Third game of CoC DMZ, the Vietnam supplement for Chain of Command. After two games, we are now more confident on controlling the new mechanics and decided to add some complexity, introducing a political dimension to the game loosely based on Charlie Don't Surf, the Platoon-sized rules written by TooFatLardies (full details at the end of the post).
Using this time one of the scenarios included a Surf's Up, the US player was briefed about its mission: he must take control of remote village of uncertain name suspected to be the depot area of NVA units infesting the region. In Chain of Command terms, this is a "Scenario 6 Attack on an Objective" of the main rulebook, in principle winning the US if capturing the jumpoff point located in the center of the village.
But it wasn't to be so easy. As the NVA had important food and weapons supplies hidden in the village, those should be discovered and destroyed. If the enemy could exit its tactical edge with the supplies, the NVA player was victorious even if the US take control of the village. The village was inhabited and any civilian potentially a casualty in a fire exchange would count againts the US (or the NVA!) "Political Score".
|Peaceful local peasents (or not?) on their way to tendering the fields|
The terrain around the road from the far table edge to the village out skirts was "jungle type 2"v(very dense). Good to conceal the US movements but also seriously limiting its LOS.
The US infantry was supported by an ACAV vehicle. Following the patrol pahse, the US jump off points were placed at short distance of each other (... hard lesson learnt in previous games...) close to the jungle limit, while most of the NVA were distributed within the village perimeter. Remember the NVA has the advantage of the "local knowledge" feature, allowing to deploy units up to 12" from the jump off (vs the 6" distance of the regular troops).
|Orange, yellow and blue smoke|
In the following activation of the NVA player a second section was deployed, this time along the bank of the rice paddies bordering the viallge, in overwatch covering the road coming out of the jungle terrain. The US deployed a second section on the right flank, at the edge of the jungle and fired over the NVA while the ACAV made a quick dash along the road and the central position of the US line, aligned with the two infantry sections.
The following activations saw the US gaining the upper hand in various fire exchanges with the NVA located at the rice paddy; the US infantry section got a a nice close support on the ACAV's 0.5 HMG . As a result the NVA leader was killed, and the section accumulated shocks+casualties enough to get pinned first and then to break, fleeing away.
The NVA spent two CoC dice in ambush attempts, first with a RPG team firing the ACAV (just stunning the driver for 1 activation phase but being killed in exchange); and later with their last infantry section in the reserve, firing to the flank of the US infantry opposing the rice paddy, achieving very light casualties (jungle offer hard cover to the defender).
At this stage the NVA forces were badly mauled and the player decided to save as many of its supplies as possible from falling in US hands. The last reserves were therefore committed to carry the caches out of the table. The US now could enter the village unopposed.
Finally the US player realized that he had an alternative way to win the game, which was to capture the objective NVA jump off point. A US infantry team was sent running with the ACAV as escort, reaching the junpoff and then using the Chain of Command dice to end the turn and shout victory!.
Just in time, as the NVA player was by then very close to exiting the table with the supplies.
This game demostrated that communist forces are a major disadvantage in a fire exchange with the US. Even using M 14s, the firepower of the US infantry section (specially if an M60 team is attached) is overwhelming. NVA must use the historical "hit and run tactics", taking advantage of the local knowledge rule (that allows a far forward deployment) and when possible double activations to fire at least twice sequentially before the US can react.
Political aspects in the game
We are now in the process of adding a political dimension to the game, an aspect we much liked and enjoyed when playing Charlie Don't Surf. Our first approach in this game was to allocate 5 Political Victory points to each side at the start of the game.
The NVA gains points by extracting the supplies from the table and looses points if civilians casualties are taken in fire exchanges. The US player gains points capturing supply caches and confirming NVA casualties. US looses points if causing civilian casualties in fire exchanges.
Civilians can be casualties if a firing LOS passes through them and/or are located at 4" or less of a target unit in a firing exchange. Treat casualties as firing on a leader: roll a die and if the number is equal or lower than the number of KIA, a civilian is a casualty.
How are civilians moved? Before an activation phase is finished, the active players rolls 3 dice and moves back the (remaining) civilians entangled in a fire exchange in straight line from the firing unit. We are also considering if allowing players to use 1 CoC dice PIP to move any group of civilians at any time during its own phase.
NVA units can take their casualties with them if retiring in good order, but bodies are left on the ground if break and flee.
We also rolled for the US unit to have a media team embedded. The loss of the media team will reduce the US PV score by 2; also, any civilian killed observed by a media team will score -2 in the US PV total.
These ideas are still work in progress so any comments, critics or additions will be highly wlecome and appreciated.