My favorite COIN experience is Fire in Lake: Insurgency in Vietnam from GTM Games designed by Mark Herman and Volko Ruhnke. The Vietnam experience is thick in this one and the interplay among the factions is just glorious. We have played the game well over a dozen times and still enjoy every minute of it. In August 2019, GMT announced an expansion to the game in Fall of Saigon which focuses on the end of the war from 1973-1975. Three Fall of Saigon scenarios enable 1-4 players to extend play beyond Paris, beginning before 1968’s Tet, on the eve of the 1972 Easter Offensive, or from 1964 all the way to the end of the war. A standalone 2‑player Black April scenario focuses tightly on the post-Paris sparring between the NVA and ARVN, including the final massive battles, advances, and retreats.
Once the game was announced we reached out to the design and development team to see if we could do a series of Event Card Spoilers and Jason Carr agreed to provide those. We will be hosting 12 of these Event Card Spoiler posts over the next several months and appreciate the effort that both Jason Carr and Stephen Rangazas will be putting into these short write ups intended to share the history of the card as well as their play effects.
*Please keep in mind that the artwork and layout of these cards is not yet finalized (although they are getting close) and is only for playtest purposes at this point. Also, as this game is still in development, card details may still change prior to publication.
#S14 Four No’s
Nguyen Van Thieu entered “office” during the 1967 election that sought to transition the government of South Vietnam from military rule to a civilian lead government, though the military still dominated politics in the country. Thieu’s tenure as the leader of South Vietnam from 1967 to right before the collapse of Saigon in 1975 is often known as the Second Republic of South Vietnam (the first being during the Diem regime). During this period, Thieu managed to prevent the revolving door of coups that had characterized the mid-1960’s at the start of major American involvement.
Though Thieu has been criticized for the corruption of his regime, illiberalism, and major mistakes during the North Vietnam’s Final Offensive, he stood up for the sovereignty of South Vietnam and thereby his regime. Thieu blocked the possibility of peace agreements during multiple points during the war in an attempt to secure a better deal, specifically to ensure the withdrawal of NVA troops from the South.
After the Paris Peace Agreement, Thieu declared the “Four No’s” policy: “no giving up territory; no coalition government; no negotiations; and no tolerance for communism or neutralism.” Thieu sought to keep contesting territory in South Vietnam to remove the legitimacy of the political front of the Viet Cong, the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG), and better position his forces against the communist forces remaining in the South. Thieu’s insistence on not giving up territory helped precipitate the collapse of South Vietnam in 1975 when he suddenly reversed the position resulting in a panicked retreat from I and II Corps.
In our last spoiler, we outlined the US Posture Track’s function, and Four No’s gives ARVN a tool to expand US involvement via that track, or build Support (presumably, for a later Govern to build Patronage). The shaded event has the opposite effect, drastically decreasing US involvement or increasing the US Anti-War sentiment, or giving a boost to VC or NVA resources.
You can catch up on the series to date by following these links:
Thanks to the development team for their efforts in writing these up to share with our readers. As one of America’s more fascinating periods of history, the end of the Vietnam War definitely has an interesting story to tell and I am glad to see this expansion being made and look forward to playing again once it is released. We had the opportunity to play with Mark Herman and Dan Pancaldi during WBC last July and it was a blast. Here is a video summarizing our experience: https://theplayersaid.com/2019/09/01/wbc-look-at-fall-of-saigon-a-fire-in-the-lake-expansion-from-gmt-games/
We also posted an interview with co-designer Volko Ruhnke on the blog and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2019/09/30/interview-with-volko-ruhnke-co-designer-of-fall-of-saigon-a-fire-in-the-lake-expansion-from-gmt-games/
Finally, if you are interested in Fall of Saigon: A Fire in the Lake Expansion, you can -pre order a copy from the P500 game page on the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-832-fall-of-saigon-a-fire-in-the-lake-expansion.aspx