Proudly annoying Capitalists since 1959
Cuba
Santa Clara
flag msg tools
badge
Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I finished my third game of Yalu and since nobody bothered with a review so far, I figured I needed to bite the bullit and do it.



Intro:

Yalu tries to recreate the Chinese Intervention during the Korean war. After the NKPA was almost completely eliminated and in full retreat towards the Chinese border.
UN forces where totally overwhelmed by the Chinese forces whom where hiding deep in the mountains.

The game starts on the very first moment the PVA started fighting.

Components:

I had never before purchased a game from Compass, but I was very thrilled to see that the game was top notch quality wise. 2 beautiful maps (1 classic, 1 deluxe), high quality counters and very nice nice full color card stock OOB’s, CRT’s and player aid’s.

The counters contain a "deluxe" side and a "classic" side. The deluxe side shows the unit’s national flag, Size (only for UN forces) and combat strength-MA.
I must say I like the looks of the counters, although NATO symbols do have their benefits.
Also included are "patch" counters for the US-divisions, which can be used instead of the normal division counters. These "patch" counters show the division’s patch, which apart from looking cool, keeps them apart better the the little divisions number printed on it. Together with the patch-counters you can use the flip side of their battalion and regiment sized counters, who also show the patch.

Communist counters don’t show a size (all are Divisions) and can’t be broken up into Battalions or regiments.
Especially with the communist units you have to take care that you use the right set (deluxe), cause almost all combat strengths are different compared to the deluxe version.



The Goal:

The goal for the Communist player is to reach the 38th parallel in time (25 turns) and have more then 72 combat factors in supply there, or capture Seoul and bring 32 combat factors. If neither is established at the end of May IV, the UN player wins.
This means that the communist player will be on the attacking side fore the better part of the game, while the UN-player tries to form a perimeter around Seoul (or preferably a bit more north).
But the UN-player can’t just be retreating, or it will be overwhelmed by PVA/NKPA units.

Basic game play:

I’m not going thru the rulebook here, this can be downloaded from Compass games, but this section just shows the baseline for the game.

Every turn starts with the weather phase, which can differ from Sun to a complete blizzard (although not in the same month).
Weather affects both sides differently. Communist forces tend to like the higher rolls, since this gives a more "overcast" weather and this limits UN-air forces interfering with movement and combat.
As the months roll by (yalu is played in weekly turns, starting in Nov IV until May IV) the changes of better weather for the UN start to grow, although flooding causes severe limitations for both.



After the weather it’s up to the communist player to determine its supply (Supply affects both movement and combat strength for the communists), Get his R&R and start moving some units.
Communist forces are far better in moving through the harsh North Korean land then their UN-counterparts (all have a MA of 6, with 3 being the max. cost for a single hex) .
After all movement is complete, all combat is declared (more on that below)
Defensive fire is commenced and then the final assault fire takes place.
After combat morale is checked for neutralized units.

The Un-player has a naval and air fleet present in the peninsula, which he can use before anything else to bombard the enemy. Air units can bomb roads, rail and units anywhere on the map, The naval units only within their inland range (1, 2 or 3 hexes land inwards), rolling a die against the bombardment table (for units only) for the result. Units involved in bombardments can no longer be used during the turn.
The second difference is that the UN-forces only check for supply at the end of the turn and even isolated units still fight with full combat strength. During the UN-morale phase isolated units do have to make a morale check, which could mean they end up Neutralized (and if already neutralized, eliminated).
Morale differs per unit (Marine and Turks are very high on morale, where ROK regiment are a liability).

Combat:
A wargame without combat wouldn’t be a wargame, so I will dive into the combat system with a bit more details..

All combat must be declared before any fights starts. After all combat is declared, the defender will fire against its attacker first.
The Defender must use it’s entire stack to attack an other hex (or specific units within this hex), It can not split its fire in 2.
The strong point here is that you do a quick count of the total combat factors attacking you, and try and see if you can just kill enough to lower the odds ratio.
Eg. Say 24 (6x4) combat factors are attacking 12, this would mean you have a 2-1 ratio, If the defender chooses to attack 1 unit (combat factor 4), it would be at an 3-1 ratio. If succesfull the attacker then has to choice to either attack at a 3-2 ratio, or he chooses not to attack all units within the hex at a better ratio.

This system however gives stronger unit quite a benefit, cause as you can imagine 12 unit with a strength of 1 are easier to thin-out then 1 unit of 10 strength.



Conclusion:

Yalu requires a total different playing approach depending on which side you play (even when playing solo). Where UN-forces have the luxury of picking their battles and nibbling of units, just slow progress, The large but poorly managed communist forces have to deal with the fact that they only get a limited amount of Attack Supply Points (in order to make full strength attacks), need to keep their momentum up and that they receive little reinforcements (compared to UN-forces).
While in the first couple of turns the UN-player seems almost obsolete in stopping the red herd, they will need to work on a long-game-plan, in order to seize control over the situation.
The Un-player has the most "tricks up its sleeve" for that (amphibious evacuation, Airborne unit, naval and air units, plus the option to either break units down, or build them up).
The communist player needs to seize the ports as soon as possible in order to guarantee supply for its forces, and it needs to stop the UN-player from building up an army around Seoul.

Although I never considered Yalu to be a very complex game (I would say moderate), its design really starts to shine through after a couple of plays.
This new deluxe" version tweaked some new stuff into the game which makes this game a good mix between "old-skool hex-and-counter" and new design.

For everybody slightly interested in Cold War Games or the Korean War specifically, this game is a very solid entry point into the era.

Short synopsis (for people who don’t want to read all my rambling about attacks and such)

PRO’s:
Beautiful production quality
Solid rules (and easy to read)
Fast pased, yet with enough depth
Just the right amount of Chrome for a game of this size

CON’s:
UN-forces in ports have an unlimited supply and can be to hard for an overwhelming force (say 3-1 or better) to take.
Good communist player will move the game quickly towards Seoul, which can mean that in the last 2 moths you are using 15 hexes on the complete board to fight in.
A couple of unlucky ASP rolls, means communist forces are more or less dead in the water (not a gamebreaker, just boring)



Cheers, Haring


32 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
The play's the thing ...
Australia
Point Lonsdale
Victoria
flag msg tools
badge
Going thirty-eight, Dan, chill the f*** out. Mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Just got this myself, and hoping to get to the table soon.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kev.
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
Read & Watch at www.bigboardgaming.com
Avatar
nice review.
Do you still like this game?
I just ordered proud monster deluxe and have $10 credit... I'm not seeing much I like in the compass games catalog. Dont know them as a game company either.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Skip Franklin
United States
Oklahoma City
OK
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Compass Games have a high physical quality. I have not played Yalu or Bataan yet but have hopes for Yalu and know the Designer of Bataan and believe enough in his abilities to order on that knowledge buy the game. [I have know idea what I was trying to say. I've been up over 26 hours and I could see that sentence take a muddy road...what ever that means.

Go to bed I say.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Scriven
Australia
Kooringal
New South Wales
flag msg tools
Overall- How would you regard it as a solitaire game. Different periods- but i was going to purchase yalu or GMT's Infidel (not totally different game mechanisms) would be grealty interested in your thoughts??

Cheers
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Proudly annoying Capitalists since 1959
Cuba
Santa Clara
flag msg tools
badge
Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Rhagodia wrote:
Overall- How would you regard it as a solitaire game. Different periods- but i was going to purchase yalu or GMT's Infidel (not totally different game mechanisms) would be grealty interested in your thoughts??

Cheers


First of all sorry that it took me so long to respond. For some reason I forgot to subscribe to my thread.

Anyways...

Solitaire play of Yalu is very interesting. Both sides play completely different from each other, which makes for a "switch-in-brain" every time you shift sides.
Since there is no hidden information in the game (Stacks may be review at all times) you don't have to "foget" anything.

Only downside playing solo (apart from being alone ) is that the Communist forces sometimes need to do some "fake" movements and attacks.
I'll explain:
The communist forces are MUCH better in moving across the map then the UN-forces. And they really need that advantage, since you're basically trying to "out-run" the UN-forces, who need to buy time for their reinforcements to arrive and to secure their vunerable supply lines (the commies have easier supply rules).
Since you only have a limited amount of attacks you can do as the commmies (through the ASP-mechanism), you can't attack every little unit on the map, so you need to fake. Threathen to take Pyongyang, while you're actually moving through the mountains to cut the east-coast units.
Playing solo offcourse diminishes this effect, although I do play "dumb" and act like I don't understand the Fakie (unless offcourse it's to obvious).

for me like that the game becomes somewhat of a simulation, instead of a match, which for me works OK when I'm playing solo.

hope this helps.

Cheers, Haring

P.s. Having never played Infidel (I think it's based on GBoH), I really can't comment, only that I like GBoH, which is a very solid mechanism and GMT produces very high quality products.
For me, Yalu presents a bigger "side-differance" then GboH (at least at SPQR), and the period is more appealling to me, but both won't be duds.
9 
 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.