Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Today, I am mostly working on...

... My WW2 tank game. Today is the turn of Crusaders, Grants, and both German Specials. 

This is the first chance I've had in a while to get back to this game, between developing other games and working on editing rules sets for other people. I'm pleased to report progress is good!

Hopefully not too long before this one heads off to the publisher.

Monday, 22 August 2016

One month until TMWWBK officially publishes...

So if you want a copy before it sells out - I should be so lucky! - start shopping around for pre-order deals. Nick at North Star says he'll have copies before the official release date (no, I don't know how that works either), and the usual good bookshops and online retailers can taker your order too.

Added to this, Studio Tomahawk's Congo has just been released, so it's a good time for colonial wargamers. I've not played Congo yet but am excitedly awaiting my first game.


Here's the Osprey cover blurb for my book:

The Men Who Would Be Kings is a set of rules designed for fighting historical or Hollywood colonial battles in the mid to late 19th Century, from the Indian Mutiny to the Boxer Rebellion. Large scale colonial clashes tended to be one-sided affairs, but there are countless reports of brief, frantic skirmishes in every colonial war, where either side could be victorious, and these are the battles that The Men Who Would Be Kings seeks to recreate. Although focusing on the British colonial wars against the Zulus, Maoris and others, these rules will also permit players to explore the empires of France, Germany, and other nations, as well as allowing for battles between rival native factions. Gameplay is very simple, and is driven by the quality of the officers leading your units, in the true spirit of Victorian derring-do and adventure, where larger than life characters such as the (real) Fred Burnaby and the (fictional) Harry Flashman led their troops to a horrible end at the point of a spear tip.

Friday, 12 August 2016

TMWWBK arrives via the Khyber Pass / My Letterbox

The slap sound could have been the breech snapping back into place on a Martini-Henry, but no, it was a padded envelope through the door. Inside... The Men Who Would Be Kings!

I've mentioned with my other books that a big perk of writing the thing is that I get to see one of the first copies to arrive from the printer. Hooray!

This is my fourth book in the Osprey Wargames series (my fifth publishes next year), and the delight still doesn't wear thin when I have a new set of rules coming out. Especially when I open a printed copy for the first time.

I love the Peter Dennis cover, and inside I'm lucky enough to have more work by Peter Dennis, Angus McBride, and my long-time favourite military artist, the late, great Richard Scollins.

I've taken a quick couple of snaps, shown here - the colour plates give some indication of the breadth of colonial gaming: North West Frontier on the cover, Maori Wars art by Richard Scollins, and French Foreign Legion by Peter Dennis.

Stock will be arriving in the next couple of weeks, I guess, so as usual with my relationship with Osprey, we will have the book to you on the publication date if not before (I wish other people would do the same - I'm wait patiently for various books and rules whose dates keep slipping!).

If you've ordered a copy, you're nearly there! If you've not, head over to North Star, Amazon, or wherever else you choose to spend your money. North Star, you may recall, say they'll be despatching copies before anyone else, should you be in a hurry.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Kobold Wars: a little project for Westfalia

I'm currently working on a set of rules for Westfalia Miniatures entitled Kobold Wars. Just like the eponymous little critters, the rules will be short and sweet (well, 50% like a kobold).

You can see some of the superb little kobolds in the photo - they're about 15mm tall, so expect to field a swarm of them on the tabletop. These are work in progress models, of course.

As usual with my stuff, I'm aiming for very simple mechanisms, but with a couple of twists thrown in to pep up gameplay and really add to the feeling of playing a game and out-thinking your opponent.

The best place to find out more is either this thread at the Lead Adventure Forum, or checking out Westfalia's Facebook page; currently estimates look to be an October Kickstarter for the figures, and the rules will accompany them. I expect there will be more news from me in the near future too, on this 'ere blog.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Upcoming article in Medieval Warfare VI:4

I have an article in the upcoming issue of this magazine (volume VI, issue 4), all about medieval Irish axemen.

As you can see from the image I'm discussing in the article (shown here), they were rather angry chaps.

The overall theme of the issue is the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland, so if that's your kind of thing, pick a copy up when it comes out.

Monday, 25 July 2016

TMWWBK: North Star Military Figures are taking pre-orders (and shipping sooner than others, apparently)

According to North Star:

"We're taking pre-orders for the Osprey Colonial rules 'The Men Who Would Be Kings'. Written by Dan Mersey, they are based on his rules engine used in Lion Rampant, but with significant changes. Pre-order from us and you'll get your book weeks before a certain large online retailer ships out."

I don't know the ins and outs of when their stock will be ready (I've not seen my own advance copies yet), but if Nick says he'll be shipping before the online booksellers are going to, he's the man in the know.

Available here.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

The Pikeman's Lament - the final cover art

I noticed this was up on Amazon today... so I can now share it with you.

It's great to see that co-designer Michael's enthusiasm for all things Swedish has spread to the cover artist!

The Pikeman's Lament publishes at the end of January 2017.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Diehard Miniatures' Dragon Rampant warbands

Tim Prow and chums over at Diehard Miniatures have been working on some Dragon Rampant stats and special rules to accompany their beautifully sculpted models (coming up in a Kickstarter). You can check out their ideas for their pretty unique Eru-Kin, plus Chaos warriors, Elves, Dark Elves, Goblins, Orcs and more via their Facebook page.

I especially like the Bog-Blood blowpipers, not least because it's a bit of a tongue-twister to say.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Dragon Rampant for Lord of the Rings

I occasionally pop by the Lead Adventure Forum; it's one of the less abusive forums about gaming, so I generally feel safe(ish) there. Generally.

Anyhow, I read a fantastic thread on defining Lord of the Rings armies for Dragon Rampant. The level of research, knowledge, and thoughtfulness of troop types is exactly what I hoped gamers would bring to my fantasy rules - pretty much a historical approach, rather than regurgitating the standard fantasy tropes. It's grand to see (and read).

I've not chimed in as I'm well out of my league discussing Tolkien in this level of detail, but I'm certainly learning thing or two about his wider fantasy world by reading it.

One point I would make is that players shouldn't get too caught up on the recommended maximum points values if they have a clear idea of what they're trying to represent, and doing so sensibly. Really, the maximum (and minimum) points costs are there in an attempt to safeguard you against That Kind Of Player who fields a Massive Firebreathing Iceclaw Blood Death Dragon With 6 Wings, Acolyte Baby Dragon, and A Hand Grenade Of Instant Doom. (Now I've said that, someone is bound to work out the points value...)

Anyhow, as it is such a good debate over at LAF, I thought I'd link to it HERE.

Nice one LAFers, nice one.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Tanks! The World War Two Skirmish Game - a light hearted box of fun

A photo of the starter box models from the FoW website.
I picked up the (fairly) new Tanks game a little while ago and have really been enjoying it. It's no great simulation of WW2 tank combat - in fact it's a pretty bad simulation - but as a game and as inspiration for building and painting up a few new tank models, I don't think it can be faulted.

There are plenty of comparisons to X-Wing, in terms of force building and buying special equipment and heroes to find the optimal force. However, for me, it's really caught my imagination in the way that Battletech did back in the day.

Sure, it's not such a complex game - which is fine by me - but the conundrum of firepower, movement, and armour is similar in both games.

If I wanted a better simulation of tank warfare I'd head elsewhere, and of course I'm developing my own armoured battle game, but taking the game at face value as a fun game that happens to use WW2 tanks, I think its great.

Of course, there are several po-faced reviews out there, seemingly disgusted by the idea that gamers can have fun rather than studying tank warfare for 3 years before playing a game. But you know what I say to that...

...And I say the same to the gamers at the opposite end of the spectrum, who are already picking out loopholes in the rules to exploit. 'The rules don't say you can't move sideways', my eye: the tracks tell a different story don't you think?!?

Each to their own, but I'm in my element. Pass me another Sherman V, my last one has a hole in it.