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"How Would You Game A 21st Century CUBAN CIVIL WAR?" Topic

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Cacique Caribe Inactive Member08 Apr 2018 9:02 p.m. PST

Imagine a struggle of generals to take control after Raul's death.

Would you start off with Cold War Era (leftover Soviet) weapons and equipment, for the early phase of the war, and then upgrade as foreign interests (Venezuela, Communist China, North Korea/DPRK, etc) begin sending weapons, "advisors" and "international brigades" to the most Castro-like hardliner?



So what figures would you go for? What vehicles and equipment?

Would you do an East vs West split of the island, with one general in Havana and the other in Bayamo or Santiago?



Would you start off with a Castro-like hardliner holding the West (and Havana), and a more secular one the Eastern half of the island? Or would you flip them around?

How involved and widespread could such a post-Castro scenario get?

Any other ideas?






Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP08 Apr 2018 9:33 p.m. PST


Interesting question.

I suppose it would depend on how many generals had a loyal following in the army and air force. I have a feeling the castros wouldn't allow any general to build such a personal base of followers.

I think it would be more likely that there are factions in the cuban poliburo and those factions would be the ones engaging in a power struggle. Then would the military sit it out to see who came out on top or see it as a chance to seize power for themselves?


Cacique Caribe Inactive Member08 Apr 2018 9:45 p.m. PST


Quick question …

How old would you say are these Venezuelan military vehicles?





Oberlindes Sol LIC08 Apr 2018 11:52 p.m. PST

Raul Castro (age 86) was going to retire in February, but that date has been to 19 April. Raul will remain Secretary General of the Communist Party -- no surprise.

His almost certain successor is Miguel Diaz-Canel, Vice President of the Council of State and Council of Ministers since 2013.

Older ministers like Ramiro Valdes and Jose Ramon Machado Venture, both around Raul's age, may have short runs like Andropov and Chernenko in the USSR, but they're too old to hang onto power for long.

Raul's son Alejandro runs the National Defense and Security Commission, which is apparently in charge of counterintelligence. That probably puts Alejandro in the position of being able to blackmail or otherwise neutralize any threats to the Castro family.

Raul's daughter Mariela is in charge of the National Center for Sex Education. I don't know if she has any ambitions to rule the country.

I'm guessing that, if it comes to it, the military would support Diaz-Canel over either Castro kid or the old comrades because it will be better for national stability overall.

Civil war could occur if the popular desire to have direct elections for president, instead of the intricate system of indirect elections -- controlled totally the Communist Party, of course -- could lead to protests, violent suppression, and ultimately a popular uprising.

The Cuban government would of course blame the United States for subverting their elections or whatever. Venezuela might send troops to help restore order. Florida might send the National Guard to try to overthrow the Cuban government. It will be interesting.

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member09 Apr 2018 2:29 a.m. PST

Alejandro (my Dad's namesake) is the one I had thought would finally get to control things, even if done behind the scenes.

To tell you the truth, I had no clue that Miguel had been promoted in 2013.

Yes, it will be interesting to see what happens. And it could definitely end up being very game-worthy material.

If civil war should break out for whatever reason, I wouldn't be surprised if US and other Western civilians join an "International Brigade"*. Any game worth its salt should include a unit of such pro-Marxist volunteers. If they don't get to travel to Cuba, they might provide support (and maybe even intel) from their respective countries against any US military troops that get sent into the island. They'll try to make this look as though it was a "Gringos" vs Latin America issue, which is very misleading to say the least. I don't know how many Cuban Americans would go over there as pro-US volunteers, but they could potentially end up facing the "Intenational Brigade" unit(s) in the field.

Venezuelan assets I think are a given**. Specially fuel. I think their mutual defense agreement is still in effect. I'm not sure what Bolivia would do in that situation. Colombian rebels and Nicaragua might express solidarity but not offer much else. There's no telling what North Korea (and China through them) would promise the more Marxist of the Cuban contenders.

I seriously doubt that post-Communist Russia would get involved in that mess, but one never knows. The "International Brigade" would not give them the warmest if welcomes either.

If the US ends up sending troops, they might include at least a few from Puerto Rico.

Yep. It could end up being a very mixed up affair on the gaming table, with weapons and vehicles of various decades (some of it Vietnam War era) all being used at once.

* It happened during the SCW, so could happen again.
** If Venezuela doesn't end up having a civil war of its own before that. I know that North Korea offered Maduro military help just recently, including troops.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2018 4:34 a.m. PST

I'm a strong believer in the theories of Bruce Bueno de Mesquita. In The Dictator's Handbook, Bueno de Mesquita states five rules that leaders should use to stay in power:

(1) The smaller the winning coalition the fewer people to satisfy to remain in control.
(2) Having a large nominal selectorate gives a pool of potential people to replace dissenters in coalition.
(3) Maintain control of revenue flows to redistribute to your friends.
(4) But only pay friends enough that they will not consider overthrowing you and at the same time little enough so that they depend on you. Corruption is hereby a very efficient method, give your friends a territory where they may do as they please and let them skim off as much as they can. (this by the way explains why dictatorships cannot by definition be fair, efficient and corruption-free, somebody has to be rewarded for being a good support to the leader and corruption is a highly cost effective method for the leader, skim off from the top, squeeze the peasants, but make sure I still get my cut)
(5) Don't take your friends' money and redistribute it to the masses.

From this list you can determine one might think something is wrong in Cuba. Most notably the redistribution to the masses bit. One could say attribute this to the fact that some leaders do not act rationally but either have a personality disorder (such as compassion or the desire to be a "good and benevolent" leader or they suffer from political ideology.

In this case the answer is that in the case of Cuba it was long believed that the key to power lay in treating the people as part of the winning coalition and kept this going long after they were no longer useful. Communism, high levels of literacy and free health care were only useful propaganda tools to show that a third world nation could be highly successful if it wasn't being pushed into the dust by the boot of capitalism at its throat. Half a century later and Cuba is falling behind many third world nations when per capita income and GDP are concerned. The gains were minimal and the country has hardly moved on the sociology-economical scale since. Hans Rosling of the Gapminder foundation when visiting Cuba was told that Cuba was the "Healthiest of the poor nations" Someone later whispered in his ear that Cuba was the "Poorest of the healthy nations"

So a prospective new Cuban leader has to access the selectorate to acquire power. Right now a major selectorate is the USA in the form of political and business interests. Anyone who wants to become the new leader of Cuba not already part of the current regime is going to have to pass through them.

The only reason China or Russia might get involved is because they would rather see the US get all upset about having a "major threat" right on their doorstep.

The most likely winner is the one that manages to hoodwink the communist party, move before other nations realize what's going on, declare reforms for the benefit of the people, if necessary buy their support by emptying state coffers and simply buy the people and the military and then cozy up to the US in hope the investment money comes in fast enough to replenish the coffers so you can solidify power. Note that quite a bit of the money will be of Chinese origin, so they may openly be against you for choosing the US as partner, they are still raking in cash and a quick trip to Beijing could open interesting opportunities.

Purge the old guard for being against the people, give your supporters positions to skim off the prospective resorts, casino's and exclusive beachfront property. Ask for US foreign aid, promise to be a good democratic leader, promote some meaningless reforms and hope that a burgeoning middle class can get rich faster than the inevitable rampant inflation. As long as they can stay afloat, who cares about the little people. And of course if that fails you can always declare martial law and put the elections on indefinite hold.

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member09 Apr 2018 5:00 a.m. PST


Bueno de Mesquita is right. Number 5 is always a death sentence. :)

By the way, I've had my eye on these guys for a while:

I think that, together with some from the Peter Pig AK47 range, they might work for some of the Cuban military and the "Rebel" faction(s). What do you think?

How about these for Venezuelans or some other foreign power?


PS. In case anyone wants to make some propaganda posters or stenciled graffiti on walls, this is what Miguel Diaz Canel (Raul's possible successor) looks like:






mad monkey 109 Apr 2018 6:26 a.m. PST

It will be more like this:
YouTube link

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2018 6:57 a.m. PST

Point 5) is different in a democracy, where the masses are your selectorate and the people who voted for you are nominally part of the winning coalition and expect something in return (tax breaks, public works, universal health coverage, and many of the other benefits of democracy)

The system does not differentiate along ideologies or political/economical views, but simply explains the basics of power.

Yes it is a very ruthless and cynical vision of leadership, but it helps us understand that certain things are not ideologically tied or dictated by the economy as those from such backgrounds like to think.

It explains why a democracy does reward the masses and why a crooked kleptocrat like Mobutu is in fact one of the most efficient politicians in recent years. The rampant corruption and the disintegration of the infrastructure were not mistakes or bugs, but features of the system. Mobutu didn't pay his underlings he simply let them fight for the runoff. If the army was paid a sum, generals would serve themselves first, then the colonels, and usually by the time we reached the lieutenants and NCOs they barely had enough to make a living. That's why anyone with a rifle and a checkpoint could make extra money. Control everyone thoroughly and let it be known that money will expedite controls or even let you through without hassle.

One of the most coveted items under Mobutu was a simple stamp and a stack of official documents. You could create a bottleneck which only money under the desk could solve.

The result is that an "efficient" dictator cannot by definition be good at the job in the way many people dream that the right person at the top can single-handedly run the country infinitely better than the evil, corrupt democratic systems. Corruption is a very effective mechanism in the authoritarian leader's toolbox, it would be stupid not use it.

Democracies work in the opposite way, since you are dependent on the masses to get elected it is good to keep corruption under check and not too obvious and if you reward the wrong people and fail to please and reward your voters, you don't get reelected. So either redistribute money their way or be really good at pretending to do so.

Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member09 Apr 2018 7:00 a.m. PST

My miniatures and focus are too involved in Africa (with the nations of Bongolesia, The Bunji Republic, The CBPR, and The Fandango Republic all jockeying around for power in that section of Africa) to get involved with a Cuba thing…
Although I am building a USMC MEU….

Major Mike09 Apr 2018 7:17 a.m. PST

I would run it like a big Junta Game.

Darrell B D Day09 Apr 2018 11:49 a.m. PST

"Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried"

Winston Churchill.


Legion 409 Apr 2018 3:23 p.m. PST

How old would you say are these Venezuelan military vehicles?
Most are Russian designs and the oldest are about 30 years old, = or -. Or updated versions it appears … They do look well maintained. But that can just be a good paint job.

The one pic looks like a US made AT4 which Venezuela started using on @ 2008(?) …

Regardless, like we saw with many other armies. Equipment new or old are only as good as the troops' training and experience.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2018 4:23 p.m. PST

CC -- When you say troops for PR, do you mean the Puerto Rican National Guard, or regular army troops of PR heritage? I was under the impression that Cuba and Puerto Rico sort of considered themselves sister countries due to their heritage and neo-colonial past, which makes me wonder about how motivated Puerto Rican troops in Cuba would be.

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member09 Apr 2018 6:07 p.m. PST

Both, but they would of course be helping the more pro-Western contender, along other US troops.


Lion in the Stars09 Apr 2018 6:21 p.m. PST

The problem with either Florida National Guard or Puerto Rican troops going to Cuba is that it's a de facto US invasion. Get a UN resolution for peacekeepers and it'd be less troublesome. The problem would be getting that UN Security Council resolution past both Russia and China.

Russia likes Cuba because it's a warm-water port in the Atlantic. Proximity to the US is entirely secondary. So you'd have to somehow convince the Russians that any peacekeeping deployment would not do anything to the Russian port. Given the limited access between Guantanamo and the rest of Cuba, it might be better to land troops at the Russian port than Gitmo.

The other challenge would be China. If you could keep the dollars flowing into China, they might not care who is in charge of the country. Obviously they'd prefer to keep a nominally-communist leader, but money talks.

In either case, you'd probably have to do a lot of discussion around having both Russian and Chinese forces in the PKF, along with American troops.

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member09 Apr 2018 6:43 p.m. PST

Lion: "The problem would be getting that UN Security Council resolution past both Russia and China."

That's exactly why I never considered a UN mission as one of my factors. It would never get passed.


Legion 410 Apr 2018 6:21 a.m. PST

For "fun" gaming purposes, the US, Russians and maybe the PRC(?) would get involve in a Cuban Civil War. Along with 1 or 2 other Latin American nations.

In reality it would be hard for the US Not to get involved. With it literally happening in the USA's "backyard", so to speak.

Plus we still hold Gitmo, and regardless of what some elected leadership, etc., in the past may have had in mind(?). I highly doubt Gitmo is going anywhere. Anytime soon …

So US involvement in a Very CCW would almost be assured …

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member10 Apr 2018 10:35 a.m. PST

Legion 4: "In reality it would be hard for the US Not to get involved. With it literally happening in the USA's "backyard", so to speak."

Indeed! Specially if Lil Kim and Don Miguel decide to orchestrate a Second Cuban Missile Crisis for leverage elsewhere. :)


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2018 10:54 a.m. PST

The Puerto Rican guard and reserve can both deploy military police units that would come in handy for a variety of roles and missions.

Legion 410 Apr 2018 2:02 p.m. PST

Indeed! Specially if Lil Kim and Don Miguel decide to orchestrate a Second Cuban Missile Crisis for leverage elsewhere.
If there was a Cuban Missile Crisis 2.0 … it would be the last. And again I'm not alluding to the US using WMDs. Everything that needs to be done in that situation and those that are similar. Can be done with conventional weapons, etc.

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member10 Apr 2018 2:14 p.m. PST

Legion 4

That would be a cool "commando" mission scenario though, and a nice terrain project too!

Lots of grass/cane fields, thick tropical trees and foliage, creeks and marshes to be traversed. Communication installations to be destroyed or disabled. A nuclear "reactor" or missile bunker that needs to be found and broken into, and a warhead(s) to be taken away or destroyed.

It's going to be extremely difficult for our troops to resist stopping to enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches though. :)






Cacique Caribe Inactive Member11 Apr 2018 5:03 a.m. PST

Darn! I'm never the first one to come up with anything …

Alternate Future Wikia

Civ Fanatics Forum

PS. I wonder if something bizarre like this is what sets it all off, when the target ends up being a rival figure in opposition to Don Miguel:
TMP link
TMP link

Legion 411 Apr 2018 6:58 a.m. PST

That would be a cool "commando" mission scenario though,
Let there be no doubt units like SF, Delta, Rangers, SEALs, USMC Raiders[the "new" old name for USMC Spec Ops], etc., would be very much involved on the "Sunny Island of Cuba" …
and a nice terrain project too!
As they say at Gitmo, " Come for the sunny beaches and stay for the water…boarding !" evil grin

Great maps … I do love to make terrain for my war game table !

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member11 Apr 2018 3:45 p.m. PST

Legion 4

Make this your next terrain project then. Put your mission target somewhere underground, in this type of landscape.

PS. Just like in Puerto Rico, the greens are brighter right after a nice mid-afternoon rain shower.






Legion 411 Apr 2018 4:08 p.m. PST

Wow !!!! That would be a pretty good terrain set up ! I've got a good start !


After 3 deployments to Panama in the early '80s … I'm starting to sweat already just looking at those pics ! evil grin

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member15 Apr 2018 11:24 a.m. PST


Well, maybe I can start it all off by making a small town square with a bronze statue of Fidel in the middle:

TMP link


Legion 415 Apr 2018 2:50 p.m. PST

LOL ! evil grin

BenFromBrooklyn Inactive Member16 Apr 2018 12:06 p.m. PST

I would start by building some appropriate terrain. Like this.


Legion 416 Apr 2018 2:08 p.m. PST

WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Eumerin Inactive Member16 Apr 2018 8:47 p.m. PST

"Venezuelan assets I think are a given**. Specially fuel."

Could they really afford to send all that much? Everything I've heard the last few years suggests that the economy is wrecked, people are starving, and the oil wells are pumping less and less every month. Could Maduro (or whoever is in charge at the time) really afford to send troops?

Of course, there's also the fun possibility where he does send troops, and demonstrations break out in Caracas because the people become angry that scarce resources are being sent to Cuba instead of being used at home (sort of like what recently happened in Iran).

Lion in the Stars17 Apr 2018 6:39 a.m. PST

@BenfromBrooklyn: Wow! Judging by the bases on the vehicles, 6mm?

BenFromBrooklyn Inactive Member17 Apr 2018 7:42 a.m. PST

Yes, 6mm.
I gather most of the people here like larger scales, but I like the ability to have company sized games over battlefields that have "maneuver space".

I have a collection of modular boards, that one is the sugar plantation.

Legion 417 Apr 2018 8:40 a.m. PST

thumbs up 6mm is the best for WWII and modern games … E.g. Longer range weapons … need longer ranges … i.e. a bigger game board. And 6mm allows that, generally …

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member17 Apr 2018 1:59 p.m. PST

Eumerin: "Of course, there's also the fun possibility where he does send troops, and demonstrations break out in Caracas because the people become angry that scarce resources are being sent to Cuba instead of being used at home (sort of like what recently happened in Iran)."

Excellent thinking!

And perhaps, after hearing about the government crackdown happening back home, the Venezuelan troops sent to Cuba switch sides! :)


Lion in the Stars19 Apr 2018 2:31 p.m. PST

Well, I like 15mm because that's what Flames of War is in, and I made the decision to do everything else in 15mm to only have 2 sets of terrain (28mm clean scifi for Infinity and 15mm for everything else).

I can appreciate 6mm, and actually have one game in 6mm now (Robotech RPG Tactics).


I had a fun thought. What if one of the countries in Africa that had Cuban help back in the day sent troops?

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member22 Apr 2018 9:41 p.m. PST

Lion: "I had a fun thought. What if one of the countries in Africa that had Cuban help back in the day sent troops?"

You mean where all the Cuban "internationalists" (that's what Fidel used to call them) went to "help", like Congo, Angola, etc?

It would be a fun thought! But I'm not exactly sure they can help themselves even now, much less send out any significant help to keep Cuba Communist. It would still be cool to throw in a few in a game!!!

Or do you mean some of the Arab countries he supplied in 1973?

TMP link

I'm thinking that Miguel or whoever succeeds Raul will call in favors from other Latinamerican leaders. He will try to label this as some sort of a Gringos vs Hispanics war, instead of the ideological war that it would be:



PS. If anyone has suggestions for a figure …
TMP link
TMP link






Cacique Caribe Inactive Member22 Apr 2018 10:40 p.m. PST

In a new 21st century Cuban Civil War, I wonder if anyone would have the balls to fly this banner into battle.



Legion 423 Apr 2018 8:00 a.m. PST

thumbs up

Lion in the Stars23 Apr 2018 1:11 p.m. PST

I'd meant the African countries, but the Middle Eastern ones can come play, too.

The more sides the merrier!

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member28 Apr 2018 6:18 a.m. PST


The rules used better not miss out on all the fun to be had in all that chaos, with different languages and fighting protocols, all trying to coordinate.


Lion in the Stars29 Apr 2018 6:08 p.m. PST

@CC: AK47 Republic?

SouthernPhantom29 Apr 2018 7:56 p.m. PST

I suspect AK47 could be a good fit for less "serious" games, FOF otherwise.

Despite not being of Cuban descent, part of me wonders if I'd wind up personally involved in a conflict down there. Have gun, will travel, so to say.

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member30 Apr 2018 1:32 a.m. PST

It's going to get interesting for sure. We might see US citizens fighting on opposite sides, both in Cuba and here at home.

And you can be sure that the current Cuban regime is already preparing for this (for decades in fact), even if the rest of the free world is caught by surprise.


Lion in the Stars30 Apr 2018 2:49 p.m. PST

For maximum amusement value, I think I'd add the game 'Junta' to AK47 Republic.

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member18 May 2018 6:25 p.m. PST


Junta? Which game is that?

Cuba and Palestinians again talking of solidarity:


Maybe the table could include a unit or two of Palestinians? :)

PS. Maybe everything begins with complications stemming from an operation:

Legion 419 May 2018 8:16 a.m. PST

The Cubans wouldn't fare very well vs. the IDF, either …

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member19 May 2018 9:29 a.m. PST

LOL. No they wouldn't. They would crumble, go into the shadows and resort to guerilla tactics.

Then again, it would be their home turf, and the Cuban dictators have been preparing (perhaps even hoping) for decades for another failed invasion attempt on their island to boost their street cred.


Legion 419 May 2018 2:06 p.m. PST

My $$$$ is still on the IDF … but I was thinking of the Cubans going to Palestine. But yes if the IDF goes to Cuba, it is jungle terrain with the enemy having the home court advantage, etc. …

Lion in the Stars19 May 2018 11:17 p.m. PST

Junta is a board game, very much in the flavor of AK47 Republic. link

Basically, the game is to embezzle as much money as possible from the government!

Original game rulebooks are free to download from Alderac:

There's also a card game version, but I think the board game is more amenable to these purposes.

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