Today saw the start of the festive season for Alternative Armies (15mm.co.uk goes for it next week and The Ion Age on 1st December) and in the tradition that makes wargaming miniatures great we have a Christmas figure! Yes these days its not as popular as it once was for a variety of reasons which is sad but the loyal audience for Flintloque that continues to walk the path with me year after year deserved something nice so something nice they got. Follow this link for the full story but in short the image here shows you a Dwarf character in 28mm which while good for festive is also good all around too. 52014 Heinz DerMead the brewer!
It is a goal of mine to keep the fun in wargaming and the originality of it too.
Another year has passed in my life as a wargame writer and general all around fine fellow and over the previous few years a marker of this passing has been the annual Orcs in the Webbe interview. Now that the chaos of Christmas is behind me (and a Merry Mithras Day to one and all) I wanted to put up a short posting here on the blog about this year’s interview. You can read it here and it makes for interesting reading. Firstly thanks to Craig Andrews for the interview and for carrying on all his efforts into Black Powder Fantasy for wargamers everywhere not least Flintloque fans. Secondly I often don’t realise just how many tasks I take on during a year and the interview gives me a chance to reflect upon this both for the past and the future. I seldom take a day off and I think it shows in the loyalty of our customers to Alternative Armies, 15mm.co.uk and The Ion Age too.
I think the biggest thing for me to come out of the interview was that, as I expected, The Ion Age has taken up a lot of my year but also that my role in the company has changed. We have a larger team on all projects now and where once I was sole creative input there are now several voices in this area. I hope that this means I will have time for more side projects perhaps even some creative writing.
Lastly an apology to Craig to whom I had promised a piece of lengthy Dracci related fiction for the Calendar this year but due to a combination of atrocious weather which shut us down for several days, personal illness and sheer workload I was unable, the first time ever, to meet the deadline. Sorry! Looking at it, its not often I drop the ball but I am only Human.
Have a read at the Interview if you have the time. Its fun stuff indeed!
It has taken me a wee while to get to this posting here due to work commitments (I am only one Man damn it!) but I wanted to tell you all about a visit of several days that I had been looking forward to from my good friend in America Bob McAlister and his family. During a visit to Scotland last week the jolly three came by and spent a few days here in Girvan. A good time was had by all and several field trips undertaken as well. Bob had sent me a package last year which I posted about and I took the chance to repay him by a filling with beer at the Roxy Pub here in Girvan and getting him hooked on Irn-Bru.
While he was here Bob and I played out the Typhon demo scenario for Salute 2013 on a cut down sized playing area and yes I won but only just. It was a close call. Below you can see Bob and I talking shop before play commenced. Typhon is a super game for a visual experience and my Droves of Shades gave a powerful account of themselves against Tyro and her Cyclopes too.
Getting ready to Play Typhon. Bob is the handsome fellow on the right!
During our excursion to Glasgow we visited Static Games and I picked up a stack of second hand books and magazines including some very early White Dwarf issues. If time allows I will post on these later in the month.
Bob and his family were delightful company and we all missed them when they left. The world can seem a large place but really in these days of jet travel, skype, email, facebook and more its not so big after all.
Rumour has it that today a certain Emma is making an honest man of Craig Andrews (editor of Barking Irons Online and Orcs in the Webbe) by marrying him. Being ten years long, long service myself I offer my congratulations to the happy couple and wish them all the best for the future. Craig is a top bloke, I have known him for a number of years now and he deserves all the love that life can offer a man.
‘You can take the cudgel away from my head now my Good Lady…see I said nothing negative about ten long, long years service…. :-)’
The Latest on BIO as of the weekend…its updated already since then!
Back in December I took part in the now annual Alternative Armies interview for the Orcs in the Webbe advent calendar. In that interview I was told that Craig Andrews, owner of Orcs in the Webbe and editor of Barking Irons Online, would be making a planned effort to kick the volume of content on Barking Irons up a notch. Well its now late January and Craig has certainly met his goal!
I contribute content to Barking Irons when I can. A lot of this is done in time time off work or at the weekend (yes, I don’t sleep much!). Now its not as much as I would like but I am only human. Craig has taken my work along with that of a dozen others and planned out news, reviews, articles and scenarios for half a dozen game systems published by Alternative Armies and 15mm.co.uk. My latest was a HOF Fire-Team scenario you can find notes for on TTWG blog but only yesterday an excerpt from The Trolls of Valon from 2012 was put up too. I am very impressed with Craig’s dedication to wargaming and to me as well. Add to this that he holds down as full time job and has just successfully moved from Birmingham to Bristol and you have a chap who can spin a lot of plates while also maintaining a formidable online presence.
There is no doubt that Craig Andrews is the soul behind BIO and that I among the hundreds who regularly look to Barking Irons for their gaming material each week are looking forward to what will happen in the rest of 2013 and beyond with this online magazine.
Craig is going to be looking for voluntary funding for OITW to cover his costs. I have told him privately and will now state it publicly that Alternative Armies will contribute largely to this in supporting OITW. OITW now also covers other game systems in the ‘black powder fantasy’ wargaming genre created by Flintloque so I hope those other brands will also assist Craig and that this will meet his needs.
After a busy weekend on the website of Alternative Armies and 15mm.co.uk I went into work to find that two of my titles had sold out their current print runs. The first third edition game book for Flintloque and the ninth title in the USEME series too. Both of these will be out of print for a while as I have to organise re-prints but both will come back into stock as they are core books and popular sellers. Indeed War in Catalucia will be in its third print run when brought in again and the total number of USEME booklets sold is nearing four thousand now.
While Zombie Dawn will be brought back into print just as it was there is a chance that I will take a few days to ‘update’ War in Catalucia. That does not mean any changes to the mechanics of the game (third edition is the most awesome incarnation of Flintloque ever as it is) rather some more background material and art taking into account the three years since release with more stats and army list information and the like. More as and when as normal on this.
The winter of 2012 and into this year has been good for Flintloque and USEME with new players taking up the offer of a free limited miniature called Gerrrard the Wolf and the masses of content on Barking Irons and the great new Orcs in the Webbe. USEME continues at a pace with weekly messages stating ‘release more titles!’ a firm favourite.
2013 eh….we are truly living in the future now. What will the new year bring? It’s hard to tell really what with all the trouble in the world, the uncertainty in the economy, the signs in the starts and other mumbo jumbo. But hey when was it ever any different. Me, well I am going to keep on doing what I have been and that is to bring wargamers top notch products at great prices. With what I have planned for this new year work wise it will be fun, fun, fun for all. But I cannot spoil the surprises all in one go so I will keep quiet on the new game titles, new miniatures and other new things too for now.
For myself personally its going to be an interesting year since I plan on doing several things I have been meaning to do and keep putting off for one reason or another. These are not ‘new year resolutions’ (who keeps to these anyway beyond the first week of January?) but more ambitions for living if you want to call it that. I want to play more of my own wargames, more HOF Fire Team and USEME and of course Flintloque leading to more Slaughterloo battles; these would be accounted for on TTWG blog and linked in places to Barking Irons Online too. I want to be a bit more productive too (did you just gasp at that, but yes I could do more) in my personal life as I have let things slide a bit in terms of keeping my space tidy and filing things away. Its also now been three years since the operation for an umbilical hernia that laid me flat out and that means I can go back to exercise without fear of tearing my internal ‘stitches’. I have about forty pounds I want to shift off. I hope to get to a point where I can cycle 5k a day. I would say I will begin work on some fiction for separate publication by Kindle but this year looks too busy already for those plans. I want to spend more time with my children too as I am having trouble keeping Saturday a ‘no work’ day beyond 9am as I had promised them plus I hope not to suck as much at Xbox games to give my lads a challenge! So lots to think about and I hope I don’t drop the ball on all of these aims.
I am sure all of this will pop up here on the blog and elsewhere too. Lets see how I get on!
Today is Christmas Day and its been a roller coaster already so I have not much time to blog but I wanted to put up a little missive on this day for a few reasons. Firstly to thank all those who have been so kind to me and to my family at this time of year. An embarrassment of riches has come to us from all over the world. It makes me truly grateful and personally, the thought that people have put into getting me gifts is way too much. Japan, America, Australia and elsewhere in little packages. I am loved and love in return. You should not have but I am glad you did. To balance this I have made donations to charities both here in Scotland and further afield too to spread the joy that I have received. My Good Lady, the Poet, the Thinker and the Warrior echo this and have been very thankful for what they have received too.
Secondly yesterday saw the annual Festive Season interview on Orcs in the Webbe between myself and Craig Andrews. He calls it Annual Grilling and it is. I know of no other gaming company which would answer so many questions for its public, but I aim to please at all times. Have a read and then watch me across next year bringing the text into a living form of wargaming.
Lastly I wish you all a warm and cosy festive season and thank you too for reading and commenting on this blog. It means a lot to me. If you have the chance to be good to another person then do it, the cost is little and the darkness so often apparent in the world is kept at bay by the simple acts of man’s kindness to others.
Its nearly Christmas (or on my fantasy world of Valon it is known as Cryptmass, but more on that elsewhere) and that means my annual entries to the excellent Orcs in the Webbe advent calendar are now appearing online. Every year Craig over at ‘OITW’ collects material from fans and writers and artist who love the medium of Black Power Fantasy and lines them up for a month of free content which is read by thousands of wargamers and others.
This year Craig asked me for two pieces in our customary way for his birthday (Happy Birthday Craig!) to do with his favourite Valon fantasy race, the Dracci, Children of the Dragons. I was happy to agree to this and penned a short story called The Mirror of Zyrgone which features not only the Dracci but another perennial favourite Captain Sharke of the 105th Rifles. Following this (for the 19th of December) a Flintloque scenario called ‘Sharkes Mirror’ which lets wargamers play out the events of the tale. I followed the tradition begun by Cornwell himself in naming the scenario ‘Sharkes ????‘ and ‘mirror’ had not been used so there you go!
Its a great little action packed tale so please do go along and have a read at it. Craig is a great chap who takes on a lot in working up not only Orcs in the Webbe but also is editor of Barking Irons Online so it was the least I could do.
I had been watching the shelf for near a year but it finally happened last week…Alternative Armies sold its last stock copy of Slaughterloo; that being the boxed set of three books and card sheets released in 2006. A while back at a company meeting it was agreed that when the day came we would remove the game from sale for a month and then bring about a new version. This was going to be a new edition but progress has been halting and there is no rush as the existing mechanics of the game are excellent and vastly more than the old first edition. I can almost hear you all now reading this and saying ‘what no more Slaughterloo..you devil..why? We love that big battle wargame’.
Fear not! Slaughterloo will continue. In fact it will do so at Christmas of this year for at this very moment I am working on ‘S2 Redux’. That is a new run of the game. Same mechanics, same rules, same content but in a different format to the box set. Coded 5030 Slaughterloo will become a single thick book along the same lines as Flintloque 3rd edition became in 2009. Bigger than any one Flintloque book this one will contain all three of the box set books with updates in the army stats tables to account for the passage of time. All of the cards, tokens and so on to play the game will be in the book for photocopy and personal print…but also on the Alternative Armies website as free digital downloads. Excellent value and all in one place. Sneak peek below of the new cover with brand new artwork by Edward Jackson and logo by Sam Croes.
The draft new cover!
More on this on Barking Irons Online nearer the time.