Flintloque, USEME and I go digital download!


Last week the four books that currently make up Flintloque 3rd edition not only went back into printed stock but also, for the first time, they became digital paid downloads.  Otherwise known as purchasable PDF books. While other companies have been trading in downloads for several years successfully now it has only been in the last month or so that Alternative Armies and by extension 15mm.co.uk and my baby The Ion Age did the same.  When the decision was taken it was set to me to task out a platform from which to make the digital publications available.  After running tests on several installs I settled on one that seamlessly integrates with the physical products on the websites and is very easy for customers to use and also to return to for their purchases.  We began with DarkeStorme my high fantasy skirmish system for 28mm and 15mm miniatures and then moved across to HOF Fire Team and Age of Might and Steel before turning my other loved system books Patrol Angis and Callsign Taranis into paid downloads.  Then it was onto the main event…Flintloque!



A busy few weeks and then the time arrived this week and with my usual flourish I presented the books plus a mega bundle to the world.  Early notice went to the Notables who were quick to get involved.  The reception has been very positive across the board and especially from the regular wargamers who play Flintloque who in some cases purchased the books as digital to go with existing print or both at the same time to expand their collection.   What has surprised me is actually the uptake on the printed books in conjunction with the same digital title as well as miniatures (above are the Pudigroan Dogmen and our funky three barrelled cannon).  I have asked and been told that the desire was to read the books while waiting for a package to arrive with paper being very much preferred at the gaming table.  This makes sense to me actually as I read books virtually but often purchase in print those I enjoy and tend to always buy wargaming books and RPG books in print only.  It seems that digital downloads are here to stay at Alternative Armies.

As always if you are a customer who continues to allow me to make my living in this wonderful manner I thank you and hope you enjoy what I do.

When the time comes that I have finished the next Flintloque book which is titled ‘Retreat to Kooruna’ it will be a print and digital download title and as such it will be the first Flintloque book to debut as both mediums.  I look forward to seeing how this is greeted by the fan base of the World of Valon.  While the first ever campaign book for Flintloque will get more, much more, coverage as it nears release you can see the cover art by Edward Jackson below.  Back in December 2015 one of the full scenarios from the forthcoming book was published in the Advent Calendar on Orcs in the Webbe.  Click on the link and you can read it or on this LINK you can have it as a PDF to your device direct.  It is one of a dozen to be in the book.


Flintloque grows every month with new miniatures, new items and new material.  It has been a part of me for more than a decade and it will continue to be so long, long into the future.  In fact some wargamers would never forgive me if I stopped creating new content for the game!


On Friday last week the whole USEME series of wargame books went digital download at 15mm.co.uk and while it is true that I nor any other author in the series such as Omer Golan Joel or Kurt Benson have added to its dozen titles in the last two years or so that will change.  We have six small books in various stages of development.  In the meantime I am really pleased to see people still remember my USEME and in honour of that the digital editions are cheaper than the print booklets.  A whole game system for three pounds.  Excellent!

USEME has half a dozen titles in the works by three authors including myself and these are at various stages of readiness.  I am looking at adding titles in the near future and these may well be digital download only.  This will be based upon consulting with several dozen customers at random to see what they prefer.

Thanks for your time.


Beighton’s Shipyard’s short USEME Starship Battles review

In the inky stellar darkness….

Mark over at Beighton’s Shipyard blog has posted a short review of a wargaming title I partially authored a couple of years ago along with Omer Golan Joel.  Its the sixth in the USEME series and its a set of rules for simple and fast fleet scale starship battles in miniature.


I have to say he did a grand job.  Its not a simulation set of complex rules, it was never meant to be.  Its fast and fun and with enough variety and bolt on mechanics to be adaptable to most settings.  I have used it myself several times for everything from dogfights with five a side fighters to a whole fleet of dreadnoughts in the dark and also with Eli Ardnt’s fleet scale mecha for a special robotech style struggle.

Check it out!

Also if you are wondering what ‘The Big Mac’ is…well I know, I wrote it, but you will have to read it to find out!


USEME Prohibition Gangsters – WIP


Top of the World Ma!

There are some more USEME Titles in the planning stage over at 15mm.co.uk and while I have posted about my own title in the next three (Alien Safari , delayed I know!) I have said nothing about the others; so here it goes!  Provisionally titled UM015 USEME Prohibition Gangsters this booklet presents rules for two scales (15mm and 28mm) in wargaming the period in American history when booze was illegal and tommy guns the norm.  That is the 1920’s and 1930’s.

This is not a period I know much about really so I was delighted when Bob McAlister over in the USA told me he was keen to write just such a title.  With some assistance from his good lady and playtesters UM015 has shaped up as a solid and themed set of rules.  Its the first set of wargame rules Bob has written that has made it to published stage and he is rightly proud of this achievement.

Skirmishing is the name of the game and the idea is that small groups of Cops, G-Men, Molls, Gangsters, Hooch Runners and others fight it out over objectives such as hidden stashes, nightclubs and speak easies, warehouses, the open street, flop houses and more.  As with most USEME titles its ten or so characters a side but you can use more plus the solo rules engine is attached.  In fact Bob handed in a manuscript that was too long when his two scenarios were included so these will be given away free on the website and also included in the paid for PDF version.

As USEME’s are budget titles for gaming fun I opted for public domain photographs and so on for the internal pages of the book and the cover is a clever bit of dress up fun on a sunny day from the creative commons licence on Flickr.

I feel that in terms of the way it plays this vision of USEME is most like UM003 USEME WW2  written by Omer Golan but without the armoured vehicles and aircraft of course and a lot more car chases.  This title will be published later this summer.


USEME Zombie Dawn makes a return from the dead…


I wanted to do a quick shout out about one of my own titles from the highly successful USEME series of Wargaming Titles; UM009 USEME Zombie Dawn.  It is now back in print after a gap of a couple of months and I am greatly pleased to be able to say that its second print run is larger than the first.  At the weekend I went to see World War Z at the cinema which was good but the book version (rather different…well actually REALLY different to the film) was what was in my mind while I wrote this title a couple of years ago.  It was actually down right funny to see Glasgow portrayed as Philadelphia in the film.  St Georges Square is very familiar to me and with its, as far as I know, unique bright red tarmac surface it looked sod all like America!  🙂

The 2nd print run features only an update to the listing of top sources for inspiration and an update to the list of available titles on its last page.  When the book went to print originally its ninth position on the list was the end of the list but now it goes up to number fifteen and Zombie Dawn is nearing the middle of the listing of titles.  More on the new titles when the time comes.

Because of the new movie being at cinema’s now I asked for and got permission to put up a special ‘Z Deal’ this week.  So until Monday of next week you can go to 15mm.co.uk and get a print copy of UM009 and a pack of 15mm Zombies (sixteen of them) for just 6.25GBP saving thirty percent off list.  Excellent eh!

Shameless self promotion finished!


Salute 2013 for GBS


The Shirt and the Badge

Well that is Salute by for another year and while others have posted their reviews of the show (very few this year compared to previous years, or perhaps I am missing them) I have just got to it as its a long trek home and the wind down afterwards always takes a day or so.  So how was the show for me and for Alternative Armies?


The front of the mighty Excel Centre home of Salute 2013

Personally for me I thought that Salute 2013 was down on last year in terms of attendance and that the average spend in the trade hall was lower too.  How do I know this, well I don’t for sure but I can guess at it from the following information.  No que at the gents toilets at 1pm, only a minute’s wait for a coffee at 2pm and a virtually empty hall half an hour before the doors closed.  The crowd was never all that dense at any trade stand.  As always the Warlords were polite and helpful and the Excel staff were excellent.  The weather was lovely and the traffic shuffle out of London was easier than normal too.  Oh and I noticed some of the free plastic miniature sprue that was this year’s entry gift left laying once all the stands were broken down so I have a good half dozen of them!

For Alternative Armies it was a good day considering the above and while the total take was down on last year the overall month of promotion (which ends this Friday) was WAY up on the year before mainly due to a great pulse of SHM, Laserburn, Security Force Alpha and HOT orders on 15mm.co.uk.  So all in all it was a super top month for the company.

I did not purchase anything this year at Salute which is odd and for once I did not get offered any freebies either (not a lot of give away for me awwww!) but it was kind of my plan as what I did want to do with my wargaming budget this month and what I got for doing Salute was to get a brand new wargaming table.   So no new rulebooks, figures or terrain but I did get the table TODAY and its a beauty but more on that in another posting.


A photo for the Typhon demo game 2013

I have also decided that I will not be doing any more demo games at wargame conventions myself as I did not get to play Typhon myself at all.  My attention was taken up with conversations, hand shaking and other duties.  It seems my infamy is too great just to toss the dice all day anymore.  Thank though to Craig Andrews of Barking Irons and Orcs in the Webbe fame for fielding the Typhon game four times in the afternoon.

Eve Hallow attended Salute for the first time this year and he did an excellent post about it too.  He travelled to London with my good lady wife…but he did make her carry his dirt filled coffin all the way to Excel!

Great to catch up with Edward Jackson, Steve Young, Bob Naismith, Sam Croes, Craig Andrews, Bill Hilton, Sandy B, Rob Alderman, Elton Waters and Russ Grey on the day; you guys make the trip worthwhile alone.  Thanks also to the hundred plus wargamers who spoke with me I can’t name you all but I took all your input and suggestions onboard and thanks for the kind words too.


Feel the Force in one to one scale!

So good result all in all.  I will see you there next year!


Eli’s Vergan’s are my kinda Miniatures!


SHM54-SHM57 Vergan Free Traders


SHM54-SHM55 Rear View

These are due to release this week but I wanted to give a little post about them here before that as I have to say that I just love the alien species of Vergan created by Eli Arndt for the SHM line on 15mm.co.uk.  Eli has created and is creating a number of alien species and these are one of my favourites.  Why do I like them so much?

Well its partly style and its partly ethos.  You can use them in any game system and they are of Human height with greater bulk so they match in with ease.  Their style is pure space opera of the kind that Star Wars promotes where alien races are welcomed and not automatically targeted as ‘Xenos’ to be exterminated just for the sin of existing like in some other settings.  They remind me of aliens produced in 25mm scale in the 1980’s back when larger scales were as open to experimentation as the smaller 15mm scale is now.  Its a shame that the seeming  increased ‘need for polish for its own sake’ in the wargaming industry, sometimes without any visible increase in quality or value for money, has meant that only 15mm scale now see’s such bold and different designs in the 21st century.  Ethos wise its just that.  Fun and good value combined with not taking themselves too seriously.  Perfect for me and for 15mm.co.uk.

Why call them ‘Free Traders’ and not ‘Soldiers’?  Eli said to me when he sent me the designs that he thought of the Vergans as merchants not mercenaries.  After a bit of thought I came to agree with him.  Some of the other races in SHM like the Prang are blatantly militaristic but the Vergans seem to carry weapons mainly for self defence.  Part of a starship crew or in a spaceport these blob shaped and many tentacled fellows might just heft an energy rifle only when the traitorous Human they are dealing with tries to double cross them.  The aliens are not always the bad guys…humm…I can feel a USEME scenario brewing now.

The Vergans join the first of their kind (SHM20) as single miniatures but also as a value pack.  I do hope that Eli makes more of them in the future (perhaps a Vergan child or female) but he is a busy guy with LNG and other projects so time will tell.


Terra Burning burns out…

Sadly the joint post-apocalypse wargaming blog begun between myself and Maj Diz Aster called Terra Burning is no more.  In effect it was a still birth of a project for no sooner had the details been agreed and the blog begun the poor Maj had a series of incidents that led to him telling me he was quitting wargaming.  While I am happy to say that Maj has returned to wargaming now fired with new enthusiasm for different scales and genres other than 15mm science fiction the TB blog was doomed.  Without his assistance I was unwilling to take it on alone.  Indeed I seldom agree to joint projects like this one as my time is limited and I get rather a large number of offers each year.  I had hoped Terra Burning would be a hit but alas…twas’ not to be.  The blog has been removed from the sphere.

I may post some of the article I had spent hours drafting for Terra Burning over on my own TTWG blog if the mood takes me but for now it seems the rad ruins and the wasteland scarred precincts have fallen silent.  Sorry.


A Day of Photography…painful on the eyes!

Its not often that I spend an entire day on one central task but today was such a day.  Today, with the assistance of my good lady, I photographed all of the professionally painted releases for the next three months for 15mm.co.uk.  This came to more than three hundred images of roughly seventy unreleased miniatures from the HOF, HOT, SHM ranges crafted by six different designers.  We take photographs very seriously with the aim of showing the actual miniature in the best light and with no software trickery involved.  So many hours of thousands of watts of light and positioning figures resulted in some great shots but left me with eyes like a Blood Hound!

The vast majority of the new miniatures are in the HOF 15mm Science Fiction range and all but a handful were painted over several weeks by Eve Hallow.  He is an excellent miniature painter with an eye for colour.  Its also his birthday this weekend so I will be standing him a Lady Juniper or two at the local hostelry and giving him a wee gift but for the moment I will tell you of his first gift.  He is not only a miniature painter but an aspiring sculptor too and his first miniature will be hitting the SHM range this week… coincidence or what…on his birthday weekend.

I am not allowed to show you all the images I took (don’t even ask…you would burst with the thrill of it!) but I will sneak out a few in the coming weeks and for now I give you what is coming out this week.  The Jelly Cube by Eve Hallow, the Criat Mercenary by Will Grundy (another first!) and the icky Biomorph by the excellent Eli Arndt.  Enjoy!


The Jelly Cube

Jellies Cubed!

Jellies Cubed!


For Scale. He’s Jellified!


Criat Mercenary…gurr!


For Scale with Human Cultist


Eli’s Biomorph from the front


And the Rear…urgh!


War in Catalucia and Zombie Dawn sold out!


War in Catalucia and Zombie Dawn

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.

Thanks to all those who bought my work!


Terra Burning blog goes live today!

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.

So what you waiting for…can’t you feel the burn!