Author Topic: FIRE IN THE GROGS -- game complete  (Read 24988 times)

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Offline JasonPratt

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FIRE IN THE GROGS -- game complete
« on: December 29, 2016, 05:42:25 PM »
UPDATE: the game itself starts (as a test phase at first) downthread in this post.

UPDATE: Final Turn: http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=18567.msg500714#msg500714

Specifically, I'm checking if there's interest in, ideally, four players (plus me running the board and writing the ongoing DAR) teaming up against each other to play a full campaign of GMT's FIRE IN THE LAKE: Insurgency In Vietnam. For those who don't know, this is a highly regarded card/board game with four asynchronous sides, 2 vs 2, where influence tokens are used to represent the strategic fight for South Vietnam from 1964 to 1972, and a deck of cards creates the choices for players to manipulate those tokens around the map.

Why am I proposing this in the computer game section?



Because someone has modded the game into Tabletop Simulator.

(For what it's worth, I would buy a copy from GMT if they still had one in stock, but it's both out of print and out of stock. So if this flies I'll be buying another game from the same designers instead that's still in stock. No point buying from Amazon, or Ebay, etc., since aside from price gouging the proceeds wouldn't go to help support either GMT or the designers. Nor has GMT created an official version for sale through TTS yet.)

Unlike Twilight Struggle (and its variants), which this game somewhat resembles, the players do not hold any secrets (aside from a special rule option to slightly randomize a few hidden variables, largely meant to make closely scoring players nervous whether they've actually won during a scoring round). Consequently, I can set up the board and play it with screenshots and open discussion with all players in a DAR thread (presumably in the forum games category); and if I ended up being one of the players, it wouldn't matter that I have direct access to all the pieces (because we just wouldn't use that special "deception" rule option -- which doesn't affect much anyway, it's just two small tokens randomly drawn from a pool).

No big rush on it -- many of us are still out of pocket for vacation -- but I thought I'd check on the level of interest. The four sides, as could be expected, are the USA, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the North Vietnamese Army (North Vietnam), and the Viet Cong. The latter two would be on a shared team; the former on a shared team; but they play in separate cooperation with each other.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 10:20:22 AM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: FIRE IN THE GROGS -- a proposal to fight the Vietnam War
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2016, 05:51:20 PM »
Here's a Grogheads review from 2014 by Michael Eckefels. "If this sounds like a sadistic version of the card game Spades or Hearts, you’re getting the idea."

Edited to include the dang link this time.  :crazy2:
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline Nefaro

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Re: FIRE IN THE GROGS -- a proposal to fight the Vietnam War
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2016, 06:17:17 PM »
I have the tabletop game and still have yet to play it.  Although I read the rules and prepped the pieces quite awhile back.

So I'd be interested in a rookie game of Fire In The Lake at some point.  Some of us were also talking about doing a Wing Leader Vassal game before long too. 

Offline jomni

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Re: FIRE IN THE GROGS -- a proposal to fight the Vietnam War
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2016, 06:18:52 PM »
Interested in topic. Don't have the game. No tabletop simulator too.

Offline Nefaro

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Re: FIRE IN THE GROGS -- a proposal to fight the Vietnam War
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2016, 06:28:10 PM »
Interested in topic. Don't have the game. No tabletop simulator too.


It's one of GMT's COIN series.  Card-driven; one gets turned over every turn and has activation/action options for every player.  Each faction has it's very own set of command options every turn, along with differing victory conditions, which is what makes the series really interesting IMO. 

Each side plays a bit differently than the others.  :bd:  But the allied ones still play off each other for support, despite having their own individual objectives.


I've not really messed with Tabletop Simulator yet, despite owning it for quite awhile.  It has many great games people have made modules for.  I mainly got it in case we were going to do a multi-player game sometime, because I have a dedicated gaming table at the moment.  But I can also see where it can be handy if you intend to play a long tabletop solitaire game (of which there are now quite a few newer ones) without leaving it set up on one of your tables at home.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: FIRE IN THE GROGS -- a proposal to fight the Vietnam War
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2016, 08:10:49 PM »
Note: to participate in this game, you wouldn't need Tabletop Simulator. I'd just take screenshots of the board and post updates to various information: e.g. this card is active now, here's what it looks like, and the next card that will be played, NVA gets to make first choice whether to use the card or pass until next turn, okay NVA player took this option and played it that way for this effect (the only random effect is really the card shuffle), etc.

The thread would be totally open because, as noted, there is no secret information in this game; non-players could comment easily, ask questions, give advice, correct any mistakes they detect.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline BanzaiCat

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Re: FIRE IN THE GROGS -- a proposal to fight the Vietnam War
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2016, 08:31:09 PM »
It's been a while since I played it, but I might be able to swing a game of this through TS. Or however you want to do it.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: FIRE IN THE GROGS -- a proposal to fight the Vietnam War
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2016, 08:51:48 PM »
The game is basically played this way:

* During setup, various pieces are placed on the board in pre-ordained areas (depending on the scenario). No need to make choices at this point (I think). Various cards are randomly dealt out facedown into six decks, two each for roughly early / mid / late war (for the long scenario), and synched for the time period since we're using that option. Only half the event cards will ever be used in any game, which randomizes things even more. A (not always period appropriate) "Coup Card" is shuffled into each of the six event decks -- when that card is pulled, everyone compares their scores, probably with some adjustments triggered by specific Coups. If win conditions have been triggered, that could be the end of the game. If the final card of the final deck is played, then afterward will be the final scoring phase. So the game can end six semi-random times, before the formal game end.

* During each turn, an event card is drawn off the top of the active deck (early, middle, or late war, with the early war period lasting half as long as the other two). The next event card is also flipped over so everyone can see what event is coming next, but it isn't active yet. (This means everyone will know when a period's Coup is about to happen!) Each faction also has exactly one special event card which their player can substitute exactly once per game before a newly active card goes into effect. (Except against an active Coup card.) Each card has event effects for each team; so for example it's theoretically possible that the NVA player may get to trigger the event for "Arc Light" despite that being nominally a US card, but the effect will be different and beneficial for the NVA (or for the VC if that player gets to use the event). In this example, the NVA or VC player would benefit from the "Moonscape" effect (because the US bombed an area so hard that there has been a backlash in public support favoring North Vietnam).

* Only two factions, maximum, can play on any given turn; and the order of play each turn depends on the newly active event card, which has the faction play order printed left to right across the top. So if the USA is listed first, the USA player gets to choose first whether you will activate the card event; or choose one of four more generic operations which (usually) can be played any turn; or choose a generic operation plus one of three more generic special operation types. Or the USA can choose to pass this turn, giving first opportunity to choose how the card is played to the next player on that card's play-order list. Once any player commits to acting on the card (everyone could of course pass and the card just goes unplayed), the next player on the card's list must either pass or play a responsive action determined by how the prior player chose. So if the USA player plays the event, the next player who accepts the card must play an operation without a special additional op (or else pass). There's a little box on the board to help track how this goes, don't worry; it's easier than it sounds.

* Whichever one or two factions (if any) accept the card on a turn, will be locked out of being able to accept the card for the next turn! This is one reason why it's so important (and great) that next turn's card is always visible. You aren't only deciding how to play this turn's card, you're also deciding whether to give up playing next turn! All players who pass, though, will be eligible to play the next turn. (Coups also reset everyone to active.)

* Basically that's the game. In practice, players just decide where they want to put card effects (assuming those effects are possible) on the map, which boils down to placing or removing your or someone else's influence blocks in valid territories of your choice, and/or shifting your potential score and/or your resources available for conducting ops. If you play an event you may get to remove two divisions from a valid territory of your choice but also (because of the 'flavor' of the event) have to sacrifice two potential victory points. Or you may do an operation that improves the Ho Chi Minh trail so that next turn you'll get more income to do other kinds of ops -- some ops can be played for free, others cost resources. Some op choices for some players restrict what kind of special ops you can also play, if you or the prior player this turn chose in such a way that you can do special ops this turn. (Also there's a special hampering effect called the Monsoon, which coincidentally just happens to kick into gear the turn before each Coup, and which severely restricts ops available for all factions. This is a balancing feature to keep players from doing too much goofiness before the next scoring opportunity.)
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 10:26:59 AM by JasonPratt »
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline ArizonaTank

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Re: FIRE IN THE GROGS -- a proposal to fight the Vietnam War
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2016, 09:33:56 PM »
Love FITL.  Played it about a dozen times.  I even have a copy of FITL and have Tabletop simulator.  But no time for a real time match (also I am out on the West Coast so time difference issues as well). 

I usually play by PBEM with Vassal. 

But I am interested to see how it goes...

« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 11:57:20 AM by ArizonaTank »
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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: FIRE IN THE GROGS -- a proposal to fight the Vietnam War
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2016, 10:59:04 AM »
AzTank; it won't be a real-time match, so you could still do it if you want -- no different than checking in on the Grog forum a few times a day.  O0 The game art is borrowed from the Vassal edition, btw.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline ArizonaTank

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Re: FIRE IN THE GROGS -- a proposal to fight the Vietnam War
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2016, 11:48:32 AM »
Cool, if not real time, I'm in.

There was a Vassal game about a year ago with Ubercat / myself and a few others.

you might find some other possible players at this thread:
http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=10894.0
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 11:55:31 AM by ArizonaTank »
Honus Wagner
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Offline BanzaiCat

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Re: FIRE IN THE GROGS -- a proposal to fight the Vietnam War
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2016, 11:55:51 AM »
Screw it, if I wasn't clear before, I'm in too.

How are you going to assign sides, JP? I assume you're playing as well?

Offline ArizonaTank

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Re: FIRE IN THE GROGS -- a proposal to fight the Vietnam War
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2016, 12:19:37 PM »
AzTank; it won't be a real-time match, so you could still do it if you want -- no different than checking in on the Grog forum a few times a day.  O0 The game art is borrowed from the Vassal edition, btw.

BTW, I can usually check once per day, not much more than that.
Honus Wagner
"The Flying Dutchman"
Shortstop: Pittsburgh Pirates 1900-1917
Rated as the 2nd most valuable player of all time by Bill James.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: FIRE IN THE GROGS -- a proposal to fight the Vietnam War
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2016, 01:07:41 PM »
B_C, if I can get four other players, I'll entertain myself by just doing the 'hosting' reports for the game.

But the fully open nature of the game means anyone (myself included) can jump in to take over a position if someone has to bail out.

I'm willing to assign factions randomly, or by the first to ask for a faction.


AzTank, I'll get emails from players via pmail, and ping players to check on the thread when it's time to make a decision. (Subscribing to the thread, which happens automatically by posting in it, can send alerts to your email on thread activity, too; but in my experience the alerts from this forum's engine are spotty.) I can also ping any player by Facebook Messenger if you prefer.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: FIRE IN THE GROGS -- a proposal to fight the Vietnam War
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2016, 01:12:14 PM »
Jomni, did you decide you wanted to learn? I'd recommend teaming you and Nef separately with the two more experienced players.

The gamethread (which I presume would be this one, with a modified intro title, and a link downthread to gamestart) would be totally open for public discussion between teammates; or teammates can send each other private messages by various means as you arrange.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.