[EDITOR]Dave over at BGG has allowed me to share this cool AAR on a game that needs to be on The Big Board!! I am keen to get this one on the table ASAP. But until then lets enjoy Dave’s experience!
I’ve played several standard scenarios of Next War Korea, but it was clear from reading the rulebook that the meat of the game is contained within the pages of the Advanced Rules. I will try to talk about the various aspects of the games rules as I progress through the turn reports.
In the Advanced Game, the air points become differentiated squadrons of fighters, bombers, and various other aircraft rated for weather capabilities, stealth, range, air-to-air, close air support, and strike capabilities. The Advanced Game adds special operations forces, supply rules, cruise missiles, HQ Strike capabilities, electronic detection, and another page of rules sequence phases.
So I sat down with my trustee rule sequence, started up my Vassal module, and I was off. The first turn took a while because I had to constantly refer back and forth between the rules and charts. The scenario I chose, Tactical Surprise, uses a lot of the air and naval rules and I wasn’t as familiar with them so it took me some time to run through the turn process.
I will say that the Advanced Sequence of Play chart does a great job of walking players through the turn sequence. I also will admit that I probably made a few errors during my first turn and I won’t even begin to defend my tactics and strategy since I had no idea what impact my decisions were going to make on the scenario.
Tactical Surprise is the whole war. It’s one of three advanced scenarios that recreate the entire modern Korean War. Each scenario starts with varying degrees of advanced warning and preparation from complete surprise attack to obvious prepared invasion. Tactical Surprise falls in between the two.
Both sides can move their ground forces half a move to give them some pre-invasion maneuver room.
Tactical Surprise allows the North Korean player (DPRK) to launch 10 Scud attacks before the game begins and the DPRK also gets a double round of Special Forces (SOF) attacks on the first turn of the game. I focussed my attacks on the ports and airbases of South Korea (ROK). Destroying airbases can destroy enemy airpower and reduce its availability. Destroying ports makes them unavailable for arriving heavy reinforcements.
Scuds are pretty good at destroying targets. The SOF troops can perform a variety of missions like Raids, Targeting, Interdiction, Recon, etc. There is a chance your SOF guys won’t make it back alive.
The DPRK attacks were effective and left the ROK with around 6-7 destroyed airbases and ports. I didn’t target Busan which was definitely a mistake, but I didn’t realize how good Busan was until I read the paragraph about it in the rules during my after-turn cocktail. Apparently, if US troops can’t arrive there, they are delayed because they can’t use its equipment stockpiles.
During the Air Phase, the brave but crappy DPRK Air Force took to the air to contest the skies above ROK. Even though they had been damaged by the Scud and SOF attacks, the USROK air forces stil managed to massacre the under-equipped DPRK pilots. The DPRK maintained Air Advantage only because they had so many old fighter jets left in the air after air combat.
The USROK launched their own SOF missions to try and disrupt/interdict some of the DPRK’s movement toward the DMZ. The DPRK air force attempted a few air strikes into ROK, but the US fighter jets pounced on them and only a few made it through to bomb a ROK supply depot.
The general invasion began.
The DPRK strategy was to break through in the center of the DMZ with the main effort, hook west and south of Seoul, cut Seoul off from the rest of the peninsula, and take the city from the south. Inchon and airbases would be destroyed to prevent reinforcements from saving the city. Along the eastern shore, a secondary effort would be made to penetrate the DMZ and overwhelm the eastern defenders.
Since the DPRK was the Initiative side, they were able to make extra moves and combat during the turn. Initiative turn reflect the added momentum of success. As long as a side continues to score lots of VP’s, it can maintain the initiative.
The DPRK enjoyed a lot of success in the center and several ROK corps were obliterated in the fury of the initial assault. DPRK mechanized corps poured through the gap in the ROK lines to exploit the success. North of Seoul, heavy US close air support completely stalled the DPRK attack. In the East, the DPRK overwhelmed the ROK defenders and managed good progress.
Here is the DMZ at the end of the first turn: GT1