Shortly after lunchtime (when I ate my lunch, megagames don’t have breaks, they run continuously until the end) I changed role. The trigger for this was that the Emergency Services didn’t really need two players (and Geoff had clearly got the hang of megagames even though it was his first time). Also Federal assistanceÂ was invoked, and there wasn’t a player team at Federal level (because it was always uncertain if it would be required and carried too much risk of boredom to be staffed before it was required).
So I ended up as a Major General in charge of the 101st Airborne Division and in command of the Federalised State National Guard forces. I also had a special forces team attached. The direct Federal team was lead by a (female) Presidential Envoy who had a direct line to the White House and was told to get the situation under control. Me and the Special Forces Colonel were the other two players in this team, although effectively I had all the National Guard players in my team too.
First steps were to work out a containment plan to stop this spreading, and then to deal with rules of engagement for the soldiers under my command. I observed that what we were dealing with were (virus infected) US Citizens on US soil and that just shooting them all wasn’t an acceptable position. I also observed that preventing innocent citizens from leaving an area could be seen as an unlawful arrest without charge, and was effectively suspending habeas corpus. What we really needed was an appropriate Executive Order to ensure that none of my soldiers could be held liable for civil action. It turned out White House counsel agreed, and I got the following as my rules of engagement (endorsed by the Deputy Attorney General)
[– start ROE –]
Rules of Engagement – Romero Virus Outbreak
Within the specified area all US Military forces are authorised to use reasonable force to detain people within the specified area and to direct them to appropriate medical and/or containment facilities.
Lethal force is authorised to prevent people leaving the specified area, or where they refuse to obey clear instructions to go to a medical or containment facility. Before opening fire at least THREE WARNINGS of “ARMY! HALT OR I FIRE!” (or similar words to the same effect) must be given. Only individual small arms, firing single, aimed shots may be used. Artillery, rockets, bombs or other explosive weapons are not authorised for use unless on the direct express order of a Colonel or more senior officer.
[– end ROE –]
This, however, was only the first of the philosophical discussions that I was involved in. Like all good generals, mine was a political game, not one of issuing orders (although I did some of that too, largely by giving mission objectives to the National Guard General and the SF Colonel). So I made sure that not only the military, but also the political and police players knew what our ROE were and our intent to cordon a wide area before moving in to eradicate the problem. However I was careful to deploy some regular troops to Romero City so that we could truthfully state that we were directly assisting the city authorities and that we were providing humanitarian aid to those made refugees by the outbreak.
Other Player Viewpoints
If you want to read what other players in this game thought about it then here are some more links:
- Tim Manneville wrote about his experience of Urban Nightmare as a State Police Player