Thursday, 28 April 2016

Looking for some rules?

Are you thinking of getting a new set of rules? Here's something you might like to consider:

Store A is charging £45 for their core rules. Supplements and army books cost extra. Store B is charging £1 for their core rules sets and most of them include supplements and statistics to create, customise, arm and equip your troops and give them vehicles. Plus there are free updates, scenarios and new ideas here on this blog.

Store A gives you nice presentation, lots of pictures and detailed background information. Store B saves you £44 to spend on figures, terrain, or going to the pub.

Why not check out for your rules and still have enough left over to buy that new unit you've wanted for so long? Don't forget, if you buy all five sets of rules that are on sale at the same time, you will also get Roadkill free!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Children Of The Thunder God - a Wiking Story by Mark


     This short story is for all of you who are fellow fans of Sven Hassel.  It is my attempt to emulate his style.  I hope you like it.

Marlene's Maybach engine roared into life and we held on as she surged forward. We were Germania and our platoon formed part of Combat Group Dieckman, with orders to take part in operation Maus. We were to break through the Russian lines and re-take the city of Rostov.

We'd held the line all winter against repeated attacks by the Reds but July finally heralded summer and the offensive that would see us destroy the Bolsheviks completely once and for all.

It seemed a long time since the days of our training in Heuberg and Wiking had proven itself time after time in the bloody fighting of Barbarossa. The ten of us in the back of Marlene were one of the few squads that was still intact from those early days. But now it was our turn to grab some of the glory and earn our place in Valhalla.

We were part of the group's reconnaissance unit, there was a sdkf 232 armoured car and our three Hanomag 251 half-tracks, carrying thirty grenadiers between them. Our job was to scout ahead of the main column and locate any Russian positions so that they could be taken care of.

The sun was shining and we could see scudding clouds and the occasional tree through the open top of our troop compartment as we sped along the road at around fifty kilometres an hour.

We had just passed through Vodianoie, when there was a deafening explosion and Madelene was rocked by the blast's concussion wave. Small arms fire immediately began screaming off our armour plating and Erik, our driver, pulled off the road as Jurgen manned our new mg42 and began returning the enemy's fire.

We bumped over rough ground for a moment before coming to a halt, then we were through the rear doors and fanning out to either side of our half-track. I scanned the terrain ahead from my prone position and could see that the incoming fire had come from a hedge line about a hundred metres ahead of us. It looked like there was a crossroads there, an obvious place for an ambush.

Try as I might though, I couldn't see any targets and our MG42 had fallen silent. Cautiously, the squad got up and advanced towards the hedge. When we got there, it was to find the bodies of an NKVD unit. The 7.92 mm machine gun bullets had thrown them into all the usual macabre poses that violent death has to offer. By the corner where the roads met, was a discarded bazooka that had obviously been responsible for the destruction of our armoured car.

Udo, our unterscharführer, began searching the bodies to see if he could find any useful information, while the rest of us waited for Madelene to arrive. I watched as the other two Hanomags drove back onto the road behind her, then all three of them drove up to the junction in a line.

I hadn't had time before to pay any attention to the fact that four of our comrades were gone. But even as I looked at the ruined armoured car, I was simply left numb to their passing. Death was our constant companion and his imagination was inexhaustible when it came to creating new ways to take us.

Thick smoke from the still burning wreckage of the 232 obscured the road behind us as we set off towards our next target. I fervently hoped it wasn't an omen of things to come, as I took my place on the left hand bench seat.

We stopped again just outside the town of Stojakov, although hamlet would be a better description for it. The place consisted mostly of ramshackle houses, with what looked like a group of farm buildings scattered amongst them for good measure. Further south, there was a cluster of what looked like virtually derelict outhouses that petered out into fields.

It was decided that the grenadiers would advance in three groups, while the half-tracks offered covering fire in case Ivan was hiding in the town. Sepp took his squad to the north, Gustav led his along the road into the centre of the town, while Udo took us to check out the buildings to the south.

The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end and the palms of my hands were sweating, as we marched across the open fields, sure signs that something wasn't right. My soldier's intuition never let me down and I constantly scanned the sheds for any sign of trouble. Even Madelene's growling behind me did little to reassure me and I was ready for anything when we finally reached the first building.

We split into pairs to make searching faster and Gregor and I set off for the furthest of the sheds. I gripped my MP40 as if my life depended on it, which in many cases, it had. Gregor moved to open the door of the first building we reached but just as he touched the handle, we heard a muffled sound from inside.

Our eyes met and we nodded as one. Gregor threw the door back and I jumped through with my gun at the ready. The shed's interior stank of animal shit and was dark enough that it took my eyes a few moments to adjust after the sunlight outside.

I searched the shadows for the source of the noise I'd heard, as Gregor moved up beside me. I felt him tense, just as he nudged me with his elbow. I followed his stare and there on the floor, were the naked bodies of three women. Two of them were lying still but the third one began moaning incoherently as we moved towards her.

We said what we thought were words of reassurance but she kept on moaning and I was surprised that she hadn't tried to escape. Then I saw why. All three women were spread eagled, their hands and ankles had been nailed to the filthy floor and it was clear from their condition and the stains on the floorboards what had happened to them.

Gregor tried to pull the nails out for the woman that was still conscious but it was useless. All his efforts achieved was to make her scream. So I left him with her while I went to get the medical kit and some tools from Madelene.

By the time I returned, Udo and Hans had joined Gregor, drawn by the screaming. Udo took the hacksaw I'd brought and began cutting the heads off the nails that were holding the woman who had fainted while I was gone. Fortunately, she didn't revive until he had moved onto the next woman and I was already bandaging her wounds.

I gave her some water from my flask and she began talking to me in Russian. Forunately, Udo understood some of what she was saying. The women were all Ukranians and an NKVD unit had done this to them after accusing them of spying for us. Suddenly I wished that the bastards at the crossroads hadn't died so quickly. What kind of men could do this to innocent women?

Our Hanomag pulled up outside the barn and Gregor rushed out to ask Jurgen to radio back for a medic. The rest of our squad joined us when they had finished their search. Kurt brought some blankets in for the women, while Horst began cooking them some soup from our rations. We were Hitler's elite, yet we stood around like embarrassed schoolboys while Udo tended to the women and Horst's soup began to simmer in his mess tin.

A runner arrived from Gustav's squad to advise us that the town was clear. Udo appraised him of our situation and said that we would take up position in the barns to guard the southern approach to the town.

Nils and Otto got the first watch, the rest of us gathering around Udo and the women while we ate our rations. The other two women had regained consciousness but all three were understandably in a lot of pain. Udo gave them some morphine to help but there was little else that we could do and it was obvious that they were all still feeling uncomfortable.

The sun was beginning to set when we heard the familiar sound of Maybach engines and a 251 pulled up outside our barn. A medic and an orderly came in with a stretcher and after a cursory examination of the women, we helped to carry them out to the waiting half-track while Udo radioed ahead to Obersturmführer Eichman that the women might be able to provide some useful intelligence about Russian troop movements in the area.

We were already on the move when the sun rose again the following day. Not far from Stojakov, we came under sporadic small arms fire from some hills to the south of the road but were ordered to ignore the Reds and push on towards Sultan-Saly. We could just see a distant spire that our map said belonged to an Armenian church on the edge of the town, when we came under heavy fire from a hill to our north.

Erik had just thrown Madelene into reverse, when there was a massive explosion behind us. He checked his rear view mirrors, cursing as he swung off the road in a u-turn to race back the way we'd come.

Shells were exploding all around us, chasing us on our way, until we finally managed to get out of range. We stopped in the shade of a tree and Udo asked what had happened. Erik informed us that Gustav's 251 had taken a direct hit. He said a shell must have landed in the open back, because the vehicle had simply vanished, there was no chance that anyone could have survived.

Jurgen had reached command on the radio, so Udo reported our situation and exactly where the enemy were. Sepp's squad pulled up beside us while Udo was talking and we stood around in glum silence waiting for whatever would happen next.

The combat group joined us early in the afternoon, our Obersturmführer instructing us to wait in reserve during the assault on Sultan-Saly. The rest of the regiment deployed ready for the attack and at 17.00 our artillery opened fire as a squadron of Stukas screamed down on the enemy positions.

I nearly felt sorry for the Bolshies as Germania's tanks and grenadiers swarmed forward in the wake of the bombardment. Thick smoke, flames and distant gunfire marked where the fighting raged briefly, before the Reds fled or were taken prisoner. It was dark by the time Sultan-Saly was secured and our picket was established to the south of the town.

Udo was called to a staff briefing, returning nearly an hour later to tell us that we would be getting a new armoured car and a replacement squad from the rearguard unit in the morning. He paused dramatically in his speech and I couldn't help smiling as his chest visibly swelled with pride.

Sturmbannführer Dieckman himself praised us for the work we have done so far and has granted us the honour of being the vanguard again in our push on Rostov tomorrow.” We gave a resounding cheer. There would be Iron Crosses all round by the end of this.

Once again, we were already moving as the sun rose on the morning of the 23rd. It turned out to be another beautifully sunny day as we raced through Russia. Our new 232 was out in front with the three half-tracks in line about a hundred metres behind it.

We passed through Leninawa without incident and halted well short of the Russian positions that were drawn up about eight kilometres from Rostov. Even from a safe distance, it was easy to see that the Red's defences were extensive and stretched as far as we could see to the north.

But a Fieseler Storch had flown over the lines earlier in the morning and reported that there was an undefended bridge to the south of us. Our orders came through that we were to proceed with caution towards the bridge and ascertain if it was still open. The rest of the combat group would engage the Reds to keep them too occupied to bother us.

We turned back west until we were out of sight of unwanted watchers, then changed direction so that we were heading roughly south east over open ground. The 232 was still on point but our Hanomags were now fanned out in an open line abreast behind it.

All of us were on edge. There were an estimated ten to fifteen thousand of Uncle Joe's rabble out there, with nothing better to do than try to kill us. That's enough to get anybody's adrenaline flowing!

Even though we were being cautious, it only took us twenty minutes to reach our objective. We dismounted in the cover of some trees, then advanced to the bridge, using whatever cover we could find.

All the time I was expecting the enemy to open fire on us. How could they be stupid enough to leave this bridge open? It gave us a clear route around their positions and a direct line to Rostov to the east. Yet we reached the bridge without a shot being fired. The 232 and the new squad took up position on the far side, while the rest of us dug in and Udo radioed command to send us reinforcements and some engineers to get rid of the explosives the Reds had set on the bridge.

We could soon here shellfire from our artillery to the north of us and within an hour, a grenadier company, reinforced with panzer 3's arrived. They hardly paused to redeploy before they threw themselves north against the Bolshies. At 14.00 we had a radio message to tell us the position was in German hands and we were to proceed on towards Sapadni.

We hurtled down the road until, from the brow of a low hill, we had a clear view of the suburbs of Rostov with Sapadni slightly to the south east of us. In the far distance, we could even see the sun reflecting off the waters of the river Don.

We maintained constant radio contact with the rest of the combat group, sending them as much information as we could as to the disposition of the enemy. In return, we were told to hold our position until an artillery observer caught up with us. We were then to move so that we could exploit any breakthrough the group made in it's assault on Sapadni, with express orders to reach point 80.

Point 80 was another hill and we were to hold it so that the spotter could radio range and target information to our artillery batteries. The position was about two kilometres from the railway and offered a perfect view over the whole of Rostov and its surroundings, even as far as the marshes to the south and the towns of Koisug and Bataisk.

Our observer arrived on a Zűndapp motorbike and sidecar outfit and we set off cautiously to take up a new position about a kilometre outside the city. No sooner had we arrived, than shells began to fall in the buildings in front of us. They sounded like someone was ripping the sky apart as they passed over our heads and buildings and defences alike began to disappear, to be replaced by some kind of lunar landscape.

The barrage didn't let up as our grenadiers and tanks advanced, it simply shifted to target areas further inside the city once the guns of the tanks were able to come to bear on the enemy positions.

From where we were, we could see increasing numbers of Russian soldiers fleeing towards the river and Udo ordered us to advance as fast as possible towards our goal. We roared into the streets of Rostov, the noise of our engines deafening as it reverberated back and forth between the buildings.

Jurgen was manning the radio, so Udo had instructed me to take over the machine gun. I held on to the weapon for grim death as we bounced over rubble from the shelling at over forty kilometres per hour.

We turned a corner and bullets began to kick up dust in the street around us. I swung the gun around, squeezing the trigger as it lined up with my targets. It was easy to see why the gun was called Hitler's saw. Gaping holes appeared along the walls of the houses as the rounds punched through brick, wood and bodies alike.

It was surreal. The noise of the engine and the roar of the machine gun meant that I couldn't hear anything else, yet I could see these holes appearing as if out of nowhere, bits of brick,glass and wood flying in all directions as the bullets tore into the enemy positions.

A man's face appeared momentarily at a window before his head exploded as one of my bullets took him squarely between the eyes. All that remained of him an instant later was some blood and bits of brain splattered over the window frame where he had been. Not the best memorial to mark his passing.

Time has a strange habit of working differently during combat. It's as if it's in slow motion, yet simultaneously everything is speeded up as well. In slow motion, a huge Russian stepped out into the street before us. He was readying a bazooka and I watched horrified as he raised the weapon to take aim. I clearly saw his finger tighten on the trigger and knew that I was going to die. But nothing happened.

He looked surprised but then time speeded up again and Madelene slammed into him. She didn't even jerk as she carried on over his body, her eight tonnes simply crushing his corpse into the tarmac. Time slowed down again as one of his arms sailed over us to land on the floor of the troop compartment behind me. Then we were through. The street ahead of us was clear and I could see position 80 less than half a kilometre away.

Udo came running down the hill and leaped into Madelene. The group's artillery was already changing target to fire on the bridges that crossed the Don, as he shouted at Erik to move off. Not ten minutes later, we entered a large square, the far end of which was jammed full of Reds that were trying to escape our army's advance. There was only one road that led away from the square towards the Don but there were too many of them to fit into it and in their panic, they were fighting with each other, which simply made matters worse.

Sepp's half-track pulled up besides us in the middle of the square near a statue of Stalin. I've got to admit I was more than a little nervous as we were only about a hundred metres from what looked like half the Russian army. I was told to remain on the machine gun but Udo led the rest of both squads to form a line in front of the vehicles.

The rear ranks of the crowd, the ones nearest us, turned to face us but rather than the attack as I had half expected, I could see them physically give up. Their shoulders hunched and their heads drooped as a strange silence gradually spread over them. Our engines were ticking over, and shells were still bursting in the direction of the river, yet the square was almost silent, as if everyone was frozen in place.

I was starting to feel uncomfortable, when a small group of men pushed their way through the crowd and advanced towards us. There were six of them, the one in the lead carrying a raised rifle with a white shirt tied to it. Udo walked forward to meet them and they had just begun to talk when the Bolshies pointed at his uniform and backed away a step, looking nervously at our small group.

They had obviously seen Udo's SS insignia and our reputation must have proceeded us. But Udo calmly walked up to them again, making placating gestures with his hands. They continued to talk for perhaps another five minutes before Udo returned to Madelene and instructed Jurgen to tell HQ that we had captured a large number of prisoners and needed reinforcements to take care of them.

And that was the end of our battle. Germania's spearhead met up with Wehrmacht troops at the bridges and the Russian resistance collapsed. By nightfall we were billeted in a house in the suburbs near where we had broken into the city, waiting for the rest of the division to catch up with us.

After tending to our duties the next day, our platoon was given permission to explore the city. There wasn't any more resistance and it was yet another of those weird moments that happen sometimes, I found myself walking down a street in an enemy city, being welcomed by the inhabitants as a liberating hero.

Gregor and I had just reached the edge of a small park, when two girls ran up to us clutching a half empty bottle of vodka. They spoke to us excitedly as they offered us the bottle but neither of us could understand what they were saying. In the end, they grabbed our arms and dragged us towards a small terraced house on the far side of the park.

We paired up, Gregor's girl leading him upstairs, while mine showed me into the front room. We the afternoon drinking vodka and making love until finally we simply lay in each others arms for what seemed like a long time. But when Gregor's boots thudded back down the stairs, it became all too brief an interlude from the world of death that awaited me in the world outside our oasis of peace.

We cleaned ourselves up, then Gregor and I walked to a bar with the girls on our arms as if we were back in peace time Germany. We sat at a table on the pavement, basking in the sun as we smoked Sobraine cigarettes and drank vodka together.

Gregor and I finally left the girls there as evening drew in and made our rather unsteady way back to our billet. You can never really escape from war.

Within six weeks of Germania crossing their start positions, Rostov and the whole of the Don region was in German hands and Wiking was already taking their lightning war into the heart of the Caucasus.

Germania lost three men killed and twelve wounded in the assault on Rostov, but it is estimated that at least ten thousand Russians were taken prisoner by the German army.

The main events of this story are based on the actual assault of combat group Dieckman on Rostov. However, the details have been changed for my story and all of the names are fictitious.
If you like this story, it is one of three that are included with the Overkill rules set that is available from   All of my rules cost £1 each and if you buy all five at the same time, you get my Death Race rules free.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Orcs by Stan Nicholls

I am a huge fan of Orks, so am rather biased towards the Orc trilogies that Stan Nicholls has written. The first trilogy contains Bodyguard of Lightning, Legion of Thunder and Warriors of the Tempest; the second consists of Weapons of Magical Destruction and Inferno.

The first three books stand head and shoulders above the others, but that said, I still enjoyed reading the second trilogy. All of the stories are about the Wolverines, a band of Orks that are led by Stryke. The plot follows the Wolverines through various twists and turns in their fortunes, with some great character building and combat scenes and... I won't spoil them for you.

I give the first books 9/10 and the others 7/10, mostly because they are still about Orks.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Raging Heroes

I'm not sure if their figures should be labelled as wagaming miniatures, art, or pornography, but they are certainly very well detailed.  Raging Heroes has a great range of figures too.  Their website is

Monday, 18 April 2016

Rules for Da Vinci's rotating volley gun

Leonardo Da Vinci's Rotating Volley Gun

This picture is based on the volley gun used in the TV series Da Vinci's Demons. In fact, the gun Leonardo designed had ten barrels that were fanned out on a standard gun carriage. This type of weapon was common during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, with the first known gun being used by Edward 3rd. Another first for England!

Volley guns are often called Ribauldequins, but volley gun is a lot easier to say. It was common for them to have from five to nine parallel iron barrels that produced a hail of iron shot. Although the barrels were of a relatively small calibre, volley guns were ideal as anti-personnel weapons and must have been caused horrendous casualties at close range.

The version that is used in the series to such devastating effect, has three sets of ten barrels that are mounted on a triangular box. As each set of ten barrels is simultaneously fired, the mount is rotated to present a fresh set of barrels. In a very short time, the gunners could fire thirty rounds! Enough to break any infantry line, or slaughter charging cavalry.

In a standard two thousand point wargame using 28mm figures, a gun like this would give its owner too great an advantage, but I think a scaled down version might work well. I think five barrels on each side instead of ten, will still create carnage without the gun becoming a game winner. Please let me know what you think about the following rules:

Volley Gun – 50 points

Movement (M) – as per the gun crew

Strength (S) – 5

Toughness (T) – 5

Wounds (W) – 3

Range – 18”

Crew – 5, they cost extra

The volley gun cannot move, or change direction and fire. It requires all five crew to move and at least two to change the direction in which it faces.

It can fire five barrels per turn for three turns, then it must miss a turn to reload. The gun still has to miss a turn to reload even if it has not fired all of its barrels.

It only needs two crew members to fire, but it takes all five crew to reload.

To Fire -

The gun crew must pass a Shooting Skill (S) test.

If they are successful, roll a D6:

1 – The gun explodes. Place a large blast template with its centre over the gun, those touched are hit at Strength (S) 10.

2 – The gun misfires and cannot fire this turn. This still counts as a turn of firing the weapon for the purposes of reloading.

3+ - The gun fires perfectly.

If the weapon passes the above test, guess the range from the gun, to the target. Then measure your guess towards the target from the gun. DO NOT measure the distance to the target! Place the blast template at the range you guessed.

EG “I think the range from my volley gun to your Orks is 24”. Measure 24” from your gun in a straight line towards the Orks and place the blast template with its centre over your guess.

Place a small, 2” blast template with its centre over your guessed range, the other four templates cannot be further away from your volley gun than this one. Place the next template touching the first, each successive template must touch at least one other template.

Do not use the weapon effect cards included with the main rules set. Instead,  those half covered by a template are hit on a D6 of 4+.

Gun Crew – 10 points per figure + weapons and equipment

May swap a single stat from 1 column to another. EG you could make the SS 5 and the R 8

May have armour with a total save of no more than 6. EG light armour. They may not have a shield.

May have a single handed close combat weapon and a pistol

Now all I have to do is find a model I can customise.

The full rules mentioned in this post are available from   All rules sets only cost £1 each.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Da Fokkaz, aeroplanes for Orks

Fokka – 150 points + pilot, weapons and equipment

Movement – 24”         Armour – 6

Can fly – ignores all terrain.

Linked heavy machine guns (HMG') – 30 points
range 36”, Strength - 5 may fire 3 times. may re roll misses uses SS to hit

The MG's may use the following ammo – 5 points extra
armour piercing - -1 to personal armour saves, eg a flak vest

May carry a single 250LB Bomb – 10 points
The bomb is 1 use only.     It is high explosive (HE) with a Strength – 8    Uses the medium template and the weapon effect cards that are included with the Overkill rules. Those ½ covered by the template are hit on 4+

Strafing – gives a +1 SS bonus when attacking ground targets

Pilot – 10 points per figure + weapons and equipment


May swap a single stat from 1 column to another. EG you could make the SS 5 and the R 8

May have a  pistol – 1 point
range 9”, Strength 3

May have a parachute for an extra 10 points – The aircraft must be flying at low altitude, or higher for a parachute to work. The pilot must pass a Reliability test to eject from the 'plane, their parachute then works on a 4+. If it fails to open, they plummet to the ground and become a red, or in this case green, splat.

The Fokka was brought to life by the famous Fok and was the first warplane ever used in action by the Orks. It is a typical example of Ork technology, being designed with a pinch of brilliance, a smattering of luck and a huge amount of insanity. For an Ork machine, the Fokka is amazingly reliable, but early models had a... slight defect. Everything was fine until the pilot fired his MG's, at which point he shot off his own propeller and plummeted to the ground with a rather surprised look on his face.

The Fokka has become feared by enemies of the Greenies, primarily due to the skills of Da Fokkaz squadron. The squadron is easily recognised by their blood red 'planes and their tendency to fire their guns for no other reason than they enjoy the noise.

The pilot figure is by Kromlech EU.

The full rules for aeroplanes and aerial combat are detailed in On Wings of Fire, which is included in the Overkill rules set and is available from for £1

Tim's Tanks: WW1 28mm Black Adder

Tim's Tanks: WW1 28mm Black Adder   This is a really interesting blog and I love the post about the Blackadder diorama.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Dread Games, a wargames scenario


Dread Games

A Fallen Angels Science Fiction Scenario



This scenario is set in the distant future and takes place in the tunnel systems beneath London. The rules for tunnels are in the Fallen Angels skirmish rules. Here is a short story to give you an idea of what the game is about.

J chanced a glance around the pillar and his head exploded. The only sounds were a few sickly splats as bits of flesh hit the sewer wall and the splash of his body in the foetid water of the drain. The Sfear hovered in the darkness for a moment, it's AI brain running scans to confirm that the Player had been alone. Then it silently glided off into the subterranean darkness.

Sfears, so named by Players although the security forces have also adopted the moniker, were developed from the drones of the 21st century. However, they are far more sophisticated than their early ancestors. To all intents and purposes, they look like metal spheres that are about 18 inches in diameter. In fact, this is an illusion created by their energy shields, but considering what their main purpose has become, it is an amazing coincidence.

Sfear technology was made possible largely by the development of plasma systems, that was pioneered by Kurt Meyer during the 22nd century. The Sfear is a plasmatronic brain, with a plasma reactor that provides propulsion and weapons systems, encased in a dark light shield. It is the reaction between the dark light and our normal environment, that gives the metallic illusion.

The plasmatronic brain is exactly the same as the one used in security force androids. A much more advanced version of the civilian model that we are all so used to. Once given it's mission, the Sfear can operate totally independently of any human operator. Original models used heat sensors to detect their targets, but the latest plasma drives made this ineffective. The quinteric radiation they produce, harmless to humans I hasten to add, makes it impossible for heat sensors to work.

The latest models use metal detectors that are so accurate, they can detect the ID chips each of us is implanted with at birth from nearly 50 yards away, in optimal conditions. Of course, as the media is constantly forced to tell us, Sfears are now almost exclusively used to hunt down the criminals known as 'Players.' In turn, this has caused the development on the underground of the 'Game.'

Deep in the bowels of the abandoned maze of tunnels beneath London, Ade looked around him. In the gloom of the low-level lighting in the sanctuary, he could make out a couple of the other Players that were going to take part in the latest game. The nearest guy was a novice, Ade couldn't see a single piercing, so this was probably his first game.

The guy looked back at Ade, the fear obvious in his eyes. Ade guessed he was doing it for the money. Stupid. You had to want to do this, or you were dead as soon as you entered the arena. It wasn't that the Sfears couldn't be destroyed, if you had enough money to buy a particle-beam weapon, it was actually relatively easy to knock them out. But you had to have experience to get close enough to them and there in lay the problem.

In fact, use of PBW's had caused problems during the first games. Bored rich kids joined the games and tagged Sfear after Sfear with their state of the art guns, causing a drop in viewer numbers. PBW's fire a high energy beam of accelerated positrons that damages targets by causing them to overheat. Once fired, the positrons have tremendous amounts of kinetic energy that causes instantaneous and catastrophic super-heating of virtually any target. So now, anyone with one is searched and only allowed into the arena with a single shot. Not surprisingly, the Federation's elite aren't so interested in playing any more.

Xena was sat against a wall near the novice. Ade had known her since he'd begun playing. Well, he didn't actually 'know her' in the sense that they were friends. Or that she was even aware he was alive. But, he'd seen her around a lot. Xena was a pro, she'd been beautiful once but a plasma round had gone through the side of her face, leaving a perfectly round hole, that revealed how the bolt had fused the remains of her teeth together. She'd been lucky to survive, although Ade wasn't sure she'd agree with anyone that said so. Even without her piercings, she was enough to give kids nightmares.

Her face and arms were covered in jewellery. Her ears were full of rings, while the rest of the visible adornments were barbells, the balls at their ends catching the dim light every time she moved. Even if he hadn't known who she was, the piercings were evidence that she'd been playing for a long time. Every time a Player survived a game, they had another piercing.

If a beginner tried it, they wouldn't survive their first game. Not that many did anyway. The more metal you had, the easier it was for the Sfears to track you. Wearing jewellery was a way of giving them the finger. It was like screaming “Here I am! What the fuck are you going to do about it?” And the easy answer to that was, it was going to kill you.

The other Players he could see were the usual mix of levels. Nobody he really knew, although he'd seen one or two of them around. He checked his watch. An old wind up pocket watch. It was an antique that his father had given him. It had been in his family for generations and Ade carried it as his good luck talisman. It had worked so far, he'd never been hit and had four confirmed kills under his belt.

The watch told him it was 5.51. It didn't really matter if it was am or pm down here, but he knew that it was pm. Organised games always took place during prime time viewing hours. This was big money now. The triads had games seeded out all over the web and a successful Player could win a lot of money. Ade didn't play for that though. Most veterans didn't.

Being in the darkness, knowing that death could come at any moment, was a kind of ritual for him. A religious experience that he had every time he went into the arena. You are never so focussed as when you are about to die. None of the usual crap matters any more. Life comes right down to a pinprick of time. That very second in which you are right now, because if you aren't, you're dead.

Your senses have to be 100%, your body is pumped so full of adrenaline that you can feel every part of it buzzing. And your mind becomes crystal clear. 'When I turn this corner, I might die.' It's the moment when you realise that there is something beyond your normal perceptions. You 'know' things, without possibly ever being able to explain how in a rational way. It's what being alive is all about. It's what sets Players apart from the sheep and their mundane non-existences in the surface world of the Federation.

People began moving. There was no need for instructions. The vets. already knew what to do and everything had been explained to the new meat. You have to move around as much tunnel as possible. If you go in a group, you're more likely to get killed. Vets NEVER play in a group. It is virtually committing suicide.

The object is to make contact with the Sfears and tag one (destroy it) or die as violently as possible. Most Players do the latter, usually within the first hour of a game. The game starts when you enter the arena, it ends in one of three ways: you can leave when you tag a Sfear, you get killed, or you flee the arena. However, if you do number three, you die anyway. It is made perfectly clear that if your performance doesn't encourage viewer ratings, you will be hunted down and killed in a very slow and painful way. And this is no idle threat.

The games were originally organised by Chen Li Cheong's, White Lotus Triad. The triad claims that it can trace it's origins back to the 1911 rebellion in China and this gives its members a whole lot of street cred. It is connected with every imaginable crime and the only reason that it hasn't been shut down, is because it controls so many of the world's most powerful people. If Chen says you are going to die, you are already dead.

Ade checked his assault gun. He'd stolen it from a 'droid he'd killed. He rebuked himself. He was getting as stupid as the sheep. You can't kill an android, it isn't alive. The gun was light, matt black and built from heavy duty acroplastic. The usual military spec but with a 21A infrared scope on it. It was still hard to pick out a Sfear in the tunnels but the scope gave him a slight edge.

The power cell was fully charged. He clicked off the safety and heard a reassuring burr as the weapon came online. It was only accurate up to 50 feet, the same distance that a Sfear could detect him, but it would still do the job. If he was lucky! He ran the palm of his hand over his shaven head and walked off into the nearest tunnel.

The stench reached him before he could actually see anything. It was really common during the games and got stronger as he stealthily continued to inch along the tunnel. Ade turned a corner and his scope revealed the smell's source. It was the new guy he'd seen in the sanctuary. From the way the corpse was positioned, he'd been running away from something. Down here, 'something' was a Sfear. He'd made a very basic mistake, you can't run from a Sfear. Once they find you, you can only shoot it out and hope you get lucky.

Their speed and acceleration are heart stopping when you are face to face with one. Quite literally. When they are patrolling, they glide along at a couple of miles an hour and barely seem to move. But in pursuit, they can hit forty mph plus. More than enough to catch a fleeing target.

He reached the stinking body, sure enough, there was a distinctive hole in its back. He didn't have to check to know it went right through. It took more than flesh and bones to stop a plasma bolt. By the looks of it, the guy had soiled himself before he'd died. Ade didn't blame him. He could still remember when he'd seen his first Sfear up close and personal.

It wasn't that they looked scary. They were just cold, emotionless, death. There was no appeal, no reasoning with them, no surrender, no pity. They made no sound. Even their weapons were silent. They had no face, no eyes. There was just that metallic shimmer and a blue/white flash when they killed you.

He'd read the spec for them when he first started playing. They could 'see' in any direction, above, behind, it didn't matter. Their communication was almost telepathic, they didn't have to turn to face each other like people usually did. There was nothing to show that they were alive. There it was again! Active, not alive. Their brains were a thousand times superior to that of a human, not that it took much to outdo the average monkey from the world above. And the only way you walked away from an encounter with one, was if the Gods of Fate were on your side.

He stepped past the dead newbie. Every sense was tingling, his world was focussed through the sights of his gun. Just a green, static filled mist. He could feel his heart beating, pumping the blood around every part of his body. Giving him the familiar adrenaline rush. This was what being alive was all about.

He entered another section, it was an old service tunnel. The rusted remains of long disused electrical cable trays hung like cobwebs from the ceiling. He walked in for a few feet and squatted on the floor to rest. The amount of metal was enough to make him difficult for a Sfear to detect. He took a swig of water to ease his parched throat. And froze.

A shimmer against the darkness, was floating at the tunnel entrance. Was he so sure that the rusted out metal would screen his presence? He had been when there wasn't a Sfear less than twenty feet away. But what about now? Ice cold sweat broke out on his forehead and he let it run into his eyes. He didn't dare move to wipe it away.

His pounding heart was hammering fit to burst now. And he slowed his breathing in an attempt to calm it down before his opponent heard it. Technically, he thought that was impossible, but he wasn't going to take the chance. Motionless in the darkness, he waited for death to find him.

The Sfear moved off after what seemed like an eternity to him and he let his body relax a little. Not too much though. This was going to be number five! Hopefully anyway. He moved to the tunnel entrance and could just make out the Sfear still gliding away from him. It was a tricky shot because he was looking right out of the tunnel and he was right handed. But if he didn't take it, he might not get another chance and this was what it was all about after all.

He raised his gun and slowly inched it around the corner, peering through the sights into the darkness. He checked all around. Damn it! The Sfear was gone. He checked again. No, nothing. He let out a silent stream of expletives. Where the fuck had it gone? He couldn't see a side tunnel from where he was and he hadn't given it long enough to get out of sight.

Ade checked again. Nothing. The Sfear was definitely gone. Keeping the gun raised, he carefully eased his way out into the tunnel and began silently moving after his prey. He reached the spot where it had disappeared and paused to check around him again. The bolt entered dead centre in the top of his head, exiting through his groin. He never even knew that he died.

The Sfear ran its usual scans to ascertain that the Player was dead. Then silently glided out of the overhead ventilation shaft and continued to search along the tunnel. There was no emotion, not even pleasure that it had successfully done its job. There was only silent death in the darkness.

Authors note – A sanctuary is a place, like an abandoned underground power room, where there is so much metal, that it is impossible for Sfears to detect humans. If it is suspected that there is a group of Players in a sanctuary, the Sfear will summon androids to assault the place, as they rely on image intensified visual detection of their targets.

The scenario takes place on a 4'x4' table that contains a labyrinth of tunnels. One player is in control of the security forces, the other/s represent participants in the Game, as detailed in the above story. If there are only two people playing, I suggest that the one controlling the 'Players' is allowed at least three figures. If there are more people, they should have one figure each, unless the security player agrees otherwise.

There is only one entrance/exit to the tunnels and this is on the security force's table edge. You can use the random tunnel generator from the Fallen Angels rules, or take it in turns to place tunnel sections and rooms. If you choose the latter option, I suggest you include as many corners and rooms as possible, otherwise the security player will have an unfair advantage.
At least two thirds of the tunnels should be dark, but feel free to have some that are illuminated if you want. Darkness does not affect the security forces, but humans will need night vision apparatus to be able to see. Remember that this cannot be worn in areas that are illuminated though!
All ranged weapons require line of sight. Figures must be able to see their targets to fire at them. This means that although a rifle may have a range of 24”, if the figure can only see 6”, the range is 6” until they can see further than this.

The 'Players'
These deploy first, they cannot start within 18” of the exit. Each figure must destroy at least one Sfear, androids do not count. Any figure that leaves the tunnels without destroying a Sfear is automatically killed.

Their objective is to kill as many Sfears as possible and exit the tunnel system. The figure that has killed the most Sfears and safely escaped the tunnels wins.

May add 1 point to 2 stats. EG you could give them an extra attack and a R of 9
May have up to 2 skills

May have a
Sub Machine Gun (SMG)
range 18”, strength 3, may fire twice
or a
range 24”, strength 3 Fitted with infra-red sights
May have infra-red goggles
Infra-red Goggles/Sights
These allow figures to see more clearly in the dark, although they don't turn darkness to light.
Figures may see 12+D6” when it is dark.
Figures cannot wear Infra-red Goggles in bright light. If they do, they cannot see anything for D3 turns, even if they take the goggles off.

The Security Forces
The player controlling the security forces must deploy D3 Sfears at the start of each of their turns. For every 3 Sfears deployed, they may deploy 1 android.
The objective for the security forces is to eliminate all of the gamers, or to prevent them from leaving the tunnels if you have a limit of how many turns your game lasts for.
Security forces may not remain stationary within 18” of the exit. This is to prevent them blocking the way out. However, they may remain stationary anywhere else in the tunnel system if you so wish.


Forcefield – armour save of 4+
Can fly over figures and terrain under 6” high without any movement penalty

Can hover

Small target -1 SS to fire at them in darkness. This penalty does not apply in illuminated areas.

Plasma Gun
range – 24” strength – 3 -1 armour save


Forcefield – armour save of 4+

Plasma Rifle
range – 24” strength – 3 -1 armour save

All of the rules necessary for this scenario are available from for £1 each

Da Vinci's Rotating Volley Gun

I'm watching the series Da Vinci's Demons at the moment and have fallen in love with his volley gun.  Does anyone know a company that produces a 28mm model of it?

Grunts by Mary Gentle

Grunts by Mary Gentle is absolutely brilliant if you like your humour on the dark side. I've read it three times now and it has tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks every time.

The plot is about a group of Orks who keep on ending up on the front lines of the Last Battle, where they get slaughtered and the forces of good always win. That is, until the Orks find a dragon's treasure of modern military equipment that transforms them into super warriors.

As far as I know, this is the only comedy Mary Gentle has done, which is a huge shame as she really has a talent for it. If you like reading Terry Pratchet books, you will love this.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Sven Hassel review

Once upon a time, in a land far, far, away, I was a huge fan of Sven Hassel's books. I think I was 11 when I bought Wheels of Terror and that was me hooked. Sven was born in Denmark and died in Spain in 2012. He wrote 14 books in all, claiming that they were based upon his personal experiences as a volunteer in the German army. However, this has been thrown into question, as it appears he may have served in the Danish police during the war.

Whatever the truth of their origins may be, I loved his books. They are all about the 27th Penal Regiment, with the main characters being Sven, Porta, Tiny, the Legionnaire and the Old Man. Their service in the regiment takes them from the frozen wastes of Russia, to the heat of North Africa; from Monte Casino, to the battle for France.

If you want clever plots, with lots of twists and red herrings, read Agatha Christie, but if you like your war stories to be full of blood and guts, Sven is your man.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Kromlech Orks

If, like me, you are an Ork fan I highly recommend Kromlech.  They have a fantastic range of Orks and stuff to customise them as well.  They do other figures too, including a selection of very cool looking chaos demons.  Their website is

Amera Plastic Mouldings Scenery

I've just found these guys.

Amera Plastic Mouldings are a British company that have been in business since 2003. They produce vacuum formed scale model dioramas, wargaming terrain, scenery and kits for sale in the UK and internationally, whether you are a private buyer or a business.

Their products are brilliant and include:
Future Zone, which is aimed at science fiction wargaming and is for use with 25-28mm figures. It includes buildings, trenches, craters, roads and much more to enhance everyone's games.
Their fantasy range is again designed for use with 25-28mm figures and includes hills, rivers, ruins, castles and general scenery ideal for fantasy wargaming.
The Islands and Harbours range is suitable for general wargaming, whilst the 15mm scale products has buildings and battleground scenery that is perfect for dioramas and games.
They offer a range of accessories, plastic bases and sheets and work closely with Airfix, producing a range of 1/72 scale bases and kits that are suitable for use with Airfix figures.
All of this and their staff are friendly and really helpful. Amera is well worth a look and you can find them at