Saturday, April 29, 2017

More on Arthur

I have found a nice blog, by Guy Halsall, on his wargaming activities. Dr. Halsall is an academic that makes a fine study of sixth century history, and starting back in the late 1990s he combined his history pursuits with his wargaming and published a series on King Arthur.  Much of the series found its way into Wargames Illustrated, all of it is on his blog.

Halsall goes on to complete a lengthy, and excellent (once he moves away from the touchy subject of Morris) series on both Arthur and the wargaming of Arthur inspired scenarios.  He has a nice introduction to campaigning, here giving a set of simple mapless rules (but with excellent scenario generator guidelines), and also a set of map based campaign (more detailed, naturally) rules. He discusses lists and rules (as I had done earlier here  but while I chose to compare lists against each other, he is comparing them to what he projects to be proper warfare for the period, based on his scholarly research).  In his discussion of rules, he gives kudos to Dan Mersey (Glutter of Ravens) and to Simon McDowall (Goths, Huns and Romans), both of which I highly regard.

In short, a great article series. Halsall's historical work is top drawer, and even his criticism of Morris is well placed (he takes down one of my favorites, John Morris, for writing history that is more of the "enjoyable narrative" rather than the "rigorous scholarship" type of work).  I am forced to agree with his criticism, even if I have a strong fondness for The Age of Arthur


For me, as a wargamer, I am perfectly fine with a strong narrative version of a potential historical Arthur.  It was not an especially literate time, so the lack of much literary evidence doesn't bother me - and an actual King Arthur is not necessary to me as much as a potential Arthur that is consistent with what we do know about the history. 

I find very appealing the notion of an Arthur-like figure in the sixth century keeping alive the spark of Romano-civilization against the inevitable sweep back into Germanic paganism.  And so it follows that I would want my wargaming to be based on that idea. It is my world view, and my sense of myth and legend of the West.

So, I will stick with Morris, and Arthur, warts and all.  And still enjoy the great work of Guy Halsall, as well.

 
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