Wednesday, November 30, 2011

S & T Nicaragua - First Impressions

My impressions of Strategy and Tactics Issue 120?

In a word, 'impressed'. Several articles about revolutionary warfare central american style makes both for a sad list of the countries that had to undergo the ensuing 'uncivil wars' and an interesting analysis of 'low intensity' warfare environs and the strategies and tactics for use by the various factions. Of course, it hones in on Nicaragua, but the coverage is much wider.

And then there's the game. I haven't yet played it, but look forward to doing so. Suspect it might be solo, but look forward to it none the less as it appears to be a genuine 'simulation' as well as a game. I can easily foresee situations arising in the game which the dark humourist in me would enjoy - in the same way one enjoys a game of Junta or Illuminati.

Cadres, fronts, social classes, public institutions, terrorism, guerrilla tactics, diplomacy and foreign intervention, popular will, political programs, military combat and repression, propaganda, psychological operations, all interwoven quite neatly through simple row and column shifts and dice rolls. In my mind's eye, it seemed to make sense. To get a feel for it, the map and its provinces is more a 'political geography' of the land than a simulation of the terrain. In fact, the terrain rules are optional extras for the basic combat system.

Definitely a wargame, but with more of a eurogamesque approach to simulation than is usually found in such. I look forward to playing it.

To see some graphics of it (and reviews etc), check here.

As a final sidenote, the biographical notes on the game's designer (and author of almost all the articles) say he was (is) a retired US Army Captain. His military career seemed to have been spent in the psyops and then academic fields of endeavour. Thus, my theory of the game as being as much 'simulation' as 'game' might actually be correct!


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