Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Do you like Dorking?

I don't know I've never Dorked!

Sorry, Muppet Show 1975 or similar. Still makes me laugh.

Well, anywhere South of the Thames may as well be in France as far as I'm concerned so I have never been and wont go until they start speaking French and eating proper food. Having said that, Dorking is a famous fictional battle from the late Victorian age when they were busy frightening themselves with the idea of Russians invading England from airships.

The Battle of Dorking is the key battle in the fictional Prussian invasion of England in 1871. Written by George Chesney in 1871 it was published as a serial in Blackwood's Magazine. Subtitled "Reminiscences of a Volunteer" it describes the mobilisation of reserves (4th Surrey Militia) in London to support regular troops in defending against an invasion by the Prussians in 1875. 

The rules cover, not the 1914 edition cover on which it is based!
The Prussians had cunningly destroyed the Royal Navy using new weapons (it sounds as if the fleet was lured by a retreating enemy into a mine barrier) and then made a diversionary landing near Harwich to draw off the forces defending London. Few troops then were available to meet the main invasion force heading North from the South Coast (Worthing). Defeat was inevitable, especially given the moral decay infecting the country:  

"The warnings of the few were drowned in the voice of the multitude. Power was then passing away from the class which had been used to rule, and to face political dangers, and which had brought the nation with honour unsullied through former struggles, into the hands of the lower classes, uneducated, untrained to the use of political rights, and swayed by demagogues;"

Funnily enough, this sounds a lot like today's Daily Mail. Some things never change then! You can read this book for free on Project Gutenberg. Its a great basis for wargames battles. I'd love to fight out the campaign in Essex with the evil Prussians fighting their way through my home territory. 

The reason for going on about this is that a very nice little wargame was produced by Draken Games in 2009. This was a print n play game. It was very good and the rule book had an excellent account of the campaign in proper military history style. An expansion (micro game), Last Stand at Surbiton was also made available for free.

A section of map from the new edition
A new venture, Tiny Battle Publishing, is bringing out an updated and very shiny new edition of the Battle of Dorking. This is great news. The other thing that is great is that Tiny Battle have a number of small games on their roster and they make these available for a small price for download ($11.99 for Dorking for example).  

Tiny Battle is an associate of Flying Pig Games which is the new home of Lock n Load's designer/publisher Mark H Walker. Tiny Battle have also published a new and very small game of Mark's called Sticks and Stones which is a platoon level game of future (...past future?) US/Soviet combat set in 1987. Nice and only $9.99 as a download. Something for my birthday list perhaps.

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