Last week I had the opportunity to visit a tropical forest in Latin America as a result of a week-long business trip to Colombia. It was quite an interesting experience in itself but it also made me more aware of the simplifications and short cuts that we (as wargamers) take when playing games in Vietnam or WW II-era theaters in the Asian jungles.
Although not in Asia, the climatic and vegetation conditions I presume are more or less similar across the tropics. As I was walking along the forest, I discovered myself in deep thinking about some of the games I umpired with Charlie Don't Surf, specially the discussions we had on LOS, movement rates, ambushes or type of cover when firing.
To illustrate some of these points, here are some photos as an image is worth 1000 words.
1. Line of sight? What line of sight?
|My recon team slightly distracted|
There's nothing like a straight road path across the forest but a long and winding road as the Beatles sang many years ago. Furthermore, try to see something across the edge of the road and you'll find this...
|Nice flower but where's Charlie???|
2. Extraction, extraction!
First, find a clear in the forest...
|The green canopy|
|A different type of jungle but try finding the mountains!|
3. Machete forward!
And now for those scenes in the films where the intrepid adventurer opens a highway-wide sized path across the bamboo thickets in seconds...
... I could hardly believe the thickness of the bamboos and that's why I put my hand for reference in the photos!
4. Crossing the river
A very peaceful sight but people was there swimming so imagine the depth!
5. And the terrible wild animals
In conclusion, when playing Vietnam always think that reality was much worse that you can imagine; and that probably compound with the fear and lack of orientation in the jungle, would always play against the US players.