So this is not part of the collective, really. This is my little pet project based on my favourite era in history. Why it holds such a status in my multitudinous and eclectic interests is something of a quandary. Certainly only the First World War can rival it for a place in my imagination. And what do I visualise when I close my eyes and the wind whispers ‘Marlborough’ (aspirate for effect) to me?
Men in wigs;
Men in high heels;
Men in stockings;
Men with beauty spots;
Men beating the crap out of each other with musket butts.
OK, so it is a list that could paint a picture of me as being a little odd if taken out of context, but I’ve gotta say that it is a seriously characterful period in history. It has military genius in the form of Prince Eugene of Savoy and the exceptional John Churchill; court intrigue with Louis XIV and the Imperial court; the start of nasty gutter politics with the Whigs and the Tories (the more I studied this period the more I lost any respect for Jonathan Swift of Gulliver’s Travels’ fame); and if we turn our eyes east we have the Swedish enigma, Karl XII and the Russian titan, Peter the Great.
And of course there are tricornes and big cuffs. In fact if there is one irrational reason that more than any other prompts me to wargame this period, it is the uniforms. Thank you Angus McBride for being the artist that illustrated the Osprey Men at Arms on Marlborough’s Army!
For rules I have used Black Powder and tried conversions of this set, but, to be honest, this is the one period I game where I want to recapture the magic of the very first wargames I ever played. Back then I wrote my own rules based around Charles Grant, Bruce Quarrie and Donald Featherstone, supplemented by what I had learnt from 3 games using WRG 1685-1845. I was about 15 at the time, using Esci (Airfix were largely out of production and Revell hadn’t yet started) 1/72 figures and playing Napoleonics. For this reason, I consider this my ‘Old School’ project, and my rules reflect this, although they do incorporate a few of the different ideas that I have come across in the last twenty years.
They are called Ne Plus Ultra, and you can download them here if you want to try them:
rules for playing miniature battles set in the High Baroque period
Feel free to have a go, battalions are 12-24 figures double ranked, cavalry 12 figures and artillery one gun.
Dan isn’t big on this period. He has never really been one for long lines of people in bright and slightly effeminate clothes stepping around the field unleashing hails of lead at each other when 10 metres apart. So it has been a solo effort, but one I’m pleased to have seen through to my end goal.