Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Battle for the LZ! Part II

Played the second half of my LZ Over-run game this time switching up the rules and playing the excellent "Cold War Commander" rules for the second half of the battle.  I have to admit, I like the way CWC handles infantry combat better than most games.  Giving infantry 6 hits but no save gives them tremendous staying power in a fight but doesn't bog the game down.
The third wave begins!  The third NVA battalion makes its push into US positions

LOS rules are tough and the US player can't open fire yet until they're within 5cms.  That's good for the NVA!

The US player is fighting off NVA platoons from every turn!  THe US right platoons hold but the left platoons are knocked out by intense frontal assaults.
 Cold War Commander is a little different and breaks down combat more than FFT3.  Most of your combat situations in FFT3 are completed in 1 turn whereas in CWC, you get the opportunity to regroup and have another go at the objective.  This style of combat (gameplay) suits the NVA player just fine, as multiple and repeated assaults are the key to victory!
hand to hand!
Artillery is devastating as it should be, and doesn't discriminate between friendly and enemy.  My US forces suffered losses at the hands of their own gunners.   Having weapons teams in support is great for close combat when you could use the additional modifiers.  I was stunned at how quick and brutal the assaults are.  You get +1 for supporting units, + 1 assault bonus for being the attacker, and the enemy gets -1 for being flanked or suppressed.
the US forces are pushed out of the woodline for now

but a counter-attack takes shape next turn

US FAO calling in "danger close" missions

D Company to the rescue!  Reinforcements from the other side of the LZ arrive and counter-attack the treeline.

 What I like the most about CWC are the reversals of fortune, and the ability to recover from a blow received on a previous turn.  Many rules sets are not so forgiving.

unflocked recoiless rifle stand.  Gave a good showing for themselves and knocked out the US Heavy weapons teams lending support.  This game is far from over!

Surprise!  The 4th wave materializes out of the Northeastern part of the LZ where a scant 3 US platoons (so far not committed to the battle) are dug in.  The over run is merciless and the entire company is wiped out in 1 turn...  The NVA had a tank platoon committed to the battle!

The victorious, half-painted NVA troopers advance 

until the final US airstrike stops them cold in their tracks.  From yesterday's write-up the US player had a napalm-armed aircraft orbiting.  The FAC, after numerous unsuccessful attempts, finally got his tactical air!  The strike devastates the last NVA battalion. 

Since I post these for many of my games, I thought this would be an appropriate time to post since this was a new style of game I haven't played yet.  If you find yourself playing in a Vietnam battle, here are some things to consider:

Final Protective Fires: Not sure what other Armies call it, but in the US Army, FPF are a final wall of steel between you and the enemy.  This blocks the enemy from advancing on your position and is a life saver when you're outnumbered 3:1 locally.  In both cases of rules, both FFT3 and CWC, FPF worked exactly as they should, although CWC had a much bigger fire radius.

Aggressive Infantry Tactics:  Boy if that doesn't sound like common sense after looking an an infantryman's resume and job description.  One of the best moves in the game was sending an additional US company over to the woods to clear out those NVA troops before they could mass again.  Spoiling attacks are ok too.  If you have a good opportunity to flank the enemy or to launch a counter-attack - do it and don't wait for the third wave to finish you off. 

Working with Helicopters:  With the dawn of "modern" gaming (late 20th century) as its own bona-fide wargaming genre, you should get used to the joys and heartbreaks of working with rotary wing tactical aviation.  There are alot of different avenues to explore here and not just for CWC or FFT3.  Helos add a true third dimension to the battlefield, enabling you to spot and call in artillery fire on the enemy's reinforcements before they've even reached the forward edge of the battle area.  Transport ships can drop your infantry mostly where you'd like them to be dropped, and gunships can be used as airborne artillery or aerial tanks - just dont forget that their skin can literally be punctured with a screw-driver so a bullet could really cause trouble inside one...  Case in point was the first battle when the NVA ZPU shot down my Huey-Hog.  (too bad because I was going to use the rockets the following turn...).  Always be cognizant of the enemy situation and keep your helos moving.  

Great game.  I think CWC was probably more fun than FFT3 for straight-up infantry engagements.  The action flows a little faster and in CWC the infantry are still a potent force to be reckoned with.  I am looking forward to playing more CWC-Vietnam and will hopefully get to play around with some deliberate NVA attacks in the future. 


  1. It's interesting you chose these two sets of rules instead of a more tactical set.

    1. Ken,
      I like games where a stand = a platoon. That allows me to fight larger battles a la an LZ Xray scenario much more practically than if a stand = a squad or team. All of them have their place (Crossfire, Volume of Fire, etc) but sometimes I just want to fight a large battle.

  2. Did you know that FOW has Vietnam rules? Since you've been playing FOW recently it might interest you.

    1. Ken,
      I own it and can't wait to play it! I haven't read through it thoroughly enough yet but it looks like fun.

  3. Don't know either of these rules systems but always interested to read AARs of Nam games. Curious to know if you've tried Too Fat Lardies' Charlie Don't Surf rules.
    Happy new year,

    1. MP,
      Check out coldwar-commander dot com and also fft3 (A Fistful of TOWs 3) dot com. Both are excellent rules. I have not played the TFL rules but have heard nothing but good things about them.