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Posts Tagged ‘Oldhammer’

Oldhammer Roleplay

November 9, 2014 1 comment

I’ve been writing a lot about the Oldhammer movement lately. Until now, the emphasis has been firmly on the battle games and the love of old lead, but now there are signs that the roleplayers are catching up.

Remember this tome?

Remember this tome?

There has always been an active group of WFRP 1st edition fans on Facebook, and there’s one on Google+ as well. A lot of these folks go back to the old WFRP mailing list from the 90s, but there are new names popping up all the time. And we mustn’t forget the Strike to Stun forums, which are always worth a look. But it wasn’t until today that I saw someone use the term “Oldhammer Roleplay.”

It’s the title of the first blog I’ve seen dedicated to looking back at WFRP 1st edition. It’s early days at this point, but the author (who goes by the charming nom-de-keyboard of Waaaagh) clearly knows his stuff, and he’s already raised some intriguing questions. I plan on weighing in when I can, and I look forward to seeing this fledgeling blog mature into the WFRP equivalent of the mighty RealmofChaos80s, which is one of the flagships of the Oldhammer movement.

Oldhammer USA 2014

November 3, 2014 2 comments

I mentioned the first-ever Oldhammer USA event in a previous post. It took place over the weekend of October 25th-26th at Dropzone Games in Glen Burnie, Maryland – fittingly, on the site of the old Games Workshop Battle Bunker.

The Oldhammer movement was started a little while ago, as fans of Games Workshop’s “golden age” in the 1980s found each other online and began discussing their favorite games, their latest finds on Ebay and elsewhere, and their various painting, modeling, and gaming projects. It’s flourished in its native UK, with Bryan Ansell’s Wargames Foundry hosting its second Oldhammer weekend in August. Here in the United States, where distances are greater and fans are more widely scattered, it was more of an undertaking to bring the community together in the same space.

The greenskin horde advances on the city walls.

The greenskin horde advances on the city walls. Picture from Blue’s Marauding Miniatures.

But at last it happened. Thanks to the dedication and determination of Blake Shrode, Rusty Gouldman, and others, Oldhammer fans converged on the former Games Workshop US headquarters bringing a treasure trove of old lead and piles of old and well-used books. Because Glen Burnie was only a couple of hours away, I went to see. Phil Gallagher lives even closer, and he popped in too. It was the first time we’d met since I left GW in 1990.

As a first-year event, I think it was a resounding success, and I’m hoping for even better things in 2015. People came from as far afield as Maine and Michigan, driving 14 hours and more to meet other members of the various online groups and spend a couple of days wallowing in nostalgia.

And there was plenty of nostalgia. One of the first things I saw was a pristine, boxed Skull Crusher Goblin trebuchet. The silly story on the back was just about the first thing I wrote after joining the GW staff in 1986. There were games of Space Hulk, 40K, and a massive greenskin attack on an Imperial city (and when I say massive, there were 400 Orcs in just one of the attacking units). I got to roll some dice, help judge the painting competition, share some of my memories of Games Workshop in the 80s, and sign some books.

Phil and me at the left. At the right, Richard Hale, the mastermind behind this massive battle, talks to event organizer Blake Shrode and miniature painting guest of honor Dave Taylor.

Phil and me at the left. At the right, Richard Hale, the mastermind behind this massive battle, talks to event organizer Blake Shrode and miniature painting guest of honor Dave Taylor. Picture from Blue’s Marauding Miniatures.

Rolling for the Empire artillery. The dice were with me for once, and I was able to take out both the giant and the Squiggoth before they reached the walls.

Rolling for the Empire artillery. The dice were with me for once, and I was able to take out both the giant and the Squiggoth before they reached the walls. Picture from Oldhammer in the New World.

Signing books is a strange experience for me. It always has been. Perhaps it’s because of the first two times I was asked to do it.

The first was at a Dragonmeet event in 1986. I had been at GW just a couple of weeks, and I was completely unprepared for the hordes of fans who burst the doors open and poured in like an invading army. At one point a young boy planted himself in front of me and demanded to know if I was famous. I was still pondering the question when he impatiently thrust his programme under my nose. I had to use my own pen. I watched him carry on down the line of tables, getting signatures from two of the Citadel sculptors and one of the hall’s janitorial staff. He didn’t seem to care who signed the thing, and it occurred to me that he was probably going to sell it at school within the week.

The second time was later. I was hanging out in GW’s Nottingham store on my lunch break when a teenager called me by name and came up to me with a copy of Warhammer Siege. Normally I don’t like to sign things if I haven’t worked on them, but I did have a couple of snippets of color text in Siege so that was okay. I signed the book and then watched as he took it to the register and demanded a discount because it was now soiled. Enterprising young man, that. I still wonder whether he went on to become a successful entrepreneur or a criminal mastermind.

But I digress. This and many other memories came up during the course of the day, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

For more on the weekend check the following links:
Oldhammer in the New World
Blue’s Marauding Miniatures (Day 1)
Blue’s Marauding Miniatures (Day 2)

And if you’re interested in the Oldhammer community, here are a few links to get you started:

Realm of Chaos 80s – one of the best Oldhammer blogs, updated regularly and featuring lots of news and interviews with old GW types, including me.
Oldhammer in the New World – the organizers of Oldhammer USA.
The Oldhammer Community on Facebook – a good place to discuss vintage Citadel miniatures and see other fans’ work.
Oldhammer Community Plus – the Google+ Oldhammer group.
Gaming in the 80s – links to various interviews I’ve done.

Oldhammer USA

October 4, 2014 3 comments

My posts reminiscing about my time at Games Workshop and my work on Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay always seem to be the most popular. It seems that a lot of people remember the gaming scene of the 80s with great fondness. I’ve mentioned the Oldhammer movement before, and it seems to be going from strength to strength.

Later this month, I’ll be attending my first Oldhammer event: Oldhammer USA at Dropzone Games in Glen Burnie, Maryland. The Oldhammer in the New World blog has the details, along with a short interview that covers a few things no one ever asked me about before. Keep an eye on that blog for more information as it becomes available.

If you’re interested in Oldhammer, here are a few links to get you started:

Realm of Chaos 80s – one of the best Oldhammer blogs, updated regularly and featuring lots of news and interviews with old GW types, including me.
Oldhammer in the New World – the organizers of Oldhammer USA.
The Oldhammer Community on Facebook – a good place to discuss vintage Citadel miniatures and see other fans’ work.
Oldhammer Community Plus – the Google+ Oldhammer group.
Gaming in the 80s – links to various interviews I’ve done.

2013 and Beyond

February 10, 2014 Leave a comment

2014 is shaping up to be a busy year. Right now I’ve got four mobile games, two tabletop RPG books, and two nonfiction books at various stages of development, and I’m also trying to keep my promise to myself that I will write more fiction.

With all this going on, I haven’t had time to put together an elegant and well-reasoned thought piece or a vivid and fascinating memory of The Old Days for this update. However, there are a few bits and pieces that might be of interest:

Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North is now in its third year, and still going strong. I’m currently helping develop a great new feature that I can’t really talk about, which will be released later in the year. You’ll see some familiar faces, and I think that fans of deeper Arthurian lore will be pleasantly surprised. That’s the intention, anyway.

In other KBN news, the game is ranked #10 by worldwide revenue in App Annie’s 2013 retrospective. A year ago, it was the iTunes Store’s #1 top-grossing app of 2012. And, of course, it’s also available for Android. I’ve been involved with KBN since the very start, and I’m delighted with its continuing success.

Another Kabam title I’ve worked on also did well in 2013, according to App Annie. The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth ranked #8 by revenue in the U.S., #5 in the UK, and #6 in both France and Germany. Over the last year I worked on a narrative campaign feature that allows players to fight the Goblins of the Misty Mountains alongside heroes from the movies – and, in the most recent instalment, lets them take on the dread Necromancer from Mirkwood to Amon Lanc and beyond. Like all of Kabam’s mobile games, this is also available on Android.

Dragons of Atlantis: Heirs of the Dragon has just acquired a great little feature that allows your dragon to go exploring when you’re not using it in battle, and find you all kinds of interesting treasures. I wasn’t involved with that particular feature, but throughout the last year I’ve been working on new dragons, new troops, and various other expansions. More on those when I’m allowed to talk about them. Also on Android.

Beside these three, I’ve been working on localization editing for a whole bunch of games from China that are hoping to build on their success in that booming market and move into the West. Three projects down so far, and two more in progress: more when I can talk about them. There is some good stuff coming out of China, for sure, and many commentators have tagged it as a market to watch. Russia, India, and Brazil are also poised to become significant mobile-games markets in 2014, according to many analysts.

And finally in mobile gaming, I’ve been working on a new fantasy RPG for iOS. I can’t give any details at this stage, but I will say that the setting is interesting and I’ve been having a very good time developing the backstory and advising on some quite intriguing features, both in narrative and gameplay.

The two books I wrote for Osprey Adventures in 2013 have been well received, and I’ve signed up to write two more. Thor: Viking God of Thunder in the Myths and Legends line has been getting good reviews, and the new Templar conspiracy I laid out in Knights Templar: A Secret History has been well reviewed and has inspired both fiction writers and tabletop RPG designers. I’ve been contracted to write two more titles: Theseus and the Minotaur is due to be released in November this year, and I’m just starting work on a yet-to-be-announced Dark Osprey title.

I’ve also been indulging my love for historical fantasy in a few tabletop RPG projects.

Colonial Gothic, the game of horror and conspiracy at the dawn of American history, received a great boost from the release of the Second Edition Rulebook, and that was followed up with the release of the Bestiary in October.

Just open for preorders is Lost Colony, a unique two-period adventure that explores the mystery of Massachusetts’ ill-fated Popham colony in both 1607 and 1776. It is written by award-winning author Jennifer Brozek, whose previous credits for Colonial Gothic include the acclaimed Locations mini-campaigns and the groundbreaking e-book The Ross-Allen Letters, which blurs the lines between adventure and fiction.

I’m working on another Colonial Gothic supplement at the moment. I can’t talk about it yet, but it’s one that has been very long in the planning and it reunites me with a favorite collaborator from my Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay days. We haven’t worked together for more than twenty years, and this project promises to be a lot of fun.

As much as I love Colonial Gothic, I am occasionally tempted by other tabletop RPG projects. When author and roleplaying luminary Robin D. Laws was recruiting talent for his Hillfolk Kickstarter campaign, I was honored to be one of the people he asked to submit an original setting for this fascinating game. I pitched Pyrates as “Firefly of the Caribbean,” and it was a lot of fun to write.

British publisher Chronicle City ran a Kickstarter campaign for their version of the Steampunk classic Space: 1889 – a favorite of mine from the 80s – and I offered an adventure for a stretch goal that, sadly, was not reached. I still hope to write it someday. Their Kickstarter campaign for Cthulhu Britannica saw me contribute to their intriguing postcard-based adventure generator. I was especially happy to be involved with this project because my first commissioned work for Games Workshop, way back in 1985, came when they were developing A Green and Pleasant Land, the first ever British sourcebook for Call of Cthulhu.

Last year I wrote a couple of articles for Steve Jackson Games’ Pyramid magazine, both about obscure guns. The Puckle Gun, a repeating heavy musket, was covered in issue 3/52 (February), while the fearsome Nock volley gun appeared in issue 3/57. I’m planning to adapt both these weapons for Colonial Gothic in the near future, possibly in an unannounced supplement that I have on the back burner. Meanwhile, I have another article – not gun-related this time – being considered for a future issue of Pyramid.

Finally, 2013 was the year I discovered the Oldhammer movement. It seems that there are a lot of folks out there who remember the Games Workshop products of the 80s with great affection, and several of them asked me to give them interviews or to share my memories of working at GW during what some regard as that golden age. I have a couple more interviews lined up, but here are links to some that have appeared so far.

So that’s what 2013 looked like for me, and what 2014 is looking like so far. As always, I’ll be covering ongoing projects in more detail just as soon as I’m allowed to talk about them. But now I’d better get back to work – there’s plenty to do.