Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wargaming Eric Flint's 1632

Several of my local group have read Eric Flint’s 1632 books (electronic version available for free from the Baen Free Library).  The gist of the novel is that a chunk of West Virginia (Flint is a native) is picked up and dropped down in the middle of Thirty Years War (TYW) Thuringia, Germany in the year 1631.  Don’t ask how or why.   It is not important and is explained a bit better far into the series.  Once there, the West Virginians face the violence and mindless atrocities of the TYW.  They unite behind the idea that they will maintain American ideals of openness, religious freedom, and racial and gender equality.  They quickly come into contact with the various armies of the era including the mercenary troops of Count Tilly and the Swedes led by the Emperor Gustavus Adolphus.

                Gaming the conflict would require some interesting forces.  The West Virginians include notably a female Cheerleader/Sniper, coal trucks converted into armored personnel carriers, and young wargamers on mountain bikes.  The German and Swedish soldiers include a variety of forces including Croat cavalry on the Catholic side and a unit of Scots with the Swedes.  Gustavus Adolphus makes an early appearance in his disguise of Captain Gars. 

Two early encounters that might be gamed are the Battle of the Crapper and the Croat Raid on the High School.  The Battle of the Crapper involved the rescue of a number of downtimer (the WV’ians are often referred to as “uptimers” in the books and conversely the Germans are known as “downtimers”) refugees/camp followers from capture/torture/rape/etc. by a unit of Tilly’s mercenaries.  This encounter would use at most a dozen or so West Virginians and a small unit (20 or so foot and maybe 3 or 4 mounted officers) of Germans.  It would also require several refugee figures.  The terrain for the Battle of the Crapper would not need elaborate terrain.  Basically a field with an outhouse and some farm ruins.

The Croat raid on the High School would need much more elaborate terrain.  Basically a modern American High School with school buses and barricades.  There were more West Virginia’s there and you would need as many as 100 German troops and a small unit of Swedes led by Captain Gars.

Figure wise the Germans and Swedes should be TYW troops.  GW Empire troops are 150+ years too early but the new English Civil War plastics would work quite well.  Captain Gars would need to be represented by a slightly larger than life figure.  The West Virginians would be best represented by zombie hunter type figures – at least the tamer varieties of them.  Care should be taken to avoid the temptation to use hillbilly figures as they are not found in the books.  Modern policemen and a few figures in hunting camo would also be useful. 

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