Monday, 23 November 2009


As a extension to my earlier mention re the 20th century project and the Risk based 18th century version I found myself considering the concept of using Imagi-nations rather than 'real' ones. Within the wargaming world there is of course a historical precedent for this - one only has to read Charge! or The Wargame to see this in action, and great fun they are but how does one reconcile the hours of research into a particular army or period against what, in effect, are 'fantasy' set ups? My own opinion is that I am a student of military history first and a wargames player second. By this I mean I am more familiar with the actual nuts and bolts of a given period in terms of tactics, technology and strategy (dare I say it, the art of war) than, for example, the composition of the umpteenth Regiment of Foot and whether or not the sleeves had four buttons or six. That is not to say that the study of such minutiae is not important - it is, and I am properly impressed with anyone that tackles such detail and incorporates it into their games and collection. I suppose that is probably why I enjoy boardgames so much - military history without the painting!

Seriously though, I am fast becoming a convert to the concept of imagi-nations as they provide a 'freer' environment for gaming - you can use whatever you like - as long as its in period. There has ben a great discussion on about the armies used in the book Charge! Basically, it was a collection of units that were split up into armies as the game dictated. Certain units saw service on both sides and this got me thinking about how I should pursue my own ideas. Charles Grant in his book Battle! Practical Wargaming often mixed and matched forces based on the models available - Airfix WW2 Russians with Minitanks Hanomags anyone? The reference to unscrupulous arms dealers originally came from that book. Bob Cordery in his excellent blog has many posts devoted to imagi-nations and I have to confess that this has inspired me mightily - especially in respect of the 20th century. With this in mind, and in order to use as much of what is available figure and kit wise, I am going to give some serious thought to the much considered but never realised Balkanized country set up - a pair of nations, bordering either the Aegean or Black Sea - one under Russian influence, the other under the Sublime Porte and set in the early 1920s with lots of WW1 surplus kit to play with.

For the naval side I have a collection of Minifigs ships just waiting for a paint job and with the vast array of magnificent WW1 Aircraft available from Wings of War this becomes truly a multi-dimensional affair.

Imagi-nations are certainly not to everyones taste and to be honest, I can see the reservations as well as anyone (unique uniforms and equipment being the obvious one) but that said, I think they have a very valid place in the scheme of things - in effect, it is a translation of the standard military Redland versus Blueland scenario using whatever models the gamer wants.

Besides, variety is the spice of life and it would be a sad state of affairs if we all did everything the same!

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