Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Next date set!

The next meeting of the modern Africa campaign, Path to Power, will be Sunday, Jan. 10. Rumors have it that the JuJu Tribe and H.O.G.G. are planning on staging strikes against government or rival forces with the coming of the new year. If things get really hectic (enough players show), we could see the Matanga Unification Front on the field, as well...

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The party organ of the JuJu Tribe, the confusingly named “Kammebalango Kryer” (spelled one letter differently from the capital’s daily newspaper) has made some provocative claims of late. Some excerpts:

Nov. 24, 1969
“...President Ukele has problems. He has health problems from fallen arches & flat feet to venereal disease. President Ukele has succession problems. His son, Urkle, Minister of Defense, is not able to fill his father’s orthopedic shoes. The country of Kammebalango has inflation rate of 101.1% AND the main exports, salt water & monkey dung, has gotten no where in international markets. In short it is expected that President Ukele will fall early next year...”

Nov. 25, 1969
“...Ukhan, half brother of Ukulele (Minister of Culture), was seen fleeing into the jungle, The Mighty Jungle. It seem that Ukhan was responsible for setting up sham organizations like the Matangan United Popular Party Evangelical Triumvirate, Biafra Organized & Armed Resistance, and Popular Front of Warm Fuzzies to defraud tens of people of their life savings. Total take is estimated to be $57.22 U.S. Chief of Police, Ustop, half brother of Urkle (Minister of Defense), said “Once he is in the jungle, especially The Mighty Jungle, then the law of the jungle is now responsible. My jurisdiction stops in Kinshasha”...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Campaign kicks off with 3 battles!

Our first evening of the campaign was a success! I had five players show up. First order of business was to put them on the map. There are 12 starting places and I had them choose one. They'd rolled off earlier to establish a player order, so the top three would get to fight battles that evening (me and the other two players would control the non-player opponents). That meant Zeke's Matanga Unification Front, Tom's Pan African Union of Egalitarian Defense (PAUNED) and Allen's Peoples Fiercely Fighting Faction Transcendent (PFFFT) would all fight battles.

The three players then rolled to see which type of force would be opposing them. Both Zeke and Allen would fight non-player rebel movements, while Tom was pitted against Western mercenaries. Surprisingly, random rolls meant all three were attackers. All of us then sat down to draw up our 200 point troop lists based on the restrictions in the campaign rules and for the force type. The Defenders set up the terrain, and each scenario of the 11 possible scenarios had specified deployment rules.

As it turned out, Tom's Militia crushed my Professional mercs. He had gone in thinking he'd get his head handed to him, but as it turned out, ours was the first game finished. It was pretty much an overwhelming victory, and moved Tom's flag marker 3 spots towards the capital. Both Zeke and Allen also fulfilled the scenario victory conditions, but lost more points worth of troops in doing so. This meant their markers moved only one space forward.

Afterwards, we decided to deepen the boards to 4'x4' (instead of 4' wide and 3' deep). Keith's house, where we're playing this, has a massive table space of 12' wide by 5' deep. I want to be able to fight at least 3 battles per meeting, so 4' was our maximum width (Logistics is a harsh mistress!). The players seemed to have fun, though there was some puzzling over the battle rules since we hadn't played in a few months.

I have written up a campaign report modeled as the daily newspaper of Kammebalango. I will try to link it here.

It's written to be humorous, so hopefully you enjoy it. I modeled it extensively after a similar thing produced by a wargaming in club in Britain, The Abingdon Wargames Club. Check theirs out here:

I hope you enjoy the accounts of Chaos in Kammebalango! Feel free to leave comments...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Factions

The Rebel Factions of Kammebalango

Pan African Union of National Egalitarian Defense (PAUNED)
-- player Tom Graves

The Matangan Unification Front
-- player Dave Zecchini

King Ade, ruler of the Juju Tribe
-- player Joel Sams

Peoples Fiercely Fighting Faction Transcendent (PFFFT)
-- player Allen Sams

Hastily Organized Gathering of Guys (HOGG)
-- player Keith Finn

Kammebalango: A modern Africa wargaming campaign

This blog is set up to illustrate the progress of a modern Africa wargaming campaign. Kammebalango is a fictional country (though inspired by the post-independence tribulations of The Congo), and is not meant to satirize any real or living persons. That said, the players have created tongue-in-cheek factional names that echo the plethora of acronyms with which rebel movements used to identify themselves in the 1960s and 1970s. Hopefully, these and the events of the campaign will give the participants and any observors the feel of the tragic and chaotic events that accompanied post-colonial independence for many African nations.

The campaign rules are called Path to Power and were written by the game master. They are simple with few logistics to keep track of from turn to turn. There is not a strict "game turn" timeline. When the GM and players meet, a series of battles will be fought, sometimes faction on faction, but more often against government or other "non player" forces. The results of the battles will cause factions to advance along paths detailed on the campaign. Each faction has its own path running from the hinterlands of the country to the capital of Kammebalango. The first player faction to arrive at the capital and win a battle wins the campaign.

Battles are fought using the GM's own simple modern skirmish rules, called "Uh-oh, Congo!" Players will usually control from 3 to 5 squads of individual figures. Troops are armed with small arms, light machine guns, RPGs or mortars. Vehicles (armored or unarmored) can be armed with heavy machine guns or recoilless rifles. This is a "low tech" campaign, so there are no tanks, aircraft or heavy artillery. This is bush warfare, with rebels, militias, government troops and even United Nations peacekeepers slugging it out at short range.

The campaign will begin on Sunday, Nov. 22. I anticipate players meeting to game out a turn about every month to six weeks or so. On that schedule, it should last at least a year -- assuming my players don't get bored and want to move onto something else! I anticipate publishing an "issue" of the Kammebalango Cryer after each turn, and will upload it in PDF version here.

Welcome aboard, and get ready to send "Lawyers, Guns and Money" to 1960s Africa...!