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A Fading Star: Insurgency and Piracy in Somalia is Volume XV of the COIN Series originally designed by Volko Ruhnke. The year is 2007. We reach the climax of several decades of civil war that have ravaged Somalia since the fall of dictator Siad Barre in 1991. An African Union coalition, assisted by the Ethiopian army, enters Mogadishu to support a nascent but corrupt Transitional Federal Government. They face a relentless and violent insurgency waged by Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, an Islamist group seeking both to expel the "invaders" and to transcend the traditional clan-based government structure of Somalia. In the middle of this power vacuum, minor clans and warlords organize themselves to administrate otherwise ungoverned regions, while others engage in large-scale piracy operations, painting their acts as a fight against foreign trawlers pillaging Somali fishing resources.
An updated take on contemporary aspects of insurgency and peacebuilding. The Al-Shabaab insurgent enjoys intelligence supremacy that allows them to conduct deadly out-of-turn ambushes, while facing a slightly less pronounced asymmetrical disadvantage than insurgent factions in previous volumes (due to the comparative weakness of the Transitional Federal Government). On the other hand, the African Union Mission's logistical, kinetic, and peacebuilding capacities will evolve as contributing countries join or leave the coalition throughout the game.
Intense urban warfare is depicted in more detail through the struggle for control of the capital city Mogadishu. Controlling a majority of districts will provide the ruling faction with further legitimacy and enhanced capabilities. However, limited operational effectiveness, mobility restrictions, and the looming threat from a major Al-Shabaab offensive will greatly slow the COIN factions' progress toward stabilizing the city.
A new ‘Clan Struggle’ interphase draws out some of the conflict's unique uncertainties. All sides bid to forge new alliances with local clans, bringing new blood to the battlefield, while the African Union must deal with the consequences of delayed reinforcements or unilateral withdrawals by member countries, and the Pirate warlords collect lucrative tolls from roads and ports that they control.
A unique piracy subsystem, inspired by the Traveler deck featured in Fred Serval's A Gest of Robin Hood, debunks the Somali pirate mythos and explores how piracy stakeholders' interests actually intersected with other local actors during the golden age of Indian Ocean hostage-taking.
Players: 1-4 (full solitaire system)
Timescale: Approximately two months per turn and two years per campaign