Let the Wargames begin! Soon, dear comrades, soon.
The way I see it, the chances of me actually getting my story published are slim to none, even if I could afford to be a full-time writer and produce a book series at a reasonable rate. However, I have a toe in the door (not quite a foot, but better than nothing) of tabletop wargaming, given the popularity of my model tanks and sailing ships on Shapeways. Mind you, the closest experience I have to tabletop wargaming is Axis and Allies, which I have played only twice in my life (once as the Axis, and once as the Allies). I am somewhat familiar with Warhammer 40 000, but that’s from playing many hours of Dawn of War and watching If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device on Youtube. That being said, I see no reason to avoid casually developing my own game and get some more market exposure.
I cannot control the ideas that pop into my head. Sometimes, I will work on one 3D model after another, other times I’ll write several pages of the story, and other times I’ll work on my 2D graphics. I was putting off writing this post until I had the flags for all Nine Empires finished. Behold:
In an earlier post, I provided some short descriptions of each of the Nine Empires, and over the course of several later posts, more detailed backstories for some of them. This time, I’ll discuss the symbolism and best-known empire-building strategies for each nation.
Bulmut: the cross contained within a square was a long-used symbol by the westernmost kingdoms that eventually became Bulmut. It was meant to symbolise both the sword and the hammer. After the dwarves joined, the quatresact was integrated into the design, and the Silver Star of the North was placed in its centre. A quatresact, by the way, is a symbol that many dwarven noble houses display. It is essentially a square version of Odin’s Sign.
Strategy: focus on technology and industry. Superior weaponry allows Bulmut to achieve victory on almost any battlefield. Only the most stubborn enemies will continue fighting long enough for Bulmutian forces to suffer any significant losses. However, with smaller numbers at its disposal, a single defeat could be devastating.
Alexandria: the double-headed eagle is the symbol of the Karamazov family. It was originally black, but changed to gold after the family took the throne.
Strategy: fortifications and deep battle. The borderlands have many forts, and behind them are rugged lands that are easy to dig into, but difficult to move armies through. Alexandria’s wealth comes largely from agriculture and trade, and the rail lines allow the empire to quickly move both soldiers and resources around in the event of war. Much of the fighting consists of holding off the enemy as long as possible, then retreating into the wilderness as soon as something goes wrong. If the winter doesn’t kill the enemy, the partisan groups hiding in the woods and angry farmers eventually will.
Kantossa: the rising sun. Kantossa is the easternmost land of Rossbera, hence the first to see the sunrise. It is also a wealthy nation, and is rarely affected by economic downturns. Given its widespread trade, as long as someone on the continent is doing well, so are the Kantossi.
Strategy: trade monopoly. Kantossi merchant ships are armed, and can defend against some fairly powerful warships. The merchant fleet has a few dedicated warships, which are meant mainly to defend against dreadnoughts and other heavy warships. Piss off the Kantossi, and you may find every single port you control under blockade.
Sondor: the sailfish on a red field is the coat-of-arms of House Azul. Members of the Imperial Family typically display the fish in purple on their person, but on the national flag, the fish is red and blue. The blue cross represents the rivers of the mainland, and the gold cross represents the wealth that flows over them.
Strategy: always use the land against the enemy, even if you are in their territory. In addition to a large arsenal of dedicated river warships, Sondor makes good use of espionage to learn about the battlefield, many times for isolating the various enemy divisions and avoiding a battle altogether. Imperial agents routinely make friends within criminal organisations that stand to benefit from a major power shift in the area. Turning the common people against their own government is another common strategy, but it is not quite as reliable.
Drachania: “black diamond” is anthracite coal, and Drachania has a lot of it. The black dahlia on a yellow field is the coat-of-arms of the Votavko family, and looked remarkably similar (at a distance) to the coat-of-arms of the Karamazovs, back when both were still vassals to the Skharnovs. To avoid confusion, the families went in two different directions with the designs of their nations’ flags.
Strategy: get lost. Seriously, enemies can just get lost within the vast wilderness of the country. They will find that Drachania has huge amounts of untapped natural resources, but should the enemy bring in mining equipment and try to steal it, that is the time to strike, because that is when they are most vulnerable. Drachania has potential to be a more powerful version of Bulmut, and all that is needed is one step in the right direction. It would take no time at all to build up industry and collect the necessary materials to build a huge army with powerful weapons. Now, if only you could find a way to motivate the people…
Karaden: “blood of the jungle, blood of the waters.” When the request was made to turn those words into a flag, that was the result.
Strategy: trololololol! The Karadenians have a habit of doing totally unexpected things during war, then making the trollface and saying “you mad, bro?” Well, their rhetoric is not quite 21st-century like that, but the idea is the same. Galleons firing explosive shells and incinerating men-of-war, the dreadnought-killing Invictus-class battleships that are smaller than many armoured cruisers, and of course, the flying galleon are all troll-weapons that the Karadenians have unleashed to discourage everyone else from getting in their way.
Breace: the arm-and-hammer was the symbol of the resistance during the War of Breacian Independence, a conflict that had been foreseen for decades, and finally took place thanks to Arcadia’s weakened state from the War of Karadenian Succession. The many different red, white, and blue battle flags were all combined with a highly abstract version of the arm-and-hammer to produce the flag of the independent republic.
Strategy: feign surrender, then pull the rug out from under invaders. The people of Breace enjoy their independence, and every time that Arcadia has tried to take back the territory, it is the people themselves who take up arms against the occupying soldiers and drive them back. This usually costs Arcadia a staggering number of troops, such that continuing the war is no longer an option. On a slightly humourous note, every time an Arcadian ruler makes the mistake of trying to reclaim Breace, it means the end of a dynasty.
Taressim: a rising star, stretched out like the arrows of expansion in green and red, symbolising blood and land. This is how the State instructs the people to see it.
Strategy: expand or die. There is nothing to do in this country if you’re not a soldier. Even civilians work for the military in one way or another, though the options are rather limited. When the country was first formed, life was fun, because the country was constantly at war, gobbling up other countries and expanding rapidly. Now, surrounded by mighty empires on all sides, High Command is left with two choices: start wars that will push the country to the limit and potentially bring about its downfall, or change the directive of the State.
Arcadia: the golden compass on a dark blue field is the coat-of-arms of the Rodilos family. Unlike its successors, House Rodilos did not see fit to come up a with completely new flag design when it rose to power. The compass was originally meant to symbolise exploration, but on the imperial flag, symbolises conquest and dominion in all directions.
Strategy: peace through power. I’ll eventually rephrase that before I put it in quotes, seeing as the country isn’t run by the Brotherhood of NOD. The Arcadians do not believe that military conquest is necessary, as long as all roads run through their empire. With huge amounts of land and natural resources at their disposal, the Arcadians have the potential to dominate the continent either by force or through economic strength. The empire also has a large and powerful military that is capable of protecting any commercial or industrial facilities that are of great benefit to the nation, be they at home or abroad. The main challenge that Arcadia faces is that it can’t fight everyone at once, and should it be the one to start the war, that may very well be what happens.