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It’s Not Your Father’s Cold War. The Iranian seek an Undeniable Victory with Operation Fath ol Mobin, March 1982. Board Game Review | Armchair General Magazine

Ray Garbee

An Undeniable Victory: Operation
Fath ol Mobin. Publisher: High Flying Dice Video games.  Designer: Paul Rohrbaugh Worth: $45.00

Passed
inspection: Game offered insight into somewhat coated battle of the Iran-Iraq
Conflict. Focuses guidelines have been straightforward to digest and targeted on velocity of play and player
experience. Die-cut counters!

Failed
primary: A number of minor bits of errata you want to combine into the rulebook, however
the errata is included with the sport.

I was a youngster in 1982. I used to be additionally a wargamer with a
eager curiosity in ‘modern’ Cold Conflict gaming. However the real-world motion in these
days did not concentrate on the Inter-German Border. As an alternative, the newspapers had
sketchy reviews from the front strains of a distant land – the continued struggle
between Iraq and Iran. In 1980 Saddam Hussein launched an offensive into Iran
designed to weaken the Islamic Revolution, safe Iraq from infiltration and
permit Iraq to exchange Iran as the dominant energy within the Persian Gulf. As you
may know, that plan did not work out so nicely for Saddam.

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After making robust inroads into western Iran, the
offensive slowed down. Then it floor to a halt and devolved into what some
observers equated to being World Conflict One with trendy weapons. Each side dug
in, strung barbed wire, deployed their artillery and their aircraft, and
slugged it out.

For the subsequent yr, the only thing that seemed to vary
was the body rely which stored rising. In 1982, the Iranians gained the
initiative and launched Operation Fath ol Mobin (‘Undeniable Victory”) the
first of a number of operations that may push the Iraqi’s back in the direction of their very own
borders. For some time it gave the Iranians hope that they might win the struggle on
their phrases. On the time we shook our heads in marvel at studies of bloody
‘human wave’ assaults of young males fueled with the spiritual fervor of the
Iranian State. Did they study nothing from the historical past of the Nice Warfare in
Europe?

Now Excessive Flying Cube Video games seems at this conflict with their
new recreation “An Undeniable Victory: Operation Fath ol Mobin”.

This copy of the game arrived in the clear plastic bag
that’s normal for many of Excessive Flying Cube Video games products. Needless to say
this recreation does have a boxed choice (for an further value) if a field is
essential to you. Contained in the bag have been the next elements; A map board, a
rulebook, two playing cards with charts and tables, the counters and a short web page of
errata.

The map board depicts the world of southwest Iran occupied
by the Iraqi’s. Bounded within the west by the border of Iraq and within the southwest
by impassible swamps, the battle area facilities on a collection of rocky ridges
defined as ‘rough ground’ with a number of excessive hilltops commanding the panorama.
Scattered throughout this landscape are a number of cities which are related by a street
internet. Superimposed on the map is a hex grid with a boundary line delineating the
entrance line. A compass rose does a nice job orienting consumer to course on the
battlefield as the size of the map and lack of well-known landmarks can
disorient the player with no background in the interval or the region’s
geography. Ten minutes spent perusing Google Maps might be of immense assist in
putting the battlefield in context or the larger struggle and give a more nuanced
sense of the terrain.

The rulebook clocks in at a comparatively slim 10 pages that
features a table of contents on page 1 and a terrain effects/air help chart
on web page 10. The rules are laid out in the order you employ them in a recreation flip,
with the state of affairs arrange being listed behind the e-book.

There are two (2) half counter sheets included with the
recreation. Let’s begin with the excellent news – these are die-cut counters! No chopping
out cardboard counters is required! It’s a workman like job of die-cutting
just like what Avalon Hill or Victory Video games did again within the day. The knowledge was
nicely aligned with the counter and the die-cutting job various between strips
of counters literally falling out of the sheet to some counters stubbornly
wanting to remain hooked up to one another and needing a pointy knife. Again, it’s
the identical experience you’d get from most die minimize counters with many games.

The counters comply with HFDG standard format with mechanized
models having a silhouette of a car and non-mechanized models depicting the
commonplace symbols for infantry and artillery. Combat elements and motion values
are clearly depicted. Unit organization (battalion/regiment/division) are
listed across the highest of the counter. I broke out my fancy Oregon Laminations
counter cutter and rounded off all of the corners on the counters, but this can be a
matter of private selection, not necessity. (However it does make the counters look
so very cool and crisp!)

The two (2) participant assist playing cards embrace helpful knowledge akin to
terrain results, the chances desk and fight processes for air help, ground
fight and artillery missions.  An
further third of a page captures the recognized errata and supplies a breakdown
of the info listed on the counters.

In a number of methods, An Undeniable Victory supplies a
glimpse into what trendy struggle between NATO and the Warsaw Pact might have been.
The gamers listed here are virtually proxy stand ins for the East and West from the late
1970’s, with the Iranians standing in for the US/NATO and the Iraqi’s enjoying
the position of the Warsaw Pact. Each side are outfitted with hardware that would
have come from the front-line ranks of both the WARPAC or NATO inventories.

Once I unboxed the sport, I was anticipating a variation on HFDG’s
Land of Confusion collection with card-based activations and brigade degree models.
While the bottom and time scales of the video games are comparable, An Undeniable
Victory is a break from the card-based activation video games which are a staple of
the High Flying Cube Video games’ library.  The
use of activation markers is a welcome change that balances the random fog of
struggle with the power to direct divisions/brigades in action. The change to
activation markers additionally signifies that the two collection of video games have very totally different
operational tempo from each other. While Land of Confusion models might cowl a
lot of floor very quickly, that’s not the case in An Undeniable Victory. Once more,
reflecting on it’s World Conflict One really feel, the restricted mobility means it’s harder
to interrupt via and exploit into the enemy’s rear area.

The mechanics of the sport do a very good job capturing the
really feel for the period.  Entrenchments are
necessary, but are limited to what might have been constructed before the battle
started. The recreation imposes this restriction both because of the nature of the rocky
ground and the Iranian leadership’s philosophy of an offensive spirit in the direction of
going over the top. It’s harking back to the French Military early in World Struggle I.
Digging in was seen as sapping the moral spirit and detracting from the
irredentist marketing campaign to liberate Iran from the grasp of the Iraqi invaders.

Motion charges are high enough to allow for models to
cowl floor, however no a lot that they run wild. Between the bounds of the Formation
Activation Marker and limited aims, models will usually only move as soon as
in a turn. On this context, the roads develop into key avenues of advance, permitting
mechanized models to quickly advance or redeploy along these key corridors.

Floor fight is available in two flavors – hearth combat and
assault combat. Hearth fight is what it feels like, your models transfer adjacent to
the enemy and apply kinetic firepower to focus on models in an effort to scale back or
remove the enemy. In much less fancy terms, you shoot on the other man using your
tanks, infantry and artillery. Every unit has a combat worth representing its
firepower. A die is rolled that have to be equal to or less than the fight worth.
There’s a handful of modifiers that influence the die roll.  It’s totally attainable that there will probably be no
outcomes from hearth fight.

Assault fight is a direct storming of an enemy position.
You complete the fight elements of all the assaulting models and all of the defending
models and create an odds ratio. There are modifiers to the chances ratio based mostly on
provide standing, artillery help and for the Iranians, human wave assaults. At
the top of the day, you roll a die and apply the results. This mechanic is most
just like a basic wargame process. Outcomes can range from attacker
eliminated by way of defender eliminated, with other options resembling retreating
or disruption prospects. The higher your odds, the more possible you may be
victorious in your assault. Digging and entrenched defender out of tough ground
becomes a very costly proposition, which tracks properly with the historical
reviews from this campaign.

The air and artillery sub-systems excel at delivering an
expertise that captures the period. Air models have been current on each side and
function the basic matchup of Iranians with American planes and educated pilots
dealing with off towards Iraqi’s with Soviet planes and training. There’s even the
Iranian F-14 squadron armed with the AIM-54 air to air missiles. Within the air
struggle, gamers can allocate obtainable models to perform air superiority missions,
air help mission that instantly help floor combat or interdiction
missions. The Iraqi’s may also attempt SAM suppression in an effort to roll
back the Iranian HAWK batteries that offered a great air defense cover for the
offensive (shades of the Egyptian offensive in the ’73 warfare!).

Of those missions, interdiction is probably the most fascinating
and probably useful. The potential to sluggish the motion of the mechanized
troops on each side is going to be key to profitable the sport. The airstrikes
have a nice space of effect (the goal hex and the encompassing hexes). Overlook
combat, simply protecting the enemy pinned down by repeated airstrikes is usually a huge win!

In a departure from the mechanics of the Land of
Confusion collection, An Undeniable Victory fashions all the fashionable hearth missions of
trendy artillery – bombardment, Artillery help and Interdiction.  Bombardment is the basic mannequin of artillery
from the Nice Warfare. Your weapons are employed to shell enemy troops in an space
with the goal of disrupting the enemy in order that they lose fight effectiveness.

Artillery Help allocates your guns instantly in help
of a selected fight operation. Fairly than adding in further fight
elements, artillery help becomes a pressure multiplier that affects the die roll
of an assault. There’s a sub-category where you should use artillery help to
affect the result of a single hearth combat as nicely.

The third main hearth mission for artillery is
interdiction. The impact is just like an air interdiction, with the difference
that the artillery mission only affects a single hex. Nonetheless, there might be
occasions when the one method to plug a gap in the line is the drop artillery onto
it to slow down the enemy advance.

With all these ways to knock models out of the game, you
may start to assume this can be a bloody slaughter. Nicely…it kinda/sorta *is* a
bloody slaughter, however don’t hand over hope! There’s a alternative mechanism that
will assist you to return eradicated models to play. This can be essential for each
sides as you’ll have the ability to convey some reserves to the battle that may tip the
tide, or at the least supply a velocity bump for a turn or two.

In addition to the replacements, there are a handful of
reinforcements that enter play. A few of those reinforcements are conditional
upon each participant attaining certain aims. 
For instance, the Iranians obtain further troops relying on the
variety of hilltops and towns they capture from the Iraqis. Beyond this, the
Fortune of struggle marker can be used to deliver models back up to power. Bear in
mind that using the Fortune of Warfare marker is a two-edged sword as using the
marker then provides it to your opponent to use as they see fit.

There is a lot happening beneath the hood with An Undeniable
Victory. Most of it is good, however I stumbled with a couple of gadgets. Most of these
have been minor, but a number of might have been prevented outright with a bit of extra
element.

The legend for the map could be very minimalistic. Most
all the things was outlined with one exception. It lacks a definition for the
boundary between the 2 sides. Whereas the front line is referenced within the
set-up directions, I was pressured to deduce the id of the front-line
boundary because it’s not explicitly declared on the map legend or within the rulebook.
We will debate if it’s obvious or not, but a terrific recreation gained’t drive the players
to guess.

The unbiased models require player to keep in mind that
they will activate with other models. It’s a mistake I made repeatedly. There’s
nothing fallacious with the activation of those models. Heck it’s a nice contact to
maintain them as a reserve that prompts along with one other unit.

Lastly, it was robust to keep monitor of which unit is the place
on the map when its formation activation chit is pulled. It’ll come with time,
but out of the gate, you’ll be a bit of confused making an attempt to remember the place the
84th Mechanized set up versus the 21st Mechanized. I’d
recommend a quick paper sketch map with the rough unit boundaries to serve as an
assist. It may additionally allow you to keep in mind that the unbiased models are also there
and might be activated with other models.

Artillery counters come off as slightly cluttered, however
much of that is the nature of their mission. Being tasked with range,
bombardment worth, combat worth in addition to a motion price is a variety of detail
to convey on a small counter.

An Undeniable Victory looks like an excellent illustration of
the Iran-Iraq Conflict. Entrenched models might be robust to dig out of excellent floor
which is what you’d anticipate. Mechanized models are still the important thing to creating
breakthroughs and making the battlefield cellular. Artillery and Air can be utilized
to interdict these cellular forces.  It’s
an efficient interaction of unit capabilities that does a great job of
representing trendy warfare.

If there’s one factor I might have added, it might be a
recreation turn part chart. It turned tiresome always referring again to the
rulebook to see what the subsequent phase in the recreation turn was next. It’s something
I might knock together myself if need be, but provided that An Undeniable Victory
is a tad bit extra complicated that different High Flying Cube Video games, it might be very
useful – at the least for the first few recreation turns.

I consider that the game works properly for solitaire play.
There are not any bots to automate the play of both aspect, so you’ll need to scorching
seat this. Consequently, it’s not good for solitaire play – however it still
great a very good expertise. The initiative system coupled
with the Formation activation chits give an inexpensive amount of uncertainty
on the subject of launching the large offensives. However this fog of warfare breaks down
a bit of with the forwards and backwards of limited operations, however those operations
are often restricted to redeployment and exploitation motion so it’s not a
deal breaker.

The place I feel it will get sticky for solitaire play within the
interaction of committing belongings in help of a single battle. You’re unlikely
to impact operational shock towards yourself, so the alternatives of when and
what to decide to a battle lack a number of the fog of warfare that a stay opponent
will deliver to the desk. Having stated that, it’s no worse an concern than it is doing
solo play of different boardgames like GMT’s FAB: Sicily or Golan ’73.

An Undeniable Victory succeeds on several points. This is
a recreation that made me take into consideration the Iran-Iraq struggle at an operational degree. It
covers an essential battle from a neglected struggle. The Iran-Iraq warfare in some ways
set the stage for the wars and political landscape of the 1990’s and 21st
Century. To ignore this struggle is to ignore the historical past of the region and the
influence these Cold Struggle proxies had on the events of the final half century.

It’s an incredible example of recent warfare in an inhospitable
area. And it’s an example of what can occur when political objectives don’t align
with operational capabilities. The protracted nature of the Iran-Iraq conflict
stands in stark contrast to the decisive battles fought not even a decade later
in the first Gulf Conflict.

In case you are a scholar of the wars of the Center East, this
recreation will attraction to you. The recreation challenges a whole lot of the perceptual biases
which have developed within the last quarter century relating to each Iran and Iraq.
An Undeniable Victory provides you a superb look inside what the Iranian counteroffensive
appeared like and why the Iran-Iraq warfare dragged on for 8 lengthy bloody years.

In case you are a Cold Struggle gamer, this recreation might attraction to you
as offering a special tackle the fashionable warfare expected through the early
1980’s. The area of the battlefield lacks much of the geographical baggage
associated with the Arab-Israeli wars and the ideologies of the two combatants
make it robust for a westerner to root for either get together.  What your left with is nearly a tactical
train featuring ‘red’ and ‘blue’ the place you’ll be able to challenge the result of the
recreation onto how it may need modified the geo-political landscape of the past
quarter century.

Armchair General Rating: 92%

Solitaire suitability (1–5 scale, with 1 being nearly
unplayable as a solitaire recreation and 5 being utterly suitable for solitaire
play):  four

Ray Garbee has been a gamer for the previous 4 many years, Ray’s pursuits embrace the Anglo-Sikh Wars by way of the conflicts of the 20th Century and beyond however his passion stays ACW naval gaming. At present, Ray works as a Product Proprietor in the IT subject whereas continuing to design tabletop video games. His previous works embrace Iron Thunder, Anaconda, Anaconda: Capital Navies and articles in a lot of defunct interest magazines. When not busy gaming, Ray enjoys working on his mannequin railroad, climbing and sport capturing at the local range.

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