Jakub Kircun
United States
Woods Hole
Massachusetts
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Me and Scott met-up at SNEW (Southern New England Wargamers), and tried our luck at Scenario #9. It's a nice self contained 10-turn scenario, with no additional reinforcements for either side, so the units you start with are what you get (though both side do receive replacement points to rebuild lost or damaged units). I played as the communists, along with its hidden force markers and relatively free setup. Scott played as the American and ARVN forces, along with there airmobile abilities and massive firepower. We both had to pick secret mission objectives (for automatic victory conditions). My objectives were to grab and hold the Plei Me SF camp, and also cause at least 10 US step casualties. Scott's objectives were to destroy one of my HQs, and also clear-out the Chu Pong Massif while maintaining a battalion's worth of US troops there.

Early in the game

I started out by concentrating a big chunk of my forces (3 NVA battalions) and some VC groups on the outskirts of Plei Me. On the eastern edge of the Chu Pong Massif I setup another NVA battalion as well as all their heavier artillery. Finally I spread out the rest of my forces in a more or less diversionary manner, with one NVA battalion surrounding Duc Co SF Camp, and several light VC forces at the intersection of highways 14 and 19.

I began assaulting Plei Me right away, with a few diversionary attacks, one at Duc Co, and another against venturing Montagnard and US units in the broken hilly terrain on the southern edge of the map. However SF Camps are extremely resilient hexes, and assaulting is always a tenuous proposition in the jungle. For the communists it can be difficult properly coordinating attacks, and for the US/ARVN the lack of knowledge of enemy positions and the constant threat of ambushes forces them to behave carefully, or they risk potentially catastrophic casualties.

Scott stares down at Plei Me

Other actions involved Scott moving a US battalion south from Pleiku by foot along highway 14 (supported by some motorized units). A lucky VC ambush managed to slow the US column down, and even caused some causalities. The VC force was also hit, but quickly dispersed into the jungle (note that VC units are essentially "free-units", in that you don't lose any VPs when they take causalities). In the northwestern part of the map, at Duc Co, my diversionary assault of the SF camp was a huge disaster, but at least I managed to temporarily pin-down some very good US and ARVN units there, including Lt. Col. Moore.

In the end we got through 5 turns (5 days of game-time). By then my repeated attempts to overrun Plei Me had failed (thanks to Scott's airmobile reinforcements and devastation artillery and air support, and several abysmal coordination rolls on my part) and my assaulting forces where heavily pummeled and in need of reorganization; NVA casualties were mounting fast! Scott helicoptered-in a probing force to the foothills of the Chu Pong Massif, but I made sure to maintain a constant communist presence there (I suspected that was one of his victory objectives), some real reconstituted forces from Cambodia, as well as some dummy units. The end result was basically a draw, with a very small advantage in VPs for the communists, primarily due to American casualties (US step loses cost a lot of VPs!). Had we continued the game I would have pulled most of my forces back in an effort to recover fatigue and bring in replacements (probably from Cambodia), and then acted in a more reactionary way to increase the amount of US casualties by ambushes and attacks of opportunity.

Endgame around Plei Me

This a very fun and engaging game. I really like the operational feel and the need to think long term, especially in terms of maintaining your forces at full fighting capacity (not an easy task for either side). Also, due to all the hidden information (mostly on the communist side, but some on the US/ARVN side to some degree), this is a game of cat-&-mouse maneuvering and bluffing. Just like a poker game, you don't want to reveal your hand too early, and as the communist it is always necessary to keep the enemy guessing.
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T N
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Great write up. How long did the game take you?
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Jakub Kircun
United States
Woods Hole
Massachusetts
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We started playing around 5:30PM and ended at 11PM. I was very familiar with the rules, while my opponent needed occasional explanations, but he was also a veteran wargamer. We probably would have needed all day to play the scenario in full.
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