Grognard Wargamer Thread!


#5894

Thought I’d play through a game of The White Tribe and record it on the forum.

For those of you who missed @Brooski’s post above, The White Tribe is game by R. Ben Madison, published by White Dog Games. It covers Rhodesia from 1966-1980, where the white-led government sought to come to terms with Rhodesia’s black majority, while resisting Soviet and Chinese backed rebel forces. To quote the back of the box copy:

In The White Tribe you are the Prime Minister of the illegal settler state of Rhodesia (today’s Zimbabwe), which broke from Britain in 1965. Your job … is to defeat a guerrilla war—and overcome the obstacles of party politics, tribal resentments, and racial extremism to stitch together a working coalition of population groups that can finally turn Rhodesia into a multi-racial democracy built on compromise. Can you thread the needle in building a new nation that protects the rights of all its people? Or will your new nation be overwhelmed by a Chinese-backed Marxist-Leninist guerrilla terrorist army that seeks to make the genocidal tyrant Robert Mugabe dictator-for-life?

Let’s see how I do!

Rhodesia, January 1966

Rhodesia awoke to a shock this morning as Prime Minister Ian Smith, leader of the Rhodesian Front and primary driving force behind Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence, was pronounced dead following an aneurysm. After a period of infighting among the Smith cabinet, dark horse candidate Charles Foster Kane was elevated to Prime Minister. Prime Minister Kane announced that he intends to work towards a multiracial government of Rhodesia, but that he will oppose the Soviet-backed Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and Chinese-backed Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).

In the last election, the Rhodesian Front, a party representing the interests of the white settler class, won all of the seats in the House of Assembly, guaranteeing their control over the government. As a result, conservative policies will be easy to pass, and liberal policies will be quite difficult.

Polling after Smith’s death shows that the Rhodesian Front is only mildly popular (+1 on the popularity track). However, elections will not be held until 1970 (Turn 5), so there is plenty of time for Prime Minister Kane to improve the government’s popularity—or drive it into the ground.

Rhodesia is stable in January 1966, as both ZANU and ZAPU are lacking in resources (Terror Track at 1). Race relations are generally positive (represented by the hand shake icons in each territory).

Rhodesia’s neighbors are also mostly stable. Botswana is under British rule, and will not tolerate ZAPU militants. The Zambian government, led by Prime Minister Kaunda, is generally supportive of Rhodesia, though ZAPU militants are organizing in their territory. Mozambique is currently ruled by Portugal, with a substantial investment in border security (ZANU militants may organize in Mozambique, but may not cross the border into Rhodesia as long as Portugal maintains control). Portugal also provides financial support for Rhodesia ($1 for each Portuguese control marker on the map, so $2 currently).

Rhodesia is not favored on the international scene, however. Both the British Labour Party and the United States Democratic Party oppose the Rhodesian Front. Prime Minister Nyerere in Tanzania likewise opposes Rhodesia’s white government. (None of these countries will provide funds for Rhodesia). Perpetual pariah and apartheid state South Africa supports the Rhodesian government. (South Africa provides $3 per turn, and an additional $2 because the current government supports Rhodesia).

Each turn in The White Tribe has six primary phases:

  1. The Rhodesia Herald Phase: Each turn, the player resolves random events effecting Rhodesia, its neighbors, and the international stage.
  2. The Politics Phase: Scheduled elections occur in South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Rhodesia; Botswana contemplates independence; and, if Portugal has withdrawn and the right wing FICO movement has seized power, the player rolls to see if FICO collapses.
  3. The Commercial Phase: The player earns income from the income schedule (which provides for income from international trade, taxes on the population, and support from abroad) and may attempt to evade international sanctions. The player has a number of options, including: paying to prevent a collapse of morale in a region occupied by a ZANU or ZAPU unit (“Terr”); putting pressure on Zambia to eliminate ZAPU forces in its borders; spending to improve the popularity of the Rhodesian Front; spending to refuel and rearm the Rhodesian Air Force; attempting to entice resistance leaders to collaborate with the regime; and compromising with left-wing parties, which reduces the Rhodesian Front’s popularity, but makes it easier to pass liberal bills in the assembly.
  4. The Policy Review Phase: Where the player must either pass the current Turn’s policy or accept the negative effects from inaction. The player may also choose to resurrect a policy that was not acted on in a previous turn, or exercise visionary leadership to attempt to enact a policy from a future turn. Policies must be put to the assembly, and can fail, resulting in a collapse of the government and an immediate new Rhodesian election.
  5. Chimurenga Phase: In the Chimurenga phase, the player raises “Troopies” (the Rhodesian nickname for their soldiers) and sends them to territories in Rhodesia, or in more risky cross-border raids. After that the player determines where Terrs deploy (in numbers based on the terror track). The Terrs then move into Rhodesia, and combat occurs.
  6. Cosmopolitics Phase: Scheduled US midterm or presidential elections occur; ZANU or ZAPU Terrs remaining on the map terrorize the populace; and certain policies take effect.

In order to win, the player must succeed where Ian Smith and the Rhodesian Front failed, and create a viable multiracial state. Points are scored for race relations (handshake markers), RF popularity, Population growth, certain politically sensitive units being deployed, election results, certain policies, and having collaborators. You add a single die roll to the total, and then subtract the number of Terrs in Rhodesia. 23 or more points nets you a victory.

Now that we’ve covered setup, turn one will follow.


#5895


#5896

I was playing it last night, looking forward to see how your game went.


#5897

Turn One, 1966

The Rhodesia Herald Phase

  1. ZANU frequently finds itself in a state of infighting within its leadership, especially with Mugabe in prison. Nothing happens this turn, however, as there are no ZANU Terrs on the map.

  2. Wealthy anti-communists, like the Sultan of Oman, occasionally pour money into Rhodesia to support the anti-communist Rhodesian Front. This turn, the RF gets some much needed cash.

  3. Periodically, Vietnam veterans flocked to Rhodesia for its exciting military lifestyle. Because we have good race relations, this leads to a substantial increase in the population.

  4. ZAPU and ZANU receive support from China and Russia, which increases the terror level.

  5. The Portuguese lose ground to guerrillas in fighting over a dam in the strategically important Tete area of Mozambique, which removes the Portuguese control marker.

The Politics Phase

  1. South Africa holds elections, and the pro Rhodesian Verkrampte holds on to power.

  2. The UK holds elections, and the Tories take power from Labour. The Tories support the Rhodesian government, which means that the RF will see extra funding this turn and the terror level will decrease, offseting Soviet and Chinese aid to ZAPU/ZANU.

  3. Botswana remains under British rule.

Commercial Phase

  1. Rhodesia earns a healthy income (indeed, the maximum possible this turn, $16), as Rhodesia is not facing sanctions and has significant foreign support. The influx of population from the Rhodesia Herald turn also produces healthy tax income.

  2. Because the Terr threat is minimal this turn, the Rhodesian Government invests in state propaganda, though it has little effect. (RF Popularity to +2).

  3. Rhodesia is flush with cash, and so will make an attempt to buy off Bishop Abel Muzorewa, a leader of the United African National Council. While he is expensive to bribe ($5), he is not a militant nationalist, and is comparatively easy to bring to the cause. He agrees to support Prime Minister Kane’s vision of a multi-racial coalition for Zimbabwe.

Policy Review Phase

There is no policy on the first turn. Prime Minister Kane could exercise visionary leadership, but I don’t think that I want to pull any of the policies forward. Upcoming is the proposal for “Provincial Councils,” which would essentially form tribal trust lands into mini-states, pushing 6,000,000 black Africans into half the country’s territory, leaving the remaining half for the less than 300,000 white settlers. I am going to not take action on this policy, which will have some small negative impact on the popularity of the RF. Following that is a vote on the Rhodesian Constitution. I will likely try to pass a liberal constitution, which will require me to hold some snap elections to decrease the power of the RF in the Assembly House, in favor of left wing parties. Too little popularity is dangerous, but we should be able to hold on to enough power to form a government in 1968 and hopefully pass a liberal constitution, making reforms easier going forward. So no action this turn.

Chimurenga Phase

  1. I am going to raise a couple of Troopies, now that the Tete region of Mozambique is threatening. One will go to Mashonaland, which is where ZANU Terrs can infiltrate from Tete. The other will go to Matabeleland, where ZAPU Terrs can infiltrate from Zambia and Botwana, once it declares independence. Because the Portuguese control Mozambique, I will leave the territories adjacent to it empty.

  2. The terror level is one, so I roll a single die and place a Terr in the appropriate region. I roll a 4, so a ZANU Terr is deployed to Mozambique. The ZANU Terr cannot cross the border, because Mozambique is controlled by Portugal.

  3. The Portuguese have a unit in Mozambique, the Groupos Especials. It will engage the ZANU Terr in battle. I will sortie the Rhodesian Air Force in support of the Portuguese, as that will make their attack successful on anything other than a 1. Of course I roll a 1, which results in the Portuguese unit being eliminated and the Rhodesian Air Force being damaged. The ZANU Terrs celebrate their triumph, but are still frustrated by Portuguese border security.

Cosmopolitics Phase

  1. The United States holds midterm elections. The Democrats manage to hold on to power, so the United States remains hostile to the Rhodesian Government.

  2. There are no Terrs in Rhodesia, so there is no terrorism or intimidation of the populace.

End of Turn

On the whole, this turn was probably good for the Rhodesian Front. While the airforce was damaged, and the RF’s propaganda was mostly ineffective, the Tory victory in the UK and substantial population increase gives Rhodesia a strong base to raise funds for future turns.

Here is the board state at the end of Turn One, 1966:


#5898

Really well done, Kane. A good, romping read.


#5899

Thanks! I may not have turn 2 onward until Monday, as tomorrow as very busy. I’m hoping to give people some insight into how the game plays, because I agree with Bruce that it is fantastic.


#5900

My game of 2018!

I never thought I’d ever pick a solo title. Ever.


#5901

I don’t play board games these days for various reasons (e.g. no one local to play, time and space to set up a game, etc.) and I usually wargame on my notebook on planes and in hotels on business trips. But this replay has me interested…


#5902

It’s really fantastic and worth it, Jeff. A gem.


#5903

Great to see this, @CF_Kane! This is a game that deserves a lot of attention. It’s so good!


#5904

Looks like it’s sold out in the US right now.


#5905

You can order direct from the publisher, as they print on demand. http://www.whitedoggames.com/thewhitetribe


#5906

@CF_Kane OK, thanks.


#5907

Turn Two, 1967

The Rhodesia Herald Phase

Sometimes history repeats itself, but rarely this soon. I rolled the same set of random events for 1967 as I did for 1966, but this time some of the results are a bit different.

  1. ZANU infighting continues for another year, but this time it happens to sabotage their operations in Mozambique, resulting in one of the Terrs being eliminated.

  2. The wealthy anti-communists continue to love the Rhodesian government, sending the RF another $4 and ensuring that Rhodesia will max out its available income again this year.

  3. The surge of Vietnam veterans, soldiers of fortune, and adventure seekers continues, swelling the white population of Rhodesia to 300,000 (the higest the game will recognize.

  4. Perhaps in response to the surge of American, Australian, and Europeans into Rhodesia, the Soviet Union and China provide additional support to ZANU and ZAPU. The terror level increases by one.

  5. The Portuguese continue their fighting against guerrillas in Tete, and manage to retake the dam, restoring the Portuguese control marker.

The Politics Phase

No elections this turn, as the political situation abroad is relatively quiet. Although pressure for independence from British control in Botswana continues, the British maintain control.

Commercial Phase

  1. Significant foreign support and a surprising lack of action on sanctions continues, ensuring that the Rhodesian government maintains it full income of $16. Morale is good throughout Rhodesia, and there is little support for Terrs (indeed, none on the board thanks to ZANU infighting).

  2. Prime Minister Kane elects not to spend to further boost the popularity of the RF. He is contemplating a snap election next turn, and is hoping that he can bring some leftists in to the government to support a liberal constitution.

  3. Prime Minister Kane invests in the airforce, refueling it and restoring it to full strength ($3 to restore the airforce to its +2 strength side and make it ready to sortie).

  4. Because the budget is strong this turn, the RF will make an attempt to convince Chitepo, leader of ZAPU, to collaborate. Unfortunately, Chitepo is both expensive to bribe ($5) and nearly incorruptible (requires a 6 to flip to a collaborator). Unfortunately, while the bribe is delivered, Chitepo decides to remain loyal to his Soviet paymasters.

Policy Review Phase

  1. The policy up for debate is “Provincial Councils,” which would push roughly 6,000,000 black Rhodesians on to tribal trust lands, leaving the remaining half of Rhodesia for the 300,000 white inhabitants. This was recognized historically as a ridiculous idea that would almost certainly do more harm that good to the country. Were it to pass, the RF would gain popularity, the white population would increase, but there would be a backlash among the black population, increasing the terror level. There would also be a requirement to spend $5 to complete the efforts to segregate the country.

  2. Alternatively, if I ignore this policy, the only negative impact is -1 to RF popularity, as almost everyone realizes that this policy is unworkable. Prime Minister Kane is not enamoured with empowering the conservative faction of the party (increasing RF popularity), and definitely wants to keep the terror level down. As such, he will not act this year. RF popularity decreases by 1.

Chimurenga Phase

  1. In order to ensure that Terrs do not infiltrate and hurt my plans for cooperation between the black and white population, I will raise the last troopie in my force pool ($2) and return the Portuguese unit to the board ($1). The troopie deploys to Matabeleland, as it is the most likely to be infiltrated. The Portuguese unit deploys to Tete.

  2. The terror level is two, so I roll two dice and place two Terrs. I roll a 2 and a 4, so a ZAPU Terr is deployed to Botswana, and a ZANU Terr is deployed to Mozambique. The ZANU Terr cannot cross the border, because Mozambique is controlled by Portugal, but the ZAPU Terr will move into Matabeleland. Good thing I placed some units there!

  3. The ZAPU Terrs move in to Matabeleland, but the Rhodesian army is there waiting. Because there is only one terr, I can bring the full force to bear, resulting in an attach strength of 8+, guaranteeing that the Terr is eliminated. There is no need to use the airforce, so it remains ready. Edit: I forgot that, when a Terr enters a territory with a handshake marker, you roll to see what effect local cooperation has. I did the roll after the turn and rolled a 6, which results in the Terr being eliminated. Clearly, local cooperation helped the Rhodesian troopies identify and eliminate the Terr.

Cosmopolitics Phase

  1. There are no elections in the United States, and no Terrs in Rhodesia, so this turn has a quiet Cosmopolitics Phase.

The state of the board at the end of turn two:

Please note that the $ marker is wrong in the photo (I did not record the $3 I spent on Troopies), but I have corrected it before turn 3. The $5 I have remaining is plenty, however, as I should be able to fill up my coffers from international support and population alone, even if sanctions come in. Next turn will be the moment of truth, as we see if Prime Minister Kane can build a coalition in the RF to pass a liberal constitution, or will be forced to settle for a conservative document.


#5908

Does anyone besides the publisher even stock this game? I thought that was the problem with print-on-demand – the margins are so thin that it wipes out the wholesaler cut.


#5909

I ordered mine directly in the first place. It’s actually a really easy to use storefront for such a small operation. Easier than Legion.


#5910

According the website, he had stocked it at Noble Knight in the US.


#5911

Some European shops also stock White Dog games. Bulk shipping savings, I think.


#5912

They are probably holding on to them for some future rarity. Knoble Night doesn’t like selling anything for less than double MSRP.


#5913

Turn Three, 1968

The Rhodesia Herald Phase

  1. Drought strikes Rhodesia, which flips the population marker from up to down, which will effect scoring at end of game if I don’t correct it. Because race relations are good, there is limited impact, however.

  2. There is an urban bombing in Salisbury. ZANU terrs claim responsibility, but there is no overall impact on the situation.

  3. Conservative members of the RF pull off a great success abroad, purchasing jumbo jets for Air Rhodesia. This increases Rhodesian Front popularity (and upsets my plans to call for a new election.

  4. ZANU factionalism paralyzes the terrs. The ZANU terr in Mozambique is eliminated.

  5. The Cabora Rossa Dam in Tete changes hands yet again, as local rebels push out the Portuguese government.

  6. Radio and TV propaganda strengthens the RF yet again, pushing RF popularity to the maximum.

This turn’s random events are going to force me to reconsider my strategy. I was going to call new elections to try and reduce the number of conservatives in the Assembly House. I have the option of trying to cooperate with left-wing parties in the commercial phase to reduce the strength of conservatives, and that might be the best bet. If I fail to pass the constitution, I can call a new election and try again.

The Politics Phase

There is no British or South African election in the politics phase. I will call a Rhodesian Election, however. I roll two dice and add RF popularity. That results in a landslide in the RF’s favor, returning the government to the same position. Botswana declares independence from the UK, which triggers an increase in ZAPU activity in the country.

Commercial Phase

  1. Rhodesia again gets a massive influx of revenue from its population and abroad (max income of $16).

  2. I will make another attempt at bribing Chitepo. I need a six. I don’t get it, and it costs me $5 to attempt the bribe.

  3. I will spend two to reach a deal with the opposition, which costs RF 5 popularity, and allows me to pass liberal policies on a 4 or higher.

Policy Review Phase

  1. The policy up for debate is “Proclaim Republic,” which concerns the Rhodesian constitution. I will attempt to pass the liberal version of the bill. Because a liberal constitution is a radical move from the perspective of the conservative members of the Rhodesian Front, it triggers a party split. As a result, I subtract 1 from my die roll, meaning I will need a 5 or a 6 to pass the policy.

  2. I roll the hard 6, which is enough to pass the constitution on the first effort. It causes some problems from the RF in the country (RF popularity -2) and leads to white flight (population -2).

  3. Because I passed a liberal constitution, I get a +1 bonus to die rolls to pass liberal policies. I also net 3 VPs at the end of the game, assuming I survive that far.

Chimurenga Phase

  1. All available Troopies and Foreign troops are on the board, so I don’t spend anything to put new troops in play.

  2. The terror level remains at two, so I roll two dice and place two Terrs. I roll a 2 and a 4 (again), so a ZAPU Terr is deployed to Botswana, and a ZANU Terr is deployed to Mozambique. The ZANU Terr cannot cross the border, because Mozambique is controlled by Portugal, but the ZAPU Terr will move into Matabeleland.

  3. The ZAPU terr moves in to Matabeleland. First, I roll for infiltrating a “handshake” region. The ZAPU terr is able to slip through, but it encounters a sizable contingent of troopies, who destroy the terr.

Cosmopolitics Phase

  1. The 1968 US Presidential election ends in an upset, as Vice President Hubert Humphrey defeats Richard Nixon. Democrats retain control, which keeps the status quo.

The state of the board at the end of turn three:

Turn three was a major victory for Prime Minister Kane and his efforts to liberalize Rhodesia. A liberal constitution should pay great benefits down the line. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Kane’s liberalization efforts have put his popularity among the white residents, who control the vast majority of the votes due to Rhodesia’s disenfranchisement of black Africans. Kane will need to put time, energy, and cash into propping up the RF’s popularity, so that he can see his vision through. Luckily, foreign sanctions have still not been implemented, which ensures that Rhodesia will be well funded in 1969.