elxaime
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AGEOD Engine would be perfect for Vietnam 1965-1975

Fri May 03, 2013 1:12 pm

Years ago (1984) Victory Games published Vietnam, a board game that covered the entire period from just before major US land intervention in 1965 to the fall of Saigon in 1975. Here is a link:

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/5620/vietnam-1965-1975

The interesting aspect of this game was how it wove together operational and strategic game play. Both sides turns were made up of a mix of operations plus some strategic decisions. For example, the US side forces could assign units to conduct search and destroy, defense and other types of operations. The postures available to each sides' units were asymetric to reflect guerilla warfare. Local Viet Cong, for example, could do Agitprop to affect the loyalty of a region. The US side player had to deal with South Vietnamese "political" generals running some regions and the potential for a coup in Saigon. In addition are the variety of terrains and combat situations, from dense jungles and riverine in the south to more conventional confrontations along the DMZ.

I have always though the AGEOD engine, with its ability to assign and create units with myriad values and special abilities plus a strategic layer atop that, would be perfect for making something similar.

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Pocus
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Mon May 06, 2013 9:15 am

You would be welcome to mod the engine in doing such game :)
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Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's law."

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Carnium
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Mon May 06, 2013 11:46 am

Two problems with the AGE engine regarding Vietnam era combat:
- air war would not be modelled properly as the engine is not yet adapted to it. Its "air" model is very basic and suitable only for early 20th century. No chance to properly simulate seek and destroy actions and bomber campaign. Vietnam war had a really strong air campaign!
- hit and run aka guerilla war tactic would not work now as the AGE engine is not yet adapted to it.

There are some really good users made Vietnam campaigns for a game called The Operational Art of War.
Maybe one day there will be one from AGEOD too. Minus French involvement in Vietnam aka Dien Bien Phu "masterpiece" :mdr:

elxaime
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Mon May 06, 2013 6:03 pm

Carnium wrote:Two problems with the AGE engine regarding Vietnam era combat:
- air war would not be modelled properly as the engine is not yet adapted to it. Its "air" model is very basic and suitable only for early 20th century. No chance to properly simulate seek and destroy actions and bomber campaign. Vietnam war had a really strong air campaign!
- hit and run aka guerilla war tactic would not work now as the AGE engine is not yet adapted to it.

There are some really good users made Vietnam campaigns for a game called The Operational Art of War.
Maybe one day there will be one from AGEOD too. Minus French involvement in Vietnam aka Dien Bien Phu "masterpiece" :mdr:


Good points. Here are some thoughts on how air power and guerilla war might be abstracted under the current AGOED engine.

***

Tactical Airpower
This would include independent units of helicopter gunships, fixed wing rotor aircraft and other aircraft specifically tasked for ground support and tactical reconnaissance. These would be handled in two ways. First, the player can attach these types of aircraft directly to units to simulate dedicated Close Air Support (CAS). Second, there would be aircraft at the Corps headquarters which could “March to the Guns” to adjacent regions if they came under attack. This would allow a player to use aircraft both offensively and defensively. Aircraft would act primarily to enhance the attributes of Allied ground units.

Strategic Airpower
Strike aircraft and Strategic assets would be assigned to “boxes” to simulate their commitment to various missions, e.g. Ho Chi Minh trail interdiction, Haiphong Port, the various corps regions. The impact would be on NVA and Viet Cong supplies and also add potential for attrition. The North Vietnamese could commit their limited air assets to select boxes (e.g. only over North Vietnam) in order to attrition the Allied airpower. The NVA could also establish SAM networks.

Naval and Riverine
Could act to interdict supply routes and provide bombardment support along coastlines. However river interdiction should be suitably “leaky” to reflect the difficulty of doing this in guerilla war.

Guerilla Warfare
Viet Cong units would have available to them a variety of postures to simulate asymmetric warfare. For example, a local Viet Cong operating in its home district would be able to run operations to conduct assassinations and terror against government officials. They could be detectable and subject to engagement only by selected Allied counter-terror unit. The outcome would affect loyalties in that district. NVA sappers could build entrenchments and cave systems and also lead breach attacks on bases. Main force Viet Cong and NVA units would be the only ones able to take and hold territory for VP, but the Allies would only earn VP for their part for regions that have a high enough loyalty – making the guerillas campaign more one of denying government control than taking over towns (at least initially). The two sides would have differing challenges. The NVA and VC would be seeking to outlast the US and Allied forces, turning finally to mainly conventional warfare only after their departure. The US side would be seeking to attrition the enemy forces to regain control of the countryside. But the use of heavy Allied ground units and airpower can backfire by causing casualties and destruction that turn the population against the SVN Government.

Strategic Choices
Both sides would have a series of strategic choices forced on them. For the Allies, do they keep foreign forces at a minimum level to allow the South Vietnamese to carry the main fight, thus perhaps allowing a better chance of keeping population loyalties in the various regions higher at the cost of lower combat effectiveness? Do they launch heavy clearing operations with massive air support to destroy enemy units at the cost of shifting the population against them? Does the US side institute Marine Corps style small unit approaches which may mean higher US casualties but greater chance of getting the population on your side? For the Communist, how much resources do they put into main force as opposed to guerilla units? How many supply units to allocate to the Ho Chi Minh trail? When do they strike for a provincial capital and a potential big payoff in propaganda at the cost of losing troops?

Loyalty and Morale tracks
Loyalty would be district by district to allow for various regional differences, e.g. support for SVN Government by some minorities like Hmong. Then there would be separate morale tracks for the US troops, the US allies, the US Home Front, World Opinion, the Soviet Bloc, the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong. Various choices would affect one or the other. For example, US troop morale and effectiveness can over time get eroded as US Home Front support steadily drops even as they win every battle. World Opinion can cause US allies to withdraw their support over time. If the Communists choose to build up a North Vietnamese conventional army too fast, they may see their southern VC allies denied the resources they need to win the agitprop battle. Soviet and Chinese assistance to the Vietnamese Communists may rise and fall depending on US and Allied actions and various world events – neither side wants to start a WW3 over SE Asia.

Just some ideas. I do think that, with some creativity and abstraction, it is quite doable.

For me the main challenge would be in creating a map.

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Narwhal
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Mon May 06, 2013 9:11 pm

The problem I see is that all those systems (Guerrilla Warfare, Airpower, ...) would be rough "fixes" - proxy- to represent what the engine itself cannot do directly. One or 2 of those fixes is fine, but when the heart of what is simulated is using those proxies (I am especially thinking Air War here), it is not very good.

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PhilThib
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Mon May 06, 2013 9:12 pm

Something else missing is the difference between Viet and Western style of warfare/combat time: even from French period time, the Viet preferred to launch attacks at night, while Western powers almost exclusively fought during daylight... the engine is unable to render this difference right now
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elxaime
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Mon May 06, 2013 10:14 pm

PhilThib wrote:Something else missing is the difference between Viet and Western style of warfare/combat time: even from French period time, the Viet preferred to launch attacks at night, while Western powers almost exclusively fought during daylight... the engine is unable to render this difference right now


Using a two-week time scale, I think a lot of that would be abstracted. Viet Cong, for example, would have high cohesion in their districts of origin and high evasion. They would rarely launch large set piece assaults (e.g. regimental level) on enemy conventional forces. They would "inflict damage" mainly by existing. Low provincial loyalty will inflict losses on the South Vietnamese army akin to the harsh weather in ACW, to reflect desertions, defections and no-shows. This attrition damage would be how you would model the pin-prick drip-drip of losses inflicted by guerilla warfare, including the use of night attacks. Ideally we could model a "fog of war" for the Allied side where there would be a lack of solid information about SVN government forces (except for the elite units).

In set-piece battles with conventional US forces, not sure the night was that big an aid to the Viet Cong/NVA anyway. Although night vision was not as prevalent or effective on the US side as now, night attacks were basically launched by the VC mainly because it was suicide attacking during the day. The way you model this in the game is by use of the ambusher ability for the VC plus putting your VC units on early retreat orders. This reflects the strike-first and fade-away tactics of the guerilla. NVA conventional units attempting a stand-up fight with the US should suffer dreadful losses, mitigated only if they fight from well-prepared bunkers, regardless of whether they attack in night or day. The French lost at Dien Bien Phu not because of the night attacks, but because they lacked sufficient air power and underestimated the amount of heavy artillery the Viet Minh could drag into position around their base.

elxaime
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Mon May 06, 2013 10:17 pm

Narwhal wrote:The problem I see is that all those systems (Guerrilla Warfare, Airpower, ...) would be rough "fixes" - proxy- to represent what the engine itself cannot do directly. One or 2 of those fixes is fine, but when the heart of what is simulated is using those proxies (I am especially thinking Air War here), it is not very good.


Air war would have to be abstracted, no doubt. But how much of an air "war" was there really? US and Allied air power was so overwhelming they basically could go wherever they wanted if they were willing to absorb some losses. Political constraints bound them more. The North Vietnamese MiG squadrons and SAM defenses presented a challenge, but one that never really threatened US air supremacy. So I have no problem going with a high level of abstraction on air operations, remembering we are modeling two-week turns, not daily airstrikes.

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RebelYell
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Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:42 pm

elxaime wrote:Air war would have to be abstracted, no doubt. But how much of an air "war" was there really? US and Allied air power was so overwhelming they basically could go wherever they wanted if they were willing to absorb some losses. Political constraints bound them more. The North Vietnamese MiG squadrons and SAM defenses presented a challenge, but one that never really threatened US air supremacy. So I have no problem going with a high level of abstraction on air operations, remembering we are modeling two-week turns, not daily airstrikes.


You know the regional decision cards woud work just fine!

Give a lot of them to the US players, close air support card, strategical bombing, spray agent orange card to drop enemy hide value in the region etc..

Politics should limit their use in the North and Hanoi?

Couldnt the presence of AA units affect how the card will work, play a lot of them to suppress the AA?

Just put pretty pictures on the cards and some sound of napalm going of and people are happy with the air portion of the game.

Airborne operations by helicopters/transports should be using a unit like naval, put your units inside and use distant unload?


Im wondering how the tunnels and bunkers systems could be represented in the game.. :bonk:

One idea is a "hidden" fort/depot.

When you discover it you have to start breaching it and the Viet can build them with their engineers, stupid idea?

The tunnels could be like rails but you can build them and US can destroy and discover them only in the ground.

But as many of the many main tunnel systems where never discovered they might stay hidden and abstract.

Best input would be from some veteran if this type of game was done.

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