Monday, July 27, 2015

Hertog Summer Study: Game A Turn 1 Results

I may never be as cool as this guy, but I will certainly try!
Turn 1 of Hegemon: China Rising kicks off. While I may not have the smashing good looks of the Indonesians I am representing, I mentally don my beret and begin to prepare my strategy. I'm given a list of goals that I can accomplish (or not accomplish) in any particular order. So, first I prioritize them and write them down:

1. Go to war with any country that infringes on Indonesian sovereignty.
2. Prevent ASEAN members from developing WMD that Indonesia doesn’t also have.
3. Preserve ASEAN member state territorial integrity.
4. Prevent PRC from stationing more than one ground/air unit and missile unit in Spratlys AND prevent stationing of PRC Naval Units in Palawan Sea, Malay Sea, Sulu Sea and farther south.
5. Prevent US/PRC from implementing sanctions against each other and Indonesia AND prevent two ASEAN states and Australia from implementing sanctions against Indonesia.
6. Prevent hostilities between PRC, Indonesia, Japan, Russia and USA.

Goal 1 is easy; all I have to do is not be a wimp and I'm set.

Goal 2 might be challenging. I figure that if the ASEAN nations (in this case, players Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore) find it in their best interests to develop WMD, I have to enter into an arms race with them. All of them are richer than me, so I'm on the losing end if that happens.

These guys are total buddies, what could possibly go wrong?
Goal 3 means I get to be a team player. That might inherently pit me against a major power (probably the PRC).

Goal 4 is nasty. Basically I have to get the PRC out of the South China Sea. If I choose to fight the PRC there, I break Goal 6, so I have to find a way diplomatically to do this. Plus, if the PRC has the goal of stationing units in the South China Sea, then I have to find a way to persuade the PRC to not achieve that goal (maybe by prioritizing another goal?).

Goal 5 shouldn't be too hard, but it might be a game-ism, because sanctions are complicated and cost money, most players will probably forgo sanctions to prioritize military buildup.

Goal 6...well, the game is designed to put people at war. Goal 6 is at the bottom because I'm probably fighting a losing battle.

Yeah, that's how I feel about Goal 6 too.
Now to build a strategy. Given that I am centrally located, I plan to pursue a cooperative but threatening strategy:

- I will cooperate fully with my fellow ASEAN nations. I'm betting that they are worried about being bullied by PRC and/or USA, so I'll try to get them to band with me.
- I will play the USA against PRC. My goal is to get either or both countries to give me money to buy weapons with to prop up my very paltry military.
- I will try to bring the probably non-interested countries of Japan and Russia into the game, hopefully as a dumping ground for units they are scrapping while they upgrade their military.

I also have another, not-listed goal, and that is to leave Indonesia in a better state than when I started. Ideally the country will have more industry so that if/when its economy takes off, it can produce the weapon systems to become a regional power.

Please note that I am a junior officer, so I do have a bit of fun with internet memes, pictures and language. If you can't laugh at the jokes, then they either aren't very funny (possibility) or you take yourself way too seriously (another distinct possibility). The negotiating and such was very real, as the room is filled with competitive people that want to win (including myself), but all of us had a good laugh with each other when each day ended. The results were also fairly enlightening, which I'll sum up at the end.

Malaysia thinks I'm Leroy Jenkins...
The games are very different, so they will get separate posts. Below is Game A, Turn 1:

I walk up to the Philippines ambassador. Our conversation went something like this:

"Bro, we need to talk"
"Yeah we do. I'm totally gonna get crushed."
"No way! Indonesia totally has your back. You and I, we're like twins. You want some troops to make it all better."
"That would be way cool."
Yeah, it was something like that.
After negotiating some troop movements to Visayas and basing agreements, the PRC ambassador walks in and asks to speak to me personally.

"Nope. You can speak to me and the Philippines together."

He agrees. Shot across bow fired: little countries will start this game together. At the very least, I could tell it made the PRC ambassador think a bit. Our negotiations began, with the PRC offering to respect our territory in the South China Sea, including islands that the Philippines had reclaimed.

Maybe not that dramatic...

"What's the catch?" I asked. There is ALWAYS a catch with the People's Republic of China.
"We just want the US to stay out of Asia." was the reply.

I needed some assurances. "My country is small and poor. I need missiles and airplanes."
"Done. Where do you want them?"

Wow. In the end, I negotiate basing rights at Fiery Cross Reef, get a transfer of DF-15s and J-10s, and pull back troops from Visayas (but I place them in Borneo to be closer to the action if it breaks out).

I negotiate a partnership with Malaysia, Philippines, Australia and Japan for military interoperability, intelligence sharing and free passage. We call it the Coral Reef Partnership. It gives us a starting point for interacting positively between us. Singapore plays a stickler nation and doesn't join. Neither does Vietnam.

Yup, those are mine.
Most importantly, the USA player never approaches me. USA is dealing with a financial crisis and is busy reorganizing its military. I pretend to be insulted, which is probably not far off the truth if you are a sovereign nation that is looking for help. Considering that the US only recently lifted sanctions on Indonesia, I'm beginning to see why Indonesia could feel left out by the USA.

Turn 1 results are below for Game A:
No need for units in the Philippines, but I shift some up to Borneo. The PRC gives me DF-15s, which I receive at Fiery Cross Reef for training. I told the other Coral Reef Partners in advance, and although Malaysia offers some criticism, I feel like it enhances stability. I also get my J-10s delivered to Java. The Marines crush the insurgency in Papua.
 The US and Japan are modifying force structure, so not much happens in the East China Sea.

The US makes a weak presence known in the South China Sea with a single AEGIS unit (gee, sound familiar?). Between the SSKs, SAG and other naval units, the PRC has no reason to feel threatened. The Japanese (Green) are moving a helicopter carrier on the east coast of the Philippines, but as a Coral Reef Partner, we're OK with that. The basing of the SSK on reclaimed land bothers me, but I'll see if I can get that pulled off with some diplomacy.

Game A Turn 1 goes well. So long as the PRC keeps its promises, and I'm in a good spot.