Ironclads in Action

Monday, January 20, 2014 0 comments

Iron monsters!

An interesting read covers every engagement involving ironclads from Hampton Roads to the Bombardment of Alexandria.

Filled with maps, reports, and detailed summaries of the actions and vessels involved. 
I found lots of information here that I have not found anywhere else, and at 920 pages in two volumes it would be a weighty tome in paper.

Highly recommended for any fans of this fascinating period of Naval history.

Available in PDF and ebook formats from the Internet archive here:
Volume 1

Volume 2

Ironclads in Action
A Sketch of Naval Warfare

Wilson, Herbert Wrigley, 1866-1940

London, S. Low, Marston and company


Let the Games Begin Part 2

Sunday, January 19, 2014 5 comments

The Parasol Duel Rules!

Update September 26 2014
The first World Championships in modern times was held at Beakerhead in Calgary on September 13, 2014.
Read the report of the First World Championships here! 

The label Parasol Duelling will get you all my posts on this new and exciting sport!
For a Faux Academic piece on Parasol Duelling check out this recent post.
Here is another Historical piece this time Parasol Duelling in Prussia!
This piece is a wonderful description of a fatal duel fought under the Infamous Hungarian Imperial Rules.

Previously I wrote about coming up with some Steampunk Sports.
I have completed my Parasol Duelling Rules and have posted them below.
Take a look and let me know what you think.
We have experimented a bit with the "figures" used and they do seem to be workable, the timing is tight enough to make it a challenge. At least it is a challenge for me, all you Ladies out there who are experts at handling a parasol probably won't have too much trouble.
I have worded it in the semi archaic style of the Tea Duelling rules.
If you try them out please let me know how it goes.
Comments, suggestions and critiques are welcome!

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

Parasol Duelling
Jan 18’ 14
By Maxwell MacDonald-Smythe
aka Kevin Jepson
The ancient and honourable art of Parasol Duelling has gained a bad reputation in recent years. This is mostly due to the importation of the more violent and aggressive forms of the Hungarian Imperial Rules, much favoured by Ladies of the Lower Classes. There have been many cases of contusions, broken bones, many lost fingernails, and an unconscionable loss of fine parasols. In one celebrated case, this violent form of duel has resulted in the death of one of the participants by concussion.
Her Majesty recognizes the long and honourable history of Ladies participating in this noble trial of arms and desires that her subjects continue to participate, but in a safe and honourable manner.
Her Majesty has therefore decreed that within the Empire, Parasol Duelling will be conducted using the following rules which do not permit physical damage to the participants. These rules are known as the Brandenburg Variations on the Hanoverian Parasol Duelling Rules.
The Hanoverian Parasol duelling rules permitted:
Plain cuffs and Lace parasols
Minimal Ankling, that is
showing ones ankles as a distraction technique.
Minimal contact!
Note that generally no Doctor, also known as an umpire, was present.

The Brandenburg Variation on these rules
(The only style permitted by Queens Regulations in Her Majesty's Dominions)
Similar to the above except that:
. No ankling is permitted (except as noted during competition).
These are enforced through the use of the initial two paces.
The three Parasol Duel "Figures" are:
1) The Plant- Parasol is held point down to the ground at the side of the player
2) The Twirl- Parasol is opened and placed across, but not touching, the shoulder and twirled.
3) The Snub- Parasol is held pointing towards the opponent and opened. The parasol must be closed before being opened again or the result is a "hanging snub" and cannot be counted as a completed figure.
The Figure Rules
These are used to determine the outcome of a round and are similar to the street urchins game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Plant = Rock
Twirl = Paper
Snub = Scissors
Plant > Snub
Twirl > Plant
Snub > Twirl
All Duels consist of the following proceedings:
1) Opponents stand back to back, parasols held with one hand on the handle and the other 1/3 of the way from the top around the closed parasol.
2) The parasol is held across the body at a comfortable angle that must not exceed 60 degrees from the horizontal.
3) The Doctor will ascertain if the opponents are ready.
4) On receiving an affirmative reply from both opponents, the Doctor counts One! Two!.
5) Each opponent takes one step forward for each count.
6) After the second pace the opponents turn to face each other.
7) The Doctor begins to count out loud to five and then calls out loudly "Hold!"
8) During the counting the opponents try out various figures in an attempt to beat the other person at the point the hold is called.
9) After the completed count and the hold being called, the opponents must stand perfectly still and not move from their positions on pain of forfeiture.
10) If both opponents have a completed figure the round is concluded and the winner is declared by the figure rules.
11) Should one of the opponents not have a complete figure at the hold, the combat is decided in favour of the completed figure regardless of which figure it is.
12) Should neither opponent have a completed figure, or the figures are the same, the round is considered a draw and will be re-done.
The Types of Parasol Duel under the Brandenburg Variation of the Hanoverian Rules

Let the Games Begin Part 1

Thursday, January 16, 2014 2 comments


Everybody likes games and competitions, after all sports drive much of today's mainstream entertainment.
Next month in fact, we will again be witness to a massive smorgasbord of winter sports during the Winter Olympics in  Sochi Russia.

So that got me thinking about Steampunk games and sports. There are not a lot of them out there frankly. Recently there has been interest in Tea Duelling in our area which is fun. The Honourable Association of Tea Duellists publish a lovely set of rules available at their website here. And while this is certainly a fine way to pass an evening or afternoon, I was thinking that we need something grander to sink our teeth into, so to speak.

Then I remembered an incident at the Beakerhead festival in Calgary this last September. There was a good representation of Calgary Steampunks involved in adding some classy colour to the event and during one afternoon along the major downtown mall two lovely Ladies got into a duel!

What rules and etiquette applies to this I wondered?
Perhaps this is something that could become a "sport" with competitions and skills and stories to go along with it.

A Steampunk Sport and a fine Lady like one at that!

I have been working on a draft set of rules for Parasol Duelling.  I still need to do some actual experiments to make sure it is workable, fun, and safe for Ladies and Parasols both of course.  But once I have a workable scheme I will publish the rules here so others can try them out too.

Who knows, maybe sometime in the future there could be a World Championship Parasol Duelling competition at a major Steampunk event!

Stay tuned for more developments as they occur.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.

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