Tank Battles Instructions

Tank Battles is a tabletop game where you are shooting Lego® Technic Arrows out of Lego® Technic Cannons and trying to knock down your opponents flags or troops. Just like Lego® this is a buildable game that is easy to modify the rules so that you can have a more fun, customizable playing experience. These are the rules we are currently playing at Atlanta Brick Co, birthplace of tank battles.


Setting up the Game:

Choosing your Battlefield

The size of your tabletop depends on how large you want your game to be. If it is a one person vs one person match, as kitchen table could work. However, we like to play large games of 2 on 2 or 4 on 4 where we need as large of a space as we can make. Our current games have been played on a 16’ long x 4’ wide table with 4 on 4. The large the tabletop, the larger your game can be, however, we try to keep the width of the table no more than 4’ wide because you have to be able to reach in the middle of the table in order to fire and aim your cannons. Once you have your tabletop space determined, you have the option to set up obstacles if you would like to but it is not mandatory. Fun obstacles we use are large skyscraper style buildings, tall tower-like platforms with turrets on top, castle or fort like structures that we have set up with platforms on top for troops and/or cannons, this will be explained further in a bit.

Setting up your Army

Once the tabletop is set up, you are ready to place your troops and tanks at the starting line. The starting line should be the back edge of the table. Each opponent will need an equal size army. Here is a quick guide to equalize your army:

A poseable technic cannon is worth 3 points and is typically affixed to a rolling vehicle which we refer to as tanks. A tank can have up to 4 cannons on it. Each cannon is worth 3 points so a single tank can be worth 3, 6, 9 or 12 points.

A trooper is worth 1 point and usually represented by a minifigure on a stand. We use Lego® Dimensions game discs but you could use 2x4 plates, 4x4 plates, minifigure stands or anything else that works for you, just make sure the stand does not stick to the table in any way and the trooper can easily be shot down from all angles.

Decide how many points each opponent will start with at the beginning of a game. This will determine how large your game is. Our typical armies will have 2 tanks and 10-20 troops. If you decide that each army will start with 30 points here is what the armies may look like:

Player 1: a tank with 2 cannons (6 points), a tank with 1 cannon (3 points) and 21 troops (21 points).

Player 2: a tank with 3 cannons (9 points), a tank with 2 cannons (6 points), a tank with 1 cannon (3 points) and 12 troops (12 points).

Choose a game play objective

There are many different ways to play tank battles, the two most popular are High Score and Elimination. Different types of gameplay are setup very similar to first person shooter video games such as Golden Eye/Perfect Dark, Halo, Call of Duty and SW Battlefront. King of the Hill is another fun way we have played.

Scoring Objective

In the scoring objective, if you knock down a tank’s flag, you get however many points the tank is worth. So a tank with 3 shooting cannons is worth 9 points, 2 cannons are worth 6 points and 1 cannon is worth 3 points. If you knock down a trooper, it is worth 1 point. Keep a tally of your points and whoever has the most points at the end of the game wins. You can choose whether you want to respawn your game pieces to the starting line when they are knocked down or if you want to remove them from the game. It is up to you.

Elimination Objective

In the elimination objective, knocked down game pieces are removed from the table and whoever has the most points left on the table at the end of the game wins.

Length of Gameplay

Determine how long you want to play the game for. We usually start playing and see how things go then set an end time that everyone has to leave by and give ourselves enough time to clean up. You just want to make sure each player has the same number of turns. Some games go quicker than others and we will play multiple games and styles per night and change up teams in the process.


Game Piece movement depends on how large your battlefield is. These measurements always seem to work for us. Each game piece can move 24”, however, you deduct 6” per cannon. So troops will always move 24”. A tank with 1 cannon will move 24” minus 6” = 18”. A tank with 2 cannons will move 24” minus 12” = 12”. A tank with 3 cannons will move 24” minus 18” = 6” and a tank with 4 cannons will move 24” minus 24” = 0”. A tank with 4 cannons is basically a stationary tower that cannot move, we seldom use these in a game because it is more fun to be able to move your tank and get closer to your opponents.

If you play on a smaller table top, you could cut these movement numbers in half or if you play on a larger tabletop, you could increase them.

Game pieces

Troops must be at least 4 Lego® bricks tall and easily knocked down on all sides by a Lego® Technic Arrow. We have had players build armies with Jawa minifigures which were only 3 bricks tall and they did not fall over very easily so if you use a 3 brick tall minifigure, they must stand on a brick.

Tanks/vehicles should be no more than 12” long and 6” wide. A tanks cannon should not be higher than 12” tall. The flag on a tank should be affixed the same way for all players to keep things fair. We have found that different colors of the same Lego® piece will fall down more easily than other colors. We use a 4x4 plate or plate modified for the flag, we put it on a 12L bar part #99784 and put the bar in a plate modified with open stud in the center part #87580. The bar and the plate modified with stud in the center have to be the same color for all opponents or it will not be fair. We like to decorate our flags with custom designs we print on labels. When the flag is placed on a tank, it must be exposed on all sides, it cannot be hidden from an opponent at all. When a player is shooting at an opponents flag, the opponent must turn the flag towards the shooter. We have found that players try to camp their tanks behind obstacles so that their flag is not able to be hit, however, they are still able to shoot by extending their cannon over the obstacle. If a tank shoots during the attack phase, its flag must be visible to opponents during their attack phase. You can only hide your flag behind an obstacle if you do not shoot the cannons during your attack phase.

When shooting your tank, you may rotate the tank 360 degrees but you cannot pick the tank up off the table in any way to improve the shot. We build our tanks so that the cannons are on flexible, rotating turrets made of folding technic liftarms or even Technic Shock Absorbers to stabilize the cannon. You can remove your flag to shoot your cannon(s) but you must put it back on your tank when you are done shooting.

You may not modify a cannons internal mechanisms to make it shoot harder unless all players are aware or allowed to do so. We do not play this way. Technic darts can be modified as long as all players can share them.

Tanks/vehicles can be as simple as taking an existing Lego® set and sticking a technic cannon on it or building your own, one of a kind tank.

Neutral turrets

We place neutral turrets with shooting cannons throughout the battlefield. These can be on the tabletop or on towers/buildings. We put these on 16x16 plates. A player has control of a turret when they have at least one trooper occupying the 16x16 plate. You can put as many troopers as you can fit on a 16x16 turret plate. If all of your troops are knocked down or off of the turret plate, you no longer control the turret. Only one player may control a turret at a time. If opposing troops occupy a turret, it must result in a skirmish until there is only one army occupying the turret.

Purpose of Troops

Troops can take control of turrets by occupying the turret plate. Troops can also knock out opposing troops from the game by winning a skirmish. Skirmishes take place when an attacking trooper is touching an opposing trooper or occupying the same turret plate. Skirmishes are played out “Risk” style with dice. The attacker rolls up to 3 dice, one for each attacking troop, and the defender rolls up to 2 dice, one for each defending troop. Highest dice roll wins, tie goes to the defender. The attacker can call off the attack at any time after the defending dice roll. For example, if an attacker has 4 troops attacking 3 defending troops, the attacker would roll 3 dice and the defender 2 dice. If the attacker rolls a 1, 3 and 5 and the defender rolls a 3 and 4, the two highest dice go against each other, the 5 and 4 so the attacker knocks out 1 of the defenders troops and the 3 and the 3 go against each other so the defender knocks out one of the attackers troops since the tie goes to the defender. Only two troops can be knocked out during each roll. Once the troops are knocked out, they either are removed from the battlefield if playing elimination mode, or respawned at the starting line if playing respawn/scoring mode.

Taking a Turn

Decide which player will go first. Depending on where the neutral turrets are located, this can be a very important decision. Whoever goes first gets to move all of their game pieces but no attack. After the first player moves, all other turns are played out as normal, move then attack. During a turn, the player whose turn it is must move all of their game pieces, then when all of their game pieces have moved, they can attack. Game pieces do not have to move. The attacking player can choose if they want to skirmish with troops first, shoot cannons first or mix it up. You can shoot a neutral turret the same turn that you occupy it. At the end of the game, the player which moved first but did not attack, gets one final attack, however, they do not get to move. We have found this turn based strategy is fair and works well but you can change it to meet your needs.


Final Notes

As previously mentioned, this game is highly customizable. We have played many different ways such as using troop transports, different types of grenades for troops to attack tanks, etc. However, we have tried to simplify the game play as much as possible to make it more fun and quicker moving. Modify the rules all you want to make this game more fun for you, just know if you play with us on our grounds, house rules!