30 January 2015

Friday Flag - Triple Monarchy

With Italy joining the Central Powers during the Great War the Allies sued for peace and Germany found itself dominating the continent. Serbia was officially annexed into the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1920.

Emperor Charles I & IV was looking for ways to keep his empire together. By 1932 the Dual Monarchy became the Triple Monarchy as Slavs were given more power as the Hungarians were. This was done both to placate the Slavic peoples of the empire and to take some power away from the Hungarians.

The updated flag added the colors of Serbia. Austria was moved to the center and only its crow appeared on the flag.

The flag stayed in use until 1964 when the empire collapsed and was broken into separate Austrian, Hungarian, and Yugoslav states.

29 January 2015

Book Review - The Multiversity Guidebook

This review won't be of a regular alternate history book. Its for a comic book with details on a multitude of alternate Earths for the mainline DC Universe.

I haven't bought many comic books in the last decade. I sold off most of my collection a few years ago (for a tiny fraction of what I had paid for them) keeping the few that had stories I liked. New comics are too expensive and different titles are too connected story-wise requiring an even larger investments. The constant epic events and crossovers didn't help.

However yesterday I did rush out to the comic shop during lunch to buy a copy of The Multiversity Guidebook by DC Comics. I may not collect comics anymore, but I do like playing superhero role-playing games and I saw this book as a great set of ideas for expanding my RPG campaign.

The book contains part of the Multiversity storyline. It brings heroes and villains from various universes in the DC Multiverse together as part of a larger plot. The selling point for me were the map of the Map of the Multiverse and brief descriptions of 45 of the 52 alternate Earths that make up the DC Multiverse. While I would have liked more details on the various alternate Earths there was enough info for my gaming purposes.

The story portion of the book is broken into a couple parts - one has two very different Batmen teaming up to escape an army of robots created by alliance of a couple dozen Sivanas. Meanwhile, on an alternate Earth, Kamandi and his allies investigate a tomb on 'the Island of the God Watchers.' By the end of these short pieces the Batman from Earth-17 finds himself in the Hall of Heroes just as it is attacked by forces of the BIG BAD GUY.

The alternate Earths have only one or two short paragraph descriptions. Not too much information on divergence points, etc. But given the super-hero spin most of them are interesting in their own ways. If I start up a superhero RPG campaign in the near future I might try setting up campaigns on either Earth-17, Earth-20, or Earth-31.

Earth 17 diverged with a global nuclear war in 1963. It is now over 50 years later and the world's heroes are fighting to rebuild their planet and keep mutants at bay (and fight off Darkseid).

Earth 20 is a pulp-style world with Doc Fate and the Society of Super-Heroes. Given my love of old pulp stories this one would be a fun campaign setting, and the war it is having with Earth-40 creates many more opportunities for adventure.

Earth 31 suffered some terrible disaster in its past. The global sea levels have increased (I'm picking about 100 meters for my maps), and also suffered tsunamis and earthquakes which further changed the surface. Swashbuckling adventures and piracy appear to be the key here, and the image including a steampunk-looking Cyborg opens up other gaming possibilities.

I just hope this guidebook and the effort they've put into this whole Multiversity thing means that DC is finally going to stop messing with the history and structure of their multiverse for at least for a decade or two. All in all I'm happy with the guidebook. While I wanted more what was in it was good. 4 out 5 stars.

26 January 2015

Money Monday #5 - 100 Mark Note

After victory of the Central Powers in the Great War Germany grows in power an influence across Europe, and the world. With the formation of the Confederation of Europe in the 1970s Germany was able to fortify itself as the most powerful economy in Europe. The strength and relative stability of the European economy makes the Mark one of the three most popular reserve currencies (The US Dollar and British Pound being the other two).

In the 1990s a redesign of the German Mark put Kaiser Wilhelm II on the 100 Mark note.

By 2015 the Mark began slipping further behind the dollar and pound as a general economic downturn and ongoing war in the Middle-East stagnates the European economy.

16 January 2015

Friday Flag - Liberia

Liberia was established in 1822 by the American Colonization Society. It gained independence in 1847. Liberia was home to a number for freed slaves from America.

The Republic of Maryland was established near Liberia by the Maryland State Colonization Society. Draconian laws to limit the liberty of freed slaves in Maryland. These laws were used to coerce free blacks into moving to the colony or face the possibility re-enslavement. In 1854 the Republic of Maryland declared its independence and decided not to join Liberia. The Maryland State Colonization Society wanted to try to maintain its monopoly on trade.

In 1855 both Maryland and Liberia were attacked by an alliance of various local tribes. Both small nations coordinated their defenses and eventually merged into one state in 1859. At the end of the war eleven counties formed the new, larger Liberia. The colors of the Republic of Maryland's flag were chosen for the new flag of the nation. One of the reasons of the change in flag was to stop using the colors of the United States in an attempt for form their own identity. Eleven stripes on the flag represent the signatories of the Liberian Declaration of Independence. The American tradition of adding stars to a blue field as new territories were admitted was adopted.

In 1944 the collapse of the British government during the Second World War gave Liberia a chance to add three more stars (to 18) to its canton with the admission of Sierra Leone into the nation. While many of Britain's former colonies were turned into United Nations mandates after the Axis was finally defeated in 1947, the union of Sierra Leone to Liberia was allowed to stand.

14 January 2015

Seventeen Wars in Twelve Year - update to KZA AAR

It has been some time since I updated by Królestwo Zachodnim Afganistanie AAR for Victoria II. Given how fearful of that nation's future I've been there was no lack of excuses to delay continuing it.

A Polish conquest of portions of central Asia in the mid-19th century created a patchwork kingdom in the region; The Kingdom of Western Afghanistan. It later expanded south to the ocean, colonized a small portion of Africa, and added Mongolia to its territories. Now the Chinese Empire was 'westernizing' and reclaiming regions it considered its territory. The KZA was in growing danger.

From 1894 to 1906 seventeen wars started. One of them was the dreaded Chinese attack on the KZA.

#1: The Great War - December 1894 to April 1896
Germany, Russia, Italy, and the United Kingdom go to war to free Romania from the Austro-Hungarian Empire after the Romanian Crisis. Facing off against the German alliance were Austria-Hungary, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Montenegro, and the Ottoman Empire. In the end Romania gains its independence.

#2: War of the West Moroccan Concession - October 1895 to January 1899
Spain attempts to annex West Morocco but Italy and Morocco manage to fight them off.

#3: Second Chinese Restoration of Order to Yunnan - 12 September 1896 to 15 March 1898
The Chinese Empire vs. Yunnan and Siam. This was the second attempt to annex Yunnan, and this time the Chinese are successful.

#4: Romanian Restoration of Order to Moldavia - 17 June 1898 to 23 August 1898
Romania in its new found freedom wants to annex Moldavia which has a number of Romanian nationals in it. With the help of the German empire they defeat an alliance of Serbia, Poland, and Moldavia and Romania grows in size.

#5:Romanian Liberation of Dobrudja - 20 January 1899 to 24 April 1900
Romania continues its attempts growth, but this time Germany does not come in to do the heavy lifting. Romania clashes with Wallachia, the Ottoman Empire, France, Austria-Hungary, and Switzerland. They quickly surrender and are forced to surrender Moldavia to Austira-Hungary.

#6: Danish Conquest of Ostlandet - 30 January 1899 to 31 May 1899
Denmark, Germany, and Norway vs. communist Sweden. Denmark annexes Ostlandet at the end of the conflict.

#7: German Liberation of Danish Schleswig-Holstein - 28 April 1901 to 8 May 1901
Germany, Belarus, Romania, and Norway vs. Denmark. The size of the German army crossing into Denmark convinces Denmark to surrender quickly before any massive loss of life.

#8: Ottoman Liberation of Thessalia - 12 December 1901 to 5 May 1902
The Ottoman Empire, France, Austria-Hungary, Wallachia, and Switzerland vs. communist Greece. Thessalia is annexed by the Turks.

#9: Italian Liberation of Austro-Hungarian Istria - 28 July 1902 to 31 December 1902
Russia, the UK, Italy, and Slovakia vs. Austria-Hungary and Germany. The war ends in a white peace, neither side gaining any territory.

#10: Second War of West Moroccan Concession - 15 November 1903 to 15 March 1904
Netherlands, Poland, and Luxemburg vs. Morocco. The Netherlands annex West Morocco at the end of this war.

#11: Norwegian Liberation of Nordnorge - 1 June 1904 to 1 February 1905
Norway and Germany vs. communist Sweden. Norway gains a large patch of territory after this war.

#12: War of the Nejdi Hail Concession - 25 July 1904 to 1 February 1905
France, Spain, Netherlands, and the UK vs. Nejd, Oman, and Abu Dhabi. The original plans to gain territory from Nejdi are abandoned and France instead annexes Oman.

#13: Ottoman Liberation of Lebanon - 1 August 1904 to 2 January 1907
Ottoman Empire, France, the UK, and Wallachia vs. Egypt and Russia. A long and bloody war with the eventual annexation of Lebanon by the Ottoman Empire.

#14: Second Ethiopian Liberation of Egyptian Eritrea - 10 October 1904+ into 1907
Ethiopia vs. Egypt and Russia (the United States joins on Egypt's side in 1906). Ethiopia's attempt to gain territory during the chaos of the Ottoman Liberation of Lebanon war did not work out well for Ethiopia.

#15: Chinese Liberation of Inner Mongolia - 27 February 1905 to 11 April 1906
The expected Chinese invasion of the KZA finally takes place. The Chinese Empire faces the Królestwo Zachodnim Afganistanie, Russia, and Poland. The KZA military uses its superior weapons and forts to hold the vast armies of China to a slow advancement. This gives time for Russian and Polish armies to arrive. China fails in its bid to conquer Inner Mongolia, but Poland falls to revolution.

#16: Austro-Hungarian Liberation of Venetia - 29 April 1905 to 8 February 1906
Austria-Hungary and the Netherlands vs. Italy. Italy is forced to surrender Venetia to the Habsburg empire.

#17: Conquest of Boliva - 2 April 1906+ into 1907
Brazil vs. Bolivia, Paraguay, and Chile. Bolivia is quickly conquered and Paraguay is knocked out of the war. Into 1907 skirmishes between Brazil and Chile continue.

This is a pretty bloody period of time. The next decade or decade-and-a-half will feature another clash between China and the KZA as well as two more Great Wars! I'll continue updates in the future.

13 January 2015

Map of the United States of America circa 1910

Last January I was planning my own twist on the alternate American Civil War. Over the summer and fall of 2014 life happened so I didn't develop it as much as I wished. This map is a spoiler for that timeline - the rebellious northern states, due to their population and industry managed to break free of the United States to for the Federation of Free America.

After the north-eastern states broke away the United States quickly got involved in another war with Mexico. The French decided not to intervene which allowed America to annex new territory. The much weaker United States was seeing itself becoming more isolated with the French and British befriending the FFA. After Germany purchased Cuba from Spain on the 7th of June 1889 the United States worked to improve their relationship with the new German Empire.

Naval agreements between the FFA and British Empire became an increasing worry for the United States. They entered into a formal alliance with Germany in 1911, giving Germany access to additional ports in the Caribbean and Pacific as well as the growing American markets. In return Germany military advisers helped the USA modernize its military and gave financial assistance.

With the coming of the Great War the United States would join the Central Powers as the FFA would soon after join the Allies.

With the world war spreading to North America, the map would end up changing again...

02 January 2015

Friday Flag - Free City of Tri-Insula

The Free City of Tri-Insula was the name taken by New York City when it seceded from New York State during the the outbreak of the Civil War. Mayor Fernando Wood did not want to stay with the state after it seceded with many other northern states after Douglas won the Presidential Election of 1860. Wood wanted to continue trading with both sides and the outside world. He did not want the people of his city to be drafted into the armies of the Federation of Free America in its rebellion against the USA.

The Free City of Tri-Insula lasted from September 8, 1861 to November 17, 1861, just over two months. In November armies from New York and various New England states took back the city, bringing it back into the FFA.

01 January 2015

2014 in Review

Another year has ended. Hopefully this new year will turn out great for everyone. 2014 had more posts than I had in 2013 - but I again hit the late summer and autumn slump in posting. My resolution this year is to avoid that slump in 2015.

I had a number of good posts this year. Also a number I never got around to building on... the late year slump is to blame for some of that. I've looked at the posts for 2014 and found the ones that got the most hits.

The top ten posts from 2014 ranked by number of page hits are:
1) Friday Flag - Sino-Soviet Alliance
2) Top Flag Championship 2014 ROUND TWO
3) Top Flag Championship March 2014 ROUND ONE
4) Friday Flag - Kingdom of Burgundy
5) Book Review - Napoleon in America
6) Roman Conquest of Arabia Felix
7) The Baltic Event
8) Book Review - The Divide
9) My first official EUIV campaing - Navajo
10) Friday Flag - Saint Lawrence

The Top Flag Championship received a lot of views, but it also received limited responses which led to its eventually cancellation. Might try again in 2015 now that readership is up.... or might wait until 2016.

Three Friday Flag posts hit the top ten. Here are those flags:

Book reviews seem to be a popular item. I'll have to catch up on writing reviews for all of the alternate history books I've been reading.

I'm glad to see the Roman Conquest of Arabia Felix made the list. It is the divergence point of Roman timeline I put some effort in. I'll have to be sure to continue expanding it this year.

What were your favorite posts from 2014? What would you like to see in 2015? Please leave a comment.
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