Colorado Tanks-and-subs





Introduction: Colorado Tanks-and-subs

About: I've dabbled in pretty much everything. If I haven't odds are I'd like to learn how and try it. I'm one of the most conservative people I know. I am a semi-self-employed insomniac who can barely ride a bicyc...

Apparently this was a local variant that I grew up with, and I couldn't resist sharing. It's kind of a ghetto cross between battleship and just blowing things up on paper.

You're going to need paper (not too thin!), a sharp regular pencil, and a willing friend.

Step 1: Draw Your Terrain

You can't fight without something to fight over! Draw some wacky, overexaggerated terrain on your paper. Have cliffs, spots for lakes, airspace, anything!

Step 2: Add Yer Vehicles Ye Be Shooting With!

It may be called Tanks and Subs, but you can have anything you want. I've got choopers, fighters, bombers, subs, tanks, and jeeps! The sky's the limit, but remember, they all have the same strength. Or do they?

The game I'm going to show you will have a Jeep, tanks, subs, a chopper, and a fighter.

Give your factions an even number of vehicles. Maybe one's all air force, and one's got subs and tanks, but make sure you both have the same number. Or do you? This is another variation you can add in.

Mark your vehicles so you can tell whose is whose.

Step 3: The Reds Started It!

Bullets, shells, and torpedoes can do amazing things in this universe. They seem to move in stop-motion, and can follow the most improbable paths. Torpedoes can leave water, for example.

Put the tip of your traditional (not mechanical) pencil against the tip of one of your guns. In this version, all guns have the same power, from the Howitzer to the Luger. Just start at the tip of one of your guns, place the pencil straight up, and push down until the pencil slips. Hold onto the paper. The sharper your pencil is, the longer the potential trails. My pencil is really dull, so they're pretty short.

Pencils have a habit of going flying and landing in the land of the lost like mine just did. Keep an eye or two on the sneaky little buggers!

Step 4: Damn the Torpedoes!

They blew up my tank!

Draw a dot where the line breaks (this will be a point of contention). On your next turn, you may continue the shot from this point. You may also start a new shot. A shot is considered over when the line crosses a vehicle or the ground. Make sure you don't klutz up and draw the line over part of the shooting vehicle. That's a backfire or a jam, and blows up the unlucky chunk of iron.

You can have however many shots going at one time as you have guns. Your tank can be shooting its main gun and its .50 caliber at the same time. Et cetera.

Step 5: Make It Your Own

Make modifications. Shoot with your eyes shut. Make it so you can only continue the shot you just started, but cna't start another one without the one that was already in the air "falling out of the sky" or something. Assign various weapons various powers and various vehicles various stamina points. Put three, four, five factions all on one paper (make it a big one.) Make it so there's such a thing as a ground-penetrating effect, and when a projectile hits the ground, it leaves a certain sixe crater.

Anything you want!



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    this is nostalgia! Never thought this could be an instructable. Thanks!

    I dont really get the shooting.. You line your pen up and then? when i was a child We always used to make ''oorlogsvelden'' (dutch for war fields) We never actualy got around to fight eachother. But we wasted lots and lots of papers. I remember that once with christmas. The teacher put some paper over the tables (we always eat together with christmas) for us to draw on after dinner. Evrybody drew christmas stuff. But me and some friends made tanks and boats and water and stuff. The teacher told us to rub it all off using a ereaser.. It was awsm We got SO close to fighting.

    This is pretty awesome! I love the use of the "pencil flick" action (thanks, wikipedia!), and it works really well as a game. I can think of some things I would add:

    Soldiers, most likely stick figures, who can jump out of their vehicles and fight on foot. But, leaving your vehicle unattended lets the opposing player grab them! Oh noes! Soldiers can also fire bullets, but they move much slower.

    Rockets which explode on impact, leaving gaps in the terrain.

    Mines, which explode when touched, and grenades, which explode after a certain amount of turns.

    That's all I can think of right now.  Cool instructable!


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    The soldiers move slower, not the bullets. Sorry, I just realized that might cause some confusion after writing that comment.

    haha i used to play this game with an old friend of mine, just in ours you built forts, and had turrets on the fort. You had to take down the turrets and navigate inside of the fort which was sorta maze like, then take down all the gunmen in the fort.

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    Sounds like fun. We used to play kind of an rpg somewhere in between that and D&D.; I guess some types of games just pop up everywhere!

    That sounds awesome! Explain this mystical game to me!

    Oh, I loved doing this in elementary school, except I did it with stick figures and guns.

    So how far can you shoot?, Until the pencil breaks???? If so i would be happy. I like breaking pencils.

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    Exactly! My personal best was 14 inches, but that includes three off the edge of the page. Some folks consider it a miss and a dead bullet, others think the bullet stops at the edge of the page and can move in reverse. It's up to the players.

    Hey, I finally found your tank game! Yeah, that's pretty close to what we used to play. It was always US vs. Soviets too! I guess the battlefronts have changed a little in the last 25 years.


    Did you ever play the "arms race" game? This might have been invented by my brother way back in the day ( like early 90s). You start with a target (usually a nuclear power station in our case) at the bottom of a piece of paper and a bomb falling towards it at the top. Then you take turns to draw things to either stop the bomb, or allow the bomb through- the more imaginative the better. A common starting sequence was "bomb -> net above target -> scissors to cut net -> scissor-blunting device -> anti-blunting device device -> anti-anti blunting device device device -> ..."

    The best inventions quickly get very abstruse, and usually involve magnets, magnifying glasses, string, big hammers- anything non-obvious is fair game, and "cartoon physics" are assumed. It's also a game you can play online by sending the same bitmap file back and forth and drawing your device on it, or even by post... the possibilities are endless.

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    I can't say I ever played that precise game, but we did play a game kind of like hangman, only without the annoying spelling component. Just an arms race where one person's trying to kill the poor stick figure, and the other is trying to save him. I bet the papers that your brother's arms race game were played on had some really interesting drawings on them by the end...

    I used to play a variant of this. But instead of real vehicles, we used 5 space ships for each player. Each turn you could move 1 spaceship, and fire 1 bullet. To aim your ship and fire, we would hold the top of the pencil with two fingers, and push the pencil across the paper quickly, and you had to let go. Ships could only take one hit from a bullet. The 5 ships also started on separate planets. Each planet had 1 large gun, and 5 barriers (shaped like T's) which we could spread out anywhere on the planet. If you were smart, you would keep unused spaceships under those barriers to protect them. Another reason for the barriers is to protect the planet, because the target of the game is to destroy the other player's planet. To destroy the other player's planet, a bullet would have to hit the planet's surface, and a half-inch crater would be drawn on the planet. You would continue to shoot until you reached the center of the planet, where we would draw a 3 cm. dot. Once you hit the dot, the planet is destroyed, and you win. Because there's a point to the game besides destroying the other player's ships, the game can become more complex with different strategies. The basic turn by turn gameplay is move one ship, fire a weapon from a ship, and you can also use the big gun on your planet once. We sometimes also used some variants... Like bullets that didn't hit anything would be left as mines in space, sometimes we would draw a sun or a black hole that is deadly to a spaceship if you hit it, or we played that barriers can only take one hit from a bullet.

    Interesting I diddnt know how tanks and subs was played before i read this! ill try playing with my brothers but they hate loosing and will probbaly quit before the game is up

    something similar took up my whole math period last year. there werent really any rules though; just stick figures goin wild with crazy weapons

    Never seen this game before, but it seems really interesting.