So you’ve spent the last few years building up the perfect central Europe terrain collection, able to emulate everything from Normandy to Remagen. But now everyone has dropped their Chaffees and gone all NATO Tricolour. What’s a good terrain host to do?
This article will give some ideas on how to adapt one’s collection to better suit Team Yankee mechanically and visually. Alex also covered some ideas on adding modern terrain elements here.
As is typical for Turn Two in Team Yankee – everything is on fire
Apathy is bliss
The simplest option is that you could continue regardless. The Team Yankee game is suitably abstract that the mechanics don’t care if that road is a dirt track or asphalt. Similarly, a building can be anything from the town buildings any WWII player will have in their collection to modern factory or office complexes. Perhaps the only suggestion here is to drop the terrain density slightly to reflect the larger industrialised fields of near-modern West Germany compared to say the 1940’s Bocage of Normandy. Counter-intuitively, what with all the near sudden death weapon systems of the 80’s battlefield, Team Yankee seems to work better with a slightly lower terrain density; perhaps empathising the importance of manoeuvre and also driven by the change in how terrain like “tall” terrain works.
The Dice Saloon FoW Table pruned of its hedges
But let us assume that the trappings of the modern world are suitably appealing. Where to start?
Fahr’n Auf Der Autobahn
At its simplest, replacing the dirt tracks with wide asphalt roads with suitable gives a fairly simple makeover to a table. This can either be a two way single lane round in and around town, or a suitably wide two or three lane autobahn cutting through rural Germany.
Right now there is a dearth of asphalt roads in the Brighton gaming community’s terrain bins but its on my to do list – either making some or buying the BF ones.
Going more complex, an Autobhan interchange, perhaps with a nearby service area, could make an interesting table in its own right as two broad Autobhan, one embanked or raised on pillars, meet and cross. Its certainly a table I want to put together as a signature table should I do a Team Yankee Brighton Bash in the future.
Insert Kraftwerk here
Power to the People
The next simple additions are telegraph poles and power pylons. Technically, both could be present on the WWII battlefield (indeed, I use telegraph poles to liven up the desert tables at the DAK! DAK! GO! Tornies) but really come into their own as power and communication become more widespread in the post war recovery.
The Telegraph Poles are basically for visuals only, having no impact on the game. I find that the HO scale poles one can find on E-Bay from various Chinese dealers to be more than sufficient. Hot glue it to a tongue depressor (also cheaply available on E-Bay), add some basing material and you are pretty much done. They work well spaced along a major road or cutting across a field towards or away from a town or village.
So far the only Poles in Team Yankee…
Power Pylons are significantly more substantial. 4Grounds do a nice looking example for 15mm but, in one of those rare occasions when you get more than you pay for, a cheaper but no less visually appealing alternative can be found in Hornby’s HO range where a box of 3 plastic pylons can be snagged for the price of one laser cut MDF one. The pylons are relatively quick to assemble although the support struts are fiddly and don’t seem to adhere well, even when using Revell Pro plastic cement making me question how they will stand up over a few months in club usage. To improve the stability and reduce the risk of damage, I hot glued the feet of the pylons to some old marketing CD I found in my work draw and dressed the bases with some sand, static grass and clump foliage, keeping the edges relatively free of clump foliage so the base could sit under a road section if required. The pylons are then spaced out (about a foot and a half – two feet between pylons looks right) across any open fields on the table. If you have a model for a transformer on the edge of a town then that could work nicely for somewhere to terminate a line of pylons.
Once upon a time we would have used AOL CD for bases and mine markers. Back before fibre broadband. Kids, ask your parents…
We treat the pylons as impassable tall terrain for simplicity, but one could say that the pylons only obscure lines of fire, not line of sight. I also skipped over the impact on helicopters flying at night or wire guided missiles as an unnecessary complication (pyrotechnic wire cutters solve all problems…).
As a slight variant, overhead power for the increasingly electrified rail systems and overhead light poles for the autobahns or urban town roads are also visual gimmicks that could be used to modernise existing road and rail pieces. HO suppliers again have you covered here.
The final easy modernisation lies with buildings. Existing residences could benefit from new bases that incorporate driveways and garages for personal cars. Not a massive influence on rules but a simple visual addition. Larger pieces like farms could benefit from a few small additions like grain silos or modern farm equipment. Others like Churches would largely stay unchanged. Skips and Containers are readily available from railway suppliers and are simple additions to flesh out a commercial or industrial piece whilst adding some localised ‘short’ or ‘tall’ bullet proof cover.
Other pieces serve only as a reflection of the perils of our consumer society
The final addition with buildings is to go modern. The Battlefront “Battlefield in a Box” has added a decent looking factory and fluid silo that would look good in a modern industrial park on the outskirts of the town. The other piece, the petrol station, is underwhelming but can be made to look the part (weird sloped roof aside) with some work. The new Premium Range has an interesting factory building but is sadly inhibited by being tied into a committed subscription (seriously guys. Just build buildings individually. Sell buildings individually, especially since you bought the manufacture in-house. It’s worked for every other terrain manufacturer out there whom don’t seem to feel the need to limit availability or tie into subscriptions that always seem to go wrong! Rant over.).
Other wargaming manufacturers have some modern terrain already and 4Ground have a growing range of laser cut MDF modern town buildings (plus a transformer station) too.
An alternative source is to once again raid the HO scale rail scenery. One choice bit that immediately won favour on the Team Yankee facebook group was an Aldi supermarket. Whilst the model maybe a touch too contemporary, its hard not to resist the quintessential German shopping experience and adding one to the outskirts of a village made up of existing houses and shops instantly brings a table forward by about thirty years!
Defending the Aldi is of utmost importance. Otherwise its MRE for dinner!
The model assembles relatively quickly and without being too fiddly, but definitely benefits from additional strengthening to withstand the rough handling one expects terrain to take compared to static train layouts. It’s a touch pricey but is a large building. As you can tell from the photos it would also really benefit from a base to add a car park and other modern trappings to really tie it together and that’s on my to do list with the asphalt roads.
Lots of space for Bratwursts!
So, there’s some ideas to pick up and run with. If you fancy more, the facebook groups (official and unofficial) for Team Yankee are always seeing new and interesting ideas for terrain being added and are well worth signing up too. Hopefully we’ll see more “Battlefield in a Box” modern terrain added to the range, as well as a further expansion of 4Grounds “modern” range.