Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kas'trum Campaign


One aspect of history and war gaming that has always interested me has been the underdogs, the ordinary, the forgettable and the forgotten. It's easy to get excited about the heroic, the dashing, the elite troops with all the kit as well as the skills and attitude to go with it. But I was never into the easy.

Space 1889, and its mass battle rules The Soldier's Companion, is  human and European focused. There is nothing wrong with this but to me at least, it is unsatisfying. Martian culture is supposed to be very old - older than that of Humanity in fact, yet it is presented as a culture in decay. The Martians, even when allies of Earth, are plot points or antagonists with the odd NPC thrown in for interest. Where are the stories from the Martian perspective? Why must they be two dimensional?  From the classical colonial perspective this makes some sort of sense, The Canal Martians stand in for the Raj with the Hill and High Martians taking on the roles of Steppe Tribes / Plains Indians and slightly exotic barbarians respectively.

Over hundreds of years of inter city conflict we are expected to believe that the Martians lack any technical finesse, any sense of strategy. At the very least, flying ships are something they know intimately while the Earth empires are just trying to figure them out.

It is also somewhat unsatisfying to see that in the fluff the British campaigns are held up not because of any skill on the part of the Martians but due to human incompetence. The Zulus and afghans got more respect than this.

I need to change this narrative so I give you the Kas'trum Campaign. this will be a series of battles fought using a ladder structure rather conveniently based on a British expeditionary force moving up the canal. The British force will be somewhat automated. It will receive support as its fortunes ebb and flow. The Kas'trum forces will be more fixed, with compromise required to get assistance from the hill tribes or High Martians as well as the larger city states in the area.  The aim of the game for Kas'trum will be to maintain its independence while driving back the invading Earth forces. This could be through a negotiated peace with the Earthers or causing them enough casualties to make them withdraw.

More to follow in the coming days.

1 comment:

Clive G said...

Pat, I do like the sound of this. I find the Space:1889 canon to be rich, but also rather two-dimensional. As you say, Martian cultures are ancient ones. The may indeed have great inertia and be fading, but there should also be a great collective memory that they can draw upon at need. They are conservative, not stupid.

Good luck with this!