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"Fictional 18th Century armies/countries" Topic

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09 Apr 2004 4:56 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Fictional 18° cent. armies/countries" to "Fictional 18th Century armies/countries"

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abdul66609 Apr 2004 2:37 a.m. PST

I was prompted to write about this topic -despite the 'seriously historical' nature of this message board- by thomfllame2's posts alluding to his project of a fictional Lace Wars army. I'm rather fascinated by the subject, having practically discovered the wargame in Ch. Grant's book of the same title: the author and his regular opponents campaigned in a mythical SYW germany, each ruling a small fictional principality. With an historical background of 300+ such states in the HRE the idea was not *that* fanciful, and allowed them to play without historical constraints and within the limits of their map - and actual miniature armies. Note that their armies were historically accurate in their composition & tactics - no 'lace punk'/Maria-Theresan SF component! Thus, fictional Lace War armies are a very respectable tradition - Ch. Grant & Br. P. Young were among the few 'founding fathers' who popularized our hobby in the late-sixties! They used historical minis (30mm), but both of them used the opportunity to devise uniforms of their creation (Ch. Grant's son was more timid and painted his Grand-Duchy army in historical french uniforms). I was 'hooked' by the idea (but never materialzed it, for want of opponents: it was 'napoleonics only' in France, at that time!): so here is my point: I'd like to read about the fictional Horse&Musket armies built (or in project, or dreamed of...) by members - a poll / compilation of a kind, actually- and specially their uniforms (and the reasons / background / traditions / past 'historical' events... justifying them).
I feel thomfllame2's project is a 'quasi-historical' army, so "landsknetches with mauser rifles" would be out of place -no anachronical european costume or weaponry; but 'exotic' dress would not be an historical monstruosity. There was a taste for 'turqueries' and 'orientals' at the time, and Mal. de Saxe was fond of theatre (of young actresses and ballerinas, actually: so he invented the 'field army theatre'!) and the uniforms he devised for his 'Volontaires de Saxe' were indeed theatrical; if he dispensed his uhlans with the mail shirt & mace initially intended, he designed an helmet of (fanciful) hellenisto-roman inspiration which became immensely popular. In eastern Europe, the Poland-Saxony kingdom gave some spectacular parade uniforms with traditional polish features, and Catherine of Russia's Chevalier-Gardes and Leibgrenadiers helmets were also inspirated by the 17° cent. 'Polish Husard' capeline. Thus, one has firm historical bases for some fantasy in uniform design, specially headdresses. de Saxe's helmet dates, I think, from around 1743, and there is no reason the Tarleton one (or the Potemkine pattern, with transversal crest) would not have been invented at the same time. As for whole 'exotic' costume, if it seems out of question for a whole army, it would not have been surprising that some minor ruler of the time had the fancy to raise a colourful (parade) unit of Lapp scouts / Timoran arquebusiers / moors riflemen / mameluks / persians / indian lancers or the like: think of the almost byzantine-looking late 19° cent. 'Circassian escort' of Czar! And a minor german duke with spanish ascendancy could have been fascianted by the 'Ginetes' still in action in Mexico as 'lanceros de cuera'.... Then, to conclude on a historical note, some minor potentates of eastern Europe indeed had (parade) units of 'janissaries' (think of grenadiers but with the typical janissary 'white sleeve' headdress: headswapping would be hard, but building the headdress from metal foil / strong paper would perhaps not be too difficult).
What about an unit of Amazons guards?

Thanking you for your patience, I'd be pleased to read progressively the 'exhaustive encyclopedia' of fictional 18° uniforms devised by the membership...

DoctorStu09 Apr 2004 5:38 a.m. PST

Eureka Miniatures is coming out with a line of females in SYW uniforms-- there are your amazons.

I too, received early influence from Charles Grant's The Wargame. Try to get a hold of a copy of Peter Young/ James Lawford's CHARGE! Regular opponents of Grant they published their rules for basically the same period/ style.

Zagloba09 Apr 2004 5:51 a.m. PST

My eyes are bleeding.


50 Dylan CDs and an Icepick09 Apr 2004 6:00 a.m. PST

It's always been a "One of these days I'm gonna..." project for me. About 15 years ago I did a game called "Firelock" that was a super-simple horse-and-musket multi-period set, and I specifically had in mind fictional countries campaigning, using these rules to resolve the battles. I did two little countries, had fun painting them, but the project sort of died off. Then DBA came out, and everybody began doing variants for it, including horse-and-musket, and so I didn't bother trying to publish "Firelock."

But one of these days I'm gonna....

Eric Landes09 Apr 2004 7:28 a.m. PST

If you can find a copy, track down Frank Chadwick's old board game "Soldier King."

It's a perfect campaign system for a fictional C18 world.

caml142009 Apr 2004 7:50 a.m. PST

One of my first ventures into wargaming, back when "Charge!" was a new book and my inspiration at the time, I ended up with two sizable armies, all in fictional unitorms. Eventually became dissatisfied with them, having discovered the "joys" of uniform research.

As a current project, fictional antagonists, but with the majority of units painted in historic SYW uniforms. A few "special" units of the fictional variety, fun to "imagineer" as an alternative to uniform research. Since I'm doing the SYW project as a solo, I can't see accumulating enough figures to do something like AoR's "Sport of Kings". The fictional setting provides a useful campaign context for forces of managable size, and satisfies a certain nostalga for a time when "Charge!" was the latest word in gaming.

rmaker09 Apr 2004 8:11 a.m. PST

Do Eureka's Seven Years Picnic Teddy Bears count?

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Apr 2004 10:01 p.m. PST

This is on a much smaller scale….


boggler10 Apr 2004 1:47 a.m. PST

Great idea. I remember reading an article about this by Charles Grant in a military modelling supplement way back in the '80's. Inspiring stuff. Good luck!


Arteis10 Apr 2004 4:00 a.m. PST

There's an existing YahooGroup fully dedicated to the subject of fictional armies, especially 18th century ones, at:


Here is their blurb:

THE SOCIETY OF DAISY is a group, whose existence is dedicated to the advancement, use, and popularization of whimsy and absurdity in the hobby of War Games. ( Not that it isn't pretty absurd already ) . It is for those who like to joke around, not take the hobby, or their games, or themselves too seriously, and who want to have fun, and who get their jollies out of driving the piss-ant, rules lawyering and super-serious gamers crazy.

Does the idea of making up campaign maps of mythical worlds with province names like "The Tottie Fields, The Muckenmire, Oxydol, Bardahl, and The Evelyn Wood" appeal to you?

Does the idea of making up your leaders with names like Lord Admiral Louis von Battenhatch, The Baron of Floatsam and Jetzam, and Marshal Claude D'Pieces, and units like the Gentlemen Mutineers, Hell's Belles ( an amazon ) unit, and The Farfull Dodgers, strike your fancy?

Do you prefer your wargame history according to C.B. DeMille and the B movie genre rather than the Osprey books?

Do you prefer arguing with your buddies whether you're going to have anchovies on the all-the-way-garbage pizza for the game than arguing over if the rule on Salhepatican light motif's covers Neo-Senephrin Thespians when fired upon by the Pachabel Canon?

Does the idea of painting your Prussian Seven Years War miniatures in pink coats and mint green facings, and have Cleopatra's war galleys for your refight of Actium rowed by ranks upon ranks of nubile ( and anatomically correct virgins ) appeal to you?

Does the idea of matching your Pink Prussians against Cleopatra's War Galleys really appeal to you?

If any of these does it for you then perhaps the Society of Daisy is for you.

major blunder10 Apr 2004 6:40 p.m. PST

Lilliput and Bleufescu, though the technologies of these worlds are distinctly medieval as described by Swift. Essentially these are parodies of Britain and France in the early 18th century in 'Gulliver's Travels'. I have considered using these (and inventing more countries) for 'pick up' games at the club when there is no time to plan and research a historical game, or to mask a 'what if scebario'. Spanish Succession rather than SYW though.

mghFond11 Apr 2004 12:28 p.m. PST

Ive done some of this sort of thing now for quite some time. I have always loved the War of Spanish Succession period and originally collected two armies in 6mm. They were historically painted as French and the Grand Alliance like British and Dutch.

Then I decided to do that era in 15mm and instead of sticking with history decided to create two imaginary kingdoms always at war with each other.

So I painted up two large armies - one in red coats with various facings and the other in blue coats with various facings. Yep, the red and the blue armies basically with some variations to special units.

We have had a lot of fun with those two armies over the years, both sides developing a sort of personality and regular players wanting to always take the same certain side.

The rules we use are homegrown and make for fairly fast games which we need when each army has about 24 infantry battalions, 12 cavalry regiments, and a whole bunch of artillery.

Try this sort of thing sometime, believe me, its fun not being overly bound to some exact war from history. To me its more warGAMING than having to recreate history exactly.

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