Sunday, 11 December 2016

Yet more VBCW with Cluedo characters...

Right, well, the classic Cluedo characters are these:

Miss Scarlett
Professor Plum
Mrs White
Reverend Green
Mrs Peacock
Colonel Mustard

These are the classic Cluedo characters, or at least the Waddington's versions I used to play with when I was a kid (I don't know of any earlier versions of the characters than these) though to be honest they look a little more '40s than '30s:

Original Cluedo characters (c) Hasbro

and the use I have put them to in my speculation about using their appearance as randomly-triggered events (acting as randomly-activated effects) are as follows:

Miss Scarlett - Morale boost
Professor Plum - Ballistics boost
Mrs White - Close combat boost
Reverend Green - Morale boost
Mrs Peacock - Ballistics boost
Colonel Mustard - Close combat boost

and the factions to which they will belong are these (if the first listed isn't fighting apply the second):

Miss Scarlett - Fascist or Socialist
Professor Plum - Socialist or Fascist
Mrs White - Socialist or Anglican
Reverend Green - Anglican or Socialist
Mrs Peacock - Anglican or Fascist
Colonel Mustard - Fascist or Anglican

Every faction has two first choices and two second choices. The second choice depends on who's fighting. If Fascists (Miss Scarlett & Colonel Mustard) are fighting Socialists (Professor Plum & Mrs White) then the other two, who would normally be on the Anglican side, would go to their second choices (Rvd Green to the Socialists and Mrs Peacock to the Fascists). That seems quite self-explanatory.

What I'm thinking at the moment is making using the same principles but making the Cluedo characters unit commanders. Their primary and secondary faction attributions would stay the same. Their effects at boosting units' stats would be somewhat modified but would essentially affect the same stats - Scarlett and Green would boost morale, Plum and Peacock would boost shooting and White and Mustard would boost close combat.

I do wonder sometimes by the way if Mrs Peacock is the mother of Captain Stephen Peacock from 'Are You Being Served?'. The actor who played Captain Peacock (served in North Africa in WWII with the Royal Army Service Corps, and also possibly in the Royal Engineers and the Royal Marines) was Frank Thornton, born in 1921 (Thornton actually served in the RAF). Assuming that the actor was the same age as the character he played, Captain Peacock was born in 1921 and as I understand it he would have been eligible to join the Army any time after his 18th birthday early in 1939. Thus, we can be fairly certain that Stephen would have either joined up in 1939 or been called up some time a little later.

Frank Thornton as Captain Stephen Peacock in Are You Being Served? (c) BBC
If she had a child in 1921, who would have been 17 in 1938, then Mrs Peacock is likely to have been born earlier than 1901, putting her at a likely age of 'more than 37' in 1938. She's generally portrayed as being a mature woman perhaps in her 40s, which would fit pretty well.


Units with the Cluedo characters as commanders -

Scarlett's Newcastle Saviours of Britain Volunteers or Union of Actors, Dancers and Allied Theatrical Trades (Newcastle District) Militia:
Captain: Miss Rose Scarlett or Comrade Rose Scarlett:
Quirk: unusually high morale

Jarrow Mechanical Institute Militia or South Tyneside Free British Volunteer Rifles:
Captain: Reg Plum ('the Prof') or Professor Reginald Plum;
Quirk: unusually good at shooting

East Stanley Unemployed Workers' Defence Group or St Andrews' Parish Voluntary Defence Force:
Captain: Nora White or Mrs N. White;
Quirk: unusually good at close combat

Lanchester Anglican League Defence Force or Lanchester Workers' Patrol:
Captain: Reverend Hugo Green or Hughie 'Padre' Green;
Quirk: unusually high morale

Hamsterley Anglican League Defence Force or Derwent Valley League of Fascists Volunteer Brigade:
Captain: Mrs S. Peacock;
Quirk: unusually good at shooting

North Durham Loyal British Volunteer Regiment or North Durham Local Defence Force:
Captain: Colonel: Hammond Mustard, DSO, MC & bar;
Quirk: unusually good at close combat

I should probably make some flags to go with these units using the Scrontch's Flag Designer.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Meh, more flags, why not...

This is a really nice flag designer, that can be used for the flags of Imagi-nations, factions or units. Those above are somewhat random (the first is a randomised design that the website generated, the two below it just me playing about). Those below could be the flags of VBCW units/factions - the first a flag of Yorkshire Fascists (perhaps even the Wensleydale Loyal Militia AKA the 'Sons of Hawes', which is what the UNIT trrops/Northdale Rifles are when they're in their VBCW guise); the second is an Anglican unit (I might use it as a unit flag of NW Durham Anglicans and relate it to Consett's sword-making tradition) and the third is an Anarcho-syndicalist flag.

Designing the flag is actually the easy part: then there's a bit of a fiddly process to get the .SVG output to open in Inkscape or similar so you can save the flag as a .PNG. But it didn't take me long to produce the flags above.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Whimsy's Diary, 23rd October 1895

Oh, how wonderful to have visited Paris!

I know it was brief - merely a 'flying visit' - but it is a marvellous and thoroughly modern city. Men often do not wear hats - not a single stove-pipe did I see in my whole time there, though some men of poorer sort wore different kinds of flat cap, some pulled to the front and some that lean to one side. This sort, Rivets informed me, are a kind of fisherman's hat called a 'berry', though I cannot see why, as they resemble no sort of berry I know, but rather a kind of pancake, of which there many and excellent kinds for sale in the back-streets below the new church of Sacre Coeur. The women wear their hair long for the most part, and top this with either hats like a Homburg or another kind of fisherman's cap, this one less flat and somewhat resembling a pastry, of which there was also multitude of kinds on sale everywhere. Everyone, men and women alike, wears a kind of long narrow shawl called 'escarfe'. These come in a wide variety of designs and fabrics, and are knotted round the neck in a multitude of ways. But the most extra-ordinary thing is that some ladies wear trousers! Young girls, and many ladies of more mature years, wear respectable dresses it is true, but from about the age of 15 or so, up to 50, a great many women were wearing trousers. I can only assume this is due to the great love Parisiennes have of riding. Long coats vented so as to facilitate riding, as well as many short jackets, were much in evidence to support this notion. Of course, boots were also conspicuous, though as the weather was not exactly summery in late October, this may have been more to do with the water in the streets than any wish to exercise horses in the Bois de Boulogne.

We stayed in a small place in Belleville, which lived up to its name - a charming place and full of people from all over the globe from Africa to China, and even the far Americas, if you would believe such a thing. Walking down one of the broad avenues, intent on visiting the modern cemetery at Pere Lachaise, I happened to notice several ladies of Oriental appearance - though dressed in a manner indistinguishable from the French ladies - who seemed to be waiting for something while standing outside various establishments. Thinking perhaps that their husbands were conducting business inside, I asked Rivets if it was the custom that ladies of China would not enter the shops. Rivets seemed quite certain that these ladies did not have husbands. Asking how he was so sure, he told me that he was certain they were waiting for gentleman callers to approach them, at which point they would begin to conduct business on their own account. I was shocked, I must admit, as we don't have such a thing in Pootling Magna, I'm quite sure. I feel like such a silly girl sometimes, and am grateful to Rivets for his wide knowledge and wise advice. He turned even more red than usual when telling me, though.

At Pere Lachaise, I learned nothing. Neither Uncle Reg's grave, nor any of my grandemere's family, could I find. Certainly, I found many de Rieres in Paris, but never the right one. As to Uncle Reg, the story that he was given a hero's burial seems wide of the mark. I'll be very sorry to tell Aunt Eleanor, but those who died in that awful time are almost forgotten. What a waste, to have laid down your life for a city that pretends that nothing has happened! But, thoroughly moderne though it is, Paris bears the scars of war. Barely 20 years have passed since the war with Prussia, and only due the ingenuity of M. Verne's engines was the city kept safe at all. Here and there were memorials to those who fought to defend the city as well as partly-destroyed buildings - the results, I assume, of bombardment by the Prussian Kriegmaschinen. This latest calamity seems much more in evidence than the events of 1848. That escapade seems to have become something of a forgotten myth, and Uncle Reg has been forgotten with it - if his remembrance was ever more than our family's own myth to console us in our loss.

This is, I think, because Paris is always thinking of the future. The astounding metal tower built by M. Eiffel in the western part of the city is certainly a marvel of the modern world. I really cannot do it justice - the soaring iron beams seem to fling themselves into the sky, and one's eye is drawn irresistibly upward whenever one spies it above the surrounding buildings or at the end of a boulevard. The top floor, I'm told, is a tether-stage for airships of all kinds - though, as we were trying to stay somewhat inconspicuous, we set down Windhover on a small aerofield near Gare de l'est. I have taken many photomatographics of the tower; I shall study them in an attempt to better to understand this fantastical construction.

Peggy was transfixed by the whole adventure - perhaps by nothing more than our visit to the lingeresse that Aunt Eleanor recommended to me. She was right that their wares are far more sophisticated than anything I have seen in England! I am glad to say that Rivets did not accompany us on that trip - when I flatly told him we were going shopping for ladies' delicates, he turned scarlet (again) harrumphed very loudly and said that he would try to find some axle-grease from a mechanic's workshop. Peggy rolled her eyes at this - we both know that we're very well provided for grease and Rivets was making excuses, but it is for the best. I'm sure he would have been even more uncomfortable had he actually caught sight of any of the pretty under-things on display!

Sadly, in the end, our visit was fruitless. I am no further in my quest to find information on my father's mysterious disappearance and now, back in England, I can think of no other course than to venture into the veritable lions' den. I fear, I must make the trip to Ruritania - and soon, if I am not to find the trail utterly cold. It is not a prospect I relish...

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Now is not the time

I've been working on a post, to do with Rivets and Whimsy, about Paris. I love Paris, it's a marvellous city and I've spent many magical times there. I was there three weeks ago, and had decided that some of what I saw would find its way into a diary entry from Whimsy, while she is travelling across Europe searching for news of her missing father.

But I don't think I will be finishing it any time soon. I don't do 'historical' gaming because (other people's way of cutting the cloth is different and that's fine) because I want to escape from reality for a bit, and it seems to me that games can trivialise the horror of history. And what happened in Paris is not yet even history.

Solidarity with everyone, everywhere, who is living in fear and desperation, or mourning loved ones victim to the seemingly unending barbarity that surrounds us.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Mornington Cresent 1895

Until normal service is resumed (if it ever is) I'm going to propose a game. This will be the ever popular 'Mornington Cresent' - though as this is the 1890s, we will of course be playing as if it were 1895. Not the rather humdrum 1895 of the Dreyfus Affair, Oscar Wilde's trial, and the murder of the Empress of Korea, of course, but the 1895 of the War of the Ruritanian Succession, the entry of the Astro-Hungarian Empire to the space-race, and the first use of the Galvanic Bombard.

The game will use the standard Tudor Court Rules, with all the variations considered by Trumpington judged as valid, except those that for obvious reasons aren't; there will be no suspension of gambits; and play will be constant rather than sequential, though of course, one cannot both serve and receive without a return. As this is 1895, all currency will of course be pre-decimal, though I suspect most people still play using pre-decimal coinage in any case.

Trusting that such an approach will be met with favour, I will start the proceedings by serving thusly:

Tower Hill.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Final load of VBCW flags (for now)

The Fictional Flags pages continue to offer inspiration for VBCW: this time, I'm looking at flags for Fascist forces in my NE theatre of VBCW.

This is a link to a page of Nazi-inspired flags. In particular, I'm thinking that the flags of Richard III (from the McKellern movie), the flag of Libria (from the film Equilibrium), and the flag of the Arctic Nation (from the Blacksad graphic novels), would all make good flags for Fascist units. There's also, on a different page here, a flag of the 'Teen Titans East' which looks like a convincing Fascist flag.

None of these are my flags. But when I get round to sorting out my Fascist militia units, these might be some of the flags they could use.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

More VBCW flags

Carrying on from the last post about VBCW, I thought I'd include some flags for socialist factions.

In some ways I'm not very happy about these. In one way, they're fine, they have something of a Russian Civil war quality to them - red flags with some simple logos and some text. I've included red-and-white and red-and-gold flags as some players like to have different socialist factions - I'm assuming that the red-and-gold flags are those of 'official' Communist Party units, while the red-and-white are of units not aligned to the ComIntern; maybe Trotskyists, or aligned with the many other socialist groups of the 1930s.

The legends relate to units likely to make it into my campaign, set aound North Durham - the first flag on sheet 1 is of the South Medomsley Workers' Militia, South Medomsley being a coalmine in North-West Durham; the Oxhill Irregulars flag is fairly self-explanatory, Oxhill being a small settlement near where I went to school; on sheet 2, the first flag refers to the Wardley Branch of the Durham Mineworkers' Union Militia, and the second to the Union of Boiler-makers and Platers, from the shipyards on the Tyne. I made up both the unions, but were something like the VBCW to have happened, my guess is 'Red Guard' units like this based on unions and workplaces would have been formed.

However, the problem I have with these banners is that they really don't represent the traditions of banner-making in British society between the wars. Union branches, Masonic lodges, co-operative societies, brass bands, the Women's Institute, the Boy's Brigade - loads of organisations had banners. People were well used to them, they marched behind them, loads of people must have worked on them. So how come these flags look like they were quickly designed by someone with no graphical talent?

They should really be more like this, I think:

When I work out how to get the scrolly text, elaborate backgrounds and portriature, then perhaps I'll be able to make some banners that really represent the traditions of British banner-making.