Thursday, April 7, 2016

Team Yankee Test Game - Holy Hind!

Firing positions! Ivan on the way!

Between work and racing to finish a final few entries in Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge (which has concluded now, even if winter itself hasn't - be sure to check out all of the amazing work here) I have been slacking at blogging of late, but will try and catch up a bit.  Up first, a belated battle report of a test game for "Team Yankee", the new cold-war-gone-hot rules from Battlefront.

NATO dupes in position...little do they suspect...

Conscript Curt was in town a few weeks ago for a visit, and together with Byron we took my newly painted "Team Yankee" models out for a spin.  The scenario was extremely basic, and I apologize, as I only have a fuzzy recollection on the points used (would have been about 60 or 70 per side, tops, based on what I have painted).

"The Plan" - WARPAC advances from the lower right, while NATO awaits on the top left
Curt give an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the Soviet advance - he's a big fan of the Hinds

I thought the game would be quick.  But oh man, I underestimated that.  We played TWO games, and each one lasted two turns!! I had read about that experience online from other folks playing their initial games, and wow, it's really something.  The game is murderous, which is in many ways a fair reflection of the (thankfully fictional) conflict it is looking to simulate.

Soviet T-72s encounter from fire from M1s
Curt took command of the Soviets, and Byron played the US side. In the first run-through, Curt's Hinds made short work of the M1 Abrams tanks, who shot up a few T-72s, but otherwise were quickly overwhelmed.  Curt didn't even need to deploy the motor rifle company!  Talk about Soviet efficiency! Promotions all around!

Hind makes a kill...
More Hind carnage...
Comrade Curt is loving the Hinds - he poses here near the smoking wrecks of Byron's M1 platoon...

In our second run through, we stowed the over-powerful Hinds to see how it would play.  In this iteration, the M1s managed to knock out a lot more Soviet stuff (many T-72s and BMP-2s were full of holes), but the mass of tanks still overwhelmed the M1s - and again, it took two, or maybe three turns at most.  Wow!

T-72s open fire!
Soviet battalion commander plays it safe...meanwhile, the motor rifles move out (behind the forest)

So for now, no more "Team Yankee" (or at least, no more with helicopters) until I get some AAA stuff painted for both sides, especially the US.  The Hinds are total murder - and I think that's fine, they bloody should be! But some M163s will be needed for the US players to have much chance in the game. The US Cobra helos were a lot less scary, we found, so we could probably play without Soviet AAA stuff, but still, it would be nice for the players to have it a bit balanced.

M1s engage - they made short work of the BMP2s...

My take on the rules? Well, maybe I'm just crusty and getting older, but I still find Battlefront is excessively fond of fiddly little special rules.  A top level skim of their rules is always reasonably straightforward, but when you sit down and start to play, your head hurts with every little exception you can attempt.  This is particularly pronounced with the "orders" for movement Battlefront has introduced, which are different from their prior "Flames of War" game.  I want to recognize and compliment Battlefront for trying something different, but in the end it keeps making my head hurt.  "I moved, but I count as stationary, but, but, but, etc" AAARGH! Enough with the damn special rules! And get off my lawn! Grumble, grumble etc.

Cobras try to help...

Another weakness is the "IGOUGO" aspect - generally I'm okay with that approach, it's simple, easy to remember, but in some situations, it kinda mucks the game up, particularly games as murderous as "Team Yankee".  I think an alternating activation would be much more enjoyable.

"Maybe we'll be safe here from the Hinds..."

Motor rifle carnage

Tough night for NATO
But will you have fun with "Team Yankee"? Yes! Tanks on fire! Helicopters! Cool! I'm cranky about some aspects of it, and I hate plastic models, but it's still very entertaining overall and what a neat way to have an engaging, flaming-tank-filled battle on the table in (very) short times! I'm confident the games will start to last a few more turns once I get a bit more stuff painted...I hope to get these out on to the table again for the Conscripts soon. 


Don M said...

Something we learned in NTC and later proved in the Gulf.....M1 guns can take out Hinds! The targeting computer is that good!

tacobat said...

Those poor M1s

Ray Rousell said...

Cool looking game, Curt looks a happy bunny!

Michael Awdry said...

Grumbles aside, I have to say that does look like seriously good fun.

Stuart S said...

Interesting post, good to see the game in action, it does seem like you will need a lot of toys on the table.

Curt said...

Great looking game, and I loved brewing-up those M1s with the Hinds, BUT the IGOUGO mechanic seems soooo broken. As it stands it gives the classic 40K 'wallflower effect', where the player who doesn't have the imitative sits on the sidelines while the other side maneuvers and fires with near impunity. Without an interleaved activation system it really seems to be an all or nothing affair. Thankfully, I think this can be remedied with a few tweaks to the sequence of play.

Interesting what Don M said about M1s taking out Hinds with their main gun. I suppose you'd need a bit of distance from the Hinds, with them not using nape-of-the-earth tactics and not have them right on top of you. Scary nonetheless.

tim said...

Fabulous-looking models and scenery - looks like it was a great game!

That's crazy that the helicopters are so devastating. Are there some sort of Air Superiority rules? Like a roll at the beginning of the game to see if one side or the other has air superiority (or if it's contested?) during which enemy ground support isn't available?