An Unexpected Party

November 21, 2015

Last Saturday was Jack’s wargame birthday party.  There were 7 kids ages, ages 7-9 at the party.  The craft went well and the kids enjoyed the figure painting.  The challenge came because several were a bit unruly at first so it was difficult to explain the game, as simple as the rules were.  The object of the game was to kill monsters, each other and gain treasure for fighting and searching.  It was a simplified version of Jack’s Rules of war.  The warriors were basic hitting on a 3 or less.  The archers hit on a 2 or less but if they missed, the enemy did not get to fight back until their turn.  The hero hit on a 4 or less and also could take 2 hits before being “defeated.”  I did not use the word “kill” because I did not want them to get the impression that I glorify war and that this was a simple strategy game.  Some pictures below of the action as it unfolded.

There was miniature painting.

There was miniature painting.


And the results. Not too shabby!

And the results. Not too shabby!



The table before the carnage began.  The castle is another card model by Toshach Miniatures.  It was originally scaled to 10mm but the image was high res and I increased the size to 1/72 scale.



Me explaining how to fight. Strangely enough, it started around the hobbit hill. And here I thought Hobbits were peaceful! Card model by Fat Dragon Games.



There, of course, was cake!


And more fighting. Jack (right) stands with 2 of his friends. The girl won with 3 coins.

And more fighting. Jack (right) stands with 2 of his friends. The girl (name withheld) won with 3 coins.

Several of the kids really enjoyed the game and several others could take it or leave it.  Good times were had by all!  I’d call it a successful day!


How tall is Beorn?

September 28, 2015

How tall is Beorn from the Hobbit? The book does not explicitly say but we can figure out the rough height of the bear-man in human form.

Step 1: A point of reference. Beorn wore a tunic that hung to the top of his knee.  “As for Bilbo he could easily have trotted through his legs without ducking his head to miss the fringe of the man’s brown tunic.” (From Queer Lodgings) So we know that Bilbo was knee high to Beorn.

Step 2: How tall is Bilbo? We assume Bilbo is of average height. A hobbit, according to the book The Hobbit is “about half our height, and smaller than the bearded Dwarves.“ (From An Unexpected Party) This is a somewhat sticky point because in the Lord of the Rings, Tolkien changes things up and makes the average Hobbit about 3 feet 6 inches. For our purposes, it’s better not to mix and match. So we shall stick with the size from The Hobbit. Now, a medieval man is about 5 feet 8 inches tall or 68 inches. A WWII man, fortunately, is also about 5 feet 8 inches tall. So we don’t actually have to know what “man” Tolkien was referring to. We can safely assume Bilbo is about 34 inches tall. So the distance from the ground to the top of Beorn’s knee is also 34 inches..

Step 3: Compare to a real world person. The distance to the top of my knee is 24 inches. We an figure out the multiplier to increase my height to figure out how tall Beorn is, assuming he has my height proportions. 34 / 22 = 1.416666667. My height is 72 inches. 72 X 1.416666667 = 102 inches. That works out to 8.5 feet. I’d conjecture that Beorn is somewhere between 8 and 9 feet tall….in human form.

Step 4: (Optional) If you are looking for a miniature, you simply need to apply the multiplier above to the size of your “man” size in mm. For instance, my figures are about 24mm tall. So 24 X 1.416666667 = 34mm. Fudging that, most modern 28mm figures could fit the bill as they are usually 31mm+ tall.

As for Beorn in bear form, he was described as follows: “He came alone, and in bear’s shape; and he seemed to have grown almost to giant-size in his wrath. The roar of his voice was like drums and guns; and he tossed wolves and goblins from his path like straws and feathers.” Any werebear that is at least twice the height of your man sized miniatures should do. Mine is the Dwarf Werebear from Dungeons and Dragons miniatures but since I’ve done my research, I am kind of sorry I did not get something a bit bigger.

Left to right: Boromir, Foundr Viking (Beorn in human form maybe?), Bilbo, Beorn in Bear form

Left to right: Boromir, Foundry Viking (Beorn in human form maybe?), Bilbo, Beorn in Bear form.

My Beorn holds an ax which is not really an accurate description but it is a great looking miniature and will work nicely with the rest of my figures.  I’ll be looking at some of Reaper’s offerings for Beorn in human form as their figures are on the large size.  The one I found in my collection is a bit undersized.

Slayer of Brushes? No More!

March 20, 2015

pinksoapI am one of those unfortunate souls who does not know how to keep a paint brush in a healthy shape.  Someone on TMP recommended a certain kind of brush soap and swore it would extend the life of a paint brush for quite a long time.  I don’t remember the brand but could not find it at my local craft store anyway.  What I did find was Pink Soap.  There are no directions but I assumed that it was a simple application to the index finger.  You then can work it gently in to the bristles with your index finger and thumb.  Then rinse the brush and store properly until the next time.   I have to say the results are quite impressive.  I’ve had 4 paint sessions with my latest set of brushes and there is no sign of wear what so ever.  Normally, I would have destroyed at least one brush by the 4th session.  The bristles have maintained their color without a trace of pigment.  I’d highly recommend brush soap to anyone who paints, anything (miniatures, pictures, ceramics whatever).  A little bit goes a long way.

Got Trees?

January 25, 2015
JTT HO Trees

JTT HO Trees

Our hobby can be expensive.  These days, it is hard to find inexpensive terrain.  I have noticed tree manufacturers are still selling, but at a premium price.  There was a kickstarter not long ago for a company called “War Trees“.  They were making resin trees ready for the battlefield.  The pine trees did not look like much but the deciduous trees looked like they would do.  The problem was that each tree cost about $4US.   Sadly, the funding was unsuccessful as they did not generate any interest.

The other day, I was up near a local hobby shop and popped in to see what they had in their model railroad scenery.  I found a bulk back of 24 HO scale trees (3″-4″ tall) for about $30.  This was the best deal I had seen in a long time.  I decided to take a chance.  The trees are made from natural material and come with small plastic bases.  The bases are inadequate to hold the tree up reliably on their own.  So some wider bases will have to be manufactured.  The plastic bases can still be utilized as they are molded to look like the roots at the base of the tree.  The flocking on the tree also seems to shed pretty easily.  I remedied this by giving each tree a generous coat of dull coat.  I am not finished basing them yet…who am I kidding!  I have not even got them started!  I’ll post some pictures when I get them done.  There are also other bags of 36 N-Scale trees (2″-3″) and 55 micro scale (1″-2”) for the same price.  Company website is here.


They like me! They really like me!

December 16, 2012
The prestigious Leibster award!

The prestigious Leibster award!

Dan Mersey has nominated me for a Leibster award.  I think it basically means that he is telling the community that this blog is worth reading.  It is a great way to promote the hobby.  Now I need to return the favor by nominating 5 blogs that I enjoy.  The problem here is that most of the blogs I read are already nominated.  So, I will be breaking the rules and nominating the ones I deem worthy whether they’ve been nominated or not!

First up is Here is no Great Matter.  This blog has a little of everything and a lot of Lost Battles, including some informative replays of the game.

Next we have Dale’s Wooden Warriors.  This was started as another alternative to the Wargaming on a Budget project.  I posted my armies some time ago for a game Matt Kirkhart and I ran at Cold Wars in March 2012.  The figures are extremely nice and very creative.

Up next is Men in Boxes.  Among other gaming aspects, this is a 1/72 scale soldier site.  Some interesting articles here including some warbands for Song of Arthur and Merlin.

I can’t forget Shaun’s Wargaming with Miniatures blog.  This site has many, many reviews using Ancients Wargaming rules set but with a spin.  He wants to game in a 2X2 board and finish the game in about an hour.  Some interesting ideas to “miniaturize” some otherwise hefty rules sets.

Finally, there is The 1/72 Scale Multiverse.  This site has been extremely useful to me on my quest to find 1/72 scale fantasy figures to use in my Lord of the Rings project.

As an honorable mention, check out Dan Mersey’s blog.  Lots of information about books Dan has published including some helpful tips about his excellent game Dux Bellorum.

So, sorry for the retreads but, the blogs I usually read are already nominated.  I guess I have good taste!

More thoughts on Ancient and Medieval Wargaming

November 25, 2012

I had some initial thoughts that after a few ore games I thought maybe were not such a good idea.  One thought was that skirmishers, especially javelin armed skirmishers were not any good.  True they could get slaughtered in a fight but historically they are simply harassing units.  It was thought by several folks that light troops in general should have some sort of evade rules.  I am not so certain.  In my last fight, my velites were able to shoot and then inflict a few more hits in melee.  True they took heavy casualties but I allowed them to retreat through the formed body.  I was then able to counter attack with fresh units on the next turn.   So I was able to pull back spent units before they were eliminated, and thuse being counted as victory points.

Some units are a bit weak.  Specifically, the Punic infantry and Hellenistic cavalry.  Though both units were substantial armor, Neil Thomas felt for some reason that they should only have a 6+ armor.  And yet, the Roman cavalry have a 5+ armor!  Both of these I would change to 5+.  Speaking of Punic infantry, I also had a notion that they should be classified as auxiliary infantry.  However, I think the Hoplite classification is fine.  they can deliver a punch and then start to fall apart when they lose that first stand.  I do think the Punic Veterans should be heavy infantry as the Romans are.

Finally, there is the differentiation between Hoplites and Pike phalanx.  Hoplites deliver a tremendous attack until the first stand is lost.  I think the Pike Phalanx should have a 3+ armor save against non-pike units (frontal only!) until the first stand is lost.  This 3+ only applies to melee.  They retain the usual 5+ against missile fire.

My next fight shall be Hereclea, the classic matchup between Pyrrhus and Rome.




New Yahoo Group

February 24, 2009

I’ve created a yahoo group for Ancients D6 and any other game that I end up designing.  Come on by to ask your questions or just say Hi.



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