Welcome to a new feature on Fuldapocalypse that I’d like to call “Weird Wargaming.” The question I seek to answer is “what if you tried to wargame out an armed force from a strange and/or bad piece of fiction? What if you tried to apply a kind of logic to an illogical setting?”
Why do this? Why not?
I’m starting at the bottom with William W. Johnstone’s Ashes series (see the first installment’s review here). This strangely fits because, in spite of its nominal billing as a postapocalyptic adventure, a lot of the books are de facto “big war thrillers.” Very bad big war thrillers.
Led by super-Mary Sue Ben Raines, the “Rebels” take the fight to the enemy of the week, who range from elements of the US government to cannibals to foreign invaders to “punks”. Although their political background shifts from the doomed “Tri-states” of the first book to the “Southern United States of America” in later ones, they’re consistently referred to as the “Rebels”, so I’ll be doing the same in this piece.
Raines’ Rebels use Cold War American equipment, although there’s lots of gimmicks and, to put it mildly, lack of rigor (for instance, one later Ashes book has an “Abrams M60 tank fitted with a flame thrower”) . Their organization ranges from four-battalion independent brigades to “Several divisions”.
If in doubt, fall back on Cold War American organization and weapons-not surprising, since the books started being published in the 1980s.
Let me just let Johnstone himself explain.
“The armed forces of the Tri-states ranked among the best in the world, their training a combination of Special Forces, Ranger, SEAL, and gutter-fighting. Every resident of the Tri-states, male and female, between the ages of sixteen and sixty was a member of the armed forces. They met twice a month, after their initial thirty-week basic training, and were on active duty one month each year. And the training was a no-holds-barred type.”
(Out of the Ashes, pg. 356)
(Incidentally, I think this paragraph gives a good impression of the literary quality of the Ashes books.)
So treat the Mary Sues right and give them the highest proficiency scores possible, however applicable. (So, in Command Modern Operations, they’d all get the “Ace” proficiency setting).
- Ben Raines leads from the front. A lot. This makes him a good human MacGuffin/figure with max stats in a small-scale game.
- The Rebels typically blast their opponents away quickly with tanks and artillery. Of course, what modern army doesn’t?
- The Rebels, and to be fair, their opponents have this ability, despite a seeming apocalypse, to use huge mechanized armies without any issue whatsoever.
In larger-scale games, use Cold War American equipment and the highest proficiency setting the ruleset will allow. Sometimes use four-battalion brigades if that matters for the game. In smaller-scale games, Raines himself can feature in all his Mary Sue glory.