Friday 31 January 2020

More Middle Earth gaming

James, Martin and matt came over to the Sherwood Soldier Shack for another "playtest" game using James' own rules.
Matt and I took the downtrodden hardworking orcs in the face of elven elitists and their bourgeois dwarfen allies.

This was "just a small game"according to James.

Matt and I were excited by the sheer volume of Orcs we were in command of. So we deployed them all together in one huge battle line. It looked great. If a little tactically naive.

The elves, predictably had cavalry. Good, hard cavalry. Though James wanted to give them extra rules as if they were in some way his favourite unit or something.

In addition to Orcs, we had some trolls (Reaper Bones ogres - someone always asks where they're from)

The battle began with warg riders catching some elf light cavalry unprepared - they tried to evade but fluffed it and were too far from their leader to benefit from his re-roll.

Meanwhile more elf cavalry bore down on the Orcs.

Fortunately we had plenty of them.

On our left the trolls pushed up on the dwarfs.

A roiling cavalry melee broke out. That the wargs did surprisingly well in.

The dwarfs caught some skirmishing orcs but were then faced with some angry trolls.

Meanwhile the werewolf (there wolf) leaped onto some of the other dwarfs and tore them asunder.

After snacking on dwarf warriors the werewolf (feel free to do the joke yourself) chomped on a dwarf hero.

The elf infantry meanwhile faced a never-ending tide of Orcs.

The dwarf warriors and their lord were cut down and then the archers were dragged into the combat.

Eventually the elf cavalry managed to finish off a resilient group of skirmishers - only to come face to face with a huge column of altogether tougher orcs.

At this point the death of the other elf cavalry and their hero finally broke the elf and dwarf forces and the Orcs were able to claim the field.

Another great evening of gaming. James rules work really well - though we're still ironing out some kinks. It plays fast but with enough moments of heroism, balanced out by the grind of mass combat to feel like a proper heroic Middle Earth or other fantasy setting game.

Sunday 26 January 2020

Chain of Command - British against Germans

After last week's success we decided to give Steve another Chain of Command tutorial type game.
General B. took the beastly Hun and Steve took command of the Good General's British.
We've never used the British before, so this was a chance to see how they want.
"Use smoke" I repeated, helpfully, throughout the game as that's the only thing I've ever heard about the British.

I didn't take many pictures, but here they are

The peaceful French village (you may just be able to see some jump off points)

The British popped up to hug the bocage.

Heer began running toward the Brits

On the north of the table the Germans advanced rapidly and knocked on the door of a peaceful French house.

Unfortunately (for the Germans) the house contained a company of 47th Kilmarnock light infantry sleeping off a night of brandy fuelled fun in the beds of nubile French farm girls (not pictured). A brutal close combat fight erupted, at the end of which a team, a junior officer and a senior officer on the German side all lay utterly dead on the ground. Morale plummeted.
On the British side just three bleary eyed and hungover riflemen survived.

With his left flank pinned in the bocage, his right flank ripped to shred by hungover Scotsmen, Leutnant Ballzimmer directed his men to rush the centre.

The British in the bocage realised they were being outflanked but their attempts to head back to the centre fell short.

Ballzimmers men rushed off the centre and claimed the victory.

A good fun game. Initially the Germans made rapid progress, but the close combat around the house knocked the wind from their sales. however the damage inflicted on the British meant Steve didn't quite have enough resources to stop the Germans in the centre.
Also he should have fired smoke.

And finally a "period" sepia picture. because I can.

Saturday 25 January 2020

Getting people to view your wargames blog

This post was inspired by a recent post on a blog that I can't now find, but it's something I've been musing on for a while.

I've seen a number of posts on blogs and fora bemoaning the decline of people viewing blogs and the perceived move over to social media, usually Facebook - a move which one can sense is typed in many cases through gritted teeth.

Some have even gone so far as to say that blogging is dying. Now I think there probably is a general decline in blogs from an unsustainable high of a few years ago when every man and his collection of 3mm Hittites were setting them up, but the idea that blogging as a whole is dying is pretty demonstrably untrue.

Now I for one would be sad if the many people I follow stopped blogging. I'd be even less happy if they shifted over to Facebook.

Don't get me wrong I'm a big fan of social media and I think the growth of Facebook Groups in particular has been a real benefit to hobbyists, but Facebook is completely hopeless for any sort of archiving. It is still very much a "fire and forget" medium - so if you see someone post a tutorial, or nice colour scheme or useful link - it's next to impossible to find it again even 24 hours later, never mind weeks or months after the fact.

I also like the sense of connectedness and contact you get from a blog - you see the personality (sometimes too much of it) when reading through a blog in a way that gets lost in the more "pub lounge" conversation of Facebook.

So, given that my real job involves telling people how to get more traffic to web pages I thought I'd give some very basic advice that may lead to a few more people looking at your posts.

At a very basic level there are two ways that people will find your posts.
  • Search
  • Links
So to increase views you should consider both of these.


Search Engine optimisation (SEO) is big business. Making sure your page features on the first page of Google is a dog eat dog world and there are all sorts of tactics and techniques to apply that need to be constantly modified as Google tries to stay one step ahead of the people manipulating the system.
Fortunately we don't have to worry about any of that.

Google's job is to match people up with the things they are looking for. A search engine that doesn't deliver what you're after isn't a very good thing. So when writing up your blog posts you should think about making it as easy as possible for the Google to show your page to the person searching.


One of the key things Google will use is the title. So make sure your title is as straightforward and explanatory as can be. I love a good pun, really I do, but Google doesn't do puns. So if your post is about painting 6mm Spartans call it "Painting 6mm Spartans", not "Fiddling with Little Greek Boys".
I know, it's dull and not nearly as funny but Google will show it to more people.

Also think about your own searching. If you search for Warhammer Battle Report you are much more likely to click on the post titled Warhammer Battle Report than the one called Hot, Hard Dwarf on Elf Action (though I might bookmark that for later when the kids are in bed).


This just means including the words that people might be looking for in the words on your post. Make sure you write Napoleonics, and not just Naps. Also include synonyms, so if it's a battle report include AAR maybe even 'after action report'. Include the full names of relevant armies and game systems - write out Flames of Glory (if that's your particular vice) not just FoG.

Think about what people might be searching for, or about your own searches, and make sure those words are in there somewhere. Make sure those words are (if possible) in the title and the body copy. Don't assume knowledge, because Google hasn't spent 30 years memorising the contents of WRG 6th edition ancient rules - even if you and the person you're writing the article for has done.


Creating links to your posts will, almost inevitably increase traffic. People who didn't know about your blog are likely to click it and then, if what you write is interesting, they might come back or even follow you.

However just a link on its own isn't enticing. You need to put a few words, and ideally a picture or two to encourage people to click through and view your posts. As with titles a fairly straightforward description of what people can expect if they click is best. Some internet users are obsessed with the idea of fake links that will immediately lead to their entire bank account being drained by a Nigerian prince, their wives and children sold to the highest bidder and a life of ongoing penury. So something reassuring and plausible will help them overcome this.

Some people (and forums) even get annoyed if you don't put at least one picture and a bit of explanation - it's sort of good internet manners to at least put something on the forum you're using.  Likewise avoid the forums and groups that insist you post all your words and pictures there. They'll only get cross if you don't do it, so best to just steer clear.

Social Media

Social media. especially Facebook is great for increasing traffic to blogs. The bulk of my referrals (where people come from to get to my blog) is Facebook these days. Especially since the (alleged) Puffin Bummer blocked me from TMP.

All the above about links is also true of social media. Though Facebook and Twitter will automatically preview your post if you don't add any pictures. I mix and match, sometimes it's just the link, other times I add some pictures and occasionally (usually for specific painting posts when the pics really are the only content) I just add the images to the Fb group and don't bother with the link - that way you're participating in the community without always expecting people to click away - which is a good thing to do and has the added benefit of making people better disposed to you when you do post a link.

So there you have a few simple tips that may increase traffic to your blog. It's not intended to be exhaustive and nor is it really "pro SEO advice" - just some things I try and bear in mind when creating content writing on my blog.

Thursday 23 January 2020

Tom Bombadil and Goldberry

More Games Workshop metal Lord of the Rings miniatures. these were among the first of the non film models that GW made if I remember correctly.
They're very nice models and painted up well.

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Fellowship of the Ring

Continuing to post some of my Lord of the Rings collection here's my version of the Fellowship of the Ring.

They're all Games Workshop metal models, but not all from the original Fellowship set. Boromir and Gandalf are from that set I'm pretty certain, Aragorn and Gimli are possibly from one of the Two Towers versions as maybe are Legolas, Pippin and Merry - Sam and Frodo are possibly from the Return of the King set because it looks like Sam has sting in his hand.

Not sure exactly what the difference is between the three pictures, apart from the location of the mysterious ball of purple fluff in the foreground.

Tuesday 21 January 2020

Warmaster Kislev Horse Archers

These got mostly painted over Christmas and based a week or so ago.

Very happy with how they turned out.
I'm now going to refresh the unit I painted several years ago when the game first came out so that they match these ones.