Everyone has a favourite gaming area.... I like pirates, aarrrggghh!

Buccaneer was the first pirate board game I played, at the tender age of around 10 or 11. One of the first games that I worked out how to play on my own by fiddling with the rules- Pirate Cap'n Steve was soon raiding convoys of spanish ships- aarrgghhh!

My all time favourite boardgame was one that came with a VHS tape which the players interacted with- Skull and Crossbones. Pretty old now, but copies come up on ebay occasionally. Boardgamegeek has a review and some snaps of the playing pieces (boardgamegeek review of skull and crossbones). Lots of laughs when played with a group.

Couple of other sources for cheap pirate playing pieces.

Pirates Edge of Ocean is great for providing cheap card ships, in our house they go up against GW Men of War and Dreadfleet ships.

The kids were into Playmobile pirates as kids, and were great for rpg or gaming. The older cannons  fired toy cannonballs so a simple line up and knock em down shooting match was fun.  In fact I better go and dig them out this weekend, just to make sure that they are all still in decent shape... and that the cannons still work. Arrrgggghhh!

The re-enactment

What's as much fun as gaming with figures of 15th century knights and soldiers?

Last weekend was a public holiday in the UK and the reenactment groups were out in force- huzzah!

At Arundel Castle over last Saturday to Monday, the Raven Tor group fought out an English vs French series of skirmishes, ( ) in what turned out to be varying british weather- ranging from hot and sunny to bleak and drizzly.

We had the luck of seeing the action in the sunshine, so shirtsleeves and sitting on the grass for us and sweltering, clattering of swords, axes, shields, plunging arrows and the boom of cannon fire for the re-enactors. And a blooming good show they put on too, they're back at Arundel in June and if you're able to get there its well worth it and fun for all the family. And there are gardens and a castle to look around as well if that takes your fancy.

The audience were divided into two and encouraged to cheer for their side... being a british crowd it should come as no surprise to hear that when the "French" half of the crowd were initially invited to cheer for the "French", the"English" half of the crowd responded with good natured booing and laughter. Of course after that everyone cheered for both sides proving that we all like to see a man in armour belt another man in armour with a sword.

Made me wonder though, are there re-enactment groups in France where the French line up against the invading English and the crowd boo the English?

A world of my own

Gamers can take inspiration from any number of different sources...

... after all, the fun's the thing.

Just thinking, the mums of the G of T universe must have nursery rhymes that they teach to their own kids.
  • The Kings Landing version of "Oranges and Lemons" taught as a warning to the city's children, on the dangers of running up debts to the Lannisters.
  • A "Doctor Foster" version appropriate to Robb Stark.
  • "The Lion and the Wolf" instead of "The Lion and the Unicorn"
  •  "For the want of a nail" and "The North wind doth blow" might even be unchanged.
Delighted to see G of T back on our screens, we're a few episodes behind in the new series- or to put it another way, we've only got a few episodes left until the end of the current season and having to wait another year for the next!

Happy viewing


With a little imagination, the gamer can create variants of existing games...

..providing those old games with a new lease of life.

Aaah Monopoly, the one game that probably every gamer has played at one time or another. 

In my experience, this game is first played as a child with older family members on a rainy or snowy Sunday and then put away and not tried again until the gamer's own children are old enough to be tortured. My own children fell into this pattern, we played this game as a family once and then they refused to ever play again. Apparently I wanted to win too much. 

In our house, this board game is sealed away in the dark, waiting for its time to come again when it will be brought out to spoil a lovely future afternoon for the Grandkids.

The way ahead......

For all of us, whether we're gamers or not, there's one exciting piece of technology to look forward to playing with.

As the prices have begun to come down, I've started thinking loosely about my campaign to get a 3d printer. Some current considerations... 

1. How cheap does a 3d printer have to be before I can justify having one in the house? 

2. Will there be one that will make use all of the old plastic wargames figures, kids' toys, game pieces and other assorted bits and bobs that fill up my house to allow me to make new (and of course vital) plastic wargames figures, kids toys, game pieces and other assorted bits and bobs? Or are am I going to have to buy more plastic? 

3. Can I get one to make use of the plastic bottles that I spend time seperating from paper, metal and garden material which are currently collected and sent off for recycling? If I could, I would recycle from bottles to plastic playing pieces, both saving the planet and myself money at the same time. I would also then recycle the plastic bin that the plastic bottles are currently collected from to save space in front of my home.

4. I've noticed that as I get older, I find it harder to use new technology. I understand what the newtech is supposed to do but I find that I need a younger person to actually make the kit work... something to do with planned obsolescence of older people I think. How young will a person need to be to actually make a 3d printer work? 

5. Home manufacturing proves that the future is really here. So where's my flying car?

The Delivery

The gamer has plenty of places to buy his stuff from, including the option to buy something that he's never seen from someone he's never met who works in a place that he's never going to visit....
.. and then he possibly never even plays with it! I'm lucky, I have a pretty good and reasonably local games shop so I'm not dependent on the internet. One of the few shopping experiences that really is fun! I still smuggle my booty indoors though so that I don't have to explain that I've bought even more stuff.


The gamer can take inspiration from plenty of different places, including subjects studied at school...

Richard the Third and Macbeth were the two Shakespeare plays I have had the pleasure of studying. Both of these offer ideas and atmosphere for gamers, including "What If" scenarios. The inspiration behind today's strip is of course William Shakespeare's 450th birthday- can you imagine the scale of cake needed for 450 candles? Probably the size equivalent of his second best bed, famously left by Will to his wife Anne Hathaway. Would she have prefered a bed size cake instead?

I have a couple of recommendations at this point;

a) If you've not seen it, look out for the film version of Richard the Third starring Magneto Ian McKellen set in an alternative 1930s fascist England. The plot is unchanged, but the film has a great look, McKellen is terrific..

b) If you enjoy alternative history fiction, try Ruled Brittania by Harry Turtledove. Here William Shakespeare writes for the theatre in an England conquered by the Spanish Armada. 

Happy Shakespeare's birthday.

Happy Easter!

Sometimes a big imagination can be a distraction..

Aaah, the joy of setting up an easter egg hunt for young children to enjoy. In our house when the kids were young, the hunt sometimes came with maps and clues to follow. Fun for the whole family.

Have a great day.

Gaming with Dad

The dedicated gamer will find ways to involve and interest his children in his hobby....

..whether they want it or not!

The Joy of Shopping!

One of the joys in being a gamer is finding something he never realised he needed on a trip he never really wanted to go on....

.. a possible downside however is buying plenty of things that he's never going to play with!

Mothering Sunday

Sometimes a partner shares the gamer's hobby...

.. and sometimes not!

There's so much out there!

There are so many great blogs and websites on the internet for the gamer to explore and draw inspiration from. Its also very easy to get sucked in and lose track of time....

I'm often going to bed much later than planned, but not fallen asleep in front of the screen.............. yet!


Two gaming truths this post....

1. Individual figures or squads in a collection can take on personality traits of their own which adds to the Gamer's fun. These range from the heroic (such as regular "Last Man Standing" honours) to the downright incompetent (armed to the teeth with all the dud ammo and every weapon with wonky sights in the armoury). Regardless of which, all are cherished*.

* Or at least raise a wry smile

2. There's always someone to suggest that a Gamer should "clear some space". Usually because the Gamer's collection has outgrown the alloted storage area.

Away from the games table

The dedicated solo gamer can always find a time and a place to play.

It's not only computer gamers that get to use a laptop!

It is a fortunate gamer that has an understanding partner...

Love helps (A) the world go round and (B) a partner to accept their gamer's hobby.  

Would have got this strip out last week but have had a touch of man-flu, which my loving (and lovely) wife helped me through (and didn't once say "MAN UP!").

I'm ashamed to say that I did once buy my wife a weedy looking pot plant from a petrol station on the way home from work. This is a good example of where the saying "it's the thought that counts" doesn't apply. 

The Battle Plan

The solo wargamer with a big imagination can get his fun at any time- including gaming life!

The upside is of course that he doesn't have to tell anyone else the rules, or even that they are a part of his game.....

Losing of course takes on a whole different meaning!

House rules

This one is from Carole, my wife and writing partner and is based on a "house rule" played with the boys....

The agreed unwritten house rule- All dice have to be rolled/thrown into a box to avoid (A) Repeat of the mayhem caused in an early game when over enthusiasm sent some scything through the ranks of figures set out on the table* and (B) Avoid any potential for disagreement over what the score on the uppermost die face actually is when its laying underneath the bookcase or any other item of heavy furniture. Any that bounce out or miss the box are rethrown, whether they would have succeeded or not**.

*    The boys were very young and this game was early in their indoctrination into the gaming hobby
 ** Rebounds back into the box are very rare, but always applauded and accepted!

A Napoleonic wargame surprise

Event cards can introduce surprise and challenge for the solo wargamer, taking his or her game in an different and sometimes totally unexpected direction....


Happy birthday D&D

Seems that it was the 40th anniversary of the original release of D&D on the 26th January, who would have thought it would still be around. Read a darn good book about a young man's experiences with D&D a couple of years ago, look for The Elfish Gene by Mark Barrowcliffe, I can heartily recommend it.

Mmmmmmm...... cake, off to the kitchen now.


Sketch Book

I've added a sketches page to the blog where I'll include 'extras'. To begin with, I've shown the model headshots I worked up for Leo and Josie.

Girl's Night

Sometimes a little knowledge can be useful, especially when your husband is an irritating distraction!

The Spartan

Hellloooooo and welcome to the blog, which will be in the form of an ongoing cartoon strip about our hero LEO, his wife JOSIE and their children. 

I've created one or two strips before and this one is based on one of my hobbies, playing games. The first dozen or so strips were created in a flurry of excitement when I thought that this might be an idea that could work in print magazines.

That doesn't look like it will happen, but rather than put them in a drawer to be forgotten, I thought I'd publish on the net and hope that they raise a smile, or at least a weak grin.

So the first strip I drew...The Spartan, where Leo lets his big imagination hang out for all to see.

Plus, it doesn't matter if other people understand or not!