And here we come to the first problem - shall they be Imaginary or Real, and if Imagined, how so - from my own (hopefully) fertile imagination, from others' - Tintin's Syldavia and Borduria, Hope's Ruritania, Christie's Herzoslovakia - or (and this seems most attractive) from some of the other members of the August community of Imagi-Nation creators. All have advantages and disadvantages:
- Real nations have the advantage of being known, in all sorts of ways, and any opposing force so built can play other opponents without them asking embarassing questions about why you have American Civil War Zouaves painted up like that
- One's own imagination can furnish more opponents than one can shake a stick at, but the worry is that they are all a bit same-ey.
- Literary Imagi-nations are a good bet, as you can glean something of them from the books/films/comics/whatever, but you risk the "how come your Bordurian Mountain Regiment look like Greek Evzones, when everyone knows they should look more like American Civial War zouaves" issue* :-)
Besides, sources of Bordurian history in 1756 are sadly sparse.
- Other people's Imagi-Nations are very tempting, as there is a backstory and (in theory) two heads are better than one in creating campaigns etc, even though the endgame is to lop one head off. (Owing to poor translation, New Byzantium takes Kipling's advice rather literally, and have worked out the best way to cut to the chase is to ensure that all around you do actually lose their heads...). The problem with playing with Other People is thay can be so ill mannered as to win the battles, so this option shall have to be watched with great care.
Sadly, the current knowledge of the surrounding area is sketchy (literally - all there are are sketches). West and Northwest lies Habsburg land and other small states, to our East lies the Sublime Porte, to the Northeast lie unknown lands and mountains and eventually the Black Sea, to the South is the sea and (further on) Greece, still (in 1756) under the Ottoman boot.
In fact it is a bit embarrassing, as the physical geography of the region is fairly unclear still (never mind the political lie of the land), and while it sounds very romantic to say that Byzantion is six days hard ride from Strelsau, it is not helpful in planning the movement of the entire 1st Corps. (In fact, even the Gianitzaroi got lost on their way to Trnova, as "over yonder hill" is not entirely helpful, so Don Dharko got away - for now!).
This spring, His Excellency will despatch a second mapping team, this time with a guard detachment, as the last one disappeared somewhere in the Trans-Syldavian mountains**
So if anyone is on our borders, declare yourself now and let diplomacy (by all other means) commence! Besides, it saves money on the mapping project.....
* Well, it wasn't a problem till I just started it :-D
** The only survivor of the first Geographical Survey had an attack of the humours and keeps on screaming about "where - wolves" or baying at the full moon, poor fellow.