Wargaming Musings?

I'm a bit of a butterfly in terms of my attention and sticking to gaming projects long term isn't my strongest point. On the bright side, atleast I flit between the same things. Expect an ecclectic medley of Moderns, Dark Ages, Quar and Early Wild West, almost all in 28mm... (with some 1/48 moderns thrown in... )

Friday, 8 June 2012

Re-enactors as a Post Apoc faction

For those who are on the Post Apoc Wargames forum, this will probably be fairly familiar territory. The idea (in brief) being that, compared to a general member of the public, a historical reenactor should have a better chance of survial. The ealier the period they re-enact, typically the more 'hands-on' the reenactments tend to be - both in terms of combat & also crafts/living history. From a combat perspective, any era that has a focus on melee combat (Medieval, dark ages, ECW, etc) will also have included releavent training meaning that the reenactor should be better able to defend themselves with their familir weapons (or even semi-familiar - most sword/falchion/langsax techniques could be applied to say a machete, axe techniques can port across to hatchets, etc). Although reenactment weapons are designed to be fairly safe, almost all reenactors also own a sharp or two either as part of a living history display, or just because they fancy one. they will typically also own robust shields, and armour/protective clothing (how useful this is depends on who keen a reenactor is to luig it around with them though - although I own a shield, helmet, chainmail shirt, arm guards, padded gloves, etc I probably wouldn't take most with me if I was leaving town in a hurry due to the End being upon us. Mind you, I'd probably try to go back to scavenge it later...). The main limitation is that, along with comparatively safe weapons, reenactors are taught to fight safely. We pull our blows, and only hit within certain areas (generalizations here - rules vary from society to society and era to era). In this respect, reenactment combat is nothing like *real* combat. We don't aim to cut at hands to disarm out opponents, as that hurts and most of the time we know and usually like the people we are fighting. There is potentially a lot of training to overcome and lots more lessons to be learned when fighting someone who is just trying to kill you no matter what. (As a brief illustration, one of the groups I train with accepts hits on the upper arms whilst theo ther doesn't. The group that doesn't occasionally change across when we are getting close to a big show hosted by the other group, just so anyone going along can get extra practice in, and typically they die a lot more than would otherwise be expected from people of their skill level as they just aren't used to blocking shots on the upper arm. Thats not to say they are defenceless, but it's a definite weak point.) On a survival perspective, lots of reenactors are quite well read on 'the world, as it used to be' and along with a combination of trying things out a living history events, they probably have a relatively useful set of skills for providing for themselves from fairly basic levels (e.g. spinning cloth, grinding corn to make flour, curing/working leather, working wood, churning butter, etc). Certainly not perfect, and most use some degree of raw materials (I.e. you may be used to spinning wool with a distaff... but no experiance on shearing sheep to get said wool). So the idea for a PA game/setting would be to have a group of reenactors setting up a village, using their various skills as a foundation to start rebuilding. In adition to giving a group a funky background, it also opens up a whole range of historical figures which can suddenly have justifiable uses - so you could field a band of modified vikings, or celts, FIW woodsmen or whatever. I say modified as I doubt anyone would worry too much about authenticity anymore, and as such authenti-shoes might be replaced with hiking boots, trousers might get cargo-pockets sown on, the occasional firearm or more modern tool might be added to armouries. These modifications would also make for more interesting figures on the table top, and stop them looking like they've wandered out of the wrong figure box... So, all the being said - how can I work this into my BritApoc setting? There were a few reenactment groups about in the late 70's/early 80's, although most were not particularly bothered about authenticity (There is a great quote from one of the dark age groups about when they stopped dressing like the Vikings from 1960's hollywood and started dressing like actual vikings did, including doing research etc) and typically were of a more open time frame (Medieval included vikings, romans, renissance types etc - really all down to personal preference). all in all, a bit more like the SCA is today rather than 'British' reenacting. This means I can get away with all sorts of blending, especially given adaptation of stuff after the paocalypse too - although, I'm going to endevour to keep the period stuff moderately 'inauthentic' to reflect the relaxed (lax?) approach of the time. I think fantasy ranges might be a good place to start for generic figures with a mix of period weapons, dress and equipment styles...


  1. Interesting, although it would only take one outsider with a piperifle and a low karma score to mess their day up. Tbh, it's more appropriate than you might think for 'BritApoc' unlike America it's not like we have an overabundance of firearms. Unless you're in the country where everyone and their mum has a gun apparently...

  2. Very true regarding the geezer with the pipe-rifle, but the same is true of any melee armed combatant. To be honest, I was only really thinking in terms of 'firearm-lite' settings such as BritApoc*. I imagine any reenactors across the pond would be adding the usual variety of home defence/hunting firearms to their ensemble. As an aside, I know a fair few reenactors who are handy with bows (I'm not one of them!)which was not something I mentioned above. Most 'reenactment grade' ranged weapons have a fairly low hitting power, but I generally their owners also have full power versions for living history demonstartions... This might be an option for ranged weapons for such a faction? I'm also not sure how capable blackpowder weapons are of taking shot. I know that you require a shotgun licence to own most pieces, so presumably that indicates a capability for being able to hurl lead with one...
    *That said, as my BritApoc setting is set in the late 70's/early 80's there are a lot more firearms floating around than there are today. Certainly not at US levels though. The issuing of firearms to police to control the populace and help maintian martial law was on the cards, and various stashes of 'obsolete' weapons (usually the previous generation of militray weapons - e.g. SMLEs and Stens in the 60's, older SLRs at the end of the cold war) werewhich put in place to help prop-up the local government would also have added to the numbers available.

  3. I hadn't thought of missile weapons at all. I didn't know blackpowder weapons required a shotgun license. Crossbows do though IIRC.

  4. Crossbows (of any power) don't require a licence, which is useful. As you are not legally allowed to hunt with one, there doesn't tend to be much of a market for high power models. I think that may be one of the reaons why licencing isn't actively persued. I don't thnik bows require a licence either. Repeating black powder weapons (early revolvers spring to mind) actually require a firearms licence due to the comparative rate of fire...