Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Admittedly the origins of the war remain somewhat controversial even after all these years, but the facts are there. The articles contained here outline the run-up to the war, who was who, and explain why the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was by no means the sole cause of the conflict, how it was spoiling anyhow.
Having read these primers you will hopefully be in a better position to explore the remainder of the site which despite its size is, of course, still very much in development.
map of Kookanyika just a bit. Being a
dwellers hang out.The dark green areas are
heavily forested or jungles, here you'll find
head hunters, pygmies, really nasty plants
etc. The lighter green are grasslands where
you'll find large animals and various tribes
somewhat like the Zulu and Maasai etc.
This is a cooperative\competitive game, where
the players are all members of the Allied
International Relief force composing German,
USA, Italian, Russian, and French contingents,
while the umpire controls the Imperial Chinese
and Boxers. The allies have some objectives that
are the same, but many secondary objectives
that are not. They also have limitations and
restrictions that other commanders will be
unaware of. Here is a list of the players and
Darkest Africa is my newest obsession
(and only five years after every body
else to). I picked up Chris Peers
Darkest Africa rules and army lists at
Warfare back in November along with
a few figures, more figures followed at
Christmas and now I'm painting like a
mad man to get enough stuff together
for my first game. Having received two
Foundry deals at Christmas I figure I
should be able to field the following
armies Warlord (full of ruga-ruga),
Zanzibar regulars, Zanzibar slaver
and European explorers. Thats enough
to be getting on with but I've been
bitten by the bug and there are several
more armies already being planned in
Monday, January 28, 2008
compound formation from the two Armed
forces of the navy and army. This was
expressed in the fact that they are
weisungsmäßig and belonged to the Navy,
but the operational requirements, and
even the grade designations came from
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Great War Flying Museum 35th Anniversary Fly-In 2005 (WWI)
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Explanations to Martian names for surface features
Here is a short list of nomenclature used in describing the Martian surface features. If you come across some other unexplainable terms, please refer to the Terms and Definitions part of "Views of the Solar System" by Calvin J. Hamilton.
Colonial Glossary Introduction
I've sorted the words based on generic regions of the world where most colonial games and works of fiction take place. This is an imprecise and subjective organization, since so many words were used in more than one area, and is depends more on how gamers classify their gaming areas than on real geography.
2 that was put on by game masters
The pride of Queen Victoria's Aeronef
The year is 1883. Incredible advances in anti-gravity technology, pioneered by the renowned Professor Fripp, have enabled the British Empire to expand across the solar system. But England is not the only race that possesses the power of flight.
15mm Aeronefs battle for supremacy!
Broadsides and boarding!
Alien crystal oscillators versus the Martini-Henry!
A game too big for the table!
put on by game masters Mr Connell
and Mr Barosi At the 11th Ground
Zero Games East Coast Convention,
held on February 29th -March 2nd
technology,pioneered by renowned
Professor Fripp, have enable the
British Empire to expand across the
solar system. A small outpost has been
established on the Red Planet which has attracted the
attention of the mysterious Martians, a heathen race
who covet Earth's women. While the bulk of her
Majesties' aeronef troops are off exploring the planet,
Martians launch a raid on the poorly defended colony.
Can a nearby ship respond in time to save the day for
Queen and Country?
Thursday, January 24, 2008
By Andy Cowell
"Assemble the army,
beat the drum!"
Most colonial-period wargamers are familiar with Napier's highly successful 1868 campaign against Mad King Theodore of the Abyssinians. What they sometimes don't realise is that Abyssinia offers much more than that for the nineteenth century wargamer.
Between 1875 and 1896 the Abyssinians fought off Egyptian, Dervish and (most famously) Italian invaders. This article will provide the background and a battle re-fight scenario for each of the three campaigns.
Part 1: The Egyptian Invasion of 1875
The Egyptians first invaded inland Abyssinia in October 1875, with a column of some 3400 men under the command of a Colonel Arendrup, a Dane in the service of the Khedive. The expedition was designed not necessarily to do any fighting, but to overawe the ignorant savages into accepting the fact that Egypt held the Massowah region, and to stop them constantly raiding into Egyptian-held territory.
Unfortunately, Arendrup severely underestimated his foe. Although accounts vary, it seems almost certain that he split his force into several parts, with the 800-strong section that he was leading being wiped out, along with their illustrious leader, in the defile of Goundet.
This slap in the face for the Egyptians could not go unpunished, so in December 1875 a second expedition was dispatched: numbering about 16,000 men under the command of Ratib Pasha and his American advisor, General Loring, who had fought in Mexico and was now in service to the Khedive.
This expeditionary force remained at Massowah for some months, but then moved some 80 miles inland. There, two forts were established. The closer, on the slopes of Mount Kayakhor being named Fort Kayakhor, and the other, six miles further inland, in a valley that effectively commanded the lines of communication for the area, Fort Gura.
Ratib Pasha had about 7,500 men at Fort Gura and 5,000 men at Fort Kayakhor: the rest being distributed between two more strong points established along the route back to Massowah.
Meanwhile, King Yohannes had gathered around 45,000 of his warriors and was heading towards the waiting Egyptians.
In the face of this obvious threat, rather than concentrate his forces at either Gura or Kayakhor, Ratib Pasha dithered: eventually marching 5,000 of his men out of Fort Gura to a position approximately midway between the two strong points!
Here, on 7th March 1876, the Abyssinians attacked: scoring a great victory over the Egyptian troops, who were abandoned by their officers as soon as their enemy came into view, and slaughtered like lambs in the confusion that followed.
Only some 500 immediately escaped back to Forts Gura and Kayakhor: 2,000 or so died in the battle, 1,000 or so were captured and killed by the Abyssinians in revenge for the mutilation of Abyssinian dead and wounded, and the remaining 1,500 straggled in over the next few days.
The garrisons of the two forts never left the safety of their walls, content to watch their comrades die.
Although an Abyssinian attack on 9th March on Fort Gura was repulsed, the heart had gone out of the Egyptian force: Ratib Pasha particularly seemingly to have lost his nerve.
Leaving garrisons in place, the Egyptians retreated first to Kayakhor, and then back to Massowah itself. Ratib Pasha's failure so damaged the Khedive's influence over the Abyssinian question that opponents to the scheme were able to get their way. The garrisons were left to rot and the Egyptians withdrew from Abyssinia, never to return.
The battle of Gura is best run as a sort of Kobiyoshi Maru incident (a Star Trek reference meaning a training scenario that it is impossible to win, designed to teach the officer cadet about facing defeat) where the Egyptians are going to lose unless they run for the forts as soon as the Abyssinians hove into view.
Don't show the either the Egyptian or Abyssinian players the wargaming table until after they have read their briefings and the first turn is about to start. The idea is to get the Egyptians to suddenly realize how dire their position is, and have their fun deciding what to do. Their victory conditions are to get as many men into either of the two forts as possible but they don't know that!
For the Abyssinian player(s) the matter is simpler: kill all the invaders!
You are a junior officer in a 16,000-strong Egyptian army sent to quash Abyssinian marauders. After some time in-country, you have occupied the Gura valley and now effectively control all lines of communication in the area. A fort has been built at either end of the valley, and you are currently marching with a reconnaissance-in-force of around 5,000 men between the two strongpoints.
It is now around 1pm, and your force has been halted in the middle of the valley for some time, whilst your commander Ratib Pasha decides what to do next. You have noticed what appear to be large numbers of Abyssinian tribesmen in the hills surrounding the valley, and there have been somewhat panicky reports of a nearby massacre, but you are not sure who has been killed, by whom and where.
Suddenly there is a huge commotion, and, looking where your men are pointing, you see hordes of Abyssinians pouring out of two passes to the north of where you are.
You look to your senior officers for instruction, but all you can see is a cloud of dust marking their departure towards Fort Gura.
Six battalions of around 600 men each, armed with Remmington single-shot breechloaders; two batteries of Krupp 75s; two squadrons of cavalry of around 40 men each, armed with carbines and swords.
The Egyptian infantry begin at the point marked E on the map, facing north. Note that Ratib Pasha had deployed the infantry in the centre with an unsupported-by-infantry battery on either flank. In the actual battle, the right hand battery was quickly over-run by the Abyssinians. The cavalry should be deployed some way in front of the infantry, in skirmish formation, facing south, returning from their latest patrol.
Note that each fort has another three battalions of infantry and one battery of guns, but these men will not leave the protection of the fort's walls. Regrettably, afraid of attracting the attention of the Abyssinians, they will also only shoot Abyssinian units directly attacking them!
The Egyptian invaders of glorious Abyssinia have bottled themselves up in the Gura Valley. Your army, ten times their number, is now ready to take them on.
Kill them all!
Around 40,000 men (2000 figures at 1:20; 800 at 1:50), divided into warbands of around 1000 warriors. About one quarter should be armed with old-fashioned smoothbore muskets; another quarter with sword and shield; and the rest with clubs!
The Abyssinian force begins at the points marked A, with three units appearing at each point each turn until all forty are deployed. There may be a need to recycle units, or to use markers to represent the warbands at the back!
The terrain is horrible: around the outside of the valley mountainous scrub dotted with steep-sided hills, the valley itself crisscrossed by very rough trails and the odd cluster of huts.
Movement within the valley, even on the roads marked, should count as rough terrain; the surrounding hills as difficult; and the darker areas as impassable.
The forts were capable of beating off a sustained attack by the Abyssinians, and should therefore count as medium works or similar. Any troops (including refugees from the reconnaissance force) that are in the fort may shoot at enemy units directly attacking the forts.
Note that the two forts should be positioned approximately six miles (10,560 yards) apart: just over 2 meters of rough terrain using Principles of War!
The Egyptian player(s) scores one point for every Egyptian soldier that reaches a fort (base-to-base contact indicates that the figure has disappeared inside) and one point for each two Abyssinian figures killed.
The Abyssinian player(s) score one point for each Egyptian soldier killed
The Egyptians wore a red fez and either the summer dress of white jackets and trousers or the winter dress of dark blue trousers and tunic. Officers wore winter dress.
Ordinary Abyssinians wore white shirt and trousers, with a white cotton cloak. The more affluent wore colourful tunics with an animal skin or embroidered cloak. Chiefs and mighty warriors wore scarlet, and might have their outfits trimmed with lion's mane hair.
You shouldn't have any problems getting hold of Egyptian figures in either 15mm or 25mm scale: almost any Sudan range will have them.
Abyssinians are produced in 25mm by Italwars and Bicorne; and in 15mm by Irregular; Gladiator and Tin Soldier.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
and is accessible by a secondary canal running from the capital of the
Mars Crown colony to the base ten miles to the south. The base is the
main headquarters for the Royal Navy Aerial Flotilla, the Royal
Marines, and Army. Extensive billets, training fields and ranges are to
be found here, as well as formidable air and ground defenses.The Port
is also the main landing area for British shipping as well as the
repair,fitting and command for Britain's Martian aerial forces. It is
also rumored to be the area where captured enemy weaponry are
examined before being sent back to earth.
*Note* The idea for Port Albert comes from a well known but,
nonexistent American military base in the southwest. A few
changes were made such as converting a runway into a canal
and another into a Nef landing area.
The Bug Wars are from the fertile imagination of Terry Sofian. Those who are on the Space 1889 e-group will know of his vivid descriptions of the battles.
Terry games in both 25mm and 15mm scales, converting and scratch building as necessary. He roams discount stores in search of cheap terrain and other useful items - a man after my own heart.
Monday, January 21, 2008
into The Riezpudden Swamp
The Riezpudden Swamp lies at the southern end of Lake Albert where a river empties from the lake - the locals call it the Rillimuddi though the map makers will re-name it when they eventually get here. The swamp, at this time of the year is more water than mud and so Binky hired six native canoes to traverse the swamp. He chose to travel by night to avoid prying eyes and the evil humours of the midday sun on the rotting vegetation in the swamp. Piet, using his navigation skills, would keep the canoes on course. Fighting men and loads were distributed throughout the canoes and the intention was to cross the swamp as quickly as possible.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
In actuality there were two wars by the Boers against the British, the first in 1882 and the second at the start of the 20th century. This battle is set in the completely fictional 1-1/2 British/Boer War of 1890. The British are in Khaki, but the Maxim gun has not yet arrived.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Colonial Wargaming at GOBs has been going on for many years. Again it is the fun and rivalry between myself and Mr Mileham which has been the impetuous for 'getting it right'. The original colonial game we did was the Zulu War, after messing around with various sets of rules we finally decided to write our own. From this over the past few years has grown a set of rules called "The Great Game". These rules are free to download from the download area.
The Rules expanded from four sides of A4 into the booklet you see now. Then I was asked to do some extra Army sheets and this became Book 2. After having devised a whole series of Scenarios these were put into a standard format and became Book 3.
Horatio Herbert Kitchener, Kitchener (of Khartoum and of Broome), 1st Earl.
Viscount Broome of Broome, Baron Denton of Denton, also called (from 1898) Baron Kitchener of Khartoum and of Aspall, and (from 1902) Viscount Kitchener of Khartoum, of The Vaal, and of Aspall born June 24, 1850 , near Listowel, County Kerry, Ireland, died June 5, 1916 , at sea off Orkney Islands
British field marshal, imperial administrator, conqueror of the Sudan, commander in chief during the South African War, and (perhaps his most important role) secretary of state for war at the beginning of World War I. At that time he organized armies on a scale unprecedented in British history and became a symbol of the national will to victory.
Educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, Kitchener was commissioned in the Royal Engineers, and from 1874 he served in the Middle East. In 1886 he was appointed governor (at Suakin [Sawakin], Sudan) of the British Red Sea territories and subsequently was assigned to Egypt as adjutant general in Cairo. His energy and thoroughness led to his appointment as sirdar (commander in chief) of the Egyptian army in 1892. On Sept. 2, 1898, he crushed the religious and politically separatist Sudanese forces of al-Mahdi in the Battle of Omdurman and then occupied the nearby city of Khartoum, which he rebuilt as the centre of Anglo-Egyptian government in the Sudan. His reputation in Great Britain was enhanced by his firm, tactful, and successful handling (from Sept. 18, 1898) of an explosive situation at Fashoda (now Kodok), where Jean-Baptiste Marchand's expeditionary force was trying to establish French sovereignty over parts of the Sudan. He was created Baron Kitchener in 1898.
After a year as governor-general of the Sudan, Kitchener entered the South African War (Boer War) in December 1899 as chief of staff to Field Marshal Sir Frederick Sleigh Roberts, whom he succeeded as commander in chief in November 1900. During the last 18 months of the war, Kitchener combated guerrilla resistance by such methods as burning Boer farms and herding Boer women and children into disease-ridden concentration camps. These ruthless measures, and Kitchener's strategic construction of a network of blockhouses across the country to localize and isolate the Boers' forces, steadily weakened their resistance.
On returning to England after the British victory in the war, he was created Viscount Kitchener (July 1902) and was sent as commander in chief to India, where he reorganized the army in order to meet possible external aggression rather than internal rebellion, which previously had been the primary concern. His quarrel with the viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, over control of the army in India ended in 1905 when the British cabinet upheld Kitchener and Curzon resigned. Remaining in India until 1909, Kitchener was bitterly disappointed at not being appointed viceroy. In September 1911 he accepted the proconsulship of Egypt, and until August 1914 he ruled that country and the Sudan. Protection of the peasants from seizure of their land for debt and the advancement of the cotton-growing interest were his basic concerns. Tolerating no opposition, he was about to depose the hostile Khedive Abbas II (Abbas Hilmi) of Egypt when World War I broke out.
Kitchener, who was on leave in England and had just received an earldom and another viscountcy and barony (June 1914), reluctantly accepted an appointment to the cabinet as secretary of state for war and was promoted to field marshal. He warned his colleagues, most of whom expected a short war, that the conflict would be decided by the last 1,000,000 men that Great Britain could throw into battle. Quickly enlisting a great number of volunteers, he had them trained as professional soldiers for a succession of entirely new "Kitchener armies." By the end of 1915 he was convinced of the need for military conscription, but he never publicly advocated it, in deference to Prime Minister Herbert H. Asquith's belief that conscription was not yet politically practicable.
In his recruitment of soldiers, planning of strategy, and mobilization of industry, Kitchener was handicapped by British governmental processes and by his own distaste for teamwork and delegation of responsibility. His cabinet associates, who did not share in the public idolatry of Kitchener, relieved him of responsibility first for industrial mobilization and later for strategy, but he refused to quit the cabinet. His career was ended suddenly, by drowning, when the cruiser HMS Hampshire, bearing him on a mission to Russia, was sunk by a German mine.
A VERY "fine figure of a man" is Lieutenant-General Sir Baker Creed Russell, commanding the Southern District, headquarters Portsmouth, and very conspicuous at Southampton Docks was that fine figure on scores of important occasions on which troops were being shipped for South Africa in the earlier stages of the War. One can understand that Sir Baker Russell, like the "hot soldier" he is, and always has been, would have greatly preferred accompanying the troops to "seeing them off." But he has had his fair share of hard fighting, and in his own special line-that of cavalry leading-may well be content to let younger men have a chance of winning the distinction which he himself won well-nigh two decades back.
Sir Baker Creed Russell is the son of the late Captain the Hon. W. Russell, of Ravensworth, Australia, and was born in 1837. He entered the Army in 1855 as a Cornet of the Carabiniers, and was present at Meerut on that eventful Sunday when the Mutiny first burst into flame. He served right through the Mutiny with great distinction, taking part in numerous actions, and in the pursuit of the redoubtable Tantia Topee, and emerging in 1858 with such an excellent record, that on the earliest opportunity he was given a brevet majority. In 1862 he was transferred to the 13th Hussars, which he subsequently commanded, and which, under his regime, became one of the smartest and best light cavalry regiments in the world. In 1873 Major Russell, as he was then, accompanied Sir Garnet Wolseley to the Gold Coast in connection with the first Ashanti Expedition, and won fresh distinction in command of a native corps which he raised, organized, and led through all the principal actions. In 1879 he again served under Wolseley, this time in the Zulu campaign, in the course of which he had charge of the operations against Sekukuni. For these services he was made a K.C.M.G. and A.D.C. to the Queen.
In 1882 Sir Baker Russell accompanied the Expedition to Egypt in command of the 1st Cavalry Brigade. He led the midnight charge at Kassassin, was present at Tel-el-Kebir, and took part in the march to and occupation of Cairo, which was carried out by the Cavalry Division under Drury-Lowe.
In 1886 Sir Baker was for a short time Inspecting Officer of Auxiliary Cavalry, and from 1890 to 1894 was thoroughly in his element as General Officer Commanding the Aldershot Cavalry Brigade. From 1895 he was in charge of the North Western District, headquarters Chester; from 1896 to 1898 he held the important command of the troops in Bengal, and, returning to England in 1898, was posted to Portsmouth, where he is as popular as he is respected and admired—which is saying a great deal.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
The early Imperial Japanese Army was essentially developed with the assistance of French advisors, through the second French Military Mission to Japan (1872-1880), and the third French Military Mission to Japan (1884-1889). However, due to the German victory in the Franco-Prussian War, the Japanese government also relied on Prussia as a model for their army, and hired two German military advisors (Major Jakob Meckel, replaced in 1888 by von Wildenbrück and Captain von Blankenbourg) for the training of the Japanese General Staff from 1886 to April 1890: the Imperial Army General Staff Office, created after the Prussian Generalstab, was established directly under the Emperor in 1878 and was given broad powers for military planning and strategy. Other known foreign military consultants were the Italian Major Pompeo Grillo, who worked at the Osaka foundry from 1884 to 1888, followed by Major Quaratezi from 1889 to 1890, and the Dutch Captain Schermbeck, who worked on improving coastal defenses from 1883 to 1886.
Japan did not use foreign military advisors between 1890 and 1918, until again a French Military Mission to Japan (1918-1919), headed by Commandant Jacques Faure, was requested to assist in the development of the Japanese air services.
Not surprisingly, the new order led to a series of riots from disgruntled samurai. One of the major riots was the one led by Saigō Takamori, the Satsuma rebellion, which eventually turned into a civil war. This rebellion was put down swiftly by conscripts in the newly- formed imperial army, trained in Western tactics and weapons, even though the core of the new army was actually the Tokyo Police force, consisting mostly of former samurai.
An imperial rescript of 1882 called for unquestioning loyalty to the Emperor by the new armed forces and asserted that commands from superior officers were equivalent to commands from the Emperor himself. Thenceforth, the military existed in an intimate and privileged relationship with the imperial institution. Top-ranking military leaders were given direct access to the Emperor and the authority to transmit his pronouncements directly to the troops. The sympathetic relationship between conscripts and officers, particularly junior officers who were drawn mostly from the peasantry, tended to draw the military closer to the people. In time, most people came to look more for guidance in national matters to military commanders than to political leaders.
By the 1890’s, the Imperial Japanese Army had grown to become the most modern army in Asia, well-trained, well equipped and high in morale. However, it was basically an infantry force which at times was deficient in cavalry and artillery when compared with its European contemporaries.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Wolseley,1st Viscount, Baron Wolseley
of Cairo and of Wolseley.Born June 4, 1833 ,
Golden Bridge, County Dublin,Ireland.
Died March 26, 1913 , Mentone, France.
British field marshal who saw service in
battles throughout the world and was
instrumental in modernizing the British
entered the army as second lieutenant in
1852 and fought with distinction in the Second
Anglo-Burmese War, the Crimean War, and
the Indian Mutiny. Surviving many
A highly efficient commander with an admiring public,
Returning to the War Office, first as quartermaster
Monday, January 14, 2008
work falls well outside our period, he is
inspiring none the less!
A FUN TOY ARMY
My Name is Charlie Wooden Warriors
originated from the need of armour and
Equipment for my WW2 toy soldier Army.
I had 54mm soldiers and marx tanks the
scale was way off. My brother and I started
building our own armour from wood and that
started a chain reaction Buildings, Bunkers,
trucks, Ships, Docks, Towers, ETC. I started
setting up my army using mother nature as
a backdrop for my Dioramas and photographed
them. I go on camping trips in the mountains
and take my soldiers to play with . This is a
way to share these fun photos with you. Join
in the fun .
Saturday, January 12, 2008
WE HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR STAY!
it half right, the British naval flotilla that set sail
from Singapore was a diversion. The actual fleet
has set sail from India weeks before. Sir Paul's
party made it's way to the highest peak in the
area to signal the fleet. The Royal Marines mean
while occupied a small island off the cost and
set up it's own heliograph. The preparations
8. Pescivendolo "Fishmonger"
Encounters (Red) : 4
Slaver force one sets
out from base an attacks
a Zumarrie hamlet.
Slaver force two (large)
sets out from base an
attacks a Zumarrie hamlet
then splits (Red 6) and
raids a larger village.
Encounters (Red) : 7
Slaver force two takes
prisoners and retreats
Encounters (Red) : 8
Slaver force one takes
prisoners and retreats
Encounters (Red) : 9 & 10
Zumarrie forces head north
in pursuit but, arrive too
late to stop the attackers.
Encounters (blue) : 3
Sir Paul's camp(?)
US Naval Intelligence Analysis:
It has long been known that the British have
wanted a presence on these strategically
important islands. They are rumored to be
quite rich in minerals and other recourses.
Although the French and Italians have
occupied the south eastern portion of the
main island they have not moved north or
to the west at all, nor have they made any
movement to the smaller islands to the north
or west. The British see this as an opportunity,
and may use the routing of pirates and slavers
in the area as a pretext for occupation.
It has also been reported that a large English
naval flotilla has set sail from Singapore over
a week ago. heading unknown.
(also rumored to be a member of Her Majesty's
and orderliness it appeared to be military in
the wife got me for my birthday ;-)
There are a few nice photos and stats to
early other armored vehicles of
Friday, January 11, 2008
Well Don, it's official today you
hit the half century mark of your
existence!Let me be the first to
welcome you to our proud ranks
as a full card carrying member
USA chapter of Old Farts
International....In other words
happy birthday bro! ;-)
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Voyages Extraordinaires is a weblog for people of intelligence
The imperial system has much to recommend it. Linguistically it is pleasant. Rather than everything starting with deci-, kilo-, or centi-, and ending in -er, there are many different old words, that tell of times past. In metric all distances end in -metre, but imperial has inch, foot, yard, chain, pole, furlong, mile, and league. The numbers these divide into are nice convenient ones, like 3, 12, 16, 36, 220, and 1760. The sizes of these units are convenient too. Estate agents still prefer to measure rooms in feet, because this is the right size of unit for the job. My shoes happen to be one foot long, so I can pace out a room very accurately, and someone with slightly larger or smaller feet could soon learn how much gap to allow for the difference. In metres, rooms tend to seem exaggeratedly different or similar in size, because there is so little variation in the first numbers. For this reason, architects and set designers in Britain and I believe elsewhere in the world have adopted a metric foot (one third of a metre) for working in. Similarly, a person's height is conveniently measured in feet and inches. Less than five foot is short, over six foot is tall, and there are twelve gradations in between, which makes estimating height very easy. In metres, everyone is one-metre-something. The British climate suits Fahrenheit more than centigrade, because there is not much variation in the latter.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
A mailing list devoted to Colonial
Wargaming and warfare in the
1800's. Suggestions for sources,
terrain making methods,
miniatures, and rules will be
common, as will discussions of
games played and scenarios...
wargame, wargames, war, battle,
military, simulation,hobby, model,
modeling, models, model making,
Victorian bla bla bla
Sunday, January 6, 2008
The following errata, clarifications and variants are based on gamer feedback and suggestions we have received since publication of Sky Galleons of Mars (Space: 1889). Intended to be a consolidation of all errata and changes published to date, this article also includes new modifications to the game. The article is divided into three parts: Ship Design, Ship Combat, and Variants. The first two sections should be considered official, while the third is optional.
SHIP DESIGNOfficial modifications to Sky Galleons of Mars are as follows.
Balanced Armament: Due to stability requirements on the vessel, all armament must be balanced (by weight) on each side. That is, if 40 tons of weapons are mounted on the port side, 40 tons must also be mounted on the starboard side.
Allowed Numbers of Marines: Due to limitations on deck size, a maximum of five marines may be carried per hull size. Any troops in addition to this are carried as passengers below deck and may not participate in combat.
SHIP COMBATOfficial modifications to Sky Galleons of Mars are as follows.
Collisions: A ship may maneuver to avoid a collision in the same manner in which it maneuvers to avoid a ram. If the ship has already moved for this turn, the movement expended to avoid the collision is subtracted from its next turn's allowance.
Boarding Actions: No ship may fire at another ship which has a friendly boarding party on it.
Damage: When rolling to recover from a trim critical hit, the ship recovers if the player rolls higher than the damage value of the damage -- or, if the damage value is 6 or more, if he rolls a 6. The favorable modification due to hull size is made to the die roll, not the damage value. For example, a ship with a hull value of 5 which suffers a trim critical with a damage value of 7 recovers on a roll of 5 or 6, not just a 6.
Small Arms Fire: When firing at armored ships, add the armor value of the ship to the small arms save number. A 6, however, never saves, regardless of the armor value of the ship. Armor also does not protect boarding parties.
Throckmorton Conveyors: A maximum of one Throckmorton conveyor may take off from a ship per hull size number per turn.
Tether Mines: If a ship has more than one tether mine raised, make only one roll for hits; if one mine hits, all mines detonate. This counts as a single hit, but the damage values of all the mines are added together. If tether mines are released, roll separately for each mine to see if it hits.
Drogue Torpedoes: If a ship has more than one drogue torpedo deployed, make only one roll for hits; if one hits, all the torpedoes deployed detonate. This counts as a single hit, but the damage values of all the torpedoes are added together. A drogue torpedo may be released and used as a bomb (see below). When using a drogue torpedo as a bomb, the same procedure is followed as when determining a bomb hit, but one hit is scored with any positive number. The drogue retains its own penetration and damage values.
Bomb Racks: Bombs are carried in racks and dropped on targets below the vessel. Normally these will consist of fortresses, cities, ships at anchor, or aerial vessels on the ground. Bombs may be dropped, however, on aerial or naval vessels either moving or stationary. Bombs are dropped during movement in the same manner as Martian liquid fire; roll one die per rack of bombs and subtract the difference in altitude between the ship and its target. If the target is moving, subtract its current movement (the number of movement points most recently expended) as well. The result is the number of bomb hits scored. Each bomb hit has a penetration of 1 and a damage value of 2.
Spike Droppers: Invented by Martians but soon copied by European powers, the spike dropper is little more than a hopperfull of short, metal, finned spikes or darts. Attacks with spike droppers are made in exactly the same way as liquid fire racks, with the one exception that all hits scored are crew casualties.
Each hopper of spikes may be used only once per game. Once dropped, the hopper is expended and may not be reloaded during the game. No crewmembers need to man the spike dropper; its release controls are on the bridge. Each spike dropper is represented on the ship status sheet by a rectangle containing several spikes.
If spike droppers are located on a ship, count them as guns for hit location rolls.
VARIANTS (OPTIONAL)A number of players have commented that with sequential movement there is little emphasis in the game on maneuvering. Both players can do pretty much whatever they like based on absolute knowledge of their opponents' position. I think there is some truth to this charge. The correction commonly suggested is to use plotted simultaneous movement, as in games such as Avalon Hill's Wooden Ships and Iron Men, or Yaquinto's Ironclads. There are difficulties with this system, however.
First, with different altitudes -- as well as changes in course and speed -- available, deliberate ramming becomes virtually impossible.
Second, captains usually had some ability to respond to an enemy's maneuver, but in plotted movement it becomes almost entirely a guessing game, with ships sometimes steaming off in entirely different directions.
The variant which is presented below may provide a compromise.
Plotted Movement: Both players must plot half their movement (in terms of movement points) in the Initiative Phase of each turn, at the same time that crew assignments are changed. A player may plot less than half his total movement allowance, but this will reduce his total allowed movement for the turn.
After initiative is determined, both players move their vessels exactly as plotted at the start of the turn. Play now proceeds normally, except that each player may not expend more movement points in his own Movement Phase than he did in the plotted portion of his move.
Soldier's Companion Design Notes
MY INTENT in designing these rules was fairly simple. I wanted a good, workmanlike set of colonial, 19thcentury rules to which the science fiction aspect of Space: 1889 could be grafted. That particular order of things is important. The colonial rules come first, not the weird science. A number of our playtest games were fought with no mechanical conveyances at all, and one was even a Northwest Fronner battle between Brits and Pathans.
Having said that, it should also be obvious that the rough framework upon which the game was built was Sky Galleons of Mars. These rules are almost 100-percent compatible with that boargame, and it is a very simple matter to use Geohex terrain tiles for the miniatures terrain and treat those 12" hexes as equivalent to a single hex on the Sky Galleons map. If you want, you can even use this mega-grid to move and turn your ships; it produces the same results as the miniatures game movement rules.
My next goal was to remain as faithful to the 19th century as possible. The sidebar quotations from articles are not invented; all are authendlc. All units mentioned in this book (with the obvious exception of those raised on Mars, Venus, or the Moon) are real, to the best of my ability to ascertain. Even that unlikely unit of "Amazonians," Company A, 62nd St. John Fusiliers of New Brunswick, Canada was a genuine militia unit, and for a photograph of the company in uniform (including the male company commander in the regiment's mess jacket) see plate 127 of Haythornthwaite's Victorian Colonial Wars.
Likewise, all British commanders of army units mentioned in the various orders of battle, along with their military records, are authentic, with the obvious exception, again, of service on Mars or Venus. The parenthetical comments on their characters and abilities are, however, completely fabricated, and some have been made "plodders" for game interest rather than as a result of their actual abilities or performances. In that sense, this does not pretend to be history, and no criticism of men who served with unblemished records is intended.
Players interested in additional readings in this era are directed to the bibliography on page 167. I am certain that I have neglected several books consulted along the way, but the majority of sources are there.
There are several mechanics worth discussing briefly. One, of course, is figure scale. Since we have small companies in the game and only four companies per battalion instead of eight or more, it's obvious we've scaled things down a bit. There is no precise figure scale, but there end up being about 80 men to a battalion that usually fielded upward of 800, so 10:1 is as good a rule of thumb as any. Where I have specified the size of various native armies in Africa, it is based on this 10:1 rule.
One rating that I am quite happy with is the Fieldcraft skill, which I originally encountered in a set of rules by Greg Novak on German colonial warfare in southwest Africa. Although I have played around a bit with how it is used, the basic concept was his, and I think that it's a good one and is very useful in differentiating troop types and capabilities.
One important mechanic in the game is the use of hits as a modifier to morale instead of casualties, an idea first saw used by Hal Thinglum in his very entertaining Rourke's Drift miniatures game. This rule, along with the saving throw rule on small arms fire, enabled me to put together a game where there could be a lot of firing and a lot of game results (checks, shaken morale, and so forth) but relatively few casualties. Of course, there can be a lot of casualties if you are formed in the open, but in a skirmish through broken ground the effects of firepower will be more morale-centered than casualty-centered.
My playtesters made me promise to include some advice on how to play irregulars. It isn't easy in this game, as regulars have numerous advantages. I can make a few suggestions, however.
First, take a look at how the actual irregular armies fought and whether or not they were successful. The Zulus had a very useful technique, for instance. They would have their reserve troops in a battle sit down on the ground with their backs to the enemy. If they could not see the course of the battle, they would not become frenzied and carry out a premature charge. This is a useful way of avoiding the witness-to-victory morale test. In the game this can be accomplished by judicious placement of troops.
Second, getting the initiative can be a real problem. Try to leave yourself with a means to seize the initiative at a critical moment, which is to say, try to keep at least one unit hidden but in a position where it can see the enemy. If in such a position, it can launch a charge from hiding and guarantee you the initiative for one turn.
Next, regular human troops tend to have tremendous firepower, particularly if armed with bolt-action rifles, so don't give them targets just for the heck of it. In one game a small village had a few regulars defending it who were spread around the village's perimeter. When the natives charged, they did so from every side, thus guaranteeing that every defender was able to fire. It is better to hit the defenses from one side with all of your strength.
If you have a good Fieldcraft, use it. Keep in open order in cover and snipe at the nice redcoats standing there in close order formation.
Let me close with a piece of general advice to players and referees alike. Miniatures gaming is a form of entertainment, and these rules are intended to provide you with the means of putting on an entertalnlng game. It is foolish, then, to let the printed rules stand in the way of your enjoyment. The bulk of this book should serve as testimony to the effort put into making it as complete as it can be, but a set of rules is sterile without an active set of players. If you disagree with anything in these rules, please feel free to modify it to suit your own tastes. Just don't argue about it while the game is being played. During the game, the referee's word is absolute law, above even the printed words of the rules.
The editor would like to express his profound
gratitude to the papers' chief benefactor Sir
Paul the Grand Duke Tas of Menzies on the
Minges. Without who's support this paper
Saturday, January 5, 2008
If any of you haven't noticed, that fine chronicler of Victorian
colonial warfare, George MacDonald Fraser died earlier this
week. I attach the notification from the BBC website.This is
obviously very sad for all fans of his writing & not just the
Harry Flashman books. Inevitably all of us who have read
and loved the books can only lament at the information we
will now never know. How did Flash Harry get to Mexico?
How did he fight on both sides of the ACW? How did he get
back from China?
The only answer is for a noted author and fan of Victorian
memoirs to take up the challenge and complete
the series from GMF's notes.
Anyway, to all members of the group, if you haven't already done
so, raise a glass to the memory of the finest historical novelist ever
Friday, January 4, 2008
sometime around August
of the Dreadnought Era
Thursday, January 3, 2008
us My Victorian Navy.
This is a forum for discussion of
topics relating to the Dreadnought
era, prior to the ascendancy of
naval aviation. We will be discussing
history, ship design, and naval