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.

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.