Asymmetric Warfare: Nation Building USA is a game that explores the complexity of conflicts that occur in failed states. Rather than look at a current conflict in a country where the basic functions of government have broken down (Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria, etc.), this game assumes that the United States is recovering from a debilitating plague. To stop the spread of the plague, the US government had to put the US population under a prolonged quarantine and nuke a few cities where the plague was out of control. Forcing people to stay indoors for several weeks, in turn, caused the economy to collapse. Larger areas of the country have collapsed into anarchy, and millions of refugees are fleeing the fallout of the nuclear strikes. The US has become a failed state. You play a bankrupt US government, and you must reassert control over and rebuild the nation.
Other games on this blog explore these themes, but this one uses a unique game engine that highlights the role of non-military forces in nation building and interventions in failed states. Effective police and good social services can often be more useful than a powerful air force or army. As cross border conflicts become rarer, the militaries of advanced nations are spending more time on missions other than war. This game attempts to simulate the interplay between combat operations, humanitarian activities, intelligence gathering and nation building. Basically, you cannot win without getting most of these things right.
The game happens of two levels:
1) A strategic level where you maneuver on a hex based map and generate resources
2) A card driven combat system that lets you fight for control of contested hexes
The rules for both levels are easy to learn.
The NON VIOLENCE scenario simulates a non-violent revolution. It is a bit different from the other scenarios, but the game system does a decent job of modeling a situation like the Euromaidan protests and Tahrir Square demonstrations. Basically, you have to hold onto a central point in your Nation’s capital until the security forces stop taking orders from the authoritarian regime in power. The real challenge is coordinating a large group of people while the regime does everything it can to stop you. Communicating clandestinely, managing the media and keeping your own supporters from responding to government provocation with violence are all complex challenges. This game attempts to simulate them.
We also hope to add more scenarios, so stay tuned.