Team Yankee: pre-release thoughts
It seems that Team Yankee is finally upon us. If everything goes exactly as planned, I should be getting my TY rulebook right on the release day. A lot of players in our community are rather excited about this release so I figured I might as well share some of my own thoughts. One thing to note here is that I do not consider this side dish game in total separation. I always have FoW in the back of my head when I think about it since from what I guess, TY is a test run for FoW v4.
But let us talk details:
I love the theme. I just started to read the book but I fear it will take I while. Still I am very excited to find out the fate of Bannon's Boys :) What is more, I am also a big fan of the Twilight Struggle board game which is a more general look on the whole cold war theme. With Team Yankee out, I will be able to go from strategic down to tactical level of what is going on when I stage a coup - even more fun :)
The only thing that worries me is that in my local meta everyone is crazy about the Soviets. My guess is that 2/3 players will own a Soviet force. In this case, I feel I have to fill in the ranks of capitalist powers which is in contradiction to my normal role in Twilight Struggle!
They are lovely. Well, maybe not the M113 mobile cardboard boxes, but at least most of the US and all of the Soviet units look really great. Mi24 is most probably one of the biggest reasons why the USSR is so popular with the locals :)
The sad thing is that they seem to be a bit more expensive than what we are used to for normal FoW models. I hope this is not the first hint of what BF has in store for us. Also, the variety does not seem so great - hope they will improve this soon. Otherwise, I think players' enthusiasm might be short lived as they will be willing to only play so many games using the same units over and over.
Again, there are some things that I like and some things I do not enjoy so much. Of course, most of my feedback is based on bits and pieces I have collected from various sources without actually being able to read the rulebook itself. This means that still some of my comments might be a bit off, to put it mildly :)
1. Command distance (6" from the platoon leader) is better overall. I am only thinking how would that translate into FoW. Imagine a big Soviet company trying to swarm around its leader. That would be grotesque.
2. Individual movement distances/broken down skill and morale ratings: well, the rules were supposed to be more streamlined. Giving unique movement distances/more stats to units and covering that up with data cards is not streamlining :)
3. Morale. I only hope this one stays exclusive to TY. It might look fun on paper but it almost takes away one of the ways to win the game. It seems that it will be extremely difficult to destroy a platoon. This means that depleted units will be parked behind fresh ones and the only way to break a stubborn defense will be to wipe it out completely... A bit boring and unbalanced (unless there are changes in scenarios to mitigate this) way of handling things.
4. No more driving tanks over tanks. YAY!!! Finally!!! I was hoping to test it in one of the city fight themed Polish tournaments but most of the guys voted against :( I hope this one is going to be included in FoW v4. Think about the tactical possibilities also! :)
5. Platoon commander orders: gaming wise, a good choice. Still takes away from the theme a tiny bit. National rules are the flavor of FoW in my opinion.
6. Sniping commanders is not my favorite rule. The main reason for this is that I think it hits the theme of the game and makes it more abstract. My initial feeling is that this will be a game of 'hunt the company commander'. Company leaders will most probably have to be hiding behind terrain and the job of aircraft and artillery will be to eliminate them. Seems a bit like a Benny Hill movie type of thing.
7. Smoke seems to be more intuitive. Although 6" visibility range might be a bit too harsh. This is sort of like going back to FoW v2 ;)
8. Targeting points on the table with artillery is fun. The only thing I would improve about this is shooting templates at teams out of LOS should impose some kind of penalty (I hope this is somehow included in the current TY rules).
9. I like changes to airpower. Having these units on the table like any other platoon is a big thing. They are no longer the total random factor. What I do not like about them is the 'simple' 4+ roll to arrive when they are in reserve. This means that sometimes you would pay for your aircraft but they would not arrive at all. Hope I do not have the full set of information about this rule.
10. Limiting assaults is crap. This game is mostly about shooting anyway. In my opinion, it will be so difficult to pull off a successful assault in TY that they might have deleted the whole section altogether. To successfully defend against an assault, you just have to create a front line of single bases, 4" apart and enable the enemy only to kill 1-2 per assault (since you can only kill teams in btb). If you manage to lure him into this, you will make him expose his troops to fire next turn, in which he will loose more guys than you did during the assault. Hope my predictions are not correct.
I am still considering what would be next BF steps. My picture of the TY is that they are the testing ground for a major FoW overhaul. If they decide to go in this direction then I am thinking this would be a starting point for a new book release plan. With the army organization changes and all the subtleties of the rules, I think current FoW books would be useless. If this is the case, we are looking at several years in development. I am just wondering how much BF are involved already.
What are your pre-release thoughts about TY?