Wargame of the Year 2015 Runner-Up: Vietnam '65

By Alex Connolly 22 Dec 2015 0
That's either a parachute or a really strange spot to put a carousel. That's either a parachute or a really strange spot to put a carousel.

Pocket Tactics is a member of the Wargamer Limited Group, which is owned by Slitherine Software.

As much as I like wargames, it’s a style of game that rarely excites beyond the mechanics and starch-ridden abstraction of the same old fights. The rulebooks might change, but the chits taste the same. How refreshing it was to find something like Vietnam ’65 from Slitherine.

A game where political willpower ebbed and flowed to fuel a fight against liquid implacability, Vietnam ’65 sought to capture that infamous asymmetry and was largely successful. The villages, points of contest but never of control, were key to political temerity, the chopper squadrons the lifeblood of the American war effort up the Ia Drang. It modeled a mobile game of playing cat to the Viet Cong mouse, one that models a different, desperate kind of confrontation. You will never have a massive front. You will never truly feel a clean victory. But goddamn, is it exactly what the bac-si ordered.

In a genre that is overwhelming about how to fight the enemy, Vietnam ’65 is courageous in illustrating why and for how long. Triumphant.

To see all of the games recognized in the Pocket Tactics Best of 2015 Awards, visit the 2015 Awards Index page.
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