Friday 18 June 2010

What is A Very British Civil War (VBCW)?

Not to be confused with the English Civil War, this is setting for a wargaming, utilising an alternative history in which Britain descends into civil war during the interwar period (ie 1938).

The idea was the brainchild of Dr Rob Jones, Steve Mortimer an Simon Douglas, of Solway Crafts and Publication. The premise is that King Edward refused to abdicate in 1936, triggering a constitutional crisis in which Sir Oswald Moseley, Leader of the British Union of Fascists, managed to seize power. The country is torn apart in the aftermath, leading to a bitter and protracted civil war.

What makes VBCW unique is that it is not a game, as such, but rather an idea. The background is laid out in a series of books produced by Solway, but they don't provide rule. That is left up to the individual gaming groups to choose which system they wish to use. Furthermore, as the fans of VBCW have an active web presence of the Lead Adventure Forum and the Gentleman's Wargame Parlor, the background of the world Solway created has become an organically evolving thing. Players are encouraged to build forces that represent their own area, and to report the results of their battles, and in this way the face of the VBCW country is constantly changing.

What appealed to me most about the VBCW was that is is a work of fiction. By which I mean that it is an alternative history, only loosely based on real historic events. I have always wanted to do historic wargaming, and have often pondered doing a WW2 force, or perhaps Napoleonic. I dallied briefly with colonial wargaming a few years ago, but never really got into it. The problem for me is that I dislike the idea of having to stick to historically accurate uniforms, weaponry etc. I can't stand the idea that another wargamer might look down his nose at my beautifully painted army and snidely comment that 'those epaulets should be sky blue' or whatever. But that is where VBCW is different: as it is an alternative history, anything goes. I can paint my army any colour I choose, and no one can tell me it's wrong! Freedom to engage in historic wargaming with out giving a chance for some beardy rivet-counting know-it-all to show off!

The guys on the forums I mentioned earlier are fantastic. They are very friendly, are always open to new ideas, and love to debate their alternatives history. I spend far to long reading their forum (sometimes more than I spend painting!)

My first VBCW army (because I plan to do some more too) is a force of Communist from Liverpool. Coming from Merseyside myself, it seemed natural to do some scousers. I am using mostly Musketeer Miniatures, with a few Artizan Designs thrown in to the mix, and a pack or two from Empress Miniatures Spanish Civil War range and Eurekas Russian Civil War range. I have used Lledo die cast cars, repainted in suitable colours, for their precious motor vehicles.
I also plan to make some suitable scenary, starting with a rural village, and then progressing onto a built up urban board, with rows of Victorian terrace housing and some docks to represent Liverpool itself.

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