Month: August 2012

Off To GenCon!

In a few hours, I will be leaving for GenCon 2012. This will be my fourth year going. It is also the 45th Anniversary of the convention. I will be starting at least one new project when I get back. I promise to try and take a lot of pictures and I know I will be coming home with some serious goodies.
This will be my last GenCon…as a single man…next year I will be taking my wife. I’ll try and post something from the convention. See you all in a few days.

Steampunk Skirmishing: The Invasion of Tampa Bay Part 2

Why Tampa Bay?

In the last post, I wrote about the real world German plan to invade the US. The initial landing site would either be Bar Harbor, Maine or Long Bay, South Carolina (near Myrtle Beach). So why am I having the Dreaded Hun land in Tampa Bay? Well, since I plan on running this game at at least one local convention why not have the Germans land here. It gives the game a good local flavor. Part of the defending force will be several units from the 1st Florida Volunteer Infantry. Also included is a battery of artillery. I designated the battery as the Hillsborough Light Artillery. The volunteer units sport such names as the Ybor City Rifle Volunteers and the Tampa Home Guard. Now, the units have names that reflect the local heritage.
There are some really interesting locations in the Bay Area as well. My favorite, by far, is Cockroach Bay. It is located on the eastern shore of lower Tampa Bay. There is also a Cockroach Creek as well. Hmmmm! The Battle of Cockroach Creek: Where Once the Embattled Crackers Stood… I like the sound of that.

Steampunk Skirmishing: The German Invasion of Tampa Bay 1905 Pt. 1

My current project is to design and stage a Steampunk Skirmish Game. This is how I am doing it.
First of all, the game is based on one of the most popular genres of writing during the period (1870 – 1914) Invasion Literature. The first and one of the best in my opinion was “The Battle of Dorking” by George C. Tompkins. It was originally published in 1871 by Blackwoods Magazine and told the story of a successful invasion of England by a Foreign Power. It was very popular and controversial in its day and led to a host of other such stories including another one of my favorites “The Riddle of the Sands”. In almost all of these stories, the invading force was usually the German Empire although in several it was a Franco-Russian alliance. The choice of invader was generally dictated by the political leanings of the author.
America produced its own invasion literature usually with the British Empire cast as the invading power. The rationale given was an attempt to force the US back into the Empire. In most cases, local pluck and courage eventually drove the Invader from Our Beloved Native Soil.
In real life, the Germans actually did plan an invasion of the US. Dr. Holger Herwig in his excellent book, “The Politics of Frustration” details something called “Operations Plan III”. Imperial Germany was frustrated by the US conquering the Phillipines in 1898. In fact, the tensions got so bad in Manila Bay that the US and German squadrons leveled their guns at each other. Only the timely intervention of the British prevented a shooting war from taking place.
In the aftermath of this, the Germans felt there was no other recourse but to force the US to give up some of its colonial possessions. Ops Plan III was born. The plan called for the Germans to land at either Bar Harbor, Maine or Long Bay, South Carolina. The invasion force would consist of around 14,000 men. The objectives were to seize a portion of the US and force President Theodore Roosevelt to the negotiating table. Hindsight shows us that this was almost laughable but the Germans took it seriously. However, cooler heads prevailed and the plan was eventually shelved. Still, what an inspiration. What if instead of Maine or South Carolina, the Perfidious Hun had decided to seize a chunk of Florida instead?
This then is the foundation for our tabletop adventure.