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RE: Victory Games Vietnam

 
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RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/2/2011 6:43:02 PM   
Grymme

 

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Hi

- You were right it was indeed a bug in the US kills/losses event. Seems the program cannot handle large fractions very well. I believe i have fixed it but it did require a small change in functionality. Basicly its the same but the maximum bonus for the Free World player for a single round is +3 for 3600 powerpoints or more. I think its all that is realistic anyway. Hopefully nobody would be able to kill 4800 powerpoints in a single round.
- Also fixed the RF-PF thing. The same issue could possibly haunt other openturn events so i will have to look out.
- I also made a small but not unimportant change in functionality. In the boardgame you draw a head of state on round 1. In my scenario you always started with Bao Dai (which is one of the better leaders in my opinion). Well i changed it so that the starting leader is randomized. So now you could end up with Thieu as starting leader if you are unlucky.

Uploaded these changes as v220 to my skydrive.

On another note i am almost finished with my Easter Offensive scenario. Have some issues to sort out but the basic coding is done. Now i just have 5-6 issues to fix, a briefing to write, a description for the website etc and it can be up and running. This scenario will be donationware but with the same passeword as for the Grand Campaign so if you get that you get all of them.



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Post #: 91
RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/2/2011 6:46:46 PM   
Grymme

 

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By the way.Goodmongo. Arent you afraid that all this testing might turn you off from playing the scenario from start to finish eventually? I can tell you that i rarely play my own scenarios becuase i have started them over so many times and always feel responsiblé if my opponent fails. Just a caution.

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Post #: 92
RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/2/2011 7:04:31 PM   
Goodmongo

 

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I've done some pretty extensive tests of air units against AA and then compared that to the effectiveness of air vs artillery. There are 4 AA types in the game. When you buy an AA unit you get 2 units of AA and each unit has 2x85mm and 2x75mm. There are alos 37mm AA guns and dual AA guns that you can actually produce. In my tests I've conducted 1 to 2 (air commitment to AA commitment) bombardments, 1 to 1 bombardments, 2 to 1 bombardment and 3 to 1 bombardments. I also conducted air attacks against AA on a 1 to 1, 2 to 1 and 3 to 1 basis.

For the above air attack tests air loses out to AA in a single turn when done at anything less than 2 to 1. At 2 to 1 the air unit is usually destroyed in 3 or 4 turns unless you reinforce. Only at 3 to 1 does air end up destroying the AA unit. I did this with both majority A-4 and majority B52.

On the bombardment tests the AA units rarely take any damage. After all you are attacking the location and not the unit. On bombardments of less than 2 to 1 the air units took more damage. Not sure why this was the case unless the bombardment supresses the defender. On 3 to 1 the location always was destroyed (1000 points). On 2 to 1 it was destroyed in 2 out of 3 tests. At under 2 to 1 it was never destroyed. But even with 3 to 1 ratio's I still suffered a couple of lost planes during the three tests.

I also conducted bombardments against a HQ unit with 2x37mm and 4 to 6 dual AA. My 3 planes had 2 losses and 1 retreat. Using 9 planes (a full 1 point commitment) destroyed the location but suffered a plane loss in one test and 2 planes in another test run.

I then decided to compare how planes do against a VC batallion and a NVA regiment. I used 6 A4's and 3 B52's against 2 units of 175mm artillery. Both were worth 1 commitment. In all cases the artillery did much better. I even tried changing it to 9 A4's and 9 B52's, but the artillery was still much better at killing and forcing retreats. All tests were in jungle, hills or forested hills. I did not try urban, cultivated or mountain but I really doubt it would have mattered.

So my conclusions are that a comitment in US air is a bad idea. You eventually lose the unit. Artillery (175mm) does much more damage. Also, air vs. AA is too weak. I can see air retreating but unless you have 3 to 1 advantages you lose the air unit. In looking at the real war there were just 17 B52's shot down by enemy action during the entire war. Ten were lost to SAM's during Linbacker II. Looking at all fixed wing aircraft there were just over 1600 lost during the whole war. But they flew over 5 million sorites which translates to .4 losses per 1000 sorties. Anyway you look at it the game has way too high air plane losses.

I'm not sure what the right answer should be. There needs to be a balance of commitment costs, damage done and losses. But I'm convinced that the air losses are too high when compared to historical losses, commitment ratios, and compared to damage done. Maybe the answer is to cause the air unit to retreat much more often and not be shot down.

EDIT: I'm not afraid of losing interest at all. When the scenario is balance and finished I think it will offer many replays. The thing I loved about the boardgame was that you could do it over and over and never use the same strategy. Besides I think this scenario has some great potential to fill a niche that the whole industry has missed. To that event I plan on devoting much more time to it and eventually even trying to code a US AI variant. (If you don't and you don't mind).

EDIT2: I also did a test where I declared an offensive as NVN player. I played it where the NVN player ran away and dispersed units to avoid combat as much as possible. Now to speed things up I wen big super fast to get to 150 US commitment. But I tried to compensate and held back lots of NVN units (3 full NVA divisions) to balance out the excess commitment received. I then attacked all over the place and even did a few suicide attacks. There were 922 PP kills which resulted in -15 to US morale. I think this was way too high, especially if you consider that ARVN units suck compared to NVA and that the NVN gains commitment every turn no matter what the Free World does.

This means that doing three offensives I can basically force US withdrawl to start in 1968! This is based on a solid US build up of 25 commitment per seasonal turn where 150 nets you 6 US divisions, 1 US brigade, some Free World, and 12 ARVN (5-6 augmented). Once the US hits 150 commitment the NVN player will get 25 an up commitment. That means every half year I launch an offensive and have 4 new NVA divisions to do it with. No way the Free World player can ever win. I bet if you programed the AI to just build NVA units and launch a full offensive every 9 months once US commitment hits 150 the AI would win every game.

< Message edited by Goodmongo -- 10/2/2011 7:27:36 PM >

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Post #: 93
RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/2/2011 7:47:14 PM   
Grymme

 

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Goodmongo. There are other things you get for purchasing airpoints instead of artillery. Flexibility, addional functionality, recon, defensive air support points, forcing your opponent to purchase single use units etc. Air units are also better att destroying enemy tanks, artillery and APC than artillery. You cannot just compare combat values. Also Air units do not suffer the experience loss that US ground troops have. So those that survive will eventually have a much better experience rating and the kill/loss ratio will become better and better.

I am not saying that there couldnt be any adjustments made. But i think you are a little singleminded here. And i think testing with ratios like 2-1 is pointless because thats way to low to attack if you play the normal ATG game and its way to low here.

Anyway. There is a tool in ATG for doing combat simulations. Basicly the computer does an attack 200 times and shows the results. I did an 3-1 attack (9 points of air against two air defense regiment).

_________________________________

Here are the results

We did 200 simulations. and these are averages:


COMBAT OUTCOME:
Attack succeeded: 3
Standoff: 0
Attack failed: 197


DEFENDER AVERAGES:
*Engineer:
Death: 2.345
Retreat: 2.3
Live: 15.355
Rdn: 85.1155
Mor: 48.93375

*75mm AA Gun:
Death: 1.865
Retreat: 1.475
Live: 0.66
Rdn: 53.96
Mor: 46.3025

*85mm AA Gun:
Death: 1.745
Retreat: 1.69
Live: 0.565
Rdn: 52.09625
Mor: 46.11625

*Truck:
Death: 2.79
Retreat: 2.425
Live: 0.785
Rdn: 51.35917
Mor: 46.07833


ATTACKER AVERAGES:
*A-4 Skyhawk:
Death: 1.02
Retreat: 10.815
Live: 0.165
Rdn: 79.53416
Mor: 47.95042

*B-52 Stratofortress (late):
Death: 0.95
Retreat: 13.83
Live: 0.22
Rdn: 83.91734
Mor: 48.801

Structural Damage = 547.315

______________________________

Now that is on average 3,6 of the 4 flak casualties for 1,97 of the aircraft. Since the 4 flak represents 3 commitment its almost a 3 commitment loss (say 2 commitment because you get to keep some engineers and trucks). That is compared to less than 0,66 of commitment loss for the attacker.

EDIT. Actually i miscalculated since there are actuálly four of each AA in the units. So it would be 3,6 of 8 flak. or ca 1,4-5 commitment against 0,66 commitment.

< Message edited by Grymme -- 10/2/2011 7:55:54 PM >


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Post #: 94
RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/2/2011 7:50:55 PM   
Grymme

 

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Here is the result from attacking AA in a provincial capitol (urban terrain)

We did 200 simulations. and these are averages:

COMBAT OUTCOME:
Attack succeeded: 7
Standoff: 0
Attack failed: 193

DEFENDER AVERAGES:
*Engineer:
Death: 2.81
Retreat: 2.17
Live: 15.02
Rdn: 84.6245
Mor: 48.88075
*75mm AA Gun:
Death: 1.8
Retreat: 1.575
Live: 0.625
Rdn: 51.21625
Mor: 46.065
*85mm AA Gun:
Death: 1.755
Retreat: 1.535
Live: 0.71
Rdn: 53.71875
Mor: 46.28
*Truck:
Death: 2.75
Retreat: 2.435
Live: 0.815
Rdn: 51.68583
Mor: 46.06833

ATTACKER AVERAGES:
*A-4 Skyhawk:
Death: 1.015
Retreat: 10.585
Live: 0.4
Rdn: 80.44041
Mor: 48.06375
*B-52 Stratofortress (late):
Death: 0.925
Retreat: 13.57
Live: 0.505
Rdn: 84.15967
Mor: 48.64267

Structural Damage = 551.605


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Post #: 95
RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/2/2011 7:57:48 PM   
Grymme

 

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I actually read the calculations wrong since there are a total of 8 AA units not 4 in the units. So 3,6 flak would be something like 1,35 commitment losses against the US 0,66 commitment losses.

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Post #: 96
RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/2/2011 8:05:13 PM   
Grymme

 

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And here are the values for a 4-1 attack (12 commitment vs 3). This is probably what i would advocate using as a minimum in the game if you dont want to wear out your aircraft too soon.

We did 200 simulations. and these are averages:

COMBAT OUTCOME:
Attack succeeded: 196
Standoff: 0
Attack failed: 4

DEFENDER AVERAGES:
*Engineer:
Death: 13.48
Retreat: 6.485
Live: 0.035
Rdn: 45.52225
Mor: 44.882
*75mm AA Gun:
Death: 2.23
Retreat: 1.77
Live: 0
Rdn: 45.2075
Mor: 45.10875
*85mm AA Gun:
Death: 2.365
Retreat: 1.635
Live: 0
Rdn: 47.04125
Mor: 45.325
*Truck:
Death: 3.58
Retreat: 2.42
Live: 0
Rdn: 46.28833
Mor: 45.15083

ATTACKER AVERAGES:
*A-4 Skyhawk:
Death: 0.415
Retreat: 0.83
Live: 19.755
Rdn: 94.32452
Mor: 49.68428
*B-52 Stratofortress (late):
Death: 0.495
Retreat: 1.205
Live: 31.3
Rdn: 95.05878
Mor: 49.72273

Structural Damage = 1227.77


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Post #: 97
RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/2/2011 8:24:30 PM   
Grymme

 

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As for the offensive thing. 15 morale loss is actually pretty good numbers for the Free World player. There is a boardgamesession on the boardgamegeek where an inexperienced Communist player caused a 33 point drop in morale during his offensive. That being said there could be a valid concern that offensives could be too powerfull and if playing them every season is a good strategy then its obviously so. I know some boardgamers had restrictions on how many offensivs you could play during a game. But again i think that it has to bee tested more before coming to any conclusions. Also i guess it depends on what happens to the NVA/NLF troops that attack. If you burn out all your forces during the offensive then obviously buying a new one next season migh be less good since you will not have any units to use in the new offensive. NVA units are pretty expensive.

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Post #: 98
RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/2/2011 8:39:52 PM   
Goodmongo

 

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Hey Grymme. I actually spent the last hour or so searching my storage for my old Vietnam game. I found it and will read the rules over once again. I'll back off on both the offensive and air issues for now. After reading through the boardgame rules I'll be more refreshed in how air was used in the game, its relavant power and why in the game you went for 20-25 commitment in air power.

One other thing that I'll be paying close attention to is the relative combat power of the different forces.

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Post #: 99
RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/2/2011 9:55:07 PM   
Goodmongo

 

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I was reviewing the morale impacts and I think some adjustments are needed. First off offensives by the NVN forces. It costs 10 commitment as you have but the amount of US morale losses are much lower then what you have. As you are probably aware it is -4 morale for 26-30 NLF attacks with -1 for each 3 attacks abouve that. For the boardgame a high amount would be a morale drop of -7 with a more reasonable drop of -3 or -4 (up to 30 attacks which is alot). So I really think this needs to be adjusted as a strong NVN attack can kill 1500 PP. So maybe a -1 for every 250 PP?

On the US side it works differently. You get nothing for 29 battalions and then -1 for the 30th and -1 more for every fifth after that. So its a high threshold but a rapid rise after that. Not sure what 30 battalions equate in PP but let's assume that it's 1200 PP (40 PP per battalion). The US morale should then be +1 for 1200 PP and + 1 more for every 200 additional PP above 1200. This formula would more closely match the manual. Of course if a battalion is more than 40 PP the numbers should be adjust accordingly.

One last tidbit. I know that you have the VC companies to represent the political sections. The problem is that the VC companies you use are pretty strong. The political sections are destroyed without a fight. I know the tradeoff is in the game you have no clue if the unit is a battalion, regiment or political section. So you have to attack accordingly. What I'm saying is that a full battalion attacking a VC company will suffer losses and still not destroy it. I think this is wrong. Heck an entrenched VC company in a mountain hex held out against two ARVN battalions attacking it. I think you should reduce these to 5 soldiers and no support and give the NVN player the 4 units that the game has. It would still take a battalion (or regiment if thats you force size) to attack and defeat it but at least the Free World side wouldn't be wasting precious replacements and commitment against a unit that should never have caused any losses.


< Message edited by Goodmongo -- 10/3/2011 2:57:57 AM >

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Post #: 100
RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/2/2011 10:07:36 PM   
ernieschwitz

 

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Hmm..

I´ll do a quick jump in here... and mention that it is actually possible to make a unit look like another unit type, and still get all the recon benefits from it. That may solve some of the problem, or am i completely off-base here...

Ok, jumping out again...

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Post #: 101
RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 2:54:39 AM   
Goodmongo

 

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I'm going to discuss air power in the boardgame vs. the scenario. In both the cost is 1 commitment for 3 air power.

In the boardgame the air units have unlimited range and are based off map. In the scenarrio air units have a very limited range and are based at airfields that can be attacked by the enemy thus destroying all your air power. Also I believe there is a stacking penality for using too many units from the same base.

On air attacks against enemy troops (not support missions) the air power is added to the combat strenght of the units attacked. A negative modifier is applied to the dice roll for any terrain that the defending units are in. There is 16.67% chance to lose a maximum of one air point per attack. The larget the enemy stack the better chance for bigger losses.

In the scenario air units attack the enemy for up to 10 rounds based on AP. Larger enemy stacks do not have a larger chance for damage. Air units are subject to attack by any AA units each phase of combat and you can suffer more than one loss in a single combat.

In the boardgame the great thing about air power is how it is used during combat. A much smaller ground force with massive air (or artillery) is actually better than a ground force of equal strength made up just of ground units. For example say you have 30 ground strength attacking a force that is just 10 ground strength. The defender can assign additional air/artillery up to 3 times (actually it can go higher but loses some capability) the ground strength. Assume they use 20 air. That means there are 30 ground attack against 10 ground plus 20 air and the odds are 1-1. But this is just the beginning. After rolling the dice and applying modifier the attacker actually looks on the 50 strength (ground + enemy air) column while the defender looks at the 10 strength column (his ground + 0 enemy air/artillery). The attacker will suffer 2 to 13 strength losses while the defender will only suffer 0 to 3 losses. There is once again a 16.567% chance to lose ONE air point. The idea behind this was to allow US and ARVN troops to have less ground strength while standing up to more manpower units of the NLF forces. And the combat losses would be less for US than NLF.

In the scenario I don't think air can even be combined with ground forces (to be honest I never tried), so the only potential way to cause enemy ground losses is through direct attacks. And of course the unlimited range is a big complicator.

During monsoon the air power in the game is reduced by just 25% while the game reduces it by half.

When it comes to bombing the trail or the north things get pretty complicated. Both the boardgame and the scenario have their plusses and drawbacks. I'll first describe the scenario as its much easier. Air points can bomb either the trail or the north. You bomb a city and this has a couple of effects. If a trail city is bombed it reduces the city production and if not repaied lowers the amount of NLF supplies per commitment. Bombing the north damages the city, lowing the production there and has an impact on US/SVN morale. Air units cna suffer losses if the north build AA and places it in the cities. Generally the amount of losses can exceed that in the game and the amount of supply/commitment destroyed is less. The air units can be used the next game turn for more bombings or other functions.

In the boardgame air points are allocated to bombing and then stay there for two more turns. Basically you allocate air points with the intention of not pulling them back out unless necessary. The game also has restricted and unrestriced bombing of the north in addition to trail bombing. Bombing of the north impacts US/SVN morale. In the scenario it -1US for +1 plus 50% of 1 more. The game is -1US +2 SVN for restricted and -1 - 50% one dice US and +4 SVN for unrestricted. Bombing of the north results in hits and these hits are 1 for 1 in NVN allocated commitment compared to supply for the scenario. Trail bombing in the boardgame lowers the effectiveness (and rarely the level) of the trail which impacts supply/population that each commitment infiltrates.

Air defense in the boardgame is never reduced or damaged. It is on an increasing scale and capped a 3. US air power losses can be 0 to 2 air points each season. Raw numbers indicate that there are 14 chances out of 25 for 0 losses, 8 for 1 loss and 3 for 2 losses. But this is somewhat misleading. But if NVA air defenses are zero poper usage of air results in guaranteed trail hits of 1-3 and 33% to 50% chance for a single air point loss. The best allocation is 36 air points resultsing in 2 hits and a 16% for 3 (plus a permanent reduction in trail level) while having a 50% chance for a single air point loss. Next best is 13 air points.

I'm not sure which is better and the tradeoffs might equal out. But a strategy employe doften in the boardgame was to bomb the north to get SVN morale up fast. It was a 2 for 1 situation just like economic aid. In the scenario its only a 50% chance for the second SVN morale. Oh and in the boardgame you always knew what the NVN air defense was but in the scenario you have no idea if that city is defended or not but then again you can suffer AA damages in the scenario.

All in all I think air power in the boardgame was a much more important and useful component and force multiplier. I don't know what would even it out but for a start I think unlimited ranges for air is required along with only a 25% reduction during monsoons. After that maybe some tweaks to combat done and damage received.

In my next analysis I'm going back to addressing VC placements and power of VC units. I'm also going to discuss ARVN units and replacement costs for both sides.


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Post #: 102
RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 4:24:24 AM   
rosseau

 

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I do have all your scenarios, but have not had time to play them. Being as you have a full-time beta-tester here (), I may play this one first when you are done. Time is more valuable than money, so pretty cool Mr. G is so persistent. Best to both of you.

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Post #: 103
RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 7:16:20 AM   
Grymme

 

Posts: 1821
Joined: 12/16/2007
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Goodmongo. To be honest i dont really have time to answer all your concerns. But i will try my best.

As i said before i think there are tradeoffs as it comes to airpower. And you describe it yourself. I also think (and this is a general point). That you need large amounts of testing before saying something is unbalanced, unless it is blatantly so.

- Combat in the boardgame and combat in ATG are very different so thats one area where it is diffficult to just compare those two. But another couple of points about the advantages of airpoints in ATG. 1) You can attack units without there being any ground combat. 2) when you attack a mechanized or motorized unit in ATG and destroy one of the APC/trucks you cripple the movement of that entire unit.3) In ATG if the defender has no AA there is 0% chance of any airpoints being lost. In the boardgame there was always a chance of loosing airpoints. 4) More than doing losses an air attack in ATG (and an artillery attack for that matter) lowers the defending units readiness and morale. Do this enough and the defending unit will not be able to move or defend itself.

This being said i do think there are a couple of valid points. A couple of things i would consider changing in the airsystem is 1) increasing the range of available aircraft (although i dont agree with your description of it as "very limited". Aircraft actually attack up till their full range for all ten rounds of combat. It is only if you rebase an aircraft that it looses AP. This means that a B-52 bases in Pleikku can strike from North of Hue down to north of Xuan Loc with all 100AP.) 2) i might give the airplanes more recon points. One of the common uses of aircraft in ATG is for scouting and that is not so good in the scenario because there is no aircraft with good recon ability. Maybe there could be a chance of getting a dedicated scout aircraft when buying an airpoint. 3) only reducing aircraft power by 25% during monsoon season.

Any ideas for which multipurpuse fighter/bomber would be best to simulate this are welcome.

- As for the bombing of North Vietnam thing. One thought i did have was to implement a small chance of bombing increasing NVN commitmen.

- As you pointed out the VC companies are filling the same function as the political sections in the boardgame. I actually think the VC companies are much better and realistic than the political sections of the boardgame. I understand the reason for them but i think flavourwise they always stood out in the boardgame.

- When it comes to morale losses/gains from offensives and losses/kills i agree that it differs somewhat from the boardgame. But i think the change is to the better. I do not think the US would ever get a +10 morale bonus from killing Vietnamese. The offensive thing i will wait to see how it plays out but i do think that you are way of if you think -7 morale modifier from an offensive is an average for what a offensive in the boardgame should cause. For one thing an offensive in the boardgame lasts an entire season. As said before this guy caused a -33 modifier in one game. If you caused a 1500 powepoint loss then it would only mean a -25 modifier. What i would be more inclined to do is limit the number of offensives the Communist side can play (maybe to 4 times: Tet, MiniTet, Easter and Ho Chi Minh. And i would do it as a scenario variant.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/555950/campaign-summer-1968-and-the-vc-offensive-and-summ

By the way. Where did you get your fixed wing losses from. Because i got it closer to 3 200 fixed wing aircraft and some 5 000 rotary wing aircraft. This from US Airforce, US Navy and US Marinecorps

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_losses_of_the_Vietnam_War



< Message edited by Grymme -- 10/3/2011 8:34:16 AM >


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Post #: 104
RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 5:08:15 PM   
Goodmongo

 

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Before I get into population, replacements and VC/ARVN units I'll address your questions.

1) The boardgame did offer air points the opportunity to attack alone.  In fact if the NVN player was stupid enough to leave a big stack in a single hex this was just begging for even a lone air point.  See the damage inflicted in the boardgame was based on total strength of ground units PLUS enemy air/artillery/naval.  This means 50 NVA ground strength in a single hex attacked by just 1 air point resulted in 2 to 13 stregth points/replacment losses.  Air in the boardgame just did way more damage to enemy units. I understand your point about loss of AP's/readiness/morale. But once again I counter that with a small gound force with air fighting an equal force of all ground has 2 to 4 times the strength losses for the big ground force. My ground attacks still need to be about equal force (and actually double even with US troops) to have a chance to achieve those types of kill ratios. Plus the losses are US where in the game I could use super cheap ARVN replacments as losses. Oh and speaking of offensives a common tactic in the boardgame was that the turn before an offensive (and you always knew based on units leaving the trail and large replacement pools) you spent you air hitting these stacks. it was very common to destroy 30 to 50 strength points doing this. Any decent US player would always do this and severly cripple the offensive.

2) Right now if I base planes near Saigon they are lucky to even reach all of IV Corps and northen II Corps (especially A4's).  This is unrealistic as in the real war planes from bases could reach any part of the coutry with ease.  The country is at it's narowest just 25 miles and the south was just over 1000 miles in length.  That means a plane based in the center had to travel just 500 miles to reach almost amy point on the map.  This was well within the capability of US air at the time.  I strongly urge unlimited range as right now its unrealistic and a big hinderance to the US side.  Also remember that these are month long turns so attacking for full 10 rounds should happen.  I would use the F-105's as this was the primary ground pounder jet.  The troops loved the A-1 as it was better at close air support but the F-105's were used to attack enemy concentrations of troops.

3) As for losses you have to seperate all losses from combat losses.  Using the Wiki site there are 2350 fixed wing combat losses for US airforce/navy/USMC.  It also states that there were 5.25 million sorties for the US airforce alone.  So the loss to sortie level in real life was way lower than in the scenario.  And the boardgame had a 16.67% chance to lose one air point per operation, which seems high except when you view it compared to total air commitment and how air was used. Actual losses in the boardgame is way lower then in the scenario considering the boardgame did more damage to enemy units.

4) Increasing NVN commitment for US bombing would go contrary to the purpose of bombing and the impact of it.  In the boardgame bombing of the north REDUCED NVN commitment to the south on a one hit = 1 commitment basis.

5) My beef with the VC companies is that they are too strong and take too much resources to kill for something that costs nothing and were never designed in the boardgame to do.  They acted as diversions to US forces in the boardgame.  In the scenario they cost US forces AP's to move there and AP's to attack which should be enough.  Why lose a 1 full replacement point also?

6) I did a test last night in a human vs. human (I was both sides) game.  I used the following US strategy of going 50 commitment on the first two turns and then doing things as necessary.  This is a very stanard and accepted strategy.  For the NVN side I only did harrassemnts and used some VC battalions and those companies.  I kept building up NVN and a few VC divisions as reserves but did not put them into the south.  On seasonal turn 4 the US hit 150 commitment (25+50+50+25) and for the NVN turn I declared an offensive.  I hit the south with 3 full VC divisions and 4 NVA divisions.  I suffered some big hits but destroyed over 1400 PP's of mostly ARVN units.  I did this again 2 seasonal turns later and once again 2 more seasonal turns after that.  I did not care about pacification and the strategy was to get morale down fast.  Bottom line was ARVN units were destroyed and so were some US units.  It was now February 1967 and US morale was down to 424 and US commitment is up to 250 already.  One more year of this and US morale will be down to around 360-370 range and commitment up to 300.  There are two reasons for this.  First is ARVN units suck big time and second is artillery/air are not as strong in the scenario as they are in the boardgame.  Right now in a human vs human game the US will never be able to win. Games vs the AI is different. I'm strictly talking about human only games.

7)  The boardgame had some limiting factors and the bigest one was unit limits.  You simply couldn't build more than 70 VC battalions because there were only 70 in the game.  And VC battalions ranged in capability from the terrible (1-0-6 gound-artillery-movement) to the pretty darn good (2-1-7).  In the scenario there is no reason why you would want to build VC regiments especially since they are not even triple the base SFT's of a battalion.  But in the boardgame the VC regiment was a good 6-2-6 unit.  Not as good as a NVA/US/Augmented ARVN regiment but still decent.  This additional artillery and ground strength accounted for the need to charge an additional 4 NLF supply when building the regiment.  You built it by having 3 battalions in the same hex and paying the additional cost and then swapping the untis.  There was also an additional 1 draft so the total cost of the regiment was actually 4 draft and 10 supply.  But it fought much better then 3 battalions could ever do.  I think this is missing in the scenario.  VC battalions are all the same and way too powerful right now.  In my test games they are accounting for just as many kills as NVA troops which is basically wrong.

8) When it comes to replacements the scenario has just two of them.  One for US and one for NVN.  And their costs are as per the boardgame.  But this ignores that replacements for VC and ARVN were much cheaper but cost a draft point.  3 VC replacements cost 1 draft and 3 SUPPLIES (which was on average about .5 trail commitment).  ARVN received 4 replacements for 1 draft and just 2 supplies.  This was about .29 commitment.  In the test game the US side had to replace ARVN units by the boat load.  This cost more commitment then would have happened in the game.  In fact a standard tactic in the boardgame is to use ARVN and US units on an operation and then take all losses from the ARVN replacements which is a fraction of the cost.  Even doing this the US side would lose its fair share of games.  In the scenario it means things are even worse.  I have no idea but is it possible to prevent the total destruction of units?

9) Augmented ARVN units.  In the boardgame you could augment an existing ARVN unit by spending an additional 3 supplies per regiment or 2 per battalion.  This BTW was why you also wanted regiments in the SVN army.  Armoured cost one additional supply to augument.  In the scenario the cost is much less at just one additional supply but you can only get augmented units as new units.  You can't update exisiting units.  In looking at the combat statistics in the boardgame the base SVN battalion was equal to the standard VC battalion (1-0-7), but usually had a +1 pursuit.  The unaugmented ARVN regiment was worse than a VC regiment at 4-0-7.  But once augumented it became equal to a NVA regiment at 7-2-7.  (BTW NVA could also augment but that is another topic).  And for comparrison a US battalion was 3-0-8 with +3 pursuit and a US regiment combined was a whopping 13-5-7 with +4 pursuit (5th mech was 16-5-7!).  So US units were ALOT stronger than any other unit in the game.  So I think the ARVN strength of units need to be reviewed.  I have no idea if you can augment existing troops (if you can great) but if you can't this may need to be addressed and give them a bigger initial cost but with better stats then VC and just slightly below NVA.  Then only allow augmented tanks/mech that are pretty strong.

In a future post I need to address the trail and sea supply, along with some thoughts on movement, airmobile/hot landing zones, augment NVA and AP.  Oh I think the no ambushes is a great concept to resolve the non-restriction of placing VC units that the game actually had.  It should be required for all human vs. human games.

< Message edited by Goodmongo -- 10/3/2011 5:26:28 PM >

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Post #: 105
RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 5:19:53 PM   
Grymme

 

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Goodmongo. Look. I appreciate your effort. But please stop using phrases like the X side can never win, whatnot is far to strong/weak, this and that is totally unrealistic etc. Frankly i dont agree with you and i do not want people to be scared off the scenario because they read those things.

I want to be clear. I dont mind your opinions but i think they could be far more nuanced.

1-3) I wont adress this again.

4) It increases the commitment level. That is the bombing forces the NVA to spend a commitment.

5) I wont adress this again.

6) In your test you got Free World morale down to 424 and commitment up to 250 by February 1967. In the Tetoffensive campaign start in January 1968 Free World morale is 410 and Commitment 340. So with four seasons to go you could loose 14 morale and spend 90 commitment to achieve the historical result. IMO that is more of an indication that the scenario works than that its broken.

7) I have explained the reasoning behind the VC regiments. Let me just add that in the scenario a VC Regiment cost the equivalent of 3 draft compared to 4 in the boardgame. So a regiment in the scenario is cheaper than a regiment in the boardgame.

8-9) I am not really sure what you are saying with this.

< Message edited by Grymme -- 10/3/2011 5:48:54 PM >


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RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 5:36:23 PM   
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I'm not a genius player.  In fact I'm probably just average.  But I've spent many hours testing the scenario and to be 100% honest the US side is severly hurting.  Against the AI the US can easily win but any human VC player will quickly realize the winning strategy.  Maybe there is a strategy (keeping all ARVN units as a divsion helps) but its gamey and moves away from the flavor of the time period. 

I applogize for being too blunt.  I want everyone to know that these are MY OPINIONS and MINE ALONE.  But they are based on hours of testing.  I estimate that I spent a good 50 hours in the 10 days that I've had the scenario.  My goal is to help you make the best scenario possible while trying to keep as close to the boardgame's flavor as you can.

BTW, here's one reason why ARVN units and US units are 'less capable' int he game.  See the task of the US side is to take the war to the enemy.  that means these units are on constant movement.  They arrive at a hex and their entrenchment is very low.  So the next NVN turn they attack units that have low entrenchment, while US has to attack NVN units that have a much higher entrenchment.  This coupled with morale, experience, and equipment all add up.

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RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 5:57:12 PM   
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Goodmongo. I dont want to be arguing with you all the time. But the strategy you were proposing in the boardgame (to let the ARVN take all the losses) was a sure method of loosing the game. Eventually the ARVN would reach its draft level and when the US went home there would be nothing left. An argument could be made that the replacement points in the scenario is too powerfull since it doesnt cost any draft they could potentially help the ARVN survive way past where they would have no draft left in the boardgame.

The ARVN were kept away from the front in real life. They were mostly used as garrisons together with US troops and in Corps IV. When in serious combat they mostly failed miserably.

So if you are putting the ARVN to the front then its not so strange that the Free World is hurting. I dont share your opinion.

Look. The scenario isnt exactly like the boardgame in all aspects.



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RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 6:08:25 PM   
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By the way.I dont mind you being blunt. I mind you being factually wrong and blunt. 
When you say things that are just factually incorrect and on the basis of that make a lot of assumptions it forces me to continually correct you on various things. I could spend my time doing better things.

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RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 6:08:44 PM   
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How about some math then?  To get a decent US presence of 6-7 divisions plus some artillery/air  requires 90 commitment (7 divisions, 30 air and 8 155's which is twice the cost of them in the boardgame).  Add to this economic aid (you need to get to 140 SVN), supplies to the ARVN and replacements you end up adding 181 more (20 for aid, 44 in supplies and this just gets you the boardgame divisions and 117 replacements).  So you are now up to 296 and this has no allowances for lost units or more then one replacment per seasonal turn.  In reality the US will hit 350 in commitment in almost every game sometime around early 1969 to late 1970.  I think you can agree with this so far right?

On the morale side the above commitment results in morale losses of about 48 due to commitment by 12/1968.  If each offensive nets in 20-25 US morale lost you can have then 4 times between T4 nd T11 (which is 12/1968).  That is a loss of 80 to 100.  So us morale will be down to 392 and 372 at this time.  That ignorees coups, bombing of the north, unstable governments and other losses.  We are talking about a US withdrawl in 1969.

Now that might seem OK but the fact is the ARVN units can not stand up by themselves.  In the boardgame you planned for this by having fully augmented troops with max replacements.  These then held out for 1973-1975 for the win.  Without more US commitment you can't rebuild the lost ARVN units.  See where I'm comming from?  replacements were key in the boardgame as this allowed you to keep the unit.  But the unit is destroyed in the scenario.  Soon you will have no US troops and no ARVN units.

I'm not trying to be a bad guy here.  I'm trying to show that statistically and realistically (much due to ATG limitations and not you) the US can't win. 

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RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 6:19:11 PM   
Goodmongo

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Grymme

Goodmongo. I dont want to be arguing with you all the time. But the strategy you were proposing in the boardgame (to let the ARVN take all the losses) was a sure method of loosing the game. Eventually the ARVN would reach its draft level and when the US went home there would be nothing left. An argument could be made that the replacement points in the scenario is too powerfull since it doesnt cost any draft they could potentially help the ARVN survive way past where they would have no draft left in the boardgame.

The ARVN were kept away from the front in real life. They were mostly used as garrisons together with US troops and in Corps IV. When in serious combat they mostly failed miserably.


The US lost in real life and following that exact same strategy will lose here. I'm referring to a winning strategy (US side) for the boardgame as outlined in a Victory Insider magazine article. It was written by Tony Curtis who playtested the original game. I'll quote from the article:

"Letting the ARVN take a larger share of the fighting earlier pays dividends for the US player. Never forget the fact that the US player starts the campaign with 520 very finite morale points, and they go quickly. Defeating the VC/NVA requires sufficient ground forces, firepower and replacements. US caualties are a commitment drain because they require replacements which raise the commitment level and decreases morale. It only makes good sense to use the ARVN whenever possible to absorb losses."


quote:

ORIGINAL: Grymme
So if you are putting the ARVN to the front then its not so strange that the Free World is hurting. I dont share your opinion.

Look. The scenario isnt exactly like the boardgame in all aspects.



I'm not putting the ARVN on front lines. There are no front lines. I put a battalion in a capital city and sometimes 3. The VC attack it and destroy it. Not NVA but VC!


< Message edited by Goodmongo -- 10/3/2011 6:20:33 PM >

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RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 6:31:49 PM   
Goodmongo

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Grymme

6) In your test you got Free World morale down to 424 and commitment up to 250 by February 1967. In the Tetoffensive campaign start in January 1968 Free World morale is 410 and Commitment 340. So with four seasons to go you could loose 14 morale and spend 90 commitment to achieve the historical result. IMO that is more of an indication that the scenario works than that its broken.

But if I bought those 90 US commitment over two turns i would lose 18 more morale! Also, in playing the boardgame your US morale is always higher then what they have for the start of the Tet scenario.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Grymme
7) I have explained the reasoning behind the VC regiments. Let me just add that in the scenario a VC Regiment cost the equivalent of 3 draft compared to 4 in the boardgame. So a regiment in the scenario is cheaper than a regiment in the boardgame.

My point is that the boardgame regiment is MUCH stronger compared to battalions then the scenario. You battalions are almost TWICE as strong as they were in the orginal game based on the unit counters.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Grymme
8-9) I am not really sure what you are saying with this.


For #8 I'm saying that replacements in the game are MUCH cheaper for the ARVN side (and VC side). Therefore, losses by the US side do NOT impact morale as severly as they do here.

For #9 I'm asking if it's possible to augment existing ARVN units like int he game. And if not then maybe a better approach would be to have them cost more, have the US pay the 1 commitment for augmentation, but make them much stronger and on par with NVA units which they were in the orginal game. Also, I'm saying that US units in the orignal game were way more powerful then any other unit. I listed actual numbers. This should be looked into.

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RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 6:36:42 PM   
Grymme

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Goodmongo

How about some math then?  To get a decent US presence of 6-7 divisions plus some artillery/air  requires 90 commitment (7 divisions, 30 air and 8 155's which is twice the cost of them in the boardgame).  Add to this economic aid (you need to get to 140 SVN), supplies to the ARVN and replacements you end up adding 181 more (20 for aid, 44 in supplies and this just gets you the boardgame divisions and 117 replacements).  So you are now up to 296 and this has no allowances for lost units or more then one replacment per seasonal turn.  In reality the US will hit 350 in commitment in almost every game sometime around early 1969 to late 1970.  I think you can agree with this so far right?

On the morale side the above commitment results in morale losses of about 48 due to commitment by 12/1968.  If each offensive nets in 20-25 US morale lost you can have then 4 times between T4 nd T11 (which is 12/1968).  That is a loss of 80 to 100.  So us morale will be down to 392 and 372 at this time.  That ignorees coups, bombing of the north, unstable governments and other losses.  We are talking about a US withdrawl in 1969.
Now that might seem OK but the fact is the ARVN units can not stand up by themselves.  In the boardgame you planned for this by having fully augmented troops with max replacements.  These then held out for 1973-1975 for the win.  Without more US commitment you can't rebuild the lost ARVN units.  See where I'm comming from?  replacements were key in the boardgame as this allowed you to keep the unit.  But the unit is destroyed in the scenario.  Soon you will have no US troops and no ARVN units.

I'm not trying to be a bad guy here.  I'm trying to show that statistically and realistically (much due to ATG limitations and not you) the US can't win. 



The US did in fact start to withdraw in 1969.

US forces end of 1968: 536,000
US forces end of 1969: 484,330 (Shelby Stanton, Vietnam Order of Battle)

What is twice the cost compared to the boardgame? This i am interested in.

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RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 6:41:06 PM   
Grymme

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Goodmongo


quote:

ORIGINAL: Grymme

6) In your test you got Free World morale down to 424 and commitment up to 250 by February 1967. In the Tetoffensive campaign start in January 1968 Free World morale is 410 and Commitment 340. So with four seasons to go you could loose 14 morale and spend 90 commitment to achieve the historical result. IMO that is more of an indication that the scenario works than that its broken.

But if I bought those 90 US commitment over two turns i would lose 18 more morale! Also, in playing the boardgame your US morale is always higher then what they have for the start of the Tet scenario.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Grymme
7) I have explained the reasoning behind the VC regiments. Let me just add that in the scenario a VC Regiment cost the equivalent of 3 draft compared to 4 in the boardgame. So a regiment in the scenario is cheaper than a regiment in the boardgame.

My point is that the boardgame regiment is MUCH stronger compared to battalions then the scenario. You battalions are almost TWICE as strong as they were in the orginal game based on the unit counters.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Grymme
8-9) I am not really sure what you are saying with this.


For #8 I'm saying that replacements in the game are MUCH cheaper for the ARVN side (and VC side). Therefore, losses by the US side do NOT impact morale as severly as they do here.

For #9 I'm asking if it's possible to augment existing ARVN units like int he game. And if not then maybe a better approach would be to have them cost more, have the US pay the 1 commitment for augmentation, but make them much stronger and on par with NVA units which they were in the orginal game. Also, I'm saying that US units in the orignal game were way more powerful then any other unit. I listed actual numbers. This should be looked into.



Thanks. Your opinion is noted.

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RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 6:54:00 PM   
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Here is a simple test.  Place a standard ARVN unit on the map.  Assign it 3 air support units which represent a full commitment.  Now attack it with 3 VC battalions.  You might run this through the simulator but in my tests I completely destroyed it in 3 out of 4 tries.

In the orginal game that ARVN unit had a ground strenght of 1 (plus if in a cultivated city or town two more for RF forces).  The VC units would have had 4 ground strength (this is a realist representation based on actual units).  The odds are 4 to 6 which result in a -1 dice roll modifer.  There is no terrain due modifiers for cultivated.  The VC roll on the 4 to 7.5 column and the ARVN on the 1 to 3.5 column.  The VC strenght losses range from 0 to 2 with a true odds (based on two dice probabilites) of losing one strength point at 50% and losing 2 strenght points at 3%.  No losses had a 47% chance.

For the ARVN unit there was a 5% chance for 2 strenght losses, 30% chance for 1 and 65% chance for none.

So the big difference here is the ARVN unit in the scenario has a very high chance of being completely destroyed while in the game there was a bigger chance for ONLY the VC to take damage.

That kind of sums up my concern.

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RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 6:56:46 PM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Grymme

What is twice the cost compared to the boardgame? This i am interested in.


In the scenario 155mm Artillery costs 2 US commitment. But in the original game the cost is 1 commitment.

From the original game.

2 units 105 costs 1 commitment
1 unit of 155 costs 1 commitment
2 units of 175 cost 3 commitment

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RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 7:03:38 PM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Goodmongo


quote:

ORIGINAL: Grymme

What is twice the cost compared to the boardgame? This i am interested in.


In the scenario 155mm Artillery costs 2 US commitment. But in the original game the cost is 1 commitment.

From the original game.

2 units 105 costs 1 commitment
1 unit of 155 costs 1 commitment
2 units of 175 cost 3 commitment


That is an error in the briefing. The actual cost is as in the boardgame. But thanks for alerting me to it.

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RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/3/2011 7:05:15 PM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Grymme


quote:

ORIGINAL: Goodmongo

  We are talking about a US withdrawl in 1969.



The US did in fact start to withdraw in 1969.

US forces end of 1968: 536,000
US forces end of 1969: 484,330 (Shelby Stanton, Vietnam Order of Battle)


Yes but you miss my point. In the game you keep those augmented ARVN units on the map and take ARVN replacments which cost supply and not commitment.

Here is how things work in the scenario.

1) The ARVN unit is probably NOT augmented since you can't do that for existing units.
2) The ARVN has a good chance of being destroyed and removed from play. The ONLY way to get it back is with supplies and MORE US commitment.
EDIT: And since you are in withdrawl you have none! That means the ARVN unit is gone and you have no units to defend with.

3) Even if it survives it need US replacments to bring back up to strength and not ARVN supply based replacements.

So the cost to keep the unit around is much higher for the US side in the scenario then in the game. A single US commitment could buy 7 supplies which equals 14 replacement points. Compare that to just 3 replacements point in the scenario. That raises the cost to over 466%!


< Message edited by Goodmongo -- 10/3/2011 7:10:53 PM >

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RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/4/2011 12:41:24 AM   
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I created an AAR called "A Walk In The Park - Vietnam". Be forwarned that I was in character and voiced my feelings. So check it out!

But to summarize I showed that the VC battalions are way OP. I captured Saigon on turn ONE in all three tries. One was using two ARVN marine regiments as defense, one using a full US regiment and the last using a FULL US DIVISION.

If this doesn't prove that just maybe VC units are too strong I have no idea what ever will.

I also talked about B-52's (intercontinental bombers) not being able to reach targets just 500 miles away.

So please reconsider as I think this proves the scenario is not yet balanced.

Now before you mention the "No Ambush" variant I did a final test. I used a delay tactic where I only used about 36 of the original 90 VC supply. I then placed units near capital cities in stacks of 6 battalions. I did not care if these died or not. They were used to draw units away from Saigon or risk losing capital cities in II and III corps.

On seasonal turn 2 I placed 135 VC battalions in and near Saigon. (This was done with sea supply which is way too high and suing all available NVN commitment for the task). They did not attck but formed a ring around it that the US could not penetrate. The very next turn I captured Saigon.

While gimmicky this should never have even been possible. The beauty of the board game is that if the VC did this you strat move your units, declare a free fire zone and kill the entire VC force. And with air points and replacements Saigon NEVER falls. Oh for the record I used defensive air points on the units in Saigon just to be sure.

< Message edited by Goodmongo -- 10/4/2011 12:46:35 AM >

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RE: Victory Games Vietnam - 10/4/2011 2:25:34 PM   
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Look. I suppose the effort of your postings are to get me to change whatever the issue is with the scenario. If you think humourusly mocking me or the scenario is the way to go then let me set you straight. I will consider whatever people suggest about my scenarios. I you or anyone else has a valid point then it is there - i will consider it. But i prefer people to be wellinformed, balanced, serious and thoughtfull in their remarks. Pissing me off doesnt help a bit.

Now your "tests" have little or no evidential value at all. Something you will understand when you have played the game a little longer and gotten to know its mechanics. I can and have constructed an example where the entire VC starting forces attack a US brigade and die horribly for little US losses (without the ambush option).

I will consider the ARVN, VC and replacement things. Lets leave it at that.

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