Choose your side, elaborate a smart strategy, and challenge the current leadership of Iran, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or the USA: a grand strategic level card-driven wargame, FITNA – Global War in the Middle East, allows to play all recent and current conflicts in the Middle East area, as well as potential conflicts which could occur there in the foreseeable future.

FITNA: a simulation wargame set in the Middle East for two to six players.

Published by Nuts! Publishing and soon in distribution in US by Ares Games, FITNA is a card-driven and scenario-based wargame inspired by the military confrontations in the Middle East since 2012. Designed by the French writer and historian Pierre Razoux, a recognized expert on the Middle East, author of several reference books on contemporary conflicts and the Arab-Israeli conflict, the game allows players to get a clearer appreciation of the regional balance of power, of the local protagonists’ goals and a real understanding of what is going on in this chaotic area - it’s even used by the Military and analysts to test prospective scenarios.

In his notes included in the rulebook, Razoux tells he conceived FITNA intending to create a simple, fluid game to allow players, even beginners, to concentrate on their strategies and the search for alliances and to put them into the skin of the local actors, to give them the keys to unlock for themselves the reality of the force balances and the geopolitical issues on the ground.

FITNA, Schism in Arabic, presents 11 historical and hypothetical scenarios where players can simulate the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Kurdish Rebellion, the Sunni versus Shia confrontation, as well as Russian, Turkish, Israeli, and Western intervention in the region. Players can choose to play any camp, except IS which is activated through event cards.

All Middle East countries are represented in the A1 map.

The number of players, from two to six, depends on the scenario selected – but all the scenarios can be played by two players, using optional rules. Each turn represents two months of real time and is divided into as many phases as there are players. The card driven system maintains suspense, forcing the players to make difficult decisions and to prioritize and co-ordinate their actions carefully. The 95 cards allow the generation of events, moving units, launching offensives, taking reinforcements or replacements, and influencing combat resolution.

The A1 sized map represents the Fertile Crescent (Kuwait, Iraq, Syria & Lebanon) and parts of Iran, Israel, Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. It is a point-to-point map containing 113 boxes depicting clear, mountainous, swamp, and urban terrains, as well as oilfields and objectives. The counter sheets include a complete OB for all the potential belligerents, from tenacious Iranian “Al Qods” to the redoubtable Israeli Armored divisions, alongside Saudi, Turkish, Iraqi, Syrian, Lebanese, US, French, British, Jordan, and Gulf Monarchies units, including Kurdish and jihadist troops as well as all local militias (Sunni, Shia, Al Shams, Hezbollah…).

While using the same basic game system as “Bloody Dawn: the Iran-Iraq War, 1980-1988”, designed by Razoux and published in 2017 by High Flying Dice Games, Fitna: Global War in the Middle East includes many new rules, assets, and events characteristic of current wars in this region. An International Tension track simulates the growing tension potentially leading to the intervention of US troops on the ground and of the deployment of further Russian contingents to the Middle East.

Players use cards for creating events, spending operational points or supporting battles.

Players can select scenarios of variable length - from six to 12 turns each. A six-turn scenario generally lasts 2 to 3 hours, while the 12-turn campaign can last 6 hours. Each scenario stipulates the special rules, the victory conditions and unit deployment, including reinforcements.

The game also allows to explore “what-if” possibilities and adapt the scenarios provided to the evolving geopolitics of the region. With all the forces (including the militias) present in this part of the Middle East, players may simply choose their actors, and select the cards and counters of their choice. All the necessary information to create their own credible scenarios and come up with a coherent set of victory conditions can be easily found on Internet. New scenarios can be downloaded from Nuts! Publishing website -

* This preview article was originally published by Game Trade Magazine, issue 265 (March 2022).

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