|This was the look and game that I had wanted, so what was bothering me?|
The first step was to put aside the universal rules idea, once that was done it was time to start defining explicitly what I wanted from the glossy toy soldiers. That was harder. Having decided to set the game in the age of breechloaders rather than magazine rifles, in case weapons were a problem, I started looking again at historical wars of the period as well as looking at various old inspirations. I was soon reminded that most wars of the last quarter of the 19th Century fall into one of three categories: wars with massed battles between large armies, wars by a small number of Europeans against hopelessly outclassed (technologically) "Natives" and a rare handful of wars between smaller, reasonably matched forces but set largely in distant, lightly populated, inhospitable, lands such as deserts, mountains and veldt or prairie. The sort of imaginary battles seen in the illustrations in Little Wars or described by Featherstone in Battles with Model Soldiers with small, well matched, armies manoeuvring around green hills, woods and villages were just that, imaginary or else carefully chosen excerpts from larger conflicts.
So, in addition to continuing to visit Colonial sources, I started looking for more on various European wars to see if I was missing something including downloading a free copy of Molke's book on the Franco Prussian War. It is very readable and at an interesting level, very much like a Kriegspiel with accounts of the movement of Divisions and Corps but occasionally zeroing in on regimental and lower details. However, there is no way that Oberhilse and Faraway can support that size and level of war and if they could it would be better fought in 10mm than 40mm. The Tel El Kebir or Second Afghan War campaigns are still a bit big but conceivable with 4 figure battalions apart from the settings which are far from the farms and villages of rural Atlantica. The First Boer War is closer but still remote and far too short and lopsided for what I had in mind.
|I draw a lot of inspiration and information from war correspondents and memoirs. Here is a 54mm Russell covering the Rebel Island Affair in 2001.|
I kept searching and found 2 more free ebooks, this time on a topic of long but abandoned interest and both books I was aware of but had never had a chance to read. Colonel George Denison's History of the Fenian Raid on Fort Erie and Capt. John A. MacDonald's Troublous Times in Canada, a History of the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870 (note: A militia officer not the Sir John A who was Prime Minister at the time). Both are accounts of the Fenian Raids by Canadian Militia officers who took part. This was where I started back almost 20 years ago, with an aborted plan of doing a nearly historical Fenian War with slightly less Comic Opera and a little more cavalry and artillery and some sustained campaigns, sort of a War of 1812 with breechloaders and less wilderness. My imagination was too weak to carry off the alternate history so invented Oberhilse and Faraway as the setting for a new Fenian attempt using largely 54mm metal toy soldiers, an adventure which was soon swamped by a turbulent period of my life. The 54mm ACW and British Guards and Highlanders molds remain.
|The first Faraway game, back in .....2001? British and Faraway forces land on Rebel Island to wipe out a Fenian base.........|
So now I have rediscovered the original premise that would serve up classic Toy Soldier battles in the age of Breechloaders. Checking orders of battle for the few historical Fenian 'battles' as well as the NorthWest Rebellion, another historical campaign that was so close to being a good basis for a campaign, 200-300 man battalions rather than 1,000 man ones are quite reasonable on both sides. Since troops usually operated in extended order with companies detached as needed, a wargame battalion of a Colonel (Commander) and 2 to 4 companies of 100 men (4 figures) each is quite reasonable and a force of up to a dozen battalions, batteries and squadrons quite comfortable for gaming.
|..........or not. An evacuation under fire of the surviving landing force was eventually required.|