Going slightly ‘Gothic’ in Graustark

With the sincerest of apologies to¬†George Barr McCutcheon, I’ve chosen to trial a mini-campaign using Mr Mersey’s ‘The Men Who Would Be Kings‘ wargame rules from Osprey. Principally laid down for Colonial wargaming in a format that follows on from the earlier successes of ‘Lion Rampant‘ and ‘Dragon Rampant‘, I decided to veer off a little into VSF. This suits my eventual ambition – to use TMWWBK for Space: 1889 tabletop challenges.

So I decided to take it to Eastern Europe/Balkans first – mainly because I have enough 28mm items to kit out a workable contest between a force from Graustark and their traditional Axphainian enemies. These same figures have served notably well in other VSF-themed campaigns from previous years, along with a few random ‘Back-of-Beyond‘ actions too.

Russian infantry in greatcoats and fur hats provide me with Axphain militia, and some CHEKA will double up instead as the ‘elite’ Axphain Guards, with a crewed Maxim HMG as a gun unit. Opposing them, camped around the Baron’s hunting lodge, will be Czech officers as the Baron’s Garde-du-Korps, some German WWI Jagers as Graustark Border Police, and a few more German WWI early war infantry, playing the part of a Company of Graustark Infantry. There’s also a visiting hunting party of Ruritanian gentlemen not too far from the Lodge, in the nearby village. I’m sure they wouldn’t stand by to see a nobleman’s entourage ‘roughed-up’ by some vulgar Axphainian thugs. There may also be additional guest appearances by other forces too. (No, not the Black Dragon Tong and their Yeti).

The plan is to run some test gaming, using the rules with some possible tweaks here and there to get a more Gothic/Steampunk feel. The leader characterization especially has great potential here. But I also have an idea of a game-within-the-game as well, specifically suited for the younger dice-hands, the children of my old crew of players.

TMWWBK rules are well worth a look if you want tabletop actions that pitch your Field Force or Flying Column/Brigade/Legion/etc., against tribal or irregular opponents in any setting around the nineteenth century world.

Osprey Publishing webpage for TMWWBK

BGG Entry for TMWWBK

And the coat-of-arms – that’s an invention on my part for the Principality of Graustark, created using some online fantasy RPG tools.

The expected first post

I kept on stating I would begin something like this. So, here it is. This will be my own personal depository of my thoughts, ideas, creations and other musings. If it inspires just one person to do the same – as I have been inspired by the works of countless others – then I’ll take that as an easy success.

Writing and gaming, history and anticipation of the future, and perhaps some recommendations or ideas to share – that’s what I’ll keep here. Please feel free to comment too.

And then there’s the choice of my header picture, the first to go up, of Auguste Raffet’s ‘La Reveil’ from 1848. I chose this as an image that still haunts me, from when I first saw it as an endpaper in one of my father’s history books, four decades ago. Even at a young age, it invoked within me thoughts on how anyone recovers or rallies from any crisis or disaster, and what motivates the human spirit to strive again and again. This picture has stayed with me all my life. And it epitomizes what history is, to me anyway, of our legacy that we should never ignore.