I've just finished playing the "Political Game" for Arabian Nightmare, The Kuwait War. It's a very smooth, self-guided process, which has logical progressions and very reasonable limits. My play ended on turn five, with Iraq sueing for peace, but let's start at the beginning. Victory points are awarded both militarily (MVP) and politically (pp). Keeping track of both was tough, but it brought into sharp focus just how much a positive political move can have detrimental military ramifications. Even a move that is "popular" made by a president who is enjoying a 75% approval rating can make life difficult for the military end of the whole game. The turns are set up as follows: Random event, Iraqi "Political Endeavor" (or PE), allied PE, Iraqi PE, Allied PE, Iraqi PE Allied PE, Allied PE, and finally, if called for in the Random Event, a "Tactical Opportunity." Let's do this turn by turn:
The whole magilla starts with Saddam invading Kuwait, or the K1 option.
The turn opens with the following random events: Britain sends combat troops to Bahrain, the stock market tanks, and the Presidential approval rating hits 75%. Saddam secures some western "guests." American Secretary Of State botches convincing Japan to pay it's fair share if push comes to shove. Saddam pulls a tactical retreat from occupied Iranian territory thus freeing those units up for use elsehwere. Bush the elder holds a press conference denouncing Saddams aggression, it is a dismal flop. He decides to act presidential by playing some golf (Republican presidents only, the rules are very clear on that point). Again, he merely annoys. Meanwhile Saddam attempts to assassinate long time Bush family friend, Saudi Prince Bandar. The attempt fails, but he's shown the Arab equivalent of chutzpah... Jabarut! America sees no alternative to an embargo of Iraq whilst getting their ducks in a row. Bush then calls a press conference and again, he steps in it. He changes tack by wailing away on the wastrel "tax and spend" congress, but it falls on deaf ears. In the meantime, the Iraqis have siezed the tactical opportunity of restarting abandoned kuwaiti mirage jets. That's gonna sting.
Turn ends. Iraq MVP: 5 PP: 8 America MVP: -1 PP: -1
Play proceeded with Iraq trying to gas Israel, only to have the scuds shot down. Massive Jabarut pp score. Meanwhile, America goes coalition building and brings even Egypt on board, (which will cost Mubarak a bungled assassination attempt by Saddam later). The U.S. finally gets the U.N. security council on board, (after one previous veto; damned Russians hate to piss of a friendly dictator), and congress officially declares war. By turn three, Saddam has appeared on Nightline and other American media outlets, and has, paradoxically, kidnapped major western journalists and tied 'em to strategic allied bombing targets. Syria gives the U.S. fly over dibs, and Turkey activates her borders. By turn three, the U.S. pp score had gotten high enough for a coup attempt to happen... it flopped. Turn four has the war declaration and Mubaraks's failed assassination attempt. By turn five, the allied pp level was high enough for another coup attempt, this time, it succeeded, and how! Saddam sues for peace, withdraws from Kuwait, and pays some hush money to his more aggravated neighbors.
Similarities and differences.
Hindsight is 20/20. Saddam really did try to gas Israel, but I don't remember him going on Nightline. He did place hostages in harms way, but the U.S. never had any difficulty getting a UN resolution. Building the coalition is what really put political capital in the U.S. player's bank. With Saddam, hell... insanity and ignominy have a certain liberating quality, which frees you up to try just about any damn thing that suits you as the Iraqi player.
Final Score: IRAQ MVP 13 PP 52. U.S. & Allies MVP -9 PP 51. Yep, the Iraqi player won on points, but the victory went to the allies. And yes, it was that close. Notice how U.S. political machinations hindered military ops to the tune of -9 Military Victory Points! Good thing U.S. military might could easily over-compensate for the political hobble. Very enlightening, and darnend fun, too!
All in all, VERY fun played independantly of the "war" game. I can only imagine how fun it would be if played in conjuction WITH the war game!
I'm not sure that the missiles fired at Israel actually had poison gas in them.
Interestingly enough, the scuds fired at Israel were knock ups, as the SCUD didn't have the range to hit that far. They were basically tiny warheads with extra fuel tanks weilded on. They weren't designed for ballistic flight so they fell apart during re-entry. Which is lucky really as the patriot missile defenses manage to shoot down none of them. All the damage done was by falling debris.
This game sounds great by the way!