carrying on from yesterdays post where I shamelessly ripped off an idea from Jay Arnold’s Veteran Wargamer podcast when I listed the top 5 Sci-fi and fantasy books that made me want to play games, here is part 2 Historical Fiction
as before this is not a list of my favourite books its just a list of books I’ve read that made me want to start collecting armies or playing games. also sticking to Jay’s remit these are all fiction and just are based in historical context.
so here’s the top 5
5 – George MacDonald Fraser – Royal Flash
I was a late convert to the Flashman novels but I’ve read a few of them and love the idea of this anti-hero who goes through life stumbling into various places and ending up coming up smelling of roses. Royal Flash was the first one I read and it’s stuck with me the longest.
For games I think we have to go with Sharp Practice by Too Fat Lardies as the narrative structure of the game just lends itself to Flashman in battle
4 – Stephen R. Lawhead – Byzantium
I’ve long been a fan of Lawheads work ever since I read The Pendragon Cycle in the 90’s, in fact those books almost made it into the last list except I wasn’t sure if they counted as fantasy novels or not (maybe I need another category for stuff like that) anyway Byzantium was listed as Historical Fiction and thats good enough for me. the book centers on a journey made by a 9th century monk to Byzantium and it really captured my imagination.
For games I would use Saga by Studio Tomahawk as it allows players to try out the different nations listed in the book and play some great games
3 – Donald Bodey – F.N.G.
I read this book years ago and to be honest I don’t think any other Vietnam book comes close to it. The journey taken by the main character is sometimes hard to read and the emotional strain is understandable but its a great book and one I really recommend
For games there is only one candidate and thats Charlie Don’t Surf by Too Fat Lardies as thats the only game that gets onto the political situation of Vietnam (in my view)
2 – Homer – The Iliad
OK this was another book that I wasn’t sure fitted in this category as it is sort of fantastical in it’s form, but in my defense its based on a battle that might have happened at a site that we know does exist so I’m going to include it. plus its nearly 3000 years old and deserves a mention. I remember reading it about 15 years ago and I just wanted to recreate the battle on the tabletop, and even now that idea is still there.
1- Bernard Cornwell – Sharpe’s Enemy
Come on did you really think I would go through a list without mentioning the Sharpe novels, they are a staple of any wargaming list and rightly so in my view. ok some of the ideas in the books are similar to earlier books and the hero always wins in the end, but for light fun reading in the Napoleonic period they cant be beaten.
For rules I would go for Sharp Practice by Too Fat Lardies its a no-brainer really
the only one I wanted to include in this list but didn’t was Conn Iggulden – Lords of the Bow which covers the life of Genghis Khan and was almost responsible for me starting a Mongol army.
tune in tomorrow list fan’s for part 3 where we chat about Comic Books and Graphic Novels