Patrick Wheeler
United States
Plainfield
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
I own the original Silver Bayonet and I thought this early review might help those that are considering buying the game. I've also included many comparisons to the original for those who are considering upgrading. This is not intended to be a comprehensive review but rather just a first look at the new 25th Anniversary Edition.

Firstly, the obvious. The game looks great and there is a huge improvement in the components and particularly, the board. In contrast to the monotonous green haze of the 1990 edition, the anniversary edition has a large, beautifully detailed board. This is in large part due to the increase in reliable source material but the attention to detail does not go unappreciated. You truly feel like you're in an HQ hooch trying to find a good LZ to launch your next operation.

Equally attractive are the new playing pieces and the play aides. The former has received am upgrade in a multitude of departments (particularly the hueys and other air units). Different colors overlayed on the NATO symbols make identifying different battalions and regiments worlds easier than the original edition. Good ol' Hal Moore also makes an appearance in chit likeness along with the legendary Lt. Col. Truong. To be honest, it made me wish they had included a young Stormin' Norman (especially after all the reference to him in the rulebook) but there would be no real historical reason to do so.

Another welcome addition is the battle board and markers which help to track some of the more elaborate confrontations as the game progresses. The faction-specific screens also look very nice and have a pictures of each nation's respective Vietnam war memorials along with a little patriotic blurb. I could have done without the photoshop filter over the memorials but that's an artist's gripe. Overall, the rulebook has a good amount of photos from the campaign and is packed with bunches of insightful historical notes.

As far as the rules go, there are many interesting additions to the original system while still keeping what worked. They can be a bit weighty at first but after a couple turns things start to move more fluidly. With any wargame, one runs the risk of purchasing the proverbial "nightmare in a box." While you may not be able to play it with some members of your gaming group, those who are interested should be able to learn it as long as they get the whole move-then-attack-with-odds mechanic.

If you've never played before, Silver Bayonet basically has an I-go-you-go game-play flow. Combat units move and attack adjacent units. With each attack you can either perform maneuver combat or assault combat. Manuela allows you to dislodge enemy units from favorable positions and soften them up before assaults. Assaults are intended to do a lot of killing. Each type of combat has rules for air and artillery support which feels realistic without cluttering things up too much.

While the original rules had a system for determining unit coordination centering around an average efficiency rating for the units involved in combat, this has been added to in the new rules with attack coordination. Basically, a roll must be made at the start of combat and if it fails the attack is uncoordinated and the attacking units suffer all sorts of issues. Particularly, it is very difficult for the PAVN units to perform maneuver warfare (which, in actual combat, requires a lot more tactical coordination than frontal assaults to perform). This adds a very interesting command and control element to the game that I've enjoyed immensely so far.

If the 25th Anniversary Edition is your first time playing, I recommend setting up the first scenario and just start attacking things to see how it works.

The campaign system also has some juicy additions to supplement the already effective hidden movement marker mechanics. This includes a nice patrol system that allows units to search and respond in the same turn and an ambush system for the PAVN. I've yet to try any of the campaign but I'm dying to do so. It looks very fun and realistic.

There are only a few cons that I've run across so far and those are pretty small. For starters, the table footprint for this game is massive. You'll definitely need to reserve a sizable kitchen table or the like for a couple days to get used to playing and that can cause strife among the less enthusiastic, non-gaming members of your household if you're not careful (or diplomatic).

Secondly, the designers went through pretty great lengths to explain many of the historical elements of the game but with all the notes and reference cards I still would have liked to have had a card that gives a run-down of each unit. I know it's a little unrealistic (and really what I should do is read more) but it seems like the designers almost included a description of every unit but left a few out.

I also found that during the scenarios it would have been helpful for the reference cards to mention landmarks more often near the hex numbers. The hex numbers are pretty small so the mention of landmarks more often would have helped.

Lastly, there are a lot of acronyms in the rules and that can lead to a little bit of running through the rulebook when you're trying to remember exactly what you're doing with your units. Of course, you need them for things like NVA, VC, PAVN, and the like, but when the rules add acronyms to the systems (such as DRM for die roll modifier) it can feel a bit overwhelming. But again, these are all small potatoes.

Overall, the 25th Anniversary of Silver Bayonet is an impressive upgrade to an already solid game. The attention to detail and ascetics perfectly nail the fighting dynamics of these two very different military forces and immerse you in the jungles of the central highlands. The scenarios are great for learning and have decent replay value until you can get a campaign going. If you're an armchair general that already has a great deal of knowledge on the conflict or this is your first time playing a Vietnam wargame, you'll be pleased.
67 
 Thumb up
7.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim F
United Kingdom
Birmingham
West Midlands
flag msg tools
Where the heck did this interest in WW1 come from?
badge
Ashwin in front of Tiger 301
Avatar
mb

Very timely, thank you.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Barry Kendall
United States
Lebanon
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
I concur with the review. I will say that although I sold off my entire ASL set because of my frustration with the plethora of abbreviations, I didn't even notice these while perusing the rules (apparently "DRM" has by now established itself in my vocabulary brain file as a "know-on-sight") and so don't find these a problem.

Overall I've never been more pleased with a new edition of a game I'd previously owned--and this from someone who "never likes paying for the same game real estate twice" (apologies to G. Patton).

Virtually every wargamer with an interest in Vietnam should grab this release, and play it (maybe on a surface you can slide under the bed!) before it is sold out.
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I nearly didn't buy this one, but am thrilled that I did. The production value is incredibly high and the game rules are something familiar and yet fresh somehow fresh after 25 years. The influence of Mitchell Land is evident in shaping this thing into something modernized and still recognizable to the original fans.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
If it had good solo campaign rules this game would be damn near perfect.



7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bob
United States
flag msg tools
We've done the impossible, and that makes us mighty.
badge
Ten percent of nothing is, let me do the math here, nothing into nothing, carry the nothin'...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for update. I've been on the fence, but no longer...
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom H
Australia
flag msg tools
badge
Basil Hilder KIA Lone Pine, Gallipoli
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great write up. Thanks.

I like the way you talk about what makes the game distinctive and good, as well as some of the negatives.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Smales
United States
Rome
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Colonel Peter Gansevoort (1749 – 1812) Defender of Ft. Stanwix, Rome, N.Y., 1777
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I was always interested in this game, but you've now pushed me over the top and I will actively seek it out.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jack Hearn
United States
Oklahoma City
Oklahoma
flag msg tools
badge
Lives matter.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
lucky henry wrote:
If it had good solo campaign rules this game would be damn near perfect.





Indeed...the solo rating of "6" is very misleading...a "3" would be more accurate...I tried working through the rules solo...after a couple of days I realized it was pointless to spend any more time on a game that is unplayable without a ftf opponent. You can play a few of the small scenarios...but when you get to the real heart of the game, the campaigns, no way to proceed without gutting the rules by removing the hidden movement/patrol sections. Still, I think it's a beautifully rendered edition of an old classic...components are excellent.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Humphries
Philippines
Unspecified
Metro Manila
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
CousinPaddy wrote:

Manuela allows you to dislodge enemy units from favorable positions and soften them up before assaults.


She must be quite a looker

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Patrick Wheeler
United States
Plainfield
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
Mark_WH wrote:
CousinPaddy wrote:

Manuela allows you to dislodge enemy units from favorable positions and soften them up before assaults.


She must be quite a looker



Haha that line is what Bob Ross was referring to when he said "happy little accidents."
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cristian Leal
Spain
CORNELLÀ DE LLOBREGAT
Barcelona
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
I dont have a table to let the game set for a couple of days, so i want to know about the game leght. How much ot take to play an scenario? I supose that campaing will by so long about 8 hours or so...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mitchell Land
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ErVicioso wrote:
I dont have a table to let the game set for a couple of days, so i want to know about the game leght. How much ot take to play an scenario? I supose that campaing will by so long about 8 hours or so...


The smaller scenarios, 3-6, are easily playable in under an hour, generally. LZ XRAY could take a bit longer, but I've played three to conclusion in a single night.

Scenarios 1,2, & 7 take a bit longer, but you should be able to play them in a single session of about 2 hours.

Scenarios 9 & 10 are probably 3-4 hours each. Scenario 8 (18 turns) is probably 6-8. The Campaign Game is more like 10-16 hours unless it's ended via Auto Victory earlier.

All of the above, of course, depends on how well you understand the rules and how quickly you play. Players subject to AP (analysis paralysis) will take longer as there are a lot of decision points.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cristian Leal
Spain
CORNELLÀ DE LLOBREGAT
Barcelona
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Toadkillerdog wrote:
ErVicioso wrote:
I dont have a table to let the game set for a couple of days, so i want to know about the game leght. How much ot take to play an scenario? I supose that campaing will by so long about 8 hours or so...


The smaller scenarios, 3-6, are easily playable in under an hour, generally. LZ XRAY could take a bit longer, but I've played three to conclusion in a single night.

Scenarios 1,2, & 7 take a bit longer, but you should be able to play them in a single session of about 2 hours.

Scenarios 9 & 10 are probably 3-4 hours each. Scenario 8 (18 turns) is probably 6-8. The Campaign Game is more like 10-16 hours unless it's ended via Auto Victory earlier.

All of the above, of course, depends on how well you understand the rules and how quickly you play. Players subject to AP (analysis paralysis) will take longer as there are a lot of decision points.


Wooow! Thanks Mitchell, it's great to have an answer from the developer, that was just what i need. You sold me a copy buddy
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mitchell Land
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
ErVicioso wrote:
Toadkillerdog wrote:
ErVicioso wrote:
I dont have a table to let the game set for a couple of days, so i want to know about the game leght. How much ot take to play an scenario? I supose that campaing will by so long about 8 hours or so...


The smaller scenarios, 3-6, are easily playable in under an hour, generally. LZ XRAY could take a bit longer, but I've played three to conclusion in a single night.

Scenarios 1,2, & 7 take a bit longer, but you should be able to play them in a single session of about 2 hours.

Scenarios 9 & 10 are probably 3-4 hours each. Scenario 8 (18 turns) is probably 6-8. The Campaign Game is more like 10-16 hours unless it's ended via Auto Victory earlier.

All of the above, of course, depends on how well you understand the rules and how quickly you play. Players subject to AP (analysis paralysis) will take longer as there are a lot of decision points.


Sure thing, and thanks!

Just remember that the Campaign Scenarios have hidden movement and are best played with an opponent. Fortunately, there's an excellent VASSAL module available if you have no local opponents.

Wooow! Thanks Mitchell, it's great to have an answer from the developer, that was just what i need. You sold me a copy buddy
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Juan Valdez
msg tools
Toadkillerdog wrote:
All of the above, of course, depends on how well you understand the rules and how quickly you play. Players subject to AP (analysis paralysis) will take longer as there are a lot of decision points.


I found playing and replaying the small scenarios really help me get a grip on various parts of the rules. Wish more games came with small scenarios.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Duffy
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice review, helped push me over the edge to break my piggy bank and buy the game, even though I need another game like I need a hole in my head.

The map is a masterpiece, and if this one doesn't win a Charlie for best graphics somebody needs to be defenestrated. I don't like hard maps as a rule - they warp, don't lie flat, and can't be cut or added to. And they take up a lot of space in the box. Counters are nice too.

The rulebook is nice as well, full color and nicely illustrated. Oddly enough the basic sequence of play and scenario instructions are only found on the play aides, not in the book itself. Another oddity is that the scenarios jump around a bit as they are ordered by chronological date, not complexity.

My big issue with Silver Bayonet is that it seems a little old fashioned: Igo-Yugo mechanics, no rolling for initiative, no reaction movement, no cards,etc. On the other hand, this makes for a simple, easy to learn game.

I just hope this is not the end of interest in the Vietnam War games, which are few and far between.



1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Juan Valdez
msg tools
Mike Duffy wrote:
I just hope this is not the end of interest in the Vietnam War games, which are few and far between.


Too true.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mitchell Land
United States
Ballwin
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mtngrown wrote:
Mike Duffy wrote:
I just hope this is not the end of interest in the Vietnam War games, which are few and far between.


Too true.



I don't think you'll be disappointed.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Duffy
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Toadkillerdog wrote:
mtngrown wrote:
Mike Duffy wrote:
I just hope this is not the end of interest in the Vietnam War games, which are few and far between.


Too true.



I don't think you'll be disappointed.


Excellent - I have a whole laundry list of operations that deserve a decent treatment but haven't received one - Khe Sahn/Pegasus, Masher/White Wing, Cedar Falls, Junction City, Dak To, Cambodian incursion, Lam Son 719, Quang Tri, etc.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Juan Valdez
msg tools
Mike Duffy wrote:
Toadkillerdog wrote:
mtngrown wrote:
Mike Duffy wrote:
I just hope this is not the end of interest in the Vietnam War games, which are few and far between.


Too true.



I don't think you'll be disappointed.


Excellent - I have a whole laundry list of operations that deserve a decent treatment but haven't received one - Khe Sahn/Pegasus, Cedar Falls, Junction City, Dak To, Cambodian incursion, Lam Son 719, Quang Tri, etc.


Add at least Tchepone, Phou Pha Thi, Operations Attleboro & Junction City. I'd like to see another take on SEALORDS as well. I like Miranda's game, but it feels like he barely scratched the surface.

I'm sure there is more.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.