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Shifting Sands 2017: Two Tribes Go to War Shifting Sands 2017:
Two Tribes Go to War
with Mark Francis

When it was decided that I would be running the Team Yankee Shifting Sands event in 2017, I knew that I wanted to do something different than our prior events. In the past, we have done some Firestorm events typically but I didn’t want to add extra units to the table, so I thought about what I could add to tactically challenge each player. After reading through some novels of the era (Team Yankee, Chieftains, Red Storm Rising etc) I was inspired to include certain aspects of these novels that are not currently in the game. 
This is when I came up with the idea for Tactical Cards. These cards would represent certain aspects of modern warfare not currently in the rules. The cards were really fun to design and I opted for 18 cards total with six being nation specific. Each player would receive a deck of their nation as part of the entry fee.

Once I had the cards designed, I then had to work on the campaign map. I struggled with how to do this but after receiving Iron Maiden I decided I would make a 3D map using the images inside the book as a guide. The rivers would form natural boundaries on the map (Phil had mentioned this on a post in the forum) and they happened to be quite easy to replicate on the map. Once the map was designed and boundaries created, it was now time to design the campaign and rules for playing it, and the inevitable playtesting of the campaign.
Shifting Sands 2017: Two Tribes Go to War
Shifting Sands 2017: Two Tribes Go to War I decided that the basic movement element on the map would be a division, and these divisions would form into battlegroups. For NATO this would be the various Corps in the area (1st German, 1st Netherlands, 1st British and 3rd US), and for Soviet, it was Army Groups (2nd Guards Tank, 20th Guards, and 3rd Shock). There would be two generals (one for each side) and one commander of each battlegroup. These players would interact with the map between rounds.

To add a remaining element to the campaign, I also designed Strategic Cards that could be played by each general to influence the game and a few cards that would influence all tabletop battles. There were 18 cards total; nine for each side.

The Day of Battle
After a frantic week of last minute drops and changes, we ended with 20 players; ten Soviets, five West German (who would represent the Netherlands too), four US, and one British. The points total was 99 points. 

Shifting Sands 2017: Two Tribes Go to War
Shifting Sands 2017: Two Tribes Go to War The first step was to start on the campaign map. Exhausted frontline NATO units tried to recover their losses as Soviets attacked deeper into their chosen sectors. The Soviets played the Polish Reinforcements strategic card that brought on three Polish divisions to reinforce the attack.

The strategic campaign mirrored my experiences in playtesting during the first day, with the North falling quickly but the Soviets being held mostly in the South. 
At the end of day one, the Soviets had carved a large chunk of the map and it eerily looked similar to the map in Iron Maiden on pages four and five. That led me to believe that so far I had done something right!

The battles were fast and furious throughout the day, seeing some heroic defences versus overwhelming odds, but the Soviets were still able to break-out in the north with some solid victories on the table.
Shifting Sands 2017: Two Tribes Go to War
Shifting Sands 2017: Two Tribes Go to War

Tabletop missions were decided using the Battleplans system and I had also built a deck of cards for these too. Each battle arrow on the map would use the cards and every player fighting for that battle would play the same mission.  

Day two saw NATO finally starting to conduct some counterattacks, but would it be too late?

Valiant tabletop wins for NATO didn’t stop the Soviets winning games where it mattered most and they could not win back the ground they had lost earlier in the event. 

In the final turn, Essen fell to a determined attack which might have been the final nail in the coffin for NATO, but as part of the last turn, the Soviet general decided to use the Nuclear Strike Strategic Card on Dusseldorf. His plan was to eliminate the division in that sector, then win elsewhere and be able to exploit into Dusseldorf taking the points heavy sector.
Shifting Sands 2017: Two Tribes Go to War 
Shifting Sands 2017: Two Tribes Go to War As it turned out, they didn’t win by enough to exploit and suffered the -20 Victory Points to their final score for escalating the battle. All that was left was to look at the cost of battle and determine who was to be the final victor. With Essen being worth 12 points, it was a dramatic swing in favour of the Soviets. The final victory point total was Soviet 49, NATO 38, a decisive victory for the Soviets.

~ Mark.

Individual awards were as follows:

Top Soviet Player
Art Mehler with 26 points.
T72 Battalion

Top NATO Player
T.J. Weller with 25 points.
West German Armour/ Mechanised

Soviet Runner-up
Tony Nagel with 24 points.

Shifting Sands 2017: Two Tribes Go to War
Shifting Sands 2017: Two Tribes Go to War NATO Runner-up
Jon Halter with 24 points.
US Armour

Best Army
Cliff Gleason
T72 Battalion

Best Objective
Jake Halter

Best Table
Jacob DeMenna

Best Opponent
Nelson Glaize

Shifting Sands 2017: Two Tribes Go to War Shifting Sands 2017: Two Tribes Go to War

Last Updated On Wednesday, January 25, 2017 by Blake at Battlefront