We've all said it many times - many of us are compulsive schizophrenics. I've got more wargaming projects on the go than any normal man should and I run four blogs - albeit my specific blogs incur frequent bouts or dormancy. I wonder if anyone can relate to how these new ideas start and grow.
I was given a book on the Templars by my daughters for Christmas - Dan Jones: The Templars. I have a couple of others but it's years since I read on the Crusades and its not particularly my bailiwick even though the medieval period most certainly is. Being posted overseas; however, I have few books to hand and out of love and appreciation that my daughters think of me and give me a gift of any kind I read anything they provide so I'm in the middle of it now.
Well I find my mind a curious thing. How's yours? I get inspired all the time and have a broad fascination for all things historical and particularly military history spanning thousands of years. Last year I was reading Bernard Cornwell's Harlequin and for a time I was getting serious about a mid-Hundred Years War army but I think I'm past that now - it's all under control. Similarly I have cultivated a repeated fascination with bronze age Assyrians but in spite of two active periods of research it hasn't broken out into purchases - yet.
Now if you'd be guessing by this stage that I'm now going to build a Templar army you'd be forgiven but mistaken. You'd be close. An oblique reference to the Knights of St. John (the Hospitallers) eighty odd pages into the book and my imagination started popping off on a tangent. I hearken back to an older issue of Osprey I've had for many years - the Knights of Christ and the following image has always resonated with me.
To me this is the epitome of sinister-cool. There's something perversely attractive in wargaming terms for these warrior-monks. As far as I am concerned they were in many ways unattractive - brutal, callous, pious, self-sacrificing and bloody-minded fanatics in the main whose entire raison d'être is largely abhorrent to my modern sensibilities and philosophy. As a war machine; however, they were the organised, professional and a medieval equivalent in many ways to the Spartans, French Foreign Legion or the SS. What's perhaps most important to me is they will make a great looking little army of toy soldiers.
So, now I'm indulging in what comes next - research and thinking about the possibilities. I don't want a big army because they couldn't really field one - not on their own anyway. I also want to do the other side - an Ayyubid Syrian raiding force. I also want to build a little castle and for this base of operations I have chosen the Red Fort - the Chastel Rouge (Qual'at Yahmur) located in the North West Syrian county of Tripoli which was gifted to and occupied by the Hospitallers in the early 13th century.
So, I'm thinking a small collection spanning both protagonists for a skirmish game using Osprey: Lion Rampant rules. I'm thinking a dozen brother knights and sergeants (1 knight for every three sergeants mounted and dismounted options) with another 12 Turcoples, a dozen spear and a dozen crossbow for the Hospitallers. For the Saracens I'll need 12 heavy cavalry, 12 horse archers, a dozen spear and a dozen archers. The lists need work.
I'm also looking to represent the first decade of the 13th century.
This seems to be a bit of an obscure period for most wargamers and the figure availability for the Hospitallers is interesting and limited. For the brother knights we are in the transition phase between the face mask to the great helm. I'm starting to favour the old Curtery's Miniatures range distributed by First Corps.
So, does this sound familiar to you? Is this your process or are you disciplined to finish what you've started before adding to the mania? A common saying is the first step to a cure is diagnosis. Well I know my issues ... but it doesn't seem to be helping.