TITLE: Bodycount: Wargame Rules for the Vietnam War, 2nd Edition
AUTHOR: Ian and Nigel Drury
PUBLISHER: Tabletop Games
PUBLICATION DATE: January, 1988
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
PRICE (with date): Unknown (Out of print)
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: The Vietnam War
Bodycount 2nd Edition was reprinted so comes in two forms. Both are typical for the era: card stock cover n in plain green, interior is purely B&W. One copy I have is A4 in size the other is a booklet. I have used the booklet for this review (as far as I can tell the text is identical in both copies).
The booklet runs 36 pages and includes a card stock player reference sheet. There are a few simple line drawings throughout but no diagrams, photos or examples of play.
SCOPE: Bodycount is designed for use with an umpire. It handles 2-6 players, and is deigned for small skirmish actions.
ARMY SIZE: Players control squads, so one side might field one or two platoons in total. Armies will thus be comprised of several dozen figures each. Only spotted VC figures are on table, so very few of them will be needed (they are removed if they are no longer visible).
BASE UNIT: Figures are singly mounted and operate in squads.
- Ground Scale: 1” = 5 meters
- Time scale 1 turn = 1 minute
- Figure/Base Ratio: 1:1
- Recommended Figure Size: Not stated
- Table Size: Not stated but a sample game shows a table roughly 5x7’
- Game Length: Unknown
BASING SIZES: Figures should be individually mounted.
The game is designed to be run with an umpire playing the Communists. As such there is no real “turn sequence.” Instead, the US player moves and the GM responds. As such the game has a bit of a role-playing game feel, in that it is the GM who controls the action.
The game mechanics in Bodycount are old school multi-step, multi-chart, with use of a number of different dice, including D6, D10, D20 and percentiles.
Each figure moves at a given speed from Crawl (2”) to run (24”). It is important to know for each figure whether it is standing or prone, and at which speed it is moving. Moving speed is a factor in booby trap detection and effect, as well as important in combat. It affects both taking and causing casualties.
Given the nature of the game, GMs are encouraged to allow players multiple moves in order to speed game play.
Spotting is a critical element of the game. The GM controls the VC/NVA and only places spotted figures on the table. Attempting to spot (“Acquisition”) is carried out as follows: The spotting unit rolls a d6. This is modified by the spotter’s vista: add for spotters up high, subtract for down low. The die roll is then modified by the Fieldcraft rating of the two units; it is modified again for the speed of the moving unit; and finally the result is multiplied by the VOQ.
VOQ is a rating for terrain for how hard it makes spotting. So the VOQ of woods is 1, the VOQ of open space is 8. The final number is a range in inches. If the target unit is within that range, the unit is spotted.
Spotting firing units uses the same procedure, but with a modifier for each firing weapon (different weapons have different modifiers).
To resolve small arms fire, the Firing player first declares the Fire Zone. In effect, Small Arms Fire is area fire. It is possible given the fire zone that some target figures are actually outside the zone. nce the zone is delcared, the fire Frontage is determined. The frontage is 2” per firing figure. If the target has been spotted, the target’s frontage may be used instead.
Each weapon has a fire value for a given range. The total number of points of all firing weapons is summed, and then divided by the frontage. Looking up the result on the Hit Conversion chart yields a percentage. For each 50% a die is rolled to see if a hit is inflicted. For any “remainder” a hit is scored on a die roll equal to or less than that remainder. (For example a 1.7 hits yield three chances at 50% plus one at 20%).
For every hit, it is randomly assigned to a figure in the Fire Zone. The movement speed of each figure modifies this. Thus prone figures count 1/4 while running figures count 4. When a figure is hit, it must roll a D10 on the Casualty Table. Figures may be KIA, wounded or pinned by a “near miss.” The score required for each depends on teh type of weaon fired.
Close Combat takes place between units that are within 6” of each other or closer. Each melee may have up to 4 rounds of combat.
To resolve melee, the rating of each figure (“Technical Competence”) is cross indexed with their weapon, yielding a casualty number. These are then summed and divided by 100 yielding a percentage chance to cause a casualty. Casualties are inflicted as with ranged fire. Figures that are hit roll on the casualty table, but in close combat all rolls are as if hit by HMG fire.
At the end of each round of melee, each player rolls a die. This is modified for the unit’s aggression rating, and advantage in numbers. The low scorer must check morale. If they pass, another round of melee is fought. Otherwise the victor gets a free parting shot, using the melee procedure.
Air Operations & Artillery:
The rules include a section for both air and off board artillery. They both work in similar ways. The asset is contacted via radio, and the target identified. A template is laid out and accuracy determined. Once the fire goes for effect, casualties are determined. The effectiveness varies with the weapon system firing; number of firing weapons; attack duration etc.
If the attack lands each figure under the template is diced for to see if it is hit. If hit, it rolls on the casualty table.
Note: The templates given in the rules are true to scale. One 3 gun sheaf template is 31” long and 10” wide!
Units are rated from 1 (worst) to 5 (best) for morale. To check morale two D6 are rolled. This is modified by the unit’s rating; taking fire; casualties; and other situational variables. The result is checked against the morale chart. High results are bad (Bug Out aka Rout) while low numbered results are good (Carry On!)
The book contains an example game and scenario suggestions. It includes a simple chart for suggested values for the main combatants but no lists, TO&Es etc.
This is a typical late 1980s rule set. When printing was expensive rules were kept very. very short adn players were expected to fill in a lot of blanks!
Not played. However, I cannot imagine all the math involved in the various mechanics would be well received today.
The larger reprint cover: