Those of you who regularly follow the blog will be aware of my journey into Team Yankee and some 15 mm Arab-Israeli wars set in the 1980s. This is based on the Team Yankee Oil War Book which is a subsection of Team Yankee rules and and I've set my armies in around 1982, 1983 the time of the Lebanon war between Israel and Syria.
Team Yankee was always going to be a controversial choice for us as the rule set as it is written is very different from those that we play normally and it was obvious before we even started playing that we would need to make some changes so get it to fit in with the way that Yarkshire gamer enjoys our games.
I have outlined some of my thoughts on this on previous posts on Facebook and the like, I was quite surprised that they received quite negative reaction on one of the Team Yankee Facebook groups. One guy got really angry about it, so if you are triggered by people changing sets of rules, then this probably isn't the article for you. If however you are playing or think of playing Team Yankee and you are maybe not happy with how it flows or you just want to see how we are playing around with the rules then this and a subsequent number of posts which will follow will show how we change the rules. We have probably now invented a new game, let's call it Team Yarkee.
The 1st thing to say is that I am aware that Team Yankee is kind of a cross over game between your GW40K type games and the more traditional historical miniature games. People who come into Team Yankee will be used to a I Go, You Go, game mechanism which is not particularly popular here at YG, and they will also be used to being restrained to a relatively small size table a 6 by 4 or maybe even 4 by 4 and therefore the way that Team Yankee will be familiar and therefore will be quite comforting for somebody coming from a GW science fiction background into a more historical setting.
Everything that we do with Team Yankee is not saying that Team Yankee is a poor game it's just changing the game to the way that we like to a play here at Yarkshire Gamer. So what I'm going to is explain initially the changes that we have made to the rules and how those changes came about a then I'm going to go on and describe how our 1st game went and had then stick some pretty pictures in, for you to have a look at as we go along ! Before I start it's probably best for you to know we don't use points and our games do not using any of the official scenarios in the team Yankee book.
So for a first practice game I chose not to use any aircraft, no helicopters and no artillery. Different people learn different games in different ways and we like to build a basic knowledge of rules of before we move on and add more complicated bits in, so for this game we have got forces of mostly armour with a little bit of infantry added in just to mix things up a little bit.
But before we even started we knew that the I Go You Go mechanism in the rules would not work for us and I had a couple of choices that I've been looking at for possible replacement. The main contender, and the one we playtested for this game, is the card activation system and if you look at the photograph below our show you some of the cards that I have made to use in our games.
It's very straightforward system, one which many of you will be familiar with. Rather than one player moving shooting everything and then the second player doing the same, each turn will start with the turn of a card, that unit on that card will activate and complete its move and fire etc Then the next card is drawn and that unit will activate and do its move. You carry on until all units have moved fired etc and then the next turn begins.
This gives a very different dynamic to the game and it means that 1 player isn't sat around doing nothing for ages whilst all their troops get killed. It allows both players to be interactive with the game at the same time and it's a system that we prefer and will probably stick with.
The other method that I was contemplating was at the old order chip system which comes from a rule set called Johnny Reb but the card activation worked well so this will stay on the back burner for now.
The next change that we introduced became very apparent within a couple of turns of playing. This was in relation to the range that weapons can fire, most modern tank weapons can fire out to 3, 4 even 5 kilometers, the same for anti tank missiles. In Team Yankee the maximum range that you can fire is 32" or 40 " (for most weapons). Now I get that when you've got a small table but it it's a very strange "Ground scale" when you can in the same turn move on a road move 20 or 30" easily moving 3/4 of U maximum gun range are in one turn !.
I can see why it's there with the rules been made for smaller tables but for us on a larger table, a 12 by 6 normally, just doesn't make any sense so it was simple enough to add range bands in. So all Soviet built Syrian vehicles have a range band of 16" and all Israeli vehicles have a range band of 20". The simple mechanism is that it just becomes harder to hit the further away you are and there is an extra plus 1 modifier for each range band as you move out at with your firing, so the current rules are plus 1 to hit over 16" for all vehicles. We have simple made it +1 16" to 32" +2 32 to 48, +3 48 to 64 and so on for Syrian Vehicles and +1 20 to 40, +2 40 to 60, +3 60 to 80 for Israeli weapons. We also added plus 1 to the armour of each vehicle (per range band) the further away it was from the firing vehicle. In our first initial game that all seemed to work really well, straightforward and intuitive for everyone involved and was more realistic.
The changes are in their infancy and it will be something that I will come back to and put more detail in the more we play and make changes in other areas if required.
I said earlier we don't use points and I didn't use any of the missions in the book. We already had the table set up with the desert terrain from the 28 mm World War II Western desert game we played a couple of weeks ago so we just simply fought over that train with our team Yankee vehicles. It was a case of putting everything that I had painted on the table really (apart from helicopters which were gonna add in in a future game) so here are the 2 forces that we used.
One unit of 2 times Merkava 1 HQ
2 units of 3 times Merkava tanks
2 units of 3 Magach 6 tanks
One unit of 3 Pereh anti tank missle launchers
One unit of Israeli mechanised infantry mounted in M113 armoured personnel carriers
1AA unit with 2 Israeli Shilka
One unit of 5-T 64 tanks
One unit of 5-T 62M tanks
2 units of 5-T 62 tanks
One unit of Syrian mechanised infantry mounted in BMP 1s
One unit of 2 Syrian Shilka
Having set to terrain up we just simply allowed each unit to enter the table on the 1st draw of its card. We rolled a D12 which determined how far along table edge the vehicles came on, drove on the table and had a scrap.
How the game went
Once we started the game and made the initial changes to the ranges as discussed above we quite enjoyed the battle. We found it quite engaging and easy to pick up. One of the reasons I wanted to try Team Yankee rather than try out say 7 days to the Rhine or Battle Group Northhag, was that I really like the presentation of the rules and also the presentation of the little unit cards that come with the models. It would be a shame not to at least try and get those cards to work in a context of a game that we would enjoy and I was quite pleased with how it went. More are going to be introduced in further games, I will try helicopters in the next game, possibly this weekend.
The Israelis managed to stop the Syrian advance and both sides got cover and entered into a bit of a slug fest. But the rules coped well with it and we found that the heavier Syrian tanks the T62M and T64 vehicles which would necessarily available to the Syrians in the timeframe (but were in operation with Soviet Union) They made a big difference and gave them a bit more of a chance whereas the standard T62s lost 8 out of 10 and T62 m's lost 3 out of 5 whereas losses on the Israeli side were 3 Merkava and 2 Magach 6. A reasonable exchange I think, reasonably realistic in terms of exchanges of tanks.
So I hope you enjoyed that little introduction into our changes fo Team Yankee and hope you will follow the journey as we go along and try out different things with this set of rules. I'm looking to add more things in as we go along and of course take lots more pretty pictures which is hopefully what most of you are here for anyway, so thanks for visiting, until next time,