Vietnam '65 - Out Now


#1

First of all, don't be fooled by the appearance and the price. While hardly the stuff to make grogs drool, it's not the casual tablet game it appears to be on the surface. More beer-n-pretzels, but it can be quite challenging.

Every game is a random map made up of jungle, rivers, and 10 Vietnamese villages. US HQ is always on the Eastern border, the NVA starts from the West (Cambodia), and VC are out in the jungle on the Ho Chi Minh Trail somewhere.

Each village has a 'Hearts & Minds" value, and your score is the average value of the 10 villages. The goal of the game is to complete 45 turns with a H&M score above 50, as well as positive "political points" (think morale). PP's are the currency of the game and are spent every time you bring in reinforcements, repair equipment, heal injured units, lose battles, etc. You earn them by winning engagements. In an odd design decision, moving units also costs PP's.

Every time a VC unit enters a village, the H&M value is reduced. When you win an engagement, the value in the nearest village is increased. Should the H&M value of a village drop below 40, it is considered to be sympathetic to the NVA, and an NVA attack is launched from the West side of the map.

Units are made up of regular infantry, ARVN, Green Berets, artillery, mechanized units, and helicopters. In another odd design decision, Green Berets are among the worst combat units, used mostly for scouting and for training ARVN.

While combat plays an important part, the game is mostly about supplies, FOW, and keeping the H&M values of the villages as high as you can get them. The first time a Chinook ferrying much-needed supplies is shot down over the jungle you definitely feel the pain.

Highly recommended, especially with the price point of $10. My only complaint is that there are no non-military units like medical or relief personnel that could increase a village's H&M score, but I think that's beyond the scope of the game.

Available on Steam or directly from Matrix/Slitherine


#2

What’s the uniform medal screen and “rising through the ranks” about?


#3

Also out on iOS today, according to Pocket Tactics.


#4

Definitely interested in this game, been hearing about it for awhile ($9 on Steam at the moment).

— Alan


#5

I picked it up for my iPad. It seems to have fairly simple mechanics, a decent interface, and to offer some interesting challenges. I’ve only played about half of one full game I guess, mostly to try to figure out how things interact. It seems that figuring out where to put your firebase, coordinating the flow of supplies, and making sure you have enough troops out there to scout out the crafty VC will be the bulk of the gameplay.

The voices in the game though are dreadful, which is so far my biggest gripe.


#6

You get awarded medals for accomplishing certain milestones - essentially achievements. Every time you beat the game you get “promotion points” which eventually leads to a promotion. The higher your rank, the more difficult the game and the more frequently you get to call in air strikes. It makes for a sort of campaign.


#7

Here’s a pretty good overview of how the game plays out


#8

We’ll I’ve put in about twelve hours now. All on veteran, so of course I lost quite a bit. It does look fairly primitive, by modern triple A standards so that’s not much of a critique, and it’s quite a a clever little game. Managing your little sector of the war is very aggravating but the payoff is that when you do it right it’s very rewarding. Balancing your transport assets, keeping your patrols in supply, using spec forces for recon and training it all fits together far better than you’d initially think. It’s been a really great payoff for the price. Kudos to the designers.

I haven’t tried the iPad version, I have a iPad two so performance isn’t great with the current releases. Anyone have anything to say about how iOS is treating this?

Tom M


#9

I won my first “real” game on Normal difficulty with a H&M score of 64, giving me a decisive victory. This despite a couple of rookie errors like sending engineers out unprotected (I lost 2 by mid-game and never replaced them). I will be playing my next on Veteran to see if it gives me more of a challenge.


#10

I haven’t tried the iPad version, I have a iPad two so performance isn’t great with the current releases. Anyone have anything to say about how iOS is treating this?

Pretty well, on an iPad Mini Retina. There are a few interface quibbles which are mostly inevitable without a right mouse button, but nothing dealbreaking.


#11

I was in the beta test and really enjoyed it.


#12

I’m surprised there aren’t more comments about Tom and Bruce’s review of this game.


#13

I bought it because of the review, and it’s very impressive. Though quite a few aspects are still lost on me and I need more time with it.


#14

Wow, neat review; and five stars, to boot. I’m gonna have to get this.


#15

It’s actually very well documented if you just read the manual. Think of it as a boardgame where if you read the rules closely enough to learn it, you’ll be good to go!

-Tom

#16

What is this “manual” you speak of? :)

Thanks, I’ll do that before I get properly stuck in and develop bad habits!


#17

There’s a major patch on the way.

We are currently working frantically to release an update to V65, items we are going to include are the following:

  1. Fog of war , map tiles out of detection ranges will be ‘greyed out’
  2. Weather , rain will effect combat and Airstrike availability , three day weather forecast on Intel map
  3. Villages will have names
  4. Player can name US bases and units
  5. Combat modifiers to include weather, supply status, proximity to friendly units
  6. Custom game option , player can set variables for custom game incl. victory conditions, enemy aggression etc
  7. Hex overlays on both maps
  8. UI improvements - upgrade on deselect function, Action buttons for selected unit to move to bottom of screen as opposed to being clustered around the unit, helps with tile selection and panning

Update is 2 to 3 weeks away, will update on timing as and when.

Thanks for all the support.


#18

I think I’ll pick this one up, like to support developers doing something a little different like this.


#19

Oh that looks lovely. I think I’ll wait until that hits before playing, and read the manual in the meantime.


#20

I got this after listening to the podcast…What a nice little gem. Very accessible, but surprisingly deep. It reminds me of the Victory Games board game Vietnam 1965-1975, which is one of my favorite games that sadly only played once against a real opponent.

My only complaint is that terrain either has no effect on combat, or the effect is totally obscured.