Recwar stands for Recreational War, and done well, it is just that - playing at war for fun. RecWars are the accepted method in simulationist micronationalism of resolving disputes through conflict and are generally endorsed by the MCS lest they conclude with territorial changes. Perhaps one of the biggest criticisms of RecWars has been that they are generally quite complicated to manage and for newcomers to micronationalism to understand- however it has been observed that they are infinitely preferable than attacks on micronations' forums and websites as a form of conflict. Over the years it has taken a number of forms, depending and the needs, skills and interests of the participants; and different groups of people have developed different styles of doing it.
At its most basic, a recwar simulates a war with the real life participants acting as the commanders for their nations.
Each person has an Orbat, or Order of Battle, which lists the forces they control and are going to use in the war. The orbat normally contains some sort of description for the units, and different systems place different limits on force size and scope.
During the war, people make actions which have their units doing something. Actions normally consist of some backstory, describing what they are doing from an IC (In Character) perspective, and a summary, explaining what they are doing from an OOC (Out of Character) perspective. Commonly, the backstory is placed in quote tags and the summary is placed outside in bold.
When people make an action that affects an enemy, the enemy is given a chance to respond with a counterattack. Like an action, an counterattack normally includes both backstory and summary, but it specifically responds to the action the opponent has made, such as organising a defensive manoeuvre or attacking back.
Depending on the people involved and the system, the battle can then continue with people going back and forth with counteractions.
Eventually, a result is decided for the battle, and both sides take losses. Both players are then free to make a new action, against eachother or someone else.
If the person affected by the original action does not respond, there is normally a 24 hour rule. Under this, if the person does not respond within 24 hours, the person posting the original action gets to post the result, assuming a reasonable defence. That result is then binding upon both participants. This is done to allow the war to continue and not get bogged down by someone disappearing. This is generally the only time people are allowed to post a reaction for someone else.
Secret Moves are also possible. These are normally pm'd to the judge, who then reveals them when necessary.
Godmodding refers to inappropriate actions; either when a person claims powers they should not have or does something 'unrealistic', or when a person posts a reaction for their opponent. In either of these cases the person is 'playing God' and trying to make the battle go the way they want. Generally, your actions are only allowed to be [i]your[/i] actions, and you cannot post your opponents response, but must wait for them.
A recwar normally has one or more Judges who can arbitrate between participants and help resolve battles where required.
While the above is generally common to most recwar systems, more rules and practises are often required to ensure a recwar. What follows is a brief outline of the major systems, how they decide orbats and results, and their pros and cons.
Main Article:Anunia Convention
Anunia is currently the most common recwar system used internationally. It is a points system, which means that each individual unit has a points value which indicates its strength compared to other units. Because it has been continually modified to fix flaws found in each war, it has become quite long.
Orbats In Anunia, each unit has a points value, which indicates its strength. A standard infantry is a 1 point unit, and all other points values are based off this. The idea is that, all other things being equal, two 100 point forces have equal strength, even if they are made up of different units. Anunia contains a guide to the points cost of a number of 'standard' units. People who want units with extra powers or strength can use these, but must pay more points for them. Traditionally, each real person is entitled to a force of 25 000 points.
Results Battles in Anunia are decided by mutual agreement between the participants given the relative strength of their units and the real world plausibility of their actions. This means that, all other things being equal, a 5000 point force should defeat a 3000 point force. Ideally, after a battle both commanders can sit down and agree how many units they lost. Often this is not the case and a dispute emerges, either because one or both commanders are not taking enough damage, or one or both commanders are trying to do something their opponent believes would not be possible in the real world. This dispute is resolved by a Judge, who imposes a binding result upon both parties. The Judges word should be final and unappealable - they can later admit a mistake, but they cannot change the ruling, because the recwar needs to continue.
- Any units can be used. [Though note: commonly units are restricted to current real world military tech, excluding nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. But in principle, any unit can be used]
- Any possible action can be taken.
- Battles can be resolved in a realistic manner without recourse to formulae or probability.
- Most recwarrers know it.
- The system is simple enough most people can learn it, but complex enough it keeps the military nerds happy.
- Not judge heavy.
- A lot of people really don't understand the points system, and so orbat units which they claim have certain powers that don't make sense given their points cost. These often go unnoticed until they pull out their powers, and then disputes emerge as one party tries to argue from points, and the other tries to argue from abilities. There is a constant tension between points and real world realistic resolutions, and this is not generally understood well.
- As some recwarrers are military nerds, they have a tendency to use specific real world units. They then tend to dispute about actions based on the specific powers of those specific real world units. This can lead to wikipedia surfing where less enlightened participants must trawl through wikipedia articles to work out exactly how many missiles of what type their specific destroyer can fire within two minutes over what distance and with what effect. This tends to leave the majority of participants (who are not military nerds) unhappy.
- The whole system was built, and then has had various additions and modifications built into it to try and deal with past disputes with the result that it's rather long and unwieldy.
- Ultimately it has no solid battle resolution mechanism - it relies on reasonable people making a reasonable agreement about the result of the battle, which is fine when you have reasonable people in a reasonable mood, but often doesn't work and so leads to long disputes eventually forced to be resolved by exasperated judges.
QUARREL (see also here) is a recwar system in development by Scott, Andreas and Harvey. It aims to resolve disputes and still satisfy everyone by making recwar quantifiable (ie There is an independently determined result for each battle which cannot be disputed) and retractable (ie it can be very simple for those who want it simple, but the system can be expanded and made more complex/realistic for those who want it that way).
Orbats Each person in QUARREL gets $75 to spend on units (where each unit here is considered as a division - eg an Infantry unit is a division of infantry which could number a thousand or more). There are a number of basic units with set costs, and each unit can have a set of upgrades which grant it further powers at further cost. A units cost is also its health. All units has set powers of attack strength, speed (how many pixels it can move per day), range (after its stopped, how far away can it attack?), type (Land, Sea or Air) and sometimes also a bombard strength (when it's able to attack other units without being counterattacked). Upgrades generally improve upon these or provide special powers.
Results Battles in QUARREL are determined by the battle simulator, a version of which is available here. The total strength of each type (land, sea and air) is compared using a formula which includes some random variables (because battles are never fully predictable) and then damage is decided. The battle simulator also decides randomly which units are killed in the battle, and then outputs the result. The results are logged so both participants can see the other hasn't just put in numbers and run the battle five times to get the result they want. Bonuses can be given for the use of good backstory and tactics.
- No disputes
- Declared stats for each units
- Basic units make it really easy for new people to get involved
- Potentially more simple than Anunia
- Low Judge requirement
- Still 'In Development'
- Can't use any units - only ones programmed in (though it is possible to add custom units, these must be approved to ensure they are balanced with the other units).
- You only lose full units, not part amounts.
- Doesn't yet handle all possible situations (eg subs not possible yet)
- Not known by many people beyond it's developers.
- Potentially reduced role for tactics (though developers argue that the in system bonuses for backstory will actually encourage higher quality backstory than Anunia)
Other recwar systems include:
- ADB System
- SNARL, the Shirereithan-Natopian-Antican RecWar league- the preferred choice for many before Anunia was introduced.
- ZRS System - An attempt to get around godmodding and disputes by saying that all 'actions' are just press releases of what the army wants you to think happened. An independent judge works out what actually happens based on what he thinks is realistic. Hugely judge dependent, requires someone with a depth of experience and time to judge.
- Gralus' new recwar system - still in development, but almost there. Points based, but points here are resources (and so you consume points in attacking, moving and recon, not just when you get attacked and take damage). Units are divisions which don't have to be fully described out. Looks to be far simpler than Anunia, resolves battles well (requires a bit more judge involvement than Anunia), deals with missile attacks and transport fairly and positively rewards backstory and tactics. Still working on dealing with civilians. May not work with people that are angry and unyielding (but then, neither does Anunia, only QUARREL does that), and will break down without an active judge unless people are reasonable.