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Kriegspieling assymmetric warfare (Thoughts on StarWars as a setting)

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Post  midgetmanifesto on Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:54 pm

I was reading a blog post about starwars that made me think about how you would set up a campaign for it (geared towards miniature battles, whether that is space, ground action, or infiltration/special force games). In the original trilogy time period where the rebel alliance is trying to foment rebellion vs the largely intact Empire. I'm looking for some discussion/brain storming/wisdom to help inform how to make an interesting game for players.

What is the nature of the conflict?
I begin to wonder is star wars like a science fantasy Vietnam? The rebellion is mostly about gaining popular support and disrupting the government while building up conventional forces for a big fight they don't want to engage in too early?

Is star wars more like (my poor understanding of) the English civil war. Supporters of a democratic tradition vs a more autocratic government which are both attempting to get support from regions via 'notables'/influential people/offices.

How do you make for interesting decisions on both sides?
In the Napoleonic penninsular campaigns you have conventional forces on both sides. The guerrilla activity seems to be more of a device to force the french to not create impossible to beat force concentrations. The french face an interesting choice of spreading thin to garrison vs focusing to resist/crush their enemies conventional troops. The allies face the challenge of coordinating vs a central position against (usually) better/more plentiful troops, and how to create local superiority. An interesting game.

When looking at an assymmetric campaign, it would seem that one side or the other will be deprived of a lot of interesting decisions.....perhaps it's better to put them on 'auto pilot' with random event tables that reflect what they are doing?
1/. Looking at various vietnam games it's usually set up to be played as the free world force: you end up with sectors with the amount of enemy activity and your decisions are about where to allocate limited forces in response. Encountering fights/traps/etc is usually a function of the enemy activity (randomly determined). Is there a setup for interesting 'rebel' choices?

2/. If you do play a rebel force with a far smaller/limited conventional force capability loss of your forces might be a knockout blow......the choice of the rebel player may turn into: where do you want all your forces to die and how early? How do you mitigate against this besides trying to warn the player/put in place a cautious/clever player? There seems to be a real conundrum when there is not some parity between 'forces' that both sides can deploy. If the rebels are much better with intel/local knowledge what choices does the 'empire' player have around how to allocate intel?

3/. A hearts and minds campaign could easily turn into an unfun grind or one where you feel that little of the decisions you make matter at all. I assume you'd focus the 'battles/operations/whatever' on 'interesting stuff'. Looking at movies and games you'd be interested in the set piece battles (rebels evacuate their discovered location, rebels attack incomplete strategic important construction site), sneaking in and stealing information, capture/kill important individual, compete to recruit local notable, traps to 'catch out' your opponent, etc. Is there a way to lend a game to having players come up with clever missions rather than having a list of possible things they can do that they choose each turn? ("I'll do another sabotage mission this turn, followed by a recruit attempt next turn when I have some extra operation points").
midgetmanifesto
midgetmanifesto

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Post  James Sterrett on Fri Nov 23, 2018 2:33 am

The board game Star Wars: Rebellion very much treats it as an insurgency/counterinsurgency in disguise (and does a pretty good job of it.)

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/187645/star-wars-rebellion

Might give you some further ideas.

Specifically for Vietnam, try GMT's _Fire in the Lake_ : https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/144189/fire-lake

Brian Train's games on COIN are also worth a look, such as Kandahar: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/163603/kandahar

An interesting comparison is:

A Distant Plain (same series as Fire in the Lake): https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/127518/distant-plain

and

BCT Command Kandahar: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/126708/bct-command-kandahar

and

Brian Train's Kandahar game.

As you go down that list, the validity and workability of COIN doctrine is increasingly called into question by the games' model.... and even then, note that a friend who was deployed to Afghanistan called Brian Train's Kandahar "not cynical enough".

James Sterrett

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Post  midgetmanifesto on Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:16 am

Thanks for the leads James. I had started looking at the FFG Rebellion boardgame. I wasn't familiar with Trains work, but am interested in checking it out.
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Post  James Sterrett on Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:48 am

I only just noticed that you are in Vancouver. Brian Train is in Victoria - more or less next door! Smile

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