Friday, April 1, 2022

What Happened to the Crisis?


When I started writing this blog, so many years ago, I wanted to create a modern conflict in the vein of the other imagi-nations I had seen but with a more serious take. To this end, I tried to tell the story of a nation falling into civil unrest along real issues of inequity, prejudice, as well as social and economic disparity. the goal was never to glorify these things, but to make the story believable. So, why did it never take off over all those years.

If you are familiar with the blog you will have seen early on that I struggled to find the models that I wanted. A lot of this was simply due to my limited hobby budget but I also found myself perpetually vexed by holes in the inventories of the various producers. Much of the latter stemmed from my desire to keep Alcovia rooted in the modern world and not just another imagi-nation built around 1970s Soviet equipment. This was a problem as most miniatures producers still had their ranges firmly entrenched in the early Cold War with nothing past the mid 80s available.

This is partially my own fault for not developing a project using what was available but as I started the project as 1/72 (20mm) it was less an issue than it ended up being when I later shifted to 15mm scale. You see, the model ranges were a bit more up to date in 20mm than they were in 15mm but I was having a hard time finding infantry, which seemed more important at the time and Eureka had released its 15mm for Chechnya. This, combined with the fact that most of my terrain was in 15mm made me jump to 15mm.

Model selection was not the only boogie man that caused the Alcovia project to stagnate. Budget has always been an issue and over the years that budget got smaller and smaller until I was forced, more often than not, to put my hobby dollars toward my main hobbies with little or nothing left over for Alcovia. Then the biggest blow to Alcovia came along.

In 2014 Russia annexed Crimea and kicked off the Russo-Ukrainian War. Suddenly Alcovia was not something that felt, possible and inspired by the past, but became very present and very real. The images I was searching and using to illustrate the various stories of Alcovia had a new lens applied and it made me uncomfortable to use them. Even if the images were from conflicts past, they were still a stark reminder of what was happening at that moment to people in the same part of the world that my fictional nation was supposed to be set it. It wasn't something I could reconcile and so I sort of parked Alcovia in the "someday lot".

In 2016 I started to see a lot of useful vehicles coming out of Battlefront for their Team Yankee game, but still budget plagued my process and in 2020 a miracle occurred as the company released the T-80U, a tank I had wanted to have since the project began (I had four in 1/72). Still though, COVID hit, prices on things went up and household finances dropped hobby budget to nearly nothing. 

That then brings us to the specter of reality that had haunted my thoughts on Alcovia before. The Ukraine is under full invasion now. The devastation this time around is insane and it really leaves me with absolutely no heart in recreating an all too similar conflict in my imaginary country that bears far too close a resemblance to the very real Ukraine. My heart is with the people of that country and I can't bring myself to blog about Alcovia in the way I had in the past.

So, where does this leave Alcovia?

This year, my wife and I are moving to a new home in a new state. We are both leaving behind the place we grew up but we are moving on to a better life for ourselves. We will own a home, live in a place with a cost of living more inline with our income and near friends and family. I will have a large space to dedicate to the hobby and gaming and maybe, just maybe, a bit of a budget to devote to it.

I still have other hobbies and Alcovia will always be a side project but the stars do seem to be aligning with more modern models becoming a thing and 3D printing adding to the availability of models. I have refined Alcovia over the years and taken them from a nation that uses exclusively Russian hardware to a country that is taking advantage of the weapons manufacturers of the European Union. This not only makes filling the holes in the model roster easier, it also make the military of Alcovia look like its own thing. 

I think the future of Alcovia will be to focus on the hobby aspects and to put on hold the world-building that seems to be just a bit too topical at this time. Maybe when I am feeling better about it, I will kick Alcovia back off with a new crisis. There are several neighboring imagi-nations such as Iqenistan, Elistonia and Theogia. Maybe, a war with one of these imaginary countries is in Alcovia's future. After all, I doubt Alcovia was gripped in its civil war for the last 12 years. 

Thank you all for you interest and fandom. It still amazes me when I hear that other people have used my setting for their own games. 

Alcovia Forever,