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.