Its a sad but valid day today for its time for me to retire the Tabletop Wargamer blog that I had begun in an effort to show everyone my own personal efforts in wargaming at home away from work. I got a collection of Ion Age and Flintloque miniatures, I got a fine gaming buddy, I got terrain and even a spiffing table upon which to play…but… Time was not on my side.
As it happened the wargamers who provide me with a living were far more keen on me penning and testing rule systems and fiction than they were on reading about me playing! That is fine as I have to add that I have found it hard to get the time for focusing on my own efforts and I do not want my own efforts to compromise the happiness that my work brings others. Lastly exciting projects have developed that will need more of my time and involve blogging so you will all see me on another blog soon enough.
So Tabletop Wargamer is no more. Thanks to all those who contributed comments, emails and more to the fifteen thousand views it built up. If anyone wants any of the content from the blog, pictures, scenarios and such I have them but most are already on Barking Irons Online for you to read free. They are in the HOF Fire-Team and Flintloque pages on the whole.
‘I am numbers not a free man!’ To paraphrase ‘The Prisoner’.
The day is here (well it was yesterday but I do have to sleep) Slaughterloo Redux is in print, in boxes and being sent out to all those who ordered it from Alternative Armies. You can find out all about the book on the website and I will not repeat it here (there is also a folder of free files you can download too) as this is my personal blog and I just want to talk a little about the process of the book and the joy of its publication.
Back in the autumn of 2012 when it became clear that the original print run of Slaughterloo 2nd edition was going to run out the decision was made to update it and put it into one book instead of a boxed set. The process of making one book out of three was larger than I originally though as not only had it to be combined but it had to be updated. The rules mechanics did not change but the army lists and statistics tables had to be expanded and tidied up along with more new material added. On top of this there was a new scenario to write and a new way of writing it (based on the Flintloque 3rd edition model) required. Page after page all the way up to one hundred and sixty eight pages. The biggest book I have ever worked on. The authorship is of course split between myself and Alex Draper but I oversaw the digital layouts and artwork editing myself. Over a hundred and fifty of Edward Jackson’s great ‘world of valon’ images are in the book and each of them had to be sized and rendered. Topping out at 175,000 words the editing and proofing took three weeks to complete. Hundreds of work hours but it was more than worth it as the book is a beautiful object in its own right.
You can see from the pictures in this posting, I wanted to show an actual copy instead of digital copy as normal, the quality of the print work and of the paper stock. The book has a great weight and is a joy to flick through and read at leisure and that is before you get to the actual game (Alex’s rules are superb!). You can read it as a reference book too. In a time when prices go ever up for wargaming material and the content gets ever slimmer and font sizes ever bigger this bad boy gives you the works for just twenty pounds. I believe in giving people a damn good read as well as a good game to play.
Unfortunately the weather in the UK did delay release and shipping by two weeks and by consequence this posting too. Obviously I did not see this coming but the company has not had a single grumble never mind complaint about the delay. Alternative Armies has many loyal gentlemen for customers, let me tell you. Snow and wind did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm though. Slaughterloo woohoo!
p.s. you might now ask how I am going to top this book…well 2013 is a long year and there is plenty of time. Just you all wait and see.
Today sees the release of another miniature in my very successful SHM miniature line on 15mm.co.uk. Its a milestone as its the fiftieth release in this single figure series and its a special one too as its a miniature that has sat on my desk here for several months patiently waiting its turn for fame. The miniature is by my friend Eli Arndt and its called the Razak Bouncer.
Something about this little chap captivates me like no miniature has since Eli’s Vergan. Heavily muscled, tough looking and patiently waiting for action (like me then!) the Razak oozes character. I think he would be great for a mercenary force, a bodyguard, an enforcer perhaps even a frontier world law man (with a different paint job on his armour). I am thinking of getting one or two for my 15mm sci-fi forces in the next round of buy and paint.
Back before Christmas my good friend Bob McAlister and his family sent myself and my own family a package all the way from their home in America (see this previous post). I promised not to open it for a few days but what with work and family I kept it until the big day at Christmas and I stuck to this revised promise like a dog to a bone. Indeed I often passed the box and my hand reached out…but no! Waited. When opened there were many goodies in the box for my Good Lady and my wee three too but I will stick to the gift sent to me. I present to you a short review of Charge! or How to Play Wargames by Brig.P.Young & Lt.Col J.P.Lawford published by Athena Books in 1986.
Vintage wargaming books from before the ‘age of commercialism’ when it was a hobby for gentlemen and the idea of science fiction and fantasy on a table was truly outlandish are a pet love for me and I own quite a few including many of Fetherstone’s titles such as Complete Wargaming (which is better overall than this book but also far more in depth). I had wanted ‘Charge!’ for a while but copies were expensive so Bob had done me a real favour by getting me a copy far cheaper in its native North America. Charge! is written as a set of ‘horse and musket’ rules with attached scenario and introduction. Despite thirty years passing the rules look very solid and I threw some dice and used my Flintloque figures for pieces and they worked well. A lot like the kind of rules I like to write, flexible, fun, hobby based and no more complex than they need to be. The book is split into two parts as far as the rules go, the basic game and the advanced game. This is something lacking in British titles of this period and is something that has come over from the USA in my generation.
Charge! is not a book about Wargaming as such, it is a book of wargame rules that despite what the author says is best suited to wars of the high 18th century and not earlier or later periods. I enjoyed reading it and will revisit it in the future too. As far as I know this book is out of print but it can still be had for those who want to seek it out. If you can get it cheaply, or from a good friend (!) then I recommend you do. Thanks again Bob.
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.
Back in October I posted about a brand new blog called ‘The Zone’ run my Math one of the fellows behind Dropship Horizon blog. Since then I have reading its postings with excitement and a good laugh too. Each posting is an adventure with a lot of back story and characters. I have also spoken to Math by email and assisted him with an order to 15mm.co.uk to get some pro-painted Law Officers from the Laserburn range. To that end he has sent me images of conversions of some Laserburn miniatures for The Zone. Pictures below.
Col and Rayy – Laserburn 15mm conversions
Converted Laserburn flt car with crew
These images in this posting are from the most recent piece on The Zone, an adventure known as The Trojan Hovercar. Check it out.
I recommend this blog to any wargamer who loves the 2000AD comic, classic or retro 1970’s sci-fi and a spun yarn to read too. Keep up the good work Math!
A while back I posted that I was going to get involved with the setting up of a new 15mm scale wargaming blog. This blog would be about a post apocalypse setting called ‘Terra Burning’ and I would be contributing posts and news and so forth from the point of view of USEME (the blog’s preferred rules system for play) and miniatures from 15mm.co.uk. Well the blog went live today and I have just put my first posting on it talking about wargaming on Terra Burning.
Maj. Diz Aster over on Firebase Aries 15 blog is getting set to unveil a new adventure in miniature wargaming. I was intrigued by the image above and the cryptic clue and asked him for more details…to my delighted surprise I have been offered and have accepted a senior position in the new adventure which will feature USE ME heavily. More on this when the time is right…but I can feel the burn!
A few of months ago on this blog I announced the creation of my own dedicated wargaming blogger place called Tabletop Wargamer or TTWG Blog. I have made the best progress that I can in creating terrain and collecting miniatures in that I began with nothing having no personal collection left from my ‘ill period’ in 2008-9. This included getting on my feet with my own Flintloque miniatures (not the thousands of pro-painted miniatures that Alternative Armies produces annually) and I did that with Wyndorc’s Korsucan Rangers section of twelve miniatures. At the same time fellow Ayrshire wargamer Eve Hallow expressed an interest in moving away from the increasingly juvenile and straight jacketing Games Workshop hobby to games which I had written especially Flintloque and USE ME. Wargames which are more fun, less serious and more free in their choices of uniform and disposition. I was happy to oblige.
So on Saturday evening Eve and I got together and faced off over the table in what I think will be the first of many wargames between us. We played as stripped down version of Flintloque.
If you are interested in what happened and want to see more pictures and story then go on over to TTWG blog and have a read. All comments welcome!