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Dien Bien Phu - The Final Gamble is a two player game about the decisive battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 that not only ended the French Indochina war, but also had political repercussions far outside the region itself. One player represents France and her colonial troops. The other player represents the armed force of Viet Minh, the communist/nationalist independence movement of Vietnam. This is a cage fight. There are no victory points, there is no marginal victory and there is no draw.  Viet Minh wins by forcing the French troops to surrender. France wins by not surrendering.


Map and scale: The map covers the former village of Dien Bien Phu and surrounding areas. There is a small sub map of the French strongpoint "Isabelle" further south in the valley. There are several groups of French strongpoints scattered around the map, each one with a female name (all named after the commander - de Castries' - mistresses, according to lore). The map is divided into three divisional sectors (plus a fourth one facing the sub map "Isabelle"). Each sector has several zones that that represent Viet Minh trenches winding from the map edge towards the center of the map. Each hex represents 150 meters and each game turn covers three days. There are 21 turns in the game, but historically, it ended after 19 game turns with a Viet Minh victory. The scale allows a stacking of three French units (usually infantry companies) in a hex, but there are no stacking limits for Viet Minh battalions, which creates a chess feeling.


Three Viet Minh battalions form a regiment and three regiments become a division and there were almost four full divisions in the valley, as well as a full artillery division off map. There was also an equivalent of another three divisions in a replacement pool outside the valley. The French troops were a colorful array of colonial paras, Vietnamese troops, units from French Algeria and Morocco, and, of course, the French Foreign Legion. Some units are of average quality, some are outright terrible, but some are the very best that could be mustered...anywhere.  A French battalion consisted of four companies and there were 12 battalions together with 11 auxiliary light companies at the start of the siege, as well as 16 artillery and mortar batteries, and three tank platoons. Waiting in Hanoi were another five para battalions together with an expected replacement pool of about 14 companies. In neighboring Laos, there were four battalions ready to march and perhaps save the day at the very end.


Combat: The main effort in the game is, of course, the assaults. Each player will conduct two die rolls during the course of an assault to determine the outcome.  The defender first conducts defensive fire in the hopes of inflicting losses, but also to possibly force the attacker abort the assault. The defender’s first die roll is compared to their strength and will show how well they defend (as a positive or negative modifier to the second die roll). The defender’s second die roll (modified from the result of the first die roll, and defensive barrage), is compared to the assaulting unit's morale and will determine the result of the defensive fire.  Providing the assaulting units do not abort, the attacker (who has suffered the effects of the defensive fire) conducts two die rolls.  The attacker’s first die roll is compared to their strength to see how well the assault is conducted (as a positive or negative modifier to the second die roll).  The attacker’s second die roll (modified from the result of the first die roll, and if the defender is shaken), is compared to the defender's morale to see the outcome of the assault.  Other modifications, such as trenches, terrain, support from other units, etc., adjust the strength of a unit and make it stronger or weaker to compare against for the player’s first die rolls.


So, even though many strength modifiers might be in your favor when you make the first roll, you will never know for sure what that result will be and therefore you will never know for sure if the second roll will suffer a positive or negative modification.  Through this, a strong attack may go sour but a weak one may heroically succeed. By rolling two times, you won't be able to quickly calculate your chances with a glance at a single table. You will know what your chances of success should be but you have that damn barrage that may spoil the best laid plans, plus you won’t know if your troops will crumble or stand strong against the incoming fire.

Dien Bien Phu – The Final Gamble, will be as tense and brutal a simulation as was the historical battle that determined the fate of a war as well as shaping the events of things to come.



  • 22" x 34" Game Map
  • 352 - EasyPunch 6/10" Counters
  • 24 pages Game Rules
  • 3 ea. 8.5"x11" Chart and 1 ea. 11"x17" Chart Player Aids


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