TITLE: Fire Team Vietnam
AUTHOR: John R. “Buck” Surdu
PUBLISHER: LMW Works
PUBLICATION DATE: 2002
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PRICE (with date): $20.00 (in 2013)
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: The Vietnam War
Fire Team Vietnam (FTV) is a digest sized paperback. The book is 64 pages long, with the rules occupying the first 24. The remainder of the book consists of scenarios and some simple OOBs for the major combatants. The last 8 pages are the game charts.
SCOPE: FTV is written for company sized actions during the Vietnam War (1965-75).
ARMY SIZE: The game may be played with a single platoon, up to a reinforced company. Most scenarios will probably require 50-60 figures per side.
BASE UNIT: While figures are mounted individually, the base unit is the Fire Team (hey, guess the title should have tipped us off, right?).
- Ground Scale: 1” = 4 meters
- Time scale 1 turn = 1 minute
- Figure/Base Ratio 1:1
- Recommended Figure Size: 20 mm
- Table Size: Not stated
- Game Length: Not stated.
None given (does not impact game play in any case).
- Activation: Players check the activation status of each squad.
- Movement: Both sides move their squads (simultaneous)
- Observation: Both sides may attempt to observe the enemy (spotting)
- Firing: Simultaneous fire
- Close Combat: Melee is resolved
Umpire: FTV is written to be used with an umpire managing the VC forces. The VC are usually hidden, and you may play a scenario to the end where very few of the VC forces ever appear on table (kinda like the real thing).
Activation: Each squad checks for its activation status at the beginning of the turn. This is a combination Command and Morale check. Units that pass act as the owning player desires. Units that fail are limited in what they can do. They may move and shoot half, be pinned, go to ground etc. The check is modified for leadership, troop quality, casualties, etc.
Observation & Spotting: Spotting is done by each fire team separately. Checking which units get spotted or not is a key role of the umpire. To spot, roll a D20, needing an 11+. The Observation table lists modifiers for range, troop quality, target type, etc.
Movement: A unit’s movement allowance is determined by its Activation. A fully active infantry unit moves 12”
Fire Combat: Firing in FTV is by unit, not figure. To resolve shooting, each weapon has an Attack factor. Add up all the attack factors. Each unit has a defense factor based on its activation, cover, etc. Subtracting Defense from Attack determines which row on the Combat Results Chart is used.
Attack factors are figures both by weapon and range. So a has an Attack Factor of 1 out to 5” and 0.5 from there up to 20”.
Determine the number of targets. This determines the column used on the Combat Results Table. Consulting the table gives the chances of doing damage. There will be numbers for W (wounded) and K (killed). This is the number on a D20 needed to roll for the corresponding result. For example, if the CRT indicates W:14-17 K:18-20 then you roll one D20 for every target figure. on a 1 through 17 the figure is wounded, 18 through 20 it is killed, otherwise there is no effect. (Two wounds = killed).
Target figures may have differing defense factors in which case the row used will be different, but the column used is always the same. For example, you may shoot at a squad of which half are in Medium cover. Those figures will get the +5 modifier to their defense factors.
Some weapons, such as grenades use a different mechanic. They have a “To Hit” number based on weapon type and range. This number must be rolled on a D20 to land on target, otherwise the shot lands elsewhere. These weapons have a blast radius. Every figure in the blast radius must roll on the Combat Results Chart. The row and column depend on the specific weapon involved.
Close Combat: Melee uses the same attack factors as fire combat. Both sides determine their attack value which is expressed as odds (1:1 or 3:1 etc.). A D20 is rolled and the Melee Results Table consulted. One side or the other may be eliminated, while survivors will roll on a row and column on the Combat Results Table. this is indicated my the Melee results table. The loser is the side with fewer unwounded figures remaining - they rout, moving a full move away from the enemy.
Vehicles have an Activation status just like infantry. They are limited in their movement being able to make only 1 or 2 changes of direction per turn, depending on their speed (this rule is ignored when on roads). When moving cross country, vehicles must check and see if the break down/throw a track etc.
Firing At Vehicles: To shoot at a vehicle, consult the Roll to Hit Vehicular Targets Table. It lists each weapon type and a range. Cross index and it tells you what you need to roll on a D20 to hit the target. A LAW, for example, needs to roll a 5 or better on a D20 at 6-15” to hit a target. If the round hits, check for penetration. Then consult the damage table. For damage a D20 is thrown - there are separate results depending on whether or not the round penetrated.
Vehicle Firing At Infantry: To fire HE at infantry, first check if you hit your target. This is like a grenade. Weapon type and range yield a “To Hit” number. Roll a D20 and roll within the given range to land on target. Otherwise the round scatters (distance is listed on the weapon charts). Each round has a blast radius. Every figure in the blast area must roll for damage on the Combat Results Chart (row and column determined by weapon type).
Vehicle Firing At Bunkers: This is carried out like shooting at a vehicle - check To Hit and then check for penetration. If you penetrate figures inside roll for casualties, otherwise only figures outside the bunker, and inside the blast radius, check.
Indirect Fire: Indirect fire is resolved like grenades or vehicular fire. Determine if the round is on target, check for scatter, and the roll for all figures inside the blast radius.
indirect fire must be called in by observers, and depending on type of asset and a die roll may not land immediately.
The optional rules in the book include:
- Ammo Resupply
- Carrying Out Wounded
- Claymore Mines & Flechette Weapons
- Land Mines
- Booby Traps
- Night Fighting
- Barbed Wire
The rule book includes twelve scenarios, six of which are linked together. There are summary infantry company TO&Es for the US, Viet Cong, NVA and ARVN.
Fire Team Vietnam is easy enough to understand though the layout of the book makes finding particular items a bit difficult. Specifically written for experienced gamers, the rules are fairly “bare bones” leaving it to the umpire or players to make calls along the way as unusual situations arise.
The Activation table is an interesting one. As units take casualties they will tend to “go to ground.” Eventually they will simply refuse to move (there is really no place to “rout” to) and wait for the fight to be over.