Regency and its Symbolism
The following text is reproduced from one of the three booklets supplied with the boxed game.
One of these booklets explains the rules, one assists new players on strategy and tactics, and the third explains the background to the heraldry and symbolism
decorating the board.
The Board is wide, as befits the representation of a largely underpopulated country, but the players’ paths are narrow, squeezed geophysically, disciplined economically, pressed by the ineluctable politics of fate. Their activities on the Board are symbolised by heraldic emblems whose significance will interest visitors to the Baronage pages.

At the centre of the Board the national banner of the Scots, the silver saltire of St Andrew on its blue field, represents the Government of the Nation.

At the four corners of the Board, the arms of the Scottish Sovereign borne on a shield represent the Monarchy. The “ruddy lion ramping its field of tressured gold” (the tressure often said to commemorate with its lilies the “auld alliance” with France, while others claim it acknowledges legendary links with Charlemagne) as it did for all the Stewart kings and for their Bruce forebears. James VI, that precociously clever king who succeeded to the throne of England, was the last to bear it alone, but he, although apparently of Stewart paternity and maternity (yet wholly unlike his predecessors in mental ability and physical character), will perpetuate the suspicion that what came to the Stewarts “with a lass” did indeed “pass with a lass” ~ and that the Lion lost his head at Fotheringay.
With the Union of the Crowns the battles for the Regency of Scotland which so disrupted the reigns of the Stewarts could be no more, so our period ends with the youth of James VI, while his mother was still alive in England and with four dead Regents behind him (two assassinated, one ~ “one of the grimmest figures even of the grim race from which he sprang” ~ executed), maturing in tears at the age of sixteen to be told by his subjects: “Better bairns weep than bearded men!”
Alongside each edge of the Board is the representation of a castle with a dungeon, six chambers and a chapel. As is immediately obvious from the open grille, through which both the snow-clad mountainside and a greying northern sky may be glimpsed, this is one of the better class of prisons. This standard of air conditioning was not always available, nor, regrettably, was the efficiency of the plumbing quite that of today. The quality of catering, too, often fell below expectations. From history ~

Sir Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie, a great warrior and a loyal supporter of the later Robert II in his time as Regent to his nephew David, sustained himself on seeds that fell through cracks in the dungeon roof, and with the moisture from its walls, before he eventually died of starvation as a prisoner of Sir William Douglas, the Black Knight of Liddesdale.

David, Duke of Rothesay, while in the Regent Albany’s prison, was fed by two poor women through a chink in the wall, the one with oat-bread, the other with the milk from her breasts. After both were discovered and put to death, he slowly died.

John Sinclair, Master of Caithness, fed on heavily-salted beef and refused water by his younger brother, William Sinclair of Mey, the instigator of his detention, caressed his sibling’s throat through the bars of his cell with such fraternal emotion that William’s body shook violently and never moved again. The Master of Caithness went mad, and died.


The chapel is a sparsely furnished chamber where prayers mend the wounded. A surgeon’s skills and tools were rudimentary, but most men were capable of hacking off a gangrenous limb, and the application of a bucket of boiling tar would seal the raw ends fairly effectively against further infection. But severe wounds usually led to death.
The chambers of the Chief, his Heir, and the four cadets are denoted by the pictures of their shields. That of the Chief is distinguished by bearing the family’s basic design undifferenced. The Laws of Scotland have established that it is the right to the undifferenced arms of a clan which determines its chiefship, and where this right has been contested in the past the Court of the Lord Lyon has resolved the issue.
The Heir bears his Chief’s arms differenced by a label of three points. (In England he would do so only if he were also the Chief’s son, but in Scotland the label is borne by the Heir even if he is several degrees of cousinship away.) The origin of the label lies in the tradition of the son using his father’s shield at a tournament and tying across it, to avoid misidentification, a strip of cloth with three hanging tails. When both father and son were in armour, it was convenient for the son to have an identical shield differenced by the cloth label, so that when the father was killed, the son, by tearing off the label, could assume his father’s position.
Arms of
an Heir
The Cadets’ arms are differenced by the system most common now in Scotland, with the bordure, a border around the main design. In earlier days arms could be differenced by colour, or by varying the shape of a line, or by adding charges, but to avoid confusion the game’s designers have used the simplicity of coloured bordures.
Beside each castle are representations of the clan’s crest-badge as might be borne on a pinsel, and of the Chief’s standard. Clans also have plant badges such as holly (Drummond), ivy (Gordon) and mistletoe (Hay), but the crest-badges, which consist of the Chief’s crest encircled by a strap-and-buckle bearing the motto or warcry, are known best and most widely recognised. The chief’s standard is flown to mark the place at which the clansmen should gather. It features the colours of the clan (the livery of the Chief) and the badges that all the clansmen should recognise. It carries also the slughorn (the warcry) that rallies the clansmen.
Crest-badge of Clan Campbell
on a background of the Clan's tartan
The spiral route the shields follow towards the centre leads them into and away from the dangers that attended all travel in Scotland during these turbulent centuries. The three concentric paths represent the three ranks of Baron, Earl and Duke, and are connected by sanctuaries through which may pass only the shields of the Clan whose colour appears on the altarcloth.
Shields do not have to enter sanctuaries, for sometimes it is tactically advantageous to continue in the present rank. (This is true to life, for the Chief of Clan Grant once refused an earldom when offered it by the King, asking rhetorically, “Aye, and who’ll then be Laird o’ Grant?”) The only way out of a sanctuary is forward into the next rank, a step that can often be fraught with danger, and especially so when there is an ambush outside the door. (Just as in real life during those distant centuries, sometimes there is no choice, dangers must be faced and sanctuary bravely left.)

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Regency ~ A Welcome
Regency ~ the Special Edition
Regency ~ a Brief Introduction
Regency and its View of History
Regency and its Structure
Regency ~ Download the Board
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