Zebra Cavalry, Lee Tanks and Imperial Rome

The wargames club I attended as a teen did WWII and not much else. Fair enough and good fun, but I never had enough terrain or tanks for decent battles at home.  What I were some boxes of Airfix plastics, a mix of WWII, black powder and ancients (both kinds: Romans and Britons!).  So my brother and I made do and lined up across the floor with a sort of colonial-fantasy hybrid where columns of muskets would try to keep out sword wielding hoards!  Rarely balanced, but throw in a wizard or two and things evened out. No cannons? Doesn’t matter, a fireball will sort out those pesky Commandos trying to sneak across the river!

I wish I had some photos: Lego towns, paper roads and a beloved Airfix Roman fort.
Hills were the classic books under a blanket.  We even tried our hands at conversions. I particularly remember soft plastic zoo animals pressed into service as cavalry mounts. I’m sure they were just a bit crap, but one day my Zebra riders took out a tank!
Wargamers live for moments like that.

Of course, rules that covered such diverse situations didn’t come straight out of the box. We used a home-brew of some WWII rules lifted from a magazine (Battle maybe?) and a little tome by one Gary Gygax, Swords and Spells:


It is basically what is says on the cover – it is the D&D combat rules expanded to deal with big armies.  Forty years on I have to say that they are just a bit shit!  I think we even knew that at the time. It didn’t allow for panzers for one thing.

They do contain some really interesting ideas though. You don’t roll dice to work out combat. It acknowledges that with that many dice you are basically averaging things anyway, so it just calculates what the average would be and then applies that.  Needless to say, we largely ignored that bit and got on with the much more satisfying task of rolling dice.

All of this is a long way of explaining why I’ve never played a game of Warhammer Fantasy. By the time Warhammer came out I was roleplaying and when I started gaming again my friends were into 40K.

Never say never though.

What about you? What rule sets did you begin your gaming journey with?


WATT has left the building

More accurately, WATT left the Arcanacon building back in 2011, but Viv from RubbishInRubbishOut captured our final prize ceremony and has posted two videos:

(earthy wargamer language warning)




These two nostalgia filled trips may only makes sense for those who were there.  Innocent bystanders are directed to the Arc website for a glimpse of just how cool the tournament has become.  Thanks Dan and crew for taking over and thanks to Viv for the videos.




White Dwarf Changes

Readers to Faith & Steel will likely already be aware of White Dwarf moving from monthly to weekly. Given the often rather thin content in the monthly, it remains to be seen just how it will go.

Good luck to them (I know a few bloggers who might be willing to supply copy …)

What I wanted to put here is not a” how dare they?” sort of thing – there are plenty of forums that have that niche down pat. And, the workshop facebook presence has the cheer squad side covered.

My observation is on the number of images of edition one of White Dwarf I’ve seen about.

I’ve got this sneaking suspicion that most folk using this image don’t actually have a first edition.

I don’t either, but a search of the F&S archive that remains neither classified nor seized by our good friends of the Inquisition has revealed a couple of White Dwarf treasures.

In third place, number 80 from 1986: WD_86

In second place, number 54 from 1984:WD_84

And in first place, from 1980, a best of the first three years of White Dwarf:WD_best

Which includes what is (presumably) the second airing of such D&D beasties as the Githyanki, and a selection of Thrud the Barbarian.  Gold, in a faded and dusty sort of way.

Finally there is an honourable mention to Battle hobby magazine – virtual hands up who remembers that – which in September 1977 had a review welcoming a new magazine from Games Workshop (in Uxbridge Rd, London – not Nottingham, people!) for 50p.

toodle pip!