On Crisis 2019 I obtained a box of Corvus Belli Infinity Operation Icestorm. Or actually half the box, the Pan Oceania is missing, but the terrain is still in. (It was second hand, so price was also appropriate.) Also included was a starter set for Infinity Nomads, totaling in 13 Nomad miniatures.
I probably will end up to paint the starter set in blue, to proxy as Pan Oceania, to do some playing in the end. The Operation Icestorm ones, hope to finish in the Nomad red scheme, as on the box.
After assembly I have started with a black undercoat. Yesterday evening I tried some airbrushing, but it did clog up. So couldn’t get any progress. I hope to continue in the weekend. Hopefully some progress to show next week.
First to start with a disclaimer. I am quite new to wargaming, and have not played a lot of games. So probably I will overlook a lot of rules and concepts. But I will try to write some summary I could find right now.
In general wargames don’t bother to much with civilians. I have read a couple of recent wargames battle reports and most did not feature any civilians. When they do participate I could identify a couple of reasons:
Think about farmers defending their crops against raiding and stealing cattle. Most of the time not part of any team, but acting like some kind of military units with low capabilities. The actual live and living of these civilians is most of the time not considerd, and wont have impact on the story or campaign. This is mostly used in medieval or more ancient battles and sometimes in fantasy or sci-fi adventures.
( Negative or Positive) modifier
It is not good to have civilian casualties, but they are only some negative modifier to the end score. Often seen in ww2 air war games, were you try to recreate bombing of a city, were missed bombs (which have civilian causalities) generate negative points. But is might also be used in modern urban warfare. But it might also be used impacting morale, as the civilians are liking your side more or less.
Those refugee streams can clog up roads, or make moving around more difficult. It just act the same way as terrain feature, impacting your military forces. They might be moving around as a walking forest is which you only see in fantasy setting, so refugees make up a more believable story, in historical setting.
Unexpected military unit
This is mostly used in modern irregular wars, were mobs of civilians are either blocking your road, or suddenly turning back on you and showing itself as military unit.
Starting the research I had expected that there would be not much ways to involve civilians in wargames, but multiple different ways have been discovered. The only one missing, which would make sense from human rights perspective, is a direct head on head wargame, civilians against a militairy power, where the civilians do not use weapons, but score by avoiding casualties. I haven’t found a system what uses these kind of mechanics yet. Maybe I have to create my own.
Now looking back at the original question:
Can wargame rules include human rights violations, and still teach us a lesson, while telling the (his)story?
I don’t think the mechanisms above tells something about human rights violations. They do take civilians in account, and can create good (his)stories. But don’t teach us about human rights violations.
For this I have to search futher or create my own. From computer games I want to highlight two examples, which takes some civilian live into account. The first is “This war of mine”, which is a game where you play as civilian in a warzone, and try to survive in your house. You are searching for supplies and encounter thereby other people, were you can steal their supplies or fight them. The emotional aspect has some place here, as it feels not good to steal from an elderly couple. But if you don’t get the supply, one of your characters die. The second game is “Conflict Zone” were two parties battle, but the resources are civilians. For the “good” side, you try to save as many refugees as possible, for the “bad” side, you don’t care, but need to indoctrinate as many civilians as possible.
Maybe these games can be a good inspiration for finding a solution. Hope to expand this research in the future.
Last Saturday together with my father we went to Antwerp, attending Crisis 2019. This event is organized by The Tin Soldiers of Antwerp.
For me it was the first wargame show ever attended. And it was a nice experience. We did arrive early, with quite a lot of people already in the queue at 9:30u, even though it did not open before 10 o’clock.
After entering, it was busy, but not overly crowded. After a quick go around to check what there was to see, we ventured past all the different vendors, tables and stands, and accumulating “buit”
There were four things on my list to hunt for. The first was a pre-order at Magistar Militum, for some 3mm O8 miniatures, extending some missing planes (like the f-84f Thunderstreak and Allouette III) and adding some ground forces as targets and SAM (Sa-2). The next thing on the list was some Baccus 6mm figures. Unfortunately Baccus could not participate in the show, but luckicly for me I found some second hand figures (romans and axe warriors). I wanted to see these figures to compare this scale to the other scales, and have some better understanding for possibilities for future armies.
The next victim was are the Sword and Spear rules published by Great Escape Games. I had done some research on possible rulesets for Medieval wargames, using larger scales, and not using grid maps (sorry DBA and To the strongest!) Which might not be to complicated, and can be used for scale 2mm, 3mm or 6mm. I think this ruleset will work out. Now to find a army for this.
The last item, was just a encounter at the second hand market place. I have been looking before to some 28mm sci-fi gaming, and passing both Warhammer 40k and Infinity, I didn’t want to jump into it jet. But at one of the tables, there was a nice starting box, for a good price. Including a second starter pack. I hope to paint these, and try some try out games.
Being the first wargame show, it was nice to see. I had hoped to have more possibilities to interact with some tables/participate with some of the games played. But for some reason this did not work out. Maybe spend some more time on the tables next time.
Om of the biggest drawbacks I saw, was that English located companies are quite expensive. Paying in Euros most of the companies would round the payments in their favor. With the general exchange rate of around ~1.16 euro to pound, most companies used 1.20 euro to the pound as exchange rate, sometimes rounding even more in favor of their own pockets. There was only one vendor which did have a very nice solution in this case. Just saying that labeled price was in euro, so giving an discount of a little over 10%. Hope next time some more companies will be a little more creative in handling those exchange rates. If Brexit wouldn’t change to much in participation rates..
Looking back overall, there is a change that I will visit again next year, but I don’t thing it will be a yearly go to show, but probably one in the two or three years. If you have never been there, and living reasonable close, go visit it, to check out yourself.
In my research on the Battle of Scherpenzeel and the Stichtse oorlog from 1481, I have recently digged into the topic of geography. If you want to wargame this war, you need terrain, and it would be nice to know how it would have looked. Because this already quite long ago more than 500 years, it is quite complex and difficult to determine. Therefore some basic research is needed, and probably some estimated guesses.
I have not written before on the battle of Scherpenzeel, but I hope this post (and the following with similar topic) will give a good bit of background information, to place the different events and actions on the map. My primary research will focus on the Battle of Scherpenzeel. Later on I will also dig into other area’s, but that will require new research.
Scherpenzeel is one of the villages in the Gelderse Vallei. Translated the valley of Gelre. Gelre the is the province or region. To start off, the modern day map of Scherpenzeel and surroundings. Also showing some other important places from this battle.
When looking to this map, and thinking of the Battle of Scherpenzeel, there are a couple of places which will become important for this battle
Wijk bij Duurstede, the place were the Burgundian troops departed
Area between Bunschoten and Hoevelaken, the place where they started raiding.
Amersfoort, the origin of the Amersfoort Army
Scherpenzeel, the place which did give the name to the battle.
Don’t forget that the Army did march between those points, so the routes become important to.
The next map will show why this area is called the Gelderse Vallei. This is the modern day height map of the area. In green the heigh, the darker the color the higher the area is. The red line is still showing the province border, and Scherpenzeel is laying in the middle. To the left you see the dark area which is called the Utrechtse Heuvelrug (Utrecht Hill ridge) On the right side the large higher plains are the Veluwe area.
In the northern end of the map you can see two different colors. The reddish color, which is Flecoland. This is reclaimed land, and is below sea level. This did not exist before the 1950’s. The pink areas are polders, next to the river Eem. These areas where the place which were raided before the battle of Scherpenzeel. Part of the research will be, when these polders were actually dried up, and what the impact was on the landscape.
In the next post on geography I hope to focus more on the history of the Dutch landscape in general, and the influence of humans on this. After that I will focus on what the landscape of the Gelderse Vallei consisted off. Laying the bases to make an estimated guess on the map of those days.