Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Somewhere Between Mugabia, Ifat, and Bongolesia


There lies a patch of earth, treasured for its natural resources.  From mountains to savannas to emerald forest to pristine beaches, it is a land of two tribes: the Zambouli and the Jabalani.  In early times they behaved as long lost brethren, but time passed and on came the Portuguese, then the French, and the Belgians, and the Dutch, before finally the British.  And for more than 50 years the British reigned over the area, which they labelled "Prideland," which combined the Zambouli and Jabalani into one tribe.  But these were not happy times; during the British rule the Zambouli and Jabalani forgot they were brothers, as each sought to curry favor with their colonial masters.  The world moved on, and following the cataclysm of The Second World War, the time came for the British to take their leave of Prideland, to restore ownership to its native peoples, and this occurred on the second of May, 1946.  Internal strife was rampant; during British rule the tribes were integrated and some members forcibly moved.  As the British withdrew, violence broke out between the tribes, and a short but fierce war was fought.  The result of this war was that Prideland was disintegrated, and in its place the Zambouli and the Jabalani formed new countries: Hakuna and Matata.

Hakuna and Matata cover roughly the same area and have roughly the same population numbers, though they are shaped very differently.  Hakuna is roughly rectangular, with its back against the sea and separated by the Mashandane River in the east, while Matata is slender, curving to hug Hakuna from the sea in the north, along the river in the east, and to the mountains in the south, covering Hakuna on nearly three sides.  Both are very well off, particularly relative to other African states, in terms of infrastructure, transportation, government, and economy.  Blessed with bountiful natural resources, each has money to burn.

And burn it they are, though it is not without its problems on the world stage. You see, both Hakuna and Matata have but a singular strategic goal in the realm of geo-politics: the elimination of the opposing state, and the subjugation of its people.  Though they began as brothers, centuries of foreign rule has begot a burning hatred between the Zambouli and Jabalani, one which can only be quenched by blood.

Militarily there was a fair bit of British kit left behind to the nominal government of Prideland.  As that government evaporated in the heat of Zambouli-Jabalani conflict, through pure luck of geography Hakuna inherited the bulk of the military equipment.  Left with but a few armored cars and aging fighter aircraft, Matata quickly began its search for a benefactor, and the Soviet Union and its client states welcomed them with open arms.  Where France, the United Kingdom, and the United States didn't think backing Hakuna or Matata to be a good idea, the menace of global Communism meant they suddenly needed a counterbalance to Matata, and so a friendship was born in Hakuna as well.

It is now 3 March 1952, and the two countries prepare on the eve of war.  Since the War of Independence in 1946, the two countries have refrained from all-out war, but there has remained a savage animosity between the two tribes, punctuated on a regular basis by strong outbursts of violence.  The border areas are a veritable no-man's land, with air and ground patrols regularly clashing over 'contested' tracts of land.  Each side regularly conducts nighttime incursions into the other's territory, stoking the embers of war with petty acts of retribution.  This latest casus belli revolves around the ownership of an island in the Mashandane River; both sides dispatched government officials to argue and negotiate, with little progress made.  As frustrations grew with the process, calls for war were made, and when it didn't occur locals on both sides of the border took matters into their own hands.  One evening in late February, members of a local village ambushed the delegation from Matata as they returned to their side, sinking their boat and killing all aboard.  That night Matata dispatched more than one hundred soldiers across the river, and the entire population of the offending village was massacred.

After several days of harried negotiations since, it has become clear war is the only answer...

Yes, that's right, it's time I entered the world of modern African Imagi-Nations.  The campaign idea is very much inspired by IrishSerb's ongoing war between Uwanda and Mugabia, Kyote-John's Sultanate of Ifat, and the ever present Bongolesia.  The use of the minis is inspired by Thaddeus' work, Bishnak's work, and some guy who's name I don't even know, but he runs the "Tinpot Revolutionary" blog and I just thought his singly-based 3mm stuff was cool as hell (Google "1/600 Canada at War Little Italy" to see what I'm talking about).

Campaign Plan:
My rather ambitious plan is to play out all the wars between Hakuna-Matata, approximately a dozen of them from 1952 to present.  I will play against the elder of my two sons (soon to be seven years old, and already an old pro on the tabletop) using Ivan Sorensen's 5Core Company Command.  The minis are 3mm from Pico Armor, though as we get further into the timeline I'll have to buy some aircraft Pico doesn't make from Tumbling Dice.  The fights will be company-to battalion level, and each will be preceded by an air to air fight between fighter aircraft of each nation, with the winner of that battle having air support in the next ground battle.  The rules for the air fights are a bit modified, but are from Pz8.  The fights will be small, 2-4 aircraft per side.

I don't have a set length for each campaign, and I'm trying to figure out a limiter to judge when to end the campaign.  These fights will be highly mechanized (no such thing as foot infantry), so I'm thinking the pride and joy of each army is their tank forces (each side has a regiment of tanks, 78 total).  So what I'm thinking to do is track tank losses (and simply, no such thing as vehicle recovery.  If it's knocked out in the game it's lost), and when one side reaches 'x' amount of tank losses that side sues for peace and that war is finished.  I think it works conceptually, I'm just not sure where to set the bar.

Each fight will see each side have between nine and twelve tanks on the table, so if I set the number at 50, and a side lost 10 tanks per fight, the war would be over in five fights.  I don't really know what's reasonable, what to expect, but I know I'd like each war to be about 8 or 10 fights, so I need to feel out what normal losses will be and go from there.



  1. Jack, This is great work and very inspiring - please keep it up!

  2. Thanks again, and the war starts this weekend!