Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Rules rules games games.

Saturday the 19th Novemebr saw 5 TWATS   gather at our usual haunt for this months game - or rsather games
 Andrew the Tekkie was in the chair so it was 15mm Moderns using my British and Iraqi forces. However the idea this time was a bit different.
 Basically  Andrew and I wanted to test 3 rule sets to see how they compared. So Andrew set up a simple scenario which would be played out to each of the 3 sets
Team Yankee as it is the newest brightest ans shinyest came first . This would be its first outing
 Cold War Commander as we'd never actually played this and finally
 Combined Arms- is our usual set for these games and would therefore be the last of the 3 test games. In the event it didn't get played but as we knew what to expect from the system it did not change out ultimate findings.
 Andrew will post  accounts of the 2 battles on his blog Tantobie Internet Tattler in due course .
 I'm going to restrict myself to my opinion of the two rule sets.
The table laid out for both games- Iraqis nearest the camera. 

 I was deeply sceptical about Team Yankee. It is a glorified skirmish game where one tank represents one tank. Higher formations  than the company tend to be ignored for though you could play them if you had enough kit it would be a major exercise. Some things really jar- baled out tank crews for a start- not in a 1980s battlefield- well not for very long anyhow. My first reading of the rules was pretty cursory but they seemed rather simplistic and as always with that style of rule writing just a bit patronising. I was prepared to give them a proper spanking. Yet it has to be said I've played worse. The game was quick and frantic and quite dice driven yet it had its points. By the end of 5 turns there were dead tanks everywhere- mostly - but not entirely Iraqi and the British recon unit and 2 Challenger had ceased to exist. For the  1980s North German plain that is not actually bad- and since that is what the rules are designed for... The feel however was very gamesey, very shazam-kapow somehow quite teenage. Yet there was a bit of potential. The off- putting part is the price- not just of the basic rules but of all the add-ons- apparently £16.00 for the artillery  bombardment tool- some plastic thingy and of course around £12.00 for each of the add on books/army lists not to mention the vicious prices of some of the models. Of course this last does not bother us since we have bundle of modern stuff available.
 Despite all this I am, surprisingly, a long way from writing these off. I still prefer Combined Arms over Team Yankee - as it doesn't treat you like a 14 year old- and does not threaten to market the shite out of you at every opportunity. Also I prefer the higher command level of CA. Nevertheless TY was a good bit better than expected- 6/10
Team Yankee- move 2 and the Iraqis still survive ! 

Now we come to Cold War Commander. In theory it is set at the same command level as  CA- with one model representing a platoon but there the resemblance ends. simply because there is no higher organisation than a single model vehicle /Infantry stand - you are supposed to make it up. The whole system is slaved to the Army lists which in many cases cover a pretty wide time spectrum.Some of the possibilities are odd. with "higher" grouping of several platoons/units being called formations. There are  no companies/squadrons/battalions. Merely groups of pretty counters. So organisationally they don't score.
The mind numbing nothing ness of the desert and Cold War Commander.

 Now, on to the mechanisms- simplistic  but somehow not simple. Repetitive and tedious is the nearest I can get- this was DBR with tanks  with a bit of Black Powder for flavour and perspicacious reader will know my opinion of DBR. These possibly were not that good. The IGOUGO system made it slow even for a first game.. All 5 of us died of boredom by move 4 . If you are the sort of games player who thinks dice rolling is an intellectual activity then these are right up your street as EVERYTHING is dice controlled. Issue an order- roll dice, want to fire -roll dice work out hits- roll dice  Saving throws- roll more dice . . Morale- no not really  but roll a dice anyway. Gawd this was tedious. I had spots before my eyes.  Then do it all again next move as hits are not cumulative so unless you accrue enough hits on a unit in 1 turn to kill it outright . It comes back again later even if it has been forced back or temporarily suppressed. . This is yet another prime example of making the game for the sake of a game and ignoring the actuality.
 Total Cobblers 0/10

Nothing to do with the game but a pair of Old Glory AMX30 painted - and sand skirts/aerials added by Shaun Holdsworth.
 A regular TWAT. 
Still despite the above  as always a good day had by all.  As always mightily aided by  Beef Butties and the odd pint ! Next meeting in December will be the TWATS Tiny Tactica Tournament. - Watch this space !


  1. If the 'Combined Arms' rule set is the one out of the 'Command Decision' stable, then I'm inclined to agree with your assessment. CD has been my WW2 set of choice for 25 years or so. I particularly like the command/orders system that helps kick the thing along. I still retain a preference for CD2, though, over the more recent incarnations.

    My attitude to subjecting everything to die rolls is that for a solo game this is probably great, but for a game of skill (?) between two or more players, then you'd be as well off playing a game of snakes and ladders. One wants to able to plan an action, and have some confidence that you can carry the plan through. However liable to early demise plans are upon contact with the enemy, one would have some idea where things are and what they are doing in order to extemporise some sort of response. That is the point.

    So I have a marked distaste for rule sets whose guiding principle is that of caprice. IGoUGo rule sets I also think are OK for solo play, but am definitely 'old school' when it comes to 'simultaneous' movement, or a reasonable approximation thereof!

    I do have some sympathy for a faced moving, fast paced set of rules, though, even if simplistic. If they give a sense of urgency and having to make decisions quickly in the face of rapidly unfolding events. then I'd be willing to accept a level of 'fudge-factor' in the mechanics.


  2. Ion- Combined Arms is indeed the modern version of CD and yes I agree with your views- which to be honest was why I ended up feeling somewaht beeter about Team Yankee than the reading suggested(or indeed knowing it came out of the FOW stable.
    Combined Arms is still top dog for us but there will be times when team Yankee is appropriate for the scenario .