Sunday, 25 July 2010
Reflecting Progress 2
Following on from my previous post, I cast my eye across the next lot of toy soldiers on my work bench and it indubitably true that one cannot out-stare a lead figure. The next group that awaits the soft touch of my paint brush are my Pendraken WW1 British & Germans troops. I have a platoon of British painted and based, but need a Company, as I have plans to do a Company level attack with tank and artillery support, for a game that represents a small part of a much bigger action. So there sits on the shelf the rest of the British infantry company, based and primed, with dry-brushed with one colour. The Germans are based, but not all the bases have been textured, and none are yet primed.
In a shoe box, on a shelf above my work bench, I have a French Company that I haven't looked at since I bought it. This includes tanks and artillery too. I also have some tanks put aside for the Germans; one AV7 and the rest will be made up with repainted versions of the MkIV, Whippet and FT17 tanks, representing captured equipment. I also have some lovely MkVs from Pendraken, which are noticeably longer than the MkIVs, and I also have some MkI howitzer/supply tanks too. Lots of toys, and that is why I like modern games. The variety of machines fascinates me much more than the intricacies of uniform details.
When I was younger, WW1 was considered a pretty "black" period to play wargames about. The image that had arisen in the sixties, from dialectical arguments by arts academics were solely focused on the "lions led by donkeys" idea. Depending on your point of view, revisionist historians have challenged that point of view, and what has emerged is a more complex and challenging reflection on the Great War. Certainly the Great War epitomised industrial warfare, even if the first fully modern war was arguably the American Civil War, which we Europeans dismissed as a Colonial affair with no relevance. It is also arguably true that the lessons learnt by the major European powers, between the end of the Napoleonic wars and WW1, were the wrong ones due to confounding variables specific to each conflict.
All my reading around WW1 has also got my creative juices flowing about how to use historical events in Sci-Fi games, of either Ogre/GEV, or more likely Battletech. For instance the whole evolution of tactics and the introduction of tanks can be mirrored in a Battletech game through the use of the "primacy" of the battlemech over other more conventional forces as one's starting point. I especially like the idea of replaying historical civil wars using Battletech. For instance the Spanish Civil war, or even WW1 with mechs, though that is more a Games Workshop Space Marine thing, if truth be told.