Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Behind the Scenes of the Mugabia/Uwanda War

I've been working on the next phase of the Mugabia/Uwanda War today, working out the details and contingencies for upcoming battles, which got me to thinking about some of the plans, expectations, surprises, and near misses that have occurred during this game.  After thinking a bit, I thought I'd share some of this with readers...

I've been fighting the Mugabia/Uwanda War for about six years now, but the game calendar has actually only progressed about a year (funny, I thought it would be the other way around).  In that year of game time, there have been 18 battles, involving two national armies and 4 other factions/organizations.

I actually have eleven armies and factions for use in the game, and have built or designed many additional game pieces that have not come into play.  This is because the direction of the game has actually been dictated by what I call the Fate Tables.  A collection of mostly hand written randomizing tables that decide future directions and events in the game.

After each battle, the Fate Tables are adjusted or weighted (or sometimes not)  by the results of the battle and consulted for the direction of each side.  For example, the offensive that resulted in AARs 8, 9, 10, and 11 was dictated by the die roll, with details of the attacks and forces being decided by other factors.  At one point, Mugabian battlefield failures almost resulted in a coup, the die roll was a couple percent off.  But after the results of battles 15 through 18, Mugabian political stability is somewhat higher.

After AAR11, the ULF rolled to establish a more independent identity by taking more initiative, simultaneously, the tables dictated that Mugabia would encourage the ULF to act more aggressively to force Uwanda to respond more violently.  This could have the effect of generating greater unity in the ULF cause, and possibly generate Russian, Cuban, or Chinese direct support per the Fate Tables.  Uwanda continuously lobbies for UN, US, UK and/or French help, but thus far, the die rolls just haven't gone that way.

A number of near misses have occurred though.  The Mugabian coup was two percent away from happening, and would have resulted in Mugabian irregular and/or Army troops attacking the Presidential Palace and Presidential guard.  Would have been some interesting battles.  Irregular forces, other revolutionaries and ULF forces would have picked sides based on Fate Table results.  Soviet, Cuban, or  UN forces could have been called in also.

The massive losses of aircraft in the battles described in AAR10 resulted in possible Uwandan aircav /air-mobile raids on Mugabian airbases, and a possible raid on the presidential palace to be postponed. 

A wide number of small air intercepts have almost happened, including visiting Soviet Mig 23s almost intercepting patrolling Uwandan aircraft.  That incident could have likely brought about further Soviet involvement, or western response, but the dice missed the mark.

The Cuban advisers that have been helping to train the Mugabians, and to a lesser degree ULF leadership,  just missed the tabletop in AAR15, and at the objective in AAR17.  But the Uwandan loss in AAR15 allowed the Cubans to withdraw prior to the repeat attack at the objective.  And the failure in AAR17 resulted in the Cubans not being needed.

A lot of possibilities have been considered with various forces being created and figs painted, but the battles on the tabletop have so often resulted in surprises that keep the swing of the Fate Tables in check. 

Another recurring event, is that characters with bright futures keep getting killed.  I learned my lesson with Abdi, a ULF leader in the first couple of battles.  He was to be a significant leader for the ULF, with a great storyline developed for him.  And then he got killed right away.  So now I don't plan too far in advance.

The Mugabian officer that was killed by the ULF forces (that he was leading in AAR9) was another surprise.  The morale failure that brought that about was very unlikely, the worst possible result, so I quickly created a table with the most likely result being retreat, but also with surrender a possibility, and a one percent chance of mutiny against the Mugabian officer.  Now he's a forgotten casualty of war.

Col. Chuma is the latest, and maybe the most significant opposite of Abdi.  He wasn't expected to play a significant role in the game, other than being part of the tabletop command, and offering a vantage point for the story.  Then he confounded Uwanda's expected victory in AAR15.  His survival in the next battle, and unexpected (at least by me) victory in AA17 made him potentially legendary.  And then he gets wounded and captured. (Even more legendary?!) I have several ideas, out-growths ranging from prisoner exchanges to rescue attempts, but still everything is still dependent on upcoming events and resulting rolls on the Fate Tables.

Anyway, there is a lot of silliness that goes on behind the blog, a kind of role playing thing that drives the game.  All of it being a combination of my imagination, suggestions by friends, family, and other gamers, and input from the dice.

Anyway, just thought I'd share some of what doesn't show up in the AARs.


  1. Wow, that was very cool, thanks Irish!

    I love the campaign, and that was really cool getting a look at what's going on and how you go about running the campaign.

    Thanks again, hope all is well.


  2. Looking forward to more game reports. Have you ever posted the rules/guides you use for your campaign ad what rules do you use for the table top?

    1. No, I've never posted the rules. It is all homebrew. I haven't been able to find the electronic copy of my tabletop rules for a couple of years now, and the campaign stuff is half on computer and half (or more now) hand written. One of these days I hope to get it all together and post it.

  3. Thanks for sharing your behind the scenes report. Its always neat to hear how people run their campaigns.


  4. This is gold ! ..Thankyou for sharing ! I enjoy this degree of detail in the background story of what you are doing ! I love it when the game/campaign takes on a life of it's own... a sign of a good game-design.
    Long live Colonel Chuma !

  5. My thanks to everyone for the comments. I was really apprehensive to post this, as I wasn't sure there would really be any interest, but I'm glad to know that you liked it.

  6. Catching up here, but a great topic for a post. Thanks!

  7. Always fun to se the thought process behind a game - even more so for an entire campaign! All the near-misses (coup, rebellion etc) certainly add interest - just the sort of thing yuo come across in the history of various real conflicts but which never make it to the table-top...