Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ethnic Iquenis Threaten to Defy Cease Fire

APRIL 28, 2012

With the cease fire still in effect throughout the country, there have been recent stirrings among the pockets of ethnic Iqenis living throughout Alcovia. Most of these citizens have very shallow ties to Alcovia as a nation, being one or two generations removed from Iqenistan, the nation they still hold as their true nation and homeland. 

Since the start of the war, most Iqeni have found themselves in a difficult position of which side to choose. While national forces certainly stand for maintaining the current Alcovian state, General Kusatya's rebel forces are comprised mostly of veteran soldiers, many of whom have fought in skirmishes and wars against Iqenistan or defended the eastern Acovian border. This has left most non-enlisted Iqeni remaining neutral and clear of declaring any allegiance. Unfortunately, ethnic Iqeni communities have found themselves in the middle of battles between NAA and either APA and/or ALF forces. 

This has led to the regular formation of local militia groups within these communities. Originally created as self defense units for the purpose of protecting their communities, Internal Security forces have discovered that these individual militias are beginning to organize, setting up lines of communication between one another and establishing a network similar to what has been seen among insurgent forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Though the presence of any influences from outside the region has been discovered, it is likely that, should this trend continue, Al Qaeda and similar organizations may indeed send advisers or fighters of their own to support a Muslim uprising within the Christian nation.

Most recently, some of these militia, especially those in unoccupied territories have started making their own shows of defiance against government forces. Armed gunmen have been seen patrolling the streets of Iqeni neighborhoods, blocking traffic to non-Iqeni residents and demanding tolls for passage. Other groups have made open protests against the treatment of Iqeni citizens, claiming that Alcovia has done little to elevate the living conditions of Iqeni residents beyond that of resident refugees since the massive influx in the late 80's following the epidemic flu outbreak that ravaged Alcovia's eastern neighbor.

One local ethnic Iqeni man was quoted as saying,
The king says that all Alcovians are equals, Kuzaki, Trebizoni, Theogonian, or Iqeni. But, all we see are Iqenis living in such horrible places, piled on one another while others have homes and land to call their own. We were invited here but we are not made welcome but because we cannot go home, we are treated like animals.
This sentiment is shared by many who feel that the kingdom's claims of benevolence in the face of disease and the resulting economic downfall of Iqenistan are nothing more than a veil over the real truth of opportunistic slavery and prejudice. The nation's leadership disputes these accusations by pointing out that the opening of Alcovian borders during the 1987 flu outbreak was done as a humanitarian gesture and that fair housing and provisioning was made to all Iqeni citizens who entered the country legally. they further point out that permanent residency was never part of their initial offering, but was later made available when it became clear that Iqenistan was left in no position to care for the sudden influx of returning citizens.

At present there are some 42,000 ethnic Iqeni men, women, and children living on Alcovian soil. It is estimated that only 68% of these are legally documented residents. Only 23% of these have taken Alcovian citizenship.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Alcovian Princess Returns to War-torn Homeland

Taking advantage of the cease fire, Princess Malatova returned to Alcovia from her studies abroad. The lovely daughter to King Ullo's oldest son, her arrival came as somewhat of a surprise to the royal cabinet. Amid the bustle of reporters and onlookers, the princess exited her private plane at the Alcovian National Airport. Pausing only for a few photos and brief words, the lovely royal was quickly whisked away in an official vehicle.

Not much is known about the reasons for her return to her war-torn home, but it but she is well known as an advocate for the proper integration of the nation across all its peoples as well as the demilitarization of the province of Theogonia. Such views have often marked her as a liberal supporter who's loyalties to her people is questionable. In fact it was only two years prior that the princess made a very emotional speech at a Trebizon convention for trade and human rights. 

What has been stated, not by the princess but by her official spokeswoman, Pretya Tushensia, is that the princess will be spending some time travelling around her home. Internal security authorities are concerned that the princess's planned tour of the nation may invite rebel and militia concerns to take advantage of her vulnerable position. The princess's public relations team made it quite clear than neither the princess or her entourage are in the slightest concerned over any supposed threat. the princess has refused all offers of additional security from her father or the royal offices.

So far there is no official itinerary but given her political views, it is thought that Princess Malatova will be visiting aid stations, medical stations and perhaps the UN refugee camps across the River Borka, in Iqenistan. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sneak Peak at New 15mm Modern Russians From Eureka Miniatures

While cruising around looking for information on 15mm modern Russians and following up on Eureka's 300 Club project for the same, I stumbled across a blog by an Australian gent called "Wargaming With Barks". Imagine my delight when he had posted pictures of the majority of the range.

Traditional Helmets
Sphera Helmets

While I won't be so crass as to pull all the images off of his blog and re-post them here, I have nicked one simage to post above. Please visit his blog to see the rest and get the full story.

I did ask if he knew how long it would be before we would see these released and he said he believed they were about two months out. I emailed Nic Robson at Eureka to ask, but he is away at Salute and I'll have to wait until he gets back for a direct answer. It's also worth a quick note that in addition to the extensive range of Modern Russians we are also going to see Chechens released near or at the same time. 

Looks like 15mm Alcovia is about to get A LOT easier.

In the meantime, and because I want to make use of these figures to their fullest, I'll be converting some existing minis to militia minis. Most of these are Peter Pig AK-47 and Old Glory NVA figures that I'veh ad languishing about for a bit. I might even be able to mix a few of my Old Glory Vietnam era U.S. Troops as it seems that a fair number of American assault rifles seem to make it into the hands of modern European militias. In fact, whole caches of US arms turned up in raids in Chechnya.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Inspirational Movie - "5 Days of War"

While this movie gets panned for being a weak commentary on the war in Georgia, I found it to be a good, entertaining action movie with some excellent action, enough story and plot for the sort of movie it really is and all the Russian hardware and AK-47s you could ever want. That's all the movie review I'll give it.

Anyone who was looking for more out of this obviously missed the part on the box where it says, "From the director of Die Hard 2". Not exactly and endorsement of deep, meaningful cinema.

What the movie DOES have is plenty of eye candy and fuel for anyone wanting to run modern Balkan warfare games. As you follow the characters through the movie, you get a good look at very convincing scenery and terrain of this sort of setting. The vehicles in the movie are all authentic from the T-72s to the Mi-24s. Rough eastern volunteer militia and Georgian soldiers are depicting convincingly and you get plenty of chances to give a good look at them for the purpose of painting guides.

There are also several possible tabletop scenarios in the movie, especially if you are looking for missions that involve non-military objectives. The actions of the the movie centers around a group of reporters as they try to get their story and get out alive enough to tell it.

Now, where can I find a miniatures of a 15mm, chubby Val Kilmer in reporter gear?


P.S. The movie does have a nice redeeming bit at the ending where they have real survivors of the conflict showing pictures of their lost friends and relatives and explaining how they were lost. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Easter Observances Throughout Alcovia

It has now been over two weeks since a general cease fire was issued and agreed upon by both sides of the civil conflict in Alcovia. With peace talks still mostly ineffective, but continuing, the war-torn nation has enjoyed its rest from the sound of bombs and guns. Military units have remained in a stand-down status but do remain ready to resume action at a moment's notice.

With the peace, an attempt has been made to return to some semblance of normalcy and on Easter Day, citizens from all over the country gathered, yesterday, for traditional Easter Mass. With over 80% of the nation prescribing to Eastern Orthodox this was a great opportunity to bring people together, regardless on which side of the conflict they found themselves. In churches and chapels, and in some cases in the open air, observances of the holiday were carried out with as much traditional show and ceremony as there could be.

In the eastern village of Grovernia, where a hundred years old church was destroyed in an artillery barrage by government forces, townsfolk gathered in front of the ruin to pray and share a moment of community unity, casting aside all affiliations for the day. Member of local militia stood in the crowd, faces covered so as to protect their identities. No political banners were waved and it seemed that for the moment all sides had set aside their differences.

But all was not peace and celebration. The township of Bartanerni was rocked by violent clashes between local militia and government security forces. While government forces stopped to listen to a broadcast prayer, shots were fired from surrounding structures as mortar fire rained down upon the hapless soldiers. The resulting firefight left 32 dead and countless injured among soldiers, militia and civilians alike. Fighting ended only after two Mi-24 attack helicopters were dispatched to support the pinned NAA troops. Once fighting in the town had ended, the helicopters set to the task of peppering the surrounding hills with fire from their rockets and cannons. 

As the sun set, national and rebel forces all slipped back into all too familiar roles, once again assuming their now usual alert status. One soldier was seen sharing a tender moment with a local elderly woman who had lost her son just days ago in a skirmish outside the village where he was stationed. Despite being on opposite sides of the conflict, the woman bestowed kisses and blessings on the National Army soldier who had held her hand during the evening's mass.

Truly this was a day for miracles in the tragically torn nation of Alcovia.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Crisis in Alcovia is Not Dead

I believe that I may have sent out a false message to some with the cease fire post.

Crisis in Alcovia is not a dead project.

With Mark and Maff occupied on other projects and my decision to rescale my efforts in the setting to 15mm, there has been less activity than there had been. The cease fire was merely a thematic choice to frame this slow down in an in-game context.

Crisis in Alcovia will be back when I can get troops and vehicles built up in 15mm and I'm sure Mark and Maff will be back some day when the mood swings. As diverse gamers, it is impossible to focus on one setting all the time and believe it or not the news stories that characterize this blog take a lot of work to keep fresh and interesting.

Thanks for your continued interest and as usual if you feel you would like to game in Alcovia, drop me a line and we can always post your AAR or a ling to your post on this blog too.