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Thursday, 25 November 2021

Ideas for imagi-nation names

For some time I have been thinking about giving some 'proper' names to my FUNNY LITTLE WARS/PORTABLE WARGAME armies. At present they are known as ARMY KHAKI, ARMY BLACK, and ARMY KEPI ROUGE, but I am now of the opinion that they need imagi-nation names ... and what follows are my current working titles:

  • ARMY KHAKI will become the army of the Sultanate of Khakistan, an eastern sultanate that has recently modernised its army, but which currently lacks the resources to truly match some of the other imagi-nations.
  • ARMY BLACK will become the army of the Kingdom of Schwarzerberg (literally, Black Mountain), a Germanic kingdom with a growing economy that draws its strength from its burgeoning agricultural and industrial sectors.
  • ARMY KEPI ROUGE will become the army of the Republic of Burgundy, a French-style republic ruled over by a President ... who is usually from a military background. The country has been the leading nation on the continent for many years, but a gradual drop in the birth rate and continued economic problems have eroded the nation's pre-eminent position.

The historical period these imagi-nations will exist in is vaguely ten years either side of 1900, in other words, during La Belle Époque* (the Beautiful Epoch). This was a period characterised by general economic prosperity, colonial expansion (so there may well be room for some small colonial armies to be added to the collection!), and technological and scientific innovation. Amongst the latter two were the development of the motor vehicle, the telephone, early aircraft, and medical advances in the fields of germ theory of disease, bacteriology, and X-ray photography.

It was also a period of change for the various armed forces of the world. The era saw the widespread introduction of magazine rifles with smokeless powder cartridges, the growing use of effective systems to reduce the recoil of artillery pieces, the issuing of heavy, long-range artillery that could accompany armies in the field, the development of more effective high explosives and propellent powders, and the development of automatic machine guns.

Troops from the eight nations that took part in the China Relief Expedition in 1900. The variety of uniforms being worn shows one reason why wargaming during La Belle Époque is so attractive.

* Some years ago, Sue and I were on a cruise that included a visit to the area around Nice and Cannes. We went on a guided coach and walking tour of the area, and during the initial stages of our tour the guide kept referring to something that sounded like 'belly pork'. It was not until one of the other people on the tour asked her what she was talking about that it became clear that she was saying Belle Époque and not talking about a cut of pig meat!

28 comments:

  1. Bob -
    I like the appellation 'La Belle Époque' - a good title for this your whole project. A query about that picture: the dude second from the left as we look at it. Could John Cleese be really that ancient...?
    Cheers,
    Ion

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    1. Archduke Piccolo (Ion),

      La Belle Époque is certainly an easier title to use … and I will definitely use it from now on!

      Now that you mention it, he does look like John Cleese …

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Hi BOB,
    Good to read about your choice of Imagi-nation country names and background information. I'm in a similar boat where I will need to devise a fictional race and place for my up coming Victorian Fiction project- lots of fun for sure. Cheers. KEV.

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    1. Kev Robertson (Kev),

      The names work … and sort of help to determine the backstory for each nation.

      Part of the fun of creating imagi-nations is devising the background to the various nations. I hope you have as much fun creating the races and places for your Victorian science fiction project.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. I like La Belle Epoque very much, really fits the time. My Imagi-Nations is set in the same timeframe. I admire the names, I took the east route of using "real" names for most of my countries. Maybe one day I will become more creative !!!! Regards.

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    1. Tony Adams,

      What I like is the fact that it is an era where the modern world was beginning to evolve … but it retained the romance of the previous age. This is the age of THE PRISONER OF ZENDA, the later FLASHMAN books, and the DAWLISH CHRONICLES.

      Good luck with your own project.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. May i offer a name for the president of Burgundy:Armand Maladroit!
    It just came to me as I was reading your blog!

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    1. Dick Bryant,

      Thank you for your gift of a great name for the President of Burgundy! Marshal Armand Maladroit lives … and rules!

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Glad to help! gives me great Joy that my character will be part of your mini-world! I just hope that he doesn't live up to his name!

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    3. Dick Bryant,

      Thanks again for the suggestion.

      I see him as a slightly stout man of average height with a small goatee beard and curly-ended moustache. He will have great confidence in his own abilities, and will be regarded as a ‘lucky’ general by his men.

      How does that sound?

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. Some great names there Bob and La Belle Epoque is a neat title for the period. I would have the temerity to suggest Schwarzenberg as I think it trips of the tongue more easily than Schwarzerberg.

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    1. Steve J.,

      I actually started out with the idea of using Schwarzenberg … and I think that you are right about it being a better name! On your suggestion, I will certainly go back to my original choice of name.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. I must say I prefer your Germanic country name to the one I chose for my nominal Germans.

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    3. Steve8,

      I think that Teutonia is quite a good name. I used something similar in my imagi-world of 1891.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. Hello there Bob,

    Oh yes indeedy! I really like the names you have chosen for the three armies - very evocative. Knowing you as I do I suspect that a couple of others may well appear - I am thinking something Russian/Austrian inspired and possibly even the UK may get a look in. All this before you get to the colonies! Certainly this is something I shall be watching closely - especially when you start building warships....

    All the best,

    DC

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    Replies
    1. David Crook,

      I must admit to thinking about adding some further imagi-nations that will bear a resemblance to Russia and Austria … and a number of smaller ones as well. (We all need allies, don’t we?)

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. I have a whole lot of names that have yet to become 'character nations' in my war games narratives. Probably the best German Imagi-Nation, I've heard of is Teutoberg-Althaufen, a name so evocative I never had the heart to steal it. Certainly not from Brigadier Peter Young! So I've had to settle for Austereia (Hapsburg Empire, at war with Severeia, vaguely Sweden), Altmark-Uberheim (18th Century vaguely Prussian) and Grauheim (19th Century vaguely German.
      Cheers,
      Ion

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    3. Archduke Piccolo (Ion),

      There are some wonderful examples of imagi-nation names in your comments … and it is difficult not to copy some of them!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  7. I am glad to hear this Bob, I've never taken to the backwards colour names (If it was Red Army in Kriegsspiel dammit then it should be.......).
    Anyway, I like your choices of names, evocative and ...well .. just right really.

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    1. Ross Mac,

      The names I originally used were inspired by those in the FUNNY LITTLE WARS book … but now I think the time has come to give them some proper national names. I’m please that you agree with my choices, which sort of reflect their original ARMY COLOUR names.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Bob - Your 'Fezia' led me to wonder about using headgear as national identifiers: Kepia, Pickelhaubeny, Ushanka, Bowleria - style of thing...
      Just a thought...
      Ion

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    3. Archduke Piccolo (Ion),

      I must admit that I hadn’t thought of using headgear as the basis for country names … but it’s a good idea!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  8. I have always admired your rules for Grid based games, especially because i dislike complicated rules my motto bein "Kiss" (keep it simple stupid) and i have also developed my own set for the seven years war. However your rules allow units to move directly sideways - which i find rather/very unrealistic.. It was extremly difficult in battle for units to do this...
    Why not allow units to attack/Shoot obliquely but disallow them to move directly sideways?

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    1. Alister Sharman,

      Thanks for your comments.

      My rules aren’t set in stone, and are specifically designed so that users can adapt them to their own ideas and requirements. Why don’t you give your suggestions a go … and if they work better for you, then use them!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  9. Great names and games to come…
    I thought Belle Époque was a French pop group:)

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    1. Tradgardmastare,

      Cheers!

      ‘Belle and Sebastian’ sounds like the name of a French pop group … but are actually from Glasgow!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  10. Hi Bob, your names are good, can't go wrong with using simple colours and adding a bit of a linguistic twist to hint at nationality, and 'burgundy' fits that especially well! Maybe my favourite use of imagi-nation names is by the 'War Diaries of a Little Englander' blogger, who uses Lovitznia and Maltovia, borrowed from 'Biggles Goes To War' - genius!

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    1. David in Suffolk,

      Cheers! Getting the name (or names) of your imagi-nation(s) right can really help … and can spark off all sorts of ideas for backstories etc.

      I follow the ‘War Diaries of a Little Englander’ blog, and his choice of Lovitznia and Maltovia was a good one.

      All the best,

      Bob

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