Grunt (board wargame)

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Issue 26 of Strategy &Tactics, with game components

Grunt: The Game of Tactical Level Combat in Vietnam was a tactical level board wargame designed by John Young and released by Simulations Publications, Inc. as part of issue #26 of Strategy & Tactics in 1971.

The game featured three different scenarios in which the US player performed "search and destroy" missions to find Viet Cong units and supply caches. The game's counters represented squads of men and individual specialists such as artillery observers. The game included rules for leadership, snipers, civilians, helicopter travel, artillery, and air strikes.

The map was 22" x 28" printed in black and tan, and included counters, a rule booklet, as well as game charts and tables. The map was divided into hexagons at a scale 100 yards per hex.

Grunt was later redesigned and released as Search & Destroy. The original game is considered one of the very first board wargames to simulate infantry combat at the squad/platoon level[1]

Grunt was later released as a boxed game as well.

The game attempted to place realistic burden on commanders; US players had to be careful to minimize casualties to civilians while also tending to their own wounded. Leadership was also uniquely portrayed. According to Nick Stasnopolis in Number 73 (May/June 1991) of Fire & Movement Magazine:

Instead of flitting from unit to unit enhancing combat rolls (a reference to Squad Leader's leadership rules), the leaders (in Grunt) become conduits for information and control. For instance, to use their full capabilities the NLF (National Leadership Front, or Viet Cong) units must be within eight hexes of their cadre. This reflects their lack of modern communications equipment, which produced a reliance on written messages and sound signals, thus limiting operational radius. It also resulted in units that tended to be more autonomous and were less severely affected by a loss of leadership. So the hardcore NLF units retain their full movement when outside command radius or when their cadre unit takes casualties. This is in direct contrast to the U.S. forces. The (U.S.) Army's more bureaucratic command structure lead to a very different set of leadership problems. Units, because of the myriad radios they possessed, could operate as far from their leaders as their radios could transmit and still be able to get specific instructions. Unfortunately, this also produced a dependence on contact with higher headquarters...Thus a disturbance in the flow of information, either through loss of a radio or loss of a leader, was far more devastating to the Americans. In the game U.S. squads can be paralyzed for up to three turns if the squad radioman is hit or their headquarters takes casualties.

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