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|Modern War issue no. 15|
Game Title: Red Tide West
Date of Publication: JAN 2015 - FEB 2015
Strategy & Tactics Press, PO Box 21598, Bakersfield, CA 93390
Decision Games hereby grants permission for its customers to download and/or print copies of this file for their personal use. Discussion folders for this game are located on the S&T Press discussion board.
3.0 Set up, fog of war & hex control
4.0 How to win
5.0 turn sequence
7.0 supply & panzer scares
8.0 German replacements
9.0 german reinforcements
10.0 french refugees
11.0 movement & evacuation
12.0 luftwaffe aerial attack & anglo-french naval gun support
13.0 ground combat
Design: Ty Bomba
Development: Ty Bomba & Eric R. Harvey
Final Rules Editing: Eric R. Harvey
Playtesters: Ty Bomba, Chris Perello, Dr. Christopher Cummins, Eric R. Harvey, Terence Co, Lei Wei Chu
Map Graphics: Joe Youst
Counter Graphics: Larry Hoffmann
Production: Callie Cummins and Lisé Patterson
NOTE: To remove the rules from this magazine, carefully and slowly peel them from the subscription card they are attached to by peeling from the top and then the bottom meeting in the middle. The card is not intended to be removed.
These rules use the following color system: Red for critical points such as errata and exceptions, Blue for examples of play. Check for E-rules updates to this game @ www.modernwarmagazine.com.
Red Tide West is a wargame that simulates a hypothetical Warsaw Pact invasion of West Germany in the late-1980’s. Red Tide West also presumes a wider conflict beyond the scope of the game, but postulates West Germany to be the so-called “center of gravity” for the entire war. In other words, regardless of what is happening in, say, Scandinavia, or the Balkans, or the Middle East, etc., the presumption here is that the war will be won or lost in central Europe. To wit, if the Red Army cripples NATO and overruns West Germany, it is assumed that diplomatic negotiations will then suddenly become advantageous to both sides. For the Soviets, they would be satisfied to end the war with their substantial gains, not to mention the distinction of being regarded by the world as having won the war, especially if a nuclear exchange had not yet occurred. NATO, on the other hand (and especially the French) would want to end the war before the Red Army rolled into France proper, and certainly before a full-blown nuclear war erupted (or escalated further, if a limited nuclear exchange had already occurred).
On the other side of the coin, if the Red Army’s drive into West Germany is halted or thrown back, the war will have run its course then and there, regardless of what is happening elsewhere in the world. Negotiations would be underway, regardless, but the Soviets would have very little to gain (and actually much to lose) by perpetuating a war that is then being perceived as the ultimate reproach of the Soviet state and Communist ideology. Indeed, before Soviet battlefield defeats became prolific and pronounced, and especially before NATO units began to push across the borders of East Bloc countries, the Soviets would be confronted with a choice of trying to negotiate an end to the war before the Warsaw Pact alliance collapsed (or worse, defected—something like a repeat of the Hungarian Uprising of ’56, but on a larger scale), or resort to nuclear strikes to avoid a total defeat (a decidedly undesirable solution when considering NATO’s predictable response).
Red Tide West presumes a short war whereby the final dispositions will be known within a matter of weeks. The Soviet timetables expected the Red Army to reach the French border within 15 days, and therefore the game excludes Soviet “Category C” and “Category D” reserves, which could not have been mobilized within the timeframe of the game—whether or not the Soviet timetables were realistic in the first place.
It should be noted that the orders-of-battle also presume that other Soviet Fronts are engaged in other theaters, and thus are not available as an endless pool of reserves to be hypothetically rushed to central Europe. Red Tide West does include provisions for reserve forces that were specifically intended to follow up an invasion of West Germany, but only if their arrival could occur within the length of the game (and in time enough to contribute to the outcome).
Each hex in Red Tide West is equivalent to about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from side to opposite side, and each turn represents about a day.
Red Tide West should include these rules and charts, two maps that fit together to form a playing area representing West Germany and bordering areas, and two counter sheets with a total of 560 two-sided playing pieces (280 per counter sheet), which will be referred to as “units,” “counters” and/or “markers” throughout these rules. Players will need to provide themselves with at least two six-sided dice of any color, and two ten-sided dice of two different colors.
2.1 The Maps
The two maps included in the game are defined as “North” and “South”, and they must be laid together in such a way so that the North map is arrayed lengthwise above the South map, matched up evenly via the hexagon rows. Each hexagon (hereafter referred to as a “hex”) is printed with a four-digit numeral that is listed in numerical order from north to south along each such hex row.
Note: For purposes of clarification, hexes 0509, 0167, and 0268 are all West German hexes (not Danish and Dutch, respectively).
2.2 The Game Pieces
The game pieces represent all of the conventional and strategic forces that existed in the theater of operations during the mid-1980’s, as well as various functional or memory aid counters. Moreover, the game pieces include other specialty markers that pertain to various specific rules; each pertinent rule will indicate what relevant markers are to be used and how.
The most common type of game piece is the unit, which represents a military formation of some kind. There are units for numerous countries, each of which is color-coded to indicate its nationality, although there are only two opposing sides during a game of Red Tide West; all units belong to either one side or the other (notwithstanding Austrian and Danish units, which are neutral; see 6.10).
Note: All Warsaw Pact units can be identified by their yellow icons.
Each unit is printed with a variety of symbols and data to interact with the game rules; each such symbol and datum is defined as follows.
There are different kinds of military units in the game, although most function exactly the same. Some, like air units, function differently, which is explained under that relevant set of rules in this rules booklet.
Designer’s Note: Red Tide West does not include Soviet Southern Group of Forces (SGF), as these units are assumed to be assigned to invade Italy (and elsewhere). Accordingly, Red Tide West does not include the Italian Army, which is assumed to have its hands full dealing with SGF.
2.3 Unit Types (NATO icons)
There are various types of units for both sides in the game, most of which are identified with NATO-style icons. The majority of the NATO-identified units function exactly the same and are only identified differently for historical purposes, although some unit types (such as the airmobile units) possess special abilities that are explained later in the rules.
2.4 Front & Back Sides
Most land units have two sides, a front side (representing that unit’s full-strength disposition) and a back side (representing that unit after it has been reduced by combat losses); the back side of a land unit is known as its “degraded” side. A full-strength unit’s icon (the NATO symbol in the center of the counter) is colored (for example, US icons are white), whereas a degraded unit’s icon is non-colored (showing only the background color of that counter).
Note: The four divisions of the 2nd Guards Tank Army (the 16th Tank Division, as well as the 94th, 21st, and 207th Motorized Division) are printed with the same ratings on the front and back. This formation had been upgraded in 1984 and was further augmented with three additional independent tank regiments that same year.
3.0 SETTING UP THE GAME
To set up the game, players should first decide which side they will play; one player must play the NATO side (the United States and its allies), and one player must play the Warsaw Pact side (the Soviet Union and its client states).
Note: The four Dutch land units will not arrive in play if any nuclear detonation has occurred prior to their entry (see 13.0).
Then set up each land unit in a specifically numbered hex per the hex number that is printed along the right side of each such unit (for example, the Soviet 79th Armored Division is to be set-up in hex 1182).
Exception: If the unit is printed with the word “Any” in place of a hex or reinforcement number, that unit may be set up anywhere on the map in a friendly airbase/airport hex of the owning player’s choice.
Errata: The Danish 1st Mechanized Brigade’s printed set-up hex should be 0654 (not 0653), the Danish 2nd Mechanized Brigade’s printed set-up hex should be 0803 (not 0802). The W. German 3rd Helicopter Brigade’s printed set-up hex should be 0235 (not 0234).
Some units are not printed with a hex number, but are instead printed with a single digit numeral; this number refers to a specific turn box on the turn track, indicating that unit to be a reinforcement (meaning that it will arrive in play during that game turn). Place each such unit in a numbered game turn box corresponding to the same number that is printed along the right side of each such unit; that unit is not permitted to enter play until the movement step of that side’s phase. See 3.1 below.
Next, place all leaders in each side’s respective Leader Draw Pool box printed on the map, as well as one strategy chit of each type in each side’s respective Strategy Chit Available Pool box printed on the map.
Finally, place the victory point counters on the Victory Point Track box printed on the map; these are used somewhat like an abacus to indicate the current tally of accumulated Warsaw Pact victory points from turn to turn. For example, victory point chits on the “500” grid, “20” grid, and “7” grid would thus indicate the current tally of Warsaw Pact victory points up to that game turn is 527.
Each game begins with minus forty-five (-45) victory points (until both West Berlin hexes have been captured).
Some units begin the game off the map and are assumed to be en route to the battlefront when the game begins. Such units will be printed with a single-digit numeral instead of a hex number, indicating the turn that they must arrive on the map, entering via the map edge.
Note: This includes the East German 9th Tank Division, which was historically stationed in Eggesin, GDR (about hex 1716).
A unit that enters the map is eligible to move its full movement allowance once it has entered the map (counting the first hex entered as its first hex of movement).
Note: The lack of terrain features in map-edge countries is intentional, and thus the movement point (MP) cost to enter each hex in France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia, and Poland is 1 MP per hex. Any unit entering the map via a road is assumed to be entering via the road movement cost (1/2 MP) if entering that hex from off the map.
A unit that enters the map may only enter the map via a land hex, and obviously only from their own side of the map (the left side map edge for NATO, the right side map edge for the Warsaw Pact). The Warsaw Pact player may also enter the map via any Austrian map edge hexes, but doing so would be considered a violation of Austria’s neutrality per 6.1.
Exception: No Warsaw Pact unit may enter the map via any Swedish map-edge hex.
During the movement step of a player’s own phase, all air unit reinforcements that are scheduled to arrive during that game turn must simply be placed on any friendly airbase/airport hex(es) anywhere on the map, if that airbase/airport has not been destroyed, and if not in excess of its capacity.
3.2 Amphibious Landings
Some units (specifically the Soviet Spetsnaz Naval Brigade and the British 3rd Marine Brigade) are permitted to arrive as normal reinforcements per the game turn indicated (printed along the right side of each unit), or may instead arrive during the movement step of game turn 2, if the owning player prefers. If arriving during game turn 2, that unit must be placed on any coastal hex that is adjacent to an all-sea hex, which must not be farther than 15 hexes from its own side’s map-edge (the eastern map-edge for the Soviet unit, and the western map-edge for the British unit). This placement is not normal movement, but is an automatic placement regardless of any intervening terrain, terrain costs or other units. Moreover, it is only ever permitted once (during game turn 2), and never thereafter.
Exception: The Soviet Spetsnaz Naval Brigade unit may not be placed on any Swedish coastal hex
However, the coastal hex itself may not be occupied by any enemy land unit (notwithstanding any lone enemy leader; see 12.6), although the presence of any enemy air unit does not interfere with an amphibious landing.
After placement, a landed unit is not permitted to move for the remainder of that game turn (except to advance after combat or retreat), although a landed unit that has not been eliminated is permitted to conduct an attack against any adjacent enemy unit during the ensuing combat step (unless the combat step for that phase had already occurred, as can be the case with NATO phases; see 4.0).
If a coastal hex is occupied by any enemy air unit(s) of any type, the enemy air unit(s) in that hex are automatically eliminated immediately if occupied by an enemy landed unit.
3.3 Warsaw Pact Off-Map Airbases
Representing proximal airbases that are not shown on the map, the Warsaw Pact player may place any of his own air units (whether starting air units or arriving reinforcement air units) into the Warsaw Pact Off-Map Airbases box printed on the map. Air units in the Warsaw Pact Off-Map Airbases box cannot operate therefrom (no strikes, air superiority or air support missions may ever be conducted from the Warsaw Pact Off-Map Airbases box), nor may the Warsaw Pact Off-Map Airbases box be encroached upon or attacked by any NATO game piece. However, during the Recovery step of the Warsaw Pact phase, any of the air unit(s) in the Warsaw Pact Off-Map Airbases box may then be placed in any friendly airbase/airport hex(es) of the Warsaw Pact player’s choice (if not destroyed, and not in excess of capacity).
Note: The Warsaw Pact Off-Map Airbases box cannot be targeted or destroyed by any nuclear attack.
After any air unit has been placed on an airbase/airport hex, it functions normally thereafter, but may never be returned to the Warsaw Pact Off-Map Airbases box.
4.0 SEQUENCE OF A GAME TURN
Each game turn is comprised of a Warsaw Pact Phase and then a NATO Phase (always in that order). Each of those two phases is further sub-divided into individual “steps,” which must be performed in exactly the order listed below. A particular step may be skipped during a single phase (if there is nothing to do during that step of that particular phase), but once skipped, a player may not perform that step later during that game turn.
Designer’s Note: The Warsaw Pact player is restricted to conducting movement and then combat in that strict order, whereas the NATO player is permitted to either conduct movement before combat, or vice versa. This difference is intended to simulate the contrast between rigid Soviet doctrinal plans and NATO’s more flexible capabilities.