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Oil War: Iran Strikes» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Oil war. Quick review. rss

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Nigel Swan
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I got the game this week and decided to get cracking and play it. The counters are up to the usual good standard and the map depicts eastern Iraq,Kuwait,Bahrain,qatar,and a bit of eastern Saudi arabia,Iran is just a hex deep.one thing that surprised me was the fact that you are required to cut your map in two sections and place a section of northern Iraq onto the main map.no chance.it plays just as well if you don't. All relevant charts are on the map making playing the game easy. The rules are well written and straightforward. There are mechanisims that will throw the beginner as Iraq forces can change sides during the game,their move is variable and you throw a D6/2 to calculate their defines strength. They have no offensive strength.random events can see Syria and Turkey come into the fray.The Iranians need to take 4 vp points of capital cities to win with Baghdad counting as two( one for each hex).that means they need to go for Kuwait city as well as the northern city of Irbil. Unfortunately the Americans are in Kuwait City and reinforce every turn as their base in Irbil will not last long. Airpower is abstract throw 1d6/2 and reduce that amount of steps in a hex. Attacking cities with US airpower reduces the victory requirement of the Iranians by one so don't do it.my colour blind friend said he could distinguish the groups easily once he figured out who was red and who was green and could read the map easily.
Game play is easy and leaves you with the big decisions,where to reinforce for the U.S and which remaining city to go for the Iranians.Great game for a rainy afternoon. This is the first review I have done so let me know what I missed.
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Greg S
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I was mulling over purchasing this, after already purchasing the first issue of this new series.

I have the original Oil War game from SPI. Just wondering, how different is this version (other than being updated to current forces/weapons)?
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J.L. Robert
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essayons7 wrote:
I was mulling over purchasing this, after already purchasing the first issue of this new series.

I have the original Oil War game from SPI. Just wondering, how different is this version (other than being updated to current forces/weapons)?


The premise has been updated. It now is a scenario of a limited Iranian offensive into Iraq to try to sieze significant assets before US air mobilization builds up and Iranian morale waivers (both factors result in Iranian forces slowing down to an eventual crawl in the game).
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Pete Belli
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Saw the image on BGG with the one hex Iranian frontier.

Not having played the game… what mystical Maginot Line legerdemain prevents the US/Coalition player from interdicting Iranian troop movements or Iranian logistical operations inside the territory of Iran?
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David Allen
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I have to confess to having known next to NOTHING on current Iranian military structure or capabilities until I started to read the rules and set up this game (I have yet to start playing). After doing some research, I am curious why the RGC has the strongest and most units in the game. It seems to me that in actuality the Artesh is the main component of the Iranian ground forces, not the IRGC. In Vern Liebel's article (p. 24), he describes a likely Iranian attack as being lead by the "regular army, supplemented with IRGC engineer and infantry units." When I set up the Iranian units for the game, I did just the OPPOSITE, since the RGC units are stronger and there is an Artesh engineer unit (and artillery units) but not any in the RGC counter mix.

Is it possible that the white-on-green printed units should have been the RGC and the white-on-black units should have been the Artesh in the counter mix?
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Nigel Swan
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pete belli wrote:
Saw the image on BGG with the one hex Iranian frontier.

Not having played the game… what mystical Maginot Line legerdemain prevents the US/Coalition player from interdicting Iranian troop movements or Iranian logistical operations inside the territory of Iran?


Maybe Iran has developed shield technology?
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David Allen
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I finished a solo game of Oil War today, and it was very interesting. The Iranian forces had no trouble taking Baghdad early in the game, and not too much trouble taking Irbil after the some of the forces that had taken Baghdad were sent north. The remainder of the Iranian forces hit Kuwait. The US/Coalition had very bad luck with the Random Events early in the game, with both re-inforcements and air power faltering at least once. TWICE during the Random Events the US opted to forego attacking because of the mediations demand, but that wasn't too damaging because at that point in the game the US units on the map were pretty banged up and needed to retreat anyway.

The Iranians pushed hard on Kuwait City, but the US forces there held (barely). By turn 8, enough US forces arrived that they could launch offensive operations out of Kuwait City into the rear of Iranian troops struggling to break through the Saudi screen in northern Saudi Arabia.

At the beginning of turn 10, there were enough US forces in Kuwait City to make a further attack by the Iranians pointless, and no Iranian forces were near another capital city, so the game ended with 3 VP for the Iranians out of the 4 VP needed to win.

Good game, and, despite appearances, a tough one for the Iranians to win.
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Nigel Swan
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Yes. A tough one for the Iranians all right,especially if the US heavy stays in Kuwait City and defends for the first few turns.
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David Allen
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There are a couple of "minor" rules that have a huge effect on game play. One is the rule that non-US units that enter an Enemy Zone of Control (EZOC) must stop movement, and non-US units that start the movement phase in an EZOC cannot move. The US/Coalition player can use thin screens of weak units to stall the Iranian advance until US strength is built up.

The US units are free to move into and out of EZOC, which makes them incredibly mobile in comparison.

There is quite a bit of randomness (luck of the draw) in this game, which is probably true to life. The most obvious is the Random Event Phase, which can affect US reinforcements and air power either positively or negatively. It can also change the number of Victory Points (VP) that the Iranian player needs to win. The US re-inforcement is also random (blind draw from a pool), as is the loyalty of militia units in the setup phase. All of this randomness enhances the replay value of the game, since no two games are likely to see the same random events.
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David Allen
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Agreed. The Kuwait City bottleneck (an intentional design feature) plays a critical roll in the game. Here, the map is only 3-4 hexes wide and about 3 hexes deep. Given the EZOC effect on movement, even the weak Saudi units can significantly stall any Iranian push through the bottleneck.

There are three capital city hexes north of the bottleneck, three south of it, and one (Kuwait City) effectively part of the bottleneck. Barring any other VP or VP-needed adjustments, the Iranian player needs to take Kuwait City to either complete taking four capital city hexes (including Baghdad and Irbil) or to take his army south to capture Riyadh, Manama, and Doha. With a US heavy starting in Kuwait City, and reinforcements coming in, the Iranians may have an impossible task in taking it.
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David Allen
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I emailed the game designer (Ty Bomba) and he graciously replied. He said the counter assignments are correct, and he feels the IRGC would be the most powerful component of the Iranian ground forces in any attack on Iraq.

My understanding is the Artesh is the "regular army" and the IRGC is a parallel force with more militant Islamic tendencies. I get the impression that the Artesh is more or less the equivalent to the German Wehrmacht, and the IRGC is similar to the German SS forces.

Based on just a few hour's worth of research, I would probably have labelled the white-on-green counters as the RGC and the white-on-black counters as the Artesh. However, it would have little or no impact on game play, and it is a hypothetical situation based on very little intel, so I can't quibble with Ty's choice.

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Nigel Swan
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My understanding is the Artesh is the "regular army" and the IRGC is a parallel force with more militant Islamic tendencies. I get the impression that the Artesh is more or less the equivalent to the German Wehrmacht, and the IRGC is similar to the German SS forces.

I wonder if the Iranians would have the same inter service friction between the forcs as Germany had towards the ned of WW11
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Lance McMillan
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GuruDave wrote:
...the Artesh is the "regular army" and the IRGC is a parallel force with more militant Islamic tendencies. I get the impression that the Artesh is more or less the equivalent to the German Wehrmacht, and the IRGC is similar to the German SS forces.


Not an entirely inaccurate analogy -- there are a number of parallels, but also some significant differences. The IRGC has more of an internal security role than the Artesh; like Saddam's "Republican Guard" their primary focus is regime maintenance rather than defense of the nation, although they're still trained/equipped to perform the latter task. While it may not be entirely true today, right after the revolution (and continuing through the Iran-Iraq war) there was a lot of concern about the loyalty of the Artesh (largely still led by former officers who'd served under the Shah) and the IRGC was to a large extent upgraded to a more conventional combat force to act as a counter to a possible coup by the Artesh. This is one reason what would normally be labeled a quasi-paramilitary force has armored divisions in its organization: to act as a foil to the Artesh should the latter prove to be "disloyal."

Perhaps the most significant difference between the SS and IRGC is the level of decentralization: local and regional IRGC commanders are often afforded considerable discretion in acting to "preserve the islamic revolution," occasionally acting in direct contravention (if not open defiance) of higher authority in Terhan. The IRGC is also heavily connected with a number of criminal enterprises, in some cases even "running the business" outright (for example, much of the cross-Gulf smuggling activity with Oman and the UAE is conducted with direct IRGC involvement/oversight).

Varduk wrote:
I wonder if the Iranians would have the same inter service friction between the forcs as Germany had towards the end of WWII


There's definitely tension between the two organizations. The Artesh tends to view the IRGC as little more than a collection of well armed thugs; they don't have the professionalism of the Artesh, their promotions are based more on "revolutionary zeal" and family connections than performance. IRGC training is also heavily oriented towards what might politely be called "political indoctrination" rather than on honing military skills.

There are also differences in how the two organizations are constituted. The IRGC members are volunteers, recruited predominantly from the more religiously conservative (and less cosmopolitan/educated) rural population; Artesh ranks are filled largely with conscripts drawn from more urbanized areas of the country. IRGC pay (particularly in the lower ranks) is higher than the Artesh's as well.
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Nigel Swan
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A lot of good insight there Lance,it's a pity none of it is included in the game.maybe a separate attack phase so there is no combining of attacks between the two organizations?
 
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David DeThorne
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Varduk wrote:
[
My understanding is the Artesh is the "regular army" and the IRGC is a parallel force with more militant Islamic tendencies. I get the impression that the Artesh is more or less the equivalent to the German Wehrmacht, and the IRGC is similar to the German SS forces.

I wonder if the Iranians would have the same inter service friction between the forcs as Germany had towards the ned of WW11


Mohsen Sazegara, one of the IRGC's founding members and now a political dissident, said of the Pasdaran, "I don't know of any other organization in any country like the Revolutionary Guards. It's something like the Communist Party, the KGB, a business complex, and the mafia." From:
https://globalecco.org/81

But see:
http://www.network54.com/Forum/242875/thread/1138065670/1138...-

Intel on Iran is hard to come by. I tried putting together a decent ORBAT a few years ago and it just wore me out!

In my concept, the Artesh fights the main fight away from Tehran/ Qom while the leadership keeps the IRGC close by.
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Lance McMillan
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Varduk wrote:
...maybe a separate attack phase so there is no combining of attacks between the two organizations?


You could do that, but it strikes me as a bit extreme. The game is kind of a "Neo-con Fantasy Scenario" to begin with, so I think Ty started with the premise that the Iranians have assigned professional Artesh officers to the appropriate levels of IRGC command to ensure things work smoothly (and probably IRGC "commissars" attached to Artesh units as well, to ensure they perform their duties with the necessary "enthusiasm"). If you wanted to reflect the inter-service cooperation issues an easier way might be to reduce the final CRT differential of any Iranian attack involving both Artesh and IRGC units together by one column (on offense only -- I think applying that modifier to Iranian defense efforts would be over doing it).
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pete belli wrote:
Saw the image on BGG with the one hex Iranian frontier.

Not having played the game… what mystical Maginot Line legerdemain prevents the US/Coalition player from interdicting Iranian troop movements or Iranian logistical operations inside the territory of Iran?


This is addressed in the general degradation of the Iranian forces over the course of the game. Their movement factors drop over time and over the last half of the game they take penalties in combat as well. So you can assume the Air Force, Navy, and possibly allies as well are blasting the heck out of Iran throughout the game and it shows up in the increasingly reduced effectiveness of Iranian forces, who also have just one step compared to 4 for many of the US units.
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Lance McMillan
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Varduk wrote:
...maybe a separate attack phase so there is no combining of attacks between the two organizations?


You know, after re-examining the situation, it does strike me as slightly odd that DG saw fit to render the Artesh and IRGC units in different colors and yet there's no differentiation between them in game terms. It almost seems that there might have been a rule in there for some requirement/restriction that got dropped during testing...
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GuruDave wrote:
Based on just a few hour's worth of research, I would probably have labelled the white-on-green counters as the RGC and the white-on-black counters as the Artesh.


Nah...the fact that they're white on black makes them easier to find and kill. Just like SS counters.

But I do agree with the premise that they would be the hardest nuts to crack on the open battlefield, and they have 30 years of experience in developing their operational integrity and independence, separate from the Iranian conventional forces.

However, I'm sure the United States Navy has more than enough ordnance waiting for them, should it ever have to come to that.
 
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David Allen
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A reasonable theory. As I stated earlier, I was surprised that the IRGC forces (represented by white-on-black counters) were more numerous and powerful than the Artesh (white-on green-counters) and it seemed as though those labelled "Art" and "RGC" should have been swapped. However, it makes no difference in the game so it doesn't really matter.

There is a special rule for the Basiji, of course, which prevents them from being used in combination with either the Artesh or the IRGC, and requires that all Basiji units involved in an attack are eliminated. Interesting.

Also, Lance, thanks very much for the insight.
 
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J.L. Robert
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pete belli wrote:
Saw the image on BGG with the one hex Iranian frontier.

Not having played the game… what mystical Maginot Line legerdemain prevents the US/Coalition player from interdicting Iranian troop movements or Iranian logistical operations inside the territory of Iran?


None. The game presumes a surprise invasion, and the reduction of Iranian MP's is a game mechanic reflecting the increasing US air interdiction/declining Iranian resolve as the offensive progresses.
 
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