Friday, 29 April 2016

Random Musings

It's common belief that every generation believes that the music and culture of it's own 'teen era' was the best.

That may be the case but, in the case of the 1980s there genuinely was a surfeit of pop culture. I would say that if you are under 40 you probably didn't truly experience the decade and everything it had to offer.

It was a time of contrasts, wherein politics, fashion and music alone could get you into a lot of trouble. This was a time when rock was starting to reemerge after the punk pogroms of the late 70s whilst punk itself was mutating into post-punk, new wave, and a plethora of other subdivisions including, new romantic, urban vagabond, goth.

It was important that you belonged to a tribe, and identified with it. Moreover you had to be seen to be doing so. At the very least, wearing the wrong t-shirt in the wrong place could mean verbal abuse. In more extreme cases it could mean a serious kicking.

When you try to get the youth of today to understand, they just can't. This is odd because they live in a world where violence is a constant social graphic. Perhaps that's it... Because they see 'designer violence' in games and on TV they are desensitised to it and this is perhaps when real violence is experienced they seem to be more emotionally affected, because they suddenly realise that pain and injury cannot just be shrugged off, that they cannot re-spawn and try again.

They seem to have all the swagger and the anger, but frankly a quick pop on the nose will have them crying for compensation and 2 years of psychologist appointments to get over it.

I think this unhealthy. They are so down on the world, obsessed with doom and gloom that it even carries across into the kinds of games that are on offer. This is a generation which appears to want nothing more than to inhabit game worlds where they are just the same as in their real life, but with swords. The game worlds are filled with grim darkness, misery and a total lack of hope. There are exceptions, I will admit, but  since the mid-90s we have seen games drift away from the traditional sci-fi and fantasy genres, to gritty and discordant multiverses which, make the darkest moments of Elric or Jerry Cornelius look like an episode of Postman Pat. It doesn't really feel like escapism anymore. What's more, everything has to be explained. No more can something 'just be', and so again we lose a sense of wonder and magic.

We of the 80s suffered the rantings of the media , and concerns of our parents who thought we were actively partaking in magical rituals, despite the fact that we were too obsessed with playing games to waste time on that kind of stuff (apart from on Sunday nights when Granny was over for tea and it was either rustle up Beelzebub or suffer 'Songs Of Praise'.

Nowadays, there are a large proportion who fashion themselves 'Wiccan', 'Magicians' or '7th Day Fluffy Bunnyists', who believe that they have magical powers, but at the end of the day they are pretty certainly nothing more than kids who believe the social inclusion hype that they are in some way special. They are, but not in the way they think. What makes them special is that like everyone else they are alive for a while. Because all believe they are special, they go to greater extremes to stand out.

Christ, I remember when a mohawk would get you a four week suspension from school, and the kind of speech patterns which can get you up in front of a magistrate were routine. Nobody told us we were special. True, we knew we were, but this disposable attitude, I think, meant that those of us who were not athletes or part of the 'in crowd' formed very tight and very secret friendships. Our peer group consisted of social outcasts, those with the flares when tight jeans were in fashion, who had the basin haircuts or whom were not permitted to roam the streets at night.

We were to be found in dimly lit dining rooms and bedrooms, vanquishing foes, saving or destroying worlds, and forming friendships which in many cases have been lifelong. If we were lucky we found clubs where older outcasts introduced us to more refined games, gave us pointers on how to get on with the world and I know in my case provided ears that could not be found at home, to help deal with the tribulations of teen angst. John Armatys, Paul Bishop, Lloyd Powell and Steve Roberts were just some of those people who got me through my youth. Chris Gilbride & Pete Armstrong taught me the art of the one liner and smart arsed retort. Lisa Brook and Anne Bishop were surrogate sisters when we couldn't talk to the older gamers.

Most of those people have become estranged from me in recent years as I became less tolerant of things and behaviours in others, just as I think they have done with me.  But I am happy and proud to have known them.

I feel that I experienced something special and as I said, I am truly proud to have had the opportunity to meet people like that, because I don't think that the gaming youth of today have that safety net, that weather vane of social correctness.

Those in their late 30s are far more self-obsessed, far more intent on living an ideal life, rather than nurturing the generation growing up in their shadow. They make anything that they themselves are too young to truly remember into a parody, that has to be worn like a badge of honour. Nerd, geek and dork are no longer insults, but badges of cool and a declaration of their special status, whilst oldies such as myself and those who led the charge before my generation are for the most part disregarded as irrelevancies rather than as keepers of a the history of the early days of gaming, a living connection to the roots. No, they re-write, and alter history - and make no mistake it is history and worth recording for posterity. We sat on the nexus between the pre- and post computer eras, we were the first generation to play computer games, to play Dungeons & Dragons and tread the paths for those who would follow, even when it could get us a damn good kicking from the so-called 'cool kids'. (Odd, how the interesting girls preferred our company...)

We lived in the times that they both revere and parody in equal measure.

It was a good time to be alive, and we were.


TTFN


PS: And we had Wilma Deering!

Change Of Venue For Sheffield Wargames Society

Sheffield Wargames Society has moved venue.

As of April 27th the club meets on Wednesday nights at :

Woodseats WMC
The Dale
Woodseats
Sheffield
S8 0PS

I understand from the SWS web presence that following a committee meeting an EGM was held to discuss the future of the Triples show. 








I would like to take this opportunity to wish them the very best for the future.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

A Message From Mike Noe of Iron Wind Metals Regarding Ral Partha


"A Message From Mike Noe, President of Iron Wind Metals
With just over a week into our second Chaos Wars KickStarter, at 20K plus, and 20 days to go, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has joined in so far on Iron Wind metals ongoing quest to resurrect and revitalize Ral Partha’s Chaos Wars wargame rules and classic fantasy miniatures. This is a labor of love, and we couldn’t do it without your help and support.
We’ve just unlocked the Dwarf berserkers Stretch Goal, but have a lot more ahead - Trog Cavalry, Undead Fairies, the rerelease of the Ral Partha Classic Witch’s Cauldron Game, just to name a few.
We’ll going to need some help in getting there though, and that’s where you come in. If you like this project, please help to spread the word. Far too often we hear “I didn’t know you guys were still around”. Ral Partha classic mini’s have never gone away. Iron Wind Metals has kept the flame going for years, and with KickStarter and your help we can turn that little flame into an inferno…
Mike Noe"




I'll add, that this range of figures has held it's own against the best that the hobby could offer for nearly 4 decades. These are true 25mm scale and the detail is awesome. Remember, that today's lumbering hulks are a result of 'scale creep' and when you compare them to the 'old school' stuff - The 'genuine article' if you will, they are often demonstrably superior.

Take a look at the anatomy and scale, at the skill with which Tom Meier and Dennis Mize captured expression.

These models are the progenitors of the figures you all buy today.

OK, I'll make a straight pitch to you... These are history. If you don't like the smaller scale, fine, but pledge a dollar, and get your name listed and you will be showing that you have a sense of the importance of these models in your hobby.


Pledge your dollar here please:


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1050509756/ral-parthas-chaos-wars-dwarf-undead-troglodyte-min?token=b998436d


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

REPOST: How We Diced With The Devil

I spend my working hours plugged into documentaries and podcasts covering all types of subject, and yesterday I was tuned into a paranormal podcast which was discussing the 'Satanic Panic' of the 80s. which I remember all too well.

Now, as well as the worry that heavy rock music was tempting teens into worshipping Satan, some of you will recall that Dungeons & Dragons came clearly into the firing line of the Religious Right spearheaded by the wonderfully named Tipper Gore.

Even here in Sheffield, UK, there was a flurry of anti-D&D sentiment with the local press echoing the worries of the Church Of England that sweet teens like me would be drawn into a life in which they became Satan's minions. Of course because I was into Iron Maiden et al, I was doubly doomed.

Forget the fact that I was way more literate than my peers as a result of the time I spent with my nose in books, no, I was going to hell and had a first class ticket.

Bu**er!

Anyway, I've covered all that previously in my first book, but it did get me into a conversation on a social media site, which led to me taking a fresh look at the controversy that surrounded what is in reality an innocent pastime.

In 1982 Irving Pulling of Virginia, USA, committed suicide, not in itself of particular note, however Irving was a member of a high school D&D group, and his mother Patricia was to become infamous for what came to pass in the wake of her son's death.

Driven by the Satanic Panic and being an anti-occult campaigner, Patricia Pulling filed a lawsuit against the principal of the school on the grounds that as the D&D group met at school, and as Irving was the victim (Pulling claimed) of a D&D curse placed upon him prior to his death, the principal was directly responsible.

This led to the founding of 'Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons' or 'BADD' which sought to 'educate' on the dangers of Dungeons & Dragons.

Pulling even produced a pamphlet which strangely enough looks like many of the fanzines of the day...


Patricia then filed  what was to become an infamous lawsuit against TSR and Gary Gygax, which was finally thrown out by the courts in 1984, after a prolonged battle. However, it was also demonstrated during the proceedings by none other than Michael A Stackpole, that contrary to the grief driven claims of Pulling, there were lower instances of suicide amongst gamers than non-gamers.

Pulling succumbed to cancer in 1997, and despite her continuous campaigning right up until her death, BADD pretty much faded away.

An excellent in-depth article named 'The Pulling Report' was compiled by Stackpole in 1990 and can be found here:

http://www.rpgstudies.net/stackpole/pulling_report.html

At over 40 pages, it's worth a read, if you are interested in the history of our hobby.

There were many such claims made against gamers in the 80s, and more often than not, BADD, which punched way above it's weight in the minds of the conservative small towns of the Southern United States, was in the eye of the hurricane...

The Miami Herald ran this article in October of 1985:


'PARENTS SEE A REAL CONFLICT IN FANTASY WAR GAMES GROUP LINKS DUNGEONS & DRAGONS TO 51 TEEN-AGE SUICIDES


On the afternoon of June 9, 1982, Irving Lee "Bink" Pulling II completed his final examinations at Patrick Henry High School and wrote on the test sheet, "This is the last paper I will ever write, GOODBYE."

That evening, outside his parents' home in Montpelier, Bink, 16, shot himself in the chest with his father's pistol.

Patricia Pulling, Bink's mother, is convinced that his suicide resulted from a "curse" put on him in school earlier that day while he was playing the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons. He was so distraught over the curse, she said, that he killed himself.

Pulling and her husband, Lee, have spent the last three years fighting to have Dungeons & Dragons removed from schools, which sometimes permit it as an extracurricular activity, and to force the manufacturer, TSR Inc. of Lake Geneva, Wis., to put warning labels on Dungeons & Dragons materials.

"We've never asked for the game to be banned from the market," Lee Pulling said. "We want warning labels."

A TSR official said that the game is harmless fun and that warning labels are unneeded.

"What's the warning going to say?" said Deiter Sturm, TSR public relations director. "Are you going to put a warning label on automobiles, saying, 'This automobile is for transportation use only, not meant to be a weapon or means of suicide?' Anything we have in life can be misused, be it games, TV, sports, anything that we have."

Bothered about D&D

After her son's death, Patricia Pulling organized BADD -- Bothered About D&D -- whose newsletter now goes out to 2,000 concerned parents and others who oppose Dungeons & Dragons. BADD says it has linked Dungeons & Dragons to 51 suicides and killings involving young people since 1979.

The research, however, is unscientific, consisting mainly of Patricia Pulling's interviews with police and parents in cases brought to her attention by newspapers and television. She and her husband want the federal government to investigate the deaths to determine if Dungeons & Dragons was a cause.

Dungeons & Dragons is a game of the imagination. Dice are used, but there is no board, as there is in Monopoly or backgammon. It is set in medieval times, based loosely on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the trilogy Lord of the Rings and other fantasy works.

Pulling's group and other opponents of Dungeons & Dragons object to its emphasis on violence.

"Dungeons & Dragons is essentially a worship of violence," said Dr. Thomas Radecki of Champaign, Ill., a psychiatrist and chairman of the National Coalition on Television Violence in Washington, D.C.

"It's a very intense war game. Talk to people that have played it. It's very fascinating. It's a game of fun. But when you have fun with murder, that's dangerous. When you make a game out of war, that's harmful. The game is full of human sacrifice, eating babies, drinking blood, rape, murder of every variety, curses of insanity. It's just a very violent game."

Radecki's organization is trying to convince CBS to take its Saturday morning cartoon show Dungeons & Dragons off the air.

Dungeons & Dragons has been controversial almost from its inception, but controversy has only spurred its popularity and growth. TSR's Sturm said in a telephone interview that three to four million people play the game and that many other role- playing fantasy games have appeared since TSR founder Gary Gygax created Dungeons & Dragons in 1973.

Initially, Dungeons & Dragons was played mostly by college students. But the trend in recent years has been toward high school and junior high players. TSR has simplified the instructions to reach the younger market.

Bright players

Because the game is complicated and requires a vivid imagination, Dungeons & Dragons always has attracted bright young people. Bink Pulling was in a program for the talented and gifted at his high school.

In a number of cases, Patricia Pulling said, the connection between the game and the death is clear.

Deiter Sturm said TSR investigates when BADD attributes a death to Dungeons & Dragons.

"We always find there were many, many different factors involved in that person's life," Sturm said. "We haven't yet, out of all the names, seen one shred of evidence to indicate the game was the cause" of a death.

The mother of one suicide victim said Dungeons & Dragons "is a dangerous game for some young people. It was a dangerous game for my son."

But the woman, who did not want to be quoted by name, said her son had other problems. Some of the criticism of the game "is a little misguided," she said.

That is the view of some others as well.

Easy explanation?

"Dungeons & Dragons has been one of those things that people grab onto to explain suicidal death among young people," said Julie Perlman, executive officer of the American Association of Suicidology. "And I feel it is unwarranted."

She said that in 1982, the last year for which statistics are available, there were 5,025 suicides reported among people aged 15 to 24. Perlman said she believes many more suicides went unreported.

"Everybody wants an answer that explains it easily," she said. ". . . I just see that Dungeons & Dragons is an easy answer. It's not that simple."

Beth Grant-DeRoos of Dublin, Calif., is director of the Association for Gifted-Creative Children. She said her organization, with a membership of 7,200 families in California, views Dungeons & Dragons as a positive force that encourages children to exercise their imaginations and use their minds.

"Eighty-six percent of our families have children who play Dungeons & Dragons," she said.

Out of schools

Several school systems have removed Dungeons & Dragons as an extracurricular activity since the controversy arose. The Arlington, Va., school board banned the game shortly after the Pullings filed their first lawsuit against the principal of their son's school.

TSR's Sturm said many parents oppose Dungeons & Dragons "because they have to find something to place the blame on to relieve their personal guilt.'


And, if you think that was bad, take a look at this from the Omaha World-Herald of November 1984, where police speculated that there was a D&D connection following the deaths of a pair of brothers in Colorado.

Chief Of Police, Larry Stallcup was quoted thus:


"We aren't sure at this point whether we have a double suicide or a suicide/homicide," 

The police chief said [Dungeons & Dragons] appeals to very intelligent people, who use their imagination to manipulate characters and work through a series of mazes to achieve treasures and avoid falling into the dungeon.

"My undertstanding [sic] is that once you reach a certain point where you are the master, your only way out is death," Stallcup said.
"That way no one can beat you."

D&D was everywhere from colouring books, and 'Letraset', to boxes of cereals. There was even an animated series which had me running home from school every week to watch the latest adventures, and try to work out whether the producers were following the rules. And before you ask, yes, I have the whole thing on DVD. It seemed that Satan's influences were everywhere:




And, how many pubescent gamers 'rolled their D20s' to ads like this?


It's plain to see that we were all certainly going to hell with such explicit advertising...

We were screwed!

Some of you will no doubt recall that TSR (the original owners of D&D) experimented with a (truly awful and very unsuccessful) line of toys based on the game in the 80s...



Not to be outdone, the 'Defender's Of The Faith' hit back with their own toy lines. Praise Unlimited Inc, a Florida manufacturer of Christian toys, deliberately aimed their lines to counter the evil products spewing forth from TSR:




The Miami Herald, that bastion of anti-gaming fervor profiled the the company in December, 1984 thus:


'WOMEN PUT CHRISTIAN MESSAGE IN TOYS


Cute, cuddly dolls with names like Joy and Faith and an action toy called Judah the Christian Soldier could some day replace "the devil's toys," say two North Carolina women.

"We feel that this is a ministry," Dana McNeal said, displaying toys she believes answer the biblical call in Proverbs 22:6 to "Train up a child in the way he should go."

McNeal and Linda Campbell market dolls, games and other items in North Carolina for Praise Unlimited Inc., a Sarasota, Fla., company specializing in "Christian toys." Campbell and McNeal describe themselves not as distributors, but as "toy missionaries."

"We feel we were called into this ministry, led by the Lord," McNeal said. "The reason there's a need for Christian toys is because of the toys that are on the current world secular market."

McNeal dismissed with a wave of her hand dolls such as Darth Vader from the film Star Wars and the shadowy men and monsters from Dungeons and Dragons.

"We call them the devil's toys," she said.

McNeal said she hopes parents will give their children alternatives -- perhaps a 116-piece Noah's Ark or an action toy named Judah the Christian Soldier.

Another Praise Unlimited toy is a child-sized suit of "the armor of God" described in Ephesians 6:11 as the proper gear to "stand against the wiles of the devil," she said. Accessories include the Helmet of Salvation, the Belt of Truth, the Shield of Faith and the Breastplate of Righteousness.

There also are the Praise Dolls -- Joy, Faith, Hope and Love. They tell their religious messages in song, activated by a child's hug.

"God is so good. God is so good. God is good and good to me," sings Joy, a 21-inch doll with blond hair and a dress decorated with descending doves representing the Holy Spirit.

Campbell and McNeal, who have worked together since March, said the dolls' messages are the antithesis of what's going under many Christmas trees.

"A lot of toys on the secular world market illustrate violence, competition and sensuality,' McNeal said.

She said a recent U.S News and World Report said sales of military board games, guns and violent video games have increased 200 percent in the past two years. But her strongest criticism was for Dungeons and Dragons, a board game that prompted reports of youngsters identifying too closely with the subterranean knights and sorcerers they control on cardboard.

"We're trying to make people aware of what children are playing with and the effect on them," McNeal said.'

And the 'evils of D&D' were making it to the TV screens. Rona Jaffe a writer of somewhat dreary romantic fiction scored a hit when she wrote 'Mazes & Monsters' a truly awful story which, was turned into a 1982 'for T.V' film starring the young Tom Hanks.



I have that book, and I have watched the film, but fear that to do so again may cause brain damage.

The story was based very, VERY loosely on the life and death of one James Dallas Egbert III, who was something of a child genius, who by 16 was studying computer sciences at Michigan State University.

He could not take the pressure and was a drug addict who tried three times to indulge in self harm. The first time he took to the steam tunnels of the university, took a handful quaaludes (hypnotic-sedatives) and  failed to kill himself .

He tried twice more to end his life and finally managed to fail his saving throw vs. shotgun in his apartment on August 16th 1980.

At the time it was thought that the fact that Egbert played D&D, was a contributing factor, hence that bloody awful book and film.

(You will note that this pre-dates BADD)

And so on and so forth...

As you can see, this really was taken very seriously at the time. I guess that today's teenagers with their almost constant supply of paranormal, sci-fi and fantasy media would laugh if we 'Oldies' tried to tell them how we were at one time 'Christianity's Most Wanted'. My, how times change...

Or do they?

A new rallying of the so called 'Religious Right' in the U.S is starting to stir these same old prejudices, despite the fact that so many of the games now are as pure as angel piss, when compared to the old stuff. I fully expect that at some stage we'll see a troubled child, stymied in their ability to express who they are by the button-down society we seem to be becoming, do something which see them harm themselves or others. Then, when the distraught parents, clear out the child's things and find a fictional work containing 'demons' or 'spells' they will seek a way to exonerate themselves, and lash out at the producers and players of games.

We will become hunted members of a 'Global Satanic Cult' and the wraith of Patricia A Pulling will rise again.

Let's all take out our copies of Deities & Demigods and pray to whatever power we wish, that this does not come to pass.

Now, if you will excuse me I need to find my dice and some paper, and do some serious Satan worshipping...


TTFN



Sunday, 24 April 2016

Chaos Wars - The Fantasy Game For Grown-Ups

Ok, OK, I know I have historically extolled the virtues of Warhammer, but I am going to say something which the Hipster gamers of the 21st century will consider heresy....

It's actually a poor game when you compare it to Chaos Wars by Ral Partha.

I mean it...

No, really...

The mechanic s of WHFB mean that you have a shedload of rolls which culminate in seeing whether the wounds you already rolled for are stopped by armour. I had never considered it before, because I followed the game slavishly, but it's all a bit arse about face.

Two of us sat down yesterday with the Chaos Wars rules from Ral Partha, and looked at the combat system. It's one roll and take the casualties off. It manages to include the combat effectiveness, environmental modifiers, toughness and armour of the opponent - And Bob's your Goblin, off come the toys in a frenzy of miniature, imaginary mortality.

What's more, basing does not matter...

What you want to design an army that suits your view of how Orcs should be? No problem... It's inbuilt.

Want to use those Ogres riding Elephants in a game? Yeah, you can even do that...

You' get a truly tactical experience too, which is missing in a lot of fantasy rules. If you think and move your units with guile and utilise the assorted troop classes to their best advantage, you will be master of the battlefield. Woe betide the unit of sword armed Yeoman cavalry (the troop classes are Peasant, Yeoman and Knight analogous with medieval historical archetypes ) which gets hit by lance armed  Knight class chaps. It'll be messy.

You can buy the books from Ral Partha (there are 7 lovely old school feeling booklets all told)

Don't want to pay for them? OK, if you have a tablet or PC or whatever, you can download them in PDF form for FREE.

Give them a try.

In the meantime, Ral Partha's Kickstarter is heading for the $20,000 dollar mark with 3 weeks to go. I'm fairly sure that my own pledge will end up being over $1100.00 because every time I check in, there's another unit or creature I notice which I've not seen for 35 years and my early days in GW when it WAS a games workshop.

TTFN



Thursday, 21 April 2016

Ral Partha Kickstarter Storms Onwards - Already 200% Funded In Under 24 Hours

Whoa!

The Ral Partha Kickstarter has already become 200% funded in 23 hours and 29 minutes!

And I was the first backer  :) :) :)

See...


(Yes, yes, I am an incurable fanboy, I know...)

You can follow the Kickstarter and place your pledges here:


Ral Partha's Chaos Wars Dwarf, Undead, Troglodyte Miniatures by Iron Wind Metals Company — Kickstarter


Its great to see classic models given life again, and ay what you like, after almost 40years these still hold their own with the best.

There's a great interview with Tom Meier, here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mg-GelHOZTY

And more about Chaos Wars here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrlU5Otaq7I

Now, yes, these are vids from last year, but they are great watching.


TTFN


PS: So saddened to hear that another 80s icon has passed. R.I.P Prince Rogers Nelson. 57 is no age to die.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Ral Partha Kickstarter 'Funded' In 8 Hours




Well, in just 8 hours the Ral Partha Kickstarter was funded, breaking it's success threshold and beginning the process of opening new options and free figures.

I was in there like Flynn as you might expect, and was the first backer, pledging $650.00 to the cause.

Now I have to make the terrible decision of Troglodytes (my favourite army of all time, you will recall) or the Undead, because frankly there are some real classics in the mix.

it may come to pass that I do the 'terrible algebra' and increase the pledge to do both, but I really need to crunch some numbers.

At the top end of the pledges are 3 very nice armies...



Whilst the $5 pledge will get you a rather nice Vampire Queen in a numbered and signed blister...




Well, here's all the best to the Ral Partha team for a very successful campaign and the return of some wonderful figures and the addition of new goodness.


TTFN

RAL PARTHA UNLEASHES 2nd 'CHAOS WARS' KICKSTARTER - TROGLODYTES, UNDEAD AND SO MUCH MORE I COULD WEEP WITH JOY!




It's no secret that I have what can only be described as feelings of lust for Ral Partha fantasy (and indeed historical) miniatures.

It began for me in early 1981, when I saw my first RP miniatures in Hopkinsons, a rather wonderful and sorely missed toy and hobby shop in Sheffield. It was literally packed to bursting with products, amongst which were two racks of bagged fantasy and sci-fi miniatures. I'll not go into great details, but you can read all about it in my book 'Real Life's A Bu**er' an 80s gaming memoir packed with 80s nostalgia and youthful joie de vivre of the sort your mother would not approve of.

Anyway, those of us who fancied ourselves as genteel connoisseurs of the fine miniature, were drawn to the Ral Partha figures, produced under a lend lease agreement between they and Citadel.

They were crisper and superbly proportioned. True, Citadel had a ludicrous variety of models, but RP figures were almost meant for ranking up into units. The Tome Meier Elves and Orcs were so good, that you'd not be chided by friends for deciding to buy 4 of these figures instead of the latest edition of your chosen soft porn magazine ( I had a taste for the trashier types and so for me, it was Escort and Fiesta in case you are wondering ). They were that good...

Anyway, figures came and went over the years and my massive Orc and Lizardman armies went their way as recounted in detail in an earlier post, and although three years ago I tried to rebuild the latter via eBay, I was getting fleeced by sell-sword dealers, peddling 25mm scale white metal 'drugs' because as you might recall the Troglodytes were released by Citadel as 'Speciality Sets' and thus are considered 'Oldhammer' and therefore you can expect to get screwed over royally.

You can imagine my absolute delight, when in 2015 Iron Wind / Ral Partha announced a Kickstarter to relaunch some of those classics. My mate invested heavily in Elves, but sadly at the time the Troglodytes were later entrants in the race and I could not have built an army from the selection offered as 'stretch goals', and so my 30 year dream was crushed.

BUT...

At about 9PM U.K time today Partha Posse are launching another Kickstarter, based around their Undead and Troglodytes as well as hundreds of other classics...

Giant Half Troll Champion In Ornate Classical Armour?  - You bet

Hellenic Titan? - Sure

Wraith on Barghest? - Does a Troll crap in the woods?

New Troglodytes? - Oh, go on then!

Don't take my word for it... Go and take a look at the campaign because there is genuinely just too much to list on this humble blog.

If like me you know that there was more to fantasy gaming than Games Workshop / Citadel, you'd be daft to miss out on some of the deals.

For $5 ( about a the cost of a pint of beer in the U.K) you can have a totally new Julie Guthrie sculpt of a Vampire Queen, in a signed and numbered blister pack. Come on that's one for the collection isn't it?

As you know, I've broken my 34 year love affair with Warhammer and have turned to the 'Chaos Wars: Rules According To Ral' which are also on offer in a reprint for the cost of a couple of beers, and which are 'proper' wargaming rules with some innovative and intuitive mechanisms, which I only missed, because back in the bright and sunny 1980s, the cost of imported rule sets was prohibitive to a kid  on £3 per week, allowance.

They use a standard 12 figure infantry and 6 figure cavalry unit, which means that you can get a lot of units on a standard dining table, and indeed these were the sizes of unit, we typically used as kids, before GW insisted on 3 dozen models per unit.

The KS offers units in these sizes, so you can avoid wastage. If you want to use them for WHFB, just stick two or more blocks together for a larger unit, but to be honest, the Chaos Wars rules are superb!

Well, I've rambled on long enough, so I'll sign off now and direct you to the Kickstarter page at:


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1050509756/ral-parthas-chaos-wars-dwarf-undead-troglodyte-min


You can also Follow Ral Partha On Facebook at:




I'll give the final word to Michael Noe of Ral Partha:




TTFN








PS: Those of you who may wish to read my book in all it's 380 page glory can find it on Amazon or can order it at your favourite bricks and mortar bookseller.

'Real LIfe's A Bu**er - A Tale Of Sex, Dragons & Rock 'N' Roll'

ISBN: 1471643875

ISBN-13: 978-1471643873

Published in the U.S.A as 'On A Roll - A Tale Of Geeks, Dragons & Rock 'N' Roll' and coming in at slightly fewer pages as I edited it for a more conservative audience.




Monday, 18 April 2016

Original GW (and others) artwork clearout

If anyone is interested in pitching any offers, I am thinning down my original artwork as we begin to prepare to up sticks and leave the Steel City...


TONY ACKLAND







JOHN BLANCHE




TONY HOUGH





WAYNE ENGLAND



RODNEY MATTHEWS



If interested, drop me a line, and comment here that you have done so...


Mission Accomplished

Well, it's taken me a week but I have managed to get a complete boxed set of Chaos Wars from 1987, including the promotional figure pack which came with it.

£60 secured it, but £21 of that was shipping from Canada.

Pretty... *stroke* *giggle*  *sigh*











TTFN

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Russians Invade Salute 2016

Such has been my state of disarray looking all over the North for a new home this week, taking canal trips and cleaning my studio, that I forgot to show you all some pics of a few of the forthcoming Heroics & Ros Cold War models including massive ranges of Soviet and British.

As I said, these are a mere smattering of what's to come, and the models shown here are appearing today at Salute as part of a display game set in the mid 80s.




TTFN

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Some Random Thoughts

I've been thinking a few things over, in the last couple of days with regards to the matter of clubs and shows.

Let's say you have a club which, over the years builds a show from strength to strength, the costs of the show increase as the venue itself gets larger and in theory better.

The profits from the show are such that a membership annually costs under £20 to have access to a great venue.

Now, imagine that as with any 'empire' a sense of decadence or perhaps lethargy sets in, with the organising body for the show becoming complacent and taking an attitude which boils down to 'As long as we make money, nothing needs to change' and 'If we don't like something it will not be represented or simply paid lip service to.'

This cannot be good. The moment that kind of thinking sets in, it has to be tackled. Those in charge of organisation need to be removed, fresh faces with fresh ideas and an open approach to organisation need to be put in place.

Where communication with traders and the public is poor or so behind the times, that needs sorting out too. 

The days of even small traders leaving messages on an answering system and hoping for a response are long past.

Those who are organising and promoting a show need to be able to communicate promptly with the most common method. Just because they perhaps don't understand the technology, doesn't mean that methods of communication can be ignored. In fact, you ignore that at your peril.

Regardless of what a club wants to to do with the money AFTER the show, the task of encouraging people to part with money in the first place, increasingly has little to do with what the organisers want, but in fact is all about giving the public what they want, and where they make it clear that the horse and pony show may need to also become a dog show, then they should try to meet that customer demand.

If they don't attrition and atrophy start to kick in and then if they dodge the bullet enough times, 10 or 15 years down the line they club find that attendances are falling off, traders can't be bothered, and they have a major problem.

By that time, making changes suggested a decade earlier are not going to work, because the new 'standard' for the show has become set and the decline will in all probability increase exponentially.

When members and observers make comments, they should be listened to and not labelled as 'idiots' or 'destructive'...

That kind of thinking is typical of a narcissistic structure more bothered with maintaining the illusion of empire than moving to the next level. It's toxic and unproductive.

The long term result will probably be a loss of income, which, may mean that the subs for members have to increase. At this point members have to look around and weigh things up. After all, if you regularly play with a given sub-group at the club, why do you need that club? Surely, it would be more productive to simply meet at one of their homes and take a bloody good bottle of wine? Perhaps, you could all collectively agree a small sub to over time get terrain etc...

Surely, this is the obvious move for people who just want to game and not engage with anything or anyone else.

A wargamer who relies on a club for everything except their figures and who thinks that 50p per week subscription and a few hours laying out tables equates to have access to terrain, boards, warm venue and fringe benefits, should frankly fuck off and stop being a fucking leech. They are not an asset at that point but a drain. These are the same kinds of people who whine about things not being the way they would like but who then refuse to take a committee to task. 

A club which pays for members to travel 2 hours to a one day show, and then pay for hotel bills so they can stay over and get pissed are simply encouraging an ouroboros-like devouring of the club finances.

It's madness. 

The terminal stage would have to be when changes were promised, a few minor tweaks made, but the culture and habits underneath the thin veneer would remain the same. Change scares people, and engenders misplaced beliefs that if dissenters who opposed the flawed status quo were removed - ideally publicly (because nothing sends out a message of 'fuck not with us', more effectively) - the same old behaviour could continue unchecked and thus the cycle of entropy spread.

At that time, any reasonable observer would have to consider a winding up of the club rather than a terminal decline into decadent internecine struggles with metaphorical  ivory towers being erected with sandpits at their apex for those who don't want to change, to bury their heads in.

And that's about it for me and my random musings...



TTFN