Earlier this year I announced I was taking a sidestep in my Ultramodern wargaming. As much as wargaming the real world was interesting, I was getting distracted by some of the surrounding “noise” you get from playing things that for some people are very close to home. The other reason for making the step was wanting to create my own setup, letting me use a wider variety of equipment and tactics in a wider variety of locations to run a wider number of scenarios.
And then the Ultramoderns went a little bit quiet.
That was mostly due to the fact the time I was spending on my ultramodern ideas was less spent painting or playing and more time spent on writing, crafting nations. I’m starting to reach the point where I can begin to explain some of the concepts I’ve come up with, begin painting up the forces and maybe even get a game or two in.
But first let me introduce you to…
The term ChargeReal is heavily inspired by the Strangereal, the setting of the series Ace Combat. As a backdrop to explain how every nation has super advanced fighter aircraft and every way is decided by them, it works well enough. There are multiple continents, multiple large nations and alliances that clash and it does a reasonable job of reusing real-world locations in a fake world. Even if the plot line does get a bit anime (the giant super weapons), it still feels cool and modern military.
(Sidenote: Belka did everything wrong)
Thinking about the Strangereal (and also Project Wingman, a similar game that made it’s own setting with a few more drastic changes), I laid a few basic ground rules for the world I wanted to make.
For as grim as everything is, we are living in an era where the great powers haven’t actually engaged each other in full blown conflict since the end of WW2. The reason? Thermonuclear weapons.
The world I’m designing need to have combat and not just proxy wars and insurgencies. I want a reason to have platoons clashing with platoons (without everyone either taking attrition damage or in CBRN suits and taking attrition damage). In the ChargeReal, the development to turn Uranium into material for weapons just hasn’t happened. Nuclear energy is in use in larger nations, depleted uranium is used in advanced AT weapons and the mining of uranium is still an ongoing industry.
Now, some careful wording. I haven’t banned other WMDs – chemical weapons (for as horrible as they are) are not a world destroying weapon. Biological weapons will probably be more likely a plot point rather than something to use on the table top. But dirty bombs? Unthinkable for civilised nation, but not impossible to appear in the hands of non-government groups.
No Superpowers/Massive Aligned Blocs
The other things stopping the world going to war at the moment is the cascade effect. Declare war on a NATO member, all the others join in. Like a house of cards, you poke one and the situation collapses. The complicated mess of countries and alliances that kicked off the Great War has only got more complex, leading to a current state of war between nations being much much rarer.
However, seeing as this is my personal world and I am doing my best impression of Ares, we’re going to have more wars! So, there is nothing similar to NATO or the UN (well there is a UN but it’s pretty much just a place for political shouting). Mutual defence agreements are much smaller scale, as might be expected in a world where everyone is a little closer to the same power level.
This doesn’t mean there won’t be alliances and agreements. It will just be a little more free flowing.
No Filling Off The Serial Numbers
Okay this is maybe a littl obscure but the concept is simple. It is very easy to make a nation that is literally a real world nation but with a few names changed and a different uniform. It’s very easy to make “not USA” that also uses all US gear and is large and almost a superpower. Except that solves none of the problems I have and you’re basically playing the modern world but with a poorly taped on sign.
Instead all ChargeReal nations have to be something new and unique. It might be a composite of several real world nations or even some nations in a historical time period. Some of my favourite nations to consider have been based around a unique hook – what would a nation that was formed from ancient tribal structures that managed to fight off all invaders with minimal adjustments look like? How about a theological state formed from a modern Western country? Not all of these ideas are ready but you can see the basic concepts. This is Alt-History gone a little wild.
Nothing Wildly Out of Ultramodern Time Period
At the end of the day, I play ultramoderns because the ultramodern time period is interesting. The level of tech and tactics on display, the decisions that need to be made. All of these come (in part) from the current level of technology. For this reason I’m sticking mostly to the current level of technology available at the time of writing… with some blurring. I think the upcoming Battlefield 2042 game has the right level of tech, or at least the most advanced toys I’d be willing to give out. With stuff like the T-14 Armata a more regular opponent, or troops having access to reasonable UGVs (maybe even some Chappie-esque artificial soldier used as force multipliers but still armed with realistic small arms). I’m not trying to go full Cyberpunk, just add a few toys into the mix.
Similarly, I’m diverging from the StrangeReal by not having experimental titanic super weapons. With the different focus
As a final point, not everyone is going to get the super high-end stuff. It’s unlikely that a small breakaway state from the Tsardom would be able to get their hands on autonomous weapon systems, but a special forces team from the massively advanced nation of Arcadia might have a few robotic friends to bulk up the numbers and take the strain.
That’s the basic behind the setting. I’ve got some information up on my wiki at https://hntdaab.co.uk/wiki/index.php?title=ChargeReal. Everything on there (and about the project) is liable to change but that will be where I keep the practical information. In contrast, the blog will have the more floral/well written descriptions of everything.
I have a few nations I’m mostly written up, but we’ll be starting with one I’ve actually begun making models for. I’ll produce the designer notes for the Republic of Shlyuz in the next few days.