Wednesday 21 October 2015

Skulzinschitte: The Harvesters of Chaos

In our last post, we considered the glorious throng of the Doomlord himself, Dieter Helsnicht. In this next (but hardly final) instalment of our exploration of 4th edition, we cast our eyes to his hated enemy: Luther Vangross, Champion of Nurgle.

But then I realised something.

The name is a pun.

And 4th edition, as you may recall, is not about puns. Or wit. Or subtlety of any variety.

No. 4th edition is about SKULLS! And BLOOD! Oh, and SKULLS! No longer do our words stem from the subtle satire that can be generated from the world around us. Instead, they stem from the basic, banal, almost primal grunting of fantasy as told by thirteen year olds. Our words express intent, whilst still attempting to convey the sheer awesomeness and undiluted fantastical... well, fantasy. Thus, we append the names of monsters, or weapons and the verbs that describe their application: Axel Daemonpuncher, or Sir Chopfest von Deathcrunch.

Visceral. Unmistakable.


So let's revisit that:

In this next (but hardly final) instalment of our exploration of 4th edition, we cast our eyes to his hated enemy: Irongrind Dragonhacker, Champion of Nurgle.

The Harvesters of Chaos


Irongrind Dragonhacker, Champion of Nurgle (Chaos Lord)

Equipment: Nurgle's Cloud of Flies, Chaos Armour, Mark of Nurgle

345 Points

Count Mordrek the Damned (Chaos Lord)

Equipment: Sword of Change, Chaos Armour, Living Damnation, Shield, Chaos Steed, Barding

424 Points

Hornlust Sinbiter (Master Sorcerer of Slaanesh)

Equipment: Chaos Armour, Chaos Familiar, Mark of Slaanesh

Spells: Acquiescence, Slicing Shards of Slaanesh, Chaos Spawn

300 Points
Skullscreamer the Sly (Sorcerer Champion of Nurgle)

Equipment: The Chalice of Chaos, Chaos Armour, Mark of Nurgle

Spells: Shrivelling Pox, Miasma of Pestilence

211 Points


6 Chaos Knights

Equipment: Chaos Armour, Shield, Chaos Steed, Barding, Standard

546 Points

8 Chaos Warriors

Equipment: Chaos Armour, Two Handed Weapons, Standard

288 Points
3 Trolls

Equipment: None

195 Points

4 Chaos Hounds

Equipment: None

64 Points

Note: Yes, the picture is from a different photo 'shoot' and there is no beastmaster for the unit. I, uh, forgot to take a picture of the hounds



6 Plaguebearers

Equipment: Plague Swords

Spells: Stream of Corruption, Fly Swarm


Grom the Paunch of Misty Mountain (Goblin Warlord)

Equipment: Axe of Grom, Light Armour, Chariot, Niblit

257 Points
Goblin Chariot

Equipment: Scythes, Shields, Short Bows

87 Points
16 Goblins

Equipment: Short Bows, Shields

56 Points
16 Goblins

Equipment: Short Bows, Shields

56 Points
20 Goblins

Equipment: Light Armour, Shields, Standard, Musician

85 Points
Broggin Thicke (A Stone Troll, courtesy of that fine figure of a man, Airbornegrove)

Equipment: None

65 Points

Army Totals:

Characters: 1280 Points (41%)
Rank and File: 1093 Points (35%)
Daemons: 150 Points (5%)
Allies: 606 Points (19%)

A brief note on the selection of special characters:

Special characters. Surely one of the most important concepts introduced into the later editions of Warhammer. Whilst in 3rd edition, the thing that made your characters special was you, in 4th edition, the thing that made them special was Games Workshop. In some cases (say, Dieter Helsnicht), there was nothing special about them at all. You could recreate the character from the army list with exactly the same capabilities for exactly the same cost - they were only special because they had a name.

But in the list above, we see not just one special character, but two! Characters who have something that is not otherwise available in the army list.

One of a kind, one might say.

Apart from one or two (Grom and Eltharion, specifically), I must be honest: I don't like special characters. I really struggle to relate to the super hero like problem of all these one-in-a-bajillion type of characters all being alive and in the same place at the same time, with nothing to do with their amazing super powers than harass and frustrate each other over immature and frankly pointless schemes. I just can't see Nagash waking up to escort 120 skeletons on a patrol to see what Emperor Karl Franz is up to whilst on his morning stroll with his 130 strong body guard.

And I don't like Grom and Eltharion because they're special characters. I like Grom and Eltharion because they come with a narrative which creates an excellent backdrop for gaming a story.

But, because this exercise is objective, academic and arguably (semi) archeogaming, I felt compelled to include special characters, because they were so very exciting and new in 4th edition.

And also, I had the figures.

In the next post, I shall craft a reason for these two forces (and their epic super hero special characters!) to come together at the ill-fated hamlet of Skulzinschitte,

As if you needed a reason in 4th edition...

Friday 16 October 2015

Skulzinschitte: The Dread Throng of the Doomlord

So the last time I wrote, I mentioned a battle report.

I know. I know.

It was all very exciting - in August. But now it's October, and your incessant inner monologue is probably voicing an opinion about those who chose to skip September. If it makes you feel any better, I began crafting this blog post on the 4th of September.

Still, in some circles, it is claimed that many things are better late than never. With the exception possibly of bullet proof vests and those little puke bags one gets on planes, I suspect the statement is otherwise true.

Don't mistake anything above for any variety of apology - it is not. But - an apology follows:

What you are about to see are two 'sets' of miniatures. Miniatures I've painted... and miniatures I've not. They are painted (if, indeed, that is how you choose to describe their coat) - we'll have none of that naked lead business here, what with being the respectable outfit that we are! What I mean to say is, I've not painted all the figures you will see.

Equally, I have no idea who has painted the things. I have acquired these over my collecting time and have always promised myself that they will be stripped and repainted one day. The day is coming soon, but has not yet happened, you see.

So, sorry. Some of the figures are rightiously fugly.

Nevertheless I thought it best to proceed with the various mismatched figures - because this is how Warhammer was for me when I was a kid. We could only afford a few figures or units each, so a whole army only came together when we all came together and collected our enamel encrusted blobules together for a game. Of course, none of us encrusted our blobules in quite the same way, so it was a beautifully mismatched affair.

Good times.

So, the army you are about to lay your eyes on (and, indeed, the vast bulk of the report), follows in that glorious heritage thick paint, scratched extremeties, goblin green bases and rudimenatary terrain. I'll say sorry, because it is a bit of an eyesore, but I believe I appeal to your inner child as we join together on this curious road down memory lane into the bizarre interior of Warhammer 4th edition.

Let us begin with the forces. In this post...

The Dread Throng of The Doomlord


The Doomlord himself - Dieter Helsnicht (Necromancer Lord).

Equipment: Chaos Runesword*, Staff of Flaming Death, Manticore

Spells: The Dark Mist, Summon Skeletons, Drain Life, Raise the Dead

725 Points
Dr Darkington-Blackness (Master Necromancer)

Equipment: Skeletal Steed, Barding, Staff of Damnation

Spells: Wind of Death, Gaze of Nagash, Vanhels Danse Macabre

334 Points
Oppa-ra (Tomb King)

Equipment: Blade of Leaping Bronze

150 Points
Ludwig von Bluddenskulls (Vampire Count)

Equipment: Dragonslayer

Spells: Hand of Dust

325 Points



Rank and File

Two Ghosts

Equipment: None

70 Points
8 Mummies

Equipment: Light Armour, Two Handed Weapons

392 Points
6 Wights

Equipment: Heavy Armour, Shield, Wight Blade, Banner, Musician

314 Points
20 Skeletons

Equipment: Light Armour, Shields, Spears, Banner, Musician

256 Points
20 Zombies

Equipment: Banner, Musician

88 Points
20 Skeletons

Equipment: Heavy Armour, Two Handed Weapons, Banner, Musician

276 Points

NOTE: There is a Wraith  in the unit:

Equipment: None

75 Points

20 Zombies

Equipment: None

80 Points


 A Screaming Skull Catapult

Equipment: Screaming Skulls

74 Points
 Army Totals:

Characters: 1609 points (51%) ...This happened because I forgot about the wraith!
Rank and File: 1476 points (47%)
War Machines: 74 Points (2%)

*A brief note on the selection of magic items:

Now I know that there is an entire game that can be made out of just selecting the magic items for characters and units in 4th ed. I know that this is one of the elements that, if not handled in a responsible manner, could make the game absolutely unpalatable for players - I still remember coming across dread combinations that made me quake at the thought of engaging enemy character models.

In this case, I just randomly determined them. I randomised how many the army might have, then which categories they might have and then finally the items themselves. Once I had determined all the items for the army, I then allocated them to the characters and payed the points accordingly.

I found this approach meant that characters had a small choice in their items, but that the opportunity to have a 'killer combo' would therefore only be based on luck. I also reasoned this would be a good way to get some of the more obscure items out onto the field.

Before you ask - yes, I really, really did generate the Staff of Damnation randomly. Yes, I know. That was really, really lucky. It was.

Monday 24 August 2015

On The Traversal of Points

I wonder if you get this sometimes: at one junction, you find yourself at, say, point A. Then, at another junction, you find yourself at point B. With me so far? Indeed. But then, when challenged on the subject of your traversal from point A to point B, you find yourself quite unable to explain. You recall the process, of course.

You're not an idiot, after all.

You just find that organising those memories into a cohesive structure is beyond the realm of man. That's because the snowball affect of one amazing idea colliding with the next amazing idea is so deceptively fast and powerful, it makes the Hadron Collider look like Playmobil.

Well, that's my excuse anyway. The point being, I cannot quite explain how I come to post about the thing I am posting about.


Anyway, let's get started. We've recently moved house. Also, my wife is a counseller. These two facts connect, by virtue of us having a room in the house specifically dedicated to the business of counselling. The room is not ready for this purpose yet, because, like anyone who moves house knows, none of the furniture we've placed in any of the rooms is actually going to stay there.

But in the mean time, there is a room that isn't specifically serving a purpose. Equally, there's a set of trestles and a tabletop that just seems to be, y'know, hanging around. Finally, in the counselling-room-that-is-not-yet-a-counselling-room, there is a bookshelf with no books on it.

Eh? What's that? The way you've raised your finger seems to suggest that you are losing faith in my ability to connect this to Warhammer in some way.

Sit tight there, fella - I'm getting there.

Anyway, so a few synapses get together with a few other synapses, some of them had a little chemistry thing happen and before you know it - BAM! I'm playing XBOX. But AFTER that - well, I put together a place where I could play warhammer.

Like this:

Now, what you're looking at is four shelves from the bookshelf, spread out across the ridiculously thin tabletop (2.5 feet! There should be laws about this sort of thing!) mounted on the aforementioned trestles. Unfortunately, the bookshelf then ran out of shelves, leaving me with about 8" of gap on each side.

Enter Therapy Today!

...and also, Super Hot Sex. Now I know whar you're thinking. Title says Warhammer for Adults and I want to be a a little edgy and so just to keep the pundits happy I'd chuck in a little flesh.

Well I have two arguments for you.

1. All of the other literature that my wife has in the boxes waiting to get onto the bookshelf (whose shelves are now spread across the table) are NOT the exact same thickness as four copies of Therapy Today. No, not The Counselling Dictionary. Not Mindfulness. Not even that timeless classic, I'm OK, You're OK. I tried. As it turns out, there is just enough super hot sexual content to be the same thickness as the shelves from the bookshelf AND four copies of Counselling Today. Fortunately.

2. I appreciate the metaphor that I shall be playing Warhammer on a table made of sex books. Well, one sex book. How many sex books has your gaming table been constructed out of?


Anyway, look - trestles. I thought I'd show this because I raised the table right up to arm height, so one can stand and play comfortably.

I'm so nerd, I put my wargaming mat over a picture of a nice lady's buttocks.

...and then built a pretend village... that I can push my toy soldiers around... myself...


 Did I mention my wife was a counseller?




Let's get onto those pretend people, eh?

Looks like we've created a little village. Look at the villagers, just milling about their daily, village-y activities. Look, there's Wilfred, looking to get a cup of sugar from Katerina. Say hi to Wilfred, everyone!

The village (Hamlet, even?) wants a name. It was going to be Little Grump, but then something happened.

Hold on a sec whilst I pop out back quickly. Look at some more pictures of the villages. Won't be long!

Baaaack! Just a little adjustment, y'


But what's this? Is that...


RAAAAAAAARRR! I mean - After.

But Gaj! That's...that's... f...f..

What's that, poppet? What is it you're trying to say? "Fourth edition?" Yes? Is that what you wanted to say?

Why, dear reader - it is like I said above - you're not an idiot. No sir! Not at all.

Because what we have on our hands, boys and girls, is a Battle Report. Using the 4th edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battles. And awful 90s paint jobs (not mine either).

Eh? What's that? You had a question? The village? Oh! The village! Yes, of course - what did I change its name to?

Well, now that we're playing fourth edition, we have to start acknowledging heroic names and the prevalence of skulls and blood in everything. The village (and indeed, the whole battlereport) is now called:


You take care now. I'll see you all soon...

Monday 3 August 2015

A Brief (hah!) Note of Thanks.

I imagine that around about this time every year, the people (or machines, quite possibly, but then the post doesn't work so well, so stick with people even if you know better) over at Google and Facebook get a tiny spike in their impossible sea of statistics indicating the sudden and massive upload of images to their platforms. 

Now if we explore that mental image a little further, we might imagine an administrator spotting the spike, and, both out of a sense of responsibility and curiosity, let us imagine that said administrator clicks on the spike to drill in deeper. 

Ah, he thinks to himself as he sees the keywords. That makes sense. 

Bring Out Your Lead just happened. Most popular keyword?


Freaks, our mild-mannered administrator thinks as he closes the log window and returns to his Bratz fan-fiction site.

So yeah. Bring Out Your Lead. Right now, you're wondering across Facebook and Blogger and Google+ and who-knows-where-else, just absorbing the photographs. 

So in the first instance, this blog post is An Apology

To all those people who were not able to make it, as a result of illness, travel, spouses, work or that idiotic thought that you really had something better to do - I apologise for the fact that BOYL! 2015 was so undeniably, inconceivably, implausibly  incredible that you won't be able to sleep tonight for grief at having missed it. I'm afraid there is no cure for this situation, really. It might just be possible that a strong course of electric shock therapy might see you through this difficult time

I mean, Kev Adams sculpting your actual face onto a miniature? Who cares, right?

Or, unreleased rogue trader adventurers? You're right. Meh.

Chaos marines driving a hovercraft made out of a real deodorant stick around a race track trying to blow up the Freeway Warrior car whilst ramping over a Gobsmasha? Oh. Seen that before have we? 


Tony Ackland just, y'know, hanging around, showing his original drawings?

With Nigel and Rick?

Oh yeah. And Bryan?

Tony Yates, drawing your picture on demand?

Free coffee all weekend?

A painting competition where some of the winning entries were painted on the Saturday night of BOYL?

A free miniature just for signing up?

Oh dear. You haven't ejaculated, have you? There there. Go clean up - I'll wait. 

Back? Feeling better? I really am sorry. Deeply, deeply sorry. We will take all of the blame. In the meantime, you want to think about that therapy.

Right, my duty of care to all those unable to attend complete, let us move on to our second order of business. In the second instance, this post serves as An Open Letter of Gratitude. 

The problem with giving thanks to people is that the words employed are so very often unable to cover the scope of what those being thanked did. English is a powerful and rich language and allows us to explore many ways of expressing things, but saying thanks just somehow... doesn't cut it. 

The magnitude of the gratitude just cannot be expressed. 

But, perhaps by supplying an example of something that warrants gratitude, I might be able to convey some meaning. In order to do that, we must understand the organisation of BOYL. The simple truth is (and sorry to underwhelm all of you) - there is very little organisation at all. The thing is an organic anarchy that enjoys some opinion sampling which is then translated into a vague intention, which we broadcast through unclear channels to Diane and Marcus Ansell.

They then distil these whimsical intentions into clear and decisive action, which results in Bring Out Your Lead. 

Anyway. An example. I acknowledge that I cannot remember ever spoken word of the weekend, so any dialogue that follows is roughly made up and I trust that even if it seems rough and ready, you'll be able to imagine it spoken between swift, intelligent and witty gentlemen of considerable character and intellect. You can do that because you know what a bolter is. 


Saturday: ~10:30

Captain Crooks: Hey Gaj, you devilishly handsome fellow. I have figure I'd like to put in the display cabinet?

Gaj: We don't have a display cabinet. 

Captain Crooks: Oh wow. I have a lot of oldhammer that needs to be seen to be believed. What shall we do? Save us, Gaj!

Gaj: Er...okay. Fear not citizen. (exit stage left)

Saturday: ~10:36

Gaj: Hey Marcus, you devilishly handsome fellow. I have a guy who has a  figure he'd like to put in a display cabinet. Funny thing is, I left my display cabinet in my other trousers. (laughs nervously)

Marcus: We have a display cabinet. Where did you want it?

Gaj: (surprised) Really? I mean, excellent, yes. Just like we planned. Over there, please. (points)

Marcus: Give us a few minutes. (exit stage left)

Saturday: ~10:44

(Marcus arrive with helper and cabinet)

Marcus: Is that okay?

Gaj: (swooning) That is one of the finest examples of a display cabinets I've ever had the good fortune to come across. I believe the phrase these days is 'totes amazeballs'. Many thanks. (exit stage right)

Saturday: ~10:55

Gaj: Captain, your display cabinet, as discussed. 

Captain Crooks: You're my hero. Will you marry me?

Gaj: (nervous laughter) I don't deserve you, Captain. Please stop touching me.

Saturday: ~14:30

Ramshackle Curtis:  Hey Gaj, you fiendish bastion of manhood. How is the painting competition going to work?

Gaj: We don't have a painting competition. 

Curtis: Oh. See, there is a cabinet full of figures for display. It would be an awful tragedy if they were not judged and rewarded appropriately. 

Gaj: We have no prizes. 

Ramshackle Curtis: Gaj, I can always trust you to instantly get to the nub of the matter without any further explanation. 

Gaj; What shall we do? Save us, Ramshackle Curtis!

Ramshackle Curtis: Er...fear not, citizen. I have some prizes that have been generously donated from Grumpy Old Tin

Gaj: (shocked) But is it enough, Ramshackle Curtis? Look at all these figures in this display cabinet that wasn't even here this morning!

Ramshackle Curtis; Stay here. I know what to do! (tears off shirt - exit stage right)

Saturday: ~14:35

Ramshackle Curtis: Marcus! We need judges and prizes, or the world will implode with grief!

Marcus: We have judges and prizes. Furthermore, we have the power of organisation. Look, your eyes are wide and you're sweating. Also, you seem to have lost your shirt. We will not judge today, because it will be too rushed. I declare that judgement with prizes will occur at 14:00 on Sunday. you may go now. 

Ramshackle Curtis: You're my hero! Will you marry me?

Marcus: No. I'm busy right now. 

Ramshackle Curtis: (weeps - exit stage left)

Saturday: ~14:45

Ramshackle Curtis: Gaj, you gift of the heavens, I have resolved the conundrum with the power of organisation!

Gaj: What's organisation?

Ramshackle Curtis: I don't have time to explain, but I believe the phrase one could employ to describe it these days is 'totes amazeballs'.

Gaj: I shall google that post haste. Well done, Ramshackle Curtis! Will you marry me?

Ramshackle Curtis: Alas, Gaj, I am an artiste, and demand nothing less than a muse for inspiration. Are you very inspirational?

Gaj: Another word I shall google post haste. Let us pause our engagement for the minute whilst I determine if I qualify!


The weekend was full of examples where either Diane or Marcus or another oldhammerer would end up saving something or other because I had just not thought of it. Looking back at the example - there was no painting contest, there were no prizes, there was no cabinet - it just did not exist. By Sunday at 15:00 or so, vouchers, unreleased miniatures and little laser cut buildings were being handed to deserving painters in front of about a thirty solid entries. 

Try getting that anywhere else.

So, I feel like I've wandered a little. Back to the gratitude. Everything that follows on is quite, quite serious:

An Open Letter of Gratitude

Dear Diane, Bryan and Marcus, Martin, The Foundry Et Al...

I'm writing on behalf of the oldhammer community simply to say Thank You. Whilst there is a nominal awareness that The Foundry is a commercial enterprise, the simple truth is that you are so very open and welcoming with us that the whole affair feels like a large family gathering. Going to BOYL is like going to visit Uncle Bryan, Aunt Diane and Cousin Marcus and catching up with all the happenings in our worlds over the past year. All the while returning to our thirteen year old selves and playing with toys.

I don't doubt that the oldhammer community could extract a good time from any rented hall, with any rented catering and any set of rented tables. The community is good like that. But when we come to Foundry, that extra dimension of familial familiarity (say that ten times fast!) is unheard of. Nobody is nervous, nobody is afraid. We really believe in your warm, unconditional positive regard for us individually and as a community and, well, the words fall short. Simply put, we thank you for it. Lots and lots and lots.

The Foundry is warm, whereas any other location would be cold. And, whilst no-one would dare admit it, I think there were even some manly tears. That is the sort of emotion your benevolence is able to evoke in us. 

Diane - we know that you are the organisational powerhouse behind the whole thing. We were glad that a small token of gratitude could be presented on Sunday, but again, we know that it is hardly a fitting compensation for the considerable effort you put in, all the while making the thing look graceful and effortless. 

Marcus - thanks for rolling with the punches. The speed with which you were able to move (on just about everything) made the world of difference to us.

Bryan - The resources you put at our disposal just cannot be accounted for! It was great to have you gazing benevolently on the various expressions of games and figures you've created (and helped to create) over the years. Also, thanks for taking the time to sculpt that hand especially for James - it was a small thing, but, you know - also a big thing. Thank you. 

It feels a little banal to refer to 'the rest of the Foundry staff'', but unfortunately, I don't know all of their names. I'll call out Martin and Darren (I think?) for their top assistance over the weekend - the casting demo was great! To the rest of the staff - those that fed, served and cleaned up after us - those that carried things all over the place (a working beer fridge being topmost on that list) - to those involved in preparing the site during the week before hand - creating the bloodbowl tables, moving the 7' behemoth into place - all of these things - thank you. 

Kev - what an incredible idea for charity! To sit sculpting the ugly mugs of the oldhammer community in 28mm is simply genius, if somewhat disturbing. Thank you for immortalising us in green stuff and furthermore - donating the proceeds to charity!

Tony Ackland - you thorough gentleman, you. We loved having the opportunity to gaze at the very drawings that shaped our imaginations and seeded them with rich and varied outputs. It was fascinating to get your take on your art and get yet another insight into the fascinating world of Games Workshop in the mid eighties. We're especially grateful for your time and the effort in your travelling - thank you!

Tony Yates - always a pleasure to see you. I know we always have good chats, but this is equally good for everyone else too. I'm thrilled with the drawing you did for me (her name is Ellen Degenerate, by the way) and I know there are a lot of oldhammerers that, even now, are trying to find the courage to suggest that something you've drawn be framed and hung on the living room wall.  

Finally, I call out to Rick, Nigel and Tim and say thanks to you all for coming out to see us - it was great to see you guys (again, Rick :) ) - we hope it filled your hearts with joy to see us playing your games with childish abandon, lost in a made up world of space elves and goblin fanatics - it certainly filled our hearts with joy to see you all!

Our greatest thanks go to all of you. But especially Diane. Especially you. Thanks.

We look forward to the next family visit!

Lots of love
The Oldhammer Community


Another Open Letter of Gratitude

Dear Oldhammerers, attendees of BOYL! 2015

I just thought I'd write to say thanks to all of you. I am a natural pessimist and I expect the worst at every stage of my life. Whilst this does mean that I'm usually pleasantly surprised most of the time, I still keep an eye out for the worst. 

We reckon that there was a peak of about a hundred people at the event (probably around the time of the photo on Saturday). That's a lot of people. In spite of that, the thing ran without a hitch. A league of gentlemen* is the most frank and honest description. 

You were courteous with each others figures and storage boxes. 

You were accommodating and patient with the rules (and lack of rules).

You were merry and inviting to the new faces. 

Conversations were inclusive - games even more so. 

You trusted each other with your trades and your in play miniatures. 

You went the extra mile for each other - sorting out accommodation, lifts and other logistical enablers. 

The level of trash talking in games was spot on - not too much, not too little.

You shared figures with each other. You shared figures with people you'd never even met. Your actual, old, lead, rare figures. Wow. In many cases, even your life partner doesn't get to do that. 

Looking at the list above, one might suggest this is what utopia ought to look like. It could actually be possible that we had a glimpse of what heaven might be like. 

Anyway, before we all start gushing with manly man-tears (damn dust!), there are a few call outs I'd like to make:

To Curtis - thanks for manufacturing a painting contest out of nothing! And for contributing so much stuff to so many games. Actually, I think you're the only guy capable of playing two games at once! Also, your gifts to the various players were most welcome!

To Drew - you came all the way from San Francisco just to come and see us! And bring robots! I'm sure if you check with everyone, they'd agree its in that order too ;) - Still, it's a hell of an investment for a weekend and we love that you chose to spend it with us.

To James - you came all the way from Australia! With Deathrace, a stack of cars, a wife and a small child. We know that one doesn't simply travel with children - one deploys children with expense, difficulty and considerable planning. Equally, your project management of the production of Deathrace ranks right up there with initiatives from giants like IBM and NASA. Perhaps we could convince you to manage BOYL! 2016? Anyway, we cannot imagine the investment on your side to enable us to see your cheery face, but we were overjoyed that you did - may it be one day that somehow something like this could happen again!

To JB, John and the Pauls - good to see you guys again (and even to play with you this time!) - it is still a hell of an undertaking to cross the tiny tracts of ocean in between our countries, especially trunks full of figures - thank you for coming!

I'm just going to call you Nibbles. Niibl, on the forums. I apologise, because I don't recall your name rightly - but we know you came from Germany and had to drag figures all the way with you - so to you - thanks very much - it was great to have you along!

I knew of no other international travellers (Scotland doesn't count yet, I'm afraid), but we were jolly glad to have you along!

To the game organisers - Harry, Chris, Jamie, John, Aiden, Chico, James T, James A, Colin, Geoff, and JB. Although the organisers (that's you lot) will no doubt defer the glory on to the efforts of those that created the figures for their games (the ships, the cars, the warbands abundant), you are entities around which the weekend congregates - the nominal reason for us all to pitch up. Sure, there were other games, and lots of effort went into those games - but each of you outdid yourselves in the pursuit of gaming excellence. Oldhammer salutes you. 

Some may think it sounds silly, but having access to what I now believe is the Voice of Oldhammer is hugely valuable when it comes to herding oldhammerers. Colin - the verve and delight with which you shout brings real, actual fear to our hearts. I can only assume your students are the most obedient in education today. Thank you for, well, shouting a lot.

Finally, thanks for reading this far.

Here's to Bring Out Your Lead! 2016.


*I suspect we'd all agree that Chico is gentle in every way - the title might be challenged on its use of the term 'man' however. I am happy to accept gentlething in his case ;)

Monday 25 May 2015



This is Buster.

Sensitive, single grey male...


He thinks its a stupid name too. Someone would name a dog Buster. One could name a board game Buster. Hell, it could even be a brand of condom.

Sometimes its little things like names that change a man's life. Sticks and stones and all that.

...looking for someone who likes cooking...

Perhaps, if he'd been called Johnny, or Kev, or even Nigel, things would've worked out okay. The kids at school wouldn't have picked on him so much. He wouldn't have had to internalise so much shame. So much anger.

...and long walks on the beach...

Unlike many outcast kids at school, providence was with young Buster. He was one of those kids that puberty hit like a freight train overloaded with concrete screaming down a seventy degree incline.

One day, a knock-kneed, gawky kid with a stutter.

...and keeping fit - I do a lot of boxing myself...

The next, a tall, straight-backed powerhouse. None of the other kids saw it coming. It must have taken Buster two or three months to realise that he was suddenly bigger than his counterparts.

Having one's confidence stripped away from one makes it hard for one to believe in oneself. That sort of thing takes time.

But one day, he finally got it. And then they got it.

All of them.

...and Origami. Man, I loves me some origami...

Who'd have thought young Buster had a memory like an elephant? Photographic. It's, like, a medical thing. Never forgets anything.

He never actually killed any of the kids at school - he ain't a monster. But he made sure that every antagonist he ever encountered recalled the wrongs they did to him.

Especially Hargreaves. His parents couldn't afford bionics, so he's on crutches for the rest of his life.

Punchard too. He only whispers now. Turns out voiceboxes don't grow back the same. At least he doesn't need the machine to breath anymore.

...and distortion pedals. Ain't music if there ain't a distortion pedal...
Anyhow. That sort of thing does kinda dent ones academic career. Buster had to move along quick-sharp after that.

Last I heard, he works on a freighter now. Local, small hops only. No warp travel or anything unusual. He ain't the skipper of the operation, but sounds like he's doing okay. The crew likes having him around. He's good with engines, cooking and guns, it turns out.

I'll tell him you were looking for him the next time he's in town...