Strategy & Tactics issue no. 269 Game Title

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Strategy & Tactics issue no. 269
Game Title: Falklands Showdown
Date of Publication: JUN-JUL 2011
Strategy & Tactics Press, PO Box 21598, Bakersfield, CA 93390
Decision Games hereby grants permission for its customers to download and/or print copies of this file for their personal use. Discussion folders for this game are located on the S&T Press discussion board.

1.0 Introduction

2.0 Components

3.0 Set Up & Area Control

4.0 How to Win

5.0 Sequence of Play

6.0 Stacking

7.0 operations phases

8.0 submarine Movement phases

9.0 Movement

10.0 Combat

11.0 Random Events


Design:Philip Sharp

Development & Final Rules Editing: Ty Bomba

Playtesting: Ty Bomba, Tom Buhrman, Bob Eubanks, Chris Heinzmann, Joe Lott, Chris Perello & Philip Sharp

Game Map: Joe Youst

Counters: Larry Hoffman

Production: Callie Cummins & C.J. Doherty

© 2011 Decision Games
Bakersfield, CA.
Made & printed in the USA.
1.0 Introduction

Falklands Showdown: The 1982 Anglo-Argentine War (FS) is a strategic/operational simulation of the war that took place between Argentina (AR) and the United Kingdom (UK) in 1982. It’s a two-player wargame of intermediate complexity. It begins with Argentina in control of the Falkland Islands and UK forces approaching to try to retake them.
1.2 Scale

Aircraft counters generally represent four aircraft of one particular type. Ground-unit (a.k.a. land-unit) counters represent infantry battalions (500 to 600 men), armored reconnaissance squadrons (eight to 12 vehicles and their crews), a heavy machinegun company (120 men with heavy machineguns), and special forces teams (25 to 50 men). Ship and submarine counters each represent one vessel.

Note that, for convenience in handling within the game system, many of the smaller naval vessels that historically participated on each side have been combined with larger vessels of their same types. Each turn represents between one to three days, depending on the current operational tempo.
2.0 Components

The components of a complete game of FS include these rules, the map and 141 die-cut counters. Players must provide themselves with a six-sided die to resolve combat and other probabilistic events in the game.

2.2 Maps

The full-game-map consists of two area-boundary maps drawn so as to delineate sea and land areas across the South Atlantic region and within the Falkland Islands. The Strategic Map is used to track the movement and location of naval vessels and their cargoes, as well as aircraft, when they’re not within the immediate area of the Falkland Islands.

Sea Areas 6 and 7, as well as the Falklands Islands Sea Area itself, constitute the “Total Exclusion Zone” or “TEZ”; see 4.4(1) and 4.4(2) for its significance. The AR range-line marks the farthest distance various AR land-based aircraft can reach when basing from Argentina (see 9.4). The entire landmass of mainland Argentina constitutes an unassailable air and naval base for that nation’s planes and ships.

The Tactical Map in nothing more than a convenient blow-up of the Strategic Map’s Falkland Islands Sea Area. It magnifies the water and land immediately around Port Stanley, which is the strategic nexus of the game. On the Tactical Map all the water is considered to be one continuous sea area despite the irregularity of the various individual island’s coastlines. Units in the Falkland Island Sea Area on the Strategic Map are considered simultaneously deployed on the Tactical Map and vice versa. Move the counters within that area back and forth between the two maps in order to best facilitate play as various operations are performed.

2.3 Counters

There are 141 unit-counters in the game, most representing military units and vessels. Others are provided as memory and informational markers. Only punch out the counters after first reading these rules in their entirety at least once. Each combat unit-counter displays several pieces of information: nationality, type, combat strengths and historic identification.


Both nations’ forces are identified by their background colors.

Argentine (AR) Units—
blue background
United Kingdom (UK) Units—
red background

2.5 Unit Identification

Every unit is identified by its historic number and/or name. Every surface ship and submarine is identified by name. Where feasible, the full name of the unit is shown. In cases where that wasn’t feasible, the following abbreviations have been used.

AR Ship Names

25 dM—25 de Mayo

ADG—Almirante Domecq Garica

Bel—General Belgrano

CP—Commodoro Py

CSA—Cabo San Antonio




HB—Hipolito Bouchard


PB—Piedra Buena


Seg—Commodoro Segui

SF—Santa Fe

SL—San Luis



UK Ship Names


ACn—Atlantic Conveyor






























QE2—Queen Elizabeth II







AR Ground Units


UK Ground Units

B&R—Blues & Royals




SG—Scotts Guards

WG—Welsh Guards
2.6 Unit Types

All combat counters have an icon or unit-type symbol located in their centers. That identifies what kind of unit it is, by ship or aircraft or ground unit type. The right side of a land-unit displays the unit’s historic identification. The top-right of aircraft counters shows the type of aircraft each represents. Each naval vessel has its name to the right of its image. Ship counters, in addition to their names and icons also carry the following abbreviations to identify their general type.

Naval Vessel Types

A—Amphibious Assault


CVL—Light Aircraft Carrier

D—Destroyer or Frigate or Corvette


Ground-Unit Types
Special Forces
Heavy Machinegun
Armored Reconnaissance

Aircraft Types

A4—A4 Skyhawk

Cnbra—Canberra Bomber

Dgr—Dagger (Mirage 5)

M3—Mirage 3

Spr Ent—Super Entendard

Puc—IA 58 Pucara

2.7 Combat Factors

Combat units have four separate combat factors: anti-ground (upper-left); anti-aircraft (upper-right); anti-submarine (lower-left); and anti-surface ship (lower-right). A unit’s “anti-ground” combat factor is used by that unit when it fires at an enemy ground unit. A unit’s “anti-aircraft” combat factor is used by that unit when it fires at an enemy aircraft unit. A unit’s “anti-submarine” combat factor is used by that unit when it fires at an enemy submarine. A unit’s “anti-surface ship” combat factor is used by that unit when it fires at an enemy surface ship unit. The units’ various combat factors are, in essence, “hit numbers.” That is, if a given unit with, say, a combat factor of two, is attacking an enemy unit (of the appropriate type for that combat factor), that enemy unit is “hit” on a die roll result of two or one (the hit number or less). For more details see section 10.0.

2.8 Step Strength

A “step” describes the overall ability of a given unit to absorb some certain amount of punishment (hits) in combat prior to being eliminated from play. All Argentine units contain only one step. All UK units other than special forces contain two steps. UK special forces units each contain only one step. Note that damaged (“reduced” or “hit”) UK units may be returned to full step-strength during the course of a game by means of a deliberately chosen operation. That’s not true for any AR units, nor is it true for fully eliminated UK units. When a full-strength two-step UK unit suffers a hit, show that by placing a “Hit” marker on it.

2.9 Other Counters
The uses of the following counters are explained at appropriate points throughout the rest of the rules.
UK Operations Remaining (see section 5.0)
Operation Black Buck Marker (see 9.1, Op #8)
UK & AR Decisive Leadership Markers (see 11.3, events 4-1, 4-2 & 4-3)
Land-Based Exocet Marker (see 11.3, event 6-4)
Hit Marker (see 2.7 & section 10.0)
AR Stealth Missions Remaining Marker (see 10.5)
Victory Point Marker (see section 4.0)

3.0 Set Up & Control


After you’ve decided who will command which side, each player should sort through and separate all the units belonging to his own side. Both AR and UK units have their initial deployments printed on their reverse sides. The AR player sets up his side’s forces first.

3.2 AR Set Up

All AR units with area locations printed on their reverse sides should be stacked within those places on the maps (AR = mainland Argentina).

3.3 UK Set Up

The UK starting force is placed in Sea Area 4, with the special forces (SF) unit loaded onboard the Hermes as noted. The two UK submarines, Spartan and Splendid, are placed in any one or two of the three sea areas within the TEZ on the Strategic Map.

3.4 Reinforcements

Those UK units not shown as starting the game in play are reinforcements. There are six groups of UK reinforcements (labeled “R1” through “R6” on their reverse sides. See 7.1, Op #6 for details on their arrival into play. UK ground unit reinforcements enter the map pre-loaded onto specific ships, as noted on the reverse of those ground unit counters. There are only three possible AR reinforcement units. See 7.1, Op #2 for details on their arrival into play.

3.5 Initial Marker Placement

Place the UK Operations Remaining marker in the “30” box on that track. Place the victory point (VP) marker (positive side up) in the “8” box of the VP Track. All other markers are set aside for future use.

3.6 Area Control

The sea areas on both maps are never “controlled” by either player; it’s possible for units of both sides to be co-located in the same sea area at the same time and even to move through each other. All land areas of the Falklands Islands begin the game under Argentine control, as does the South Georgia Holding Box. The control status of the various land areas on the Tactical Map has bearing on determining the winner of the game (see section 4.0) and on the use of airfields within them.

Each land area on the Tactical Map is said to be “controlled” by the AR or UK side, or they may be “contested.” A land area is contested if both sides simultaneously have one or more ground units in it. A contested or enemy controlled land area comes under your control the instant your side is the only one to have one or more ground units in it.
The control status of a given land area may change any number of times during play. The control status of the land areas on the Tactical Map in no way affects the sea area status or operability of the Falkland Islands Sea Area on the Strategic Map. Also note that even though sea areas can’t be controlled, the concept of being “contested” does apply to them. At the start of play, the AR player controls all land areas on the map.
Design Note. There are no “zones of control” in this game. (If you don’t know what that term means, don’t worry about it.)

3.7 South Georgia Holding Box

The South Georgia Holding Box on the Strategic Map represents South Georgia Island and its surrounding waters, which is actually located 700 miles southeast of the Falklands (via Sea Area 5). At the start of the game it’s under Argentinean control; however, no AR units may be moved into or out of that box except submarines. If/when South Georgia is captured by the UK the UK player may thereafter make use of it as a ship repair facility for the rest of the game. Note that the box is neither a sea nor a land area; it is a holding box with its own special rules. For more details, see rule 7.1, Ops 4 & 5, rule 4.4(2), rule 6.4, rule 9.1 and rule 9.7.

4.0 How to Win


Throughout the game, both players will jointly and openly keep track of the number of victory points (VP) on that track on the mapsheet. As the AR player scores (always positive) VP, he will add them to the total shown on the track. As the UK player scores VP (always negative), he will add them to the total shown on the track. At the end of play, the final number of VP shown on the track (positive or zero or negative) will likely have bearing on determining the winner of the game.

4.2 UK Victory Precondition

In order to be able to win the war, and possibly also the game, the UK player must be in control of the Port Stanley area when he finishes his last operation (exception: see 4.5 below). When that last UK operation is completed, play stops and “competitive game victory” is reckoned on the basis of the victory points (VP) described below. That is, since Port Stanley is the only locale in the Falklands through which an occupying force can be kept supplied over the course of the coming winter, by securing it the UK player has indeed won the war. The two players will then use the VP system to measure their accomplishments as commanders in relation to each other in order to determine which of them has won the game in that sense. Of course, except as given in 4.5, if the UK player fails to control Port Stanley, there is no VP reckoning: in such cases the AR player has won both the war and the game.

4.3 Surrender

If at anytime you see that to continue the fight would be useless, you may concede the game and the war to your opponent.

4.4 Gaining & Losing VP

The game starts with eight positive VP recorded on the track printed on the mapsheet. VP are instantly scored and recorded according to the following list.

1) The AR player will add one positive VP to the overall VP total every time a UK operation is completed and, at that instant, there are no UK surface ships in any of the three sea areas within the Total Exclusion Zone. That’s one point, total, for having all UK surface ships out of all three of those areas simultaneously. This VP may potentially be scored at the end of each UK operation throughout the game. Submarines never count for this.
2) The AR player will add one or two positive VP to the overall VP total for every AR ship sunk in any sea areas other than those within the Total Exclusion Zone and in the South Georgia Holding Box. Note, though, these VP aren’t scored during the operation when random event 4-1/4-2/4-3 is in effect. The AR ships 25 de Mayo and the Belgrano each yield two VP; all other AR ships each yield one VP.
3) The UK player will add one or two negative VP to the overall VP total for every AR ship sunk within the Total Exclusion Zone or South Georgia Holding Box. The AR ships 25 de Mayo and Belgrano each yield two VP; all other AR ships each yield one VP.
4) The AR player will add two positive VP to the overall VP total whenever and wherever he sinks any of the following UK ships: Hermes, Invincible, Fearless, Intrepid, Canberra, QE2 and Atlantic Conveyor. Note, however, that the points for the Conveyor are only scored if that ship is sunk prior to rendezvousing with the Hermes and Invincible (see 10.9). He scores one positive VP for each sinking of other UK ships and submarines not in the forgoing list.

5) The UK player will add four negative VP to the overall VP total when he takes control of the Port Stanley area. Similarly, he will add one negative VP, each, when he takes control of any of the following areas: Goose Green, Fox Bay, Port Howard, and Pebble Island. If the AR player manages to recapture any VP area, he immediately adds back the corresponding number (one or four) of positive VP to the overall total. These territorial control points may be traded back and forth throughout the game any number of times.
6) For further VP awards,
see rule 7.1, operation two.
4.5 Sudden Death Victory

If the VP tally ever reaches +20, play stops immediately and the AR player is declared the winner of the war and the game at that time. If the VP tally ever reaches -5, play stops immediately and the UK player is declared the winner of the war and the game at that time. Note that this rule supercedes the Port Stanley capture precondition given above in rule 4.2.

4.6 Competitive “Game Victory” Determination

When the UK player has completed his last operation, provided he controls Port Stanley at that time, play stops and the players determine who led the best overall effort. If the VP tally is at zero or is in negative numbers, the UK player has won the competitive game. If the VP tally is in positive numbers, the AR player has won.

4.7 Play Balance

The typical reaction to those new to the game is the Argentineans can’t possibly win when It’s played between two opponents of approximately equal skill levels. If you feel that to be the case, use this method to determine who will command the British side: prior to starting set up, both players should take a piece of paper and secretly write down on it a number of their own choosing between “1” and “30.” That done, both players simultaneously reveal their numbers to each other. Those written figures represent the number of operations each player is willing to use as his starting count while commanding the British. So, for example, if one player wrote “27” and the other wrote “25,” the player who wrote that lower number would command the British. That game would then finish, and victory in it be reckoned, when the British player had conducted 25, rather than the normal 30, operations. If the numbers written down turn out to be the same, flip a coin to break to break that tie.

5.0 Turn Sequence

Every turn of FS is divided into five sequenced steps (or “phases”). At the end of each turn’s Phase V, begin the turn sequence over again. When the UK player has used up his last operation, immediately stop play and determine victory as described above in section 4.0. Every operation conducted by a player must be carried out during the appropriate part of the turn sequence given below. Once a player has finished a particular operation or other activity, he may not redo it unless his opponent graciously permits it.

5.2 Turn Sequence

The turn sequence is listed below and on the mapsheet. Each turn is divided into the following phases.

I. UK Operations Phase

II. AR Operations Phase

III. UK Submarine Phase

IV. AR Submarine Phase

V. Random Event Phase

Each time the UK player completes an operation (see section 7.0), he should move the “UK Operations Remaining” marker to the next-lower-numbered box on that track on the mapsheet. When that’s done, the AR player then executes his own side’s Operations Phase. Note there’s never any keeping track of the number of AR operations that have been expended. Keep working through the turns according to the outline above until the UK player has expended his final operation. At that time play stops; the game is over, and the victor is determined. Note that means the last turn will be truncated, ending immediately with the completion of its first phase.


Random Event 1-1/1-5 is in effect at the start of the first turn.

6.0 Stacking, Basing & Transporting Units

“Stacking” is the term used to describe the piling of more than one unit of your own side into a given area, or at an airbase within a given area, at the same time. In some cases there is a limit to the number of units you may stack in any one locale at the same time. There’s never a limit on the number of naval vessels (surface and/or submarine) that may be located in the same sea area at one time. There is also no limit on the number of land units that may be located in the land area at one time.

6.2 Naval Transport & Airbase Limits
1) Every surface ship has the ability to transport one friendly SF unit. The UK submarine Onyx may transport the SBS special forces unit; no other submarine of either side may transport ground units.
2) Both players may transport friendly units aboard their own side’s transport and amphibious assault vessels. The maximums those vessels may transport are shown on their counters in terms of steps for the UK and in terms whole-units for the AR. Notice that Elk, Fearless and Intrepid have an oval armor symbol on them. That means they’re able to carry the B&R mechanized unit, and they’re the only transports able to do so. The amphibious assault ships Fearless and Intrepid can each carry up to five steps. The AR amphibious assault ship Cabo San Antonio can carry up to two units (only infantry, heavy machinegun and SF). The Atlantic Conveyor, though a transport, never carries any actual units; see 10.9 for details.
3) Port Stanley airbase can base a total of three AR aircraft counters.

4) Goose Green and Pebble Island airbases can each base a total of two AR aircraft counters.
6.3 Falkland Islands Airbases

On the Tactical Map, the AR player may base his side’s aircraft units from the bases there up to the specified counter limits. If an airbase area becomes contested, he may continue to use the base in that area until the instant the area goes over to UK control. At that time the AR player must perform emergency rebasing (see 9.6). The entire Tactical Map is in range of all aircraft units based anywhere on it.

6.4 South Georgia Holding Box UK Stacking Limit

UK units may stack any number of any types of units in the South Georgia Holding Box. The AR player may only have submarines (unlimited) in the box.

6.5 Transporting Units in Ships

Ground units may generally only go to sea in “A” or “T” transport ships of their own side. For the exception, see 6.2(1) above. Each such carrying unit has its carrying capacity noted on its counter as described above in 6.2(2). To show a unit is being transported, place the transported unit beneath the ship counter. While at sea, transported units are for all purposes considered an inseparable part of the unit transporting them. That is, if their transporting unit comes under attack, no separate attacks are made against the transported units; they simply and fully share the fate of that transporting unit. Transported units may remain at sea for any length of time. If/when a ship is used to deliver ground units to an amphibious invasion (that is, to either an enemy controlled or contested land area), that ship isn’t subject to fire from the enemy units defending there during that action. Also see 6.2(1) and 6.2(2) above, and 10.4. Note that arriving UK units have their initial carrying ship printed on their reverse sides (but also see Op #12).
6.6 No Fog of War

Both players are always free to examine all the units of both sides on both maps, including reinforcements not yet entered into play.

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