Sunday, 17 November 2013

Stress induced historical time shift

I seem to have experienced a wargame period inversion!

Whilst last week was a long week, I have been in good spirits and have been recharging my batteries quite nicely. On Friday night on the way home I accidently walked into a bookshop and examined their shelf of wargames related material (an Ian Allan bookshop rather than your run of the mill type one). I chanced upon this book published by Amberley Publishing which came out last month. 
The author, Martin Hackett, has published a couple of books in the past, Fantasy Wargaming (a long time ago) and Lost Battlefields of Britain (more recently). He has been on my radar, and wish list, because he has in preparation a book about wargaming the '45, "Raise the Clans". This Dark Ages book took me by surprise. After a quick flip through the pages I must say that this looks rather good. It covers the six hundred odd years up to 1069 and seems quite well thought out. Well worth a punt and therefore its now on my Christmas list, which seems to be getting longer every day.
So far so good. I'm not officially interested in the Dark Ages and have not invested lots of time and money in it. I have a copy of SAGA, simply because the rules are unique and a pleasure to read. I also have Dan Mersey's Dux Bellorum, but only because I liked his articles in Battlegames about DBA. What worries me is that on Saturday morning I walked into the post office and found a copy of this...

and bought it of course!

This magazine comes from the same stable as WSS and, like WSS, each bi-monthly edition has a theme. This one is the Dark Ages and it specialises in King Alfred and the battles against the Vikings. Its a little more erudite than the average wargames magazine and doesn't actually cover wargames at all but first glance indicates that it will be well worth a read. The only worrying point is the large advert on the back cover for swords and chainmail.

So why am I finding this so tricky? Well, I'm sitting in a pile of unmade Shermans, rule books from the HTL series and have a desperate need to finish some writing started early this year (before Christmas preferably). What has pushed me over the cliff edge into the Dark Ages is Jeffrey James's MW article covering the battles of 1016 with Richard Brooks' Middle Age Spread rules. I reckon I could do something with this with only a couple of boxes of Hat troops. I have tracked down the original rules (Nugget 226) and some later articles that go into some more detail about battles of the middle ages (Nuggets 260 and 264) such as Evesham, Agincourt and Poitier.

This has all taken me somewhat by (very pleasant) surprise so, even if I do the sensible thing and put it on the backburner for a couple of months, I may well be spending some time on this next year. In the meantime I certainly will not be investing in a Houndskull bascinet nor a Saxon tent. On the other hand I may be buying future copies of Medieval Warfare if only to be able to annoy my wife with stories of  'Qasr al-Heir: Mysterious heritage of the Umayyad Caliphs in the Syrian desert' and 'Andreas Baumkircher: an Austrian giant'. The issue for May 2014 will be about the wars of Scottish independence so that will be worth waiting for.