Our next H.G. Wells project: Little Wars

littlewarsAs you well know by now, the Ascension Epoch is rooted in public domain stories and characters. The most obvious and probably the most influential on the backstory is H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, but most of our other stories at least reference other public domain works, if they’re not based on them explicitly. Copper Knights and Granite Men is a sequel of sorts to The King in Yellow. One of the important organizations in House of Refuge comes from Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail. A chapter in After Dark has parallels to one of Algernon Blackwood’s John Silence stories (Torrent even uses the original case files to help solve the mystery!).

This will continue in the future, even as we accelerate the introduction of completely original characters. What can I say? We love old books!

We have hobbies besides writing and drawing. For example, we’re gamers and we like toys.

And there’s more to the public domain than literature. For example, there’s this gem by H.G. Wells: it’s called Little Wars, and it’s one of the earliest manuals of miniature war gaming. By the standards of today’s war games, the rules are simplistic, and most of the actual battle is decided by firing spring-loaded cannons and seeing which soldiers get knocked down. Far more than a historical curiosity, it’s got charm in spades.

But what does a pre-WWI book about miniature wargaming have to do with the Ascension Epoch? Although it doesn’t provide any characters or events to influence our alternate history, it does provide some new ideas about how we can explore our very extensive universe besides prose and illustrations. Stuff like photo journals of toy soldiers re-enacting some of the greatest conflicts of the age, or campaign booklets describing some the struggles mentioned in our appendices–the Pan-American War, the Keystone Rebellion, Spain’s spectacularly failed attempt to reconquer Gibraltar–that you can re-fight in your backyard or living room floor.

For my purposes, I intend to update the rules a bit, as well as the scale. I’m thinking more along the lines of 3 3/4″ or 1:18 scale. For the uninitiated, that’s the scale of modern GI Joes, Star Wars, and many popular superhero action figures. This scale is ideal because of the wide variety of play sets and vehicles already available for them and because they are fairly easy to customize. In fact, we’ve been working on a few of these customization projects for several years, and it’s about time we finished them.

Of course, wargaming and action figure customization are collaborative projects, just like Ascension Epoch itself. We’d love to see what factions, heroes, villains, and gloriously bloodless battles you come up with.

 

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