The game exists in many forms, from child’s board games to more sophisticated games in proper casinos, depending on where you are. The game is essentially snakes and ladders, but it’s common name is Knovians and Gudrunites.
Merinophia is a terran standard world not too far away from Gundrun. Merinophia has 40% sea cover and most of the surface is rough terrain, with deep valleys, long dividing ridgelines and heavy vegetation. Merinophia is a net exporter of people. There are 108 tribes of Knovians (the peoples of Merinophia), who all jealously guard their own identity and traditions as fiercely as they guard their ancestral territories.
|Gudrun Rifles - modelled on Cadian Shock Troops, most are destined for the Cadian Gate.|
Knovians have a fine tradition of independence, hospitality to travellers and maintaining blood feuds long after the reason for the feud has been forgotten. This has on occasion led the entire planet to reject the call for the Emperors tithe. Bringing Merinophia back into the Imperial fold has usually fallen to regiments founded specifically for the task on the nearest high population world. Historically, this has happened three times in the last three hundred years.
Knovians have a proud history of service to the Imperium and enthusiastically provide small, tribal based units to the Imperial Guard. Commonly raising Nekye (Platoons), Gars (Companies) and on rare occasions, Teip (Battalions). Perversely, the Knovians are provided by their planetary governor with armoured vehicles. Almost exclusively Knovians in the Imperial Guard are either Tank formations, Motor Rifle units, armoured artillery or other modern cavalry type units.
|Knovian Motor Rifle Troops on parade.|
Historically, the Knovians have been backwoodsmen, hunters of the wooded valleys, their extended families forming the basis of their society. Traditionally, the culture on Merinophia was a raiding one, in which young men would prove themselves by raiding their near neighbours – even those with which they are on friendly terms – for beasts of burden, livestock or even brides. These raids, which were essentially meant to be bloodless (although a raider caught by his intended victim might get a good beating before being released or ransomed), were also a way of maintaining the skills useful in fighting a guerrilla war to defend their homeland.
So the Knovians have been politically fragmented but culturally united. Whilst sharing the same argot, identity and traditions, each of the 108 tribes was entirely self-governing, except when threatened by some external enemy.
Traditionally, Gudrunite attitudes towards the Knovians have been complex, a mix of fear, hatred and respect. Knovians are considered to be generally untrustworthy, wily yet primitive. Sometimes they were portrayed as noble savages, more often just savages. To a considerable extent, this reflects the tenacity, skill and ferocity with which they have fought off Gudrun’s armies over the centuries.
Gudrun itself has a long and proud history of providing foundings for the Imperial Guard. Some of the proudest names are those regiments raised for the three Merinophia campaigns. Knovians also have a long and proud history of Imperial service. However, such is the force of history, it would be an act of folly to deploy this units in the same formation.