Thursday, August 15, 2013

Things I'm Thinking About

    This evening I was tinkering around with a set of rules I'd found online not too long ago on the Angel Barracks website.  The rules are for 6mm Sci-fi skirmish; of course I'm a 10mm historical (or at least plausible/possible, but we'll get to that).  When I'd first downloaded them I sort of skimmed them and really didn't think too much of them.  But today I sat down and read through them, and this is exactly the sort of stuff I'm looking for.  The rules are quick, easy, straight to the point, and look like they'll give a good game.  I did a little (very, very little) tinkering, and I think tomorrow night I'm going to have a go at a one man per base solo skirmish game with these rules.  I'm looking at roughly a squad per side (Germans and Brits), somewhere in France, summer, 1944.  Depending on how it goes (and how quick it goes), I'd like to add in tanks, guns, and softskins to see if the rules work out.  I will be certain to take pics and get it up here.

    Of course Chain of Command is inside of a week away, and I'm really looking forward to them.  Having said that, I do have some reservations regarding solo play; it seems the use of the CoC dice in particular to thwart your foe's plans/enhance yours might be particularly hard to pull of in a solo game.  Either way, there are several other mechanisms (primarily the pre-game recon with jump-off points and the way dice are used for command and control/activation) I can't wait to take a look at.

    But what I really wanted to get on paper(screen?) tonight is the 'special project' I've referenced a couple times.  For all the purely historical folks out there, please don't get upset, I will continue to be largely purely historical.  And I'm not going fantasy or sci-fi, just looking at some what-if/speculative/imagiNation (and looking for some input/feedback).

    So, maybe two months ago I found this blog, "The 6mm Republic of Prussia," .  I read post after post regarding this made up country with its made up leadership and made up military in made up military confrontations, and I tell ya, I ate it up.  I'd often seen on TMP these imagiNations, but they were always set in the 17th and 18th centuries and, while cool, not really up my alley, and I didn't really see or understand what was so attractive about the concept.  But I tell you, reading about the New Prussia sending its military all over the world to fight struck a chord.  I love the idea of the freedom that it provides, i.e., the ability to take whatever minis I have and whatever minis I want to get (just because they look cool) and throw them into a military who's design, doctrine, structure, and traditions are whatever I want them to be certainly seems pretty cool.  It allows you to fight wherever you want against whomever you want.  And so I'm looking at pursuing this here on this very blog (I've already spent a bunch of money on new minis just for this).

    The first thing I needed to do is figure out a setting for home base. Now, I'm not looking to step too far outside the realm of reality/possibility, so naturally  thought of some of the former Soviet Republics, other eastern European hotspots (the Balkans are always popular).  The Middle East seems perpetually in turmoil; I looked real hard at a Lebanese Civil War, but found it hard to use that as a base for worldwide operations (one of my goals).  I threw around visions of a militarily dominant South Africa policing the dark continent, then worldwide, or maybe even a return to Rhodesia, maybe as a revolution.  I thought about a resurgent, perhaps, split away Rome or Greek city state (based on the former martial tradition/ability of Rome and Sparta), I even messed around with something in Cyprus.  Nothing in Asia/Pacific or South America really seemed to be what I was looking for.  For awhile I even countenanced a financially broke United States essentially establishing a 'Foreign Legion.'  I still kinda like that idea, actually.

    From a 'story-telling' standpoint I wanted to start with a bang, a revolution, but I wanted it to not be something that dragged on forever, although it could, so long as it didn't interfere with my new country's ability to send military forces worldwide in support of whatever national interests I could come up with.  I wanted them to have a decent fighting force (not a bunch of peasants with pitchforks) for the initial fight and to serve as cadre and leadership as the force expands and starts operating on the world stage.  I'm not much for the role-playing aspect of gaming but I think it would be cool to have some characters and be able to follow them through a military career.  These guys would be my good guys to go and fight bad guys all over the world (wherever it's convenient and cool for me as a gamer).

    I'm still open to new ideas about a 'home-base,' but I think I've got it, as well as a concept of operations.  I'm thinking Cuba.  We all know Bay of Pigs, '63, and my concept is essentially the Cuban liberation movement has been biding its time since then.  As 1983 came and went with the US intervention in Grenada but no further action against Cuba, the Cuban Liberation Front and it's military wing, the Cuban Liberation  Army (CLA), based in Florida, decides it's time to prepare for a second invasion of Cuba, without support from the US.  The CLA starts recruiting ethnic, ideologically-sympathetic men in various militaries (primarily the US) as well as encouraging its new members to join the military in order to gain training and experience.  This goes on until early 1990 (delayed because several of the CLA were in the US military intervention in Panama) when its time to invade Cuba again to overthrow Castro.

    Unconventional warfare teams were inserted in fall '89 to begin paving the way, with the regulars ("Special Operations") conducting the invasion in early 1990 (maybe even at the Bay of Pigs again).  So I get a bunch of gaming in regarding the revolution, and when I'm ready for that to be finished, I've got a couple options immediately.  First, I (ahistorically) put a young paratroop officer in charge of Venezuela that's buddies with Castro and doesn't want to see him go, even sends some troops to Cuba during the revolution to try to prop Castro up.  So I think this can be an ongoing 'cold war' between Cuba and Venezuela, and even going conventional/hot via border confrontations between Venezuela and Colombia.  This also works because I see Cuba being very tight with Mexico and Colombia fighting the drug cartels, another venue for me to do some cool stuff in Mexico, Colombia, and maritime interdiction in the Caribbean.  

    Second, in mid-90 Saddam invaded Kuwait; I figure if I can wrap the revolution up by the fall of 90, what with the US wanting every country in the free world to contribute to the coalition and the desert and Cuba's striving to gain some international notoriety, I see Cubans serving in the liberation of Kuwait (where there will probably be some a-historically heavy fighting).  I want to stir up some acrimony between Cuba and Iran as well, so I've been thinking about sparking an incident on the Iran-Iraq border, or maybe a maritime interdiction in the Gulf that goes wrong to spark an incident.  Then Hizbollah, as a proxy, bombs a Cuban embassy somewhere.  Following the Gulf War, I can definitely see Cubans in Somalia in 93 with the US/UN, and maybe some Rwanda and Liberia in the mid-90s as well, possibly some Balkans (both peace-keeping and war criminal hunting)?  Again, in all these cases, I'm willing to have some a-historical heavy fighting in order to have some interesting wargames.

    I mentioned the ongoing drug wars and border war between Colombia and Venezuela (I'm seeing this in the 99-00 time frame, with heavy fighting and a lot of Cuban conventional forces).  I've been thinking about using Somalia in 93 as a baseboard for Cuba to assert itself on the African continent; I can see in the late 90s some friction between Namibia and South Africa, with Cuba trying to be a peace broker but Angola inflaming the situation.  Cuba, maybe sort of wanting to make up for sins of the past, teams up with South Africa to go hand Angola its a$$.  

    I was also thinking of some Intifada-type stuff for Israel in the 90's, but focusing on Hizbollah in Lebanon (as opposed to PLO/Hamas in Gaza and the strip), and, with Cuba's desire for revenge regarding the embassy bombing, Cuba sends troops into an Israeli-led incursion into Lebanon (maybe again in 06 for Cast Lead?).

    Of course following 9/11, Cuba is right there with the US going into Afghanistan, and again in 03 for OIF.  As a matter of fact, I think as member of the Global Counter-Terrorism Task Force, between the years 01 and maybe 06, Cubans end up all over the world; PI, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, etc...  I even had a funny idea about Cuban forces being present in Georgia for a training exercise when the Soviets, I mean the Russian went in and waxed them.  Of course as we get to the present we've got Libya, Mali, and Syria on the real-life side, along with anything I might want to make up.

    In other words, in my head I've got conventional fighting with amphibious, armored, airborne, air assault, and special operations forces in South America, the Middle East, Europe (Balkans), and Africa.  I've got Special Operations, Maritime interdiction, and unconventional warfare in South, Central, and North America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.  I'll have good guys from different units with varying missions in varying uniforms fighting all sorts of organizationally and doctrinally different bad guys, pretty much with whatever equipment I want, wherever I want.  With enough stamina, there's an unending supply of wargames here, in which no scenario is off limits.  With the differing conflicts you could even use different rules; skirmish, one-man is one-man rules for spec ops direct actions missions, Chain of Command/Disposable Heroes style rules for a couple platoons vs a couple platoons, and BKC/FOW style rules for mechanized clashes in Iraq in 91 and 03 and with Venezuela and Angola in the mid-90s.  This is genius (the concept, not my idea).

    So, what do you guys think?  Am I crazy?  Better yet, do you have any better/more scenario/conflict ideas?

    I probably should have done this up front, but this will have to do: HERE IS MY POLITICAL/SOCIAL/ECONOMIC DISCLAIMER: I have nothing against anyone or any country, I don't really know much about Cuba, I'm not trying to disrespect or offend anyone, I am simply trying to create an imaginary world with a limited foothold in reality in order to provide myself with a suitable wargaming environment.

    Administratively, everything is going to be Pendraken and Minifigs, with the vast majority coming from Pendraken's Falklands range.  I'm thinking the Pendraken Argentinians will serve as my Castro Cubans, Venezuelans, Iraqis, and Angolans.  I'll be using the SAS and Argie SF for a lot of different terrorists and drug cartels.  I think the Falklands Brits will be a lot of my Cuban Expeditionary Forces (to Colombia, Iraq, the Balkans, and Angola), although the CLA Revolution forces will be Pendraken US and Australian Vietnam ranges.  Overall, I think I already have most of the vehicles I'll want/need for this (see my 10mm Modern post from a couple days ago). 



  1. Jack,
    I've gamed imaginations my entire wargaming career. I think the only thing I haven't is WW2.

    You have a lot of good ideas. You need to figure out which will give you the most enjoyment, and the most staying power, i.e., you don't get bored with it quickly and has the potential for a lot of twists and turns.

    I don't have a blog that is solely dealing with my modern imagiNation, but its pretty extensive.


  2. Dude! Gambusia, eh? I love it! Of course, 6mm is too small for me, I'm going with the humongous 10mm for my ImagiNation ;) Seriously, I love the concept and the vintage (I don't like being 'too' modern, I want somewhat old-fashioned going at it, so I love your M-41s and M-48s, That's pretty wild that you've gone large-scale war (Spearhead). My Cubans are too poor for that scale of conflict.

    Your blog gave me one great idea and one not so great (regarding the fact I am just starting this project and already you're putting another one in my head).

    The great idea is naming units; I don't know why I didn't think of that, and especially using somewhat Napoleonic terms (Hussars, Cuirassiers, Dragoons), it's genius.

    The not so great idea is, I have an affinity for the South Pacific. Another idea I have floating around is this: I'm thinking some made up land like Gambusia, an erstwhile ally/puppet of the US. The time is the 1950's, and my little island-chain haven is the US's foil against the spread of Communism in the Pacific. My islands use nothing but former USMC and USN gear; I'm seeing green dungarees with 'brown-side out' helmet covers, M-1 Garands, Carbines, BARs, M1919s, Sherman tanks, coming ashore in landing craft and Alligators, supported by Corsairs and Helldivers and naval gunfire from Fletcher class destroyers. I can also see PT boats in nightly action as well. True Land-Air-Sea battle. If you're wondering why I don't just play WW2 in the Pacific, well, it's not as 'romantic' a notion (there was nothing romantic about the Marines Corps' fight in the Pacific), and, from a gaming standpoint, there's not really any back and forth (they didn't know it at the time, but in retrospect, after Guadalcanal/Midway the US suffered lots of casualties but never a real setback.

    Great blog.