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Subject: Looking for a Vietnam era game rss

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Mike Oberly
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I have not played Fire in the Lake yet, but I have played other COIN games. It's going to depend on what you are looking for. Vietnam 1965-1975 is a fantastic game, the best on the Vietnam War to this point, IMO, but it is pretty complex, and it has loads of operational detail. It's really more of an operational game than a strategic game. I would not hesitate to recommend it if you are game to take it up. The campaign game will take a long, long time (I never completed it), but there are very playable scenarios.

Fire in the Lake will be more abstract, and more strategic, just going by the other COIN games. I know Mark Herman and Volko are both influenced by the earlier VG Vietnam game, so I would expect some echoes of that game in FitL. FitL campaign, while not short, will be more playable than the old VG Vietnam campaign game.

I think they are going to be two very different games. I think that anyone interested in a strategic Vietnam game will want to get Fire in the Lake -- the old VG game is probably not all that easy to get, but it is certainly worth the effort.
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Gordon J
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I have played both of these games. Both are strategic level games and both provide a different war gamin experience than most wargames. I'd recommend both. 1965-75 can potentially be a much shorter game than FiTL. I know FiTL will have shorter scenarios, but overall it has a much larger foot print. If in doubt, get both of the games.
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Jim Marshall
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I have played VG's Vietnam (albeit decades ago) and Cuba Libre (most recent entry to the COIN series pending FITL's publication) so please take this with a pinch of salt, but they seem very, very different play experiences.

The VG game is indeed operational, with focus on local movement and battles. Even a short scenario took a few hours, I hate to think how long a full campaign would take. I can't remember the game scale, but from an overall commander perspective you'd be doing a lot more micro-management than Westmoreland or Giap did. Hexes, a lot of unit differentation, firebases, detailed combat sequence etc. from old memory.

The COIN series takes an almost euro-ish view of counter-insurgency, looking at area control, limited unit types, simplified combat, card-driven activation and events (the turn sequence mechanic is superb but far more euro-ey than wargamey) - a lot different from an old-school hex and counter game. It's also designed for (and best with) four players, although this one may be better suited to two players than most of the series.

Theme apart, players with a euro-bent are likely to be driven to distraction by the time taken and amount of detail in the old VG game, while old-school wargamers may find COIN too gamey and not detailed enough a simulation.

Hearts and Minds is worth a look as it sits somewhere in the middle. It's a wargame (which many would say COIN isn't) that focuses on military ops using different unit types and capabilities, albeit always against the political background which suits the theme well. Your actions are largely military, but you'll stand or fall by your use of those actions to manage the political situation.

It uses area movement (not control) and a relatively low counter density to provide a fun wargame experience, abeit not one that goes to the level of detail of the VG game.

All that said, I will be in the queue for a copy of FITL when it appears!
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CJ
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I intended to buy FitL before I played Cuba Libre. The latter is a good game but offers a very specific experience that I consider a war-themed Eurogame. It therefore turned me off FitL. I say this to recommend that you play a COIN game to enable an informed choice as to whether FitL is for you. In my case I don't believe it is.
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Eric Guttag
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Tankboy,

Here's my view on FITL for your consideration:

My first "10" rating on BGG and for obvious reasons. As a playtester for this game, it "rocks." There will be plenty of game in this box and then some for the solitaire or multiplayer, and especially good for 2-player. Definitely will be the "crown jewel" of the COIN series, as well as the best game based on the Vietnam conflict ever. A "must have" for those interested in the Vietnam conflict, or otherwise.

Need I say more?
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Jason Young
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aka Tankboy wrote:
I should have known how this was going to endshake I pre-ordered Fire in the Lake and scored an unpunched copy Vietnam 1965-1975 on ebay. Thanks to all for your responses.
The only way to roll! If at first you can't decide, choose both.
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Jeremy Fridy
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You might want to look up some reviews on Victory in Vietnam and Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975, since I think at that point you will have covered every well known wargame on the subject.
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Bill Eldard
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I have never played VG's Vietnam, but I have played the prototype of Fire on the Lake,.

FitL is a terrific game with genuine 1-4 player aspects (each faction has its own victory conditions, so they at times they find coopeation useful, and at other times, not.). The use of forces is very important and the game encourages sound application of force to support political moves, but those forces are represented generically by wooden cubes, so if you want to push the 173d Airborne Brigade or Mike Forces around the board, or battle over little villages, you'll be disappointed. I wasn't.

What FitL does capture so well is the political goals and tools of the four factions: US, Saigon govt, NVA, and NLF (VC). I already had the game on pre-order before I played it, but I was so impressed with the system that I went out and bought A Distant Plain.

Mark and Volko really did a great job on this one.
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Jason Young
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Freitag wrote:
You might want to look up some reviews on Victory in Vietnam and Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975, since I think at that point you will have covered every well known wargame on the subject.
Victory in Vietnam is hardly ever available on the secondary market and there are only 2 people who own it will to trade. It's not worth researching a game to see if you want to own it if you can't acquire it.
 
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