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.