Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Personalities of Ober-Bindlestiff

Famous Personages

Hereditary Elector Karl Gustav Rurimondo Gaspode Klement Pavlovovich von Hither, XI (his mother was popular, and named him for every man who could have been his father—ironically, he doesn’t look like any of them). Commonly known as Karl XI. He is someone who enjoys a good time. Very conscious that he is the Elector, though he seldom stands on his dignity. He likes the jobs, especially the perks. He is fond of the palace wenches, most of who were chosen by Lucinda, his Senior Mistress, and are in her pay. If there is a party going on, he can usually be found at it. He likes to dance, and has been known to dance the night away.

Helga Matilda Marie Bridgitte von Hither, Electoress of Ober-Bindlestiff—known popularly as Electoress Marie. She is much given to thigh high leather boots, tight leather corsets, spiked heels and whips, all usually covered with black velvet (the fabric, not the drink, though she’s been known to cover herself with the drink from time to time and let her current suitor lick it up—well, she enjoys herself, and it’s a great honor for the young gentleman to be with her). She is referred to as “Mistress Marie” (though not to her face). The common joke in certain circles is that the Elector has two mistresses living in the palace. Not given to artificial beauty marks, she is petite, with soft blue-eyes, red-hair, and smooth, soft, porcelain like skin. She is originally from one of the more prominent families in Thither (Lucinda was her earliest and best friend, and still is, for that matter). She concerns herself with the domestic and economic well-being of the country (knowing more about money than most people in the country). She runs the palace with a “firm” hand (the palace staff is the most thoroughly disciplined palatial staff on the continent). She has been married to Karl ever since he was a young Erbprinz “with prospects”. She is considered quite charming by everyone who meets her at parties (especially the men), and has been known to flirt away an entire evening.
While she came by some of her recreational habits naturally, an earlier lover encouraged her interests in leather and some of the creative things that can be done with it. Her natural inclinations took her from there (much to the delight of most of the men in her life, especially her loving husband). She is the Colonel Proprietress of the Electoress’s Own Regiment of Horse, having auditioned and chosen the junior officers personally. She has inexhaustible endurance and imagination, and successful officer candidates must last the night with her, and still turn out in proper style for regimental parade the next morning.

Marshal General Stanley Bouffré—Commander of the Army. He is related to the famous Major General Stanley (Garrison Commander of Penzance in England) and Lord Stanley of Umbrage, Army Commander of Gottingen-Hoff. He is an enthusiastic amateur when it comes to music with, alas, a tin ear. As a result, the operas he stages are known for being loud rather than good. He has an on-going feud with most general contractors in the capitol as he keeps seeking to either add on to his opera house, or to build a new one. He is quite wealthy from having captured a baggage train almost single-handed during an earlier war, as well as having been gifted with various lands. When he’s not arguing with contractors, he is a student of the military classics, the earlier the better. When he was much younger he served under the famous General Count Raymondo Furioso. As a result, when faced with a military problem, he constantly asks what Count Furioso would do, then he tries to the exact opposite (which is probably why he is reasonably successful). He is married and spoils his wife tremendously (which she is not really aware of). He is one of the few senior people in the country who does not have a mistress (his lack of a mistress is considered an amusing eccentricity).

Count Rudolofo d’Extravaganza—Chancellor, Minister of Foreign Affairs (he is in charge of recruiting numerous mistresses for the nobility), and, incidentally, Governor of the Province of Yon. Of the Venetian Extravaganza’s, famed for his parties, his wit, and that he has a (very) distant claim on the throne as his family would inherit if something happened to the Elector’s family, something he is loathe to let happen as it would all be such a terrible bother. He is an elderly gentleman much given to writing bad love sonnets to his two mistresses. He plays the violin wretchedly but enthusiastically. He was chosen for his post, in part because of his diplomatic ability, and in part to give him something to do (otherwise, who knows what kind of mischief he might get up to). He is a tall, thin man with a balding head, a prominent Adams apple, and a taste for imported brandy. He gives an air of being amused by the world around him...generally, and is perceived by most people as a kindly man. He can also flay the skin from a subordinate’s back with a few well-chosen words, and hides a ferocious and impatient temper. In earlier years he served in a variety of diplomatic missions, from which he grew quite wealthy (he sold trading licenses to blockade runners in a previous war). He is the Colonel-Proprietor of Infantry Regiment Procurer-General.

Marquis Viscoso d'Serpente, Governor of the Province of Thither. He is a very private person, interestingly enough, he is a bit of an ascetic. He dresses in dull clothes, lives in a dull house filled with dull paintings, along with a dull wife and several dull children. His only hobby is peculation. He loves to play cards, having graduated from the University of Bindlestiff with a degree in Three Card Monte. He is the only senior member of the government who does not own a regiment.

Admiral Lord Sitandwait—Admiral General of the Navy (or what there is of it, we have one around here somewhere...don’t we? I thought I saw it last week, or year, or something) and Colonel in Chief of the Gondolier Regiment (he is a baritone).

Countess Lucinda Esmerelda Obrigata, Free Proprietress of Thither—Senior Mistress of the Elector. Known as Lucinda, or, to her friends, ‘Cinda. Never as Lu or Luci (or, worse, Luci-Duci)—the last to call her that was given the honor of leading an escalade of a fortress while in foreign service. She is the Colonel-Proprietress of Infantry Regiment Saint Jezebel. She is a lifelong friend of the Electoress, they grew up and went to school together in Thither province, and the story goes the Elector could not choose between them, so he chose both. Her official duties include providing the back-up heir in case the Electoress does not. She is also the official head of the Electoral House of Fashion, and as such helps design all the latest fashions. Scandalmongers have stopped whispering about her as she openly admitted that not only were all of the stories probably true, but they didn't know the really juicy ones. She is enthusiastic in practicing her duties, and is reputed to hand-pick all of the officers of her regiment. She is also in charge of all of the other mistresses, her office administering their incomes. She is a lush, dark-haired beauty, voluptuous in the Italian sense, though without the hips. She is much given to dressing in the daring peasant style, though she certainly likes her silks.

The Government

The government of Ober-Bindlestiff is comprised of three parts: the Privy Cabinet, the Select Cabinet, and the General Cabinet.

The General Cabinet is composed of delegates from each province (appointed by the Governor of that province and numbering 10 in number) who “advise” the Elector on matters concerning their own province. The Elector (sometimes) heeds their advice.

The Select Cabinet is composed of the Heads of the Departments of the Government: Foreign Affairs, Postal, Cultural and the Exchequer. They have the same power any Permanent Undersecretary has (which is to say, quite a lot).

The Privy Cabinet is composed of the members of the Government that the Elector wants to see at any given time. There is no standing membership in this Cabinet, except for the Exchequer.

Independent of these are, of course, the Army and the Navy. Administration of the Army is left in the capable hands of Marshal General Stanley, while Admiral Sitandwait manages the Navy (or at least he says he does). If someone can find our Navy, please send a post to "The Navy Society, The Palace, Ober-Bindlestiff". Please include a SASE for any reply that is made. Do NOT send it postage due as this will assuredly invite a hostile audit by the Auditor General of the Army.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Other Miscreants

Just a brief word today (you don't want to know how many times I fiddles with that post involving pictures). But another site to visit is: for a look at another imaginary country. And of course if you have a sense of humor, and you enjoy gaming for the entertainment value, you might want to check out the Society of Daisy on Yahoo Groups.

Tomorrow (or the next day) I should have more about the Army of Ober-Bindlestiff, and may even include information about the Corps of Guards that accompany the Electeress wherever she goes. Suffice to say they are the most thoroughly disciplined unit in the army. And all goes well, I might have a word on the selection process for cavalry officers.

Pictures of Action!

Our intrepid photographers have provided us with pictures of troops from the countries that later would become Ober-Bindlestiff in action. This was during the War of the Bindlestiff Succession. As those who are gifted in math can figure out, this means it was probably the matchlock and pike era. Yes it is, and the rules in quesiton were King's War.

Here is a tense moment with battle already joined against the forces of Gehen-Sie-Broke. Due to the multitude of uniform styles and colors, it is impossible to say anything about who was on which side.

A different perspective of the same moment captured on celluoid (the Electress has banned the word cellulite from use in Ober-Bindlestiff -- miscreants who use it in her presence will have a 'C' branded on their tongue!). There must have been a strong wind, otherwise we would see smoke from the muskets.

For those in the know, the red chips are disorders on a unit, the more, the worse the situation, culminating in the unit falling completely apart and being removed from the battlefield.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Overview of Ober-Bindlestiff

Above is the Electoral Bunny, which adorns a great number of flags in Ober-Bindlestiff.

The Hereditary Electorate of Ober-Bindlestiff is one of those countries that just sort of happened. It is made up of a lot of little duchies, counties, free states, and other odds and ends that sort of got swept together into three provinces: Hither, Thither, and Yon. The core of the country is the province of Hither, but even this is subject to some confusion (the histories are silent on some of the details). The other two provinces were acquired as part of the Peace of St. Vitus-Where-He-Danced. There is a pleasant story that the Electorate gained the provinces because nobody else wanted anybody else to have them, but this can’t be confirmed.

The Electorate was originally the County of Gehen-Downtown. At that time the Elector was the Count Karl, Hereditary Count of Gehen-Downtown, an ancient family that traced its roots to the time of Frederick Barbarossa. During a campaign against the Infidel Khafooli’s, Frederick’s Army had settled in siege around the famous fortress of Khafanni-Khafooli. While the troops were laboring at their siege works, someone had the bright idea of holding skits to pass the time. Count Karl took part, and lampooned Frederick so thoroughly, and with such telling effect, that Frederick exploded in anger. He roared that Count Karl should “...go hither to his estates!” and banished him from the army, along with his entire retinue of playwrights, actresses, clowns, jugglers and acrobats. As a result Count Karl thought it necessary to rename his County Gehen-Sie-Hither.

Count Karl’s grandson married Esmerelda, the only child of the Hereditary Duke of Kommen-Sie-Often. Together they had four children (separately, 23), and were rumored to host the wildest parties seen since ancient times. Esmerelda, though, was insistent upon settling some sort of future on each of her children. She developed and practiced a shrewd diplomacy involving gauze curtains, breathless sighs, and tabarets that were a finger-width lower than those worn by other Countesses. Her personal diplomacy resulted in the elevation of her husband to the rank of Elector, and the position being made Hereditary. This was just in time for the Seventeen Year and Five Month War.

That war drew heavily upon the resources of the newly created Electorate. But the people of the Electorate were up to the requirements of modern war, and created some of the best baggage trains yet seen on the continent. And, mindful of the effects of their acting on Frederick Barbararossa, the skits and plays were always tastefully done and of the highest tone (the same, however, could not be said for the actors, actresses and card sharks that populated the baggage trains). The people of the Electorate grew rich on the war, many of the actresses sending money home, along with little bundles of joy. The infusion of money and noble blood enriched the Electorate beyond all expectations. Not only was the wealth of the peasants greatly enhanced by the war, but so were the various families.

The support role by the Elector’s people did not go unnoticed. When the peace conference finally opened, the Elector agreed to host it at the quaint town of St. Vitus-Where-He-Danced. The delegates were quite taken by the pure rustic charm of the town, and the (not so) pure rustic charm of the local maidens. There was one thorny issue that threatened to bog down the talks: what to do with two provinces that nobody else wanted. Each side did not want the other to have them. For a time it looked like the war would resume, but this impasse was brought to an end by a clever solution. It was proposed to offer them to the Elector of Gehen-Sie-Hither as payment for the sacrifices his people had undertaken in the common cause (the people of the Electorate had, by then, a very well developed self-promotion industry). Very few people commented on how both sides in the war were in debut to the Elector for support (his people had formed baggage trains for all armies).

The Elector demurred, at first. But then the spirit of noble self-interest broke out--by having three provinces, he actually was granted a non-revocable vote during the elections. He feigned reluctance as he took over rule of the provinces of Thither and Yon. At first he thought of using the same name for the newly enlarged electorate, but after some thought, chose Ober-Bindlestiff to commemorate the nomadic lifestyle of the people directly responsible for his newly created country.

Twenty-six years later the country was torn by civil war. The event was the War of the Bindlestiff Succession. For a number of reasons the Electoress had not produced an acceptable Heir. As given by custom, though, the first born son of an Official Mistress would succeed to the title. Unfortunately for all concerned, at the time there were several Official Mistresses who were great with child. Two happened to give birth on the same day, and both produced a male child. There was no record as to what time of the day these children were born, and this led to the disputed succession.

As a civil war, the WBS was a decided success. Both armies did their best to avoid each other (both sides were trying to be civil about this war, after all). Once, when both armies came to the same crossroad at the same time, one army civilly stopped to allow the other to pass. But the war spilled over the borders when a small but aggressive neighbor, the tiny Duchy of Gehen-Sie-Broke, attacked in an effort to seize a part of Ober-Bindlestiff.

Both Successor armies united long enough (they resented anyone intervening in a family squabble) to thoroughly thrash Gehen-Sie-Broke, winning a stunning triumph against inferior odds (though that is not the way it is written in the history books) at the famous Battle of Burg-und-Fries. Other battles quickly followed as the two Successor Armies took turns battering the army of Gehen-Sie-Broke. The battles roll off the tongue: Stadtdorf, Obersitzenflesch, Muhlhaus unter der Wasserdam (Millhouse behind the Watergate), until the Duchy surrendered to the Successor Armies. The armies, their reason for uniting behind them, resumed their campaign of march, counter-march, and demi-marche.

Meanwhile, in the background, negotiators were resolving the differences between the two sides. In the end it was decided that whichever of the two children would fill a diaper the most in a single day would inherit the country (this was called the Grand Poop-off--the official who presided at the event was later granted the ennobling title of the Grand Poop-bah, later shortened to Grand-Pooh-bah). The loser would be compensated by inheriting the now vacant throne of Gehen-Sie-Broke. The negotiators also decided that the latter Duchy would be merged with Ober-Bindlestiff when that successor died. This happened a few years later when the new Duke of Gehen-Sie-Broke died (fortunately without an heir) while he and his number two mistress were sporting on horseback. His fall settled any succession problems at once.

The current Elector (grandson of the successful pooper) assumed the at the age of 26. He concerned himself with many important affairs, among which can be numbered the affairs of state. He was married to his wife while both were of the tender age of 19.

Now let us look at the provinces in more detail.

Hither -
Technically speaking this is the County of Kommen-Sie-Hither, composed of the Barony of Gehen-Sie-Hither, the Barony of Hither-und-Dither, the Duchy of Kommen-Sie-Often and the Duchy of Gehen-Sie-Broke. Hither is a well-populated province, with an open, rolling countryside a (relatively) adequate network of roads, canals and rivers, a warm and sunny climate, and four major cities. The transportation system is best described as adequate. All four cities are developed, three of them are fortified, the same three recognize the legitimacy of the crown. The other city (Ripplestadt) houses the famous University of Ripplestadt. The same three cities are well-developed, Ripplestadt has well-developed coffee houses where wretched poetry and bad songs are served with the morning coffee. Ripplestadt also features more newspapers per capita than anywhere else in Ober-Bindlestiff. By decree of the University Chancellor, a free press has been instituted. Since, by that decree, all newspapers are free of charge, this has given rise to a flourishing pulp and paper industry, and the best practiced bankruptcy lawyers in Ober-Bindlestiff. Ripplestadt also has the least expensive printing presses in the entire country. It might be noted that the University is in the more elevated, up-country, part of the province, and, by decree, all university buildings are painted alabaster white (they couldn’t import enough ivory paint).

The people of west Hither (around the city of Grootdefeatfontein--see below) are sort of like the Dutch in that they are willing to negotiate anything, if the price is right. This has resulted in the one known festival in the west country, the Haggling Festival, where people haggle and bid on merchandise they could never hope to own. The people of central and eastern Hither tend to be fun loving, with numerous parties, festivals, and other holy days (the days spent celebrating the Festival of St. Bacchus are known as the High Holy Days).

Yon -
Yon is the furthest from the capitol (to the east), an open land with a pleasant (warm) climate and one major city. What is it about the people of Yon that mark them as different? Think distant relatives you aren’t normally wild about seeing. That is the attitude of the people of Yon towards the rest of Ober-Bindlestiff, and that is especially the attitude of the citizens of their provincial capitol, Ober-Jonder. The transportation system is the charitably described as execrable, though parts of it rise to merely wretched. Ober-Jonder is homogenized (more in the culinary sense than in the population--their chief products are cheese and milk duds). However they do recognize the legitimacy of the ruler--perhaps the fortifications have something to do with that, perhaps it was the way in which the Elector acquired them. The city fathers (in every sense of the word) are currently in competition to build the biggest Opera House in the country, bigger than the one they completed two years ago. It won’t be as big as the famous Yodel-Hall, home of the Yonder Yodel Hall Corps d’Ballet. However, the new Opera House will be big enough to seat hundreds of people in moderate comfort while they listen to the works of the great Masters (Barney and Siegfried Masters). The new Opera House also features the first bronze spittoons (not that cheaper brass) in the whole country.

Thither -
Thither lies between Hither and Yon. This province is definitely difficult going, with lots of small valleys and thick woods with poor transportation (think eastern Kentucky), and one city, Polka. Geographically Thither is the largest province of Ober-Bindlestiff. Thither is also known (at least in Hither Province) as the back country. It is part of Ober-Bindlestiff simply because it never occurred to anyone that they could be part of any other country. They are also somewhat conservative in their manners, and cling to their allegiances with a stubborn pride that does not even allow a hint that they might be better off somewhere else. The people of Thither are a rustic, simple people, who practice a hedonistic lifestyle full of feuds and in-breeding. Every valley seems to be a separate political entity. Their chief exports are sons (hired out as mercenaries and servants in everyone’s army), daughters (the girls of the local “nobility” are trained in all of the arts of the coquette at the various Convents of Our Lady of the Night, Saint Jezebel, the other orders make some of the best domestic servants in the country, and apply their own native talents to their domestic “duties”). They also produce strong liquor made from tree bark and other unidentified vegetable matter, and some of the finest nosewhistle players seen this side of the north pole.

Many touring companies of actors and musicians can be found in Thither, where they are “honing their skills” before trying to land a gig in the capitol.

The people of Polka recognize the legitimacy of the ruler, their attitude being “If he leaves us alone, we’ll leave him alone”. This equitable arrangement has been a pleasant working relationship between the rulers and the ruled for years.

* Ober-Jonder - the capitol of the province of Yon. It is fortified, and the people prefer the current ruler of the country to most others, perhaps recognizing that others would intrude into their private lives and thus be worse.

* Krashtinkeldorf - this is located in Hither province. It is the home of several world-famous porcelain factories, and currently the only place where commemorative plates are manufactured (be the first to collect all six of the set “Famous Mule Teams of Thither”). Krashtinkeldorf was originally composed of two smaller towns (Krash and Tinkel) divided by the Splash River. The porcelain factories are in Tinkel. The people of Krash annually celebrate the Great Cattle Fair by driving their cattle through the streets of the city (both cities, actually). Young men demonstrate their bravery by running in front of the cattle, attempting to incite them to stampede. In this they are usually successful.

* Polka - the capitol of Thither Province, and home of the (in-)famous Polka Opera Company--it is not often you hear opera sung with an oompah backbeat (provided by accordions and accompanied by horns) while dancers in clogs perform in the foreground. Truly it is an...experience. This city is unfortified, just hard to get to due to the primitive transportation system. It is a city only because all of the local competition is not. Polka is also a religious center, and home to several Holy Orders that practice salvation through penance in old age. Of course one can only achieve salvation by having sins one can repent, so the early part of one’s life (the first 30-40 years) is spent accumulating those sins that one can repent later in life. Polka is also home to Our Lady of the Perpetual Audit, a very poor religious order that preaches salvation through double-entry sinning--you must commit sins to offset all the good deeds you did when you were an innocent young child (and ideally end up with just one sin outstanding for man is a sinful creature). This Order also teaches double-entry bookkeeping to those who are interested (which is very few). Polka is also home to the famous Pig-Squealing Contest, in which contestants are supposed to squeal like a “stuck pig”. Pigs are provided, gratis, as a comparison for this contest.

* Grootdefeatfontein - in the western part of Hither Province. Named for the most stunning defeat the country ever had (at the hands of the Khafoolistani’s who looted it during the Great Pirate Migration of only a few hundred--well, several hundred--years back). The city of Grootdefeatfontein is the home of most of the Anabaptists in the country, who obviously prefer their sins without the patina of religious blessing. The city is the banking capitol of the country, and is located on an estuary (or what passes for one). This dour people do not have Opera companies, or Chorale groups, or any other form of entertainment (except taverns, of course). This is the home of the country’s Mint Works, producers of mints and other confections that are created from produce drawn from the nearby countryside. The city is a hereditary fee-for-service city (as opposed to other cities, which are Preferred Provider), which means you pay as you go rather than as you the local monopolies. As a result it has very flourishing market dealing in anything that can be traded (the famous Black Market, so named for the black soot that covers the walls of the buildings. These are from fires--did I mention that Grootdefeatfontein has the worst fire department in the country?). It is ruled by the Stellenbosch family (who later emigrated to South Africa where they founded a Pension and Half-Pay Club for British officers, but that is another story). Their ruling concept is that you can do anything you want, provided you bought a license for it, first (in later years this will be known as licensed anarchy). This even includes overthrowing the Stellenbosch family (the license for that is very very expensive). Grootdefeatfontein is the terminus for the famous Worsted Fiber Route that tried to carry Worsted Fiber to Cathay in exchange for silk (it was not a financial success). As far as cities go, it is even reasonably developed--the streets are paved, there is a sewer system (of sorts), and they have recently installed street lights (red in certain districts...well, most districts). The city is known for having the least crime in the country, the various large financial houses and major families hate freelance competition.

* Grösser Bindlestiffdorf is, no surprise, the capitol of Ober-Bindlestiff. This is the city home of the Elector (well, his winter home). This city has more concert halls and stages per capita than any other city in Ober-Bindlestiff. The city is well-developed (both in the citizens as well as in the city infrastructure; the city is famed for its breastworks, both those of the city's fortifications, and also with the distaff side of the population), featuring a sewer system, paved streets, street lights, and a large number of breweries and wineries. The city is a leader in chocolate, wine, and has a flourishing trade in crème de menthe. The city is also well-known for linen, lace and gauze production. Spring is the favorite time of the year as that is when the new fashions are displayed by the fashion salons of Ober-Bindlestiff, many featuring the aforementioned lace and gauze. Every year the latest fashions are displayed in a series of Spring Fashion shows. These clothes have recently caused a great deal of comment. Men now can add padding to their silk stockings, while the hemlines of women's dresses have scandalously risen so they only brush the ground, rather than drag on it. The bust lines on dresses have plummeted to the point that chills in the evening are a very real possibility. Life in Grösser Bindlestiffdorf features many parties, festivals and other entertainments.

* Ripplestadt is the home of the University of Ripplestadt, and was formerly the capitol of Gehen-Sie-Broke. The city is divisive and poorly developed. Every proposal to fortify the city is turned down by the Elector’s government; in case of student riots (a tradition in Ripplestadt) the government does not want any fortifications for the students to hide behind. The government has stated openly that anyone who conquers Ripplestadt will take it, but they doubt they can keep it--they believe that garrisoning the place to hold the students down would take more troops than anyone could afford. Aside from the University, Ripplestadt is famed for a large number of taverns, cabarets and dives. These often feature bad poetry, worse folk-singing, and very bad musicianship. There are other entertainments offered in Ripplestadt appealing to the baser instincts of the student body. There is the pleasant story that there is more drinking done in Ripplestadt than by the rest of the populace of Ober-Bindlestiff put together. This story is repeated very often by the purveyors of the city’s only domestic product, Ripplestadt Ripple.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Creating Ober-Bindlestiff

The hobby of wargaming has many interesting side quirks, not the least of which is the creation of imaginary countries. This dates back to the days of Brigadier Peter Young and Charles Grant, and their two imaginary countries that were locked in a perpetual struggle for supremacy somewhere in Germany. The reasons for this are many, but let's focus on why I want to do it.

  1. I get to design the country the way I want to. I don't have to worry about a past history, or other historical baggage that might get in the way of enjoyment. This means I get to write the history, and it can be as serious, or as absurd as I wish it. And the country can contain as many odd little ins and outs as I want. It is, after all, my sandbox, and there were more than 300 tiny little German countries in the 18th Century. Who's to say this couldn't have happened?
  2. When I design the country I can do as many stupid and silly things as I want; for example, have a Royal Mistress's Regiment with their pink coats. Or have clerks who mismanage the paperwork in creative and amusing ways.
  3. I get to design the uniforms. This can be great if you like fanciful uniforms. Or it can be as simple as settling on white, and coming up with regimental names. By the way, I chose the latter. Though there might be an English contingent, probably expatriates. They aren't Irish, so they aren't Wild Geese. Oh, let's try something else. All right, these are the Wild Robins who left England (it's before 1708 so it isn't Great Britain) because of...well, that's their secret.
  4. I can be a monarch, at least in my own mind. This strikes some people as dangerous fantasy. But why is this worse than pretending you are the Doom Warden of the Western Marches in a D&D game. I know, that's a game. So is this. Only this doesn't have any rules; I make those up as I go along. But being a monarch means being as extravagant as possible (Louis XIV). For example: the army is such a bother -- feed me, pay me, clothe me, always me, me, me! Never a thought for their poor ruler with his three palaces, a mistress, and all of the other obligations of royalty.
  5. I can write the history (which I've done). That can be entertaining in its own way.
  6. It gives me an excuse for wargaming. As if I needed one anyway.
My earlier attempts at creating an imaginary country brought forth two: first, my Napoleonic country, Gottingen-Hoff, which was sort of a French country. And second, my Bronze Age city state Kwazituya (pronounced "What's-it-to-ya").

The latter was one of those small city-states that could muster a lot of warm bodies, a few chariots, a few real troops, and otherwise kept to itself in the fervent hope that Egypt or the Hittites would ignore it. Gottingen-Hoff was part of a larger continent that included my arch-enemy, Quackenbruck, and a number of "allies", Methylonia, Doff, and Pfaffenhoffen. These were part of an on-going campaign, that was done by fighting the battles, and then creating the campaign that led up to the battles. In an inverted way, it worked.

By the way, why France in the Napoleonic wars? Why not somebody else? That was because I felt more comfortable with the methods and techniques of the French Army, not because of some awe of Napoleon. I "fought" my Napoleonic battles in a French style, and so I settled on a French country. I later tried adapting to an Austrian style for my 6mm figures; that is another story. But wargamers fight their battles in distinct styles. There is nothing sadder than watching somebody flounder with a system they are not comfortable with; see my earlier reference to Austrians in 6mm.

So it is early in the 18th Century. Ober-Bindlestiff, an electorate somewhere in Germany, has a history, has an army, a government, and a many and varied population. It has a government based on the more lurid versions of the Court of Versailles and the Electorate of Saxony, only without the poisoning. More details will be forthcoming.
Now a word about related matters. I'll be linking to other blogs with their imaginary countries, and I hope to be putting up pictures of the army. I settled on Marlburian because I've been on a Marlburian kick for several years, and have a lot of figures for it in 15mm. Besides, this is before the Prussians upset everyone's applecart by actually getting serious about war. Oh, and it also takes me from 1702 to 1755. Focusing on the Seven Years War only gives me about, well, seven years.

Rules - yes, what's wargaming without rules? For mid-18th Century I've used Warfare in the Age of Reason by Tod Kershner and Dale Woods; used it, as a matter of fact, for a long long time (since 1983 I think), and even wrote the siege rules for them. For the period of Ober-Bindlestiff, I use Volley & Bayonet, 2nd edition, playtest copy as modified from the Age of Frederick for the Marlburian period. My modifications, by the way, but everybody seems to agree with them. My reasons for using these rules are many and varied, and I won't get into the particulars here.

Links - as I get them I'll link. But as a first cut, this is from Ambrowsehawk: via the Society of Daisy. There will be others as I sort through all of this.