Your majesty is not amused

Steampunk Victoria
Your majesty is not amused, bring me my large calibre weapon!

Since I discovered Space 1889 all those years ago, I have had a real interest and love for Victorian Science Fiction and steampunk.

In terms of gaming, I did play a few games of Space 1889, but the game I enjoyed more was Clooudships on Mars with the Martian Flyers and

I also had and managed to get a box of British Troops and Martian Warriors.

Space 1889 British Troops

I expanded my Martians with some Alternative Armies Elves

It was Space 1889 which introduced me to the books of HG Wells and The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.

I remember reading the Difference Engine and thinking what an ideal background this would be for gaming. I wrote an article about this many years ago and published it on the website.

I really enjoyed the film, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but did think it could probably do with more Steampunk elements in there.

More recently I have been adding steampunk elements to some old west games.

However I have wanted to create some games in Victorian London in the vein of the Difference Engine, Sherlock Holmes, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

One model which I did think would be fun, was the limited edition steampunk Queen Victoria from the Giants in Miniature range available from Wargames Illustrated.

The worlds of Steampunk and Victorian Science Fiction are a fantastic setting to game within. Yet nothing seems to epitomise the Victorian era more than the Queen-Empress who gave her name to it – so what could be better than a figure that brings the fantastical and the historical into a glorious union?

Steampunk Victoria is the product of a fevered imagination and a desire to hit as many of the ‘targets’ of the genre as we can. Clockwork Monocular? Check! Steam Powered backpack? Check! Large calibre firearm? Check! Now you can field the Queen-Empress in your tabletop battles, striding forward at the head of Her Majesty’s Expeditionary Force On Mars or prowling the backstreets of London on secret missions to defeat the enemies of her Empire.

As for rules for these kinds of games, there are various sets available, for example, the obvious one would be In Her Majesty’s Name.

However my usual thinking is to utilise an existing set of rules to which I am more familiar. Great Escape Games have taken their old west rules, Dead Man’s Hands and used them for a 1920’s gangster setting, with The Chicago Way. I think that these rules could be easily converted for using in a Victorian London Steampunk setting.

I would need to think about the stats of her electro rifle.

Alongside her would be redcoats armed with steampunk weapons, again we would need to think about stats for them. Time to reflect on the rules and do some planning and thinking.

Then there is the question, who would they fight?

TARDIS

I am reminded of the (new) Doctor Who season two, second episode with Queen Victoria, Tooth and Claw, a group of warrior monks have sinister plans for the monarch, and the full moon is about to summon a creature out of legend.

Queen Victoria and the Doctor

More recently episode nine of season ten, we had the Empress of Mars.

The Doctor and Bill travel to Mars, but upon arrival, they find themselves in the middle of a conflict between the Ice Warriors and Victorian soldiers.

So we could have a range of villains fighting her majesty.

Then we could have the French.

So Victoria will have her day!

The Curse of Dead Man’s Hand

I have really enjoyed playing Great Escape Games’ rules, Dead Man’s Hand. It is an enjoyable set of rules that allow for games in the Old West. I like the mechanics and the ease of playing.

Great Escape have taken their rules into 1920s prohibition with The Chicago Way and these rules allow you to recreate the Untouchables.

Their next set of rules look very interesting with the addition of what looks like the undead into the Old West, with their new set, The Curse of Dead Man’s Hand.

he Curse of Dead Man's Hand source book

The curse has finally come to Dead Man’s Hand.Get together anybody you can, time to put petty rivalries aside and stand together against an enemy who shows no mercy, who will take it all, and leave you with nothing, not even your soul.

You need a copy of the Dead Man’s Hand rule book to use the source book.

The Curse of Dead Man's Hand

As well as rules, there are going to be some new buildings from 4Ground, which you can see as background in these photographs from Great Escape Games.

The Curse of Dead Man's Hand

These buildings look like they will also be useful for “normal” games of Dead Man’s Hand.

4Ground Single Storey Small Building Under Construction

4Ground Single Storey Small Building Under Construction

This is a laser-cut mdf building from 4Ground for Great Escape Games’ Dead Man’s Hand set of rules.

When a camp town started becoming more prosperous the residents would start producing town buildings, these were often frame buildings in which the timber frame was built as a shell and then the rest of the building was built in and around it.

This was easiest to do in areas with large amounts of lumber (or easy access to it by railroad). Many towns would have this kind of building almost under constant construction at one location or another as the towns grew.

These buildings make great terrain pieces as they can provide cover without blocking line of sight.

This is just the skeleton of a house.

4Ground Single Storey Small Building Under Construction

You do need to take care pressing this out, as it is a little more delicate than those models with complete walls.

I would say the roof is very challenging, so take your time and it can’t be rushed.

Painting the roof

This was the third Sarissa Precision Old West building I constructed, House with Stone Chimney. Like my other Sarissa Precision models, these went together really easily, and are for comparison purposes much simpler than the 4Ground models (but also as a result less detailed).

Like my other Sarissa Precision models I have now painted the roof slates.

House with Stone Chimney

I still need to paint the chimney.

House with Stone Chimney

I am contemplating if I should paint the wooden sides, doors and window frames.

A&D Hardware Store

4Ground A&D Hardware Store

This is a laser-cut mdf building from 4Ground for Great Escape Games’ Dead Man’s Hand set of rules.

Andrew Dewey and Dave Annabelle met whilst they were serving as elected members of the Territorial Legislator of Montana and both living in Helena. They both had a firm interest in travelling to the Town of Dead Man’s Hand and joining the gold rush, after buying as much equipment as they could they set out on the road.

Along the way they found out about the boom town of Bitter Creek and the gold just being picked up from the ground. So after passing through Dead Man’s Hand the partners reached Bitter Creek, they quickly realised that the gold was not just waiting to be picked off the ground as they had been told, but the constant influx of new pioneers would pay handsomely for the abundance of equipment they had brought with them. Annabelle and Dewey quickly decided the best thing to do would be to set up the first hardware store in the town, ordering in all the goods they needed they quickly started earning a fair amount.

Now the A & D Hardware Store sells mining goods, tools, provisions and clothing to prospectors and pioneers. As their shipments have increased they have noticed a rise in the town of unsavoury types said by some to be under the payroll of S. L. Wheatley in nearby Dead Man’s Hand.

Like most of the newer 4Ground models, this is a well designed kit with lots of interior detail as well as on the outside. So there are inside walls as well as exterior walls.

4Ground A&D Hardware Store

Inside the building is the main retail area, time to add a counter and stock, whilst there is a rear storage area at the back of the building with a rear exit for a quick getaway if required.

4Ground A&D Hardware Store

The model goes together really easily, but as the instruction recommend you should use clamps (or pegs) when sticking the exterior walls onto the main frame to avoid unsightly gaps and a near fit.

4Ground A&D Hardware Store

4Ground A&D Hardware Store

I think the only challenge I can see is adding glazing to the windows.

A&D Hardware Store

4Ground A&D Hardware Store
This is a laser-cut mdf building from 4Ground for Great Escape Games’ Dead Man’s Hand set of rules.

Andrew Dewey and Dave Annabelle met whilst they were serving as elected members of the Territorial Legislator of Montana and both living in Helena. They both had a firm interest in travelling to the Town of Dead Man’s Hand and joining the gold rush, after buying as much equipment as they could they set out on the road.

Along the way they found out about the boom town of Bitter Creek and the gold just being picked up from the ground. So after passing through Dead Man’s Hand the partners reached Bitter Creek, they quickly realised that the gold was not just waiting to be picked off the ground as they had been told, but the constant influx of new pioneers would pay handsomely for the abundance of equipment they had brought with them. Annabelle and Dewey quickly decided the best thing to do would be to set up the first hardware store in the town, ordering in all the goods they needed they quickly started earning a fair amount.

Now the A & D Hardware Store sells mining goods, tools, provisions and clothing to prospectors and pioneers. As their shipments have increased they have noticed a rise in the town of unsavoury types said by some to be under the payroll of S. L. Wheatley in nearby Dead Man’s Hand.

Like most of the newer 4Ground models, this is a well designed kit with lots of interior detail as well as on the outside. So there are inside walls as well as exterior walls.
4Ground A&D Hardware Store
Inside the building is the main retail area, time to add a counter and stock, whilst there is a rear storage area at the back of the building with a rear exit for a quick getaway if required.
4Ground A&D Hardware Store
The model goes together really easily, but as the instruction recommend you should use clamps (or pegs) when sticking the exterior walls onto the main frame to avoid unsightly gaps and a near fit.
4Ground A&D Hardware Store
4Ground A&D Hardware Store
I think the only challenge I can see is adding glazing to the windows.

Painting the roof

After my success with painting (or colouring) my Gaslamp Alley building I looked back over my Old West buildings from Sarissa Precision and decided to paint the roof.

Old West 25mm Buildings

Looking back over a previous post back then I reflected on how to do this. For the roof I used 995 German Grey, which I did water down, to avoid painting out the etching and let it come through the paint.

Old West 25mm Buildings

I think I might add some weathering and detail to the roof later.

Old West Building – House with Stone Chimney

I already have two of the Sarissa Precision Old West buildings and I managed to build the third, which I have had in my cupboard for a while now. This is House – Stone Chimney 6.

Old West Building - House with Stone Chimney

This is the other side.

Old West Building - House with Stone Chimney

Like my other Sarissa Precision models, these went together really easily, and are for comparison purposes much simpler than the 4Ground models (but also as a result less detailed).

Still not sure how I am going to paint them, I have been told it is relatively simple and that the etching should still be able to be seen after painting.

Down in the old west

“Your time is over and you're gonna die bloody, and all you can do is choose where.”

At the weekend I had my second game using the Great Escape Games’ Dead Man’s Hand rules. The game saw my outlaws lose convincingly to Simon’s Pinkertons.

Most of the buildings (and this wagon) are from 4Ground models. These are really nice and well detailed, it shows how far laser etched MDF has come in the last few years. The models have interiors and swinging doors.

1Dead Man's Hand

You can even do a jailbreak from the Sheriff’s Office. In front of the office is a Sarissa Precision stagecoach, alas still unpainted.

Dead Man's Hand

These are a couple of my old cowboys from the Dixons Miniatures range. I got these about twenty years ago (or possibly even longer). They are mounted on two pence pieces and I have upgraded their bases to fit in with my current old west miniatures,  painting the base with Citadel Texture: Armageddon Dust. I drybrushed the base with Citadel Ushbati Bone. I then stuck on some Citadel Mordheim Turf.

Dead Man's Hand

One thing that I do like about Great Escape Games is they provide a downloadable sheet of “shop” names that you can stick to the front of the buildings.

These are Foundry Old West figures, Ned Buck and Emmet Gates though I have a fair few Foundry figures on my workbench that are being painted.

Dead Man's Hand

Overall a fun game and quick to play.