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Subject: Putting the squeeze on in Afghanistan rss

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The play's the thing ...
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Going thirty-eight, Dan, chill the f*** out. Mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down.
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Operation Anaconda was designed by Joseph Miranda and appeared in Strategy & Tactics #276. It is an attempt to simulate the Coalition’s offensive against insurgent Al Qaeda forces in Eastern Afghanistan in March 2002. Using the ‘Boots on the Ground’ system the games recreates the asymmetrical battle in the Shahi-Kot Valley.

Play is driven by pulling command chitsout of a cup so that turn order is random. Added to this uncertainty of turn order is the fact that the Al Qaeda are placed on the map face down. The onus is then placed on the Coalition player to identify targets as some of the counters represent civilians and both sides lose victory points for killing civilians.

The Coalition player can use ISR (Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance) to flip the face down units over and identify them, and once identified they stay face up for the rest of the game. As well as civilians, face down counters can also be IEDs, compounds, dummy units, fortifications and high value targets. All these units have different effects on the game and also emphasise the different things that the Coalition was up against, and the role intelligence played in fighting this battle.

The Al Qaeda player begins the game with 48 units on the map and the possibility of more appearing if the Jihad! Marker is pulled. And the more al Qaeda units killed the more likely of a Jihad occurring. Whereas the Coalition player begins play with 2 units on the map with more forces stationed in two off map bases and reinforcements arriving at a steady trickle. The Coalition’s reinforcement pool includes ground forces, air strikes, helicopter gunships, UAVs and satellites to perform ISR.

The Coalition air force is powerful and can bomb targets or help to identify enemy units. On the flip side the airstrikes can cause friendly fire incidents that result in Coalition casualties. The air force can also provide air mobile transport which enables the Coalition forces to strike at any part of the map they wish and with no supply rules to worry about Coalition forces can really spread out to tackle multiple threats.

The map is quite featureless apart from mountains and gullies and the odd town. It really gives the impression of a barren, dusty, rocky landscape that doesn’t provide much cover for attacking forces and the importance of the high ground for defending.

Players win by getting more victory points than their opponent. Points come from eliminating enemy units, killing high value targets, capturing compounds and the like. As I said before killing civilians gives you opponent victory points. The Coalition player can also extend the campaign to get more reinforcements but pays 5 victory points a day for the chance to keep going. The onus really is on the coalition player to be pro active in identifying targets and eliminating them with their superior strike ability, thanks to air mobile units and bombing runs. I’m still not sure what the best strategy for Al Qaeda is, sitting around waiting for the Coalition to find you and hunt you down is not an option but how do you mount an effective defence? Overall Operation Anaconda is an interesting game that will benefit from repeated plays to try and develop strategies for both sides.
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Barry Kendall
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Thanks for the concise but complete review. How well would you say it plays solo? Sounds like solitaire might be more satisfying than cajoling a player into running the al-Qaeda side.
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The play's the thing ...
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Going thirty-eight, Dan, chill the f*** out. Mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down.
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Barry Kendall wrote:
Thanks for the concise but complete review. How well would you say it plays solo? Sounds like solitaire might be more satisfying than cajoling a player into running the al-Qaeda side.


The main difficulty playing solo is setting up the Al Qaeda side face down and then trying to 'forget' which are the military targets and avoiding any civilians.

I set it up randomly and just put pieces where I thought they should go. Movement is based on the colour of the Al Qaeda counter and which command chit is pulled so you end up looking at some of the counters and remembering where they are. Maybe some house rules might help?

In the end it played fine solo, and had a lot less civilian casualties as well! There is enough of a difference in the two sides to make it interesting even if the fog of war is more of a mist than a true fog.
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The play's the thing ...
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Going thirty-eight, Dan, chill the f*** out. Mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down.
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heath p avery wrote:
Good day Pete
I have got this out and have played for a few hours today and I love this game
One silly thing I cannot find
Please educate me It must be obvious but I cannot find TF11 The black command chit...I cant seem to find the troops for it ????
I must be blind !!!!


Good question I'll have to get my copy out and have a good look!
 
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The play's the thing ...
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Going thirty-eight, Dan, chill the f*** out. Mow your damn lawn and sit the hell down.
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Cool, haven't been able to get to my copy unfortunately.
I agree it would make an excellent face-to-face game with lots of tension over the hidden counters.
 
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