1901 Rules Introduction

Post by: Grant Rodiek

I think it’s important to lay out the premise for my new war game. In order for it to make sense, be interesting, and compelling, I need to spend a little more time than usual setting the stage. Here’s my first draft. Thoughts? I’m currently calling the game 1901: Invasion of America.

At the beginning of the 20th century the world is filled with tension. The Great Powers of Europe and the upstart United States of America have begun a frantic arms-race of naval ship building to maintain control of their distant global territories. The arms race largely results in saber rattling and heated diplomacy, yet conflicts flare frequently around the globe.

In 1898, the United States and Spain fight a brief war that results in the United States taking hold of the former Spanish colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam. In 1899, Chinese Nationalists incite the Boxer Rebellion, which causes 8 nations to form an alliance to bring a return to foreign domination of the Chinese homeland. In 1899, the British begin a long, bloody conflict to bring the Boers in line with their South African colonies.

These colonies are worth fighting for, or so the Great Powers think, for they provide distant resupply stations for their fleets, trading partners for goods, and most of all, prestige worthy of an empire. America is uncertain of her entry onto the global stage. Some of her leaders, such as Theodore Roosevelt, revel in the glory of empire. Yet, many within the country feel that America’s longstanding tradition of isolation should be continued.

Kaiser Wilhelm II of the German Empire is dissatisfied with Germany’s meager colonies. Germany’s standing army of 500,000 is the finest and most disciplined in the world and her fleet is second only to the British Empire’s (though, a distant second). Wilhelm, brash and full of Prussian confidence, believes America is ill-deserving of her newly won colonies and, most importantly, ill-prepared to defend them.

The Kaiser may be right. The American army, still not fully equipped for the 20th century, is deeply committed to ending the Filipino Insurrection in their newly acquired territory. The remains of the American army are on garrison duty in Cuba or on distant outposts in the American west watching over the long-subdued Native Americans. The American Navy, which is quickly modernizing, is also scattered and not yet prepared for a full-scale global conflict. Worst of all, William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, is assassinated by an anarchist in early September of 1901. The young Theodore Roosevelt is now the President.

The Kaiser decides that his time to attack is now. He orders his General Staff to enact plans many thought purely hypothetical.

The date is October 1, 1901. Without warning, a fleet of the German Imperial Navy has entered New York harbor and has begun disembarking troops. It is the intent of the German Empire to hold the eastern seaboard hostage. The Kaiser’s demands are simple:

  • America must relinquish her colonies to the German Empire
  • America must relinquish her Navy to the German Empire

America has been invaded. Surprise favors the Germans, who are well-trained and finely armed. Will American resilience be sufficient to repel the invaders and forcefully defend her right to be a Great Power?

In 1901: Invasion of America, two teams of players will control the Imperial Germany Navy and Army invasion force and the American Navy and Army.

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