The Grande Age of Hyboria

Black powder wargames between imaginary nations (or imagi-nations as they are often called) have been a wargame staple for decades, popularised by the likes of C.S.Grant in Charge! Taken with the idea and the availability of cheap 28mm scale Napoleonic plastics I have decided to have a go at my own imagi-nation games, but rather than devise my own pseudo-Europe I have taken Hyboria, the wonderful creation of Robert E. Howard, as a template for my games. Conan may now be long dead and his exploits just the stuff of legend, but the land he knew is still gripped by war...

Friday, 20 August 2010

The Grande Age of Hyboria

Using Hyboria for an imagi-nation campaign world is not new. For many years Tony Bath's ancients campaign ran in Battle for Wargamers and subsequently Military Modelling and I do recall seeing someone using the idea for SF armies as well. Having always loved Howard's Conan books, it seemed a good idea to take his human fantasy world and use it as the basis of an imaginary black powder world.

(map of Hyboria copyright Chrysagon)

I will adopt a few ground rules. First off no magic. Whilst Howard includes it in his stories, I'm taking the line that like many of our legends it is just mythical or an illusion now explained away by science. Secondly I want to try and use the Conan stories background to help flesh out the black powder troops, especially when it comes to creating the feel of the armies. Finally the project has to be cheap! I'm intending to use HaT's new 28mm plastics with maybe some Perry and Victrix if needed. Metal figures will be for luxury items unobtainable or unconvertable in plastic. I am hoping to avoid the (realistic) greatcoated campaign look for a more parade ground uniform and HaT seem to fit the bill here.

To start with I've purchased a set of HaT's (28003) French Light Infantry Voltiguers and a set of (28009) French Light Infantry Carabiniers and these will form the beginnings of the new Aquilonian army.

Howard's Aquilonia had a heavy medieval French influence and I will use this as the basis of the army both from a miniatures point of view (albeit with an emphasis on busbies and bearskins - no shakoes if possible) and rules stats. I hope to paint up an Aquilonian test piece over the weekend.

The first opponents for Aquilonia will be their neighbours to the south, Argos. In the Conan stories Argos was a major naval power so the Argosonians will be inspired by the British, even though I will probably use some very un-British looking troops for the army.


  1. Having read all the Conan stories not so long ago, I can see why you have decided to use Hyboria as the basis of your 18th century imagi-nations. The descriptions of the different peoples/races/nations that feature in the stories give enough detail to be an excellent starting point without being too prescriptive. I must admit, that I did consider doing something similar for the late19th/early 20th century, but at present I do not have the time to do more than think about it!

    I found Tony Bath’s Hyboria campaign very attractive when I read about it when I was younger, and since then Rudi Geudens has made even more material available on his website. I am sure that you will have already read it, but if not, the relevant section can be found here.

    All the best,

    Bob Cordery

  2. Thanks Bob, I read Rudi's site a while back but it was good to revisit it. A 1920/30's Hyboria would certainly be fun as well...

  3. We enjoyed a great Hyborian ancients campaign back in university. I am sad to see that you have not posted in a while. Hope you are well. Would love to see more.