MAGE II – The Hexathalon

Well it took a little longer than I hoped but I finally got the dates locked down for MAGE II.  Its going to be on 30th June – 1st and will be held in the village hall just around from my house.

If you have no idea what I am talking about then I did a brief article earlier in the year here which gives some idea though of course it has now been overtaken by events outside my control

As I said previously the original plan was for it to be 7 games over the weekend but the hall is already booked on the Friday night (I guess they don’t know who I am) hence the reduction to 6 games and we will do the big Gaslands demolition derby on the Saturday night.  Which means of course that its BBQ and Beer on the Friday night though I’m sure we will be able to drag out a few folding tables and get some gaming going in the moonlight (who says romance is dead)  Maybe even a trial run of Labyrinth for next years Butterfly House.

So onto the serious!!! business of how the event will run

The 6 games are going to be

  • Of Gods and Mortals
  • Dead Mans Hand
  • Guildball
  • Malifaux
  • Open Combat
  • Burrows and Badgers

There will be models to borrow for each of these if you don’t have a crew / warband / army / team / insert term here though not having your own models will impact on the points you can score.  Well yes of course there are points, somebody has to win after all (it will be Joe Wood) Basically there are a 1000 points up for each game of which very few are actually based on winning and many more of them are available for just doing stuff in the game.

Matt is in charge of coming up with the gaming schedule (expect it the day before the event- he’s been promising it to me for the last 4 months) and I will be producing the achievement  sheets over the next month or so.

As always with these events, you are more than welcome to camp in my garden but there are also several local B&Bs if camping fills you with dread.


If you are just drop me a line via any of the usual channels and I can get you signed up – max of 24 spaces.  Its going to cost you the princely sum of £10 for the weekend just to cover the hall rental (which has new toilets thanks to a National Lottery grant – if you’ve been before you know this is a big plus 🙂 )

Hope to see you then.



Episode 349 – Awful Orphanage

awful orphanage.png

In which Mike and Matt (oh wait a minute Matt didn’t show up so Mike had to go solo) chat with Neil and Paul from Workhouse Games about their forthcoming Kickstarter Project, Awful Orphanage which launches on the 22nd March 2018. This is a game that has been floating around in their heads for the better part of 3 years and unlike many of the games that you see on KS this isn’t a big company doing a presale or a small company with unrealistic expectations of being the next Kingdom Death. No, in a refreshing change of events, these are guys who have thought long and hard about the product that they want to put out, have done all the sums and have invested significant amounts of there own capital to get the game to a place where they just need the funds to actually put it into production. Nice one. It helps that the game has a killer premise and the figures and art are absolutely lovely. You also get to hear Mike be absolutely gobsmackedat the price point – hint, its really really good. We’ll definitely be backing it here and in 2018 thats not as done a deal as it was previously.

He’s right you know, they do seem to follow you around the room

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Monster Smash, Adventures in the Core, 2077 and more

Everyone has a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.

Its a bit unclear who actually said the above, or indeed, if someone actually said it, but its a punchy quote (ish) to start this piece off with I thought.  Especially as for most gamers you could replace book with game and you would be pretty much spot on.

Having said that though, if you are a Fools Daily listener then the games in your head are probably top notch and if you are a Fools Daily contributor then obviously your games are going to be world beaters and why haven’t we got them down on the page yet?

Well thats sort of what this article is about, set the scene for some of the things that we are working on and give you ammunition for when you see us to go – have you finished working on xxx yet?

So heres a few of the things that are lurching around at the moment

Adventures in the Core

So this was an idea that Conrad and I had about a game riffing on all those excellent pulp themes about the centre of the earth being hollow and surface mans attempts to exploit what he finds there.  The basic premise is that the Earth is actually a museum and our current civilisation just happens to be the current exhibit.  However the caretakers have gone missing and security in the holding areas is breaking down.  Basically it was an excuse to get some plastic dinosaurs and put them on the table.  We played several demo games of a very early alpha version at Daffcon in 2016 but then nothing really happened beyond that.  Issues with the size of game, what market we were aiming at etc. stymied progress and meant that is sort of slipped off the radar.  The core mechanics seemed solid though using an opposed d10 system which gave some interesting choices when playing where you wanted to use your dice.  The wind was also taken out of our sails when other companies produced ‘centre of the earth’ games that riffed on the very same themes that we were.  TBH I don’t know if this will ever see release beyond perhaps a participation game at some trade show but I certainly learnt a lot and we got a kickass piece of artwork out of the whole process.

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The cover artwork we commissioned 

Monster Smash!


This was / is inspired by my love of monster movies big and small which combined with the awesomeness that is Pacific Rim to give me a game of large monsters hitting each other with chunks of buildings, cars and maybe even the odd ship.  It also gave a simpler framework in which the d10 based opposed roll mechanics could be tested without the baggage that came with AitC.  After building out the initial rules I hit a really bad writers block on where the game was going to go, especially around destructible terrain but a conversation with Gav Thorpe cleared some of that away and then a second conversation with Mike Hutchinson got me fired up to make the effort to try and turn this into a real game in the second half of this year.  If you are interested you can take a look at the current state of play as there are downloadable copies of both rules and make a monster documents.


If you have ever listened to Fools Daily you will know I love a good dungeon crawl.  There is something about them that I just connect with and tbh, its probably my favourite form of gaming.  However for the longest time I’ve wanted to play a sci fi version and just haven’t found one.  Fantasy based ones up the wazoo (I also know of a Post Apocalyptic one that is in development (slowly)) but nothing Sci Fi based.

So Salvage is a plan I have for making my own, but its a long drawn out process, especially if I actually want to turn it into a boxed game that can go on retail shelves.

So first up as a mechanics test will be a fantasy / myth based version that I am currently calling Labyrinth.  Originally it was going to be a straight Heroquest type thing that I would run participation games of at Bonescon 2018, but again, as these things do, the idea has mutated and currently I am thinking its going to be a Mythic based game, probably using Greeks.  Think Jason and the Argonauts but in a dungeon.  If the mechanics work then transfering them over to Salvage should be relatively easy and give me a step up.


Finally we come to 2077, a pure gang based skirmish game set, unsurprisingly, in the the year 2077.  Pure Cyberpunk.  Think Blade Runner meets Altered Carbon with a good chunk of Neuromancer and Snowcrash thrown in.   This will be my attempt at the Sci Fi game that I have spent the best part of 15 years looking for and not finding.  Only got myself to blame then.  Currently I am roughing out a timeline, basic initial gangs etc. before I start putting some mechanics together – though I do have some basic concepts of those scribbled on the back of the proverbial fag packet.  I’ll probably do another blog post about this one later this week as its the one that I am working on now, so is at the forefront of my mind.


So there you go, hopefully some of these might actually see the light of day, if not, I will only have myself to blame and I’m not sure I can handle the guilt.  I mean its not like they need to be good or anything.


Episode 348 – Fluff vs Form

In which Mike goes on a little rant and Matt uses a big word. The basics of the rant is to do with the divorce of fluff and gameplay and how that effects performance on the tabletop. Its not about telling people how to play or saying that one way is better than the other but more about making sure that all choices are viable and sensible choices to make.tumblr_nbi0vvzD081r1g40zo1_1280.jpg

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Episode 347 – Dead to me

In which Mike and Matt shock the world by producing a second episode in a weekend. Today is the tale of their trip to the darkest wilds of Daventry to play in an Epic Armageddon event. Its taken 3 years to get to this point so they were desperate to make the most of it and so excited about how it went that Matt didn’t even get out of bed to record the audio. Thats dedication. And now of course you all have the thought of Matt, naked in bed, recording his voice for your pleasure. You aren’t getting that thought image out of there any time soon.


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Episode 346 – The Iliad

In which Mike and Matt recount the tale of epic derring do that was Bonescon 2018, which (spoilers) was a great success and hopefully there will be a Butterfly House there next year as well. They also touch upon the Epic tournament that they are heading out to and then get to the meat of the discussion as they talk about the recently released SAGA v2 and how they got on with their first couple of games. Listening back it does seem that Mike likes the sound of his own voice and poor Matt can hardly get a word in edgeways. If you have ever met Mike you know that this couldn’t be possibly true as he is a shy and retiring type of character, very much content to sit in the background.

Matt ponders his next move in SAGA.  He was some time and it was a terrible move.

Direct Link:

What’s Going On ….

I’ve been meaning to write my blog post for the last 2 weeks but Mike beat me to it with his Bonescon post. Now that is a good start – why didn’t I go? Simple answer is that I am being very canny with the pounds and pence and will choose wisely what I attend this year. That didn’t mean that I as soon as I saw info being posted on tut social media about the con, I regretted not going. Just being able to hang with Mike and Spooner and/or go and do some gaming myself too – they played Wrath of Kings there for lards sake! Its also the camaraderie and bants and drinking. I spent a very memorable evening at Smogcon 2016 I think, with some great company at a local nearby pub. We had such a laugh and I drank far too much. When you first attend these cons, its all about the gaming. Then eventually that changes to hanging with buddies and perhaps getting a game in now and then. Hopefully there will be next year.

However on the event front I am attending an Epic Armageddon event in the shape of Full Scale Assault (and Pepper). This is an EPIC-UK event being run by the folks from EPIC-UK (unsurprisingly) in the manly form of Dave Bartley. If you want to know more about EPIC-UKevents go visit their events page.

So why EPIC? Well Nick and I have started to adopt the “game of the month”. January it was Bolt Action. February it is Epic Armageddon. So I have been playing and learning all about Epic and really enjoying the game system. I think it has a lot of tactical depth too and an elegance about it. Of course there is the fact that it is a GW game system and I’ve had loads of rules queried which have been able answered by a friend that play EPIC a lot more regularly than I do! I’m really looking forward to the event and very probably getting smashed off the table but I don’t care as I am going there to get some more games in. There is a down side to this as 4 of Tanelorn are attending this event which means the club wooden spoon is in play ie the lowest placing player from the club gets an entry in the club wooden spoon count for 2018. Who cares as I have won it a few times before any way – the wooden spoon that is, not an EPIC event!

Of course going to this event means that I have to have stuff painted. Everything has got some paint on it and I have been reliably informed that this is good enough. To get to this state I ended up putting paint on my two Warhound Titans, two Thunderbolts, a space ship (battlefleet gothic) and my objectives. Its nothing fancy, just some base coats and washes for now. I’ve also gone back and added a finer sand to the bases of all the troops that I am using. I would love to be able to go back to each stand and adjust the yellow to be more yellow than green and put a base colour on the base, but I am just not going to get the time to do this.


What else has been going on? I’ve continued to build my 40k army up and have built my 3 destroyers, a metal enginseer and am in the middle of building by 2nd dunecrawler too. So some success there. I will be playing my 2nd campaign game at the club on the 25th against Iron Warriors. I had a game against them the Sunday just gone and I got shot off the board. After playing my opponent, I went away and starter to watch some Ad Mech youtube battle reports and have realised a few things about my army comp and style of play. I need to tune things up a bit but to do that means I will need to build more stuff. The 3rd campaign game will be a 3000pt game. I already have a knight that I need to build,  but this lasted 2 turns in the game that I just had so am wondering if what I in fact need to do is invest in another starter Skitarii boxed set to get me a 3rd crawler and the relevant troop kit models to make me some arc rifle armed troops to bolster my existing troops. I could then hold off on the knight build. I also need to build Belisarius Cawl as this character seems to be an integral part to any semi-competitive Ad Mech list. Yes it’s great getting blown off the board, but when you leave your opponent stating that perhaps he should tone down his list for our campaign game, I kind of thought that I need to do a bit more work on the army to actually give my opponents a game. Food for thought.


What else? Well there is Gaslands. We’ve had a few games at the club including completing a whole Death Race with 5 players running a 25can team each. Immense fun. We’ve learned so much about the game in all our little “lets give this a try”, learner games where we never managed to even get past the 1st gate. We’ve managed to feed back in to the FAQ too. We’ve influenced the output of the Gaslands Vehicle Creation Tool allowing players who use this tool to print these out (when at 40-50% print size) at a size that these dashboards fit in to a plastic sleeved wallet. The last thing is one of our club members (Adam Bunn) has designed a brilliant vehicle dashboard card which is blank and universal enough for players to use and again will fit in a sleeved wallet. I’ve enjoyed every game of Gaslands so far and I can see a campaign in the future at the club.

Other things – I built a troll for LotR and have played a game of it at the club. I lost 5-3 but it was such an epic battle versus Rohan. I’ve managed to finish another piece of club terrain too.


I’ve no idea what March will bring game wise, but I am looking forward to it!


Bonescon 2018

Friday 16th February 2018.  Its 6am and I am waiting outside Matts house to drive to Birmingham from the first day of Bonescon.  As he lurches across the lawn like some sort of demented Quasimodo I tell him that if I ever suggest doing anything like this again then he should punch me in the throat.  Well I guess I’m going to end up with a crushed trachea because Bonescon 2018 was excellent fun and we will definitely be back in 2019

For me the weekend felt like the final cathartic release after the failure of Daffcon and the Butterfly House was definitely the spiritual successor to that event.  A place where you could come, hang out and get away from the hustle and bustle of the more competitive gaming spaces to just put some toy soldiers down on a table top and push models around whilst chatting away to old friends.  Over the weekend we had people playing Dead Mans Hand, Frostgrave, OGAM, Dragon Rampant and Open Combat and all seemed to be enjoying themselves – they certainly knew the rules better than I did.

Paranoid Miniatures ran demo after demo of Mythos and Gaslands was Uber (car joke there somewhere) busy from the get go. The lovely Gav Thorpe came as well, hanging out, swapping stories with people and giving demos of Big Stompy Robots.  I shall say nothing about how my demo of it went other than to say, four BSRs entered and only 1 left.  So suck it losers 🙂


As many people predicted (I hate how well people know me sometimes) I didn’t get the 7TV game finished (one day) so we ran plenty of Zombie Run instead.  Indeed it was how much fun that proved to be that helped convince Matt that we will be back next time as he started to plan Zombie Run II.  Bigger, Better and just generally more dead things.

Which brings us nicely to next year.  As I write its still slightly up in the air if there will be a Bonescon 2019, but I’m pretty sure that if enough people say nice things to Jon it will run again and I didn’t hear a bad word about the event over the 3 days – hotel certainly should have been happy with us given the amount of booze we ran them out of.

Out plan for the Butterfly House is to take the whole chillax and push some toy soldiers around concept to the next level.  So no fixed gaming schedule but instead a shelf full of games along with the figures needed to play them.  Fancy a game of the excellent Burrows and Badgers you have heard about.  Take the box off the shelf – it contains rules, figures, dice etc. – find yourself a table and start playing.  Think board-game cafe but with miniature games instead – oh and two ageing fat men rather than a couple of hipsters.

We are also keen to incorporate other games in to the space as well so are thinking of running RPG one shots over the weekend.  If we do I will definitely be running a Paranoia one.

Participation games will remain, as I said above Zombie Run II will be a thing and we are also going to do a classic hack and slash dungeon crawl game.  How much treasure can you find before you have to escape.

Finally I hope that we will expand the number of smaller manufacturers that will come and hang out with us.   Gaslands and Paranoid have already said they will be back but I’d love to add a few more – Oathsworn I am looking at you.

With that, love and peace to you all, thanks for coming along and seeing us and making it a great weekend.  Here’s to the Butterfly House, long may it continue.






Episode 345 – Swing and a miss

In which Mike is rejoined by Matt (sorry Conrad fans) to talk about whats been happening in the month of January. Its a tale of missed opportunities, possible futures and generally the usual sort of thing from a couple of old geezers who need to keep running to the bathroom every 5 minutes. It does contain a review of possibly the worst tabletop game that we have ever played though and it does get a bit ranty, so if you like that sort of thing then this episode is probably going to be right up your street. Overall grade for January though is pretty much could do better. That plan for 3 episodes a week is going swimmingly well after all 🙂

Its a cat. In a box

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Time for the second game in our small Dragon Rampant campaign, can Boris get away with the loot or is he going to learn that the Nipponese are not as much of a pushover that he thought?

Scenario Two – Wagons Ho!

Following the successful village raid, Boris’s warriors are transporting the results of their pillaging back to the main barbarian camp.  The wagons are slow however and from the hills surrounding the path, vengeful eyes look on.


The table should be set up so a road runs along the length of the table 6” wide.  Hills, woods, building etc. should cover the remaining table, the denser the better.

One wagon model per loot counter will be required



The winners of Scenario One deploy the wagon models on the road in a line, one wagon should be touching the edge and then a 3” gap between each wagon.  They then deploy their units so that each unit is within 6” of at least one wagon.

The ambusher deploys with their units touching a table edge on the second half of the table.

The defender has the same units they had in Scenario One.

The attacker has any units that were not destroyed in scenario one together with an additional 18 points of support.

Wagons will automatically move 6” forward at the start of the defenders turn unless an ambushing unit is within 1”

Ambushers can attempt to capture a wagon on an 8+ roll If a wagon is captured defender may capture it back by putting a unit in btb with the wagon – it is assumed a new driver takes over.

If a wagon is captured by the ambusher then it stops moving.


  • Ambusher gains 2 Glory for each wagon retrieved
  • Defender gains 3 Glory for each wagon that exits the far end of the table

Normal glory quests are also used in this game.

Game ends when either all the wagons have left the table or have been captured