Team Yankee Review by David Lent
Team Yankee is a wargame based on the book of the same name from Harold Coyle. The book is about an American company commander named Captain Bannon who leads his tankers against a Soviet invasion force in West Germany. The scenarios in this wargame are all based on battles from the book.
Learning Team Yankee is much easier than in most wargames, because there is a limited number of rules listed followed by a scenario that uses them. Between each scenario, more rules are presented and the next scenario uses them. This allows the players to learn more of the game with each scenario they play. Only 3.5 pages of rules need to be read before playing the first scenario. Thus, even beginners can learn this game. The tactics and hints on play section will help them also.
Each scenario lists the objective, victory condition, forces used and morale limits for each side. If artillery is used in the scenario, it states the type of ammunition (including chemical warheads) as well as number of salvoes available.
Player Turn Phase:
1) Write down artillery targets and roll for air availability
2) First attacks
3) Move and enemy reaction fire
4) Last attacks (for units that have not attacked yet)
5) Fire artillery
Team Yankee plays like a hex and chit version of a stripped-down miniatures game. Vehicles have facing, along with front and flank armor. I felt the flank armor was too weak for the main battle tanks though. Missiles have the same strength, regardless of what range they are fired from, though they do fire at half strength if firing into the forest. However, guns double in strength when fired from less than half of normal range. They are reduced by half when firing at more than normal range though.
The combat rules have some unique aspects in this game. When you fire at a hex, you must determine whether you are firing at the vehicles or the infantry there. All units firing into that hex must declare it before rolling the dice. When destroyed or damaged effects occur, you must roll to see which units in the stack are affected. It’s possible to roll four destroyed affects on a stack of four and all of them affect only one tank in the stack. In addition, if all units in the target hex are destroyed you may not fire your units that targeted there and have not fired yet.
During movement, a unit may choose to forego movement and instead flip itself over to its reaction fire side. This will allow it to fire during the enemy’s movement phase. The rules did not state whether units could start the game flipped over though. I house ruled that they could.
Morale in this game consists of both a hesitation and a break point. Each time one of your leaders is killed it adds to your morale loss points. The higher the level of the leader, the more points it will cost you. If enough points are lost to reach your hesitation point, you lose the initiative (if you had it). If both sides have reached the hesitation point, then initiative switches randomly each turn. When the breaking point is reached, that side flees and the battle is over. Since each scenario has an objective, it is theoretically possible in some scenarios for one side to flee and lose the battle, but still win the scenario. Usually, that won’t happen though.
This game is very easy to learn and fun to play. It sometimes takes longer to setup the scenario than to play it. Modern war is very deadly, so this is somewhat understandable. The scenarios feel unbalanced though. It’s usually becomes obvious really quick, which side has a lopsided advantage of winning. In some scenarios, it was nearly impossible for one of the sides to win unless their opponent did something illogical.
Overall, I really like this game and recommend it (especially for beginners). However, some seasoned players may not appreciate the unbalanced scenarios though.
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Get another perspective by watching Len’s thoughts on this game below: