Games that have formed my interests and character through the years

A few months back, I saw a couple of posts on friends blogs that got me thinking. They posted the top ten games that had formed the base of their hobbies and had taken them to where they are today. It’s an interesting exercise and took me down memory lane, the more I thought about it. I decided to do something similar but with a slight change.
Below are the top 5 games from my childhood (those that were responsible for pulling me into the hobbies I have today), followed by the top 5 games I still enjoy today (those that inevitably break out whenever I get together with friends and family).

Top 5 Games from my Childhood:
#1: MERP – Middle Earth Role Playing. A friend of the family who went to boarding school introduced me and a couple of others to this when we were about 10 years old and we would play on School Holidays when he was home. My brother and I, then introduced a number of other friends and before we knew it, we were playing in all our spare time all the way through our teens. In a nutshell, I guess you would describe it as Dungeons and Dragons in Tolkiens Middle Earth though from what little DnD I have played in my life, this felt much more “believable” and “realistic” if I can use those terms.

#2: Space Crusade – This was early 40K. It was a board game that was put out by Milton Bradley and I literally spent years playing this with my brother, father and friends. I bought the expansions for it and it started me buying the very first White Dwarf’s and then dabbling in other Games Workshop games for the next 20 years. When I couldn’t find people to play with, I would design campaigns and run missions through battle ships and space stations against multitudes of Orks, Chaos Marines and Androids (Necrons).


#3 Necromunda – After getting hooked on Space Crusade, a games store opened in our town briefly (quite surprising for such a small town in New Zealand) and even though it didn’t survive long it gave my Brother and I time to pick up Necromunda, some gangs and hired personalities. This was a 40K skirmish game for about 6 to 12 models per side with campaign rules and light RPG element. I really enjoyed this game and it was my first attempt at painting models (my Mum and Dad visited us here in the States last Christmas and after finding a couple of gangs in their garage brought them over as a “surprise” – I’m guessing more to continue to empty junk that they don’t want). I may post a pic of them on here later.


#4 Hero Quest – Another early Games Workshop game that came out by Milton Bradley. This was a dungeon crawl game based in the Warhammer Fantasy world and was a lot of fun. My Brother and I bought all the expansions and designed a lot of our own campaigns for it.


#5 Risk – The first game to start my obsession with moving armies of men around boards and strategy games in general. I played many versions of this game through the years and in some crazy places (huddled in a hut at the South Pole and under a canvas in the jungle while on Military deployment are just two that come to mind). A great game for kids to learn the beginnings of strategy and curse the luck of fickle dice Gods!

Top 5 Games that I still enjoy today:


# 1 Battle Cry – A Civil War game of strategy for 2 players. It involves cards, dice and miniatures in a way that no mission plays the same way twice. I also own and play Memoir 44 (WW II version which uses the same format), however I find Battle Cry to be quicker to set up, less complicated and more fun – in fact, it’s a slow night at work tonight and I just taught and played two games with a work colleague a little earlier ; ) .


#2 Bang – A card game for between 4 and 12 people (rules say 8 but I have expanded it to include up to 12 at times). This is the most fun you can have at a party with a few beers and some good friends and often breaks out in our house when people are over. This is a back stabbing mystery game with light RPG elements that even my friends who laugh and look down on my geekdom love. Characters identities are hidden from each other and you are entered into a shoot out while you try to figure out who everyone is.


Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game – I got into this two or three years ago and met a group of great guys (and girls) in Denver who played every week. I painted a couple of armies (Corsairs and Isengard which I will post pics of later) and had a great time. Unfortunately, with the new Hobbit Rules (I find them to be unnecessarily complicated) and the recently disgusting prices for which Games Workshop has been releasing miniatures combined with similar feelings from our group – this game looks set to join the grave yard of great games that GW has put out and destroyed through poor management.


#4 Blood Bowl Team Manager – A great card game based on yet another GW old favourite. I always wanted to play the board game and although I have played all the computer games through the years (including the mid 90’s PC game), I never got the chance. This is a fun card version for 2-4 players which sees you manage a team through a season.


#5 Settlers of Catan – I have many different versions of this game (board game, dice game, card game) and all of them are fun for an evening with a few drinks and friends who aren’t into the “geekier” games I like. A game of trading and building which always gets the competitive side of people out while trying to swap a flock of sheep for a load of wheat so they can finish that village they’ve been working on!

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In Her Majesty’s Name: The Mercenary Company of Captain Charles Grey


I was sold on the idea of “In Her Majesty’s Name” by:
Aaron at Dulce et Decorum Est:
and Jonathan at the Inevitable Spark:

The idea of building your own company from scratch really appealed to me and brought back fond memories of my Brother and I playing Necromunda when we were young. I immediately ordered the book and began brainstorming ideas for my new Company. As a little background for myself, I am a New Zealander living in the States and so a little heritage introduced into my hobby sounded like a good idea.

The Mercenary Company of Captain Charles Grey was born. The leader, the aforementioned Captain Grey is based loosely on an ancestor of mine who was rumored to be a bastard born of Governor Sir George Grey and his house maid. The rest of the Company all have an historical counterpart, though the time lines may be a little blurry and some of the details have been given some “artistic license”.

The rule book made it fairly simple to create the company and had everything I needed, with a little page turning back and forward. I’ll post the stats and backgrounds for now of each personality and when I have finished the final conversions, will post pictures of the models themselves.

Captain Charles Grey – Pluck:3+ FV:+3(+5) SV:+2(+3) Spd:+0(15″/6″) Pts:56 Amr:9
Talents:Leadership +2,Trick Riding Equipment:Brigandine,Sabre(-1 pluck), Pistol(9″), Mechanical Horse (9 Amr)
Samuel “Specs” Austin – Pluck:5+ FV:+2 SV:+3(+6) Spd:+0(6″) Pts:23 Amr:8
Talents:Marksman(ignore cover) Equipment:Lined Coat,Military Rifle(24″,-1 pluck)
Solomon Black – Pluck:5+ FV:+2 SV:+3(+6) Spd:+0(6″) Pts:23 Amr:8
Talents:Marksman(ignore cover) Equipment:Lined Coat,Military Rifle(24″,-1 pluck)
Te Kooti – Pluck:4+ FV:+2 SV:+2(+4) Spd:+0(6″) Pts:14 Amr:8
Equipment:Lined Coat,Shotgun(12″,-1 Pluck at 9″)
Kimble Bent – Pluck:5+ FV:+2 SV:+2(+4) Spd:+0(6″) Pts:17 Amr:8
Talents:Medic Equipment:Lined Coat,Carbine(18″)
Titokowaru – Pluck:4+ FV:+3(+4) SV:+2(+5) Spd:+2(8″) Pts:23 Amr:7
Equipment:Patu(Club),Military Rifle(24″,-1 pluck)
Te Rauparaha – Pluck:4+ FV:+3(+4) SV:+2(+5) Spd:+2(8″) Pts:23 Amr:7
Equipment:Patu(Club),Military Rifle(24″,-1 pluck)
Tamihana – Pluck:5+ FV:+2(+4) SV:+2(+5) Spd:+2(8″) Pts:21 Amr:7
Equipment:Sabre(-1 pluck), Military Rifle(24″,-1 pluck)
200 Total points

Captain Charles Grey
Spurned bastard son of Governor Sir George Grey. Charles Grey’s gallantry and leadership in the New Zealand Armed Constabulary during the Maori Wars quickly led to his promotion as a Captain. After the cessation of hostilities and capture of all Maori leaders responsible, the NZAC quickly became a routine Police force and Charles became bored and sullen without the action and adventure he had become accustomed to. After a particularly heavy drinking bout with some of his men in the settlement of Auckland he got the notion to challenge his estranged father whom he blamed for everything that had happened to his mother, himself and the country as a whole. He turned up at the estate of his father with some of his drunken compartiots and was refused entry – in a fit of anger he struck one of the guards and a brawl quickly escalated into a gun fight when won of his men was killed by a particularly nasty blow to the head by a billy club. Overpowering the guards and finally realising that things were out of control he saw his chance to exact a measure of revenge against his uncaring father. Governor Sir George Grey’s prize possession was an incredible gift from Queen Victoria for his service to the British Empire and his efforts in finishing the war and strife which had plagued the fledgling colonies of New Zealand for so long. A creation of iron, steam, clockwork and science – a magnificent Mechanical Horse of unparralled manufacture. Charles stole the Mechanical Horse and a running gun fight ensued down through the settlement of Auckland to the Port as more guards, Constables and militia arrived. Arriving at the harbor and seeing the Corvette Calliope which was sitting in the dock, as the only means of escape for he and his men – they stormed the ship and freed the prisoners she was holding in the process. Escaping on the Calliope, Charles quickly formed an uneasy truce with the prisoners who had help him take the ship, many who were former enemies during the Wars. Realizing that he and his band of renegades could never stay at peace in New Zealand where they would be hunted down, they set sail for the Old World looking for riches and adventure, eventually hiring themselves as mercenaries to any who could pay their hefty price.

Samuel “Specs” Austin
Decorated Constable of the New Zealand Wars and loyal friend to Charles. Spec’s was with Charles during the brawl and ensuing gunfight at Governor Greys estate and willingly took part in the events which followed. Often mocked by his comrades for being as blind as a bat but able to shoot the eye out of a Tui at 500 yards.

Solomon Black
A gambler, drinker and regular at many of the less civilised public houses in Auckland, Solomon is nonetheless a decorated constable in the NZAC and a crack shot. Not initially present at the breakout of hostilities at the Governors estate due to his visit with some local ladies of ill repute, he quickly roused and joined the fray when he heard the gunshots and saw his comrades in a tight spot.

Te Kooti
Religious leader of Ringa Tu movement. Led an uprising on the east cape that lasted four savage years before he was captured by Government forces. Being held on the Calliope at the time of the incident in Auckland Harbor.

Chief of the Ngati Ruanui. Revived the rites of Cannibalism and led a succesful war against government and settlers until he lost mana with his warriors after committing adultery with the wife of another chief – they later dispersed and he was captured by government forces. He was being held on the Calliope at the time of the unfortunate incident in Auckland Harbor.

Kimble Bent
Deserter from the 57th Regiment, slave, manservant and medic to TitoKowaru. He was skulking around the Auckland Docks, looking for a way to release his master from the Calliope when he witnessed the incident and took his opportunity to join Captain Grey and free Titokowaru.

Te Rauparaha
War chief of the Ngati Toa. A conqueror and warrior without peer. After many years of successful conquest against rival tribes he was arrested by Government forces for supplying arms to Maori who were in open insurrection. He was being held on the Calliope at the time of the unfortunate incident in Auckland Harbor.

Son of Te Rauparaha, followed his father on many of his conquests but was becoming increasingly disillusioned with war and turning toward preaching the Lords word. He was given permission to visit his Father on the Calliope by Governor Grey before he was shipped to England.

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The Birth of a Blog!

After following friends blogs for some time, I have decided to try my hand at producing one of my own. On this site you will find progress and posts from hobbies and interests which may include miniatures, board games, travel and anything else I may decided to add.

I have a job that keeps me fairly busy (as I’m sure you all have) but it it is my hope to add regular posts as I can.

Thanks for stopping by!

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