Every period, era or campaign that I consider for gaming is always anticipated to be a miniatures campaign, a story telling campaign, and often a board or card game as well. Bossa Nova is no different. From my starting point of wanting to war-game the Guerra del Pacifico to scratch an indefinable South American itch, it has grown to include all those pulp fantasies such as Kong, The Lost World, and steam punk. What I now see is a sprawling fantasy using steam punk (or Weird West) technology consumed in cloying jungles, soaring mountains and outlying dry islands composed of mounds of guano.
The need for a map looms large.
But I am also reading 100 Years of Solitude, and the atmosphere of a hallucinogenic hispanic culture cast adrift in time undermines the idea of a map. Geography itself is irrelevant because nothing is fixed: everything is beyond the swamp, beyond the mountain, over the shark infested straits. Expeditions consume weeks and months, not because of distance, per se, but because that’s how long expeditions become lost. Distances are meaningless.
Having said that, I continue to scour for inspiration. Four old AD&D modules have sat on my shelves for more than 30 years. They are The Isle of the Ape (clearly inspired by Skull Island) , The Isle of Dread (same deal, different TSR politics), The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan (this place is on Bossa Nova somewhere) and Dwellers of the Forbidden City (this too is somewhere on Bossa Nova). So the maps so far put up, including those from these modules are indicative of the geography of Bossa Nova, but are not cartographic facts.
They may be True, but they are not Fact.
Do I plan to run AD&D role playing sessions? Not very likely. But they do provide some flavour for any story telling games that might come up. They also provide inspiration for terrain projects for wargaming.
And in other news, I understand that my order or Perry plastic ACW is on the way. These will make handsome Chilean, Bolivian and Peruvian regular troops just right for getting the action going.