Author Topic: The Long War  (Read 1640 times)

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The Long War
« on: April 14, 2012, 10:32:43 AM »
Hi all,

I've decided to join this forum because, in my free time, I am designing a board  game based upon the conflict in Afghanistan. I want to give you a run-down of the concept because I will be fairly active on here with questions, etc.

The Long War is a strategic level simulation with players assuming control of the US/ISAF, GIRoA, and the Taliban. Turns represent six months of time, starting in Fall 2001. There are fixed events tied to some turns, such as US Presidential Elections and the Iraq invasion, that affect game rules for that turn. The game board is Afghanistan's 34 provinces, four major Afghan cities, and eight PAK border provinces. Each province will have a stability and development rating, and a terrain and ethnicity modifier. Weather will also play a role. Each side has unique rules, cards, and units.

Each player has unique, sometimes overlapping, victory conditions. These are tied to legitimacy, influence, stability, and development. Whenever any player achieves 2/3 of their objectives, the "End-Game" is triggered. This means that the game will end after six turns with several rules changes during this phase to encourage players to be more aggressive in fulfilling their VCs.

Players can make policy, strategic, operational, and tactical decisions.

First, players must choose a war policy; each side has three to choose from that will determine which leaders, units, and cards are most effective. For the US, this will be Counter-Terrorism, Counter-Insurgency, and Advise and Assist. Policies can be changed at great cost to oneself or after a fixed event (i.e. the US elections). After choosing a war policy, players can also select policy leaders that represent the institutional leaders in the conflict.  Again, for the US, this will be the Ambassador, COM-ISAF, and CIA station chief. There is a pool of available policy leaders with unique modifiers. However, policy leaders have a policy preference; when not fulfilled, the leader becomes a lame duck. Policy leaders can also be changed.

The policy selection will determine from which deck the player will draw his operational cards. Operational cards are field decisions, such as a Night Raid. OCs have conditions (i.e. a specific unit in a province with enemy forces), effects, a counteraction, and unintended consequences. A counter-action is an operational card from another player's deck that can be played immediately out of turn in response to a played operational card. This play can continue until cards are exhausted if players so decide. Unintended consequences are random negative events that may affect one or all  players. Operational cards are supplemented by operational leaders, which represent the field leadership, such as military commanders, junior diplomats, aid workers, and even case officers. They bring unique advantages to the battlefield. However, like policy leaders, they also have policy preferences. Though players may draw an out-of-policy card for each leader on the board, having a leader with a different preferred policy will have a negative local impact.

Of course, all kinds of units will be on the battlefield, from US and GIRoA regular forces, SOF of all kind, intelligence units, and so on. In the absence of more substantial decisions (such as a card), these units can move or attack.

Lastly, players can make strategic decisions that shape the contours of the conflict, such as encouraging foreign investment, making demands of one another (i.e. ending night raids), and so on. These decisions are also represented by cards, which have their own conditions, effects, counteractions, and unintended consequences.

I'm just about done with the ruleset (finalizing some cards and modifiers). I'll be developing the game using the Vassal engine. 

I appreciate any insight or commentary from veteran gamers here. Thanks!