Saturday, 31 July 2021

Storm Over Dien Bien Phu - Boardgame time...

 I recently played this boardgame with John, and a great game it was. Originally published by Multi-Man publishing (who also published the excellent 'Force Eagle's War') and I think based on the rules originally appearing in 'Storm Over Arnhem', there are some great mechanics at work here.

  • A great set of period rules and mechanics for the 1954 siege, with the French on the back foot initially, but able to plug the holes in the line if they act at the right time...while the Viet-Minh have limited resource, but the element of surprise
  • Actions are alternate
  • Card activities can help attacks and/or hinder the enemy
  • The Viet-Minh are trying to do as much damage in early turns, and prevent French holding ground (and thereby reducing their number of action cards), whilst enabling their taking more and more real estate.

A very nice game, and although the rules were very interesting, I am also becoming intrigued in the Indo-China / French period in the 1950s - John is an expert in this regard and knows the details of the siege inside out, together with reference to the more notable books (Street Without Joy) and a collection of the less well known references for the period.

We always consider the 1960s as the Vietnam Wargaming period - the '50s have a lot to offer in terms of gaming too.

Game map at start - with French units about to be surprised.

Cards are an intrinsic part of the game in terms of support/resources/and benefits

Early Viet Minh assaults on the flanks

Damage points are allocated in terms of either retreats, steps lost or units lost. The 'hit' player decides how to allocate - but this resource management type decision can be absolutely pivotal to holding ground or keeping units alive - a very nice mechanic, which should really be hacked for other games.

French reinforcements at 'Opera', which was probably the wrong place to put them :(

Cards can influence attack / defend options

'2' would be a bad roll... it wasn't going well for my French forces at all...

All in all, a great game - and had got me very interested in the period in general.


  1. While I don’t have this game, I recently picked up a couple of Wargames covering this earlier Vietnam period. Looking forward to getting mine onto the table.

    1. Yes - I'm getting quite interested in the period now, and collecting books, as is the usual result of an interesting game :)

  2. I am a fan of the series and own the Normandy / Stalingrad sister games. We played Dien Bien Phu once (fiends copy) and thought it did a good job of presenting the overall situation.

    1. ...and quite a dire situation it is. I know bits and pieces surrounding the period, but it's very interesting.

  3. Pretty cool, Darren! I dream of someday using a boardgame like this as the backbone of a miniatures campaign.


    1. Thanks Jack. I had never even thought of Dien Bien Phu as a possible campaign, but now I'm thinking that 'Field of Battle WW2' or 'Rommel' would be perfect for this sort of thing.

  4. I started to give the period some thought after a visit to 'Nam and reading Hastings' book. Haven't done anything yet.

    1. I hadn't realised there was so much in the 1950s section of the C20th conflict in the country. We think of US involvement in the 60s as the historical period of wargaming note. Now, I'm not so sure.