Friday, 18 January 2013

Of Crossing the Rubicon....

I came, I saw, I created a pair of fictional wargames countries (actually that is not entirely true as I have only borrowed the names but the background will be my own!)

Make a note of the date - 18/01/2013. The concept behind the rather dramatic opening to this post has its origins way back in the early 1970s, when I first became involved with the insanity called wargaming - and was held spellbound by the works of Messrs. Grant, Lawford, Young, Featherstone and Wise. It has simmered over the years and first came to be realised in the late 1970s and early 1980s - primarily as a direct result of taking part in Eric Knowles's legendary Madasahatta campaign and the following South East Asia naval campaign of 1914. It then fell on a fallow period until around four years ago I was introduced to the priceless world of the blog and all the wonders contained therein - particularly those like-minded individuals who shared the same vision (and they know who they are!).

I am of course referring to the concept of the 'imagi-nation'.

I have flirted with the concept, danced around the periphery of it but never took the plunge in a full-blown, hell for leather kind of way. Until now that is....

Last year was a massive watershed for me for many reasons. The main one was of course the decision to make use of the blocks for an extensive gaming workout. Using the blocks has been a real revelation to me because for historical actions - translating battle maps into a 3d table top game - it has proven to be versatile, aesthetically pleasing and by virtue of some quite outstanding sets of rules, enormous fun to play with.

Since the end of the year I have been pondering what I want to do and how I want to do it this year. I have already mentioned a few projects I have under way - 1:4800th WW2 naval, the Angels 20 aircraft for the Battle of Britain to name but two. I also had some plans around some scratchbuilding involving ships of various periods. Always at the back of my mind though was the need to tackle something just a little bit different, a little off the mainstream.

Whilst I was wrestling with this continual dilemma (at least it is for me) it suddenly occurred to me that my most enjoyable historical gaming experiences have invariably been boardgame or block based - and that the figure games that I have enjoyed have usually been hypothetical actions, even when involving historical armies. I realise that this is the essence of the wargame - fighting hypothetical actions - but if the action is hypothetical then surely using hypothetical forces should not be a problem, or should it?

The whole Fezia Rusland thing has given me much to think about - simply because by tackling these two worthies over the course of 150 years (and four separate gaming periods) I have the potential to enjoy games of the type I would like to play using forces comprised of whatever figures and models I choose to use. The games will be hypothetical as will the armies and so this is for me a critical distinction.

I will be able to do whatever I want to with armies, navies and even air forces made up exactly how I like.

In the past I have tried to assemble historical armies but have never been entirely happy with the end results. I am at a loss to explain why other than because they have always felt somehow restrictive to me and my ideas.

This is the decision then. My days of painting historical armies and navies are over. My days of painting armies and navies with a history, especially those with one of my own making, are just beginning.

Crossing the Rubicon? No big deal, just another small waterway out of the way....;-)


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


Well done!

You know that what you are doing is going to be more than just satisfying; it will be fulfilling for you on so many different levels.

Good luck and all the best,


abdul666 said...

To-day with the mass of information readily available everybody and his brother can build a pair of 'historically accurate' armies. But imagi-nary armies and countries are purely *yours*, your brainchilds perfectly tailored to your expectations and wishes.

Looking forward to follow the developments...

Bluebear Jeff said...

Please take a look at the following blog:

It gives links to ten different "mini-campaigns" by various bloggers which you can use to build "histories" for your Imagi-Nations.

-- Jeff

David Crook said...

Hi Bob,

When making a decision it always tempting to think 'why didn't I do this before?' - well in my case I think I needed to find my path in my own way and more importantly, in my own time.

I can fight ANY historical battle I want using one system and fight any hypothetical actions using the 'toys' - again, with whatever I want.

It is liberating, to say the least!

All the best and thanks,


David Crook said...

Hi Abdul666,

My thoughts entirely - and I have not given up on the prospect of similar for the age of reason....;-)

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Jeff,

Happy new year to you!

Many thanks for the heads up with this - it is always useful to look at other peoples ideas - if only to prompt more of your own!

All the best,


Tsold9000 said...

yea!! my thoughts exactly!Charles Grant in Battle even encourages the use of" mythical" armies.A What If,Alternate History,for me is a wargaming treasure chest.ahhhhhh vindication.

David Crook said...

Hi Tsold9000,

You are so right and I can't wait to start realising this on the tabletop!

All the best,


barry carter said...

Couldn't agree more! I have found myself planning armies and becoming frustrated that some (better be unspecified) list does not allow for a certain troop type (in theatre and period) that I really want to use......I seem to have a blind spot here since the majority of games I play are solo and use "house" rules - whose the fool now!
I also realise that a lot of the games I have been playing recently can really only be described as semi-historical.So what have I been telling myself? And why have I not been listening!
All power to your projects.


David Crook said...

Hi Barry,

The big thing for me with this whole concept is that I can really play around with models and uniforms etc - as well as having the enjoyment of providing the back story. I get as much fun from this part of the project as from anything else!

All the best,