09 December 2017

Doctor Who - Time of the Daleks



Gale Force Nine has been producing some seriously good board games based on popular culture over the last few years. Firefly, Spartacus, Star Trek, Family Guy...

And now they're adding Doctor Who to their roster with their most recent release, Time of the Daleks.


Now, I was lucky enough to have been involved in the creation of this one by play testing the rules, so I do have some slight bias here. It is a seriously cool game though.

You, as one of the Doctors, along with your other Time Lords are attempting to stop the Daleks from reaching Gallifrey and destroying all of time. You'll need the help of the Doctor's companions and all his tools on the way if you hope to defeat Davros and his minions.


The premise of the game is very simple. As you travel along the Web of Time to Gallifrey, you will travel (via TARDIS) to many different locations. At these locations, you'll be faced with Dilemmas which need to be defeated lest the Daleks move closer to their goal.




Dilemmas are defeated by rolling your pool of dice and matching them to the symbols on the Dilemma. Roll enough and you achieve your goal and take your reward. Fail and you bring the Daleks to your location, making it harder for you to beat the Dilemma.


Your TARDIS is where you hold your equipment, companions and the Doctor himself.


As you can see, each Doctor starts with a pool of Story Dice. These can be added to and changed (focused) by the varying companions available to the Doctors on their travels. In this case, Clara allows the Twelfth Doctor to add a Green Story Die and a Red Story Die to his pool. In addition, he can choose to exchange one of his Black Story Dice for a Blue one.


Each die has its won strengths and weaknesses and you need to figure out which combination of dice will allow you the best chance of completing your mission.

Should you fail to roll the combination you need to meet the task, fear not! You companions and your equipment will allow you the opportunity to either re-roll some or all of your dice or even change them to exactly what you're after.


As well as facing the Dilemmas, you will also face Time Anomalies along the way. These are triggered by the approach of the Dalek ship on its way to Gallifrey and present more serious challenges for the Doctors.


Winning the game is pretty simple. While it's cooperative, only one Doctor can be the winner. Get to Gallifrey before any of the other Doctors, and you win! But, if the Dalek ship gets there first or you fail too many Dilemmas, then the Daleks win. If at any point you're required to place the seventh Dalek on the table, then the Time of the Daleks has begun and you lose.

The mechanics of the game are very simple and easy to learn, but there is definitely a degree of complexity and cooperation you need to get to grips with to make sure you're not failing too many challenges and bringing more Daleks on to the table.

And of course, you know that there are some pretty cool minis in this game too, right...




These are all in plastic and they should also paint up very nicely, or just be left as is.

So, if you're looking for a Christmas gift for that Doctor Who fan in your life, then this is something definitely worth looking at!

There are plans for expansions to include other Doctors in the game, but for now, the base set definitely has enough fun packed into it for you!


13 November 2017

List Building from Stripes - UH-1 Huey Infantry Combat Team

Apart from the Marine list from Stripes, this is the list that really got my attention. While I know it's a Vietnam thing (and I can't wait to see the new 'Nam rules, by the way!), the thought of a flight of Huey's heading across the table with some Hendrix playing in the background is a damned awesome feeling moment. 

And given I already have a few Huey's lying around, this list is definitely within my reach, although with Battlefront bringing out new plastic Huey's.....

Looking at the list for the 82nd, we have some pretty nice options, in my opinion. I'd like to point out here, in case you didn't know, that I am not really a tournament player. I make lists for fun and to get toys on the table.

I have to take a UH-1 Huey Infantry Combat Team HQ for 1 point. No questions there, no major decision making needed here.

From here, I need to take at least 2 UH-1 Huey Rifle Platoons. My choice here is to have both of them armed in the same manner. I'm taking the full compliment of troops, so 7 SAW/LAW teams, a Dragon team and 3 Hueys. I'm adding 2 M-60 GPMG teams to each which means I need another Huey so in total, the platoons cost me 10 points each.



From there, I reckon some tank support is the way to go here. My option is the M551 Sheridan. Much like the Patton, I love the Sheridan and remember having a heap of 6mm ones as a kid that never got painted. I wish I knew where they were...

I'm taking my full allotment of tanks here, so 2 platoons of 5 Sheridans. While they're seriously paper-thin when going up against other tanks, they have some hitting power with either the 152mm or switching to the Shillelagh missile for some extra boom-boom. Just have to make sure they stay reasonably well hidden....get them before they get you!

Each platoon here is 10 points, so that's another 20 points spent of my 80.



That's tank support taken care of, now to fill out my core.

The more and more I look at the lists in Stripes, having both the HMMWV Scout Section and an HMMWV-TOW Squad is an automatic inclusion in almost everything. If you can get the Hummers in the right place, they're going to cause problems for enemy armour and transports, guaranteed. In the case of my 82nd list, I'm taking both which costs me 7 points. Done.



On to support options now, and I'm doing things slightly differently here. Ultimately, I need to protect my air assets because they're gonna drop the boys off close to objectives so they can get stuck in and get rid of defenders. For that reason, I'm doubling up on AA.

First off I'm taking a VADS platoon for 6 points. They act in a dual-purpose role for me here. If they're not shooting down enemy air, they provide some pretty good fire support for the infantry as well. Halted, you're taking 7 shots each with AT6 and this goes down to 4 on the move. With 4 tracks in the platoon, I'm still looking at 16 shots on the move. Pretty good value, I think.



After that, I am taking the much maligned and heavily discussed Sgt. York, for a similar reason to the VADS inclusion. They're multi-purpose weapons here and they have an even better AT than the VADS. 4 (of the 50 ever made) are in my list for 8 points.

Apparently, you can't take VADS and Sgt. York's so looks like I'll be taking Chaparrel's instead here. No major problem, same points and all that.





And lastly.... it's Cobra time.




If you don't like the Cobra, I think there may be something wrong with you.

I'm sinking 14 points into these BAMF's because they're a) cool as fuck and b) powerful.

They're Hunter Killer, meaning that they can pop in and our where you need them. They've got a massive array of weaponry at their disposal to take care of all comers.



These guys are here to ensure that my Huey's get through to their objectives and take the game. Backed up by my AA assets to keep them in the sky, I think the list has the potential to be a real winner.

And if not, it's still gonna look damned sexy on table!


Expanding the list is pretty easy I think. Adding another Huey platoon would take care of 10 points putting me to 86 and I can then add 4 more Cobras!

Oh the fun I'd have with that!!

So, what do you think of the list? Any changes you'd make?


11 November 2017

List Building from Stripes - Greg's Marine Tank Company



I haven't really built a new list for Team Yankee since I got my West Germans painted up and ready to go so with the introduction of Stripes to the fray, I've found myself drawn into wanting to build Marines and especially a Marine Tank Company. While I appreciate the power of the M1 Abrams, I really do have a soft spot for the venerable M60 Patton. It's a damned fine tank!

So, taking a look at how my 80 point list would be fleshed out, here's where we start. I'm taking a Marine Tank Company, so I need a Tank Company HQ. Here I have the option of 1-2 M60 Patton tanks for 4 points each. I don't tend to take a second tank here, so it's an easy choice.

I have to take 2 Marine Tank Platoons, so I'm gonna make sure they're maxxed out. 5 Pattons in each costing me 20 points per platoon. Remember that the Marines have the M60A1 so it's slightly worse than the Army M60A3. Armour is the same, as are the guns. I don't get Laser Rangefinders but I do have the benefit of Accurate.


Those are my compulsory choices sorted, so now adding to the core formation, I'm first going to be adding my HMMWV Scout Section for 2 points. This gets me 3 Humvees with Scout and Spearhead to advance my deployment where possible. Because the Scout Section also has the HMMWV-TOW in there, there is also the potential that they can mess with my enemy's armour as well. Definitely a benefit in my eyes!




And if adding the HMMWV Scouts was a no-brainer, then getting the HMMWV-TOW Anti-Tank Squad is even easier! 2 points for 2 TOW-Armed Hummers to really start messing with anything coming close is a great buy for your money!


Rounding out my core forces, I need some boots on the ground to defend the objectives and hold on should the need arise. For this, I'm taking a Marine Rifle Platoon. I'm taking the smaller version which sets me back 6 points for 6 SAW/LAW teams and 2 AAVP7 transports for them. I'm also adding 2 Dragon teams here just in case we need to really defend against an armoured assault on our positions. I would also then exchange 2 of the SAW/LAW teams for M60 GPMG to guard against infantry assaults and also 2 SMAW teams, as extra insurance!


And now on to support options.

Ummm, hello! Harriers anyone?! I have to take 4 of these bad boys and at only 6 points for the 4, the fact they arrive on a 3+ and cluster bombs, I'm in heaven! The 30mm Aden gun has AT 7 and FP 5+ to take our both APC and other soft skin targets as well but can also shoot down enemy choppers if needed.


So I now need clear skies to make sure my Harriers can get through unmolested. My AA of choice here is the M48 Chaparral. I'm take 4 of these to protect my formation from the air which costs me 8 points. They can hit anything on the table and their 3+ firepower should pretty much guarantee some kills.

Rounding out my list, I'm taking 3 M109's and a HMMWV OP for 8 points in total. Artillery can be an absolute game changer in the right circumstances and without the benefit of mortars here, this is the best option for me.


All up, you're looking at an 80 point list which I think is pretty well rounded and covers most bases. The key here is making sure your M60's survive. They have less armour than the Abrams so you need to make sure you're making use of cover, use your TOW's to eliminate threats and get them into the enemy's face!


I have a couple of options for expanding this list to 100 points if needed. I can either add another platoon of 5 Pattons for 20 points (more hulls = more fun!) or I can look to add a HMMWV Cavalry Troop, an option I'm quite keen on exploring.

For 19 points, I get 6 Scout Sections each consisting of a HMMWV-M2, a HMMWV-MK19 and 2 HMMWV-TOW. The HQ adds 2 more HMMWV-M2 which would give me a total of:

8 x HMMWV-M2
6 x HMMWV-MK19 and
12 x HMMWV-TOW


Surely I'm not the only person for which that sounds incredibly appealing???

There we have it team, I've already taken steps to make this happen by pre-ordering the Ryan's Leathernecks starter box from Battlefront.


It's a good starter but I'm definitely going to be needing more Pattons and Hummers!

In my next article, I'll take a look at a build for the 82nd pulling on some recent discussions I've seen around helo troops.

Until then....


Stripes - US Forces in World War III

As we teased earlier this week, we've been given an advanced copy of Stripes from our mates at Battlefront to pour over and give you an honest review of. 

Now, I'm going to get this out of the way right now and up front. If you were expecting Bradleys to be in here, you're going to be disappointed. They're not here.

If you can get past that, what you're going to find in Stripes is a heap of new options for building both US Army and US Marine forces for Team Yankee, all of which have new release plastics coming out either at the same time or very shortly after the main releases hit the stores.

Now, lets get into the book proper and see what we're going to get!



Stripes focuses on the US 7th Corps, the 82nd Airborne and the 2nd Marine Division, allowing you to take formations from within these combat units. I'm going to have a look at them all individually and also the support units you have access to with each.



US Army

The US Army portion of Stripes gives you the option to field three different formations; an Armored Combat Team, a Mech Combat Team or a Cavalry Troop. Lets have a look at them.







Armored Combat Team

Stripes allows you to field 2 options for your Tank formations, taking either the M1 Abrams or the M60 Patton. Lets take a look at the M1 first.


To have a valid formation, you must take your formation HQ of either 1 or 2 Abrams and a minimum of 2 Abrams platoons of 2-4 tanks (to a maximum of 3 platoons). As you can see, you also now have the option of upgrading your M1 tanks to the IPM1 (Improved Performance) which will cost you 1 point per tank, but the additional point of armour could be the difference between life and death against those big Warsaw Pact guns!



Your other option is to take the older M60 Patton tank as your formation. The Army has access to the new M60A3 Patton. Again, you have to take a formation HQ consisting of 1-2 Patton tanks and a minimum of 2 platoons of 2-4 tanks, up to a maximum of 3 platoons.


As you can see, while they're more lightly armoured than the M1, the Patton still deploys the mighty M68 105mm gun providing more than enough firepower to deal with those pesky Russian built tanks!



Both formations have the same optional support selections, allowing you the option of fielding:

0-1 M106 Heavy Mortar Platoon
0-1 M901 ITV Anti-tank Platoon
0-1 M113 Mech Platoon
0-2 M113 Scout Platoon

I'll cover these off in more detail later, except for the M113 Mech Platoon, which is part of the Mech Combat Team.


Mech Combat Team

The M113 Mech Platoons carry on the tradition of armored combat platoons set out in World War II as the Armored Rifle Platoon. They're mobile and armored to get into the battle and once the infantry are deployed, they have everything the need to see off the enemy.

To field your Mech Combat Team, you need to take a Mech Combat Team HQ consisting of an M16 Rifle Team and their M113 transport. From there, you can take a minimum of 2 M113 Mech Platoons (to a max of 3) and they have a full or short option.

In the full option, you get 4 SAW/LAW Teams and 3 Dragon Missile Teams. These have 4 M113 APC's to chauffeur them into the fight. The short option reduces you to 3 SAW/LAW teams and 2 Dragon teams with 3 M113's.

In both options, you can add an additional Dragon team for 1 point.


As support for your Mech Combat team, you have the option of:

0-1 Tank Platoon (either M1 or M60)
0-1 M106 Heavy Mortar Platoon
0-2 M113 Scout Section
0-4 M901 ITV Anti-tank Platoon


Armored Cavalry Troop

The final option you have for the US Army portion is the Armored Cavalry Troop. This is a slightly different formation than we've see previously and it requires you to take:

An Armored Cavalry Troop HQ made up of a single M113 Scout track. Once you have that, you must take at least 1 Tank Platoon, either M1 or M60. Once you've selected one, you can take an additional 2 tank platoons but they must be of the type you have already selected. From there, you have to take a minimum of 2 M113 Scout platoons, consisting of an M113 Scout and an M901 ITV, and you can have a maximum of 6 Scout Platoons.


As support here, you've got the option of:

0-1 M106 Cavalry Mortar Platoon
0-1 M109 Field Artillery Battery
0-1 AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter Platoon
0-1 UH-1 Huey Rifle Platoon


Light Division Reconnaissance Squadron

While not a main formation, you also have an option to field a Light Recon formation fielding the new High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle or HWWWV; the Humvee or Hummer.


To field this formation, you must take a HMMWV Cavalry Troop HQ consisting of 2 HMMWV-M2. From there, you must take a minimum of 3 HMMWV Scout sections and up to a maximum of 6. The scout sections come in 2 options; the first with a HMMWV-M2, a HMMWV-MK19 (with 40mm Grenade Launcher) and 2 HMMWV-TOW (with Improved TOW missiles). Your second option gives you one less HMMWV-TOW for a total of 3 Hummers per section.


There are no additional support options here....but with the potential for 12 Humvee-mounted TOW missiles, who needs them?!


The 82nd Airborne


The 82nd Airborne has a long history in the US military stretching back to its formation in 1917 as the 82nd Division. It was during this time it was given its nickname; 'the All Americans'. In 1942 during the Second World War, it became the United States' first airborne division, with it's first airborne operation coming as part of the 1943 invasion of Sicily.

Fast forward to 1985, and the 82nd has become the core of the US Rapid Deployment Forces (RDF) and are ready to go at a moments notice.






UH-1 Huey Infantry Combat Team

Ferried into battle inside the Huey transport helo rather than parachuting in, the 82nd is no less mobile as a result.


To field the Huey Infantry Combat team, you must take a UH-1 Infantry Combat Team HQ consisting of a single M16 Rifle Team.

From there, you must field at least 2 UH-1 Huey Rifle Platoons and a max of three. You again have a full and short option with respect to your Rifle platoons.

The full option will give you 7 SAW/LAW teams, 1 Dragon Missile Team and 3 UH-1 Huey choppers. The short version limits you to 5 SAW/LAW teams, the Dragon and 2 Hueys. You do have the option, in both cases, to add an additional Dragon team for a point, up to 2 M-60 GPMG teams for a point each and an M224 60mm mortar team for a point. If you buy all the extra kit, you're gonna need another chopper, so you can get another Huey for a point as well.


As support here, you're able to take:

0-2 M551 Sheridan Tank Platoon
0-1 HMMWV Scout Section
0-1 HMMWV-TOW Anti-tank Platoon


US Army and 82nd Airborne Support Options

The weapon selections for your Army units, as above, which I haven't covered or haven't mentioned yet are included here so you can see what extra goodies you have a your disposal.


M106 Heavy Mortar Platoon


Mounted in the versatile M113 chassis, the M106 107mm mortar provides a great mobile artillery option for dislodging dug-in infantry and taking out lightly armoured targets.



M901 ITV Anti-tank Platoon

Once again utilizing the M113 hull, the M901 mounts a 'hammerhead' turret housing two anti-tank guided missiles, the Improved TOW.





M113 Scout Section

The Scout section give you the versatility of having a scout M113 alongside the M901 ITV to advance close to the enemy lines while still having the firepower to see off any advance elements that may be waiting in ambush.




M551 Sheridan Platoon

Armed with the dual-purpose M81 gun/missile launcher, the Sheridan ARAAV (Armored Recon/Airborne Assault Vehicle) is still utilized by the 82nd as tank support. Able to fire the Shillelagh missile, it holds enough punch to deal with practically any opposition.


M109 Field Artillery Battery

The ever-present and ever-effective M109 is the US Army choice for their self-propelled howitzer.






M48 Chaparral SAM Platoon 

Using a modified version of the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile, the ground-based Chaparral system is an effective means of keeping the skies clear of any air interdiction.




M247 Sergeant York AA Platoon

Coming from a desire to replace the M163 VADS, the M247 went into production in 1981. It mounted twin 40mm Bofors AA guns coupled with search and track radar to increase accuracy.


M163 VADS AA Platoon

The M168 20mm Gatling cannon mounted on the M113 hull formed the basis of the US Army's AA defence systems. 




HMMWV SAM Platoon

Mounting the FIM-92 Stinger AA missile, the HMMWV SAM platoon can keep up with the Mech platoons while provide close AA support.




A-10 Warthog Fighter Flight

Able to complete a variety of roles from tank-busting to digging infantry out of foxholes, the A-10 is a the close air support option of choice for the US Army.




AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter

The latest iteration of the Hueycobra, it now revels in it's tank-busting role taking advantage of cover before popping up and letting lose a volley of TOW missile power.











2nd Marine Division

Stripes also allows you to field units from the 2nd Marine Division in your Team Yankee games. You have a few formation options to choose from here including the Marine Tank Company, the Marine Rifle Company and the Marine LAV Company. While there are some of the same options for the Marines that the Army has, they're slightly different in their stat lines because....well....MARINES!





Marine Tank Company

Fielding the M60A1 Patton, rather than the upgraded M60A3 the Army has access to, the Marine Tank Company is no less formidable. Your formation must include the M60 Tank Company HQ of 1 or 2 tanks. From there you must have at least 2 Tank platoons to a max of three. Unlike their Army counterparts though, the Marines can have between 2-5 tanks per platoon.


In support of your tank platoons, you also have access to:

0-1 HMMWV Scout Section
0-1 HMMWV-TOW Anti-tank Squad
0-1 Marine Rifle Platoon
0-1 LAV Platoon



Marine Rifle Company

The Marine Rifle Company offers you a couple of options to get boots on the ground. You can either mount them in the AAVP7 transport or send them into the sky ferried in UH-1 Huey choppers.

You must take the Rifle Company HQ consisting of an M-16 Rifle team. Once selected, you then have to have 2 Rifle platoons and can add an extra if you like. As always, you have both full and short options here.

The full Rifle Platoon consist of 9 SAW/LAW teams and their transports (either 2 AAVP7 or 4 Hueys) while the short option has 6 SAW/LAW teams. You can then choose to:

- Replace up to 2 SAW teams with M-60 GPMG teams for free.
- Add up to 2 Dragon teams for a point each.
- Add an M224 60mm mortar team for a point, and/or
- Add up to 2 SMAW teams for a point each.


The AAVP7 is pretty cool new piece of kit as well used by the Marine to conduct both amphibious landings and as support when they reached shore.





Marine LAV Company

The Marines started their search for a new light armored vehicle in the early 80's and settled on the LAV-25 based around the Swiss MOWAG Piranha. Units issued with the new LAV effectively acted in a similar manner to the armored cavalry of the Army.

To field the Marine LAV Company, you must first take the Marine LAV Company HQ of 2 LAV-25. From there, you take 2 LAV platoons with the option of a third. The LAV platoons come in either 2 or 4 vehicle options.


You then have access to addition options of:

0-1 LAV-AT Anti-tank Section
0-1 LAV-M Mortar Section


Marine Support Options



HMMWV Scout Section

Much the same as their Army brethren, you get 3 Hummers here; the HMMWV-M2, the HMMWV-MK19 and the HMMWV-TOW.





HMMWV-TOW Anti-tank Squad

Also using the Improved TOW-armed Humvee to keep pace with the tanks and for increased mobility, the Marines could count on the extra firepower of the TOW.



HMMWV Machine-Gun Platoon

Get some!! Who doesn't need more .50 cal firepower?! You can also replace your .50 cal Hummers with grenade launchers if you need the thump!





LAV-AT Anti-tank Section

Mounting the same 'Hammerhead' turret as the M901 ITV, the LAV-AT adds even more tank-busting capability to the Marine arsenal.





LAV-M Mortar Section

The power of the 81mm mortar mounted in a LAV to add some artillery support to the Marines as well as smoke if needed.





M109 Artillery Battery

The ever-present M109 is used by the Marines in support of their towed 155mm howitzers for more fire support.





AV-8 Harrier Attack Flight

The famed Harrier 'jump jet' was adopted by the Marines in 1971. Being able to operate from carriers or close to the action using its VSTOL technology, the Harrier give the Marines some quick access to air support.


The Harrier also has the new Jump Jet rule, allowing it to arrive on a roll of 3+ instead of the usual 4+.



Conclusion

As well as the formation lists and new information, there is also three new scenarios in Stripes for you to use your new units in. It provides you with maps, OOB's and scenario details for battles at Rippach Stream, Röcken and Ellerbach Stream. These could also play well as a campaign, in my opinion.

You also have painting guides to help you get your US forces on the table.

Given we haven't had any new lists for the Yanks since the initial Team Yankee release, I think Stripes has the potential to get more American players back into the game, either with their existing lists or fielding new Marine lists. I already have a Marine list in planning based on the new Ryan's Leathernecks starter box.

There are going to be people who aren't 100% happy with this release but I reckon it gives US players a massive amount of flexibility and new options with which to build around, much like Red Thunder gave to Soviet players. Stripes really is a great addition to the Team Yankee stable.





One question I am left with though... where's the EM-50?