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KnifeTank: The Shuffling

Updated: Feb 1, 2021

Designed and published by Doctor Popular, KnifeTank is a wacky head-to-head tank battle card game where the tanks, bizarrely, are equipped to melee with knives.

The oddities of the concept are followed through in the engaging cartoon art from ilCorvo Artwork so that all the cards show various zany armaments. And, as you might expect from both the title and the cartoon art, this is a light game designed for chaotic fun rather than deep strategy.

The idea is that the two players (or four if you want to play with two teams of two) sit at opposite sides of a table: the rules recommend around 3 feet apart, but you can double this to build in Covid-compliant protocols. Players choose or are randomly allocated their tanks and they place them at their edge of the table. Health cards record each tank's starting health. Your objective is either to destroy the enemy tank (reduce its hit points to zero) or to get your tank to your opponent's edge of the table.

Players are dealt five action cards. Each turn they'll play two and draw back up to five. The cards variously offer movement, a knife stabbing action (only useful when the enemy tank is in range) or a special action. These are mostly dexterity actions variously involving players dropping, flicking, tossing, spinning or blowing cards, mostly to inflict damage or to resupply (heal) your tank. You play your two cards as a very basic programming action, in that you lay them face down in the order in which you want them to occur; so that, typically, you might move and then make a knife attack.

Movement is interesting if sometimes a little fiddly: almost as fiddly as getting the cards out of their tuck box without tearing the flap. You have to line up the symbols on your movement card with the matching symbol on your tank, then you slide your tank out from underneath the movement card and place it at the other end of the card. In most instances, movement will give you the opportunity to swerve your tank into a new position or orientation: handy if the game does come down to, literally, knife-edge melee combat. In reality tho', we found that hits in KnifeTank were mostly determined by the various dexterity action 'special cards', and you can expect these to give rise to lots of laughs in this tongue-in-cheek filler-length game.

If you have any difficulty finding KnifeTank at your Friendly Local Game Store, you can click here to order a copy direct from the publishers.

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