Home Forums Ancients Fictional ancient wargaming: gaming The Sunbird

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  • #15317
    Pijlie
    Participant

    Recently I have been re-reading The Sunbird, a 1972 novel by Wilbur Smith. It is probably the only Wilbur Smith novel I really like and have read more than once, despite its obvious sexism, racism and dodgy political views, which would even in the 70ies have been rather wobbly. But you may think a lot of things about mr Smith, but my point of interest here is the subject of the novel and its possibilities for war gaming.

     

    The novel is a two-part story in which the first modern storyline about an archaeological discovery of an ancient Punic city in South Africa, intrigue, violence and terrorism in 1970ies South Africa is mirrored in the second story of the King and High priest of the fictional city of Opet around its fall in 500 AD.

     

    The novel is based on the premise that survivors of the sack of Carthage fled the city in a small fleet of ships, sailed south along the African coast and founded the city of Opet on the shores of an inland sea near the border of modern South Africa and Zimbabwe. Opet was based on the Carthaginian model of slave labour and trade and flourished in the 600 years of its existence. Opet came under pressure from the southward Bantu migrations and was finally destroyed when a former slave united the tribes that had been raided for slaves by Opet for centuries, triggered a massive slave revolt and overran the city, eventually utterly destroying it in a similar way as the complete destruction of Carthage 600 years earlier. The second storyline ends with the fall of Opet and ties up with the first story again.

     

    The book has wonderfully exotic battle scenes with small Carthage-style armies, complete with elephants against the massive regiments of the black tribes attacking Opet. Its tribal enemies are clearly based on the Zulu and the Matabele of the 19th century. There are some quirky bits, like the “Carthaginian axeman”, of whom I have no historical knowledge at all and the fact that the Opetians domesticated African elephants, but the whole fluff is very inspiring.

     

    Now I own a Carthaginian army (and elephants), surely there must be a lot of 28mm Zulus around in the world so my question is, has anyone done this and what rules were used?

    http://pijlieblog.blogspot.nl

    #15331
    repiqueone
    Participant

    Odd, I always thought that most ancient wargaming, was by any standard, fictional.  I suppose if Burmese can fight Hellenes it isn’t such a leap to Carthaginians fighting Zulus.  Call it DBZ and have fun!

    #15332
    Pijlie
    Participant

    Haha. It must be my purist nature. I never played Ancients in any other way as historical opponents against each othter.

    http://pijlieblog.blogspot.nl

    #15333
    General Slade
    Participant

    I read the book when I was young and it inspired me to buy Carthaginians as my first ancient army.  Unfortunately, I bought the figures sight unseen from an advert in the back of Military Modelling and when I unboxed them and saw what Peter Laing figures looked like in the flesh I was truly disappointed and the project never got off the ground. However, I think it is  a great idea for a fantasy campaign and I look forward to reading about your progress. I would have thought you could use any ancient rules and your biggest consideration would be how to rate the Zulu-style tribes.

    #15334
    Piyan Glupak
    Participant

    Odd, I always thought that most ancient wargaming, was by any standard, fictional. I suppose if Burmese can fight Hellenes it isn’t such a leap to Carthaginians fighting Zulus. Call it DBZ and have fun!

    I don’t play ancients with opposing armies that would have been impossible enemies (for instance, because of huge geographical separation, or armies of different times).

    Interesting enough, DBA is one set of rules that makes it easier to use suitable opposing armies because the armies are small, so it is less difficult to buy and paint armies in opposing pairs, or to do armies for themed tournaments.

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