a previous turn could explode. Tokens should never be put back in the bag during the game.

End of the Game

The game ends if a player manages to deliver the flag to their base. Or as an alternative win condition, players can also win if they collect three medals on the field.

How to Win

One strategy to win could be to get a truck, drive to the center of the field as fast as possible, grab the flag, and bring it home before others reach you.

Another approach would be to place your units wisely and have area control. This could be slower, but surer.

Or if you feel hopeless for win because the flag is too far from you, it is worth a try to destroy all the rocks around you. There is a chance you find the medals to win.

Who is Men in Tanks for?

For those who likes tanks, and some rumble. It is not for wargamers, but if you are one, you may introduce war themed games to your friends beginning with this. The relatively simple rules won’t scare them away.

Contents of the Box

Men in Tanks

  • Game Rules x 1
  • Dice x 1
  • Action Cards x 24
  • Board Module x 6
  • Green Field x 6
  • Linen Bag x 1
  • Rock Token x 50
  • Gold Token x 56
  • Medal Token x 5
  • Death Token x 8
  • Empty Token x 21
  • Anti-tank Barrier Token x 3
  • Bridge Token x 3
  • Flag x 1
  • Gear x 6
  • Base Token x 4
  • Soldier x 16
  • Truck x 4
  • Tank x 4

Expansions

Expansions only available for backers of the Kickstarter campaign.

  • Wooden game box
  • Plastic mini Anti-tank Barrier
  • Plastic mini Bridge

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Where can I Buy Men in Tanks?

Answer: You cannot buy it just yet. But you can support the creators on Kickstarter now to make this board game real.

Question: What is the Deadline of the Crowdfunding Campaign?

Answer: Project is live on Kickstarter until Thursday, April 14 2022 11:00AM EDT

Question: Does Men in Tanks have a Board Game Geek page?

Answer: The game is already featured on BGG. And there are a bunch of photos of the game taken on conventions or public events. 

Question: Can it be Played with More than Four Players?

Answer: Thanks to modularity two copies of the game can be assembled into a double size battlefield, where up to eight players can play together.

Question: Is Men in Tanks a Wargame?

Answer: Despite the theme, Men in Tanks is not a wargame. You treat the soldiers as individuals rather than an army. The minis are not that detailed, and not require painting.

Question: Is it available on Tabletop Simulator?

Answer: Men in Tanks is going to be available as a 3D simulator for Windows and Mac according to the creators’ page, but as a standalone software, independently from TTS.
Also there is a free app on Google Play with the same visuals as the board game.
Men in Tanks – Tank Run is a simple arcade game. One round takes a few minutes, then you want to beat your previous high score.

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