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.
#S74 Coup! Nixon Resigns
Watergate played a major role in depriving South Vietnam of continued American support during the 1973-1975 period. President Nixon was a strong advocate for continued aid and made promises to Thieu of renewed military action against North Vietnam if the NVA launched another major offensive. As the Watergate scandal unfolded, Nixon focused less on Vietnam and lost the authority to challenge the wave of Congressional restrictions and aid cuts (See previous War Powers Act Card Spoiler).
In August 1974, President Nixon resigned with Gerald Ford being sworn in as president. Though Ford pushed hard for increased aid to the South, including emergency aid once the North’s Final Offensive was under way, Ford felt that he had even less authority than Nixon to challenge Congress by intervening with airpower to save the South in 1975. Nixon’s resignation further convinced North Vietnam they could launch another general offensive without the fear of American intervention. As one North Vietnamese official put it, the United States would not return “even if you offer them candy.”
Every Fall of Saigon campaign uses Period Events, with specific Coup Cards seeded at the end of each campaign. Nixon Resigns brings an extreme drop in US Posture and Aid if the US has Retreated from Vietnam. If they are still at War, they suffer an immediate +5 penalty to Anti-War – before checking for Victory. It will be essential for the ARVN and US player to plan ahead for the three Coup cards (Watergate, Nixon Resigns, Saigon Stands Alone) and account for their powerful effects from the very first card of Fall of Saigon.
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