Hell on a Very Small Map


Citadel: Dien Bien Phu

“It isn’t often that two games on the same subject get released in the same month. Unless that subject is zombies, in which case there were two games released each day last week. But my mailbox presented me with MMP’s Storm Over Dien Bien Phu as well as Legion Wargames’ Dien Bien Phu: The Final Gamble in the same month last fall. If you went to the guy next door and asked him to tell you what Dien Bien Phu was or you’d shoot him, you’d already be in jail. And for good reason, too. I mean, who does that? In my lifetime I’ve witnessed the passing of many historical episodes into the relevance attic that marks the transition of collective consciousness to something no longer shared by large part of society. … Later came Algeria and Dien Bien Phu. I’m not sure Dien Bien Phu was ever in the American collective consciousness, although I’d be happily corrected by any cultural historians that might take issue with my understanding of the trans-Atlantic relevance of the end of the French empire. It’s hard to remember the breadth of the collapse of colonialism except as a historical record, rather than the remarkable fact that within my own living memory, a nation like Portugal was messily divesting itself of its claims to a significant portion of Africa. … None of that has anything to do with Dien Bien Phu games, except that it explains why the events on the board had the repercussions they did. Which is important, because the absence of this context is what I think deprives many good games of the satisfaction of closure. At least games about a single battle. … One way would have been to spend three thousand words and twenty screenshots to do it. But I thought that in these days of video and streaming, that seemed kind of archaic, and who knows how many people would have gotten past word five hundred. So I decided to try the video route as an experiment. Once I started, I realized I could include more than just those two games, since there really aren’t that many Dien Bien Phu games in general. … The five videos in this series will be: Citadel – Frank Chadwick/GDW (1977); La vallee de la mort – Paul Rohrbaugh/Against the Odds (2006); Storm Over Dien Bien Phu – Nick Richardson/MMP (2014); Dien Bien Phu: The Final Gamble – Kim Kanger/Legion Wargames (2014); Dien Bien Phu scenario of Operational Art of War – Norm Koger/TalonSoft (1998); Dien Bien Phu – John Tiller/HPS (2009) …”
Wargame_[space] (Video)
The Vietnam War (Second Indochina War): A History through Games
W – Board wargame
W – Frank Chadwick

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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