Tank Command memories
Before it was possible to get an actual tank driving experience the nearest thing was the game Tank Command. This was a 1970’s classic before the age of computer war gaming. Let’s have a look at this classic.
The first thing that faced you was the enormous box that it came in. If this big fella was wrapped up at Christmas, you knew you had something pretty special inside. The slightly too happy look of joy on the kid’s face’s, complete with their 70’s haircuts (a regular feature on many of these boxes) suggested at the unending war based fun that was about to happen. The playing area was a very long battlefield that your plastic tanks, which featured in quite nice detail, would contest. It was quite a well-drawn field including the tracks that the tanks would steam up and down. Everyone seemed to have left so the tanks could get on with it. Each end of the field was your where you hid in your massively gunned bunker. Here you would secretly direct the tanks in what amounted to a variation of tug of war. The TV advert (featured on the side of the box) had a Rommel type character matched against a General Montgomery look alike. This was done to give the impression that strategy and thought was required. Sadly, it wasn’t.
With the tanks placed in the middle of the board on a Perspex slider All you had to do was choose a number from 1 to 10 illustrated with the handy selector piece and shell shaped indicators next to the numbers. Once both of you had selected a number (and it wasn’t too hard to figure out which) you then screamed “FIRE” loud enough for your Mum to tell you to both calm down and simultaneously flip down the bunkers revealing what you had selected. If you chose the higher number, you won! You then moved the Perspex holder up or down the board towards your land mines, these are mines that you had somehow stuck behind the enemy’s tanks, in front of the enemy massive gun bunker as opposed to somewhere useful like ahead of them. What was really annoying was if you’d chosen a 10 and your opponent had picked 1 you only got to move it 11 spaces. If you picked the same number, it was a draw. Eventually, after much toing and froing, there is a chance for you to pull the knob on the end of your string to activate a land mine. Yank it too hard and you could knock a tank off and be accused of cheating. Technically the little plastic stick which popped out of the landmine was supposed to do it, but it was getting on for Thundercats and you needed to get the game done.
The game is still available on ebay for a horrendous price. I think I’d rather drive the real thing to be honest. But is you are looking for the real thing take a look at https://www.armourgeddon.co.uk/tank-driving-experience.html where there is no need to take a board game with you!