Sunday, September 17, 2017

ImagiNations - Map (almost there)

The map is very nearly done. I need to add names to some geographic features, but the capital cities and the towns over 50,000 population are present. I may go and add smaller towns, but that may be a while.

I've more work, lots more, to do on the gazetteer, but I've got a working Excel sheet that will automatically calculate population, based on the types of hexes present. I just enter those and the population is generated for me, including the size of their military.

I am going to zoom further into each nation, and that is where more details will appear.

I'm still waiting on a package and then I will reveal another element of this ImagiNation project. I hope to receive it by Tuesday.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Possible Replacement for Wargammer Fantasy Battles in 15mm

This photo does not do the miniatures justice.
Update: Their campaign became fully funded on 9/14. WTG! Lots of people I know will be happy with more 15mm fantasy.

I am an old school Warhammer Fantasy Battles player, from the mid-80s. I own or owned a lot of the miniatures and books. I used to live and breathe the world as it was both fascinating and majestic in that dark and Gothic tone that it is so well known for.

When Games Workshop made yet another blunder by offing the game and replacing it with a skirmish system, the fearful wails of millions of gamers seemed to be snuffed out in an instant.

I gave it up and swore off GW forever. I've not bought so much as an overpriced paintbrush from them.This coming from someone who loved the company and who enjoyed working there; it was like Christmas almost every day of the year. But the cold hand of undeath took me by the financials and I had to part ways. Soon after, the great slaughtering of GW Baltimore employees occurred and many of my friends and former co-workers were unceremoniously kicked to the curb. I got out before the company forced nearly everyone out.

Now, a former co-worker and supervisor of mine, has arisen like a phoenix, with a new mass fantasy battles rules system and lovely and seductive 15mm metal goodness is beginning to flow out of some Dwarf foundry in Pennsylvania. Battle Valor Games, and appropriate name, seeks to claim fields of battle and magic for itself.

Take a glimpse, mortal, and see what opportunities away you.

Exhibit 1 - Declians (Undead)

Exhibit 2 - Delvians (Dark Elves)

Exhibit 3 - Dwarians (Dwarves/Dwarfs)
Exhibit 4 - Frigian War Mammoth
Exhibit 5 - Frigian Characters

They have a Kickstarter campaign, please support them. It's a one man operation, but he hires out the sculpting [click the link above]. Only 1 bloke from the UK is supporting them and 20 Yanks. What a bunch of ....... Hey you Brits and Irish who read this blog, support this campaign. You cannot let us former colony types show you up again.

I love you guys and gals, especially the gals, from the UK. Come on.. man and woman up! They've less than 3k to go, as of this post.

I mean, it's FRIGGIN 15mm!

Someone's doing it right, for a change, help 'em out and kick in.

Full Disclosure: I've not contacted the owner of Battle Valor Games and he has no idea I'm a former co-worker. He was a good boss and I feel he deserves to sell me (and you) some damn fine 15mm fantasy miniatures at less than $1 a figure.

Do it.

Do it now.

Go ahead and click

If you do, maybe I can arrange for you to meet a sexy mink

Sunday, September 10, 2017

ImagiNations - Updated Map part 2

I exported the map at a slightly larger size, so people can more easily read the eventual notations, including those for important geographical features.

Notice, the western edge of the continent has been fully fleshed out, only the southeastern portion remains, behind a barrier of mountains and desert, so I have some time. I have ideas for it, and it is a very large area (about twice what is pictured here). There is another continent to the east and north east, portion of which are almost, but not quite, hinted at in this image. Essentially, I took what is a combination of continents and split them by an inner sea; think Europe and Asia thusly divided.

Each of the named areas on the map has its origins story, and I will flesh those out as time goes on. I've got a good mental handle on pretty much all of it, but I need to spend the time to write it up. I handle the nations as though they were individual characters in a novel and that is how I mentally compose their backstories, goals, religious and political motivations, etc.

I need to update the real world historical influences on each nation, I know what they are, but have to add them to that working map. However, I have several hours of grading papers ahead of me, today, and I need to focus on that once I finish this post.

Please, if you have not done so, vote in the poll to the right. It is a close call between two of the named selections and the "I don't like any of them" choice. If you don't like what is there, make a suggestion through a comment.

In other news, I have received one of my Kickstarter pledge items and will post on that this week. I also have another order incoming from Ireland in the next week or so and am excited to share that once it arrives.

Edit: I just noticed I still have the ghosted border around the text boxes for some of the names. I do not understand how this is happening, as I am doing the same thing for the text that does not have a border. If anyone who knows GIMP 2.0 can explain to me how to fix this, I'd be grateful.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

ImagiNations - Updated Map

Here is the updated map, with political borders, but without names of nations and geographical features. Again, this is about 1/3 of the total map for this part of Orwell.

I do like the mask fade, it makes this appear more of a map you would see on paper, effected by sunlight and time.

Notice the light blue lines, which represent rivers. Many borders are defined by the courses of rivers, both on Earth and on Orwell.

If you haven't voted on the blog name as yet, please do so on the right side of the screen, where the poll gadget resides.

If you do not like any of the names in the poll, feel free to suggest one or more in the comments.

Forgive me the ads

My pay is about to take a hit for the next three years, due to an increase in medical insurance liabilities and short-sightedness on the part of teachers who approved a bad contract deal about five or six years ago. Thus, I am having to figure out ways to scrape up some more cash to offset my increased payroll deductions. I've already calculated exactly what this will cost me, and other teachers who have the same years of experience and education, as they factor into our pay, and I must say, OUCH!

I will spare you what I REALLY think about some of my co-workers who fail to realize that happy teachers are efficient teachers and thus a good influence on our students.

 So, you're going to see the ads to the right, at least for a while. Never fear, I am going to keep it limited and as out of the way as I can. So, no ads at the bottom of posts or in both columns, etc.

On the other hand, if I find a rich, blind, widow sugar-momma, then I can go back to normal, here. Either that or I have a winning lottery ticker flutter out of the sky to land in the palm of my hand... Or I have some living wealthy relative, who is totally unknown to me, bequeath me the entirety of their vast fortune...   Or if a bolt of lightening should strike me dead.  Of the four, the last is the most likely to occur by at least a factor of 1000.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

ImagiNations - Population Densities: a work in progress

Although some think I am a bit bonkers to go into this detail, I really am not. I am merely spreading the stuff that makes a solid foundation for the campaign, by way of establishing norms and parameters withing the confines of which I will be creating the people, places, and military forces of the various powers.

Relying on an excellent article at

I have determined that my working density of 56 people per square mile, overall, is a bit low for the focus of the campaign world. Since, according to the article, Medieval France had 100 pop per square mile, with "Germany" and "Italy" at about 90 pop per square mile and Britain bringing up the bottom at 40 pop per square mile.

Fast forward 2 to 3 centuries and these numbers are going to be higher, with concentrations in certain areas, to be sure, but I am looking for a base to start from.

In the world of Orwell, my campaign world, there are several basic types of terrain depicted on the map, not all are going to be populous, so I will limit myself to the useful ones here.

Clear               60per sq. mile
Hills                30per sq. mile
Forest              20per sq. mile
Heavy Forest    5per sq. mile
Mountains       10per sq. mile

(if a reader has actual numbers based on reality, please let me know, or if you have an RPG sourcebook with this kind of information).

There are forested hills and mountains, but I'll just assume that the addition of trees won't make a huge difference in population density. They might in our world, but I do not have enough data to go on, so for the sake of simplicity, I will assume not.

Of course, there will be locations that will impact population density, namely villages, town, cities. As I am not going to map all of these locations, we'll subsume the presence of villages and smaller towns into Clear, Hills, and Forest areas, and to a lesser degree in Mountains.

Larger towns and cities will be on the world map, so I need to account for those.

Below is a figure for Paris in 1700. It's population was 600k, area was 13.4km, with a density of 44,877 per square km. It's square mile population density was 116,230.

1700 600,000 13.4 44,877 5.2 116,230 Atlas de Paris
 (source: )

I'm going to figure that cities will provide a modifier of x1500 down to x200. Since most people tended to congregate near cities, even if they did not live within the city, I am going to apply an area of effect in the hexes around the cities of 4 hexes.

The way this will work is that I will take the base terrain type and then apply a decreasing modifier the further away a hex is from the city, up to four hexes away. This decreasing modifier starts with the hex containing the city itself.

Hexes distant            modifier
0                               x1500
1                               x250
2                               x125
3                               x50
4                               x10

In the course of looking for date for this post, I came across an article here: that I have yet to fully read and analyze, but it looks as though it will prove useful to me.

Further modifiers should be applied based on proximity to the ocean, a major river, or traffic hub.

Ocean   x1.25
Major River x1.5
Traffic hub x1.7

These will be applied to the city modifier if the city is in a hex containing the feature or is adjacent to it.

Thus a city in a clear hex on a coastline is modified determined as 60 (base) x (1500x1.25). Of course, if more than one such feature is present, those will also be included in the calculation. This means that a city in a clear hex containing a major river and is also a traffic hub, it's population is 229,500.

I need to define what a traffic hub is. I think the easiest method is to see if another city or town is on the same road within 10 hexes. This allows the modified area around a city to also have an affect on a city further down the road.

However, not every population center is going to be a city. So the question is, how do I determine the number of cities vs the number of large towns.

Since a tool already exists for RPGs at I am going take the base land area of 115km per hex (as the tool does not use miles), and multiply that by the number of hexes of the nation on my map. I will then plug in x10 the total land area and set the size of the hexes to 115km. Looking at the lower left, I will see that I have 7 towns and 2 cities (I am ignoring the number of villages), giving me what I need. I will use a base population density of 10, on the tool.

So, now I need a population modifier for towns. Okay, here goes.

0 hexes away          x400
1 hexes away          x100
2 hexes away          x50
3 hexes away          x20
5 hexes away          x5

I will keep the same modifiers as for ocean, major river, and traffic hub proximity.

Of course, I am open to further suggestions or adjustments based on new data, but least I have a place to start from.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

ImagiNations - Working on a Gazetteer and problems due to (current) map scale - part 2

As I continue to ponder the problems of scale, here's what I'm currently looking at.

36 mile hexes must be rejected.
72 mile hexes must be minimum, but a larger size is preferred.

Here's why.

72 mile hexes (flat to flat) equates to  62.352 square miles.

If I am to attain a 15,000 man army for the Grand Duchy of Khornwallistein, the current largest nation of 85 hexes giving us a land area of 5300 square miles, I'll need a base population of 1,500,000 people.

This means that the population density must be slightly over 283 people per square mile.

This is just far too dense, especially since this does not take into consideration areas that are heavily forested or mountainous or otherwise uninhabitable, meaning the actual density of habitable space will be over 500.

This would place it at 70 out of 246 countries and dependent territories of our own world.

This is impractical at best.

The concept of the ImagiNations here are that they are independently capable of recruiting and maintaining reasonable armies without crippling their economies, standards of living, or growth rates.

Now, I could probably fudge things a little, perhaps accept a 5% ratio of manpower to total population. In this case, the population of Khornwallistein could be reduced to 300,000, giving a population density of 56.6; a perfectly reasonable number.

However, there still remains a problem. If the army meets with disaster, the economy of the country will take a significant hit as it cannot then recruit enough replacements without pulling able bodies out of necessary industries, especially food production and military manufacturing.

Also, as Khornwallistein is the largest nation, I am going to need to look at the smaller nations.

Saving the trouble of posting all of the calculations, this means that the Free City of Passant (which is more than just the city) can support a bit more than 1920 men. The Earldom of Mysterae can support 3352. The Nurglundian Marches would be able to field an army of 8470, with the Princedom of Slaavia mustering another 7587. Tzeeberg's army comes in at 9880.

It may be that I need to adjust the map slightly, to give the Nurglundians and Slaavians more land area, and thus greater populations to recruit from, or develop a reason for a much greater population density than "normal." As these two nations are the primary antagonists towards Khornwallistein, having them weaker militarily just does not make a lot of sense to me.If they were each capable of fielding armies roughly equal to Khornwallistein, then conflicts would appear reasonable instead of like small dogs yapping at big dogs.

ImagiNations - Working on a Gazetteer and problems due to (current) map scale

Hexographer, and its eventual successor (currently in beta), Worldographer, have the ability to create child maps from the main map created. In Worldographer, this is far more easily done, but apparently, it cannot be reversed once completed.

Worldographer actually has three levels of map, which will automatically generate, one at a time, if you desire. Hexographer can do it as well, but it's a more tedious process in that you select the area and create a child map of that. Each has their uses, and I'd like to see a feature where I can click on the hexes I want to "zoom in" on, but maybe I can get lucky down the road. In the case of Worldographer, a standad map of roughly 100 hexes by 100 hexes takes a while to load, when all three levels are created. If you use that program, I do suggest making three different saved versions of a map, each with an additional layer of zoom. This will really save you time when working on the zoomed out maps.

In creating a gazetteer, I need several pieces of information about each nation, including geography, population, resources, religion, government type, etc.

One key item is the area, generally given in square miles or square kilometers, depending.

My map assumes 18 miles (the current working number) distance from flat to flat, for each hex at the world view. One level of zoom easily resolves to 3 miles flat to flat, and a further and more detailed level of zoom brings us to one half mile flat to flat.

How does one calculate the square miles of a country divided into hexes? Easy.

The formula is W (width of shortest distance between two flat sides) x .866. The result is not an exact number, but pretty darn close.

In the case of my map, this is equal to 15.588 square miles of area for a hex measuring 18 miles flat to flat.

Generating population is far more tricky and greatly depends on other variables that one must either randomly or purposely define, or just simply come up with a number that "sounds good."

I found this little gem of a tool via another blog that has not been updated in seven years, and I believe I will be using it soon.

It is intended for fantasy games with an equivalent medieval setting, but with some handy redefining of terms, it should work fine for Renaissance and Horse & Musket eras.

Of course, this would put the Grand Duchy of Khornwallistein at approximately 1294 square miles, which is larger than Rhode Island, but about 6 percent of the land area of Hesse.

I may need to rethink my map hex sizes, should I want my "nations" to field something larger than 200 to 1000 men in their "armies." The next obvious size would be 36 mile hexes, zooming in to 6 mile hexes and then again to 1 mile hexes, but even then, I've only roughly doubled the area. If I then go with 72 mile hexes, zoomed to 12 mile hexes and zoomed again to 2 mile hexes, then the area is about  5200 square miles.

The problem with this is, if one is using a movement system by hexes, then a single 12 mile hex per day would be sensible, if a bit fast for most armies of 1650-1750. However, this increases the work necessary to generate sufficient maps for running each of the nations, especially if players get involved.

I think it is reasonable to have the armies for an average nation be roughly equal to 1000 men, with recruitment and training easily able to maintain that number year to year.  However, if I were to apply this number as though it were the base points value of an army built using the Maurice rules, it would be tiny. So, I'd have assume that each point in Maurice was equal to 10 men, to reach 1000, being that an army in that game is 100 points.

A Maurice army could easily be 8 infantry battalions, 4 cavalry squadrons/regiments, and 4 guns/batteries. If the infantry have 3 to 4 times the number of men that a cavalry unit does, which is also a reasonable expectation, and say the 4 units of artillery are equal to an infantry unit, in numbers of men, then we've some problems.

If the infantry battalions were a paltry 100 men each, leaving the cavalry at 25 men a piece, and the 4 units of artillery at 100 men total, then we've got our 1000 man army. This is quite a pathetic little force.

At the minimum, I'd say a typical force should be at least 5,000 men, but I'd prefer an army of about 10,000 men; 32,000 Prussians were at Kolin, by way of comparison.  This should hold true, in my little ImagiNations world, of the average military strength across the region represented on the map I posted earlier.

Going with the ratios from above, an army at 10,000 men would mean 1000 man infantry battalions, 250 man cavalry regiments squadrons, and the artillery. Yes, the units would be smaller than this, with the battalions about 600-750 men, and even smaller on campaign, but I am trying to keep the math simple. I think this "sounds" and "feels" about right, and requires one to equate each point of army building in Maurice to equal approximately 100 men.

Now, Saxony had an army of roughly 17,000 men in 1749, after getting thrashed by Prussia and being forced to muster out a good portion of its army. I think the major powers thus far revealed should be modeled off of what the Saxons could field.

This means that 18 miles hexes are way too small and 72 mile hexes are still not big enough.

Rethinking in process...

Saturday, September 2, 2017

ImagiNations - The Map part deux

As it is way way way too hot to do much of anything outside, today, including priming figures, I continued working on the map of the region and also created an "influences" map to help guide my future purchases of miniatures for this little (hUUUUGE!) project.

As you can see, I was finally able to get the last two powers' names in place. The Kingdom of Grek is an occupied Greece of the Renaissance. The Baronies of Wanniir are a loose confederation of Scandanavian peoples, with the Swedish influence being a bit predominant at this time (think Great Northern War Swedes).

Admittedly, these are a little hard to read, but the notations signify the major military influences, from our history, which will be used to determine uniforms and equipment for the various powers.

There is an intent to allow for some ebb and sway between the uniforms and militaries, especially as not all powers have decided to upgrade their entire forces at once, but have elected a more cost effective change over time.

This will allow me the greatest range of figures and personalities to choose from, without resorting to any lengthy explanations in the stories. Things just are the way they are and the people and characters assume this is normal.

I am toying with the idea of taking some future regions of the world map way back into the past, perhaps into the Roman Empire and Successor States eras. I will certainly include a Japanese themed area, but have not decided where as yet.

Apart from finish up current projects and also a 3mm or 6mm WWII force for Rommel, I'm done with purchasing and building historical armies for the next several years.

I am having too much fun putting this all together.

ImagiNations - The Map

This is the current map of the local region, centered on the major powers involved in the conflict at hand.

Notice, that I have two unnamed, as yet, countries to the south west, largely due to GIMP continually forcing borders around the text, which I just could not stop and was too frustrated to keep at it.

In the northern part of the map, the Republic of Yarweg is a new to the readers here. I need to update the roster, for all to see, but essentially the Yarwegs (not to be confused with the Yarwegians as an ethnicity and Yarwegians as a religious group) are a "gift" to my friend, Brent, in that he's a ginger and his distant family (way back up the tree) are Scots. In my world of ImagiNations, the Yarwegians take the place of the Scottish and will be using Jacobite period figures to represent them.

The orange bordered area is the Kingdom of Grek, which is loosly based on Greece under the Ottomans. The leader's name is Pasha Ayadara Galama.

The purple bordered area is influenced by our Scandinavian region, primarily the Swedes under Gustaf Adolf and Charles XII, but also Finns and Norwegians. I have not come up with an official name for it yet, but I am looking back into Scandinavian histories for inspiration have named it the Baronies of Wanniir, with Baron Vasa Kalamari as the senior baron of the three baron ruling council.

The mountainous region between Tzeeberg and Slaavia is not a country at all, but rather a tumultuous area that has proven impossible, thus far, for anyone to subdue. I have based it on the Tyroleans of 1809, but also include some Croat and Hungarian influences of the previous 160 years. I figure this region will supply mercenary units to its neighbors, for a price.

The rest of this map portion will be filled in with more nations, but I am purposesly keeping it small for the time being.

The borders appear a little screwy as I have not figured out how to split the colors between borders in Hexographer, assuming it is even possible.

This are is perhaps 1/8th of the total land mass of the continent. Down the road, should we get that far, perhaps these nations will explore and discover what else there is of their world.

Don't forget to vote on the map for the dedicated blog, if you have not already voted, that is. I do appreciate the votes and comments received.