Tank Battle - Milton Bradley

Do You Recall 1975’s Tank Battle By Milton Bradley?

Have you heard of Tank Battle? I’m pretty sure that over the years I have clued you all in that I love board games. Having said that I’m not referring to the latest games like Fury of Dracula or Dead of Winter. Working at the arcade offers me ample opportunity to also delve into our growing vintage board game collection. Case in point Milton Bradley’s Tank Battle which was originally released in 1975.

[Via] My Saturday M0rnings

While I certainly enjoy staying after work to play the newer board games. Even jokingly calling it Board Meetings. There is just something about once again being able to play 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Or everything from Welcome Back, Kotter to 1979’s THe Black Hole! Of course my enjoyment comes from a healthy dose of nostalgia but I would also argue that the games are well made too.

As if you couldn’t tell from that commercial up above. This is definitely set in the period of World War II as the rules plainly point out. At the arcade I chose to play the American tank battalion with my esteemed opponent playing the Germans.

Tank Battle - Rules

Image courtesy of BoardGameGeek.

Besides looking awesome the cardboard representations of your tanks also act as a shield, to of course stop your opponent from seeing your “scoring” platform.
Tank Battle

Furthermore that platform keeps record of your anti-tank gun ammo. Which I might add you may only fire five times in the entire game. There is quite a bit of strategy at play in Tank Battle. As each player must guess where their opponents tanks will stop on the board before each round is played. In the case of your own super shots if your opponent ends a turn on where you “fired” it will blow up that tank!
Tank Battle

The anti-tank guns also act as a buffer between your special playing pieces. Such as your fuel dump, ammo storage and HQ. If an enemy tank as it travels across the board comes into contact with you anti-tank gun you give the spinner a go. If by some small chance it lands on the “Tank Destroyed” you of course wipe out the enemy tank. The loss of one of your five anti-tank guns means you also lose one of your special shots as well.
Tank Battle

I believe a very nifty aspect of Tank Battle comes into play if you take out those special pieces during a game. For example if you lose the fuel dump your movement pool will be reduced from 6 to 4 for your tanks. If you lose the ammo dump your fire power is diminished. If the HQ falls the mines you “placed” are lost.
Tank Battle

Now the only way to win the game is to wipe out all 6 of your opponents tanks. This is done generally by tanks meeting each other on the board – going head to head. The tank strength is revealed and the tank with the higher number wins the tank battle. Naturally the numbers are ranged from 1 to 6. In the case of a tie however both tanks are destroyed.
Tank Battle

Speaking of the tanks, their movement is restricted to forward and to the side. Unless of course a tank reaches the end of an opponents board. Then it gains a flag and can move forward and backwards, etc. The movement pool of 6 spaces must be shared between all tanks and none may use more than 3 spaces unless you have only two tanks remaining.

Consequently at the end of the night, of four games, I had in fact won three. I am sure this is a game we will be playing quite a bit at the arcade. If you are a fan of both vintage and strategy board games. I would highly recommend you pick up Tank Battle!

Now just in case you want further details on the rules of Tank Battle. Why not watch this video by Matt Wilkins?

The VINCENT Principle

It’s time that we all admitted to a universal truth: that any movie or TV show can be improved by adding VINCENT or one of the other robots from Disney’s The Black Hole. This is a scientifically proven fact that we call The VINCENT Principle.

[Via] Stufal69

It all came to me years ago when I realized that, with the simple presence of a floaty robot buddy aboard the Discovery, 2001: a space odyssey would have turned out completely different – the HAL-9000 would never have been able to embark upon its killing spree with an independent artificial intelligence aboard, capable of stopping it.

2001...with VINCENT

But that’s just moving a robot from one classic sci-fi movie to another. What about jumping genre boundaries? Does the VINCENT Principle still work? The answer is: absolutely.

Xanadu...with VINCENT

Roller disco is not a problem for a hovering robot. And look, just add a bow tie, and he doesn’t look one iota out of place next to Gene Kelly. Very dapper. In fact, VINCENT is adept at any kind of dance routine.

Tuesdays with Morrie...and VINCENT

A touching story of an old man, a young man, a robot from the 356th labor force, and life’s greatest lesson.

Three Men and a Baby...and VINCENT

VINCENT can rattle off pithy literary life lessons and change diapers simultaneously.

The Three Amigos...with VINCENT

The biggest challenge here? Really, just finding a sombrero that fits a hovering robot.

Say Anything...with VINCENT

One has to imagine that, with the ability to levitate, VINCENT is even lighter than a big boom box. But let’s spread the love to some other Black Hole robots too.

Forrest Gump...and Old BOB

Sadly, this pivotal scene from Forrest Gump was left on the cutting room floor. Life is like a box of chocolates and transistors.

North By Northwest...with Maximillian

Thrills, spills, chills, now with drills.

The Usual Suspects...with Maximillian

One red eye, you said? Do you think you could spot him in a lineup?

As you can see, the VINCENT Principle has a 100% success rate: add a robot from The Black Hole to your favorite movie, and see if that doesn’t make the movie better!

ALF Drops In

Retro Records: ALF Drops In – Book And Tape (1987)

What can make a morning better? ALF can do that very thing, of course! Now it’s no great secret that those of us here at The Retroist enjoy 1980’s ALF. We have been known to share once or twice…or more, our appreciation of everyone’s favorite Melmacian.

Having said that, I will have to admit I wasn’t aware that ALF had any Read-Along Books and Tapes back in the day. But lo and behold there were at least four of them produced. Besides ALF Drops In that we are sharing today. There was Super-ALF, ALF Plays Detective, and ALF Goes Wild as well.

I found it equally important that they were all released by Buena Vista. Indeed, the same company also known for book and record combos like last week’s The Black Hole!

In this instance, ALF Drops In retells how Gordon Shumway met the Tanner Family. In addition to some great artwork throughout the storybook. It appears that all of the cast provided their voices to their characters from the TV series. Either that or they took audio from various television episodes – but I highly doubt that was the case.
ALF Drops

The narrator for ALF Drops In is none other than William “Bill” Woodson. Who narrated a great deal of those books and records for Buena Vista. As well as providing all manner of voice work – which I might add included a very famous line from the Super Friends!

[Via] Brian Young

Seeing that this is in fact a book and cassette tape. I certainly hope you will forgive me for lumping it in the Retro Records category. So without further ado let us join ALF and the Tanners for ALF Drops In!

[Via] Cat Jay Bird

You enjoyed ALF Drops In but are needing more information?


I am very happy to inform you that you are in luck. As the Retroist himself has already recorded a podcast on ALF – which you can listen to below!
Retroist ALF Podcast

The Black Hole

Retro Records: The Black Hole Book and Record (1979)

It’s turning out to be a Black Hole kind of weekend. I mean – just look at Earl Green’s excellent Cygnus model post from the other day. A fan made piece of art that blew us away to say the very least. And now in addition we have this offering. The book and record adaptation of The Black Hole from 1979!
The Black Hole

Thanks to this video upload by Old Disney Records we can thrill once again to the exploits of the crew from the U.S.S. Palomino. Crossing paths in the darkness of space with the crazed Dr. Hans Reinhardt and the dangerous Maximilian. Aboard the mysterious Cygnus and the very real threat of the ravenous Black Hole.

I have an incredible amount of fond memories concerning the Walt Disney Productions’ book and records. I still have many of those I grew up with including this record. TRON, Davy Crockett, Mary Poppins, and more. Granted not all of them are in as good a condition as the one you will hear in the video below.

While the book and records were well known in their adaptations of trimming the fat for a story. Of course I will remind you they only had a small amount of time on the 33 and 1/3 records. The fact is the total running time for The Black Hole is a little over 9 minutes. To help in this process the adaptation of the Black Hole cuts loose two crew members of the Palomino.

For example Ernest Borgnine’s role of Harry Booth, the engineer, has been excised.
The Black Hole

As well as Anthony Perkins’ part as Dr. Alex Durant.

Having said that it is still a solid package. Managing to keep the main gist of the story and exciting moments intact. They even use some of John Barry’s excellent soundtrack as well as sound effects from the film.

The most interesting aspect of it is how it tackles the ending of the movie. For those of you that haven’t yet had the pleasure of seeing The Black Hole the conclusion is…equal parts terrifying and subject to interpretation.

Now without further ado, joins us on Retro Records as we listen to 1979’s The Black Hole!

How To Build The Black Hole’s Cygnus

The Black Hole was one of the most heavily-promoted flicks of the late seventies’ burgeoning category of post-Star-Wars sci-fi blockbuster-wanna-bes. Back then, the Star Wars universe was not yet a wholly-owned subsidiary of Disney, and so Disney – like the rest of the studios – desperately tried to play catch-up with George Lucas’ (and 20th Century Fox’s) blockbuster.

The result was a flawed, but much-loved-by-fans-of-a-certain-age, epic. With the marketing might of Disney behind it, there were puzzles, read-along storybooks, model kits, and – perhaps best of all – Mego’s line of Black Hole action figures.

[Via] Action Figure King.Com

But what the model kits of the time couldn’t hope to duplicate was the sheer intricacy of The Black Hole’s delicate spacecraft. And you can’t really fault them for that: the complicated, visible girders gave the movie’s main setting, the wayward U.S.S. Cygnus, a cathedralesque look. Trying to mass-produce a replica of that in lightweight plastic would be begging for trouble: a model too delicate to stand up under its own weight.

But we live in the future now, and enterprising fans with mad 3-D skills – and no readily apparent budget ceiling – have finally put the Cygnus within your reach…for a price. (To quote a robot from a much more recent Disney sci-fi epic, it’s high…it’s very high.)

Industrious, and quite possibly even-madder-than-Dr.-Hans-Reinhardt Black Hole fan “Primitive Dave” has made it possible, via 3-D printing service Shapeways, to accumulate and assemble the pieces necessary for an almost-filming-ready model of the Cygnus.


This is not a project for the faint of heart, the scarce of budget, or those short on skills: some assembly, to put it mildly, is required. Better assemble some funds, too: all of the pieces necessary to put together the model itself run nearly $1,200.

A Flickr album by “The Lazy Modeler”, a.k.a. Jeff Bond, shows the painstaking construction of not just a complete U.S.S. Cygnus model from the Shapeways page, but one with internal lighting and blue LEDs for the engines.
Cygnus - Jeff Bond
Cygnus - Jeff Bond

(Jeff Bond played Dr. McCoy in some of the final episodes of the incredibly well-produced fan-made series Star Trek: New Voyages, and wrote the liner notes to the long-overdue official cd release of the complete soundtrack from The Black Hole itself. If building this model – and the eye-popping selection of other models in the background – doesn’t earn Mr. Bond serious geek cred, then those credentials, and the wealth of liner notes he’s written for many other soundtrack CDs, should put him over the top.)

The other thing about this entirely 3-D printed Cygnus model? It’s huge. Clear a shelf…a shelf that runs the length of an entire wall.
By the time it’s completed, and LED-lit, the only thing missing…is an equally detailed scale model of the relatively tiny U.S.S. Palomino berthed in the docking elevator.

Maybe “Primitive Dave” will have us covered on that in due time. (By the way, I suspect that Jeff Bond is not lazy, nor is Dave really very primitive. Call it a hunch.)

If you seek a massive modeling challenge, go in(sane), through (your entire bank balance), and beyond (the available space in your living room) aboard the Cygnus! Floaty robot buddies not included.