This is an After-Action-Report on my experience at the Watch The Skies 4: Global Apocalypse Mega-game. I’ve talked about Megagames and what they are before, so if you’re curious please refer to the linked articles below. This is a very narrow account on how I experienced the game, and so a lot of details are missing – apologies, I find it helps the narrative when I write this way. Please do check out the ‘Megagames Makers’ Facebook page for other accounts on what happened during the day.
Now this is a story all about how my game got flipped-turned upside, and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, I’ll tell you how I became the Daft Prince of Kenya(ir).
I woke up on March 19th, 202whateveritwas from a bad dream. In that dream I thought I was the Chief of Defence for Nigeria and that I’d just spent countless months cleaning up poo. I’d been having a lot of dreams like that recently – one where I was the Chancellor for Germany, and another where I was a Viking.
As the Chief of Defence for the glorious nation in Kenya, I did find it odd that I was having dreams of being other people, but having talked to my local shaman about it he put it down to after-images from a past life. My wife thought it was probably just stress.
We were dealing with a lot of things at the time – Aliens had been a thing for quite a few years now, and they kept trying to strip-mine Africa. We’d also recently discovered the existence of sentient whales and dolphins, and had been having tentative communications with them about Fish and cleaning the oceans. As a nation that lacked anything that resembled a navy, you can probably guess how well those early talks went.
As Chief of Defence, I was tasked with making sure our glorious army – all 1 militia unit of it – was in tip top shape and ready to deal with any crises, the first of which was that Zimbabwe was apparently building nukes. After a quick con-fab between the rest of the Kenyan government, we decided that we actually really wanted those nukes for ourselves to make up for our lack of basically everything.
At the same time, I’d discovered that the corporations had perfected the weapons manufacturing process to such a degree that not only were they able to upgrade my army, but expand it as well. In my past lives as a German and a Nigerian, I distinctly remember being forced to deal with the fact that a nation’s army couldn’t be expanded. It could be upgraded, but you weren’t physically able to build any more regular units. Unless you’re awesome like me, that is.
So, you can imagine how happy I was at this new marvel in corporate manufacturing. I ordered two, plus two upgrades. Kenya was going to get all the guns.
It was at this point, around about Turn 2 (in Kenya we mark the passage of time in ‘Turns’ rather than days, weeks or months. It’s more efficient), that I got the call.
DAFT beyond measure
You see, there was more to me than apparently even I knew. I was a member of DAFT – Democracy and Freedom Today – an organisation dedicated to the destruction of corporations, the dismantling of America, and the curbing of oppressive organised religion. I was being activated – there were others like me, but I didn’t know who they were. All I knew was that “living the dream” was the code-phrase used to identify ourselves.
This. Changed. EVERYTHING.
Well not really – as a team, we’d already decided to walk a bit on the wild side and be a dark horse in Africa. I was now just going to be an even darker, more secret horse. I immediately set two aims for myself:
- To launch a military coup in Kenya and declare DAFT to the world.
- Get a nuke so that people took me seriously.
I thought Zimbabwe having a nuclear program was going to make the second point easier than it actually turned out to be. Turns out they didn’t actually have a nuclear program and were just trolling everyone – typical.
Still, a military coup was very doable – As I grew the army, I bribed the **** out of them to make sure they were personally loyal to me. We had an empty, state-of-the-art research facility in Nairobi that no one was using (as we didn’t have a scientist), so I kidnapped an NPC GMIC scientist (who I was using to expanded and upgrade said army), to work at that facility. Early in my time as a DAFT agent I recovered some Red Mercury from the aliens. I didn’t tell anyone about it and my vague plan was to make a Red Mercury powered weapon. That sounded scary, right?
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems
Normally in a game like this funding become a problem. As one of the poorer African nations, we only got so much money in a turn, and I could only steal so much of it without anyone noticing (turns out that amount was a lot more than I probably should have been able to get away with). As a DAFT member though, I could claim 1 megabuck per 10 points in the regional terror track. I don’t know if anyone outside of Africa was paying attention, but it got pretty terror-fying over there. Suffice to say I was making it rain.
It was touch and go though – my plans took me away from the African map a lot – a lot more than I’d ever had to do in any of the previous games I’d played, and a lot more than a Chief of Defence with no back-up (one of our guys got sick and couldn’t make it) really should. The thing was, whilst I revelled in the terror and tried not to help or hinder the situation, I was worried at some point that it would all go horribly wrong and my country would collapse around me before I could do anything.
After Zimbabwe, Uganda kicked up a fuss and raised an army right on our border, which If I’d thought about it I probably should have been more concerned about – the U.N. sorted it though, since they were actually being useful for a change.
After that, there was a Zombie Virus out-break that Africa, collectively, hilariously failed to deal with. So much so it pretty much spread across the entire continent, spawning countless hordes and forcing Africa to be quarantined. South-Africa developed a cure early, but didn’t seem to do much to it other then sell-it to the player nations, including us. I was away from the map for a lot of this, although I had the presence of mind to mobilise the army to defend Kenya’s borders. I understand the Egyptians, Algerians and some Europeans did most of the zombie fighting.
There was also that one turn where literally every alien ever descended onto Africa, and no-one intercepted them. I didn’t because I was DAFT, but I don’t know what everyone else’s excuses were.
One big happy, anonymous family
It took me a while to figure out who the other DAFT Members were. As a military player in a game the size of WTS4 (and playing the nation that I was), I didn’t get a lot of opportunities to visit the other map. Early on in my DAFTness I recruited my friend who was in my team, Gavin, to the cause. It was his first game and he was feeling a bit directionless in his role, so I broke the rules and included him in my plot – sorry Jim/Viji!
Not long after though I discovered the Senior Ambassador for South Africa was also “living the dream”. We quickly started combo-ing our agent actions, and through him I found out that the United State’s team’s Ambassador for Africa was also a DAFT member. He was a weird one – I always got the impression through-out the whole game he never trusted me (having asked him about it afterwards, Ken said that he had this vague idea I may not have been DAFT. I was, but now that I think about it I never showed him my passport) – he wouldn’t talk openly with me about his plans, and whenever I would tell the SA guy something, he’d run off and tell the American and I was genuinely worried for most of the game that I was setting myself up for a big fail.
Apart from us four musketeers though, I didn’t encounter any other DAFT players. Apparently a big group of them met around turn 5 (including the SA player), but no-one told me about it. Not even Gavin! You really can’t get the staff.
Just before I made my coup, I found out one of the Angolan military players was also DAFT, but it was a bit late by then.
More to come in Part Two!