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Posted on Apr 9, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

West German and British Forces Enter the Battle – Main Battle Tank Expansions Have Arrived! Game Review

West German and British Forces Enter the Battle – Main Battle Tank Expansions Have Arrived! Game Review

By Rick Martin

MBT BAOR and FRG Expansions Game Review. Publisher: GMT Games Designer: James M. Day Price $65.00 each

Rick Martin

Passed Inspection: Highly detailed but very playable expansions to a classic game system, easy to learn, beautiful components

Failed Basic: Difficult to get the new maps to lay flat.

In 2016 GMT released James Day’s fully updated MBT (Main Battle Tank) which was a tactical game based on a hypothetical war between the NATO forces and the Soviet Union in 1987. Now GMT follows up their initial release with these two well researched expansion packs which add the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) to the mix! And, hold on to your tracks MBT fans – GMT has added an expansion featuring the 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group to their P500 list of possible upcoming games!


MBT, as previously stated, is a tactical combat game. Each unit is one vehicle or aircraft or a squad or half squad of infantry or a special weapons team. The turn length is variable but each turn generally is from 15 seconds to a few minutes. Each hex is equal to 100 meters or 328 feet.

Each unit is represented by a well organized data card and a counter. Each unit is rated for a variety of stats including movement, armor at various angles, weapons with each weapon having its own sub-table based upon the ammunition used, size, optics and computer systems, whether it has special armor such as re-active armor, etc. James Day has done an excellent job in researching these various units and, as in his World War 2 tactical armor system “Panzer” (which utilizes the same game system), each battle feels realistically authentic.

The beauty of the MBT/Panzer game system is that the game can be played on any level the player wishes – from the basic but fast moving, easy to learn game to an intermediate game to the advanced game with tons of realism. The game is very easy to learn at its basic level.

The sequence of play is as follows:

1) Spotting
2) Pick the commands for each unit
3) Determine initiative
4) Executing Commands – combat then move

One huge difference between the original MBT/Panzer games produced by Yaquinto and these new editions by GMT, is that the commands don’t have to written out on a command chart, but result from picking a command counter and putting that counter face down near the commanded unit. After all the commands are placed, each player flips them over and executes the command for the units. Commands include Move, Fire, Short Halt, Over Watch or No Command.

When a vehicle moves, its attack may be less accurate depending on its targeting system and gun system.

When a unit is hit, compare the high explosive power or penetration factor of the ammunition to the armor (if any) and/or terrain modifiers of the unit being attacked. Results are from no damage, to disruption, battle damage, a knock out or even an explosion.

Additional rules allow for aircrafts, helicopters, shoulder mounted heavy weapons, artillery, etc. Everything is accounted for in the complete rule set and the rules are all laid out in a logical manner with plenty of examples.

MBT and Panzer are almost perfect for solo play as the Command Counter mix can be adjusted for attack, defense, holding action, etc. and the enemy’s actions can then be picked blindly from the Command Counters and placed near the units. Then the player picks his or her actions and then plays out both sides.

In addition, each unit in MBT and these expansions is rated by a point value. This makes it very easy to create any number of scenarios and, by using this point value system, you can know right away how balanced a game it will be (or unbalanced should you wish).

The MBT game is needed to play with these expansions which add British and West German units to the mix.

BAOR includes the following:

• Four double-sided 10×27″ geomorphic map boards
• Three full-color counter sheets
• Ten full-color Data Cards
• One Playbook
• One 10-sided die

New units include the Chieftain Mk. 11, Challenger 1, Striker, Spartans, Ferret Mk. 4, Rapier, Mobile Artillery, the gigantic Chieftan AVLB, Tornados, Harriers, various helicopters and tons more.

FRG includes the following:

• Four double-sided 10×27″ geomorphic map boards
• Three full-color counter sheets
• 11 full-color Data Cards
• One Playbook
• One 10-sided die

New units include the Luchs A2, various models of Leopards, Jaguar 1 and 2, Marders, M113s, Gepard, Tornados, Iroquois, Alpha Jets and more.
Orders of battle for all forces are included for a realistic mix of units as are new scenarios.

In addition, leader units have been added for all MBT armies including the American and Soviet forces. These leaders are added to the unit they lead and they can influence everything from the accuracy of the unit to how fast the unit can move.

New counters are provided for Small Arms Spotting Command, Anti-Tank Guided Missile Dodging Commands, new helicopter status indicators and NATO targeting acquisition bonuses.

New rules are included to allow the occupants of a vehicle to voluntarily bail out should the need arise.
Extra Soviet and American counters are provided as well.

The only complaint I have is that the map boards are folded and I had difficulty getting them to lay out flat. I had to weight down their edges for play.

One hint I learned from playing is that Leopards with the 105mm gun should always use HEAT rounds to take out T72s and T80s if they are shooting towards the front of the enemy tank. The normal anti-tank rounds just tend to bounce off the Soviet’s front armor unless you can get a side or rear shot. The HEAT rounds tend to melt right through!

There you go fellow tankers! These expansions are a wonderful addition to your MBT game. Until next time, keep your gun barrel clean!

Armchair General Rating: 99 %

Solitaire Rating: 4 (1 is not suitable, 5 is perfect for solo play)

About the Author
A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer who can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!