Tuesday 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your families a wonderful festive season!

Friday 20 December 2013

Nemo's War News

This week I was excited to receive Victory Point Games's newsletter "Crimson Courier", which amongst other gems announced that a second edition of Nemo's War is being developed for release in 2014.

The first edition and its expansion are great fun indeed, so a second edition with new artwork will be fantastic.  I'm looking forward to seeing what new adventures and nuances are introduced to the game.

If you haven't heard of it check out this video review then go buy it from the great guys at VPG here:


Wednesday 18 December 2013

Hearts of Oak - Part 2

This is the first batch of troops for my Royal Navy Armoured Landing Party (also known throughout the fleet as "Ironclads").  He we see a 10 man party led by a Lieutenant and supported by a Chief Petty Officer.  They have 4 ratings armed with rifles for support, and four sailors with cutlass and pistol for messier close in work.  Figs are by Ironclad Miniatures - find them here
Now to work on their support conveyances!

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Aussies take the Ashes

Those chipper lads from the Antipodes have hit the Mother country for a 6, taking out the current Ashes series in strait matches.
Champion effort gentlemen - a well earned libation or two this evening no doubt!

Wednesday 4 December 2013

In the shade of the Ishtar Trees

...A Tale of the First Venus War

A fan of this humble blog, J.P. emailed me a week or two ago and asked if I would be interested in reading some VSF fiction he wrote this year.  Does a stout chap shout hurrah and dash toward the enemy with sword drawn and a cry for Queen and Country on his Lips?  Good show indeed!  And so here are my thoughts on his short (30 pages or so) VSF novella, In the Shade of the Ishtar Trees.

I enjoyed this short tale of VSF derring-do, which is set in the rarely trodden jungles of Venus.  It is a fast paced "column against the horde" scenario which reminded me of the Zulu war, but with a US Colonial slant to it.  The "young officer loyally supported by the veteran NCO" formula works nicely in the short format where there isn't the room for very detailed character development.  I quite liked the opening scenes as the column moves into a foreboding position and you don't know what's coming next, but guess it wont be good...

An action packed and fun tale filled with pluck, adventure and cold steel which I recommend to any VSF fan.  I'm looking forward to reading more of J.P.'s work.

PS J.P. tells me this book will be free on Amazon from December 25 through the 29th



Monday 2 December 2013

Hearts of Oak

After considering the Company construction rules for some time and letting my imagination wander free, I decided to build a list for a Royal Naval Landing Party.  Stout chaps who dash ashore for Queen and Country!

I have acquired the figs for this list and will be painting them up for the forthcoming Hobby Painting Challenge, so pics yet to come.  In the meantime I would really appreciate some feedback on this list. You can find it at the link here:


EDIT: You can see the completed figs here:

Thursday 28 November 2013

Surrounded by Heroes, Villains and Fiends

The new supplement for IHMN has arrived in the Man Cave and is now being eagerly devoured -Huzzah!

 It is 1895 and the future depends not upon the actions of governments but upon those of the Adventuring Companies, and will be shaped by countless engagements in city streets, ancient ruins, dense jungles, high mountains and boundless deserts. In America, good men fight to preserve their hard-won liberty and the great drive west is stalled by Native American mystics and powerful outlaw gangs. In Africa, native forces fight to push back the Pax Britannica – no longer is a Lee-Metford rifle and a disciplined resolve enough to put the foe to flight. In Europe, darkness gathers around the Austro-Hungarian court and the Great Powers watch warily, knowing its fall could precipitate a war to end all wars. Heroes, Villains and Fiends presents new Companies, from the rebellious Zulu and Apache to the spies of the Okhrana and Secret Service, and the mysterious forces of such groups as the Knights Templar and the sinister Hellfire Club. With equipment, Talents and Mystical Powers, additional scenarios and a sample campaign, Heroes, Villains and Fiends opens up new possibilities for In Her Majesty’s Name.

Northstar will be producing at least one new boxed set of minis to go along with the new book, and Osprey has also announced a second supplement is now in development. This time the focus will be in Asia and the Far East!

Wednesday 20 November 2013

IHMN Review

With the Heroes, Villains and Fiends expansion released today (and my copy en route) I thought it timely to share my thoughts on the core IHMN book and rules system.    Note that I have yet to play a game against a live opponent so this is more a list of thoughts vice a proper review.

Bottom line up front: I like this game.  The 64 glossy page book flows well, is easily understandable and the full colour layout with lots of pics is lovely.

With only four stats per model (Pluck, Shooting Value, Fighting Value and Speed) it is not a complicated game - the strength of the game is in its flavour and theme.  Firing is a d10 roll, adding the figure's Shooting Value and any weapon bonuses vs the armour value of the target (7 being an unarmoured target in civilian clothing).  If hit the target rolls a save using its Pluck value or is removed.  Melee is effectively the same except using the Fighting Value.  Figures can 'mob up' to increase the overall power of a shooting or melee attack, which means that a large group of cannon fodder can be dangerous to any character, no-matter how skilled or well armed/armoured they might be.

Turn sequence is not IGO-UGO, rather each player activates one figure in turn.  I think I would prefer a more random system so you never know who will be activating a figure next, similar to Bolt Action or The Sword and the Flame.  I'll definitely give that type of system a try.

There are a range of Talents which gives skills to your figures, and there is a list of Mystical Powers which special characters can use on themselves or others, depending on what it is.  Unlike some systems these don't seem overpowering, those I have yet to see many of them in action yet.  Weird Science apparatus lend steampunky options to your troops - and this is another area ripe for further expansion in the future.

Finally, the book contains 10 scenarios and 10 Landscapes, which detail terrain set-up, hazards and benefits.  Very basic campaign rules are included for character progression.

A highlight of the rules is that they give you everything you need to build your own forces and characters from the ground up.  The ten diverse Companies provided in the book are an excellent starting point, backed up by some beautiful minis by North Star for six of them.  But if you want to build your own force from the ground up, everything is here for you to do that.  Want an Eastern European Anarchist group? that's no problem.  Want to field a steam walker or vehicle?  The rules are there.  One of those new fangled flying contraptions? Sure thing.  Vehicle construction rules aren't it there - I'm sure that will come with more time, but there are enough basic models in there to keep you sufficiently amused in the meantime and its an infantry based game in any event. 

My chaps from Scotland Yard: 3 more companies are under construction!
Curiously, are no Victorian Horror elements in IHMN which seems a strange omission for the VSF genre.  Possibly, this was in trying to avoid an overlap with West Wind's Empire of the Dead, but such creatures would be straightforward to include using some special mystical powers and unique talents, so if this is your bag you don't have to go without your Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies and Ghouls.  Similarly, this approach would let you transform this system for Lovecraftian Horror gaming with few issues.

Using the errata is key due to some errors in the initial calculation for machine guns, which then flows onto a number of units.  You can get the latest from the downloads section of the official IHMN blog here.  Indeed you should go visit that site regardless as there are lots of other goodies to enjoy there, including some great Company lists made by other players.

Overall its a simple skirmish set of rules which are quick to play but neatly include many nuances, the theme is wonderfully integrated throughout, and the inclusion of everything you need to build your own units from the ground up is excellent.  I'm now developing a Company List for a Royal Naval landing party, equipped with (patented) armoured Kelly suits and supported by a bomb-toting dirigible - no doubt they will give Johnny Foreigner a good what for!

Thursday 14 November 2013


I spied this most lovely little 'Thopter this week - great for all sorts of VSF mayhem and there are even specific rules for Thopters in In Her Majesty's Name!

Sunday 10 November 2013

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Leviathan series

I've just finished Scott Westerfield's series of steampunk books: Leviathan, Behemoth and Goliath, and most enjoyable they were too.

Be Warned: these are Young Adult books and primarily centre around two youths caught up in a re-imagined WW1, so no complicated plot lines here.  But the best part of it is the background and detail that Westerfield has put into creating his alternate WW1 which in 1914 is setup exactly as the real world but for their technology

The Leviathan! From http://www.keiththompsonart.com/
The Allies are known as Darwinists and as the name suggests, utilise fabricated creatures to do everything.  So much so that mechanical power has been almost entirely replaced by beast power.  The main storyline focuses around a British Air Service airship, the Leviathan.  The Leviathan is a massive whale like creature which generates Helium and stores it in internal pockets, and has over a hundred symbiotic species that do other functions: glowworms for light without flame, flechette dropping attack bats, message lizards that provide a communications system, bees which harvest food from the environment and bring it back to the Leviathan to sustain it, etc.  The whole ecosystem approach and methods of controlling the beasties was pretty clever and was what grabbed me with this series.  The allies also have other awesomeness such as Kraken who hunt the seas, and massive attack bears and Mammoths in the Russian army.

Conversely, the Central Powers are known as the Clankers and embrace machinery.  As a result they have some very nifty toys from attack walkers to land battleships, and seagoing monitors mounting tesla cannons.
When the Navy Walked indeed! From http://www.keiththompsonart.com/
One of my favourite parts from Leviathan: German aerial stormtroopers! From http://www.keiththompsonart.com/

So overall I quite enjoyed this series of books for its wonderful WW1 flavour and the thoughtful divergence of technology.  Many, many modelling and gaming ideas here!  The only drawback is the young adult aspects, but then again these will be under Christmas tree for my lad so they also serve a different purpose!


PS When you've finished all three books, read the bonus epilogue chapter here - no peaking!


Sunday 3 November 2013

My Scotland Yard Company

This week I caught up with long time friend and fellow Blogger Dux Homunculorum (see his Blog here).  We enjoyed an evening of beer, gaming shopping, chatting and German food (mostly but not all in that order) and whiled away a most pleasant evening indeed. He also also presented me with this wonderful set of miniatures, being the Scotland Yard force for In Her Majesty's Name which he very kindly acquired and painted for me while I was away.  Thank you again kind Sir, and look forward to seeing them take down some of Her Majesty's enemies in due course!  See more great pics of this force at The Dux's blog here.

Friday 1 November 2013

Tripods Ahoy!

Earlier this year there was a kickstarter for "All Quite on the Martian Front" which I missed while I was away.  In catching up on my aethernet news I saw these smashing pictographs from Historican 2013 in July of these wonderful models in action!

These pics are not mine, all credits to:

Tuesday 22 October 2013

The chronicles of Isambard Smith

Last year I spied the first novel by Toby Frost and decided I would take it, and the rest of the series, away with me on my expeditions to keep me amused in the quiet hours.  I was not disappointed!

This series is the most amusing saga of the heroic though inept Space Captain Smith of the British Space Empire of the 35th Century (which is very much a Victorian style setting).

Accompanied by his polite alien friend (with a penchant for collecting skulls in battle), his android pilot (who is a runaway pleasure 'bot) and a hippie chick with pyschic powers (who he is in love with), they undertake all sorts of adventures in Her Majesty's name, slay her enemies in droves and drink endless cups of tea along the way.

The series currently comprises three books: Space Captain SmithGod Emperor of Didcot, and Wrath of the Lemming Men.  I can best describe them as a blend of Black Adder and Galaxy Quest in aVSF style setting.  If that is your thing I strongly recommend these books to you.   If not, you'll enjoy it so read it anyway! I cant wait until the fourth book, a Game of Battleships, is released!

[EDIT: Well I finally got A Game of Battleships and it was similarly excellent!]

Read interviews with Toby Frost here and here
Visit his website here: http://spacecaptainsmith.com/
and true affectionados can register their support at the Captain Smith facebook page here

Friday 18 October 2013

Villains, Heroes and Fiends

This week I have returned from adventures in Her Majesty's name far away.  Not only was I excited to find this little number waiting for me in months old, unopened post...

But I then found out that this is shortly to be released!
I have three factions in various stages of preparation (stand by for more on those), it bodes well for the servants of the Empire, and is a time of dread for her foes!!! You can read more about In Her Majesty's Nae at the official blog here:

Thursday 17 October 2013

Steam and Aether

I recently spied a new VSF project about the aethernet: Steam and Aether to be exact, by Meridian Miniatures.  They were funded through a kickstarter project earlier this year, and the author is continuing to develop his background at his blog.

I truly hope this enables him to build some interest and run another crowd funding project later on because these figs look gorgeous!


Wednesday 21 August 2013

The Well Groomed Chap about Town....

Have discovered this most excellent range of facial hair products, full of fun as well as good quality/ 
Just the thing for any good beard toting naval type:
Mr Natty

So I sent them a little letter you might like:
Mr Natty Communication


Sunday 7 July 2013

Brit Chap Wins Wimbledon!

Hurrah! The Empire celebrates this evening as that fine chappie Andy Murray beats some Central European cove at Wimbledon in three sets to claim the championship, the first chap from the mother country to win on home soil since 1936! Off to celebrate with a Pimms No. 1 cup and see if there are some Frenchmen one could give a good thrashing to...

Saturday 6 July 2013

Lions Maul Wallabies Down Under!

What ho! Chaps! Enjoying a fine pint of India Pale Ale here as I toast the brave chaps of the British and Irish Lions rugger team who have triumphed in their tour of Down Under stuffing the Aussies 41 to 16 in the third and decisive test! Hurrah for our boys! The Ashes next eh? Pip, pip!

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Pax Britannia: A few more to Crow about

Its been a bit hard to update the blog of late, but that doesn't mean a chap has been slacking off on his VSF reading- Nossir it does not!  I've been steaming along at full speed with more of the jolly adventures of Dandy Adventurer and Hero of the Empire Ulysses Quicksilver, Esq.

Evolution Expects - a fiend from the past re-emerges, causing havoc and carnage in Londinium and Magna Brittania.  Can our Hero (and Nimrod of course) stop him in time from wrecking his vengeance?  And who is this flying vigilante - friend or foe?

Blood Royale - dastardly plots from distant realms sees the Agent of the Throne  travel to Imperial Russia and become entangled with Vampires, Werewolves and other nasties.  I really enjoyed this one and the sneak peak view of the world outside the isles of the United Kingdom.

Dark Side - Go off planet with Quicksilver as he travels to the moon and quickly becomes embroiled in more nefarious schemes and chased by danger and mayhem all over the satellite rock.  The ending is a cliff hangar, leading right onto the next installment which I'm devouring now...

Saturday 11 May 2013

Human Nature: Redux

The third book in the Pax Britannia series, Human Nature sees a couple of characters from previous penny dreadfuls pop up once more as dandy adventurer and Hero of the Empire Ulysses Quicksilver delves into the mystery of the Whitby Mermaid.  Adventure, excitement  swooning lovely ladies, bounders and cads all come together to make this another great yarn.

At the back of the book is a short story which will leave you worried next festive season!

Another great offering from Mssr Green that any VSF fan cant afford to pass up.

Thursday 2 May 2013

All Quiet on the Martian Front

Yes, another kickstarter, but one which VSF fans will enjoy - check it out!

Sunday 28 April 2013

Leviathan Rising: Redux

They say worse things happen at sea, and they do indeed for dandy adventurer and servant of the throne Ulysses Quicksilver as he (and his faithful manservant Nimrod of course) enjoy the maiden voyage of the luxury submersible cruise liner Neptune.

Mssr Blease has commented on this book here before but I add my own commentary, some years later it must be admitted, as I am thoroughly enjoying this great series.

Leviathan Rising is a wonderful combination of the 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, Murder on the Orient Express and The Poseidon Adventure.  It will keep you on the edge of your chesterfield and in danger of spilling your cognac the whole way though.  Mystery, underwater cities, intrigue, giant beasties, conspiracy, murder and crevats- this ripping yarn has it all!  And as a nautical chap myself it struck a real chord with me.

Another cracking tale by Mssr Green which I most thoroughly enjoyed, leaving me again wondering why it has taken me this long to read it.  Then again, it means I can read them all in double quicktime without having to wait for the next release! Tally-Bally ho I say, as I recharge my snifter and eagerly reach for the next installment in the Quicksilver series, Human Nature.

Monday 22 April 2013

Dynamite Gun Cruiser

In reading Angel of the Revolution, I came across a type of vessel I hadn't encountered before: the Dynamite Gun Cruiser.

The USS Vesuvius was a one of a kind experimental vessel commissioned in 1890.  She was fitted with three fixed elevation compressed air launchers which were aimed by physically turning the ship, and lobbed explosive charges.  In theory she could lob 30 charge in 30 minutes, giving a rate of fire, and a net explosive effect, significantly greater than any other vessel.

Vesuvius saw action in the Spanish American War, joining the Cuban blockade in 1898 and conducting a number of shore bombardments.  While the local Commander claimed she had 'great effect' a planned follow up vessel was never built as more conventional weapon technology overtook pneumatic weapons and made them redundant.


Saturday 20 April 2013

A new journey begins

My sea chest has been packed into my stateroom and today we cast off all lines to set sail for new adventures!  I shall of course be incommunicado mostly but from time to time may be able to send the odd aethergram of news.

Monday 15 April 2013

Unnatural History: Redux

Some time ago that splendid chap Mssr Blease posted his thoughts on this fantastical tale

Well blast me if I hadn't forgotten all about it since then, but recently my man servant was doing a bit of a tidy up in the Library and brought it to my attention.  I immediately corrected the oversight of not reading it before and dashed if it wasn't a ripping yarn of the highest calibre!  I went through it like a Gentleman's Club consumes cognac and it left me wanting more, which I will be enjoying rather shortly.

Do yourself a favour and make sure you don't miss the adventures of dandy adventurer and agent of the throne Ulysses Quicksilver, Esq and his servant Nimrod.

Thursday 11 April 2013

1 Week left for IHMN

Depending on what side on the International Date Line you dwell of course, there is only a week left to get ion on the new Steampunk Skirmish game, In Her Majesty's Name.

There are some gorgeous figures on offer - so much so in fact that the hardest decision is not if to get, but what to get!

The developers also have a blog up in which they discuss the development of the rules.  Have a gander here for more info

Go on, and get onboard- you know you want to :-)

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!