Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I know I haven't been around much.  I've felt strangely about my blog for the past while now.  I keep meaning to get back, to write some thoughts down, but like many things, it gets put off, alas.

Fortunately, I do have something to share with you today: 760 AD, our latest addition to History Lesson.

I chose 760 because it was exactly 1000 years before 1760, thus the eldest elders in my 1760 game would be from there, forming a nice frame on my game.  I also chose it out of perversion, because I knew nothing about it and I honestly expected to find little, thus testing my premise of "In history, there's always something interesting." It proved half-right.

The problem with 760 and, indeed, most of the dark ages is that you find yourself relying mostly on archaeology and legends, rather than a lot of hard fact.  Is Roland real?  When did he live?  How old was Charlemagne?  We know they did three field rotations around this period, more or less, but people aren't recording much.  What they do record is a chaotic mess of wars, tribes, treachery and collapse.  Honestly, it reminded me a great deal of modern day Africa: Lots of petty warlords, occasional moments of prosperity and happiness followed swiftly by anarchy, civil war, rape and pillaging and disease.  This is not a pleasant time to live.

So, in some ways, it proved hard to find any details, and when I did find details, I was blown away by how many nitty gritty details there were.  England, for example, lacks any terribly important countries or organizations, and while it's fun to talk about the different kingdoms of England, your mind begins to break as you realize you're only talking about the kingdoms of one racial group, and that those kingdoms often have multiple "kings" and sub-fragments no larger than city-states, and then reading about how they go through three kings in a decade.  Crazy.

I'm not complaining, though.  I liked it, and found it enlightening.  I'm a little less motivated to game in this era than I am in 1410... but only a little.  What I enjoyed the most about it is that it really opened my eyes to what the birth of Europe really looked like, and finally taught me a great deal about the Dark Ages.  And, naturally, I started giggling like mad when my random dart-board choice of 760 landed me right at the end of the Merovingian Dynasty and right before the rise of the Paladins, and the earliest date of Beowulf.  So, it seems, if people are at least recording history, it's true: Any period has interesting shit going down.

Anyway, you can check it out for yourself.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Historical Gaming

The inestimable Kenneth Hite has an interview wherein he discusses how to research for a historical game, and the benefits of such game.  I find he puts into words many of my own thoughts.  So if you're interested in historical gaming, or just history in general, you can listen to it here.
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