Monday, March 12, 2018

Module Suitability Review: Korean Sourcebook

Taken from DriveThru RPG

Hey all, been a long time since we did one of these, eh?

Well, this has been long threatened for Twilight: 2000, long demanded, cajoled, and pleaded for, and now, it's finally here. A canon sourcebook for the Land of the Midnight Calm. And, like the last time, it seems this 2nd Korean War has settled into a stalemate again, this time, both combatants are at the ends of long, shattered supply chains, fighting in a nuked, blasted landscape, and they are surrounded by a population that really wishes they'd leave. (Pretty much sounds like a lot of Twilight: 2000).  

So what do you get? For starters? I must say, Raellus did a good job. For a $2.99 PDF download, you do get a lot for your money. A very good description of events in Korea, a whole chapter on Korean Culture (a very useful thing for non-Korean GMs and players!) It has a lot of information on all the players in North and South Korea in 2000, important NPCs, character generation rules, as well as campaign ideas and missions and equipment unique to the Korean peninsula.

What I really like about this module is how it plays off the split between the Soviets and their North Korean "allies" (who are basically allies in at most, name only, really.) and the Milgov/Civgov - esque split in South Korea (which makes a lot of sense considering South Korea's history of Military/Civilian relations in the past). Rae also manages to throw a bit of horror elements into it for those so inclined. 

While the book has some editing issues, it's a solid book overall, I had a lot of flashbacks to the format and writing style of RDF Sourcebook, which as a model, you could not ask for a better template if you ask me. 

Now of course, you ask, what is the miniature gaming scenario potential for this book? Well, as it turns out, a lot, so let's get cracking, eh?

Skirmish Games

Like it's spiritual ancestor, the RDF Sourcebook, the Korean Sourcebook doesn't have any specific ideas for skirmish gamers, but the Mission Generator has some really good skirmish game fodder, as well as the rules for North Korean tunnels (Yes, that alone would make a great table setup and a very unique idea, a post-apocalyptic dungeon crawl! Always a hit!)

But here's some other ideas:
  • A small American outpost on the frontline, and it's adventures could be resolved as a skirmish campaign, you could use a mix of rules from the module, and either Force on Force or No End in Sight's campaign systems would shine here, no matter what rules you use. Using Platoon Forward from Too Fat Lardies would be an excellent idea to flesh out the personalities of the American garrison. 
  • A race to recover a nuclear weapon that failed to detonate from the remains of Seoul. You could have a three sided race, the US/South Koreans, the North Koreans, and the Soviets all racing to get the warhead before the other side does. And then there are complications with the nuke itself. Black Ops would be a great set of rules for this and a devious referee could make this a very exciting bit of gaming meets an RPG adventure.
  • Another great idea is a raid on the remains of the North Korean bioweapons program by either side, neither of whom is going to be really enthused about the Kim family unleashing whatever variety of nasty their scientists have been cooking up on what is left of the world. This would also make great Black Ops fodder.
  • Gaming out the initial raids by North Korean commandos and sleeper cells on a South Korean installation (any number of ideas here can be mined), versus a collection of South Korean cops, reservists, and other internal security forces). If the North Korean player can escape with any of his people, you can then game out the hunt for the surviving commandos as a mini campaign for Black Ops?
  • A clash between an American/ROK supply convoy and North Korean partisans. Rules for this would be Force on Force.

Larger Games

In terms of larger game fodder, like RDF Sourcebook, you really have to mine that from the chronology, as organized military operations do tend to break down after about 1998. But, it seems you can get some really interesting stuff out of it, some of the more interesting ideas to me are:

  • The initial attack on the DMZ, you could do a collection of company sized US or ROK outposts along the "Z" hit by a couple battalions of North Korean light infantry, with a bit of armor, and more than enough artillery (which isn't going to hit much outside it's pre-planned targets, but the pre-planned ones should be hyper accurate), and with some pre positioned North Korean sappers already to the rear of the US/ROK positions). The North Koreans have to overrun all of the positions to win, the US/ROK has to just hold one to win. Rules for this in my opinion would be the Cold War Battlegroup rules put out by the Cold War Hot Hot Hot blog, as authored by Richard Chambers, as the game is kinda too big for a skirmish game, and too small for a 1:5 game like Fistful of TOWs or Command Decision.
  • The fight for Munsan in the early days of the North Korean invasion, it's a desperate rear guard action between dug in South Korean defenders buying time for the ROK/US forces to set up a defense further south, and a North Korean mechanized army trying to push down the traditional invasion corridor. Couple this with a heavy chem environment in an urban area, and you have quite the game for Fistful of TOWs.
  • The summer 1997 amphibious landing near Kimpo by US 4th Marine Division and ROK 6th Marine Brigade. This landing and the subsequent breakout has the makings of a pretty decent Fistful of TOWs or Command Decision campaign.
  • The retreat of US 8th Army from the Yalu in 1997 as the Soviet Yalu Front enters the war in late summer of 1997. Fistful of TOWs works well here, as you might be using a nuke or two to simulate the heavy use of Soviet tactical nuclear weapons here.
  • The "Last Soviet Offensive of the War in Korea" in July of 1998, this could make a decent Fistful of TOWs or Command Decision game, as you have a depleted Soviet MRD with support from a Air Assault Brigade (both short on fuel) attacking towards the Gimwha Valley in an effort to seize the farmland to feed the Soviet army trapped in North Korea, as well as the US/ROK counterattack. This also might work as a campaign for Fistful of TOWs or Command Decision.
Well, that is it for now. We have a bit coming down the pike, a review and build of PSC's recently released T-55 kit for 20mm, a review and writeup of the Unofficial Cold War variant for Battlegroup, and those Iran-Iraq books I have been promising a review of. I will get to them, also, my roleplaying group and I want to try an actual Twilight: 2000 themed miniatures game in the very near future, so I am excited about that, and I will be working on that soon, so lots to come.


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