Yep you read that correctly, Bolt Action Vietnam, that’s the game I played at the club Monday night and it was a lot of fun.
A friend of mine was talking about doing some Vietnam games but wanted to try and use Bolt Action as the base rules as they are a fast and simple set of rules, so I did a quick search on the interweby thing and found a version someone had already done.
After reading through this set my friend decided that a few bits needed adjusting and set about putting together a set that we could use down the club.
To these adjusted rules he added some ‘Event Cards’ and some ‘Trap Cards’ to add just a little extra to the game, and these worked well in the game.
He also did some cards to represent hidden movement of the PAVN force, this was three cards for each unit / squad / weapons team etc. two were blank and one was the actual unit, so the enemy didn’t know exactly where the unit was or what the unit was, this worked really well in the game.
The forces for the game were –
The US force had three ten-man squads plus a command squad and two machine gun teams
The PAVN force had two nine-man squads plus a command and one machine gun team
And the PAVN force started the battle close to the village and the US would come on the table from the opposite edge.
The game started fairly slowly with the US troops moving cautiously forward towards the hidden units in the jungle, they knew something was there but they had no idea what it was.
Then throwing caution to the wind two US infantry squads moved into the thicker sections of the jungle and were both attacked by the waiting PAVN infantry squads, one US squad took a couple of hits which was very disappointing for my PAVN force, but the other squad took lots of hits and seven US troops died, the remaining three ran away!
That felt good!! But my troops were soon going to pay for that sneaky attack as the US troops moved in to push my squads back, the US kept advancing and shooting while I kept moving back trying to get far enough away to hide back in the jungle, but the US troops kept coming and shooting until finally I lost all but two troops from those two squads.
At that point my commander called to the machine gun team and they all slipped away into the jungle to fight another day.
Well it wasn’t a huge success for either side as we both lost a lot of troops but I guess victory went to the US force for pushing me back out of the village.
The rules ran really well, giving a nice feel to the game, the hidden movement worked well and did give the US commander a few problems early on.
We found that the way the event cards worked needed a little adjustment as they didn’t feel exactly right, but this will be sorted before our next game.
The traps ( the blue tiddly-winks in the pictures ) these were activated when troops got too close or moved over them, they could be searched cautiously if you wanted.
A random card was turned over for each one, these could be nothing or a trap or things like a weapons caches etc. again these worked ok, but would probably be better if there was a scenario / objective where you actually had to search for these, we just tried to avoid them in this game.
Even though I lost the rules felt right for the PAVN in that they would all jump up and ambush the US troops and then slip away back into the jungle, the issue was that the US had another squad plus the command unit and a machine gun team all close by when I attacked their infantry squad which meant that I just couldn’t get away, which didn’t feel wrong it was just a little annoying.
The other squad of PAVN that attack on the other side of the table should have done better, they attacked a US squad that was on its own, so they should have killed lots of the US troops and then ran off back into the jungle and hid again… but I rolled really really badly and only killed two, which left lots of very annoyed US troops in that squad all ready to kill PAVN troops, which they did.
I think that I did mess up a little by keeping my machine gun team back in the village, as they never fired a single shot in the whole game, looking back I think that I should have put the team a lot further forward in the trees ready to ambush the US troops as they moved forward or chased my fleeing troops!
Even so I think on the whole it was a good run through of the rules, lots tension and excitement and I felt it gave a good ‘Vietnam’ type feel to the game.
Bolt Action works well as the base rule set and I am looking forward to trying this again after a few of the little bumps in the rules are smoothed out.