Wednesday 27 March 2013

Eldritch Epistles: Realm of Chaos Excellence by Steve Casey

Steve Casey, of Citadel Collecting fame, has launched a new blog after running into difficulties with his previous website. If you love vintage Citadel, Oldhammer and all things retro, this will be the blog for you. Steve has shifted over the pictures he has taken of Bryan Ansell's collection and intends to update the collection shortly. Looking at what he has on offer in his first post, the focus may well be on Realm of Chaos era miniatures!

 Check out these for a taster!

Here's the link to his blog

Follow it, now!

Or the Ruinous Powers will flay your souls from your corpses!

You have been warned!


Sunday 24 March 2013

Warhammer Third Edition Reference by Dreamfish

I noticed that there has been a discussion on the Blood Forum about a Warhammer Third Edition reference. This got me thinking, as I was sure that I had a pretty detailed, non-copyright, version lying around somewhere. A quick hunt through my computer and I found this reference by Alex Koning.


I cannot recall where I got it from, but big thanks to Alex for putting it together. I hope some of you fellow Third Edition gamers get some use out of it.

I present it here as an embedded document as I am aware that some of you are having problems with Scribd  accounts. If you want a copy, just email me and I'll send it out to you.




Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness 25th Anniversary Celebration: Orlygg's latest paintjobs

I've been suffering with Painter's Block for about six weeks now.

No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't draw up enough enthusiasm to get painting. There was no real rhyme or reason it this, I just couldn't get my act together.

Well, I am pleased to inform you that this period of inactivity is now over. With all the snow that the UK has suffered (yet again) this weekend, I set my self up at the painting table and got on with it. I found myself to be rather prolific and I managed to get quite a few models finished for my Khorne Army.

I am sharing them with you below. As always, I used original Citadel colour from the '80s (interspersed with a few Coat d'Arms replacements) and the associated ink range. I used a simple 'look and snap' digital camera and the colours are a little muted, but I think there is enough for you to get the idea. 

Chaos warrior with halberd and shield. Old school shield designs are a favourite of mine, and it painted this one to match the colour of the model's armour.
An 1985 chaos warrior with a double handed axe. This one lacked a shield, so I tried to free hand a face design on to the shoulder. I was reasonably happy with the result. 
Chaos warrior with axe and shield. I used Andy Craig's advice to work up an original shade of red. The discussions I have had with him have inspired me to move away from selecting colours 'out of the pot' and create my own shades. 
Chaos Marauder with half pike and shield. A old design on this one, if I recall correctly I did it for an article on shield painting last year and had yet to find a good use for it. 
Chaos Dwarf Bombard and Crew. Love this model. I used the colour scheme from the old Realm of Chaos packaging as inspiration here. I have just started work on the bazooka crew from the same range. 
A Blue Horror, painted in respect of Kev Adams (who, or course, sculpted these back in the late '80s) who was attacked in his own home last week. Here's hoping he recovers soon and gets back to producing models as good as this one again. 
I've got a couple more chaos warriors and marauders on the go, so expect to see them soon, as well as more Tzeentch goodness in the guise of a Pink Horror and a Flamer. 

What you reckon to my efforts? Any tips or advice really appreciated.


Friday 22 March 2013

Goblinaid: Oldhammer Supports Kev Adams! UPDATED!

ANOTHER UPDATE FROM KEV! via GoblinAid on Facebook!

"Thanks , I really appreciate what (GoblinAid) and everyone else is doing to help me , I feel bad as I've not communicated on facebook but I've never wanted to join and the best way for me to get over what happened is to get my head into something creative so I'm compiling lots of music as its a hobby and great fun as I love mixing and doing interesting things with synths and ambient sounds.

It means i will be locked at desk when i get back to work as theres lots of new sounds to keep me interested. I'm hoping to give it a bash next week as my eye is improving. I was on a roll and making my first female models and am itching to get back. I'm lucky I didn't lose my sight in right eye. The socket was that badly smashed that my eye was lower than it should be and the operation was very complex they tell me.

Still got a broken jaw and nose is broken in three places and I was shown X-Rays yesterday of how my face was all caved in and why they used metal plates to rebuild cheekbones .

I hope they catch these idiots before they kill somebody .

I'm not happy because they got the wrong house as its my neighbour who they were trying to rob but we both have gravel drives.There's been a spate of similar robberies and a girl was mugged the other night outside the local shop by three hooded thugs who sound like they could be the same lot .

I'm on the mend and will bounce back, theres a new picture attached and I dont mind if you post it so people can see I'm ok. I'm healing very well due to the fact that i drink lots of wheatgrass and juice vegetables and eat a lot of fresh fruit, I'm totally into a healthy raw vegan diet these days so I will soon recover."

If you haven't heard on the wargaming grapevine, Kev Adams, the goblin master himself, has been badly injured during an attack in his own home. The gaming world has galvanised itself in order to help him recover.

Check out this link for more information.!/profile.php?id=582169528462833&__user=558871727


Thanks for caring , ive had loads of suport wich is great , i'm not on favebook and cant see poperlt so typings bad 
I got three masked idiots in hoods with faces covered who got in my house when i was up here and cornered me in my loft , i got a knife pressed into my face and one of them kept hitting me in face hard with knuckleduster so all my cheekbones are smashed to bits and i look like elephant man , nose is broke in three places and one teeth broken and i cant eat so am having to drink gren goblin juice LOL , they wanted weed and money and jewellery but they had got the wrong house and i wouldnt entertain them and stood up to them hence the injuries so they gave up and made off with my imac .
the slags did similar to an 80 year old lady and tried to suffocate her with plastic bag . last night according to police they did two more raids and hurt people ,
they are being charged with attempted murder on me because my injuries are so severe and of course aggravated burglary but they need to catch them first .
i'm more annoyed at how traumatised my family are and they said they will kill me if police are called but none of them scared me as they all had faces covered up and are little cowards .
if they turn up i'm ready for them and will smash them with my cricket bat because they are nothing as i was caught off guard . 
i didnt fight them in close confines of loft because i have a family to care for and in close quarters could have been fatally stabbed and its not worth getting killed over an imac .
Ive got to dash as my partner needs me nearby but will be back working as soon as i can see again .
dont worry i'm a tough old bird and wont be beaten by a bunch of mugs .
you can post this on facebook if you like so everyone knows what happened .
ive got to have a load of metal plates in my face so will get rid of my wrinklelsLLOL


Tuesday 19 March 2013

Growing Your Own: The Possibility of Oldhammer Style Miniatures?

Insert Chaos Weapon here...
Recently, I have been waxing lyrical about two of the big three heavyweights of own niche of niche hobby, namely wargames scenarios and games tables.

So what's the third, you may wonder?

Well, if gaming in in highest form consists of creating your own detailed and challenging scenarios and working with others in your gaming group to produce massive, ambitious gaming tables then surely designing your own miniatures to actually play with is of equally great importance?

After spending an idle hour or two researching about how manufacturers (and committed wargamers) actually design and cast metal (and resin) models I got to wondering if I could do it myself. As far as I understand, casting in metal is a skill to be developed and improved just like writing, painting or sculpting. There are also a wide range of products available on-line that allow you to create rubber moulds and produce components and models at home.

This got me thinking (hypothetically, I mighty add) about what I'd want from a range of miniatures that would enhance the collection of Old School lead that I already own. Here are my thoughts on my 'ethos' of a miniature range...

1) The miniatures should be cast in metal. This is the material I prefer as they feel solid and 'real'. The weight of metal provides, for me anyway, with a far more tactile experience over plastic or resin. 

2) The design ethos needs to be based in reality. Unrealistic armours and weapons are not to my tastes. Nothing pushes me away from a range like oversized weapons (or weapons that would be useless if actually used by real soldiers) or ridiculous armours (like those often worn by female characters, that offer no real protection and plenty of flesh to oggle).

3) Use historical reference as major source material, particularly the later medieval period. This should be reflected in character clothing, equipment and so on. 

4) Inject character back into the models. No ranks of identikit blandness for me, and no multi-part plastic kits. I want my models to have a 'soul' to them. And I am sorry, the only way to achieve this is to have a sculptor skilled enough to actually put one there. 

Pig Faced Orcs by Otherworld. Though based on the design ethos of American D&D fantasy, they prove that Old School inspired models are a possibility.
So this leaves me to ask a few questions. Do you agree with my 'ethos' on design? Have you ever cast your own models, and if so can you offer any hints or tips at how best to start? Have you ever commissioned a sculptor to produce a mini, if so, how much did they charge?

Hoping to hear from you all soon...


Sunday 17 March 2013

Apps and the 80s: I love retro gaming

If you had asked me back in the day if I owned a tablet, I would have thought that you suspected me to be be either ill, or on drugs. I remember the fuss made during the '80s and '90s of the ACID symbol. In my school, even the suggestion that you had drawn the smiley face on your RE book was enough to cause the senior leadership to call your parents in... even if you were only eight!

Another huge fuss was made about the fantasy game trend in general. In the days before we discovered Warhammer or Heroquest there were two leading fantasy brands in my school; Fighting Fantasy and The Lords of Midnight.

Both we banned by our God fearing headmaster.

Such an attitude, as you can imagine, only elevated their allure so that even the 'kids from the estate' were interested in loading up Mike Singleton's classic on the school's BBC Micros, early IBMs or C64s. In the days before Health and Safety, teachers retreated to the staff room and let the kids get on with whatever they wanted to do, bar, of course, scrapping. So free from adult interference, we spent hours glued to the adventures of Luxor, Morkin and the battle between the Free, the Fay and the Foul. 

The hours I put into this. I never beat Doomdark, though!
The same attitude prevailed for the Fighting Fantasy books. I had a friend so passionate about reading these, he used to do 'cover transplants' and place Enid Blyton covers over the top of Deathtrap Dungeon (or my personal favourite, Trial of the Champions) and merrily game away in class free from the fear of a Bible being  cast in his general direction or his parents being called in! 

The hours I put into this, I never beat it without cheating, though!
A while back I mentioned tablets. I was referring to the more modern meaning of the term, namely the communication devices that are available to us here in the 21st century and with which I communicate with you all know. I am fairly new to the idea of being mobile, having resisted the lure of an iPhone or iPad for sometime. I bought a Kindle HD, largely so I could blog on the go and to watch TV in bed with the kids. My son, Jack, loves Angry Birds and the other games that can be played so easily with a touch interface. 

Recently, I stumbled across several apps that brought back the excitement of the '80s, in a thoroughly modern way; namely the Fighting Fantasy apps Blood of the Zombies, The House of Hell and The Lords of Midnight itself. 

Let's have a quick look at them, shall we?

Blood of the Zombies 

This is a Tin Man Games produced title of the new FF gamebook released last year, or was it the year before? It was my first brush with gamebook software and it seems several other companies have had a go at bringing these classic games back to life on tablets and PCs. What struck me the most was the impact of the musical score which plays away in suitably sinister fashion as you read. It really does up the tension. Secondly, the software design gives you a range of options about how to play; a hardcore mode, which is essentially just following the rules to the letter, and several other modes that allow you to cheat. There are a number of extras also, achievements, background information about the development of the book and artworks to collect. 

Here we have the game running, complete with virtual dice and the more modern art style. Great fun!

I chose to have a go at the book on Hardcore mode. And its well named, as I died pretty quickly. But the experience excited me and made me want to go back and try again. One thing that I thought was missing, was the option of being able to map your progress through the game, as this was an aspect of FF gaming that I enjoyed the most back in the day. There is nothing stopping me doing the same now (good old squared paper was your best friend back in the day). 

House of Hell

Tin Man Games followed up Blood of the Zombies with House of Hell. Which was a gamebook that I remember vividly, even though I never actually played it. Back then, for some reason long forgotten, I only 'did' the fantasy ones. A game set in modern times did nothing for me. So I approached the second release with great interest. This time, the game mechanic was adjusted by having a FEAR score as well as all the other stats. Once you reach your maximum FEAR your are scared to death and the game ends. As before, its the music that really ups the atmosphere, and there is the option to play either in old school or more modern art styles. 

With House of Hell, two sets of dice are rolled, one for you and the other for your opponent . 
With plans to release other gamebooks in the future, it looks like I am going to get a whole load of FF quality gaming in on the go in the future. 

I cannot wait!

The Lords of Midnight

This game as an utter surprise! I had no idea that there were any plans to re-release this classic nor, sadly, did I know about the passing of Mike Singleton himself. So I was very pleased when I saw the iconic graphics appearing in the amazon app store. 

If you don't know what The Lords of Midnight was, or indeed is, then let me explain. It was a fantasy wargame on a huge scale released in 1984 for the home micro of the age. The scale of game was vast and the ambition behind it was doubly so. It was a bit like having Lord of the Rings at home. 

The new version has excellent art design.
At its heart, its was a wargame. You commanded characters, who in turn could recruit other characters and warriors to build quite vast armies. As you explored the world you visited different locations, from ruins, to lakes to mountains and fought off dragons, wolves and worse. Your ultimate goal was to beat Doomdark in open battle, or destroy his power with Morkin seizing the Ice Crown or do both! Considering the specifications of machines at the time, it really is amazing that Singleton was able to cram in so much detail into some little RAM. It really is a triumph of game design.

The modern app contains the game and load of other features that makes playing the same far easier then it was back then. No loading or crashes... Games are easy to save... And there is a tutorial that explains how to play the game. 

Are there any more '80s style gaming apps out there?


Saturday 16 March 2013

'Oldhammer Style' Games Tables: A Lesson from History?

I recently posted some images from Marcus Ansell in which he shared with us the tables they are amassing at the Wargames Foundry for gaming sessions. They are typical of modern, contoured boards and certainly look impressive, especially when compared with my tables of yore - a few books with a grass paper mat rolled over the top, lumps of lichen for bushes or trees and cut up scouring pads for hedgerows. 

Oldhammer has its roots in nostalgia, there is no argument there. Some sceptics may suggest a fresh rose tinted haze about fantasy gaming's past that cannot be compared to modern, CAD designed models and scenery, but that is missing the point, and also, as you will see, completely untrue.

One thing that 2000pt two player gaming and the growing commercialisation (particularly by GW) of scenery  itself has created, are fairly unambitious wargaming boards. They're fit for purpose of course, but that purpose is to accommodate fairly small plastic armies fighting armylist influenced non-narrative games. These boards are often as soulless and ubiquitous as the miniatures, rules and armylists themselves 

Sadly, this has even crept into historical gaming, though some wargaming groups and manufacturers buck the trend...

Such as...

Corunna at Salute 2012 by Essex Gamesters - a worthy show winner. Just look at the ambition and scale of this game!
The game came complete with a finely modelled town and dock.
The size and shape of the table blew me away when I saw it - as did the attention to detail, just look at this frigate!
You can see that the Essex Gamesters worked together to create something incredibly impressive and ultimately show stopping. 

This must be the future ambition of the Oldhammer Movement, surely? If Thantsants can create something as astonishing as his Orc's Drift set up on his own, what could we produce all working together as the Gamesters did? Perhaps a self developed scenario such as those under discussion here?

Thanks to Nico (he of the marvellous paint job) we now have some proper Oldhammer inspiration to draw upon, namely, old school tables produced in the '80s by gaming groups to play Second and Third Edition Warhammer on. 

Check these out!

The Player's Guild Games Table from Games Day '86
Another example of the Player's Guild and their '80s wargames tables. This one looks like its got space for the entire Warhammer Townscape building collection!
A colour photograph if the '86 table from the other direction.
A section of the famous WFB3 games table.
Now compare what you have seen to this, a table created with cutting edge technology nearly 30 years later...

The difference is simple. The larger boards have been created by larger groups of gamers who want a memorable experience and who are willing to put a great deal of time and effort into scenarios, miniatures and scenery. The smaller boards are for simplistic unambitious 'cleanse and burn' style gaming among two rather small (but shockingly expensive) armies where the emphasis is that everything is done for you and can be bought off the shelf. The battlefields would look much the same in gaming clubs from London, to Washington D.C to Sydney. 

Highstreet gaming at its most banal!

Don't get me wrong, there are some outstanding and remarkable tables out there, many of which use the products described above, but these are, sadly, few and far between. If the Oldhammer Movement is going to one day do a show and start promoting the ethos publically, we must follow the lead of our WFB3 playing forebears and produce a table that does the fantastic miniatures that we spend so much time collecting and painting, total justice.



Friday 15 March 2013

Oldhammer Scenarios Part 2: Could we create our own McDeath, Orc's Drift or Lichemaster?

Welcome back to the discussion. In my last post I stated that I had more to say about this issue and I even have a couple of synopsis for possible Scenario Packs to work on in the future.

So here goes...

Imagine painting lots of these? Certainly something very different from the Oldhammer norm. 
The Seventh Samurai 

Following on from the '80s tradition of drawing inspiration from a combination of history and popular culture, this idea would draw on the cinematic masterpiece The Seven Samurai as well as Japanese and Chinese history and folklore. Using the published contingent list from Warhammer Armies as a basis, we could develop the rules for the armies of Nippon and Cathay and use Aly Morrison's Samurai range (recently re-released by the Foundry) as the basis of the models.

The plot could concern a goblinoid assault on a province near the Great Wall of Cathay. A select group of samurai are sent to galvanize the local population into action. They are drawn into a conflict that escalates as they discover that a hobgoblin warlord, leading the greenskin forces, has joined forces with a mysterious necromancer to break through the Great Wall, and enter Cathay. As the conflict escalates from skirmish to large scale battle, it emerges that the greenskin/undead force has been displaced by the growing threat of a full scale chaos incursion. Can the Samurai save enough of the local forces to successfully withstand a terrifying siege or will they need to do the unthinkable, and ally themselves with the forces of evil against a far darker peril?
How would a largely human army, lead by a high level character with magical weapons,  manage against the Greater Daemon of Nurgle?
Plague Daemon, The Ignorant Armies or..?

Using a period GW novel, create a series of games and scenarios based on the background and plot. After all, the characters are already designed and their a plenty of key moments that can be developed into games. Plague Daemon contains everything from small scale skirmishes and alluded to larger battles. Perfect for developing a series of linked games. Players could play individual characters during a larger scale battle, with secret objectives and plenty of unexpected twists. This option, particularly, has a rich vein to mine.

Well, hopefully that will have got your creative juices flowing... Have you anything further to add to my two suggestions, or do you have other, more exciting concepts?


Oldhammer Scenarios: Could we create our own McDeath, Orc's Drift or Lichemaster?

Would it be possible for the Oldhammer Community to create a Scenario Pack like this?

I am going to ask a question.

Some of you may say that it is far too early to do so, but I am going to ask it just the same.

What do we do after the Foundry Oldhammer Event this summer?

I suppose an immediate answer could be, depending on the success of the weekender, to plan another even for 2014 and such a notion would have my full support.

But I feel that there will be a real 'window of opportunity' to sieze after our weekender is done and dusted. After all, its our weekend and is for us but it will attract the attention of gamers and collectors outside of the Oldhammer Movement. This attention will need to be built upon if we are going to grow the community.

Erny, and a few other stallwarts of the Old School, have mentioned in the past that if we are going to to anything, we really need about producing new material for Warhammer Third Edition. Such a fan based approach has been very successful among other groups of fans and enthusiasts, the homebrew 'Warhammer Armies' project being, perhaps, the most successful. These passionate gamers have invested a great deal of time creating modern warhammer army books for long neglected areas of the Warhammer game; most notably books for Araby, Estalia and Nippon. They have even gone as far as to comissioning their own art for these books, so that they match the feel of 7th and 8th edition publications.

I propose we do the same.

Throughout the Third Edition era publications there are tantalising hints at what could have happened. There are mentions of un-released, or more likely never begun, supplements for Lustria and beyond. I am proposing that we begin work on designing, play testing and releasing, in a free and accessible manner, these 'missing' supplements in glorious Third Edition style.

This then raises the question; how do we do it? I have had a few thoughts about this and wish to share them with you.

Here goes...

1) Expand the detail of some of the lesser known lists in Warhammer Armies so that they can be fielded as more detailed forces. This would include special rules, spells and magical items. Even new units. We could produce a shield and banner design page and perhaps a selection of painted miniatures (with a mugshot of the collector to boot!)

This would certainly be the easiest thing to do.

2) Create a full scale article or series of articles, such as the Magnificant Svenn, that provides the gamer with a battle to collect forces for and a scenario to fight. Such a game could easiliy be accomodated within the existing ranges and the collections we already have.

3) Produce a full scale 'Scenario Pack' in the style of Orc's Drift or McDeath complete with a campaign of scenarios, background, maps, artwork and cardboard cut out buildings. This pack would attempt to expand the background of Warhammer Third Edition's game world by exploring a new part of the Warhammer World in the style of 1980s GW. So expect a lot of black and white illustrations, crazy characters, a strong emphahsis on narrative and GM led battles.

4) The same as 3, but we work togther to produce the models, scenery, wargames table and resources and take the game on 'The Road' - perhaps running it as a demonstration event, or better still, a participation game at one of the major wargaming shows around, further expanding the Oldhammer Ethos and having a jolly good laugh at the same time!

If you are anything like me, you are going to be thinking about option 3 and 4, aren't you?

I'll be back a little later to explain to you what I think would make a good Scenario Pack but in the meantime...

Thoughts and opinions about this please!

Who would be up for it?

Thursday 14 March 2013

Oldhammer: Past, Present and Future...

Hello dear readers.

Here's hoping that this post finds you well, your lead pile tottering and your paint pots never dry. Today I have a few things to discuss with you all, and a few things to share, too.

Turning the tables

To start with I'd like share with you some images that Marcus Ansell has sent me. As you may or may not know, he is working behind the scenes at The Wargames Foundry to get as many tables together as possible for us to game over. Its early days, but these are three example tables of what you might expect to play on this summer.

That river could help construct a good narrative or two, couldn't it?

No room to hide!

Massive and legless- a bit like Orlygg.
The last image shows a broken table on its side. This beast is the one earmarked as a possible table for the Realm of Chaos games, though it needs its legs mending. Marcus feels that the tables are a little battered, but I think they look fantastic! They are certainly much better than anything I have gamed on before. Rob Townsend, a talented chap who used to do the tables for Wargames Illustrated, is going to work with the Foundry in the future to get more tables like this... Can imagine the serried ranks of classic lead clashing across these table tops? I can hear the dice chattering already. 

Bryan Ansell has also been in contact, explaining a little about those icons of his era that he is still in contact with. One name that cropped up a lot was John Blanche. Here's a picture of some of John's more recent models that he shared with the Ansells. Enjoy.

John Blanche conversions.

An Oldhammer Archive?

James Hall, an extinquished member of the Oldhammer Community on Facebook, has emailed me with a suggestion that I thought about preserving some of my content as a pdf elsewhere. Too be honest, it wasn't something that I was considering until now. His comments got me thinking about an idea that was kicking around during the early days of the Oldhammer Movement. Namely, developing a fanzine of sorts. Real Longbearded Oldhammer Grognards will no doubt recall the days that White Dwarf magazine ran special best of issues. I was wondering if the idea of doing a 'best of Oldhammer 2012-2013' might be a possibility? A pdf or some such that collects together the best articles from all the blogs on the scene? 

What do others think?


Tuesday 12 March 2013

The Spanish Connection: Orlygg's Oldhammer Interview

Lots of the major players on the Oldhammer scene are posting comments about what Oldhammer means to them, how they got started in the hobby, not to mention tales about how they came back to  'light'.

I felt like jumping on this bandwagon. Luckily for me, some Spanish enthusiasts, those at the Laserburn blog, asked me to contribute to a podcast about Realm of Chaos 80, and Oldhammer in general. So if you are interested in hearing me waffle on incoherently for an hour about 'my story' and my view on what Oldhammer is, or could become, follow the link below.



Saturday 9 March 2013

Richard Halliwell:A tribute to Games Workshop's Forgotten Genius

If any enthusiast of early British fantasy or science-fiction gaming does the tiniest bit of digging through the archives, they will quickly discover that the 'Golden Age' was spearheaded, pretty much, by the same designers. Wargaming is, and has always been, a small, niche hobby and before the widespread reach of the internet connected enthusiasts worldwide, things were pretty localised. You had to travel to the 'fantasy shoppe' to browse the ranges, or purchase a publication (such as White Dwarf or Dragon) and peruse the classifieds at the back of the magazine. 

Something else you did was keep an eye on authors and miniature manufacturers whose style or approach to gaming was on par with your own. Rick Priestley was a name synonymous with wargaming in the late '70s and very early '80s, especially if you lived 'up north'. Obviously, he is now arguably the most famous Games Designer in the UK, and certainly one of the most prolific (I consider him to be the Cliff Richard of wargaming, he's been around for so long that no-one is ever going to top is achievements) and can be approached at any major wargaming event or conversed with on a forum or two. However, there is one other name that straddles the '80s like a colossus. A name that has faded, unjustly, into the ether, despite his many contributions still frequenting gaming tables across the world.

That name is Richard Halliwell.

This post hopes to have look at his phenomenal career and inform the reader about the enormous debt that we gamers, collectors and enthusiasts owe his forgotten genius and to share with you a (hopefully) definitive list of his work. So if I have missed anything out, email or comment and I'll set the record straight. 

Right, time to travel right back to the early months of Thatcher's Britain. Recession, unrest, problems with Argentina (hey, sounds like today) and a couple of young blades craft a science fiction game set in the grim darkness of the far future...

Combat 3000 1979

This was a basic publication in an age of very basic publications. Rick Priestley has explained that publishing was so primitive and difficult to do back then, that only the very, very committed could ever actually produce something. Well, I for one am very glad that Halliwell and Priestley put the effort in to get these rules published otherwise the landscape of later British gaming could have been very different.

Combat 3000 was essentially a generic science fiction game for 25mm infantry. As the title suggested, the game was set in the year 3000 and was written with much of Asgard's 15mm/25mm science-fiction miniatures in mind. Primarily, this rule set is a skirmish game which allows players to form basic squads with a range of weapons and battle it out. There was also one supplement, released in 1981 called Combat 3001: A fist full (sic) of Credits, which added some advanced rules (such as alien creatures, the effect of gravity, visibility and different fire modes) and rules for vehicles. Interestingly, Bryan Ansell (with a wonderful misspelled name) contributes an image or two to the set. 

If you fancy taking one of these rulesets out for a go, I've found a handy scribd link to a decent copy. 

And here's a quick link to the supplement.

Reaper 1981

Over the years, Reaper has gained the reputation of being a forerunner of Warhammer Fantasy Battle. This is largely due to it sharing the same authors, namely Priestley and Halliwell. It was designed to be a fantasy skirmish game that utilized about 30 or so models, and left a good amount to the imagination of the players - which is no bad thing. Published by Tabletop Games in 1981, though not terribly received by the 'powers that be' at the time, Reaper was influential enough to get gamers gaming and provided a bedrock on which to build something better.

What made Reaper stand apart from similar contemporary systems, was the fact that it allowed players to create different stats for generic fantasy races. For example, let's take the much maligned orc. Though there were only a few miniature manufacturers at the time (Ral Partha and Minifigs being two), many models looked very different from each other and were often very different in size, so a player would expect that the larger models on the table would be more powerful than the smaller. This wasn't always the case in the rulesets. Reaper allowed the player to create individual statistics for any unit, so those orcs could be better represented regarding their size and equipment. 

All the usual wargame fodder was present in the Reaper rules; movement, moral, observations etc. But it was the magic system that made the game something different. Wizards had been, up to this point, fairly generic beings in game terms. Now, their spell sets could be built from the ground up with a wide range of factors to exploit; from area of effect, to range to strength. There were over 20 different factors to take account of when creating spells. However, the more factors you keyed in, the more difficult the spell became to cast, with the possibility of spells backfiring and destroying allied forces. A sort of magical 'blue on blue' if you like...

All this detail resulted in a ruleset that demanded that you, the player, invested a great deal of time in the creation of forces and battles. No off the shelf gaming here. 

Imperial Commander 1981

Imperial Commander was, and still is, a set of wargames rules designed for science fiction combat. Like Reaper, it was published by Tabletop Games and was based around their 15mm science fiction miniatures range, still known to this day as the Laserburn models. The system was produced to create a fast paced game, using about 50 or so figures a side, and still has a small, but highly dedicated group of players, still playing to this day. 

Halliwell wrote the ruleset with Bryan Ansell in the very early '80s and follows a now familiar theme. Battles take place between an oppressive, galaxy spanning Imperium and the religious, fanatic Red Redemption - heard these words before, dear readers? Players take turns to move, fight and command armies over a game that takes about 2 to 3 hours to play. A sequel was also prepared, called Imperial Commander 2, but never saw the light of day. 

Unlike Reaper and Combat 3000, a version of Imperial Commander (called BEAMSTRIKE) is still available to buy online, alongside the Laserburn range of models, from A very nice they look too!

Then Came Warhammer 1981 - 1986 

Over the next five years, Warhammer was developed from a free give away from Citadel Miniatures Mail Order into the premium fantasy wargame. Halliwell's name appears on all of these incarnations. And, truth be told, there is not much to tell here that has not been discussed in detail elsewhere in the Oldhammer Community. 

The first edition (WFB1) was released in 1981 and was essentially an RPG wargame. Despite many rules inconsistencies, typing errors and poor presentation, the actual battle systems was rated to be excellent. In fact, the psychology rules and rules for bodging magical attacks were praised for creating a suitable fantasy feel. Interestingly, in this first incarnation of the world's most popular fantasy wargame, Dark Elves were known as Night Elves and there were such things a Red Goblins. Very little background information was given, either for the gaming word or the races themselves. That, like Reaper, was left to the imaginations of the players. 

The second edition (WFB2) jazzed things up and had much higher production values. Much of the material that worked from WFB1 was kept, though heavily revised. Magic, for example, was split into the different disciplines (illusionist, battle etc) and much more information was given about the background of the Warhammer world. Scenario packs were produced that expanded on this. Around the same time as WFB2, Halliwell contributed to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, which was eventually released in 1986. 

1987 saw the release of Ravening Hordes, a selection of Army Lists for WFB2 developed by Halliwell and Priestley. This really galvanized the sale of Citadel Miniatures, as now players had an army list with which to plan there purchases. 

Block Mania 1987

Richard Halliwell had a busy, and very creative, year in 1987. He also worked on Block Mania, a tactical combat game set in the universe of British 2000AD classic, Judge Dredd. In this board game, players took on the role of rival neighbouring 'blocks', essentially a living space. The residents of these blocks would hope to destroy as much of their rival block as they could, using anything and everything that came to hand, from spray paint to heavy lasers. There were many expansions to the game, and supplements published in White Dwarf. These include Mega Mania and Citi-Block, which doubled as a supplement for the Judge Dredd roleplaying game published by Games Workshop in the mid to late 1980s. 

Warhammer Third Edition 1987

The big one. The greatest edition of the game ever released. You wouldn't be reading this blog if this wasn't so! And yes, Halliwell worked on this piece of genius too.

Dark Future 1987 

Dark Future was Halliwell's contribution to the Big Box Era of Games Workshop releases. It was essentially a car combat game with a highly developed background, so developed that Jack 'Kim Newman' Yeovil and others produced a number of high quality novels and short stories about it.

The game involved the then dark future of the 1990s, where much of the USA has become an arid hell hole of rival gangs, and the Sanctioned Ops (privatised police forces) who hunted them down. As you'd expect, there are options a plenty and a range of model vehicles and miniatures was produced for the game. Strangely, there was very little connection with the other GW games with DF, though Chaos Cultists did appear. I recently bought a copy of this game to get into, but it is currently on hiatus and we all focus on Realm of Chaos and the Oldhammer Weekender, but I shall one day return to this excellent game. Halliwell produced a number of additional articles for White Dwarf as well as a single rules supplement called White Line Fever in 1989. 

My blog concerning this journey can be found here.

Space Hulk First Edition 1989, Deathwing and Genestealer 1990

If Halliwell's pedigree as a genius of game design was not already proven by the list of games already described, than this final entry alone would have assured it. Space Hulk is iconic among wargamers. A brutally difficult game for the Marine player and a game that is infinite in its replayability. The first edition is the best, though the recent third edition has better miniatures and quality board, and had a wide range of additional missions and expansions. Most notably Deathwing and Genestealer. Eventually, my Rogue Trader blog will be used to discuss these games in greater detail and explore the shared background these great games share with Rogue Trader.

You may now be wondering 'what happened to Richard Halliwell then?' After all, Jervis Johnson, Bryan Ansell and many of the other legendary designers are still, in varying degrees, still on the scene. So what not Richard Halliwell? Sadly, his story does not have a happy ending at the moment. When researching his contribution to British gaming I did a few searches here and there to find out what he had done since the early 90s.

I found this on the Boardgame Geek website:


Richard "Hal" Halliwell here. Down on my luck at the minute. I did a lot of overland travels motorbiked from Nottingham to Zimbabwe, Ohio to Costa Rica etc. On my last trip I got robbed, framed and banged up by Thai police. Got back to find my house had been squatted and repossessed, my bank accounts emptied and my friends weren't going to help me. Nearly died on the street. OK now, curtesy (sic) of this housing association. I am working on a WW2 toy soldier game and looking for gamestesters (sic). Fancy helping out?'

This was confirmed by Rick Priestley earlier on this year:

'Richard has suffered from long-term ill-health for a good few years now and is unable to work - but he's OK and last time I saw him he was continuing developing a WW2 wargame based on a hypothetical German invasion of Britain in 1940.'

Not an ideal end, is it? Certainly not for one of, if not the, greatest miniature games designer that the UK, or indeed any other country, has ever produced. Richard Halliwell was regarded as 'untouchable' when it came to board game design by those who knew him at the peak of his powers and the wealth of games that he has left us are the bedrock of Oldhammer itself. No doubt, if you cast a look around the games being played this summer at the Foundry, nearly all of them will have felt his influence in some way or another.

What an achievement!

And, iff you ever get to read this Richard, myself and the Oldhammer Community would like to thank you for your incredible contribution to British gaming and hope you all the best in the future. I for one would love to play that WW2 game you've been working on all these years!

So, what are your opinions of Richard Halliwell's work? Any favourite games? Did you ever get to meet that man? Have I missed any games he produced from this list?

As always, contact me below.


Rituals of Combat: Detailing the Oldhammer Weekend Realm of Chaos Warbands Game

And it is said that even the deaths of ten thousand men cannot move these Dark Lords to pity. And that they play with mortal lives like a child plays with its baubles - tiring of them easily and throwing them aside for new pleasures. But unlike the playthings of infancy, mortal pawns can bleed, and feel pain, and die beneath the uncaring gaze of their masters. 

And it is said that even when two mighty Legions of Chaos meet in battle, the Powers of Chaos cannot stay their meddling hands. As Daemon faces Daemon, Champion faces Champion, and the very lands quake with fear, the great powers pass down rituals to bind their cohorts. As if skillful advocates in a royal court, the Dark Lords argue the slightest points, the most obscure procedures, the least significant of details, vying one another for slim advantage. 

And sometimes the ritual is of great import: "You shall not use the Dark Magicks nor speak words of power" perhaps, or "No weapon iron or steel shall you use, nor any wooden shaft, but only the natural claws and long fangs that we have given." And sometimes the ritual is petty and beneath contempt, as: "No blue shall be worn, nor shall the mauves and purples be seen upon this field." And sometimes the ritual is such as to make no sense to the limited minds of mortals: "There shall be no killing, nor nay blood spilled." But in the immeasurable minds of the Dark Lords there is purpose that cannot be guessed and schemes unfathomable.

And the ritual shall be agreed, and it shall be binding, even unto the least creature, even unto the greatest. When once the Dark Powers have spoken there is no Daemon that can gainstay their word.

And the battle shall begin...

Bring Out Your Lead 2013: Realm of Chaos Warband Mega Game Scenario Rules

What follows is the current step up and rules structure for the Realm of Chaos Mega Warband battle that I will be running at Bring Out Your Lead 2013. The following rules should be seen as 'official', as far as we can have 'official' rules in the Oldhammer Movement, and have been inspired by the many emails that I have been sent in recent weeks, comments on forums and advice from other influential and sage leadheads. 

They can be tweaked further if you so wish. So, if you have an idea or a suggestion, just let me know and I'll see about including it. 

The general ruleset we will be using will be Warhammer Fantasy Battle Third Edition, supported by Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness. 

Scenario Set Up

Depending on numbers, the game will be played over a rectangular table set up. This may be many tables pushed together, or more than one table within the Foundry wargaming space. All these tables will be viewed as the same battle and in the case of a multi table approach it will be possible to move from one to another table and vice versa. The exact detail of how this will work will be established on the day. 

All table edges will be possible entry points to the game, though one will be selected as 'Khorne Only' and other as 'Slannesh Only', leaving the player with three possible entry points to enter the conflict. A player may enter the conflict at any time, or elect to withdraw his or her warband at anytime, similar to the way that you can drop in and out of online Xbox 360 games as you wish, though withdraws will need to be moved as part of the game turn. This should provide a great deal of flexibility about where you choose to start with your warband, and would represent the champion selecting the best possible position for his forces upon arrival at the battle. You could even play for a while, move out of the action, and return later if you so wished. Any rewards won would be retained.

Players will need to arrive with two copies of their Army Roster. One for their use during the game, and one for the GMs if disagreements occur. These Rosters will need to contain all the stat profiles that your warband requires, both for units and named characters as well as all special rules that you intend to use. The Lost and the Damned contains some very useful Rosters that can be photocopied or converted to Word. We shall provide an 'official' one shortly, so don't worry if you don't have access to this book. 

Nurgle, Tzeentch or Undivided Warbands may choose a side to support on an individual basis, or may act out their own hidden agendas. Those Tzeentch and Nurgle Warbands will be subject to Hatred for the opposing power and CANNOT be fielded withing 15" of a rival powers force if electing to fight on the same side. If a Nurgle or Tzeentch warband come withing 10" of each other, they must move to engage each as soon as possible and ignore other units.

Just before joining the game, players without a steed, may roll in the Chaos weapon chart in Slaves to Darkness to establish the nature of any weapon. 

General Rules 

Models can be treated as character models (they move independently) or as units. Units can be mixed on racial grounds, so dwarfs, goblins and skaven all in one unit is fine, with the restriction that movement will be calculated by the slowest moving member of the unit and that base sizes need to be consistent with the unit as a whole. 

Character models to be named on the front of the model's base for easy game recognition. Ig you wish to name all of your models for narrative purposes, please do. I, for one, would like to know the names of the foes I crush. 

A player may only field ONE warband at any one time. Though on the withdrawl or, or destruction of, a player's warband the player may re-enter the game with a new warband that can be of any chaotic power. So if you wish to field both Khorne or Slannesh warbands during the game, you can, though just not at the same time.

Upon the death of a Champion the player can;
1) Remove their warband from the field - this will represent them fleeing as individuals, or slipping way to join the retinues of successful warbands after the battle. The player could then decide to field a new warband  to the same, or different, chaos god.
2) Nominate a model to 'take command' of their warband. I am sure that all forces would have a second in command waiting in the wings, and Chaos Warbands would be no different. The character would receive an 'instant' reward of a chaos weapon (or take the weapon previously used by the champion), chaos armour or random chaos attribute depending on a D6 dice roll. 1-3: Chaos Attribute, 4-5: Chaos Armour and 6: Chaos Weapon.
3) Use the Skeleton Champion rules to 'raise' their champion from death. To use this rule you will need an undead model to represent your Champion in his undead form. So, if you are hoping to use this strategy, plan ahead a choose an appropriate model.

Reward points will be given to champions for different actions and should look something like this:

Champion killing a follower of another god = 1 reward point
Champion killing a champion of another god = 5 reward points
Champion killing a monster (e.g. anything on a 40mm/50mm square base) = 3 points
Champion of Khorne killing a Champion of Slannesh = 10 reward points
Champion of Slannesh killing a Champion of Khorne = 10 reward points
Khorne Champion killing an ally. = 3 reward points
Slannesh Champion killing through pleasure (acquiescence spell, chaos weapon etc) = 3 points

A further 10 Reward points will automatically be given to any player arriving with an 100% genuine mullet and handle bar moustache.

General Note: Any undead models, being already dead, will NOT count towards reward points. The exception to this rule will be Undead Champions. Reward Points are NOT to be used to roll of the rewards table after the battle. They will convert as 10 Reward points = 1/2 a roll on the rewards chart in Slave to Darkness. Only the greatest champions will be rewarded!

This should provide contributors with three things.
1) Rewards that can be spent on developing your champion and warband after the event.
2) A tally of points which allows us to identify the champion of champions (the model with the most points after the game is over) 
3) A tally of points which allows us to identify which side (Chaos God) has won the battle over all.

The Restrictions of the Gods

When constructing your Army Roster, you must consider the following decrees of the Dark Lords. These decrees exist purely for the Realm of Chaos Mega Battle, if you wish to play additional RoC battles away from the main table you need not follow these.

1) No daemonic weapons.
2) No daemonic entities (fielded, mounted or summoned), this is to be a conflict of mortals, though undead auxillaries are not forbidden.
3) Magic to be drawn from Battle, Illusion, Necromantic or Chaos God specific spells, avoiding those that summon daemonic entities.
4) No magic items, banners or weapons. Cold steel, claws and other normal weapons only. The only exception to this, are chaos weapons granted to the Dark Lord's champions.
5) No technology. Technological weapons are banned from the battlefield. This prohibition does not include weapons 'bonded' to the model as a chaos attribute.

Winning and Losing 

In theory, all contributors of the game are winners. After all, you will have the experience of fighting a narrative battle with a lovingly created warband with a rich backstory developed by you. After the battle, you will have plenty of material to take the story of your force further. 

The battle will end by mutual consent of the players, or at the end of an agreed time limit or when the narrative has reached a natural end. The game will be played on the Saturday, probably beginning in the morning after much faffing about and chatting. There will be an agreed break in the game for lunch (approx 1 hour) and will continue as long as necessary.

However, there will be two winners of sorts.

1) The winning side, Slannesh or Khorne, established by the side with the highest number of Reward Points. 
2) The winning champion, who can be drawn from any Power, will have the HIGHEST number of Reward Points and is still on the field at the end of the battle. 

Well, that is the game as it currently stands. Please, if you have any more ideas or suggestions please don't hesitate to contact me or post a comment below.

And, don't forget to book your place!