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"How Would You Game The Mexican Drug Wars In 15mm?" Topic

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22 Mar 2010 9:11 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2010 6:53 p.m. PST

Well, if people can game modern Iraq and Afghanistan, why not something closer to the US?


So . . . let's get creative. If you were going to do a raid on a large compound . . .

A) What figures?

B) What terrain?

C) What rules?

D) Would you have a fictional US troop incursion in the game? Or fictional breakaway states? Or an all-out civil war?



Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Jan 2010 6:58 p.m. PST

Not sure I'd really want to game that mess…living in El Paso for almost a decade and a half…ummm……err……I think I'll skip it.

kyoteblue Inactive Member01 Jan 2010 7:01 p.m. PST


Personal logo pavelft Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member01 Jan 2010 7:05 p.m. PST

Yeah… gaming murder doesn't really appeal to me…

BrianW01 Jan 2010 7:10 p.m. PST

Yeah, I'm with everyone else on this one CC. No thanks.

I am the mongo Inactive Member01 Jan 2010 7:11 p.m. PST

like the post says if people can game Iraq and Afghanistan?
I like my moderns "fake" ala Bongolesia. but to each his own.


KJdidit01 Jan 2010 7:11 p.m. PST

Not a "fun" subject; definitely hits too close to reality for those of us that live in the US Southwest.

Besides that, a Fed player will always lose – right after being ordered to stand down on game turn 1 by his superiors.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2010 7:17 p.m. PST


It seems that some videogamers find it interesting:


And miniature wargamers find it interesting to game violence in the US "hoods".



combatpainter Fezian Inactive Member01 Jan 2010 7:28 p.m. PST

I live on the border so I can guide you. You have the police (dark blue uniforms)the public security(light blue shirts) and you have the army(desert camo) on the Mexican side. On the US side you have immigration(border patrol) customs and homeland security. No army. Then you have the Mexican civilians. Most can be had from Rebel minis. Just paint civilians brown. You also have the bad guys-the hoods-drug smugglers. These are also available from Rebel minis. Hope this helps. I am also available for more info if necessary.

Keep in mind for potential scenario ideas that you have three types of smuggling-people(south to north), drugs (north south to north), and guns (north to south). This is done by the use of underground tunnels, walking through desolate areas, trains, planes, autos and trucks. I have also heard of a submarine recently.

For your games, on hand you shall need plenty of pick-up trucks, SUV's and 18 wheelers. So keep that in mind.

Coyotepunc and Hatshepsuut01 Jan 2010 7:29 p.m. PST

I think that outside of the open cartel warfare in Columbia, this genre is better done with a setof roleplaying rules. There is a lot more investigation and assassination/execution than outright open warfare.

It could be made more palatable by adding alien abductions and cattle mutilations ;)

Crow Bait01 Jan 2010 7:30 p.m. PST

Currently in Naco, Mexico (between Douglas and Nogalas in Arizona the Bad Guys (Drug Lord Enforcers) are called Psychos, (Fitting Name), and dress in a black trench coat and black cloths with AK47s. They are currently fighting with at least one rival for the Drug Trade along the Arizona border. I do not know anything about the rivals. You can consider both well armed and well funded.

Instead of the active army being involved, think about your states National Guard unit. (If they are not in Iraq). Previously, they were only allowed to man Observation Post and report to the Border Patrol who took care of all the action. For your game, you might want to give them more authority to engage the Drug Runners. But be careful, you do not want to fire up any women and children who are crossing the border as illegals.

A lot of rugged mountains in this area, the Sierra Vistas, that are used to move drugs and illegals around on foot, so air mobile operations or use of horses would not be out of the question for U.S. forces. Early tip off comes from a huge blimp that flies from Ft. Huachuca, with a radar to detect movement. This radar actually covers from El Paso to the Coast (or so I have been told.)Also unmanned ground sensors (UGS) along with UAV's would be used by the Border Patrol.

Ultralights are used by the drug runners also to carry drugs across the border. Late model SUV's would also be used.

For wargames this small, I would use something like Arc of Fire, or else some generic set like Savage World Showdowns.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2010 7:39 p.m. PST

Impala: "It could be made more palatable by adding alien abductions and cattle mutilations ;)"

LOL. Check out this search:

TMP link


Top Gun Ace Inactive Member01 Jan 2010 7:42 p.m. PST

This came up a short while back.

Bad guys get more points for their armies, say twice as many as the good guys for a start.

Also, they can nominate one, or more of your units that they have bought and paid for. Same applies to judges, government leaders, etc.

The drug dealer/kingpin gets a free, reversible "Get out of Jail Free"/"Make your Jail Cell a Paradise" card, just in case he is caught by honest government forces (the drug dealer can choose which he prefers). Only other drug dealing gangs are a real threat.

Note, drug kingpins cannot be killed if they choose to surrender, since capital punishment is frowned upon. They don't play by the same rules others have to.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2010 7:52 p.m. PST

Top Gun Ace: "Also, they can nominate one, or more of your units that they have bought and paid for. Same applies to judges, government leaders, etc."

Does that mean that the government troops can't have any surprises, because the drug lord has people on the inside?


Redroom Inactive Member01 Jan 2010 8:45 p.m. PST

One of the Dune board games had a thing where opposing factions would be given a random other factions leader card that represented someone on their payroll or blackmailed, which could be played in key moments which made for some unexpected outcomes.

Dokter Q Inactive Member01 Jan 2010 8:57 p.m. PST

@Crow Bait,
My aunt lived in Sierra Vista, she worked on Ft. Huachuca and I went an stayed with her for a while.
I kind of know the area (it was the late 80's though).
The difference the U.S. and Mexican side of Nogales was noticeable.

Top Gun Ace Inactive Member01 Jan 2010 9:20 p.m. PST

"Does that mean that the government troops can't have any surprises, because the drug lord has people on the inside"?

No, I imagine the government may have infiltrators as well, but they seem to be less successful than the Narco Terrorists, just judging by their growth over time, and their ability to buy/intimidate government, military, and police officials.

Pressed for a ratio, I would guess the NT's are at least two – three times more effective than the government at infiltrating/turning people from the other side, and/or silencing the rest. Their ruthless tactics seem to be working.

Given Up Inactive Member02 Jan 2010 12:40 a.m. PST

I wouldn't. Too dark for me. Too close to home.

GeoffQRF Inactive Member02 Jan 2010 2:33 a.m. PST

Just needs an imaginative derivation of AK47, I would think

The Outlander Inactive Member02 Jan 2010 3:01 a.m. PST

I would cast up tons of Zeta-types, and then stomp on then to crush them. At least I would feel better…

CPT Jake Inactive Member02 Jan 2010 6:24 a.m. PST

Depending on the scale, THW (maybe Chain Reaction or even All Things Zombie) would work well.

Small scenarios (FBI/Border Patrol attempt to ambush a narco delivery or raid on a building where a load has been assembled for shipping for example) would be retty easy.

When I was stationed/lived in El Paso I had a FBI buddy get into a couple of good gun fights in the area. While at Huachuca I also saw some interestig things.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2010 11:46 a.m. PST

How about these guys as infiltrators?

TMP link


Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP02 Mar 2010 7:03 p.m. PST

And the conflict goes on . . .



War Monkey02 Mar 2010 9:23 p.m. PST

It might sound like a good idea, but the whole situation is way more complex for a 15mm tabletop game, RPG might be a better way to go.

WarpSpeed02 Mar 2010 10:24 p.m. PST

Mexican reccon element gets lost ,crosses border ,continues wargames.American forces understand the minor glitch so say nothing afterall theres nothing ther of value.Mexican reccon leader bribed by cartel ,no big thrill……drugs in ,FBI or local police immediately outgunned by rapid deployment forces of drug runners and reg force mexican mech inf..plain an simple ….landmines and drones with killer potential needed.An enlightened physician might suggest a 50 km neutral zone laced with local and stable germ and chemical warfare agents if a nuclear irradiated belt could not suffice.

pigbear Inactive Member03 Mar 2010 4:17 a.m. PST

Last time this came up I expressed some knee-jerk distaste which wasn't well received. I'm glad many others share my opinion. I can't really say why I don't like this sort of game because there are others like it that I don't mind at all. I'm the first to accuse myself of either hypocrisy or inconsistency where this is concerned. All a matter of taste. Doesn't stop me from enjoying these posts and happily expressing my unsolicited opinions.

Stepman306 Mar 2010 5:37 p.m. PST

Peter pig figures for sure…look to thier AK47 stuff and as for rules Ambush Alley…

Windward Inactive Member06 Mar 2010 7:27 p.m. PST

Ambush Alley is the rule set to be sure.

Cog Comp Inactive Member06 Mar 2010 8:16 p.m. PST

I don't see how the situation south of the Border is any different than that in Afghanistan, except that in Mexico, the thugs admit right up front that they are just wanting power, whereas those in Afghanistan hide behind religious references and have suicide bombers.

I'd rather game the drug wars than the "terror wars." I mean, in any game, one side considers themselves the good guy, and they consider the other side to be the bad guy… Switch sides and you get the same dynamic… That's what war is like…. And, there are no shortage of 15mm figures to do border patrol, nacrotistas, or the army (of either Mexico of the USA).

Personally, I'd rather game the VR-Drug Wars, where the "Drugs" are just programs that are run in a VR Setting.

Stepman307 Mar 2010 7:50 a.m. PST

Yet another good agument for modern riders on horse back. Both versions mounted and dismounted…DO YOU HEAR ME REBEL MIKE? LOL. So lets see. Modern SF in Afghanistan, Zombie plauge survivors, and now Border Patrol fighting the war on drugs… And while your at it do them in 28mm…LOL. No really i'm serious.

Cog Comp Inactive Member07 Mar 2010 9:21 a.m. PST

If I sculpted whole figures, I would be all over a modern/near-future mounted soldier (The Border Patrol here in the states usually uses 4WD-ATVs though… 4-runners, that sort of thing, but I can see using Horses for some terrain)…

And, were I to do it, it would be digital, so that I could scale it to any scale I wished.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP08 Mar 2010 12:37 a.m. PST

This map is interesting:



Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2010 10:28 a.m. PST

Some are already working on this, it seems:

TMP link


Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP25 Aug 2010 6:59 a.m. PST

Even more inquiries about gaming this:

TMP link
TMP link


Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP07 Jul 2011 11:49 a.m. PST

How about this alternative?

TMP link


Lion in the Stars07 Jul 2011 6:53 p.m. PST

I know I'd game this using Ambush Alley, but I can't come up with any gameable scenarios, CC.

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