The Gray Champion of the ’20s

Posted by

I recently decided to look into the concept of The Fourth Turning:

Turns out I’m not the only one thinking the ’20s are going to get even more interesting.

And, since there’s already been some discussion, what if he is The Gray Champion?:


Whether you decide to go with Spectre’s striding, or Dragon Bait’s shooting fig — and whether you like him or not — he’d make an interesting addition to any WAM Command Element. And after all, he is CCW.


[Edit: Speaking of greyscale, if you’ve never seen THIS, you should.]


Posted by

Most rules game either historical order or fictional chaos. I’m interested in what skirmishes will look like during the transition period from the former state to the latter. What does war look like when — while — every nation is falling apart?

[See my earlier post HERE.]

Layer the first three and pick your fourth.

[See Also: cycles within patterns?]

Yyeeaarrs ago I played in a sci-fi skirmish game at a friend’s place. There were a half dozen of us, each given command of a small team, all with conflicting objectives and differing victory conditions. Good times.

But the funniest thing I’ve remembered from that game is that one of the units was Scientologist Commandos.

That’s how I think about ILLUMINATI WhAM. Elements from every group, club, gang, sport, religion and association in society you can think of, preferably for which there are both Illuminati cards and 28mm figs (for example, Girlie Magazines) assembled into hodgepodge, sometimes ad hoc, formations and having at it. Think, “Twilight: 2000, Illuminati and A Very British Civil War walk into a bar …” . Or Hedley Lamarr’s warband.

Warfare in the Age of Madness has a definite Road Warrior sensibility, timeline-wise; society as we know it is gone. But I like to wind the clock back just a bit and play it Mad Max-style; society remains but is crumbling. It still looks like last decade, but you can definitely see next decade rolling around the corner, hopped up on meth and coming at you with its pants down.

Like this:

And this:

Mad Max (during) ————> Road Warrior (after)

And this:


And this:

Being more specific about that idea:

I like the above image because it has a Deadliest Warrior vibe that bookends The Long Weekend on the continent both temporally and spatially, with a separation of only 20 years and 1,000 miles. Middle class nationalists versus working class internationalists, fight!

Sort of like The Baader Meinhof Complex* meets Land and Freedom. Sort of.

And, to continue running with that filter, something along the lines of, say, …


That’s another difference of only about 20 years in time, and less than 10 miles in distance, shootout-wise. And again, little-to-no common ground regarding ideals and beliefs. There’s already a Semiconscious Liberation Army group card in Illuminati too; so we’re part way there!

I want to be able to use as much of my figure collection as possible in this game. So my pirates can be former-LARPers with a penchant for black powder. My mid-war Fallschirmjager are now ex-reenactors with real Kar98s and reproduction FG 42s. My Mexican banditos are vaqueros with an appreciation for the classics and the good stuff.

To make all that possible in WAM I made the following changes to the Core Elements list:

Some Notes:

A Blade: The A stands for Adept. Assault 3+ makes sense. Use this for a group of survivors from a Silat school (see: The Raid) or a team from the Armoured Combat League (see: Tueller Drill):

Black Powder covers muzzle- (muzzle- muzzle-) and breechloading long arms.

Rifle now means bolt- and lever-action long guns. Use this for squads of former-WW I reenactors and groups of hunting buddies. [Edit: This could also include shotguns firing rifled slugs.]

Auto Rifle is for elements armed with Garand, M14, SKS, FN C1A1, repro FG42 and similar semi-auto-only, mainly larger calibre, heavy self-loading rifles. A unit like this that includes any BARs, FAL or G3 rifles, actual StG44s, actual FG42s or C2A1s should probably be classed as Rifle-MG.

And I changed Carbine to Carbine because it’s a better word. These are modern, lighter, higher magazine capacity, mid-calibre, often selective fire rifles. This includes the majority of the StG44’s descendants but not the Stormbringer itself. I say this because, have you ever handled an 11 pound rifle!? Yeah.

These changes are almost entirely rate of fire-derived. Any of these rifles can reach targets in closed terrain, from factories to forests; that’s why they all still have 3 Range. Firepower and Assault numbers though are largely determined by operation, feed mechanism and handleability, all of which affect effective rounds-on-target rate of fire.

And finally, posted without comment, here is Dr. Ella Lonn’s map from her outstanding book Desertion During the Civil War:

[*: Christopher Hitchens’ review, “Once Upon a Time in Germany,” is worth reading.]

Magazines for Which I am Thankful

Posted by

This Sunday I’m thankful for a trio of Wargames Magazines you may or may not have heard of.

This threesome are the Neapolitan Ice Cream of lead-pusher porn.

Wargames Illustrated seems to be the one you can find everywhere. It has the highest physical production value (square-bound, glossy, 108 pages*) and publishes some really good work. That said, they do publish a slightly higher rate of adverticles than the other two. That said, I’ve learned those are a good way to find out about what’s going on in the world.

Miniature Wargames (Incorporating Battlegames) I learned about online around a year and-a-half ago. I think I found out about it in a forum convo, so I’ll hazard to suggest their adpro could use some improvement. It has good production value (staple-bound, glossy, 72 pages) and great content.

Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy I discovered — curiously — from a recent Wargames Illustrated subscriber survey. First time I’d ever heard of it. When I then came across a reference to it on Lead Adventure Forum (again, in a thread convo; adpro people, adpro!) a week later, I decided to take it for a spin. I’m really glad I did. It’s production value is about the same as the mag above (staple-bound, matte, 84 pages) and it’s content is easily as good as the other two.

Wargames Illustrated and Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy do theme issues. Upon my first encounter with such a thing I was a bit put off because my interest in whatever the theme of the month happened to be was not consistent; one issue was on-point for me, another was meh topic-wise.

What I have come to appreciate about the themes is how much I learn from them. I’ve read some very entertaining and informative material on subjects I previously had no interest in. By way of example, I’ll say that, while the actual Thirty Years War is a topic I’ve long been into, gaming it never was. Theme issues changed my mind on that score. I’ve since become a bit of a pike and shot spaz.

Miniature Wargames doesn’t do theme issues and I love them for it. Of the three magazines, it’s the one that reminds me most of early (late-70s to early-80s) White Dwarf, Dragon, Challenge and Pegasus, back when they all still published articles for every roleplaying game under the sun.

I’m now subscribed to all three of these wargames magazines and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. That’s 264 pages! I think it’s fair to say I thoroughly enjoy at least one third of that page count and quite enjoy another third every month. I accept the final third as being material someone else probably enjoys and move on. That’s pretty good ROI for me. I might have to pare back at some point, but that’s going to be tough times on the decision front.

Oh, and they sometimes send out frames of plastic figs (or rule or terrain booklets) with the issues. I recently received some 28mm greatcoated WWII German infantry from Wargames Illustrated (YES!) and some Abbysal Dwarves from Miniature Wargames.

Since my home game uni-/multi-/omni-/metaverse allows for anything and everything I get a lot out of these freebies. The ones I don’t want — like little ships, for example — I pass along to someone else who will enjoy them. Everybody wins.

There is a drive now with all three magazines to want you to subscribe digitally. And there are very good reasons to do so (back issue libraries, for instance). But I prefer the hardcopy. I love mail for one thing. Part of it though is that, when I’ve finished with an issue I decide not to keep, I like to pass it along. Again, winning.

[*: A curiosity about these magazines is that they all include the front — and therefore, I assume — the back cover in their page count. It’s possible other magazines do so as well; I’ve just never taken the time to notice such a thing before.]


Posted by

[I’m saddened and dismayed it’s taken me this long to come up with that.]

So, here:

It’s yours.

And go back this ’cause it’s gonna be cool.

Now that’s outta the way, …

*** Note: the following isn’t a way to find out who your parents were, that’s already been covered. This is a method for injecting time — and the stories it forces — into the game. ***

How long has it been since the calamity?

Once you know that, if you break that timeline down into generations — say 30 years each — then turn that into a curved — to favour the present — table …

You can determine a generation for each or your mutants. Then let’s say one mutation per generation.

But how old are you? The age of the mutant is the inverse of its generation [1 to 10] x ~30; so that First Generation mutant is about 300 years old. He either survived the cloud and is still alive or was born immediately after the disaster. What’s his story?

A Second Generation mutant will be around 270. What’s hers?

A Tenth Generation mutant — given how many Coming-of-Age adventures there are — is say 15 or so.

You could end up playing someone who’s been alive since the catastrophe; what if you’re immortal?

Or maybe you’re a recently-born, literally hard-as-nails teen.

Exponential characters.

[Edit: Here’s a first rush at Generation Mutation. In accordance with The Total Person in Metamorphosis Alpha (Dragon 14, pp 24-25) I’m going with ~300 years (10 generations) since the disaster:

You’ll need 2d30.

Or you could goto and tell it what to do.

Remember, you get one “beneficial” mutation per generation. One thing I’ve been toying with is letting players pick their mutations if they stick to the original list; but if they want any of the new ones from The Mutation Manual, they have to roll.

Standard number and type of defect mutations still apply.]

[Second edit: OK, now I’m Marvin-level depressed it took me so long:

madness-in-a-can ]

Illuminati Warfare in the Age of Madness

Posted by


You know how Traveller‘s chargen is a mini-game you play before the real adventure starts?

Well I’ve been thinking about this:

To keep my tinkering and tests simple I think I’ll leave out all of both games’ expansions for now. I’ll stick to just the first Illuminati* pocket box cards and just the original Warfare in the Age of Madness (WAM) rules.


You start a game of Illuminati but only play long enough for each of the conspiracies to get their hooks into, say, 7-11 groups. Then the Madness strikes.



Your Illuminati conspiracy card becomes your WAM Command element.

Your Illuminati group cards become your other WAM force elements.

I’m still working out how to translate Illuminati groups’ Alignments, Power, Resistance, Incomes and Special Abilities into WAM elements’ Perks, Penalties and Traits. These are just some first thoughts.

There are also the Illuminati Special Event Cards a player might be holding when the Madness ensues. That’s more to think about. For now I’ll set them aside too, and focus on the conspiracies and groups.

Just imagine it though! Who doesn’t want to see the Gnomes of Zurich’s I.R.S. get hammer-and-anvilled between the Bermuda Triangle’s Cattle Mutilators and Punk Rockers?


To save time you could just deal each WAM opponent a random Illuminati conspiracy card and a dozen random group cards. [If you do want to play Platoon or Company Plus force levels, deal six or 18 groups respectively.]

Playing even a quick pre-game of Illuminati will make the whole thing take longer than simply dealing cards, since you’ll still have to translate your organization into a WAM force before you can start pushing lead.

And I suspect just dealing cards will produce equally random WAM force compositions in terms of Illuminati Alignments, Power, Resistance, Special Abilities etc. This raises the additional question of, how do Illuminati card characteristics and WAM point values mesh? Hmm.

Another big advantage of dealing cards is it can be done in advance. It could be done over a beer or during a brief meet-up at your local game shop. Deal — but don’t reveal — your cards, take them home and build your forces in secret. Then, WhAM!

And I guess this is a good time to mention I’m also planning to scale it up to 28mm since my whole collection is that size. In the same way Inq28 simply halved moves and distances from 54mm Inquisitor, I think just doubling WAM bounds and ranges (and increasing board size) will work fine for Illuminati WhAM!

Ordinarily I really, really prefer my figs single based but for this game I think grouping minis together on my Warbases Dux Brit movement trays will work fine, especially given how elements function in WAM.

All of the above said, if all you want to do is humour-up an otherwise straight game of WAM, you can just deal each player one Illuminati conspiracy card for their Command element and a group card for each of their other force elements. Assign your cards to your elements however you want. Then have at it!

You’ll still be able to order your Feminists to assault the enemy Post Office.

And I guess if you want to get all themey, you can just pick an Illuminati Alignment or two and take the cards you want. I’d try to go for forces made up of compatible Alignments like Weird Government on one side versus Violent Liberal on the other. If you do this remember that, while any Alignment can associate with Criminals, no organization can include more than one Fanatic group because they all hate each other.

Anyway, MREs for thought.

[*: I’m going with the ’82 first edition because I appreciate the classics. As a bonus the cards are smaller, simpler and easy to read from a distance. Also, I want to minimize the cards’ visual impact on the table so as not to distract from the figs and terrain.]

[**: The opening of Warfare in the Age of Madness always make me think of the start of Twilight: 2000.]

[EDIT: If you want to go nuts, there are at least two other generations of Illuminati in the wild, with a couple more conspiracies and way more groups than the original game. The cards are bigger and all are illustrated. I may end up there myself eventually.]

Giving Thanks

Posted by

On this Sunday I thought I’d mention some figs I just came across this past week.

I am thankful they exist, and you’ll be too.

First, the explorer who made me realize the world needs more chicks with picks. I give you Miss Abigail Halsey:

You can learn about her on the Mythos the Game site. And you can buy her and her Priory cohorts on the Wayland Games site.

I picture this gal exploring a sand, dirt and rock tunnel. Then there’s that scene where the tunnel ends at a door of strangely marked impossible metal that shouldn’t be where it is. Obviously she’s not going to let it stop her. She gets the thing open. There’s that hiss of air, that wisp of swirling knee-deep fog pouring out. She pans her light around and spots these:


That’s right. Skeletal Spacemen. Skeletal SPACEMEN!

You can — and should — buy them on the Diehard Miniatures site.