King Stépan IV's pleasure dome at Kragoneidin, on the shores of Lake Polishov

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A page from Prof. Halembique's notebook

It is known that while he was working in the archives of the archdiocese of Dbrnouk, Prof. Halembique encountered Prof. Aethelstan Gruber, lecturer in Balkan history at St. Andrew's University.  Halembique's (winestained) diary records that the two had many long discussions regarding Syldavian history over  meals in Drbnouk's smokey cantinas.   We are lucky to have one page from his diary available to us where the two sketched out the dynastic history of Syldavia during the mid 17th to 18th century, with Halembique's notes in his native French and Gruber's annotations in English alongside in pencil.  This page will prove quite useful as we head toward wargaming the campaigns of the 1730's and 40's.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Où est Grouchy? (announcing a very cunning plan and a peek at some new Minden grenzers)

This is High Street, Edinburgh, some of you will know this corner.

Somewhere in this picture are Tradgardmastare Alan and myself, looking for each other!  Well, ok, to be honest, it is a Google Streetview picture.  Nevertheless,  the week before last Alan and I had a rendezvous planned for exactly this spot.  I was in Edinbugh for a conference and we took time to arrange a summit meeting to formalize Imagi-nation-ary diplomatic relations between Tradgardland and Syldavia and to negotiate a pact over a pint.  I thought it was rather a big moment, as a bit of the virtual Imaginary was about to become concrete.  Most unfortunately and to my lasting regret, the meeting didn't take materialize; the Syldavian representative (me, foggy-headed with jet lag and unfamiliar with the city) arrived rather late and missed the Tradgardland ambassador.  Tragically, we may have been there within a minute or two of each other.  However, we have continued to exchange diplomatic messages and we have put our pact in place.  

"What is that?" you say?  "Hard to believe"? How could a pact between Tradgardland (beyond the northern frontier of the Imperium) and Syldavia (in the Balkans beyond the southern frontier of the Imperium) work?  Will they collectively invade an island someplace?   Well, Dear Reader, here is an outline of our cunning plan...

As I arrive at a point where I have collected sufficiently large armies to mount a real game, I have been wondering about how to organize a fun campaign, solo.  How to preserve the fog of war, unpredictable human element and character when a single person controls both adversaries (deliberately or with randomized choices)? The best answer is perhaps not to do it solo, but to profit from the experience of the EvE community.  Enter Alan to the rescue!  He has taken a particular interest in my Syldavia project since the beginning and has been of late working it into his own project.

Our plan is to conduct a Syldavian campaign in two parts: conjointly (facilitated by the miracle of the Internet), and in parallel fashion.  The first is a traditional  campaign in the vein of "Annexation of Chiraz", one of us controlling the sybaritic Syldavians and the other in charge of the rotten Bordurians.  We will submit map moves to a referee and, with his aid, conduct our maneuvers with limited intelligence (that will be me at any rate) and struggle to bring units into contact for battles.  Paul, of "Funny Little Wars: Borduria Calling", has kindly agreed to be our arbiter, though one wonders how objective the Borduro-phile will be ;-) .  Many thanks to you, Paul.    I have recently modified my Syldavian map to better regulate movement and with a few more tweaks and some campaign rules, this part of the campaign organization will be settled.  These "regular" battles will be fought by me using my 18mm armies which are slowly but surely growing to reasonable size.  I have enough now for a decent battle of 6 to 8 btn per side, though cavalry is still a bit lacking, especially for the Bordurians.  Alan will take charge of a frontier theatre, which he will game in the form of small raids and skirmishes.  As he has explained on his blog, Alan has been busy putting together a number of small 25mm units using existing figures and painting up some new ones.  And while I missed him in Scotland, I did manage to post off to him a unit of RSM Austrians recently hired through eBay, who will stand in for a btn of Syldavian infantry and speed up our start date in the process.

The 18mm campaign will focus on the Polishov region, which offers the principal route of access between Syldavia and Borduria and which has for ages been the most contested part of Syldavia.  The  25mm border skirmishes will concentrate on the mountainous territory around Lake Polishov, where terrain offers multiple routes for infiltration but hinders large actions and heavy troops.   We have plenty of details still to work out but a clear objective is in now in view.  I'm looking forward to seeing the game get rolling as it will be more fun to play a real game with other people rather than simply solo, a nice payoff for all that painting work.  It will also be a spur for both of us to continue to make progress with painting.  Here is to EvE and the Internet for allowing this campaign to happen!

As we build up to the start of the campaign, my posts in the near future (with others from Alan of course) will be intended to flesh out the scenario, rules and map, and to introduce the armies, their uniforms and histories.




In order to whet your appetite for more, here is a bit of eye candy: a sampling of a few grenzers recently commissioned from none other Alte Fritz himself, including the Warasdiner Creuzer and Karlstädter Oguliner regiments who will, during their weekends, fight under the flags of the Syldavian Zympathia Grenzer regiment and the Kragoneidin Border Militia.  They are the among the very first elements of my ultimate goal, old school-ish 25mm syw armies.  They are Mindens of course, sublime figures, and gorgeously painted.  I am not so experienced in this scale myself so these will serve as exemplars, I couldn't have anything better to learn from.  Pretty nice, eh?  They are perfect, right down to their glowering eyeballs.  My thanks, Der Alte!

The Zympathian Grenzer Reg't (click to enlarge)

Kragoneidin Border Militia.  Don't fire till you see the whites of their eyes!  Yes, Der Alte painted them  too!