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Vietnam '65

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  • Vietnam '65

    $10 from a variety of sources.

    This is an interesting little game. While it is not a simulation of any sort, it does force the player to confront the core issues of COIN.

    The player is basically a district commander in Vietnam. He needs to win the hearts and minds of the locals while convincing his bosses that he is doing a good job. Don't win enough hearts and minds, and you lose. Don't please the bosses, and you stop getting new units.

    You start the game with a main base (the only place you can heal wounded and auto-repair helos), an engineer unit, a SF unit, three companies of infantry, one artillery battery, and three units of Hueys. You can build one firebase (a supply point almost equal to the main base) and any number of forward bases (units use no supplies in a forward base, and SF units can train up to two companies of ARVN infantry).

    The units:
    Infantry: Best used as static forces based in villes and as base security. They are tough, but too slow to catch enemy units unless they wander close. They can clear mines.
    Engineers: these are the workhorses. They can build roads, build bases, clear mines, resupply and refuel AFVs, and be resupplied by helos; they can self-repair and repair helos.
    Artillery: pretty much as expected. Their drawback is that keeping them supplied with ammo means you need to choose base positioning carefully.
    SF units: fast (for infantry), hard for the enemy to see, with the ability to go 8 turns without supply, and a large visibility range; plus can train ARVN. Basics A-team + LRRP.
    Hueys: the lifeblood of the game. They lift artillery or infantry, and move supplies.
    Chinooks: long-range versions of the Hueys.
    Cobra Gunships: Deadly stand-off killers.
    M-48 MBTs: tough and dangerous, they are excellent as response forces and for securing bases. Their shortcoming is they can only be resupplied by engineer units or main/fire bases.
    M113s: Can be used to resupply infantry units, or transport infantry units. Useful if you have a threatened road network.
    ARVN: Not as tough as US infantry, but they don't cost political points (bosses' opinion of you) to raise or if they get wiped out. They are better at gathering intel from villages.
    Air strikes: hit anywhere in the map, but takes three turns to recharge. Otherwise they're 'free'.

    The meat of the game. Each unit has only X number of turns before they need resupply (except artillery, which can only fire five times before needing resupply). The only exceptions are bases: main or firebases resupply infantry and air units; main bases resupply AFVs and artillery as well. Infantry, air, and armor units in forward bases do not consume supplies, and infantry gain one level of supply for each turn in a forward base.
    So logistics is everything. You need to position your fire base and your infantry deployments so that they can be served by hueys easily; otherwise you are going to have units going under for lack of supply. M113s can help in road networks, but you will have to make sure you're active in anti-mine efforts. So you need to keep your bosses happy, because if you lose a helo unit you will need to have the pull on hand to buy a replacement immediately.

    Fog of War
    You have the power; the problem is finding the enemy, and especially his bases. For this you have some very useful intelligence tools, but still you are going to have to beat the bushes, while making sure that such efforts do not take up so much 'blade time' that your security units run out of supply.

    The AI
    Pretty good; the VC/MVA move fast through the jungle, they love to plant mines, and take post shots at you helos as they fly buy. You need to get the villagers on your side to rat them out, and locate their bases, because losing individual units does not deter them.

    All units get better with combat (provided them live). The graphics are functional, and the interface is simple.
    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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