Saturday 13 May 2023

Return to the Ion Age!

 Back in the early 1990's I came across the Alternative Armies Firefight game and figure ranges in Modelcraft, the local independent games shop in Sheringham, where we used to holiday every summer.  I bought a few of the figures and the game.  I thought the figures would be great stand-ins for Imperial Guard, and the game had some interesting concepts and was much faster playing that WH40K (in its first edition back then).

The game has great artwork by Pete Knifton, who was also a regular illustrator for GW in White Dwarf and various rules sets..

AA did produce 6mm and 15mm forces back in the 1990's, but only a very limited range.  The game promised additional rules to come including vehicles and more.  I was disappointed that nothing seemed to come of these.

Crusaders (Retained Knights)

Mixed figures.

Levy (Muster)

15mm Crusaders (Retained Knights)

Fast forward about 20 years and Alternative Armies relaunched the Ion Age in 15mm and have kept up a constant run of new releases and additional games systems ever since.  The range is huge now and I'll be revisiting it over the next few weeks.

Sunday 7 May 2023

Diceni 2023

Last Sunday (30th April) was the Diceni Games Show in Norwich, organised by the local Aftermath Gaming Club.  This was held, as always, in the Forum - home to BBC Norfolk and the Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library.

The Forum

  There weren't many cosplayers this year, though we did stop for a chat with a friendly elf who was having a rest on the steps outside.  She said that she is a LARPer (Live Action Role Playing) who gets out and about a couple of times a month with her group on Mousehold Heath to the North of the city.

A friendly elf.

I was somewhat hampered by having two small children in tow, so I didn't get as good a range of photographs as last year, so apologies for the rather random mixture which follows.  There was far more there than I managed to photograph and I really haven't done justice to some of the fabulous games and models on display.

The exhibition space.

There was some smaller scale stuff, thsi might have been Rok?  They had some 10mm Space Hulk type game with Terminators and Tyranids, 10mm fantasy plus the newer version of Adeptus Titanicus with Titans, spacecraft and loads of fantastic scenery.

10mm games.

Adeptus Titanicus


Adeptus Titanicus

There was a great 10mm Kings of War game going too.

Kings of War

Kings of War

Sticking with Fantasy, Diceni were running a Lord of the Rings game.

Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings

Lord of the Rings

Block Party was a demo of a new game.  Choose a card, use the blocks to try and build the item named and see if the others can recognise it.  Another card will give some parameters, such as using only blocks of a certain colour within the shown time limit.

Block Party

 There was a Wild West game with a great looking board.

Wild West.

One of the most impressive looking games was the Dereham Renegades - I think the aim was try to prevent the cultists opening a demonic portal.  Most of the detail was 3D printed and wonderfully painted.  I was invited to join the participatiom game but childcare prevented me taking up the opportunity this year.

The mansion.



Banquet hall.

Saloon bar.

Bedroom (love the 4 poster bed!).


Scribes room?

A room for experiments...?


Dereham Renegades.

 Kett's rebellion took place in the 16th century.  Robert Kett's attack on Norwich was recreated by the New Buckenham Historical Wargamers (next village from the Old Buckenham Bone Crushers where I sometimes go), supported by The Assault Group.

A lovely collection of buildings.

Another aerial view of the city.

Detail of the interior.

Who will save the flock of sheep?

The city walls and gatehouse.

 One of the main attractions for me was Kore and their collection of 15mm goodies (plus plenty of 28mm and 6mm too).  On the stand were some complete version of the Stork VTOL from their recent Kickstarter.  When my 3D printer is back up and running I need to finish the 1/3 completed one I'm building.  Kore also had a display game set up for their upcoming Kaiju game.  I spotted some interesting items in the reduced price miscasts box but sadly by the time I got back to them everything had been sold or was being packed away.

Kore's display stand.

15mm Stork heavy lift VTOLs

Demo game.

Kaiju, Mecha & armoured vehicles.



More shanties.

There was a game of One Page Rules grimdark sci-fi.  I haven't had a chance to try OPR yet, though I do have a couple of different versions of their rules dowloaded.

OPR GrimDark Future

Great mix of scenery.

Pandyman sell a range of modern police and emergency services figures.  I didn't get a chance to get a photograph of them but I did get one of their trench war demo table.

Trench War

I also spotted the Tank War game, WWII North Africa with Crusaders and a Grant versus some Panzers, I didn't see close enough to work out whether it was 15mm or 1/72 scale.  I got a photograph of the scenery but was thwarted in my attempt to go back and get detail shots of the tanks.

Tank War

There were a range of other traders including one of the main supporters, The Assault Group, who do a lot of very good 28mm figures.  I have some of their SWAT troops and modern British Paratroopers which are great.

 I bought a few items from a couple of stands.  Sheppey Models had a huge stall and I picked up 5 pots of the new Vallejo Xpress paints to try.  These have been packed away for the kids to give me for my birthday, so I'll have to wait for those.

Vallejo Xpress paints to try.

I also stopped by Cymbeline Games who do lots of useful game aids.  I've bought from them online in the past and I'd strongly recommend them for any sort of dice, counters or bases.  I bought some of all of these on Sunday and they did a very good deal for me and threw in a couple of free bags of giant D10 for the children too (D10, D100, D1000, D100,000 - theyd run out of D10,000s!).  I got some gold silver and bronze counters (handy for game currency), some teeny tiny D6, the kids chose a pack of blue counters and purple counters, also some 50mm round bases ready for printing some more 15mm Mecha.

A lot of stuff for £10.

Huuuuuuuuge dice!

 My final purchase of the day was a grab bag of miscasts from Krakon Games.  They produce some great figures based on many of the old GW designs, in particular their Fomorian range based on GW's Fimir.  GW dropped the Fimir when they changed from 3rd to 4th edition Warhammer, presumably because:

  1. they were really underpowered for a 40mm monster based creature.  I've heard they should have been a 25mm base which would have put them on a par with Beastmen and Chaos warriors, a better fit for their stats.  With a 40mm base, too many enemy could gang up on them.
  2. their backstory was rather dubious - they reproduced by capturing human women and... well, let's just say that what they did to them didn't fit with GW's move towards getting kids more involved in the game.

The Fimir did make an appearance in Heroquest and this is where mine will probably make an appearance.  The bag contained loads of bits for them and I'll have fun converting all these miscasts!


The whole bagfull for £5.

Giant's head will come in useful I'm sure.

 Lastly I'll mention Sirplus Wargaming Emporium who had a second hand stall and were handing out goody bags. Both the kids received a bag and they were really packed - each had a sprue of 3 Space Marines, a box of Mini cards (?!), some sweets, a baseball cap, a teddy, some Pokemon cards, a Simpsons keyring, a Lego minifigure and a few othet bits and bobs.  I'll be sure to try and pop into the shop next time I'm in that part of Norwich.

Goody bag.