Never Get Out of the Boat
Vietnam, 1964. The most wrenching US engagement of the Cold War would be far more than GI versus Charlie. The conflict had set tribesman against nationalist, Buddhist against Catholic, mandarin against villager, and of course Northerner against Southerner—even among the communists. As revolutionary change burned through that ancient civilization, Washington would apply its armament and its operations research. To get out, the US counterinsurgency would have to motor deeper and deeper in. In the end, culture and will would overcome technology and math and signal the end of the primacy of industrial might in modern warfare.
Volume IV in GMT’s COIN Series dives headlong into the momentous and complex battle for South Vietnam. A unique multi-faction treatment of the Vietnam War, Fire in the Lake will take 1 to 4 players on US heliborne sweeps of the jungle and Communist infiltration of the South, and into inter-allied conferences, Saigon politics, interdiction of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, air defense of Northern infrastructure, graduated escalation, and media war.
Renowned designer and modern warfare expert Mark Herman joins COIN Series creator Volko Ruhnke for a collaborative production not to be missed. Fire in the Lake features the same card-assisted counterinsurgency game system as GMT's Andean Abyss, Cuba Libre, and A Distant Plain, with a pack of twists that take the Series to another level, including:
- Pivotal events that trump initiative (Tet Offensive, Vietnamization, Easter Offensive, and Linebacker II)
- Inter-coup campaign effects that vary by RVN leader
- Counterinsurgent guerrillas (US-led Montagnards and ARVN Rangers)
- Insurgent troops (NVA) for direct force-on-force engagements
- Tunneled VC and NVA bases
- Trail construction and degradation
- A larger-than-ever event deck for even greater play variety
- Short and medium-length scenarios with either random or period-event options.
Each Fire in the Lake faction presents fresh challenges:
- As the Viet Cong, you must light the people’s fire for the Revolution. How long do you build in the shadows, and when do you emerge to set the spark? Your big brother from the North will draw the enemy’s attention away from you, but be careful that he does not take over your movement from the inside!
- As the Republic of Vietnam, you have a big brother too. He will help you build a strong Army, control the country, and kill the Communists, but at what cost to your traditional way of governing? Should you fight hard with the forces and resources that you have, or leave that to the US and just focus on strengthening your political hold?
- As North Vietnam, you have friends feeding you resources as well. But you must see to funneling them southward through a well-developed logistical trail, then decide which moment is right for your painstakingly assembled forces to venture from the relative safety of Laos and Cambodia to control the South.
- As the United States, you have the firepower and the mobility. A certain number of US casualties is to be expected, but too many will break the public’s support for South Vietnam and the War. And your air power and incursions into Laos or Cambodia can help or turn counterproductive. Together with the ARVN, the fight is winnable—so long as your so-called friendlies do not undermine the plan!
As with earlier COIN Series volumes, players of Fire in the Lake will face difficult strategic decisions with each card. The innovative game system smoothly integrates political, cultural, and economic affairs with military and other violent and non-violent operations and capabilities. Terror and subversion, pacification, infiltration, NVA long-range bombardment, road and river ambushes, VC front taxation, aid diversion, US bombing of the Trail, Montagnard recruitment, ARVN Ranger raids, and many more options are on the menu. Flow charts are at hand to run any faction missing a player—solitaire, 2-player, 3-player, or 4-player experiences are equally supported. Ride on up the river.
Players: 1-4 (includes full solitaire system)
Map: Area Movement
Timescale: 1-2 years per Campaign between Coups