MotF 244: Joined At The Hip

MotF 244: Joined At The Hip

The Challenge

Make a map featuring two countries that have been co-equal allies for a century or more.

The Restrictions

There are no restrictions on when the PoD of your map should be. Fantasy, sci-fi, and future maps are allowed.

If you're not sure whether your idea meets the criteria of this challenge, please feel free to PM me or comment in the main thread.
Entries will end for this round when the voting thread is posted on Monday, October 11, 2021.
Any discussion must take place in the main thread. If you post anything other than a map entry (or a description accompanying a map entry) in this thread, you will be asked to delete the post.

Don't forget to vote on MotF 243!

At receptions and ceremonies, late 22nd century diplomats and politicians sometimes liked to claim that the alliance between Brazil and Australia was some 800 years old, tracing the countries' friendship back to the 14th-century alliance between the kingdoms of Portugal and England. This had always been more poetry than reality, especially given both Portugal and England had been uninhabitable for almost 200 of those years. There are more credible arguments to date the start of the alliance from as early as 1917, and as late as 2126; however, the majority opinion among modern historians would date it from 1943, when Brazil entered the Second World War on the side of the British Empire (which at that time included Australia) and its Pacific co-belligerent, the United States. The ultimate victory of their enemies led to the domination of Europe by Germany and of Asia by the Soviet Union, setting the stage for the enduring three-way conflict which defined humanity's early exploration and colonization of the Solar System.

Even the destruction of all of the great powers' Earth homelands and the end of civilization in the northern hemisphere resulting from the brief but apocalyptic 2121-3 Fifth World War initially failed to fully bring an end to this basic structure. Themselves badly battered by fighting in the spaceborne theater of the war and dependent on food imports from Earth for sustenance, the great powers' extraterrestrial fleets and colonies gradually realigned themselves towards surviving southern-hemisphere governments. Germany's battered fleet transferred allegiance from Berlin to the governor of German Southwest Africa; the Soviet Union's split between the pro-Soviet governments of the Union of African People's Republics (UAPR) and Bolivia; the Commonwealth fleet rallied to Australia; the United States' split between the new Commonwealth and Brazil; and Japan's defected to its former puppet state of Indonesia. For a long time, this new world licked its wounds and made great pronouncements about having learned the lessons of the past. But although the destruction of the old world wiped away many of the tensions which had created past wars, recovery from it and further expansion into the outer reaches of the solar system created new ones.

The next great crisis began in late 2188 in the Uranian subsystem, where the first major space battle since the end of the last war had taken place between UAPR and Indonesian fleets over the former's attempt to detain an allegedly illegally registered mining vessel. Both powers chose to invest intensively in the Uranian and Neptunian systems, which only recently had become economically viable, in an attempt to catch up with the larger powers' established advantage in the Inner Planets.

The UAPR got the better of the battle, forcing the Indonesian Uranian fleet to flee to its Oberon base for emergency repairs. However, the Communist bloc appeared to see in the skirmish an opportunity to take full military control of the region. As soon as it was clear the Indonesian fleet would not leave the subsystem, the UAPR Neptunian garrison (detached from the Jovian fleet two years earlier to suppress a miner strike) departed Neptune for Uranus. At the same time, the Bolivian Venusian fleet departed its mooring for Mars - seemingly, many thought, to maintain Communist bloc strength in the Martian system while enabling a new detachment of UAPR ships to further reinforce Uranus.

To preempt this move, the Indonesian Second Command transferred from its routine patrol of the Saturnian system to a tight retrograde orbit around Saturn itself. From this close position, a fleet could intercept and deal a deadly blow to any ship attempting to use a Saturn gravity assist to transfer to the outer planets - forcing it to either attempt a risky deep-space repair or remain in Saturn orbit, making it vulnerable to an immediate second attack. This sort of maneuver was used during the Fifth World War by the American Inner Planets Fleet to deal a crushing blow to the German Deep Space Fleet at the Third Battle of Mars, resulting in a decisive victory for the anti-fascist coalition in the trans-Martian theater.

Incidentally, the maneuver also put the fleet in a position to intercept ships leaving the outer planets or the Saturnian system for destinations further down the gravity well. Recent clashes over territory in the Terran Pacific and the Asteroid Belt led the Commonwealth government to see this move as a potential threat to its extensive merchant marine or its Saturnian fleet. Soon after the Indonesian move, the Commonwealth Force M, based out of Mars and then tasked with patrolling the Asteroid Belt, left port to reinforce Force J at Jupiter, in preparation for a freedom of navigation operation to inner Saturn orbit.

Shortly afterward, a new detachment from the Argentinian Earth Fleet left for Mars. When combined with the Argentinian Group 4, which had left on a scheduled tour to Mars a month earlier, it would create the largest Argentinian fleet ever seen outside of Earth orbit. Many in Dar-es-Salaam feared a secret Argentinian-Indonesian alliance that would threaten the UAPR's extensive Martian bases and potentially leave its large Jovian fleet isolated.

Instead, the Argentinian and Bolivian fleets, arriving in Mars orbit at the same time, launched a surprise attack on the Brazilian fleet at Glenn Station. With a decisive disadvantage in carriers and weak point defense, the Brazilian fleet was nearly totally destroyed by swarm tactics in an engagement that lasted less than three hours. At the same time, Argentinian and Bolivian forces launched a Terran land assault on Brazil and Peru, and tried but failed to finish off the Brazilian Earth fleet, which sustained substantial damage before escaping on a Ceres course.

The shocking alliance of convenience - which came as a surprise to not just the Brazilians but also the two aggressors' erstwhile allies, the UAPR and Southwest Africa - was based on the idea that a quick, decisive strike at Brazil in the inner planets while Australia's fleet was on the move outwards - and so impossible to quickly recall - would force the Commonwealth to abandon its ally or face blockade. This idea was based on the lessons of the last war - that no extraterrestrial colony could survive without regular imports from Earth, and that a land-based installation was at the mercy of a foe that had control of its orbit. However, the further expansion of human population and food growth beyond Earth challenged the former assumption, while advances in anti-kinetic defense and surface-to-orbit missile technology challenged the latter - as the Argentine-Bolivian force would soon learn in their long siege of Tharsis.

Australia's decision to stand by its ally, leaving its core territories undefended by sending the Home Fleet out to rendezvous with reinforcements from the outer planets and the surviving Brazilians at Ceres, would turn the hoped-for fait accompli into the largest-scale war in human history, and the first fought primarily in space. It would draw in nearly every existing political entity and be fought from Mercury out to Neptune. It would also finally end humanity's reliance on Earth, resulting in a political shift from terrestrial nations claiming tenuous control over a string of extraterrestrial colonies to more compact independent political entities based across the system. But still, another fifty years after their defeat in the First Solar War, the governments of North Mars and Ganymede continue to date their relationship to the piece of parchment signed by long-dead kings of long-dead lands on a nearly-dead planet.

This map, showing substantial naval deployments immediately before the outbreak of the First Solar War, uses a simplified version of the ship classification standard established by the 2141 Outer Space Treaty, the last arms reduction treaty to which all major space powers were party. Battleships (BB) are all vessels of war over 7,000 metric tons which are not classified as carriers; i.e., their main munitions are kinetic or energy-based rather than guided. Their large size often comes from weighty and expensive armor. Carriers (CV) are vessels of any size (though typically over 3,000 tons) whose primary function is to launch drones that are controlled from the carrier. Cruisers are vessels between 2,000 and 7,000 tons and are traditionally divided into three categories based on their function. Battlecruisers or Gun cruisers (CA) are typically armed with kinetic weapons such as coilguns and railguns; laser cruisers (CL) are armed with long-distance energy weapons and are used to attack enemy ships' weak points at close range; and missile cruisers (CG) are armed with nuclear missiles, which are launched in large salvoes to overwhelm an enemy fleet's point-defense system. Finally, destroyers (DL) are all warships under 2,000 tons, which are often armed with small lasers or coilguns to supplement larger ships' point defense. Fuelers and other support ships are not included in the count.

Note that this classification, although useful for direct comparison of tonnage available to the combatants at the start of the conflict in different theaters, obscures significant qualitative and doctrine differences between ships and their usage which would ultimately prove decisive. First and most clearly, the wildly unequal distribution of space industry in the Southern Hemisphere before the Fifth World War significantly impacted the new great powers' abilities to repair, maintain, and supplement their inherited fleets. Countries like Bolivia and Indonesia, which had almost no prewar military space program, found it much more difficult to reform their inherited Soviet and Japanese fleets into an effective fighting force. Poor maintenance and upgrades led directly to these nations punching well below their weight in the conflict to come.

Geographic factors also impacted the future balance of power. Notably, the Southwest African fleet as of 2189 remained almost entirely composed of German-constructed 2140s vintage, while the Union of African People's Republics, despite similarly low prewar development levels, managed to commission almost double the number of new ships during the interwar period due to the launch cost advantages of their higher-latitude territories.

This is not to say that new or even effectively retrofitted ships were entirely superior to those constructed during the interwar period. In fact, because of the less-developed space industry of the Southern Hemisphere, many new ships performed much worse in combat than older ones whose components were constructed in more advanced Northern facilities. The most famous example was the Battle of Hygeia, where old Japanese-built Indonesian ships won a stunning victory over the larger and newer UAPR fleet, in part due to greater reliability and better recoil stabilization systems.

Finally, different doctrinal theories which influenced the way different powers constructed and used their fleets had a major impact on the fighting as those theories either held up or were proven false by the realities of the technology of the time. The Commonwealth fleet most famously suffered at the battles of Callisto and Vesta from its overreliance on missiles, which were intercepted more easily than expected by more advanced point-defense laser technology. Somewhat less well-known is the similar underperformance of the Southwest African carrier fleet. Hoping to make up for its weak heavy manufacturing capacity, Windhoek had converted many of its inherited heavy cruisers to escort carriers in the runup to the war on the theory that drones were easier to produce than coilguns and new ships to carry them. Although this carrier-focused strategy initial seemed to be vindicated by the successful Glenn Station attack, the greater construction and conversion of laser-based weaponry during the war quickly obsoleted this focus, culminating in the defeat of the Southwest African fleet at Second Venus.
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Gameboard of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.png

“My lord! The Beacons are lit! Gondor calls for aid!”
“And Rohan will answer!”

From the creative minds at Middle Earth Micro Strategy Gaming comes the newest installment in The Might of Mordor Series…


The Goal:
Capture/Prevent the capture of Minas Tirith within the predetermined turn limit.

What You Need:
Middle Earth Micro Strategy Gaming Handbook #2: The Realms in Exile
Middle Earth Micro Strategy Gaming Handbook #3: Gondor, Land of Stone
Middle Earth Micro Strategy Gaming Handbook #4: Rohan, Land of the Horse-Lords
Middle Earth Micro Strategy Gaming Handbook #5: The Dunedain of the North
Middle Earth Micro Strategy Gaming Handbook #7: The Lands Under Shadow
Middle Earth Micro Strategy Gaming Handbook #11: The Fiefs of Gondor
Middle Earth Micro Strategy Gaming Handbook #14: Sauron’s Foul Servants
Middle Earth Micro Strategy Gaming Series Companion #3: The Might of Mordor
Middle Earth Micro Strategy Gaming Battle Guidebook #2: The War of the Ring
8 Dice: 2 D6, 2 D10, 2 D12, 2 D20
60 unit chips for Mordor, 45 unit chips for Gondor/Rohan
Several free hours, five friends, and your imagination!

The Factions:
Play as the Witch-King of Angmar, the Lieutenant of Minas Morgul Gothmog, and Khamûl the Easterling and lead the forces of Sauron against the City of the Guard. With 60 unit chips in your bank, you have the quantity advantage, even if the quality of your units is lacking. You have three secure avenues of approach into the map, which are across the three main bridges of Osgiliath. Be wary, for should the Witch-King fall prey to the ancient prophecy, your advantage may be lost…

Play as the grief-stricken Steward of Gondor Denethor, the resurgent King of Rohan Théoden, and the courageous Heir of Isildur Aragorn to prevent the forces of Mordor from taking the chief city of Gondor. With 45 unit chips in your bank, you will be outnumbered, yet your units are of a superior quality. You start with the Causeway Forts and Minas Tirith under your control, with the quays of Harlond and the exit of the Stonewain Valley being where your reinforcements can enter the field of battle. Be wary, for the Witch-King will stop at nothing to bring ruin to the last haven of the heirs of Númenór…

The Units:
Orc Swords: The rabble of Mordor are always seeking to wet their blades with the blood of the Second Born, and this unit is no different. +1 movement.
Variag Axes: Hardened from constant war in the steppes of Khand and the wastes of Rhûn, these warriors pack a powerful punch against all who stand in their way. +2 to attack roll.
Orc Spears: The Lord Sauron, for all his vast might, has an economical spirit, and this unit is the perfect combination in his all seeing eye. +1 movement.
Morannon Pikes: Ensuring that the Black Gate is protected is a task that Sauron entrusts to his most loyal soldiers, for besides the entrance into Mordor via Minas Ithil the Morannon is the best way to walk into the Shadow Land. +1 to movement, +1 to defense roll.
Orc Hunters: No prey can escape the sharp bite of an orc on the prowl, even if they are protected by Númenórean-forged mail. +1 movement.
Olog Catapults: Operated by the great Ologs of Mordor, these catapults can deal serious damage and, when attacked, can put up a well deserving fight. +1 to attack roll and +1 to defense roll.
Nazgûl: The feared Ringwraiths of Sauron, they hold the Nine Rings of Men and exude terror across any battlefield. For each Nazgûl on the field, there is a stacking 10% chance for adding -2 to the attack and defense roll for Gondorian units (ex when all Nine are on the field there is a 90% chance for adding -2 to the attack and defense roll). +4 to attack roll.
Mûmakil: There are few who can withstand for long these lumbering giant oliphaunts from the deep south, especially when maddened by the aura of the Witch-King. +5 to attack roll.

Gondor Swords: Gondor’s strength lies with its infantry, and these hard hitting swordsmen are the backbone of their army. +2 to attack roll
Lebennin Mariners: Raised from the fiefdoms by the mouth of the mighty Anduin, the soldiers of Lebennin are ever-vigilant against raids by the Corsairs of Umbar. Ignores penalty of riverine terrain, +1 to attack roll.
Gondor Spears: Though offense has proved to be a favorite strategy for Gondor, staying on the defensive is not looked down upon either, a role these tough spearmen excel in. +2 to defense roll.
Citadel Guard: Defending the citadels of Gondor is the task of the highest echelon of Gondor’s finest. They protect the persons of the King and Steward, and only march out of the capital when dire need is at hand. +2 to attack roll, +3 to defense roll.
Ithilien Rangers: Those who still remain in Ithilien despite the encroachment of the Shadow make for excellent warriors, for they know the lands better than anyone. +1 to attack roll.
Trebuchets: The engineering prowess of Gondor is on full display, and from within the walls of the city they can reap a vast harvest of enemies. +1 to attack range, -1 to defense roll.
Fountain Guard: The most trusted members of the Citadel Guard, these guard the White Tree that stands in the Court of the Fountain. Though the tree itself has withered and died, their watch has remained. +2 to attack roll, +4 to defense roll.
Rohirrim: From the wide fields of the Calenardhon, the Horse-Lords continually live up to their name, producing high quality riders and horsemen that have never failed to aid Gondor when their need is dire. +2 to attack roll, +3 movement.

Will the legions of the Red Eye emerge triumphant, or will the White Tree and the White Horse flow gracefully for the years to come? The choice is yours!

*Standard rates apply. Each set sold separately.*
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The Turbot Wars:

The Gulf Stream mixes with the Labrador current in the shallow waters off Newfoundland Island to create some of the richest fishing waters in the world. The Grand Banks are host to an almost limitless number of Cod, Haddock, Swordfish, and Turbot. Known to European explorers almost as soon as the Americas were discovered (and possibly, as some scholars argue, before the “official” discovery), the rich waters of the Grand Banks (and the lands bordering those waters) were immediately coveted by European powers – particularly the United Kingdom and France. By the middle of the 18th century, the British had firmly established themselves on Newfoundland Island and the Nova Scotia peninsula, while the French held smaller islands and the Gaspe peninsula (which was governed as part of Quebec).

When the Seven Years War broke out between the United Kingdom and France in 1754, the Maritimes become one of the theatres of conflict. The British sought to capture French Acadia to clear the way by sea to Quebec City, the capital of New France. To that end, the British made a number of attempts to capture Louisbourg, the capital of Isle Royale, and the largest city in French Acadia - including a particularly protracted effort in 1758 – but all of these attempts ended in failure. The fortress-city had earned its moniker as the “Gibraltar of the Americas”. Despite this setback, militiamen and colonial soldiers from British America managed to secure an overland route to New France, capturing Montreal and Quebec City in the closing months of the Seven Years War. In the resulting peace, France was expelled from the mainland of North America, clinging only to Ile Royale, Ile Saint-Jean, the Magdalen Islands, and St. Pierre & Miquelon.

Two decades later, the British would find themselves almost entirely expelled from North America, clinging only to Rupert’s Land and Newfoundland, after the fifteen colonies successfully revolted with French and Spanish assistance. The British maintained an anchorage at St. Johns, but significantly scaled back its involvement in North America (the United States would eventually purchase Rupert’s Land). One exception to this draw down came during the French Revolutionary Wars, when the British occupied French Acadia (in collaboration with Acadia’s governor who was a closet royalist) to prevent the colony from falling into the hands of Napoleon. After the war, the British retained ownership of Acadia, but governed it as a separate colony from Newfoundland (efforts to consolidate the colonies into a Maritime Union were consistently rebuffed due to linguistic differences between the Anglophone Newfoundland and Francophone Acadia).

While governed separately, Acadia and Newfoundland colonies would share the fisheries of the Grand Banks for the next hundred years. When Acadia and Newfoundland were granted self-government as dominions of the British Empire in 1897, the two dominions agreed to continue to share the fisheries – and coordinated the construction of additional lighthouses to make fishing safer in the often-foggy waters. While there was a de jure conception that the waters west of the Cabot Straight and the waters of the St. Pierre Bank “belonged” to Acadia, while the rest of the Grand Banks “belonged” to Newfoundland, this distinction was largely ignored by Newfoundlander and Acadian fishermen. Additionally, American fisherman paid no heed to the maritime claims of their small northern neighbors. As the fishing stocks of the Grand Banks appeared to remain limitless, these violations were brushed aside and ignored. However, the situation would begin to change in the mid-20th century.

Starting in the 1950s, technological increases in fishing enabled fish production from the Grand Banks to skyrocket. Newfoundland and Acadia, whose economies were dependent on fishing, became worried that what once seemed like a limitless supply of fish could become exhausted if overfishing continued without interruption – particularly if American fishers were allowed to continue using the waters of the Grand Banks without regulation. The two tiny insular nations were well aware that they lacked the clout to directly coerce the United States to respect their claims to fishing waters. Accordingly, the two countries closely-coordinated a legal campaign to utilize diplomacy and international law to secure their claims. Newfoundland and Acadia were among the most active participants of the First International Conference on the Law of the Sea and brought suit against the United States in the International Court of Justice to press their claims.

At times, Newfoundland and Acadia employed extra-diplomatic actions, fighting the United States in a series of bloodless conflicts designed to put additional pressure on their larger neighbor to acknowledge their claims to an “exclusive economic zone.” These conflicts came to be known as the “Turbot Wars” (named after a type of Halibut that American fishers were particularly responsible for overfishing). The primary tactic employed by Newfoundland and Acadia was to use fast trawler craft to cut the fishing nets of American fishing vessels (though ramming and boarding tactics were employed less frequently as well). During the 1977-1978 fishing season, the “Turbot Wars” reached their peak, when the United States deployed a squadron of Navy vessels to protect American fishermen from Newfoundlander and Acadian sabotage. Ultimately the conflict was resolved when the United States faced domestic pressure to discontinue the costly Navy supervision effort and because Newfoundland and Acadia had been threatening to revoke NATO basing rights if the USA did not compromise.


Today, Newfoundland and Acadia hold an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) over the bulk of the Grand Banks fisheries, and the two counties continue to jointly regulate the fisheries to prevent depletion. In 1992, Newfoundland and Acadia formally demarcated a boundary between their EEZs, though a few active disputes in the Grand Banks area remain. Acadia and the United States currently dispute a section of EEZ near Sable Island. Acadia (backed by Newfoundland) argues that the uninhabited Sable Island should not count towards the demarcation of the mid-point line dividing the American and Acadian EEZ, while the United States maintains that it should (to its benefit). Elsewhere, Newfoundland, despite the backing of Acadia, has thus far unsuccessfully secured international recognition for its continental shelf extension claim over the remainder of the Grand Banks and Flemish Cap.