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Subject: Two things: cross-border incursions, and patronage rss

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Geoffrey Wilson
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Many military historians and armchair generals (often one in the same! ) have commented that had the US military and ARVN done a better job of interdicting the Ho Chi Minh trail, by occupying northern Laos and strongly defending the North/South border, that the Allies would have a much greater chance of defeating the insurgency and winning the war. And of course the US and ARVN made a couple incursions across the border, with temporary success.

I've read mentioned that the game allows the COIN forces to take action in Laos and Cambodia, but that it holds political consequences. I'd love to hear any comments from designers and/or playtesters on how the game represents these incursions.

Then the other thing: A Distant Plain is the only COIN game I own so far, and I'm familiar with (and enjoy) the Patronage victory condition for the Government. Will the South Vietnam player have an identical system of converting Aid into Patronage in Support provinces?

I am chomping at the bit for this game to arrive at my door!

Thanks for any commentary!
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Mike Owens
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something wrote:
I've read mentioned that the game allows the COIN forces to take action in Laos and Cambodia, but that it holds political consequences. I'd love to hear any comments from designers and/or playtesters on how the game represents these incursions.


The US/ARVN players can move pieces into Laos or Cambodia. During the Coup round, if any Laos or Cambodia space is COIN-controlled, the Trail degrades.

The cost is that later in the Coup round, those COIN pieces are removed from the map -- US pieces to Out of Play (meaning that the US loses the ability to gain VP from them being Available). ARVN pieces go to Available.

In the games I've played so far, I have found that degrading the Trail through Air Strike is easier and at lower cost. However, there are several Capabilities that severely hamper Air Strike, so a COIN player may have no choice but to undergo incursions into Laos / Cambodia to degrade the Trail.

Quote:
Then the other thing: A Distant Plain is the only COIN game I own so far, and I'm familiar with (and enjoy) the Patronage victory condition for the Government. Will the South Vietnam player have an identical system of converting Aid into Patronage in Support provinces?


Yes, ARVN has a Govern Special Activity that is very similar to the one in ADP.

Quote:
I am chomping at the bit for this game to arrive at my door!


Likewise!
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Geoffrey Wilson
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Thanks for the answers! Interesting way to handle incursions. I look forward to trying different strategies as the US!
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Mike Owens
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Sorry, I neglected to mention that moving those US pieces to Out of Play means the US player doesn't get them back (barring the play of certain events.)
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Dan Carey
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So the US should go in and out, before the next coup card comes up?
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Mike Owens
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SeattleDan wrote:
So the US should go in and out, before the next coup card comes up?


No, because the trail degrading happens during the Resources phase of the Coup card. So there'd be no Trail benefit to the US doing so, only the possibility of creating a diversion that the NVA must deal with.
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Paul H
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SeattleDan wrote:
So the US should go in and out, before the next coup card comes up?


It sounds like that could work as long as they leave South Vietnmese forces to maintain COIN control.
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Mike Owens
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muaddib1 wrote:
It sounds like that could work as long as they leave South Vietnmese forces to maintain COIN control.


If the troops got there by Air Lift, sure, though the US can just Air Lift ARVN troops by themselves, eliminating the need for the US to go in and come back out.

Unlike in ADP there's no other mechanism for the US player to move ARVN forces around -- ARVN pieces can't "tag along" on Sweep like in ADP.

The ARVN faction in FitL is a more independent one than the Government/Coalition relationship in ADP. A significant example is that the US player spends ARVN Resources like in ADP, but they can't spend down below a base Econ level. (ARVN, of course, can spend its resources down to zero if it wants.)
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Rex Stites
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MikeO wrote:


The US/ARVN players can move pieces into Laos or Cambodia. During the Coup round, if any Laos or Cambodia space is COIN-controlled, the Trail degrades.

The cost is that later in the Coup round, those COIN pieces are removed from the map -- US pieces to Out of Play (meaning that the US loses the ability to gain VP from them being Available). ARVN pieces go to Available.



What is the rationale behind the permanent removal of the pices, i.e., what is it simulating? I'm having trouble making the connection of why an excursion into Laos or Cambodia would automatically result in the permanent removal of US pieces that particpated.
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Holman
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rstites25 wrote:
MikeO wrote:


The US/ARVN players can move pieces into Laos or Cambodia. During the Coup round, if any Laos or Cambodia space is COIN-controlled, the Trail degrades.

The cost is that later in the Coup round, those COIN pieces are removed from the map -- US pieces to Out of Play (meaning that the US loses the ability to gain VP from them being Available). ARVN pieces go to Available.



What is the rationale behind the permanent removal of the pices, i.e., what is it simulating? I'm having trouble making the connection of why an excursion into Laos or Cambodia would automatically result in the permanent removal of US pieces that particpated.


Maybe they are no longer part of the Vietnam war effort because they are now part of the Laos/Cambodia war effort?
 
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Mike Owens
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rstites25 wrote:
What is the rationale behind the permanent removal of the pices, i.e., what is it simulating? I'm having trouble making the connection of why an excursion into Laos or Cambodia would automatically result in the permanent removal of US pieces that particpated.


I'll leave it to Volko to provide further insight into the design rationale. I believe it's representative of the political cost in the US of going into Laos or Cambodia, which increases anti-war sentiment and the calls to "bring the troops back home".

I unfortunately did not make it totally clear that "Out of Play" in FitL is not permanent removal, it's semipermanent; thematically, it represents US forces still in CONUS (or probably elsewhere in the world).

There are certain event cards like "Psychedelic Cookie" or "Americal" that represent the US adding the 9th and 23rd Infantry Divisions, respectively, to the total force commitment in Vietnam. These cards allow the US player to move pieces from Out of Play to Available and/or the map.
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Eric Guttag
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"I am chomping at the bit for this game to arrive at my door!"

Geoffrey,

You're not alone. I'm positively "drooling and salivating" over getting my copy of FITL (first P500 purchase ever by me). And that's even though I've got a playtest copy!
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Holman
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Eric G wrote:
"I am chomping at the bit for this game to arrive at my door!"

Geoffrey,

You're not alone. I'm positively "drooling and salivating" over getting my copy of FITL (first P500 purchase ever by me). And that's even though I've got a playtest copy!


For sale on eBay, late 2014: "One Playtest Copy of FITL. Extremely Soggy."

But man oh man I can't wait either. Very excited about this game!
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Volko Ruhnke
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MikeO wrote:
rstites25 wrote:
What is the rationale behind the permanent removal of the pices, i.e., what is it simulating? I'm having trouble making the connection of why an excursion into Laos or Cambodia would automatically result in the permanent removal of US pieces that particpated.


I'll leave it to Volko to provide further insight into the design rationale. I believe it's representative of the political cost in the US of going into Laos or Cambodia, which increases anti-war sentiment and the calls to "bring the troops back home".

I unfortunately did not make it totally clear that "Out of Play" in FitL is not permanent removal, it's semipermanent; thematically, it represents US forces still in CONUS (or probably elsewhere in the world).

There are certain event cards like "Psychedelic Cookie" or "Americal" that represent the US adding the 9th and 23rd Infantry Divisions, respectively, to the total force commitment in Vietnam. These cards allow the US player to move pieces from Out of Play to Available and/or the map.

All correct. Thanks Mike!

The idea is that if US (and to a lesser degree ARVN) forces get caught spending too much time in ostensibly neutral Laos or Cambodia, then the US public commitment to the war effort tumbles; the amount of forces involved helps determine how much. Just removing the pieces was a clean way to get at this.

The design uses transfer of US pieces between "out of play" and "available" to represent several similar effects in either direction, such as increased commitment after the Tonkin Gulf incident and resolution, or such as the US achieving the late war aim of gaining release of POWs, and many more.

By the way, short incursions into Laos/Camdodia can be very useful to destroy NVA forces building up there and especially logistical infrastructure as represented not only by the Trail track but also by NVA bases there. If not adequately protected, the bases can get whacked by a quick US/ARVN air-lifted assault.

The overall effect is to render Laos/Cambodia a "sorta sanctuary", not nearly as reliable as Pakistan for ADP's Taliban.

vfr
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