This is a military / political game about interstellar conquest of a single world, New Cydonia. The aim is to show how complex, politically and militarily such operations could be.

It was first played in London in 2011 and again at the Royal Armouries, Leeds in 2013.

You can see General Buck's after action report from the London game here.

There will be another chance to play in the game at the Wales Millennium Centre on Saturday 21 November 2015.
Go here for more information on joining the game (click on 'future games')

A major interstellar power (The Martians), have decided on a strong military intervention to protect Martian colonists on a colony world with many rival colonies spread over a number of continents. Each of the several independent colonies on New Cydonia have different international relationships, and not all of them are at peace with each other.

The most powerful colony, The Democratic Republic of Cydonia (DRC) is, however, set on domination of the entire planet by force and threat, and has substantial quantities of low- and medium-technology military equipment and troops. It is also developing its ability to make powerful new weapons capable of mass-destruction. Despite its name, it is accused by some of being a dictatorship and thoroughly 'evil'.

The invading Martians have smaller quantities of very high-technology equipment and top-quality elite troops, plus control of orbital space and starships. They have to act swiftly from the outset to save the colonies targetted by the DRC – then move on to taking action to achieve 'regime change'. Or perhaps even reach a political settlement?

Game Play
The game is a crisis game, with both operational military and political activities in play simultaneously.

The issues were be both tactical, political and moral; for example, the Martians could blast the capital city of the 'bad guys' with orbital weapons – but that would kill tens of thousands of innocent civilian colonists and read very badly to other - unplayed- major powers.
The more so because operations take place in the light of interstellar media reporting – so the Martians have to also consider their domestic political reaction as well as public opinion within the other major technological spacegoing powers.

Tactical issuesinclude the DRC having to continue their military operations without exposing their troops to devastating orbital attack – so they have to be very clever in their deployments.

The other colonies, whilst welcoming Martian intervention and assistance, do not wish to exchange one conqueror for another, and may have to tread a fine line to maintain their sovereignty. Players in the 'minor' colonists teams will have to use their very limited military power to ensure they retain their independence - at the same time using their political skills to ensure they come out of the crisis stronger than they went into it.

The Martians, on the other hand, are at the end of a long interstellar logistics chain and have relatively small numbers of elite troops. So they have to decide how to apply this hi-tech force effectively in 'surgical' operations – e.g. can they decapitate the regime? Should they target economic infrastructure? And losses are not easily replaced, so prolonged attritional battle is to be avoided. The Martian team will consist of diplomats and military players, and will need to use their great power wisely.

The background to this game is the same as that used for a long-term and ongoing political/strategic play by email campaign called (admittedly unimaginatively) "The Universe". A great deal of detailed background is available from the game's website: www.theuniverse.org.uk

These pages contain the background on the game, and you can freely download all the materials for personal use. Commercial use is forbidden with permission from the copyright holder.