VIETNAM WAR

INTRODUCTION

Vietnam War is a simulation of the political and military conflict during that struggle. Players represent one of the major countries or Vietnamese political factions during this time (1961-1972) and attempt to achieve its historical goals.

The players represent the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), the National Liberation Front (Viet Cong), the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the United States, and the Soviet Union. In the Four Player game the Soviet Union is played by the system.

Vietnam War is played on a Game Chart which is divided into boxes representing geographic regions and political opposition.

Each region has 5 boxes, 3 labeled Hanoi, meaning procommunist, the other 2 Saigon, meaning anticommunist. Players will contest regions by using the boxes directly under their country's or faction's name. In addition, there are boxes representing opposition to the players.

HOW TO START PLAY

The class is divided into groups. Each group has a moderator who runs the game and keeps records for that group. Each remaining student chooses a country or faction in any mutually agreeable fashion. If players cannot agree on allocation, then the moderator will assign them to the players.

HOW TO PLAY

Vietnam War consists of 6 Turns, each representing two years. A Turn proceeds as follows:

First, time is allocated for negotiation among the players.

Each player receives Political Strength Factors (PSFs) in a Turn. The amounts are listed in the Scenario Instructions.

The first player, as specified in the Scenario Instructions, receives PSFs and then puts them in any regional or Opposition boxes on the Game Chart.

The remaining players deploy their PSFs, following the order given in the Scenario Instructions' Order of Play. That completes one turn.

On Turn 2, the first player again receives and deploys PSFs, and then the remaining players do the same in order.

This continues until 6 Turns are completed. The game may be lengthened at the Instructor's or Players' discretion.

ENDING THE GAME

At the end of the game, total the number of PSFs in each region box to see if the Hanoi or Saigon side won the region. Players then check these totals against their objectives to see how many Victory Points (VPs) they have won. Record VPs won in the game on the Scoresheet.

Each player then checks to see if his Opposition box receives any Opposition Points.

The players then subtract their Opposition Points from their Victory Point totals.

The player with the most VPs wins.

POLITICAL STRENGTH FACTORS

Political Strength Factors (PSFs) represent a faction's leaders, ideas, finances, economy, army, navy, and its willingness to use these. PSFs are similar to the pieces in Risk and checkers.

Your goal is to win regions by working with your allies. You do this by deploying PSFs. Each Turn you receive PSFs. You then put PSFs in any region on your turn. You may divide PSFs as desired.

To deploy PSFs, tell the moderator where you want to put them. The moderator will then record your deployments in a region or Opposition box on the Game Chart according to your instructions. You deploy PSFs in the column directly under your country's or faction's name.

You must deploy all PSFs received in a Turn during that Turn. You cannot move PSFs after deployment, save them for another Turn, or give them to another player.

CONTESTING REGIONS

Each player has objectives in the game. Essentially, you want to win regions. To contest a region, place your PSFs in a box under your name. This box will be in either the Hanoi side or on the Saigon side for that region on the Game Chart. You get Victory Points at the end of the game if your side wins that region (has more PSFs in its boxes than the other side has in its boxes).

For example, look at the Southeast Asia box. At the end of the game, total the PSFs in the South Vietnam and USA boxes. This gives you the Saigon total. Next, total the PSFs in the Soviet, North Vietnam, and NLF boxes. This gives you the Hanoi total. Compare the two numbers. If the Hanoi total is higher than the Saigon total, then the Soviets get 2 Victory Points, North Vietnam earns 3 VPs and the NLF player receives 1. South Vietnam and the USA would get 0 VPs for that region.

If the Saigon boxes have more PSFs in them, then South Vietnam receives 2 Victory Points and the USA earns 3. The Soviets, North Vietnam, and the NLF receive none. If the Hanoi and Saigon totals are equal, then no one gets any VPs.

You get Victory Points when your side wins a region even if you have no PSFs in that region.

Study your objectives so you can deploy your PSFs wisely.

OPPOSITION BOXES

The Vietnam War generated much domestic opposition to certain factions. The Opposition boxes represent antiNorth Vietnamese and anticommunist sentiment in South Vietnam, noncommunist opposition to the Saigon regime and the American presence in the South, and wartime dissent in the USA.

Each player, except for the Soviets, begins the game with a negative number of PSFs in their Opposition box at the start of the game.

Players may reduce their Opposition Point levels by putting PSFs in them during the game. These cancel out Opposition Points on a one for one basis. For example, if the USA Player put 5 PSFs in the USA's Opposition box during a turn, this would reduce the US Opposition Point total by 5 from -20 to -15.

At the end of the game, each player subtracts his Opposition Point total from his VP total.

NEGOTIATIONS

You cannot win Vietnam War unless you negotiate with the other players. Some players will share your objectives so have them do your work for you. Others will oppose your objectives so cooperate with your allies to stop them.

Whoever makes the best deals usually wins. However, trust no one! Lies, betrayals, threats, broken deals, and bluffs are all allowed and encouraged. Always remember: your allies may not have your best interests in mind. If you have any bad qualities as a human being, this would be a good time to use them.

HOW TO WIN

A game of Vietnam War lasts 6 Turns. After the last turn, cross off VPs not earned in the game on the Scoresheet, then total the rest. Then subtract your Opposition Point from your Victory Point total. The player with the most VPs at the end of the game wins.

HISTORICAL NOTES: COUNTRIES AND FACTIONS

The players in the game represent countries, political factions, and their allies. Victory Points earned represent the importance of that region to your country.

The Soviet Union supplied much of North Vietnam's war materiel during the conflict, but it also had interests in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The Soviet player includes East European and Cuban assistance to North Vietnam.

North Vietnam (Democratic Republic of Vietnam) was formed at the end of the First Indochina War by Ho Chi Minh and his successful Viet Minh. After the partition of Vietnam, some Viet Minh cadres stayed South to oppose the Saigon government. In 1957, Hanoi began infiltrating people into the South and later stepped up its support to match the increasing US involvement.

The National Liberation Front (Viet Cong) was the remnant of the southern Viet Minh. As opposition to the Saigon regime grew, noncommunist factions sometimes supported the VC. NLF goals did not always match the North's objectives.

South Vietnam (Republic of Vietnam) was set up by the US and its allies after the 1954 Geneva Convention. A plebiscite to unite North and South never took place and the South went off on its own. The regime never established popular support and this proved to be a fatal weakness. What support it had came from the military, the elites, and Roman Catholics.

The USA had been involved in Vietnam since the Roosevelt administration. The war became a commitment that distracted Washington from other international trouble spots and domestic problems. American PSFs include aid from Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand.

HISTORICAL NOTES: REGIONS

SVN I corresponds to the I Corps area, the region bordering the North. This was the Marines' main area of operations.

SVN II is II Corps, the Central Highlands. It was filled with ethnic minorities, most of whom hated the Saigon government.

SVN III includes III Corps and the Saigon district. It was the political center of the South and the headquarters of the US war effort.

SVN IV has the Mekong Delta and was the agricultural center of South Vietnam.

The North Vietnam box represents military actions, mainly US bombing, in that country.

Europe was the major area of confrontation between the Soviets and the USA. The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 raised tensions, but Détente later lowered them. Objectives here represent propaganda campaigns and military posturing.

The Middle East saw both blocs arming their favorite client states. The 1967 war raised East-West friction in the region.

China supplied much of the North Vietnamese effort until Nixon visited there, capitalizing on the Sino-Soviet feud. When China left the war, Hanoi became more amenable to a peace settlement.

Korea was, and is, another hot spot with North and South Korea fielding huge armies. North Korea's capture of the Pueblo added more tension to East Asia.

Southeast Asia saw communist insurgencies throughout the region, with Hanoi taking a particular interest in Laos. The other ones were left mostly on their own.

HISTORICAL NOTES: OPPOSITION BOXES

North Vietnam operations usually generated local opposition in the South. There was a certain dislike between northern and southern Vietnamese communists during the war, and some analysts even believe the Tet Offensive was really a North Vietnamese scheme to decimate the VC.

The Viet Cong's operations often created a backlash against them.

South Vietnam never established a genuine political base. Opposition came from Buddhists, the Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, ethnic minorities, and peasants. Opposition was usually generated by authoritarianism, military operations and corruption.

The US antiwar movement began on the far left of the American political spectrum but spread to the center as draft calls and casualties increased in what seemed to be a pointless, expensive war. Conservatives often criticized what they saw as the government's lack of will to win. US conventional operations in the south also alienated much of the local population.

Opposition Point reductions indicate efforts by Saigon to effect social reform and attempts by the US and the south to build political support for the war in both countries

FOUR PLAYER GAME

To play Vietnam War with only 4 players, eliminate the Soviet Union player. Instead, at the start of the game, deploy the Soviet PSFs in the Soviet boxes as follows: 12 each in North Vietnam, Europe, and the Middle East. 8 PSFs go into the China, Korea, and Southeast Asia boxes.

The Hanoi side adds these PSFs into its PSF totals for each region. At the end of the game, assign VPs to the Soviets as normal. Note that it is possible for the Soviets to win against human players.

OPTIONAL RULE: EXTENDED GAME

To simulate the 1973-1975 end phase of the war, play two more turns. Reduce the US and Soviet PSF allotment on those turns to 5 per turn.

DESIGNER'S NOTES

Vietnam War is designed by Peter L. de Rosa. It is based on American Revolution, a simulation setting the War for American Independence in its global context.

Vietnam War is Copyright, 2004 by Peter L. de Rosa. All rights reserved. Reproduction allowed for nonprofit educational use as long as this copyright notice is included


Scenario Instructions
Game Chart
Scoresheet
Chronology


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