Just over two years ago I blogged about a rather obscure find called Bolt Thrower or Bust! If you want to check out what I had to say back then just follow the link here. For those of you who never saw my original post, or cannot be bothered to click the link, I will provide further details.
A lovely chap called John attends Oldhammer events from time to time. He is a wonderful gentleman who really enjoys the hobby and is very generous with his collection. He once gave me a near mint 1980s ambull as I have mentioned that I lacked the figure, just like that! He didn't expect anything in return, save to see a fellow enthusiast's joy upon receiving a long yearned for model. At that time, he also passed me a rather battered looking photocopy of a bizarre looking game called 'Bolt Thrower or Bust!'
Though the resolution of the photocopy wasn't great, I could see enough to know that I was looking at a previously unknown mini-game from Games Workshop's 'Golden Age' - namely, when Bryan Ansell owned the company and ran things. I scoured the internet and various dark and dingy forums (I even frequented Warseer!!) in search of more information.
There was nothing.
Intrigued, I set about trying to source the original 1980s publication in which it appeared, a late December 1989 issue of Sounds - one of those highbrow, poncey music newspapers that took themselves too serious, but are now sadly defunct thanks to internet hackery. Amongst articles on The Grid, Henry Rollins and Simple Minds lurked a rather out of place 'game' that must have left many of the self-obsessed readership totally baffled.
It was essentially a rip-off Talisman City with some gags thrown in and looked like it had been jumbled together on a Friday afternoon after a liquid lunch - which is probably was! But it was fun, zany and irreverent - just like Games Workshop used to be. I knew then and there that I would like to play the game. Trouble was, it was black and white and printed on newspaper that was more akin to that scratchy Izal toilet 'paper' we children of the '70s and '80s had to endure on those youthful trips to the lavatory.
So I suggested to the community that someone, somewhere might have the technical ability to take my measly discovery and shoddy scans, and with a flick of a techno-wizard's wrist, transform them into something Oldhammer and Talisman fans could play again. Hopefully, over a few cans of ale and a kebab.
Enter Jon New. A stay-at-home dad from the Somerset Levels. A big time Talisman fan, he contacted me over the summer to share with me some of the work he had been doing with Bolt Thrower or Bust! To say I was stunned was an understatement, as I had long given up the hope of anyone wanting (or having the ability and resources) to jazz up the materials printed in Sounds.
Our discussions were hampered by my house move and the general faff of getting settled into a new home. I wasn't the most proactive of enthusiasts, but I finally managed to send him some decent photographs from my issue of Sounds yesterday. Jon messaged me this afternoon to say that he had finished the project.
Let's take a look!
First up we have the delightfully named player characters, crafted into some Talismanesque gaming pieces by Jon. Loota, Shoota, Elmit and Fiddla are our heroes and are suitably amusing in a way Games Workshop will sadly never be again. To misquote Bilbo Baggins when I speak of Fiddla 'what has he got in his pockets?'
Paul Bonner's art is as masterful as ever. No-one else captured the brutally comical world of the goblinoids (calling them greenskins is dumbing down, no mistake) as well as he. His pictures are still fascinating and rewarding to explore nearly thirty years later. The generic tosh GW produces now when illustrating orks or goblins is utter rubbish in comparison, and struggles to justify it's distinction as art, if you ask me.
Instead of just regurgitating the brief rules as a set of text, Jon decided to create playing cards detailing the finer parts of the game, with the white spaces are a mere placeholder for later images. Again, keeping the style of the cards very much in the Talisman vein, these resources are certainly more tactile and useful that a grotty block of writing.
Even if it is printed in that much missed font Citadel used so often in the 1980s.
Jon continued to stick to his guns here, and produced additional cards for the Gig, Ruck, and Street rules. His adapted playing cards follow for your viewing pleasure.
Then there is that iconic Talisman toad. Jon whipped up cards in the same style as the other Bolt Thrower or Bust pieces. No-one likes being the toad, do they? Perhaps being a toad drawn by Paul Bonner may feel different?
Oh, Jon even went as far as producing a few tikkits for the Bolt Thrower gig. Though you may struggle to find a venue south of Altdorf which will accept them!
We really do owe Jon a debt of gratitude with this little project. I intend to print out these resources on Friday and get them laminated. My wife loves a good game of Talisman, though she has told me in no uncertain terms 'not to play Bolt Thrower's World Eater' in her presence again! Hopefully, I can get a game in over the weekend and really appreciate Jon's endeavours.
I have shamelessly nicked all of his excellent visuals and you will find much better resolution images from his article on Talisman Island. Just follow the link to reap the reward of Jon's hard labour!
Right, where did I put that Slaves to Darkness album?