Monday, March 4, 2024

Firsts of the New Year

First Games

Doesn't everyone remember their first time? Or times?  Especially if you don't get it right the first time and have try it again.  I'm not thinking of anyone in specific....

The new year is off and running, and I've occasionally managed to escape the dungeon of my responsibilities to get in some FIRST games of the new year.   The thing about dungeons is that it can be hard to get out, but easy to get back in.

Like a lot of miniature wargame bloggers I spend most of my time painting, writing witty blog posts and even wittier comments on other blogs.  But that's not all.  Gaming is the thing that I like most, and I have some games I've played that I'd like to share in shotgun blast picture style.  

This post is kinda wordy, kinda long, has bad jokes, and full of pics.
The way I like'em.  It's the most fun on the internet you can have with your pants on.
But seriously, put your pants back on.  There are children in this post.

First Boardgame:

I went over to my friends Mr. PC house to play the best Starwars game EVER; StarWars Rebellion. 
Not only is it the best StarWars game, but it's also the best game of asymmetrical warfare EVER.
You can Trust me on this. I'm a stranger on the internet.  

What's on the board.
What's in our minds.

I actually didn't take pics of our game, that one is stolen from the internet.  Pics of boardgames are boring, unless there is a lot of context and providing that context takes time and talent that I don't have.  We all can't be Norm.  And recently Keith.

Just wanted to tell you about it since it's the best game EVER.  Especially if you like the three original movies. As the Rebel Alliance I saved the galaxy from the evil space empire.  

Speaking of space;

First Miniatures

As the Intergalactic Conquest convention is coming up and I'm gonna run my Star Trek using Starmada Unity rules; I though a refresher game was in order.  I invited myself over to the house of my buddy Mr. DJ of the elusive Lasgunpacker Blog cuz he is my Sci-Fi buddy.  And because my house was full of children and In-laws and a man can only take so much family togetherness before he fakes a head injury so he could be left alone for a while.  Mr. DJs very much biased and self-aggrandizing ARR (LOL) can be seen HERE.  he does have some better pics.  

There's not much to show except for my pretty Star trek ships swooping around the table.

Mr DJ provided the venue and the fun, all I had to do was bring the game.  Another good thing (besides getting together with Mr. DJ), was that I had redesigned all the ships and got a chance to test out the builds.  Mr. DJ and I thought they worked very well.  
I'd go more in depth about this but not everyone is a super space Starmada nerd like me.  

ok, FINE.

Previous Galaxy Class Starship Display

Updated Galaxy Class Starship Display

BIG differences huh?  Needs no further explanation.  Say Less Already.

Playing as the Federation I lost -badly- to the evil Empire and now the Galaxy belongs to Klingons.

That's one galaxy saved and one galaxy lost so far this year.  Luckily, they're not the same universe.  That joke works on many different levels.

First Game of Wooden Wars

One Sunday afternoon, after several days of the kids and the wife being sick, and finally starting to feel better; we were all lounging in our pajamas. I thought it was the perfect time to spring the Wooden Wars game on them, because they had enough energy to do 'something' but not enough energy to really argue with me about it.  

Oh, I didn't get sick, because I was sneaking cigarettes the whole time.  Smoking kills germs as everyone knows, it's one of its health benefits..  (don't worry, no one in my family reads this stupid blog, the secret is safe).

Refresher: Wooden Wars is a game played on the floor using wooden soldier flats.  Players can move and charge like any other miniature game, but shooting is done by throwing a rubber ball at the enemy and knocking them over.  Like a throwback to HG Wells.  
Primarily aimed for children, I invested into it as a game to play with my children and also thought it would be cool for family events, cub scouts, conventions with children, afternoon stuck at home, etc...

Introductory Bristish Force.
3 units of infantry, 1 3-gun battery, 1 mounted leader.
The French was the same.

Having completed an introductory force for both sides, I was anxious to have them play it.  I was also anxious about how it would be received.  After already investing a fair amount of time and money into the project I was hopeful that they would LOVE it, and I would feel justified.   

Also would feel better about the sacrifice I'm making on spending MY hobby time doing this project for them instead of miniatures for myself.  Fatherhood is a constant sacrifice.  
(which is unfair, especially in this case, because it's not like they asked for this).

At the very least I wanted them to like it and say it was fun. 

We split up into teams, the wife and daughter#1 (10 years old) on one team and Son #2 (5 years) and myself on another.  

Game took some time to set up
as Son#3 (3 years old) kept demonstrating his technique of how to deal with infantry;
Hit them with a Truck.
It was his nap time so luckily for us he fell asleep on the couch.

Son#2 wanted to play the 'the Blue guys."
because he thought the officer was cooler.
French force deployed at his feet.

You will excuse the mess the house is in.
We were in the middle of a sort through of old stuff when everyone got sick
and the project halted, and there it sat.
My wife will be mortified if she knew I posted pictures of it.
Luckily, she doesn't read the blog.  like ever.

Son throwing a ball at troops under his mother's command.

Action shots!
Blue ball starts in my wife's hand, and then streaks forward!
like a cannon ball. Like a wrecking ball.
But ill aimed as it bounced over.
Balls have to bounce at least once to be valid shots

Consensus: Lots of fun.  My wife, myself, and my son really liked it. Both children liked to fire the cannon battery as you get to throw 3 balls (one for each cannon) instead of 1.  
My daughter however, got more and more frustrated because she couldn't hit very much, and started to complain that "this isn't fun because I'm losing." as the boy kept making shots.  And I launched into a well thought out (some might say 'heated and annoyed') discussion (some might say lecture) on sportsmanship and how one can't complain just because they are losing and the trick to games is to have fun even while losing; and if if she's gonna be a bad sport then no one is gonna want to play with her.   FURTHERMORE; no one is going to be her friend if she whines and complains when something doesn't go her way.  This went over really well (some would say poorly) and was well received (some would say ignored) and ended with her quitting the game on an extended time out. 
And the long experiment of Nature versus Nurture continues.  So. Very. Long.**

First Game of Bolt Action

The even more elusive Dia of The Lost and the Damned and the Stunted blog came over to give me my fist ever game of Bolt Action.  Does every gamer have a blog these days?  Sometimes it feels less like a miniature game and more of a internet collaboration. 
This time I played host and provided the venue and food, while Dai brought everything for the game.
I took over the kids playroom.  Beat it children!  It's serious grown-up play time.

looks like we both wore the standard white guy uniform:
black t-shirt and blue jeans.
How to tell us apart?
One of us is a handsome charming man with a shaved head,
and the other one is ME.

Dai has been threatening me for a very long time to demo me a game of Bolt Action, and brought along his winter themed Russians versus Germans setup.  

Dai really nailed the Winter theme

It's very cold in Mother Russia.

I elected to be the Russians, the attacking force against a German position.  Since it was my first time playing the game, I figured Russians were a good choice because if I did something stupid and lost a unit that I'd probably have a spare.  

Soviets advance...

zoom out, a HT coming in behind them with another platoon

Soviets (on the right) about to take an objective.

Soviets (on the right) trying to take another one,
and dying to a man, like Soviets do.

There's no real AAR.  There were 3 objectives spread across the Germans table edge that Dai had to defend, I had to take two to win, 1 to draw.  I got one objective and had a reasonable chance to take another one at the end of the game if the rolls went right and then.....

This HT full of troops needed a 9 or less to advance and maybe win me the game.
It rolled a 11, so instead retreated ALL the way to it starting position.
Might as well call it a Backtrack instead of Halftrack.

It was great to see Dai after way too long and his stuff is always top production.  I also really liked the Bolt Action rules and can see why they're popular.  And as always the sign of a good game and an even better time, the next day I was looking 28mm WWII stuff online....

and lastly...

**First Dance

I realize that some of you might think I was a little harsh on the little girl.  And I was.
Rest assured that we made up and had a more civilized and meaningful conversation later.
Fatherhood is also constant repair work. 
And the next weekend we went to the Father-Daughter dance (Hawaiian Luau style) and had a grand ol' time.  I know all the Taylor Swift songs.  Afterwards we went out to dinner for super big hamburgers with her friend.

Daughter and I making funny faces,
in MATCHING clothes no less.

So I can't be a complete ogre.

Thanks for reading,
Double Thanks for writing a comment.
Till next time.


  1. That's quite a variety there Stew. Great to see the Wooden Wars figures in action and everybody enjoying it, except your daughter. Your Star Trek figures do look very pretty. The only disappointment was the mention of Taylor Swift. Since her departure from Australia a few days ago I have been enjoying not seeing her name pop up in every second article on the internet.

    1. Thanks Lawrence. But you can't escape the TS train, it's everywhere. Might as well get on board and try to have a good time. 😁
      yes, the Wooden wars is a fun project.

    2. Geez Stew, you created a bloody reading test for us. Firstly the post and then all these witty comments and even wittier replies.
      I like the idea that each room has a descriptive label. I look forward to seeing the others. Is the dining room EAT or SIT DOWN or APPRECIATE THAT SOMEONE ELSE WENT TO A LOT OF EFFORT SO THAT YOU CAN EAT or that perhaps that terrible ENJOY that wait-staff like to order you to do?
      I'm with Neil; we need to show you what mess is.
      I came back to comment under Lawrence's comment as it's a case of same continent, same point of view. At a gathering on 24/12 for the grandkids to get more presents for Christmas, I was bemoaning that TS could possibly be Time person of the year, must be a short field, surely there are hundreds of people who actually did stuff to help humanity rather than simply an entertainer and was called out by our daughter (one of the approaching middle-age 'children'/parents with now teenage daughters# of her own) that I was not to diss on Taylor Swift. Apparently she is marvellous and has cleverly got her fans to buy all her music a second time under her own record label...
      [#You (or your wife more specifically) have *that* joy still to come, although, your daughter must be getting close...]
      Like Norm, my appreciation of Star Trek is similar to yours for Napoleonics, but I really, really appreciate how good your planes, ships (or whatever they are) look; just teasing, I do know a smidge about the show.
      In a post with so many bests—add my congrats to Dai about his top looking Second World War figs and terrain—the 'best of show' for mine (too) is the wooden soldiers. Sensational. You may not nurture wargamers, but you are certainly encouraging good eye-hand co-ordination with the requirement to bounce before hitting! [Middle boy obviously has your natural sports skills. Youngest son may have the most promise; certainly keen to play the technology cards.]
      As ever, an enjoyable mix and a real wheeze of a read in the morning. Thanks!
      Regards, James

    3. thanks James, glad you enjoyed the post. The kitchen does have a sign in it, that says something nice like 'where the family gathers' but I wouldn't mind to changing it to EAT and SIT STILL. 😁
      My daughter is big on TS; I once spent a night watching TS music videos just to make sure that it wasn't too 'adult', I've had worse evening.
      The next post will have more wooden wars soldiers as I am slowly nearing the end. it's been a fun project. 😁

  2. That certainly made up for a dry (games) January. Although I am not a Sci-Fi player, I Very much like your Star Trek stuff, superb ships that I know took a lot of time to bring together, so good to see them back.

    Also great wooden soldier gaming, it is so classic H.G. Wells and a nostalgic revisit of playing on the floor, knocking things down …. A pure joy!

    1. Thanks Norm. Yeah, the Wooden Wars kinda steal the post. It was fun to do and of course led to project creep as I ordered more of them. 😁

  3. Stew,
    Glad to see the Wooden Warriors were a hit (and not a complete waste of wealth and time...).
    Star Trek......I told know it makes sense! ☺
    Your kids have their own play room? You must be a good dad....even if an ogre from time to time...
    Trust me, whatever you do it messes your kids up. Everyone else is a better parent....
    If you think your room is a!

    1. Thanks Niel. The Wooden Wars was kinda cool.
      NO Rumulans. You know this. Next up in space will be JemHardar or Cardassians.
      (but maybe Romulans some day)
      My kids having a playroom doesn't make me a good dad, it just means the house has space and theoretically at least, there's a place for all the toys instead of all over the house....
      yeah I know we all slightly mess up our children, but I want one of those good mess up you know? 'My dad was so hard on me about working hard that now I have this really good job..."

      yes, that room is a MESS, I just cropped out a lot it. But whenever you have stuff shoved into corners and under tables that counts as messy. our house is always messy. 😁

  4. I knew about the wooden soldier game (and obviously the awesome Starmada game) but I didn't know about the Bolt Action game with Dai! What did you like about the rules? And here I thought you had a bunch of 15mm WWII stuff...

    And that's a great picture with your daughter. Definitely put-up-on-the-fridge worthy.

    1. Thanks David. The game with Dai was up in the air as a maybe till a few days before. scheduling stuff is hard sometimes. though it was nice to see the old fiend.
      I do have some WWII stuff, left over from my Flames of War days. But it's a fairly old collection and really shows it's age. thinking about replacing it with 28mm stuff.

      The rules just worked really well, I like the bag draw for activation, how pinning works, shooting and melee pretty straight forward. Seems like something that would be easy to adapt. 😁

  5. Wargaming, family, and wargaming with family. What could be better. Say, that playroom would make an ideal wargame room. You are becoming quite the socialite. Good stuff and funny, as always.

    1. Thanks JF. The playroom WOULD make an ideal wargame room, maybe in 20 years and the kids are gone. Glad you liked the post. I have been somewhat social of late, but no more, back to the dungeon I go to emerge again in April.😁

  6. Great post Stew.
    I thought I was starting to see a theme in your gaming.
    ACW = Fed's vs Rebels
    SW = Fed's vs Rebels
    ST = Fed's vs Klingons
    But then there was the wooden wars 😂
    I thought the idea of throwing balls was good and then I thought of my daughters, and how if they were losing, suddenly their ball would "miss" and go straight into the head of their brother or me.

    Anyway great post and I am glad you have patched things up with your daughter. You are not the only dad that has had to do that. 🤣

    1. Thanks Ben. I guess any wargame has to be someone vs somebody else.
      Girls are temperamental, aren't they? and with a touch of meanness.
      We patched things up pretty quickly, though I was disappointed because I wanted the first game to be fun experience without anyone getting into trouble. 😁

  7. Great post and lots of variety and fun Stew - I did read this comment "Pics of boardgames are boring" and think "what the.....heck" but you did a nice save! I hope your cunning plan to addict your poor children to toy soldier gaming succeeds, although I have my doubts (particularly in respect of your daughter - although you will be able to teach her drinking games in a few year's time... maybe that will be more her thing?!)

    1. Thanks Kieth. I thought that might happen. I should have said MY pics of boardgames are boring.
      glad you liked the variety, as this is a PB&J / lookit post I thought I'd try to sandwich in a lot of stuff. Even if the plan doesn't work, it'll still be some nice family time (hopefully). But I'm sure you're right, the girl is not a miniature gamer. though she does like games so perhaps my work here is done.
      did YOU learn drinking games from your father? I sure didn't. 😁

  8. It looks great. I'm waiting for my children to grow up, but they are already slowly playing simple board games and getting some paint on unnecessary figurines ;)

    1. Thanks Michal. I should let me kids try to paint some miniatures and see if they like it.
      Course, if they do, then I'll have to buy more....😁

  9. What a great mix of games there stew and written in you witty style, which always make me chuckle. I loved the first two photos, which sums us gamers up really!

    1. Thanks Steve. The first one kinda flowed into the next ya know? 😁

  10. You've certainly been busy on the gaming front Stewart, both the Star Wars and Trek games sound like you had fun (grouping them together is blasphemous I know, but they're both sci-fi in my book ! LOL) for a first time on the wooden wars, and recovering participants I would say it was a good success.
    So nice to see Dai is live and well, and extremely jealous you got to play on his awesome winter terrain.
    Good to see the Father Daughter picture and enjoying yourselves as you should do.

    1. Thanks Dave. SW and ST are both sci-fi to me as well, so no harm no foal. We'll see how successful the wooden wars game was when I break it out for a second time; if the children groan or cheer.
      Dai is alive and doing well. The winter terrain is fantastic. I believe one or two items are from your shop. 😁

  11. Looks like a month very well spent to me. A modern truck is a fairly reasonable solution to a line of infantry.

    1. Thanks Bill. The games actually took place over 2 months but that's the magic of blogging.
      And yes, the truck solution works well. 😁

  12. Look at you knocking out so many different games, all while winning at the game of Life (not the terrible board game).

    1. Thanks SD. 'Winning; is a strong word, but doin' alright. 😁

  13. I don’t know, top dad, top gamer, top blogger…you’ve got it all going on! Great post as usual, you do make me laugh. Tell Dai to get his finger out and do a post!

    1. Thanks Mark. 'Top" is too much praise than I deserve. I'll accept 'slighty better than average' and be content. 😁

  14. Lots of good gaming activity going on, to include running upcoming convention games. Good on ya. As far as bringing the family together and involving them in the hobby--very wholesome, indeed. No way I can keep up with that, although I must say that the signage in the "PLAY" room certainly provides inspiration.

    1. Thanks Ed. That's me; super wholesome guy. just don't look at my search history.
      yeah, the PLAY sign in the play room is a little on the nose. Sometimes people ask if the other rooms of the house have labels. 😁

  15. Now then Stew - I've just replied to your kind comment on my blog with a facetious remark about my own feelings about game reports, whilst referring to a certain quote from Red Dwarf about board games - and then I come here and see you posting about games you've played! I can assure you this chain of events was definitely in this order and I definitely wasn't having a dig at you XD

    Anyway, Rebellion is the best board game ever - I've played way too many hours of the PC game over the years and was over the moon when I found out they'd done a board game of it! I've played some Star Wars Armada too and really enjoyed it, if you want another expensive gaming habit ;) Don't know how it compares to Starmada but your Star Trek stuff looks lovely.

    Glad the Wooden Wars went down well - looks loads of fun! I think being an Ogre is definitely in the Dad job description but you're a better man than me for going down the Taylor Swift road - good save!

    Man that's a beautiful Bolt Action table and also threatens having me look at WW2 stuff - I've recently been drooling over Michael Awdry's WW2 Russians on his blog, 28mm Victorian Warfare!

    1. Thanks Thant. don't worry, I believe you.
      This is just one of those PB&J posts, 'lookit, I played some games" but I tried to sandwich in a couple of different stuff for interest.
      I did not like Starwars Armada, but do have Xwing, which hasn't seen the table in a super long time.
      Being an ogre is definitely in the job description, but there's probably an art to it.
      Yeah, Dai's winter WW2 is definitely nice. 😁😁

  16. A friend of mine believes that gamers are born, they cannot be made. After raising three kids I’m inclined to believe that’s true. All kids will play games but not all kids will become gamers. As a parent the best you can do is provide the environment where that can be nurtured. My younger brother is only 18 months younger, same parents, same household. My dad was a gamer and I’m a gamer. He isn’t. Will your kids end up having the same passion for games that you do? Who knows? But at least you’ve created the environment for them if that is going to flick that genetic switch for them. I hope you are a bad shot with those rubber balls. I know all too well how hard it is to lose without it appearing on purpose.

    1. Thanks TP. Yes, it's probably true. The 'make them into gamers' is really just a tongue in cheek / funny reason for all this wooden wars stuff. The real reason is just that I'd think it'd be fun, different, and way to play together.
      I only have 1 flashbulb memory of my father paying with me when I was young. I want my kids to remember that their dad played with them. 😁

      It's actually very easy to miss with the rubber balls, so far, so good.

  17. Very varied and fun post Stew! Reading about Wooden Wars was a welcome throwback to my childhood days when my brothers and I would set up our armies in our yard and chuck glass marbles at each other’s armies till the last figure went down. There would always be some dude half hidden behind a drainpipe who would be so darn hard to hit!

    The winter table looks fab. The PLAY sign certainly caught my eye - just wondering what the bedroom label would be if there’s one. I’m guessing it wouldn’t be SLEEP………..😉

    Good to see you’ve patched things up with your daughter. Learning all those TS songs and wearing matching clothes to be a cool dad is one hell of a sacrifice. We're all proud of you………..

    1. Thanks Mike. of course I exaggerate the rupture in our father daughter relationship for dramatic effect. Though learning TS songs is not that bad, most are pretty good actually. it's over time. I once spent a night watching TS music videos just to make sure they weren't crazy inappropriate for a 10 year old. Wasn't a terrible evening.

      yeah, the play sign is hilarious. The label in the bedroom DEFENITELY says sleep. I'm in my late 40s with 3 kids, sleep is all we want to do....
      actually the sign in the bedroom is a big "C&S" for my wife's and mine initials.

  18. Nice post Stew. Good to see your foray into Napoleonics is developing.

    1. Thanks Mark. Went well enough that I ordered some cavalry. 😁

  19. That is a good bit of gaming! I'm glad you got to enjoy some Sci-Fi games in particular as I know you like Star Wars and Star Trek both. The Bolt Action game looks like good fun too. Most importantly, I'm glad that you and your daughter are still on speaking terms after the Wooden Wars fallout ;)

    1. Thanks Jeff. All fun games for sure and it’s nice to play once in awhile instead of constantly building to play.
      The girl has to talk to me, she’s still too young to give me the silent treatment. 😀

  20. Looks like you've been a very busy chap! Great to see the kids getting in on the action.

    1. Thanks Ray. The boy was actually a pretty good shot. 😀

  21. Could have sworn I already commented? Oh well nicely varied post, I quite like bolt action and good to see Dai isn't dead!
    Best Iain caveadsum1471

    1. Thanks Iain. No worries, don't think twice. we all miss posts once in a while I think. 😁