Ici, c'est la France!


Ici, c'est la France!

This is a forum for Ici, c'est la France! It is a game of the French war in Algeria during the fifties (Legion Wargames).

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Comment by Kim Kanger on May 20, 2009 at 5:12am
Remember that you have to create an account at legion Wargames in order to pledge for games.
Comment by Kim Kanger on May 19, 2009 at 7:39am
We are thinking of offering the Ici rules already now as a pdf for you to download and read. Who would be interested in that?
Comment by Kim Kanger on May 17, 2009 at 11:49am

What kind of descisions are there to make in Ici, c'est la France!? I will show some here. First I would like to mention that it will be charged and produced within the next coming weeks. Hurry to pledge if you want the pledge-price. If you have already pledged for it (and perhaps Tonkin also) at the Khyber Pass site, then you have to re-pledge for it/them at www.legionwargames.com/legion_pre-order.php

First you have the political phase. Will you, as FLN, play a chit that will increase the political heat among the local French in Algeria or something that will stabilize the situation within FLN organisation (which will get you more resources and increase the chance of success when you attack the civil society). Perhaps you will play something that will expose the French brutality that will outrage the international community. As French you might want to play something to increase the chaos within FLN or something that will increase your superiority on the battlefield. Perhaps you will play something that lowers the temperature among the local French hotheads so to avoid any political crisis.

FLN recruits new fighters, but where? Which region needs them and how many? Should you save resources for attacks and insurgency and, if so, how much do you plan is needed for that? A region may shift, depending on how many FLN units there is in it, between French and FLN control or become just contested. FLN movement between the regions will cost if the region that you enter is French controlled, so how do you plan to move and where will you place the new units in regard to planned movement? Will you enter towns and cities? These will give some extra resources later on, but will you need it and can you spare the units?

Will you attack or will you save resources to conduct insurgency? You don't know whether there will be any regions where you can conduct insurgency since it depends on what the French do first.

As French, where will you prioritize to make your attacks? Which regions are most important to deny FLN contest/control? How many resources will you save for counterinsurgency? Which town and city do you wish to garrison in order to deny FLN of any future presence there?

When conducting insurgeny and counterinsurgency, which region will you chose? Will you, as French, use harsh methods in order to increase your chances of breaking FLN's grip of power there, even if it gives you infamy among the local population? Will you, as French, relocate the population so as to deny FLN its supply, even though the population will hate it?

Try the game. I believe it depicts very well the complexity and the uncertainty of an insurgency war.
Comment by Kim Kanger on April 29, 2009 at 5:33am
I answered a guy elsewhere who was airing a certain tint of frustration regarding the delayment of Ici. I basically said that Ici now was ready to go, but also that the good thing about the delayment was that I now had the opportunity to clear out some bugs in the rules before it got printed. So I believe the game is better now than it was a few months ago.

The interaction between the parameters in the rules have been difficult to balance since, in practice, there are three games in it. But not three parallel games (like a land game and a naval game and so on), but three intergrated and highly interactive games.

This is not a game where there is a front of counters which basically move and fight. This is a game where the enemy is everywhere, where you are unsure of what policy to have, where you are not certain whether you should fight or not, where you struggle to get the population to support you and where you are convinced that you will lose.

Each person that I have played against has accused me of favouring the side that I'm playing. The funny thing is that I hear the same thing whether they play FLN or France...

This is not a game for everyone. I'm certain that I will hear many views from players later on (which I both dread and hope for). The rules are not complicated and I have gone to great lengths to clear out any ambiguities. But I promise you, the game will be a challenge and, if you like it, you will be able to spend hours contemplating strategies (I still do and I designed the damn thing!)
Comment by Kim Kanger on April 22, 2009 at 2:20am

For those of you that are waiting for Ici
Comment by Kim Kanger on November 23, 2008 at 11:20am

Historical notes of the war in Algeria will, together with the political chits (written within paranthesis), be included in the rules of Ici, c'est la France! (which is due to be released in December: http://www.khybergames.com/id41.html).
Here is a preview of that:

By summer 1954 the war in Indochina had finally ended. France had lost and one effect was that colonial subjects lost their respect for French rule. The Algerian soldiers were bitter of the treatment they received when they returned home. Algeria was considered part of France but only European settlers benefited from all civil rights (Ici, c’est la France). A demonstration in 1945, in Sétif, got out of hand with an ensuing massacre on local pied noirs. Violent retaliation fell upon local Moslems and an estimated 6,000 people were killed. This event, in addition to the fact that reforms were blocked by the pied-noirs and that the 1948 elections were rigged, increased the mistrust between the two communities (French repression). The nationalist movement in Algeria was represented mainly by Ferhat Abbas who wanted to bring on reforms, but who felt it increasingly difficult to withstand those who demanded total independence (Abbas joins FLN).

On the 1st of November 1954 attacks were made all over the country by a new group called National Liberation Front - FLN. There was also a boycott on French goods (Economic boycott) as well as recognition from many Moslem countries (Bandung conference). FLN divided Algeria into six regions called Wilayas, each with an independent military leader. To get a grip of the Algerian population FLN had to create a chasm between Moslems and the pied-noirs (Ambush). They had to make every Moslem a terrorist in the eyes of the enemy by conducting blind terror among the French. The leaders in the easternmost Wilaya decided to throw a torch into the conflict by conducting a massacre on Pied-noirs in the area of Philipville (Massacre). Paras were sent to the area and, in rage, answered with a "ratonnade", rat hunt, where they, together with armed civilians, shot any Moslem on sight. The nation had been pushed to a point where there was no turning back (Reinforce). There was a rivalry within FLN (FLN dissent). But at a meeting in Algeria the military structure were established and decisions were taken how to conduct peace negotiations with France: No cease fire before recognition of independence, no division of Algerian territory and no double citizenships for the pied-noirs. FLN were to stick to these principles up to end. France worked hard to gain support among Moslems by sending out people into villages (SAS), charged with the mission of building schools and other kinds of social work (Reforms).

FLN received increased support from Egypt after the Suez crisis in 1956 (Suez crisis), a war which humiliated the French military and gave FLN a stronger political recognition from Moslem countries (Middle East unity) and parts of the US political elite (Kennedy). Algiers was the main battle site during 1956-57 (Bomb attacks). Under the leadership of Saadi Yacef, FLN started to attack the police and civilians through shootings and bombings. General Massu was given full powers to deal with the situation. Coinciding with the UN opening in New York a general strike all over Algeria was called for by the FLN to demonstrate their authority. The order from Massu was to break the strike at all costs (Breaking the strike). The strike was stopped and the French intelligence managed to fool the FLN leadership around Algiers completely (Léger/Safy coup). France also captured the FLN leader Ben Bella (Capture Ben Bella). A certain war-weariness was now spreading among Moslems as they quarrelled among themselves (Melouza massacre) and as France was gaining the initiative through informers (Les bleues) and resettlement of Algerians into protected villages, thereby denying FLN supply (Resettle).

Oil was found in the Sahara (Oil in the Sahara) which made it worthwhile to fight for the country (France will stay) but at the same time the public in France was shocked over the news of the use of torture (Population suffers). The war was becoming expensive and France faced an economic and a political crisis (Economic crisis). After the independence of Tunisia and Morocco (Tunisia & Morocco), France constructed the "Morice line" along the borders to seal off any traffic across them (Morice line). FLN were in dire strait and tried to bring the war into France itself by bomb attacks and by taxing the Algerians living there (Algerian taxation). The war seemed to have no solution in sight, so, in May 1958, 50,000 people gathered in Algiers (half of them Moslems) calling, together with the army, for a "national arbiter of a high authority to re-establish the situation". There was only one man who could do that: Charles de Gaulle. In June, he became president and the 5th republic was born.

FLN was facing increasing problems with its supply (Hunt arms dealers) and internal purges (Internal FLN purges), often made after false information had been planted by French intelligence (2e bureau). Amirouche, the local leader south of Algiers, is said to have had 3,000 men and women killed before he himself was killed (Amirouche madness). In 1959 Maurice Challe, a new commander-in-chief, arrived in Algeria. The army was spread out throughout the country in the "quadrillage" system, "squaring", which made it difficult for FLN to move around. But Challe also wanted to hunt the enemy down so he brought forward four main changes (Challe plan). First, he created special commandos, called "commando de chasse", with Moslem trackers (Commando de chasse). They would track the enemy and then call in the mobile reserve to kill it (Helicopter). Second, he increased the number of Moslems in the army to make loyal Moslems take a more active part in the struggle (Harkis mobilized). Third, he intensified the resettlements of civilian Moslems (Suffer of resettled). Fourth, he concentrated his forces to one area at a time to be able to effectively purge it from FLN presence, which included attacks on foreign soil (Bombing of Sakiet). This strategy was a major success and the French authorities were hoping that this, combined with economic development (Economic development), would make the Moslems accept French rule. But FLN refused to surrender.

De Gaulle was modernising the armed forces (Atomic tests) and wished to get rid of the "Algerian problem". He suspected that no settlement would survive without the support of the Moslem population, so he was starting to speak in terms of "self-determination" (Selfdetermination). The pied-noirs and the army were not amused (Army discontent). The political temperature was rising and when General Massu was sacked in January 1960, after having criticized de Gaulle (Recall of Massu), the right-wing of the pied-noirs in Algiers turned to the streets wanting to force the downfall of the government. They created barricades and opened fire on the approaching gendarmes (Ortiz’s militia). The two para regiments in the city were sympathetic to the pied-noirs but did not join them. On the 29th of January de Gaulle made a brilliant speech on television which made the insurrection in Algiers implode.

But FLN in Algeria had problems too, with its lack of arms (Capture of arms). The leaders of the Wilaya around Algiers tried to offer a separate peace (Operation Tilsit). But in late 1960, Boumedienne, now in power, consolidated FLN (Rise of Boumedienne) and started to receive new supply (FLN in China). FLN was indirectly recognised as representatives of the Algerians when de Gaulle, for the first time, turned to them and suggested a cease fire (French truce). The rest of the French colonial empire in Africa became independent (Independence for West Africa) and in a speech de Gaulle uttered the words "an Algerian republic". He also visited Algeria once more in December 1960 and miraculously survived four attempts to kill him. During his visit Algiers exploded in violence as the right-wing elements took to the streets to fight the police. Then on the 11th of December, a totally unexpected pro-FLN demonstration poured out from the Arab quarters and Algiers turned into a battle scene (FLN riots). No-one could be fooled any longer regarding Arab allegiance.

Discontent was ripe in many in many quarters. Challe resigned (Challe resigns) and among some of the elite regiments, rage was brewing. In April 1961, the generals Jouhaud, Zeller, Salan and Challe took over power in Algiers with the help of some of the para regiments. The plan was to mobilize both pied-noirs and Moslems and to relaunch those successful offensives previously made during Challe’s command. But Algeria had only supply for two weeks and most of the army there, although sympathetic, would not join the rebellion. De Gaulle now made a new speech, perhaps the most important since his radio speech in 1940, where he forcefully ordered all soldiers to stop these rebels. Private soldiers, tired of the war, then refused to cooperate with their superiors and the rebellion died. Para regiments such as 1st REP, 14th RCP and 18th RCP were disbanded and the army was demoralized.

Negotiations with FLN commenced in April 1961 in a small town called Evian (Negotiate). In the meantime a clandestine terrorist organization called Organisation Armée Secrète (OAS) was recruiting among disillusioned soldiers and pied-noirs. They started killing everyone they regarded as traitors and conducted bombings in France itself. When some conscripts were gunned down in Algiers the army sent in tanks against OAS and a three day civil war raged in the city. By March 1962 an agreement of cease fire and Algerian independence was reached, which had the effect that all French just stood up and left Algeria. The French authorities were shocked, they were expecting around 100,000 people, but around 1,400,000 flooded into France instead. The Moslems who had cooperated with the French now received the full wrath of the FLN. Perhaps more than 100,000 of them were killed.

A long nightmare of twenty-two years of war, which started in 1940 with the humiliation of defeat and German occupation, had brought the nation to the very brink of civil war. But in July 1962 it was finally over.
Comment by Randy Lein on October 20, 2008 at 6:26pm

Well Kim and I have finished up the first year, 1955, of Ici c'est la
France! so I thought I would give you my impressions of the game so far.
In two words, frustratingly brilliant.

Kim has managed to capture the insurgent nature of this confilct in an
extremely well thought out, historical, and yet playable game. He was able
to weave together the military, (French & FLN), political, French public,
and local population, aspects in an interconnected web where every thing
you do affects another aspect, either positively or negatively, thus
making each decision more that just one dimensional. And while it only
took me a few turns to get the basic mechanics of the game down, it is
those interconnections that make each turn of the game a mental excercise
more akin to chess. Not only does each player have multiple actions to
use to achieve his objective, but the equation is further complicated
because each side is limited by the number of Operation Points available
that turn. Add that on top of the action/reaction nature of the game
where achieving your goals in one region of the country means neglecting
another region and thus allowing the enemy influences to grow, and the
fact that just because you pacify a region does not mean it will stay that
way, and what you have is a great game that not only captures the essence
of the war but is also fun and challenging to play.

As for the game itself, once both players learn the basic mechanics and
begin to see the connectivity of the individual game tracks in such a way
as to plan your strategy, the individual turns will go quite quickly. The
replay value of this game is a 10. There are so many variables involved,
to include the chits you have available to play in any one given turn, to
the number of reinforcements/operation points you will receive each turn,
to the very fluid nature of the game, that I don't think any two game will
ever be the same.

As we are playing the game, Kim and I are eliminating any discrepancies in
the rules/charts, and fine tuning the rules themselves. And I must say
that here too Kim did a bang up job and while my first read through did
produce some questions, all of the answers were there once I looked more
closely. And since he is not only kind enough, but also talented enough
(have you seen those icons?) to do it, the graphics for this game are all
but finalized (can we lose the purple water). So that being the case, and
since it has as many pledges as the rest of the games in Final
Development, I see no reason to not put this game into production as soon
as I can wrap up A Splendid Little War.

So for anyone interested in this conflict, or would like to know the
frustrations, and mental strain of fighting an insurgency war, this game
is a must have. Ici c'est la France! will definitely be on the short list
for a CSR award in the Post WWII category, I will be very surprised it it
does not win.

Randy Lein -- KPG
Comment by Kim Kanger on June 27, 2008 at 4:54pm

FLN and French
Comment by Charles Féaux de la Croix on June 17, 2008 at 12:22pm
The game looks interesting, though, Kim, I have to say the odd-looking terrain on the map is a major turn-off for me. I hope you'll opt for a more natural and less "metallic" look. Not that the way a map looks happens to be a deal-breaker for me, but it sure helps to have an attractive map.

Anyway, I'm interested in counterinsurgencies, so I'm looking forward to seeing how you portray such a "small war".
Comment by Kim Kanger on June 15, 2008 at 8:08am
Each discussion here, that I start, will in detail cover different segments of the game.

Dennis and I will play the game in a few weeks. Perhaps we can do it "online" by posting somewhere our game turns for everyone to follow. We will see about that.

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