Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Fimo Monster

fimo monster

My youngest son made a monster out of polymer clay.

lemon shade 1A

He tried to sculpt a crocodile, but I think his miniature looks more like an eastern newt.

eastern newt

I painted it using Foundry paints and varnished it with Polyurethane Gloss Varnish by Vallejo.

greater warbeast

Now I want to use it as a Greater Warbeast in Dragon Rampant ...

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Things on my Desk

mud hut

Another mud hut.

palm tree

An unfinished palm tree.

hoplites

Sixteen hoplites and five mercenary commanders from Foundry’s World of the Greeks range, which is my favourite miniature range, and Gladius, an old Citadel miniature.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Nine Unfinished Projects

my desk

This is a picture of my desk.

I’m currently working on some terrain pieces, chess figures, palm trees and I’m painting a little skeleton man, my son made out of polymer clay. Some of these projects I started many years ago.

I remember my father always kept several piles of documents on his desk and next to it, and although he worked a lot (too much probably), when he died 20 years ago, he left his study in such a state, that only recently I dared to enter it to go through his things.

A hobby is a luxury, of course, especially if you have three young children and in the midst of a pandemic, so time might be a problem, although I consider painting miniatures or gaming with friends time well spent.

I have a list with nine items, old projects, I need to finish before I can start something new.

Now, that I wrote this last sentence, I already have a lot of doubts about it.

First of all: are there only nine items on my list?

Like many people playing games with miniatures, I enjoy starting new projects all the time. I have a friend who can open a cupboard filled with unpainted miniatures if you mention any wargaming related subject and another friend who buys a plastic bag full of dwarves each time he goes to a gaming convention and I’m not much different.

It’s probably healthy to limit the number of unfinished projects on your table. On the other hand, why should I not paint the dinosaur my daughter made out of Fimo or the giant crocodile my other son sculpted, thus expanding my list to ten or eleven items? Or why shouldn’t I paint some orcs or dark age archers for our fantasy campaign? Or conquistadores? They would be more useful now than three palm trees. And then, why should I do any of these things? Instead I could paint the wall of our garage or some chairs and tables to invite friends over for a barbecue in our garden. Or just spend more time working to gain money?

My father’s hobby or obsession was to visit archeological sites and collect books about it. He was also very much focussed on his work and had a complicated family situation since my brother was severely handicapped. I assume he would have liked to spend more time in museums or read more history books, but just couldn’t. So to release some pressure he bought more and more books.

My father read a lot and he could remember most of the things he read, but when I looked at his books for the first time after he died I noticed that many of them had never been touched. He bought books to put them in shelves or on piles next to shelves, so they would gather dust. I used to have the romantic idea that he wanted to tell me something through his collection of books, because he rarely spoke to me. I feel some kind of sorrow looking at his books. Maybe my father imagined to have more time to read them all.

Now, my second question is: Is it bad, an unhealthy waste of resources, to hoard things and not use them? Books you don’t read, miniatures you don’t paint or play with? Shoes you don’t wear?

Do I really need to finish old projects before I start something new?

I can spend a lot of time sculpting or painting a single miniature, but it’s so much fun imagining playing a game with fifty miniatures on each side or more. This creates a tension and to release it I often start buying new miniatures, before my mind wanders off and imagines playing with yet another army.

Is this bad? A vicious cycle? I don’t know. What do you think?

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Mountain Dungeon / One Page Dungeon Contest

Lina, Hendrik and Joaquín wrote a dungeon for the One Page Dungeon Contest. It's called Mountain Dungeon and it's probably influenced by our corona lockdown which lasted two months.

Please keep in mind that they are 12, 10 and 8 years old and that English isn't their native language.

mountain dungeon

Once upon a time there was a family lost in the woods. This family found a haunted mountain and after they entered no one found them. Then some explorers went to the mountain. The explorers are you. Try to get out of the mountain dungeon.

1 If you stand on one of the traps the wall will go away and the arrows will shoot at you.

2 You come in and have to go on the rotating plate where you have to fight with the chicken monster.

3 In this room you have to fight with a big slime monster.

4 You have to try to escape of this room fast because the walls slide together.

5 There are traps with portals where you disappear. There is a giant monster too.

6 There are fireblasters that shoot at you.

7 This room has a pool full of piranhas and you have to cross it on a rope.

8 There are monster plants that would love to eat you.

9 The witch tells you to go into a door, you don't know which is the right one.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

SoBH Covid-19

plastic knights

I had all kinds of hobby plans for spring and summer before Corona forced my family and me into isolation for two months.

I wanted to paint some trolls, orcs and dinosaurs for Dragon Rampant or late Romans and Goths. I was still undecided about that. I thought about playing a pirate campaign with Krüger, taking place on the Ivory Coast. And I wanted to play a couple of skirmish games with Alex, a friend from Wesel.

Then the lockdown came.

Apart from homeschooling my three kids, I used the time to continue cleaning up my mother's flat and did some gardening. After a couple of weeks I was already quite exhausted.

Then I found some plastic knights in an old box full of toys and decided to give Song of Blades and Heroes another try.

The first time I played the game many years ago, I didn't understand what it was all about. I was too much into competitive gaming and didn't see the possibilities Song of Blades and Heroes has.

The last two months I have played the game several times with my two sons. I enjoy that it's a real skirmish game which can be played with ten miniatures on each side or less.

The combat system is elegant and has mechanisms 
used by games like DBA or HotT. No bookkeeping is required and few markers.

There is a long list of special rules allowing the players to give each miniature its own character, thus adding a role playing element to the game.

I'm not sure if Songs of Blades and Heroes allows for competitive gaming, but it makes it easy to write your own scenarios and play games with a focus on the narration. This can be lots of fun.

Another aspect I like about the game is that it's generic. It's easy to create stats for your own monsters and characters and there are many supplements in different settings, using the core rules.

Song of Blades and Heroes is available through Ganesha Games as a PDF download or print on demand platforms like LULU. The customer service is great, by the way. I had a problem downloading the rules and Andrea Sfiligoi responded quickly.

So, thank you, Andrea Sfiligoi, for having written this accessible game which has provided my family and me with some home entertainment at the beginning of the corona crisis.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Playing Dragon Rampant with the Kids

In Berlin children get a week off from school in February, to go skiing, I suppose.

I had to take my children to Dortmund during their winter vacation, because my mother passed away some months ago and we have to find out what to do with all of her things now. That's a gloomy activity for children, of course.


We wanted to have some fun nevertheless, so I went to Krüger's house with Joaquín and Hendrik to play Dragon Rampant. (My daughter preferred to stay at home and practice K-Pop choreographies.)

We played elves vs. orcs, using our scenario D3+2 objectives.



the elven players

Joaquín and Hendrik played the elves:

Light Foot (Leader + Spellcaster) / Elite Riders / Heavy Riders / Heavy Missiles / Light Missiles / Scouts

Krüger and I played the orcs:

Bellicose Foot (Leader), Heavy Riders (Chariot), Greater Warbeast, Lesser Warbeasts, 2 Scouts


We used toy frogs as objectives. On the elven side one frog was placed in a forest and one on top of a large hill.

Two frogs were placed in forests on the orc side and the fifth frog was put in the centre of the table.

On our left flank Krüger moved a large ogre (greater warbeast) forward to take the objective hidden in the forest in front of it. This scared Joaquín so much that he moved his heavy riders all the way from his right flank to his left flank. He even made the horses ride backwards.

There the elven elite riders, a splendid looking unit, had been lurked into the woods by a unit of orc scouts. The elves lost the fight and were routed by six wolves (lesser warbeasts) waiting for them outside the forest.

The same thing happened to Joaquín's heavy riders, when they arrived at the forest.

Hendrik loves to play wizards in Dragon Rampant and his favourite spell is Power Bolt!

With some assistance of a bolt thrower, scouts and light missiles Hendrik used his power bolt magic to destroy the ogre and our general (a unit of bellicose foot).

We are always surprised how lucky Hendrik is rolling to see if spells work.

After we lost our general I was able to destroy the elven light missiles with a chariot and then place it next to the objective in the centre of the gaming table.


When the game ended, both armies held the two objectives on their side and in addition to that the orcs held the objective in the centre.

the last turn

This map shows how the gaming table looked like at the end of the last turn.

It was a close, balanced game, but a victory for the orcs.

The game was so much fun that we are planning a little Dragon Rampant campaign during the summer. Orcs vs. elves fighting for magical ingredients in an enchanted forest or something like that …

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Sven's mysterious Campaign Book

Krüger and I came up with most of the background for the armies we play in our Waltrop campaign, sitting in an Italian restaurant in Berlin Friedrichshain, drinking white wine or black coffee and talking for hours. It was great fun. (Although at the time I thought: why does he always want to play Orcs? Why can't I convince him to play Greeks?)

My cousin Sven plays the Aquarians in our campaign. He has a book where he writes down his ideas about them, but he never talks about it.

As a birthday present, last year in May, I asked him to reveal some information about the Aquarians.

He sent me a picture that shows two pages of his mysterious book.


beyond the pillars of Heracles

On the left page it says:

Die Sage des Deukalion 
  • Deukalion war der Sohn des Prometheus (Titan) und der Pronoia ("Fürsorge")
  • im Bronzenen Zeitalter war Zeus derart erbost über die Schlechtheit der Menschen, dass er sie mit der großen Flut austilgen will
  • Prometheus befiehlt ihm und seiner Frau Pyrrha, ein Schiff zu bauen und sich damit zu retten
  • sie landen auf dem Berg Parnassos, später auf dem Berg Othrys, schließlich auf dem Berg Aquarius
  • an all diesen Orten bringen sie die Menschen zurück in die Welt, durch das Werfen von Steinen über die Schulter
  • als Aquarius geht er nach seinem Tod in den Götterhimmel ein
  • die ersten Menschen von Aquarius - Deukalions Volk, stammen direkt von ihm ab
On the right page there are several stars. Depicting large and small islands maybe?

Sven also sent me a text about his book:

"Behold the Codex Pontificis.
The Book of Books.
With all its myths and miracles.
Containing not only the Odyssey of the Aquarians and the founding of our Polis.
But telling where we the sons of Hellas came from and where we will go to.
Written by my priest predecessors.
And given to the people of Spiriopolis to treasure forever."
by Pontifex the Priest
Thank you, Sven.