Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Is to be a girl? ...a boy?

After having tested our Catal... [ehem] ...Galatan campaign rules, and while waiting for a gaming mate to have an appropriate CyberBoard gamebox finished to run the campaign, I couldn't avoid to keep dealing with my child future appearance and attitude, as you can see through this TMP board:

In the meanwhile, one daring Miquelets partida has managed to capture a quite special French officer:



abdul666 said...

A precious advantage of a country of this size is that the whole army can be represented in miniature, even if never to appear at once on the tabletop during the campaign (some units are always operating elsewhere, in garrison or whatever): far more satisfactory than having more regiments in your OOB than on our shelves, and thus having to field a crimsom-faced, white-laced regiment to play the part of a madder-faced, yellow-laced one.

Wargaming-wise, a problem with a small nation -'real', "what if?" or imaginary- wedged between larger ones is to find an opponent of suitable size.
If France and Spain directly intervene to crush independent Catalonia, your newborn country will be ravaged by a Peninsulat War, its army ending as local auxiliaries of a British Expeditionary Force: not enthralling on both accounts.
On the other hand, a neutral country, its independence and security safeguarded by all major powers -a mediterranean Switzerland, trying to gain a name with its delicacies, casinos, spas and secure numbered bank accounts- may certainly offer a setting propitious to swashbuckling / 'Pulp' RPG-like adventures, but not justify the building of an army of figurines!

Then, the Major Powers may have by tacit agreement adopted in the area a 'Cold War' attitude -having their war fought by local 'proxies'. Catalonia is of course -at the start, at least- the British one. France and Spain may have accepted the independence of Catalonia (sincerely, in the case of France, the Regent, Philippe d'Orleans, was not a warmonger; besides, in the context leading in 'our' History to the War of the Quadruple Alliance, France could be neutral at the very least) *if under a Bourbon prince*. Could some of the Italian territories lost by Spain, or miscontents from there, or even Savoy, be at the origin of an expedition supporting such 'Young Pretender' (along the lines of Napoleon III ill-fated Mexican adventure...)?
To have any hope of success, such an attempt had to count on some local support. Not an upraising of warbands as met Prince Charlie in Scotland -spare your country a Spanish Civil War and its atrocities- but the *passive* support of a part of the population. On what grounds? Catalonia is close to the Cevennes: if numerous Huguenots are granted asylum in the Defiant Principality, the most devout Catholics may be upset -worried as they already are by the alliance with British 'heretics' (the types with fond memories of the Spanish Inquisition: *everybody* expects the Spanish Inquisition, in such a setting!). Such religious overtones may gain discreet support to the venture from the Vatican, some Austrian and French circles -the Regent may even 'loan' a Lauzun-like legion (in the same way as the Foreign Legion was 'loaned' during the Carlist war) as a token gesture to appease the French Catholics revulsed by his impiety- the Knights of Malta (who could contribute an unit, in the same way as there was a Legion Belge supporting Maximilian in Mexico)...
The expedition may be quite small to start with -most the small Catalan army being pinned at the border by the threat of Spanish invasion.
To avoid interception by the British Navy, the troops and their transport can be officially gathered for a punitive expedition against Algiers: such were periodically mounted by various countries during the 17th and 18th C.; then, once at sea, news of a dramatic naval incident off Catalonia involving inocent Italian sailors...

Soldadets said...

Jean Louis, how is it that your comments are always so dazzling to me?

I've been long dealing with some of the paradoxes you've developed in your post, and sincerely have to admit not to have a solution for most of them. By now, my only aim is to let it run and see what happens.

As you suggested, one safe option might be drawing a perpetually neutral country, providing at most some man power in Swiss style -but this seems to be a quite boring option, for myself at least.

A quite more exciting option might be the 'proxy' or 'buffer' state in the style of later Belgium, ready to act as a balancer in your neighbors' quarrels, either siding France or Spain depending on the situation, and always aware to take some benefit from it. However, I believe such an option to be quite unrealistic while the Bourbon 'Family Pact' keeps alive... unless our imagi-nation's crown was taken by someone fitting Bourbon tastes, as you suggest -the Wittelsbach maybe?

I believe that a first crucial turning point in the history of my newborn imagi-nation would be the Quadruple Alliance war. If my Galatea was the only difference with 'real' History, then it is quite likely that after Rastatt Sardinia was under 'Galatan' rule (provided that Galatea is still under Imperial influence), for this island still was formally under Crown of Aragon's sovereignty -unlike Sicily or Naples. This puts my Galatea just in the very center of the storm. A Quintuple Alliance becomes unavoidable, and thus the chance of a reconciliation with France strongly arises -for a while, at least.

I've been lately dealing with the possibility of a strongly aggressive initial attitude on the Galatan side, until restoring the Crown of Aragon integrity. If succeeding in such a challenge, I guess that Galatan status would be substantially reinforced and secured. It would even become possible a reconciliation with Castile under equality basis (never before Philip V's death, of course).

Not to talk about a post-Quadruple Alliance War arrangement giving the crown of Galatea to Savoy dinasty? (Mmmmm... exciting but too unlikely, for this would meet the strongest opposition from France, althoug would no doubt meet the British interests...).

I am a little skecptic about American adventures, sincerely -althoug these would be admittedly exciting and plentiful of possibilities, from a wargamer's point of view! I believe that my Galatea most active role would be constrained to Western Mediterranean, therefore getting involved in Italian diplomacies or Maghrib pacification.

However, I couldn't avoid the temptation of exploring the possibilities of some involvement with the Cévennes revolt. *** Have you seen my latest post at the Defiant Principality blog?? ***

As you suggested, this might be a likely start for a bizarre adventure quite in the path suggested by you. Following such path, after the independence war Galatea might feel compelled to get rid off their huguenot contingents, to avoid the Catholic Church unrest, by shipping them to an amazing adventure in the Americas.

However, I'm doubtful that Britain would ever feel compelled to intercept them. Wouldn't such enterprise be useful to their interests in America?

Nevertheless, have in mind that by that time Catalonia had long been a refuge for French huguenots immigrants. By mid 17th century, they already represented some 17-20% of the Principality total population... Maybe the Catholic Church influence in Catalonia was more of an appearance than a real thing, don't you believe? There is no record of huguenots' prosecutions here. Why would they change religion after immigrating? They might have chanegd before leaving, and therefore would have preserved properties and homes...