Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Joaquín's Killa Kan

seize ground

During our Christmas break, which was otherwise quite stressful, we played Warhammer 40K with Hendrik and Joaquín at Krüger’s house. It was their second tabletop game. They played Space Marines. Krüger and I played Orks.

The scenario was Seize Ground which means we played for objectives. Three, I think. Hendrik and Joaquín were not very lucky and some of their troops arrived late in the game: a terminator squad and a tactical squad in a drop pod. This was an advantage for the Orks. Nevertheless the game was undecided until the end. Then the Orks won.

What I like about playing in this group is that the focus is more on playing the game and not so much on winning or loosing. That's very relaxing. Also there is some basic trust that nobody is cheating. Unfortunately when I play with adults that's not always the case.

Fimo Killa Kan

Last weekend Joaquín made a figure out of Fimo. He says it's an Ork in a robot. A Killa Kan, I imagine.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Wipeout / Dragon Rampant Battle Report

About once a year my cousin comes to Berlin to play a turn in our Waltrop campaign. On the 26th of May, last year, around noon, one day after my 49th birthday, he moved his Greek army into hexagon 70 on our campaign map to expand the territory of the Aquarians. My cousin divided his Dragon Rampant army into two groups.

group 1: Greater Warbeast (Leader) / 2 Light Foot

group 2: Greater Warbeast / Bellicose Foot / Scouts

Krüger and I played an alliance of wild tribes. Krüger played orcs.

Bellicose Foot (Leader) / Heavy Riders (Chariots) / Scouts

I played Tupí Indians.

Bellicose Foot / Light Missiles / 2 Scouts

Each turn the order of activation was supposed to be: Aquarians (group 1), Orcs, Aquarians (group 2), Tupí, but at some point we got confused, probably because we had consumed too much Tsipouro the night before.

(Next time we play a 2 vs 1 Dragon Rampant game we want to do it differently and try these rules: The player who controls an army by himself does not have to devide his army into groups. He can activate all units, but each unit only once during a game turn. To avoid confusion markers should be used.)

The battlefield was a sandy beach with some palm trees, bushes and rocks.

In the first turn the Greek scouts moved into a piece of rough terrain on their left flank. From there they threw stones at the Tupí indians, destroying all of my units apart from the light missiles. These were destroyed by the mighty minotaur lord instead who was the Greek general.

Krüger, who played the Orcs on our left flank, was a bit more lucky at first. There was a moment when his Orc warband (Bellicose Foot) destroyed a group of harpies (Bellicose Foot) in a piece of palm tree forest. This coincided with our confusion about the turn sequence and my cousin complained utterly.

But shortly afterwards Krüger lost his general (the Orc warband) and his chariot. The remaining orc scouts couldn’t possibly win the game.

So now the Aquarians occupy hexagon 70 on the campaign map.

campaign map

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

My new upcycled Waltrop Box

a wooden box

Happy new year!

Going through my children's old toys I found a wooden box which they don’t need any more.

I repainted it, using paints with fancy names like "Lucy in the Sky" and "Cape Town Blue", and glued a map of Waltrop on it.

my new upcycled Waltrop box

I use the box to store some things we need for our Dragon Rampant games: three dice made out of bones to roll for leader traits, a tactical assault & coherency template which was produced by Gale Force 9 in 2008 and a 3" blast template, an object we need when we play with my cousin, because he likes to be very precise with unit coherency.

3 roman bone dice and 2 templates

Unfortunately after painting and varnishing the box the lid bent. I have been trying to straighten it for some time now but it only got worse.

Also, I’m very eager to make a wooden box like this from scratch one day …

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

CONflict 2019

CONflict 2019

On the 22nd of June Krüger and I took the train to Langenfeld to go to the wargaming convention CONflict. The train was filled with visitors of the Kirchentag, the German Protestant Church Assembly, that took place in Dortmund that week.

We were picked up by my cousin at a forsaken train station. He drove us to a building at the edge of the city, next to some fields.

On the parking lot we met Alex, a friend from Wesel, an amazing painter and very relaxed gamer. He was smoking a cigarette. There was a strange picture on the package, looking like an illustration from the Call of Cthulhu monster manual. I made a bad joke. I said that in a year Alex would look like the thing on his cigarette package, a piece of meat with a hole in it, if he wouldn’t quit smoking. "In a year?", he asked.

The CONflict is mostly about presentation games. There were a lot of excellent tables and maybe three vendors. More Terrain, GeBoom and somebody selling books. I already knew some people from the Tactica in Hamburg and other gaming conventions.

I think we were the only visitors. We played three games.

The first game was Shootout in Dingstown. It's a game I had played in Hamburg with Jörg earlier this year. A German skirmish game by Axel Jansen. It’s great fun. I wrote about it here. In February we had to rob a bank. Now the scenario was about kidnaping a doctor.

When my cousin almost managed to do so with his gang of gunslinging women, one of Alex's lawmen accidentally shot the doctor and thus ended the game.

About 20 years ago my cousin and I came across a website called The Dortmund Amateur Wargamers when we started to search the internet for 28mm miniatures and strategy games like DBA and HotT.

We are from Dortmund and were surprised that such a club existed in our home town. The question came up: what is a professional wargaming club? My cousin sent them an email, but they never responded. To my surprise the table next to the Dingstown table was run by members of The Dortmund Amateur Wargamers.

They were preparing a large ECW game using paper miniatures and rules from the book 'Wargame the English Civil War' by Peter Dennis. We asked if we could join the game for an hour.

A friendly man in his 60s explained what kind of scissors he had used to cut out the 2000 paper soldiers on the table. Tailor’s scissors, if I remember well. We also found out that the Dortmund Amateur Wargamers lost access to their website and that most of them had moved away from Dortmund, but not too far away. We slowly moved around some units on the table, rolled some dice and then left for a lunch break …

In the afternoon we played a 40K game which was presented by a member of the club Kurpfalz Feldherren. He had recycled parts of a Frostgrave table, I had seen at the Tactica in Hamburg this year, to make a beautiful table looking like the scenery common in the 90s. He used the second edition of Warhammer 40K as a ruleset.

Alex and my cousin played the forces of the emperor, space marines and imperial army, Krüger and I played tyranids. They had to take a scientist out of a frozen fortress and we had to prevent this. There was a lot of power gaming going on in our group. At one point Alex said: guys, this is a convention game, not a tournament!

The last turn was a battle of PSI abilities. Nevertheless I enjoyed the game.

I hope to visit the CONflict again next year, maybe I can even go for two days, to try out more gaming tables.

And maybe one day I will meet the guys responsible for the excellent website Major General Tremorden Rederring’s Colonial-era Wargames Page, but I think I have to travel to Texas for that …

Tuesday, 26 November 2019


playing Warhammer 40K with Krüger, Hendrik and Joaquín

On the 8th of October, coming out of our tax advisor's office, two weeks after my mother’s death, I noticed that the shop which used to be called GAMES WORKSHOP was now called WARHAMMER. I was curious, walked over to take a closer look, found out that the shop was closed and studied the painted miniatures behind the window.

A young man came over, holding a little box in his hands.

"Damn. It’s closed", he said.

"Yes", I said. "Strange."

"I was looking for somebody to play 40K with", he said.

"What army do you play?"

"Space Marines. Salamanders."

"Those are the Space Marines that live in the jungle?"

„In the jungle? I don’t know. They are all equipped with flame throwers. I have them here in my box.“

"I sometimes play 40K with a friend. He used to live in Berlin, but unfortunately he moved to Dortmund recently. Are the rules very important to you? We play the 5th edition. It was written by Alessio Cavatore. It’s my favourite."

"The new edition is very beginner-friendly. I like that."

"If you would like to play with us, please contact me. I have a blog. It’s called Herr Zinnlings Arbeitszimmer. I have some 40K battle reports on it. So you can see how we play. It’s a bit old school, though."

"Damn. I’m angry that the shop is closed. I came all the way from Aplerbeck to play 40K."

"Yes. I mean. Really. Please contact me if you want to play with us. There’s a contact form on my blog."

"Schlimmling? What kind of name is that?"

"Äh. No. Zinnling. Herr Zinnling’s Arbeitszimmer."

"But you live in Berlin?"

"Yes. But I’m in Dortmund often. My mother died two weeks ago."

"I’m reall pissed off about this. I came all the way from Aplerbeck and now the shop is closed."

Ok. This didn’t work. He probably thought I was some kind of human spam bot, lurking in front of GW shops, ähh … AoS shops, to advertise my blog.

Instead I went to Krüger’s house with my two sons and we played 40K. We had a great time. We played Space Marines vs Orks. Both sides were able to secure one objective, if I remember well, and the game ended in a tie. It was the boys' first game of 40K.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Some help needed writing an RPG adventure for 3 kids

cookie island

I'm on a small island in the Aegean sea. It's a volcano and looks like this cookie. We are here for three weeks because of my wife's work. She is teaching screenwriters how to pitch their scripts.

Between 1 PM and 5 PM it's so hot, you shouldn't go outside. After that I go to a pool with the kids. It's next to a cliff, ten meters above the sea. There's not much there to protect you from falling down, besides a cable and a rusty shower. On the other side: a wall, a fence, some beautiful flowers, red and pink. Behind that: the noisy street and a hotel.

The water is heated by the volcano and leaves thick orange stains on clothes and googles. The music is loud and cheap, but somehow relaxing. While my children are swimming in the pool or floating around in safety buoys, I'm drinking some kind of mocha - έναν ελληνικό γλυκό παρακαλώ - which the waiter prepares with great care, and look at another island which is slowly but entirely being removed with excavators, trucks and ships. This fills me with melancholy because I’m conservative at heart.

I'm sitting next to the pool and read Principia Apocrypha and Gurps Light. (I forgot how complicated role playing games are, if you are out of practice.) I want to write a simple cavern adventure, taking place in ancient Greece, so we have something to do while we hide from the sun.

Maybe you have some ideas?

(For encounters, treasures, traps, etc.)

I will post the adventure later on this blog.

I can also send a bottle of Soumada or a little minotaur from the tourist shop to the first person who figures out which island we are on.


To make it easier for you: Here is a model of the island which I found on a cupboard in the local primary school.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

The Village / Dragon Rampant Battle Report

The topics I mostly write about on my blog are "Krüger", "Beyond the Pillars of Heracles" and "battle reports".

Krüger is one of my best friends who lived in Berlin for a long time, studying philosophy. We have played many tabletop games and we also played Badminton regularly, talking incessantly about strategy games during the breaks.

chicken truck

Unfortunately, Krüger moved to Dortmund at the end of March. A few weeks before he left we wrote a scenario for Dragon Rampant, D3+2 Objectives, which we also tested several times.

This blog post is about the last game we played when Krüger still lived in Berlin. It was the 16th game of our campaign "Beyond the Pillars of Heracles", taking place on the imaginary island Waltrop. As objective markers we used some mud huts, I recently finished.

The Greeks, who had landed on the northwestern coast of Waltrop some time ago, had put the orc tribes, living there, under a lot of pressure and now made a move to attack one of their villages (hexagon 20 on the campaign map). Heracleides the Great commanded the Greek army himself.

Krüger played the orcs defending the village with this army list:

Elite Foot (Leader) / 2 Bellicose Foot / Light Foot / Heavy Riders / Light Riders (Short Range Missiles)

I played the Greek attackers:

Elite Foot (Leader + Enchanted Weapon) / 2 Heavy Foot / Light Missiles / Light Riders (Short Range Missiles) / Scouts

Both generals got the trait Boneshaker as the result of a roll on the leader traits table.

initial deployment

This map shows the initial deployment of both armies. Krüger wrote the following battle report which I translated from German to English. (Orcs speak German, of course.) I took the pictures and drew the maps.


My goblins (light foot) were supposed to protect my right flank and the objective on my right side, a mud hut. I placed a unit of boar riders (heavy riders) on the other side of the mud hut and close to the second mud hut on my side of the table. This way they could secure one of these objectives later or just go forward to attack.

It was my intention to attack mainly from the centre and from my left flank, so I placed two large orc warbands (bellicose foot) and the orc boss (elite foot) in the centre. On my left, a unit of goblin wolf riders (light riders) was ready to threaten the objective on my opponent’s side.

The Greek used their light riders in a similar way, to threaten the objective on my right side. Both objectives on their side of the table were protected by units of hoplites (heavy foot).

ancient greeks vs orcs

Their centre was rather weak. It had scouts and light missiles. Heracleides, the general, (elite foot) stood in the back to protect it.

The First Turns

During the first turns not much happened. The orc boss and the boar riders moved forward. The goblin spears formed a shieldwall in front of the mud hut, while the Greek light riders moved towards them. On my left flank the two orc warbands moved forward very slowly, so the goblin wolf riders rode towards the Hoplites alone.

greek hoplites

During their first turns, the Greek Hoplites formed shieldwalls next to the mud huts on their side. Their scouts and light shooters sent arrows in the direction of the advancing orcs which made me loose two boar riders.

The orc boss got close enough to attack the scouts and destroyed them in two turns.

The boar riders moved to the right to defend the goblin spears against the Greek light riders and to protect the objective on my right flank.

On my left flank the goblin wolf riders broke under the arrows of the Greek bows.

Now most units were close enough to move into close combat and the eventful middle phase of our game began.

The middle Phase of our Game

Turn 6

The Greeks prepared themselves for the onslaught of the orcs and fired a last volley of arrows at them, but in vain.

ancient greeks vs orcs

On my right flank the boar riders attacked the Greek light riders. Although the orcs slew two Greeks and only suffered one loss themselves, they broke and fled towards the woods. Then the goblin spears attacked the Greek riders. Both units suffered one loss. To my great disappointment the cowardly goblins broke.

greek archers

Meanwhile the orc boss attacked the Greek light shooters, three archers lost their life, but my general also suffered a wound. The retreating archers were attacked by one of my orc warbands and broke.

ancient greeks vs orcs

Turn 7

Heracleides seized his chance and attacked the orc boss. The orc was wounded twice and Heracleides lost a man. This loss broke Heracleides’ moral and made him flee in the direction of the attacker’s table edge.

All the orc units rallied. The orc warband on my left angrily assaulted the Greek Hoplites who received them in a "Wall of Spears" formation. One Hoplite and two orcs died, but the orcs broke again.

Meanwhile the goblin wolf riders rode back to protect the mud hut in the centre on my side and the boar riders rode towards my general in order to help him.

Turn 8

Heracleides and his men rallied. The Greek light horse rode towards the objective in my centre, to attack the goblin riders I had just moved there.

My second orc warband also had to make a wild charge towards the hoplites on my left side. Their fate was even worse. They suffered three losses and were destroyed immediately.

orc boss

Now the orc boss attacked Heracleides, but wasn’t lucky. He lost another strength point.

The End

Heracleides seized his chance, attacked the orc boss and killed him. What followed was a streak of bad luck. Each of my units had to test courage because I had lost my general. The result was that all my mounted units - the wolf riders and the boar riders - were removed from the table.

Until this happened the orcs had a real chance to win the game, but now their losses were too big. The Greeks won the game and now occupy the village in hexagon 20 on the campaign map.

campaign map


Until turn 6 it looked very well for my orcs. I couldn’t wrap things up though, as I failed so many courage tests. Even then I had a chance to win. I had troops, able to occupy the objectives on my side and troops going for the objectives on the opponent’s side, while the Greek light cavalry was no real threat, being too far away from my objectives. The end came a bit sudden. The last two turns I lost too many troops.

The game was exciting and full of action until the end. It was lots of fun. I think our scenario works well and lets you play games that are undecided and exciting until the end.