No Trumpets No Drums AAR/1

Original, release was from 3W [ BGG WIKI: 3W (World Wide Wargames) was started in the UK by Keith Poulter. After a few years he moved production to the USA. The magazine switched from bi-monthly to monthly publication starting in 1984. 3W bought Strategy & Tactics magazine after having published 62 issues of The Wargamer, and decided that there wasn’t enough of a market to support both publications. So they stopped including games in the Wargamer. As a consequence they retroactively referred to issues 1-62 as The Wargamer Volume 1, though this was never included in the tutelage of those magazines. And the subsequent (gameless) issues of the Wargamer were then referred to as “Volume 2”, and were numbered from 1 again.]

One Small Step has done a reprint, focusing on presentation, and perhaps some minor enhancements to the rules based upon a quick survey of both copies.

The OSS blurb from their site:

No Trumpets, No Drums is a game of the war in Vietnam. Two players or teams representing the Communist states and guerrilla armies of Southeast Asia and the pro-Western and neutral states and forces of that region and their American allies combat each other in a political and military duel for control over Indochina.

The players maneuver divisions, brigades, regiments and guerrilla bands and their supporting air, naval and artillery units in conventional and insurgent war situations. Combat is often continuous and always bloody, but the core of the game is not merely military success but the political goals that lie beyond such success.

Both players make military and political decisions to shape their war strategies, competing against each other for martial dominance of the countryside and for the hearts and minds of the population. Careful planning and astute generalship can often be the keys to victory, but even at the moment of triumph the unexpected string of ambushes, a coup in a neutral state or an unfavorable election can reverse the tide.

Although the game can last as long as 63 bimonthly turns, in practice the campaign is usually decided between the 1968 and 1972 V.S. elections (turns 23 and 47). The pressure is heaviest on the Allied player as he must build up a strong political base so as not to be undercut by V.S. and international politics, but the Communist player cannot afford to sit back and wait for the Americans to go home. If he does, the Communist player may find the pressure reversed as the Allies rocket to victory in the sudden- victory rules.

No Trumpets, No Drums has 6 scenarios and a campaign game. The Tet Offensive and Year of the Rat scenarios are purely military scenarios that introduce players to the combat and movement systems. These and the 1975 scenario are intended as introductions to play, and should only take an hour or two to play. The remaining scenarios are longer. The campaign game offers players the chance to refight the Vietnam War, including the decision whether or not to commit large American ground forces to Southeast Asia, or to “Vietnamize” the conflict.

Mounted 34×22 inch map board
280 die-cut mounted counters
Scenario Book
Charts & Tables
Game Box


Turn #1, 1965

In the opening turn the VC and NVA forces move to rapidly take a handful of Villages to bump the Political track, taking 12 PP off the US opening count of 200. The Laos contact results in a horrible 2 unit loss, bumping the PP track 202.

The losses in Laos are troubling. The rest of the village and city captures are designed to peck at the PP total for easy points and to constrict travel/movement by the enemy. No effort was expended on Hearts & minds in Turn 1.

In the North NVA forces are moving South thru Western Laos, and into I Corps area of ops.

What our 1 combat did reveal is that the averaging of ‘morale pts’ is a powerful leveller of strength. The NVA& VC need multipliers of x2 or x3 more units than the Allied forces in order to secure DRMS. Terrain is going to be key here also. US air is rather ineffective so far.

In the III & IV Corps area several coastal cities were taken and the bases established should all for future expansion in the Region.

Central Highlands was left untouched but coastal cities were captured.

Allies invest in Hearts and Minds to help drive Pol Points later.

In the South

In this image two attacks are resolved.

Phan Thiet USMC vc VC 5+1d6=7 vs 4 +1d6=8 the 3/3 USMC is wiped out. 6/3 retreats.

The roads in were dirt, and no more than a track in some places. The township was growing, given its port and easy access to a main road that linked Saigon to the Central South areas of Vietnam. Marines landed, and were supported by heavy strikes . The resistance was fleeting, with VC fighters engaging, and melting away quickly, only to reappear in the 3/3’s rear. The force was reduced in combat effectiveness quickly. So much so that they were rotated Stateside for refit. The commander of 6/3 wisely retreated from the area late April, to reassess how best to tackle the hard to pin down VC fighters.

The first lesson in asymmetrical warfare was just taught.

Xuan Loc is a base and is attacked using air also – however even with a good result from the strike the result is not high enough to garner a base destruction. With a net result of 9vs4, the Sth Vietnam force need 3x the defence to know the base out..

The US tries a major air attack on the Sappers and fails. By the way who lets art registers like this happen?

The Villagers of the hilly area near An Hoa accepted the VC who took up positions in the hills and woods nearby. Providing food, accepting their lot quietly. The location was a prime trading route, and a destination for goods coming from Laos and headed down stream to transportation into Da Nang.

When the first helicopters arrived they looked on in awe, as the choppers rose over the hillside and descended into the valley . Soldiers poured into the area, and gunshots ran thru the village, and all around the woods. Then the helos fired rockets. Villager ran, children died. Just as quickly as they were there the VC were gone. Leaving a bloody stain of Allied and local blood. The helos flew home. The Vietnamese troops that remained left the village. Quietly the VC returned. Warily now the villagers accepted their presence. Eyes always checking the sky.

Both roll a 1d6 and add> US 4 vs VC 2; net 6 vs 7, a VC victory. 1 Allied step is lost as is a PP [Political Point]

In Soctrang the city is bounded by ocean to the South, the Bassac River delta to the East with flat featureless rice paddies and marshes to the North West.

The VC holding this location are dispersed throughout the small city. Few buildings over two stories exist, but there are many places to hide VC in the sprawling riverside community. In the seasons last attack the VC win again with a net 8 v 10, the Allies lose another unit and another PP.

So it is interesting as a wargamer 40+ years removed to see what these ‘towns’ and ‘cities’ really were like. Rural villages with the odd concrete structure, a temple and maybe a market place. Each location, I will try and find some shots for us.



As we wrap up the turn the Allies earn points for III and I Corps. The 12 VP deducted in The VC turn are now deducted again if still controlled by the VC from the PP track. The Allies end up with 179 at the end of turn 1 down from 200.

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