Escalating Tensions

Today Lee takes a look at the idea of escalation leagues and tying it into the upcoming Team Yankee v2.

“In Geneva today, representatives of the Soviet Union walked out of talks to ease building tensions in Europe, complaining of unreasonable demands on the part of NATO in general and the US in particular.

Meanwhile, mobilization efforts continue as NATO appears to take reports of the build up of forces in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Poland, seriously amidst reports of satellite footage showing empty berths in the northern submarine base of Severomorsk.  We now bring you a report from our correspondent in Paderborn as 11th Armoured Brigade prepares…”

Some clues to Lee’s force…

Team Yankee version two is on the horizon and Escalation leagues are a good way for new players and old to collect a force, paint it and get it on the table (the fine cornerstones of our hobby).

The principle is simple enough. The league is split into a number of stages, usually three. Each stage lasts for a set length of time, normally a month. In each stage players will do two things, play games with the current points limit whilst painting up forces for the next stage. Players will generally pick a single nation for the entire run and the organiser may place further limits (such as you must use the same formation, or each stage must have X number of common units).
From there, the organisers can choose to make the league competitive and track total wins in each stage and overall. This can motivate some players but can also demotivate new starters or some forces that need the larger points of the later stages to shine. A friendly league puts the only goal as completing a fully painted force, with the games serving only to justify the effort being put in and the only prize being the friends we make along the way (whilst wargaming a world ending total war. Yay friendship!).

When first getting Flames of War rolling in Brighton, I ran a relatively successful set of escalation leagues (a mid war league one year, then a late war one the following year) and they, for the most part, succeeded in my aims of growing the community and getting painted armies on the table top.
TY came out more or less at the same time as the first of my two kids, so I struggled to have the time to run an escalation league for version 1.
But with Version 2 inbound it seems time to dust it off, and combine it with the challenge that Duncan, Eddie and I were planning to do among ourselves for the podcast (ala Fate of four gamers).


  • November/December – start assembling (if you haven’t already) and painting the first 50pts.
  • January – Play TY “quick missions” with our first 50pts at our respective clubs/FLGS whilst working on the next block of points.
  • End of January – 50pt event at Crawley Wargames Club (set of linked games)
  • February – Transition to the full mission set for 75pts whilst working on our next points for…
  • March – The last stage of 100pts.
  • End of March – Mega game at venue TBC.

To avoid the league bogging down into MSU and missile spam, I’m going to take a leaf out of Lee Long’s book and add some extra rules for each stage.

General Rules

  •  Normal weekly games may be “Red on Blue” (i.e. NATO vs Warsaw Pact) or “Blue on Blue” (i.e. NATO vs NATO or Pact vs Pact). The events will aim to be “red on blue”.
  • The aim is to play everyone else in the local league at least once.
  • You should avoid playing the same player consecutively on the same session.
  • Cross-participation between the three venues is encouraged!
  • Players will still to one nation for the duration of the league. There is no requirement to stick with the same formation from stage to stage – you just need to paint it all!
  • Lists are fixed for the stage (unless you have really made a clanger…)
  • When it comes to list creation, and playing the game, don’t be a dick!

50pt Stage

  • Forces must consist of one formation only.
  • The formation must be an armoured formation (defined as the HQ and one core platoon consists of ‘tank’ teams only).

  • The force may only have one infantry unit (not counting dismounted air defence units i.e. Stinger platoons) and one armed (less door guns) helicopter/fixed wing aircraft unit.
  • By the nature of having only one formation, allied units may not be taken.
  • Games will be played using the v1 TY “quick missions” pack (TBC).

75pt Stage

  • Forces may have up to two formations.
  • One formation must be an armoured formation (defined as in the 50pt stage). Its HQ is the force’s main HQ.
  • Allied formations may not be taken.
  • Games will be played using the normal scenarios, chosen via stance vs stance chart (TBC)

100pt Stage

  • Forces may have up to three formations.
  • One formation must be an armoured formation (defined as in the 50pt stage). Its HQ is the force’s main HQ.
  • Allied formations may be taken.
  • Games will be played using the normal scenarios, chosen via stance vs stance chart (TBC)

Over the next few months Duncan, Eddie and I will be going over our forces for the challenge and we will be looking at our monthly progress on the battlefield and the painting desk.

2 thoughts on “Escalating Tensions

  1. I’m looking forward to hearing about it in the podcast guys. Just curious though, how does the British delay fit in with Lee’s plans?

    1. Thankfully it doesn’t. In fact, the delay helps me by removing a distraction! :D

      I bought a bunch of Brit stuff back when Iron Maiden came out, but it ended up sitting unboxed on the shelf as I needed to prioritise my Warsaw Pact to balance sides.

      This is my chance to do something with it.

      I plan to do a Gulf War era Desert Briy list in the future using the new releases.

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