Oldhammer 40k – When Fun Beats ‘Rulez’ Pt. 1

1. Setup

What happens when two Oldhammer fans catch up for the first time face-to-face in too long?

Models get busted out. A shed gets filled.

And dice plans don’t work out the way you expect.

This weekend over two nights two games were played.  Both games were Dan T.  Aka “The Indestructible Celt”  Vs myself Shaun A. Aka “Ming The Mirthless”

2. Marines Advance2.1 Marines Advance

We ended up settling for some Imperial Guards Vs Space Marines the first night – calling them Renegade Imperial Guard, as they were Ming’s team you could even suggest a chaotic taint. Thus the Space Marines were a small advance ‘Purifying’ team sent in to check for signs of chaos taint.

Note to self: Don’t I have an entire box of Chaos Cultists & Proxies somewhere as yet un-built?

These were all based on stats and equipment from the Rogue Trader Compendiums – including original 1st Edition Space Marine stats [T-3] – marines just used to have better equipment and weapons choices – so that’s how we modelled the set-up.

FYI a certain evil Ming once got his Chaos Marines equipped with Nukes and Viral weapons and virtually wiped out an entire Guard platoon in a few shots. Ah… Blood for the Blood God.

Renegade Imperial Guard:

  • 1x Commissar Major Hero – basic and standard equipment
  • 2x Tactical Squads – basic and standard equipment
  • 1x Ogryn Squad – basic and standard + mesh armour and ripper gun for the leader

Purifying Space Marines Advance Team:

  • 1x Major Hero Tech Marine – basic and standard equipment + multilaser rapier gun platform
  • 1x 5 Marine Tactical Squad – basic and standard equipment + multimelta, leader with chainsword and jump packs
  • 1x 5 Marine Assault Squad – basic and standard equipment + 1x power fist, 1x power axe, 1x flamer, 1x heavy bolter

The Marine Assault Squads had a pretty non standard mix of weapons, but we decided to just use the oldest metal marines The Indy Celt had.

So yes that’s all original late 80/ early 90s metal on the game table – and then play it WYSIWYG.

3.1 Guard Advance

We’re both more that capable of mis-remembering rules, using rules from another edition, game or inventing mechanics on the spot.

We have both over the years become frustrated with UGO-IGO. But instead of a simple alternating unit actions – the suggestion this time from Indy Celt was using playing cards.

  1. A card for each squad for one team in red.
  2. A card for each squad of the other team in black.
  3. Shuffle the deck, then pick and activate a unit.
  4. When all cards have been picked, shuffle the used pile and start again.
  5. Squad dead? Take a matching coloured card out.
  6. ????
  7. Profit aka Fun!

6. Woods For Cover

There was a lot of initial scurrying around – with the Ogryns marauding around very slowly through rivers, Marines jumping around from cover to cover – either of walls or woods. And the Imperial Guard made their way uphill.

At one point the Comms tower seemed important. I suspect in hindsight it’s an old chess habit of control the centre, control the game.

Afterwards I  argued a few angry Ogryns stomped out the chance of the Marines calling for backup. Or they might have just knocked out the wires in passing. They are relatively dumb after all.

7. Orgyn Advance8. Marines Side Sweep

Just as there was about to be some significant melee between Ogryn & Marine units – The Tech-marine with Rapier weapons platform rolled into line of sight of the Guard units up on  the hill.

The first roll by the advanced & very well equipped Tech-marine was a 1. A fluff  – with the biggest & deadliest weapon in the field.

The Renegade Guard had no idea what had occurred.

And even if they had, they most likely would have run!

9. Rapier Miss - More 1s10. Grenades!

The Tactical Marine Squad picked off wood hiding Guards with ease – and the retaliatory grenade went off target. 3 blood markers for lost Guard – 1 blood marker for a lost Marine. Yes, that’s the Guard taking themselves out.

It was at this point Indy Celt suggested use of some extra game elements to keep things interesting.

The card selection for turn move was already keeping things highly unpredictable – as a good battle should be.

11. Orgyn Stomps

The new element?

A nice giant roaming Dinosaur – a T-Rex nicked from his daughter’s play box – So in the end we did put a plastic model on the table – but at least it was fully painted.

12. Dinosaur Spotted

The Giant Dinosaur is in the rule book on Pg.221. Rogue Trader has all sorts of scenario & plot & campaign elements built in. But non of it is compulsory.

One of the early compendiums even has rules for programming robots with auto commands. But that’s a whole other story from another game…

13. State of Play

At this point the battle field had been split into two areas – Renegade Orgyns all shouts and smashes on top of  one remaining Tac Marine squad.

On the other side the Renegade Commander was performing an ‘Operation Meat Shield’ with his troops to avoid the wrath of the pursuing zealous Purifying Marines

17. Rapier - Miss Again

As the cards continued to randomise which unit got to act, or react, the Tech-marine fired his multi-laser rapier at the scurrying guard – but if you’re paying attention, yes that’s another 1, another complete miss!

18. Marines Run!

The battle continues to spiral into the madness that is the fog-of-war – smashy Ogryns actually routed the marines – who proceeded to run from the battlefield. (!?!?!)

19. Plucky Guard - Direct Hit

Next the solitary Lascannon Trooper  – and really the only high yield weapon on the Renegade’s side – one shotted the rapier as it was moved into line of sight.

I could feel the fuming Tech-marine across the battlefield.

20. Orgyn Swimming.

At some point in every game, the best laid plans devolve into chaos.

The previously panicked Marines regained their resolve, but at the same time, the Renegade Commander became increasingly emboldened, and with numbers attempted to swamp the remaining Marines on this side of the battlefield.

21. Guard Full Attack22. Marines Dance

Whilst this occurred on the other side of the table – the Tech-marine and the remaining Assault Marines began to sweep out of the way of the T-Rex and the howling Orgyn.

The Red Mist aka the hint of Khorne, finally shows itself in the Renegade Guard.

They turned, and shot straight at the Dino.

23. Itchy Trigger Finger24. Orgyn SMASH

The multi-melta Marine on this side of the battlefield was seemingly battle weary & wandering around directionless.

The Tech-marine failed to act, and was savaged by the raging Orgyns, while at the same time the T-Rex thundered across the battlefield towards the tasting looking Guard.

25. Dino Charge26. Guard Panic!

For once the Guard performed as expected, and turned and ran! Who wouldn’t given the scale of the attacker? – the Renegade Commander wasn’t present to shoot deserters.

27. Ogryn Atttack Big Green Thing

With a roar the Orgyns continued to stomp around and rear assaulted the T-rex – but that didn’t really matter as they couldn’t actually hurt it! They are indeed to stupid to care.

The random cards then enabled both players favourite shot of the game – the Lascannon Trooper who’d aced everything else – took aim, and shot the T-Rex down first attempt.

We both couldn’t stop laughing… while we laughed, the Orgyns tucked into a ‘dinner’ meal of scorched T-Rex flesh. And well deserved their feast was.

28. Las-Hero!

There aren’t photos of just how many troops that one Lascannon Trooper shot – but to borrow a Starship Troopers reference – he would absolutely be the lead character in a promotional video – sadly he’s a Renegade – so it’s more likely Khorne would grant him a gift. And the Realms of Chaos books have some amazingly useless ‘gifts’ that would likely be bestowed.

Battle Summary

  • I absolutely loved the variation to the ebb & flow of battle the card based unit turn system created. Every change in the flow created the need to recalculate. It even created the swamping effect of numerical advantage, but also allowed for that ‘lucky run’ which the eventually outnumbered marines unluckily didn’t capitalise on. I would love to use this mechanic again.
  • The dice rolls were extreme, with one model almost every turn hitting maximum hit, and the most powerful unit on the field missing EVERY time. Statistically running this game again, it would be almost impossible to recreate.
  • The army lists were not ‘balanced’ – the whole game was more a “What if Scenario” imposing a narrative onto the game structure – and the non-player element of the Dinosaur reminded me why I used to like having random Terrain obstacles & effects to further randomise the mix.

And no we didn’t play all rules correctly. But the players are the ultimate arbiters of what they do – not the rulebook. I don’t think we even looked after recording some basic stat lines

  • Playing a game against an opponent who isn’t focused on optimal Math-hammer gaming is something I miss & that definitely killed my feel of later editions of W40k. Maybe I just don’t believe that gaming needs to be even or even fair. It just needs to be agreed. This game had a narrative – and that made the whole evening much more memorable.

And that’s why I’m still modelling, painting, and trying out games.

My inner man-child still likes to have fun.

LATE EDIT: I’ve just been reminded that the multi-laser rapier had follow on fire hitting on 2+.. so yeah The Renegade Guard definitely had a chaos blessing that night!:


The same weekend we constructed a scenario to see just how tough a 10 man unit of Terminator Marines would be when assaulting an infinite supply of Genestealers on a Genestealer hive…. Unbalanced? Yes? Fun? Hell yes.


Appearances, Apparitions, & Aspirations

So here I am in month three of 2016.

This also marks the third month of generally ignoring Facebook feeds. Not having it on my phone means I spend time doing other things. Wasn’t as hard as I thought to stop. I’ve now spending more time back exploring forums and websites that specifically interest me and not what interests others.

Just having come back from another successful Wigan Beer Festival, I went on to check for photos for the festival page, but there’s one poster I’m still waiting for before I complete the album. It started a train of thoughts.

I have to be honest, I have been using Twitter – but at least there (for now) I can filter by type of account. And I’ve so far avoided any annoying decisions of what I see. I’m not anti-social media. I just don’t think a lot of it is very social, or rewarding.

It’s just began to feel like a lot of like-minded people interacting only with the people they already agree with. So much so that to step outside any particular groups accepted norms leads to bombastic rebuttals – a new version of the forum problems of flame wars & trolling I remember from years ago.

I really don’t even believe half of the consequences of social media feed contents is intentional from the point of view of the end users. I won’t even touch the “if you don’t re-post this” or “sign this to change …” What I actually do when I actually interact with people one on one makes more difference to me. It’s also far more rewarding.

But most of the social media spam – even on Twitter – seems to be bandwagon jumping, maybe springing from that individual need to find a collective, or even be the leader of a collective.

I’ve also come to realise that the majority of the social media posts I see are either clickbait, approval seeking, or shame posting. Like any new technology there is an initial phase, a boom, a settle, and then eventually a change to something else.

Mostly however, for me, I think it boils down to differing end user expectations.

As many friends know I do a lot of beer research, and like our fingerprints, all out taste buds are different. But I have been using an app called Untappd to help me try and track it all. Even then I try really hard not to use it when out with other people – as that just distracts from to real social activity. Luckily my other half is a smoker, so I often get some solo time to top up.

It now has a scoring system with many fractions between 0 and 5. But I’ve done retained my own stepping system.

0 Can’t score. (Usually some style or mix I don’t get – i.e. peanuts!)

0.5 Off!? Infected/Vinegar?? Service or dispense issues?

1 Malt Water, What’s the point of this sugar water?

1.5 Flat, Over Oxidised, Warm. Service or dispense issues?

2 Meh. Just doesn’t satisfy me in any way, lacking.

2.5 Drinks as sold. It does everything I’d expect. Well made & good condition.

3 Nice. Try it? Definitely finishing this one, may have another.

3.5 Try it! Talking about this to other people.

4 Having another. Encouraging people to try it.

4.5 Try mine. Giving tastes from my glass or buying you one.

5 Hands off! I want it ALLLLL!!!!

I’m lucky (or sad) enough to have seen numerous beer judging and scoring systems. I’m not scoring on beer style. I’m scoring on my reaction at the time, on the day, to that beer in that glass. As I’m doing this I often see other people giving wildly different scores to me. I also don’t even log online anything below a 2. And I’m OK with that.

What surprises me is the amount of fanboy-ism over certain beers or brewers. Do some people score based on what other people scored? To share or tweet what everyone else is also sharing? Is it a need to be part of the ‘cool’ crowd? I see this behaviour less on Twitter than it was all over Facebook, but it’s still there. I accept that people share. I encourage discussion and so sharing is part of this.

I’ve even had some very amusing responses online, and some concerned ones from brewers which was not my intention. And a one particularly aggressive one. So I’ll have to try and be more understanding that people online won’t have the same motives as me, and they can do what they want just like I can.

Sadly, and this is ironic considering what I am doing here, the internet has often become a space to rant, to object, to ridicule, and to be very abusive & threatening. Would you stand for someone in your vicinity shouting and screaming at someone who is pleasantly minding their own business in real life?

To go back to my beer scoring example, I am not trying to assert that these beers are the best. Just that they are my best. Or are interesting, or I can see why they are made, but they aren’t for me.

I’m only one man. But I have opinions, and I think people should be allowed opinions. But when it comes to matters of personal tastes – not ethics or facts – then why do people get so animated online, and yet face to face are so different? Before they post a rant or abusive response online have they considered whether they would do that face to face?

May I turn this on its head?

So I and my better half run a bar, and often we get many positive comments online, and face to face. Which is really nice, and makes it all worthwhile. Last night we even won a quite a few awards. Which is honestly super nice that people care enough to do that. And one of the award speeches actually made me blush.


Mostly because we do what we do in the pub because we care, and we and trying to do the best of what we know to do. And we try to develop ourselves and the pub as best we can. We try to take care of the individual reactions with individuals. For me this is the only influence I have over the reality I live in. And we don’t always get it right. But it’s nice to see our passions appreciated. It also takes a lot more effort to be constructive and supportive of things we like in the real world, than it is just to be negative or off-hand.

So why do some people then do nothing face to face, but only go online and post an opinion piece about how they totally disapprove, but never speak to us face to face? I’m not against feedback. But there’s a massive difference between “not one for me”, and “it’s awful”.

And that’s the rub with online posting.

The shorter it is the harder it is to gauge overall intention, meaning, and context of what you see.

On a related diversion, I have spent a week at a volunteer run beer festival, and here’s a real world example of what I mean about the problems of online posting.

There’s lots of reference to ‘staff’ as in ‘paid worker’ and that radically influences how people treat others and themselves. Change that word to ‘volunteer’ as in ‘giving time & effort freely and willing’ and a whole other world of behavioural options opens up.

While I appreciate the need to share opinions and interesting articles online, why not go out into the real world and act on those principle? Join a movement, write a letter, make a monetary donation, challenged someone’s opinion with some respect and not ridicule, or just shop elsewhere.

I don’t I think I can control how I am seen, but I’m trying not to fight ghosts & goblins of my own making. And instead of trying to change the world I’m trying to focus on changing and developing me. And I will always respect someone’s desire to do things differently to me. Because why would anyone do anything they didn’t think they was the best they could do?

I just don’t think social media site feeds are going to be taking up much of my time any more. It’s now more like skimming a newspaper to get some context about what is going on in the world. It just isn’t my world. It’s just a tool. It’s not a lifestyle.

To Do:

Complete Post Festival Notes and Planning
Finish last kitchen window tiles
Order furniture

To Plan:

Garage Wall Rebuild
Garden Landscaping
External Wiring


Sheffield Beer X
Trip to Southport
Trip to Manchester

Rollercoaster. Retribution. Revelation

Wow. Almost 24 hours after my last chance to sit down, think, write & reflect something happened which has changed my life. Here I am two months later. I used to feel bad about losing track of time. But my time has been full. I am full-filled. Today I set 5 goals. Took 17hrs. But none of it felt like a chore.

My other half and I bought a house. Not just any house. A semi-detached. With a garage. Two triangular back and side gardens. A front garden. And a boiler with radiators. And an attic full of junk.

Nothing else. No kitchen. No bathroom. No updates as far as we can tell from probably the 70s.

Ironically I’ve always joked with the girlfriend that I’d never buy her cut flowers as a symbol of love. Nor would I lavish her with material positions. (Despite writing that, a year ago I got an unexpected £1000 bonus which I let both of us spend on impulse – does it count if it is money I’d earned years before and didn’t need at the time?) I said I’d only ever build her something, like a garden or a home.

She must have been paying attention. Because right now that is exactly what I have to do. She’s working full-time. She loves what she does to earn money. I’m working part-time. And I can do it, because my employers put people before process, and as long as they make a profit – it’s all good.  Even so, I refuse to go full-time.

I can’t justify delaying the life I have now, for some future life which may never exist. I’m luckily – I dodged the marital and parental early flush in my twenties. And I’ve had a chance to grow into being someone I had no idea I’d be. And I mostly like me.

I’ve also committed to doing more with beer, beer festivals. And continuing to give my time and energy and see what comes back to me. So much so I achieved a proof of concept at the end of January, used my experience to make bits of a bar work as a bar. No manual. No plan. Just one piece at a time.

Confidence rising.

But not that wild care free open-ended play-space of my youth.

This is different.

Working on a house, being taught what is possible, pushing myself outside of my comfort zone has given me a respect for those who work for themselves. The honesty of giving your word, and following it through. Of having a project with a start and an end.

Of trying to be something because it appeals to me, and not because it’s what I’m told I’m suited for. The home doesn’t matter. It’s who I share it with that counts.

In my life, it’s not about what someone needs from me, or what I need from them. But what I can give, and what they share.

I’m often tired this last month and a half. I often ache. I’m hungry a lot. I’ve also gone down a pant size, have I skipped the odd meal to get something done? Did I get down over Christmas and New Year because I felt I’d failed myself.. maybe.

Sometimes you need to find the right tool for the job. Brute force and raw energy will only get you so far.  The rest of the way I’ve gotten by working with people. People who know me, some who love me, and some who just needs someone with my very particular skill set. And some who maybe, just maybe, are doing the same as me. Getting on with living.

Do I have an end in mind? No. I have thoughts. Suggestions. Almost like blowing on a dandelion head. I’ll never know how many seeds float off, nor will I necessarily find out how many germinate. As long as a few do. It’s all worth it.

But they may. Is there a secret?

I just keep waking up in the morning. And there’s something to do.

I do still make lists, I do still try to finish them. It isn’t the process of the list which is important though.

It’s just a matter of helping me focus on what I really need to do.

Live in the now. What did I just do? What am I doing now? What will I do next?

Speculation. Networking. Life


I knew I hadn’t been on here for a while. I knew I’ve been to some dark places. This year I have failed. I have failed at so many things I set out to do. And in that way I’ve learned some very good lessons.  Things I would never have learned if I’d been successful.

There’s been a little modelling – crafting some post apocalyptic war-bands. Not for a game. But because I can. Thankfully I haven’t added much to the hordes of minions I have.

I trying to get away from working in bars, and with beers, I’ve ended up doing more with beer, breweries, and beer festivals than I’ve ever done before.

My life isn’t perfect. Just like me. But I’m still learning.

I’m not too clever, it’s a phrase I’ve been called. I do love a debate. I do see the contrary points to so much.

I just love questions, and exploring, I will never stop looking for connections, levels, and patterns. I’m nearly 38 revolutions round the sun. And modern life is goodish enough that I still don’t want to get off.

I’m my own greatest experiment, but I’m no work of art.

I’m now in the situation were I have  some paid part-time work. And I hope this will give me the space to develop something I’ve never tried before. I’m now working for faces, not psychopathic corporate or bureaucratic organisations. I hope I never will have to again.

The next steps involve a little fear. A little hope. And the support of the people I love. Yes, I know I love all the people. But in practice I rely on a few. I’m already way outside my comfort zone. But being comfortable has never suited me. At least for now the discomfort is of my own creation, and not pushed on me because of a compromise I have made.

I have currently 5 different new routes to explore. Two require me to have some collateral. I have none. 3 I know I can do for no costs, and while the won’t make much money. They will make much happy.

And I need to write, to talk, to express. The more I dialogue, without preaching. The more I am giving, the happier I feel. If I’d had no principles, no morals, or no soul – I could have been rich financially. Thank you friends. Some of you have had some very deep discussions. And I have got some very honest reactions.

This year has reminded me I have in me, and around me, something priceless.

Thanks universe for being there for me. Sorry I wasn’t listening.


In no particular order here’s some people who’ve been involved in the tipping point that created this post.

I always loved reading, I always wanted to be a writer.

I’ve always loved people.

I’ve fallen deeply in love with beer research.

And one woman.

It’s up to me to decide where I go next.




I also need to find a new home… but hey that’s not so bad.

Laughter.Luck.Love (Copyright – MusingsofMing2014)


















Steps to wisdom..

…I wish I had them planned out. I’ve often considered that having no plan is in fact a plan. Thursday night I busted out the Orks down at the club for a little game. Thankfully this time there was no Space Marine tanks that I couldn’t bust open. It was great fun watching the Eldar bounce around and pop off all their crazy moves. And then realise that being massively outnumbered means that they still had to run away. They were left with 3 men standing before my men failed a morale check and finally ran off. Still a 1 on 1 combat with an Exarch vs a Nob with Power Klaw will not be forgotten. 3 hits. And no wounds. In the words of an ancient wise man. Also came up with a new painting idea which is simple, but produces a nice effect.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius

I’ve had a week break from school. I’ve had some ideas, and tomorrow I’ll be starting m next batch of lesson plans. A bit like war-gaming, teaching seems to be about picking the right fight, and knowing when to take a defeat or a failure with good humour. We’ll see what happens when I get back. As I’m fully in charge of the lessons. I’m concerned how I’ll cope. But if I don’t try I will never know!. I just can’t believe how much paper-work I generate. Apparently it gets easier after the first 4 years.

Finally on a personal note I’ve had some great beer research this weekend. Including a dangerous Sly Fox ‘Incubus‘, and trip to Liverpool for some craft delights, and a trip to two breweries in one day. Which is also a personal first! I’ve also now reached a point where I had someone come up and talk to me about beery things I’ve done, knew my name and people I know. I felt bad until he admitted he knew of me, but I’d never met him. A Leg-End in my own small town? Also sad for the first time in years I had to have a ‘tactical chunder’ before I could focus. That will remind me not to pay £8 for a beer bottle of Stone ‘Arrogant Bastard’  and then try and down it because I didn’t realise everyone was leaving the bar.