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Firestorm: Stripes

The Team Yankee Global Campaign

There has been considerable debate about the impact of ‘Blue-on-Blue’ battle reports (so called because NATO uses blue symbols for friendly forces and red symbols for hostile forces, so a blue-on-blue battle is one between friendly forces).
Blue-on-blue games are usually couched in one of two ways: either they are training between two friendly forces in preparation for the real battles to follow, or they are accidental engagements between two forces on the same side. Training against a friendly unit is very common as it’s a great way to assess a force’s readiness for battle and how well they’ve learned the lessons of their training.
Accidental blue-on-blue engagements are also remarkably common. In the 1991 Gulf War, the majority of Coalition casualties were caused by these incidents. They mostly happened when tired soldiers, under the intense stress of combat, found tanks and troops in front of them and opened fire, convinced that any troops in front of them must be hostile as each unit had its assigned attack corridor. However, when minor errors in navigation led one unit to veer out of their corridor into that of a neighbour, the scene was set for tragedy, especially when both are convinced that they are where they are supposed to be. Incidents of this type are unfortunately frequent in any type of warfare throughout history, and would no doubt have happened if war had broken out in 1985.
As the whole idea of the Firestorm Stripes campaign is to encourage players to play games of Team Yankee, we don’t want to exclude players because they can’t find an opponent from the other side when they want to play a game. If the alternatives are to play a blue-on-blue game, or no game at all, then playing a blue-on-blue game is definitely preferable in terms of maximising the fun to be had.
Back to the question then: what difference do blue-on-blue games make in the campaign?
The short answer is that we have been monitoring the relatively small number of blue-on-blue battle reports that have been posted and their effect on the campaign. To date the effect has been minimal, and hasn’t impacted the overall narrative of the campaign at all.
As you may be aware, the campaign progresses in a narrative manner, rather than by a simple analysis of wins and losses. Each week the Battlefront staff look at the points scored by each side in each theatre, and then take a look behind the scenes as well. In the reports we use to evaluate progress we take into account the quality of battle reports as well as just the simple fact of win or loss, and check on the impact of blue-on-blue battles. At various points in the campaign we also throw the various national commanders a few twists as well. When all of these are combined, we see how things are going in each theatre and move the campaign forward accordingly.
The key takeaway from this then, is that high-quality battle reports have a bigger impact on the campaign than the occasional blue-on-blue battle, so make sure your reports are interesting and fun to read!


  • TOWguy says:

    ok so I am new to the game.and have only US forces

    i plan to play a game against another guy who only has a US army

    i will post an AAR

    I am playing this campaign and game for fun, and if i could only play against a WP player that would be a HUGE issue

    thanks for the carification

    have a great nigth

  • M. Nisbet says:

    One of the High Commanders hammered out the Blue-on-Blue statistics at one point… they’re miniscule in comparison to the rest of the campaign. BoW and BF said they’d act if it became a problem. It’s not.

  • Cryofrost says:

    but the friendly on friendly battles are only like 6% of the total amount of battles. and they count for next to nothing, so I wouldn’t worry too much, and just try and focus on having some fun, and play some games of TY with friends.

  • bayankhan says:

    I counted four blue on blue reports in Leipzig the day it locked. Since the reports remain malleable until linked it’s possible someone changed where they were played or changed the opponent to Warsaw pact after the fact. Or maybe I was mistaken, but applying the old ammo inventory model, two counts with the same result = accurate. But fundamentally, it doesn’t matter. Each one represents 3 (or 2) free victory points. That’s a battle NATO didn’t have to fight in Amsterdam or Ruhr to keep from being overwhelmed in those sectors that didn’t have to be posted there, and thus freed up a battle to be posted to Leipzig. VP are a fungible asset, as a resource manager told me once about money.

    So combined with NATO reports being some percentage better than PACT reports (and with someone posting zeros I have a theory about why), say 10 percent, and 55 extra VPs as of my last counting for blue-blue, you can see my concerns. Fundamentally I don’t care about winning as much as not playing against House odds in a game that, as time progresses, seems to have fewer and fewer rules. Hence disappointment, and difficulty in BS’ing my fellow travelers in PA about the value of playing games and reporting them.

  • Jagdpanzer says:

    Bayankhan, all those NATO blue on blues were not all in the same sector, so you cant say they locked Leipzig ( BF decided it was time to lock it and move on to the next phase I assume, maybe they did not want to do it in the middle of the week, I dont know) and in fact only two were in Leipzig. Even you your self has said there is only a few Red players at your club, so I’m not surprised there is more NATO on NATO, as they are more popular and cheaper to start then WARSAW pact. Look at the tourneys on average there is more NATO players then Red. Can you explain how the HOF is locked at basically a 50% strength? I cant expect that BF/Beasts have decided to do it, as part of their narrative, or they are waiting on feedback from your Command. I would expect the map to change on Monday, this is what happened last campaign. Yes i think there may be a slight narrative to this, but it usually depends on the battle results as to how quick or slow the theaters open. I remember last campaign, we had a bunch of sectors lock in a few days, as that is what BF wanted to happen, not what happened on battle reports. At the end of the day, this is a campaign that is to get people engaged and have fun, and hopefully an excuse to paint up your guys. How much fun do you think one side would have if 3 weeks into a 6 week campaign, they had no chance of winning?? They would not, so there may be a few Acts of God here or there, but it is shared around.

  • bayankhan says:

    Mr. Nisbet

    I stepped away from the computer. Sound advice. I am not excited, or angry, just disappointed. And now in you, since you chose to make your disagreement public, I have to do so too.

    You’ll have to find the comic strip yourself. It was cited by BF on their website as creative the first week. And they gave it a prize, and it looked like published material that was modified. Perhaps you have a looser definition of plagiarism than I do. Or perhaps the poster actually hand-drew the strip himself. Awesome work if he did. I gave it a 6 or 7 as it met most of the criteria for a solid report even though I didn’t care for it and thought it bad form to copy what appeared to be printed material. 300 reports ago and that’s hazy but I probably did not commend.

    Let me be direct. You can’t count. I have played 7 e-games in three weeks, and 6 FTF games at our store, in three weeks. If e-games were against the rules, it should be announced. So far, nothing. In fact, I receive encouragement. It’s a way to play the game over a great distance. If I owned two TY armies I could more or less match the terrain in my basement to the map and none would be the wiser. Or I could borrow a couple NATO armies, and give you pictures. I don’t; that’s intellectually dishonest. But do check my games played with real people – 6 – KK, TimH, Al, Fitzi, Dave, SW. Do I have to furnish a mugshot to prove they exist? (I actually furnished one) Not my fault they choose so far not to register, and this whole discussion line is why several of them don’t.

    Blue/Blue is a big problem. I rate them as any other report. Perhaps I should give them a zero? Again intellectually dishonest. But when two people play blue-blue or red red, it’s heads I win , tails you lose on the campaign track. Unless BF/BOW manually deletes the VP, a Blue-Blue Battle adds 3 VP for a win and 2 for a draw, and the down side for the first such report by a player is NOTHING. I’ll be finding out tomorrow about the second tomorrow, as tonight we had 3 PACT and 1 NATO player at the store and I played Comrade Brusilov. He won, by the way. Even if there is some minor decrement in the ratings for that, the objective fact is the VP go up by 3 on the chart for the sector. Ties, both NATO players get one point in the sector, and PACT gets a net of 2 so recording them as ties is not a solution. Thursday night, there were a NET of 15 NATO wins and 5 ties (accounting for then 2 PACT-PACT wins and one TIE making the actual reports 23 blue blue battles to 3 (and only in the last week) PACT. Ten percent of NATO battles, and 13 percent of your wins were no risk affairs accounting for 55 VPs – more VPs than it took to swing Leipzig to Blue the first time and lock Hamburg last night. So pardon me if I find Phils words less than reassuring.

    I and several other PACT players have commented on our forum about somebody sabotaging the ratings. My most clear experience was last Sunday. Posted a game. Two people, one PACT, one NATO rated it for a combined score of 8 and something (whether that is how you or I would rate it was irrelevant). I checked it a few minutes after the second report because I caught a typo, and found it was then just over 5. How did that happen? Mathematically someone gave it a zero and registered no comment. Has happened several other times, but because it was a complete accident that I happened to be back on that one so quickly, I know how it happened. And when. And now Phil posts that BF has a system, and you imply the main component of the system is ratings that at least in several cases are being deliberately rated down to reduce their impact by parties or parties unknown. Most of us, both sides, are above that, but I would never put my faith in a system that is so easily influenced by one or two negative ratings.

    We’ll have to disagree about Hamburg locking. In the first campaign, PACT repeatedly breached the 60 percent control threshold only to find ourselves still not getting credit for CONTROL much less locking. NATO locked Leipzig at 62 percent. Not reversed control, giving us the option to fight back, just flipped it and pressed on to Berlin. That doesn’t seem right, and certainly is not consistent with the first campaign.

    So while this is Phil’s barbecue, and it tastes good, if it was my barbecue I’d be doing something different (that’s a paraphrase of a movie line), and would have been more specific about how blue/blue was treated. Today the taste soured quite a bit. Maybe it will be better tomorrow.

  • Jagdpanzer says:

    Why do you think WARSAW players reports are being rated or worth less than NATO players reports?

  • M. Nisbet says:

    @bayankhan, I was going to stay away from this thread, until I had a right good read of your comments, and now I can safely say: You need to step away from your computer and have a beer or something, because you’re getting far too worked up over this.

    Secondly, I would like to challenge most of the points you made in your comment:
    – Plagiarism? Which reports are plagiarised?
    – Beasts of War have an A.I. program that scans through the reports, looking at ratings and results, sorting by the filters that you can clearly see at the top of the page (length, pictures, videos, commendations etc…) Computers are marvellous things.
    – I will agree Hof should never have been locked while sitting at 88 – 86 in favour of WarPac
    – I will vehemently refute your claim about Hamburg not being locked; the score there was 75 – 55 in favour of NATO, an easy decision to lock it down. And no, NATO was not being ‘trashed’ in recent battles, the previous ten battles in this sector had the WarPac only just leading by a slim margin…
    – You’re finding it difficult to motivate people at your local store to play? Perhaps playing yourself against one of the opponents who attend might help? I have seen one report from you this campaign which was conducted in person. And I’m not the only one noticing this trend.
    – Ratings seem to be going okay for other battles. Plenty of WarPac battle reports are being rated 7+ stars, with plenty of Commendations?
    – I also noted your comment on the other thread about ‘cartoon reports’ over full battle reports? It wasn’t my cup of tea either, but I applauded the effort and dedication the player put into the report. Would your criticism not put HIM off participating, knowing that he’d get a poor rating from yourself?

    In essence, you need to calm down, stop pointing fingers at everyone else and let the team get on with it. The campaign ran into problems like this last time when paranoia crept in about reports, ratings and results. But it got sorted. There’s more going on behind the scenes that players don’t see, and even we National Commanders only see snippets like the updates in emails we receive periodically.
    A little more trust in the system, a little less aggression, aggravation and just try to get everyone calmed and playing… honestly.

  • Jagdpanzer says:

    still having fun guys…

  • Red Alert says:


    Spasibo Phil.

    Interesting situation in the campaign now.

    “No plan survives contact with the enemy – what matters is how quickly a leader can adapt”

    I see opportunity!

  • bayankhan says:

    Yes, Phil, and each and every friendly fire incident was NOT COUNTED OR REPORTED as a VICTORY it was REPORTED as a TRAGEDY.

  • Oberst Hunts says:

    In war, killing and defeating your enemy counts on the battlefield and determines how the campaign flows. In this campaign, journalistic prowess seems to determines how the campaign flows rather than battle results. It certainly looks like the campaign is following the predetermined script more than the results of battles.

    And it appears that your comments on the Gulf War were based on some battle reports (books) you read rather than what actually happened on the ground and was not put into the “battle reports”

  • bayankhan says:

    Phil, that’s just great. We are playing a wargame, something called a campaign, and you give special prizes for near-plagiarism and somehow look at 200+ battles (in the neighborhood of 300 reports), decide that NATO reports are ‘qualitatively better.’ Next your campaign staff wave a magic wand and Hof turns ‘locked’ to PACT at a tie and Hamburg turns ‘locked’ to PACT (at least so far, according to the theater) with NATO getting trashed in a recent series of battles.

    And I’m finding it increasingly hard to motivate people at our store to participate in this, and you just made it harder, not to say calling into question my intellectual integrity by ASKING them to participate. Bad move, Phil. Why post a battle report when someone you don’t know isn’t going to meaningfully give you feedback but somehow your victory counts for less than a NATO players? Why put up numerical control symbols that can be audited and then say, “Pay no attention to the victories represented by these symbols, they mean nothing? Only the ‘quality’ of your battle reports counts. And we wont tell you how your were graded…

    If it looks like a script, smells like a script, and acts like a script, it probably is a script

    Sorry Phil, color me disappointed, not just with this answer, but with the campaign.

  • recce103c says:

    Thx Phil, light in the darkness!

    Oftrn one of the challenges with blue on blue.

  • fingolfen says:

    Thanks for the update Phil – it’s greatly appreciated. There may be some other valid concerns at this point, but we can discuss offline.

  • Munt says:

    Thanks – I was wondering what the impact of Blue on Blue was in regards to the overall campaign

  • Jagdpanzer says:

    Thanks for the clarity Phil, need to check my sights before I fire, Roger