Friday, February 8, 2013

Collected John Carter of Mars

No, not this guy.
Rather more like this
I just finished reading Volume One of the Collected John Carter of Mars, which contains: A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, and the Warlord of Mars all by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Now you hardly need me to "review" a 100 year old serial for you, but suffice it to say that the action is rollicking, and cliffhangers appear on every cliff.  There is plenty of sword fighting, manly admiration for an other's fighting worth causing reluctant allies to switch sides, and so on.  Naval battles last hours, and are often decided by boarding actions. Women are always the most beautiful ever, and serve as pawns in battles between John Carter and his dastardly enemies.   Great fun, and if you have not read them, you should.

This sort of book always makes me think about gaming the battles presented, and if you wanted to go close up and personal, like John Carter and his buddies against the world, then a swashbuckling sort of rule set would be the way to go.  Anything that suitably handles the Three Musketeers or pirates would probably be great, and you would only have to account for the greater strength of JC/Tharks and the various monsters employed by the bad guys.

Barsoom styled miniatures are made by Bronze Age, Paroom Station, and Tin Man miniatures, although you could probably use figures from a number of lines, provide the figures are well built, clean limbed, and nearly naked.  (She could, for example, make a very splendid Phaidor, or even Deja Thoris with some conversion).  Tharks can come from the lines mentioned above, or converted from Kroot.

Not mine, and lacking tusks
If you would rather fight out the battles of the rainbow of nations present on Barsoom, then a smaller scale is probably in order, and Black Hat Miniatures has a sizable range of 18mm figures to use.  Given how often battles seem to devolve into melee, it seems that a mass battle rule set that is set in the Renaissance would make the most sense for bigger games, particularly if it can handle highly influential heroes. (Fantasy Warmaster?)

As an aside, it occurred to me that perhaps the "cult of the offensive" which pervaded European armies of the pre-Great War era also can be seen in this sort of book, since battles always end up as sword fights, and impetuous charges always carry the day.  No inglorious machine gun massacres here (or indeed machine guns or artillery).

I have the next volume in the collection on order from the library, and sooner or later I will watch the movie as well, so expect more Barsoom in the future!

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