Mark G, who has run several Team Yankees Tournaments, and has a un-healthy love of modern wargaming gives us his thoughts on Team Yankee just over a year since its release.
A year-ish on
So its been just over a year since Team Yankee hit our gaming tables, so I think its about time we look at where we have come from and where we are going. Along the way we will also look at whats hot in the 1985 world and what really is not.
First off I think a year in, its safe to say that Team Yankee is here to stay. I know some people were concerned that this would be another Fate of the Nation or WW1 FOW add-on which, while fun, would have limited support. Well its here to stay! A full set of rules, 3 hard back books, another on the way in Jan (ish) with East German Reinforcements. Pretty good going for BF, especially when we now realise this was all done while V4 development was under way. I hope poor Phil hasn’t developed carpel tunnel with all the typing!
We now have 14 lists including the 3 PDFs for the West Germans and Soviet Forces. The Brits are still to make the table for most players with the final items recently released but I think its fair to say they are going to really mix things up with there powerful ‘recce’, nails infantry and cheap scary (yet flank-able) Chieftains.
With 123 product codes, all in all what a year!
With a large template and 3+ to come on, Harriers are a great investment.
Where are we going?
Well we know a fair bit from the various Podcasts and Videos about Team Yankee 2017. First up are the hordes of East Germany, with BTRs, T72Ms and T55s leading the charge. Expect to see this really mix things up for the Soviet players, with the ability to put down a huge number of tanks along with lots of Mech and support. Sure the hulls wont be as capable as the T72, but with the Team Yankee morale rules you can adopt a bomber will always get through flanking mentality. I for one look forward to seeing how many T55s I can squeeze in. Interestingly, Plastic Soldier Company have also announced their intention to do 5 Plastic T55s for £21.50 in Q1 2017, that may have just sold me on the East Germans. At £42.50 for BFs (albeit lovely looking) T55s, I was just going to skip it; there is only so much I can get past the wife!
Next up we have heard that there will be a new US book called ‘Stripes’, details are sketchy but it seems we can expect some much needed AA support and I am crossing my fingers for Bradley’s. I am so pleased to see this, the US are really struggling at the moment, they have expensive capable tanks but with poor guns (compared to their NATO allies) and capable infantry but lacking in AT with the Dragon. Adding some new choices and lists will hopefully mix things up. With M1A1s on the sprue already, perhaps we will see a new ‘super’ tank arrive as well?
There is also a new Soviet book coming and there has been talk of another B standard tank so maybe something like the T64 (fingers crossed for plastic) I really want to see more competitive options for the Soviets, this will stop people relying on infantry so much which is just a grind and almost unbreakable under the rules.
Also on the horizon is the release of generic NATO infantry to allow the fielding of Canadians and Australian Forces – better get some more Leopard 1s on the go.
I have most count of the number of Tornados I have lost to these guys.
After running a couple of tournaments and following the online chat closely it certainly appears that a meta is emerging. Here is what seems to be doing well,
- BMP2s – Well no surprise there, I think we had all worked out that these are amazing. Nice gun on the move for blowing up non MBTs and AT21 missiles to punch through the odd Leopard. Watch your opponents face as you pop 9 of these behind a company of infantry when you choose defend. Also watch his/her teddies fly when you do it with 2 platoons! (He says as he orders another 2 boxes…)
- Leopard 1s – It appears that Leo 1s are doing pretty well – I have seen them win 2 tournaments. They are of course backed up by Gepards and Leo 2s; some of the most capable units in the game. They can shrug off BMP cannons and fly around the board with ROF 2, playing hide and seek with T72s until they hit the side. Aggression and guile are the name of the game with these medium tanks.
- Battleplans – If you haven’t downloaded the extra missions supplement with the battleplan style of play then do so right now here. Okay are you back…good. This system creates a great game of brinkmanship and second guessing vs your opponent and allows you to mitigate your lists weakness (I.e trying to avoid deep reserves with a tank company). We used it at ‘Conflict’ and it worked really well, I now play nothing else.
- Smoke Barrage – Okay so its 1 use only but who doesn’t love it? No longer do you need to drop it on the enemy, now you can gap 2 forests or screen a flank as you please. I must confess it took some getting used to, especially the idea of dropping it just in front of you, otherwise the enemy tanks just drive through it and surprise you! I see this becoming a real necessity for the Soviets as they look to flank those Chieftains.
- Afgantsy – Dug in infantry hordes that fight almost to the last man, loaded with RPGs and backed up by enough Hinds to kill the enemy AA and then go hunting Leopards, yes please. Combine with hasty attack battleplan and you can really catch an enemy off guard.
Who knew our lovely sponsors Battlefield Hobbies was in business in 1985!
Obviously in any system there are going to be those things get left behind, here are the ones that are currently jumping out,
- A-10s – Boy I wish this wasn’t so! 20pts for 4 aircraft that have a missile that is overkill for the current Soviet armour and a cannon that lacks FP is too much. Sure is survivable but its a huge investment for 20pts especially when it only turns up half the time. Flights of 2 make them more affordable but then one death and you have a 50% chance of running away. For me its sadly an ‘avoid’.
- Carnations – I just don’t see a use for this in the soviet forces. You can get more smoke and more hits from the Hails. Sure the Carnations hit harder but I just cant see the point to use ratio working in their favour. Unlike the US big guns, they also don’t get the cool ammo types.
- US forces – From what I am seeing they are really struggling. At 8pts a tank and the need for platoons of 4 to try and prevent the morale check on a 4+, you don’t get many options in a armour force. While the tanks are capable, with a good remount, they struggle in a straight fire fight, especially when you have been spoilt by AT22. I’d be interested to see how they fair in some blue on blue engagements. The mechanized list is more versatile but I found myself struggling to fill it with worthwhile choices. I do love my 6 Copperhead M109s but I get a really sad face when the FOO gets smoked or worse killed. Unfortunately the US is good value but lacks the punch with the Dragon, but at least its sticks around longer than the very small West German platoon.
- Morale – One thing I hear constantly is that people are not happy with the morale system in Team Yankee. While it gives the Soviets a fighting chance slogging a Soviet Company down to 2 stands to cause a 3+ morale test just isn’t that fun especially if they have 2 of them. With them loaded for bear with RPGs it also means that non MBTs cant get close or they will soon be having a bad day. The same issue can be present with British infantry, while smaller, the 6+ to hit when GTG and deadly assault capability makes them hugely hard to shift. I for one would love to see V3 morale, I have even head the dreaded word ‘house rule’ muttered by many players. Its still early days but to me it doesn’t mesh with the dynamic faster style of Team Yankee (Gosh, I wish I could lift GTG).
- Recce – ‘Hey John is that 9 BMPs hiding behind that wall?”. I am really missing ‘proper’ recce. Lifting GTG and most importantly protecting flanks and preventing ambushes (more than a normal team). It feels that there is a tactical gap in the game compared to V3 and it seems that recce just becomes a light tank rather than a unit to be carefully used to aid your attack and mitigate enemy ambushes.
The moment someone tries the defend stance and realises deep reserves just forced everything off board.
The war goes on
While there are obviously winners and losers in the meta and rules of Team Yankee, whats exciting is seeing it develop. The amount of brilliant armies on show on the FB pages, the activity on the forum and the clambering for new releases shows what appetite there is for more, so how would i sum up the ‘State of the Union’,
‘A skirmish that has grown into a battle and is only getting bigger’
Only 1 aircraft got through (but it was enough !)