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.
#S48 Ngo Quang Truong
Ngo Quang Truong is commonly known as one of the ARVN’s best officers during the war. Truong rose quickly through the ranks of the ARVN after joining the Vietnamese National Army (the predecessor to the ARVN) in 1954 – those who have played Silver Bayonet may recognize then-Lt. Col. Truong from that game. Truong gained command over a division in 1966 and commanded ARVN troops during the counterattack to retake Hue after the Tet Offensive. Truong became the head of all I Corps, the northern provinces of South Vietnam, during the Easter Offensive in 1972 after his predecessors decision resulted in the collapse of I Corps’ defense and the NVA seizure of Quang Tri. Truong commanded the counterattack that pushed back NVA forces in Quang Tri in late 1973.
Truong remained commander of I Corps up until its collapse during the NVA’s Final Offensive in the Spring of 1975. Truong managed to skillfully use I Corps’ ARVN forces to repulse initial NVA thrusts against the northern cities of Hue and Danang. However, President Thieu’s delayed orders to retreat south and a massive influx of refugees fleeing the advancing North Vietnamese troops resulted in the rapid collapse of the defense of I Corps in late March 1975. Truong fled the South during the fall of Saigon and moved to the United States.
Many historical strategies are viable in Fire in the Lake, and our testers have looked for historicity in the strategies used in Fall of Saigon as well. I Corps was repeatedly tested by the NVA throughout 1973-1975, and NVA players are incentivized to do the same in Fall of Saigon.
Truong’s brilliance grants flexibility to the ARVN in their defense of I Corp, allowing ARVN to mix and match 2 Special Activities with any Operation. Depending on the eligibility and situation on the map, the ARVN and US player can use Ngo Quang Truong to devastate an NVA offensive.
The Shaded effect is attractive to both the NVA and VC players as it weakens the ARVN defenses as well as directly reducing ARVN Victory via loss of Patronage. In Fall of Saigon, the ARVN player will have to scratch and claw for every Govern operation, and rarely has good targets for generating Patronage. Thus, every opportunity to drop ARVN’s Patronage should be considered by the NVA and VC.
You can catch up on the series to date by following these links:
#S22 Resolution 21 & #S20 Delta Drought
#S42 “The War Has Begun Again”
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