Monday 1 November 2010

Because It Matters (...To Me)

I must confess that, like most wargamers, I have a tendency to get a bit "fixated" on some subjects, especially historically accuracy. Unlike most wargamers I tend to do this on non-historical subjects! :-)

Take VSF for example, most gamers don't worry too much about it as a genre, it's really just an excuse to stick Zulu Wars 24th Foot on the same table as some steampunk toys and have some fun. Not me, nope I have to have some degree of historical accuracy to the bits that are historical, I actually cringe at VSF games set in England using the same 24th Foot in their white helmets.

This does lead me down long diversions as the crusade becomes compulsive as I hunt out historical tidbits (good job I love history!). Today for example I was writing a Land Ironclads scenario, a fictional battle set in the (alternate) Maximilian Rebellion but I had to include historically accurate units from the Belgian Legion and Austrian Volunteer Corps (and the Juarista opposition) which necessitated a lot of time, some Google-fu and copious use of Google Translate (there are lots of useful foreign language websites a click away from understanding!). I did find a fascinating (German) website on the Austrian Volunteer Corps (as well as these nice period illustrations from another site) and can sleep easy tonight knowing that the artillery unit in the scenario is accurate in that it is a mountain gun battery, which the Austrians had, not a regular field artillery battery, which they didn't!

I know, get a life... :-)


  1. If you get bored, I have this box of rivets you can count ... ;) Actually, taking care of the historical bits, and making them as acurate as possible, tends to make the made-up bits more plausible, I feel. More strength to your Google-fu and phef to those that mock!

  2. Hi Steve,

    I agree without reservation with your approach and I always try to do the same within my own VSF adventures - besides, it is good fun!

    All the best,


  3. Play Ruritania!
    Of course there are some 'historical' details -regarding uniforms, e.g.- in the book that have to be respected, but you get more freedom to unleash your creativity.
    Regarding Ruritania, there is a study of acadelic level (I think the author is indeed an universitary historian) in the 'Files' of the Old School Wargaming Yahoo group.

    Always wondered why VSF players accept more easily Belgians on Mars than Ruritanians on good old Earth? Is their whole imagination monopolized by those strange means of locomotion?


  4. Steve,
    I perfectly understand your concern for historical accuracy.
    To design a fictitious 'Lace Wars' army looking 'good' and credible requires a thorough knowledge of the historical armies of the period -more, paradoxically, than to paint some historical one, for what the relevant flags and uniform plates are sufficient.

    Then I believe you should be ready to be somewhat accomodative. A VSF setting is not 'our' Victorian Earth, it diverged from our timeline sometimes ago (to have efficient steamtanks and the like, the divergence is at least decades old): it's likely that in this avatar of the Multiverse uniforms evolved a little differently from what happened on 'our' Earth. Sometimes for anecdotical reasons: if British infantry fighting in England wears white helmets, it may be simply because Queen Victoria judged them more becoming than the black ones...