A surprise for me this morning as I was made aware that some good lads in the podcast miniature broadcast business had taken the time to review one of the many systems I have authored or otherwise worked on. In this case it was Flintloque and especially 3rd edition. Here is the link. The section on Flintloque begins at 1.04.50 hours into the broadcast (if you want to skip to it) and its very informative. Have a listen. I recommend headphones if you have a noisy room around you.
I might take some wee issues with some minor parts of it but then it is my ‘baby’ as it were but overall the fan of Flintloque who champions it in the interview Mike Hobbs fights his corner very well pointing out the adoration that many have for the game and its miniatures. Along with the high quality and value of the books and rule system. As he points out its been around for near twenty years now and its been bubbling away the whole time. Actually just one wee issue…’a fundamental flaw’ with the system. Sorry its not a fundamental flaw if you simply do not like Flintloque, that is not a flaw its only your choice. After all WW2 wargaming makes me snore.
The school term has ended and the summer holidays begun here in South Ayrshire. Huzzah you might think but no. It means seven weeks or so of entertaining children and educating them yourself rather than the teachers. Teacher work so hard, they do. Really…I am not joking. In fact while I am working they are, when they are off for the whole summer…well I am still working. Anyway let me not suggest that education needs an overhaul bringing it into the modern world the rest of us live in let me instead brag a little about my three. The Thinker, the Poet and the Warrior did well this year and I reward them for that.
Society now seems in a fair bit of imbalance towards children but not in my home. Rewards and treats are earned. You get what you need and then your good behaviour and excellent performance combined with contributing ideas and thought in conversation gets your rewards. End of term means an accounting of those prizes earned in term time and I reward well. As the image above shows it was a good payout as a small pile of award stars, certificates and so on were presented to me. Well done you three!
While work prevented me attending the Queens Baton Relay today as it went through Girvan on its way up the coast and through South Ayrshire (well local big wigs get paid for standing in the sun and I don’t hey ho) my good lady got me some pictures and a little booklet. You can see the cover of the booklet above and a picture of the baton carrier who had done some good work for local children at Girvan Hospital below. It has been a lovely week of sunny weather and it shows in the pictures. Such a blue sky and the heat made for fine baton walking conditions.
My eldest son as a part of his class attended the event (one of the last things he had to do before his primary / elementary schooling ends for good in a week or so) and was given the distinction of carrying the flag for his class’s chosen commonwealth nation South Africa. He had a smashing time and a well deserved way to end his last little school year. Top of the class and a thoroughly nice child who is turning into a young man that I am rightly proud of to my core. Have a look below and check out that springing step and grin!
As for the Baton Relay itself I really don’t care about it but it was nice to see some crowds and smiling faces in the town. Interestingly enough when you read the baton booklet a sizeable piece of the text is given over to ‘Business Branding’. While it urges that everyone have fun and benefit from the relay it makes it clear that again and as always know your place. Don’t be naughty and try to make a few quid off the back of the games (just like the Olympics in 2012) as copyrights and brands are jealously guarded. While I agree and understand this after all big companies have paid big to advertise and we want to keep it clean it does make me grin falsely when I consider that a local person baking little cakes for 50p with the word’s ‘Queen and Baton’ on them to sell for an hour in their little town will be coshed all the same. Heck if I was to say the name of my employer and put it in this posting I would be breaking the law….gotta love sport eh.
Well got to get on….
I was going to do a blog post this evening about how the build of the mighty new Alternative Armies website is now complete and that preparation to move over to the new site will begin soon. I was going to do a blog post about it being only 100 Days until Scotland must choose to be in this union or become an independent nation once more. I was going to do a blog post about the great success of the latest Ion Age early supporter offer or about the great reception to the re-mastered Sabre Jet Flyer for Laserburn or even about the massive efforts we have been going to for project Darkhelm. But no. I little piece of my world died this afternoon for my comedy hero of my entire remembered life is dead. Rest in Peace Rik Mayall aged only 56.
Its not a big tribute. Its just what I feel. On the odd occasion where it has gotten a little dark for me in life the comedy programme of Rik kept me going. I know literally all the lines of Bottom dialogue off by heart. I own four copies of Guest House Paradiso in an effort to support him. I have seen him live on tour. I own all the Young Ones, all of The New Statesmen, the movie Drop Dead Fred and even the little known Filthy Rich and Catflap and the Dangerous Brothers. Since the 1980’s and boyhood I have adored Rik Mayall. Hell in the last blog post I put up there was a still of Ade Edmondson leading it, that is how much its on my mind most weeks. I had hoped for another series of Bottom, of another Tour. Really anything but no chance of that now.
I do not yet know what happened to Rik but it must have been quick and that is something. Time will tell. My thoughts are with his wife and three children. Enjoy these video links:
No more work for me today. Email will have to wait this evening and instead its going to be a DVD and a few beers. Anarchic comedy one last time before it becomes legend.
Weekend Viewing…guess the show!
The new Alternative Armies website build is progressing well and its on track. Functionality will be greatly improved and options to buy single miniatures from all codes will be there too. All in all its a lot of work but I am enjoying it. Another update in a week or so. What I have noticed is that the deep architecture of Flintloque does indeed go back to the middle of the 1990’s and it brings back a lot of memories of that time when I used to just play the game rather than be in charge of it. Actually Flintloque has been ‘GBS’ longer now that it was overseen by anyone else.
As an aside latest news today makes me rhyme the title of this little blog post once more (Boak being the good Scots work for being sick). The news is HERE. Simply sickening, simply wrong. Simply understandable from people like that and any child will sing and say anything when you point a gun at them. The power of conversion eh. Enough said.
There will not be many posts on this blog for a while. I am currently involved in several big projects the main one of which for now is the building of the new all singing and all dancing Alternative Armies website. This is a big task and I am seeing to it personally as it involves a lot of thinking and checking and product knowledge and no one knows the fictional worlds of the website like I do. So off the back of a rather unpleasant encounter I had a while back in Ayrshire (no names as I avoid to give offence when the same was not extended to me) while out with my children I give you ‘Fictioning while Website building’.
This unpleasant encounter I will not go into details of but sufficient to say like many things in the world that creates hate it was about a book. Not taking no for an answer I was forced to verbally bludgeon a fellow that would not quit assailing me about my own lack of belief in his brand of ancient nonsense. Scared children and raised blood pressure later it set me thinking. I create fiction for a living, I create worlds and characters and motivations and desires. I place them in books and hope to profit by them. Much like the subject of the above video which puts what I know from my own reading eloquently and better than I can about a book that fills the minds of men with other fiction. Enjoy and more over…think.
More on the Alternative Armies website and other projects as they come nearer fruition.
Here be Dragons!
Salute 2014 is over and I am back in Scotland now. I got back on Sunday afternoon but its taken until now for me to take care of all the email and other matters to have time to make this posting. My own blogging comes last on the list and is mainly for my own amusement here on this domain. That being said I hope the three thousand of you who look at it each week enjoy the read. Anyway with the dust settled and some time to muse on it…just how was Salute this year for me and as an event?
Come and look at the table!
For me this Salute was the most easy going ever with the entire event going off without a hitch and even the traffic in London being remarkably light. I was tired sure but nothing like the mad days of 2004-2010 for this wargames show. I met a lot of nice people and in among the praise of how much they were loving The Ion Age and wishing it good growth I also took some flak from Flintloque fans. Did I not know this was the first Salute since the 1990’s that Flintloque did not dominate the trade stand? Well I did and I did it on purpose; sorry guys! Makes me think though Flintloque has been ‘me’ for so long now that it did feel a bit strange not to have it there. We did fine in terms of our sales and I was happy with that and as always we dropped off a stack of ‘collect on the day’ pre-orders. I want to thank all those who supported us and me and I wish them well.
The Ion Age in the ‘flesh’ got a lot of admiring looks
As an event this Salute was rather more quiet that previous years. Less excitement and buzz in the massive hall at Excel and without the bring and buy the gaps between the rows of stands was very wide indeed. I think attendance was down a bit as well. Certainly I tend to notice things like this and my notes from 2013 said the same thing down on 2012. Not to be pessimistic but it seems possible to me with the changing nature of the hobby that such a big show might not continue as it is. A smaller trade stand suited us and other traders had done the same thing perhaps noticing what I had. I have not seen this opinion online elsewhere but then maybe I am wrong on this…when I look back at this post in a year I will know for sure. Just call me Hari Seldon perhaps!
Perhaps this sign will be gone next year?
Now. On with life and with business. Its Malig Madness release week on The Ion Age and its the Maginot Turret kit on 15mm.co.uk and Slaughterloo is back in stock from the morrow on Alternative Armies. Plus the sun is shining. Life is mighty fine by the sea here in Girvan and there is a LOT coming your way over the coming months.
Look for our 18 foot tall banner!
There is a week to go. It might be more than a week in actual time but with the drive down to London to take into account from here in Scotland the Salute 2014 wargame show will begin for me in one week’s time. Three days away from home and family and my one actual convention in person this year. Its been a year for re-structuring for the company and that includes our scale of commitment to Salute. We will be having a smaller stand and no demonstration game this year. Also since its the first time that my own baby The Ion Age has been in existence at this time of year the whole of the trade stand is being occupied by our fantastic 15mm science fiction range. That being said we are well under way for new websites, new resin production plant and some of the most kick ass products on the market.
The ramp up to Salute is one of the most busy times of my year and this year is no different. In fact it looks like its a record year for pre-orders for collection on the day (many of these are from Flintloque players and also fans of Alien Squad Leader) and if it keeps going we might have to leave some of the stock behind here to make room for packages! I am not overly surprised at the Alternative Armies pre-orders as this is the first time in my involvement in wargaming that a show I attend has no Flintloque at it. I got permission to make an excellent offer to fans including the expected discount but also a free brand new character miniature.
I have something a little different in mind too and the company will be making several new product releases at Salute 2014 on the day. These will be new codes which will be previewed just before the show on the relevant blogs and then released during the week following the show. Meaning those there on the day will get the first look and chance to buy. In fact the theme for the day is ‘Malig Madness…15mm Space Goblins’ so that is more than a clue plus for 15mm.co.uk I will have the entire brand new Loud Ninja Games range and two new packs purpose designed for the Human Colonial Army template in Alien Squad Leader 2.0.
I would be the first to admit that I am tired. I work hard, I work all the time but this event stokes it to the maximum. That being said I am super keen on going as I just love to shake hands and see all the people who make an effort to come along and see us or me personally. The day itself is also excellent with all of the traders and games put on with a lot to see. There is no bring and buy this year and I will be interested to see if the attendance is also down on last year. Over the last two weeks I have seen many more comments online than before about wargamers choosing not to attend.
In any event this will be my last posting here for a while and I will have no time for musing before the big day. If you are going along pop by the Alternative Armies stand and say hello…I will be the guy with the big smile and the Ion Age t-shirt on.
I was thinking that I might take a week’s foreign holiday this year. You know somewhere in the sun. Somewhere myself and the children could relax and enjoy ourselves and why not I have not been away for several years. I have a list in my head of possible places that are in the sun but the list just got shorter..by one nation. That nation is Egypt and while that country has had it share of troubles during the Arab Spring I had thought that visiting the more remote areas in a place like Sharm Al Sheikh but no more. Go along and read this article being carried by all of the major news networks today and if you are a woman or a man who cares for his other half just don’t go. Don’t.
You can give other cultures a lot, you can make allowances for languages and indeed you should for that and for other cultures and systems of living but not always. It seems Egypt is far from a nice place especially if you are a woman. You might complain that walking about in normal (for western countries) clothes is not an invitation to be physically assaulted but in Egpyt it really is. Even in the grounds of the finest university in the land which you would expect to be a beacon of progress. Was I surprised, well a bit, but sadly not really; but what I did learn is that in Egpyt sexual assault is not even a crime. A UN report finds that nearly 100% of the female population has been harassed in one way or another. Yuch!
I will not be giving money to this nation. Not until it enlightens itself…which might be a really long time. I wonder what St Andrews is like for a summer break? Might not be as warm, might be raining but it will be freedom for all.
The Throne of Lead!
Today is my birthday…yes once a year it arrives. While it is a day of work (as all days are for me..who can understand those who claim to be too busy eh!) it is also a day of joy. Joy at now being thirty five years old. I am now half way to the big four zero. I have been well treated with gifts and cards and many emails and messages too from across the world so thank you all. I will try and reply to all of them by midnight.
The picture above well that was the biggest surprise of the day thus far. My good friend Sam Croes (he of the Ion Age) sprung a piece of artwork on me as a gift. Some have likened me to the ultimate barbarian and now you can see what that might have looked like. I am going to get this turned into a poster and put on my wall. I am the King of Lead it seems. It was nice of Mr Croes to tone down the muscles on me… ha! (it seems my darling wife knew of this and she is also in the picture!).
Its been a very busy year for me. I have had good times on the whole and bad times on occasion. You can follow them back across the blog if you so desire. But age is just a number and the next twelve months will bring even more to talk about. I have plans…lots of them. Some of them might even make it to reality. Working in the Wargaming Industry is very rewarding and creative.
What I do want to say is that apart from being depicted as a barbarian I am a good man, a good husband and father and a loyal friend. I am loved and I return that love and in life that is what matters.