Arabian Nightmare AAR: Turns 1-3

Welcome to my attempt to meld the political and introductory rules from Austin Bay’s 1991 game “Arabian Nightmare”. Please check out the explanatory post for a more detailed explanation (my first video!) about why I’m choosing to combine these two rule sets. Just to clarify how the Military Victory Points (MVP) and Political Points (PP) work; Iraq is attempting to maximize MVP and minimize PP to achieve the required victory totals, and prevent coup attempts. The Coalition forces are naturally trying to do the opposite. The first points check for victory happens after turn six. A score of 85MVP/30PP will give Iraq a tactical victory in the early stages of the game. Let’s go back to July of 1990…

Turn #1 Political Phase

Baath Party founder Michel Aflaq (left) with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (right) in 1988

Satellite images seem to indicate a military buildup of Iraqi forces near the Kuwait border…

The President was photographed golfing this morning near the Houston area…

Today Iraqi officials announced the country would be withdrawing all military forces currently in Iran in an attempt to heal the wounds caused by a decade of conflict…

It’s called “REED”, and the new program championed by the President stands for “Reading Each and Every Day”…

Just days after announcing that Iraqi troops would be withdrawing from Iran, the two counties have begun talks on an “Oil for Food” program…

The President seems to be finding success on both sides of the isle for his new energy policy…

Today when asked about the continued Iraqi military presence near Kuwait, the president responded that while he has no intention to jump into a regional conflict between two foreign nations, he continues to monitor the situation…

Breaking news out of the Persian Gulf. Just moments ago the White House confirmed that they are receiving reports from the US embassy in Kuwait that Iraqi troops and tanks are streaming across the border…

“Mr. President, we can now confirm that the Coup attempt by the moderates in the party has been squashed. Saddam is still in power”.

MVP 43/PP 36

Turn #1 Military Phase

Members of Btry. A, 5162nd Air Defense Arty. Regt., 11th Air Defense Arty. Bde., hold an FIM-92A Stinger portable missile launcher as they pose for a photograph during Operation Desert Shield.

The Iraqi player always moves first in this game. Divisions of Saddam’s armor and motorized infantry lead the attack into Kuwait.

A lucky roll allows the Kuwaiti forces to retreat into a defensive line without any losses. The longer they can hold, the longer they can delay the MVP Iraq stands to gain from looting the country (which can only be done after all the Kuwaiti military is eliminated or has left the country) for resources. This also buys time for the pending coalition buildup.

The coalition forces at this point really only consists of Saudi Arabia. They respond to the Iraqi aggression by moving most of their armed forces North. I decided not to allow the Egyptian or Syrian reinforcements scheduled for this turn, because I need to see if they join the Coalition in the upcoming political phase.

Turn #2 Political Phase

April Glaspie (left) shakes hands with Saddam Hussein 

The Iraqi government is now warning western diplomats in Kuwaiti City to leave, or they will be treated as foreign combatants…

Today at the United Nations building, US Ambassador Thomas Pickering announced that a “coalition of nations” now stands to oppose Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. The participating nations including Saudi Arabia, Great Britain, France, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Oman, Djibouti, Lebanon, Algeria, The Arab League, Japan, Tunisia and Sudan.

Saddam is now claiming his attack on Kuwait is a “holy mandate”, however that rallying cry is falling flat, even amongst extremist groups…

At a press conference in the Rose Garden today President Bush expressed frustration that the United Arab Eremites, Qatar and Syria were not on board…

Video broadcast on Iraqi TV shows Saddam personally test firing military equipment at an undisclosed location…

The United States has now declared an embargo on all goods coming in and out of Iraq…

Secretary of State James Baker has announced the Japanese government plans to contribute “significant financial assistance” toward the coalition efforts.

MVP 42/PP 63

Turn #2 Military Phase

A Kuwaiti M-84 main battle tank crosses a trench during a capabilities demonstration at a Kuwaiti outpost during Operation Desert Shield.

The Iraqi forces attack the Kuwaiti Defense line and this time…no lucky rolls. Tanks roll into Kuwait City. The remaining forces pull back to the south, hoping to make a final stand at Mina Sud. Saudi Forces continue to rush north.

The first reinforcements for the Coalition hit the board in this turn. The Egyptian units (but not the Syrian ones!) scheduled for turn one arrive, along with French (blue) special forces. The heavy hitters include United States (green) special forces and the 82nd Airborne. US Navy and UK (also blue) air units also become available.

MVP 46/PP 62

Turn #3 Political Phase

President Bush talks with the troops in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi government now has another crisis to deal with, as today riots erupted in Mecca. The Saudi’s have blamed Iraqi agitators for the violence, and have sent troops from the Saudi/Kuwaiti front to help squash the violence…

President Bush was in Texas today to shake hand with troops who are heading to Saudi Arabia as part of the Coalition’s military buildup…

Saddam has announced that he is not allowing “Western guests” at various locations in Kuwait to return home at this time due to “safety issues”. The United States and other allies have called this a thinly veiled kidnapping…

The President’s plan to release oil from the strategic reserve has been met with uproar by the both Arab and Western nations. Today the Arab League, Japan, Sudan and Algeria announced they would be suspending their funding and participation in the U.S. and Saudi led Coalition…

Iraqi is now offloading thousands of barrels a day…

In response to the Iraqi oil “fire sale”, President bush announced that the United States would be moving from an embargo, to a naval blockade that would intercept and search any vessel attempting to enter or leave ports in Iraq and Kuwait.

MVP 47/PP 53

Turn #3 Military Phase

Kuwaiti M-84 main battle tanks, made in Yugoslavia, are stored at a Saudi base during Operation Desert Shield until they can be returned after the liberation of Kuwait from Iraqi forces.

The Iraqi forces push all the way to the Saudi border, eliminating the last of the Kuwaiti forces, establishing the 19th province of Iraq.

Iraqi reinforcements come in this turn, and set up in Basra (which is under the 6-8-8 motorized infantry) and the surrounding hexes.

This is a major turn for the coalition buildup. More French and UK air and ground units arrive at Saudi airbases. A few Arab reinforcements arrive from the west as well. The riot in Mecca forced the coalition to move one Saudi Unit off the board until it redeploys in two turns.

MVP 49/PP 53


So far this combo of of the intro/political rules has been working very smoothly. At first I was worried that not enforcing supply was “cheating” for lack of a better term, but then I realized the issue of supply and logistics is “baked in” with the games limits on the number of units each side can activate, and the reduction in movement points each side faces once they cross the Saudi border.

The biggest hiccup I hit came when the last of the Kuwaiti forces were pushed out by Iraq. The introductory rules require Iraq to continue their offensive into Saudi Arabia. This did not happen during the historic event, and attempting it now using the political rules in this game would cause the PP to skyrocket. This could potentially end the game very quickly with a successful coup or assassination attempt on Saddam. I decided that I would hand wave that rule, which puts the pressure on the Allied Coalition to get the green light from the United Nations before launching a counter attack.

The “Unity” political action the coalition player attempts during turn two is a lot of rolling on charts to see what happens, but that’s something I’ve always enjoyed. Blame it on Dungeon Crawl Classics. There’s a sort of give and take required by the Iraqi side during the political phase of taking hostages (and a political penalty) and then releasing them the next turn (thus undoing the penalty and then some) as a way to keep PP down. The next post will cover turns 3-6, and there’s a victory check at the end. I’m willing to keep this game on the table for a while though, so I’m not going to force anything to a rushed conclusion.

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