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Okay, so whenever I "Desert Wars" I get this vague image of CNN stock footage of the numerous conflicts in the Middle East and Northern/Central Africa. What I don't get is What Exactly ARE These Things?

Are they war games? B/c it seems that they use live ammo and possibly bio/chem weapons and tac nukes.

If they're not wargames (which seems to be the case) what are the spoils of war? bragging rights? (Ares rep to the Renraku rep: "Don't make me kick your ass like we did in '47" OR Saeder-Krupp rep to the Ares rep: "Yeah, well we saved your ass in Desert War 6")

How many of these things are there? Are they going on right now?

Do governments get to field "teams"? (I believe I've heard that term applied to DW units).

The reason this comes up is that it seems like everyone's (self included) merc or company man "did a tour or two in the Desert Wars".

What do you people think?
Desert wars are a multi-purpose wargame exercise. They are used to settle disputes between corps and govornments, test out new tactics and equipment, and make money by broadcasting it on the trid for the paying customer to view. Live ammo can be used, but it does not nessesarily have to be. They can use laser target designators on their weapons to recird a "kill" on a computer and that soldier has to drop. I miss anything, anyone? Chime in.
Ancient History
In essence? It began when two companies who could not come to an agreement any other way deployed their respective military forces in the middle of a wasteland and proceeded to beet the crap out of each other. Of course, someone filmed it, sold the ratings for millions of nuyen, and now the AAAs battle it out on a regular basis in some of the most godforsaken part sof Libya (coming soon: other hot spots from Target: Wastelands!)

Yes, they use live ammo and magicians and tanks. Yes, some corps still use it as a way to come to an agreement over somthing. No, I don't think they're allowed to use chemical or biological warfare (beyond, say, white phosphorous grenades and paracritters); nor is it likely they use nukes, neutron bombs, orbital lasers or thor shots.
Desert Wars are explained and detailed in the sourcebook Target: Wastelands (appropriately in the Deserts chapter of the same). They are part-War games, part live-fire training exercises, part tridshow and part duelling system for the megacorps and merc companies. Until recently they were fought in the Libyan wastelands although a Desert Wars 2 franchise will be setting up shop in central Asia for the 2063/64 season.
Sounds like the corp version of Urban Brawl. The Original Urban Brawl, anyawy. From France(?), IIRC.
Large Mike

You *do* recall correctly.

Urban Brawl Linkage
Gyro the Greek Sandwich Pirate
::looks at link::
Seems that they don't exactly describe what freeze and wound penalties do, or maybe I just missed it...
out of curiousity how often do these happen or are they completely random, just set up on the fly everytime ares gets their pantys in a twist by something renraku did?
Desert War is like sport: a season each year, with some pre-season matches, and a Championship phase. The three league ar the Desert Challenge, the Mercenary Challenge and the Open League. The Desert Challenge's season is four month long, during wich corporate forces stay in the field. Only AA and AAA megacorps can participate. With the Mercenary Challenge it's all in the name, with a one million nuyen prize for the first, half a million for the second. The Open Challenge welcomes corps, merc and very occasionally states for a two million nuyen prize, though so far it has always been for a corp. Most matches are made with gel rounds and other most-of-the-time-non-lethal fire. Two opponents may agreed to fight with real ammo, and since 2058 the Desert Challenge Championship match at the end of the season have always been for real.

Then you have the unpublicized "Desert Wars" between local factions. They are really fighting for tracks of sandy land, ressources and so on, as randomly as real war is. All are in fact backed by megacorps. When two corps settle a dispute through the military duel, it enters that category, done with real ammo and staying unpublicized.
Hot Wheels
AH summed it up best. It started out as a real stand up fight between two corps, taking place where there was nothing of value to trash, and the recorded reports got such great ratings that they started filming it and fighting like some competative sport. the corps get to test their own military gear, their people and the oppositions' stuff(Hey, that new sentinal system Cross has over at their Belvue office I saw that on TV look out!) and making a huge profit on the tapes. It even counts as free advertising.
bad ass, ive seen references in sourcebooks and novels but they are alot cooler than i had previously thought.
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