Monday, 4 May 2015

'Hex' and Violence

We have looked at GDW's excellent 'Team Yankee' and the First Battle system before, but Steve's recent replay over at Sound Officers' Call (between bouts of Muskets & Mayhem) gave us the urge try some hex&chit boardgames again.

There are several rules mechanisms in typical boardgames which really lend themselves to miniatures and the table; no accident of course, since one feeds the other, both historically and in the minds of the designers of these classics.
The obligatory 'damaged' box that appears to be the staple of all 2nd hand copies of 'Team Yankee'

Hold the town, Soviet hordes and M1s to the rescue. It's got all the tropes.

 Oops. Wrecks are mounting up. We need M1A1s. Damn that 105 !!!

 'Troops in the Open!". It's all over for the Soviet side.

That said, Team Yankee has the added advantages of :
  • An excellent turn sequence incorporating unique (for the time) fire and movement, that allows use of units to fulfill missions without being really tied to a rigid turn sequence as we see in some other games.
  • A nice scale of one counter=one tank/squad
We replayed scenario one from the game, with a predictable US win - but we need to look at this gem some more (and the First Battle Desert series that I have tucked away somewhere).

We then proceeded to set up and play 'Red Tide West' (well, the first turn or so), from a recent Modern War magazine. Still owned by the Strategy and Tactics people/company, these mags are great - with game rules, game, commentary and excellent articles in each issue. We even discussed a potential game/project that we'll talk to the publisher about on this one.

The game itself is very large and time intensive, and we quickly realised that it was a game for a free weekend, rather than a few hours - its focus being that West Germany would be the 'centre of gravity' for the entire hypothetical war. That said, it does bring in almost every conceivable point of interest that I'd ever wanted to see in a WWIII game, including:

  • Initial force dipositions (for when we do a campaign)
  • Effect of nuclear release on overall victory condition (i.e. how quickly armageddon comes and ends the game)
  • Good (and complex) approximation of airpower and its use
  • Excellent terrain breakdown for the north German plain, for use in campaign and mini-campaign games.

A wonderful (if epic) game. (I won't say we'll go back to this in case we never get time to. But we really should...)
 The setup with a large chunk of Northern Europe. Ouch!

 These force dispositions are sparks for campaigns.

Closer analysis of the zone and the British sector say, really give us the context and organisation for a mini game. very useful.


  1. The "First Battle" series by GDW is really my favorite "tactical" level board wargame set. I think it has Panzerblitz/Leader/AIW beat hands-down and what I've been thinking about was playing using the PB/PL/AIW maps and chits but using the First Battle rules. (Team Yankee/Sands of War/Blood&Thunder). Might make for a cleaner and smoother running game as opposed to evil, empty halftracks careening around the board with impunity and seizing the objective because they're "armored."

    I first cut my teeth on VG's "NATO: The Next War in Europe" and loved it. Units are division sized. It is a classic hex board wargame with just the right amount of abstractions and not too much clutter on the chits.

    1. I have the Sands of War stuff (I did send you the scenarios Steve didn't I, or have I forgotten to?) - which has some really nice scenarios and as you say, the rules are excellent.

      Must try and get a copy of VG's NATO game - although long out of print I guess.

    2. You did send me the SoW stuff no worries on that!

      Here is one in the UK:

      A little pricey though - you may be able to find one cheaper. I don't even think I paid this much for mine when I bought it in the store!

      I want to try the First Battle rules out with WW2 forces and see how it goes. Pretty neat for a 1:1 microarmor game!

  2. I like the look of the Red Tide Easty- thanks for bringing it to my attention- will look for a copy.



    1. Sure Pete, no problem.
      I've been looking a decent WWIII campaign guide for a while - and it is a mega game too.