Lock 'n Load: Forgotten Heroes: Vietnam
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Squad level gaming has always occupied a soft spot in most grognard's hearts. Unlike the grand strategy genre, tactical gaming allows the players a chance to get down and dirty, and feel an emotional connection to the forces they command. While it may be hard to feel much for 3rd Division losing half a step when Captain Ringwald gets popped by a sniper it actually means something.
Tired of spending more time looking up rules than playing? Do you find it shocking that a game's turn scale may represent a couple of minutes of time and yet it takes you hours to play those couple of minutes? Are you ready for a tactical level system that combines realism and fun into one easy to comprehend package? Then you're ready for Mark H. Walker's Lock 'N Load!
The first game in the series, Forgotten Heroes: Vietnam, focuses on the conflict pre-1970, with scenarios taking place in the mid to late '60s. North Vietnamese regular army units, Viet Cong, ARVN, and United States Army and Marine units are all represented, along with weapon teams and vehicles.
A company known for computer wargames launches its first board game, set in an era usually shunned by designers: the Vietnam War. A game of squad-level infantry combat, it is modular in design. Many small squad-level actions can be played with the geomorphic map system, a mix of generic counters, and several scenarios.
Comparisons between this game and Avalon Hill's Squad Leader are inevitable. The scale is about the same, and you work with the same elements: leadership, morale, support weapons, terrain, and movement. However, Lock 'N Load is far less complex, and much easier to learn.
Actual Vietnam infantry combat frequently involved ambushes, and this game's design reproduces movement and detection of concealed units. There is a plethora of arms support for your troops: tracks, tanks, artillery, and helicopters. This is an excellent achievement for both Shrapnel Games and its promising designer.