Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Hitting the Blog Target

Just thought I’d share some exciting news...this month (October) I will hit the 10,000 hits – that is 10,000 hits in one month ! – not too sure if this is good for our hobby but I am delighted.

You might also be interested to know that I set myself the challenge of doubling the number of followers from 90 to 180 and trebling the hits from 25k (year 1) to 75k (year 2). 
 I hit both these milestones earlier this month.

....And if this rate can be sustained I’ll hit the 100k mark around Xmas.

 I’ll set myself some new targets on the blogs 2nd birthday in December.

 Thanks to all those reading and following



Monday, 28 October 2013

The Hunted

This coming weekend I'll be attending BLAM, three days of gaming with like minded enthusiasts, in the heart of Surrey. Woking to be precise.

Over the three days there will a range of games on display and in time I'll post up reports of the event. However I have volunteered to run a game and I thought it be interesting to post up my plans.

The game in question is called the Hunted and is loosely based on the Predators movie - the one where a group of modern day soldiers are transported to the training fields of the Predator home world.

Starting with the board I purchased three sheets of hardboard (each approx. 2fty by 4ft) and after painting a suitable base colour I marked them up with a series of 10cm grids. The squares are grid referenced in letters and numbers thereby allowing the Hunters (the Predators) to indicate their movement secretly.

Each of these grid boxes will initially hold either ruins, jungle or impassable rocky terrain.


As the hunted soldiers progress their way through the board (they have to traverse the jungle) they recon each zone turning over a series of cards to denote what might lie in the zones ahead.

A total of over 150 cards have been made to facilitate this - a selection


Weapons Cannister

A nasty beast
Impassable Terrain
By drawing cards I can insure that each game is different. The Soldiers themselves each have a series of attributes ranging from Recon and Medic skills through to Combat skills. Stamina determines how much they can sustain from wounds.

Prior to embarking on their survival trip they are issued with equipment cards, these can either be shared freely and fairly or kept by the player who finds them. These range from guns, armour, melee weapons and other equipment. Further equipment can be found when the players encounter weapon cannisters. - a selection

To keep things on edge there is only a limited amount of ammo issued at the beginning of the game so players will need to find the cannisters if the have itchy fingers. To keep things simple there are three types of ammo - heavy, light and shotgun shells.

A Character can action two things in a round - eg move twice, recon and fire, move and give aid etc.
Of course they are going to have to watch out for these boys...

Of course what makes these guys particularly deadly is their speed (they get three actions), their chameleon powers, and their hi tech weaponry. They also get to use hidden movement until they get spotted !

Depending on the number of players (soldiers) their will be a finite number of predators.

Combat is very straightforward, if you can see your target, (not easy in the jungle) you can let rip with your automatic weapons (mindful of ammo counts) - hits deliver stamina damage unless armour is protecting the location. All of this is recorded on the characters reference sheet...

Can the players survive...

The first playtest is tonight so we will see how we get on...

Finally - the cribsheet of rules...


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Rest in Peace - Basil the Wargaming Hamster

Some sad news...Basil the Wargaming Hamster passed away last night, he'd been with us for a number of years and especially enjoyed his trips to the shed


Rest in Peace Basil..

Monday, 21 October 2013

Cliffs - All Finished part (part 4)

With a few days off I decided to finish off the cliffs (yes the black had dried)

If you want to start at part 1 head here

part 1

So when I left you last I had just added the ballast and primed the units black for the ground. Once all this was dry I could begin the painting.

The flat surfaces have been dry brushed browns through to a very light cream.

Up next the cliffs were progressively painted grey - dark through to lights.

You can see the big difference the dry brushing has's just the cliffs in black !

Once all this was dry I have added the static grass - Ill get round to adding some bushes at some point but I have to stop now as I have a game for this evening to set up.

Close up of cliffs - two of these sections have ramps up to the upper levels

A giant Mesa

The Castle sits proudly on the raised ground.

A better view of one of the causeways up to the top...

If you are interested in more things rocky..head here

If you want to see how the castle was built head here...

Thanks for following this


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Paint it Black...(cliffs part 3)

If you want to start this project from the beginning head here... links to all the stages follow at the end of each post

Welcome back...
Next up the whole surface is covered in pre mixed filler.....

Then I covered the rest of the flat surfaces with PVA and then liberally coated them with medium ballast and sand. This will form the ground surface.



Once all this was dry I liberally painted the whole thing black. Three days later the paint still hasn't dried...

Its taking an age to dry...

These cliffs will be great for the 10mm games

Some brightspark suggested that my Norman Keep should be on a raised hill - well here we are.

The castle board it self is sitting on some polystyrene blocks...


Next step...drybrushing and ground work. Almost there
Part 4 is here


Saturday, 19 October 2013

How big is the Wargames Industry?

Over the last couple of days I have been thinking about the size of our hobby, its opportunities and its future. The following is my tuppence worth on this subject and I really would be interested to get peoples views.

Interestingly the TMP forum carry some statistics that reveal that they have over 28,000 members, of these 10,000 are based in the US and 5000 are based in the UK. The sum of all the countries does not equate to the overall total so I suspect that many members have not completed the section on where they reside. If we took membership as a broad brush would seem to suggest that the US is twice the size of the UK market. Of course not everybody in the hobby is signed up to these forums (the Lead Adventure Forum only has 4000 members) – a ratio of 1 in 7 compared to TMP. This is also born out in my own page stats for every hit I have from the LAF links I get at least 6-8 from TMP.

So how many hobbyists are actually online ?

Lets see if we can work this out?

I read somewhere recently that Salute the UKs largest show attracted 10,000 visitors during the day (2500 advanced tickets sold). Although the Show is based in London it is the UK & Europe’s biggest so let us assume from a convenience perspective that 75% of these visitors came from the greater London catchment ie 7,500. Again if we assume that 75% of the potential London catchment attended then we could say that there are 10,000 wargamers of some form in Greater London. So If we further surmise that wargamers in the UK are dispersed evenly across the population and by geography and that greater London accounts for 20% of the UK population then the total number of Wargamers in the UK would count 50,000 individuals. (as a reference this is about 2 gamers per 1000 homes)

This means that 1 in 10 UK wargamers are registered to TMP ( somehow this seems about right so lets stick with this number)

With 50,000 in mind we could therefore surmise that the North American market is at least 100,000 players strong (using the TMP ratio of membership) and that there are possibly a further 50,000 players elsewhere in the world. A total of 150,000 gamers.

Now to try an calculate spend...I personally spend about £100/month on the hobby. I am told by my friends that this is probably at the high end. So taking the law of averages into play lets assume the average gamer will spend £50/month or £600/year. This gives a notional global market of £90million and makes the UK hobby worth about £30million.

Lets bring up the thorny issue of Games Workshop – in their last annual report they published sales of £120million globally (40% revenues came from North America, 30% UK and the remainder from the rest of the world). If my assumptions of the UK Wargames market is correct it must exclude Games Workshop. They are a very different market aiming squarely at the teen market where interest is shortlived. I doubt that less than in 1 in 20 GW teenagers carries on the hobby into adulthood. If this assumption is correct it starts to balance books. Combining the two markets we begin to see a global industry worth around £230million.

To further reinforce my hypothesis It is interesting to note that the Financial times ( suggested the worlds Model railway industry was worth around £1.1billion in 2005. Given the larger number of hobby magazines operating in this sector it must be reasonable to assume that as a market it is bigger.

So we are not really a big market – we are very niche. To put it into context the UK sells around £700m worth of bananas a year (I know this because I was once the UK Marketing Director for one of the largest importers).

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Attacking the Cliffs with a carving Knife (Part 2)

If you are coming here fresh you might want to pick up the trail from part 1
When I left you last I had glued down the cut bark and had created the bulk of the infill using block polystyrene. The following step was all completely new. It could work or it would go horribly goes.

The gap between the polystyrene block at cork bark cliff faces needed to be filled.

I had three choices:

I could have packed this with smaller blocks of foam but it would have been longwinded and fiddly

I could have filled the gap direct with filler, expensive, messy, too long to dry and potentially made the units too heavy

Or I could use expandable foam.



I wasn’t too sure how this would react to the polystyrene (would it melt?) so I tested a piece and after 20 minutes no adverse reaction could be seen.

So off I went merrily filling in the gaps. I hadn’t however expected what happens next, although there is a clue in the name of the product...expandable. I happily filled the gaps and left the pieces to try when I returned an hour later the shock of seeing the foam setting in large blobs over the top of the cliffs was interesting. In deed some of the effects look like lava (bank that Idea for another project). The good news is that the foam has filled the gap


And perhaps more importantly taken on an adhesive quality helping to strengthen the bark to the base. The instructions on the can suggest that the foam needs 24 hours to set..

 So I waiting patiently for 24 hours...

Tonight - get home from work and attack the cliffs with a carving knife cuts beautifully - the picture below shows the after cut...

and this was cut off..

Although light it is very strong...there must be a terrain subject here...I wonder if you can fill moulds with this stuff?

So the foam has worked so next up cover the top with filler and let dry...

Part 3 here:

Part 3


Sunday, 13 October 2013

SELWG - 2013

It a wet, no a very wet Sunday morning....I have two hours to dash across London to visit Crystal Palace and get back by 12.30 for Sunday Lunch. Was it worth it?

Well some of the games looked great, there appeared to be lots of folks piling and I picked up a few bits and pieces...

I also took my trusty camera and took a photo of most of the games on display...

and yes...I got back in time for my Sunday roast !