Saturday 20 May 2023

Flash Back: Memories of Binni (2016) .. A War that Never Was [Updated with Paxsims reference]

Excerpt from the "Interview with Bollangda Corrosaw" the leader of the Binni Official Opposition Party during the Great Binni Crisis of 2016 ... played at Connections UK 2016, apologies to all those who were not there as this post may not make much sense at all.  It was my character's interpretation of game events as nominal leader of The Official (but only one of the many) Opposition Parties in Binni. The place in question of course was, the troubled land of Binni, where game designer Jim Wallman's vivid imagination was let to run free unfettered (see below, a land waiting to fulfil its true potential, but being continually thwarted by the actions of its leaders):

[Narrator's Footnote: The old gentleman was lead in by his young grandson. Physically infirmed and partially sighted he nevertheless displayed a quickness of mind unbecoming of his physical appearance. He became animated upon his recollections and we sat for several hours by the light of a kerosene light talking. He gave me a frank and candid account of his actions during September 2016, his eyes glowing with an inner fire that seemed far more than the light reflected from the smoky lantern. Still on the run and technically in hiding the interview was prematurely terminated by his nervous security guards but Bollangda still managed to shed valuable light on the hitherto unknown actions of the Official Opposition Party and their motivations. In my subsequent hurried escape from Binni the bulk of the precious interview transcript was lost, apart from this tantalising fragment.]

[Bollangda] You have to understand that for some time the situation was getting progressively worse and worse in Binni. For those of us who had managed to benefit from the enlightened times of education and prosperity this backward slide into tribalism and superstition was dismaying. The soul of the country was being sucked into a mire. Foreign powers were active in manipulating this turn of events. With my own very eyes I had seen the 'white ghosts' [Ed: Mercenaries] of the Foreign Interventionists initiate horrendous, callous actions. For that I cannot forgive, yet I had to work with their White Masters as if they were not there, ignoring the sound of gunfire in the street. Using the low technical means available to my followers, we still managed a effective campaign of civil disobedience that hurt the vital infrastructure of the country and reduced the power and reach of the man who called himself President. While the man we considered our true leader languished in jail.  

[Ed:] A prison that as it turns out had very loose bars in the summer of 2016? 

[Bollangda, chuckled to himself] Yes, they underestimated us. Although the means at our disposal was primitive we were cunning like the fox. We sprung the old lion out, grabbing the attention of the nation and spreading fear into the hearts of our enemies. [Ed: The smile soon faded] Only to find that in prison he had lost his way and had turned into a bleating goat, putting himself above the people, indignant, as if the people had not suffered greatly for him. No sooner was he safe, he distanced himself from us and started acquiring wealth by working for those who had been his jailors. This was a treachery we could not stand. We cut ties with the old fool. I would not have his blood on my hands but I no longer offered him my protection and he moved back to the capitol. He soon was a mere laughing stock and fool of a clown, wearing a feathered hat and a string of medals on his chest. At that point I talked to the devil himself.    

[Ed:] Do you specifically mean the Paris Peace Conference where you met your Arch-Enemy the President?

[Bollangda] That was one of many indignities I endured during the strife. While publicly recognising me on the one hand the godless imperialists were working behind my back with my enemies sowing disunity and corruption with all their foreign money. Wealth unimaginable was spent on weapons of destruction, if it had been used in peaceful ways it could have created a utopia that would have been the envy of the world. I shook the hand of my worst enemy in front of the world's media to cement the promise of a fair election in Binni, but little did I know how much control he had already lost and what gerrymandering he had instore for us. I managed to force his hand to an exact date while I danced briefly on that world stage, that is my second most valuable contribution and achievement in defence of the land I love, Binni.

[Ed:] Second? It is widely recognised that it was you who put in motion the wheels of the first (allegedly) free election in Binni. The first election for over thirty years, much to the chagrin of the then President whose face fell when he realised what he had inadvertently accepted. Despite the election's flaws the democratic momentum was now nevertheless unstoppable. The nation was and still is grateful to you Bollangda, you started the end of the downfall. What achievement do consider was greater than that?

[Bollangda, smiled whimsically] The election was a sham, the President proclaimed himself a clear winner by mathematics that a child at elementary school would laugh at. More people voted in his small region than could fit in the whole country. The United Nations would not even dare to contemplate verifying such a result. That was his undoing as he unleashed suppressed anger. Anger that was easily focused on him and all that was wrong with his regime, as you know his external supporters - the White Mercenaries, his very bodyguards turned on him inside his own Presidential Palace, at the news of the armed Christian faction entering the capitol. The President ran from room to room, but they gunned him down in cold blood. [Bollangda sighed] Young man, the road to the capitol had been blocked to the Christian faction, it was corked as a bottle by my forces. I met with the Christian leader and although our faith differed we were united in what we thought best for our country, our beloved Binni. I shook his hand and stepped aside, he had the might that was needed, I told him it was time to act, I would not oppose him and so the capitol fell. That my so was my greatest achievement, the one I am proud of, even as I fell front my own position of relative power. At least it enabled another to do what was right and so I stepped aside. 

[Ed: There were so many other questions I would have liked to ask the old man. As the history books will tell you Binni did not rest at ease for very long. Unexpected events, this time external to the country saw to that, but I was grateful for the opportunity of meeting with a living part of history. Bollangda, rest well in your 'long peace' in the stars, as your time has now passed, Binni thanks you as a true son for your service, faithful to the end.]

Note: Many thanks to the organisers of the Connections UK Mega Game of 2016, it was a very good educational experience and a truly fun (but in no means trivia) game which nicely set the scene for the following days fantastic Professional Wargaming conference! 

External Links: 

'Just' [seven years after the event!] rediscovered this Paxsims resource: 

As the umpires saw it (or rather Rex Bryan, from McGill University, a very experience Mega Game organiser, umpire and observer). See my comments below on his PowerPoint presentation, relating to the points I can remember and participated in.

Wonderful wording [as in spin on the truth] on slide three:

Footnotes: "President of Binni addresses UNSC" [in retrospect I should of taken a trip to the UN to woo them, but it was a very long physical walk and I would have lost a lot of playing time to little perceived gain so I delegated to my second in command to speak on teh Official Opposition's behalf, and we also feared a kidnap attempt] – "proclaims an inclusive vision of the country – points to release of leader of opposition" [as opposed to the actual jail break we performed], "willingness to consider coalition government" [that's when our NPC who was part played by a person from the Umpire's Team went "rogue" and as a result lost our protection]

Footnotes: "SAS providing personal protection to opposition leader – has weakened opposition, painted as tool of foreign powers" [Argh, this in retrospect was an EPIC home goal that slipped in via a side-door. As the Official Opposition Party was sorely overlooked by "imperialists" for resources and money, despite asking for assistance and the only help came in the form of a couple of 'heavily armed SAS chaps' was better than nothing (someone else had a detachment of the French Foreign Legion bumming around in a hotel drinking wine and doing nothing) - a turn later we politely kicked them out when our Great Leader "BoB" literally became a "Beast of Burden" working with the President. From a game perspective a small military unit, too small to be on the map became a poison chalice - opportunely used by other players or decreed by the umpire team]

Footnotes: "opposition disputing GoB election laws" [yes, we certainly did]

Footnotes: "– opposition leader joins cabinet" [to be clear this is "Bad BoB" not myself or any of the other (many) opposition leaders, now without his SAS bodyguard and disowned by his previous party] and "– Christian secure political loyalties of key leaders in capital" [see transcript above and the secret meeting when I urged the Christian to - "Do it" - "Really?" he asked "Yes, you have my support. Otherwise the Secret Police player, she's too sharp, will control the streets next turn" - and then we 'shook hands' on it]

Footnotes: "President freed by unknown group, later killed" [Oh dear, how sad, never mind. Not my doing I hasten to add, we were only saddened to here that our (in the past tense) BoB had not gone down with him. I don't know the full details of teh sorry, but freed and then killed in the escape was the 'Russian line' (allegedly)]


Archduke Piccolo said...

What a wonderful narrative!

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Thanks Archduke Piccolo,

It was a great game to have participated in and a long overdue closure post to the game day, something I have been meaning to do for a long, long time.

I discovered the "draft" version of the post recently and it was something I had tinkered about with over the years. Then I found a map of Binni in the loft (naturally while I was looking for something else) which I had picked up from one of the organisers of the game at a later Conference of Wargamers event as he was discarding "junk" [which it certainly is not] - even cooler I got the game designers who were there to sign the back of it for me (embarrassing game groupie or what?) and so now it is done and I am happy with it ;)

Best Wishes

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Just found teh Paxsims reference to this [a PowerPoint AAR] and updated my post accordingly

Or counterfactually .. whichever is more appropriate