The Other Side of the COIN

Or what makes people become insurgents?

This is a game first played on Sunday 5th September 2010 at CLWG, and had a second outing on Saturday 1st October. It is due for a third run at CLWG on Sunday 1st January 2012. If you want to come to the game please let me know by e-mail in advance if you are not already a CLWG member. Over the next couple of days I expect to post the rules and some of the general background briefing on this page (or at least as a link from here).

Background for the 1 Jan 2012 game:

  • General game briefing - gives an overview of what the game is about and how it ought to work;
  • Key to capability cards - explains how to read the capability cards and how to build capabilities;
  • Pashtunwali explained - the key tenets of how traditional Pashtuns live their lives;
  • Short guide to Islam - some background on Islam, key beliefs and some of the bits that could be relevant to those living in a conflict zone. Of necessity hugely simplified and not covering the full depth, but sufficient for an outsider to get some limited insight.

Game Description

This is a game to explore why people become insurgents (or perhaps not).

Most of the players will be tribal elders leading their group of peasant farmers and directing their decisions about what to grow where and making sure that they can feed themselves and afford to buy the things they need to improve their lives and farms. Loosely set in modern Afghanistan I've taken huge liberties with the agrarian system and abstracted it to a level that can play through years in minutes. However I want to play on an event based accelerated real time basis through a period of a few years with a semi-kreigspieled combat system (should that even be necessary). Loosely we'll be doing a quarter every 10 minutes or so, with pauses in time to deal with any significant events.

Player Roles

I think it would work best with about four to six local players, plus a couple of police and military players (1 ANA & 1 NATO) and perhaps another umpire to assist. At a minimum we can probably do with three players and me and I'll plumpire the military side. If turnout was good I think that it could absorb a couple more players, so 3-10 people plus me. Minimum time is probably a couple of hours.


Not directly game background, but I discovered when I was doing my research. It is an interesting blog by the students and faculty of King's College Department of War Studies. Worth reading in my opinion. In fact I've been following it for over a year now, the only blog that I've done that long.

Game Materials

I've also introduced a 'capability' tree for the community to show what facilities that they have, and also specific individual objective cards for players.

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