Science Ficton in a more civilised age...

This page last modified: 6 May, 2001

The now-defunct Games Development Workshop once produced a great game called "Sky Galleons of Mars" - great not least because the entire concept of ironclad gunboats chugging over the rust-red plains of Mars really appealed to me. Sadly GDW folded, but the idea of late 19th century aerial gunboats still lives on in the game Aeronef by Steve Blease and Matt Hartley produced for Wessex Games.


A Burgundian task force centered around the massive Dijon dirigible battleship as built by Rhys. The hexagon sides are 2.5 cm long.

As a game, Aeronef is somewht too simplistic for me - I prefer the more detailed combat of the American Civil War "Ironclads" naval game by Yaquinto, for instance, and I think the game designers' ideas of massed squadrons of dozens of vessels very unlikely to say the least, but the basic concepts still appeal to me

Just before I last left New Zealand for Japan (early 2000), I spent a couple of weeks at my good friend Rhys Batchelor's place. He had just scratch-built some 1:1200 scale aeronefs, and while he was away at work, I started producing some too.

Mine were mostly quite different from his very 'Verne-esque' Burgundian designs, so obviously came from a different navy than his models. The British and German navies were already pretty well covered by the rules and various other people, so my thoughts turned to the minor powers, and what sorts of navies these smaller countries might possess.

Toisson D'Or class

The Burgundian aeronef bomber Jean de Roubaix (upper left) and its protective escort Simon de Lalaing (lower right) steam across the Lowland countryside

Naturally, I followed Rhys' world-setting, and developed it to incorporate some powers he had not dealt with. Our resulting world has a Burgundian state, encompassing the Rhine valley between Switzerland and Holland, plus former Luxembourg and half of former Belgium. The Swiss are no longer as isolationist as they once were, and are allied to the Dutch in their struggle to contain Burgundian expansionism. In the future we are likely to look at other minor colonial powers - such as the Spanish in the Philipines trying to fend off the Americans.


Dutchflag The Dutch Royal Aerial Navy

Swissflag The Swiss Aeronautical Self-Defence Force


Rhys' Aeronef pages

Aeronefs link Official Aeronef website

Return to my homepage index.