After my last post you may be wondering a few things, some of you will be asking what on earth Blake’s 7 is, others will be wondering why would I want to play a game set in the backdrop of a pretty obscure TV series, but the vast majority will be thinking why the big build up to what will essentially be a small wargames project?
To answer these questions we have to go back in time 36 years to the heady days of 1978
1978 in South Wales (where I grew up) was not exactly a hub of excitement, I was 12 so the Punk revolution passed me by and looking back everything seemed to be grey and boring. Star Wars was the film everyone wanted to see in the cinema (and I was a huge fan of that) but there was one bright spark in the otherwise dull world I lived in. In January the BBC started a new program called ‘Blakes 7’ and I immediately fell in love with it, over the next 4 years I watched every episode and I may have shed a tear when the last one was shown.
I’m going to shamelessly rip off the Blake’s 7 Wikipedia entry here:-
The programme is set in the third century of the second calendar and at least 700 years in the future. Blake’s 7’s narrative follows the exploits of political dissident Roj Blake, who leads a small group of rebels against the forces of the totalitarian Terran Federation, which rules the Earth and many colonised planets. The Federation uses mass surveillance, brainwashing and drug pacification to control its citizens. Blake discovers he was once the leader of a revolutionary group and is arrested, tried on false charges, and deported to a remote penal colony. On route he and fellow prisoners Jenna Stannis and Kerr Avon gain control of a technologically advanced alien spacecraft, which they name Liberator. Liberator’s speed and weaponry are superior to Federation craft, and it also has a teleportation system that enables transport to the surface of planets. Liberator is controlled by Zen, the ship’s central computer. Blake and his crew begin a campaign to damage the Federation, but are pursued by Space Commander Travis – a Federation soldier – and Servalan, the Supreme Commander and later Federation President.
Now if you still don’t know what the hell I’m talking about go and have a read of the full article
Moving on a few years when I hit 40 my wife brought me the series on DVD and I had great fun watching them again and remembering my youth. The thing with B7 (as I’ll call it from now on) is, even though the sets were a bit rubbish and the special effects almost non-existent what did stand out was the stories, they were really well written and still stood up to the test of time. (God bless you Terry Nation and co for that) I started thinking wouldn’t it be fun to translate some of those stories into a wargames campaign where I could run a series of games which followed the story arc.
But as with many things the idea got pushed back and I spent my time doing other projects, but now I really think I can do the idea justice, which is probably why I’m writing these articles.
As I mentioned in my last post there are 3 things I need to start this project and they are:-
On top of those 3 there are a couple of other things I’ll need
- A campaign system
There are a few things that stand out in B7 that make it perfect for wargaming, the first one was the number of people on screen was always very small (as they had no budget for extras) and secondly any action seemed to happen in either a deserted quarry or inside some industrial complex (I think they used to shoot inside a working nuclear power plant)
Which means I’m looking at a skirmish game where 1 player plays the members of the crew of the Liberator and I can take on the role of the Federation or whatever group of aliens they run into during the games.
What will be tricky is working out how the campaign will work, after all I will need to create a bunch of games based on the series that allows me to follow the narrative. Thinking about it properly this may not be that small a project after all, time to do some research and maybe watch the first series again.
Join me in the next article where I’ll go into my ideas on which rules and figures I’m going to use
And if you are wondering what all the fuss is about, here’s the pilot episode…