FIRE IN THE GROGS -- game complete

Started by JasonPratt, December 29, 2016, 07:42:25 PM

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JasonPratt

I see I shall have a busy afternoon when I get home in a few minutes...  :knuppel2:
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in lots and lots of chronological order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse

Survive Harder! -- Two season narrative AAR, an Amazon Blood Bowl career.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, half a combined campaign.

Khazâd du-bekâr! -- narrative dwarf AAR for LotR BfME2 RotWK campaign.

RobO Q Campaign Generator -- archived classic CMBB/CMAK tool!

JasonPratt

TURN SEVEN -- US 2nd CHOICE
---------------------------

As expected the US doesn't pass (darn!), but instead OH GOD I HATE AMERICAN FIREPOWER SO VERY VERY MUCCHHHH!!!!

(...um, I mean playing as the NVA/VC. Go USA! If you can see it you can hit it; if you can hit it you can kill it! O0  )

AzTank chooses to make his first Sweep of the game now as his main operation, and implementing this before his special op. What's a sweep?




Well, as with his other ops it costs nothing for him to do and can affect as many valid targets as he wants. For nothing. His target areas can be any areas on the map within reach of his military divisions. He can only move those Troops (green cubes), not his Specs, and he can only move each of those cubes one area in any direction, but (unlike my typical VC and NVA moves) he can effectively ignore or rather make convenient use of any Lines of Communication to extent his reach, so long as I don't have any forces on the LoCs he's trying to use. Alternately, he can also just target those LoCs (within his reach)! (I gather he cannot however stop in the LoCs unless I have forces there -- he has to end at a nominal population area otherwise. I say "nominal" because he could end up in zero pop areas, too, except in "North Vietnam".)

Once his Troops arrive at his target areas, his Troops -- possibly working with Irregulars (his green specs) already in the target area -- will automatically flip over one Guerilla (my red or blue specs) per US cube or spec. This sets them up to be shot at later, unless I can hide them again (or eliminate his spotters) before he gets a chance.

So specifically he moves 2 US cubes from Ba Xuyen (that province southwest of Saigon where he has been building up power) across Route 4 (a zero-point LoC between the city of Can Tho and the coastal town of Bac Lieu) into Kien Giang - An Xuyen province (the southernmost area in South Nam, and on the game map); to flip up my two VC specs there...




...and then up in Quang Tri - Thua Thien (that northernmost South Nam province we've been tussling over), he doesn't even have to move anyone in to Sweep it! He activates 5 of my specs there; but since he neglects to mention precisely which ones, I'll be interpreting that (slightly) in my favor soon. >:D (Don't worry, I can assure you it sure won't be much... :buck2: )

I'll get no opportunity to scurry my little roaches away again either: his special activity is that dangnable Air Strike again! As always, he can choose up to a total of six targets in any of up to six spaces where he has US forces, so naturally he chooses the 2 revealed VC specs in Kien Gang, 2 revealed VC specs in Quang Tri and 2 revealed NVA specs in Quang Tri: that's 6 targets in 2 provinces. (He can't target my VC base yet since I still have specs guarding it.)

Now for the logic parsing. ;) He says he uncovers 5 specs in Quang Tri, but he didn't say which ones and he only specified which four he chose to destroy. I had four red and two blue underground, plus one VC spec already active. I must turn over at least 2 red specs, since he destroys those. And I must turn over at least one blue spec, since he destroys two of them (and one can already be targeted). That leaves two specs undetailed. So I can either turn over my remaining two NVA specs and keep my remaining VC spec hidden; or I can turn over one NVA and my remaining blue spec. On the balance I'd rather keep at least one NVA spec hidden than a remaining blue spec, so since he didn't specify I choose you, blue...speckachoo.




Oh, and he bombs the Trail back to the stone age again because why not do that for free when he can? :P

Quang Tri now has more Team South forces than Team North, so gains COIN control, ditto Kien Giang, giving both of the 2 population points (for total) to ARVN's score from 37 to 41.

Thus ends Turn Seven, and I trust you can see a hellish dilemma for me: I pretty much need those Events, but if I take one when the US has second initiative then he can Air Strike me into oblivion. I also pretty much need my special activities if I get a chance, but if I do then he can take the Events -- which are often things like that LRRP which he nuked me with on Turn One.

Annnnd... now I have a crushing dilemma choice coming up next Turn.  :hide:
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in lots and lots of chronological order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse

Survive Harder! -- Two season narrative AAR, an Amazon Blood Bowl career.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, half a combined campaign.

Khazâd du-bekâr! -- narrative dwarf AAR for LotR BfME2 RotWK campaign.

RobO Q Campaign Generator -- archived classic CMBB/CMAK tool!

JasonPratt

#122
TURN EIGHT -- VC 1st CHOICE
--------------------------

Well, what I really don't need now is... is...




AGH DANGGGGITTTT!

I mean, sure, that'll be a debuff for Team South when it comes into play, but still. This means I can't try to prep further as the NVA for harvesting resources. sigh. It also makes my choice for the VC this turn more painful if anything.

After a ton of thinking, I realize: I'm thinking about all this the wrong way.

For reasons I may make apparent soon. Ahem.

Here we go:

1.) Spend one resource (from 13 to 12) Rallying in Tay Ninh, to convert two VC specs to a Base. This increases VC score from 35 to 36 -- putting them into the win trigger.

2.) Spend one resource (from 12 to 11) Rallying Binh Dinh to convert two VC specs there to a Base. VC's score goes up again by one from 36 to 37. (The Base here is likely to be vulnerable to the US spec later, but I don't much care.)

I'm going to hold off putting my last Base down, in case I haven't understood properly and this strategy doesn't work (but even then this will be helpful later.) Note that my expenses so far will be recovered totally next Turn (1 per base).

3.) Spend one resource (from 11 to 10) Rallying Quang Tri to bring in 2 (pop) + 1 (VC Base) = 3 hidden VC specs. This makes Team North outnumber Team South again, taking away COIN control again, reducing ARVN's score by 2 pop points from 41 to 39.

I want to save 4 specs for Rallying onto the board somewhere later. So I'm only going to put down another 3 (out of my maximum of 30 specs). Where?

4.) Spend 3 resources (from 11 to 8) putting 1 VC spec in each of Quang Nam (just south of Quang Tri); Kien Phong (which has a much of ARVN divisions but no support for Saigon); and one in Kien Giang (the southernmost province, where Az just knocked me out. But I'll be sneaky about coming back, tee hee.)

So Az! -- here's the new updated screenshots:







Here are the current and upcoming cards again:




You have 5 Police divisions Available; and ten Troop divisions out of play (if that makes any difference).

Your options are to pass to gain 3 Resources, or to play one Limited Op without special activity.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in lots and lots of chronological order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse

Survive Harder! -- Two season narrative AAR, an Amazon Blood Bowl career.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, half a combined campaign.

Khazâd du-bekâr! -- narrative dwarf AAR for LotR BfME2 RotWK campaign.

RobO Q Campaign Generator -- archived classic CMBB/CMAK tool!

ArizonaTank

Sorry for the delay, was traveling.

After much deliberation, ARVN will pass.

Johannes "Honus" Wagner
"The Flying Dutchman"
Shortstop: Pittsburgh Pirates 1900-1917
Rated as the 2nd most valuable player of all time by Bill James.

JasonPratt

TURN EIGHT -- ARVN 2nd CHOICE
-----------------------------

I'm a tad surprised that AzTank passes the ARVN's choice. But not too surprised. ARVN picks up 3 Resources, from 34 to 37.

That ends Turn Eight, and we might as well segue straight into Turn Nine.

TURN NINE -- 2nd COUP (Phase 1 of 6)
------------------------------------

The second Coup card of the game now goes active as Turn Nine starts: Air Marshal Nguen Cao Ky takes over the regime.

Phase 0.) (Officially it isn't called that, but this check still happens before the scoring phases start, so it might as well be its own phase. ;) ) There are no immediate effects, but a new lasting effect starts: ARVN or US Pacification efforts will now cost 4 Resources instead of 3. This will last until game end or until the next successful Coup. The prior effect, which grants extra Patronage if ARVN manages to take a Govern special action, stops.

Phase 1.) Checking the victory point track, the Viet Cong have triggered ours with a score of 37 out of 36!

Is the game over? Well, no one else has passed their mark (although the US is close, sitting at 50 out of 51 -- they have to pass 50 like the VC have to pass 35.) But we're playing a Team game, so does that make a difference?

For the US and ARVN, yes: both factions must have each passed 50 points in order for their Team to win a victory check, and even then they use the lower victory margin between the two as their official score.

For the NVA and VC, however... kind of. If this was the final possible scoring check, we would use the lower of our relative scores (the NVA in this case) to compare with the lower of Team South's scores. But in a normal victory check, if either of us has passed the post, Team North wins: and the Viet Cong has passed the post!

(Technically, if either or both of us have passed the post, we win if both of Team South haven't or if they both have but our higher margin beats their lower margin. Team North gets a special debuff to balance out this preferential scoring: we can't share resources with each other, when both factions are controlled by the same player.)

Just to double check things:

NVA = 0 (NVA pop control) + 5 (out of 9 possible Bases anywhere on the map) = 5 points minus 18 = -13 victory margin.

ARVN = 15 (Patronage) + 24 (COIN pop contro) = 39 points minus 50 = -11 victory margin.

US = 19 (available Troops at home) + 1 (available Bases at home) + 30 (active and passive population support for Saigon) = 50 points - 50 points = 0 victory margin.

VC = 8 (out of 9 possible bases anywhere on the map) + 29 (active and passive population opposition for Saigon) = 37 points - 35 points = +2 victory margin.

Annnnd... much to my surprise, that's the game! An early VC win!

Incidentally, there was some kind of weird error where the NVA lost a base completely off the board. I suspect it happened when I was adjusting the spec sizes for the NVA. That's why in the most recent north-map snapshot, there's a red Base piece missing from slot 7 of the NVA's Available box. I didn't even notice until I was checking the score! I combed the map thoroughly, but only found 5 Bases deployed, which are also the only 5 bases I recall being deployed. It's also possible I lost the base when working out an alternative NVA move a few turns ago, when I considered building up southern infrastructure and specs down at the Parrot's Beak: I would have ended up with two bases there, and a sizeable number of specs. But I decided not to go with that plan and to march my NVA Troops (together with some gathered specs) up north into Quang Tri instead. Whereupon AzTank nuked them off the map from orbit. ::)

...so, I guess that's the game? Az, does your tally reach the same conclusion?

If it does, I'll open the floor for post-game analysis.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in lots and lots of chronological order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse

Survive Harder! -- Two season narrative AAR, an Amazon Blood Bowl career.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, half a combined campaign.

Khazâd du-bekâr! -- narrative dwarf AAR for LotR BfME2 RotWK campaign.

RobO Q Campaign Generator -- archived classic CMBB/CMAK tool!

ArizonaTank

You win...wow, caught me by surprise.  I keep having to remind myself how asymmetrical the game is.  Military victory doesn't always translate into winning.  Congrats!!!
Johannes "Honus" Wagner
"The Flying Dutchman"
Shortstop: Pittsburgh Pirates 1900-1917
Rated as the 2nd most valuable player of all time by Bill James.

JasonPratt

I'll write up some analysis later tonight when I get back. Of course anyone is free to comment (especially you Az), ask questions of us, etc.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in lots and lots of chronological order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse

Survive Harder! -- Two season narrative AAR, an Amazon Blood Bowl career.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, half a combined campaign.

Khazâd du-bekâr! -- narrative dwarf AAR for LotR BfME2 RotWK campaign.

RobO Q Campaign Generator -- archived classic CMBB/CMAK tool!

JasonPratt

JRP'S POST-GAME ANALYSIS
------------------------

I adore this game and this game system. I wish GMT would hire someone to create a legitimate Tabletop Simulator module for it. The 'real' game is necessarily pricey, and might take a while to get reprinted -- and even then, who knows when I'd ever get a chance to play it with anyone? Plus it's not a game I can feasibly put out on a table physically where I live and solo, although it does have at least two solo options. I'm seriously thinking of doing a video series of JRP vs JRP vs JRP vs JRP, playing all four factions against each other, for the lulz. (The normal solo option would be to use the "bot" rules for three of the four factions.)

The current TTS module, should anyone want to play it, contains a few errors that I've detected and fixed in my own copy. Drop me a line and I'll explain where they are and how to fix them (easily done). I'm hoping since it's based on the Vassal module that GMT is okay with its existence, but if they take it away I won't blame them. BUT GET A LEGITIMATE VERSION DONE FOR TTS, BRING IN SOME MONEY WHILE YOU'RE AT IT! :bd:

In regard to the strategic commentary for this particular playthrough:
1.) Obviously AzTank caught a lucky break on the first draw where he could use the US to punch the NVA badly off the map out of the gate. I had to spend several turns trying to rebuild the NVA into being able to do anything worthwhile at all. This effort wasn't helped by...

2.) Drawing the first Coup card so early. This did hurt the ARVN faction, too, as it meant Az couldn't farm Aid increases by early Training. But ARVN starts out swimming in cash already, and the early Coup allowed him to harvest a ton more (nearly the max 75 resources allowable!) and then spend them profligately. This actually pushed the US past their win trigger briefly, and while that wasn't going to win without ARVN, too, Az's yellow team wasn't very far behind at the time. Moreover, there aren't many ways for the NVA to get resources to work with, especially in a 2-player game: in a 4 (or 3) player game, Team North can negotiate resource trades, which notice will usually be to the benefit of the Viet Cong (since they have more resources to trade favors for). In a 2 player game, the NVA is stuck with whatever they can eke up. And with my bases blasted off the map, I couldn't eke much!

It wasn't all doom and gloom though.

3.) I pulled a few good cards in a row, enough to even get the NVA back up to something like speed in time to try... well, something.

4.) Walking my hard-spent six whole NVA divisions into range of AzTank's Air Strike was a rookie mistake. It did end up contributing to my win in a backhanded way, but not on purpose. I mean, I would have done it on purpose, too, had I seen reason to do so! -- but I can't honestly say I even saw them being obliterated that quickly. In a four player game, I would have lost. Hard. But then, in a four player game, I wouldn't have been supporting the VC so much, and would have been acting against them a little. (Not a lot, because I didn't have much opportunity to do so, but a little.)

5.) The VC can't fight much or well, so I just concentrated on using my good initial Full Campaign starting situation to...

5.1.) Secure high population areas as much as I could -- and I started with most of them. That meant dropping specs in when given some good opportunities, and then converting those to bases on the board with spec support.

5.2.) Take advantage of high opposition to tax for a good early resource boost.

5.3.) Spend that resource boost Agitating, both during the early Coup and with my lucky "Cadre" permanent ability draw. This directly helped my score, in high population areas notice, and also indirectly helped me fund more taxing since there's a profit to be made in that exchange.

5.4.) Use those resources, and some good card draws, to also put as many of my forces on the board early as I could. I was going to need specs to accomplish much of anything, and Bases of course translated directly to my score -- plus allowing me to get specs more effectively onto the board, in high pop areas remember which also helped.

It shouldn't be any surprise I won quickly with that plan: if I'm left alone in my high pop starting areas, those convert directly to a high score by opposition, and then bases on the map to put me over the top.

...except it did kind of surprise me. I wasn't expecting to be left alone that long! When the second coup arrived, I was legitimately annoyed that this was going to hobble my NVA plans agaaaaiiinnnnn!! But I had also forgotten that Team North only needs one faction past the post to trigger a win during a coup.

I have to say, it's a classic soft-win by the VC. Ideally this is how they would have won the civil war historically, too! -- except for, y'know', the murder and terror they just couldn't help inflicting on their fellow south Namians. ::) You may have noticed I didn't bother with terror tactics, only taxation. However:

6.) Not realizing how close I was to winning already, and expecting to feel the burn any time now, I was already starting on my first intentional plan: moving out to harass the Lines of Communication and mess with ARVN's economy. Not a terror tactic exactly, but still sabotage. I would have started targeting US Troops in ambushes, too (and bases if I could get them), in order to get as many as possible off the map and out of play altogether. That was a lonnnng term plan: but I had actually debated hard with myself over whether to spend my Eighth Turn ambushing at least one more US cube so that at least one would be sent out of play during the relevant scoring phase. (Plus this would mess with ARVN's aid.) Then I realized I was close enough to putt in for a win, maybe.

I thought I couldn't see anything for ARVN to do about it, with the Limited Op I allowed him, but I wasn't sure. Even if I had been wrong, though, I would have been okay about it: getting blue forces on the map was still my first priority.

7.) Basically, Team South lost by not paying the VC enough attention quickly enough; but also somewhat randomly as the VC did get some good draws even if not galactic destruction ones. Az was starting to deal with the VC problem toward the end, but that should have started sooner. How, and how sooner?

8.) I'm going to say there were two crucial mistakes in hindsight, one much more important than the other. I'll be curious if Az agrees.

8.1.) The minor mistake was blasting my NVA cubes off the map. Yes, letting them stay a turn or more was going to be trouble, but if he had put his Air Strike to work elsewhere along with more extensive sweeping on that turn, he could have removed one or more VC bases, knocking my build-up off the rails. If you're thinking "Wait, I really can't see how Az would have done that, because he didn't have enough US forces on the map to get to your less protected VC bases..."

8.2.) The major mistake, was trying to keep his US score in range to putt in, when he needed both factions up to win. Specifically, he should have taken the opportunity of that early first Coup to dump the maximum US Troops on the map, in strategic areas for rolling out after the Coup. Yes, that would have tanked his score, but he needed to be tanking mine by taking the fight to the VC bases and working on pacifying hearts and minds -- which would have not only tanked my score but brought his score back up by the same proportion eventually! He might not have won on Turn Nine, but he would have kept me from winning (I think), and put Team South on a path to crushing my opposition across the map; converting that to support for the US score (in high pop areas remember because I had drummed up a lot of opposition there); and increasing COIN control (for ARVN's score) while also setting up ARVN to convert some of that eventual Support to Patronage a few times.

In short, I think that in Team play if the Team South factions don't have about the same score at any time then the South player isn't playing as effectively as he could. Team North can sacrifice one faction position to advance the other and win: when the hammer is falling on the NVA nail, it isn't falling on the VC nails.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in lots and lots of chronological order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse

Survive Harder! -- Two season narrative AAR, an Amazon Blood Bowl career.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Fantasy Wars narrative AAR, half a combined campaign.

Khazâd du-bekâr! -- narrative dwarf AAR for LotR BfME2 RotWK campaign.

RobO Q Campaign Generator -- archived classic CMBB/CMAK tool!