Version 4 of Flames of War is finally here. A quick scan of the new rules tells me that Battlefront has adapted the Team Yankee rule set into the newest edition of Flames of War. Which is fine by me as I think the Team Yankee rules are easier to learn and use. Cause overall they are both essentially the same rule set, might as well go with the simpler version of the two. Taking a closer look at the rules however, I notice while Version 4 Flames of Wars has the same framework of Team Yankee, there were some easy to miss significant differences. I thought I would make my top 10 rule differences between Team Yankee and Version 4 to help people get into the game. Also if you never played Team Yankee as a Flames of War player, hopefully this guide can still be useful to you as there is a sea of changes between Version 3 and Version 4.
#10. Mistaken Targets - If you never played Team Yankee then something new you need to get use to is that the shooter gets to assigns hits, with some restrictions. To balance out the attacker picking the juiciest targets allowed, the defender on a +3 may swap all the hits on two teams. At first glance Version 4 Mistaken Targets rule (beside being better written) looks identical to Team Yankee's. However, there is one additional restriction that isn't in Team Yankee. In Version 4, hits can only be swap once! I'm not entirely sure how much this will make a difference. I need to see it in action and take some time theorycrafting to really understand what this change means. But in the mean time keep this difference in mind.
#9. Aircraft Spotting - Aircraft is very different in Version 4, if you haven't played Team Yankee. They now behave mostly like other units. A Team Yankee player will be used to the aircraft rules. Something that can be easily missed is that ground units can not spot for aircraft's artillery and vice verse. It makes sense in that communication between the ground and aircraft was probably very limited in World War 2.
#8. Repeating Bombardment - A couple things a Version 3 player needs to know about artillery is that staff teams is no longer used and the spotter picks a point on the board (not a unit) to be a target of the bombardment. There are three things different about doing repeating bombardment in Version 4 from Team Yankee. The first is that the spotter (who could be different from the one who did the initial bombardment) doesn't need line of sight to the aiming point!(there is a penalty for not having line of sight to the aiming point, but it doesn't stop the bombardment) Second, infantry and Gun Team hit by a repeat bombardment have to re-roll successful saves! Third, moving the artillery also removes the range in marker. This third one is something for a while I thought was in Team Yankee but its never mention in the actual rules. Version 4 on the other hand makes it loud and clear moving means losing the marker.
#7. Bombardment - To do a bombardment first you need a spotter, who does need to see the aiming point. The spotter can be a member of the artillery, Formation HQ or a specialist Observer. A Team Yankee player might notice the one thing not listed. Unit Commander! I know it will take me a while to get use to unit commanders not being able to spot for artillery. But that isn't the only change from Team Yankee. In Team Yankee spotters can only spot for a single artillery unit but there is no such restriction in Version 4. Spotters are still limited to 3 attempts but in Version 4, for example if they range in on the first attempt, the spotter can use their second and third attempts for a different artillery battery.
#6 Move Orders and Reserves - Not Team Yankee players will need to get use to movement order. They are a group of abilities that any unit can do and require a check to perform. One of these movement orders, Blitz move, has been extremely useful in Team Yankee for reserve units. It gave the possibility of move or shot units to arrive from reserves and still fire. This will not be an option in Version 4 because it block units from using movement orders until they are on the board.
#5 Reserves - How you pick what goes into reserves is completely difference from both Version 3 and Team Yankee. The rule in Version 4 is that no more than 60% of the agreed point total may be deployed on the table with the rest going into reserves. That means it no longer matters how many units you have in your list. In theory this should force closer to a 50/50 split between on the table and reserves. While this does prevent taking several cheap units to manipulate what goes into reserves, I'm not sure how much this will change stuff in actual games. I know it will change how people build some lists but beyond that I need to play a few games to see how this will truly affect the game.
#4 Commander Re-rolls - This would be a rare case that it would be better to have never played Team Yankee. Version 3 players are used to their HQ giving re-rolls. Team Yankee removed all those rules so its a little surprising to me to see that they are back. Failing to remounted bailed out tanks, rallying from pinned down or Last Stand Test can be re-rolled if the unit is within 6 inches of the commander (and line of sight to unit leader). Just when I was getting use to not worrying about when can I do re-rolls, its back.
#3 Starting Step - The Starting Step between Version 3 and Team Yankee is quite similar. However Version 4 is vastly different in many ways. First reserves is now before aircraft. Team Yankee has it the other way, which can frankly was mistake on the designers part and caused issues that had to be resolved in FAQs later. With reserves happening first, Version 4 no longer have those problems. A far more significant change is that the Formation more check has moved from the beginning like it is in Team Yankee and Version 3 to the middle of the Starting Step. This means you will have a chance to remount bailed out tanks, before dealing with the Formation morale. This rule change is quite beneficial to armor user. In Team Yankee, if you only had tank units in your formation and every tank was bailed out, you had to check whether you lost the game before you could remount. In Version 4, you roll for remount first and if you get enough success you no longer have to worry about auto losing.
#2 Last Stand Test - Both Team Yankee and Version 3 have a rule that the last remaining infantry team in an unit need to make a check every turn to stay in the game. Version 4 has greatly expanded on that concept. Now what triggers a morale check also triggers the Last Stand Test. For infantry that means they need to start taking Last Stand Test when reduce to 2 teams instead of one every turn. For tanks which are normally immune to this rule are now affected. Lone tanks now have to check every turn or get destroyed, unless they started the game as single team (or they are warriors). And still lone non warriors/non commanders tanks that are bailed out also have to take the Last Stand Test. Another thing to keep in mind is that when unit leaders died, you immediately pick a new one unless no one was within 6 inches of the leader. If that happens then the unit remains leaderless and until the unit leader is replace that unit will have to make Last Stand Test no matter how big the unit is. This is a huge change. All the different ways this one change can impact games is almost too many to count. I thought this was the biggest and most significant difference in Version 4, until I read ...
#1 Formation Morale - In Team Yankee you need at least a single unit that is apart of the Formation to be in Good Spirits for the Formation to be consider in Good Spirits. Version 4 requires 2 units instead of just one. If that wasn't bad enough, a Formation not in Good Spirits in Version 4 is auto destroyed! There is no roll from the commander to stay in! The only bright side to Version 4 is that looks at both units on the table and in reserves while Team Yankee only checks units on the table. So you won't auto lose because of reserves but once everything is on the table this will end games much faster than either Team Yankee or Version 3 did.
If you are a Version 3 player and do not know what Formation are, everything but your support platoons are in your Formation. Combat platoon, Weapon platoons and sometimes Regimental/Brigade Support comprise your Formation. If you never played Team Yankee, this is only a taste of the differences between Version 3 and Version 4. It will probably take sometime to get used to the vast differences.
I have only skimmed the rules but these are the 10 things I thought were by far the biggest changes from Team Yankee. Still I'm more excited to try Flames of War again now than I have been in quite a while. When I get some games in I can provide more detailed thoughts on Version 4. Until then, I hope this was helpful and thank you for reading.