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Some more Sci-fi and Mutant 1984 stuff

Lots of things going on at the moment but getting in the occasional session and have been doing a fair few things recently.

  • A dropship for the 28mm stuff the Little One and I are doing, and also a really exciting Space Bus on its way.
  • Some clutter for Urban Sci-Fi gaming
  • A few more things for the Mutant 1984 project

Dropship

Following from our two games so far with the Stargrave rules (we showed some pictures from one of the games here), the Little One and I felt the need to get some shuttles of dropship without breaking the bank and we found a nice model from Mantic Games (model here) that seemed to fit the bill – it sells for about £25 but we managed to get one for £20 including postage from Ebay, as usually there are some re-sellers that may sell it to you cheaper than buying directly from Mantic.

I spray painted the model with Silver paint and used a series of washes to get a dark green metal with grime look. The funnies part of it was the last step which was done applying some Flory Models Grime Wash (I bought a few of these washes some time ago and I am really happy with the effect after in essence just dabbing it on with a brush (you can get them from here).

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Really happy how it came out – quick but effective.

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In addition we have order another flyer, a Space Bus from the 2001 movie, in 1/55 scale which hopefully will work (I will report back and let you know). It really works for me.
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Clutter for Urban Sci-Fi Gaming

I had some 3D printed terrain I bought from Sabotag3d a year ago for my Judge Dredd project.

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Put some paint on it this weekend trying to get a little bit of an overall cartoon feel to it all. All metallics are gold or silver base paint with contrast paint on top – I like the effect it gives.

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And of course with a little bit of miniatures and other terrain.

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Mutant 1984

Finally I have had some fun painting some miniatures from Fenris Games for my Mutant 1984 project, as per usual the the nobleman Guss af Edelhus in the forbidden zone in Muskö year 105 has an apperance, he is from Warlord Games.

Jageret Svin – bandit and explorer

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Wolfram Varg and his fellow Hunters, some of the most sought after troubleshooters in the Pyri-Commonwealth

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A Pit Guillotine (well actually a Gug from the Cthulhu Mythons)

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/ Hope that was of some interest, have a good weekend (eventually)

Virtual Grogmeet 2021 – Mission in Mos Mosel

As you may be aware the Swedish 1984 version of Mutant was my first Roleplaying (Rpg) experience and it was love at first play. I was cajoled into buying it by my cousin who was visiting us when I was 12. We spent about a year with Mutant being the main game we played in our little group, but then moved on and played a wide range of games throughout the teenage years – it was a bloody good time and apart from grinding a bass guitar in a death metal band formed the most important part of my teenage years. I was invited to the Grognard files to give my First, Last and Everything last year where I go into more depth about this, should you be interested (link here). It is with fondness I think back to those times and the adventures our group of friends shared. This post is really about a few reflections and thoughts on me running my first convention scenario for some 28 years.

The Blood Eagle – one of the “monsters” in the original Mutant rulebook. This of from the adventures of the nobleman Guss af Edelhus in the forbidden zone in Muskö year 105. Photos of Miniatures from the collection.

Rpgs became something I used to do for a long time and when I started to get back into the wider tabletop gaming hobby I felt more drawn to wargaming – perhaps because it is a more solitary activity in that a lot of progress can be made without having to align your life to someone else’s diary. It is also about the stigma of asking your neighbour at the annual barbeque session whether she or he fancies rolling some dice and fight a bunch of mutated land sharks in Post-apocalyptic Scandinavia.

And who will ever forget the Land Shark that almost killed Guss on that foggy day!?

Grognard Files?

I wrote a summary in an earlier blog about the Grognard Files – it is a podcast, that does conventions and other stuff -actually what is really is, is a great community.

I really enjoy the Grognard files podcast and the throwback to the good old days of 1980s roleplaying.  If you have any interest in roleplaying games (rpgs), whether you were around then or not, this is a fantastic show and you should try it out (here is a link to get you started). Being of the somewhat mature nature (not old! – I still bloody play with toy soldiers, so I go for mature or perhaps in need of some maintenance, but never old!) for me this is a proper non-imaginary deja vu experience – I do not just feel like I did it, but I really did this before.  I have played many of the games, back in the day, covered so far (often in multiple podcasts, and in addition podcasts have covered rpg magazines and fanzines):

Runequest, Call of Cthulhu, Traveller, Stormbringer, AD&D, Tunnels and Trolls, Top Secret, Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes, James Bond Rpg and Judge Dredd

Each game is thoroughly discussed, analyzed and reflected upon. Being a guest on the British Isles since the mid 90ies it is at a level of eccentricity that I recognise well and that is hard to find anywhere else.  It is similar to the exploits of those Victorian chaps who invented industrial breakthroughs in their back garden sheds.  I absolutely love the concept.  Bravo to Dirk, Blythy, Ed and the rest of the crew (not forgetting the eminent Daily Dwarf, link here).  I suggest you brew yourself a cup of tea and get a pack of hobnobs and sit down in your favourite chair and listen to the first episode on Runequest. The only thing that may prevent you from having a fantastic time is your ability in making a decent cup of tea!

The Grognard files have been a nice gateway drug back into the hobby, initially focusing mainly on nostalgic cheap tricks, luring you in with old solid showstoppers like Runequest and Call of Cthulhu, but then expanding to more modern games and concepts, provoking not just the re-purchasing of all the old stuff our parents had slowly binned whilst we were chasing the dream but also buying new and very often shinier things. Almost like a conversion kit really, like my friend’s old Ford Escort from the 80ies that he proudly keeps in pristine condition, not like a museum curator, because there is constantly new gadgets and gizmos being added. “It is still a Ford Escort mate!”, but as he perhaps correctly says, “you do not get it!”. Anyway, enough cars, if I was making a living selling games I would try to find a way to follow in the wake of the Grognard files, like a seagull and take advantage of what it throws up! Well maybe not just games, what about Runequest socks with the Death and Air rune on?.

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A Ford Escort, Mark III, but popularly referred to as the 4th Generation, produced between 1986 and 1992. Developed under the codename Erika-86. Well if you get it, you know!.

Sorry think I drifted away again, stay focused …

So in this newfound nostalgia of the old days I got out my old Mutant rulebooks from 1984 (with the Purple Covers) a few years ago and so my wargame/miniatures project #Mutant1984 was born. I have had some great fun with this pressing the world and the miniatures into service to enjoy a wide variety of miniature wargaming rule sets, including Sharp Practice, Infamy, Infamy!, The Men who would be Kings, Mutants and Death Ray Guns, to name a few. Most of the miniatures are conversions from other ranges with headswaps, etc, but there are a fair few things out there that fits in really well with minor modification – well perhaps not anything, but most things, goes in #Mutant1984.

It is a clear contrast to my more “serious” wargaming, where I anal-retentively worry what uniform colour the Queens Life Regiment had in the Summer 1702 following some notes on a large purchase, in the regimental records, of cloth in a different colour than previous uniforms, in early May the same year – did they have time to make new uniforms or not for this particular battle? Joke aside, I am as serious about all my pursuits just in a different way.

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One of the many fun games we had, this time using the Men Who Would be King rules. We had Tanks, Giant Beetles, Some really tough Cocks and a unit of the Pyri-Commonwealths finest marksmen. Some other games below. Check out the Shub-Niggurath from Fenris Games in the last picture or the rare walking Murder Tree in the Mutant World.

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As part of Lockdown I have, when possible, attended a Virtual Painting session on Saturdays and as part of that I ended up playing in a Runequest group every 2 weeks herded by Jeremy Short. It has been an absolute blast and we have had some great fun exploring Sartar and getting involved in some excellent adventures. I ran a Call of Cthulhu for this group over Christmas based on a convention Scenario I wrote 30 years ago and really enjoyed GM:ing again.

I attended the 2020 Grogmeet as a player (being virtual due to the pandemic), and had planned to attend in 2019 but some work issues got in the way. Grogmeet is the annual event organised by Dirk and his merry people where people gather to play old and new games. I had an excellent time and played in some amazing games.

I decided to do something for Virtual Grogmeet 2021, that is also an annual event but intentionally virtual. I had to figure out what to run and sat down and reflected for a second on what the whole Grognard thing meant for me. I could have run one of the two Cthulhu scenario that still exist from way back, but thought that there would be a fair share of those offerings. I actually ended up playing James Holloway’s Call of Cthulhu Dark Ages scenario at Virtual Grogmeet this year, this was a fantastic immersion into the Crusader states era with a small scenario but well thought out and presented. This was a story about a delegation arriving from the archbishop looking to buy a relic and with the inhabitants (the players) of a small fief in Crusade-era Lebanon must try to protect the sacred remains without making a powerful enemy.

I was thinking about what I could offer that was a little bit unique and from back in the day, so I flipped through the introductory scenario for the 1984 Mutant book – Uppdrag i Mos Mosel (Mission in Mos Mosel) and realised that it is actually a workable scenario divided into two parts – an initial detective type of situation where the characters are trying to find out what is going on in the village and a second part where they find their way to the lair of the beast – so to speak (that contains it own little quirks with the possibility of forming an unexpected alliance and enough potential radiation damage to allow the characters to survive the scenario but still die after it – life is not fair, not even if you are a hero).

The scenario can perhaps be seen as the love child resulting from the union of Gamma world, D&D and Call of Cthulhu. It offers opportunities for both roleplaying and action (as if they were any different! but I hope you know what I mean). I do not want to go into the detail of the scenario itself as perhaps one day you may find yourself with Nicholas von Rijn in his Palace. The scenario is said to be heavily influenced by the AD&D Adventure Against the Cult of the Reptile God from 1982 (issued two years before Mos Mosel).

Nicholas fon Rijn puts away the pipe and looks intensively at you, “Well, do you accept the mission?” This was the only illustration in the scenario booklet (by Nils Gulliksson). Fon Rijn Later re-appeared in the epic Original Grey Death two parter and was further detailed in an article in the Gaming Magazine Sinkadus (with irritatingly high characteristics and skill value, but that is another story). The character name was borrowed from a character in Poul Anderson’s Technic History series.

The old Swedish 1984 version of Mutant was based on the Basic Roleplaying System, with the typical stats from 3 to 18 with some exceptions and skills being percentage based. I found our house rules from 1985 or 1986 and included these because it felt right and charming – this was mainly a revision of the set of skills rationalising some skills and including some communication skills (there is a summary of this later on in the handouts presented). The rules are simple and will not get in the way to get started immediately with a group of new players. I feel that too clever rules sometimes fails to shine in one offs, the key is not in how ingenious they are but how easy they are to quickly pick up and use efficiently in a short amount of time.

Mutant 1984 is of course the game that started the whole Swedish Post-Apocalyptic RPG era that is still going strong in the excellent Mutant Year 0 game by Free League (more here).

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The Free League version is set at an earlier era than the original Mutant and they have recently released Mutant – Hindenburg that is set later than the original Mutant, but so far only in Swedish.

The first thing to decided was how to run it and luckily the group I have been playing in has successfully used Roll20 for the visuals and rolling dice and Google Meet for video and audio. Google Meet is basically a virtual meeting platform that allows you to do an online meeting with multiple individuals and allows sharing voice and video. Roll20 also allows video and audio sharing but is on occasion a little bit wanting (well at least from my experience), but what it does allow though is the ability to manage visuals, as well as combat using maps and tokens for where characters are, and rolling for skills etc in an open way. There is a little bit of a learning curve and I tried but failed to align the character sheet with the ability to press on a skill and roll for it automatically. I run the session rolling in the app and then “manually” checking the character sheet – this works fine.

In addition I fleshed out the scenario a bit by adding some play aids that I have included here (in addition to the few presented in the actual scenario, I have just shown a fragment of one of them here, if you are interested in getting these to run this scenario, let me know).

Part of one the play aids/handouts, the contents of a safe

I also realized that all the main characters were men in the scenario, so I played around with this a little bit. One of the key characters in the Scenario is Wolf, the person that has disappeared, I made him a her called Wolf Babs (I took a picture of the Swedish singer Lill Babs 1960ies single Karl XII and mixed it with a picture of some American Civil war soldiers).

Wolf Babs, Nicholas fon Rijn’s representative in Mos Mosel. Previously a Captain in the Pyri-Commonwealth Army when this picture was taken. Given to the characters at the beginning of the Scenario together with a picture of the Constable Jerry Gaxy who was also missing.

Similar adjustment was done to the actual town of Mos Mosel where I swapped the roles of the Mayoral couple with Mariana being the actual Mayor instead of her husband Gottfred. They were small changes that did not change the overall story but I felt made it more inclusive and modern than the 1984 version. I thank my two girls who has and are showing me that it is not always the big gestures that matter, but also that the small ones does too and as they are easier to achieve and it all adds up, they might be more powerful in the long run.

As for the characters I needed to create some kind of balanced group and decided to base the characters on some of the pictures in the original rulebook – now there is one character in the rulebook who we may assume is a woman and that is a picture of a Bear with a pram and some cuddly baby bears, but I could not find a picture of a second female in the basic rule book and had to go to another Swedish RPG supplement of the era (the City Book Kandra for the Drakar och Demoner RPG). The second female character was a PSI mutant and I felt that the power in the drawing was telling the right story and in terms of style aligned to the others (The drawings are all by Nils Gullikson who was a great inspiration with his drawings in the early Swedish RPGs and also in the Swedish RPG magazine Sinkadus).

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The adventurers (Drawings by Nils Gulliksson)

I basically designed the Group in a two-role typical fantasy group with a Magician-Thief, the Barbarian-Hunter, Paladin-Bard and Warrior-Rogue. I find this blend works well and gives the characters some room for getting involved when the going gets tough as well as being the lead in some situations – in the rough part of town, in the forest, social interfaces, stealth operations, etc.

I issued each player with a character sheet, with an example below.

…and also a little summary what they know about each other (this to allow some familiarity but not knowing exact details about each other).

I also included a little note on the rules (high level)

finally I did a few slides about the setting (art from the original rulebook and two of the early scenarios).

In doing the first play test I realised that it would be difficult to play the scenario in the 3 hour session without making it a very stressful and possibly too linear experience. It took the play test group two sessions. So I decided to run the scenario in two sessions – then with what I call a forced fast forward if they characters had not figured out what was going on at the end of the first session, this would allow some start-up and investigation in the first evening and then the final showdown in the second session.

How did it go?

I did a play test of the scenario and the team managed to figure out what was going on indirectly and manage to find their way to the lair of the beast and successfully defeated her (They met with a caterpillar snake who was looking for a mate, the friendliest monster in the rulebook who you do not want to mess with, luckily they did not and carried on their own business).

Thanks to Max, Jeremy, Neil and Simon for helping me out testing the game.

For the team playing it on Grogmeet they also managed to get to the end and remove the problem to fon Rijn’s profits. I felt bad for Tom who tried to communicate in a friendly way in most of the encounters without success but the one time it did matter it solved the problem. Keep optimistic. The team had some unlucky rolls but so did the opposition, they players were relatively less unlucky which is all that matters in the long run.

Thanks Ian, Chris, Tom and Jim for spending two evenings with me!, hope you had a good time, I did.

I may do another scenario using the same characters again, at some future Grogmeet.

As a general comment with regards to the virtual tools available it is really easy to set up and although it is not as a real face to face experience these tools allow you to meet up with mates not just during forces isolation but perhaps also reconnect with that old scattered all over the place gaming group and run some games, both Roll20 and Google Meet are free.

I was a little bit nervous in getting back to running games but with a little bit of help from my friends and perhaps over preparing the scenario I got over it – overall a fantastic experience. All the old confidence is slowly coming back and the realisation is that it is all about trying to have fun and that people that are in this hobby, mostly, is in it for exactly this reason too. Things has not become more cerebral just because the hairline has receded and the waistline has become more generous – things are still ok! So whilst I may not understand the gloriousness of the Ford Escort 4th Generation, I do get this!

I also learned from Neil Benson (https://oldscouserroleplaying.com/), the importance and power of testing tech etc, in advance and also to get things rolling a little bit before, setting up characters, sharing rules information, links, etc. It really makes things easier and on the day and is worth considering if you have time. My best online experience to date was playing a Vikingr scenario with him where we were up and running immediately on the day of the scenario.

…and a Land shark did showed up…

The Land shark (Drawing by Bjornhilda Borg after the encounter)

/ Hope that was of some interest!

NOTE: I also managed to get Grandad into the scenario. He was a funny guy!

Gunnar the Trader
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By the way he also appears as a mad scientist in the first installation of the Grey Death Scenario, but that is another story (first on the left, models from Crooked Dice).

Fenris Games, Mutant 1984 Landsknects, Star Grave and 5 Parsecs from Home

I entered Fenris Games #Paintalloween in September last year. This is an annual thing that Ian runs with a few categories painting Fenris Games stuff, with the winners of each getting a £50 to spend on his products. I entered with my Death Dealer that in essence was a black painted model with some grey and Silver detailing, and some generous helpings of red and mainly yellow wash, I wanted to create the effect of a demonic knight riding on his supernatural stead through this lava landscape with the reflections from the lava on the horse. It was, like a lot of my stuff, a little bit of a trial and error and in the end it kind of worked from a distance, so take a step back and have another look at the picture below. The model is depicting the Death Dealer and is based on the famous 1973 paiting by Frazetta with the same name – more here. You make also recall it from the cover of the excellent album by Molly Hatchet in 1978.

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I was lucky and landed a £50 gift card that I put to good use and bought a few things (with a little bit of a top up, they have a lot of really beautiful stuff) – by the way here is the link to the Shop. Go and have a look at what they have – there is so much to explore.

The key miniature I got was a model of the the Cthulhu monster Atlach-Nacha, described by Clark Ashton Smith in his Bood, The Seven Geases in 1934

The dark form ran toward him with incredible swiftness. When it came near he saw that there was a kind of face on the squat ebon body, low down amid the several-jointed legs. The face peered up with a weird expression of doubt and inquiry; and terror crawled through the veins of the bold huntsman as he met the small, crafty eyes that were circled about with hair

You can read more about Atlach-Nacha here.

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The model is big, the heads you can see on the head are in 28mm scale. And needs to be assembles, which is easy with some green stuff (or putty) and some super glue. I end to get all together, like here, then wait a while and go over it with a scalpel and file afterwards.
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I applied some contrast colour (yes I bought a fair few bottles that I have not utilised a lot, but they are brilliant for doing this kind of work on bigger models and quick.

Then I just filled in the details gave it a few washes and became really happy with the results, it is a fantastic model. I would love to see what a more accomplished painter would do with it.

With the Call of Cthulhu Rulebook as a background.

In other news, I recently found a sprue I must have got for free in a magazine with six Landsknechts, that I thought I could something fun with for the Mutant 1984 project.

I believe they were from this set (from Warlord Games)

So in usual style we need to do some headswaps with the fantastic critter heads from Sally 4th (link here) – there is fair amount of different heads for all your headswapping needs!

Assembled and ready for the splash!

This will be a an elite body guard unit to one of the big trading house – the rainbow team.

Star Grave and 5 Parsecs from Home

There is a Nick Starter currently running for the new Frost Grave variant in Space – Star Grave, there is about 2 week left when I am issuing this blog.

For me I just needed to see these two pictures (the first from the Mercenary Set and the Second from the Crew set) and I am in at least buying the figures, because these are perfect for the Mutant 1984 project. (look at those heads). You can check out the Nick Starter here. I just got all the plastic models without the rulebook which still comes with the bonus items.

In addition you should really check out another pre-order set and this is the new edition of Five Parsecs from Home that you can pre-order now (with immediate downloadable PDF copy) for delivery in May this year, same time as Star Grave. Well you will need the same miniatures for both so why not get both sets. I have bought the Five Parsecs book and will only get the Star Grave miniatures (You can check out his game and pre-order the book here).

I have played the earlier edition of FPFH and really enjoyed it. I have got the Little One reasonably interested so we may take this for a spin at some point in the future.

Anyway, always a good Mutant 1984 angle to be found.

/Hope that was of some interest

Neo Men for Mutant 1984, or an excuse to get some Ork (Cow)boys on the table

In the Swedish gaming magazine Sinkadus no 11 (1988) a new potential player character option was presented for the Mutant Post-apocalyptic RPG, the Neo Man (Note: technically for the Mutant 2 iteration from 1986 – the one that added the characteristics of Perception and Education, introduced a segment based combat system, similar to Runequest’s strike ranks but continuous, introduced hit locations and a much more sophisticated skill system), the Neo Men.

The Neo Men were originally the product of biologically manipulating humans to become bigger and stronger to become an asset of the military as a criminal punishment, during the 21st century. The manipulation also affected their personalities and intelligence significantly in a detrimental sense. Following the catastrophe a lot of them survived the harsh reality and due to their resilience and created societies.

Extract from the Article on Neo Men – Sinkadus no 11 (1988).

The Neo Men, through natural selection, tends to be a little bit smarter than orginally but still much lower than the other types (2D6+2 compared to 2D6+6 for mutants and 2D6+8 for mutans) , but their societies has long ago been eroded due to the rise of the human and mutant societies. They tend to form part of the under class when they live in “normal” society. In a way they could be seen as the equivalent of the Neanderthals in our world and perhaps as Orcs in other worlds (but perhaps more timid).

During lock-down I bought a set of Cowboy Orcs (why not!) and I thought this could represent a gang of Neo Men, perhaps of the smarter type! I also wanted to make their skin pink and reddish, a little bit like muscles on one of those educational posters (because it used to scare the s**t of me when I was little). This is a little bit different than the more greyish looks proposed in the original article.

I bought them on ebay from Miniature Men, seller is called miniaturemen07. I might have bought a few more… but that is for another time.

Anyway, here they are…. (they were originally seven, but I seem to have lost one).

They are nice and bulky compared to normal sized 28mm, but then the Siz of a Neo Man is 2D6+20 compared to the normal 2D6+6!.

/ Hope that was of some interest…

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Infamy! Infamy! Mutant 1984 basic forces done

In a recent blog I set out my idea on how I would use the excellent Too Fat Lardies rules in the Post-Apocalyptic era following the Pyri-Commonwealth Monster Hunters in their role of protecting the civilised parts of world against the marauding wild gangs and monsters in the forbidden zones. You can read more about it in an old blog here.

“Some of you may recall the Pyri-Commonwealth Monster Hunters I have been doing for my warped Mutant 1984 project (based on the first version/incarantion of the Swedish RPG, now known as Mutant Year Zero). Well my take on Infamy!, Infamy! will be to expand my Monster Hunters and detail their exploits in the early days of the Pyri-Commonwealth when they fought for the Emperor against feudal warlords, wild beasts and marauding mutant warbands in the forbidden zones – trying to re-build a lost civilisation.”

I have been working extensively on this project since that orginal post when I had two units of Pyri-Commonwealth Soldiers.

Pyri-Commonwealth Force

Based on the Early Imperial Roman Legion Force in the Infamy! Infamy! Rulebook.

I am fielding this with 4 Groups of Monster Hunters (Legionaries) and 1 group of Auxiliary Archers. Will add some Auxiliary options in the next phase.

4 Monster Hunter Groups and One Group of Auxiliary Archers – a Musician and two Leaders (need to add another one) – sabot bases from Warbases.

Here some pictures of the individal units.

First Group of Monster Hunters – using Warlord Roman Legionary Sprues with some heads from Sally 4th’s critter range
Second Group of Monster Hunters – using Warlord Roman Legionary Sprues with a head from Sally 4th’s critter range. The female head from the kit box, not sure where it comes from.
Third Group of Monster Hunters – using Warlord Roman Legionary Sprues with a head from Sally 4th’s critter range. Bare heads from the kit box, I think the old man’s head is from the Oathmark Dwarves set.
Fourth Group of Monster Hunters – using Warlord Roman Legionary Sprues with heads from Sally 4th’s critter range. Blue head from the Kit box from a rebel saboteur model (Imperial Assault)
Auxiliary Archers from Warlord (Eastern Archers) with two heads from Sally 4th’s critter range.
The Management team, will nee another Junior Leader, note the Imperial Eagle of the Pyri- Commonwealth (YES, I forgot the Static Grass!)

The Laug Gang

This is a Marauding gang causing all kind of problems in the area, the are based on the Gaul list.=, with 2 Groups of Cavalry, one group of Elite Warriors, two groups of warriors and one group of tribal slingers.

The Laug force

In doing the cavalry groups I used Oathmark Wolfriders and then use all kind of things from the different sprues and the kit box. Basically buy some loose sprues and just mix it up (there are some WW2 helmets and more modern hat thrown in there for good measures, as well as the occassional animal head and additional limb). The same approach was used for the other Groups and they are a mixture of basic bodies, arms and heads. I wanted to create a non-uniform look apart for the elite warriors that I painted with a base Jade colour.

First Group of Cavalry
Second Group of Cavalry
Group of Slingers
First Group of Warriors
Second Group of Warriors
The Elite Warriors!
The Management team are some old models from a different era, with some touch ups!

Next I will be working on some additional units and support options. Having fun!

/Omnium optimi! Hope that was of some interest!

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Going 2mm tall and working on my Infamy! Infamy! Mutant 1984 Laug Warband

Another weekend coming to an end, but some hobby time was found.

Homunculus Est

Mark Backhaus, who you may know as the General of the Denswe Army of the Charity Project I am running (or perhaps as the chap who turns out all those interesting articles in Wargames Soldiers and Strategy) asked if I wanted to do some playtesting of upcoming ancient rules Homunculus Est using my collection of Punic war 6mm stuff. Of course I was! I will play test it with the Little One.

The rule set aims to be a fast resolution Ancient battle wargame, playing very big battles on smallish tables. It is specially designed to be played in smaller scales creating a spectacle of big formations battling each other. Mark has done some amazing bases showing massed formations in 2mm and although I do have miniatures to try out the rules in 6mm I thought I could have a go at making a few big 2mm bases.

I ordered a starter pack of 2mm Romans from Irregular Miniatures (link here) to have a see how it would be to work with the scale. I had a done a try as few years ago and I did not like it, it felt like there were just small blobs shaped in some kind of manner to look like something but too small to get into some detail, compared to the 6mm and above I was used to.

However I have been blown away of some of the works done by some of my friends recently like Mike Hobbs, Vlad Seabrook-Smith, Sidney Roundwood and Mark himself.

The trick is just the same as I found in my large 6mm battles where I try to create a spectacle reminiscent of the old battle paintings that fascinated me as a youngster (here are few examples). It is really about focusing on being artistic to reach something looking realistic. A massed line of 28mm miniatures will look realistic but you need a bloody big line to really give the realistic look of a “big” battle.

Anyway some pictures and some narrative how my little test base went.

These are the basic Legionnaire bases that arrived – the Hoplites in the back are actually 6mm from Rapier Miniatures. They are very small remember.
I set about arranging the bases on a 120mm by 60mm base roughly representing a late Roman Legion, with some cavalry protecting the flanks, two rows of Cohorts (10 in totals), a line of skirmisher and at the back some reinforcements/reserves. I covered the base in PVA before putting the bases down then I covered it some some birdcage sand and let it dry.
I primed it with grey undercoat because I had run out of black and then drybrushed the ground with Green Ochre, a light Terracota and some Green. Then I used some diluted black paint and painted the miniatures.
I then painted a little bit of red where we assume the shield would be and some silver where the helmets would, alittle bit of white, flesh and gold (brass) here and there. Focusing on looking it from a distance, leaving the black and not overdoing the colours, if you zoom in it does not look realistic but take a step back and it does (well kind of).
From the side, I added some green turf scatter on top.
Here taking the step back! Not too bad.

On the whole I am really happy with this and will get some more to do the bases for playtesting Mark’s rules using 2mm big bases, my notes are:

  • I will be using 100mm by 50mm bases (slightly smaller than the one used for this project)
  • I will use an early Imperial Roman formation for Legions
  • I will use another base coat and will spray the base with Matt Brown before I start painting it and make the bases look a little bit greener, more like my normal 6mm bases.
  • I will also need to make some warbands etc.
  • It will be fun and they paint up very quickly, possibly a little bit longer doing warbands assuming differing shields and clothes, etc.

Infamy! Infamy! Mutant 1984

I wrote last time about my take on Infamy! Infamy! setting it in my childhood haven of Mutant 1984 (more here). I did do my first unit of some cavalry in my Laug Warband, loosely based on the Gauls in the rules.

These are the Red Riding Wolf Riders and were made using a combination of Oathmark Wolf riders, some ancients plastic sets and some WW2 plastic sprues and some animal heads from Sally 4th.

The Laugs attack through the Dead Forest and the Pyri Commonwealth Monster hunters get ready to push them back. Some of them even carry Shields of their fallen comrades.
As usually done with the Laptop in the background with some random pictures from the net – this one found under the search “wasteland”.
I still think that Hunter Chief Bosse Byracka (the Dog) is really cool.
So a little bit of a mixture of scales this weekend

/ Hope that was of some interest! Have a good week.

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“Infamy! Infamy! Mutant 1984 and some other stuff”

I realised that most of the recent blog postings have been about what has turned into a most excellent project – the 6mm charity fun (see here for example). There has however been a lot of other goings on with the little free time I am enjoying at the moment.

The Little One and I have done some testing of Two Fat Lardies latest rule set “Infamy!, Infamy!” (link here) and it is really good and inspiring – I especially like the difference in how the units fight. Yet again a quality product. It is basically covering late Republican Romans and early Romans and their fighting against the barbarians. I have used some of my 6mm ancients bases but really fancied doing something a little bit different and perhaps unexpected.

Some of you may recall the Pyri-Commonwealth Monster Hunters I have been doing for my warped Mutant 1984 project (based on the first version/incarantion of the Swedish RPG, now known as Mutant Year Zero). Well my take on Infamy!, Infamy! will be to expand my Monster Hunters and detail their exploits in the early days of the Pyri-Commonwealth when they fought for the Emperor against feudal warlords, wild beasts and marauding mutant warbands in the forbidden zones – trying to re-build a lost civilisation.

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On the other hand I have used the same setting for playing Sharp Practice but at later stage of development, more here.

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Never mind, back to the orginal thread…..

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The Pyri-Commonwealth in 108. (Blue) However My Infamy! Infamy! Campaign will take place around the early years of the reign of Palpadine 1-22. This was a time of a lot of fighting against feudal lords and marauding mutants.
Palpadine 1-22 – the founder of the Pyri-Commonwealth. When he was born an old woman prophesied that he would become a great ruler. His father, Duke Magnus, gave the child the name Palpadine, taken from a book in ancient history he had read. The book was called The Return of the Jedi. Palpadine was a tough politician and had no qualms in merging his empire. The combination of a strong powerbase i the House of Halbarad and an exceptional ability to handle people (he was a mental mutant with the empathy ability) made it easy for him to convince and gain supporters. He gained influence by making people dependent on him in different ways, e.g. money, drugs or mercenaries. Slowly his power grew and influence grew and finally his position was so strong that he could unify the area known today as the Pyri Commonwealth (Picture and text from the Mutant Expansion – Efter Ragnarok – Kampanjfas from 1987).

Some background to Mutant 1984 here.

Basically following a deadly and incurable epidemic caused by samples from a mission to Mars the human civilization collapses.  The survivors build enclaves and start experimentation on humans and animals, in effect creating mutants, to see how they will survive outside the enclaves.  However conflicts arises between the enclaves and it leads to a nuclear war sealing the fate of the world.

Fast forward a few hundred years and the from the ashes new civilizations start to emerge with mutated humans and animals, some “pure” humans and even some mutants with mental powers. There are remnants of the old worlds scattered all around, and some androids/robots from the old days are still around. In addition there are certain areas where the effect of radiation has left some strange effects on the flora and fauna and these areas are called “Forbidden Zones”.

The game is set in Scandinavia, but not as we know it today, and the general level of new technology is equivalent to that of the 19th Century, give or take.  There are steam engines, muskets and some emerging rifle like weapons, heliogram for communication, etc.  Some of the old technology has survived but is rare.

From a Blog entry some years ago, link here for more.

So, basically I have a few of the Monster Hunters already done. They will basically be the equivalent of the early Imperial Romans – drilled fighters.

The first units are already done but more of these are on the way. The Captain dons the characteristical moustache of the Emperor Palpadine (He is actually a model of the Swedish King Gustav Vasa).

I have also ordered a fair few sprues of differernt ancient and fantasy plastics that I will make into mutant warbands – mixing, swapping and adding the occasional animal head . Similar to the blue men we used for our Christmas Great White Hunter fun that were based on a set of native americans from warlond. I think it will be perfect.

I have also made a few other units that perhaps not necessarily will form part of the Infamy! Infamy! stuff, but as enhancers for the overall project, first the Anti-Monster Unit. I recently came across a picture of some Roman Re-enactors with a MG-34 machine Gun. I thought it looked funny and decided to get a similar feel for the Monster Units, but instead of a MG using an Anti-tank gun. So I got his nice piece from Warlord Miniatures and slightly modified things!

However old tech is not always reliable…

“Sven-Guran, it should be heading here any minute, be alert, tell me if you see anything coming through the birch forest. Yes Sir, oooohhh shit, it is a FENRIS tree….”
…coming towards us.” “Fire, Fiiiiiirrrrreee!, why are you not firing idiot!” “It is jammed Sir, it is Jammed!”
“It is coming closer we are doomed!”
Out of forest some Knights appear and wild fight commences…
….blows from swords, lances and tentacles….
The Fenris tree weakens and the Monster have achieved yet another Victory.

Another of those funny monsters from the old Mutant 1984 book is the Land Shark that is tunnelling through the earth and throwing itself up on unsuspecting travellers. How does it do that?, no clue but I did not worry about it when I was twelve and I do not really care now either.

The entry in the Mutant rulebook from 1984. “Land sharks are mutated sharks that has developed an ability (power) to glide through sand and loose earth. It is about 10 meter long. It mostly attacks its victims from beneath. They are dark blue with black fins and breathe air” The stats in the game are like in the Basic Rpg or D&D, from 3 to 18 for a human. STO is SIZ, INT is INT, SMI is DEX and MST is POW. Their bite is stingy!
I got this set, they are from Path finder Miniatures.
Absolutely ridiculous, but real fun in my books.
Some fighting with the finished beast!
A hard opponents

Some time ago I got the miniatures from the Aftermath Kickstarter by https://puttymonkey.com/ – the range is based on some of the art from the Aftermath Rpg from back in the day. Really fun to paint the characters from that iconic cover. They fit straight into the Mutant 1984 madness.

I also got one of the Too Fat Lardies dice towers, excellent stuff!

/Hope that was of some interest, next time I will hopefully present the first finished bunch for Infamy! Infamy! Postapocalypso Mutant 1984.

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GNW, Little One, Sweden 1943, Mutant 1984 and Podcasts – a review of 2019

It has been a little bit of a strange year with a lot of pressures making it difficult to devote as much time as I would like to the hobby – but in retrospect and upon reflection I seem to have been doing a lot more than I thought. I had lots of fun with the hobby and that is what it is there for!

This is a summary blog of the year and contain some additional pictures not covered in any published blogs.  I hope you will find this review interesting.  I take my hat off for all of you who engage with the blog directly, follow the roll a one page on faceboook (Roll a One, @rollaonepage) or the Per at RollaOne feed on twitter – It really matters to me – so thank you very much. I had as an unwritten rule to do a blog every week, this year I have managed to do 41 blog posts – so I failed the objective but I am happy with that. I could easily have dragged this one out over a few blogs with the extra material but wanted to make a long one of this last one.

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This is my Twitter Feed and probably the best place to follow the going-ons!

The most popular blog post this year was this one detailing how you can enhance your 6mm, or any scale, pictures using your computer screen.  Bleeding obvious to me but a lot of people have found it useful!

Background to your Miniatures – a little trick

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This blog post has a lot of pictures and links (these are the underlined sections, they lead directly to the blog post I am talking about) and basically covers:

  • Poltava 1709 and Joy of Six 2019
  • Battle of Lund 1676 project
  • Gaming with the Little One and a book from Henry Hyde
  • WW2 What-if Invasion of Sweden in 1943 and roundpole fences
  • The Mutant 1984 Project and our Christmas Mutant Dinosaur Hunt
  • Being on Podcasts and some other stuff

Poltava 1709 at Joy of Six 2019

This was the culmination of a three year project covering the Russian Campaign of the Great Northern War and this year I presented Poltava 1709 at Joy of Six show in Sheffield.  This has been a fantastic project and this 16 by 5 feet table actually made me somewhat emotional when I first put it up on the Show (but then each one is pretty special at the time). I did plenty of blog posts about the project this year, you can find them below.  We will put up the table again in 2020 at Salute in April.  This project was done using 6mm Baccus miniatures.

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Overview of Poltava, the Monastery and the Swedish Camp

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Overview of the Redoubts and field outside the Russian Camp

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Detail of the Swedish Camp

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I was really happy with the Poltava model

Here are some of the blog-posts covering this topic ( The last few are the finished article the others about how various elements were done).

Some progress on the Poltava Battle and Grand Thoughts (TMT)

Poltava Town done (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – the Swedish Camp (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Redoubts and Casualty Markers (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Playing with Matches (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Plush Foam Fields (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Total Battle Village Tiles (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Trees, tree Bases and small rocks (TMT)

Progress on the Poltava 1709 Project – Siege Lines and the King (TMT)

All revved up and ready to go to Joy of Six (2019)!

Poltava 1709 at Joy of Six 2019 – the Grand Finale of the Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT)

Passing through Joy of Six 2019

What is up next? Great Northern War, Scanian War and some Bonus Pictures of Poltava 1709

Battle of Lund 1676

My next bigger 6mm project is the Battle of Lund in 1676. This is one of the most famous battles of the Scanian Wars.  I am doing this using the fantastic Wars of the Sun King range by Baccus 6mm.

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Rauch’s Geworbne Cavalry Regiment

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Prince Georg’s Regiment – a Danish regiment looking more Swedish than meatballs!

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Sea, Six and Scanian War – and a few Podcasts

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 1 – Danish Cavalry

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 2 – Danish Cavalry

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 3 – Danish Cavalry and a note on Winter Basing

Forces at the Battle of Lund 1676 (Scanian War) Part 4 – Danish Cavalry and some Aerosans

Gaming with the Little One and a book from Henry Hyde

I have had immense pleasure in engaging with the Little One yet again this year in painting, playing games and going to a few events together.  He even wrote a review of the Airfix Battles Rules and about his day at Salute on the Blog.  When I asked him about the highlights this year he told me that it was the book he was sent by Henry Hyde, the day we had playing Mike Whitaker’s Omaha game and doing the Star Wars Legion miniatures (more in the links at the end of this section).

The Little One and I met Henry Hyde at Salute (who of course wrote the Wargames Compendium, was the editor for Miniature Wargames & Battlegames and now runs the Battlegames Patreon Site that I am a supporter of, see link here https://battlegames.co.uk/patreon-supporters/ . Please check it out as there is a lot of good stuff there in terms of podcasts, videos and articles – whether you are a supporter or not).

On the way back Max realised that the Henry we had met was the same guy that had written the Wargames Compendium, a book he really loves, and said that he should have asked for an autograph.  I mentioned this to Henry and a few days later, to our great surprise and delight, a parcel arrived with a letter and a book.

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It is was an enormously generous gesture and one of those moments I think the Little One will carry with him for his whole life – many thanks Henry!  The Little One then read the Featherstone book and wrote a letter he sent to Henry that made me really proud.

Dear Henry,

Many thanks for sending me the Donald Featherstone book, it was very kind of you and it made me feel very special. I like the words you wrote and I will keep this book forever. It has taken me some time to finish the book as I have had a few other things going on.
I enjoyed the introduction where he writes about ‘what wargaming is’ and also the overview of the different periods for wargaming – my favourite period is WW2. You have so many different aspects of things going on – on land, in the air, on and under the water and you are not sitting around in a trench for four years as in the Great War. At the very end of the book he writes something I really liked!
“General Sherman, of American Civil War fame, is quoted as saying, ‘War is Hell’. So it is, and perhaps the wargamer, seeing just how helpless his little plastic figures are against the dice simulated effects of cannon and muskets, will appreciate more than ever the utter futility of real war.”

I also have a copy of your book, The Wargaming Compendium, and I think it is the best book a wargamer can get as it covers everything you need to know. In particular I like the chapter on understanding sizes, scales and chance. I love the picture on page 17 showing the different scales.

I hear you are writing another one and I hope it is going really well!
I know you like the Horse and Musket period so I thought you might like this Kings Carabineer from the Battle of Blenheim 1704 and a book about the Battle of Poltava.

Hope to see you again soon,

Max

We also went to Mike Whitaker’s house and played on his fantastic Omaha Beach board, and we wrote about it here https://rollaone.com/2019/11/18/omaha-beach-iabsm-with-the-little-one/ .

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It was an absolute privilege playing on Mike’s table

We also painted up a lot Star Wars legion miniatures and terrain that we wrote a few blog posts about (more in the links below).

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The Little One’s review of Airfix Battles

Some Platoons for France 1940 and a kind of a review by the Little One of Airfix Battles

Star Wars Legion:

Painting Star Wars Legion with the Little One

Painting Star Wars Legion with the Little One – Part 2 (+ Basing and Mats)

Readers Digest version Feb-19 – Star Wars Legion and Great Northern War

The Little One’s review of Salute 2019

Salute 2019 by the Little One

 

WW2 What-if Invasion of Sweden in 1943 and roundpole fences

Some further works was done for the 1943 German invasion forces and defending Swedes. Making some transports for the Swedes with some tanks (including conversions) and a large number of German soldiers and vehicles. I also updated the Chain of Command list for the Swedes. More in the blog posts below (that is also including a note on the visit I did to Dulwich playing Chain of Command at the Warlords Lardy Day – thanks Iain!).

One of the best things that happened to this project this year was the roundpole fences developed by Paul Edwards (@Amaz_ed on Twitter if you want to contact him, or let me know and I will pass it on) that will enable me to give that special feel of gaming in Scandinavia/Nordic much in the same way as Snake Rail fencing indicate a wargame in North America.

How is this relevant to you if you do not play anything in Norway, Finland, Sweden or Estonia (where these fences are common) – well according to some theories they were in use during Viking times so if you are doing Dark Age wargaming (or Colonials as we Norse call it). So if you want to create that little Norse settlement in your Saga game or some other game including some Vikings and want to make it feel a little bit special than maybe this beautiful fencing will be an idea.

Roundpole fencing (picture borrowed from Wikipedia – link here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundpole_fence )

I asked Paul if he could help me out and quicker than I could say Gärdsgård – the name of the fence in Swedish – I now have 4-5 meters of it and I hope you agree it looks good.

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A Mechanised Platoon is getting into position to defend against advancing Germans in 1943 (the KP-bil, was not taken into service until 1944 as the initial batch was rejected due to the weak armour plating – in this what if whatever was available was pressed into service – as they look too cool to not be part of this project).

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Some tanks in support!

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Troops embarking and jumping over the roundpole fences – it does not get more Swedish than this!

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Tysken Kommer! (The German is coming!)

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Granatkastargrupp i Position, skjut mot skogsdungen! (Mortargroup in position, fire against the trees!)

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Target Spotted! Get ready to Fire!

The ones I have has been made for 15mm but Paul can make some in 6mm and 28mm too.

These are the ones I will be using for my Scanian War project.

 

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These are a few in 28mm with some Mutant 1984 characters.

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Paul also does some gate options.

I have also found a reasonable Vallejo mix for Falu Rödfärg.

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50/50 of Bloody Red and Burnt Cadmium Red…

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…gives that dark red old style colour that was more common around 1943 than the brighter red colour being popular today…

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I think if works really well….

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Beautiful design by Paul Edwards

Here are some postings for the Swedish WW2 project (as in all my posts there is plenty of pictures in each of them).  The next step is to produce two half-sized campaign for Chain of Command (or any other Platoon based set of rules).

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The two half-pint campaigns

Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Getting a Ride

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25th Panzer Division for the What-if Swedish Invasion 1943 – Part 1

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Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Getting some Heavier Support, Part 1

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Swedish Rifle Platoon in WW2 for Chain of Command – Updated Listzz1

German Infantry Platoon(s) for the What-if attack of Sweden in 1943

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Germans for the Swedish 1943 Tourist Season and CoC in Dulwich

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The Mutant 1984 Project and our Christmas Mutant Dinosaur Hunt

This project is my Post-Apocalyptic homage to the old 1984 RPG Mutant – anything goes.

Järnringen / The Iron Ring (Mutant 1984) – Part 3 – Nordholmia Infantry Regiment

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A Sharp Practice Force for the Mutant 1984 project and Colour Sergeant Bourne from Zulu

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Border Skirmish at Hammering – Mutants who would be Emperors (Mutant 1984)

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Mutant (1984) and Death Ray Guns – from Ganesha Games!

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In addition we had a special Xmas game this year based on a vote we did on Twitter where the Mutant 1984 Dinosaur won the Day (beating Winter War, Swedish invasion 1943 and a “proper” GNW battle!).  We used a variant of the The Men who Would be King rules (the same as in the Border Skirmish above) and it was a fun game with two factions of soldiers and hunters trying to take out as many Monsters as possible (2 Dinosaurs, a Giant Beetle, a Four armed Gorilla, 2 Swedish Tigers, a Dark Young of Stubb-Nigarakan) whilst fighting each other. I did not do a write-up but instead I have included a bunch of pictures from the game.

The Swedish (Sabre Tooth) Tigers are based on the Swedish Wartime information Poster stating “En Svensk Tiger” that means both “a Swedish Tiger” and “a Swede Shuts-Up”.

See the source image

Being on Podcasts and some other stuff

Any regular reader of this blog will know that I have a few wargaming podcasts that I like to listen to whilst I paint and model – these are in no particular order the Veteran Wargamer, The Lardy Oddcast, Meeples and Miniatures, Havoc Cast Podcast, Wargames Soldiers and Strategy, Wargames Recon, Henry Hyde’s Battlechats and God’s Own Scale Podcast.  They are all excellent and whilst I occasionally listen to others, those are my solid ones I will try to listen to every time (I listen to a fair few more non-wargaming stuff like the eminent Grognards RPG Files and We have ways and Audible books).

This year I have been humbled by having been asked to come on three of these shows and talk about stuff mainly relating to the 6mm work I have been doing, but also about wargaming with children and my great passion – the Great Northern War.

A few weeks ago Neil Shuck announced that he will stop the Meeples and Miniatures podcast as he has reflected on the time it takes to do the show and other priorities like gaming with friends etc. Meeples and Miniatures has, in my opinion, become like a wargaming (and Meeples) institution and its legacy is enormous and Neil and the other presenters (Mike, Mike, Dave, Rich and all the guest presenters) should be enormously proud of having created this. I felt so honoured to be asked to attend the show and had a blast – so much that it was enough to fill two episodes (sorry!, but thanks Neil and Mike for having me).

Meeples and Miniatures, Part 1

Meeples and Miniatures, Part 2

When I listened to Sean Clarke’s episode 0 and he declared that one of his inspirations to starting his blog (focusing on 6mm an history) was the work I have been doing with this blog – it made that and many days last year. I contacted him and asked if I could come and talk to him and we had a great time talking about the 6mm stuff I have been doing but also getting an idea of Sean Clarke’s upcoming WW1 project for Joy of Six in 2020.  This is another excellent show and I really like all the episodes to date with many friends from the 6mm trenches.  The show with Robert Dunlop (No 3.) is one of the best Podcasts I heard last year.  Thanks Sean for my second outing this year – I had an absolute blast.

God’s own Scale

Henry’s Battlechat has very quickly built up an impressive catalogue of podcasts with a wide range of guests from the industry, rules designers, miniatures producers, artists, book publishers, academics, etc. I have stolen parts of Henry’s intro for this:

“Per is a wonderful ambassador of the hobby, friendly, approachable, intelligent and with a dry sense of humour that you might only notice when you’re halfway out of the door after meeting him! (Watch out for his comment about the Dark Ages being “Scandinavian colonial”!) Here, then, is this Swedish superstar of the hobby in full flow, waxing lyrical about 6mm gaming, the Great Northern War and other Scandinavian conflicts of the 17th and 18th centuries, making snow-covered terrain and the joys of being a wargaming parent.”

Thanks for having me Henry!

Henry Hyde’s Battlechat

Finally I would like to say that my favourite wargaming thing this year was the visit I did to Evesham and OML7 (Operation Market Larden No. 7) – Thanks to Ade et al for this. I met so many nice people and had a fantastic time playing some great games.

Lardy Da!, not La-Di-Da, my day(s) at OML7

I think it is over and out now!

Well almost…

The Winter War

80 years ago Finland was fighting for its independence against Soviet Union in what has become known as the Winter War.  The war has a personal connection to me as the family on my mother’s side is Finnish. We have therefore fought a few battles using the Chain of Command rules to honour and remember the people on both sides who fought and died in this war.

The war started with a Soviet Invasion of Finland without a declaration of war on the 30th November 1939, the war ended 105 days later on 13th March 1940.  More than 25,000 Finnish died and many were wounded. At the end of the War Finland was still an independent state but had lost about 10% of its territory and 12% of the population lost their homes and where re-settled.  The Soviet Union’s losses were far higher and somewhere in the order of 150,000. The campaign was badly planned and conducted by the Soviets and the Finns fought bravely and with great skill.

Here are few pictures from one of these battles, somewhere along a country road…

That was all! See you in 2020.

Mutant (1984) and Death Ray Guns – from Ganesha Games!

 

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Fun skirmish rules from Ganesha!

Some of you have been here before may know that I have a sweet spot for the Swedish Roleplaying game Mutant from 1984.  It was my first encounter with a Roleplaying game and it blew my mind away.  We, the Little One and I,  have been looking for some rules to use for some miniature gaming in this world and one of the rule sets we have been trying has been the Mutant and Death Ray Guns (MDRD) from Ganesha Games.  We really enjoy them and with a few modifications as detailed below we can have a damn good time.

Here is the standard intro I have been using for the Mutant (1984) world:

The background blur of the game makes me reflect on these wonderful words by H.P. Lovecraft, “We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinity and it was not meant that we should voyage very far”.  Basically following a deadly and incurable epidemic caused by samples from a mission to Mars the human civilization collapses.  The survivors build enclaves and start experimentation on humans and animals, in effect creating mutants, to see how they will survive outside the enclaves.  However conflicts arises between the enclaves and it leads to a nuclear war sealing the fate of the world.

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That magic box from 1984

Fast forward a few hundred years and the from the ashes new civilizations start to emerge with mutated humans and animals, some “pure” humans and even some mutants with mental powers. There are remnants of the old worlds scattered all around, and some androids/robots from the old days are still around. In addition there are certain areas where the effect of radiation has left some strange effects on the flora and fauna and these areas are called “Forbidden Zones”.

The game is set in Scandinavia, but not as we know it today, and the general level of new technology is equivalent to that of the 19th Century, give or take.  There are steam engines, muskets and some emerging rifle like weapons, heliogram for communication, etc.  Some of the old technology has survived but is rare.

Notes on our take on the rules

War has been raging on for 200 years and the planet lies devastated after countless weapons of mass destruction has been set free. A new dark age has started.

"After mankind’s self-inflicted downfall, other beings strive for dominance. Humanoid mutants, androids, mutated plants and animals fight each other for resources such as water, weapons, fuel and food. It’s a brutal world that knows no hope or respite. A world with only two kinds of inhabitants: those who perish and those who survive." 

(from the introduction to the rule book)

The rules are based on the famous Song of Blades and Heroes engine, it plays in about an hour, it is a small skirmish games and normally uses a handful of characters (5) per side. There is a random system of generating characters or a points system can be used – this is especially useful for matching the miniatures you have.

The different character types are:
• Pure Humans
• Mutants
• Mutant Animals
• Mutant Plants
• Androids
• Robots
• Wretched (like Zombies)

These match very well to the Mutant 1984 universe and most things are relative easy to build using these rules.  Each type has different access to weapons/equipments and traints, etc.

Activation is based on each player choosing to activate a model to do 1 to 3 action, for action a die is rolled and a score is needed to be successful for each die. If two failures are recorded the turn goes over to the opponent. This means that all models can perform at least one action without risk (you only roll one die, if you fail that is only one failure). For two actions there is a risk of two failures and in addition if going for three actions the risk increases of having at least two failure meaning the turn is over for the player.  This is a fun part of the system as it forces the player make some choices. Combat is straightforward.

We have been a little more liberal with the points system than suggested in the book in terms of building the characters.  We have allowed the mutants a wider choice of skills and equipment to reflect the fact that the world is a little more stable and the mutants/animals are perhaps a little less feral than suggested in the MDRG world setting as written. We had great fun in doing this together, based on some of the many models we have.

In addition we have introduced primitive firearms (single shot rifles, musket, blunderbuss, etc) based more or less on the rules in the Songs of Drums and Tomahawk rules (another great rule set from Ganesha Games).

We have added these to the Ranged Weapons table as follows:

  • Musket (2H), Range – Long, Combat – Users, Multiple Shots – No (Pts cost 4)
  • Rifle (2H), Range – Long, Combat – Users+1, Multiple Shots – No (Pts cost 5)
  • Pistol, Range – Short, Combat – Users, Multiple Shots – No (Points cost 4)
  • Blunderbuss (2H), Range – Short, Combat – Users+1, Multiple Shots – No (Pts cost 5)

In addition these primitive firearms require two consecutive actions to reloading (in the same turn). In addition the blunderbuss works like a shotgun in the rules (just less efficient and with the loading constraint).

We bought the MDRG rules in PDF format from Ganesha Games homepage, link here, they are $8. Splendid value for money and highly recommended.

Here are some example forces we have used in some of our games.

The Pyri Commonwealth Patrol

This gang is a regulary military patrol of The Pyri Commonwealth’s finest – the Riflemen.

They have been tracking a gang of Cocks that have been pestering the locals using technology from the olden days, killed several and caused property damage. Their  objective is to stop the gang and seize their high tech weapons – with unconditional force if so required.  The unit is only armed with old style weapons apart from Rifleman Hayya who has an old tech sniper rifle.  The unit has to rely on its stealth and shooting accuracy to win over the more heavily armed opposition – but not forgetting about its hidden asset, the slow but deadly Rifleman Lacoste.

Lieutenant Tarmvred (98 points) – Quality: 2 / Combat 2 Traits: Leader (15), Primitive Rifle (5), Danger Sense (3), Forester (3) and Food (3).

Rifleman Lacoste (114 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Tough (15), Hero (15), Primitive Rifle (5), Short Move (-3), Amphibious (2), Heavy Armour (5), Dim Witted (-1), Hand to Hand Specialist (2), Forester (3), Animal (-3) and Food (3).

Marksman Master Hayya (86 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 2, Traits: Sharpshooter (3), Sniper (12), Sniper Rifle (8), Stealth (3), Gunsmith (2), Forester (3) and Food (2)

Riflewoman Ludmilla (50 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 2, Traits: Sharpshooter (3), Rifle (5), Gunsmith (2), Forester (3) and Food (2)

Rifleman Klasse (50 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 2, Traits: Sharpshooter (3), Rifle (5), Gunsmith (2), Forester (3) and Food (2)

Total cost 400 points.

The Cocky Cocks

This gang are a mean bunch of adventuring mutated Cocks that fell upon an old mobilisation storage from the olden days – full of high tech.

Captain Cock (88 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Animal (-3), Humanoid (3), Dim Witted (-1), Leader (15), Flak Jacket (3), Sharp Shooter (3), Pistol (7) and Food (2).

Cock and Roll (108 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Animal (-3), Humanoid (3), Dim Witted (-1), Hero (15), Flak Jacket (3), Sharp Shooter (3), Assault Rifle (11), Steadfast (3), Fragmentation Grenade (3) and Food (2).

Laser Maja (68 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Animal (-3), Humanoid (3), Dim Witted (-1), Flak Jacket (3), Laser Rifle (11), Steadfast (3) and Food (2).

Helmet Kohl (68 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Animal (-3), Humanoid (3), Dim Witted (-1), Flak Jacket (3), Assault Rifle (11), Steadfast (3) and Food (2).

Axe Tax (68 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Animal (-3), Humanoid (3), Dim Witted (-1), Flak Jacket (3), Assault Rifle (11), Steadfast (3) and Food (2).

Total cost 400 points.

Here some actions shots from a game we played on a 2′ by 2′ board.

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Border Skirmish at Hammering – Mutants who would be Emperors (Mutant 1984)

This weekend I and the Little One tried out a version of the Men who would be Kings rules by Dan Mersey, we played the Skirmish version (kind of, we actually played it like we had 12 figures per unit although we only used 6 models, but we needed two figures worth in terms of damage to remove a model) with some borrowed items from the FOCH WW1 rules adaptation that you can download from Wargames Illustrated here (covering Tanks, anti-tank guns and squad LMGs).  We call it the Mutants who would be Emperors – as it is set in the weird world that is my take on the Mutant universe as presented in the Swedish Rpg from the 1980s (your Mutant may vary, more here).

Basically following a deadly and incurable epidemic caused by samples from a mission to Mars the human civilization collapses. The survivors build enclaves and start experimentation on humans and animals, in effect creating mutants, to see how they will survive outside the enclaves. However conflicts arises between the enclaves and it leads to a nuclear war sealing the fate of the world.
Fast forward a few hundred years and the from the ashes new civilizations start to emerge with mutated humans and animals, some “pure” humans and even some mutants with mental powers. There are remnants of the old worlds scattered all around, and some androids/robots from the old days are still around. In addition there are certain areas where the effect of radiation has left some strange effects on the flora and fauna and these areas are called “Forbidden Zones”.
The game is set in Scandinavia, but not as we know it today, and the general level of new technology is equivalent to that of the early 19th Century, give or take. There are steam engines, muskets and some emerging rifle like weapons, heliogram for communication, etc. Some of the old technology has survived but is rare.

In short anything goes, it is a world that has started to re-build itself with a technology level of about 18th century give and take but there are some old tech weapons floating around – this is represented by the three different level of firearms in the rules (antiquated rifles, rifled muskets, bolt action rifle, basically differing in terms of range. We may review this moving forward and consider some reloading rules), basically giving each model using one of these a 2d6 (as we are using 6 per unit) in terms of rolling for damage.  For other weapons (automatic weapons, lasers, etc) we assume them having a damage of 5d6 (each LMG costs 1 point) – this gave some units we used a very high fire power rating – being difficult to take down but not impossible for a unit prepared to charge in and fight hand-to-hand. We also used a tank and anti-tank gun in line with the FUCH rules.

The scenario was a straightforward fight between two border detachments, one from the large Pyri-Commonwealth and the other from the small but proud Jemtland north of the Pyri-Commonwealth, during the short but eventful Yran Hostilities that almost led to an outright war in the year 96 (or 2550 if you still count in AD).

The Pyri-Commonwealth side has stopped to re-supply at a depot that is well stocked with water and other essentials, very close to the entrance to a small forbidden zone in the Hamra region in the northern part of the Pyri-Commonwealth. The depot is run by the Nicholas von Rijn trading company and a good deal has been made, a few drinks have been had and there are rumours that Furir Dozibugger has had a few too many already (Typical for the Pertorian Guard – elite status in what?, drinking and hazard gaming).  There has been reports about some mutated monsters in the area – a walking murder tree and a giant beetle – both are very aggressive towards humans and extremely dangerous.  There is enough firepower in the detachment to take them down but invariably a few men or women would have to put their lives on the line in case of an encounter – and they do not fight with caution.  Suddenly the Rifle units comes back running, they  report movements on the other side of  the old ruins – “It is those damn Jemts again. Prepare for engagement…. to arms, man the tank and attack!”.

These are the units we used for this battle:

The Pyri Commonwealth Detachment

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Skyttesoldater of the Nordholmia Battalion (Models from Perry Miniatures, Swedish Napoleonic firing line with command with some conversions, link here)

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Skyttesoldater of the Nordholmia Battalion (Models from Perry Miniatures, Swedish Napoleonic firing line with command with some conversions, link here)

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Skyttesoldater of the Nordholmia Battalion (Models from Perry Miniatures, Swedish Napoleonic firing line with command with some conversions, link here)

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Pyri Riflemen with a LMG per section (Warlords 95th Rifles with conversion, link here, and female officer of unknown origin bought on Ebay).

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Pyri Riflemen with a LMG per section (Warlords 95th Rifles with conversion, link above, and female riflewoman of unknown origin bought on Ebay).

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The sharpshooting Pertorian Guards – armed with Repeater Berry Rifles.  Only flaw is the section commanders habit of being drunk (models from Ironclad Miniatures with a conversion, link here)

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A tank – this is an experimental model with a steam engine and armed with a machine gun. There are only two things that can cause it any major harm the AT rifle carried by the Cocks or the strong jaws of the Giant Beetle. Tank from Ironclad miniatures (link here)

The Jemtland Detachment

 

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Fusiliers of the Skogsmulle Battalion (ACW Perry Plastics with some conversions, link here)

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Fusiliers of the Skogsmulle Battalion (again, ACW Perry Plastics with some conversions)

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Bullet Spitter (Kulspottare, Gatling Gun unknown make, with crew being made from Perry ACW plastics)

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Free-shooters of the Skogsmulle Battalion (conversions from Perry ACW units)

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Free-shooters of the Skogsmulle Battalion (conversions from Perry ACW units)

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Doodle’s Cocks (mercenary unit) – models from Interloper Miniatures (link here)

And of course the wandering monsters, they will attack anything moving within 6 inches and anything firing at them with a movement of 6″+1d6, attacks at 4+ and will deliver 12d6 worth of damage as well as taking 12 points of damage (both counting as being in light cover due to protective bark and scale). The murder tree is from Fenris Games (a dark young of Shub-Niggurath – link here) and the Giant Beetle a plastic toy (made in China) that I was gifted by Michael Leck.

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What follows in not a AAR but a set of pictures from the fighting, with some comments, as we were mostly using this to try out the rules – we had a blast playing and the craziness of it all really adds to the fun!  What made it even better was that the Little One had done most of the planning and I just had to, more or less, sit down and play. We plan to run the game again and perhaps we will do a better narrative of the battle then.

 

 

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The men of the Pyri-Commonwealth ready for Action!

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The set-up the Jems coming in from the right and the Pyris on the left with the trading station and the water tanks.  The Giant Beetle ended up in the middle of the table and the Murder tree in the top of the picture next to the old truck and the ruin.

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About there..

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The Jemts are advancing!

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Tank Gliding in to action with the intention to put itself on the road and put down some fire down the road.  First getting rid of the Giant Beetle.

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Following some really bad dice the Beetle just got angry and went for the tank, starting to damage the hull with its strong jaws. The Machine Gun firing another burst and jammed, it would be up to the muskets to do finish the job.

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Meanwhile a steady advance on the other side of the table

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Some good shooting later from the men of the Pyri-Commonwealth and the Beetle flipped over dead. But the tank had sustained substantial damage from the beetle.

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The other group of Pyri Rifles set to take out the Mercenary Squad

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…behind the cars

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A skirmishing action trying to take a few of the Cocks out!

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Only one Cock lost and the retaliatory fire with a team full of machine guns took the rifle team down from 6 to 1 – game over.

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Overview…

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The Cocks are waiting to take out the tank and anyone else coming into their view!

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The Pertorian Guard were slow to get going as the had started drinking early that day.

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The tank with an unjammed MG moved over the dead Beetle (made in China).

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Pyris finest managed to press on but managed to irritate the murder tree.

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Another bad firing from the Tank’s MG and it jammed again.

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Some fine shooting by the remaining rifles and the Murder tree went down after a few exchanges.

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House to house fighting! I have to agree it looked really weird with all these different uniforms and the setting – absolutely loved it.

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The Cocks maneuvering around to take out the tank (like if it was a threat anyway)

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Hey mate stop waving the flag – they will know we are here!

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This is also the moment when the Cocks used their Anti-tank ability and knock-out the tank (it had already taken some damage and just needed a small push to go useless) – we could not find any of the smoke markers so I let you use your imagination.

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Nothing more retro than Wimpy! Uber Delivery – the boys are gaming!

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It became a dragged out firefight!

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…until only one Pyri group were left standing and pushed back into the ruins!….

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THE END – the last firefight before all the Pyri-Commonwealth gave up!

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Some more pictures the Little One took before we tidied it all up!

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Absolute blast. It is funny that I am playing a game with my son being the same age I was when I first adventured in this world 35 years ago. / hope that was of some interest!