I think it's almost compulsory for any Vietnam game to be headed by a quote from Apocalypse Now or Full Metal Jacket, so not wanting to buck the trend I've gone with Mr/Colonel Kurtz depending on your preference for Conrad or Coppola.

This week's game at the club was a Vietnam bash organised by Kevin and with his collection of really excellently painted figures.

We used the Too Fat Lardies rules "Charlie Don't Surf".  I'm a big fan of TFL rules as you'll gather from the posts elsewhere on the blog and CDS are no exception.  Having said that I do struggle more with these rules than some of their others.  As with a few TFL rules I find the layout a bit of a challenge...although it seems to be in a sensible order, when it comes to finding the rule I need at any given point, it disappears into the text somewhere.  Given the additional complexity of Vietnam with rules for armour, air and artillery strikes, asymmetric warfare etc there are a lot of rules to hide in!  I have a feeling that in the heart of CDS is a very good set of rules struggling to break free.

The US forces to the left of the table, where they spent most of the game under heavy MG fire from the troops hidden in the jungle at the top edge.

The scenario pitched a Free World aid station coming under attack from NVA while an under-strength company were on their way to relieve it.  The aid station had the advantage of a Platoon of special forces but were likely to face a heavy assault before the relief force could get there.  There were also some incoming civilians who we wanted to get Intel from.

Andy and I took the US troops and set off across the table.  As with most TFL games we started with our troops hidden on blinds while the NVA had their forces either on blinds or completely hidden.  We also had a PBR slowly making its way up the river which ran along the edge of the table.

The village and aid station...the relief force finally made it up to the edge of the paddy fields after a long slog across the table

Having adopted the cunning plan of moving quickly (but not quickly enough) across the open gaps between the clumps of jungle, Andy's platoons were hit by a hidden NVA Heavy Weapon section which caused horrendous casualties and kept him pinned down for most of the game.  Luckily my troops were screened by Andy's and I was able to hide most of them in the jungle.  My Company Commander did bravely occasionally pop out of the bush he was hiding in to shout something inspiring to the pinned down troops and remove some points of shock, before taking cover again...I'm sure there was a medal in that selfless act of heroism!

The civilians were also approaching the aid station from the other side of the table and as they came within sight of medics they were revealed to be a cadre of local VC!  The aid station was now in serious trouble as the NVA troops had also closed quickly and the relief force was bogged down thanks to the draw of the cards.

I did manage to successfully call in a mortar strike on the NVA which caused some damage and suppressed the unit meaning it couldn't advance but the NVA and VC then drew the 'Human Wave' card which meant they could ignore the suppression and charge.  Luckily the defenders of the aid station were special forces and somehow managed to repel the assault.

Daan, daan da da daan daan (go on.: name that tune!)

On the next turn my helicopters arrived.  Bizarrely, just as they came on table we had a real helicopter flying over the club building...I'm still not sure if this was a special effect that Kevin had laid on specially!

The Huey flew along the line of assaulting NVA causing heavy casualties in true Hollywood style and making it very unlikely they'd be able to repeat the assault on the village.

Unfortunately the VC had sneakily achieved one of their aims by nicking rice supplies from the village while the assault was underway...they had been tasked with obtaining supplies as a precursor to Tet.  The NVA also gained victory points from ambushing (very successfully) our squads...Andy's were pretty decimated and never managed to move after getting hit.  On a plus point we hadn't lost the aid station and had caused some heavy casualties to the NVA.  As one of the opposition said it was a typical Vietnam result...everyone lost!!

A great game with some excellent scenery and figures all kindly supplied by Kevin who did a good job of umpiring and trying to find his way through the rules. He had sensibly produced a summary of the key features for us beforehand which was really helpful.

Like I said earlier, I really do want to like CDS but the rules either need some reorganising or streamlining, or both.  For Vietnam I've also used Force on Force and the Peter Pig Men of Company B rules, both of which are also very good (especially the PP rules) but I'm sure there must be others out there.

Alastair J.