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The Unofficial Tank Commander Support Page

Tank Commander: The Eastern Front Edition

The collectible card game of tactical tank warfare during World War II

Moments in History, the original publisher, was acquired by Critical Hit, Incorporated  in 1999. Critical Hit has promised to republish the series and even expand the format with a Desert Tank Commander (North African Battles)

The  Gary Chappell Variant Library is at the end of this page.

Publisher's Description:

"Tank Commander: The Eastern Front Edition is a two (or multi) player collectible card game covering tactical combat on the Eastern Front during World War II. It includes a total of 164 different cards in three different rarities. Tank Commander is very simple to learn yet not simplistic to play. The Eastern Front Edition includes over 80 different tank models.

The game is sold in Playing decks of 60 cards each. One Display Box contains 12 Tank Commander Playing Decks. Design by John Desch and Ulrich Blennemann. "

(official Moments in History product description; from the Moments in History Website)

This page is dedicated to supporting the Moments in History card game Tank Commander: East Front edition. The Tank Commander support site is in no way connected to or sanctioned by the company Moments in History. This site hopes to present variants, and utilities to assist the Tank Commander player enjoy this great card game.  I'm a great believer in not publishing the same information too many times on the Web, so we will attempt to be original here.  To that end, you will find the errata and card lists posted elsewhere by the designer of the game.

Table of Contents:

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Official Tank Commander Products

The Tank Commander: Eastern Front Starter Deck

The Starter Deck contains a random 60 cards out of a possible 164 cards in the Eastern Front series.   By request, I will not display the Card List on this Web Page, though I will (eventually) implement a card lookup database using PERL Scripts.   The cards in the Starter Deck are rated for their rarity; cards are labelled Common, Uncommon, Rare, or Ultra Rare.  There is only one Ultra Rare card, the Tank Repair Shop (don't ask me what it does, I've never even seen it).

Tank Commander: The Player's Guide

The Player's Guide is a 26 page book that presents an overview of the game, discusses strategies, variants and scenarios for the game.  This is the Table of Contents for the Player's Guide:

This Webpage will not present any material of a substantive nature from the Player's Guide out of respect for copyright.

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Future Expansions for the Tank Commander series

The first edition rulebook mentions the next expansion set in the Tank Commander series will be Tank Commander: Desert Front.  The author of the book (Ulrich Blennemenn) postulates that possible expansions focusing on the Normandy (44-45), the Blitzkrieg (39-40) fronts and a Pacific set, were a possibility based on how well the Eastern Front set performed in retail sales.

The preface to the Tank Commander Player's Guide paints a gloomier picture:

"As many of you know, when we release Tank Commader: The Eastern Front Edition we had plans for several expansion sets ...  Unfortunately, MiH had to reconsider.

... The market for collectible cardgames is unstable and completely dominated by [fantasy and science fiction themed games].  Therefore the whole company would be placed at risk if we would publish such an expansion.

... In addition, producing a collectible card game is a lot of work for [MiH].  In fact, we are able to produce four board wargames in the same time it takes us to finish a collectible cardgame.

For these two reasons, we won't be able to make available a Tank Commander expansion in the near future.  We might release the North Africa edition when the market for collectible card games has improved, but don't hold your breath.

Having said all this, MiH will continue to support Tank Commander with tournaments and additional optional rules."

Source: Tank Commander: The Player's Guide, Page 3, Moments in History, 1997.

This doesn't bode well for future releases of a collectible card game.  However, it is my hope that Moments in History sees the light and publishes the entire set as a NON-COLLECTIBLE card game.  This seems to be the direction a lot of card game manufacturers are going with their products.


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The Annotated Tank Commander Card

This Chart demonstrates a correct picture of the fields and graphics on the Tank Commander card. In the first printing, some of this information was reversed or incorrectly represented on the card graphic depicted in the rulebook. Hopefully, this graphic will correct some misunderstandings. Annotations are in italics. Please note that this card graphic depicts a Vehicle card (e.g., a tank, a halftrack...). The layout for the data fields for AT-Gun cards, Infantry/Cavalry cards and Equipment cards is slightly different.

Warning: Large graphic!

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The Tank Commander Primer (or How to Play the Game)

 Essay is in work.... sorry!


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Card Lists

I've decided that a static card list is as good as an online lookup utility, especially since Gary Chappell has graciously sent me extensive card listings that I am in the process of converting to HTML.  Here is my first attempt to index the card lists.

Tank Commander Vehicle Tables

Tank Commander Vehicle Errata Tables

Other lists (based on the Chappell material) are in work...


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Variant List

This is where the variants, scenarios and any additional material for Tank Commander will be posted.

The Lunch Hour quickplay variant for Tank Commander:


For fast lunchtime play, separate all the cards you will be playing with into Soviets, Germans, and Special cards. Take the Special deck and shuffle well. Deal out a 3 x 4 grid of Special cards, face DOWN, with both players facing the narrow end of the grid. Flip them over. Remove any non-terrain, non-effect terrain cards (basically, keep any terrain of the non-instant variety). The blank spots count as steppe or "open" terrain. Hopefully, you have a lot of terrain cards, because if you don't you'll be playing on the steppes all the time and that's not much fun.

That takes care of terrain. Now deck consistency.

For a game that plays quick enough to get TWO games in in a standard lunch hour, we recommend the following formulas for deck construction:

Pick a timeframe (e.g., Late Summer 1942) and choose your cards from within that timeframe. That's an important point for play balance if you play using quickstart rules.

Choose six cards, 3 of which are non-armor, 3 of which are armor. This is your starting hand. 3 cards start on the table, anywhere within your start line. 3 come on in the first turn.

Choose an additional six cards using the same ratios (if you want to, not required). These cards act as your reserve, and can enter the table up to 3 at any time after turn 2.

These are the only cards you play. The resulting game is usually short and bloody! Special cards are generally ignored using this method, because they wildly destabilize the game. You CAN however, use "special-like" playable cards such as Rocket Barrage, Mine Dog, etc.

Submitted by Dave Markley and Walt O'Hara

Smoke Variant

Here's a neat twist you can add to the game; smoke from smoke rounds or burning vehicles.  It does require a pad of small post-it notes, however.

Smoke from Burning Vehicles

Every time a vehicle gets scragged in combat, place a post-it note on top of it.  The post-it represents SMOKE.  Smoke obscures line of sight through that position.  Tank Commander vehicles or troops may not see through or fire through the smoke at a target on the other side of the smoke.   In addition, if there is another target in the terrain square with the smoke marker, that target gets a +2 modifier when fired upon. Turn a card (face down) after you place the SMOKE marker and have your opponent call a random number color.  Reveal the random number your opponent has chosen for you.  This is the number of turns that the smoke will last on that position:

Random Number Effect
1 or 2 Smoke lasts only 1 turn
3 or 4 Smoke lasts 2 turns
5 or 6 Smoke lasts 3 turns
7 or 8 Smoke lasts 4 turns
9 or 10 Smoke lasts 5 turns

Write the number of rounds on the yellow sticky note, and during each subsequent round, make a hash mark to indicate that the smoke obscurement is dissipating.

Smoke from Smoke Rounds

You can also designate a smoke round with every artillery gun (not AT gun) you have in play.  Have your opponent call a random number color and turn a card from the draw deck.  This is the number of smoke rounds available for the gun.  Track the number of smoke rounds on a piece of scrap paper, in your head, or with another ubiquitious post-it note.  Smoke will dissipate using the same rules for burning vehicles, above.

Submitted by  Walt O'Hara

card2a.gif (30876 bytes) Paratrooper Variant

Mentally change the Rocket Barrage card to an Airdrop card. You must have either Fallschirmjager or Airborne infantry in your hand (not on the table) to use this variant. To play the airdrop, place the rocket barrage and declare that it is an airdrop card. Roll a ten sided dice or draw a random number for scatter, with the same results as for a rocket barrage. One, two or three paratrooper cards (and one equipment max per card) may be airdropped in this manner, but you have to roll scatter for each one. An airdrop counts as one movement, so you cannot fire and airdrop, but you can move other cards in the same turn as an airdrop, subject to the limitations of a Tank Commander "play."

If the Paratrooper card drifts off the board for some reason, it is eliminated from play.  If the Paratrooper card lands on Balka terrain, it is eliminated.  If the Paratrooper card lands in Forest or Swamp terrain, it cannot move for an extra turn after landing.

Comment: Yes, this variant is out of scale for this game, but it sure is fun to drop troopers behind enemy lines.   I suggest trying the Paratrooper variant on larger battlefields (4 x 5 or greater), as the standard 3 x 4 battlefield is not large enough to use this variant effectively)

 Submitted by  Walt O'Hara

The Nice Doggie Variant card1a.gif (35402 bytes)

That Soviet Mine Dog Card sure is a hoot, isn't it? Unfortunately for the dogs involved, the Mine Dog card has some basis in historical fact.  Special units of real, live mine dog units were trained to crawl under tanks with packs of time-fused explosives on their backs.  During training, the dog handlers would put food under the tanks while the engines were running to simulate a real battlefield environment.  The dogs would eventually lose their fear of the tank and run under it to get their doggie treats.  Unfortunately for the tankers involved, the mine dogs got trained using Soviet tanks!  This proved to be a fatal flaw on the battlefield; when given a choice between a Soviet or a German tank to crawl under, more often than not, the dog would crawl under the Soviet tank.  Hey, that's the tank he trained on, right?  In my mind, the Tank Dog card is a little specious to begin with.  If the designers are aiming at a little "black humor" by the depicting dogs exploding, let's draw this thread out to its logical conclusion with the Nice Doggie variant.

Note: Use this variant only if there is a Soviet Vehicle (1/2 track, Armored Car, Recce Vehicle, Tank, Assault Gun, etc.) in the same or adjacent terrain square with the target (German) vehicle.

Place the Mine Dogs card as usual.   Draw a card (face down) and have your opponent call out a random number color (or roll a die as you see fit).  Check the resulting random number against this table:

Random Number Effect
2 or less Target German Vehicle is Eliminated.
3 or 4  Nearby (Adjacent or Same Terrain Square) Soviet Vehicle is Eliminated
5 or more Doggie runs away to live a long and happy life, far away from the madness of war.

Discard the Mine Dog card after use.

Submitted by  Walt O'Hara

Notes on Solitaire Play

Here's my solitaire "cheat sheet"

I have a Veh/AT template and an Inf template with notes on what box is

1) Check Range
2) Draw Random #/ Declare Color
3) Note Terr. Mod.
4) Random # = or less than Hit # of Firer.
5) Firer Penetrate # > target Armor # (side armor if #1,2)

HE: SR only
SA: SR/Melee only
FT: Melee only

Quick-setup (I bastardized the quick setup variant).

Submitted by  Doug Murphy

It's NEW!!! The Gary Chappell Variant Library!

These Variants/Additions were submitted by Gary Chappell.  Long after TC's publisher (heck, even me, your humble webmeister) had given up hope of this game being expanded, Gary has plugged away at tinkering with Tank Commander.  He has published two of these articles in the Canadian Wargames Journal (who gave their gracious permission to republish them here).  The rest are seen here for the first time.

Get Adobe Acrobat Reader Now Note Adobe Acrobat Reader Required for some of these

Six Pack Tank Commander (a comprehensive variant for quick play)

Hill 621 (A Squad Leader Scenario converted to Tank Commander)

Additional Cards (another version of Smoke, Panic, HMGs...)

A Handy Pocket Reference Card (print and paste on the back of an unused card) Here it is in HTML.

TC Card Reference (note: an ASCII text file-- print directly from the browser)

Many thanks to Gary Chapell for his hard work and gracious permission to post this information here.

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Your Additions

Got a scenario, a speed-up mechanism, a variant or something else to contribute?  Email me at and I'll post it here!

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Contact Information and Online Resources

To Contact the publisher of Tank Commander by email, click here

The Moments in History Webpage is located here

Web Grognards has a little information on Tank Commander.  Of note are the Errata and Card lists.

The Canadian Wargames Journal has a long standing committment to supporting wargame publishers by publishing variants, scenarios and other supporting material in their excellent magazine (their historical scenario series for Dixie is worth purchasing back issues of the Journal for).  I highly recommend CWJ, one of the best after market journals in the hobby today.

I, your humble webmaster, can be reached at my email address.

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copyright Walt O'Hara 1997, 1998, 1999
Last Changed 01/31/99: