Sunday, 17 February 2013

A Steampunk Bonanza

As regular readers will know I love Victorian Science Fiction, however as a general rule I prefer that it is based or inspired by the scientific romances of the period rather than the more modern OTT "steam and rivets" Steampunk approach. That is not to say that I don't like Steampunk, just that I tend to like it more in graphic novels and book as opposed to on the tabletop (to my mind Dystopian Wars owes more to Moorcock than Verne or Wells).

However that may be about to change with both West Wind and North Star dangling the carrot of a plethora of wonderful looking 28mm Steampunk miniatures for 2013 in front of me!

Lord Curr's Company (photo North Star)
North Star are producing the miniatures for Osprey's forthcoming In Her Majesty's Name Steamunk rules. They are currently running a pre-order scheme (amusingly called "Nickstarter") with some exclusive freebie figures thrown in with orders over certain amounts depending on the total amount of pre-order funds raised (essentially a self-run Kickstarter). The miniatures previewed are sculpted by Steve Saleh and there are some interesting looking figures there.

West Wind already have their game out, Empire of the Dead, and whilst I haven't bought it I have heard good things about it. I must confess that I was not overly taken with the first miniatures releases, West Wind already produce an impressive Gothic Horror line so I was baffled that two of the four initial factions were vampires and werewolves. However they have now launched a Kickstarter for a supplement called Requiem and miniatures wise things look like they are going to get really interesting...

Not only is there a new faction in the form of Scotland Yard's Supernatural Branch, there is the promise of a number of fictional characters from period literature including some of Holmes' foes such as Moriarty, Colonel Moran and Irene Adler and a number of Victorian vehicles including a Black Mariah and a Time Machine (YES! A TIME MACHINE!!!).

Given West Wind's demonstrated capacity to support and develop product lines I am really looking forward to seeing the new Empire of the Dead models this year, but North Star's In Her Majesty's Name line has promise and, even if it isn't as numerous, it does have some interesting stuff such as The Black Dragon Tong (with Yeti) and Servants of Ra (with Mummy) both of which would seem to fit in with Empire of the Dead.

Hopefully the two lines of miniatures will be compatiable!


  1. I'm with you in thinking more Moorcock than Verne. I have purchased EotD and found it to be Necromunda is essence, but with Were wolves and Vampires. But the rule mechanics are so close to 1st edition Necromunda that I could not tell them apart. Worth a look perhaps if it floats your boat, but the price is high for a re-written necromunda clone! (Just my 2cp).

    1. So get a good deal on miniatures with a PDF of the rulebook thrown in? I must confess to be more interested in the miniatures anyway with both projects.

  2. If you're more into the scientific romance books, have you come across the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger? Victorian Britain, vampires, werewolves, mummies, mad inventors, secret societies, religious fanatics, plus lots of good comic fun along the way. Well worth reading.

    I must admit that I've been thinking of how to game it, and this has rekindled my interest (oh, b****r, another project to distract me from finishing my historicals)

    1. They were on my list but in light of your recommendation Tamsin I've ordered the first one! :-)

  3. I'm trying to raise funds to back the EotD KS myself, but I think some the IHMN figs will be useful either way.

  4. The In Her Majesty's Name Rules are based strongly in the period and draws its inspiration from the contemporary science fiction/romance works of such as Verne, Wells, Rider-Haggard and indeed Kipling. Thus the technology is not completely fantastical and a chap with some pluck and a Lee-Metford rifle can still prevail.

  5. To expand a little on the above:
    When we were first approached to create this game, we did a lot of research into both the period, contemporary literature, games and figures currently on the market, and the genre as a whole. There are some good games out there already but most of them are wedded to a specific narrative and many have really gone off on a fantastical tangent.

    We felt that the Victorian Scientific Romances that entranced us both as children deserved something different. Authors like Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle, H. Rider Haggard, Rudyard Kipling and H.G. Wells gave us a vision of an age where anything was still considered possible.

    Thus we decided to create game founded in the actual technology of the late Victorian era, but enhanced by logical extrapolations of that technology such as that dreamt of by Edison and Tesla and a thousand less famous scientific geniuses. The patent records of the time would have made da Vinci jump for joy. Want a Bowler hat with a pistol in it - there was a real patent for it. Want to distribute electricity wirelessly - Tesla patented it. How much further advanced would the technology of 1895 have been if Babbage had been successful with his mechanical computers in the 1840's, fifty years before the period we cover?

    We also looked closely at the beliefs and superstitions of the period. Even great men of the time believed in things that we would now consider fantastical, so what if some of these were actually true? It was a time of Spiritualism and Mesmerism, of illusionists, diabolical cults and new religions. Men still regarded their souls as worth saving, and a few as worth stealing.

  6. I am supporting both. Two more games, what's the differnece? And at least with skirmish you don't need a hundred figs for each side painted up.

    "...a chap with some pluck and a Lee-Metford rifle can still prevail."

    "And a bayonet, sir, with a bit of guts behind it."
    -CSM Bourne

  7. Sgt Borrage, to a group of recruits: "Listen lads it is not the length or weight of a bayonet that will kill a man, it is how sharp the point is and where you shove it."