Thursday, 10 August 2017

Ground Zero.....

street fighting in Vietnam!

On my first post about GZ Duc commented that it could be used for Hue or even a 1985 cold war gone hot battle in Germany. Well, the funny thing is that I chanced upon this article on the War is Boring site about the new book on Hue by Mark "Black Hawk Down" Bowden. The book will be released in the UK in a few weeks and looks like it will be really interesting.

What caught my eye is the video above of a CBS news report from the battlefield. This shows some fascinating things:

  • As a nine year old I was glued to the evening news abut Vietnam so this looks really familiar. This sort of coverage though is not something you expect nowadays and probably reflects some significant changes in news reporting and societal norms. I don't see Kate Adie doing anything like the reporter in this news item.
  • The US Marines had to relearn street fighting from scratch, as every generation of soldiers does. What this report shows is a classic hesitation in troops moving from a covered position under fire to make an assault. You see Marines making the "is it worth it" calculation and then deciding that it isn't with some unfortunate results.
My design objective with GZ is to make a simple game that feels like the real world, but without the bullets. This seems a bit tricky but I'm hoping I'm almost there. More on this soon. In the meantime, I'm dipping back into Leo Murray's Brains and Bullets which is very much on the money in terms of the reality of combat.


Norm said...

Interesting video clip.

Interesting to see the significance at one point of the 'Platoon Leader' - looks like John Hill had it right all those years ago!

Also felt at several points asking myself the question ..... would my rules (of choice) do that?

One thing that I do think matters on news reporting, with the Tokyo reference in the clip, it would appear that the footage would take a while, perhaps several days to reach a public audience, so there is some reduction in the chance that the footage might give useful intelligence to the enemy .... where-as today, media is instant - does that matter? I don't know.

Duc de Gobin said...

Yes fascinating clip - I probably had that Cronkite excerpt in my head when Hue sprung to mind. Now that you mention Leo Murray's book (I think I got the reference for it on your blog last year), it really explains a lot about the nature of your thinking and the rules - and the warrior/soldier psychology in battle. I seem to remember the 'freeze and fuss' activity ringing very true with me. When rules emulate stuff like that - the conventional wisdom of player as 'senior officer with God's eye view' seems to go out the window, and the player becomes more aware of the battlefield situation while being able to influence discrete parts only. Rather than general, we become manager/influencer - managing resources (and herding cats) in order to win the scenario. Possibly a better analogy than the old-school tabletop general description.

Scenario wise, I'm also thinking Arnhem, Saving Private Ryan, Carentan, Berlin 85, Khafji 91 - a lot of material you could use for scenarios and playtesting here.

And yes, I can;t see Kate doing a report like that for Radio 4. The journalist was far too positive for a start.

Old Trousers said...

Hi Norm, Yes, John Hill had it right in my opinion. I must admit I hadn't given any thought to news reporting and its intelligence value. Something to ponder, perhaps in a campaign game?.

Hi Duc, I don't think I have seen a positive journalist in decades! I have just posted a training session on GZ. I planned it using standard combat tools and it felt like real life (or at least the way it is on TV). Making a plan work when people are shooting at you must be incredibly difficult.