Friday, 8 January 2021

Happy New Year!

The first of January my wife cried listening to Angela Merkel’s New Year’s speech. I guess 2020 was a bit exhausting.


I miss my friends, going to restaurants, gaming conventions, playing Badminton, I miss traveling and, although I’m an introvert person, I miss seeing people who are neither family nor close friends.

What stresses me most is that somebody around me might get sick or even die if I’m not careful enough. These days even going to the supermarket can be a threat to your life. That’s difficult to understand if you grew up in Germany after WWII.

We probably have several weeks of homeschooling ahead of us. It’s hard for children not to be able to see their friends. And it’s hard for families to be stuck together all the time. Nevertheless I’m glad that schools are closed now. I hope it helps fighting the virus.

I’m looking forward to Spring and Summer …


It’s the time of year to look back and make plans and this is a gaming blog, of course.

In 2020 I wanted to finish all of my old hobby projects (some of them I had started more than ten years ago) and I made a great effort to do so.

my desk

This is a picture of my desk. The palm trees and mud huts still need some work, but I’m pleased about how far I got.

Also I’m happy that I played a couple of strategy games with my children last year.

My plan for 2021 is to paint a small tabletop army for my children to play with, to improve my painting skills this way and to take the miniatures on the road, to play Dragon Rampant or something like that with a friend if that’s possible.

I have been thinking about a theme for this army for some time, dark ages or colonial, orcs or humans, Spanish or British, dinosaurs or pangolins, but it doesn’t really matter.

In 2020 I enjoyed reading your blogs a lot and having little conversations about the hobby in the comment sections of our blogs. I would like to thank you for this. It made life a bit more cheerful in otherwise stressful times.

Happy New Year!


Friday, 11 December 2020

Q&A with Bob Cordery about The Portable Wargame

I'm interested in "The Portable Wargame" and have a few questions about it.

I would like to play the game using hexagons.
How many hexagons do I need to play the game?


The rules are written for square and hex grids, and I suggest a minimum of 8 x 8 squares or 9 x 8 hexes. You can use a larger grid, and I’ve fought games with a 6 x 9 hexed grid, but 8 x 8/9 x 8 are what the rules were originally written for.

>> And how many figures do you need on each side?

Sides are made up of units (aka bases), and most players mount their figures on multi figure bases ... so there is no pre-set number of figures. I recommend each player has 10 to 12 unit/bases. (Some players use blocks of wood for units.)

>> To play ancient battles do I need the book "Developing The Portable Wargame" or are the main rules sufficient?

To play Ancient battles, then I’d recommend the rules in DTPW. You don’t need the first book in the series to fight wargames, but you might find it useful to read TPW at some point.

>> It would probably be easy to transfer DBA army lists to your game, wouldn't it?

The DBA armies should work with the PW Ancient rules.

>> What is the difference between "The Portable Colonial Wargame" and "When Empires Clash!"?

WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! is a forerunner of TPCW, but is a different set of rules with different mechanisms. That said, the Army Lists in WEC! are useable with the PW rules.

>> Is your book "The Portable Colonial Wargame" also a standalone game?

All my books are stand alone, although quite a few people have bought all of them and ‘mix and match’ from them to meet their particular requirements. For example, I know someone who uses the basic 19th century rules for PW with the naval rules from Gridded Naval Wargames and the campaign rules from PCW.

>> I thought "The Portable Wargame" was your core rulebook and the other books were supplements.

Does "The Portable Wargame" have a historical theme as well or is it a generic wargame?

The PW book was originally intended to be a ‘one off’, and contained a brief history of gridded wargames and several explanatory chapters about the different types of grids available, lines of sight, basing models, solo play etc. There were also two sets of basis rules, one for the 19th century and one for the early/mid 20th century.

The PW rules are generic BUT are designed so that the mechanisms can be adapted for specific historical periods or to meet individual players’ requirements. The DPW shows this as it contains Ancient rules, more detailed mid 20th century, and Air Combat rules. It also has chapters about different ways the rules can be adapted, an example of a mini-campaign, and some examples of Army Lists (including balanced and unbalanced forces).

PCW has two sets of rules for those who want quick games with a few figures and longer games with more figures, a more developed campaign system, and a terrain generator.

PNW has four sets of rules, one that is really very basic and three for different levels of command (brigade, divisional, and corps-level battles). It also looks a different types of card-driven move mechanisms, as well as unit and commander grading.

>> Is it possible to play ancient naval battles with "Gridded Naval Wargames“?

The GNW rules are designed to be used with steam-powered, iron & steel warships BUT I know that several players have adapted them for earlier periods, including ancient naval warfare where ramming was the main method of combat.

I hope that this has been helpful.

All the best,

>> Thanks a lot. This has been very helpful.
All the best,

I got your books The Portable Wargame, Developing the Portable Wargame and The Portable Colonial Wargame on Lulu.

I'm looking forward to reading them and trying out your game.

Friday, 27 November 2020

Fimo Monster Rampant

The moment I finished painting Joaquín’s Fimo monster, I was eager to use it in a tabletop game. So last time I was in Dortmund before the second lockdown, I went to Krüger’s house with Joaquín and Hendrik to play Dragon Rampant.

dragon rampant

My sons played an elven army.

Heavy Riders (Leader) / 2 Heavy Foot / Heavy Foot (Wizardling) / Heavy Missiles / Scouts

Krüger played Orcs & Goblins. I played the Fimo monster as a greater warbeast.

Bellicose Foot (Leader + Terrifically Shiny Armour) / Bellicose Foot / Light Riders / Light Missiles / Greater Warbeast

first turn

The map shows the initial deployment of the two armies. We used toy ladybugs as objectives.

The Fimo monster moved forward quickly and attacked the elven scouts, destroyed them and then destroyed a unit of spears with the help of some goblin wolf riders.

This made the elven warlock angry. He cast a fire ball and "neutralised" the greater warbeast, as my son expressed himself. (I don’t know where he picked up this verb.)

Well. I was so much focussed on playing the Fimo monster that I can’t say much else about the game.

Fortunately Hendrik also wrote a battle report:
Wir haben Elfen gegen Orks gespielt. Der Magier hat überlebt. Der Magier hat den Molch besiegt und die Wölfe vertrieben. Die Speerträger wurden zwei Mal in die Schildkrötenformation gestellt. Die Pferdereiter haben die Pfeilundbogenorks eliminiert. Zum Schluss wurde es Gleichstand.
The game ended in a tie.

last turn

This map shows how the battlefield looked at the end.

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.


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.