Tanktics: Computer Game of Armored Combat on the Eastern Front

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Tanktics: Computer Game of Armored Combat on the Eastern Front was Chris Crawford's first computer game.


Crawford created the game, first called Wargy I, in FORTRAN for the IBM 1130 from May to September 1976, reporting that it defeated several experienced war gamers at a December 1976 convention.[1] He ported the game to a KIM-1, then on the Commodore PET in December 1978. Crawford sold the PET version himself;[2] being programmed in BASIC,[3] it was easy to port from one system to the other. Avalon Hill published a 1981 release for the TRS-80 and Apple II as well as the Atari series.

The game simulated a two-player tank battle on a large hex grid. Tanktics had no graphics; the player moved tokens on a map using coordinates the computer, acting as referee, provided. Crawford used maps and tokens from Avalon Hill's Panzer Leader when developing the game. To compensate for the computer's weak artificial intelligence, he gave it twice as many tanks as the player[1] and deleted U-shaped lakes from the map.[4] There were several terrain types -- forests, lakes, plains, rough and depressed ground—and also roads which allowed much faster movement in their direction. There were also many different types of tanks—different ones for the German and Russian side each—as well as stationary anti-tank guns. At the end of the game, a point system determines whether the player has won or lost the game.


Computer Gaming World in 1982 reported that Tanktics's computer opponent was not as intelligent as the manual claimed, advising players to give themselves "poorer tanks" once they began beating it often. While disliking how the game handled line of sight, and bugs in the Apple II version (the review offered unofficial patches for the BASIC source code), the magazine recommended it for those seeking neither arcade action nor the complexity of Avalon Hill's Panzer games or Squad Leader.[3] A 1991 survey in the magazine of strategy and war games gave Tanktics two and a half stars out of five.[5]


  1. ^ a b Crawford, Chris (July 1991). "Chris Crawford's First Computer Game". Computer Gaming World. p. 78. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  2. ^ Boosman, Frank (December 1986). "Designer Profile / Chris Crawford (part 1)". Computer Gaming World (interview). p. 46. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b Proctor, Bob (January 1982). "Tanktics: Review and Analysis". Computer Gaming World. pp. 17–20.
  4. ^ Crawford, Chris (December 1982). "Design Techniques and Ideas for Computer Games". BYTE. p. 96. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
  5. ^ Brooks, M. Evan (December 1991). "Computer Strategy and Wargames: The 1900-1950 Epoch / Part II (M-Z) of an Annotated Paiktography". Computer Gaming World. p. 126. Retrieved 18 November 2013.

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