Lots to think about

Yesterday’s blog entry generated a lot of very useful comments, and I have already begun to think about possible improvements that I can make to my existing ITCHY AND SCRATCHY rules.

I have also been thinking about the mid-twentieth century version of the rules that I want to develop. I already have a title – TOMMY AND JERRY – and I have my PORTABLE WARGAME: MODERN and MEMOIR OF MODERN BATTLE rules from which I can borrow ideas.

I do, however, have a couple of problems. One is aesthetic and revolves around whether I should develop the rules for individually-based figures or multi-figure bases. The other is more complex and revolves around my desire to re-fight the Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War … but without the political aspects of the war between Nazism and Communism intruding into my campaign. In other words I do not want to field SS and NKVD units in my games … but without them would I be re-fighting the Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War?

I do have a possible solution … and that is to use imagi-nation versions of the two sides. I have already done this for my wars/battles set in 1891, and it would not be impossible to do the same for 1941. Germany would become Teutonia and Russia would be SPUR (the Soviet Peoples’ United Republic). Teutonic allies could include Magyarvia, Remania, and any number of other smaller states.

The latter is just an idea at the moment … but it would enable me to equip my model armies with generic rather than specific weaponry, which in turn would allow me to ‘mix and match’ all sorts of stuff that I already have available to use.


14 Comments on “Lots to think about”

  1. I love settings based in alternate history, and I'm really loving the name of the country 'Forbodia' πŸ™‚

  2. David Crook says:

    Hi Bob,

    VERY intrigued by the small island in the 'not' Black Sea – Fezia have been casting envious glances in that direction.

    Any history at all?

    All the best,


  3. Chris Kemp says:

    This goes right back to the heart of the “black vs white” wargames debates that WD had back in the '80s and '90s.

    I resolved the argument to my own satisfaction by including ss and nkvd but not obsessing about them. They have played relatively little part in my campaign so far.

    Regards, Chris

  4. Laughing Ferret,

    I wish that I could claim to have made 'Forbodia' up … but I didn't!

    Have a look at Forbodia for more information … and quite a lot of fun and inspiration!

    All the best,


  5. David Crook,

    I assume that you are referring to the small island that belongs to Remania … and which they will defend to the death!

    All the best,


  6. Chris Kemp,

    I know that what you say makes sense … but somehow I can't bring myself to include them as yet. Perhaps I will change my mind, but for the present they will be off the agenda as far as my model armies are concerned.

    All the best,


  7. I can understand your distaste for the SS and NKVD, and wishing not to include them. My attitude until recent times is – or was – much the same. I have/had the same feeling about flamethrowers, just by the way (that flame thrower operators of any stamp were extremely unlikely to survive as POW tells you something…)

    But on topic, I do not believe their presence essential to play the Great Patriotic War credibly; nor that their absence compromises that credibility. But if the issue presents a dilemma, then maybe you have to compromise somewhere.

    These days, I'm inclined to treat the (Waffen) SS as fighting troops, pure and simple. If the NKVD fought in the same role historically, then I would reserve them for that role. I'd still keep the commissars, but mainly (in Command Decision terms) as 'support stands.' Otherwise, whatever so-called 'policing' role they had I would regard as outside the scope of the campaign.

    Yes, it consciously sanitises both outfits and their more unsavoury activities. But unless you want to enter the murkier realms the SS and NKVD occupied – and who would? – then whatever you do will have some kind of glossing over or sanitising effect. The point is, you will know what you are doing, and why.

    Mind you – the scale of the operation might be such that the NKVD at least would be subsumed in the whole – and possibly the Waffen-SS as well. Just by the way, the so-call 'Father' of the Waffen-SS, and one its most senior commanders, Paul Hausser, was never charged nor convicted of a war crime, so far as I can ascertain. Nor, seemingly, was General der Waffen-SS Wilhelm Bittrich. I can't say the same of Sepp Dietrich, but his was a very different background (Gerd Rundstedt thought Dietrich would have made a fine regimental sergeant-major, and was never a general).

    I do not know if the NKVD operated in brigade or division formations. If they didn't, then you might not have a problem. But if you are to include behind the lines partisan and anti-partisan activity, then the issue re-asserts itself in a different form.

    On another matter – the map looks just a trifle too oceanic up in the top right hand corner. Perhaps the addition if the Island of Spitzensparckenbergen might add a little … something…

  8. Pete. says:

    With respect I'll offer a dissenting view. I think that selectively editing out the past according to personal opinion does a disservice to those who were there, we should still bear witness.

    I think that to include something in a game isn't an automatic condoning of it.

    The post I linked to on my blog shows how dealing with difficult issues in a considered manner can be a fruitful endeavor.

    I do type all of this with the realization that it may very well be turning something that is 'fun' into a serious issue, which is anathema to some people.



  9. Archduke Piccolo (Ion),

    I think that you make a very powerful argument for me to stick with the historical rather than the imagi-nation route in this case. I have certainly not ruled out the idea … but I need to set my own mind at rest.

    The problem that I have is a personal one. My father was a member of 6th Airborne Division, and was amongst some of the first UK troops to liberate a concentration camp. What he saw seriously affected him for the rest of his life – and was one cause of his mental breakdown later in life (or what is today called Post Traumatic Stress) – and he did admit to me that they took very few SS prisoners in the immediate aftermath. He imbued in me a hatred of the SS and everything that they stood for.

    I have some serious thinking to do.

    All the best,


    PS. The map is basically the old RISK map with a few additions, hence the 'missing' bits and foreshortening of some of the distances between continents and islands.

  10. Pete,

    As I think that you will gather from my reply to Archduke Piccolo's comment, my problem lies at an almost visceral level. As a historian I can see good reasons to include the SS and NKVD in my model armies … but deep down it seems to me to be doing something that runs very much against the grain.

    I will sort it out in my own mind, and – as has been pointed out – during the earlier part of the war neither the SS nor NKVD dominated operations on the Eastern Front. As that is where I intend to start my campaign, I don’t initially have a problem.

    There is a serious side to the hobby of wargaming that some people find uncomfortable, and we can choose to ignore it, to live with it, or to agonise over it. I have taken part is some wargames that have looked at the dark side of the hobby … and have learned a lot from doing so. But this campaign is going to be run for my β€˜fun’, and that is why I am agonising over it a bit.

    As I previously wrote, I will sort myself out and get started … but it might take a while before I do.

    All the best,


  11. Pete. says:

    I was unaware of your family connection Bob- apologies if I caused any offence.

    It is a subject I have a deep interest in but leave my comments on the subject here.



  12. Pete,

    No apology needed … but thanks for the thought.

    Over the years I have met several former members of the SS, and none of them seemed anything other than normal. It was difficult to reconcile what I knew the SS had done with the sort of men that I met. In some ways that was more terrifying than had they been unpleasant monsters because it indicated that normal people could easily be capable of doing terrible things in certain circumstances.

    Let us now move on to other things.

    All the best,


  13. Sean says:

    Hi Bob. I think I share your dilemma. I, at the moment, balk at depicting the swastika. I just don't feel good about it even if it is historically accurate. My nascent GPW project is envisioned using the Avalon Hill game Blitzkrieg as a base. Blue=German, Red=Soviet. I would use that for the strategic and then your rules for the combats. That way I can have some of the flavor but none of the historical baggage. Or so I'm hoping.

  14. Sean,

    Your plan sounds like a good one … and not just because you are going to use my rules!

    I know that the swastika is an ancient symbol – and was used by the Finns as well as the Nazi Party – but I understand why you think the way that you do. At present I am still undecided what to do … and until I have made a decision I am going to carry on preparing for my campaign by buying up more ROCO/Roskopf stuff but not actually painting anything.

    All the best,


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