Tuesday, November 3, 2009

smog 1888

Thanks to my friend Scott for bringing my attention to this Victorian Science Fiction wargame, Smog 1888.

First I should probably explain what wargaming is. Essentially it's usually a bunch of guys (and sometimes a girl or two) who play war with miniature figures on miniature battlefields (see photo on left.) From an unpublished article on a wargaming store I wrote for a journalism class:
Wargaming involves small-scale battles with strategy and a roll of the dice. This ancient hobby has drawn legions of enthusiasts to spend much money and time in reconstructing armies of plastic and lead figures as small as 6mm and battlefields with hills cut from insulation and covered with paint and fake grass. The “gamers” play with their “minis” (an abbreviation of “miniatures”) on mats in aircraft carriers, on elaborate gaming tables in gaming stores, or in their basements at home.
image source: Pictors Studio
If that still doesn't help, think Dungeons and Dragons or Warhammer 40,000. Or read this Wikipedia article, which gives a decent overview. If that still doesn't help, please leave a comment or ask me. I've wargamed for about four years at this point, albeit on a sporadic basis, so I'll either be able to explain it to you in better detail or direct your questions to Scott, who owns his own business painting wargaming miniatures called Pictors Studio. He's much more knowledgeable about it than I will ever be.

Now, back to the original subject of this post...

Imagine a London that's every crevice and crack is penetrated with a thick smog; where zombies work the factories; where deformed freaks reign in London's criminal underworld and factions based on necromancy, opium trafficking and magic threaten the Empire; technological advances such as subways and zeppelins make their appearances decades earlier than in our recorded histories; British scientists conduct experiments on an alien race that landed near Stonehenge; Queen Victoria is protected in the court of the fairies from assassination attempts; palace guards are automatons; Charles Darwin writes "On the Origin of Fairies" and Jack the Ripper is a robot made from clock parts. That is Smog 1888.

The wargame is essentially a London where street warfare is as common as the technological and magical advances become too much for the British Empire to handle. Smog 1888's website is bloody difficult to navigate and doesn't really explain the game very well either. The pluses to this site, however, is the intricate backstory to the actual wargame. You can read about any of the factions, the numerous murders of Jack the Ripper and other 19th-century news stories, and a chronology of the alternative Victorian history created by SmartMax, the company that owns the game.

Shame there are actually no pictures of the game, but Maelstrom Games is selling a range of miniatures for Smog 1888.

Below is Jeremiah Crow, a Necromancer. Very steampunk- a gas mask and everything. And look at the detail of that paint job. Amazing:

 image source: Battlefield Berlin

1 comment:

  1. Ah, your blog in game form! How exciting!
    I like that you included a picture of one of these little characters and explained the background in such vivid detail. I sorta feel like you over-stressed the asking questions about wargaming part, but this might be just because I'm familiar with it already.

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