Make your own free website on Tripod.com

YOU ARE ON A HOBBY PAGE Adventure Gaming in a Kinder, Gentler Time: Victorian Science Fiction



HUMOR:  YOU  THOUGHT I MADE
THIS STUFF UP?

It's HERE!  The Le Grand Cirque WEBPAGE is up

WALT 
O'HARA'S VICTORIAN SCIENCE FICTION PAGE

MAD, you say??  You call me MAD?  Check out THESE CONTRAPTIONS and see those who dared to create the real McCoy!
 
THE BLURB | [top]
 
HI SAILOR For those that are into 'might have been/SHOULD have been' history in a whimsical vein, the Victorian Era presents just the right amount of humor interlaced with just enough historical potential to make a great era to game in.   There's something about the juxtaposition between the very, very serious Britisher riding a giant clunky FICTIONAL conveyance, all rivets and steam, that makes for very humorous games.
 
This strange intersection between Colonial Era and Science Fiction Gaming is called VICTORIAN SCIENCE FICTION (or VSF).  You may have heard other terms associated with it, such as STEAMPUNK GAMING, etc.  VSF takes as its antecedents such works of fiction as H.G. Wells' THE WAR IN THE AIR and WAR OF THE WORLDS; Jules Vernes' 20000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA and AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS; John Buchan's THE 39 STEPS and GREENMANTLE; and anything by Arthur Machen, Lovecraft (to some extent), H. Rider Haggard, or any other Victorian-to-Edwardian author who touched on the fantastic or macabre.   Victoriana , for want of a more definitive term, represents a "magical reality" world view; a time of great potential and peril, a juxtaposition of the cosmic and the mundane, and an intersection between magic and "normal" universes.   Surprisingly, I find there is a LOT of material out there on what I considered a small niche of science fiction; this series of pages will attempt, as best I can manage to coalesce some of the threads blowing around out there.  What will be covered?  Well, anything that merges on the fanciful, set roughly in our time period.  Foundry's Darkest Africa, for instance, contains many interesting and fantastic elements, so it will be included.  A Battle Report about Ombdurman will not.  The Wild West (straight-up) is not really Victoriana, but the Great Rail Wars (and, ahem!  Scary Monsters of the Golden West) is.
 
For one of the best, well-researched and thorough investigations into the subject matter of VSF, take a minute to browse FANTASTIC VICTORIANA.  Come back after the requisite hour or so has passed-- because a minute won't be enough, I guarantee it!
 
VSF seems to have had something of a Renaissance of late; with many major manufacturers (Eureka, Foundry, Reverisco, and Scheltrum) having made miniature figures for the genre.  The first dedicated rulebook of skirmish rules for VSF, GASLIGHT, was published in early 2001 to general popularity-- and the long out of print SPACE: 1889 game (GDW) has been reprinted by the publishers of the Heliograph.
 
 

TERRAIN PROJECTS | [top]

Building Terrain Boards out of Insulating Panels

My terrain project for LA GRAND CIRQUE: ONCE AROUND THE WABASH, OLD CHAP! (HISTORICON 2001) (waiting on pictures)
 
Tim "Gisby" Peterson instructs on HOW TO MAKE DOORS, HOW TO MAKE TREES, and VARIOUS and SUNDRY ITEMS
 
What's 
      New? Matt Fritz shows us how to SCULPT TERRAIN with a Wonder Cutter.

CONVEYANCE PROJECTS | [top]
 

NEW!!  Victoriana Period Vehicle Sources Page
 
Le Grand Cirque Conveyance Race Conveyance Design Tips
GLOWING SOLDIER
 
RULE SETS (AMATEUR and PROFESSIONAL) | [top]
 

Le Grande Cirque, 
a Victorian Racing Game


NEW!  LGC Website is up and running!  Click logo...
Le Grand Cirque (LGC) is (ahem ) my own little venture into VSF gaming.  LGC postulates that the Great Powers have resolved to fix their differences on the field of sport rather than with bloody warfare; thus, the International Grand Circuit Race was born.  Under the leadership of Colonel Hiram Oliphaunt, Ret. (KoB, OTBE), the Grand Circuit Race proved to be a smashing success.  The Grand Circuit (which has morphed into the punning "Le Grand Cirque", much to the annoyance of racing officials) has been run in Texas, Indiana, and soon, the Pyramids in Egypt. 
 
Check out the Museum of Retro Technology.  Some of the contraptions in there have a distinct "Cirque Flavor".
Help choose or design a Le Grand Cirque T-Shirt Logo!  Either Email me your preferences or leave them up in the Guest Book.  Thanks.
 

Buck Surdu and Christopher Palmer's excellent small skirmish game for VSF

 
Gaslight is a set of larger scale skirmish wargame rules by Christopher Palmer and Buck Surdu, available from LMW Works press, Amherst, N.Y., 14226.    Gaslight is an enjoyable, beer and pretzels style game with surprising flexibility.  Players assume the roles of heroes and/or leaders, leading a squad of "extras".  Essentially, Gaslight is very similar to THUNDER AND PLUNDER, Palmer and Surdu's earlier pirate-era work.  Gaslight is rapidly gaining in popularity, and deservedly so; as I state above, there is a great deal of flexibility in the design.  One of the great strengths of Gaslight is the author's refusal to force the players into their own milieu; instead the rules present a nice framework to create in.  I plan, eventually, to run a Gaslight game set in the Barsoom of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  (More links and resources for GASLIGHT are presented below)

Check out my campaign setting for GASLIGHT, "THE BARON OF THE OZARKS"
 

Online Resources for GDW/Heliograph Inc.'s SPACE 1889 game universe

 
The first "big-money" foray into VSF was from the fertile mind of Mr. Frank Chadwick, late of GDW games.  The SPACE: 1889 universe presumed that Thomas Edison discovered a means of lighter than air flight decades before the real thing happened; and furthermore, he discovered a means to travel between the "aether" that exists between planets.  His expedition to Mars results in an amazing discovery; Mars is populated with an ancient, sophisticated culture, a culture which may not possess the technical sophistry of the Earthlings, yet still can manage lighter than air flight with "ether flyers".  The game system itself was first published as an RPG; it spawned several gamebooks, two boardgames and an excellent miniature gaming supplement, THE SOLDIERS' COMPANION.  Sadly, GDW has gone the way of the California Condor, but a new company has sprung up to publish the Space 1889 line-- The Heliograph.  (More Links and Resources for SPACE 1889 are presented below).
 

Online Resources for Marcus Rowland's VSF RPG

 
Marcus Rowland's labor of love, FORGOTTEN FUTURES, has been in print and available on the web next to forever.  Now, FF is a commercial product available from the Heliograph people.  Whereas it IS my goal to explore miniatures-style games on this website, FF still is an excellent rules system for a diverting evening's entertainment (for smaller groups).  As a source of inspiration for a skirmish gamer looking for a nice setting, FF is unparalleled.
 

R Talsorian Games 
Castle Falkenstein Page

 
R. Talsorian Games' Victorian era RPG, CASTLE FALKENSTEIN, may be considered something of a lightweight by the technophiles out there but Talsorian has produced a lengthy list of excellent gaming supplements set in the same "alternative Victorian era."  From Prussia with Love is particularly good.   Here is a list of the Falkenstein Webring sites; some of these pages have some excellent source ideas for various aspects of Victoriana including magick, conveyance design, spiritualism and even fan fiction.  Worth a perusal.

Wessex Games: 
publisher 
of VOYAGES EXTRORDINAIRES and AERONEF

Wessex Games is the publisher of AERONEF, a game of combat between lighter-than-air craft that are reminiscent of SPACE: 1889's "Cloudships".  Wessex also publishes VOYAGES EXTRORDINAIRES, a 28mm Victorian Adventure style game.
 

THE IRON FRONTIER: FUN VSF LANDCRUISER RULES FROM THE EMPIRE GROUP, A WARGAMING CLUB-- Link is to HTML version of the Rules

Landcruiser:1889 (soon to be retitled to THE IRON FRONTIER) is a work in progress from a nift-o wargaming club located in Fredericksburg, VA.   The focus of these rules are landship to landship combat, and are fairly simple, funny and surprisingly comprehensive considering their brevity.

Landcruiser:1889 Rules, Version 1.1 MS Word Document
THE EMPIRE CLUB (wargaming group)
Steve Johnson (designer) -- his frenetic and charming HOME PAGE
See the Panzerschiffe Discussion board link (Yahoo Groups) in the Discussion Group Resources section, below.
See, also, the Nelson's Bluff Replay in the Replay Section, directly below.

GREAT RAIL WARS, by Pinnacle.  Wacky inventions, creepy undead, awesome albeit oversized miniatures

The Great Rail Wars (links below) by Pinnacle Entertainment, is definitely in period, although it does take place in a much transformed version of the American West (for the most part).  GRW is a miniatures battle game that is sold as a starter set with many, many add-on packs of miniatures that are suitable for either the battle game or the associated RPG, DEADLANDS.   A very unusual and intriguing environment for VSF.

Westwind 
Productions GOTHIC HORROR Miniatures and Rules

Westwind Productions, a British Company (links below in RESOURCES), has come up with a skirmish rules set called GOTHIC HORROR.  I have not played this one yet, nor do I own the rules, so I'm somewhat in the dark about them.  However, I have enthusiastically purchased their miniatures line, which is replete with several kinds of vampire, werewolf, mummies, killers, maniacs, polizei, vampire hunters, evil cossacks, and gypsies.  There's enough material in this miniatures line to keep a guy like me busy for about five years!!!!  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

More Material Soon

 

REPLAYS OF HISTORICAL MINIATURE GAMES

REPLAYS | [top] 
What's 
      New? NEW!  Playtest of PRUSSIA NEEDS WOMEN! The outrage of Buzzard's Gulch...
 
What's New? NEW!  Unsolicited Mystey Cirque Pictures arrive in my mailbox!  Check out THE DARK SWEATY HEART OF THE CIRQUE page.
 
Valley of Bones (Darkest Africa/Matrix Game)
 
G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. "Raid on Key West"-- First Battle in the Texas-Prussian War!
 
"Nelson's Bluff" REPLAY page (Landcruiser: 1889 rules, the Game Parlor, Chantilly VA)
 
Le Grand Cirque du Cow Town REPLAY (Cold Wars 01,
GAMECON 01)

Le Grand Cirque du Wabash REPLAY (HISTORICON 2001) (NEW PICTURES!)

Seize the Bridge
(Soldier's Companion Website on Geocities)

Battle on Venus
(Rob Beattie's Excellent THE STEAM AND THE FLAME VSF game)
 
Exploring Kifaru  (Darkest Africa Game at Historicon 00)

Naval Landing Game
for THE STEAM AND THE FLAME

Two Roads to Zenda
(GASLIGHT REPLAY, you will need to join the Gaslight Yahoo Group to see this)
 
 
 
ONLINE RESOURCES | [top]

Online Resources for 
GDW/Heliograph Inc.'s SPACE 1889 game universe

Steampunk Space 1889 Scrapbook
GDW House Rules Mailing List
Aether Traveller
Adventures on the Red Planet
The Heliograph
Sky Galleons of Mars Site
Transactions of the Royal Martian Geographical Society (again, the Heliograph folks)
Victorian Space
Space 1889 Yahoo Group

Online Resources for 
Marcus Rowland's VSF RPG

Forgotten Futures: Main Page
Ordering Forgotten Futures from Heliograph, Inc.
Forgotten Futures: MAIN RULES
Forgotten Futures: Introductory Adventure (The Tunnel)
Forgotten Futures VII: Tsar Wars

Buck Surdu and 
Christopher Palmer's excellent small skirmish game for VSF

GASLIGHT Main Page
Brigade Games, a major supplier of Gaslight Rules and suitable figures
GASLIGHT Q&A Site
GASLIGHT Yahoo Group
GASLIGHT Games at HISTORICON 2001
Tales of Zimdar (Ongoing Campaign)

GREAT RAIL WARS, 
by Pinnacle.  Wacky inventions, creepy undead, awesome albeit oversized miniatures

Great Rail Wars Site Miniatures Battle Game (Pinnacle Entertainment)
Deadlands (RPG for this universe)
Greywolf's incredible DEADLANDS FAN PAGE (lots of pictures, minis, etc.)

Westwind 
Productions GOTHIC 
HORROR Miniatures and Rules

Westwind's Main Page
Old Glory (U.S. Distributor)

Wessex Games 
Site

Wessex Games Home Page
AERONEF Home Page
AERONEF Miniatures
Warlords of the Skies
Rhys Batchelor Aeronef Site
Luke Ueda-Sarson's Aeronef Page
Dave Ashton's Aeronef Page
Eugene George's Aeronef Page

Voyages Extrordinaires Home Page
VE Miniatures
North American Distributor


OTHER STUFF, 
RELATED TO VSF

Major Trevor Rederring's page (extensive VSF Material - GREAT PAGE)
Great Ideas that Never Made it (VSF Technology Resource... great pictures)
SAVAGE AND SOLDIER back issues on the web (not VSF but nice source material)
Colonial Wars Yahoo Group
WARFLAG (extensive database of FREE! printable flags)
The Adventures of the Red Shadow (semi-historical, semi-fictional FFL campagin)
kwaAndy (nice set of downloadable rules useful for colonial/VSF gaming)
Aortistan Campaign (well-documented fictional campaign setting)
Paleogothica's STEAMPUNK page (very nice site, lots of general interest material)
Gisby's VICTORIAN ADVENTURE GAMING page
CLOUDSHIPS OF IRON (Balin DeLoach's flying ship game, unpublished)
LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN Info Site
A FISTFUL OF TRIPODS (minis rules for War of the Worlds)
TRIPODS AND HUSSARS (more of the same, different scale)
Boilerplate: The Mechanical Marvel of the Age (recommended)
And these related pages by the same guy: Chronopolis, The Automatic Man,
The Steam Man, and The Electric Man (lovely, kooky Victoriana here)

PERIODICALS & OTHER STUFF

Would that it Were -  the Online VSF Magazine
Word of Mouth- SPECULATIVE FICTION reviews 
By Jingo!  (Web Periodical mostly focusing on Colonial Wargaming.  Nice selection of VSF stuff, though)
The Miniatures Page (Web Periodical on Miniatures Wargaming in general.  THE most useful site in the hobby).
Panthan Press  Great site for Burroughs style space fantasy, portal to such diverse webzines as The Barsoomian Blade, Tales from the Dum-Dum, and ERBWorld
Xenite.Org's Pulp Authors Discussion Board
Brigade Games VICTORIAN SCIENCE FICTION CATALOGUE (PDF)

 

DISCUSSION GROUP RESOURCES ON THE WEB

Panzerschiffe, the Game of Steam Powered Contraption Battles (Yahoo)
Colonial Wars (Yahoo)
Victorian and Colonial Gaming (Older Style Yahoo Club)

GASLIGHT RULES - Supports GASLIGHT (Yahoo)
Victorian Adventure (Yahoo)
Victorian Gothic - Supports Wessex Games (Yahoo)
Voyages - Supports Wessex Games "Voyages Extrordinaires" (Yahoo)
Space 1889 - Support for S1889 game (Yahoo)

Steampunk - system independent VSF gaming (Yahoo)

 

All copyrights and trademarks held by their respective authors. This page copyright 2001 Walter O'Hara