30 April 2011

Let there be (more) Beer!

Today was a glorious sunny day to see out April, and probably the last as winter rapidly approaches.

To celebrate, we (me, my dad and my Lad) brewed a new batch of ale (an Australian Pub Draught), visited the home brew shop for more supplies, went to the Mornington Peninsula Brewery for a few tastings, and enjoyed a leisurely lunch (and more tastings) at the Red Hill Brewery.  Then home for more home brew appreciation and a BBQ!


29 April 2011


In the last few hours, the Man Cave has ticked over to 150 Followers!
Thanks for the support and encouragement everyone!
Wardy-la was the 150th member and has won six bottles of Man Cave Brewery beers (pickup only!)

And Good Luck to Comrade James in his first WHFB tournament in Adelaide this weekend - go Lizardmen!

26 April 2011

Conan: The Musical

This is fantastic!  Especially for a man who grew up loving this movie, and who continues to love the Soundtrack as a favourite to game and paint to.

SWMBO and the Lass are sick of hearing me walk around the house singing "And hear the lamendation of the Women!"

Another day,
Walking in circles
Haunted by memories, I push on this wheel.
I pray to Crom
Grant me revenge
And help me to answer the riddle of steel.

A shy little boy,
I couldn't protect them
Helpless and timid, as weak as a girl.
They butchered my people, the dogs ate my father
My mother beheaded, they took my whole world.

Crom, where is the wizard who killed my mother?
Still, I can recall his terrible gaze.
Crom, where are the two snakes facing each other?
Crom, if you're my god then show me the way.

I'm on the path, chopping up bodies
Hacking and slicing, and look at me now.
With loyal friends joining my party
Each step I take I'm fulfilling my vow.

Crush your enemies,
See them driven before you,
And hear the lamentation of the women!


Crom, show me the wizard who killed my mother.
True I've never prayed to you before.
Still, what would I give if you could help me see this through?
And if you do not listen, then the hell with you!

Crom, where are the two snakes facing each other?
Crom, if you're my god then show me the way.
Anyaaah, gnyaaaaahyaaaayaaaaa Yaaaaa ah aaaah ahhh

I swear this wizard will fall 'cause
This has begun
They murdered them all, I'm the last one
I issue the call, revenge for my mom,
I pray to you Crom!

Crush your enemies,
See them driven before you,
And hear the lamentation of the women.


Day Out - Conquest 2011

On Saturday, the Lad and I ventured out with my mate Ken to a small gaming convention being held in Melbourne. Conquest has traditionally been an RPG event but it was expanded a bit this year, though many of the usual traders were at the much larger Oz Historicon, being held at the same time in Adelaide.

Overall it was a small show as expected but most importantly we had a great day out. We briefly met up with Owen but he wasn't able to stay very long unfortunately. The lad enjoyed the LARP costume stuff, transforming into his alter ego as "Gizar the Ironic Viking" without any prompting at all!

(and wearing the mail was very instructive on why his characters get agility penalties for wearing lots of armour!)

We saw some lovely 40k terrain, including these rather magnificent tables, which I understand was made by Blue Forge Terrain: as usual, click for bigger pics

A few keen lads in the corner were very busy with their Blood Bowl tourney:

Best of all, we spent about 4 hours playing an awesome Secrets of the Third Reich game, which I'll post a detailed battle Report for to do it full justice - thanks to The Hat Guy and Bennie from the Nunawadding Wargames Association for hosting a very enjoyable game with wonderful scenery and lovely figs.
The SOTR demo table - a great demo game we REALLY enjoyed: Thanks Lads!
Purchase wise - I picked up a numbers of things both at Conquest and when we visited MilSims on the way home.  Loot included:
  • Copies of the two new Death Angel expansions - here here for details. Yes Comrade James, I got you some as well!
  • A DUST Tactics Luthar Walker for my SOTR force.
  • A set of Cthulu dice
  • Some resin Cthulu statuttes for some terrain
  • The obligatory replacement brushes and paints
  • 3 packs of GF9 magnetised square bases for my Vikings and Saxons
  • 4 female Commisar/She-Wolf style figs, again for SOTR.
  • CnC Village Church (which I'll thatch the roof of) and Holy Relic sets for our Dark Age gaming
Perhaps the most important thing that happened all day though was a rite of passage: The Lad purchasing his first set of gaming dice.  He settled on a full range of D4-D20 in green gem style, supplemented by a half doz other ones he liked the look of, plus a dice bag.  Good times!
The Lad visitng MilSims - always a reason to smile!

24 April 2011

Happy Easter!

The Man Cave wishes everyone a Happy Easter enjoying family time and games!

Let the chocolate flow!  I spent the day with family, brewing beer and (appropriately) making a Dark Ages church

23 April 2011


Off to this small gaming show today with Ken and the Lad, and hoping to meet Owen there too
Report to follow!

22 April 2011

An Award!

Well yo ho and blow the man down - the Man Cave has received a Stylish Blogger Award!  In fact, its the first blog award I've ever received, and many thanks go to Jagatai for the nomination! 

There are four rules attached to the award:
1. Thank and link back to the person giving you the award- - thanks again Jagatai!
2. Share seven things about yourself
3. Select 10-15 blogs who you think deserve this award
4. Contact these bloggers and let them know about the award

Seven things about me personally:
1. I have served for over 20 years in the Australian Defence Force
2. I am a scout leader
3. I am very bad at playing guitar, but I try!
4. I make my own beer :-)
5. I still have my very first gaming dice from the D&D "Red Box" - the ones you had to colour in with a wax pencil
6. I own a 1965 Austin Healey Sprite in British Racing Green
7. My favourite ever concert was George Thorogood and the Destroyers

My nominees (in no particular order) are blogs of people who inspire and support both me and our hobby:

19 April 2011

Battle of Maldon at Salute

I found these pics of Gripping Beast's great looking Viking game: the Battle of Maldon 991AD, from Salute.

Wardy-la has a few more at his blog here:

If this gets your Salute envy going, well...you aren't alone!
These pics and many, many more are available at a virtual walkthrough here (yes, 3 pages worth!):

18 April 2011

The Battle for the Bridge: Part 3

This is the conclusion of a battle report in three parts.  Find part one here and part two here.

When we left our intrepid viking heroes, the Lad's warband was battling it out at the bridge with the Saxon Lord Uhtred and his gang.  After some initial success, this engagement had bogged down and no further progress was evident after one of the Saxon champions was hacked down.  In the meantime Ken's lad's had gone off on their own to investigate the circle of standing stones in the forest grove, and the majority of Steve's raiders were pushing the looted treasure in a giant wooden rabbit while waiting for three of the lads to get back from a quick raid on a hamlet (which had seen one huscarl knocked unconscious by a drunken viking swinging a tankard of ale).  And just then a horde of Saxon reinforcements arrived at the far end of the valley - a dozen armoured thegns led by Ealdorman Aeltelm and supported by 10 or so bowmen and out for blood  - Good stuff! Time was running out for the Vikings...

The battle at bridge was not going well for the Gizar and his men - unable to get more men onto the bridge and use their superior numbers, it was becoming a battle of attrition which was taking too long.  And then the Lad unleashed a secret weapon - the Sorcerer!  Summoning the clouds and storms a Dread spell began to effect the Saxons and two of the spearmen broke and ran, leaving the Saxon line unsupported...

Seeing his chance for glory slipping away, Lord Uhtred did the only thing he could - and challenged the Viking leader to a duel on the bridge! No norseman could refuse and so the mid-stream struggle began!
"I'll put a fiver on the nasty bloke with the big sword"
In the meantime, Steve's three huscarls were running back to the main body of vikings like startled gazelles (well, startled gazelles dragging heavy crates of loot that is) and Ken 's lads were surprised by a wild Berzerker emerging from the forest.  Striding into the stone circle, the Berzerker declared that this grove was sacred to Thor and that he was Thor's Champion sent to protect it. Ken's leader accepted the challenge and went to fight, both combatants eschewing shields to swing both axe and sword.  The other vikings looked on in admiration, while also hoping it would be over with soon so they could scarper before the Saxon reinforcements arrived..

Fortunately the duel in the grove was over rapidly, and Ken's warriors started to run back to the wooden rabbit.  The same could not be said of the bridge duel though, as each hero used all their rerolls to attempt a mighty blow, but they were well balanced foes and no openings could be found.  And all the while the Saxon horde thundered closer...

And so the vikings realised that they had better stop sodding about and work together to get across the bridge before they all went to Valhalla a little bit earlier than they might have otherwise have hoped.  Ken's returning men lent a shoulder to the rabbit and it started moving a bit quicker, and the remainder of the Lad's vikings at the bridge decided that treachery was totally OK and  charged the other Saxons there.  Chaos ensued, while the Saxon reinforcements formed up with their archers on the left flank and the thegns prepared to make contact.  Steve's returning huscarls realised they were uncomfortably close and would have to face a volley or two of arrows.  Mind you, Saxon bowmen had been completely ineffective in previous battles so there wasn't too much to fear

...until one of them caught a shaft in the middle of the back and went down hard.  In an unusual show of solidarity, one of his mates dropped his crate of loot, picked him up and dragged him off.  I hope the Gods were watching and reward such charity.  In the meantime, the vikings decided to clear the bridge of the swirling melee by pushing the Rabbit through them.  Warriors from both side were forced to scatter, and one of the Saxons was obliged to ditch his weapons and try to swim for it.

As the 'treasure rabbit' rolled off the the bridge, and the Saxons advanced, the vikings began to furiously chop away at the bridge supports with axemen.  A hail of Saxon arrows fell amongst them, felling two northmen.  And the Saxon thegns began their charge...

As other vikings dragged their wounded from the doomed bridge and likely drowning (hardly a fit death for a warrior), the last axeman chopped through the final support and with a loud ripping noise, the bridge was unseated and swept away.  Furious Saxons threw insults across the river, but the northmen laughed at them knowing that nothing now stood between them and getting home with their booty!

A blast of a game which came right down to the wire, with the last axeman chopping away the final support under a hail of arrows.  I don't think its gets much closer than that!

Scenario wise, it worked very well, with the small side stories adding a great deal of fun and character.  The Saxons were much more dangerous this time around and the vikings lost far more wounded this time.  Bowmen were far more lethal in larger numbers and shooting at closer ranges than we had seen before.  Don't think we'll ignore them again as we did last time.

At the end of the day, lots of loot and experience for all, including the Saxon lord Uhtred who while ultimately unsuccessful, was undoubtedly heroic.
Hail the Victors!
The only bummer of the day was that our mate Peter missed the game, but given that he was touring the Turkish battlefields of Gallipoli and Troy the day we fought this, my sympathies don't run too deep!
Observations by the Lad: I can't believe how many criticals I rolled and how many Saxons i kicked in the river. Also my sage helped by casting the spell of dread and forced 4 Saxon spearmen to run away (another two after the bunny came through crushing a Saxon flag bearer). Cool fun

17 April 2011

The Battle for the Bridge: Part 2

The Lad calls his viking warriors to battle with his War Horn!
As the game commenced, Lord Uhtred's Saxon warband had taken up a blocking position on the bridge, and the vikings were in the centre of the table with their giant wooden rabbit. (If you missed the scenario setup and table layout, look here)  Click pics for bigger versions.
Saxons on the Bridge: Lord Uhtred carries the Dragon Banner!
 The first few turns saw the Lord Uthred's Saxons win initiative most of the time, only to stoutly remain in their shieldwall and taunt the vikings without mercy (and an uncounted number of Monty Python quotes involving mothers, hamsters and elderberries).  In reply the vikings dragged their rabbit toward the bridge, though a small foraging party of 3 huscarls from Steve's warband was dispatched to the hamlet to see what loot there was...
'Tell me how this plan works again Thurford...'
...and thus began an amusing side-story for this battle.  The 3 huscarls lept the stone fence and stormed through the crop field toward the hamlet.  Eager to demonstrate the power of his faith (Well, that plus he was the only sober male present), Harold the Missionary trusted in his +3 Cross of Holy Faith and stepped forth to challenge the vikings... 
"Thou Shall not Pass!"

Predictably, the the huscarls were not impressed and duly attacked him.  Unfortunately (and again predictably), Harold's +3 Cross of Holy Faith did not stand up well to 3 sharp broad axes wielded by pagans and down he went.  One of the Huscarls then went to dash past the carousing men to search the A-framed house.  As he ran past though, one of the chaps took a swipe at him with a full tankard of ale.  Quite amusingly, the drunk rolled a critical hit and being without helm the viking interloper was duly knocked out!  And that's how the hamlet's inhabitants welcomed their gate crashers!
'Did you see how awesome I was darlin'?' - KOing a viking huscarl was a momentary distraction for this chap, who had more important things on his mind. Meanwhile, Harold the Missionary isn't doing so well...
Meanwhile, the rabbit was moved closer to the bridge, a small party went off to explore the stone circle and the strange noises coming from it and the Lad dispatched his warband to the bridge to clear it of Saxons and make way for the rabbit.  The dust to the West was thickening and time was running short before the large Saxon reinforcements arrived (at this point I had lined them up to show how menacing they would be and add a measure of 'time is running out' - this worked well actually).

The Lad's warband, supported by his newly acquired Sorceror, advance upon the bridge.
After forming into a line, the lad's viking charged the Saxon shieldwall.  The Saxon spearmen behind lent good support, but the impetus of a charge was hard to resist.  The Lad's leader, Gizar the Ironic, cut down a Saxon champion and kicked him into the river to drown under the weight of his armour (rough play!).  Meanwhile, Lord Uhtred was in a standoff with the banner bearing viking champion and the shieldwall became somewhat ragged.
Ferocious battle on the bridge!
The next turn found the Saxon shieldwall reformed, while the vikings had lost the benefit of the charge and things began to turn against them, stalemating their attempts to clear the bridge.  The ferocious melee continued this way for a few turns without decisive result, but the Saxons were being pushed slowly backwards...

In the meantime, Ken's small warband arrived at the mysterious Stone Circle.
What was making that howling noise?

...and back in the hamlet, the huscarls (keeping a wary distance from the other dangerous drunks!) were busy looting the A-framed house of goodies.  The KOed guy made the necessary roll to recover, summarily dispatching his attacker and stealing his nice shiny armour.

The 3 huscarls gathered up their booty and ran for it, just as the horde of Saxon reinforcements (10 bowmen and a dozen thegns led by personally by Ealdorman Althelm) stormed into the valley intent on revenge!
Lord Aelthelm leads a force of angry Saxons onto the field
At this point with the battle at the bridge in full swing, some lads investigating the stone circle, some huscarls running for their lives from the hamlet and a mass of rampaging Saxons charging down the valley, I unleashed my secret weapon: my new drinking horn brimming with home-brewed Ale!

Will the Lad's vikings clear the bridge or will the Saxon Lord Uhtred triumph?
Will the Saxon reinforcements catch the vikings and slaughter them?
Will Steve's greedy huscarls make it back in time with their ill-gotten loot?
What IS making that noise at the stone circle?

All this and more coming soon in Part 3!