Category Archives: Miniatures

Neuron Overload

There has been a deluge of gaming related activity elbowing its way into my Brain Space over the last 4 weeks. Between a trip down to Historicon in Lancaster PA, a deep-dive into the next design evolution of my Sword of Severnia fantasy battle game, a few recent hobby purchases, and plenty of gaming news flashing across my radar, my neurons are filled with more traffic than the Autobahn.

I really need to calm down, organize my thoughts, and write some proper blog-posts. Right? Well….. tonight you get a rambling stew of loosely connected thoughts, observations, and diarrhea of the cerebrum.

Let the stream of consciousness commence!

2022 has been a good year for board gaming. A bunch of new stuff has hit my table and we’re starting to gain momentum and play on an almost regular basis. Woohoo!

On the flip side, 2022 has been a slow year for miniature wargaming. Aside from a few games of Warlords of Hexenstein, a game of What a Tanker!, and an epic Battle Masters blowout game at Historicon, my wargaming buddies and I haven’t set aside enough time to roll dice and command our tiny painted soldiers to perform glorious deeds on the battlefield. I’m going to make a more concentrated effort to correct that deficit in the final five months of 2022.

Over the past year, I’ve been scouring eBay and elsewhere to purchase some nicely painted, yet affordable figures to help fill out two armies that I’m building/collecting for SAGA. I already have an acceptable Viking warband, although I still want to expand it by painting some cool figures that I already own. But my primary focus has been on constructing warbands of Normans and Late Romans.

The Late Romans are chock full of infantry (Hearthguard and Warriors), but light on archers and cavalry. I picked up 12 painted Late Roman archers in the flea market at Historicon, but they’re based as 3-ups (3 on a slender base). They can work for SAGA in a pinch, but ideally I want to grab more individually based archers. I also just purchased a box of Gripping Beast Late Roman Heavy Cavalry, so I need to get painting to solve my cavalry problem. While I’ve got enough painted figures to field a 4-6 point Late Roman SAGA warband and play a game with them, I just need to work on balancing out the army.

The Normans are also shaping up. I’ve actually got 3 Cavalry units (Hearthguard) here, a unit of archers, and 3-5 units of infantry (Warriors and Hearthguard). At Historicon, I purchased two bags of Victrix figures (Norman Cavalry and Dark Age Archers) that I would also like to add to my painting queue. It would be smart to build & paint some Dark Age Archers ASAP, because they work for Normans and Vikings, as well as Saxons, Bretons, and others. So, I could fill a few gaps in my painted soldier collection if I focused on that.

By the way, Late Romans serve perfectly as Buscans in Sword of Severnia, and Normans are a great match for Geels (Holy Crusaders). So, these SAGA forces double as human factions in my fantasy battle game — WIN WIN!

Speaking of painting, I finally put brush to metal last night! I did some detail painting work on a Late Roman General who I was sprucing up. Perhaps this will kickstart more painting. Fingers and paintbrushes crossed! I’m also curious to try out the small starter set of Army Painter Speed Paints that I bought at Historicon, along with a set of Metallic acrylics. Speed painting is much different in approach compared to the slow, methodical way that I paint. I desperately need to try some new techniques for speeding up my painting and improving my output. I’m too fussy and when I don’t see results fast enough, I become mentally defeated and put things aside “for a later day”. Models languish on my painting table forever. So… c’mon speed paint!

I mentioned a board game called Bretwalda a while ago. Well, I backed it on Kickstarter in the first-half of July. It looked gorgeous, I liked the theme, and the game play seemed interesting. Many multi-player dudes-on-a-map wargames take too long to play. Bretwalda seemed more innovative and plays in around 2 hours. Promising.

I think several new board & card games that I Kickstarted a year or two ago will finally be making their way to me in the back half of 2022. I’m looking at you Ragnarocks, Mindbug, and Gunfight Royale. They’re all quite different from each other: abstract strategy with Norse myth theming -vs- cartoony alien card battler -vs- cowboy gunfights. I have a good feeling that I will enjoy all of them. I’m doubtful that Thunder Road: Vendetta will deliver before 2022 ends, but that’s perfectly fine, I’ve got more than enough new toys to play with!

Also on the Kickstarter front, I backed a new mass-battle fantasy game designed by Buck Surdu called Wars of Orcs & Dwarves. Will I actually play it? I don’t know. I backed it because (1) I’m a rules-junkie and love to collect & read through wargame rules, (2) I wanted to support Buck, and (3) I was enamored with what I read about Wars of Ozz and this is basically the same game system, but with the huge advantage that I already own tons of painted fantasy figures. The folks at Sally 4th are following up regularly on the Kickstarter, and I need to check out what freebies they are sharing. More to report on later.

Are there too many good games coming out nowadays? To me, there certainly seems to be an overabundance of tabletop games (board, cards, RPG’s, minis) being crowdfunded on Kickstarter and Gamefound. It’s a full-time job to try and keep up with them. I don’t have the energy or time to do that. And unless you want to go broke fast, you need to be extra choosy about what you look at and back on crowdfunding platforms. There’s a lot of QUANTITY being released, but I’m not so sure all of it is QUALITY.

Without a doubt, games are being made with better components and more fanciful artwork than I saw 20-30 years ago. Heck, even in just the last 12 years, things have evolved to where most games look good. But for every excellent game design that comes along, there are 20 games that are overwrought & over-complex, stuffed with too much crap (rather than being streamlined), and are aimed at a crowd that will play the game 50 times.

I don’t know about you, but there are very few games that I’ve ever played 50 times, especially as a working adult. Who can find the time for that? There are a handful of games that are so deep, varied, and interesting that I could devote LOTS of time & plays to them (mostly miniature wargames). But those are truly the exception, not the rule.

Anyway, finding the good stuff amongst the chaff is a tricky task nowadays. What do you think?

Speaking of good games, Return to Dark Tower has a campaign running on BackerKit to fund the second printing of the game and its expansions. There’s also a new expansion called Covenant which looks really cool. I’m oh so tempted to back it. My problem: I haven’t played the base game enough times to justify getting an expansion already. My wife, who likes RTDT actually told me that. She’s 100% RIGHT. But… MUST…. RESIST…. THE…. LURE….

Well… that’s enough for now… Time for bed. Sevy, out!

Quick Hits: June 2022

Today’s post takes a quick peek at some games, miniatures, and accessories that have caught my attention over the past two weeks. I always enjoy sharing my discoveries with fellow gamers. So let’s get right to it…


Bretwalda

I’m a big fan of area-control and battle games. I love games with a dark ages or medieval theme. I’m a sucker for games with beautiful art & components and great table presence. Bretwalda, a new game project by Phalanx Games that’s currently running on Gamefound, ticks all the boxes for me.

But there are so many dudes-on-a-map games out there, I’m reluctant to buy into another one that doesn’t bring anything new to the table. So, what makes Bretwalda any different from the run of the mill game of this style? Looking at the reviews, a couple of cool things stood out. The factions are asymmetrical (with different powers). Seasonal random events occur, plus Danish invaders can mess with everybody, which adds a layer of surprise and suspense that I love. The map that the factions are vying over is tight, almost circular, which prevents turtling and triggers more fighting. I also like that there’s an aspect of diplomacy in this game, which is refreshing.

I haven’t backed this yet, but I’m very close to pulling the trigger on it. There are only 9 days left in the campaign, so check it out if it sounds interesting to you.

Base Pledge is about $92 USD

Chaos Wars 4 – Thunderbolt Mountain Minis

Ah, Ral Partha; the fantasy miniatures that I grew up on. While I still own some Ral Partha minis, I sold a big batch of them (still in blister packs) a few years ago at the flea market of a local HMGS East convention. Most of these minis are true 25mm. I currently play most of my miniature games in 28mm (including heroic 28mm), so most of the old Ral Partha figures look small & slender in comparison.

Color me pleasantly surprised when I saw the new Chaos Wars (Wave 4) kickstarter that’s offering newly sculpted 30mm fantasy miniatures sculpted by the talented Tom Meier.

I really like the look of these new Elves and Goblins. They conjure a very Lord of the Rings feel to me, which is cool, and the scale fits with great with the chunkier minis I prefer.

Really like those Goblins and Elves. The Trolls are funky, but have personality!

Litko Magnetic Base Bottoms

I was running low on adhesive magnetic base bottoms, as well as 80x60mm regiment bases which we use for our fantasy wargames. So, back around Memorial Day I felt it was high time to place a Litko order and restock my supplies. As fate would have it, Litko was having a sale — woohoo! The picture below shows what I bought.

I couldn’t resist a sale!

For my Sword of Severnia fantasy battle game, as well as Warlords of Hexenstein, we base our single units on 80x60mm stands. I use plywood and masonite bases. I then glue an 80x60mm metal base on top of that (you can also use flex steel, another Litko product). For my individual 28mm figures, I stick heavy-duty adhesive magnetic bases to the underside of their bases. The magnetic attraction enables figures to adhere nicely to the regiment stand, which works great when moving troops around in mass-battle games.

The big advantage to this system is that you can easily remove individual figures from their regiment stands and use them in skirmish/warband games where unit-basing isn’t used. For example, I will often pull a bunch of Vikings off their regiment bases to use in SAGA, or remove medieval Knights and Archers to use in a game of Lion Rampant. Being able to get double-duty out of my figures is important to me.


Dungenerator

I don’t currently play D&D, but if I still did this Kickstarter project would definitely pique my interest. The Dungenerator is a deck of cards that a GM can use to create on-the-fly dungeon layouts. Rooms connect to each other along one of more sides of each card.

The artwork has a certain bold charm to it, and the concept is simple but useful. These cards might even be useful in games such as Four Against Darkness, Rangers of Shadow Deep (or underground Frostgrave encounters), or any type of skirmish style dungeon adventure.


Until next time, keep on gaming!

What a Tanker! – First Play

On Sunday afternoon (June-19-2022), we broke out my 1/72 scale Dragon Armor tanks and played our first ever game of What a Tanker! (a game by Too Fat Lardies). For those who aren’t familiar with the game, it’s a pure WWII tank battle game. Infantry and artillery don’t make an appearance here, it’s simply tank-on-tank goodness.

We didn’t have any specific scenario in mind; it was a simple “destroy your enemy” battle. There was a crossroads in the center of the table that I laid out, so that seemed to have a funneling effect on us mentally, as several tanks ended up duking it out in the center.

It was an engrossing game and we caught on to the game mechanics quickly. However, after close to 3 hours, Wally’s Germans had managed to destroy 1 Sherman (Big Jim), while my USA/British alliance took out a Panzer IV (Rolf). Both sides still had two operating tanks left (only 1 of them having even minor damage). We called it after that… a Tie.

The Too Fat Lardies are big proponents of “friction” in their game designs. I agree with that philosophy in war games. But wow, the way Command Dice work in What a Tanker results in a game with a large degree of chaos. There were many times that a tank just sat there and did nothing, and times where it was aimed & loaded but lacked a Shoot dice needed to fire at its enemy. The vagaries of the Command Dice can lead to a lot of frustration. Still, on balance, I enjoyed that mechanic.

My biggest gripe is the difficulty in destroying enemy tanks. It’s a slow process to wear-down an enemy tank from 6 to 0 Command Dice. Blowing a tank up outright ultimately comes down to a lucky shot or managing to maneuver behind them and blast them in the rear-flank. I was expecting this to be faster & deadlier, but it’s really a bit of a slog.

One thing that could be tweaked (which I may house rule) is that close range fire should be deadlier. There’s no difference if I shoot you from 48” away, versus 8”. Our Jagdpanzer IV L70V tank destroyer -vs- Churchill Mk III battle, two very heavily armored tanks, ended up as an extended pillow fight; nobody could inflict any damage on the other. I think a simple +1 Aim and +2 Strike bonus, for being within 12” of an enemy, can make close attacks deadlier without unbalancing the game.

Overall, the game is easy to learn and fun; I want to play it again. It ran much longer than we expected (close to 3 hours). Despite what some folks suggest this is not a fast-play game, especially if you’re managing 3 tanks per player like we did. Looking forward to trying it again. Hopefully, we get a faster, more decisive outcome next time.

Pulp-o-Matic

While I have yet to actually play a game in the Pulp genre, I’ve been slowly building up my collection of painted figures over the past few years. Recently, I bought the following set of figures from a gentleman who listed them in the TMP Marketplace.

These are mostly Copplestone figures, and include 2 archaeologists, 1 heroic pilot, a gang of 5 Chinese hoodlums, and a set of 5 Gangsters. They’ll make a fine addition to my eclectic collection of pulp heroes, sidekicks, and villains.

Stormin’ Normans

While I paint my own wargaming figures occasionally and enjoy it, it’s not viable for me to assemble and paint a wide variety of armies quickly. First, I paint way too slowly. I know that I could get faster by painting more often and by being less fussy about it, but facts are facts. It’s something to aspire to. I also spend most of my hobby time designing and playing games (especially the former). That doesn’t leave as much time for painting as I need, and I haven’t figured out how to distort the space/time continuum yet.

So, that means I’m always looking to buy nicely painted figures to flesh out various armies & warbands in various periods/genres. At the moment, I’m looking to collect painted figures to build both Late Roman and Norman warbands for SAGA. I already have a nice Viking warband.

My SAGA opponent, Kevin, has Anglo-Saxon / Anglo-Dane and Irish warbands. I wanted to pull together two more armies so that we can get a buddy (or two) to join us for some SAGA battles, and so we have more armies to play with. We can also easily use these armies for Lion Rampant, when the extended Version 2 book that includes the Dark Ages (and more) is released this summer. Plus, they all work as various human races in my Sword of Severnia fantasy battle game too.

Anyway… I was finally able to snag my first set of Normans off eBay from a seller in Canada. These are Victrix miniatures and I like the dynamic poses. There are two infantry units of 10 soldiers each, so 20 figures overall. That’s a good start for a SAGA warband. Progress!

Open the Flood Gates!

The COVID-19 pandemic completely ruined face-to-face gaming for almost a 2-year period.

The Time Before COVID

Pre-COVID, my game group’s playing cadence was semi-regular Sword of Severnia fantasy battle games, with occasional games of SAGA, Frostgrave, Lion Rampant, Gnome Wars, and Heroscape sprinkled in. And an extended group of us dabbled in board games when we got the chance.

The Dark Pandemic Period

During the past 2 years, I worked diligently on multiple tabletop game designs. In addition to doing a major revision of my Crown of Severnia fantasy campaign rules, I also worked on the design & development of four new games: Dwarfnuckle, Warlords of Hexenstein, Gladiators of Gorrak, and PulpLand Adventure. I even created a wargame variant of the Feudal board game. So, I’ve been quite a busy beaver.

Dwarfnuckle started as a light, online card & dice game for resolving our Crown of Severnia playtest battles. It has since morphed into a physical card & dice game with more interesting mechanics and game play, and no longer has any direct tie-in to my Severnia games.

Warlords of Hexenstein, my hex-based, rules-light fantasy wargame, came together quickly. It’s at a point where we’ve played the game 5 times already. And it’s fun. Fine-tuning the rules continues, but I have high hopes for the game and keep wanting to play it again.

PulpLand Adventure, a set of pulp skirmish rules I’m developing, are much farther off from being ready to playtest. It would be great if I could get them there by the 4th quarter of 2022, but with so many other things on the design docket, I’m not sure that will happen. Gladiators of Gorrak (fantasy gladiators & betting) is very rough and on the backburner for now.

Stepping away from game design, the pandemic didn’t put a crimp on my hobby purchasing. Truth be told, I spent MORE on wargaming and board gaming over the past 2 years than I usually spend.

New minis (both painted and unpainted) were added to my collection. Between the Pig Orcs from RBJ and Dragon Bait, and Orcs from Warmonger and Crooked Dice, I’m swimming in greenskins to paint. Plus, I picked up new beastmen, ogres, valkyries, vikings, trolls, powrie goblins, pulp heroes & villains, fishmen (deep ones), Star Schlock troopers, and a bunch of 54mm Tehnolog toy soldiers. My goblins from the TrollTrader Kickstarter are shipping as we speak. Plus, a bunch of very nicely painted stuff (sci-fi Necrons, Undead Cavalry & Chariots, Assyrians, Late Romans, Dark Age Cavalry) and various pre-painted big beasties from Safari/Schleich/Papo.

Add in an assortment of board games, including Return to Dark Tower, Belfort, Blitz Bowl, Ethnos, Game of Thrones Catan, Wiz-War expansion, Age of War, Fairy Tale, Dungeon Breakout, and several wargame rule sets (2nd edition SAGA, SAGA Age of Magic, SAGA Age of Vikings, SAGA Age of Invasions, 2nd edition Frostgrave, Frostgrave Perilous Dark, Four Against Darkness, Chaos in Cairo, Chaos in Carpathia, Fistful of Lead, Martian Empires), and Jesus… I’m crazy.

Today’s World

The past 6-8 weeks or so have seen things starting to get back to near-normal again. We’re starting to go out and spend time with more of our friends. I’ve had the guys over a few times for card, board, and war gaming. We’re starting to plan to do more face-to-face gaming, resume paint-nights, organize a rod-hockey league at my house, and so on. I’m excited about it all.

But on the other hand, I’m also filled with a sense of being overwhelmed. I’ve got so many new games to try, it’s daunting to figure out how we’re going to play them all. Besides our usual favorites, I’m sure Hexenstein, Dwarfnuckle, Return to Dark Tower, Blood Rage, and Ethnos will make it into heavy rotation. Plus, I’m dying to break out my diecast tanks and finally get around to playing What a Tanker! from the Lardies. Thud & Blunder has to be tried. And I’ve also got a strong hankering to do some pulp gaming (probably Chaos in Cairo to start, although there are some secondary options).

I won’t even mention the Lead Mountain that lurks in the corner. Gah!!!

It feels like all this STUFF (new games, new minis, new terrain) has flowed downriver and is piling up against the wall of a giant dam. The flood gates have started to open and I’m awash in hobby madness. I guess it’s a good problem — no time for boredom to set in, that’s for sure!

Busy but Quiet

Despite my lack of posting to this blog during February, I’ve been quite busy on the gaming front. To be more precise, on the game design front.

Dwarfnuckle Revisited

Over the span of Jan-24 thru Feb-14, there were 15 nights & weekends where I spent the majority of my free time heads-down designing the rules & card deck for a new incarnation of the Dwarfnuckle card & dice battle game.

This work was spurred by a decision for an old friend and I to take early steps into forming a small, game development studio to push several of my in-process game designs towards the finish-line and get them published. It also included any new game designs that we had percolating in our heads.

I had pondered taking Dwarfnuckle, a little game that we played over Zoom to resolve our Sword of Severnia campaign battles, and turn it into a physical, stand-alone card & dice battle game. What’s more, I wanted to divorce it from Sword of Severnia. After some initial discussions, we had our first new game design to tackle.

I prototyped the cards and we had our first face-to-face playtests on Feb-12. For a first design, the initial playtest went very well. We enjoyed ourselves! As expected, some refinements and changes came out of that first session. I’ve improved the deck and am ready for playtesting Round-2. I think there’s good potential here for a fast-playing (20-30 minutes), 2-player game, that has a bit of strategy while remaining rules-light & fun. I’m excited to keep it going.

Other Game Designs

Besides Dwarfnuckle, I also spent time tweaking the rules for three of my miniature wargames. New rules for Buildings (terrain) and Magic Items were added to Warlords of Hexenstein. I expanded the Initiative Deck used in Sword of Severnia. And lastly, I fleshed out significant changes to the Crown of Severnia campaign rules, moving it from a 2-sided campaign back to a true multi-player affair. That involved making major changes to the 81 Land cards that are part of the campaign game, comprising the key territories in the world of Severnia.

Random Musings

Outside of game design, I haven’t played anything or painted anything during February or the first few days of March. There were a few things that grabbed my attention though.

Rise of the Crocodile Queen – The guys at Crocodile Games are running a cool Kickstarter to crowdfund a new set of Sebeki models. The new Sebeki Flingers, sculpted by the uber-talented Chris Fitzpatrick, are part of this campaign. And they’re awesome! There’s only a day and half left on the Kickstarter, so give it a look ASAP.

Sellswords & Spellslingers Video – I came across an interesting video that demonstrates the mechanics of this co-operative fantasy skirmish game. I haven’t played the game, but have always wondered about it, especially since I usually enjoy Andrea Sfiligoi’s designs. The card driven aspect of it seems cool. Worth a look.

Snakes & Ladders Campaigns – I’ve been reading a lot about wargame campaign design lately, thanks to recent development efforts on my Crown of Severnia campaign rules. Although this differs greatly from where I’m going with the design of my game, I thought this blog article by Peter on Grid Based Wargaming but Not Always was a super interesting idea. Worth a read.

Laser Eye Focus… Or Not

Here, let me take a closer look at that. No really, let me really examine it. No, I mean really. Oh, who the hell am I kidding, I can’t focus on damn near anything!

Part of the backlash of this ongoing pandemic, at least for me, are those off and on again waves of languishing. Sometimes, I’m overcome by apathy and feel like I’m just muddling through my life without accomplishing anything truly worthwhile. And yes, that applies to my hobbies as well. Even though 2021 was a super productive year for me on the game-design front, I still had periods where I just didn’t give a flying fuck about anything.

I’ll pull out of it; I always do. But right now, I’m a bit scatterbrained when it comes to the gaming hobby. So with that in mind, today’s post is a brain-dump of snippets floating around in my head. Maybe it will be entertaining. Maybe you’ll find me a good therapist. Who knows!

Return to Dark Tower

I may write more about this in a later post, but my wife Anna and I played our very first game of Return to Dark Tower last Saturday afternoon (January 15).

It was a long game (2.5 hours). I chalk some of that up to it being our first play ever. Still, this isn’t ever going to be a quick game. While the game play is smooth, there are constant decisions to be made, monsters being spawned, random events happening, glyphs lighting up, skulls shooting out of the tower, and lots of interaction with the companion app. If you want to win the game, you must keep on your toes.

Initial setup before we really got things underway.

Anna played the Orphaned Scion (female magician) and I played the Brutal Warlord. Our basic strategy was to divide and conquer. Anna kept cleansing skulls from the various buildings and completing quests, and I fought and vanquished several foes and acquired most of the treasures we needed to fulfill our primary goal. In the end, thanks to some great teamwork, we achieved our goal and then vanquished Ashstrider, our final adversary (Anna actually finished him off). Victory was ours!

Overall, I really enjoyed the game. This is a 9 out of 10 for me after the first play. RTDT is colorful, full of surprises, provides ample decision-making opportunities, and makes you feel like you’re up against it and teetering towards doom. The app integration is terrific. Despite being a software developer, I wasn’t so sure I was going to like an app being part of a tabletop game. But this is very nicely done. The interface is easy to use, and the app really does complement game play, rather than completely obliterating the on-board action.

Any game that my wife will play is a KEEPER. The fact that it’s truly fun for both of us makes it all the better. VERDICT = HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Seeing is Believing

The last few years, I’ve drifted away from listening to hobby podcasts and started watching lots of hobby-related YouTube videos.

There are many reasons for this. My favorite podcast (Meeples & Miniatures) ceased releasing new episodes, and others became too long to comfortably listen to (c’mon guys, 2-hour podcasts are simply not practical for most folks). But more than any other factor, there has been an explosion of interesting hobby gaming channels on YouTube. There are some shills, obnoxious hosts, and know-it-alls, but if you keep hunting, you’ll find some really useful stuff.

One of the things I’ve found is that SEEING new games in action, physical minis and unboxed board games, various paint brands being used, and so on, has seriously helped my hobby.

First off, I’m choosier now. I believe that I was more easily swayed to buy a new game from listening to folks gush about it on a podcast. Tom Vasel has cost me a lot of money over the years, and Neil Shuck isn’t far behind. But now, SEEING a game being played gives me an instant idea if I’m going to love it or hate it.

There have been many occasions where I’ve watched a rules-review or play-through of a game that other hobbyists gushed about and I was thinking “really, that’s it? Jesus, it’s kind of boring. I’m glad I didn’t buy it.” Or, “crap, that game is super fiddly or has confusing rules; no thanks!” SEEING has provided a much better dose of reality for me than the old podcasts did.

On the flip side, there have been times where SEEING something in the flesh or watching a game has made me go “cool — gotta get that! I’m pretty sure the guys will like it.”

Another nice thing about the expanding YouTube platform is that if you look hard enough, you can find reviews and insights about OLD GAMES. This is truly wonderful.

While there are great new games coming out, the simple fact is that there are WAY MORE games being published today than ever before. A lot of them aren’t great and many aren’t going to be your cup of tea.

The whole CULT OF THE NEW phenomenon is very real, and has turned people into obsessive hoarders, buying into every new Kickstarter that pops up. How are they going to play all those games? How are they going to paint all those minis, or print all those STL files on their new 3D printer? They aren’t. They’re robbing Little Jimmy’s college fund to pay for their obsession of having that new, shiny thing.

I buy new toys. Heck, probably more than I need. But compared to many hobbyists, I’m not a Cult of the New disciple. There are lots of great OLDER GAMES that will give you as much or more joy than most of the new stuff being released. Hunt them down on YouTube. Rediscover stuff that stood the test of time. SEE it for yourself.

Great Article on Umpiring

I came across this article by Conrad Kinch on Umpiring miniature wargames. I thought it was well written and worth sharing. I’m the guy in our group who hosts wargames at his house, and the person who typically teaches new rules and gets my buddies to try new games. So, this article spoke to me.

Cool Minis

Not sure that I’ll back any of these Kickstarters, as I’m trying to curb my hobby spending for a while — lots of money sunk into home projects & repairs will do that. But I wanted to share these finds with you guys.

Rampart Modular Terrain = affordable plastic terrain for making sci-fi buildings.

Warbands of the Cold North = new white-metal Norse themed minis from RedBox Games. One of them would make a perfect Conan.

Trouble in the Kitchen = Hilarious new Ogre Chef getting ready to munch on his halfling assistant. By Old School Minis. I just love this one.

Old School Minis strikes again!

Until next time…. hopefully I will regain my focus!

Star Schlock Unboxed

Merry Christmas!

A quick little blog-post today. The figures that I pledged for from the Star Schlock Kickstarter campaign were delivered the other day. Just in time for Christmas — cool!

Star Schlock Kickstarter Banner

I wanted to do a quick unboxing to look at some of the figures, and share a few pictures and initial observations:

  • They’re clean looking and not overly ornate, which is great.
  • I loved that they included slotted bases for them. Thank you Wunkay!
  • There’s flash to trim off most of the models, but in most cases it’s nothing too major that a few cuts & snips won’t take care of. The female Space Cadet model was the worst in this respect (especially around her laser pistol).
  • Overall, these look like solid 28mm sci-fi figures that should paint up well.

My pledge was for a squad of Astroguards, Necronauts, and Drone Troopers, plus a set of bonus figures which included some heroes, villains, and specialists.

Not sure when I will get around to painting these. Pulpy Sci-Fi is something that I hope to try one of these days. These figures, along with some nicely painted 40K Necrons and a bunch of cool green laser-rifle toting Aliens (of unknown manufacturer that I bought at a convention) give me more than enough figures to dive into the genre.

Gnomes on the Matterhorn

Last Friday, November 12, a pair of my best friends came over to my house and engaged in a live Gnome Wars battle. I provided the terrain and some specialty figures (5 Yetis and the Abominable Snowman). My friend Kevin Sarnowski provided everything else, breaking out some of his colorfully painted gnomes.

This battle saw an allied contingent of German and Irish gnomes assaulting an old castle and its attached brewery, with the goal of capturing a beer truck and escaping with some finely crafted pilsner. The castle & brewery were defended by a much smaller garrison of Swiss gnomes.

The initial advance of the Germans and Irish. Onwards towards the beer!

There were several unusual events that occurred as part of this scenario. Two of these events were targeted to help the Swiss defenders. One was the appearance of Santa, who showed up a couple of times, gifting the Swiss by expertly manning their cannon atop the castle walls, and also restoring life to several fallen gnome soldiers. The other event was the arrival of a band of wild Yetis, who added a terrifying amount of flesh-rending muscle to the defending force.

Swiss gnomes defending the Brewery and transport trucks.

The other events were wildcards that could help or hurt either side. The first of these events was the arrival of the Abominable Snowman, who emerged out of the snowy pine forest and promptly breathed his frost-breath on a German machine-gun crew, killing them all. Luckily for the Germans, a large unit of nearby riflemen blasted the Abominable Snowman at close range, taking the massive monster down. It was a surprise success, but it did tie up the Germans for a bit and slowed their advance towards the castle.

The second event was the appearance of some Evil Snowmen mercenaries, who also ended up joining the Swiss side. Shortly after their arrival, they took out a German Light Mortar with some carefully hurled ice balls.

Kevin Sarnowski (left) & Wally Wenklar (right), old friends and core members of our Harrisburg Hacking Hobgoblins tabletop wargaming group.

Everything seemed to be going in the Swiss army’s favor. The advancing allies were getting hammered by Swiss cannons and blunderbusses as they trudged across the open expanse that led to the castle gate.

Eventually, a large group of Irish gnomes, armed with shillelagh, burst through the gate and into the castle’s courtyard. They showed courage and bashed some Swiss heads, but it was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dreary & cold day for the allies.

Neither the flanking Irish Wolfhound cavalry or the German rifles & beer-stein grenadiers could reach the brewery. In a stroke of gnomish surprise, Swiss Cheese sprayers hidden within the castle tower, sprayed the outflanking Germans with thick, sticky swiss cheese, totally bogging down their advance. Eventually, the allied army broke and scattered from the battlefield. The proud Swiss, aided by Santa and some monstrous allies, had won the day. No Swiss beer would be stolen on this day!

Check out the slideshow below for more pictures from Friday’s fun.

At some point, my friend Kevin is planning to post his photos and commentary on his personal blog called Spoils of Wargames. Go check it out. He really loves his gnomes!

Also, visit the Gnome Wars Facebook page for more information about the game.