Sunday, July 17, 2022

President of Kammebalango's Nightmare Motorcade through Capital

    I ran my "To Kill a President" scenario for Wars of Insurgency at DayCon 2022 this past weekend
I wanted one final tuneup of my Wars of Insurgency scenario that I am taking to Historicon next weekend. So, I scheduled an afternoon session this past weekend at DayCon 2022 for "To Kill a President." It is a reworking of a scenario that I had first run in 2018 at Advance the Colors. For this version, I added a sixth player faction. I wanted to run it to make sure things still ran relatively okay. I also pared down and reworked the order of battle a bit more, too, so things would move quickly with six players.

    The table at DayCon (and rule books) all set up prior to the start of the game
The six factions include the President in his motorcade of two jeeps with heavy machine guns (HMG) and two up-armored SUVs. Inside these four vehicles are the drivers and two extra crewmen or passengers of "Professional" status (best troops in Wars of Insurgency). The player controlling the faction decides which vehicle the President will ride in, and where in the vehicle itself. They can choose between one of the two SUVs or two jeeps. He can't be a driver or machine gunner, though!. On the President's side is the Peoples Militia of Kammebalango. They are immensely loyal to the "Great Elephant," and are there to escort him the president and keep him safe. They control three squads of 10 Militia with small arms. Each squad also has a Militia light machine gunner (LMG) and RPG man.

Players read through their mission briefings to learn their individual goals & victory conditions
Opposing the President is one of the local army commanders. He is from a rival tribe whose people have been neglected, mistreated, and persecuted by the president's regime. The general has brought soldiers loyal to him in a bid to assassinate the president. They are riding in two armored vehicles, each equipped with a HMG and an extra crewmen. Each vehicle also carries a squad of four Regular soldiers with small arms and one with LMG. Also attempting to prevent the president from escaping off-table (he is on his way to the airport to fly to Cairo for a meeting of African leaders), is a Mercenary faction. These have been hired by an unnamed country who wants to have a "chat" with the president to convince him to sign away some mining rights to them. Their job is to kidnap the president and take him to the undisclosed location where the "chat" will take place. They arrive in two helicopters, each armed with a LMG, and each carrying a squad of four Professional mercs with small arms.

    'Kammebalango for Kammebalangans' (K4K) arrives on table through the park playground
Slightly less anti-president is the faction of UN Peacekeepers from Ghana. For their own selfish political reasons, they do not want the president of Kammebalango to attend the meeting in Cairo. Their forces have been ordered to divert or prevent him from escaping off the designated board edge heading to the airport. They are NOT to kill him -- that would be a disgrace to the nation of Ghana if their peacekeepers killed the president of their host nation. The peacekeepers are all on foot. They have two Regular squads of eight men armed with small arms, plus a LMG and RPG gunners in each squad. Finally, the forces of a new and somewhat mysterious movement are present in the capital - Kammebalango for Kammebalangans (K4K). They also have two squads armed identically to the UN peacekeepers. However, their mission is to attack and drive off any foreigners. They believe only citizens of Kammebalango should determine the future of the nation.

    The Peoples Militia of Kammebalango marches down the dirt road to meet the President's motorcade
So, the way I intend for it to work out is there are three factions somewhat on the president's side, and three factions who are somewhat (or wholly) against him. They all have their own individual victory conditions which do not coincide perfectly. Even the goals of the intensely loyal People's Militia are subtly different than the President's. Each faction doesn't know the other players' goals, so it is a bit of a free-for-all rather than a straight up, two-sided confrontation. I ended up with five players signed up, so Jenny volunteered to play the role of the President since she will actually be helping me run this scenario at Historicon. I am also running Mean Streets, so she's giving me a break or two from GMing. She was there to observe and learn, and what better way to learn than to be thrown into the role of the President and his motorcade, trying to navigate the streets safely to the opposite corner of the table?

    As gunfire erupts in the streets, two helicopters hover over the downtown streets of the capital
The game opened in a relatively low-key fashion, with two squads of the Peoples Militia advancing down the alley, cheering as they met the Great Elephant's motorcade on the main street. A third squad began sneaking down the long table edge behind the buildings, climbing the chain link fences separating each apartment block from each other. To the President's right, the two squads of K4K advanced through the park playground and took up positions along the wall, making his bodyguards very nervous. Gunfire first erupted, though, from the Peoples Militia climbing the fences when they spotted the Ghanaian peacekeepers. One blue-helmeted trooper went down. With the sound of gunfire, all the forces on table suddenly became alert, fingers on their triggers.

    The rebellious army commander's troops roll onto the table inside two APCs, ready for a fight
More shooting was about to erupt, though. The armored vehicles of the rebellious army commander rolled onto the table almost precisely where the President would be trying to exit. They moved steadily towards the intersection with the main street, down which the motorcade was progressing. Turning the corner, they saw the President's jeeps and SUVs, escorted by a massive throng of the militia, all headed towards them. BRAAAAP!! The gunner on the HMG opened up on one of the President's escorting jeeps. The other Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) turned the corner and opened up on the same jeep. Sparks flew and the vehicle shuddered to a stop. Its occupants were Professionals, though, and immediately began firing back, pouring rounds aimed for the driver's observation slit. With two jeep-mounted HMGs hosing down the APC, one round made it inside, killing the driver of the lead vehicle. It rolled forward past the median and slowly ground to a stop. 

    Blue-helmeted peacekeepers march onto the table and take up positions on the Jersey barricades
Gunfire erupted up and down the main street, echoing off the walls of the downtown buildings. The sound of the gun battle reverberated back and forth, at first masking the sound of the rotor blades of two khaki-colored helicopters suddenly arriving overhead. One of them hovered inches above the hotel's roof. Four white mercenaries leapt out and raced for the trap door, leading to the ladder from the roof to the building's top floor. Soon, the clamor of the helicopters began to drown out the sound of the gunfire. With the arrival of the mysterious choppers, two other factions leapt into action. The K4K squads clambered over the park walls and advanced down the alley way. One squad of UN troopers dashed along the concrete Jersey barricades between the street and the hotel. The other squad ducked through a side door into the neighboring, three-story apartment building. Half of those blue helmeted troopers dashed upstairs to the second floor, as well. From there, they engaged the militia they could begin to see advancing down the street. The militia had fired first, after all - at least that was how they interpreted their rules of engagement!

    Cheered on by the jubilant militia, the President's bodyguards escort him down the main street

The APCs continued to fire upon the militia and the bodyguard. The second jeep was also disabled, but both HMGs were still operational and firing back. The militia added their small arms fire to that of the bodyguard's, as well as keeping up a running gun battle with the UN troopers. Everyone kept eying the hovering helicopters, which so far, had yet to tip their hand why they were there. As the helicopter over the roof lifted off, the two switched places, disgorging another squad of mercenaries onto the rooftop. Suddenly, one of the choppers descended abruptly to low level, alongside the three-story apartment building. The crew chief's LMG roared to life shattering the glass and riddling the second floor firing position of the Ghanaian peacekeepers. The Mercs were firing on the UN! 

    The tiger-striped K4K troopers spring into action, vaulting the park walls and advancing

The blue helmets ducked to avoid the spray of bullets and then returned fire. Sparks flew and bullets ricocheted or pierced the sides of the chopper. From the first floor, an RPG rock screamed skyward and slammed into the underside of the helicopter. The explosion sent red flames rushing out the sides of the aircraft, which lazily spiraled down to the street. It crashed onto the pavement, turning partially on its side as broken rotor blades whirled like deadly scythes through the street. The UN troopers continued to fire on the wreckage. Both pilots were killed, but the crew chief was able to sprint from the wreckage for safety.

    The President's escorting HMG-armed jeeps begin to take fire from the rebel's APCs
Meanwhile, the president's bodyguard had a decision to make. There was a lot of shooting and flames in the intersection they had been rolling towards. Talking back and forth by radio, the bodyguards decided to turned down the alley behind the Shell station. Maybe the SUVs could work their through the alleys and rejoin the main road beyond the intersection? They kept their eyes on the tiger-striped, K4K troopers who seemed to have no interest in them. Both K4K squads disappeared in the direction of the intersection. One of the squads ducked inside the Shell station and took up firing positions looking across the street towards the hotel and the diner. The  other crept alongside the buildings towards the same intersection.

    A huge gun battle erupts in the streets as the milita and bodyguards return fire on the rebels
The bodyguards in the disabled jeeps kept firing on the rebel soldiers. Both APC squads dismounted and scrambled for cover along the front of the gas station. One squad eventually worked up the nerve to get back into the fight and moved to the corner of the building and opened fire. The other passed by the K4K, giving them a wide berth, and ducking into the service bay of the Shell station. There they watched the opening, ready to engage the motorcade if it came that way.

    UN troopers take up a firing position on the 2nd floor of an apartment building overlooking the street
Meanwhile, the mercenaries' day continued to get worse. The first squad descended the stairs and into the alley. For some reason, they decided to go around the front of the building rather than rear. The K4K player had been waiting all game for the perfect opportunity and he opened fire. "Die Mzungu!" Half of the mercenary squad went down, the rest retreating into the diner. The second squad, hearing the gunfire erupt where their companions had gone, wisely ducked around the back of the building, making their way towards where the President would have to exit the board. 

    Chopper down! Concentrated gun & RPG fire from a UN squad forces shoots down a Merc chopper
The UN troopers celebrating the downing of the helicopter were surprised when the militia squad, which had been clambering over fences, suddently burst into the first floor of the apartment building. A point blank range gun battle erupted. Wood splinters, stuffing from chairs, and shattered glass flew into the air. The UN troopers were badly outnumbered, even when their mates from the second floor hurriedly clambered down the stairs to join them. The Ghanaians eventually fled the building and joined their other squad at the Jersey barricades.

    A K4K squad takes up a firing position overlooking the diner and hotel (and some rebel infantry)
The key moment of the game was approaching, though. First, one SUV zoomed past the service bay of the Shell station. The rebel soldiers fired into the engine block and tires, hoping to disable it. Bodyguards, with their red berets, fired back. The first SUV successfully ran the gauntlet and accelerated through the gas station's lot. But was that the one carrying the President? Then it was the turn of the second SUV. It also braved the rebel soldiers' gunfire. It also made it past without being disabled, these being special up-armored limos purchased from the United States. As it turned out, the passenger in the back seat of the second SUV was the President. Had the troopers known this, and fired upon him rather than the vehicle itself, they could have won the game then and there. However, his armored limo escaped only slightly damaged, and the President's driver hit the gas and accelerated to safety. 

    Return fire from the President's bodyguards and the militia begin to whittle down the rebel ranks
We'd reached the three hours allotted for the game, so we decided to call it a Presidential victory. The surviving mercenary squad decided to exfiltrate rather than block the president's exit. The UN had come under fire by K4K, too, so knew they couldn't do anything to stop the limos at long range. My players all said they enjoyed the game. I was very happy with how it progressed. Everyone was involved, everyone was firing on rival factions. There was an air of mystery till the end on what some of the factions were doing. So, I liked that dynamic. My favorite part was how it literally came down to the last attack roll of the game. If the rebel soldiers had scored more hits, and the limo had made fewer of its armor saves, the President may not have made it out alive.

    A squad of mercenaries descend the stairs into the alley, preparing to move out

I look forward to my two runnings of this at Historicon Friday night and Saturday morning. The game at DayCon certainly set a high bar, though! It's hard to see how things can go as well as this game, at least from a GM's perspective!

    A full squad of K4K advances towards the intersection, continuing to hold their fire
    A squad of militia burst into the ground floor of the apartment, surprising the UN troopers

    The President's bodyguard decides to turn the SUVs into the alley and try to find an alternate route

    One of the Merc squads wisely advances along the backside of the diner away from the gun battle

    The President's limo and decoy limo turn up the alley - but which is which??

K4K squad fires at the 2nd limo putting two hits on it, but not disabling it - the President escapes!

    The battle's end - a great game with a gripping ending. Most importantly, everyone had fun!


  1. Looks like a great scenario, can't wait to play in this at Historicon!

  2. Thanks, Jason! Any preferences on a faction to play?