Travel, History and Wargaming

I was walking around the city today, it was lunchtime after all, and pondering what the next wargaming period would be after I finish the WW2 Italians, the Napoleonics and the WW2 Russians that are all on my acquiring and/or painting queue at the moment. My thoughts started to drift to the Great Northern War (1700-1721), famous as much for the commanders (Karl XII of Sweden and Peter the Great of Russia) as for the struggle. It also occurred around the time of the War of Spanish Succession in Europe. The thinking went something along the lines of

… hmm, what to eat for lunch
must get some food tonight – do the shopping
need to paint some more Prussians
Napoleonics …Prussia, Confederation of the Rhine, Duchy of Warsaw, Saxony
oh, northern Europe, Denmark (NATO modern), Danish Napoleonic fleet [must paint them soon too]
… Sweden [maybe I should do Swedish Army for Polemos?]
… Sweden, Saxony, Poles, Denmark, hmm, Great Northern War
… maybe I should do the Norwegian forces of the Great Northern War.

Convoluted process but the result of all that was starting to think more about wargaming the Great Northern War. this is something I have thought about many times before. I have rules, books and some figures, in both 15mm and 6mm scales. But why was I thinking about building a Norwegian Army for this war, after all, at that stage Norway was part of Denmark and their troops really did not have a great involvement in the GNW, being only at best a small sideshow?

It occurred to me that the reason I thought of Norway (and Denmark) was that I had visited the “festning” Kristiansten and Munkholmen in Trondheim as well as the main fort in Copenhagen and these all date from around those times. Indeed, Trondheim was the site of a successful defence of Midt-Norge (Middle Norway) against the Swedes who sent a small force of 3000 men to invade that part of Norway. I travelled to these places, lived in Norway in Trondheim for three years (and I would happily live there again at the drop of a hat) and find that I have developed an interest in modelling their armies in wargame terms.

I then started to see a connection between history, travel and wargaming and noticed that there were a few armies I was particularly interested in modelling in wargame terms, such as the Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, Mongols, Koreans from the time of the Three Kingdoms and Choson, Arabs (conquest or to about 1400), the English Civil War and South East Asia (Khmer and Thai in particular). Those are armies that have been inspired from what I have seen when travelling (Thomo doesn’t only sit at bars drinking beer when travelling, although truth be told, there is a lot of history in many bars as well). More though, they are the armies of the places I have spent a lot of time in rather than just visited for a week or two. The last strong motivators for me are books as well – and the Centurion series (Macro and Cato) are stimulating me to consider Roman and Briton armies.

So, now I know what motivates me. I live somewhere for a few years, have a look around, learn some of the history then later, when looking for inspiration for the next big thing wargames wise, I select a period or army and conflict related to one of the countries I have resided in.

Travel, History and Wargaming all becoming related for me. The exception? Ships.!Love ships!

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