Note: Sovereign of Discord is compatible with the First and Second Edition of Fire in the Lake, as well as the Second Edition Upgrade Kit. The Solitaire System included in Sovereign of Discord is for the Sovereign of Discord only, and cannot be used to play the Scenarios included in Fire in the Lake.
January 1961, South Vietnam: A month earlier, in Tay Ninh Province, bands of communist cadres, uprising peasants, and other armed groups formed the unified “National Liberation Front” insurgency against the Saigon Regime, an insurgency now more commonly known as the Viet Cong. After the passing of Resolution 15 in North Vietnam, assistance is flowing south, although the amount of assistance is hotly debated between Moderates and Militants of the Politburo in Hanoi.
The National Liberation Front’s opponent, the South Vietnamese government under President Ngo Dinh Diem, is intensely hunting both communist cadres and any enemies of the regime. In November of the previous year, Diem only narrowly outmaneuvered a coup by his own Airborne units and now faces rising violence in the countryside. A new US president, John F. Kennedy, assumes office facing a number of Cold War crises. There are currently 600 American personnel in South Vietnam, and the showdown is about to begin.
Building off of Mark Herman and Volko Runke’s legendary game Fire in the Lake, the Sovereign of Discord Expansion provides a prequel to the events depicted in the base game, covering the years 1961-1963. The expansion allows players to see how the war escalated from an insurgency between ARVN and Viet Cong, assisted by the US and North Vietnam, to the eventual conventional interventions by North Vietnam and the United States at the start of the base game. New scenarios allow players to extend the game backward to 1961 right after the formation of the Viet Cong, or to 1963 during the tumultuous last year of the Diem regime. Players owning both expansions, Sovereign of Discord and Fall of Saigon, will be able to experience the full Indochina War from 1961 to 1975. This allows players to see how the war evolved from the lower intensity insurgency of the Diem period all the way to the massive conventional offensives of the last years of the war. A copy of Fire in the Lake will be necessary to play the Sovereign of Discord expansion.
New mechanics are introduced to reflect the war prior to escalation by the US and North Vietnam and the unique aspects of the Diem Regime:
In addition to extending Fire in the Lake back to the early 1960s, Sovereign of Discord also includes additional bonus content for the base game:
The title for this prequel expansion comes from the chapter on Diem in Francis Fitzgerald’s Fire in the Lake. Although a classic book on the Vietnam War, there has been a new wave of scholarship over the last two decades that have added significant nuance to the period covered by the expansion. This new scholarship, relying on Vietnamese language sources, gives a much better perspective of the Vietnamese factions (see the expansion BGG page for recommended reading). A goal of the expansion is to synthesize this newer scholarship for the player, given the lack of previous attention to this earlier period of the war in wargaming and older histories. For those looking for a quick introduction to the period covered by the expansion, episode two of Ken Burn’s The Vietnam War, “Riding the Tiger,” covers 1961 to 1963.
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