My big history book case is in the living area and not surprisingly my wife gets annoyed when the books get messy. Recently I tidied it up. Aside from the fact it took hours – which I didn’t enjoy – I found it interesting what this filing task highlighted about my interests. Aside from my enduring interest in all things Spanish and Portuguese, it turns out I have quite a big interest in World War II (okay, not so surprising), and a huge interest in Colonial Empires with a side order of Cold War.
The wargaming community is full of myths that seem to perpetuate through the generations. Previously I poked at the the unconvincing myth about Visigothic Gardingi being unarmoured skirmishing cavalry, today I look at the ‘coffin’ shaped shield of the Goths. Early Gothic, specifically Visigothic, warriors are believed by some to have carried an odd ‘coffin’ shaped shield. It isn’t true. Germanic warriors only carried round, oval and hexagonal shields. Shapes that were used from the 1st century through the Fall of Rome. Round and oval shields continued in use into the dark ages.
For a long time I’ve been looking for a set of wargaming rules for the Arthurian age i.e. the Dark Age in Britain. Having tried lots of commercial rules, Vincent Tsao and I have written our own. Called Twilight of the Britons – Fast play rules for the English Invasion of Britain it is a variant of Twilight of the Sun-King (2001 version) . It covers the warfare in Britain from Roman departure (410 AD) until the English installed a Briton of Strathclyde as King of Scotland (1054 AD). The six page booklet contains only two pages of rules and four pages of army lists.
Summary: Much better game. The shield wall clash was realistic but took too long to resolve. Battles on the wings were interesting and had an impact in the
Vincent Tsao and I have been playing around with a version of Twilight of the Sun King for the early medieval period in Britain. I started with a rewrite of my original 2001 version of Twilight of the Sun King and incorporated ideas from Vincent’s Battle of Hastings variant. The result is called “Twilight of the Britons: Fast play rules for the English invasion of Britain”. I got Adam and Chris to give an early draft a go. So early I’d only written the rules that day, so isn’t wasn’t so good.
Summary: Too much dark age shield wall stodge. Not enough heroics. But a glimmer of hope for the rules.
I am pretty happy with my efforts in 2021 and now it is time to lay out my plans for 2022. As always they are crazy megalomaniac plans. 2021 proved that even pumped I can’t achieve all my annual goals. But I’ll try.
I start with a brain dump of my active projects, i.e. those all projects that are more or less “in progress”. The list is split into three parts: likely in 2022, unlikely, and background activity.
My Confessions of a Megalomaniac were my 2021 aspirations. How did I do? I started the year with huge ambitions, and didn’t achieve them all, but it wasn’t a bad run.
I’ve shared some DBA Arthurian Campaigns based on Martin Smith’s “Arthurian campaign” article in Slingshot (Smith, 2021), itself based on Kaptain Kobold’s solo HoTT campaign (Dux Bellorum). Both Martin and the Kaptain give solo opportunities so I thought I’d share how to use my campaigns in solo mode. You can play a solo variant of the campaign, like Kaptain Kobold. Or you can play a multi-player campaign with the table top battles fought solo, like Martin Smith (2021). Both options are presented here.
Adam and Chris came over for a Big Base DBA set in the Reconquista. El Cid (Chris) leading a Castilian/Spanish army against the fanatic, Moroccan, Caliph of the Murabitun (Adam). Feudal Spanish versus Fanatic Berber according to DBA. Any one who has seen the Charlton Heston “El Cid” movie will know what this is all about.
Summary: Fun game. The action was all cavalry with the infantry hardly involved. Ed Cid and his Hidalgos (Knights) triumphed after a long and fierce struggle. The Caliph died at the head of his army.
So I have written yet another DBA Arthurian Campaign, but this time using the Skodbac concept. Like The Bear Exalted, this campaign is set in 518-537 AD, the most likely time period for a historical Arthur.
Being 518 AD, the Roman legions are long gone and the barbarians – Angles, Saxons, and Scots-Irish – are established on the soil of Britannia. The Picts remain troublesome neighbours, and the Gewissei are the enemy within. But the Romano-British kingdoms (Dumnonia, Powys, Hen Ogledd) and their Celtic people (Kymry), continue to fight back.
It is 518 AD. The Roman legions are long gone and the barbarians – Angles, Saxons, and Scots-Irish – are established on the soil of Britannia. The Picts remain troublesome neighbours, and the Gewissei are the enemy within. But the Celtic people (Kymry) of the Romano-British kingdoms continue to fight back.
I have written two DBA Arthurian Campaigns based on Martin Smith’s “Arthurian campaign” article in Slingshot (Smith, 2021), itself based on Kaptain Kobold’s solo HoTT campaign (Dux Bellorum). The first was The Legions Have Gone (420-439). This is the second campaign. It is called “The Bear Exalted” and is set in 518-537 AD, the most likely time period for a historical Arthur. The campaign name, “The Bear Exalted”, is based on the title Arthwyr, a possible, if dubious, old Welsh origin of the name Arthur.
It is 420 AD. The Roman legions left 10 years ago and the barbarians are pounding at the doors. The Angles, Saxons, and Scots-Irish all want a piece of Britannia. The Picts and un-Romanised Welsh are also troublesome neighbours. But the Romano-British kingdoms are fighting back with a combination of ex-Roman troops and men fighting in native styles.
I have written two DBA Arthurian Campaigns based on Martin Smith’s “Arthurian campaign” article in Slingshot (Smith, 2021), itself based on Kaptain Kobold’s solo HoTT campaign (Dux Bellorum). This campaign is “The Legions have Gone” and is set in 420-439 AD. The campaign assumes Arthur existed, was early 5th century, and led Roman troops.
I like the Arthurian setting. I like Campaigns. I like DBA and HoTT Campaigns because they are relatively simple and quick. I’ve played a few games of Arthurian HoTT. I’ve run Britannia 600 AD as a HoTT campaign for six players, although it can be used for DBA. I like the idea of gritty dark age DBA games. A recent article by Martin Smith on his “Arthurian Campaign” for DBA got me thinking about campaigns in this period again. The question is, what to do? How can I improve on previous efforts? What does an even better Arthurian campaign look like? And what army lists to use?
2020 was a good year for wargaming projects and I thought I should lay out my plans for 2021. Crazy megalomaniac plans, of course.
As usual I’ve done a brain dump of my active projects, i.e. those all projects that are more or less “in progress”. No off the wall fantasy here. They are all active but I have to admit that some of them are on a slow burn. A very slow burn. So I’ve split the list into parts: likely in 2021, unlikely, and background activity. You get to have a say in the priority order – see the aside.
2020. New year. New decade (depending on how you count these things). 2019 was a good year but I want 2020 to be even better. My crazy inner megalomaniac demands I monologue about my world conquering (i.e. overly ambitious) list of what I’d like to get done this year. Get ready for the ride …