Sunday, January 31, 2010

Project LEWES: a rationale

I began 2010 by submitting a list of project options to the Goulburn Gamers President, my good friend and long term wargaming colleague Matt Williamson. I had dreamt up a fanciful idea that we should undertake a year long project to put on a game which the world has yet to see in miniature wargames as a vehicle to promote the club and the members in it. It remains my belief that the Goulburn Gamers have collectors, model builders, painters and wargamers who produce armies and terrain as good as the best I have seen on-line or in the international journals. It was time to show it off.

I a listing of parameters and the battle list ranged across the entire time line of known military history. At the top of that list was the battle of Lewes in 1264 AD.

I wanted to do something original in wargaming. I wanted to put on a large scale and particularly famous battle which had an impact on history but more importantly one that had not been put on before. Further, I wanted to present it to the wargaming community in a unique way. My parameters were simple and the game needed to conform to the following:

1. It must be in 28mm scale

2. It must be in 1:20 representative troop scale or less

3. The battle must be historically significant and/or famous

4. It cannot have been undertaken before on any large scale

5. It is presented with maximum accessibility
I have a life long fascination and contradictory attraction to military history and would commit large parts of my life to its promotion and replication had I no family and career to balance this against. I have this year reconciled that I will only ever be able to commit to one hobby successfully. So I have a new sense of commitment to achieve something for myself in which others may benefit.

The abovementioned list still remains in effect so I will not be sharing it with anyone beyond our group – we don’t want to be pipped at the post after all. Whilst I await the results of that submission, I have since decided to undertake Project Lewes myself. It will not be the only wargaming activity I will be undertaking as I have widely varying tastes and jump about from one period to another. Exclusively dedicating myself to one project to conclusion, especially one of this scale, sounds like more hard work than fun, but I will be actively progressing the task from this year.

I have settled on the battle of Lewes because I have had a twelve year passion for the Barons Wars during the later reign of Henry III. Lewes is the culmination of a build up of tension within the realm between royal authority and baronial aspirations which finally broke out into war – a civil war which had not been seen in England for over forty years since the reign of Henry’s father, King John. Lewes was the greatest battle fought on English soil since Hastings in 1066 and decided who was to govern the kingdom. It involved the greatest men and heroes of the age risking their lives on the battlefield: Simon de Montfort, Richard of Cornwall (king of the Romans), Henry III and Prince Edward ‘Longshanks’, the future king.

Visually, it was a battle taking place at the height of the chivalric age in terms of heraldry and would have been the most colourful battle for the displays of the knightly class seen before or since.

So, my project commences. I will be using Warhammer Ancient Battles as my rule set and army list determinant throughout. I will post research notes, discussion and observations on the battle, army lists, scenario notes, how-to construction postings and plenty of photos along the way. It is my intention that the final product will be a multi-player game (not initially set for a convention) which will be as widely published on-line and in the international wargaming journals as I can make it. I also intend to incorporate a series of films of the project and final battle all of which will be posted on my Lewes and Unlucky General blogs.

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