Sunday, April 22, 2012

"I" is for...


King's Colors, 18th C. Alcovia

The hobby of imaginary nations or imagi-nations is a most amusing one for me. For me, these differ from truly fantastic realms such as Laputa and Atlantis is that, although they are fictional, they do conform to the rules and general feel of our world and the particular time they are created for. This should not, however, be read as a condemnation of more whimsical or creative imagi-nations or a warning against going too far. The line is a subtle one.

For me, it's much like that so-called fantasy football that all the sports fans are playing. It's not so much about making up new and amazing war machines and such, but more about picking and choosing, mixing and matching elements from your favorite historical armies into something that makes sense. You might want French tanks, but prefer Italian uniforms on your soldiers. Or perhaps you have always wanted to have an army in the 18th century that wore colors that no real army dreamed of. Maybe your medieval army made much grater use of mounted bowmen than any of its real world equivalents.

Many times it is much more subtle or simple than this. For some players, it's just about not being constrained by the limits, narrow as they may be, of history and historical events. Perhaps you want an army that is for all intents and purposes the exact same army as the early 18th century British but you want to have them slogging it out with Germans in a knock down drag out fight. Sure you could just pit the two historical armies against one another, but you could also create two new nations of your own with your own names, uniforms and made-up conflict.

Sketch for a planned Alcovian war elephant.

Then there are imagi-nations that go a bit further, like my Alcovia. Alcovia has existed in many centuries but the most outrageous version, so far, has to be the 18th century version of it. For this time period I took advantage of something I'd been wanting to play with for a while - Eastern Renaissance. I used a combination of 17th century troops from Eastern Europe to stand in for the backwater budding kingdom to fight a war of unification.  But I didn't stop there. I added some troops that didn't normally belong in such armies, namely elephants and camels, concluding that these were brought in by local nomads (camels) and purchased by the king as a flight of fancy (elephants). This made the army a much more interesting and unique army with greater personality than simple re-skinned historicals.

Really, when it comes down to it, imagi-nations are a way for you to stretch your imagination in a way that still has some limits and a challenge of trying to make something imaginative yet, believable at the same time. This is really where they differ from true fantasy realms.

Imagi-nations I have created are -

Alcovia, Inrerwar Period (one of many imagi-nations on this blog)
Elistonia (as part of the Alcovian background)
Iquenistan (as part of the Alcovian background)



  1. Hi, Eli: I like your mode-of-thinking. Plus, the sketch is it by your hand?

  2. The sketch is mine. It is not in scale and was done on the fly while at work.

  3. Well, I decided last night to go ahead and create my own imagi-nation and I'm totally blaming you for it. :P I just have to decide on a time period and region.

  4. Jason, when you do, please blog about it and drop me a lune so I can follow.


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