Sunday, 16 March 2014

Stop Press: Effingham sensationally quits Albion.

In a shocking move Lord Effingham of Grimbold unexpectedly resigned his commission in the Army of Albion following the end of the recent war. Despite his recent successes in battle and the high regard in which he is held by his peers, Effingham is unhappy with the moves toward peace being taken by the Albion hierarchy. Reports suggest that he has retreated to his vast estates in the hinterland amongst the indigenous Barwonga people and may even be raising an army there.

Although Effingham has been publicly insistent that there has been no split with the royal family and that his actions have the blessing of the Monarch there have been denials from the palace that Effingham has received any instruction. Commentators have suggested that he is taking advantage of a minor change in constitutional law to further his political ambitions.

This recently leaked letter to his wife can perhaps shed light on his frame of mind.

My Dearest Darling Damp Knee

                                                Firstly may I begin this letter with my most heartfelt sympathies that it has been some time since I wrote you. Campaigning takes such a toll on ones welfare and time that I find myself too exhausted to correspond. 

            Well these latest hostilities have been concluded successfully; I daresay those pompous old house wives at Gormanghast court will have their knickers in a ca-fuddle. Better that, than a gentleman find his finest hosiery round his ankles like some Vulgarian washer woman’s bloomers.  I’m sure quality is assured now that their tropical sweat shops are under the strict watchful eyes of St Elmo’s notorious task masters. Indeed, I almost pity those poor souls under that particular lash. Still, in such an important matter as a Gentleman’s appearance, sacrifices must be made.

            Talking of sacrifices, I am tired of seeing Albion’s fine flower bled out on these foreign fields. Victory has come at a price. Not all has gone to plan. The Gorman’s have delivered a fine lesson in close order foot drill whilst the Phlegm’s, a devastating lesson in musketry. Throughout all though the stout hearted youth of our flowering nation have levelled their Bayonets and charged.

 Perhaps it is therefore fortuitous that I am soon to return home to you and our estates. Much has been occurring in my absence. Results from the Grim Moot are unprecedented. Finally accord has been made with our First Nation Brothers. We are, finally and rightly, now a fully integrated nation. One People! One Land!

Upon my return I have two Months leave with you the hounds and the children.  A cruise I feel! Yes a cruise around the shores of Albion. Good, that’s decided. My orders from ‘Grim Old’ 4 himself then place me in Command of our first Army of Barwonga Irregulars. Very exciting. Perhaps a feather jauntily placed in my hat will suit. 

Your affectionate husband,

Editors Notes

  1. Lord Effingham’s pet name for his wife, Lady Daphne.
  2. Grim Moot – Albion Parliamentary Decision making session.
  3. Accord between Monarchy and Parliament of Albion and Grand Chief Umpa Lumpa of the Barwonka Nation finally unifying the peoples of Albion.
  4. ‘Grim Old’. Monarch of Albion. Direct descendent  of Ætheling Grimmer Effervold Conqueror and Founding Father of Albion.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Scandal in Vulgaria!

Giovanni di Tripodi, trusted advisor of the Baron and favourite of the Baroness has been stripped of his position with the army and sent back to his estates in disgrace.
Although there has been no official word from the palace it is understood that di Tripodi has been implicated in a ménage à trois with members of the House of Bomburst.
Sister of the Baroness, Madame Eugenie has been whisked away from her official residence to an undisclosed address. The other implicated party is simply being referred to as Fluffy. Watch this space for hopefully more lurid details and shocking titbits of this excitingly sordid affair.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Battle of Lower Snotling

To: Mykew Gregorovitch, Grand Master; Gormenghast Guild of Wigmakers
From: Garrick Ollivander; Purveyor of Perukes and Periwigs to the Gentry

Most Honourable and Distinguished Grand Master,
as per your Excellency’s instructions I find myself ensconced amongst the sutlers and victuallers of the army; a most disagreeable situation to be sure but, as you yourself intimated, an excellent position from which to assess the periwig needs of the army. This most imposing of armies is currently encamped on the borders of the Expectorant of Covonia, after a most unfortunate rebuff by Covonian forces.
Ostensibly, the nobility and gentry of Gormenghast are here to assist a certain Mademoiselle Pumphosen; a lady of some notoriety (shoulder length periwig of natural human hair, tightly curled, scented violet wig powder).
Our fair damsel in distress, for some singular purpose dressed as a vivandiere, is purportedly detained in the town of Lower Snotling, whilst the brave Constable (shoulder length goat hair, un-powdered) has determined to issue forth and penetrate said defences……ahem.…..Unfortunately, for all the Constable’s obvious ardour (a most upsetting sight), the fulfilment of his fervently wished for desire was not to be and the lady remains securely behind Covonian walls.
The day began with a heated argument between the Constable and the odious Master of Ritual, Barquentine (no wig, little hair, unwashed, unscented and un-powdered). The army was witness to the disgusting spectacle of Barquentine hopping about, spitting and drooling but the Constable evidently prevailed and the army deployed as per his command.

The Covonians had taken up a strong defensive position, of two lines, anchored on the towns of Upper and Lower Snotling, with their weak cavalry forces split between both flanks. 

The Constable manifestly espied a weakness in the enemy deployment and planned to turn their flank; sending forth the Gormenghastian cavalry under Filip Korecczki (short un-powdered, horse hair). To this end the Constable had reinforced his cavalry force with the Gentleman Adventurers of Gormenghast, a mercenary regiment of some renown. These strapping fellows (medium, goat hair, powdered) in their redcoats made a fine sight on their thoroughbred chargers. 

A spirited countercharge by the outnumbered Covonians held the Gormenghast advance whilst their infantry moved to support their cavalry. Sadly the Gormenghast Dragons (no wig but very fine horse hair plumes) were broken by Covonian volley fire.

Not to be discouraged by this set back, the Constable pulled back his cavalry and sent forth the elite Gormenghast infantry. Both the Guards (short goat hair, white powder) and the light infantry (short horse hair, no powder), by much oblique and cadenced marching, threatened to turn the Covonian flank.
Nonetheless, the Covonian forces showed a quite remarkable aptitude for retrograde motion and, after much wheeling and dancing, steadied their line. Now the Constable sent forward the Gormenghast Foote (no wigs but powdered and queued) and Fencibles (short queues, no powder) to put pressure on their infantry. Grigori Savvinos (medium brown, horse hair, no powder) led the 2nd Fencibles (the Children of the Night) through the ploughed fields, fronting Lower Snotling, to threaten the hard pressed Covonians.

As dusk approached, this concerted effort was coming to fruition, with several enemy regiments of both horse and foot falling to massed volley fire. Regrettably, the enemy were saved by the fall of night and the Constable was obliged to fall back in the dark. Sadly the unfortunate, and one hopes still chaste, Mademoiselle remains out of the Constable’s reach, if not out of his thoughts.
So that, Grand Master, is where we stand at the moment. My initial evaluation is that there may well indeed be opportunities for an enterprising wigmaker with the army. The Foote regiments, for instance, are presently unwigged! I have not, as yet, discerned the most appropriate periwig or peruke for the common soldiery but, as we say in the craft, ‘the wig chooseth the man’.
I have the honour to be your most obedient servant,


The Battle of Staggerred

Fought between the armies of Vulgaria and Albion this closely fought engagement saw one or two object lessons in the use of the Maurice game rules.

The Albion forces were defending a pair of adjacent (if slightly askew) towns with their infantry arrayed on their left flank with supporting columns behind.
The Vulgarians lined up opposite with 4 regiments, led by elites, advancing upon the defended towns.
Upon seeing this the Albion general reinforced his garrison with another regiment of elites. 

The infantry battle was predictably intense with the Albion forces losing 3 regiments to the Vulgarians 2.

However, the attempt on the towns were less successful. Unable to weaken the garrison by musketry the leading elite Vulgarian regiment was itself routed by musket fire from the town.

As night fell the objective remained out of reach.

Oh, by the way, both sides cavalry deployed some way behind the infantry and both sides cavalry stayed exactly where they were for the entire battle.

Attacking remains a difficult choice in Maurice. The extra unit doesn't make a great deal of difference and taking towns, especially with elite garrisons, is a tough nut.

Never mind, a good game fought with good sportsmanship and providing food for thought for both protagonists. Looking forward to the next one.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

The Battle of Jacob's Creek

Strange days indeed. It seems like only a week ago that we lauded our brave Covonian allies, now we were preparing to meet the cowardly back-sliding traitors in battle. Our great leader, the Baron, is well versed in the methods of defence, having a not inconsiderable track record in that particular tactic. This time, however, he decided to go on the attack.

The snot gobblers were in a reasonably strong position with their garrisoned town flanked by a hill and ploughed fields. The Baron however, who has the eye of a hawk (he keeps it in a jar next to the cruet), espied a weakness in their right flank and determined to exploit it.
Sending forth all of our cavalry (including the redoubtable 2nd Landwehr) in a lightning gallop he managed to put the willies well and truly up the Covonian infantry on that side.

While the Covonian cavalry commander flapped like a fat tarts bloomers in a hurricane us infantry began our inexorable advance toward the foe.
The musket play between the elite regiments in the centre was bloody and could have gone either way. The pressure on their right flank, however, was more successful and pretty soon the Covonian infantry began to melt away.

It was at this stage that Baron Snott of Covonia decided that, discretion being the better part etc., he should yield the field and see about getting lunch ready. Bomburst, being a true gentlemen and also rather peckish by this time, agreed and they proceeded to enjoy a rather nice cold meat buffet. We all sat down in the field and ate our sandwiches. It's a grand life is soldiering.

The Battle of Tixilix

Oh what a joyous day, dear brother. The nefarious hordes of Albion have been defeated by our glorious Covonian brothers and once more our borders are cleansed of Johnny Foreigner (apart from the merchants and strumpets obviously).

The dawn found our glorious troops lined up for battle between the two towns of Tixilix and Nimby, both towns were strongly garrisoned with loyal Covonians.
The Albion general demanded the surrender of Tixilix, insisting that a certain fugitive, the Baron de Scratchpole was within the town walls. This request was most robustly refused as Tixilix is home to the monks of Fastbuck Abbey, centre of our most lucrative tonic wine industry.

The Albion general immediately sent three of his finest regiments against our brave Chasseurs de Flemm who were part way between  the two towns. All seemed lost but some sharp manoeuvres from the neighbouring 3rd Covonian enabled our glorious troops to decimate two of the Albionite regiments. Sadly the brave Chasseurs de Flemm were also destroyed in the ensuing firefight.
The outraged Citizens of Nimby, led by the editor of the local journal “Ye Dailye Maille” rushed to the nearby woods from where they pelted the remaining foreign hordes and probable asylum seekers with musketry, stones and the occasional flaming squirrel. Unfortunately, several perished in the ensuing fire (dear brother, trees and flaming brands do not mix well!)
The Albionites then tried a general assault on our right flank and the town of Tixilix itself. This was rebuffed by our glorious troops and there was confusion and death in the foul ranks of the Albionite marauders.

With darkness falling, their general asked, and received the honours of war and their army left the field (apart from the dead ones obviously)

Dear brother, we are receiving reports that our glorious Vulgarian allies have also defeated the dastardly owl botherers, it would seem that the war is won and I can return once more to my beloved estates.

Hon. Baron Snott

.... and now... an alternative narrative by His Most Grim our Lord Effingham

As is my style I shall not beat about the bush here.  Things did not go well.  Things did not go to plan.  That said the plan was flawed.  By Gads Sir, the plan was mine!  ‘OH BAGGER!!’

Our march to battle was the initial problem.  It would seem that the Guards brigade encountered the enemy on route to their form up point at the right of the line. 

Though reports are sketchy it would seem the enemy were housed in two strong buildings.  The first ‘The Bottle of Syrup’.  This inn with a huge cellar apparently took many brave attempts and a phenomenal team effort to clear. The other a stoutly built residence for young ladies in financial distress (or so it appears from descriptions of their scantily clad appearance) seems to have being held by the enemies’ horse as I hear reports of ‘Frisky fillies frolicking around’.  The result of this delay was devastating!

The main body, deployed ready and equipped to escalade the town, stood aghast as the Guards Brigade doubled past.  With a great deal of swagger and élan, singing it advanced straight into the main strength of the enemy.

I will not criticise the leaders of that finest of Brigades.  There will be no remark given to sour the memory of the brave and glorious dead.  All fault lies with me.  My plan to assault the town was a mistake.

The enemy held the place with all the strength of bacterial mucus, clinging to the very walls of the place and seeping into the mortar of the brickwork!  Impregnable! That is how the rancid Corvornian Town would be rated. 

In penance for my failings I will not wash nor powder my Grand Wiggage for the remainder of this campaign! In memory of those brave fallen sons of Albion I will visit the site of this Tavern and Convalescing home in homage to their great victory prior to the Battle of Tixi Lix.

Now as a final note it is with great sadness that I must report the retirement of two of our companies most splendid and gentlemanly souls. 

Our dear Augustus von Thetford, leader of horse, has retired to his estates in Cumberland to be with his comely spouse Wurstella and his daughters Chip and Larter.  Augustus gallantly led our horse through campaign and was given the lead in battle against Borogovia.  May this easy going and generous chap die with cobwebs in his wig and a sword in his guts.  Gods bless you sir!!   

The most Rev Howard Whitehouse leaves us after giving rousing and righteous service.  Howards coiffure may not have being the plumpest, wiggy and luscious of our assembly but beneath those tight Spartan curls his hard face was truly a reflection of the Gods anger that he served.  So reliable and steadfast was this dour and violent man that the escalade of Tixi Lix was to be his.  The highest honour I can bestow on this man is to say that he was my friend.  Howard, go out to the sons of Albion and preach the words of the Gods.  Die screaming with cobwebs in your wig and a sword in your guts.  Gods bless you sir, Gods bless you my friend!! 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Markets turn on Albion

In an extraordinary round of trading the Albion Guinea was deserted by investors and saw its price drop by nearly 40%. The beneficiary of this release of capital into the marketplace was the Valletta. Ironic then that a few hours after the markets closed Lord Effingham of Albion should inflict a crushing defeat on the Knights of St. Elmo. We will undoubtedly see a rush on the Guinea now by fickle traders eager to make good their mistakes. They would do well to remember the old maxim "Previous performances are no guarantee of future results". 
Despite a drop in price the Kinder remains the most widely held currency with investors.

Dirk McShifty's Tip of the Week: Don't panic! Try to avoid a scatter gun approach to trading. Especially don't panic with a scatter gun. My Uncle Dougie did that and we had to put him on a ship to the colonies; nasty business.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Eiderdown War is over! Following Albion's humiliation at the hands of "barbarous" Covonia their alliance with Gormenghast and St. Elmo has collapsed. The result is a much needed peace and while the armies re-equip the speculators are moving in to pick over the remains of this conflict. 

Extracts from ‘The Encyclopaedia Gormenghastica’

The Eiderdown War
The continent wide war that immediately followed 'The First Trade War'. Started by Covonia after an alleged diplomatic incident. Covonian diplomats falsely claimed that Gormenghastian envoys were noisy neighbours and had kept them awake at night. This was refuted by the Gorhmenghast Ambassador Pumphosen, who claimed that at the time of the alleged incident, embassy staff could not have been involved in any way as they were otherwise occupied with their formal duties in the ‘Ceremony of the Owls’.

Ceremony of the Owls
A Gormenghastian tradition enacted on all moonlit nights between the months of January and December. Festivities are usually accompanied by the massed pipes of Gormenghast. The Gormenghast pipers are renowned for their prowess with the traditional Gormenghast instrument, the screechorn.

The Screechorn
A Gormenghastian instrument of ancient tradition, played at many official ceremonies. The sound of the screechorn has been likened to a joyous chorus of caterwauling cats with the subtle undertones of a screech owl.

The Great Screechorn of Groan

Transcript of enquiry into the events at Spotsville

Chief Enquirer: Provost Marshal Jeffrey George De Ath
Principal witness: Sergeant Major Obadiah Tuffnutt (Gormenghast Guards)
Provost: Sergeant Tuffnutt, in your own words, would you enlighten the court as to the recent events pertaining to the action at Spotsville? Begin from when the army crossed into Vulgaria.
Sergeant: Yus suh, certainly suh. It wus like this. We crossed by the bridge at Tallahassee and marched onto the plains of Vulgaria, most soldierly like, very smart your honour. Their scouts were everywhere suh but their main force, well we just couldn't find the buggers. Leastways not until we reached Spotsville and there they were waiting for us in a defensive position.

Provost: And what of our own scouts Sergeant?
Sergeant: Never saw them your honour.
Provost: Very good Sergeant, carry on. What happened next?
Sergeant: Well the nobs.......errr begging your pardon suh.........the staff ..... they got together for a bit of a chinwag like. Planning and such. The Constable he was all haughty like.........
Provost: Do not the men like the Constable then, Sergeant?
Sergeant: Oh Lord no Suh, the men respect him like.
Provost: Even though he isn't a native Gormenghastian, Sergeant?
Sergeant: But he's a proper officer and a Gentleman your honour. The men can tell these things.
Provost: How so Sergeant?
Sergeant: The wig suh. A big gentleman's wig; powder and everything!
Provost: Yes well quite. Carry on then Sergeant.
Sergeant: Well the nobs must have come up with a plan because before you could say Jack Robinson we was deploying onto the plain. Half the foote and guns were deployed in two lines facing the town and half in columns on the left flank. That's where we was your honour - the Groans like - along with the Countesses Light Infantry. No sooner were we deployed then off we marched, just like at kleine Furz your honour. By the left, left, right, left, right, a quick right face and we was on his flank suh, so we was. I dare say that scared the crap out of Johnny Vulgar, If I may be so bold. Sent his cavalry against us he did, 4 regiments on big horses. They didn't make any impression on the Groans or the Countesses though; showed them the bayonet we did. Very steady your honour, very steady. After that drubbing they pulled back 100 yards or so and just sat there looking threatening.
Provost: And what did you do then Sergeant?
Sergeant: Why we shot them suh! And when the smoke cleared we shot them some more. They didn't like that your honour; 2 regiments of the buggers ran off pretty promptly I can tell you. We were pretty well set up to do the same to the other 2 regiments when they pulled back behind their infantry. Of course, by now our infantry centre had moved up to join us and we were all set to shoot em like fish in a barrel.

Provost: And did you Sergeant? Shoot them like fish in a barrel?
Sergeant: Why no suh. We ran out of time your honour.
Provost: Ran out of time? Whatever do you mean Sergeant?
Sergeant: It was half past the hour, suh!
Provost: And what of it Sergeant?
Sergeant: It was that Mr Barquentine, suh! Says he'd looked in that big ole book of his and we weren't to fight beyond half past the hour, your honour. You can't go against the book suh. It just ain't done.
Provost: Dismissed Sergeant.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Battle of kleine Furz

 My Dearest Irma,
I write to you, exultant nay triumphant on the field of Mars. Oh my dear, dear sister, I have seen the elephant. Not of course one of those exquisite creatures of the order of pachydermata, although truth be told I have seen several of those, but rather the charge of bayonets, the whiff of grapeshot, the smell of powder.
Our army is presently encamped in the ‘rugged’ lands of Covonia, at a place called kleine Furz in their barbaric tongue. Let not the meanness of its name confound you my dear, this is a most pleasant place; charming hills and delightful woods abound. Why my dear I have seen several species of even toed ungulates and Bovidae, whilst Accipitridae and Pandioninae circle the skies. Although, alas, I have not seen sight nor sound of any Strigidae to remind me of our beloved Gormenghast.

Our esteemed Constable has been struck with the Gout, a veritable podagra of the metatarsal-phalangeal joint. It was most fortunate that I was present to intervene with all my knowledge of the physician’s art. The Constable has been leeched and bled and I like to think that it was only through the administration of our splendid friends the Hirudo medicinalis that the Constable was able to take the field of battle.

The encounter was a short sharp affair. The Covonians defended a ridge line in a long thin line, with cavalry on their right. A most irregular deployment, I am led to believe. Our Constable masked the centre of their line with infantry and guns, whilst four regiments of Foote, in columns, formed on our right flank. These marched ahead with such alacrity it was a marvel to behold. The precision of the Gormenghastian evolutions was such that, within a blink of an eye, they had formed two lines on the enemy’s flank. 

The High Linctus looks on aghast at the Constable's evolving columns.

Thereafter, it was simply a case of volley and charge and the end of the enemy line was put to flight. Oh how the scoundrels ran! Now the Constable was poised to roll up the enemy line but upon my word if the most peculiar incident did not occur. I shall eat my hat if it isn’t so. Why bless me if a little fellow, on a horse, didn’t dash from the Covonian lines carrying a white flag. Of course the Constable, being a complete Gentleman, was only too happy to grant them the honours of war.

So there we stood, in possession of the field, as the Covonian army marched away. And I do believe that we hadn’t lost a single fellow from the Gormenghastian ranks! If that is the measure of campaigning I do believe I may be home soon.
Please remember to water my Peace Lily.
Your most affectionate brother,

Alfred Prunesquallor, Physician to the army of Gormenghast

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Battle of Phar Hill 

(Warning: This report from the Albion commander contains violent language of a graphic nature and some gruesome hyperbole that some readers may find hilarious distressing.)

So the inevitable has come to pass.  The Gods demand blood.  Blood and always more blood.  Together they have manoeuvred us petty minded mortals to wage war in order to slake their thirst.  When the Gods have a thirst, to gain their favour Albion must be at the fore in providing it!  The ranks of her glorious infantry carrying their bayonets to the bellies of her enemies.
On a hill in the distance stood our objective.  The malignant carcass of the treacherous wretch Baron Jim Von Dastardly of Scratchpole. There he stood, cowering behind the arrayed ranks of Vulgaria, exuding his conniving, malignant stench. 
The enemy was arrayed with its infantry and guns in the centre. Woods, marsh and ploughed farmland protected their left flank.  On their right was their horse, more numerous and gaudy than our own.  Their flamboyant attire no doubt an attempt to compensate for their small, shrivelled vulgar manhoods.

The opening of battle was announced by a devastating barrage from our artillery.  Our gunners professionally handling their ordinance and smashing two battalions of elite vulgarian infantry milling around in disarray left of the enemy centre.

The massed circus of peacocks on the enemy’s right advanced and started a deadly waltz with our cavalry.  Lord Effingham issued the command for a general advance and the “LINES and LINES and LINES” of Albion’s professional infantry began their steady and remorseless cadence towards the action the Gods demanded. With bayonets levelled our ranks advanced steadily into volley after volley of the foes excellent musketry.
Many fell. Our recently hired mercenary battalion from the staunch and righteous Order of Saint Elmo pushed on till destruction, clearing the path for the following battalions to close with and over run four enemy gun batteries. So efficiently and smoothly did the Vulgarian gunners man their pieces that they seemed, at times, to be invisible!  Their blood spilt, their glorious deaths certainly a fitting tribute to any Gods thirst.
On pushed the advance, irresistible to the heroic and valiant defence of the Vulgarian infantry. Battalion after Battalion sacrificing their blood to greedy Gods. The stage was set for a great victory.  The enemies cannon taken, battalions smashed, Albion’s elite Guard battalions could see the target and little stood between them and Von Dastardly!

Damn those ungrateful Gods! For all the blood sacrifice of Albion’s flower.  For all the gore offered to them from the work of our most revered bayonets.  Escape was granted to the Vulgarians and their accursed charge Von Dastardly of Scratchpole. The very ground itself, irrigated by bloody tribute turned to an impassable mire stopping our Lord Effingham’s glorious host at the point of total victory!  War is hell and the Gods ungrateful.  Battle will be re-joined in due course. 

                                       The gallant Vulgarian cavalry                                                        see off the sub-standard Albion horse.

Ever the gentleman, Baron Bomburst grants his Albion opponent the Honours of War 
whilst claiming victory on the field.

Monday, 27 January 2014

STOP PRESS: War breaks out again. Putting their old enmity aside Gormenghast and Albion have allied with the Order of St. Elmo in a new partnership of villainy. The brave souls of Vulgaria, Borogovia and Covonia must make a stand against this axis of evil.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

STOP PRESS: The War is over! Craven Albion and his despicable minions have sued for peace and the First Trade War is over. The peace, however, is likely to be short lived. Even as I write emissaries and ambassadors will be making new alliances and fomenting discord among the nations.

The Battle of Littletown (on the Prairie)

Barquentine Master of Ritual was mad. Some rightly say he was insane mad. Actually, he was hopping mad. To be fair this was inevitable as he only had one leg. In fact he was angry mad. And the reason Barquentine was mad? That damn fool the Constable, that's why. The Master of Ritual was convinced that the campaign in 'the Tropics' would have been a success if the Constable had followed the proper rituals. The war would be over and Barquentine would be safely back in the familiar and comforting surroundings of Gormenghast castle. Instead 'the Tropics' were lost and here they were on the vast plains in the realm of St Elmo.

The Constable was worried; the terrain clearly favoured the, largely cavalry based, Elmovians and their scouts had been spotted in the distance, yet they appeared to be making no attempt to attack. Barquentine couldn't give a stuff; as long as that damn fool Constable followed the rituals all would be well
Despite his reservations, the Constable resolved to advance. The plain was largely featureless, except for a small abandoned town sat amongst woods and marshes and it was upon this unremarkable little town that the Constable set his sights. He may not encounter the enemy but at least he might find a bed for the night. If left to his own devices the Constable would anchor his left flank on the woods and attack with his infantry, through the marshes, towards the town. His horse and guns would cover his left rear, whilst his infantry attacked. He was also fortunate to have the services of 2 groups of Musselmen, wild irregulars from the borders. These he would place at the junction of his infantry and cavalry to scour the woods on his left. 'A damn fine plan', he mused, but what would that septegenarian idiot Barquentine think of his fine plan.

Barquentine, in fact, didn't think anything of the plan. If truth be told, he wasn't even aware that there was a plan. No, to Barquentine life was not to be planned. Why would anyone need to make plans? Surely everything was already laid down in his precious Book of Ritual, or rather in one of the many volumes of his dusty, mildewed tomes. Barquentine's immediate problem was to find the right paragraph, on the correct page, in the proper chapter of the appropriate volume. This was accomplished by cross referencing a complex and tortuous matrix that only the Master of Ritual could understand. After hours of study, accompanied by much muttering, Barquentine had the answer; the army would form in 3 lines with the Guards in front. What though of the horse and guns? In actual fact 'the Book' made no mention of horse or guns. As far as Barquentine was concerned they were a complete irrelevance.

This suited the Constable who arrayed his infantry in 3 lines of 3 regiments each. The first line consisted of the elite troops of Gormenghast, from left to right, the 1st Gormenghast, the Gormenghast Light Infantry and the Gormenghast Guards. The second and third lines mainly consisted of conscripts; raw recruits brought in to fill the ranks after the disasterous Tropics campaign. The second, third and fourth Gormenghast formed the second line, whilst the fifth Gormenghast and the first and second Fencibles brought up the rear.

His forces deployed the Constable sounded the advance and the infantry slowly sloshed through the wet and marshy ground. Soon the town came into view and, to the Constable's satisfaction, it was defended. Two regiments of Elmovian infantry supported by three batteries formed up in front of the town, whilst a third regiment formed a garrison. And what infantry! Pike and antiquated handguns! The Constable smiled to himself at the thought of what his lethal volleys would do to such old fashioned troops. But where were the Elmovian cavalry? No matter the Constable would forge ahead regardless.

The Gormenghast infantry marched forward, pausing only to reform on the far side of the marshes. Soon they were exchanging volleys with the enemy infantry. The Guards and Light Infantry wreaked havoc amongst their opposing numbers, destroying 2 batteries in the process. However, the first Gormenghast, on the left, were badly mangled by the canister fire from an opposing gun battery. Nevertheless, the Guards and Light Infantry, charging their bayonets, surged forward and swept all before them. The Elmovians then staged a desperate counterattack by the last remaining infantry regiment in their line. Supported by their last gun battery they broke the 1st Gormenghast but were in turn broken by the supporting troops of the Gormenghastian second line.

This left only the small Elmovian garrison to defend the town but the Gormenghast infantry needed time to reform after their successful attack. Hence, the Constable sent forward the Musselmen, through the woods, to harrasss the garrison. 

It was at this point, just when the Constable was at his most smug and self-satisfied, that a messenger arrived from his cavalry. The Elmovian cavalry had been spotted, bearing down upon the Constable's left flank. Six regiments of Elite cavalry, led by the Maison du Roi, faced the three regiments of Gormenghast. Could the outnumbered Gormenghastians hold out long enough for their infantry to take the town? 

Night was approaching and the Constable was now fighting on 2 fronts. Miraculously, the Gormenghast cavalry did manage to beat off the first Elmovian attack, although they were seriously weakened in the process and the guns were lost. The Elmovians, sensing victory, mounted a second furious attack  that broke the Gormenghast Dragonos but the line held. Meanwhile, the Gormenghast infantry, led by the Guards, had broken into the town, routing the garrison, and as night fell Gormenghast were in possession of the town.

The Battle of Cloudy Bottom

The brevity of this battle necessitates only the briefest of reports. Borogovian forces were defending a town against an Albion attack.

The only action of the day occurred when Lord Effingham ordered his entire cavalry force to charge the Borogovian infantry and guns head on.
Although the guns were destroyed the Albion cavalry were unable to break the infantry and bounced off. Disheartened by this Effingham withdrew his cavalry and halted the entire attack. Intimidated, no doubt, by the steely glare in the eyes of the magnificently attired Borogovian battalions. C'est pathetique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre.

The Battle of Sweaty Palms

Right, here we go. Vulgarian battle report by yours truly. Right...  you at the back, yes, you with the hat and the book, pay attention. I've no intention of repeating myself. Where was I? Lost my blasted train of thought with all your shenanigans. Ahem.. ah yes, battle report.
We’d been called out to deal with these St. Elmo johnnies y’see with all their horses and pikes and thoroughly bad attitudes. Right.. you with the hat again, that’s enough. Go and sit over there if you can’t keep your hands off it.

Horses, horses, yes, blithering hundreds of them there were and blow me did they move fast. We were drawn up between two palm tree plantations y’see, nice defensible position, all pretty textbook stuff, infantry in two lines with cannon on the flanks and our cavalry in column to the rear. The enemy infantry, if you can call it infantry, were a good half mile away and the cavalry far off to our right flank behind some rough looking ploughed fields. Thought it would take an age for them to reach us but as it turned out I was rather mistaken.

Did I mention the heat? Damned heat, damn it was hot. Hot, hot, hot. Anyway these cavalry chappies came breezing through the fields as if they weren't there, apparently this Boris fella doesn't mind a bit of rough, hang on, I think that came out wrong... never mind. Ahem...
Suddenly the blackguard’s onto me flank. Rolls over me left side guns and smashes into the columns of cavalry before you can say Jack Robinson. Bish, bash, bosh. The old Comte de Finay dug his spurs in like a blasted pansy and off he went, not so much as a ‘by your leave’. Needless to say I gave him a thorough wigging when I caught up with him later, disgraceful behaviour, very poor example for the men.
During this debacle I had been turning my infantry about face and moving in on him, a couple of battalions through the wood as well to threaten his flank y’see. Truth is that by now he was trying to squeeze a quart into a pint pot, his dander was well and truly up but he just didn't have enough room to manoeuvre and bring all his force to bear. Shooting fish in a barrel and all that, though why anyone would want to shoot fish in a barrel is beyond me, dashed unsporting.
Well that’s about the lot. Lost 3 units of cavalry and 2 guns which was a tad unfortunate but my infantry were all fresh and still held the field at the end of the day.
Did I mention the heat? I did... ah well. It was still damned hot whatever you say.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Battle of Redhills

Hercules Grytpype Thynne (Constable of Gormenghast) sat astride his charger and stared into the heat haze ahead. Sweat ran from underneath his tricorne hat, leaching powder from his enormous wig and dripping from the end of his hooked nose. The Constable regretted joining the army of Gormenghast; in any other army he would be a general but instead he was bound by the ancient traditions of Gormenghast. Quite why he was here fighting in the Tropics was also a mystery to the Constable but the forces of Albion were out there somewhere beyond that range of hills. Grytpype desperatedly wanted to advance with the army but the one-legged hunchbacked dwarf Barquentine, Master of Ritual, insisted that the time was not right. Instead the Constable arrayed his forces in a defensive line, as laid down by ancient tradition and transcribed in Barquentine's dusty Book of Ritual.

As tradition decreed the elite Gormenghast Guards and Gormenghast Light Infantry formed the left of the line. The First, Second and Third Gormenghast Regiments of Foote were arrayed to the right of the household troops and behind them, a second line of infantry deployed, consisting of the Fourth and Fifth Gormenghast Foote alongside the First and Second Gormenghast Fencibles. A small battery of artillery took post on the left of the infantry line. To the rear and right of the line stood the 3 Regiments of Gormenghast cavalry, in column and led by Filip Koreczki who took post with the Gormeghast Hussars (The Death Owls).

As the morning wore on and the troops began to wilt in their hot and heavy (but very traditional) woollen uniforms, the thunderous sound of hooves echoed over the hills and a veritable host of cavalry appeared to line the ridge ahead. This was followed, soon after, by vast columns of swift moving infantry which appeared on the Constable's left flank. Galvanised into action, Grytpype drew his sword, with a flourish, and yelled 'prepare to march'.
'Ahem......ahem....', a dry dusty cough came from the bundle of rags that was Barquentine. 'The time is not right damn ye.   it'''s......... not in the book', he spluttered apoplectically, turning slightly purple.
'I suppose, sir, that I am to be allowed some manoeuvre!', bellowed the Constable.
'You must not alter the sacred alignment', came the shrill reply from a now spitting mad Barquentine, 'the Guards must form in front, so it is written'
'Stuff and nonsense sir! Then I shall manoeuvre my second line', came the Constable's riposte, and with that the Constable ordered the second line to march to the threatened flank.  Long months of training in cadenced marching and advancing at the oblique now came to fruition, with the 4 regiments forming two lines facing the Constable's left flank.

Albion commander, Lord Effingham of Grimbold contemplates his cunning scheme while the Constable consults the Book of Ritual. Note strategically placed kitchen towel for the mopping up of casualties.

By now the infantry of Albion had formed themselves into 2 brigades and soon launched a furious attack on the Constable's hastily formed line. The Gormenghast Fencibles stood firm and prepared to unleash the 'lethal volleys' for which they are justly famed. Alas, in their haste to form a defensive line to the flank, the Fencibles had omitted to load their muskets and the order to fire came to nought. Grytpype well knew the Albionites' reputation with the bayonet and seeking to pre-empt them ordered the charge. The Fencibles made a spirited attack but were thrown back on their second line. A counter charge by the Albionites sealed their fate and they were swept from the field. The 4th and 5th Gormenghast, forming the second line, came to the rescue with a lethal volley, followed by a charge that broke the Albionites' lead brigade.

Now the remains of the battered second line faced the cream of the Albionite army, in the form of their elite Grenadier brigade. A bloody fight followed with the 4th Gormenghast putting up a heroic defence and repelling 3 bayonet attacks by the Albionite Grenadiers. By now Grytpype, overuling a deranged and frothing Barquentine, had wheeled the Gormenghast Guards out of the first line and they were pouring lethal volleys into the enemy Grenadiers. Both sides were now on the brink of collapse but one last push by the Albionite Grenadiers finally shattered the 4th Gormenghast and the Constable's broken and battered force fled the field.  

Gormenghastian forces before the battering and the fleeing.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Our ImagiNations Campaign at Durham Wargames Group kicked off last night with a couple of cracking games. We are using the Maurice rules by Sam Mustafa and a mixture of Napoleonic and various ersatz figures to fill the ranks. Players are already embroiled in the frantic figure buying, painting and sabot basing necessary for such endeavours. As the weeks progress I shall try to keep this blog updated with what is going on; in detail when I can be bothered, in jist when I can't.

Anyway, here is a map of the campaign world. Please refer to the tabs above for information on individual countries. Their Epic Point levels will be updated each week.
The campaign world has a potentially limitless series of wars. A war always has two sides, in this case of 3 countries each. There is never more than one war happening at a time and it continues until peace is declared. The wars pair up players to fight tabletop battles which are fought simultaneously as a series.
The winner of the campaign is he who is the first to accumulate the specified number of Epic Points.

Epic Points are awarded for a number of reasons, most commonly for fighting battles, winning battles by various degrees and, of course, winning a war. But they can also be awarded for such things as accepting a surrender or being a gracious captor. Note that EPs can also be spent by players to, amongst other things, buy cards, transfer a unit during peacetime and get rid of a useless Notable character.

STOP PRESS: The belligerents have gravitated into 2 opposing factions. The Triple Alliance of Gormenghast, Borogovia & Vulgaria and the Tripartite Pact of Albion, Covonia & The Order of St. Elmo.