Sunday 18 June 2023

Question - What is Blackmail in Gaming?


Answer - Being forced into a making a move, that you wouldn't otherwise make.

Now in your typical one on one game of Chess, it's irrelevant, you both want to win, you make the optimal moves. You have to play defence as well as offence.

But in a multiplayer game say a 4 player one, everyone at the table wants to win, and has responsibility to stop others. If they choose to do nothing to help stop a certain player win they can hardly complain when another player also does nothing!


Lets have an example. Players A,B,C and D.

Player A makes a move, If no other players make a specific move to stop them they will win. Player B ignores that and advances their win, reasoning that the C or D will stop it. C ignores it too... D is now forced to stop the win or the game will end. This is blackmail in gaming.

D duly stops the win, but warns the other players if they don't help stop the win in future, then tough, they aren't going to be the fall guy over and over.

Player A makes another winning move. B ignores it, C ignores it, D has to stop it again. At this point sure, it's great for B and C they are getting closer to winning, but D is making no progress, it's not fair and if the others want to stay in the game, they will need to step up.

Player A makes another win bid. B and C both ignore it again. D says "Fine", makes a different move and A wins. Players B and C, shout at Player D. WHY DIDN'T YOU STOP IT, YOU IDIOT!

Player D at this point has had enough and isn't willing to play any more...


If any one player at the table wants to win they have to invest, they cannot expect player D to save the game over and over, just so that they can win. Why would player D do that? There gets to a point where keeping the game going is not worth the effort for player D, the other players are getting ahead, and if they refuse to help, you know they'll just end up winning instead. Being the fall guy is not fun.

Of course everyone wants to win, that is the goal of the game, but the aim of the game is to have fun. Telling a player they are an idiot for not playing the game the way you want them to is not conducive to this...

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Autism and the Gaming Community.

There's a few things I want to touch upon here. I've recently realised I'm Autistic, this is my own self diagnosis. For anyone reading this who is themselves a diagnosed Autistic, please don't get annoyed at me for self diagnosing, I have numerous reasons for doing so. My son was diagnosed with Autism and I saw that for all the reasons he is, I am too. (It's really self evident to me, now)

It's quite an eye opener! Certain things that didn't make sense to me over my life now do. It's made me quite introspective, I've reanalyzed various events over my life and I see many now with a new light.

I read an article recently (I'll link it later) and so much struck a cord. Like in the article I was bullied at school. I would get upset, cry and always struggle with my emotions, some things just wouldn't make sense to me, and I took other things at face value that I probably shouldn't have. I often felt lonely and yes I considered suicide. Thankfully family and friends helped me through the tough times. Work later was also difficult, I would sometimes be ostracized, and not quite understand why.

The same with hobbies, I played Warhammer on the tournament scene for a while but many of the people never quite felt like friends, some would act oddly towards me, and rampant cheating and nonsense put me off. (some not all, I still have a core of awesome friends from those days.)

I played D&D most weekends for a few years, but again issues arose through misunderstandings. I recall the owner of the shop getting irate with me because I was trying to be efficient. (he felt I was taking away his ability to shine) I didn't mean any harm, I was just trying to defeat the encounter! (I saw us as a team that would work the most efficient way possible)

Being Autistic means I see things differently, I'm not always good at understanding others emotions and motivations and I can cause upset unintentionally. (Aeronauts...) The thought of upsetting others really upsets me. What I'm hoping is now I know I'm not Neurotypical it may help me to understand others more, and vice versa!

If I have offended any people out there please know that I may not be aware of it, and am always happy to have a chat about anything over a beer. I really hate conflict, I suck at it, and would much rather be friends with everyone if I can be!

King's of War now has been my main hobby since first edition. I can say without doubt it's the friendliest community I've been part of. I was always made to feel welcome, and despite the odd misunderstanding, people feel accepting to a much greater level than I have known previously.

Now they do say that like calls to like, it may well be that our hobby attracts the Neurodiverse. I certainly accept seeing as we play with toy soldiers, we're all a bunch of nerds!

I'll note here my inner thought process, I hope that my joke about toy soldiers and nerds will amuse people but I also worry that I may offend someone. (I worry far too much) Being Autistic means I constantly have to second guess myself, I try to make everyone happy, I don't like to make waves. It's not easy.

Seriously though, I love our community. I have been made to feel welcome and loved by people worldwide. (being invited to America time after time and being made so welcome was a dream come true for me) Being RC for many years was a fantastic experience too. (You're awesome Mantic)

The gist of the article is this. I feel I'm accepted for who I am, even if quite what that is hasn't been defined. Considering that many people with Autism struggle, I think myself very lucky. It took a while but I found my people. Thank you.

Note the photo's show some of the many awesome people on the scene. I love all you guys out there though, photo of you shown or not!

Tuesday 23 August 2022

 Pssssht Pssssht...

I'm at a tournament admiring a display board, it's been made by a prominent player and it's gorgeous. No real surprise, his boards are always excellent. He's made a booklet, full colour that has his army background in it. Quite nice to see actually, backgrounds seem to have gone out of fashion. It's very detailed, I skim through it.

The player walks over, he has a big grin on his face, and an aerosol can of compressed air in his hand, he squeezes it. Pssssht Pssssht... Wind effects I puzzle? He starts talking me through his army, it's all very impressive. He tells me all about the mini's he's used. Pssssht Pssssht. Painting style. Pssssht Pssssht. Their background. Pssssht Pssssht... This goes on for a while.

I start to look closer at his board, it's actually not as good as I thought. He's scattered dungeon tiles from Advanced Heroquest all over it. Unusual. Also there's no miniatures on it currently, perhaps they are still at the table from his last game?

The player regains my attention, our eyes meet, his grin grows impossibly wider. His hand gently caressing and squeezing the can. Pssssht Pssssht...

And then I wake. It's 4am and my wife is snoring in the bed next to me. Pssssht Pssssht. I nudge her and her snoring increases in volume... I gently pull her arm suggesting she sleeps in a different position. "STOP WAKING ME UP!" She exclaims, the decibels rising. I decide it's probably better to let sleeping lions be, and spend the next hour thinking about writing a blog the next day...

Pssssht Pssssht...

Monday 20 June 2022

 Northern Kings GT22 Review

This weekend gone I pottered over to the NK GT, it was their first event in a while and it was at a completely new venue. 


First up, for me the location was pretty ideal. I loved the drive there and back again with my hobbits, beautiful countryside. I went from Cheshire to Derbyshire to Lancashire. All lovely. 

The hotels aren’t right on the doorstep of the venue, but it didn’t matter. I enjoyed the walk back to the hotel each night with Matt Hobday. The venue was in the town centre with some excellent food options nearby and some terrible karaoke! We needed to get Matt James singing! (no, not Diggy diggy hole... Which was on repeat Sunday morning.)


The venue itself was spacious, plenty of room to move around. Toilets were good. (you cannot assume this) The bar could have been open earlier, but it wasn’t a big deal, and it was very cheap! It was cash only, but as we knew in advance, I brought enough. 


The terrain was beautiful, Nick went above and beyond here. I loved every piece and each battlefield was both gorgeous and very practical. I especially loved the walls, which could be picked up from their base, all walls should be like this. The hills were good, my favourite being one with stone bricks built into it.


The guys deserve absolute praise for this, they used a shoestring budget and went above and beyond. The fish and chips on the Sunday was my favourite of the lot. I actually missed that tea and coffee was available unfortunately, I really could have done with a cup of tea Saturday morning!

For any TO’s reading this, please, please, please charge an appropriate amount for your costs. Add £5 on top of what you think it will be even! If this event had been £70 I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid and still been more than happy.


They went the extra mile in almost every way, we got mimosa cocktails on arrival, cakes to nibble mid game, goodie bags with sweets, a sprue from Mantic, all sorts! There were numerous prizes for randomly everyone to win too! Honestly every TO does not need to go this level, but hey if you want to, feel free!


The new website Nick had built for this was fantastic. There were some technical issues. From a player perspective these were a non issues as they were resolved via a workaround very quickly. I love how the site had the scenarios with full descriptions, and it even had all the terrain heights! (I liked the height 1 ponds)

Evening Entertainment

Fun stuff, Friday was very messy! On the Sat it was nice to keep the majority of us together, I enjoyed the quiz, and called the Yorkshire answer for nearly every question of the last round!


I was really pleased to see a UK event that actually encouraged us to make an effort with hobby. The wide selection of awards was lovely. For the rest of the UK’s TO’s, more of this sort of thing please! 


It was really nice to see everyone and hang out, I had some great games. I enjoyed every single one despite a horrible hangover on the Saturday… Maybe I’ll drink less on the Friday next time?

Friday 15 October 2021


Toxicity on the scene and List shaming.

When is something not just a joke? When it’s carried on too far, when people are actively upset. This is the time to draw a line and say no more, or at least nothing hurtful. This last week since the events around the Clash of Kings UK, I have sunk into a pit of depression and helplessness. Honestly near suicidal. This is not easy to write.


People know me on the scene and hopefully most would say I’m a nice enough guy, who gives a fun a tactical game. I like to take powerful lists usually focused on melee and speed. Preferably with less painting involved. :p

Back in August I was looking at the Halfling beta list on Easy army I noticed that Aeronuats were not irregular. I fed this back to the RC and was told they were going to leave it how it was for now, and see how it went.

In September I spoke with a good friend of mine Matt Hobday, the list had still not been updated, so Matt contacted Mantic direct and was told the list would not be changing, I also contacted Mantic and found the same. I knew they were going to be made irregular going forward so thought this would be a fun chance to take a very unusual army to Clash of Kings, hopefully one that would be fun for me and my opponents. (They are speed 7 without Nimble, so even a cavalry army would outpace me)

Also at the time of writing there was going to be no other changes to Aeronauts other than Irregular, so thought if the unit did turn out to be slightly too good (as I had reported in my feedback) It could be slightly nerfed. I have since been accused of lying for wanting to provide feedback because I did not run them as if it was irregular. I wanted to provide feedback on Aeronauts, not the specific list, and yes I wanted to take the strongest list I could.

I mentioned my list to one member of the RC and they had no issue with it, I mentioned it to another RC member and they thought it would be hilarious and actively encouraged me! Buoyed on by this I spent nearly all my free time for around 2 weeks painting and building the army.


On the day of list submission I get messaged by an RC member in front of a group of others who said I was being a dick taking the list. I felt shamed by this and somewhat confused, the other two RC had had no issue with it. Several people in that group reached out to me, saying they were on my side, and that it looked fun. I started to feel down, should I pull out, would others have a go at me? Chatting with the others we agreed it was so random I probably wouldn’t get more than say 4 wins, I agreed, but thought since Matt Hobday had printed the army for me, it’d still be fun at least.

I asked how the RC member had got my list and it turns out the RC had been sent my list, and at least 1 playing RC member in fact had all of our army lists, so they could “validate them”. I pointed out this was unfair, and was told by Mantic that all our lists would be made available. Knowing this, I decided to put my list and some pictures on KoW Fanatics for all to see.

The Feedback was mostly good, I got various likes and laughs. The majority left amusing comments/memes. However I got responses from two members RC saying the list did not look fun and from one that I was “Exploiting the F**k out of the list”… Again I was confused where the hate had come from, the other two RC I had spoken with previously had no issues.

Of course as it turned out the other lists were not posted, giving an unfair advantage to those who got to see and study them without anyone else even being made aware…

Clash of Kings

On arrival Friday I was told that an RC member had already been talking shit about me and my list, apparently, I was a dick for taking it. RC why did you not just change the bloody list if you had a problem with it being taken…

My weekend already tainted, I pressed ahead and finished painting the army.

6 games over the weekend, and mostly good games, I did get an outburst in one game saying I should just admit the list wasn’t fluffy and themed. I immediately said well sure it’s an insane bullshit spam list, I was joking... I was taken aback by the vitriol in this, from someone who is normally very mild mannered and friendly.

Many people take spam armies, be it Zombie, Badgers, Shooting spam, Knight armies. Do they get shamed and called a dick by multiple people? No or at least they shouldn’t be.


After the event, with everything that had occurred I felt pretty down. I’d brought a legal list and been shamed for it. I also did worse than if I had brought a normal balanced list. I ended up going 4 and 2, exactly as I and others expected.

I posted on Fanatics saying how random the army was and although fun I would not recommend it as a serious tournament army. I got a response saying that some of my opponents had not. This worried me as I want everyone to have fun, so I reached out, I got reassuring comments back from all bar the one person who had got upset in the game.

Now I do want to say here, that person did say how they normally enjoy playing against me, and I genuinely like the guy! However they said that The overwhelming view I heard from people about the list, was that it was "a dick move, made to try and win the event at the expense of your opponents experience” also comments saying what I had said was rubbish. So now I didn’t know what to think.

I apologised in any case, and said I had no plan to bring such a list again, I felt more and more depressed with the whole situation. I considered reaching out, wrote something up. Then deleted it. I didn’t have enough emotional energy to keep refuting and arguing with people who decided quite unfairly I was a dick and a liar.


But that wasn’t the end of it. Over the next few days people posted comments about Themed Fluffy armies, some may have been jokes, but with everything over the weekend they hit me hard.

I dropped from a future tournament that would contain some of these people who had been/still are making toxic comments.

Lets move on.

As of today there are still posts going up accusing me/Matt of lying and similar. Please everyone I can’t take this any more, can you stop.

All of the people who have made these comments are people I genuinely like, I just want to move on. Lets be friends everyone please, I’m in tears here…







Monday 3 August 2020

Evil Ascendant

Barksain Boltstruck surveyed the ruins of his capital with sadness, the evil Orcs and armies of Dust had killed his subjects, their sheer brutality shocked him to his core. The lands had been despoiled, surely this was not the Green Ladies will?

His remaining Elf forces lead by Elf King Mai-Ladieral had vanished in the night, obviously the cowardly King had had enough, perhaps he would retire to a duckpond...

Barksain turned to Gnarlsly his Warden, "What of our allies, The Red Redeemer and the Brotherhood of the Green Lady?" Gnarlsly bowed her head, "Routed Sire... There is little chance they will return." 

"Is there no hope for the West?" called out Barksain? in his deep slow booming voice. "NONE." called out a green figure, appearing translucently before him. Was it, could it be, the Green Lady?

The green and feminine ghostly figure, glided forward. "YOU WERE NEVER MEANT TO SUCCEED MY FOLLOWER." I THANK YOU, BUT YOUR TIME HERE IS DONE." She paused as if is considering how much to share, then continued, with a sad smile. "GOOD WAS IN THE ASCENDANT, AND NOW BALANCE IS BEING RESTORED." , her form beginning to fade. "IT IS TIME FOR EVIL TO ASCEND." And then she was gone.

Barksain bowed his head, and in a broken voice slowly and quietly said to the empty air. "Your will, my queen..."  The once mighty king, and his remaining Treekin spread apart, and trudged slowly into the green places of the world. There they stopped and ever so slowly they re-assumed their basic natures once again. They would await the call of the Green Lady, her will be done.

As the last movement left the forms of Barksain Boltstruck and the warden Gnarlsly, their bodies intertwined, locked together for the ages.

Picture by Josephine Wall

Thursday 30 July 2020

Elksberg Offensive

Elksberg Offensive

This was a roughly even battle between myself an Dan Caltagirone, part of the ongoing campaign. He had 900 points and I had 600 + my King Barksain Boltstruck. (worth 320 points)

My Army

Dan's army


We played a Control on a 4' x 4' board. I mean Dan did, I played Kill. :p (If everything is dead you'll probably win the scenario)


Barksain Boltstruck pondered the situation as only a Tree Herder can. "Hmmm..." Several hours passed as he considered the vile confederation of Dust and the Orc. They had swarmed over his lands but then run away when he had expected an attack on his capital.

Perhaps the power of the Green Lady had scared them? This could be a good time to restore his former lands. Splitting his host, he left his ancient fortress under the control of Exemplar Julius Anguita - The Red Redeemer his liege lord and ruler of the Brotherhood of the Green Lady. Two of Barksain's armies were sent to recapture villages while he would venture forth, and return the town of Elksberg to it's proper place.

As he got closer he saw many Orcs gathering, this worried him as he'd thought hey had all fled the area. However they appeared dull and tired. They must have marched all night to be at the battle. This could be in his favour, perhaps they would make errors in their strategy? 


Seizing the initiative Barksain and his small force sped forward, beginning to encircle the enemy, watching for weakness. He didn't have to wait long.

Seizing the Initiative

The Orcs slowly edged forward for the main, however one large group of impetuous Young Ax moved up, apparently ignoring Barksain! They seemed intent on the main force perhaps concentrating on the Dragon Lyffang?

Seeing the flank offered to him and deciding decisive action was the way forward, Barksain sped forward into the side of the foolish Orcs. Screaming with something between fear and anger, the Elf King Mai-Ladieral, on the Great green Dragon, Lyffang charged into the front of the Orcs along with their recently dscovered new allies, the Riverguard Treeleapers. The Orcs held for mere seconds before streaming away. Orcs scurried everywhere, routed with ease


The remaining Orcs seemed flabbergasted at this briefly, then a lone and either very brave or very stupid drummer, turned towards Barksain. Hoisting his drum up high he began to madly charge directly at Boltstruck himself! Surely this was doomed to failure? Somehow he swung his drum with enough force to slightly damage the oaken skin. The Orc was exultant! However seconds later, a green light burst out of Barksain, the Orc shielded his eyes and then... Unbelievably the Tree King was unmarred once again...

In typical form Mai-Ladieral on his mighty Dragon stood and watched as a group of Orcs with great bladed axes ran his way, and timing his defence terribly, the Orcs caused major wounds to his poor mount Lyffang, and even he suffered a long scvratch down his arm! "Arrggh!" he yelped, and as per previous battles he once again considered fleeing... "Back Lyffang!" He panicked. Looking round wildly he exhorted his Dragon to back away and take refuge in the nearby duck pond. Scattering the few wildfowl that we're currently hiding in the undergrowth. Mai-Ladieral looked around wildly with fear as a goose honked in his direction.

The far braver Riverguard Treeleapers, engaged the other unit of great axed Orcs, but somehow failed to do much too them, thier weapons not piercing the lightly armoured Orcs nearly as well as expected.

Barksain and the Hunters of the Wild seeing the distress of Mai-Ladieral both charged the flanks of the Great Axed Orcs routing them quickly. Barksain turned to Mai-Ladieral briefly. Seeing him standing in the duck pond dripping and cowering Barksain let out a deep sigh, if only his Elf allies could be more reliable...

The pond is safe right? HONK!

The remaining great axed Orcs counter charged the Riverguard Treeleapers and routed them with ease, the frogs jumping away in all directions...

Barksain was too busy to note this however, as the final horde of young Orcs charged off the hill, their Godspeaker chanting to try to aid their vigor, but thankfully the impetuous Orcs ignored him. Their axes began to bite, however this wasn't enough to topple the ancient Tree Herder.

Mai-Ladieral was still feeling unsure about the situation, but Lyffang the powerful Dragon had had enough. Jumping forward he powered himself straight into the flank of the young Orcs causing terrible wounds with his claws, felling Orc after Orc with ease. Letting out a roar of wild excitement , Lyffang exulted as the few remaining Orcs fled. Mai-Ladieral barely holding onto the saddle above him let out a weak shout, and then dropped his weapon, which tumbled to ground. Barksain shook his head once again, perhaps he'd bring Kai, Mai's brother to battle next time...

End Throes

Barksain then took a few seconds to deal with the plucky Orc and his drum, impressed with the drummers earlier bravery, he knocked him out rather than killing him, he doubted the Orc would have done the same. Turning he saw his Hunters of the Wild engaged with the last remaining Great axed Orcs, by the time he got there though the Orcs routed. The Orc Flagger went the same way.

As the battle ended the reluctant Mai-Ladieral decided it would be safer to encourage Lyffang to deal with the Godspeaker from afar, Lyffang shot huge gouts of flame towards the Orc over the building but most of it missed, and the battle for good or ill was done.

"Brave" Mai-Ladieral encourages Lyffang to engulf the God-Speaker.


Elksberg had been recovered, the Orcs dispatched with ease but Barksain Boltstruck was not pleased. Seconds ago his scouts had returned news that the Armies of Dust and Orcs had tricked him, their retreat had been a bluff. 

A mighty combined force, had in fact attacked his capital which he had left undefended bar for his allies the Brotherhood of the Green Lady. Was this the end or could Julius Anguita - The Red Redeemer, his now liege hold it for him? Surely the Green Lady had a plan... Or was this the end?

The current turn of the campaign