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Subject: US led irregulars rss

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Daniel Nguyen

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I've played some ADP on vassal but this will be my first COIN game. After reading the rules, I'm still not sure how US irregulars are supposed to be used.

With the ARVN, the rangers seem like an incredibly potent, if not somewhat situational, tool. Rangers seem like the perfect tool for augmenting the less than hard hiting ARVN regulars and ideal for clearing out pesky hidden VC when trying to remove bases.

The US led irregulars I'm less sure about. Advise doesn't move them and they can't be paired with assaults. I could see situations where they're forward air observers, but insurgents still need to be swept and the irregulars seem very vulnerable to NVA. This coupled with their limited attack ability (they need to be underground) and the fact that they're removed to casualties makes investing in them seem risky.

So far the only way I see myself using them is to hold territories that I don't want to commit troops to. The threat of a irregular raid might discourage VC from rallying there (and if they are there you don't have to airstrike them and lose the support).

Can any of the playtester's comment on they've been used? Great job Volko and Mark on this game. I've got a big interest in Vietnam (the nguy in my screen name is short for Nguyen, my dad was one of the boat people)and I can't wait for GMT to charge my card.
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Matt D
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I think you use them to go into Laos and Cambodia.
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Mark Herman
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nguyd462 wrote:
I've played some ADP on vassal but this will be my first COIN game. After reading the rules, I'm still not sure how US irregulars are supposed to be used.

With the ARVN, the rangers seem like an incredibly potent, if not somewhat situational, tool. Rangers seem like the perfect tool for augmenting the less than hard hiting ARVN regulars and ideal for clearing out pesky hidden VC when trying to remove bases.

The US led irregulars I'm less sure about. Advise doesn't move them and they can't be paired with assaults. I could see situations where they're forward air observers, but insurgents still need to be swept and the irregulars seem very vulnerable to NVA. This coupled with their limited attack ability (they need to be underground) and the fact that they're removed to casualties makes investing in them seem risky.

So far the only way I see myself using them is to hold territories that I don't want to commit troops to. The threat of a irregular raid might discourage VC from rallying there (and if they are there you don't have to airstrike them and lose the support).

Can any of the playtester's comment on they've been used? Great job Volko and Mark on this game. I've got a big interest in Vietnam (the nguy in my screen name is short for Nguyen, my dad was one of the boat people)and I can't wait for GMT to charge my card.


Air lift special activity
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Kevin Walsh
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The best use might be Patrol + Advise to destroy Underground Guerillas in Cities.
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Daniel Nguyen

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Thanks for the responses everyone.

Patrol+Advise does seem to be their best use. The irregulars are still a bit limited in that Patrol doesn't move them around. Thanks for pointing this option out Kevin.

I also like the idea of using a combo of irregulars in Laos and Cambodia. They may be ineffective against large amounts of NVA (and they don't inflict the attrition damage that troops do), but they aren't removed to out of play like troops and you only need to control one province to degrade the trail. The irregulars also enable the use of airstrikes within the NVA sanctuaries.

As I was re-reading the rules, I had another idea for the irregulars that I think I'll employ. In jungle spaces and highland spaces, the irregulars don't receive the same penalties that troops receive when assaulting or sweeping. Potentially, this means that a single irregular in a jungle or highland space could free up the four US troops required to sweep or assault two enemy pieces. In the highlands where the ARVN are terrible at fighting, removing two enemy pieces with an ARVN follow up raid would require 6 ARVN troops compared to a single unactivated irregular. Given that irregular's should excel in jungle and highlands, this makes sense thematically. Effective use of irregulars might allow a JFK policy to keep control of the rougher regions of South Vietnam.

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Mark Herman
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nguyd462 wrote:
Thanks for the responses everyone.

Patrol+Advise does seem to be their best use. The irregulars are still a bit limited in that Patrol doesn't move them around. Thanks for pointing this option out Kevin.

I also like the idea of using a combo of irregulars in Laos and Cambodia. They may be ineffective against large amounts of NVA (and they don't inflict the attrition damage that troops do), but they aren't removed to out of play like troops and you only need to control one province to degrade the trail. The irregulars also enable the use of airstrikes within the NVA sanctuaries.

As I was re-reading the rules, I had another idea for the irregulars that I think I'll employ. In jungle spaces and highland spaces, the irregulars don't receive the same penalties that troops receive when assaulting or sweeping. Potentially, this means that a single irregular in a jungle or highland space could free up the four US troops required to sweep or assault two enemy pieces. In the highlands where the ARVN are terrible at fighting, removing two enemy pieces with an ARVN follow up raid would require 6 ARVN troops compared to a single unactivated irregular. Given that irregular's should excel in jungle and highlands, this makes sense thematically. Effective use of irregulars might allow a JFK policy to keep control of the rougher regions of South Vietnam.



If we are still talking about US irregulars that represent SOG/Green Beret type of formations you cannot Patrol with them as the procedure specifically states (3.2.2) that COIN cubes (US troops/ARVN troops/police)can perform that operation.

Irregulars are very useful to the COIN forces. US irregulars can arrive in a location via Train (3.2.1) or they can be moved to a location via Air Lift (4.2.2). As noted they are effective using advise to eliminate enemy units. An important US use for their irregulars is to air lift them into Laos/Cambodia, simulating what they did historically, enabling air strikes (need a spotter) on force buildups on the trail and if they get caught out of SVN during a Coup phase they do not go to 'out of play' but back into available.

Mark
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Jeremy Spahr
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Quick follow-up question. When US Irregulars are removed, do they go to Casualties or back to the US Irregular box? I don't see any notation in the NVA or VC Attack instructions that they should go anywhere other than Casualties, which doesn't seem quite right historically. The point of these troops was that they were 'under the radar,' and treating them equally to the loss of regular troops or bases in terms of American public support feels a little excessive. The instructions on the Commitment Phase don't directly mention them, though they could of course be included in the phrase "all other US Casualties."

Just want to make sure I didn't miss something.
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Mark Herman
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grant1862 wrote:
Quick follow-up question. When US Irregulars are removed, do they go to Casualties or back to the US Irregular box? I don't see any notation in the NVA or VC Attack instructions that they should go anywhere other than Casualties, which doesn't seem quite right historically. The point of these troops was that they were 'under the radar,' and treating them equally to the loss of regular troops or bases in terms of American public support feels a little excessive. The instructions on the Commitment Phase don't directly mention them, though they could of course be included in the phrase "all other US Casualties."

Just want to make sure I didn't miss something.


US irregulars can become casualties.

Mark
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Matt D
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MarkHerman wrote:
grant1862 wrote:
Quick follow-up question. When US Irregulars are removed, do they go to Casualties or back to the US Irregular box? I don't see any notation in the NVA or VC Attack instructions that they should go anywhere other than Casualties, which doesn't seem quite right historically. The point of these troops was that they were 'under the radar,' and treating them equally to the loss of regular troops or bases in terms of American public support feels a little excessive. The instructions on the Commitment Phase don't directly mention them, though they could of course be included in the phrase "all other US Casualties."

Just want to make sure I didn't miss something.


US irregulars always go back to the available box, they never become casualties. Only US troops and bases can become casualties.

Mark


That looks like errata then, because 3.3.3 states that all US pieces are removed to casualties.
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Mark Herman
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Burning Monkey wrote:
MarkHerman wrote:
grant1862 wrote:
Quick follow-up question. When US Irregulars are removed, do they go to Casualties or back to the US Irregular box? I don't see any notation in the NVA or VC Attack instructions that they should go anywhere other than Casualties, which doesn't seem quite right historically. The point of these troops was that they were 'under the radar,' and treating them equally to the loss of regular troops or bases in terms of American public support feels a little excessive. The instructions on the Commitment Phase don't directly mention them, though they could of course be included in the phrase "all other US Casualties."

Just want to make sure I didn't miss something.


US irregulars always go back to the available box, they never become casualties. Only US troops and bases can become casualties.

Mark


That looks like errata then, because 3.3.3 states that all US pieces are removed to casualties.


Misstatement, no errata, many versions before the final.
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Tom Kassel
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nguyd462 wrote:
This coupled with their limited attack ability (they need to be underground) and the fact that they're removed to casualties makes investing in them seem risky.


They do seem somewhat limited but they are also free to place during US training. There is no investment to make and no risk.

If all are in play, you could do their advise whack, then pick up the activated irregular and place it in a training location, underground and ready to go again.
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Mark Herman
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Tom Kassel wrote:
nguyd462 wrote:
This coupled with their limited attack ability (they need to be underground) and the fact that they're removed to casualties makes investing in them seem risky.


They do seem somewhat limited but they are also free to place during US training. There is no investment to make and no risk.

If all are in play, you could do their advise whack, then pick up the activated irregular and place it in a training location, underground and ready to go again.


They are anything but limited. As the US player if I do not have all 6 in play I feel disadvantaged.

Mark
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Bill Powers
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I would argree with Burning Monkey - I downloaded the living rules on 07-07-2014, and under 3.3.3 (page 8) is says:
CASUALTIES: Place any US pieces removed by Attack into the
Casualties box.

Clearly it says 'pieces', not 'cubes'.

The rules should read 'cubes'? Have the living rules been updated since 07-07-14?

Bill
 
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Matt D
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bpowers wrote:
I would argree with Burning Monkey - I downloaded the living rules on 07-07-2014, and under 3.3.3 (page 8) is says:
CASUALTIES: Place any US pieces removed by Attack into the
Casualties box.

Clearly it says 'pieces', not 'cubes'.

The rules should read 'cubes'? Have the living rules been updated since 07-07-14?

Bill


Mark just said that he misstated the rule in his earlier post, so irregulars are removed to casualties.
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Tom Kassel
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MarkHerman wrote:
Tom Kassel wrote:
nguyd462 wrote:
This coupled with their limited attack ability (they need to be underground) and the fact that they're removed to casualties makes investing in them seem risky.


They do seem somewhat limited but they are also free to place during US training. There is no investment to make and no risk.

If all are in play, you could do their advise whack, then pick up the activated irregular and place it in a training location, underground and ready to go again.


They are anything but limited. As the US player if I do not have all 6 in play I feel disadvantaged.

Mark


It wouldn't be the geek without silly arguments over terminology. So I'll continue:

Clearly irregulars are limited with respect to US troops. They cannot move in a sweep (though contribute if present), cannot assault, cannot patrol, don't cause attrition when killed and do not enable pacification during Support Phase (though they do so in Operations). And sometimes they turn into VC via event card. They generally require an ops + special round to have any impact, unlike troops that can be useful on an ops only round.

Equally clearly they have important abilities and the US player will want them all in play. They are free to deploy, can whack underground guerrillas (if they don't get whacked first), all come back from casualties each reset and are merely placed in available when left in Cambodia/Laos during a coup. The ability to act on advise provides the US some offensive momentum while Training until other COIN games.

In any case, I'm eagerly looking forward to the game. I probably won't get a chance for ftf before November when the group that recently played A Distant Plain reconvenes, but I'm keen to try out some different approaches on Vassal as soon as possible.
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Volko Ruhnke
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grant1862 wrote:
Quick follow-up question. When US Irregulars are removed, do they go to Casualties or back to the US Irregular box? I don't see any notation in the NVA or VC Attack instructions that they should go anywhere other than Casualties, which doesn't seem quite right historically. The point of these troops was that they were 'under the radar,' and treating them equally to the loss of regular troops or bases in terms of American public support feels a little excessive. The instructions on the Commitment Phase don't directly mention them, though they could of course be included in the phrase "all other US Casualties."

Just want to make sure I didn't miss something.

Hi Jeremy. The US special forces advisers that would be lost along with the indigenous US-trained forces were very much on the political radar. That said, the Irregulars casualties do not go out of play, the way US Base and a portion of US Troops do, plus Irregulars kept out of Available have no impact on US victory. So the lower relative political cost of losing them is modeled rather potently. Regards! Volko
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Volko Ruhnke
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Quote:
In any case, I'm eagerly looking forward to the game. I probably won't get a chance for ftf before November when the group that recently played A Distant Plain reconvenes, but I'm keen to try out some different approaches on Vassal as soon as possible.

Tom -- I definitely will be interested in your impressions of the game. Best regards -- Volko
 
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Daniel Nguyen

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Thanks Tom. I think your description sums up the irregulars nicely.

When I was in high school (which wasn't too long ago, I'm 24), I worked with quite a few Hmong at a restuarant. The lingering animosity they carried against the Vietnamese for what happened in Laos (the Hmong guerillas took such bad casualties that they employed child soldiers), even among the American born generation, was definitely present. I'm glad the irregulars made it to this game. From reading the playbook, it looks like Mark and Volko have done an excellent job capturing the diversity in SVA.

Not to make the Hmong sound hateful (I really enjoyed working with them at the restuarant), the animosity between ethnic and religious groups from this period still lingers today. When I was young, I thought that all Vietnamese people were Catholic. The all Vietnamese parish I went to with my dad was my entire Vietnamese world, and I was unaware until much later on that the majority of Vietnamese were Buddhists. When my step-sister started dating a Buddhist Vietnamese, there was some dissent among the older generation on both sides. The animosity is not only from the inter-religious conflict that occurred in Vietnam, but the sometimes preferential (perceived or real, my "facts" are actually second hand stories from biased relatives, some who don't speak english well) treatment that Vietnamese Catholics received over Vietnamese Buddhists (especially when countries were deciding which refugees to take in).

When I played ADP, I don't think I understood the patronage concept very well. Now, looking at FITL, I have a different perspective. My family owned a bar in Saigon before (and possibly after, I'm unsure from the stories I'm told) the fall. It catered to whites, first the French and then the Americans. The massive amounts of money coming with the soldiers inadvertently found its way to my family. This money (and the sale of the bar) would allow my Grandma to send three of her six children, including my dad, to a Catholic school near the coast from where they would make their escape. Finally, when my dad and his siblings were in a refugee camp in Malaysia, it was my grandfather's service in the ARVN that helped convince the US to take my dad, aunt and uncle in. Maybe with this history in mind, I won't be as annoyed by the ARVN patronaging away all the aid and support.
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Mark Herman
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Thanks for sharing your family's story.

Mark
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Oerjan Ariander
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Tom Kassel wrote:
Clearly irregulars are limited with respect to US troops. They cannot move in a sweep (though contribute if present), cannot assault, cannot patrol, don't cause attrition when killed and do not enable pacification

Regarding the bit I boldened above: re-read the 1st bullet of the 3.2.1 Procedure section, keeping in mind that Irregulars are "US pieces" too

/Oerjan
 
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Tom Kassel
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Thanks for the correction. I see that irregulars enable Operation phase pacification but not Support phase.
 
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Jeremy Spahr
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Volko-this is one of the things I like best about the COIN series. You and the other developers take the time to explain WHY a rule works as it does. A little bit of an explanation goes a long way...
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Eric Guttag
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Daniel,

I'm one of the playtesters for FITL. The US Irregulars operate somewhat (not exactly) like the ARVN Rangers. The Advise SA gives them the ability to "kill" 2 NVA/VC units in their space, including Underground NVA/VC Guerillas; that can be powerful when COIN forces need to knockout Underground NVA/VC Guerillas.
 
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