One-Hour Skirmish Wargames in Vietnam

I was asked which rules I would use for my Vietnam wargaming. I decided to give the “One-Hour skirmish wargames” rules by John Lambshead a tryIMG_4961

The game is a true one figure is one soldier game. Meaning the smallest maneuver unit is not a platoon or squad but a single soldier. The game doesn’t use dice but ordinary playing cards ( think poker) to introduce randomness . I try to show a few turns of a game I played the other night as an example.

You need two complete sets of playing cards including jokers , one for each side.

I drew a 7 clubs for the VC and a 5 clubs for the US to find out who goes first in the first turn. As the VC won they go first. Next the VC player draws a card to determine how many actions he has. He drew a 8 clubs so 8 actions.


The first action is to shoot at a US Marine up on the cliff . shooting comes from the VC in the middle of the picture. The VC player draws a card from his deck, a 9 clubs. The US player draws a card from his deck a 6 club. As the VC card is higher the Marine is hit and the figure is turned on the side.


That was the first action spend. 7 left.

Next another VC soldier shoots on another Marine.

IMG_4967  IMG_4968

The VC player draws a 10 clubs the US player a 7 clubs the marine is another casualty and the miniature is turned on the side.


Another action spend 6 to go. next the same soldier shoots again . As he spend an action before he needs to spend two actions for this.

IMG_4970 IMG_4971

The VC player draws a 7 spade the US one a 8 clubs . As spades are higher the clubs ( Spade, hear, diamond, clubs) the VC wins again ! Another US casualty.


For actions for the VC player left. Next another firefight. The VC shoots on jet another US Marine.

IMG_4973 IMG_4974

2 Spade for the VC , 9 heart for the Marine , pups another US casualty.


The rest of the actions left are used for a bit of relocation of the VC miniatures. A soldier can move 6 inches per action.

So now its the US players phase of the 1st turn as the VC spend all action points or didn’t want to do more this turn.

The US player draws a 10 heart , so he has 10 actions !

IMG_4979 IMG_4980

First action is to shoot on a VC on the cliff. As the Marine shooting is armed with a M60 he draws two cards and discards the lower one. The VC player draws one Card.


The VC card is the queen of hearts , The US player has the 4 spades and the 3 clubs , he discards the 3 clubs card. As Spades are higher then hearts the VC soldier is hit and turned on the side.


The rest of the action points is spend on moving Marines into better positions as there are no clear lines of fire this turn.

That ends the US phase of the first turn. Now the Morale phase for both players starts.

Every player draws a card from his deck for the figures lying on the side ( casualties). If the card is a heart or diamond one ( red cards) the figure is removed from the game. The soldier is severely wounded or KIA. If the card is a spade or clubs ( black cards) the figure is set upright again. He was only gone to ground because of the enemy fire. The figure can used as normal in the next turn.

IMG_4987  A dead VC.


A surviving VC.

This concludes the first Move. The game flows very easily and quick . All the weapons used in Vietnam can be represented from the M16 or M60 up to the Blooper or a mortar everything is possible. Vehicles tracked and wheeled are also included. The only missing asset is the chopper, I have to think something up for this iconic piece of equipment.

All in all a fast paced game like a Hollywood movie! Recommended !


4 thoughts on “One-Hour Skirmish Wargames in Vietnam

  1. Just to let you know. I read your post after wondering exactly the question you posed about rulesets. I used Cold War Commander years ago to try some Vietnam games. For a skirmish though that was never going to work. Anyway, I enjoyed reading about the one hour skirmish ruleset enough to order a copy. Just finished it and have to agree it seems excellent. Just enough rules to allow a narrative game to still tell a story. Looking forward to trying it out when my game space is back up and running. Thanks for sharing a great little find.


  2. I realize this is super late, but you have figured out that the suits are used as a tiebreaker when the cards have the same number?


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