It might seem a tad early to be considering a visit to one of the biggest independent, one-day wargaming and gaming events in Europe, but Salute is very much on our radar at the moment and I am thrilled to be able to share some exciting news with you here.
|Schloss Itter at the time of the War.|
An obvious starting point was to celebrate the 75th anniversary of V.E. Day, 8th May 2020. As we looked around for a suitable tale to tell we stumbled across the Battle for Schloss Itter, the incredible story of a group of German Soldiers, American G.I.s and French Prisoners of War that fought alongside each other in the final days before the War in Europe came to an end. This really is the stuff of Hollywood, but this remarkable true story would be perfect for a lecture to the school and would provide us with another modelling challenge - Austrian Castle anyone?!
As with Pegasus Bridge, our primary goal is education and given the increased scale of this project we are keen that the pupils will be able to contribute in the construction in some way and hope to hold a club in the Spring term. As I mentioned at the start we are keen to push ourselves that little bit further, and that progression is leading us down the totally unfamiliar path of game design.
In short we have decided to design and build a participation game to commemorate the Battle of Schloss Itter ahead of the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. To use the model to illustrate a talk to the school, but also to take the game to Salute 2020, just because it would be an awesome thing to do. Having registered with the South London Warlords we were thrilled to receive the news that we have bagged one of the Early Bird slots and have had the 'green light' to "crack on with whatever bit of genius/madness you have planned."
So crack on we have! Working form photographs taken at the time of the battle, James has started to map out the floor plan of the castle, getting a sense for how we could construct it. This is no mean feat and I am continually impressed at the skill James displays in bringing the past to life. As we broke up for the summer holidays a couple of test pieces had been cut and immediately we were staggered at just how big this project was going to be!
There may yet be concessions made in the interests of gameplay, but James' first goal is to create a castle that is true to the photographic evidence, otherwise what is the point? The drawings are moving forward and I am happy to share them here to give a sense of where we are headed and to generate some momentum and excitement about the project.
I have been tinkering away with ideas for how to 'play' the battle, again trying to put education at the fore with a large smattering of humour, and look forward to running them past the more experienced gamers, Mike 'The Dark Templar' Reynolds and 'Bullcher Feb'.
|Castle and Gatehouse, concept design James Walters|
We hope to share updates as we progress, particularly of areas that might be of interest to the larger modelling and gaming world and would welcome any feedback or suggestions that you might have as we are acutely aware that we are somewhat out of our comfort zone, but relishing every creative minute of the experience.