Thursday, 31 October 2013

Warhammer - the STD of wargaming....

I started proper wargaming at the age of eleven, having previously spent many a happy hour alone in my room with my toys wargaming in all but name. I am now forty seven and the bug has never died, if anything it grew and became all consuming, having other people to wargame with! I have had many a casual dalliance with various periods over the years, flitting between one thing and another as the interest arose and passion became inflamed...then casting that aside as the new love of my wargaming life appeared on the it me or is this post getting a tad saucy? Well, can't be helped, I am a man of great passion after all and I make no apology for it.

Anyway, as you know I have recently been involved in that 'Wargame Nasty', Warhammer, something that I have showed no previous interest in at all...good, wholesome, clean living boy that I am. I have sneered derisively at the mere thought of such a game and considered those that did play to be in the foetid pit of wargame debauchery, not a little odd and a tad...well...wargame perverted; there, I have said it. But now..........

I collected a small Skaven army, nothing too involved, I could give it up anytime I wanted of course. I read the army book, did a bit a maths and with my proper wargame mind calculated a point based army that was well rounded and militarily sensible and even plausible...apart from the magic spells options. It all got a bit runny after that.

Then I played my first game...actually, it was a bit worse than that...if I am truly honest dear reader. I actually fielded an unpainted army.......I know, I am sorry! I didn't mean for it to go as far as that, I really didn't you must believe me! ..... I played a warhammer game with an unpainted army that I owned and as if that was not terrible enough.......I enjoyed it. I'm sorry, I need to stop for a moment.........

OK. so I played my first game. I won. But more than that I found myself getting to like that simple way the game worked, the way one could build an army without the restrictions and the oppressive Victorian social values...even the strange magic element where you can blow up an enemy with a weird spell...or make it melt...or change sides....and that a game only lasted  for six simple turns and could have an actual result at the end of wasn't complicated....the armies were fun, my Skaven have a very good chance of blowing themselves up at the drop of a hat and I liked it all the more. I arranged to play a second game at the next club meeting and I found myself looking forward to it.....

I played a second game with the unpainted army and already I had a very good understanding of the rules and could even run sections of it. I made movement trays for my large Clanrat units...I even offered to help touch up and re base a friends 15mm ancient army in return for some old Skaven models and it was then that it hit me; I was lost with little hope of a safe return. The true depth of my condition was brought home to me at this years SELWG, I actively encouraged my good, good friend to buy a warhammer army book and the beginnings of an Ogre Kingdom army.

As the title of this post states, Warhammer is the STD of wargaming.....its all just simple fun until you realise you have become infected, and then you get the urge to pass it on......

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

All for one...and a Turnip for Steve!!

I do so look forward to club nights, the meeting of like-minded people, the air of camaraderie, the chance to get your character figure to violently sexually assault your mates character figure with a choice of root vegetables....war is indeed hell. My good friend Clint made a visit to the club offering to run a game for was all down hill from then on. Take a look at Clints blog for another view of the game.

Building by Ziterdes, other terrain by Frontline and others, figures by Redoubt...hanging chandelier by Mark

The game in question was the highly interactive Three Musketeers game called '...And one for All!', a skirmish level game available as a free download from Eureka Miniatures. The USP of the game is the very open ended game turn for each player, you can get your figure to almost anything in a bound as long as you do not roll a 1 on a D6. After each successful manoeuvre, such as 'I will jump on this table...', you have the option of trying to carry out another manoeuvre. Each new manoeuvre adds a dice to your stack and if any of them come up as a 1 your turn ends. The idea is that by successfully carrying out as many manoeuvres as you can prior to an actual attack with a weapon you can add dice ready for that killer bit of sword play. This means that players will invariably come up with the most outrageous plans to get themselves in a good position to attack and build up power. This could, and often did, involve a players turn going something like this....

1. I will move up to the table and pick up that small keg (roll one D6 and anything other than a 1 your character does the action).

2. I will throw said small keg at Andy's head (roll two D6 and avoid getting a 1...also note that the actions were most definitely directed at the player rather than the character! Such aggressive actions could actually wound and possibly kill!)

3. I will run up to Andy and pull his hat down over his eyes (roll three d6 etc....all very cinematic)

4. I will now fight with Andy in a duel (this is the attack that the previous moves were building up to and gaining dice for) Andy will defend with a number of dice equal to his remaining life/wound tokens, three or less, and I fight with three dice gained from my three successful actions plus the number of dice equal to my remaining life/wound tokens. The numbers of dice are not that important, it all hangs on your highest dice against theirs and the difference.

So that is the basics. Now add some wargamers with the wit and sophistication of a concussed eight year old, desperate to build up to a decent attack whilst trying to out-do each other in the silly stakes, and you have one hell of a boisterous game on your hands! Oh, it all starts of nicely enough, each player appearing to be working out some very logical move with a sensible narrative, but all too soon it begins to get personal and you just know there is going to be tears before bedtime....and it gets oh so personal too.
" I push Steve off the balcony....I jump onto Steve's now prone body....I jump up and down on Steve's head..."...and all this before a sword is even drawn!

Some highlights....

The mass small beer keg throwing episode as each player tried to knock the others out at range (we had a lot of movable terrain pieces such as tables, benches, kegs, boxes, bags etc. to encourage the imaginations)...all very early St Trinnians...

My attempt to build up some attack dice by first ...'poncing about the place a bit'...only to roll a 1 and leave my character poncing about the place a bit on a street corner outside the Inn for an entire turn.

My character 'poncing about the place a bit' outside the Inn....sigh.

All the 'leaping from the balcony onto the chandelier so I can swing around in a large circle and thump into Andy/Mark/Alan/Steve's back'...this went on for some time, there was almost a queue for the stairs to the balcony at one point!

The aforementioned episode of Mark jumping up and down on Steve.

Andy throwing an insult (in French) so heinous at Mark that his character dropped his sword and actually took a wound!

Andy kicking my prone and wounded character in the nuts and killing him.

My character urinating over Steve's.

My character attempting to insert a turnip from the market stalls outside the Inn into Steve.

Everybody picking up a large bench at one time or another and attempting to twat someone but failing every time.

The new rule we added near the end of the game whereby if anyone rolled more than two 1's in an action move that move went disastrously wrong. The defending player could then decide just what had gone wrong and leave the attack in a very compromising position. My character jumped from the balcony for my third action, rolled two 1's and it was decided that his cloak caught on a nail and he was left hanging in mid air!

I managed to kill two characters and only died once!!!!

There was an awful lot of laughter generated by this game and all those involved a very good evening indeed. There was a great deal of talk of how the game mechanics could be used for a variety of other periods and genres.... Despicable Me Minions Vs Clangers for example (this should give you a very good indication about the mental balance of the MHWC membership....)

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

SELWG and stuff

I went to SELWG this year....first time in ages. In fact, I am not sure when I last was that long ago! I do remember it being a pain to get to, park and make it along the looong walk to the entrance and sadly not much had changed there...the rain storm didn't help much either; quite a few soggy items on the bring and buy! Mark and I went along top promote Broadside and sign up new traders and visitors.

Once in, and after I had dried my glasses and stopped steaming the rain off, I found I had plenty of room to move about; a big change from my last visit. back then, the upper level was packed with traders and public making it difficult to move along let alone stop, look and buy. I had chance to stop and chat with the traders, hand out Broadside 2014 flyers and trader booking forms...fell in love with the 28mm Napoleonic frigate Andy from Grubby Tanks had on display and then sulked all day because I knew I couldn't afford the £125.00 price tag....and even if I could where the hell would I put it? It was a very pretty thing but in 28mm very big too. Sigh.

Anyway. The bring and buy was well attended and quite well stocked although there was a lot of games workshop gear...nothing Skaveny for me though. That said, I did only have £15.00 on me :( , the trip was very much a Broadside recruitment drive not a jolly (I kept telling myself) so I contented myself with spending time looking and chatting. I did notice that the Bring and Buy was smaller than I remembered it and I was able to actually stand there and look at items without getting ribs broken. Somehow it wasn't the same.

The main hall was busy and some major trader names were there (and me with no money) but I did manage to get a South American Flesh Tone paint set from Wargames Foundry and a pack of four Maori figures with shotguns from Empress Miniatures. Their stand was flanked by two large and well made display cases filled with their fantastic figures. These days many companies simply wash their display figures in a black ink rather than paint them up. This works better for me, the ink shows the details beautifully and I am not intimidated by the unachievable painting skills before my eyes. I eventually moved on from that stand...eventually...with Marks help. By way of thanks for my rescue I helped Mark start on that dark path that is Warhammer...seemed only fair. Mark looks to be set to build an Ogre Kingdoms force and with his painting skills I am sure they will look very impressive indeed...and will stomp all over my rat things with giant hairy feet.

In all we both had a very nice time and managed to have a good chat with many of our trader friends and clubs. The Maidstone boys were doing well with their Balloon game, which I think looks so neat and unusual, and we stopped and admired many a well painted figure along the way. The show was not as busy as I remembered it being but it was as friendly as ever it was. I like the SELWG club, I like the SELWG show but I have to say that I really do not like the SELWG venue at all. I wonder if I am the only one?

Besides SELWG news I had an email from club member Simon about a new model shop in Maidstone. I have also been informed that the No Mans Land store in Maidstone has been closed down for ever; one goes and perhaps one arrives albeit a model shop rather than a wargame shop. This is what Simon said;

Having heard on the grapevine that a favourite shop from my boyhood, Norwood Junction Models, is closing after 60 odd years I was delighted to see that a new model shop has opened in Maidstone, on the same floor and directly opposite the old ModelZone unit. Chatting to the young lady at the till (as one does…) it seems they are a pop-up store until Christmas, at which point they’ll  take a view on a longer lease. It all depends on the footfall between now and the end of December, and I promised to pass on the news of their arrival. They are an extension of the Regal Models unit in Chatham Dockyard and so they are focussed on Humbrol/Airfix kits and Hornby railways. There is a small Gaugemaster stock for scenics plus the odd railway plastic kit (telegraph poles, war memorials, fences etc), and balsa wood. There’s also the inevitable die-cast model range upon which all these places seem to depend for additional revenue – not for me that one, but clearly has appeal for many punters.

I did my best to persuade her that Vallejo would be a popular choice for an additional paint range, and apparently they will extend to Tamiya from tomorrow. Wargamers tend be fairly low down the hobby pecking order, behind railway enthusiasts, military diorama modellers etc. so I doubt we’ll see a broad diversity of stock in the short term. But all the old Airfix favourites are there and who knows what the future holds. One thing is certain though, without the support of the local wargaming and modelling community these guys will struggle just as much as all their predecessors.

I think Simon has raised a good and valid point here. Such enterprises rely on our support and will disappear without it. That said, if they do not stock the things we need.....just where can you get paint from these days other than Games Workshop? That alone is a frustration but it is an issue relevant to the whole shop and custom equation; stock what we want and we will come...but what we want is so varied it is almost impossible to do. It's quite depressing.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Downloads from this blog


It seems that I had not set up the download page of this blog properly (sounds like me) and people have been having trouble downloading 'Worminators'.

I think this has been resolved now but if someone would like to check for me that would be appreciated. Obviously, Worminators is a great game that many thousands of you must have desperately been trying to access for a while; only the permissions bit was wrongly set. You should now be clear to run off your own set of the rules and cutting out your polystyrene play board in eager anticipation!

Just remember that it can get a bit messy and that a stingy smack on the back of the legs from a disgruntled partner, miffed at the amount of tiny polystyrene bits blowing about the place, can be unpleasant...but is totally worth it!

A second set of rules for an entirely different game will be posted on the download page on the 11th December. These rules have been designed and written especially for the club's Christmas game and are being kept a close secret until then.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

New Worms from MJ Figures!

As some of you are aware, I wrote a set of wargame rules to play a table top version of the old pc/playstation/xbox game, Worms. The rules were designed to be used alongside a great set of Worm figures designed and produced by MJ Figures. Mark, MR MJ himself, liked them and intends to make them available via his website as a download to support the figure range. These are not available on the site yet but I understand that Mark is also preparing some special board holders for the rules....theses are needed because the rules use a 25mm thick sheet of polystyrene (600mm x 400mm) placed on its edge. The game is played with the figures on the top edge of the board, which can be carved pre-game into an interesting shape. The beauty of this board is that as the worms dig tunnels or set of explosive sheep (so cool) the board gets chunks ripped off and so the playing surface changes throughout the game. Bloody messy of course but a great deal of fun. Keep a vacuum cleaner handy is my advice. The rule book can be downloaded from this site too via the Free Downloads page!

The figure range is 20mm and there are about a dozen or so different four worm teams to choose from, and some very cool and fun teams there are too. each set costs just £2.50, a real bargain. Now, however, Mark has decided to go large! He has recently released three sets of 28mm worm teams and he has sent me one of each which I am eager to show you all. These sell at £5.00 per team and will look great when painted.

The WW2 set - Hitler Worm, Mussolini Worm, Churchill Worm and Stalin Worm.

The American President set - Washington Worm, of them is Lincoln...erm....why not visit the site yourself and take a look? Well worth a visit anyway, some neat ranges both historical and odd :)

The Wild West set - Cowboy Worm, Cavalry Trooper Worm, Mexican Bandit worm, Indian Chief Worm

So there you go, something new and unusual to look out for. Why not download a copy of the rules and take a look...then go buy some worms!!!

Monday, 7 October 2013

New Zealand Wars - new arrivals!

Well, I say new. Some of these arrives weeks ago but I couldn't get either the camera to work or the PC so apologies for the delay.

I placed the latest order from Empress Miniatures a while ago to get what I needed to complete the British side and start off the Maori you can imagine, you all being wargamers, I have already decided that I actually need a few more Brit bits! This aside I thought I would show you the nice people at Empress have sent me. Fantastically, they also sent me a few extra figures for free given my need for extra sergeants; how cool was that? I must say that I have been very impressed with the whole Empress experience so far, figures, service, has all been good. If I was ever tempted to go down the whole Zulu war route for example I would have to go to them. I wonder if they would come to Broadside 2014? hmmmm, worth an ask.

Anyway, back to all things New Zealand. Take a look at these....

Maori with shot guns....

the provincial 'ranger' troops...

Maori with muskets...these four will be the small scout unit attached to my British force.

Maori chiefs....look at the detail in the faces!

The local militia...who doesn't love a top hat on the wargames table?!

An officer, NCO and two sharpshooters....I have no idea where to use the sharpshooters but just love them.

As you can see these new arrivals continue to illustrate the quality of this range and I cannot wait to get them finished and on the table. As I said before, I now think I need a few more Brits points wise and I am so tempted to get a small Naval landing party, just to show off the mix of troop types available if nothing all know what we are like. In my efforts to get the figure to man ratio to 1:1 I may also need to get a few more regular troops to better represent a reduced company; thirty odd is just not quite right.

These are all very cool of course but figures in themselves do not make a game, I need terrain. I have now made a start thanks to a few purchases from Stuart at Col, another company that believes in customer service and good products. I now have a house for the settlers to live in, a waggon with a load and the all important privy...with a little surprise! These all all by 4ground, pre painted MDF kits that look great for very little effort....

All pre painted and suitably rustic...apologies for the odd mark on the roof, dropped the bloody thing onto the wood glue and couldn't get it all off!

The buildings come with separate internal wall panels to give a great effect and a lot more strength.

The upper floor has a hatch and even a small ladder...its all going a bit Polly Pocket here isn't it? Sorry.

The kit comes with an instruction sheet which is very helpful but you still need to be careful here.....

The range of waggons is good and again do not really need to be painted. The load are sold separately.

And we all need a privy too!

Col also make this brilliant figure for the privy...not a lot of use in game terms but who could resist such a thing? Certainly not I it would seem :)

The project is far from completion and there are more purchases to make and poo loads of thing to paint. But, things are moving in the right direction and I am far more confident in this than I have been of other things I have attempted. I think much of this confidence comes from the quality of the component parts and that I can actually get the things I need to do the job without having to make do here and there.

I wonder if I am talking too soon.........