Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Last week I was introduced to Playfire – a social networking site for computer gamers. It got me wondering why there’s no equivalent for wargamers.

There’s BoardGameGeek but (a) the interface sucks and (b) its remit is so much wider than wargames. TMP and Frothers are fine places to come together and talk about games but that’s all. Where’s the site where I can catalogue the games I play and the miniatures I own and connect with other players?

A lot of the functionality that the knitters have on Ravelry would be great – a flexible but standardised way of listing “projects” – which minis, which paints, which TOE, WIP photos, etc.

Considering how geeky and techie a lot of wargamers are, why has no one created the site? Is it simply because the idea of social networking isn’t really our thing?

Someone will now pop up in the comments and tell me about a site that I should have known about all along.

I promised you some dinosaurs, so here we go. For quite a long time my Dinosaurs in Miniature page has contained the line Rules (coming soon) so I figure why not do something about that? As this blogging every day thing is very taxing, I’m presenting a skeleton list here and asking you good people to help me flesh it out. What am I missing? What have I got wrong? I’m only after more or less professionally published rules here.

Wargames focussed mainly on prehistorics

Wargames that feature prehistorics

RPGs focussed mainly on prehistorics

RPGs that feature prehistorics

  • Over the years various Monster Manuals for various games have included all sorts of dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts.
  • Volume III of Marcus Rowland’s3 Forgotten Futures concentrates on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Professor Challenger novels including The Lost World.
  • One of the best known scenarios of all time, The Isle of Dread for D&D featured prehistoric creatures heavily.
  • Blackdirge Publishing produce a series of D20 system PDFs under the banner Animal Archives: Prehistoric Animals
  • Phoenix Command – the favourite game of gun crazy maths nerds features stats for Dinosaurs in its Phoenix Command Expansion expansion.
  • Dark Continent – a few cryptids like the Nandi Bear make an appearance and there may be something much bigger lurking as well…

[1][2][3] Tooth & Claw is a miniatures from Chris Peers, a prehistoric RPG from Memento Mori Theatricks and a dragon based RPG from Marcus Rowland.

And look what I picked up on eBay a little while ago. It was advertised as being from HLBS and by a process of elimination (i.e. what I don’t already own) must be their Utahraptor figure.

Once upon a time (around about the turn of the millenium) I indulged in a bit of world building and created a minor power for the fictional universe where Ground Zero Games’ wargames Full Thrust, Dirtside and Stargrunt. This was the Interstellar Democratic Republic – an attempt at creating a left wing power that went beyond “commies in space”.

One thing I wanted to do with the IDR was create a socialist inspired economic system that wasn’t simply a copy of sytems that had existed historically. What I came up with was a simple mechanism: the state is a partner in all businesses, the size of their partnership is in direct proportion to the size of the business.

So, small businesses basically have a mostly silent partner who takes a small cut of the profits and who can be turned to for advice (not much different to tax and small business advisors in the real world) but as the business graws this partner starts to have more and more influence, until the really big organisations end up being state run.

It sounds great, small businesses get to operate more or less as they do under neo-liberalism but big businesses are all nationalised.

The devil is in the detail, for starters how do you define the “size” of a business – turnover, profits, employees? And there would be the same scope for corruption that there is in the neo-liberal system – just as businesses in the real world fiddle the numbers to lower their taxes so would businesses in this system fiddle the numbers to lower the state’s control.

Watching the news over the past few weeks, I have to wonder, was I on to something? Is putting big corporations under partial (or total) state control the only way to stop them running out of control?

HLBS have released some new additions to their dinosaur range – mostly smaller critters this time, some (Velociraptor, Ornithomimus, Compsognathus) are replacements for the now OOP older range, others (like the boneheaded chap above) never before done in this scale.

Meanwhile the confusingly similarly named RLBPS (who also stock HLBS in the USA) have added some more figures to their Dazed Miniatures range. Wow, they’ve added pictures between me checking their page this morning and writing this post. Anyway, you can now get a miniature Dodo.

Both sets of releases have been added to the index of 25/28mm Dinosaurs and other prehistoric miniatures and I’ve also created a 20mm Dinosaurs and other prehistoric miniatures index, so far just housing David Krentz’s stunning Antediluvia Collection.

Richard Deasey of HLBS/DZ/DeeZee fame has sculpted a new range for RLBPS in the States: Dazed Miniatures.

On the other side of the world, Gary Hunt has some very nice looking feathered raptor greens.

Back in Blighty, Magister Militum have posted some new pics showing painted examples of their DinoMight range.

And finally, Jeff Valent Studios are offering their T. Rex at 33% off.

Dinosaurs in Miniature has been updated with all the latest releases: Some cavegirls from Reaper, some running dinos from Hasslefree and a Megatherium and Smilodon from Rattrap.

And at long last someone, Amazon Miniatures as it happens, has made the killer pig itself, an Entelodont:

As a lad my, (um, and mustn’t forget that, okay) third favourite toys were Action Force. (What do you mean you’ve never heard of them?)

Imagine my nostalgic glee when I found that Soapy was doing a year long project to build Action Force and the Red Shadows in 28mm – Action Force Wargames Project 25th Anniversary.

Tooth and Claw By Chris PeersI’ve just updated the Dinosaurs in Miniature pages with the latest releases and re-releases.

Wargames Illustrated have finished re-releasing the DZ Miniatures prehistoric mammals. They’re also selling a set of rules called Tooth and Claw to tie in with this range. Written by Chris “every other set of rules out there” Peers who has pedigree on this area with Saurian Safari. My copy is in the post, so with luck I’ll be able to post a review soon.

There are also new rules out from Magister Militum called DinoMight and MM continue to expand their range of 10mm figures, now including some non-dinosaurs.

Finally on the pre-historic front Reaper have released a “Jungle Girl with Sabre Tooth Tiger” which is okay-ish except for the huge mold line in the photo and the fact that it’s an idea that’s been done several times before. Very nice cat though.

Meanwhile… It was only a matter of time… Pre-painted, collectible (i.e. random sealed boxes) miniatures for Doctor Who (via Forbidden Planet). They’re by Character Options which is a good sign (they make the very nice DW action figures) and the price is the same as for the Star Wars minis. On the downside (apart from the collectible nature) is the scale, 35mm, and the lack of anything from the classic series. Will I be buying them? They’re Doctor Who miniatures!

Ragnarok 51Ragnarok is the journal of the Society of Fantasy and Science Fiction Wargamers. The latest issue, the first with John Wilson as editor, of Rag has been published and is in the post to members.

  • Saint Snatch – Relic steaing in Dresda
  • In the Dog HouseStrontium Dog in Inquisitor
  • Crimson Twenty OneCrimson Skies in Air War C:21
  • Ottomania II – More Turks in Aeronef
  • The Rules of War – Reviews of Space Vixens from Mars and Battlestations

As we’re all blogging for history, here’s a bit about my day.

Alarm went off at 7:00. Lettice got up. I didn’t. Whoops. Staggered out of bed at 8:00 and between checking e-mail, showering, eating breakfast and faffing about managed to get into work around about 9:45. No meetings this morning so not a problem. Check work e-mail and calendar and tell the project manager that I love her because she’s worked out that in our incredibly tight schedule for the site ( redesign I actually have no tasks allocated to me between the end of November and the sometim in February so I can take some holiday after all. But then I groan as I realise that Friday is booked up with meetings from 10-12 and then 12:30-16:00. Ouch.

Spent most of the day working on a project for our kids’ site ( Nothing terribly exciting – a bit of CSS, bit of XSLT, bit of JavaScript (enforcing my own recently written coding standards to avoid document.write and use appendChild() etc.). Minor panic regarding the half term edition of the kids’ newsletter but it got sent out on time and everyone seems very happy with the new style.

Went to lunch with Lettice – she’s working at VL for a few weeks. And after that it was time for today’s round of meetings about the redesign project. Time and money versus ambition. Same as every project I’ve ever worked on. We actually have a very good team (and soon to be a much bigger team, an ad will be appear in this week’s New Media Age for six positions within the web team at VL) and doing most of the work in house will cut down on some of the headaches.

Ended up working until 18:30 which makes up for the late start, though a fair chunk of the last hour was spent playing Bang! Howdy ( whilst waiting for other people to go through the designs of the Christmas pages with me. We need to have some pages up very soon in order to cover the switching on of the Christmas Lights.

London Bridge was busy and I just missed the 18:39. I bought this week’s New Scientist (suckered in by the ‘what would happen to Earth if humans vanished cover story) and this month’s .net (a couple of articles that I can quote mine for a brainstorm in one of Friday’s endless meetings). Ran into Séverine and we caught the 18:51 to Tulse Hill and then walked up to West Norwood together.

Home, sausages for dinner, then watched CSI: Miami with Lettice before sitting down to write this.

So there you are, not my usual sort of post and probably not of any great historical interest.