Next War: Korea
Available from GMT Games
Next War: Korea is the first in a series of “Next War” games. These games will allow players to fight a near future war on the Korean peninsula. In this updated version of the 1992 Crisis Korea 1995, players have access to almost all of the military assets of North and South Korea. Also, players will also have available large forces from the USA and the PRC. The game has an integrated, easy to learn air-land combat system that allows for unit efficiency, armor effects, light infantry, attack helicopters, Close Air Support, and Cruise Missiles, all of which will be particularly important in the rough terrain of Korea.
The physical components included in this game are quite impressive. They are:
- 2 22×34" map
- 4 – 9/16" counter sheets + 1 Errata and Expansion Bonus 1/2 sheet (1026 counters)
- 2 rulebooks (Standard + Advanced Rules and Game Specific Rules)
- 5 8.5×11" Player Aids
- 2 11×17" Player Aids
- 1 10-sided die
The “Standard and Advanced Rules” of Next War: Korea covers a game system which players will learn. This Rules Booklet is 40 pages in length and covers the rules that are necessary to learn the game system. These rules cover a lot of a lot of information and will have a bit of a steep learning curve. The rules in this booklet are:
- 1.0 Introduction
- 2.0 Components
- 3.0 Standard Sequence of Play
- 4.0 Weather
- 5.0 Initiative
- 6.0 Air Power
- 7.0 Sea Control
- 8.0 Movement
- 9.0 Combat
- 10.0 Reinforcements
- 11.0 Replacements
- 12.0 Victory
- 13.0 Optional
- 14.0 Reserved for Later Use
- 15.0 Advanced Game Introduction
- 16.0 Advanced Game Components
- 17.0 Advanced Game Sequence of Play
- 18.0 Formations and HQ Units
- 19.0 Supply
- 20.0 Special Operations Forces
- 21.0 Detection
- 22.0 Air Power
- 23.0 Air-to-Ground Missions
- 24.0 Air Defenses
- 25.0 Movement and Transport
- 26.0 Cruise Missiles
- 27.0 Hits & Damage
- 28.0 UN Resolutions
- 29.0 Advanced Game Alternate Play
Game Specific Rules
Since Next War: Korea is not just a game, but a game system there is also a 24 page “Game Specific Rules” that cover any specific situations that are needed to play the Korea situation. What this means to the gamer who is captivated by gaming modern conflicts is that once they learn the “Next War” system, they will have a jump on any other games that are released in this series. The Game Specific Rules that are presented in this book are:
- Terrain (Standard/Advanced)
- Units (Standard/Advanced)
- Movement (Standard/Advanced)
- Combat (Standard/Advanced)
- Reinforcements (Standard/Advanced)
- Subordination (Advanced)
- Targeting (Advanced)
- Electronic Detection (Advanced)
- Air Power (Standard/Advanced)
- Hardened Targets (Advanced)
- Theatre War Assets (Advanced)
- UN Resolutions Veto
- Optional Rules
Next War: Korea All In Scenario Set-up
There are a total of 11 Scenarios presented in Next War: Korea. Seven of the Scenarios use the Standard Game rules and four are considered Advanced games. The Scenarios that are presented in Next War Korea are:
- This scenario represents the DPRK drive south from Kaseong on Seoul. It uses only a portion of the maps and units and has Special Victory Conditions.
- This scenario represents the DPRK drive south along the Uijeongbu Corridor with the ultimate goal of seizing Seoul. It uses only a portion of the maps and units and has Special Victory Conditions.
East Coast Highway
- This scenario represents the DPRK drive south along the narrow coastal highway on the East Sea (Sea of Japan). It uses only a portion of the maps and units and has Special Victory Conditions.
- This scenario represents the Allied counter attack starting with an Amphibious action against Inchon. It uses only a portion of the maps and units and has Special Victory Conditions.
- This scenario represents the opening turns of a full scale assault all along the DMZ. It uses only a portion of the maps and units and has Special Victory Conditions. This scenario is essentially a combination of “Seoul Train”, “Uijeong-Blues” and “East Coast Highway”.
- This scenario is simply an expanded Militarized Zone Scenario. Players use the full map, all Standard Game Units (i.e. not HQ’s, Arty, or Air Units) in their normal setup hexes and the full Victory Conditions. This is, in effect the full Standard Game Campaign Scenario
They did What (aka Almond’s Folly)
- This scenario presents an ROK assault North against a more or less unprepared DPRK. The DPRK forfeits any and all US support in a bid to solve its own problems.
- The strategic surprise scenario examines the ROK’s is and U. S.’s worst nightmare. In this nightmare, relations between the DPRK and ROK appear amicable. Reunification even appears to be a viable possibility. The U. S. Is involved in both internal political navel gazing as well as involved in numerous global war on terror actions around the globe. Quietly however, after the death of Kim Jong II, a struggle develops within the DPRK political-military landscape. The hard-liners eventually win out and, convincing Kim Jong Un that he must show a strong hand, decide that only unification through force can assure their primacy.
- This scenario examines a more likely entrance into war as tension mounts on both sides. In this scenario, the fighting erupts after a relatively short timeframe of escalating tensions catching the allies still hoping for a diplomatic solution and not quite ready for actual combat operations.
Extended Buildup Scenario
- This scenario examines the confrontation as an escalation of tensions across a greater span of time with neither side willing to commit to beginning a war but also with neither side willing to back down to any degree. With the rhetoric on both sides reaching fever pitches and constant clashes both in the ground and in the air and Dead Sea, it’s only a matter of time before a spark ignites the conflagration.
Advanced Air War Scenario
- This scenario lets players use the advanced air war rules to play out a scenario solely using the air units provided with the game. No maps are used; players use only the air superiority play aid, a special air war scenario eight card which is provided to assist players in tracking information throughout the scenario, and the general information display to record VPs.
The roundup of these scenarios I feel guarantees that gamers will not get board with the system. After all, they are being asked to fork over quite an amount of investment for a game in these hard economic times and GMT is providing a game with a tremendous amount of replay-ability between the number of scenarios provided, the Standard Rules, the Advanced Rules and even some Optional Rules. What is nice is that the gamers can agree on what rules to use and play the same scenario a number of times, using different rules while each outcome providing different results. You can think of this as a challenging game where the outcome is not always apparent which makes it exciting.
Examples of Play and AAR’s
One of the things that are especially nice are the detailed “Examples of Play” and “After Action Reports” (AAR’s) that are available on GMT Games’ website. The detailed Examples provide the gamer with examples of Combat to help them better understand the land and air combat systems. The Examples of Play presented on the GMT Games website are:
- Online Examples of Play [Note: these do take a bit of time to load.]
Also, to provide the gamer who purchased this game, or prospective gamers who may be interested in Next War:Korea, GMT Games has provided two After Action Reports. These two AAR’s are complete games and provide and excellent insight into how to play the game. The two AAR’s presented are:
The Seoul Train AAR is a quick 4 game turn look at the NKPA drive south from Kaseong on Seoul. This Scenario uses only a portion of the map and units and has Special Victory Conditions.
The other AAR is Inchon Again. This is a one game turn Scenario and is a learning scenario played under the Standard Rules. This scenario represents the Allied counterattack starting with an Amphibious action against Inchon. It uses only a portion of the maps and units and has special Victory Conditions. Its primary purpose is to familiarize players with Amphibious Assaults.
As you can imagine, if you read through these AAR’s and play them through, you will get an excellent understanding of the Standard Rules and for the flow of the game. To see the AAR’s all you need to do is select the Action Report you want to view from the list I provided up above. If you have the game, it is recommended that you follow along and use either or both scenarios as a training round for learning some of the nuances of the game. The one thing that I can tell you is that there is a lot to remember and many subtleties have crept into the game to keep players on their toes and never knowing what your opponents action will be next.
In addition, for those gamers that enjoy modern military fiction, there is a new e-book release ($2.99) of Larry Bond’s and Patrick Larkin’s 1989 military thriller, Red Phoenix. This is a book of a hypothetical invasion of South Korea by North Korea. I have started to read this book and so far I can say just like Larry Bonds other books, it is quite good and keeps you wanting to read more.
Next War: Korea is what I classify as a “min-monster” game. It is a medium complexity game with the Standard Rules and a highly complex game with the Advanced Rules. However, as with any boardgame the player can tailor the game to their own liking, picking rules to use and rules to discard. Because of the length of the rules, the learning curve is relatively steep. On GMT’s website (which I show above) there are many examples of play to assist gamers in learning the game system. One of the excellent features of this game is the number of Scenarios presented for the gamer to play many of which are introductory in nature. However, one of the things that I enjoy most about Next War Korea are the interesting range of situations that the Scenarios cover.
Next War: Korea is an interesting game system covering a near future potential hot spot. The games’ complex system allows for all types of combats from Cruise Missiles, to Chemical Weapons, to Nuclear Weapons. It is a challenging game that can provide the gamer a unique view of combat as it will unfold in the near future. While the game system is medium to complex, one of the great features Is that it is playable as a solitaire game. As a matter of fact, it rates very high in the solitaire category which should make many modern gamers very happy.
Next war: Korea is a fascinating game design. The game designer Mitchell Land and the system designer Gene Billingsley have created a game with an extremely high replay value. I have often found it difficult for a game covering modern combat to be detailed and interesting. Next war: Korea has really exceeded my expectations in the game system, in the gameplay, and in the subtleties behind the game tactics. If you are a modern gamer or a gamer who is just interested in modern warfare Next War: Korea is not a game that you should pass up. While the price tag may be high, the replay value is even higher and you will surely get the return on your investment. With the first game in Next War series now available, I can’t wait to see what world situation they will cover next.
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