A nice little surprise was waiting for me when I got home tonight, in the form of the Team Yankee rulebook. I had per-ordered this back in November and have been eagerly waiting for it to arrive.
Unfortunately the package was missing the launch event objective markers, and I had to go to the retailers website to find out why (no e-mail, no note in with the book). As it turns out the markers have been delayed - the retailers message on the books page was 'talk to battlefront about it' without even a link or an email address. Very shoddy and will make me think twice about using Stafford Games again.
The book itself is bigger (thicker) than I thought it would be. It's hardback and 122 pages - with artwork and quick reference on the inside covers. The artwork is very nice, starting with a map of Europe and little 'news articles' laying out each event in the run up to war.
Within the first few pages, the book lays out the story, details the main divergence from actual history and sets out the situation along the West German border.
I love this sort of stuff, and I hope they include more of it in future releases. As this book only covers army lists for the American and Russian Armoured and Mechanised forces, I'm pretty sure we will see more products (a review I read tonight of a BF event specifically mentioned Brits, East and West Germans, Canadians, French and other Warsaw Pact and NATO forces) and there is still a lot of scope for different types of lists - the fact that the Abrams tanks come with both the 105mm and 120mm gun versions does make it look like we might see some sort of development into the future as well. Perhaps different periods of what if's?
I've spent the night going through the rules, and they are all pretty clearly laid out and cut down a lot of the if>then stuff that Flames of War has. I'm interested to see how this simplified system works - I'm not keen on games that try and over simplify wargames so much, and I know that this game is designed for fast play. Still, it has a lot of tactical options and I can see it working quite well at scales other than 15mm - and I am tempted to try it at 6mm myself, having been looking at GHQ tanks recently. However 15mm will work with some other games I am interested in trying... so I will see.
I'm sure there will be (and has been) a lot of sites giving more detailed walk through's of the rules. What I can say it that it looks good, and reads well.
Manoeuvre seems important and while there is no reaction rules (other than for anti-air units) there are lots of chances for units to move. Examples include special movement orders that can be issued once per turn by a unit HQ team. A 'blitz' move that allows a unit to take a test in the movement step and if it passes any units within 6" of the HQ team can move 4" but still count as not moving for shooting and GTG, as well as a 'shoot and scoot' which is the same, but in the assault step - basically, stormtrooper moves at different points in the turn for all units. 'Follow Me' allows an extra move of 4" in the movement step after movement (on a test, units within 6" of HQ, etc)... so lots of movement options and lots of dashing from cover to cover and infiltration into and out of lines of sight.
Shooting and line of sight have been cleared up a lot, artillery and air seem a lot more straight forward, as does assault.
Army list selection is very easy, with the unit cards greatly simplifying things.
I'll be keeping an eye out for battle reports and reviews, and trying to build up a picture of where things are a little weak. There has been a few head scratching moments when I have read the rules (Thermal sights let you see through smoke, but only if you are within 6" of it for some reason, laser guided artillery rounds appear to only have a range of 16", etc). But I'm glad I have this book... now to figure out what army to collect!
Edit: the 16" range on Laser Guided Artillery is a minimum range.. that solved that one!
Oh, and in other news, post 250 and just over 60,000 visitors. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by, and especially the 6MMRPC guys and all the people who regularly leave comments. You have all helped me keep my hobby interest going, and I would not have made as much progress with my collection if it wasn't for all your input and interest. A competition may follow, after Christmas! Thanks Guys!