16 September 2007

Some Interesing How-to Questions Posted at OSW

“Larry” from Belle Plaine, Kansas posted several questions over at the Old School Wargaming Yahoo discussion board recently, asking how to go about developing imaginary 18th century countries and their armies. Well, there are all kinds of ways to do this, but let’s look at the specific questions Larry asks and address each in turn.

1) Where do you get the maps you use for your fictitious countries?

I made it up, deciding that I wanted to sandwich the Grand Duchy of Stollen, its enemy the Electorate of Zichenau, and a few related tiny principalities to the northeast of eastern Prussia -- between Courland, Russia, Austria, and Poland in the late 1760s. That area of
Europe seemed to have the geographical "room" for a few extra states, which "history" shows were absorbed by their larger neighbors in the final partition of Poland in the 1790s.

2) How do you come up with the interesting names and heraldry?

Just give free rein to you imagination. That's probably the most fun part of this. For example, the Grand Duchy of Stollen came to me as my wife was preparing and baking a wonderful German Dresdener Stollen prior to Christmas 2005. It's a kind of German fruitcake/sweetbread, traditionally part of German Christmas treats.

There are lots of other places you can look for inspiration too. I also viewed lots of old maps of former German territories and found a bunch of interesting names that were "erased" from the map in the years following WWII. Zichenau was the name of a town in far eastern
Prussia for instance.

As for the Stollenian and Zichenauer flags/heraldry, I looked around of the web, eventually found some actual flags I liked at sites like Warflag and Napflags, saved the files to my computer, and then changed the colors of everything, using MS Paint. Voila! My own flags that bear a strange resemblance to historical flags. Many others, who are more technically adept than I am design their own completely original heraldry.

3) What rules do most of you use?

Well, I haven't actually played a game yet because I'm still painting both armies. But, when I have enough Zichenauer troops ready to face their Stollenian adversaries, I'll use the rules outlined in Peter Young's and James Lawford's wonderful book Charge! from 1967.

This is a book I discovered in 1994, and I've been captivated by the notion of fictitious 18th century countries and armies ever since, though it was only two years ago that I began to do the same myself -- after I found the Old School Wargaming discussion group in fact. At
some point, I might also incorporate the artillery rules outlined by Charles Grant in his book The War Game (1971) simply because the burst circle and firing cone devices look like they would be lots of fun to include in games.

4) What figures do you recommend?

Like many others here, I have some RSM95 Prussian grenadiers, which I've painted up as an imaginary regiment. Most of my other figures are the large-ish 1/72 Revell 7 Years War Austrians and Prussians (actually small 25mm size). These are rounded out with a few 25mm
MiniFigs and a regiment of 30mm Spencer Smith cavalry, patiently waiting to be painted after I finish the current 80-figure Zichenauer regiment. Surprisingly, all of these figures work pretty well together so long as they are not mixed within the same units. Of course there are many other brands of figures that will work equally well for this kind of project too.

Hope these ruminations might answer Larry’s questions. Of course, he and anyone else can feel free to ask additional questions of the various 18th century "imagineering" enthusiasts (credit goes to Bill Protz for coining the term) directly by visiting the Emperor vs. Elector blog at: http://emperor-elector.blogspot.com/


andygamer said...

I also especially like the word "imagi-nation" used by one your fellow EvE comrades. (I think Jeff of Saxe-Bearenstein.)

andygamer said...

Oh, great. The word's line break screwed up the beauty of the word. It's:


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