Category Archives: Feudal

When you can’t play…

I’m hopeful that I can do some 1-on-1 gaming with close friends soon. My wife and I have been very cautious during the pandemic, and our interactions with friends and family have been extremely limited. But with COVID infection numbers trending downwards (thank goodness), I think it’s time to take baby steps towards increasing our interactions. Expanding our “circle of trust” if you will.

Unfortunately, I haven’t convinced any of my close friends to pull the trigger just yet. Gotta keep working on that!

I’m sure many of you are in the same boat. So, what can you do when you can’t play games? Well, here’s what I’ve been doing…

When you can’t play, COLLECT…

A month ago, I said that I was interested in buying the Four Against Darkness solo dungeon crawler game. True to my word, I ordered it and it arrived last week. I’ve only perused it briefly, but my initial impression is good. While I intend to try it out solo, I can even see it being a nice little co-op game down the road.

I also bought a trio of toy monsters that were on my Amazon Wish List. If you’ve never checked out the toys made by Papo, Safari, and Schleich, you owe it to yourself to give them a look. There’s a lot of great, affordable stuff that can be used for fantasy and pulp wargaming. I picked up a Giant Scorpion, a Diabloceratops dinosaur, and the Abominable Snowman (giant Yeti). All of these figures will work perfectly in my Sword of Severnia fantasy wargame, and for pulp adventure games. I’ll share some snapshots of these toys in an upcoming post.

I also did a bit of eBaying. My main purchase was a cool looking Egyptian Temple terrain piece that was scratch built. I’m hoping to get that in sometime this week and share pics when it arrives. On a lark, I caved to old school sentimentality and snagged 10 plastic Beastmen from the old Battle Masters game by Milton Bradley.

When you can’t play, DESIGN…

January has been a prolific month on the game design front for me. It has included:

  • Campaign Battle Resolver — I completed the development of a simple game system for resolving Crown of Severnia campaign battles online. Since we’re not going to be playing regular face-to-face tabletop battles any time soon, I wanted to create a fun and easy way for us to fight battles online. This playing card & dice based system relies on freely available card dealers/shufflers and dice rollers, and meeting your opponent via Zoom or Facetime. I created stat-profiles for 8 sample armies and a couple of friends and I played out some battles. It was fun; much better than SCRUD or other simple alternatives that I’ve seen elsewhere.
Stat Profiles for Sample Armies
  • Dark Hordes — I continued to refine the design of Dark Hordes, my new fast-play fantasy wargame that’s played on a 3″ or 4″ hex-grid. The development process of this game has been eye opening. I’ve spent parts of 14 years developing, playtesting, and honing my Sword of Severnia fantasy wargame. There were periods of great creativity and progress, followed by months of downtime. While striving to make the ultimate wargame for me, I’ve learned a lot along the way. One of those things is that my tastes are varied. While my ultimate game is meaty and deep, I enjoy lighter games too. Dark Hordes is intended to scratch that itch. It has been fun to trim the fat from my meatier design tendencies and aim for a simple core. That simplicity, combined with design experience, has made development of this game so much faster. Progress is always satisfying!
  • Feudal War — For some time now, I’ve had a gnawing desire to develop some rules to turn the old Feudal board game (designed in 1967 by 3M) into a proper wargame. The urge struck me this past week, and here I sit on Monday the 15th with a first draft to a variant I’m calling Feudal War. I’ll share the rules via this blog one of these days, but I want to play it first before I do that!
Feudal — Photo by Bill K on BoardGameGeek

When you can’t play, PAINT…

My miniature painting progress has been slow to start 2021. I really need to be more religious about it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy painting; it’s just that designing games has severely eaten into my painting time so far this year.

On a positive note, my friend Kevin and I have done two Zoom sessions over the past 10 days where we have done a “paint & chat”. It has been a lot of fun. It gives us a chance to catch up on things and get some painting done at the same time. Gotta do more of that!

I’m trying to push the rat-men towards their final stages, so that I can then make a final push to FINISH eight different projects that are all 80-90% complete. I’m not sure why I get so-close to finishing a painting project and then shelve it (sometimes for a year or more). My focus in the next few months is to finish this damn stuff and experience that good feeling seeing new figures that are table-ready. Having a buddy also working on his stuff does help, so I’m optimistic.

UNTIL next time… be safe and hobby on!

Micro Thoughts

It has been super hard to write a blog post of late. My mind is cluttered with assorted topics, but I haven’t been able to focus on taking pictures, getting rules/books reviewed, or buckling down and coherently pulling my thoughts together. Perhaps all the hubbub related to the recent Presidential election has been too much of a distraction?

In order to kickstart myself, I’ve decided to share a quick brain-dump of “micro thoughts”. Let’s see where this goes and if it’s interesting.

Crowdfunding

The HeroQuest crowdfunding campaign on HasLab raised 3.77 Million dollars. That’s a good return for Hasbro, but less than many of us expected for an anticipated remake of a legendary dungeon-crawl classic. I didn’t back it. I’ve got the new Return to Dark Tower coming next year, plus Conan and Dungeon Saga on the To-Play List.

Earlier this year, Joe Corsaro of Dragon Bait Miniatures acquired the production rights to the Dark Fable line of miniatures when its owner passed away. It’s truly fantastic to see that this excellent range has been saved. A Kickstarter campaign for Pig Faced Orcs and Bugbears in the Dark Fable line was recently launched. More on this later, but go check it out ASAP.

Painting

While size 0 and smaller brushes are great for painting details on miniatures, my go-to brush has always been a Round, Size 1. Aside from a few Filbert and specialty brushes, I don’t have many Size 2, 3, or 4 brushes. Lately, I’ve been thinking about adding more to my tool-set. Why? Because I want to get faster at painting. The bigger brushes are super effective at quickly covering large areas on a figure, not to mention being essential for painting monsters. There are some good deals on miniature/fine detail brushes on Amazon right now.

Gaming

I still haven’t done any gaming during Covid-19 lockdown and it’s wearing on my psyche. Solo wargaming is becoming more tempting the longer this pandemic goes on. Recently, I bought a copy of Programmed Wargame Scenarios 2nd Edition from the terrific folks at On Military Matters. My initial flip-through made me think “wow, this is a truly useful book that every serious wargamer should have on his shelf.” For solo wargamers, this book is indispensable.

Another idea for gaming in this age of isolation is online gaming. My friend Kevin suggested buying and downloading the highly regarded Tabletop Simulator software. I was hoping to see a sale on Steam, but what the hell, it’s only $20. I need to stop dragging my feet and go get the software.

Books

I finished the Creativity book by John Cleese a few weeks ago. It’s a very quick read, but I love that it both encourages and gets straight to the point. Everyone can be creative, you just need to continue working at it, and let your “Tortoise Mind” ruminate, rearrange things, and shape your ideas into something good. A fun little book.

I just started reading Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett. I decided it was time for me to take a short break from the brooding Elric saga and take a quick detour into the zany Discworld. Pratchett is always good for the soul.

Game Design

Lately, my game design mojo has been re-energized. Whether it’s new betting rules for Gladiators of Gorrak, the big battle and revised Morale Test rules for Sword of Severnia, or finding a hook to make PulpLand Adventure more exciting, progress is chugging along on several games that I’m creating. Maybe that book by John Cleese helped? Some of these ideas have emerged seemingly out of the blue, after a good night’s sleep. Hmmm…

Feudal is an old 3M board game that’s one of my sentimental favorites. It’s a much cooler evolution of Chess and I’ll post about it separately some day. Recently, I’ve been pondering creating new wargame rules using the Feudal components. This is just for fun, since Feudal is long out of print. Inventing variations of an existing game is always fun.

Minis

I don’t need any more unpainted minis at the moment, but veteran wargamers know that it’s never about NEED, it’s about WANT. So, I always keep my eyes peeled for cool stuff. Two new boxed sets of plastic minis from CMON for their Song of Ice & Fire game are being released that really pique my interest: Stag Knights and War Mammoths. The Mammoths are a pre-order item right now, but man do they look frickin’ cool!

Last week, my wife and I watched the first two episodes of The Mandalorian on Disney+. What a fantastic show it is. It has also fanned the flames of my burgeoning interest in playing sci-fi skirmish games. In fact, I was on eBay earlier this week hunting for a pre-painted Bantha, Tusken Raiders, and Stormtroopers. I have absolutely zero problems mixing Star Wars creatures and troopers together with Genestealers, Necrons, and Space Marines from 40K, Giant Robots from HeroScape, Mechs from AT-43, and bug-eyed aliens from other science-fiction universes. The more the merrier!

Well, that’s all for now. If you read the blog, leave a comment on whether you like this random assortment of micro-thoughts. Thanks!