Korea, November 1950
After four months of war, it appears that not only the has the communist invasion of South Korea been defeated, but also that the liberation of the northern part of the country is at hand. However, such is not the case.
The victorious U.N. forces, following up MacArthur's masterstroke Inchon landings, were racing up the Korean peninsula, following the defeated North Korean People's Army. Unknown to MacArthur, 400,000 Chinese troops had crossed the Manchurian border and were hiding in the mountains, some even behind the leading U.N. troops! In late November, the Chinese unleashed a surprise attack along the entire frontline, obliterating entire units and causing the rout of most U.N. forces. Most of the 2nd U.S. division was destroyed when a bug-out was caught and ambushed along a narrow road. Probably the most heroic episode of the entire Korean War occurred early on when the U.S. 1st Marine Division, which had been near-constantly attacked at the Chosin Reservoir marched out of the mountains in good order, having engaged and defeated 7 Chinese divisions!
The U.N. forces retreated south of the 38th Parallel and regrouped, closely followed by Communist forces. U.N. replacements poured in and the U.S. Air Force and Navy began to make their presence felt. In the spring, U.S. General Matthew Ridgeway assumed command of all U.N. forces and began counterattacking the badly depleted and out of supply Communist forces, eventually pushing them just north of the 38th Parallel before truce talks began.
Yalu is a tense, competition-oriented game covering the Communist Chinese surprise attack against the U.S.-led U.N. army in the winter of 1950. Units are mostly divisions, with a few regiments and battalions. Ground scale is 10 miles per hex and turns are weekly. Weather plays a predominant role, influencing movement and combat options for both sides. Yalu, like no other game, effectively shows the differences in the opposing sides - Rules of Engagement - the two sides simply feel and play differently.
The Communist player is hampered by an inadequate supply system, but his troops are the masters of mountain movement and infiltration and he must make maximum use of those abilities to successfully cross south of the 38th Parallel to achieve victory. The Communist player is restricted by supply in his ability to attack U.N. units, but sometimes it is better to just go around, without attacking! Guerillas slow down U.N. reinforcements, while Conscripts are used to flesh out attacks, regardless of losses. There is even a little Communist artillery available, if the Communist player wants to spend the effort bringing the ammunition with him!
The U.N. player has a modern, road-bound army and many material assets, including devastating airpower, naval bombardments, artillery and armored assets. His problem is maintaining an intact army against a massive Chinese Army that has surprise, position and manpower on their side. If he can survive the horrendous Korean winter, he might just be able to take the war north again.
Yalu was John Hill's first design and was a test-bed for many of his other game ideas. This is the second edition of Yalu; the first was published in GDW's Conflict Games line in 1977. 2007 marks the 30th anniversary of its initial release and the entire game has been renovated and updated, including all errata from the original and many new tweaks and adjustments. John Hill and developer Todd Davis spent many hours going over the changes, insuring both a high level of historical flavor, smooth game-play and maintaining the game's near 50-50 balance. There are over 20 adjustments to the original game, plus all-new graphics and a full spread of Yalu articles, review and design commentary from past years, plus new Designer's Notes to give you the most complete Yalu package possible.
* 1 22"x34" map
* 342 9/16" counters
* 5 player aid cards
* 1 24-page rulebook / player's guide
* 2 6-sided dice
* 1 full color box and lid