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 :)
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?