Brant Guillory, 8 February 2021
As noted in our introduction to this short series, “this isn’t so much a full AAR, nor is it necessarily a review of the game, though there will be comments on the game throughout. This is an as-it-happened stream-of-consciousness article about figuring out the game as it goes.” I’m fighting my way through the Rhodesian insurgencies of the 60s and 70s to navigate the challenging waters of fighting off a two-front pseudo-communist insurgency while trying to shepherd the country into a more modern form that the international community is willing to accept.
Rhodesian Herald phase: Roll a 1, plus the turn number(3) gives us a 4
click images to enlarge
Our events this turn are
- Communist subversion – raises the terror level by one
- Brazilian troops to Angola? – chance of Brazilian troops going to fight communism could reduce our terror level by one, but we rolled a 4 instead of a 6, so nope!
- Sanctions – we have to put the sanctions on our global trade box on our turn record track which will cost us during our money phase
- Radio / TV – this would bump our popularity level up if it wasn’t already maxed, but having the Portuguese in charge in Mozambique would have also allowed us to put another troop unit onto the map in Salisbury. However we have every available unit already out there so unfortunately this doesn’t help on either of the key indicators
- Special branch – this is an espionage event that would allow us to spend a little money to remove a terr unit from the map, except there aren’t any because we’ve been able to keep up with killing them so far.
So overall, the only thing the Rhodesian Herald events really did for us was slap the sanctions in place because every advantageous event would have been affecting something that’s already maxed out, except for the Brazilian troops.
In our Politics phase, there are no elections in South Africa or the UK or Rhodesia. The Portuguese are still ruling Mozambique so there’s no check for Fico, and British rule has already ended in Botswana. This was a big, fat nothing this turn.
Our Commercial phase is busier.
- The sanctions are going to put a squeeze on our money, but we still have plenty of income on the map
- $3 from South Africa
- $5 from counters on the map
- $4 from my population
- $1 from global trade with the sanctions in place
That total maxes me out at $16
We are not going to take the chance on sanctions busting because any money we earn would be lost anyway since we are already maxed out. We don’t have any enemy units in the country where we need to pay off the locals prop up the morale, and there’s nothing in Zambia to try to squeeze them.
Time to spend some money instead!
- We are not going to engage in any public spending to raise our popularity because it is already maxed
- We will spend $1 to refuel the RHAF
- There are no political leaders to try and buy off, and we are not proposing a liberal bill this turn so we do not need to pay to compromise to get the bill passed
It’s unfortunate we didn’t have more to spend the money on, but we can live with it for now
Policy Review phase
This turn’s policy is the Provincial Councils
This isn’t a pretty one for us. It was a pretty dumb, hard right idea about shoving as much of the black population into what were essentially containment areas. The rulebook notes, “Even South Africa thought this was a dumb idea.”
The easiest thing to do is to take no action on it and simply take a one-point hit to the popularity track. I’m not sure it’s worth spending the money and getting some extra troopies on the map just yet, since we have a good chance of getting those troopies later through a different policy chit. We take no action, drop our popularity level by 1, and move on.
We are going to take a chance this turn though, and go for some Visionary Leadership and attempt to buy policy from a future turn. Only one turn ahead we have the ALCORA policy which will give us some definite security enhancements.
In order to do this, we have to pay an additional $2 penalty in order to play it early on top of the actual cost of the policy, which is $5. That said, it’s going to give us a permanent $1 boost to our income and puts three military units on the map for us for free so this is hard to not want to use.
We put the Portuguese Flechas unit in Mozambique, since that’s where more terr’s are likely to spawn
The South African infantry units we also put in spaces that border more danger areas: Matebeleland and Manicaland.
This costs us a total of $7 but we are expecting to get close to the max again the next turn so it might be worth it.
Chimurenga phase, or “combat” to the rest of us
- We have no troopies to raise, but one to rearm and several to deploy
- Because Mashonaland is not cooperating, but is instead showing a fist, we must bring those units back to Salisbury to rearm as well.
- In total, we have to pay $3 for deploying our troopies: $1 for the SAS we sent into Mozambique, plus the two from Mashonaland, that we can now deploy wherever we want.
With two Portuguese units in Mozambique, we have less need to venture outside the country with them, so we will send one to Zambia, and return the other two to Mashonaland.
Time to roll for the terr’s.
- The terror level is 2 so we are rolling 2 dice.
- We rolled a 2 and a 3 and that puts one each in Botswana and Mozambique.
- The only terr unit we can move at this point is the one from Botswana into Matebeleland, where he is promptly met by both Grey’s Scouts and a South African infantry unit.
- Because Matebeleland has a handshake marker we have to roll for the unit coming in, and with a 2, the unit survives but does not affect that handshake marker.
In combat, we first handle those outside of Rhodesia, so the Flechas and Especials will take on the unit in Mozambique first. With an attack strength of 4 and a die roll of 4 we get a retreat for the defender. This eliminates the defender back to the force pool and uses both of the Portuguese units in Mozambique
Now to Matebeleland, where we have another 4 defense factors against a single unit and we are choosing not to commit RhAF to save the money for next turn. Again, we are rolling 4 factors and roll another 4 on the die, which forces the unit to retreat to Botswana.
Next turn, we will have four units to rearm. We are not going to pay for a fireforce raid at this point and will instead live with one surviving terr unit on the map.
There is a US presidential election this term, which has its own set of rules. We rolled a 6 which gives us a Republican win in 1968. This will give us $2 of income next turn, and lowers our terror level by 1.
Because the Republicans won, we now have to check to see if Kissinger gets involved, and with a die roll of 3 we place him in Rhodesia. Because neither Carter nor Reagan were in play, we don’t need to adjust for either with Kissinger’s appearance.
We would normally check for terrorism and intimidation if we had any additional enemy units inside the country, but at this point there are no more actions to take in the cosmopolitics phase, and this ends our third turn.
I’m going to admit that I’m a little concerned I might be doing something wrong here because the first three turns haven’t been overly challenging just yet. There has been some monetary juggling needed, but there have been several times where I have turned down obvious bonuses only because I’m already maxed out at certain places where I would otherwise need to spend some money. Right now, there is only one terr unit still on the map, and none of the expected buildup of ZANU forces on the east side of the map waiting for Portuguese rule to fall. I’m sure that’s all about to come crashing down shortly, but so far it hasn’t been quite as painful as I was expecting.
Rhodesian Herald phase: Rolled 4, plus 4 for the turn, gives us an 8
We are in for some interesting events this time.
- Commonwealth conference – this one does not affect us because the British government is still Labour and not the Tories at the moment
- Factions feud in Zambia – this would allow us to eliminate some ZAPU units in Zambia. Unfortunately the only ZAPU unit on the map is in Botswana.
- Sino-Soviet split – this one would let us lower the terror level by 1, but we’re already at 1
- Cabora Bassa Dam (yes, again) – we need to remove the Portuguese control marker from Tete, which won’t hurt us from a terr perspective, but does cost us $1 of income
- Outrage – ruh-roh. We have one of our units outside the country and we’ll need to check for outrage as we were now caught conducting cross border raids. The Portuguese units in Mozambique don’t matter, but our SAS unit in Zambia does. This causes us to flip both the US and South African governments from green to red, and raises the terror level by 2 because we had to flip 2 markers. This is also going to cut into our income now.
The rulebook specifies that the events are dealt with in the order they are listed on the Rhodesian Herald sheet. This is the same order we listed them above. As a result, the terror level is raised by 2 at the end of this phase, rather than us being able to sequence the events such that it goes up to for “outrage” and then comes back down 1 for the “Sino-Soviet split”.
The Politics phase is a big fat nothing this turn. There are no elections on the turn track in 1969 for South Africa, the US, or Rhodesia (whose elections are coming up next turn). The Portuguese are still in charge in Mozambique so the Fico check is irrelevant, and Botswana is set for the rest of the game at this point, and I’m just going to skip even mentioning it anymore.
Commercial phase, when it’s time to count our money, and it is less than we were hoping for given the loss of some of our international income from the events.
- We do get a total of $4 between South Africa and the ALCORA alliance.
- With the loss of Portuguese rule in Tete and the loss of several friendly governments, we only have $2 showing on the map for income this turn, one each from Portugal in Mozambique, and one from Kaunda in Zambia.
- We do earn $4 for our population, since that is maxed out. We also earn the $1 that is on our sanctions marker. Against all odds, we have managed to max out our income this turn and are sitting on $16.
We still do not need to adjust morale, so that saves us some money. We also don’t need to engage in public spending to raise our popularity track. There are no terr units left in Zambia to try to squeeze them.
We did not use the RhAF last turn so there’s no need to refuel them.
Policy review phase
We pulled last turn’s policy ahead to this turn, so we do not have one this turn and may not be in a hurry to pull next turn’s in early. But let’s look at the Pearce Commission policy, it does look like it could be advantageous for us to go ahead and pull it ahead in this way: the worst of the outcomes, either through inaction or a bad die roll, are almost all on the map already (such unfriendly foreign governments). Rather than try to control the current bad situation, only to have it go bad again next turn, we might just pull this policy ahead and if we strike out, the damage is mitigated because, well, it’s already there.
Let’s give it a try and see what happens.
The cost of Visionary Leadership to pull that policy from a future turn is only $2 since it is only one turn ahead. That drops our cash from $16 to $14 and we still only need a 2 or better on the die to enact it. We roll a 3, so it’s enacted, even if only barely.
We roll a d6 for the outcome of the event and roll a 3 which allows us to flip one fist back to its handshake side on the map. We only have 1 fist – in Mashonaland – so that’s a pretty easy choice. Overall, this worked out to pull that policy ahead, and allow us to be ready for a full slate of elections over the next two turns without worrying that this event will immediately hurt us if we get a friendly roll for elections somewhere.
Chimurenga phase, when it’s time to raise and rearm some troopies
- First things first, we have to move the SAS to Salisbury, and flip Grey’s Scouts face up and move them also.
- The South African unit in Matebeleland flips face up but we do not have to pay to rearm them in Salisbury.
- We also flip the two Portuguese units in Mozambique back to their face-up sides but do not move them to Salisbury either.
We do not have any units that we can raise in the force pool, so we are just rearming and redeploying the two units we currently have in Salisbury at a cost of $1 each, dropping our treasury to $12.
We are going to deploy the SAS to Matebeleland to deal with ZAPU unit that will be coming across the border shortly. We are going to deploy Grey’s Scouts outside of the country in Tete. Now that Portuguese rule is removed from that country, terr units can come across the border at will and we would rather fight them there than on our own soil. We are not overly worried about an outrage event coming up since all of those foreign governments are flipped to red already anyway.
It’s time to deploy the enemy and with a terror level of 3, we have to roll 3 dice. Two 3s and a 4 put all of them in Mozambique. The problem with that role is that we only have two Portuguese units in that country and none of our own. This means our gamble on Grey’s Scouts did not pay off as no enemy unit was placed in Tete.
As we arrange our forces for combat, the two Portuguese units each stick to one ZANU unit. The third one is unable to cross the border right now because the Portuguese are still in control of Mozambique. That one will just have to sit there and wait.
There is one ZAPU unit in Botswana that does cross the border, right into the teeth of two of our units. We do have to roll for the handshake effect as it crosses. We roll a 4, which forces it to retreat back to Botswana before ever firing a shot.
At this point, we are left with two battles, each in Mozambique, between the Portuguese and the ZANU. Both Portuguese units have a strength of 2, so we roll each of them with that attack strength. The role of 3 fails, but the roll of 4 forces a DR, but because the unit is already abroad and cannot retreat, it is eliminated back to the force pool.
Even with two surviving units opposing us in Mozambique, we are going to save the RhAF and not launch a fireforce raid.
And that ends our combat phase and we move to the cosmopolitics phase, where there were no US elections this turn, and there are no terr’s left inside of Rhodesia so there is no intimidation or any other action from this phase yet.
At the end of turn four, we have an elevated terror level and three unfriendly foreign governments. But we have a good bankroll, a solid number of forces on the map, all of the local cooperation markers are on their handshake sides, and have not used very many units that we will have to rearm next turn.
Our income won’t be great next turn, but we are starting much higher than we did last turn. Even with the Rhodesian elections we have to pay for, we may well have enough money to do so.
That said, I’m not feeling too much worse about things at this point, even with the elevated terror level. We’ve got plenty of units to dispatch to Mozambique to hit them preemptively, and a decent bankroll to keep us moving forward. We’re past one of the dumber policies, and one that could’ve hurt us we were able to pull ahead and still didn’t suffer much damage.
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