After a year away, Doctor Who will return to BBC One on New Year’s Day with a two part special, called Spyfall. Sounds like it might involve secret agents, the security services, even a James Bond character perhaps?
‘Spyfall’ is written by showrunner Chris Chibnall.
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?
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.
So you are trying to set the scene for Operational Sea Lion games for Bolt Action.
One of the challenges has been finding British scenery. If you were playing in 20mm then there was a whole model railway scene for an English landscape. However if you went down the 15mm (or the 28mm) road then alas there was very little available.
With the release of the Sea Lion campaign books from Warlord Games for Bolt Action, it’s nice to see that they are also releasing some nice scenery pieces to go with the campaign.
Fill your battlefields with iconic British objects – the Police, Telephone and Pillar boxes. An absolute must have for any British battlefield, providing key communication hubs for your local defence volunteers.
Of course I am probably not alone thinking, hmmm blue Police Box, I wonder who uses that!
So as well as Operation Sea Lion, you could also the scenery for Doctor Who games (pity the nice new Warlord Games Doctor Who miniatures are 32mm and not 28mm).
Also I can see these scenic items proving useful for a Very British Civil War games, as well as many of the Operation Sealion releases from Warlord Games. I do like their LDV volunteers for example.
I wonder if there are any other releases on the horizon?
I had high expectations about the Victorian Science Fiction’esque episode of Doctor Who this Saturday and to be honest I hoped I wasn’t going to be disappointed and I wasn’t.
I really enjoyed watching the episode, I thought the plot was interesting and the use of the Ice Warriors technology made this less Victorian Science Fiction and more Doctor Who, but even so, we had British Infantry in pith helmets on Mars. There were Victorian space suits as well, so still elements of Victorian Science Fiction.
The use of the Ice Warriors’ spaceship to travel to Mars and the use of its main weapon to mine for gold and gemstones was very much in the spirit of the Victorian adventurer.
The characterisation of the British soldiers was spot on, even if a little cliched in places.
The Doctor was slightly scuppered when the TARDIS mysteriously sent itself back to the future and the university and Missy!
I really enjoyed the episode and did make me think about possible gaming scenarios involving British Infantry and Ice Warriors. Lots of possibilities.
Really looking forward to Saturday’s episode of Doctor Who, The Empress of Mars, where we see Victorian era British soldiers on Mars fighting the Ice Warriors.
‘God save the Queen’ has been scrawled on the surface of Mars. What are Victorians doing on the home of the Ice Warriors? And what will they find beneath the Martian soil?
I’ve had a fondness for Victorian Science Fiction for many years, though I was aware of HG Wells War of the Worlds and the Time Machine, what really got me interested was GDW’s Space 1889 game. I did buy some of their 25mm miniatures and played a few games.
As well as the British soldiers I also had a few of the Martians.
As you can see they don’t look like the Ice Warriors.
Since then I have expanded my awareness and interest in Victorian Science Fiction beyond Space 1889 and looked at steampunk and other sources.
“In the mists down Knightsbridge a procession of some kind was moving steadily across the road. Ghostlike, blurred by distance and the fog, they appeared to be military gurneys, the squat treaded monsters of the Crimean war. Fog muffled a heavy chugging and the faint repeated clank of jointed iron. One after another they passed. Each gurney hauled a linked articulated caisson. These wains appeared to be canvas-shrouded cannon, with men, footsoldiers in canvas coloured drab, clustered atop the cannons like barnacles, with a sea-urchin bristle of bayonetted rifles.”
Though there have been many Doctor Who stories set in the Victorian era and the Doctor has even met H G Wells, but I can’t recall an episode of Doctor Who that had such a Victorian Science Fiction background to the episode.
I really like the idea of Victorian British soldiers, more use to fighting in the Sudan or down at the Cape fighting Martians (well Ice Warriors) on Mars. You can see they have some kind of steampunk weaponry, but I am curious about how they got there, what was their space ship like? Well all will be revealed on Saturday.
This may be just one such episode of the Doctor, but if it goes down well with the audiences then we may see more.