Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve written a post in this series, but today I have reason to. I took receipt of a brand new copy of Battlefront’s World War 3: Team Yankee rule book, which is version 2 and a slight rebrand, of Team Yankee: World War 3 – yep, I don’t know why either.
I got into the game because of my growing fasination about the late Cold War era and the alternate history of the Cold War gone hot. My experience of the game is that it’s fast and brutal, with little room for error if there are lots of high-mobility units on the table. Then again, my first proper experience was at a RAFWA tournament which did little to convince me that tournament players won’t try to win at any cost (hint: I lost… badly).
Whilst I haven’t had any games with the new rules, I have taken time to digest them as much as I can. There are many good bits and bad bits about the rules which I’ll try to cover here.
Artillery – These chaps have had a few very nice tweaks to their rules, essentially making them very worth while fielding, and even more so in larger numbers. Taking anthing less than 3 is simply not worth it as you’re forced to re-roll success, but taking more than 4 mean you can re-roll misses. To add a little extra dose of fear into your opponent, if they don’t want to lose whole fields of infantry due to repeat bombardments, then they must displace their soldiers, otherwise your opponent must re-roll successful saves!
Aircraft – This includes fixed and rotary wing things. Whilst not a whole lot has changed with them, the new morale rules essentially mean they can stay on the field a lot longer. So long as at least one aircraft team is in Good Spirits (ie one model), then the unit doesn’t have to take a morale test each turn. Since I can’t figure out under what circumstances aircraft need a morale test, I’m not quite sure why aircraft still have a morale roll on their unit card. I’m sure it’s there for a reason it though. So previously where fielding just 2 would be pointless, now it’s more feasible.
Layout – The new rule book is a lot better at detailing the specific parts of each turn. A lot of rule books suffer from poor referencing of rules and turn steps, such as Warlord’s Bolt Action rule book, but Battlefront has done really well here. The text is a good size and concise, the index is thorough, the key phases of the game are clear and easily found. It’s actually quite pleasant to read!
Morale – Whilst good for aircraft, it’s harsh for everything else. As soon as your unit gets into Bad Spirits then you’re taking morale test each turn, meaning there’s a far greater chance of your entire force crumbling is you don’t take large enough units. Previously taking 2 tanks per unit was relatively accepted, but under the new rules if you lose one then sooner or later a bad morale roll will kill the other. Now, it seems daft if you don’t take the largest units possible.
Ambiquity – There’s a lot of this in the book. Whilst the new rule book is generally better layed out, the writers have missed key details. Dashing, for example, in the old book had your team/model face the direction it travelled in – important in the context of protecting your armoured vehicles’ flanks. In the new book there is no mention of this. So is this rule still extant or not? It seemed like a decent rule at the time, adding an extra dimension of considerations of the choices available to you. Other examples of this are the Stabiliser rules. I get the sense that the writers and play testers may not have been completely thorough, which seems accurate given how quickly an FAQ has been released.
The book – The book is actually really nice, the layout, the little extra background details, etc, but… , and it’s a minor point really, but the proof readers need a good shoeing! It wasn’t long before the first error popped up in which a page reference placeholder wasn’t removed, and the amount of errors towards the back of the book was simply rediculus. Battlefront has been around a long while, and a professional company such as this should really be doing better. I was also surprised at how much content was simply copied and pasted from the old rule book. I get it, but a little more effort to add new or additional content would have been nice.
The rules still seem fun, and that’s the key. The models are even better, and the new rule book strongly hints at some of the future releases Battlefront has planned (AH-64 Apaches!!). I still think they are hamstringing themselves with a D6 system, but they are doing well to give players a wide range of balanced options and methods to employ them. That has to be commended given how gaming communities that focus on the modern- and ultra-modern-era can be opinionated (mainly forces and ex-forces folk who think they know better…). Every rule system will have players create their own “house rules”, and I think WW3:TY will need this to help iron out its kinks and to generally speed the game up. All that said, I’ve already worked out my new British forces and am super eager to start my US and Russian forces!