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The Wasted Time – An Unusual RPG

Imagine you’re a kid in a city on the brink of war. It’s night and you’ve got a gun. You don’t know how to use it, but a couple of meters away, you glance a figure standing in the rain. He’s a criminal, he’s drunk and he has something you need to save the world. What do you do? Do you try to mug him? Will you shoot him? But watch out – he is armed and if you don’t succeed, he will get very angry… For a couple of months, me and K. had the pleasure of participating in what was perhaps the most unusual RPG I’ve played. A friend of ours and one of the members of our D&D group, Barbi Markovic, is an accomplished author. She also grew up in Belgrade in the 1990s during what became to be known as the Yugoslav Wars. Recently, Barbi had the idea to write a book about the world of her childhood and youth. The unusual thing is that in order to explore that world, she decided to make an RPG out of it. We were part of one of the two groups playtesting that RPG. Rules-wise, Barbi used the mechanics of Tales from the L

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On Parade: 1990s Warhammer Orcs and Goblins

Carrying on with this series of ‘On Parade’ postings in which every army in my wargaming collection is taking its turn to parade for inspection, we come to the Warhammer orcs and goblins, the sworn enemies of the Empire army from my previous posting. Actually, this isn’t really my army at all, but my son’s.  In the late 1990s I came back into the hobby of wargaming, after having had a two-decades pause since my early twenties. I was drawn back in because my young son had become interested in Warhammer. He began buying and painting orcs and goblins, so I started collecting the Empire so that we could have opposing armies. Therefore, this army actually belongs to my son, and was mostly painted by him at the age of about 10-12 (with a little help from Dad, who was just as much a beginner anyway!). My son’s in his late twenties now, and sadly didn’t carry on with miniature wargaming after he was captured by computer gaming – but I have kept his army for him! If you don&

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Eyes of the nine, a little late!

I keep forgetting to take a proper photo of these guys so we’ll settle for the one that I took as soon as I was finished, no photo booth for these little chaps! I enjoyed painting the little guys in the warband, but the ‘almost there, let’s just get them finished’ effect kicked in once I’d started painting the tzaangor chap and the others suffered as a result. The one element I really enjoyed painting was the bases, it’s a nice break to move away from dark bases and I wanted an egyptian feel to them, sandstone or something like that. I did a test glaze to see if I could do some variation in the slabs but wasn’t too keen on the effect in the end so settled for uniformity across the board. In game, they’re a weird warband to play with and certainly don’t suit my usual “go and hit everything until it stops moving” play styles so I need to adapt a little bit to get anywhere with them.

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Wall’s Bridge Revisited

Almost two years ago, I played a Sharp Practice scenario from Grierson’s raid. While a fun game, the scenario suffered from several issues. The publication of a new book on the raid by Timothy Smith prompted me to revisit the scenario. My staunch Sharp Practice opponent Sigur took the Confederate defenders (and he also took the pictures), while I played the Union attackers. Last time, one of the problems was balance: the Union is equipped with breech-loading carbines, which offer a severe advantage in firefights. I wanted to keep the technical superiority of the Union, while also taking into account the state of their troops: at that moment, they had been in the saddle for almost two weeks, moving hundreds of miles through enemy territory. They were exhausted, but had to act quick and decisively, as large numbers of Confederate troops were hot on their heels. Therefore, I introduced two special rules: The idea behind the Exhausted special rule was to skew the distribution of random events a bit in the

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My (Belated) Takeaways from the LVO Warhammer Panel

The Las Vegas Open was awhile ago, and the Warhammer Preview panel that was held the first night has been detailed in depth, as has the tournament itself. The results have been discussed ad infinitum. The models have been (rightly) drooled over by everyone. Innumerable blogs and podcasts and YouTube channels have had their go at it. So lets talk about it some more, eh? Mostly, because I don’t want to talk about those things. But I was there, and I have some things that have been brewing in the back of my mind.   Let’s be clear: The models are spectacular. But I’ve really got nothing to add there. It’s awesome that the Primaris line is getting fleshed out, and Chaos is getting some much needed sculpt attention. The Dark Mechanicum Nightmare Spider Thing in particular is amazing and I love everything about it. And while the vast majority of the panel was previewing amazing new models and people rightfully drooling over them, there was also an extended Q&A session. Now I didn&#

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On Parade: 1990s Warhammer Empire army

Continuing my series of postings in which I am doing an inspection parade of every army in my wargaming collection, we turn away from historical Napoleonics, and move into the realms of fantasy. The figures in this small Warhammer Empire army were the first I ever painted after I returned to the wargaming hobby in the mid-1990s. Like many gamers, I had dropped the hobby in my early 20s because of increasing family and job commitments. But when my young son became (temporarily) interested in wargaming, I became intrigued again myself. While my son’s futuristic Wahammer 40K Space Marines didn’t really do it for me, accompanying him to the Games Workshop store I spotted the Warhammer Fantasy Battles range for the first time. The Empire figures in particular struck my eye, what with their flamboyant renaissance landsknecht look. So I splashed out on my first box of figures for many a year, and took them home to paint. Here was the result. This regiment of Averland infantry was the first unit that I had

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On parade: 40mm Napoleonic French

This is the second of two ‘On Parade’ articles featuring my 40mm Napoleonic figures.  This time we look at the French. These are a mixture of Perry Miniatures and Sash and Sabre figures. The shako numbers indicate that these men are from the 85ème Régiment d’Infanterie de Ligne. I picked this particular regiment because back in 2005 my son and I were invited to participate with the recreated 85ème in a reenactment of the Battle of Waterloo. Here’s my entire French contingent – a unit of grenadiers, and another of volitguers. Grenadiers Voltiguers This is the last of the Napoleonic postings for ‘On Parade’. Next time I’ll be featuring  something completely different from my wargaming collection. See you soon! Visit my previous ‘On Parade’ postings: 40mm British and Spanish Confederation of the Rhine French generals French guard French artillery French cavalry French infantry Portuguese Spanish British

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On Parade: 40mm British & Spanish Napoleonics

In my last ‘On Parade’ article I mentioned that the next posting would still be Napoleonic, but a little bit different. Well, here we are, and the difference is that these aren’t my usual 28mm figures. Back in June 2008 I bought a few of what was then a relatively new line from the Perry Miniatures – 40mm tall Napoleonic figures. I was impressed at the excellent sculpting, realistic posing and fine detail of these lovely models. Each figure seemed to have a character and personality of its own. I eventually added a more figures by other makers (including some rather Sharpe-ish figures). These ranges included the Honourable Lead Boilersuit Company, Sash and Saber, and Trident Miniatures. Sad to say, I never progressed any further in actually playing with these 40mm figures than in one test skirmish game. But truth to tell, many of my other wargaming units seldom get to face battle on the tabletop either, as I game so infrequently! One issue that did emerge during our sole play-test wi

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On Parade: Troops of the Confederation of the Rhine

Today’s ‘On Parade’ posting features the beginnings of a Confederation of the Rhine wargaming army I had planned to build up during the early 2000s, but never really got too far with. But despite having painted only two regiments, this ‘army’ can still fight alongside my Napoleonic French forces (subject of previous postings). The Confederation of the Rhine (or Rheinbund) was a coalition of German states created by Napoleon in 1806 as a buffer between France and its European enemies. Austria and Prussia were the only German states not included in the Confederation. The armies of these satellite states were allied to France, and took part in many of the famous campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars. Some of the bigger states such as Bavaria and Saxony had their own armies, while smaller duchies and principalities furnished contingents to make up the composite battalions. It was these latter forces that I had planned to portray in my miniature Confederation army. 2. Nassauisches Infant

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On Parade: Napoleonic French carts, camps and cantinières

A French army on the march always had a long tail of camp followers. There were the wives and children of soldiers following their spouse or parent’s army from place to place. You would also find the many informal army service providers, selling goods or services that the military did not supply—cooking, laundering, liquor, nursing, sexual services and sutlery. And of course there were the ne’er-do-well soldiers, stragglers and walking wounded. This latest instalment in my ‘On Parade‘ series shows the mini-dioramas that represent the camp followers of my French army. These are intended to add visual interest to the miniature battlefield, and would seldom take part in anything other than scenario-driven skirmish games. A well-laden supply wagon trails the French army on the march. This is the Perry Miniatures model, sculpted full of baggage and even including an overflowing rack at the rear. The model can be assembled either with or without the canvas tilt cover. I’ve just left it ung

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Building a Wizard’s Tower

One of the scenarios in the Sellswords & Spellslingers book demands a wizard’s tower. While there are several available to buy (from the plain Ziterdes keep to the formidable Tabletop World spire), I decided to scratch build my own. The starting point was a box of pringles. I glued it unto another cardboard roll to, as I wanted to have it protrude from a rocky outcrop. The basis was provided by an old single record. For the rocky outcrop, I used blue foam and chunks of tree bark. The basis for a small secondary tower was formed by an empty toilet roll. The next step was to fill the holes and cracks with modelling clay (of the air-drying kind) and filler. I also made adoor for the small tower was made out of wood and a parapet for the top platform. I then added some details. First, cardboard brickwork to break up the surface of the tower. Second, an oriel made from yet another cardboard roll. Third, the door and windows. I bought those from Thomarillion, as I didn’t trust myself to scratch b

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On parade! Napoleonic French generals and staff

My series of ‘On Parade‘ postings continues, as I inspect all the wargames figures I’ve painted over the last 20 years. Just like a real army, a wargaming army needs generals and staff. Most wargames rules  incorporate rules for commanding officers to lead and rally their men. Though that’s  a moot point for me, because my French army has only actually played a couple or so times since I painted these figures in the early 2000s – I’m more of a painter than an actual gamer! Here’s Marshal Berthier, along with his ADC, Baron Lejeune. These are both Front Rank figures. Berthier (left) is a standard personality figure from their range. But his ADC started life as a model of a Chasseur à Cheval of the Imperial Guard, which I  painted in the highly individualistic uniform of Berthier’s aides. It is said that Berthier would allow only his aides to wear red trousers, and got very angry if he saw anyone else wearing this colour. Berthier must’ve sometimes got an

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Napoleon’s Old Guard on parade

Continuing my series of postings in which I’m undertaking an inspection parade of all the wargames figures I’ve collected and painted over the years, we now come to Napoleon’s famous Old Guard. These were painted in the early 2000s. For a long time I had resisted the temptation to add some units of the Imperial Guard to my miniature army. After all, the guard would not have been present with such a small force. But, in the end, the glamour and colour of the ‘grognards’ of the Imperial Guard won me over, and I eventually succumbed! Grenadiers à Pied de la Garde Impériale If I was going to do the Guard, why not start at the very top – the Foot Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard. These are the soldiers everyone thinks of when you mention the words ‘Old Guard’ – big bearskins, red epaulettes and plumes, long blue coats with white lapels. I selected Front Rank figures for my unit of Foot Grenadiers. These miniatures seem to be based on the famous Detaille painting of a gre

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Dux Arda – On Religions in Middle Earth

Where Are the Religious Figures and Structures in Dux Arda? In Dux Britanniarum, religious figures and buildings for the Romano-British, Saxons and other factions play a role in battles and campaigns. This is not the case in Dux Arda — the fan mod for gaming the battles of Middle Earth using the Dux Britanniarum rules from Too Fat Lardies. Most Factions in Dux Arda will not have Religious followers in their Retinue (check each Faction listing). That’s because in Middle Earth, while there is an epic struggle between Good and Evil, organized religions play little role in the War of the Rings. The faith story of Middle Earth is essentially Judeo-Christian in nature in that there is a God (Illuvatar); He created the Angels (the Valar); He created all the universe (Middle Earth); some of the Angels grew arrogant and Fell in a great war (Morgoth); and He has a plan for the world. However, the world depicted by The Lord of the Rings intentionally has very little religion or myth-making in it.  Tolkien ap

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My Napoleonic French artillery on parade

Continuing my series of postings in which I’m undertaking an inspection parade of all the wargames figures I’ve collected and painted over the years, we now come to the Napoleonic French artillery to support the infantry and cavalry. These were mainly painted between 2002 and 2008. The artillery contingent of my Napoleonic French army consists of three batteries, each with two artillery pieces. These Front Rank figures are painted in the blue uniforms of the Foot Artillery, though I have given a couple of the gunners different coloured trousers to indicate campaign conditions. I found the best way of representing the bronze gun barrels was to leave them unpainted metal, but rub on and immediately wipe off several coats of brown ink. This eventually stains the metal a bronze colour, as well as picking out the cast-on detailing. The gun carriages are painted dark green, with the metal work done in black and then dry-brushed with gun-metal silver. I had a few spare rammers and other tools, so IR

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