09 December 2012

It almost slipped by. . .

A very nice rendering of my campaign area, done by Tyler Provick during the fall of 2006.  The Grand Duchy and its immediate neighbors occupy a remote region of 18th Century Europe, nestled between Austria, Prussia, Courland, Russia, and Poland.

A small anniversary of sorts has almost escaped my attention with the recent end of the semester, a flurry of painting, and various other pre-Christmas activities.  It was seven years ago that the Grand Duchy of Stollen campaign was born, one chilly afternoon in early December 2005 as the Grand Duchess was baking a couple of Dresdner Stollen in the kitchen across the hall from my office -- The Purple Room -- in our old apartment, a few blocks away from the present Stollen Central.

At the time, I was looking around for something else to do besides a tired, worn out 15mm Waterloo project of longstanding that was getting nowhere fast after messing with it for 20+ years.  Tooling around on the net that day, I stumbled onto not one but THREE websites that helped crystalize in my mind an old desire to have a go at he mid-18th century.  First, there was Phil Olley's now defunct Phil's War Cabinet website that featured, among other things, photographs of his 18th century miniatures and some games.  Great stuff!  Second, there was the Old School Wargaming yahoo group, which was all abuzz at the time with plans for and discussion of the planned Sittangbad refight at the May 2006 Partizan convention.  Finally -- and thanks for the reminder, Jeff -- Greg Horne's Duchy of Alzheim blog, which at the time was chock a block with stuff all about Greg's painting and gaming with mid-18th century forces, in particular the wonderfully cast and affordable RSM95 figures.  The stars were certainly aligned that afternoon! 

Well, that was all it took.  Immediately, my Napoleonics were put on a back burner as I began planning a campaign and two small armies that evening. . .  And here we are seven years later.  A nice, stylized old school set-up, considerable scenery (much of it scratch-built), and two small armies of plastic and metal figures with several small additions to the ongoing project planned as and when time permits plus some occasional whacky campaign narrative, featuring the beleaguered Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II with a regular cast of supporting characters.  And I have never had as much fun with a hobby.  It satisfies many different creative and wargaming desires and seems to bring pleasure to others as well.  Long live the Grand Duchy!  It will be interesting to see where things head over the next seven years.  Thank you for being part of it.


Jiminho said...

Happy anniversary to the G.D. of Stollen, and boo to Zichenau!

The catalyst for a renaissance of my own wargaming was also stumbling upon Mt. Olley's War Cabinet as well Der Alte Fritz's site, EvE, John Ray's site and a few others, including most definitely this blog, Stollen. I had already decided that the SYW was the cure for my Napoleonic ennui but it took seeing what all of you had succeeded in doing, and how you did it (Imaginations) to give me a real direction and a push. Something about making a break from cold hard objectivity in the game did the trick with me, as well as the stunning beautiful projects you realized. New glasses helped a lot with the painting part as well...!

A few patient but fun years of shambling later, I feel like I am homing in on my target. I am now playing the games I was hoping to and still have a tremendous amount of territory for the imagination to map out.

So, my thanks to you!

Stryker said...

Your very own Seven Years War! Congratulations on this splendid achievement!


Bluebear Jeff said...

Congratulations from the Principality of Saxe-Bearstein, Sir Stokes.

I always thought that you were also inspired by "The Duchy of Alzheim" blog as well . . . or perhaps I'm thinking of someone else (as well as myself, of course).

Anyway I continue to enjoy your blog with every post . . . and absolutely LOVE the look of your gaming table.

-- Jeff

CelticCurmudgeon said...

My Dear Ulrich,
You have been an inspiration to us all!
Seasons Greetings,
Gerardus Magnus

Martin said...

Thank you for inviting us into your realm and sharing it with us

tradgardmastare said...

Give you joy of your glorious seven sir!

Phil Olley said...

I refuse to take the blame for all this madness!
Congratulations Stokes. May you enjoy many more years of imaginary warfare.
Best wishes


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