Tuesday 4 September 2018

A Mud Hut

mud hut

After a long summer break, I just finished the first of eight mud huts I'm currently working on. It's painted and varnished now. Ready to play. 

Walls and roof are made of papier mâché, with stripes of coloured paper added for the straw on the roof. The door frame is made of green stuff.

Wednesday 11 July 2018

A Three-Player Dragon Rampant Game

the Greeks from Kalimera

At the end of May, my cousin came to Berlin for a weekend (because it was my birthday) and we played a 3-player Dragon Rampant game.

We tried a variation of SCENARIO G: INTO THE VALLEY OF CERTAIN DEATH. The players would gain glory points by moving their units from one point of the table to the opposite side. Starting and ending positions were defined by drawing 3 lines of the same length that crossed in the centre of the table.

I placed a lot of area terrain on the board, representing forests and a swamp. When a unit entered a piece of area terrain, we tested if the terrain was dangerous. Although there was a 50% chance for terrain to be dangerous, this time no dangerous terrain was encountered.

The game was turn 15 of our Waltrop campaign. The idea was that the Orcs, the Greeks from Kalimera and the mysterious Aquarians led expeditions into the jungle where they accidentally met and fought. The winner was supposed to get a hexagon in the middle of the jungle.

Krüger played the orcs from Waltrop:

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

I played the Greeks from Kalimera:

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

And my cousin played the Aquarians: 

Elite Foot (Leader) / Greater Warbeast / Bellicose Foot / 2 Light Foot / Scouts

(The Aquarians are ancient Greeks with access to magical creatures, like harpies and minotaurs. They live on the Saganakia islands. One day the Greeks from Kalimera will figure out how magic works, I hope.)

All three of us moved their faster units forward early on in the game to reach the other side of the table. All these units were destroyed.

After that, everybody was more careful. Actually not much happened anymore and nobody won. We stopped after three and a half hours to go to a restaurant.

I like this scenario for 3 players, but we have to change the victory conditions and how terrain works a bit, so we can have a more interesting game next time ...

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Lina (9), Hendrik (7) and Joaquín (5) Wrote Another Dungeon for the One Page Dungeon Contest

a dungeon

1 You fall through a hole into this room. For example, if you go for a walk in Berlin and don’t respect certain signposts around construction sites or while watering flowers in your garden.

2 Eerie black and white photographs hang on the walls. A man with a hat. Four children. A doll. When it is dark, the pictures look like ghosts. In a corner of the room is a rocking chair.

3 An empty room with trap doors.

4 A window is painted on the wall. You can see a street and a field. If you stand there and look out of the window, it gives you the creeps. Because of the street. And the noises.

5 A monster with two heads. It destroys everything that comes close. Stones are scattered on the floor. The monster throws them at you.

6 A little animal with green fur. It looks harmless, but if you try to feed it, it bites and you might catch the rabies and die a couple of months later.

7 A mirror maze. It’s hard to get out without banging against the glass. If you take the wrong door, you return to room 1.

8 There are goblins and ghosts in this room who destroy furniture with knives and try to summon a giant by piling up the pieces. You have to prevent this.

9 Schleimi is evil. He can turn you into slime. Because he has slime powers.

10 There is a hole in the ceiling. A rope lies on the floor. A book shelf stands next to the wall.

Sunday 1 April 2018

Hamburg Tactica 2018 / more pictures

Sons of the Desert

Here are more pictures of the wargaming convention Tactica

My last blog post was more about my father and his SLR camera than what I originally planned to write about: "Take the Pass!", the game we played at the Tactica on Sunday morning. So my friend Krüger suggested I should start a photography blog instead of Herr Zinnlings Arbeitszimmer. I will try to stick to the subject of wargaming now …

This year the theme room of the Tactica was called "brennender Sand". There you could see all kinds of desert related games, miniatures and terrain pieces.

brennender Sand

The French foreign legion was one of the more popular subjects.


Saturday afternoon we played "Dune", a game organised by the wargaming club WCH – Massaka from Hamburg.

Jörg and Krüger

the GM and Sven


Sven enjoyed this a lot because he had always wanted to try the ruleset Bolt Action.

On Sunday I walked around to take pictures and found these beautiful ancient ships manufactured in the scale 1/72 by Cryns Miniatures.

Cryns Miniatures

Cryns Miniatures

The last game we played on Sunday was Zama, a large DBA 3.0 battle. It was really a sequence of four DBA games, one game for each battleline.

A very enthusiastic man from Denmark or Sweden and I played the Carthaginians. He was very lucky rolling the dice. Unfortunately he had to leave early and we lost.

Krüger and Sven

Our defeat was discussed by the other players in great length afterwards.

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Hamburg Tactica 2018 / Take the Pass!

One thing I enjoy about going to the wargaming convention Tactica in Hamburg is to take pictures with the camera my father left me when he died, a Leica R4s.

Herr Zinnling

My father and my uncle were obsessed with photography, especially with the technical aspects of it. As in other fields of interest, there was a strong competition going on between them. They both had large collections of cameras and many coffee table books on the subject of travel photography. They had rather limited ideas about what is a good picture and what is not and would put great effort into avoiding technical mistakes. They argued a lot and then stopped talking to each other for a couple of years.

Because of all this, I had access to photographic equipment as a child and ended up studying cinematography in Dortmund and San Antonio de los Baños, a little village close to Havana.

Last year I was very happy with the pictures I took at the Tactica with my father’s SLR camera, which was discontinued in 1988. But this year, this happened:

Take the Pass!

Take the Pass!

Take the Pass!

Take the Pass!


Take the Pass!


Take the Pass!


Take the Pass!

Take the Pass!


All the pictures I took of the game we played on Sunday morning are out of focus. Now I need to run some camera tests to find the mistake.

By the way, I enjoyed "Take the Pass!" a lot, thanks to Admiral Benbow and Monty from the wargaming club THS.
It is the year 1880. Following the massacre of the British delegation in Kabul and the increasing unrest in Afghanistan, the British Empire is working hard to secure the Northwest frontier of India and to subdue the Afghan province. They send various marching columns over the mountain passes, encountering fierce resistance from the Afghan army and local tribes.
The theme of “Take the Pass!” is the arduous march of the British army and shows a typical battle in the mountainous regions of the Indo-Afghan border.
My cousin and I played the Afghans, our friends Jörg and Krüger played the British. The ruleset was The Men Who Would Be Kings by Daniel Mersey which is similar to Dragon Rampant which is one of my favourite games at the moment.

I’m not sure if you can see this … The terrain was beautiful, especially the hills. There is a thread by Admiral Benbow about how to make rocky terrain out of pine bark in the Lead Adventure Forum.

Thanks to Jörg’s iPhone 6s, I have at least one picture of the game which is in focus.

Thinking about it, maybe this Leica R4s, this old ghost of a camera, is saying to me: Don’t fight so hard, son. You can’t control everything. And if you wanted to tell other people about the wonderful game Admiral Benbow and Monty presented at the Tactica, I did my job, didn’t I?

Friday 23 February 2018

The Battle for Hexagon 21 / Dragon Rampant Battle Report

ancient greeks

Last year in May, while Borussia Dortmund played against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Olympiastadion in Berlin, Krüger and I were standing at a table in my small flat in Kreuzberg and fought for hexagon 21 on our campaign map. We used the ruleset Dragon Rampant to play out the battle between the Greeks under the command of Foibos and Gurkbatz’ Orcs. It was the 27th of May.

We started a bit late, around 9 PM, and had two visitors, Hendrik and Joaquín, who watched us set up the terrain. It consisted of five pieces of jungle, two swamps, a couple of rocks and a large red mushroom. Hendrik and Joaquín had a lot of questions, like "Are the rocks real?" and "Can the little stones under the model trees be coconuts?"

Joaquín and Hendrik

We played the same army lists like last time. I had to deploy first and did so in the following order, as seen from my side of the table:

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

Krüger then deployed his orcs like this, seen from my perspective, and moved first:

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

When I started to write this battle report, I looked at my notes and got lost. Dragon Rampant looks simple, but I still need time to master it, I guess.

So I asked Krüger: Do you remember what happened? I can’t see the wood for the trees.

hoplites and slingers

Krüger sent me a very detailed battle report. Please skip it, if you don’t speak German.

Die Griechen machten sich bereit für den Angriff der Orks. Ihre rechte Flanke wurde von einer Einheit Hopliten beschützt, direkt neben diesen machten sich die Schleuderer bereit. Das Zentrum hielt der General mit seiner Einheit, unterstützt von den Scouts und einer weiteren Einheit Hopliten. Die leichte Kavalerie sicherte die linke Flanke.
Die Orks konzentrierten ihre schnellen Einheiten auf ihrer linken Flanke, mit den Wildschweinreitern und den Wolfsreitern. Das Zentrum besetzte eine Einheit Ork Krieger, der Orkboss und die Nachtgoblins. Die rechte Flanke wurde von einer weiteren Einheit Orks abgesichert.
Beide Armeen rückten zunächst vor, die Orks etwas schneller und begieriger auf den Kampf und sich mehr auf die linke Flanke konzentrierend.
Dann begannen die Orks den Angriff mit den Wildschweinreitern. Diese stürzten sich auf die Hopliten, welche sich aber schon mit einem Schildwall geschützt hatten. Im darauf folgenden Gefecht schlugen die Hopliten die Wildschweinreiter mit Leichtigkeit zurück, welche daraufhin erst einmal ihre Wunden leckten.
Während die Wolfsreiter sich in Position brachten, wurde der Vormarsch der Orks im Zentrum erst einmal von den Schleuderern gestoppt, welche die Orks mit ihrem Beschuss kurzzeitig zur Flucht zwangen.
Doch auch die Schleuderer waren nicht vor Furcht gefeit und flohen vor dem Beschuss der Wolfsreiter, sammelten sich wieder und wurden doch letztlich vom Schlachtfeld vertrieben!
In der Zwischenzeit rückten endlich auch die Orks auf der rechten Flanke vor und griffen die leichte Kavallerie der Griechen an. Diese erlitt schwere Verluste und zog sich erst einmal von der Flanke zurück.
Um die Orks nun von der Flanke abzuhalten, brachten sich die Hopliten aus dem Zentrum in Position und nahmen die Schildwall Formation an.
Die Orkkrieger prallten zunächst vom Schildwall ab, schafften es aber mit viel Glück im zweiten Anlauf die Hopliten zu vernichten.
Inzwischen war allerdings die Ork Einheit in der Mitte durch den Beschuss der Scouts vom Schlachtfeld vertrieben worden. Foibos und seine Einheit griffen die Goblins an, welche sich durch einen Schildwall schützten und nur geringe Verluste erlitten, aber zurück gedrängt wurden.
Auf der linken Flanke sah es nun so aus, als ob die Orks sie komplett vernichten würden. Die Wolfsreiter brachen die Hopliten, und die Wildschweinreiter mussten nur noch angreifen und sie vernichten! Doch ausgerechnet in diesem Moment stritten diese untereinander und verpassten ihre Gelegenheit! Durch dieses Vorkommen konnten sich auch die Goblins nicht mehr zu einem Schildwall umformieren und wurden daraufhin von Foibos und seinen Mannen vernichtet.
Die Hopliten versuchten nun die Wolfsreiter anzugreifen, aber diese nutzten ihre überlegene Geschwindigkeit, um diesen zu entkommen. Nun griffen die Wildschweinreiter doch an, aber viel zu spät. In der Folge brachen sie und flohen vom Schlachtfeld. Die Wolfsreiter schafften es aber nun, die schwer angeschlagenen Hopliten zu vertreiben.
Währenddessen marschierten die beiden Generäle in der Mitte aufeinander zu, und auf der linken Flanke stieß die griechische leichte Kavallerie dazu.
Die Entscheidung stand nun kurz bevor! Auf der linken Flanke beschossen sich die Wolfsreiter, Scouts und leichte Kavallerie, während die Generäle in der Mitte kämpften.
Durch den Kampf abgelenkt, schaffte der Orkboss es nicht, die verbleibende große Einheit Orks in das Zentrum zu befehlen. Während die Wolfsreiter die leichte Kavallerie der Griechen vernichtete, schlugen die Generäle weiter aufeinander ein, und beider Leben hing nur noch an einem seidenen Faden.
Zuletzt jedoch fiel der Orkboss unter Foibos Speer, und die Schlacht war vorbei! Die Griechen hatten es mit letzter Kraft geschafft, die Orks zurückzuschlagen!
So what happened?

My basic strategy was to put the two units of hoplites into a shieldwall formation and position the slingers and scouts where they could shoot at the attacking orcs. 

ancient greeks vs orcs

Shooting worked. My slingers and scouts were able to destroy an orc warband (bellicose foot) in the center early in the game.

Thing is I didn’t know what to do with my light riders.

ancient greeks vs orcs

I ended up using them to bring the orc warband on my left flank close enough to the hoplites, so they had to attack them (wild charge).

Maybe this wasn’t such a bad plan, but unfortunately the orc warband destroyed the hoplites. Then I moved the light riders half-heartedly to my right flank where they were destroyed in the end.

Krüger, on the other hand, used his light riders much better. He combined them with another cavalry unit on my right flank, a unit of boar riders, and attacked early on.

At first Krüger’s boar riders (heavy riders) were stopped by the hoplites in shieldwall formation, but his wolf riders (light riders) managed to destroy my slingers. Then the wolf riders shot at the hoplites. The hoplites suffered some casualties and had to flee, thus loosing their shieldwall formation. They were attacked by the boar riders a second time and both units were battered and destroyed later.

In the center Foibos and his companions (elite foot) attacked a unit of night goblins (light foot) and destroyed them.

Then Gurkbatz (elite foot) attacked Foibos. This fight felt a bit like a penalty shoot-out. It went on for several rounds. First Gurkbatz lost a strength point, then Foibos, then Gurkbatz …

At the end Gurkbatz was slain.

There were only four units left on the battlefield: Foibos (elite foot) and a unit of Thracian scouts on my side. A battered orc warband (bellicose foot) and the goblin wolf riders on Krüger’s side.

The game ended. Now the Greeks from Kalimera occupy hexagon 21 on the campaign map.

campaign map

By the way, Borussia Dortmund won 2:1, thus winning the DFB Pokal, but a week later Thomas Tuchel, their trainer lost his job.

Maybe this will happen to young Foibos one day … He doesn’t get along too well with his boss, strategos Heracleides.