Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Imaginary Enemies

With the 1920's Byzantia army now nearly fully built, and the 1756 army in full rebase mode, plus the summer campaigning season approaching, it is time to expand the horizons to the neighbouring states and see who is surrounding the Pocket Empire Holy Kingdom of New Byzantium.

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.


  1. I've posted your request on EvE.

    -- Jeff

  2. I am reasonably sure The Duchy of Mieczyslaw


    is along your northern borders.

    There are numerous mappe projects on that site that are from the early days of EvE.

    Burtzenia certainly is an antagonist in the region.

  3. It seems to me Herzoslovakia must be in the region, somewhere west of your borders. How about Hope Hopkins's Kravonia? I have an idea that it was a small principality surrounded by large and predatory neighbours ('Sophie of Kravonia' was based, I believe, on the adventures of Lola Montez in Bavaria). At any rate Kravonia might lie somewhere in southeastern Europe, if not within the Balkans, withal.

    Of course, I have always thought of Syldavia and Borduria as Balkan countries - they must definitely be neighbours of New Byzantium. Speaking of which: I seem to recall seeing recent posts in which those States have picked up some World War II Surplus German equipment. My own Imaginations of the 1943-1950 period (Orotina, Gran Bolivaria and the Pan-Andean People's Republic) are, unfortunately, definitely Latin American.

  4. Hello New Byzantion,

    I’m one of the EvE contributors who have decided make the Balkans their home. My project is Syldavia and, because the one needs the other, Borduria. I decided to put Syldavia on the Adriatic coast, overtop of the modern territory of Montenegro and parts of Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia. Its northern and eastern borders are the Dinaric (and Zympathian) Alps. The southeastern border is Lake Scutari and real world Albania. I see Borduria as a landlocked territory extending from the northern foothills of the Dinaric Alps north to the Danube floodplain. Its capital, Szhod, is in this lowland and is an equivalent kind of place as Belgrade, though not so big nor in the same place necessarily. My version of Borduria is, historically, sometimes a province and sometimes a tributary of the Ottoman Empire and Syldavia’s eternal enemy. South of Syldavia is the Pashaluk of Skoder, also a province/tributary of the Ottoman Empire and also a rival of Syldavia, though much less determinedly so than Borduria. Somewhere east and north of Borduria lies Wallachia, a territory friendly to the Bordurian rulers.

    You can see a map of these petty states at : http://syldavianchronicle.blogspot.com/2010/01/books-and-pocket-geography-of-syldavia.html

    In my grand plan the Ottoman Empire lies south of Borduria and Skoder. Just as you imagined it, the weakening of Ottoman power after the Imperium’s successful campaigns of 1683-1699 and 1716-1717 should give the small states of the south-central Balkans the opportunity to exercise some independence, so Borduria, Skoder and Wallachia gain the opportunity to pursue their own initiatives. I haven’t charted out the territory north of Syldavia, though I supposed that its immediate northern neighbor was indifferent but as weak as Syldavia, so it is no threat. Further north are territories of the Venetian Republic (which covets Syldavia) and the Imperium which is Syldavia’s biggest diplomatic ally and which protects it from afar to some small degree. I had set out a long history of Syldavia to explain the origin of their feud with Borduria, intending to end up the SYW. I managed to distract myself with the early years and, embarrassingly, I haven’t got to the good stuff (the 17th-18th century) yet, but still plan to do so. I have been swamped with work and more interested in painting with the sparse free time I have at the moment, so there you go.

    If this sketch of political geography works for you, splendid! Syldavia/Borduria are certainly your neighbors. The King of Syldavia will dispatch an ambassador to Thessaloniki straight away to open up diplomatic relations with New Byzantion. The Bordurians will demand to receive an ambassador as well, but who wants to go there?

    PS : Your spies are uncommonly percipient about Bordurian uniforms…

    PPS : Are you aware of the defunct Kingdon of Morea?

  5. Other 'EvE' countries set in the general area, but now forgotten by their own creators:
    - Cavenderia (on the Adriatic shore -raided by pirates from the Barbary Coast, so probably south of Syldavia),
    - Vulgaria (inland, firm ally of Russia against the Ottomans...
    Perhaps their creators need only a little incentive to 'reactivate' their 18th C. Imagi-Nations, at least for diplomatic exchanges?

  6. Thanks all, esp Jiminho for the Borduria backstory in the 1700's!

    I have decided we shall definitely border Borduria, we are (I think) on their south- maybe eastern - border. To our north west is Trans-Syldavia, which is on "our" side of the high Zymylpathian Mountains and between us and Syldavia are a few small statelets such as Kravonya.

    As it happens a friend gave me 20 Russian WW! Tradition troops, who shall firm the nucleus of teh Bordurian army, along with my remaining OG Nizam i Cedit (the Universal Soldier figure of this region before teh Perry Zouaves arrived) and OG Albanians.

  7. PS We believe Herzoslovakia is to Syldavia's north :-0