Thursday, April 26, 2018

A New Project: The Second American Civil War (2020-?)


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This project is a pure flight of fancy, a bit of shameless, cathartic self-indulgence. I've always had a dark fascination for contemporary conflicts - the brutal, kinetic and extreme violence that seems to pick away at the edges of our fragile veneer of modernity. I know that for many in the hobby, ultra-modern warfare is simply 'a stetting too far', or indeed too close, perhaps a little too near to home. I completely understand, but I find this setting allows me to indulge my somewhat jaundiced view of the world, letting me to playfully skirt the margins of convention (and perhaps good taste).

Several years ago I wrote a piece on my blog where I reflected on wargaming, history and morality. In retrospect I think it was a little too heavy for a toy soldier blog, but whatever, I enjoyed writing it and I recently revisited the post along with all the well-considered responses from those who took the time to comment on it. At the time when I wrote it, I wasn't sure if I wanted to wargame ultra-modern settings, but now I think it may serve nicely as a cathartic outlet. 

While wanting to do something ultra-modern, I'm not especially interested in gaming the stereotypical white special forces guys operating in third world countries, killing brown and black people. Instead I want to explore the divisions in our own western society by taking our contemporary environment to an extreme conclusion, a narrative where North America has fundamentally broken down. It's meant as a poke in the eye to our civilized sensibilities, something provocative to fly in the face of our Western sense of superiority - blowing up the idea that, 'it could never happen here'. 

So I present to you my vision of 'The Second American Civil War (2020-?)'. 

I won't go too much into the hypothetical background other than to say that it's built upon the premise that the POTUS, fearing the comeuppance of impending kompromat, has manufactured a crisis from which he has declared martial law. This serves to interrupt any constitutional challenge to his power and helps to divert attention away from his legal entanglements. 

Peaceful demonstrations criticizing the Executive Office are suppressed by fractured elements of the government's enforcement agencies and nationalist militias. So, demonstrations turn to riots, and riots to open revolt. From this, the great 'American Experiment' begins to unravel.



Like many of these kinds of projects, this one will probably never see 'completion', but that's not what this is all about. I'm just wanting it to serve as a silly vehicle for my sardonic, very personal narrative of what I see occurring in the world today.

Anyway, enough blather, let's get on to the miniatures!



The figures and terrain seen here are from several sources.


First, we have a team of MAGA Militia in their distinctive red baseball caps. These guys are from Spectre Miniatures. Great sculpts, though the weapons are 'true scale' which means rather fragile.




Then we have a team of generic, very well-equiped urban operators. Perhaps members of a SWAT team. These chaps are from Hasslefree miniatures. A bit larger than your average 28mm figures, but beautiful models to work on.





Then four members of a Mexican Sicario hit team. As a certain silly Orange Man described them, these are all 'Bad Hombres'. The figures are from Spectre Miniatures.






Finally a group of local survivors just trying to stay alive. I imagine these as ex-military service personnel armed and clothed in an ad-hoc mixture of gear and equipment. These are also from Spectre.




I'm imagining several more factions, militias, thrill-kill cults still to come, which should be fun and perhaps raise an eyebrow or two. :)



The terrain shown here is a mix of stuff as well. 


The gas station is from Sarissa Precision. This was a incredibly fun kit to work on. Due to the setting I had in mind, I really went over the top on weathering it. Sarah says I need an old Coke machine out front and a bunch of windblown newspapers around the pumps - as usual, she's absolutely right.





The billboard is from my good friend Byron over at Northern Lights Terrain and Gaming Supplies. A great little kit that was easy to assemble and a doodle to weather up.



The two wrecked cars are from 'The Walking Dead' terrain boxed set. I think it has 4  plastic vehicles, half a dozen barricades and a bunch of other scatter for around 30 bucks - Really, an incredible value for what you get. I picked this up at 'Crisis' this past autumn and DaveD was kind enough to send it on home so I wouldn't have to pack it around Europe for the rest of our vacation. Thanks Dave! 


The green wrecked car is a resin model from Armorcast. 


The Jersey concrete barriers and oil drums are 3D prints from Thingiverse. 




So there you have it, my little post-apocalyptic diversion for the summer. I invite you to come back to see more stuff roll out over the coming months. It's going to be YUUGE! 

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46 comments:

  1. Is this a repost? I distinctly remember reading and commenting on a post about this project a while back and wondering how it might tie in with your Metro 2033 project.

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    1. btw, great painting and good luck with this project - I imagine it will be cathartic (but hopefully not prophetic).

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    2. D'oh! It was on the Challenge blog of course

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    3. Haha, no worries Tamsin. Yes, I was catching up my personal blog to the last few months.

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  2. Interesting stuff mate. What rules are you intending to use?

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    1. We had our first scenario last week using 'Spectre Operations'. Great set of rules - but very unforgiving.

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  3. Needs hillbillys, and maybe a Canadian peace keeping force

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    1. I expect there'll be some hillbillies in with the red-capped folks. :) The Canadians will have a part to play as well.

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  4. Fantastic work on the building and billboard. I look forward to seeing more great terrain.

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    1. Thanks Codsticker, the Sarissa stuff is a hoot to work on. BTW I really enjoyed my time visiting your blog. Brilliant work.

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  5. Not really my cuppa, as you probably guessed but they all look the biz. Figures to terrain items. Love the Garage (gas station)

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    1. Thanks Ray! I know it's not your thing but I appreciate the nod. :)

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  6. Great post Curt and amazing work on the terrain and figures. I look forward to seeing more of this project

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    1. Thanks Oli! It's definitely not the Renaissance, but it should be an entertaining diversion nonetheless. :)

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  7. This was one of my highlights and an absolutely cracking bit of work! I am all up for a shameless bit of self indulgence if it looks this good.

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    1. You're too kind Michael, thanks very much.

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  8. Wow, this is something that I would happily get behind were it a community effort. I have some of those Warlord Games SpecOps multipart chaps that would fit right in...

    Beautiful work sir.

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    1. Thanks Dai! I'll have to check out those figures from Warlord Games.

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    2. They also do good multi-part "Survivors" kits for both male and females for their Project-Z game that I think would make for good low skill level civvies trying to defend whatever small stashes they've managed to gather.

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    3. Great to know, thanks for the tip!

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  9. Really cool, Reminds me of my Cascadia setting. Which takes places after the 2nd American civil war and the Balkanization of the US.
    Civil war is officially over, but still lots of left over conflicts. The rest of the world is also having lots of problems with the break down in global trade and Uncle Sam no longer able to "Guaranty" the status quo. As to that being a good or bad thing is up to the individual.

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    1. Sounds like a very interesting setting with lots of great scenario possibilities waiting in the wings. Thanks for commenting!

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    2. Slowly working on getting Figs and terrain for it.

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  10. Stunning work mate. Always in awe of your painting skills. Really like that Hasslefree Swat team.

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  11. Make Erica eat Again? Is this a cleverly veiled Anorexia Awareness campaign?

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    1. Haha! It was just TOO easy that I couldn't resist. :)

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  12. Great idea and a wonderful set of terrain.
    Cheers
    Stu

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  13. It's all very elegantly done,but having watched the handmaid's tale you need some Christian fundamentalists surely?
    Best Iain

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    1. Already in the works my good man. Great minds... :)

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  14. oh , thats fun. Plenty of interesting side diversion I feel too. look forward to seeing it develop

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    1. Thanks Dave, first game went off last week - great mayhem was had.

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  15. So much to say, Curt! Well, first off, the painting is up to your superb standard. The scenery is especially: you've managed to make it look like hell without making it seem dreary.

    As far as the scenario goes. It reminds me a lot of A Very British Civil War. (Let's hope the one remains as blissfully fictional as the other.)

    It also reminds me a lot of the old Steve Jackson game Car Wars. I always thought Car Wars the quintessential game of the American id.

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    1. Thanks Matthew. I should entertain doing up a classic 'Car Wars' scenario within the series of games.

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  16. Good looking project Curt! I'm just now reading a novel called "American War", which explores the second ACW (2074-95) and was a CBC Canada Reads selection: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/book-reviews/omar-el-akkads-american-war-reviewed-a-masterful-debut/article34516221/

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    1. Sorry I missed your comment until now, Dallas (Blogger is being weird on sending email update notifications). Yes, I've read 'American War'. I found it quite good and suitably unsettling, particularly the radicalization of children and the loss of control of automated defense systems such as the story's hunter-killer drones.

      Thanks for the comment!

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  17. Beautiful project! I am particularly enjoying the comments regarding this project on TMP where you have been described as “so left you’re falling off the planet”, simply for saying that Trump is a “silly orange man” (all empirically provable, btw).

    I think a nice anarcopunk collective is in order. More,poorly armed than the others, but more of them.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Thaddeus, much appreciated.

      Yes, the TMP thread is interesting. I see that Bill the Editor has stopped in to redact the the bits where someone wanted to punch me in the face for how I play with my toy soldiers. Niiice. Frankly, I wish he would have left it in. I thought it did a great job in setting the tone for the overall discussion. ;)

      You're right, some anarcho-punkers would be great additions to the theme. Perhaps some militant feminists are in order as well (a la 'Y: The Last Man' graphic novel). They would be a good counterpoint to the Alt Right militia, Rapturists, Klan, etc.

      Gallows humour gaming is such fun. :)

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    2. So any thoughts on it spilling over and causing a Canadian Civil War? (as per Bill's snarky comment on that thread)

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    3. And that's why I don't use TMP. It is a silly place. Lol
      And that's right, you can't have an anti-trump civil war with out anarchist, and some armed black block.

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    4. @Tamsin: Yes, his comment was a bit snarky - but fair enough. Nonetheless, I can't really see that scenario being very plausible. While we Canadians certainly have our own political/ethnic/racial baggage, I don't believe its sufficiently systemic, volatile or polarizing to cause any significant level of militancy within our population. Sure, we had the 1885 Riel Resistance and a few labour riots in the 1930s, but the scope, scale and history just isn't the same. Also, from a purely gaming point of view it would be pretty boring as Canadians are nowhere near as weaponized either. The stereotypical Canadian is fairly polite, usually conciliatory and kinda boring. Just the way we like it. :)

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  18. Somewhat baffled by the lack of Antifa thugs dressed head to toe in their "black bloc". Tens of thousands of them did a pretty good job trashing central Hamburg about a year ago, and they've been running rampage across the US on an almost weekly basis (not that it gets reported much in the mainstream media). Regrettably if the US degenerates into ACW2 it will be this mob at the very forefront of it all. Don't how you'd model them, mainly with improvised arms?

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    1. Hmm. Well, I don't know about these rampaging mobs apparently running rampant across the US, but there are leftwing extremists in my alternate future as well. I see them as being fairly lightly equipped (especially in the beginning), by and large not as well kitted-out as some of the 1st and 2nd amendment militia groups we've seen. As to tactical composition, much like the anarchists of the Spanish Civil War, I imagine they would be very hard to pin-down with any kind of disciplined organization - preferring to operate as independent cells/teams/mobs, led by a charismatic personality. Like all extremist groups, some cells would be quite fanatical I would think.

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    2. Like the weather underground, simbanies liberation army and black panthers of the 70s. :D

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  19. ALL depends on how you want to represent them. Are they still just a riot mob? A organized/disorganized militia or as a well funded and trained paramilitary force.

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