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Peasant army vol 5 - Reworking the Romanian Cavalry for the ETC

Ok, now that I already have several games under my belt playing Romanian Cavalry (from the Cavalerie PDF) I think it is high time to bring in some improvements.

Looking back at the games I played so far I now have a good idea of what are the weakpoints and strengths of the list. Overall, Romanian Cavalry seems to me to be a very good infantry list counter. It has the numbers and the firepower needed to remove stubborn defenders from their positions. If your skill/morale rolls are slightly above awful, you should get at least one veteran infantry platoon of death (13 bases + a Vanator de Care). Also, with so many guns, anything that cannot be assaulted, can be shot to pieces by the 20+ barrels/tubes.

However, there are two major weakpoints of the Cavalerie:

1. Lack of strong ranged anti-tank. The only valuable anti-tank unit in the list is the Pak40 platoon. It can easily deal with any kind of medium tanks but will struggle against heavies, like the KVs. Zero access to heavy artillery does not help too much either. This means that each time I have to fight the heavy Soviet tanks (especially while defending), my list will have a hard time, unless I decide to add a desperate option like the Stuka or the German 105s instead of the 75mm cavalry guns.

2. Vulnerability to templates. The footprint of the company is massive. Each time I get bombarded, the enemy is almost guaranteed to score at least a few hits on my guys. During the games I played, this issue was also aggravated by the fact, that I used dismounted platoons of Romanians. It meant that I usually stayed under fire long enough for the losses to stop being sustainable.

I think in the end, I can either try to mitigate these vulnerabilities during list design or accept them and avoid pairings with my obvious counters. Since I will most probably not be able to switch to a different army altogether, I need to do a bit of both :)

But before going into another round of list building, I also did a review of what worked and what did not work in the old version of my company. I worked under the assumption that I knew how to use my platoons and that they all had a chance to do something valuable during the games I played. Considering the above, I have built my list of best and worst performing platoons:

V        Maxed out 75mms
V        Medium-sized infantry platoons
V        Maxed out 81mm mortars
V        Maxed out Pak40s
V        Maxed out 45mms
V        Maxed out Pz35s
V        Maxed out mounted scouts

It turned out that the worst idea that I had was to max out the mounted scouts and use them as an assault unit. It never worked. The unit was too small to make a difference and had too many tasks to perform on the battlefield to be effective. On the other hand, the 75mm guns are an amazingly flexible unit. Even if they cannot do any real damage to heavy tanks, they can at least shoot direct smoke after the Pak40s did their job. Awesome unit in my opinion.

Based on these facts, I have come up with a new version of my list to be tested:

HQ: 2x Cavalry Rifle/MG + 2x Vanator de Care
Platoon 1: 13x Cavalry Rifle/MG + VdC
Platoon 2: 13x Cavalry Rifle/MG + VdC
Platoon 3: 4x 81mm mortar
Platoon 4: 6x 45mm gun + transports
Platoon 5: 4x German Pak40
Platoon 6: 7x Pioneer Rifles (3x option to change to flamer)
Platoon 7: 4x Cavalry Rifle/MG scouts
Platoon 8: 12x 75mm guns + transports

These changes somewhat address the vulnerability of the infantry to templates (they do have bigger bases but also move a lot faster and can re-roll unpins while mounted) as well as give me some more anti-tank on the defense with the addition of the pioneers. I think these modifications are more a bandaid than a complete solution of the issue, but hey - what can you do - there are only so many options you can choose from! :)
Now I am off to search for some more cavalry models for my Romanians (although I already have around 8 bases painted and 12 waiting for their turn).

What are your experiences of polishing your lists?


Beyond the completely obvious part 3 - Mid War infantry lists analysis (ETC-wise)

Hello everyone, today I am coming back a bit to good old FoW :) I just checked my posts so far and it turns out that I am still missing a post in the 'Beyond the completely obvious' series that would cover Mid War infantry lists. So here it goes.

As with the previous posts from the series, I have selected 3 lists meeting the Mid War infantry criteria that I found interesting and that I would not refuse to play during the ETC. As a general remark, I have to say that both Mid War books have some interesting stuff in them in terms of infantry. I think that as far as tanks go, the choice is severly limited, Mech also has some constraints but with infantry lists you can really go crazy :)
My first selection is a British Rifle company from North Africa book. The pretty obvious reason for this is that the Brits can make a choice of whether to defend or attack in some of the missions (using their 'Night Attack' national special rule). This possibility gives all infantry lists of that nation huge flexibility. Mid War is the pinnacle period of Night Attacks as if I remember correctly, there is only one list that can counter it - Soviet Cossacks. Since they are an AA Mech list, they would be able to attack the British player's infantry company. Anyway, this is my proposal of a list:

British Rifle (Africa) - North Africa book

HQ: 2x Rifle + bagpipes + sticky bombs
Platoon 1: 6x Rifle/MG + light mortar + sticky bombs
Platoon 2: 6x Rifle/MG + light mortar + sticky bombs
Platoon 3: 6x Rifle/MG + light mortar + sticky bombs
Platoon 4: 3x Universal Carrier
Platoon 5: 4x 3" mortar + sticky bombs + transport
Platoon 6: 4x 6 pdr
Platoon 7: 4x 6 pdr
Platoon 8: 2x Valentine II + 1x Valentine VII (C/T)
Platoon 9: 4x Deacon
Platoon 10: 2x ML 4,2" mortar + sticky bombs

This list, in my opinion can go against pretty much any other force. It has tons of direct anti-tank shots, 3 platoons of C/V infantry for assaults, medium mortars for smoke or getting rid of enemy guns with direct fire and also a small unit of heavy mortars to make the enemy think twice before bunching up his tanks. Also, Universal Carriers provide the necessary recon capability.
Since the company's tank support is either Slow or Slow Wheeled, the Night Attack rules that limit the movement of mechanized teams do not affect them so much anyway.
The big weakpoint of the list is that most of the anti-tank guns are No HE. This means, that against a dug in opponent with a lot of guns, the modus operandi will be to use the light and medium mortars in direct fire and assault when a breach is made.
You might also be wondering what is the idea behind putting sticky bombs on mortars :) Well, if you do this, and you are defending against a tank list like the Mixed Tankovy, you can put them close to your infantry on the objective, to be able to pump out a few extra AT3 hits per assault phase! For 5 points per platoon, it can really add to your defensive capability.


Another interesting list that I found in the North Africa book is the German Pioneer company (15. Panzer Division). What i like about North Africa German infantry overall is the possibility to field decent anti-tank guns integrated into your compulsory foot platoons. This makes them very good on the defense, as it increases the number of guns on the table even if you are limited to only 6 platoons in your list. In any case, this is the sample list that I have built:

German Pioneer (Africa) (15. Panzer) - North Africa book

HQ: 2x SMG
Platoon 1: 7x Rifle/MG + 2x Pak38 + 1x 2.8 cm a-t rifle
Platoon 2: 7x Rifle/MG + 2x Pak38 + 1x 2.8 cm a-t rifle
Platoon 3: 4x Marder III (7.62 cm)
Platoon 4: 4x Pak40
Platoon 5: 2x 8-Rad
Platoon 6: 2x 8-Rad
Platoon 7: 3x 15cm NW41
Platoon 8: 3x Sd Kfz 10/5 (2cm)

The idea for this list is pretty simple: to be acting mostly in a defensive role but in case it has to attack, it will still be pretty good. Again, direct a-t is fairly decent with eight AT11&12 guns plus four Pak38s on the infantry platoons. Also, this list is built to have 4 platoons on the table while defending - 2 infantry, tank destroyers + pak40s which will give it a big edge compared to a 6 platoon list.
If you want even more defensive power, you can drop the anti-air unit and the Nebelwerfers down to 2 guns/tanks and upgrade the pioneers with supply trucks to put down up to 2 minefields or 6 barbed wire sections while deploying.
On the offensive, you still have all the assets you will ever need: pioneers to lead the charge, anti-tank for support, smoke for cover and Sd Kfz 10/5s to provide anti-air screen.


For the last one, I will copy a list by one of the Polish players - hope he does not mind. I already said a few words about it before our Mid War tournament in Poznań, so this is a bit of a copy-paste exercise. But at that time, I did not know that this company is actually Always Defend. I think in general, the only Always Defend lists are the Italian ones. In this case, these lists are a bit of a no-brainer for the ETC as in this competition being able to control whether your player is attacking or defending is crucial for the pairings. But without much more discussion, let me introduce the list:
Clarification: only Fusilieri and Bersaglieri have the Always Defend capability. Still, this does not make Alpini a bad list :)

Italian Alpini
Elite (66% to be vet)/ Artillery (83% to be vet)

HQ 2x Rifle
Platoon 1: 10x Rifle with improvised AT3 + anti-tank rifle
Platoon 2: 10x Rifle with improvised AT3
Platoon 3: 10x Rifle with improvised AT3
Platoon 4: 4x 65/17 gun (16", AT8, Rof2, no gun shield, crap bombardment)
Platoon 5: 4x 65/17 gun (16", AT8, Rof2, no gun shield, crap bombardment)
Platoon 6: 4x 75/27 gun (24", AT9, Rof2, crap bombardment)
Platoon 7: 4x Semovente 47/32 (3/1/0, AT7)
Platoon 8: 6x 75/39 gun (24", AT10, Rof2)
Platoon 9: 7x Pioneer Rifle + 2x Brixia mortar
Platoon 10: 2x 75/27 gun (24", AT9, Rof2, crap bombardment)

This is a list similar to what I have in my Romanian Cavalry (Mech) with slightly different accents. This one has shorter ranges on the guns but has a better ambush platoon in the form of the captured soviet equipment (6x 75/39). It also has a decent mobile semovente unit to go around the enemy flanks or harass light armor. Overall, I like the way this company is built. It has good chances to be veteran (up to fearless vet) and has a lot of hard-hitting units. Its main weakness is: little response capability vs the omnipresent Mixed Tankovy. In fact, it can turn out that the improvised weapons will cause more casaulties to the Italians than the assaulting KVs themselves :)

Also, on the offensive, the footprint of the company is huge, making it vulnerable to templates.

So, here are my proposals. Is there anything valuable that I maybe missed? :)


Team Yankee Rules Analysis - Part 5 - Morale/Special Rules

Morale in Team Yankee, on a high level of understanding, works in a manner similar to what we have in FoW. Once your Units start taking enough casaulties they are forced to roll their morale checks. When they fail the roll, they are gone. In the end, if at a certain point of the Turn Sequence (the Starting Step), your Formation has no Units that are in still active (remember that Supporting Units do not count), it has to roll a morale check (using Commander's morale rating - so if he is gone: autofail). If the roll is failed, the Formation is gone. If all Formations are gone, you are out and all objectives are automatically captured by the opponent.

Back to the basic (Unit) level, no morale check is needed (it is called "Unit is in Good Spirits") as long as:
- no Teams in the Unit are either destroyed or bailed (the latter is only true for Units containing Tank Teams)
- at least one active (neither destroyed nor bailed) Team is within 6" of the Unit Leader. Two active Teams in case of infantry Units.
- Unit Leader is active

There are two major influences of this rule on the game:

1. Units consisting of 2 Teams will have to immediately test whenever one of the teams is gone, or in the case of tanks - bailed. It just hits ITVs so hard that even at 3 points per platoon they do not seem a valid option. Like I described before, you can mitigate this effect by Joining HQ Units or Independent Teams to these guys, but in all honesty: what is the point of protecting 2 ITVs with 2 M1 Abrams tanks or a FIST?
Same goes for fielding understrength Units of Aircraft in US Forces. Each time you take a casaulty, the other guy has to roll his morale check and possibly flee without event taking a hit. The only 2 Team Unit that does not suffer so much because of this rule is the Soviet Recce platoon of BMPs - it will do its job of extending the deployment zone anyway. After this, it is obsolete (or can be used for some harrasment). Poor rules design at this point, really.

2. Going out of command with a part of a Unit is really pushing your luck. Same goes for moving Line Abreast (not so clearly defined in the rules). If the opponent is able to kill the section containing the Unit Leader, the rest of the platoon has to test (even if you only killed 2 out of 10 tanks for instance).
Overall, Morale mechanic of Team Yankee is very similar to FoW but it is really hard to kill a Unit by forcing a morale check, unless the opponent splits it and you are able to kill the Leader.

Update & a fun fact at the same time (confirmed by Phil): if you do not put any of the Formation's Units on the table at the beginning of the game (meaning - if you only start with Support) you do not have any of the Formation's Units "In Good Spirits" as per the rules and thus you automatically loose the game :)
Special Rules

There are about 20-30 special rules in Team Yankee covering high-tech equipment characteristics & tactical doctrines used by the opposing forces. Most of them, add a +1 here or there or make a unit gone to ground when it moves or shoots. There is however, one rule that is really outstanding: Spearhead.

By using Spearhead, a Unit can make a pre-game move when it deploys. Once the move is complete, other Units that have not deployed so far treat anything within 8" of the Spearheading Unit as an extension of their deployment zone!
This extension of deployment zone is limited by enemy teams, deployment area or by any objective. Still, in some of the TY scenarios (like the Counterattack) you can really fast-forward your entire army to be just several inches away from an objective and get a 1st turn charge in or even capture it uncontested. This is huge and I expect it to be used very frequently, especially that in the Soviet Forces you can have more than one Spearheading Unit (each Formation can use one + your support also has the option for one).

Phew, seems I have gone through all the rules of Team Yankee - next mission is: list building :P


And now for something completely different - a Twilight Struggle review

Hello everybody, time has come for the first topic that is only loosely related to Flames of War (or rather Team Yankee). Today, I will be sharing some thoughts around a boardgame that myself and my wife purchased a few months ago: Twilight Struggle. The reason I selected this topic is that I think this game is perfect for any Team Yankee fans who still do not have the models or an opponent to play against but want to have a taste of this Cold War era fun. It functions on a different detail level than BF's miniature game for sure, but is still a great opportunity to get a better understanding of the events happening between 1945 and 1989. In this short article I will say a few words about the two main aspects of the game: theme & mechanics and try to convince some of the readers to maybe give Twilight Struggle a try.


The good news is that in this game you are on of the two most important persons in the world. The bad news is that your opponent is the other :) In Twilight Struggle one of the players assumes leadership of USA while the other of USSR - the two major powers in the Cold War era. This means you will be fighting on a really high, strategic level. This is also why the board is actually a huge map of the world, divided into several regions. Influencing these regions is the key objective of the players and drives a big part of the scoring system in Twilight Struggle. The game thus feels like a gigantic tug of war in which balance shifts from one side to the other, based on what is going on in the world.
Another part of the theme is built by event cards that contain a game effect that is also related to a historical fact which are distributed to the heads of each faction . These cards really help to build this massive immersion feeling that is prevalent throughout the game by giving good explanations of what kind of influence a given event would have in terms of the game mechanics.
Finally, there is the space race track, which represents achievements of each superpowers in rocket science and relates the historical clash between NASA and its Soviet counterpart.
All of these build a great feeling of a clash of titans and really add to the replayability of the game.


The game could be described as a card-driven area influence war game. Like I mentioned before, the main objective of the game is to gain points by influencing certain regions. These points however, are not a standard allotment per each turn. Instead, each player is dealt a hand of cards which comprise of two main sections: a star of a US (white) or Soviet (red) color, containing the number of influence points it grants and an event (helpful to the corresponding superpower). If you are dealt your faction's card, then you can play it for either influence points or the event. However, when you get your opponent's superpower card, you can only play it for points but also the text is triggered automatically. The combination of these two factors makes for a surprisingly good mechanic that forces the player to balance and mitigate risks by playing cards in the right sequence at the right time. Another type of cards are Culmination events which target a given region and force a calculation of influence each player has in it. Based on defined criteria, victory points are added on the victory track for the superpower that is either present in the region or is dominating/controlling it.
This main mechanic of the game is also combined with a lot of other rules that define how the game is played. There are, however a few main ones that affect it:
- coups which by spending all points on a card let you roll a die and if the roll went well decrease the other superpower's influence in the targeted country and/or increase our own
- alignment change which allows for a roll to decrease the opponent's influence per each point spent from the card. Downside is that you cannot build your own influence if you succeed
- space race track which represents each superpower's advances in rocket science but in game terms serves more as a way to get rid of really punishing cards (as you use cards to get a chance to advance in the race) and sometimes as a way to get one or two extra victory points
With so many subtleties, Twilight Struggle makes for a very interesting and challenging game. Really, there are so many options you can choose from that players become vulnerable to analysis paralysis :)

Final thoughts

Now that you have gone through this lengthy article I have to say that my approach towards the game is a bit of love and hate at the same time. The theme is great, it relates to the Team Yankee setting, lets you play god (or one of the two gods :) ) and teaches you history. Also, the mechanic is intricate and has a lot of twists. However, there is one thing that really pisses me off about this game: for a big time investment (2-3 hours per game), it has a lot of randomness to it. A lot of the game depends on the cards you are dealt and how successful are you with your rolls. Of course you will be able to manage most of the risks but in some of the games you will have the bitter feeling that you did everything right but still lost the game. But for a veteran wargamer this is nothing new, correct?
My final verdict though is: you should give the game a try. 99% chance that you are going to like it, despite its possible shortcomings. Sexy Sixes approved! :)


Team Yankee Rules Analysis - Part 4 - Shooting

Hi there and welcome to another episode of Team Yankee rules analysis. This part is all about shooting. And when I say shooting I mean: direct fire & artillery. When I read the rules, my feeling was that this is more an evolution than a revolution. BF did change how things are done, but they do have a familiar ring to them. Some of them are almost an exact copy with just a +1 here or a -1 there. In any case, switching between TY and FoW should be no problem at all.

There are some changes that influence the balance of the forces, though :)

Direct Fire

The first innovation in direct fire rules that stands out is the way you assign hits to your targets in TY. In FoW, it was the owner of the platoon shot at that would assign hits across the target platoon. In Team Yankee however, it is the owner of the shooting model that nominates an enemy Team and rolls to hit against it. This means, that potentially you are able to snipe high value targets. Fortunately, it has some limits and counters within the rules. First of all, if you target a specific Team within a platoon, only the first hit will go against the team. All other hits have to be distributed evenly to the Teams of the same type and from the same Unit, unless they would not be a legal target (because of no LoS for example).

In practice, only the first hit counts then. And even that is partly true because of the Mistaken Target rule. This rule lets the player swap hits between Teams that are a valid target for the shooting, provided he can roll a 3+. So if you have 2 (x/z) Teams which are a legal target for the shooting (same type, same unit, in range, etc.) and the opponent assigned the following hits to them: 1x/2z, you can roll a 3+ to switch to 2x/1z. This is the perfect rule to protect your valuable assets until your luck runs out :)

This combined with the rules about Independent Teams and HQ Teams being treated as valid targets provided they are within 6" of the Team being shot at practically means you can either protect your soft guys with heavy HQ tanks or add extra bodies to platoons by joining the observers and/or Mech HQ armored transports to any other unit and absorbing high AT hits. I imagine that this rule will be often used to keep the FIST in play for as long as possible.

Also, shooting at aircraft has its separate flavor. First of all, you can shoot at Aircraft either in the enemy turn (with reduced RoF) or in your own turn (at full RoF). On top of this, not everybody can shoot at Aircraft Units - there is a list of weapons/Units that are able to conduct AA fire. For Helicopters, this list seems rather long while for Strike Aircraft it is severly reduced, making them one of the most survivable Units in Team Yankee. What I am not so happy about is that Helicopters, in my opinion, will be of limited importance in this game as there is a whole lot of weapons that can hurt them and bring them down before they can do any real damage :(

Artillery (including Laser-Guided Ammo)

Artillery still has the templates, still hits the top armor, still rolls to range in and to hit. There are differences though. First big difference is that finally, you will not be bound to target an enemy Team. This is huge and combined with the new command distances makes me think that the guns will be covering more Teams per salvo. It is also much easier to range in. All you need is a flat skill check which can be modified by +1 if your spotting guy is the observer. What is more, you can utilize your Commander and join the shooting battery to substitute their skill rating with his. For US this can even mean a 2+ to range in! The heap of buffs would however not be complete without a single, but meaningful nerf :) Once you ranged in you still need to hit the teams under the template. Normally, you need roll their 'is hit on' number but this one also has modifiers. For instance, a gone to ground Team out of LoS of the shooting battery gets -2 to the roll (-1 for each of: gtg and out of LoS). The result of these modifiers is that it will be extremely difficult to hit and kill dug in infantry with artillery. If you are targetting gone to ground US infantry that is out of the battery's LoS , you end up hitting on a 6+. On top of this, the infantry get their regular save (3+) and you need to roll for your firepower (2-4+). On average then, you will be killing 1 Team for every 20 that you can get under your template. Not so good, huh?

At least, there are no more artillery bombardment restrictions when shooting from behind terrain. You can easily position your battery right in the middle of a patch of woods and deliver salvos without being seen by anything else than Aircraft Units.

Smoke bombardment is a bit better than what FoW players are used to (it comes in a line and obstructs LoS if more 6" from the target Team) but has been changed to one use only per battery. Overall I think this is a good change that makes it one of the vital resources in the game that needs to be used wisely.

The good part about US artillery is that it can fire Laser-Guided Ammo. This type of ammo has a minimum range of 16" but can fire at Teams that are visible for the FIST observer and/or are out of LoS of the battery (hooray for ninja shots from the middle of the forest)! When they do, they use normal shooting rules (using FIST for tracing LoS, etc.) and hit front armor with AT21 and HEAT+Guided special rules. If not for the fact that only the FIST can spot for Laser-Guided Ammo, this would for sure be the best weapon on the battlefield. But even with this limitation it is great. The risk of loosing your FIST can be mitigated by keeping it close to any other Tank Unit but what you get in return is a lethal weapon. Please note, that with the Guided special rule, the Ammo can also be used to bring down Helicopters! Fun! :)

There are also other types of artillery ammo available for the US player, like scatterable mines (which produce a 4" diameter round minefield per 3 firing guns) or bomblets (which enable firing salvo templates with reduced AT/FP values) but they are not nearly as good as Laser-Guided Ammo.

All in all, I like what BF did with shooting. Do you?


Team Yankee Rules Analysis - Part 3 - Movement

WARNING!! Some of my understanding might stil be wrong as I only read the rules a couple of times so far. If I talk nonsense, please feel free to correct me in the comments section. I want this article to be as accurate as possible in the end. Thank you!


Movement in Team Yankee is very quick compared to Flames of War. Generally speaking, Dash (TY for Double Time) speed has increased all across the board. Moreover, going over Terrain either hinders your movement very slightly (when Dashing) or not at all (when moving at Tactical).

Also, basic movement distance for Tanks is increased to 14" while for infantry to 8". On the other hand, Tactical speed for light armored vehicles has dropped to 10'. This overall movement speed increase is coupled with easier unbogging. You no longer have to roll a skill test to unbog. This simply happens automatically at the end of the turn in which your tank got stuck.
A completely new thing is Aircraft Unit movement which has no range limit or can take the Aircraft Unit off the table to come back during one of the following turns (Loitering Off Table - p. 30).

Command Distance is now 6" (or 16" if you are forming a line and are in LoS of the Unit Leader) for every type of Unit while penalties for breaking Command Distance have decreased. The isolated part can go about on its own using Tactical speed and only suffer a +1 to hit. If they decide to stay in one place, the penalty is not applied. I doubt, however that anybody would be using this rule to divide their platoon into two parts and operate independently or go Line Abreast as Morale checks are based on what Teams are around the Unit Leader (the more Teams you have, the safer the platoon is).

All this combined, means that Teams in TY can cover a considerable distance in short periods of time, while staying relatively close to one another. I really cannot make my mind if this is a good or a bad thing. What I am sure of though, is that tables will suddenly become very small and artillery more effective :)

The biggest change that the designers created is the introduction of Movement Orders. Movement Orders can be used by a Unit Leader (in case the Unit lost their Leader- they obviously cannot use them) to make the Unit perform certain activities on the battlefield. let's have a look on what is possible:

Blitz Move (p. 34)

The Order lets the Unit move up to 4" upon a successful skill check. At the same time, it does not count as having performed a Move. This has major influence on the game. All of a sudden, your move or fire weapons can pop out from behind a LoS blocker and shoot their weapons. It will  be the modus operandi of ITV vehicles or Soviet BMPs, provided you can succeed with your skill check. If you fail the roll however, you will suffer a +1 to hit penalty and will not be able to Dash.

What is more interesting is that this rule can be used to bring your Units out of reserves (confirmed by Phil) and IN MY OPINION, BASED ON RAW even return your Loitering Aircraft Units onto the table (p. 30 - as it can be used 'instead of moving'). In both cases, you could for instance use it to bring Cobras onto the table and shoot their move or fire rockets.
In the previous article, I mentioned that joining Commanders to Aircraft Units can be beneficial to them in some cases. This is one of them: if you join your pretty much useless Mech Commander to a Cobra Unit left in the Reserves, you can improve their skill check from 4+ to 3+ to Blitz onto the table and use their rockets. Not a big bonus, but can make all the difference.

Follow Me! (p. 34)

The Order enables the Unit Leader to move forward 4 extra inches (even after making a dash move) and roll a courage check. If successful, teams from the same Unit, within 6" and visible to the Unit Leader may move up to 4".  Whether the Movement Order was carried out or not, the Unit is not able to shoot in the subsequent shooting step. This is not a game changer to be honest and I expect it will be used mainly as a way of getting into assault quicker. Also, it can be used once in a while to gain some additional ground while dashing and maybe in 1/100 games to increase the Tactical speed of a Unit to do a last minute objective grab or a contest.

Shoot and Scoot (p. 35)

This one is essentially a limited copy of German Stormtrooper move that we know from FoW. It enables a Unit that did not Move in the Movement Step to roll a skill check in the Assault Step and move 4" if successful. This is obviously a good way to limit the return fire of enemy Units and will be often used by vulnerable Units such as ITV vehicles, Artillery and AA.

Cross Here (p. 35)

As we already know, bogged down vehicles unbog at the end of the player's turn in TY. To make bogging down even less annoying, BF decided to introduce this new Movement Order. It improves your Cross ability by 1, provided your Unit Leader successfuly crosses an obstacle and you forfeit your chance to Shoot or Assault this turn. The bad part is that you only declare it BEFORE the Unit Moves. This means that you will almost never use it anyway as it costs you the Shooting and Assault Steps and you are not even guaranteed to have the improved cross check.

Dig In (p. 35)

Dig In only changed a tiny bit between TY and FoW. The two differences are: you need a Unit Leader to do this and you cannot fire bombardments after digging in. What might be the hint for the future releases is that currently, there are no Infantry Units able to deliver bombardments :) This rule, combined with the Blitz Move also have a small gap in it. By RAW, when you are Blitzing, you do not count as having moved your Unit. The Dig In order lets you use Foxholes until you move. These two rules combined mean that by RAW, your Dug In infantry can Blitz around the table in their Foxholes. Fun.

Overall, I like what BF did by introducing Movement Orders. It took away some of the nationality flavor that we know from FoW (everybody knows German Stormtrooper :) ) but introduced so many new possibilities!


Team Yankee Rules Analysis - Part 2 (Commanders)

WARNING!! Some of my understanding might stil be wrong as I only read the rules a couple of times so far. If I talk nonsense, please feel free to correct me in the comments section. I want this article to be as accurate as possible in the end. Thank you!

Your Commander (p. 25)

This is where the rules get interesting. Maybe not the rules themselves but interpretations and implementations of the rules for sure. At first glance, this seems like only a slightly different wording for what we know about Warrior Teams from FoW. Do not be fooled however, these changes go far beyond that.

First of all, 2iCs are gone. If you have more than one HQ Team in your HQ Unit, you can select any of non-transport Teams to be your Commander. The Commander, along with any other Teams from the HQ Unit operate together on the battlefield, following rules for regular platoons (in this case, HQ transports are not an Attachment and will suffer out of command penalties if they wander too far away from the Commander).

The funny part specific to TY is that when you decide to Join a Unit with your Commander, the whole HQ joins it as well. This can easily be used to bolster the survivability of fragile platoons such as AA Units or ITVs with more than one extra body.

Furthermore, the Commander can join ANY Unit of his Formation or supporting it. This has big consequences, described a few paragraphs below.

In order to Join a Unit, the Commander must be within 6" AND in line of sight of the Unit's Leader. So if you want to make sure that a Commander cannot Join a unit (to soak in some shots for example), all you have to do is to drop a small smoke barrier between himself and the Unit's Leader.

What is a small smoke barrier, you ask? :) Well, this is where we approach the madness section of the command rules. TY rulebook says that if your tank Commander gets killed or bogged down, he can jump to another Tank Team. We have 2 main cases here:

1. If he is killed, he can jump to another HQ Tank Team within 6". If there are no other HQ Tank Teams available, you roll a 3+. If successful, he jumps to another Tank Team from the same Formation. If you fail the roll, he dies.
2. If he bogs down, you do the same procedure like for point 1 with the exception that he does not need to go to a HQ Tank Unit.

The implications of this are massive. You can intentionally bog your Commander down right next to an Artillery Unit and then take over one of its Teams. This way, you can split your artillery into two separate Units, gaining an additional Smoke Bombardment option (or extra Bomblets for example). What is also possible with the current rules is that you can now join this artillery Commander tank to an Aircraft Unit. If this happens, you can potentially have a situation where you fire your template rockets with Aircraft and at the same time have your Commander deliver his. How to resolve such a situation is not described in the rules.
Other nonsense plays include the Commander taking over observer tanks and anti-aircraft Teams.
Also, it is nowhere described what happens if he takes over a Unit Leader Team. Does that mean a new one is nominated immediately or does he have to do it, following the rules on page 49? If he has to do it, does the Unit loose its 'In Good Spirits' status because it has no Leader?

All in all this section needs a big improvement in my opinion. Hope this gets resolved by a FAQ at some point.


Team Yankee Rules Analysis - Part 1 (Unit Types and Turn Sequence)

Hello and a happy new year! :)

I am starting with a brand new series dedicated to the Team Yankee game. My intention is to cover the whole set of rules and dive deeper than the average blog by doing a close analysis of how TY plays, what are the main differences to FoW and what are the possible influences on the game.

Now, I was wondering how to approach this... I thought I would go in parts covering a section or several sections of the rules in one go (e.g. movement & command) but I could not get the proper formula for this article. This is why I decided to simply go page by page and pick out the most interesting stuff and do a writeup on exact paragraphs after a short intro into the whole section. I will also skip the items that did not change so much or are not interesting - I do not want to waste anybody's time by stating the obvious. Especially my own. Hope this works :)

WARNING!! Some of my understanding might stil be wrong as I only read the rules a couple of times so far. If I talk nonsense, please feel free to correct me in the comments section. I want this article to be as accurate as possible in the end. Thank you!

Teams and Units

The section's name is pretty self-explaining - it gives some basic game definitions. Not much has changed here apart from the introduction of the Formation concept. Formations are an extension to the already existing method of fielding your FoW armies. They mean that you can basically take one or more companies and use them in a game assisted by battalion level or division level support.

Also, this section introduces 2 interesting new unit types: Helicopter Aircraft Units and Attachments.

Aircraft Teams (p. 18)

This section describes what does BF mean by Aircraft. The issue I have with this description is that:
1. It does not explicitly says what do they mean by Aircraft Units. There is only a vague expression added: everything that flies, including Helis and Strike Aircraft. My understanding of an Aircraft Unit is any Unit that has it clearly stated on its corresponding card entry.
2. Across other sections of the book, the term Aircraft Unit is often substituted with "aircraft", which can cause confusion as to the real intention behind a rule (do they mean all aircraft or maybe a specific type of flyers?).

Attachments (p. 19)

This is a big change to FoW rules in my opinion. Now we have platoon transports that form a completely separate Unit with their own Leader that can go around the table causing all kinds of trouble on its own. For example, this can mean that if I mount my Dragon launchers on M113s I can use them as an extra tank platoon (although not so useful because with the exception of a Blitz Move, they can only move or fire). I can also leave my infantry behind and form an AA screen with the transports placed in the middle of the table. What is very important about this is since they form their own Unit, they are not "Out of Command"!
Another interesting point abouth Attachments (including Transport Attachments) is that they are allowed to capture and contest objectives. Hurray for feeding the objective with M113s or BMPs!

Now to bolster the darkside a bit, there are also some downsides to spoil this useful rule ;)
1. This rule does not apply to Transports of HQ Units - as per page 25.
2. If your core infantry unit runs, it goes with its Transport Attachments (wherever they are) - as per page 64.

Independent Units (p. 19)

Independent Units are a big laugh. The main reason for it is Morale (I am jumping ahead but do not want to forget this part as it is a really funny one). If you go by RAW, an Independent Unit team like the FIST is also the Unit's Leader. This means that if the FIST is bailed, it has to pass the Unit's Morale test or flee (according to rules on page 64). Fortunately, this does not apply to HQ Units, as they never have to test their Morale and will never run (more on that later).

Turn Sequence

Not much has changed here. It is a well known concept of move, shoot, assault so popular in modern wargames.
There is one point however, that needs to be mentioned:

The Starting Step (p. 24)

If you look at the sequence, you will notice that the 'Roll for Strike Aircraft' step is right before the reserve roll. This means that if you place your Strike Aircraft in Reserves, you WILL NOT roll for it on the turn it arrives from Reserves. This, in my opinion, has a big influence on the game, making Strike Aircraft an attack-oriented tool. On the defensive, you really have to choose lesser of the two evils:
1. You start with the Aircraft Unit available on turn 1, thus pushing one regular Unit back to Reserves. You are still not guaranteed to acquire air support.
2. You move your Aircraft Unit to Reserves. If you do this, you still need to roll a 5+ with whatever number of dice you are rolling to extract the Aircraft Unit from Reserves and then, only IN THE FOLLOWING TURN you can start rolling for your Strike Aircraft (single 4+ to receive air support).

This concludes part 1 of my analysis. Hope you like the formula. If you don't - please let me know what are your improvement ideas. Thanks! :)