On April 22, 2017, I ran a Team Yankee tournament at Huzzah Hobbies in Ashburn, VA. I had approached the owner, Chris Huhn, about doing so because I have seen little Team Yankee action in the area. But I suspected there were a number of folks that would come out of the woodwork for it. With the kind support of the WWPD Network, my gamble paid off. We had 10 tournament players and a couple of interested parties who played a demo game, bringing the total of participants to an even dozen.
As this was a casual tournament to drum up interest, there was no requirement to have painted models or to play every round. As a result, some players did not stay for the whole event, and a number of armies were not painted.
By my count, we had 4 West German, 2 East German, 2 Soviet, 1 American, and 1 British player. We played at 100 point armies and used the following missions: Free for all, Encounter, and No Retreat. Each round was 2 hours long. We used rulebook scoring, and I also asked each player to choose a “best sportsman” out of their opponents. In addition, I chose a best painted army. Thanks to Huzzah Hobbies and Battlefront, we had a high level of gift certificate support on offer.
After three rounds, our clear winner was Ben Gobel, playing British, with 3 wins and 17 VPs. Second was Scott Macklemore, playing West Germans, with 3 wins and 13 VPs. Coming third was Glenn with one win and two “losses” (aka Team Yankee draws) and 12 VPs. Kevin Kelley won Best Sport, and I chose Mitch Reed’s gorgeous East Germans as the Best Painted Army.
I think the tournament was a great success in that it helped to spark more interest in Team Yankee in this area and brought gamers out to meet one another. Team Yankee is a very new game still and it was very exciting to see all the factions available in action. There are definitely some strong army builds out there and it will be interesting to see how Nationals plays out, and how the new US and Soviet books change the game going forward. I certainly really enjoyed playing against new people and armies and taking my troops for a spin. At least one player asked for another Team Yankee tournament and Huzzah, so I will see what I can do!
My second game was against Scott's West Germans, and due to the reserve rule, I had to deploy my air platoons. In that game I lost 5 of 7 planes in my first turn. The 2 remaining helicopters died in his first turn. But the rest of my army made a go of it, with my tanks arriving first thing. I made a drive on the left objective and almost pulled it off, but the Leos showed up at last and in the exact right place to kick me off the objective. I lost 3-4. In my last game I faced Ben's British.
You might ask how I got to play Ben, since I had lost my first two and Ben won overall, but I kept the match-ups Red vs. Blue as much as possible and tried to mix up players so regular opponents like Ben and Scott did no have to play each other. Sadly this game was my shortest. I set up in defense, and again the Afgantsy rule on reserves forced my to deploy 4 Hinds and keep my tanks in reserve. Ben's entire force had spearhead so he ignored a river and was on me on Turn 1. I again lost my helicopters in my first turn. Ben's tanks moved so fast they were up on my defended objectives, picked off all my best teams, and annihilated my AA. I also lost my carnations to his air. In my turn my whole army on the table bailed two of his tanks. By the end of his second turn it was clear I had not a prayer and I conceded, losing 1-6.
My conclusion is Afgantsy are tough to play, or at least how I played them. West Germans especially eat Hinds and Su-25s for breakfast. So running an air-heavy army against a West German opponent seems very dodgy. The Afgantsy deployment rule (as I understand it) also puts your choppers on the board from the get go, which prevents you from choosing to bring them in after you have a chance to get at the opponent's AA. These factors may turn my attention to a T-72 horde for future tournaments.