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Subject: Pinned down in Vietnam rss

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Michael Barlow
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'Nam Diary

Components:

1 cardstock map, measuring about 4.5" x 7.5" (11cm x 19cm)

7 US counters, 3 US fakes

11 NVA counters, 4 NVA fakes

A handful of informational counters.

1 rulebook (very slim, equivalent of about 4 pages), with tables reprinted on the back cover.

All counters are one-sided and unmounted. I'd suggest that the US and NVA counters be mounted on different coloured cardstock so that they can be distinguished on the map when flipped over.

Gameplay:

Counters are rated for combat and movement only. Generally, the US forces have greater difficulty moving through the jungle, but better combat skill than the North Vietnamese. All units are considered to be armed with assault rifles. There are no special units in the game.

Counters are set up face down, and remain unknown to the opponent until a combat reveals them.

There are no scenarios with this game; the goal of each side is determined randomly after counters are set up.

The turn structure is simple. One side can move or shoot with one stack of counters, then the other side can move or shoot with one stack. A roll is then made at the end of the turn to determine whether any units become unpinned and whether one side or the other gets another activation and whether or not the turn order flips. The game is played until one side accomplishes its goal, or concedes defeat.

Combat is conducted with a fire accuracy roll (modifiable), then a fire outcome roll; a unit will either become pinned (unable to move or shoot) or be killed (removed from play).

There are a collection of optional rules listed at the end of the rules, including some special weapons. No extra counters are provided to assist their implementation; scrap paper or photocopied components would be required.

Summary:

Although not at all glitzy to look at, this inexpensive game with its very small footprint is easy to set up anywhere, simply explained to an opponent of any experience, and provides a "coffee break" tactical jungle fighting experience.

Note: I have the Ziplock Edition of 'Nam Diary. The ziplock version adds a second map, new terrain rules, additional unit counters, new options, and one scenario.





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Nathan James
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It would be nice hear a little more about your opinions on the game, what kind of decisions are you faced with, what really grabs you about this game. I'm interested!
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Michael Barlow
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I dislike vague questions; what do you want to know?
 
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Nathan James
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I was aiming more for open-ended than vague, but since you prefer specifics...

How close do games of Nam Diary usually finish? That is, does the game often come down to the last turn or last unit?

Does the game feel like it's missing something with only rifle equipped units?

How much does skill affect the game compared to luck? Would a new player have a decent chance of winning on the first play?

What kind of goals come up in this game? Do some goals favor one side or the other heavily?

I assume from the phrase '"coffee break" tactical jungle fighting experience' that the game plays rather quickly. Is 15 minutes enough time to play?

Do you often play two or more games of Nam Diary back to back?
 
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Michael Barlow
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NJames wrote:
How close do games of Nam Diary usually finish? That is, does the game often come down to the last turn or last unit?
It really depends on what each side's goal is. The game is played until one side wins or the other side wins. There are no set number of turns (except as an optional rule -- then the game is either decided one way or the other, or it is drawn if time's up)

NJames wrote:
Does the game feel like it's missing something with only rifle equipped units?
Mr. Graber, in the design notes, certainly says this game isn't overly complex. It's got that fun feel.

NJames wrote:
How much does skill affect the game compared to luck? Would a new player have a decent chance of winning on the first play?
It's all luck. You'd have to tweak the combat system to make it not so. DRM's lean somewhat in the Americans' favour. The NVAs have greater number of units. And, until you fire on a stack of units, you don't know who's there. There's some bluffing to be had here.

NJames wrote:
What kind of goals come up in this game? Do some goals favor one side or the other heavily?
Goals are of the US escapes the map theme or one side kills the other theme. Players are encouraged to fiddle up their own "scenarios".

NJames wrote:
I assume from the phrase '"coffee break" tactical jungle fighting experience' that the game plays rather quickly. Is 15 minutes enough time to play?
Yes, probably. You may, depending on the luck of the die, get two games in then. With the ziplock edition, you get a second map and more unit counters. You can therefore make games longer or shorter, but the luck element of shooting remains.

NJames wrote:
Do you often play two or more games of Nam Diary back to back?
Yes, I play games back to back. I usually sit with the game for 1/2 an hour or so. That's good for about 3 games. Then, that's enough. Not bad for an $8 game.
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Nathan James
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Thanks, now I feel like I know much more about the game.
 
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