Wargame Vault

I was reflecting over lunch today that I had been using Wargame Vault for a considerable time now so I thought I would look at the history of my account. So far it appears as though I have ordered around 100 items from there. My first order was on 18 November 2008 and I ordered:

  • Aeronef (Captain’s Handbook)
  • Land Ironclads
  • Salamis ad Actium

That was 12 years ago. I had not realised I had been using their services for that length of time.

Last night I purchased some more rules:

  • All Hell Let Loose
  • Narrow Seas
  • Red Menace

So, 12 years of being a typical wargamer and buying more rules than I will ever use, likely ever read. I then wondered how much I had spent over that time … and stopped wondering. That way lies hell.

Anyway, I can recommend their service – Wargame Vault

Painting Mojo and Thomo’s New Hole (temporary)

Thomo’s New Hole – work and wargame area combined and old Chichi who likes curling up on my computer bag and sleep here.

Thomo’s Hole has moved from Manila to Pampanga. This is a new temporary hole as Thomo’s permanent “he is never moving again … ever” hole is under construction. The new location is the province of Pampanga, famous for its food, volcanoes, screwing up air traffic for weeks in the 1990s, old US Air Bases and for being a considerably less expensive and lower stress environment to live in compared to Manila. I did think I was rather clever, managing to finish the move the day before Typhoon Rolly ripped through southern Luzon, however, perhaps I did not throw enough virgins into the volcanoes as Typhoon Ulysses managed to catch me at home last week (and scared the living you know what out of me).

Kits, wargame figures and my Commands and Colous Collection – unpacked bag of books on the bottom shelf

I think I will have enough space here, in the new temporary Hole, for the completion of some kits as well as playing some board games and figure games.

I should note that there are a number of bags of books upstairs still to be unpacked and some additional figures as well. I’ll get around to them in the near future when I can purchase an additional book case.

So what am I starting with to get the wargames rolling I hear you ask?

I had a hard look at what I had here and considered doing some rapid painting of some 6mm ancients and finish either the Punic Wars or Erik Bloodaxe sets.

I then considered getting stuck into painting the several thousand 6mm Greeks I have laying around.

The new local!

I then thought it a good idea to either finish up my World War 2 North Africa Italians but then I would need to purchase some 8th Army figures and vehicles and all wargamers know where that leads – on to the Afrika Korps and from there late war British and Americans. Yes, that way lies madness – or at least the normal wargamers megalomania.

I am also cautious at the moment about ordering items for delivery from the UK given the state of international logistics in these plague-ridden times.

That also ruled out the American Civil War project I have been considering.

I thought about painting my Early World War 2 Belgians – there are not so many and I have some other early World War 2 foes they can fight.

I then had a brainwave, for something really simple to play as a project. Why not refight the entire Peloponnesian War, both land and sea, over the coming months, until the permanent location is complete?

Right then, that’s decided.

I had one additional problem to deal with. Again, with all the moving and some work stress, I had lost my painting mojo. I looked at the projects here, both big and small, and settled on the idea of picking something that was already undercoated and ready to go and could be managed in small chunks.

World War 2 coastal vessels. So the 1/1200 scale Hallmark coastal vessels were examined and whilst there are some big vessels there, such as destroyers, liberty ships and such, 12 S-Boote and 4 R-Boote seem to fit the bill. I started them tonight and have the sea bases completed, well except for the wakes, they come when the hulls are painted.

Mojo Restored!


Play nice, roll high, and enjoy the game!

Sportsmanship vs Gamesmanship – from the Quarantined Wargamer

Big Lee Hadley is the owner of a YouTube channel, the Quarantined Wargamer, that I enjoy visiting, and I must admit, I do seem to agree with a lot of what he says. A couple of days ago he posted a video about Sportsmanship vs Gamesmanship in Wargaming. Have a look at it below.

Watching this brought a few flashbacks to my early years in wargaming, a time when we were all younger and winning was the thing. I recall many wargames – generally those under WRG Ancient an other Rules, where the games broke down, almost to fisticuffs over a rule interpretation or understanding an order. Competition games were even worse where the best efforts of the rules lawyer were to be seen, arguing that as the rules specifically did not rule out Ancient Gauls delivering a tactical nuclear strike on the hated Romans, there was, indeed, no reason why they couldn’t – well except for the fact that there was no way to assess it.

It seemed in those times that when heading out for a wargame, you packed your army, your rules, measuring stick, dice (both D6 and average dice), your army standing orders crafted over many previous games and covering all eventualities including Custer riding over the hill in front of the 7th cavalry and, last of all, analgesics for the headache that you knew was coming. It was in this early period of wargaming that I discovered there was nothing wrong with popping a few aspirin washed down with a beer. Either the aspirin or the beer worked.

In one memorable case, one gamer assisting me with a demonstration game in Hyde Park in Sydney, even cheated then. This gamer was famous, squire, for his 18-inch long 12-inch ruler!

So, what was Big Lee on about? Sportsmanship is assisting your opponent, especially newer members of the hobby, to understand why some moves are better than others, why it is better for your bowmen over there to fire on those naked berserkers than the shield wall and so on. Gamesmanship is doing everything you can to win at any cost, even if this means being a little “economical” with the interpretation of the rules.

Being a sportsman doesn’t mean you can’t get in your opponents head, or at least try. A bit of sledging here, a quizzical look there and second guessing your opponent is not a bad thing, especially against older experienced players who are your regular opponents. All aspects of the game should be fun.

In many respects, I am kind of glad of my current wargaming solitude. I play with myself, so no longer have the annoyance of players leaking gamesmanship all over the table. In this increasingly polarized world, it does make sense to relax, be nice and enjoy your hobby. After all, winning isn’t everything! Really, it’s not!

THERE’S a breathless hush in the Close to-night –
Ten to make and the match to win –
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote
“Play up! play up! and play the game!”

Vitai Lampada by Sir Henry Newbolt

The next post from here will be game based – yes gentle reader, I am planning on playing with myself some more. My target, refight the entire Peloponnesian War between now and the end of January. Well, we all have to dream 🙂


Play nice, roll high, and enjoy the game!

Greeks and another Diversion

Back in May 2019 in Moving Right Along – Wargaming Tasks – 2019 update!, back before the plague, I noted that I had received

Heroics and Ros 6mm Greeks for yet another Ancient project. I am still waiting on the delivery from Rapier Miniatures, but I fear these are the first order to the Philippines to go astray as it has been over 6 months now Update (May 1st) – I just received an email from Stefan at Rapier (not bad, about one hour after posting this) to note that the parcel was sent but they will send again. Brilliant service guys – thank you.

The Rapier Greeks duly arrived and the original parcel was received back at Rapier in the UK a few days after a replacement order was sent to me. Ah the vagaries of PhilPost. I digress however.

Last year I had also read a fair bit of Greek history, both land battles and naval, and had decided, with all those 6mm Greeks, along with a couple of fleet packs of Navwar’s 1/1200 ancient ships and a copy of GMT’s Galley, to refight the Peloponnesian War, both on land and sea, as a project.

Reading Battles and Battlefields of Ancient Greece – A Guide to Their History, Topography and Archaeology – Book Review along with Great Battles of the Classical Greek World – Review and it occurred to me that I would have the figures available and the information to pretty much refight all the Greek vs Greek battles of the classical world in 6mm on a 2 foot square board (yes, wargamer’s megalomania at its best).

Enter the plague! Several months of listless inactivity followed by a home move out of Metro Manila to a province and I had achieved absolutely nothing. In my defense, there was a good deal of work pressure at the same time as quarantine lockdowns and what-not (yes, I know, an excuse not a reason).

Tonight, sitting in the new residence (temporary for about 6 months while the final Thomo’s Hole is being constructed) and it occurred to me that to get rolling on this project, I could use my Commands and Colors (C&C) set. I have all six expansions from the Ancient C&C, although I had not placed the Spartan expansion figure stickers on the blocks for that yet. I started that tonight.

I now have a project, doable in short order — refighting the classical Greek world using C&C. I have the blocks, I have the reference material and best of all, I don’t need much space or to paint anything. When I get up to the Peloponnesian War I will probably consider breaking out War Galley as well. However, for the time being, it’s lock shields and advance!

Ancient History Does Exist in Asia!

The Koreans ready to take the field again – figures from Alain Touller, painting from yours truly

There have been a lot of tweets recently, wargame based, dealing with ancient history and ancient wargaming. Most (if not all) have been Eurocentric. I can understand this as the largest market for wargame figures and for the consumption of Ancient History, have been Europeans – be they in Europe, the UK, the US and Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

The wargame figures and related publications cover Europe, and the Middle East across to India (think Alexander the Great).  Even Central and South America gets a look in with Aztec, Maya and Inca, although I suspect that is mainly because Aztec and Inca were conquered at the time by European freebooters.

The coverage of Asian warfare and Ancient History, with a few exceptions, is lagging far behind that of Europe and the Near East. The Japanese, Mongol, Korean and Chinese armies were the first of the Far East armies to start to be covered, in part because there was enough accessible information in English to provide information to the figure manufacturer and wargamer. The effect of cinema must also bear some responsibility here as well along with the achievements of some of those Asian nations.

The Khmer – undercoated and maiden guard painted – Irregular Miniatures

Other areas have lagged behind. Burmese, Thai and Khmer armies have been researched and modelled at least in 15mm scale (in part, perhaps because of the Khmer maiden guard). Cham and recently Sumatran and Javanese.

Sitting here in the Philippines for the past 6 years I have slowly been acquiring some information about the pre-Jesuit Philippines. This has not been easy to acquire. One reason given has been the lack of written history, and/or the inability to write it down. The Laguna Copperplate Inscription (Filipino: Inskripsyon sa Binatbat na Tanso ng Laguna) from about 1200 years ago  certainly belies the ability to write things down here.

15mm Burmese and Khmer. Prepped, based and undercoated. Now just waiting for the application of the brush. I must get around to finishing these!

In December 2014 I hunted through the National Bookstore for some information. Alas, I am still searching for a good reference work, preferably in English, my Tagalog is not up to anything that complicated yet, covering the pre-Jesuit Philippines. There were, it seems quite a few kingdoms, sultanates etc. across the archipelago in the past, with influences from India, China, Arab, Malay and of course, local.

A rich history I am sure, and one with much trading, political skullduggery, feats of arms and such but so little written about it. A history that likely touched the Indonesian Archipelago as well.

Any references gladly accepted – and lets remember that Ancient History is worldwide!


In my preferred wargame scale of 6mm, as far as I am aware, Baccus 6mm, and Heroics and Ros only model Samurai. Rapier Miniatures make Mongols and Irregular at least cover more areas, namely, Samurai, Chinese, Mongol, Tibetan, Burmese, and Khmer. Koreans, Sumatrans, Javanese are in short supply.

DBA Competition — Landwaster 2020

Landwaster has been an annual competition on the DBA calendar in Australia for a number of years now. Mercifully for the plague-infested world, it comes along late in the year and as most of Australia seems to have a lid on the plague currently (touch wood and whistle), this year Landwaster is on. Unlike previous years, this year it is moving temporarily from Canberra to Goulburn on Sunday 22nd November 2020 at the Goulburn Workers Club, 1 McKell Pl Goulburn NSW.

David Lawrence, the organiser, noted:

Landwaster is a happening thing and we have had an initial rush of entrants – but we still have room for more. The doors to the club will open at 10:00AM and the first game will kick off at 10:30AM.  

There will be a charge of $10 per entry to cover the hall hire and trophies.

He further notes, that with regards to meeting a COVID safe environment for the DBA games:

… for the present environment all players must use their own army, terrain, dice and measuring sticks.  For this reason I am not offering up my stable of armies or terrain.

The usual suspects as sponsors for the tournament have been rounded up and are:

  • Brian Hall of Hall of Ancient Warriors will be providing the first place trophy
  • Ray Compton of Essex Miniatures Australia will be providing discount vouchers for 1st, 2nd and 3rd
  • Mick Sellman of Mick’s Metal Models will be providing an army as the Magister Militum Prize
  • Dean Bedlington of Olympian Games will be providing prize vouchers for the Executioner Award, Mithradates Trophy and Last Place
  • Barry Scarlett of Leadbears Tufts will also be providing a voucher for all of the above awards.

There s a limit of  20 entries to maintain suitable social distancing so the entries will be recorded based on email timestamps and capping the entries at 20.

Come and join them for the premiere DBA event of the ACT and surrounds (I will, alas, be watching from afar, from the Philippines). David goes on to note that “for the Canberra gamers –  remember it is only 1 hour up the road.  For Sydney based players I have cut your drive by an hour.”

Come on, sign up and play. After months of lockdowns and quarantine, blow the dust of the armies and have some face-to-face games again.

See the flyer attached here Landwaster 2020 Flyer (PDF)

Wargame Outcomes

The other day I was pondering the use of alternate methods of randomizing in Wargames. The usual method is to throw dice of course, be they the standard 6-sided dice (D6), average dice (faces of 233445), or one of the specials such as a 4-sided, 12-sided, 20-sided dice etc.

Dice rolls, regardless of the number of faces, usually provide three outcomes. Either I win, you win or it’s a tie. Three outcomes then had me thinking of using the old rock, paper, scissors (or the extended rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock) for outcome generation. Using rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock as the example (indeed, any number of odd combinations can be used) provides for one tie, two win and two loss outcomes per round.

With 5 possible outcomes, the Win 2, Lose 2, Tie one compares with rolling two 6-sided dice where ceteris paribus (OK, so I didn’t need to use the Latin term for “everything else being equal” but it does make this post sound a little more highbrow 😉) the outcomes are 15 wins, 15 losses and 6 ties.

20% ties on rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock compares with 16.7% using two dice, so ties are a little less likely using two dice. However, and here is where it gets interesting, using rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock does provide for a less random outcome as we try and second guess our opponents of their next hand gestures.

Time to ‘fess up. I have no idea where I am going with this thought, just that I am going somewhere or considering an alternative. I know there are some wargames where rock, paper, scissors is used to determine one-on-one hand-to-hand combat, but I am trying to think of a way to use in mass battles.

Mind you, rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock does not have the same satisfying sound as a handful of dice bouncing around the dice tray and spinning to a stop to reveal a brace of ones and twos when you only needed one six!

Modern Spearhead and Shako

I’ve been quiet for a while but then this Tweet from @Thewargamesroom

set my mind to thinking, especially when Keith noted that he played the game on a 3’x2′ table.

As I am space challenged currently, and as Keith noted that it worked well at that alternative scale, I thought should have a look for these rules and see if I could get some modern gaming in with myself.

The Spearhead and Modern Spearhead rules were written by Arty Conliffe. I searched for Modern Spearhead and found only one place that had them on their catalogue, however, On Matters Military, sold out in July 2020.

I then thought to give Amazon a try and searched for publications from Arty Conliffe. I came across this gem!

Wow! Just WOW!

I think I will go home tonight and carefully place my copy of Shako (and Shako II for that matter) in the vault and leave it there.

What other old rulesets have you run across that are currently for sale at ridiculous prices?

Big Ideas to Grow Historical Wargming

A few days ago I posted a link to a Little Wars video asking the question, Is Historical Wargaming Dying Out? I also added my thoughts to the question as well.

More power to the guys at Little Wars, they released a follow-on video offering some ideas and suggestions (five of them to be accurate) for growing tabletop wargaming.

The suggestions are all quite good and certainly may help to promote the game. The Gateway Product and Curated YouTube channels I think were excellent ideas. To attract those in the 20 to 35 age group, the approach really needs to be electronic to start with. For those in the 15 to 25 age group, the competition is tough as it is mobile phone based games along with XBox, Playstation and Nintendo.

I will admit that having worked in IT for more years than I care to remember, I like the tactile nature of tabletop gaming — research, painting, pushing figures around a table, two out of three parts are unrelated to my day job.

Anyhow, do have a look at the video and see of you can think of something to:

  1. promote the hobby
  2. attract new gamers

Right then, back out with the paintbrushes.

Roll sixes, stay safe, wash your hands!

Wargaming Dying Out?

The folks over at Little Wars TV posed the question, “Is Historical Wargaming Dying Out?” I know this is something that has been often discussed in the wargames press, in forums, at shows and when just sitting around and chatting at the club. The greying of the hobby is apparent from the results over a number of years from the Great Wargames Survey.

If you haven’t seen it already, have a look at the YouTube video below, produced by Little Wars TV.

This video spoke to a couple of US wargame “dignitaries” as well as many UK ones. The mix was rules writers, figure producers and so on and one of the premises was that there has been very little in the way of new rules releases from US rules writers, although the English rules producers have been having a field day over recent years.

Some lively debate has followed on Twitter about this. Some of it has suggested that the responses were biased. I don’t think that there was a deliberate bias, the guys just spoke to the folks they knew at a show in the US and via other arcane means of communications in the UK.

Storm of Steel Wargaming, in his YouTube channel also discussed this topic, offering an alternative view:

To the actual question posed, here are my thoughts, written here as it is too long for Twitter 🙂

The first thing to note is that the feeling of the future from the folks in the UK was positive. More figure ranges being produced in more scales, many more rules written and released and, apart from the current plagues, clubs well attended as are shows.

Compare that to the US where they make the point that apart from Sam Mustafa’s Honor series, there has been little in the realm of new rules releases. Most of the rules systems being played are, in fact, systems that were written many years ago.

I’m not sure that I would describe this as dying out, rather I think it is a product of the times and the way wargames are played in the two areas. With a couple of notable exceptions, clubs in the US tend to be few and far between with most gaming occurring in gamer’s homes. Shows are organised by the various societies and generally run for 2 to 4 days with game masters running games for the attendees, often running a game many rimes. The objective of the show is to play games. It seems sensible then to stick to rules that folks know for that reason.

In the UK, the shows are mainly for shopping, and looking at lots of eye candy. There may be wargames competitions on as well but the shows are generally one or two days maximum, and the largest, Salute, is a one day show with many traders and demonstrations games.

Europe also seems to have a healthy scene as well with large shows (Antwerp for example) as well as manufacturers and publishers. APAC also has a healthy scene, and wargamers in the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong seem on average younger than those grey heads in the UK and US.

Where are all the youngsters playing wargames? Mostly on their mobile phones, Play Stations or Xboxes, playing Mobile Legends or Fortnite. These gamers will age, and eventually at the ripe old age of 28 or so, their reactions will have slowed, the ability of their thumb to hit a key at about 200 times per second will have diminished and they will start to look for other entertainment.

Enter the recent spate of “all-in-one” sets. These are boxed sets and are new scales and warames periods with all the new items being released with rules, models/figures, and painting instructions in one box. Verily these are starter sets and like them or hate them, they do provide an entry for folks whose interest has been piqued. Cruel Seas, Black Seas, SPQR Victory at Sea and other Warlord games provide complete packs, an easy entry for new starters.

The wargame shows, once the Plague passes, provide a means of showcasing the hobby and these days, with YouTube channels, podcasts, not to mention books and magazines providing support for the new starter, I certainly think that while the future the future may look a little dim in the US at the moment, in the rest f the world it appears vibrant and bright.