Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Point of Origin

My wife declared a major purge on all stored stuff in the house. We are packrats (my wife more than I) and can't seem to throw away anything. I've been slowing sifting through the boxes and container earmarking items found as things to keep, things to be donated, or things to throw out or recycled. I came upon a box that I have been looking for, for a long time. It consisted of various military history and technical books, wargaming books, and how-to books on sculpting and painting.

Sandwiched among these various books was a copy of Wargamer's Digest, that dated June/July 1977 (volume 4, number 5). At the time this was THE magazine for miniature wargaming, at least as far as my friend Mark and I were concerned. Of course didn't know better. I bought them back in the late 70s and I have kept a number of them, though I am not sure where I kept them all. Definitely not your slick publication of today, with colored graphics and professional type setting (or even good editing at times!). It also seemed to contain a hodge-podge of topics, though later issues tend to have themes. The editor was a big WWII gamer and later issues reflected this. Despite its weaknesses, at $1.25, even back then, it was worth the price. 

There is one article in particular that is particularly important to me, in fact, its probably the reason why I kept this issue. The article was entitled The Battle of Ged, by Mike Covell (pages 24-25).

It was two-page after action report of a fantasy battle between the Royal Amy and the combined armies of the Haradrin, the Woodsmen Tribes and the Dwarves. Based on the one photo, it was gaming with 25mm figures.  Not too surprising given that 15mm was not that popular then, I don't even think there were any 15mm fantasy around at that time. If I had to guess, he used Chainmail for the rules. I like the use of LEGO bricks for terrain. He included a large map of the battle. 

This short report is important to me because between reading The Lord of the Rings, buying my copy of Chainmail, and this article, I got interested in fantasy wargaming. Something about this article lit a fire under me for fantasy gaming. I know that I already had Chainmail, but I think this article gave me some ideas on how to put together a battle.  Call me old school, but I've never been all that attracted to games where you had to use figures from one company in order to play the game. Even though he never says what brands of miniatures he used, I have the sense that it was whatever had had on hand. This agrees with my philosophy that its O-K to have a game where you field troops made from different companies, so long as they are reasonably compatible. 

Whatever the reason, it propelled me forward into a hobby that I has given me pleasure since I was a teen. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Nation Building the Nordic Weasel Games Way

About a month ago, I got Nordic Weasel Games' Nation Generator for 20th Bush Wars and Not Just a Bush War. Turns out that the same nation generator is in both publications...oh well. This is a combination test run/review of them.

In addition to the nation generator, Not Just a Bush War has a lot of fun stuff for creating an army for the country you rolled up. This is what I ended up with. I've added some comments throughout. Warning, its a long post!

Nation Generator
You need a D10 and percentile dice for all of the charts. The numbers in parentheses are what I rolled for each category. 


(4) Small: between 1 and 5 million citizens

Natural Resources

(4) Building Materials

(7) Somewhat urban

Technological Standards
11-7 = 4
Four years behind the most modern technology, so 2011.

Heavy Industry
(10) Extensive Heavy Industry

Political System
(44) Secular Military State

Government Legitimacy
(7) Viewed as reasonably legitimate

Government Popularity
(3) Very unpopular

Religious Standing
(3) Follows dominant religion in region

Rule of Law
(7) Corruption is accepted but infrequent

Cultural Coherence
(8) Moderate coherency

(4) Ancestral ties

Pressing Concerns
1. Very unpopular government (scored a “3” in government popularity)
2. (62) Civil rights issues
3. (46) Inequality

Army Generator
I used the Army Generator found in Brigade Commander (BC) and Military Generator in Not Just a Bush War (NJBW). I am not sure if I used the generator correctly in BC, particularly for the manpower units, but this is what I got: 

It’s a small country, but because its currently under military rule, the army is beefed up more than it was under royal rule, so I rolled for three brigades.
2 Infantry brigades
1 Specialized brigade

For specialized brigade, rolled under Elite Units (NJBW) and got a 2: Marines

I decided an average force to generate manpower units (BC). I am not sure if I did this right in terms of separating out the manpower units into battalions and their companies, but this is what I got:

1st Infantry Brigade

For main units, I rolled a 44 and got 6 main units, so
1 infantry battalion consisting of 4 companies
The extra company will be stationed as some sort of border unit

For secondary I rolled a 61
3 armored companies
Consists of Armored Cars (NJBW)

1st Brigade Attachements and Fire Support (BC)
3 Attachements
2 Fire Support Packets 

2nd Infantry Brigade

Main units: Rolled a 47 equaling 7 main units
1 infantry battalion with 3 companies
1 infantry battalion with 2 companies

2 armored companies
Consist of MBTs (NJBW)

2nd Brigade Attachments & Fire Support
3 Attachments
2  Fire Support Packets

1st Marine Brigade

1st air assault battalion with 2 companies
1st Marine landing battalion with 3 companies
2nd Marine landing battalion with 2 companies
4 attachments

Air Force (NJBW)
Focus Air Superiority
Status: Limited
How Modern? Rolled a 5 so 2011 – 5 = 2006 +1 (for heavy industry) = 2002
So, aircraft can can be no newer than what was out in 2002. That's fine by me. 

Gotta have a navy! Especially if you have a marines brigade. Not in either booklet, so I modified Air Force generator in NJBW:


Humanitarian/Disaster Response
Bare Bones
Maritime security
Very Limited
Sea Lane Control
Forward Presence
Power Projection

I ordered the Focus at increasing levels of ambition. I assume that under Focus, the number rolled is the primary focus, or that which the nation is striving for, with those below its being secondary. Status still works because what their ambitions are and what reality is are two different things. If the nation has the very grandiose focus of Power Projection but has limited or very limited status, that would mean that the higher ups might waste all of their very limited resources on larger warships.

Modifications on Focus:
+1 if rolled a 9 or 10 on the Natural Resources category.
+1 if rolled a Dictatorship, Secular Military State, or Fascist Military state
under Political System

Modifications on Status:
+1 if maritime-oriented nation

Focus: Deterrence
Status: Moderate
How Modern? Used the same as for Air Force
Rolled 9, so 2011 – 9 = 2002 + 1 (for heavy industry) = 2003

Overall Training Level
I rolled this for all of the armed forces, with the Marines maybe being a little better.
6 (after modifications): Acceptable training but lacking practical experience.

Overall Morale Level
Again, applies to all armed forces.
16 (after modifications): Willing.

Sources of Weapons
Primary: USA
Secondary: Germany
Germany? That will be a stretch, but that is the fun of the whole thing!

Putting it all together
Now comes the interpretation of the rolls. 

Country Name: Aquor-Ornur

Capital: Janwalli

Population: 4 million

Percent population urban: 60%

Economy: timber, building industry products, and furniture.

Technological standards: at 2011 levels.

Government: Secular Military State

Religion: 80% Buddhist, 15% Muslim, 5% Other.

Aquor-Ornur is a small nation located along the coast of South-East Asia, between Burma and Thailand. It gets its name from the two main tribes that make up the nation. Historically agriculture, mainly in the form of timber, was the main economic driver, but with the reduction of the rain forests, the economy shifted to timber products for the building industry and as well a growing furniture industry. This growth in heavy industry has caused a major migration to the urban centers. Many foreign industries have set up manufacturing centers because of the relatively cheap labor.
Until the late 1990s, Aquor-Ornur was ruled by a monarchy. Attempts to institute democratic reforms led to a crackdown of dissidents. In 1998, a military coup backed by pro-democracy citizenry removed the monarchy. Promises to hold elections have yet to materialize and have made the military government increasingly unpopular. Persecution of religious and ethnic minorities has also been on the rise. Recently, there has been growing nostalgia for the monarchy

Traditionally, Aquor-Ornur had strong ties with both Burma and Thailand, but these have been weakened.  The monarchy is currently in exile. It is secretly building an army to retake the nation.

Armed Forces of Aquor-Ornur
Rising suspicions of both their neighbors has given cause for the military to increase spending. Aquor-Ornur does not have any real ties to either the USA or Germany, so most of their major weaponry is second hand. I need to flesh this out more, but this is what I have come up with.

All infantry and marines are issued the Heckler & Koch weapons. TheArmbrust light anti-tank launcher is the principle LAW.

Armored cars:
When I think of modern armored cars, neither the USA nor Germany springs to mind. I decided to arm the three armored car companies with M8 armored cars, with one of the companies having the turrets swapped with South African Ratel turret with the 90mm low pressure gun. 

I thought about the Leopard 1A1, but decided to go with US M48A3 MBTs. Since the US is the main arms supplier, it would make sense that their MBT is American.


The infantry ride to war on trucks.

The air force was easy. I decided on F5E Tiger II as its fighter jet. Its a common export fighter for US allies throughout the years. For ground attack and other roles, they use the BO 105 helicopter.

I'm still working on that. Of all the armed forces, the navy will probably the most modern. Historically, ship-building nations built "tailor-made" warships for nations willing to pay for them. Today is no exception. There are plenty of shipbuilding firms that use modular construction to build ships. The results are shorter building time, potentially cheaper ships, and ships are specific to the needs of the buyer. An example of this is the MEKO class of ships built by the G

erman companyBlohm+Voss. Here is a short article on the subject of modular ship design.

Thoughts about Nation Generator
Overall, its fun to use and produces some interesting results. There are a few things that I found sort of odd. The biggest one is that it doesn't generate an overall economy. Is it a rich or poor country? It is hard to say based on the rolls I got. A country can be highly industrialized but the country be by-in-large poor. Some rolls seemed contradictory. For example, if its a country that relies extensively on heavy industry, I would thing it would have a higher urban population than what I rolled.  I suppose I could have modified things, but I wanted a country that was solely based on the die rolls.

I liked the army builder in Brigade Commander, though I am not sure if I used it right. Its general enough so that I could come up with my own units. Not Just a Bush War fleshed out what I created in Brigade Commander. Not Just a Bush War had a lot more added "fluff" (and "fluff" in the best sense!) to really give your units a lot of personality, but I was content for now. If you like pre-game parts of the first edition AK-47 rules, you will really love this!

Both Nation Generator for 20th Bush Wars and Not Just a Bush War are worth the price.