I’ve been trying to ratchet back on new periods .. okay, lets’ be honest.. I certainly think ratcheting back on new periods would be a good thing, I guess. It’s hard to achieve that goal lately, with the onrushing cult of the new that affects miniatures as well as boardgames. Latest example: IN HER MAJESTY’S NAME, imminent from Osprey Publishing. This has been a crowd-funded item from NORTHSTAR miniatures, but not, for once, from Kickstarter. In Her Majesty’s Name is a steampunk skirmish miniatures game by Craig Cartmell and Charles Mutton, to be published by Osprey Publishing in their “Little blue line” of odd period rules (I have two, as I have mentioned before– Dux Bellorum and A World Aflame). The descriptive blurb reads as follows:
It is 1895 and the world is in turmoil. In the decades to come, historians will reflect upon the cause of this state of affairs and many will point squarely at Charles Babbage. The perfection of first his Difference Engine, and then his Analytical Engine, gave the new scientific establishment in the Great Powers the tool they had so long needed in order to make a dramatic leap forward. The ability to make huge and repeatable sets of complex calculations revolutionized the world.
Within twenty years came the ‘invention’ of Cavorite, the perfection of miniaturized steam engines, electric light and motors, Radium Bricks, Arc weapons, Hydrogen and Helium Dirigibles, Road Trains, Calculating Artillery Engines, Sea and Land Dreadnoughts – the list is almost endless. Nothing is impossible when the wealth of a Great Power is coupled to the unlimited imagination of educated men of science and their engineers.
The one thing that all these marvellous advances have not brought is peace. Every Great Power has been jostling its neighbours for resources and more importantly, the latest technology. None can afford to stand still and allow its neighbours to advance their science and engineering unmolested. If they do, they risk being overwhelmed as the French were in 1861 by the Prussians’ mobile Calculating Artillery Engines, or as the Union was the year after that, with their ports put to the flame and successfully blockaded by the Confederacy’s Armoured Sea Dreadnoughts.
Some nations have also been tapping into older, more sinister powers, in order to produce an unholy combination of the mystical and the mechanical, such as the Prussian Todt-truppen.
Although there have been relatively few open conflicts between the Great Powers, a state of undeclared and secret war exists between them all. This is where the Adventuring Companies come in. These are the deniable clandestine agents of the Great Powers (and of other globe-spanning organizations). They act in the shadows pitting their skills, their wits and the latest technologies against each other, to obtain the latest scientific formula, artefact or other vital component.
Small groups of highly skilled and specialized operatives are brought together for each mission under the command of a trusted ‘Captain’. In Great Britain they work out of the Explorers’ Club in London. In Prussia their patron is the highly secretive Thule Society. In the USA they are mostly sponsored by the Secret Service. There are similar organizations in each of the Great Powers. They each have the choice of their nation’s latest arms, armour and other equipment with which to perform their missions. — From the North Star Website
If you’ve read any Victorian Science Fiction (especially The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), this is pretty standard stuff. Except this is a skirmish game set in that kind of universe. Not bad! I have traditionally used GASLIGHT or THE RULES WITH NO NAME when I wanted a go-too game for playing VSF battles. The skirmish scale suits me right down to the ground.
The book alone would be pretty interesting in itself (and I admit, I pre-ordered it), but there are all kinds of miniatures being released at the same time as the rules. Hence, the fundraiser. I am very impressed and find myself weakening.
The ranges are:
Lord Curr’s company:
The Society of Thule:
The Black Dragon Tong:
The Servants of Ra:
Plus, a whole mess of nifty extra figures for different funding levels. This appears to be a common crowd-funding practice, adding incentives and bonus nifty things that the folks with deeper pockets get that the basic donors don’t. I have quite a few steampunk/VSF figures already, mostly from Eureka Miniatures and Old Glory (repurposed for VSF). I hope these match but I’m not concerned if they don’t. They look a tad bulky. The attraction of these rules and these figures is that the game will never require large armies of figures, from what I’m reading. It’s a straight skirmish game with individual figures. That means a low figure count and I won’t be breaking the bank.
What am I interested in buying? Well, all of them, really, but if I had to narrow it down to some good guys and some bad guys, I’d select Scotland Yard for one side (which is a traditional choice, I admit) and for the bad guys I’m conflicted. Prussians make wonderful bad guys, so I’m attracted to the notion of using the Society of Thule, but the Black Dragon Tong look wonderful. So I’m probably going to go with them, maybe supplemented with a few great Rail Wars figures that should match. In order of precedence I’d buy the Tongs first, Thule second, and the Ra Worshipers third. I don’t think one set is made any better than the other, I just am more interested in the Chinese mythology.
Terrain, ideally, should be fairly urban, and that’s always a problem in 28mm, as the bigger buildings take up lots of space on the table. I might be able to resurrect some of my Cow Town buildings but I don’t want to rely on that, they are far too American looking for this setting.
Anyway, I’m impressed. I’ve only purchased the (very reasonable at pre-order prices) rulebook so far on preorder so far and I probably won’t buy them until I finish a couple more projects for this Summer first. Still, this is VERY tempting!!!