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Subject: Don't Do What We Did - Report From First Game rss

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Just had a GREAT first game with some friends this weekend and we all really enjoyed it, including people who are not at all hardcore wargamers. To anyone wondering we had about a one hour tutorial (playing first only ops, then ops and specials, then events, as per Volko's suggestion), and then reset and played for keeps, and had no real trouble managing the rules. By the end of it I'd say each player had even put together some semblance of a strategy, which is always an encouraging sign.

That said! We made a couple of big rules mistakes which certainly affected the outcome of the game, so I figured I'd share with you in case you make the same mistakes. Assuming, of course, that I actually have things right now. Here goes...

1. Difference between activating an underground guerrilla and activating a guerrilla, period. Some events explicitly say activate an UNDERGROUND piece, like raid for the ARVN. This literally means that an already active guy can't take the action. Clear enough. However! Not all actions involving guerrillas have this stipulation. Our VC player marched nine guys into Saigon, but then our mistaken reading of the rules had us thinking that he couldn't attack with them until they were underground again, which we couldn't achieve until the coup round because of Saigon support levels. Needless to say, those dudes died deaths as meaningless as they were horrific. Dumb!

2. Using running out of pieces to your advantage. Our NVA and ARVN players ran out of guerrillas and cubes, respectively. This led our NVA player to do crazy combinations of sequenced rallies and infiltrations just to put guerrillas back in the force pool, while our ARVN player (me) stopped bothering with train ops altogether, since I thought I had no more pieces. Wrong! The rules clearly state that if you are taking certain actions that allow you to place pieces, and you don't have any left, you can take them FROM THE MAP. What does this mean in practice? An ARVN train operation is effectively a redeployment of pieces from formerly useful spaces to places where you need them now. At first I couldn't understand why Train would let you place 6 pieces, since you'd run out almost instantly, but now I understand that it's letting you move pieces around the board (at the same time reducing map clutter that would result from having huge hordes of guys all over the place if you had more cubes available). Same for the NVA, who had a pile of guys sitting around doing nothing in Laos, that she could have just moved somewhere else instead. In this sense "running out" of pieces is actually a huge advantage.

3. F$*% the Police. As the ARVN player I didn't have any clue what to do with my seemingly useless cops. I dumped them into various places to gain COIN control and then ignored them. Only later did I understand that in many cases my cops weren't doing anything for me, but they WERE helping the US a great deal. Remember that the US can't pacify without ARVN five-oh present, so in some cases you might want to move them out of a space not to achieve something for yourself, but to prevent your ally from gaining victory points.

4. NVA Bases can help get a sneaky win. We had NVA bases in every space in Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. Great, you get the VPs, right? But wait! Only in the late game did we realize that the stipulations of the Coup round allow the NVA to move troops to any NVA base. So? Our NVA player built one base in a crowded 2 pop space, just for want of anything better to do, and none of the rest of us bothered to kill it, since it wasn't really doing much. Then on the final round she realized that she could move 23 NVA troops there and steal control, and in so doing stole the points from me, and came within 1 point of winning it all.

5. Corrupt government is best in active support spaces. Not a rules mistake, but a basic strategy tip. If you're the ARVN you want to govern corruptly early and often to add to your patronage score. Where should you do this? Anywhere you can, especially where support is at active. That way you screw over the US, add to your score, and still prevent VC from rallying in the space (because they can't rally if there's any support). Support does help the ARVN, but as far as I can tell Active support doesn't help at all.

6. The game ends on the last coup, not the last card. I couldn't find anywhere where the rules say this explicitly, but reading between the lines I think this is right. We had coups in piles of 12 cards, and with 9 still to go... Pow! Game over! Count the coups, or your complicated endgame strategy might just be totally meaningless when you run out of runway. Depends on how you seed your deck, of course.

And one final question - the rules say that coup round pacification can only move support two levels. Does terror count as a level? Or can you buy off a terror marker and THEN reduce support by two levels?


All to say, fantastic game and the fractured alliance mechanic made for some really fun trash talking and general merriment.
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Jason Sherlock
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saddamonmytube wrote:


3. F$*% the Police. As the ARVN player I didn't have any clue what to do with my seemingly useless cops. I dumped them into various places to gain COIN control and then ignored them. Only later did I understand that in many cases my cops weren't doing anything for me, but they WERE helping the US a great deal. Remember that the US can't pacify without ARVN five-oh present, so in some cases you might want to move them out of a space not to achieve something for yourself, but to prevent your ally from gaining victory points.



Police are often underrated by new players. Here are a few things to remember.

1) The police in the provinces represent your regional/ provincial forces and other militias. They are your main way to hold ground between coups, unlike troops (which need to get redeployed each coup round).

2) As mentioned, during coup rounds, the US needs them to pacify. If you want to keep a VPs away from the Americans (such as Saigon's potential 12 points), a patrol action does allow you to move your police. This is an interesting distinction, as you cannot sweep with troops during monsoons, and you generally cannot sweep out of your space with police.

3) Speaking of patrol actions, they are a nice way to move your ARVN cubes around if a failed coup is the next card up, breaking up your groups of 3 cubes.

4) Transport is the only way the ARVN can directly move troops (with rangers accompanying them) into provinces (or Laos/ Cambodia) during a monsoon. You cannot transport police, so get police into provinces when you can during coup rounds.

5) US only needs police to pacify during the coup rounds. They can Pacify with a train action, without police presence, whenever they like.
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Jason Sherlock
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saddamonmytube wrote:


5. Corrupt government is best in active support spaces. Not a rules mistake, but a basic strategy tip. If you're the ARVN you want to govern corruptly early and often to add to your patronage score. Where should you do this? Anywhere you can, especially where support is at active. That way you screw over the US, add to your score, and still prevent VC from rallying in the space (because they can't rally if there's any support). Support does help the ARVN, but as far as I can tell Active support doesn't help at all.

6. The game ends on the last coup, not the last card. I couldn't find anywhere where the rules say this explicitly, but reading between the lines I think this is right. We had coups in piles of 12 cards, and with 9 still to go... Pow! Game over! Count the coups, or your complicated endgame strategy might just be totally meaningless when you run out of runway. Depends on how you seed your deck, of course.

And one final question - the rules say that coup round pacification can only move support two levels. Does terror count as a level? Or can you buy off a terror marker and THEN reduce support by two levels?



You guys seem to have hit most of the rules, and resolved them correctly.

The only thing that support will do for the ARVN is to keep enemies from rallying there. Normally, an ARVN will only want to see active support in spaces that they know the VC will terror, and can't do anything to stop, or spaces that they want to draw patronage from.

The game does end at the last coup card. The cards after it are there to keep you guessing how long you have before the coup card shows up.

Two levels does not include terror, so you can remove the terror and move the support 2 levels (paying as if you were moving it three levels).
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Russ Williams
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saddamonmytube wrote:
6. The game ends on the last coup, not the last card. I couldn't find anywhere where the rules say this explicitly

Rule section "7.3 After Final Coup".
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Volko Ruhnke
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Great tips!

Very glad that your group enjoyed the game.

Best, Volko
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