Wednesday, 15 August 2018


A sadly postponed visit to an exhibition about Noggin the Nog (would I lie to you?) left some unexpected free time which was utilised by having a first pass at setting up Varna. My information about the battle came mostly from the Freezywater publication on Janos Hunyadi, written by Bob Black and available from the Lance & Longbow Society, and from the Warhammer Historical book Vlad the Impaler by John Bianchi, which I suspect is out of print. A lot of online references to the battle seem to be of the lunatic, right-wing, alternate history type, but I thought this blog post from Dalauppror was very useful.

Janos Hunyadi puts himself about

The battle has some resemblances to a couple we have played in the legendary wargames room over the years. Firstly, it occurred during a crusade and, just like their predecessors three centuries earlier, the crusader commanders seem to have been totally inept at manoeuvring their armies.  On November 10th, 1444 they found themselves with their backs to the Black Sea, Lake Varda on their left flank and the impassable Franken Hills blocking the way to their right. The only way home was straight ahead, which was why the Ottomans had placed their army there and built a fortified camp. Secondly, at one point Sultan Murad II was apparently on the verge of doing a Frederick and making a run for it leaving his army behind; unlike the Prussian flautist he stayed put and, perhaps as a result, never became 'the Great'.

The view from the Franken Hills

Having quoted my sources - such as they are - I had better say that I have discounted much of what they write. I take the view that the forces were fairly evenly balanced, with the crusaders claim of being outnumbered three, or even five, to one being by way of an excuse for losing. I also don't believe the assertion in Bianchi's book that Vlad Dracul (the Impaler's father) commanded the Wallachians.

Murad's camp

The letters behind each unit are there to distinguish commands, while the numbers represent the base saving throw of the unit. White beads indicate lances, green beads are heroes, and in due course red beads will be hits. I may, or as so often may not, have a play through solo to see what happens, but there will certainly be a couple of changes. At the moment Zizka is standing in for Hunyadi, but Black's book has a Hunyadi standard and I have a mountain of unpainted plastic so I shall knock out a command stand for him. I also need a couple more stands of horse archers. Apart from that - and as long as one can cope with WotR hobilars as Wallachian light horse - we're good to go.


  1. A Noggin the Nog exhibition? You interest me strangely. Please tell us more..