Battleshed Diaries

Sunday, 20 December 2015

A Battleshed year



It's that time of year again when gaming and modelling has to take a back seat for the annual ritual of forced bonhomie, tacky decorations, inane cards signed by the spider-helpers of unknown elderly relatives and insidious tunes assaulting seasonal dissidents like me from over-heated and over full retailers. Yes, it's the grand orgy of rampant consumerism that's become the so called Festive Season.
Bah...wait for it.......HUMBUG!



Maybe I should just shut myself away with my Grinch and Scrooge miniatures until the whole thing blows over. Only surfacing once the diet and holiday TV advertisements start up on New Year's Day. At least the interweb helps alleviate much of what is a nightmare time for us Grinch groupies.

This is sort of my end of year review. Except it's more a guess at my gaming calendar for next year. Either way, it's a bit longer than usual. So a Rimmer salute for you if you actually get to the end without skimming. Especially if you're discombobulated, (love that word!), by the after effects of excessive Christmas and New Year celebration. I know I will be.

So where to begin? Well, I'll start unnaturally upbeat for this time of year. I can truly say that I'm finding the build up the grand event hugely exciting. Yep, I'm all booked to see Star Wars, The Force Awakens on the 23rd! Only three sleeps to go! Of course, if it turns out there really is no Hope, then this blog might be static for a long, long time...

It's tempting to post my gaming year in review, however I'd rather look forward to what's likely to be occupying my gaming time in 2016. After all, my reader knows what I've been up to this year. It's on this blog! So below is what I think I'll be posting about next year. Of course, with my flighty gaming attention span, like a particularly nervous sheep, no doubt some great new set of rules and cool miniatures are likely to roll unpredictably along blowing these plans away. Nevertheless, here goes:

Dwarfs. Many, many Dwarfs. As a Lord of Battle (Early Bird) backer of the Hammer and Forge Kickstarter from Ganesha games. I'm expecting a whole fortress of them. Miners, Pelters, Dragon slayers, Outcasts, Heroes. All sorts. And fittingly, they'll be taking their place in the Halls of my Lead Mountain. So expect quite a few Advanced Songs of Blades and Heroes battles.

On a similar note, I still have a drawer full of strange mushrooms.
Yes, I can imagine your raised eyebrows.

No, these are from another Ganesha Kickstarter for ASoBH, Fightin Fungi. They're still waiting patiently in the paint queue. I've a mind to alternate painting the shroons' and the new dwarf recruits to stave off any painting lassitude. 

Aliens have landed. I recently took delivery of a whole saucer-full of grey aliens from C-P Models. These are for UFO Squad from Crossover Miniatures in the US. In fact, I've already started painting them - stupidly thinking painting a grey alien wouldn't exactly take long. 

Well, that was probably true until The Teenager started debating the colour and texture of alien skin. It really started to get surreal when he Googled 'real alien skin' to reinforce his argument. I'm starting to think I should have made the Teenager his very own tin-foil hat for Christmas! I'm guessing I'll be needing plenty of contemporary buildings for the terrain, which leads me nicely onto...


... Infinity. As this SF game's popularity amongst many of my gaming buddies shows no sign of abating (the Battleshed hosted a game recently) I'll be looking to finally settle on a faction and start building a dedicated squad. I've been using a set of proxy SF miniatures acting as Pan Oceania Fusiliers so far. I'll probably stick with this faction and just bring in specialist miniatures as my experience of the game increases. 

However, I do know I'll need to obtain suitable terrain. Buildings mainly. Lots of them. There are quite a few options out there, such as card or MDF kits. Whatever I choose, they can at least double up for use with UFO Squad. 

Maybe the Pan Oceania fusiliers can take on the grey aliens. Hmmm, interesting.


Back in the 19th century, (and as an affirmed Scrooge, comfortably so!), there'll be plenty more In Her Majesty's Name. I'm fully aware the grand finale for this years The Super Weapon campaign is still to be played. To be honest, I'd hoped to have it completed by the end of this year but with one thing or another it's postponed to the new year. However, rest assured it is first on my list of gaming priorities. Absolutely. No doubt. 

I can report the finale terrain board is well under way though. Actually, one of the reasons it's been delayed isn't the terrain, but rather that I've complicated things a bit by wanting to add in suitably Victorian SF vehicles, including an Omnibus and passengers, various experimental machines, robots and of course, a scratch-built super weapon

I'm also very keen to try out the Martian Invasion supplement at some point. In fact, it was at Carronade in Edinburgh earlier this year that I first went on the hunt for suitable Martian walkers. Like the real thing, no evidence was found. But I've a cunning plan to scratch build my own. In fact, I'm quietly confident that this side-project will be prove to be quite a quirky success. Tentacles crossed.

With plans afoot at one of my local clubs (Falkirk) for more IHMN campaigns next year I think this will be one of my most dominant systems, both for gaming and painting. I also plan to unveil a new Company based upon some of the characters I created as part of The Super Weapon's back-story. Still loads to do. I think I'll have to change my profile picture to me wearing something thematic. Definitely with a top hat anyway.


Frostgrave will no doubt put in an appearance at some point. I did enjoy the first taster game with Sam Pate. It was brutal! And with Eric the Shed having done all the leg-work with a guide to designing a wizard character, I do plan to revisit the world of Felstad again, replete with an outrageously painted Mage with a suitably outrageous stat line.

Pulp Alley is a game that's been on my gaming radar for a while, but so far I haven't investigated any further. That should change in 2016. Much to Sam Pates delight no doubt! Certainly the concept of a game based on the classic cliffhanger serials and pulp magazines to more modern action-adventure stories is very attractive. As are the delightful, if quirky, range of supporting miniatures. I reckon Pulp Alley will be on the agenda for the spring gaming months.

For this dedicated Star Was fan, X-Wing will zoom into play again next year. I have an excuse in that I'm old enough to have watched enthralled when Star Wars, A New Hope was first released on the big screen way back in 1977. Back then I was lanky, had long hair and sported the obligatory 70's flares. And on that fateful day, in Crewe Lyceum theatre, my decades-long obsession with a galaxy far, far away was born. And with X-Wing there seems to be an ever expanding range of new ships to choose from, including the Imperial Raider expansion. It's just so got to be added to the Battleshed arsenal! Da daah, da da da Daaah dah...
In keeping with the space theme, I've no doubt the excellent Firefly board game will continue to keep me entertained. Even if it does take ages to pack away the myriad of cards afterwards! I've still to purchase all the available expansions - my gaming buddy Jamie has them all, so I've been using his latterly. I'm even considering painting the wee ship miniatures provided with the game. Shiny!

Onto the Historical(ish!) front. I'm now a veteran of two full games of Dux Britanniarum from Too Fat Lardies. The Saxons won the first. The Britons won the second. They were defending a farm and a church from Scotti raiders. Guess which side I controlled? Nevertheless, I'm loving this system and being as it's primarily written to played as a campaign I think there'll be plenty of opportunities in the coming year. So far I've seconded my Saga Scots, which have proved just the job. I've also recently recruited some slingers, but other than that I think there are plenty of extras available my Dark Age Lead mountain. Them and the Dwarfs sit on their separate Lead Mountains trying to out-scowl each other. 


And speaking of Saga...Saga! Still a popular game locally so no doubt I'll be working my Scots hard. I don't plan to change factions or add any more troops. In fact, I still have the Saga mercenaries to complete. The Gall-Gaedhill. The same mercenaries that have been sitting prepped for painting for nearly two years! I've completed only one of the eight. He is now known as the Chosen One. They'd be useful in either my Saga or Dux Britanniarum armies so they could finally make the début on the battlefield next year. 

Similarly, I've had the peasant baggage carts awaiting attention for just as long. But the good news here is that they're finally painted! Completed this month in fact. Which means I don't have to skim over The Escort scenario in the Saga core rulebook, muttering about no painted carts. Now I can soon add this to complete the list of Saga scenarios I've lost!


Chariots. Many, many chariots. As my reader knows, I'm currently involved with the play-test of an ancient chariot racing game called Bread and Circuses. It's from Irregular Wars and based on the Ganesha games system, so no news there that I'd be attracted to it! It's certainly proving immense fun and I now have a further 8 chariots from various ancient civilisations (give or take a few hundred years) to add to the initial four I've already painted. 

On top of that, my next terrain project after the IHMN grand finale will be a suitably dusty middle-eastern / Mediterranean race track. Which will be fun to research, let alone create! No idea whether I'll try and recreate something historical or go for something tongue in cheek, in line with the game rules. Probably the latter. 


On game that I haven't mentioned before, or indeed - played, is Daisho from the same Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare stable as IHMN. It's set in Mystical Japan and having watched few campaign games at Falkirk, it may well prove to be a frontrunner as my first 'yet another new system' of 2016. I really do like the miniatures.Time to find my DVD of the Seven Samurai...


Whilst my charioteers are whizzing around dust-shrouded tracks, unsportingly poking spears in each other's wheels, I guess the slow - achingly slow- assembly and painting of my Hail Caesar Imperial Roman army will continue. This project has been rumbling on all this year. I've not really had much incentive, as Hail Caesar hasn't been played much at Livingston and consequently recruiting to the Legion has been constantly delayed by more pressing projects. However, with me now also attending the larger Falkirk club, with many more potential ancient players (I mean, players who play the ancients periods...look, you know what I mean!) the goddess Fortuna may finally be smiling on this project. Only187 miniatures to go. Plus Command. 


Then there is Sails of Glory and Wings of Glory, two games that I've thoroughly enjoyed playing this year and plan to play more next year. I'm certainly contemplating adding a WW2 hanger to my WW1 collection. I really do need a Spitfire!

Finally, we have one of my all time favourite games. Its just so fun to play. I mean, you really cannot help but smile playing it! Dead Man's Hand. I'm happy with my Lawmen and I've painted plenty of others factions to keep me supplied, so I don't anticipate (yeah, right!) buying any more miniatures... Drat! I've foiled that even before I'd finished typing it...I forgot I plan to add a few civilians, assorted animals and the odd stage coach here and there. I already have The Duke on the John awaiting a touch of paint before being introduced to his thunder box throne.  I also have a list of tweakages for my large DMH terrain board, Obsession. No Sam, I'm definitely not adding a whole new 2'x4' section with a rail-station...


Day's oot'

This means wargaming shows. I had a thoroughly pleasant time at four shows this year - Vapnartak in York, Carronade in Falkirk, Claymore in Edinburgh and Targe in the fleshpots of Kirriemuir. Naturally, York was the most 'lavish' as it involved a two night overstay in that most fascinating historical city. It didn't have to be two nights, but hey...a wargaming show in a historical city with an abundance of good ale bars (not unlike Edinburgh!) ...it was a no brainer!

Vapnartak 2015 in York
Next year though the big trip (so far) will be a raid on a wee city called London. Yes, Salute 2016! My good self and my fit brother-in-law ...oh for Valgen's sake! I mean physically fit...as in he runs marathons and does Iron-man challenges. For fun, apparently. He really is a MAMIL. I just look like Max Wall's Professor Wallofski.

Anyway, I digress. This will be our first trip to the UK's foremost trade show and I'm really looking forward to it. I booked flights, accommodation and the show tickets a few months ago, so I'm already trying not to look too smug when local gamers are discussing the costs of a trip  - for us north of the border - down to Mordor

John, my brother-in-law enjoying Dead Man's Hand in York
Of course Carronade, hosted by Falkirk District Wargaming club - who I plan to be a formal member with once I see 'about a form' in January - will be a must . I may well be helping out. And Claymore and Targe will be all marked up in my 2016 wall calendar. It may be a Kelly Brooks or a Kylie calendar. Let's see what my wife gets me this year. These are the planned trips of course. Who knows where I'll end up as 2016 progresses. Maybe Bristol, eh Gordon. Lush!

So that's it. I've listed all the projects and games I know I'm most likely to be playing next year. So far - that's my get-out clause! There are plenty of systems sitting in the Battleshed that haven't seen much action for a while. Dreadfleet, Space Hulk, Dystopian Wars for example. They may get an airing, who knows?!

Something new no doubt will come along, that's a given. But that's what makes our hobby so entertaining. And mostly it's all down to us, the tabletop gaming players all over this small planet. The army of volunteers at local clubs, shows and events. The bloggers, YouTubers, and play-testers. The painters and terrain builders. From historical to outer-space and everything in between. We help drive the ideas that lead to the finished products that keep this hobby fresh.

Lastly, before I slink off to surreptitiously nab a mince-pie from the Christmas cupboard, I want to thank my friends, locally and afar, for making 2015 another pleasurable gaming year.

And my sincere thanks to my readers for sparing precious time to read my uttering's on this blog and providing valuable feedback. It's all very much appreciated.

This will be my last post for 2015. After a short break, I'll be back in January for another season of tabletop gaming mayhem. As promised, all that remains now is a Rimmer salute and for me to wish you all a...


HAPPY GAMING NEW YEAR!