Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Modern African 'Imagi-Nations' in 6mm

My latest project (along with a few gaming mates) is some 6mm action set in a current day African "imagi-nation" setting. For those completely unfamiliar with the concept of imagi-nations, they are basically fictional countries set up for the primary purpose of providing a wargames campaign and background setting, without the potential historical and political baggage of using real adversaries.

Imagi-Nations are particularly popular in settings where they could plausibly have existed in reality, but are lost in the 'noise' of a multitude of real-world factions. So backgrounds where there are many fractured small real world countries and factions, like 18th century Europe where there were a multitude of small kingdoms, principalities, duchies, and countries. Likewise, Africa is a popular imagi-nation setting due to the large number of small countries, international  and internal conflicts with many factions, and the occasional creation or disappearance of nations.

The other attraction of Imagi-Nation gaming is the fact that it can offer a bit more poetic licence, imaginative narrative and creativity in creating and gaming with forces. Since the forces are fictional, the gamer can create whatever background fits his needs, and can design and equip the forces according to his own whims. Cobble together whatever equipment you want, or have lying around unpainted and in spares boxes. Paint it whatever colour you want, and organise the units however you see fit. You really can go to town with some wonderful creations, however having said all this I find it is often easiest and best to base your force (at least loosely) on an existing force, as this gives it some veneer of believe-ability. I'm looking forward to using some minis that I either already had, or want to buy (because they look cool), but that I couldn't find a historical pretext in which to use them.

This was the idea in launching our project for 6mm Modern African Imagi-Nations. The guiding ideas were discussed and agreed loosely as:
  • The setting is Africa (could be sub-saharan, central, west Africa or any really). The time is now (ie. current day or very near future).
  • Gaming would be with roughly company to battalion level forces.
  • Rules to be used would be Fistful of TOWs, using the 1:1 gaming chapter modifications from the rulebook. This means each vehicle = 1 vehicle, and each stand of infantry = a squad;
  • Players can use whatever minis they want, but must cobble together at least a loose background logic for the force structure. For vehicles, aircraft etc, use the appropriate equipment listing from the (very extensive) FFT data. For infantry, pick a suitable exemplar to use, again from the FFT data.
  • Forces could run the full spectrum of troops that could reasonably be expected in Africa. Examples are below:
    • The majority of 'Government' and 'Rebel' type troops would be conscript or regular, but could be relatively poorly trained and equipped (by western standards). Equipment would tend to the obsolete end of the spectrum. For example, cold-war era equipment, or even upgraded WW2 kit. However some new or upgraded types could be used to represent modernisation efforts where appropriate.
    • Some Government units may be (comparatively) elite - eg. Guards, Commando, or Special Purpose units. This could include para-military and police units. Likewise, some western styled or trained forces, with an emphasis on well trained volunteer forces, could have better quality training and equipment.
    • 'Militia' or 'Warlord' forces are likely to be present. They tend to fight each other, and also against the local governments. They could form alliance with resistance/terrorist/crime groups or invading armies (including major power 'intervention forces'). They are generally poorly trained, but some are fanatical. They are generally lightly equipped, but may have re-purposed civilian or captured vehicles (eg. 'Technicals'), as well as improvised equipment. Some Warlord groups may have a cadre of well-equipped bodyguard troops.   
    • There is the potential for "Intervention Forces" from major world powers to become involved. These could be US, European (perhaps former colonial rulers?), Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Saudi, South African, UN, etc. On the whole, these are likely to be small but well equipped and trained units. For example, rapid-deployment troops at the lighter end of the equipment spectrum (ie. they are unlikely to be tank-heavy, more likely to have wheeled and light vehicles). Examples could be USMC, Airborne or Stryker Brigade elements for the US. NATO Rapid Deployment elements (eg. UK Paras, French Foreign Legion, etc), or Russian VDV.
Since we're using the FFT rules (which include points), and will likely use scenarios and a campaign system, there are advantages and disadvantages to all of these forces. For example, poor quality troops with obsolete equipment won't perform brilliantly, but will be plentiful because of their low points values. But they might be quite useful in some scenarios, when playing against a much smaller but better equipped and better quality force (eg. Western Intervention forces). In any case, it should all provide some fun and variety! 

I'll post the first battle-report shortly, along with some more info.

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