The first impressions are out for Campaign Series: Vietnam!

“Is this the most detailed Vietnam War Game in existence? Quite possibly yes!”

Our sincere thanks for Agrippa Maxentius for his video review of Campaign Series: Vietnam 1948-1967. 

Agrippa Maxentius Campaign Series: Vietnam Review

Click at this image for access to Agrippa Maxentius first impressions for Campaign Series: Vietnam!

 

Tutorial videos now available as well

Jason Petho’s is in the process of uploading a number of tutorial videos as well. The first two videos are out now, An introdcution, and Veteran’s Guide.There’s more tutorials to come, too, including Bootcamp Video Tutorials:

 

Campaign Series: Vietnam 1948-1967 releases in January 20th, not long to go anymore. Exciting times! 

The Vietnam War in CS: Vietnam 1.0

Welcome to Part 3 of articles covering the scenario content available in Campaign Series: Vietnam 1948-1967 version 1.0!

On previous posts, we discussed the French Indochina War game content and then followed up with those covering the Vietnamese Civil War. With the game manual now available, let us do this one a bit differently. As the complete scenario listing is available in the manual, we will discuss a particular scenario per year, from 1965 to 1967.

 

And without further ado, let us move right into the Vietnam War part of the Campaign Series: Vietnam!

1965: The First Battle – Operation STARLITE

What better scenario to start this blog with than the operation that started it all: Operation STARLITE!

Here’s how the scenario description lays out the battle for Side A (US) of for Head-to-head play:

Campaign Series Vietnam Operation STARLITE

Campaign Series Vietnam Operation STARLITE Scenario Description screen

It is quite a battle, with one of the larger maps in the game. We strongly recommend to have everyone to complete the Bootcamp scenarios prior to play, in general, and this scenario, in particular. Amphibious landinds, Air lifts, Civilians, a very cunning enemy, they are all included here.

Campaign Series Vietnam Operation STARLITE

Campaign Series Vietnam Operation STARLITE map viewed under 2D Strategic View

Here’s a detail of the Amphibious landings taking place in scenario. Note that we have turned the Map Hints ON to navigate the hexes. Reefs, for instance, you don’t want to get stuck at them while the enemy has a field day firing at you.

Campaign Series Vietnam Operation STARLITE

Campaign Series Vietnam Operation STARLITE with Map Hints = ON

Operation STARLITE is also a popular topic on our Twitch channel, Jason Petho’s done already three mammoth live play sessions with this scenario, and there’s still plenty of fighting to be done. Recordings can be found at our:

There’s still more to come in future live-play sessions, do check out the Twitch Schedule page!

Moving on…

1966: A Very Close Thing – Battle of Long Tan

For something different, we chose the Battle of Long Tan to represent the year 1966 scenario content for this article. Made famous also by the recent Danger Close movie from 2019, this battle has a contingent of Australian forces (with some Kiwi artillery units as well!) for the Side A player to accomplish their mission.

Here’s how the Scenario Information portrays the situation. It is quite detailed, as these often are. Once you fire up the scenario, you are also presented with the side specific Scenario Briefing, with vital information for the battle itself. It often pays out to study that closely, too. While the Scenario Description lays out the historical details, it is the Briefing which can dictate the winner and the loser for each scenario included.

Campaign Series Vietnam 1966 A Very Close Thing Long Tan

Campaign Series Vietnam 1966 A Very Close Thing Scenario Info

A Very Close Thing battle starts with the two Australian companies out there with their recon in force task, with a strong artillery park backing them up in the Nui Tai base. You’ll become quite familiar with the concept of Fire Bases with the VIetnam War part of the game, many of them of course not half this strong as this base here.

See the Kiwi Artillery Battery there, too?

Campaign Series Vietnam 1966 A Very Close Thing Long Tan

Campaign Series Vietnam 1966 Nui Dat ATF Base

“A Very Close Thing” is about to hit the two Aussie companies at their face. So far it looks quite tranquite there though. And why not, with the concealment benefits the NVA units have.

Campaign Series Vietnam 1966 A Very Close Thing Long Tan

Campaign Series Vietnam 1966 A Very Close Thing Danger Ahead!

Similar to Operation STARLITE; A Very Close Thing was also the topic of one of the Twitch sessions Jason Petho did. There’s no recording however due to a technical glitch with Twitch. We strongly deny this has anything to do with the Computer-controlled NVA side having had quite a show of force in this play-through however!

Do give this scenario a try, too. A action-paced little scenario with a particularly clever AI opponent.

And with this, we will move to the final year of the battles covered in Campaign Series: Vietnam 1948-1967:

1967: The Khe Sanh Hill Fights 4-scenario set

More known perhaps from the hard battles fought in 1968, this four-scenario set is a very fine prelude to that for you Khe Sanh fans out there. Here they are:

  • And So It Begins – 24 April, 1967,
  • Special K – 24 April, 1967,
  • A New Plan – 28 April, 1967, and
  • King of the Hill – 3 May, 1967.

 

Campaign Series Vietnam 1967 And So It Begins - Khe Sanh

Campaign Series Vietnam 1967 And So It Begins – Khe Sanh 4-Scenario Set

Again the game kicks off with quite a detailed Scenario Description. This is only the historical background, though, do remember to read your side specific Scenario Briefing for all those hints and tips as how to come out victorious from the scenario.

Campaign Series Vietnam 1967 And So It Begins - Khe Sanh

Campaign Series Vietnam 1967 And So It Begins – Khe Sanh Scenario Description

The Khe Sanh battles kick off with a rather large map, too. It is a big jungle out there, full of terror.

Campaign Series Vietnam 1967 And So It Begins - Khe Sanh

Campaign Series Vietnam 1967 And So It Begins – Khe Sanh master map

There’s a Fire Base here too, particularly versed for air lift operations with all the Helicopter pads there. Sometimes the units there are Fixed in place so as not to have an unhistorical chance to clear out the firebase of everything and to airlift them to where the action is. Sometimes, though, some formations are Fixed for a certain duration, or waiting for a certain Event to take place, and then Released. Then, fully available to assist you where you see fit – and where you can transport them to.

Campaign Series Vietnam 1967 And So It Begins - Khe Sanh

Campaign Series Vietnam 1967 And So It Begins – Khe Sanh fire base

Despite of the size of the map, or the fact there’s four scenarios covering the hill fights, this one starts with some of the Marines already fully engaged with the enemy.

Note the Engineer you have there. Spot any Tunnel systems, better to destroy them, to prevent the NVA from infiltrating back to an area you just cleared. If you have Tunnel Rats with you, it often pays out to have them scout out the tunnels before thouth, there’s often NVA assets down there, supplies, what not.

Here’s a look at the map with Terrain Concealment Factors toggled ON. No NVA spotted anywhere? They are there, trust us.

Campaign Series Vietnam 1967 And So It Begins - Khe Sanh

Campaign Series Vietnam 1967 And So It Begins – Khe Sanh

 

Campaign Series: Vietnam 1948-1967 releases on January 20th, 2022

And with that, we conclude our pre-release blog series on scenario content available once the game releases.

Again, a reminder to download the game manual for a complete scenario listing in 9.0 Scenario Listing.

Not a long before the game finally releases. See you at the various gaming fora and social media channels! 

Campaign Series: Vietnam live-play recordings now available

With two CSLegion Twitch live-play sessions now completed we have the first recording available at our Youtube channel:

Campaign Series Vietnam Live Play Video

Click above to play the video.

Thank you for everyone who joined in! There will be more content over the coming Wednesdays and Sundays by Jason Petho.

Please subscribe to stay up to date with latest schedule and content:

 

 

 

Campaign Series Event Engine in Vietnam 1.0: Scenario Design

Welcome to our final issue of articles discussing CSEE prior to our release of CS: Vietnam 1948-1967.

In part one, we discussed events in general. In part two, we then continued on how to access Adaptive AI parameter database dynamically, in the middle of a scenario.

Today, it is time to talk about scenario design with CSEE.

Warning: playing the war in Vietnam against what often is quite an asymmetrical enemy will be different. Managing to occupy a nice little rice paddy with an objective flag on top of it might not actually accomplish much. Instead, one needs to stay alert to events taking place during game play, often thinking of objectives beyond what mission briefings told you.

I will use a Vietnamese Civil War scenario covering Operation Chopper to walk you through some of the tools available for scenario design with Vietnam 1.0. NOTE: To be made available in a future Middle East 3.0 UPDATE as well.

 

Operation Chopper, 12 January 1962

Here’s the scenario briefing, much the same as they ever were. Historical. To the point. Worth a read, absolutely.

Campaign Series Vietnam Vietnamese Civil War

So, ARVN vs Viet Cong from the era of Vietnamese Civil War, before the US involvement, right?

Wrong:

Operation Chopper ready to commence!

Just look at that: US military advisors, transport helicopters, air recon assets such as Birddog, light recon helicopters too!

And it is 1962, so how come the US public does not know about this!

WIth scenario setting as such, let us look at our Mission Briefing first. Mission Briefings are automatically shown on Turn 1 for both sides, each with their specific briefing. They can also be accessed later via the game menu. Typically, you end up studying them several times when playing a scenario for the first time.

Here is the ARVN player briefing for Operation Chopper:

Battle of Houng Viet Con

SITUATION: ARVN forces are to root out any Viet Cong west of Saigon. This is the first time that American helicopters will be assigned for such an operation!

Friendly Forces: The 3rd and 5th Parachute Battalions are available for this mission.

Enemy Forces: A VC unit of unknown size is likely defending the area.

MISSION: Your Primary Mission is to airmobile assault into the banana groves west of Saigon. Search and destroy any Viet Cong in the vicinity.

Your Secondary Mission is to seize any supplies or headquarters discovered there.

EXECUTION: Use the American helicopters to perform airmobile assaults in the area of operations. Once the landing zones are secured, search the entire area.

NOTE: It is essential to keep the losses of American helicopters to a minimum, as the press is watching!

POLITICAL: You lose Event Points for indirect firing or ordering airstrikes on inhabited hexes (village, city, suburb), whether or not occupied by the enemy.

ADMIN: The supply levels are high at the beginning of the scenario, but expect them to taper off as the operation proceeds.

COMMAND AND CONTROL: Weather during the day will be mostly clear with visibility lightly varying as the operation unfolds.

In CS: Vietnam it is vital you consider your brief in detail.

What was said? What was perhaps not said? Were there hints and tips that perhaps looked a bit out of place, or stood out?

Let us now look at how CSEE brings a whole new ballgame to scenario designers toolbox.

 

Victory Conditions

Operation Chopper has its Victory Conditions set as:

  • < -300 points as Major Loss,
  • < 0 points as Minor Loss,
  • < 300 points as Draw,
  • < 600 points as Minor Win, and
  • 600+ points as Major Victory.

There must be some juicy objectives out there, then;

Campaign Series Vietnam Vietnamese Civil War

One victory point Objectives – What gives?

Let us look at our briefing again, especially:

MISSION: Your Primary Mission is to airmobile assault into the banana groves west of Saigon. Search and destroy any Viet Cong in the vicinity.

Your Secondary Mission is to seize any supplies or headquarters discovered there.

This being CS: Vietnam, perhaps do not worry about capturing a single Objective, maybe it is about capturing them all, securing the area, and being rewarded a hefty Event Points award for that?

So it is.

Let us look at CSEE Lua code that deals with Objectives:

function on_objective_capture (hc, value, values, side) — DO NOT REMOVE

if (hc == OBJECTIVES[3]) and (side == SIDE_A) and not OBJECTIVES_3_SIDE_A_CAPTURED then
    inc_event_points(SIDE_A, 25)
    note(“Notice”, “For capturing OBJECTIVES[3], the ARVN gain 25 EPs.”)
    OBJECTIVES_3_SIDE_A_CAPTURED = true
end

Indeed some of those objectives, third one on objectives list in this case, are worth more than the others. Just that you don’t know which ones. And there’s more…

if owned(NW_ZONE, ARVN_SIDE) and not NW_ZONE_SIDE_A_OWNED then — one time only EP award
    inc_event_points(ARVN_SIDE, 100)
    note(“Notice”, “For capturing and holding the VC NW objectives zone, the ARVN side gains 100 EPs.”, ARVN_SIDE, ARVN_SIDE)
    NW_ZONE_SIDE_A_OWNED = true
end

The map here is divided into areas, and once you are able to secure all the objectives there, there’s an extra reward! Be certain that there are similar bonuses for Viet Cong side for preventing you to do that, though…

Lesson learnt: Objectives are often not what they first appear in CS: Vietnam

 

Negative points are a new normal, too

This would not be Vietnam if things were this rosy, right. Any hints for disasters looming out there? Let us look at the Mission Briefing again.

How about this line here:

EXECUTION: Use the American helicopters to perform airmobile assaults in the area of operations. Once the landing zones are secured, search the entire area.

NOTE: It is essential to keep the losses of American helicopters to a minimum, as the press is watching!

Essential to not have any US casualties here? Hints and tips don’t often come as clear as day in CS: Vietnam.

Looking at CH-21 Shawnee stats with Unit Handbook, it is clear these are important assets. A squadron of four CH-21s, each worth 10 points, for a total of 40 points! Now that would be a painful loss indeed.

It does not stop there though, in this scenario, nor in many others, in different ways. In this particular scenario US losses are simply not allowed. It is 1962. remember.

Let us look at CSEE Lua code when unit takes a hit:

function on_unit_reduce (hc, trackid, pid, name, side, nation, oid, orgname, points, strength, HQ, Leader, loss, combat) — DO NOT REMOVE

    if member(trackid, _57TH_UTILITY_TRANSPORTATION_COY_61_CH21_75) then
        inc_event_points(SIDE_B, 50*loss)
        note(“Notice”, “For inflicting casualties on the US 57th Utility Transportation Coy, the VC gain ” .. 50*loss .. ” EPs.”)
    end

end

For each individual transport lost, in addition to 10 point loss per unit data, there’s an additional 50 Event Points given to Viet Cong side. Remember those landing zones? You better hope, or ensure even, they are secure. One ambush, wiping out one squadron, that is 4 * 10 unit points and 4 * 50 event points lost. -240 points lost at one Landing zone disaster. And the units being transported are lost too, they add up too.

Oh, there was this too (and other little things as well, I don’t want to completely spoil this neat little scenario!):

POLITICAL: You lose Event Points for indirect firing or ordering airstrikes on inhabited hexes (village, city, suburb), whether or not occupied by the enemy.

Compare to this code snippet in scenario CSEE Lua file:

function on_hex_attack (hc, side, nation, attype) — DO NOT REMOVE

— lose EPs for indirect fire or airstrike vs. inhabited hex (village, city, suburb), whether or not occupied by the enemy
— side is the firing side
if — is_building_hex(hc) or is_habitat_hex(hc) then
    if not_occupied(hc, other_side(side)) then
        if attype == INDIRECTFIRE_COMBAT then
            inc_event_points(side, -2)
        elseif attype == AIRSTRIKE_COMBAT then
            inc_event_points(side, -5)
        end
    else — occupied
        if attype == INDIRECTFIRE_COMBAT then
            inc_event_points(side, -1)
        elseif attype == AIRSTRIKE_COMBAT then
            inc_event_points(side, -2)
        end
    end
end

end

Tut tut! And, loss of points, too! And, maybe, not every scenario will be this lenient towards you?

Sh*t will happen in CS: Vietnam. As it maybe should. This is Vietnam War, after all.

 

Replayability

MISSION: Your Primary Mission is to airmobile assault into the banana groves west of Saigon. Search and destroy any Viet Cong in the vicinity.

Your Secondary Mission is to seize any supplies or headquarters discovered there.

Holding ground will not be enough, I need to have boots on ground looking for Viet Cong assets as well. But once I have located them the scenario will become so much easier to play. CSEE to rescue.

I can quickly think of two ways having a Headquarters be as elusive as possible.

  • One is to have it move around. With CSEE, it is possible to keep track off spotted enemy units, to move towards them, or in this case: to try to avoid them.
  • Another option to handle this is to have a unit or a formation to appear randomly as you can control both the hex coordinate where the reinforcement is to arrive, and the turn it does arrive.

No two games of same scenario will be alike. Replayability.

As a scenario designer, don’t just think at tactical level though. An often repeated neat trick for replayability factor is to first have a few operation plans available for the AI side, then randomly pick one, per a die roll, upon start.

 

Conclusion

I hope we have managed to brief not only how to use CSEE in scenario design, but also how to approach CS: Vietnam game as well.

It will be quite a different experience to previous scenarios and situations within the Campaign Series. The enemy will often prove to be a cunning and devious opponent, and at times, one slip or mishap might lose a battle. Try, try again, as sometimes there just aren’t enough leeway to recover within the duration of scenario play per turns and objectives, event points, available.

How was my Operation Chopper, then? Quite a disaster at first go. I lost too many transports in particular, in just two incidents during the whole of 25 turns. I was not being careless either, just that sh*t happened, twice even. No way back for me.

But it was fun. Let me try it one more time… that will teach them!

Campaign Series Vietnam Vietnamese Civil War

Note the US casualties here – just unacceptable. Also note the orange circle: this scenario will be decided upon events that take place during the battle. Kill ratio and the points earned there, nor the Objective points held won’t decide the winner here.

So will it be in many of the CS: Vietnam scenarios. We hope you will find them refreshing in as how many of the battles were decided in other games from the series. If you find an interesting scenario “unwinnable”, maybe: try, try again.

Thank you for reading this far. Until next time!

 

 

 

The Vietnamese Civil War in Vietnam 1.0

Welcome to second part of articles covering the scenario content in Campaign Series: Vietnam 1948-1967, scheduled for release in January 20th, 2022.

In our first article covering the scenario content in CS: Vietnam in its initial release. we talked about the French Indochina War. In this article, we move forward to talk about the civil war period prior to the U.S. involvement, covered in 25 historical scenarios. With the usual disclaimer we’re still with a late BETA with any last-minute changes possible, here goes!

Battle of Saigon, 1955

To kick of the Civil War scenario introductions, we start in Spring 1955, set up with for an Head-to-head clash for the control of the metropolis. It can also be played as a Side B battle, having you commanding elements of Binh Xuyen’s private militia against the ARVN forces trying to pacify the area.

Campaign Series Vietnam Vietnamese Civil War

Assimilation – The Battle of Saigon is also unique in that the battle is not fought on jungles, but on the vast metropolis that the Saigon is, depicted in this wonderful map by Jason Petho:

Campaign Series Vietnam Vietnamese Civil War

The fight between the Binh Xuen and Vietnamese National Army is continued in a follow-up scenario, Forest of Assassins – Battle of Rung Sat, available for either H2H play, or waging a fight against the computer player, having you with the ARVN forces desperate to flush out the remnants of Binh Xuen militia from the vast mangrove forests around the Saigon River.

Viet Cong Arrives!

With Binh Xuen and his private militia dealt with, there’s no rest for the weary among the ARVN forces, for the civil war scenarios move to battles having Viet Cong stretch its muscles. The first such battle takes place a few years later, in 1958, with The Plantation Heist – Battle of Ben Cat having the Viet Cong attacking a string of military posts around and at the town of Ben Cat. A neat Complexity 2 scenario after the large battles in the first two scenarios:

Campaign Series Vietnam Vietnamese Civil War

Skirmishing against VC continues with the next scenario taking place in 1959, Fight for the Hills – Battle of Nui Go Giap, before the scenarios move to 1960 and the four battles covering that year: battles of Mo Cay, Tranp Sup, Bec Trang and Vinh An. Playing against the computer-controlled Viet Cong will see you witnessing them perfecting their art of asymmetric warfare the conflict will become quite familiar with.

Raiding Season in Highlands

Battle of Kontum is the sole scenario covering the year 1961, but what a moody battle it is, having your ARVN base at Kontum facing themselves with a very resurgent Viet Cong  presence. It is becoming quite clear at this stage which sides is keeping the initiative at their well covered hand.

Campaign Series Vietnam Vietnamese Civil War

Operation Chopper – our first air mobile operation!

One year later, and we have our first truly air mobile scenario in Vietnam! Operation Chopper sees elements of the ARVN para battalions assaulting a non-suspecting Viet Cong force, gaining a surprise, but giving the VC a valuable lesson against these types of tactics as well. Operation Chopper also saw the first US casualties in Vietnam.

Campaign Series Vietnam Vietnamese Civil War

1962 includes another battle too, Rat in a Cage – Battle of Xang Bridge, having elements of Civil Guard and Self Defence Forces trying to eliminate a trapped VC battalion in the island of Tan.

Best laid plans…

1963 sees us with two scenarios as well, the battle of Ap Bac, and the first set back for the Civilian Irregular Defense Group program with the fall of the Hiep Hoa camp – unless you can prevent it, of course! Here’s a screenshot depicting the fortified village in its 3D night graphics glory:

Campaign Series Vietnam Vietnamese Civil War

From bad to worse – 1964

1964 is a busy year in the game, with seven Vietnamese Civil War era battles covered, including two scenario sets, first a two-scenario set for the battle of Kien Long, and a three-scenario set for the battle of Binh Gia during the last days of the year.

Here’s a screenshot from Binh Gia 3 – The Sacrifice, this time using the 2D boardgame view for a change. Scenario starts with the village of Xa Binh Gia in friendly hands, but the Viet Cong seems to not be that far off either. Wait a minute, is that a U.S. presence we are seeing here?

Campaign Series Vietnam Vietnamese Civil War

Battles of Thanh Phu Island, Mo Cay, and Ben Tre are being covered as well.

From Last stand to First Battle – 1965

Another year, with no resolution to hostilities in sight. 1965 is indeed a very busy year in CS: Vietnam 1948 -1967, with a whopping 14 scenarios covering this watershed moment in Vietnam War history.

We are only introducing the first four of them, though:

Campaign Series Vietnam Vietnamese Civil War

…as the fifth one spells the beginning of the US involvement in the war itself!

Next Article: The Vietnam War 1965-1967

So here we are, with Operation STARLITE as a teaser as the last row in this Scenario Selection Dialog screenshot…

Until then!