Category Archives: Solo Wargaming

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!

On My Wargaming Radar

As a long-time miniature wargamer, I’m always on the lookout for interesting stuff to enhance my hobby. As a regular feature of this blog, I’m going to share my discoveries with you, oh gentle reader. Hopefully, you’ll find a hidden gem among these links that enhances your enjoyment of the hobby. I call that a Win-Win.

Kings of War: Third Edition

FREE RULES for Kings of War: 3rd Edition

Ronnie Renton at Mantic Games is a great guy, whose love of the miniature wargaming hobby always shines through in his interactions with customers and the tabletop gaming public. In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, when people are starting to wear down mentally due to greatly reduced social interaction, he is trying to provide a little cheer to fellow gamers.

Mantic is offering a FREE DOWNLOAD of the latest edition of their popular fantasy mass-battles game, Kings of War: Third Edition. You can go here to download the Free Kings of War rules: https://tinyurl.com/y7379vs8


Time to go Solo?

In all my years of wargaming, one thing that I’ve never tried is solo wargaming. Certainly I’ve played around with new rules by myself, to try out the mechanics and see how the game plays. But that’s not the same as assembling two armies, crafting a scenario, laying the terrain out on your table, deploying the troops, and then taking the role of commander of both armies and playing out the battle to a conclusion.

Over the last year, I’ve begun to give the idea of solo wargaming more serious thought. The reason is simple. The members of my primary gaming group are all 50-somethings like me, and getting them to commit to any consistent gaming schedule is akin to herding baby goats that have each just slurped down two quarts of Mountain Dew.

Add in the fact that everyone is in lock-down mode, and maybe it’s finally time to start playing with myself. Umm, that didn’t come out quite right. But, you get my point. There has never been a better time to explore solo wargaming than in the middle of this era of Social Distancing.

That leads me to a fantastic little primer, presented in podcast format, by veteran UK wargamer and author Henry Hyde of Battlegames magazine fame. It’s definitely worth your while to give a listen to the March 20th episode entitled “Battlechat Special: Introduction to Solo Wargaming“. You may just learn a thing or two; I know that I did. Follow this link: https://tinyurl.com/ya6z34nt


Oh Wizard Kings, you wily temptress…

To finish off today’s trifecta of gaming goodness, I recently received an email from Columbia Games, the makers of Wizard Kings, a block wargame that lets 2 to 7 players engage in sweeping fantasy battles of the world conquest variety. It’s a fun game, and one which I really need to get to the table again, as it has been a few years since I last played it.

The email informed me that Columbia Games is releasing a limited edition Treasure Chest of 350 Blocks (50 for each army), or one of every block ever printed for this game. That’s a really neat idea. Why, you ask? Because while Wizard Kings comes with a starting set of blocks for each army, it’s the only Columbia game to my knowledge that offers randomized expansion packs that contain additional blocks. Effectively, it’s a collectible block wargame, and that means it’s darn near impossible to own every block ever printed.

Being a Wizard Kings fan, this offer certainly piqued my interest. There is, however, one big downside to buying it: the Treasure Chest will set you back a hefty $200 (US). My wallet screams Ouch!

Your mileage may vary, but I just don’t play the game enough to justify the financial outlay. That said, they’ve already sold close to 60 of the 100 sets they’re offering. So, if you’re a huge Wizard Kings fan, check it out before the clock runs out on April 30th. You can find the offer here: https://tinyurl.com/y7pnovvg

Until next time, stay healthy and safe!