Monday, August 31, 2015

Team Yankee

Team Yankee is a new upcoming miniature game from Battlefront, the makers of Flames of War. It is an alternate history World War 3 game based on the novel of the same name. I talked a bit about it on the War Journal podcast, but I want to give it more attention here. As Battlefront's first non historic miniature game (to my knowledge) there is a lot to say about it.

At this time very little has actually been release about the game. Nevertheless, excitement for it runs high. Why the excitement? Set in the mid 80s, it will be the only major miniature war game that features modern day weaponry. So whether you are a historical fan of modern military vehicles or you love classic 80's action war movies then you will soon have a miniature game you can play at your local gaming store. There are so many vehicles fans are looking forward to such as the Tomcat, Apache, Black Hawk, Abrams and more. Probably the most exciting and talk about vehicle is the Russian Mil Mi-24, known by most as the Hind. In every movie I've seen that has a Hind in it, that helicopter has such a intimidating and terrifying presence. I wouldn't be surprise if most players of Team Yankee has a few Hinds, regardless if they play Soviets or not. Personally I have another favorite I want to see on the gaming table (well third favorite after the Hind and Apache). I've nearly forgotten about this helicopter until very recently. It is the Hughes OH-6 Cayuse and its various cousins such as the MD 500 Defender. I first got introduce to this helicopter from the TV show Airwolf as more than one villain had a Hughes variety. I also remember a Hughes variety in many other movies as well. Off the top of my head both Blue Thunder and Fire Birds movies had a final showdown with one.

I do have some concerns with the game. There are a lot of modern military vehicles that I love and they all are aircrafts. In Flames of War aircraft have a very minor role in the game and on the battlefield. That is not to say they are not important. Aircraft can easily change the outcome of a battle but the actual time they are on the game table is very small compare to other models. Lists can have a maximum of one aircraft and for that option you only need one model. I really hope Team Yankee does not go with the Flame of War style and instead give aircraft an much more active role in the game. I would love to be able to field an entire force of aircraft but that might be a bit much to balance against an all ground force. Nevertheless I want to be able to take more than one aircraft in my Team Yankee games. The ability to have 2 Apaches, a Hughes and a F-16 covering my ground troops would make me a very happy gamer. I think it would also draw in a lot of other players into Team Yankee.

Given that Team Yankee is not historic opens the door for creative options on the battlefield. Historical players can paint up a 1980s era appropriate force while others can bring something from their imagination to the table. Have an idea for a fictional private contractor or terrorist organization? Bring it to life with Team Yankee. Or go with a more well known fictional terrorists group. Painting up a force that looks like something from the GI Joe cartoon/comics would be awesome. I think this is a good direction for Battlefront to go. Flames of War is a great game along with its Vietnam and Fate of the Nation cousins I assume. However there is a limit on what you can do with historical games. You can't create new vehicles that wasn't in World War 2 if you are a historical game but alternate history is a different story. If the US and the USSR went to war with each other in the 80s, that would most like push the need to develop newer, more advance weaponry. After Battlefront puts out models for every vehicle that existed in the 80s they can then work on models of vehicles that could have been develop in a hot war. If Battlefront encourages new fantasy minded players that fictional armies are an accepted option then they can greatly expand upon their historical audience with Team Yankee.

There is lots of creative options to play in Team Yankee but what am I going to play? To be honest I have not completely decided on that but I do have a few things in mind. One idea that will definitely see light in some way will be my Himmlisch Drachen Stamm army, 40 years later. There is a lot I still need to develop for my fantasy Flames of War army so it might seem strange to also work on a 40 years later version of a work in progress but it makes sense to me. There will always be some regiments of it after its Flames of War results. Whether it is still a nation-state or has now become a private contractor like organization, there will be a Himmlish Stamm story to tell. How Himmlisch Drachen Stamm will look in Team Yankee is something I am less sure on. I might use West Germany as a template or I might use a mixture of various different nations to make my dragon army. Of course this is all before I even know what options to play as even are. The second option I thought about is quite similar to the first. Himmlisch Drachen Stamm will need a rival and Team Yankee might be the place to develop them. Being the GI Joe to the Drachen Stamm's Cobra of a sorts. Both Tracy and myself are excited about Team Yankee but nether of us have committed to a force yet. What I finally decided upon to play will partially be depended on what Tracy goes with, if he decides to play.

Which brings me to a point where I need to inject a little realism. What happens if Team Yankee is a game I don't like? With what little is known about Team Yankee it is very possible it will be a system I can't stand. I hope this is not the case. I enjoy Flames of War so I have faith that I like another game from the same company. But it is entirely likely that Team Yankee uses a different system. So in case I do not like it, I will still buy some of the models. Just not in the numbers need to play the game. There are a lot of vehicles I would love to have models for and I like Battlefront's miniatures. Of course I would prefer to buy models for a specific game but sometimes you need to look for the silver lining. Having a collection of modern military vehicle models can still serve a purpose other than being showcase pieces. I've recently came across an intriguing game called Frostgrave. Frostgrave is a fantasy game base around playing with war bands lead by wizards. The interesting thing I found about Frostgrave is that in my initial search I didn't see anything about the game's miniatures. I found a lot of information about how good the rules are and how nice the rule book is. But nothing on the official miniatures themselves. If anything mention models, they were about other companies models such as Games Workshop or Reaper. I finally found the miniatures on my second search attempt and they were nothing to write home about, at least to me. That tells me that the most important thing about Frostgrave is the rules themselves and I should just uses models I already own or buy them from other companies. The take away from this is that something similar could happen with a 15mm modern/sci-fi game. A game could come around (or is already out and I don't know about it) that has great modern warfare rules but lacks models. Heck, I could even use Team Yankee models in BattleTech. Battlefront's models are somewhat too large for BattleTech, but if BattleTech fans can accept counters and scraps of paper, then painted oversize models should work just fine. But here is hoping Team Yankee will be a rule set that I can enjoy.

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