Thursday, 16 November 2017

A Game of Thrones Monopoly unbox and review.

As you may know I am a huge A Game of Thrones fan, so when I saw the mother in law had picked up this for my dearly beloved one I was pretty excited.  Mainly as I knew this was a game she would actually play.

The box is nice, very subtle, very simple on the front, showing the major houses, with of course the familiar Monopoly logo.

The back gives you a great picture of the Iron Throne from the TV show,  and a contents list.

Lets take a look and see what comes in this game and is it any good?........

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Zvezda SDKFZ 251/1 Ausf B Hannomag German Halftrack unboxing and review 1/100 15mm scale

Zvezda are well known for a range of cheap kits that fit in with your Flames of War line. some of them are very good, others.. not so great, but all are excellent value so well worth taking a look at line by line.

The Sd.Kfz. 251 (Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251) half-track was an armored fighting vehicle designed and first built by the Hanomag company during World War II, and based on their earlier, unarmored Sd.Kfz. 11 vehicle. The larger of the pair (the Sd.Kfz. 250 being the lighter one, designed and built by Demag) of the fully armored wartime half-tracks of the Wehrmacht, the Sd.Kfz. 251 was designed to transport the panzergrenadiers of the German mechanized infantry corps into battle. Sd.Kfz. 251s were the most widely produced German half-tracks of the war, with at least 15,252 vehicles and variants produced by various manufacturers, and were commonly referred to simply as "Hanomags" by both German and Allied soldiers.

 Lets crack it open, and take a look and see what we get, to see if this one of the good ones........

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Star Trek Attack Wing IRW Gal Gath'thong ship build

In this ship build we look at the classic Romulan Bird of prey, and we see what we can get out of her.
I took the named ship of course..... and the Romulan commander.  He will allow me to fire first anytime I need to. Combined with the Decoy and Double back I can get where I need to be and avoid fire whilst I am doing it.

for the rest....

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Star Trek Attack Wing Fighter Squadron 6 build

The Fighter squadrons allow a great variety of builds, so today we are going to look at two different ones, an offensive, and a defence fighter build to show the amount of variety you can get with them.
 The named fighter squadron does extra damage to an already hurting ship, so the fighters are gret to go in and finish things off.  Tactical pattern Theta allows you to choose weapon malfunctions as your crit, so if you hammer a ship and get that you can make sure they can not return fire at you, then manoeuvre next turn to finish them off.  Coordinated attack allows you to get a battlestations, so you can target lock, then disable that card to get a battlestations for maximum damage potential, certainly when combined with attack wave as you can disable it to get a plus 1.  Pulling that combo off at range one can prove brutal!

Now onto the other build...

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Star Wars TIE Defender Ship build for X-Wing miniatures game

The TIE Defender is the subject of today’s Ship yard.  Looking to see what we can build out of the packet and how we can use her to best effect.   She is fast, and fairly nimble, though those hard turns will put a stress on you.  3 stats across the board mean she has good firepower, evade, hull and shields so can take some damage, though of course you want to focus on giving out the damage.

Rexler Brath  is in my opinion the go to pilot for this ship.    With his ability to flip damage cards face up if you cause at least one damage you can cripple ships, especially with 3 attack, it’s an option if you do not need your focus token, or you have already punched through the shields of your opponent.  For upgrades………..

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Warhammer Diskwars unboxing and review from Fantasy Flight games

Time to take a look at a board game version of a tabletop miniatures game, well it used to be until Games Workshop decided they would like to kill it and the 30 odd years of wonderful background and stories set in the world.  This then is the ideal way to dive back into the world without hundreds of models and many more hundreds of pounds spent on them.

“The world is littered with the detritus of a hundred thousand battles. The bones of the dead lie scattered in shallow graves.”
    –Warhammer, “The Years of Conflict”
Armies of Orcs, Chaos Daemons, High Elves, and the Empire collide. Heroes spur their regiments into battle. Soldiers die. Lesser armies are obliterated. Victorious commanders become legends.
Set amid the constant warfare of the Old World, Warhammer: Diskwars is a game of ferocious, fast-paced tabletop battles for two to four players.

 So lets take a look at what you get in the box, and how it plays.........

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Star Trek Attack Wing IRW Terix ship build

In  this ship build article we take a look at the Terix for the mirror faction.  As always no more then 50 points in the build, and only using the cards that come with it, then we look at the role it will perform in the fleet.  So the build first....
We start with the Named Terix.  Her ability to grant a scan after a green move will help lower the targets defence to try and get the maximum damage through, plus she is a solid ship, good stats all across, and can cloak as well. 

For captain we have Tomalek, he lets

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

TIE Advanced X1 Builds for Xwing miniatures Game

Just taking a quick look here at the best out of your TIE Advanced and pilots.  This has to be one of the easiest builds out there, if you are not flying Vader, and he has only 2 upgrade slots, then there is no point flying the Advanced.

He is in my opinion the best pilot in the game. with skill 9 he is on par with Han Solo, but the fact he gets two actions a turn give him the edge.  You can use this to target lock and focus in the same turn more maximum firepower potential, or barrel roll and evade, or any combination of them.  Adding Cluster missiles give him some more punch, a 3 dice attack you can make twice? yes please, and the fact you can maximise it by target locking and doing a focus action in the same turn, you can launch these from long range as you close in and finish off your prey. To finish off his build we can have either......

Thursday, 19 October 2017

TIE Interceptor unboxing for X-Wing Miniatures game

The finest mass-produced starfighter of its time, the TIE interceptor excels at dogfighting thanks to its heightened manoeuvrability, increased speed, and four wing-mounted laser cannons.  With its iconic pointed wings the TIE Interceptor is in my opinion the best looking of the Imperial TIE line ships.
Lets crack the pack open and see what this adds to your forces....

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dice masters Boosters

One of the Joys of Dice Masters is getting hold of some booster packs to see what you can get to add to your forces.  The fact that all the sets are compatible means you can grab a nice variety of them and see what you get! you opened a superman? stick him with a red dragon and Wolverine, as you can in this game.  So here's an idea of some of the cards you can pick up in boosters. with a mix of Justice League, Age of Ultron, and Dungeons and Dragons sets. you can add them into your core starter sets such as The Amazing Spiderman or DC War of Light or even Dungeons & Dragons
In each booster you get 2 cards of different rarity, a grey line above the text is common, green is uncommon, and yellow is rare.  I started with a couple of these Justice league boosters and got....

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Elder Signs Omens digital game reveiw

I love Elder signs the board game, so when I found out there was a digital one I could play on my phone I was pretty excited and I picked it up.

Something terrible has begun to awaken within our museum… a something unsatisfied with mere exhibition or human study, writhing with ancient evil and terrible purpose. An entity that must, at all costs, be prevented access to our world. From my studies, I am convinced that such dangers are not new to the human experience. The very fact that humanity survives to this day, I attribute to our forefathers' success in resisting the tormented realities beyond our own. Among the rarities I have been fortunate enough to uncover, one particular emblem seems significant. A symbol of purported resistive faculty and considerable power. They called it the Elder Sign.
Elder Sign: Omens is an application for your iOS, Mac OS X, or Android device that delivers the tense excitement of Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson’s popular dice game to a digital medium. Its detailed, intuitive interface will have you investigating in minutes, while its deep and engaging gameplay provides countless hours of otherworldly horror.
Is it any good? well.....

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Star Wars Armada Nebulon-B Frigate Ship build

In this Ship build article we are looking at the Nebulon-B Frigate.  This is the Expansion ship, so I am seeing what I can come up limited to the cards in the pack to get the best out of the ship in the role I need, and how I can best utilise her.
 I started with the Support Refit version as my base, this has the slots needed, and is cheaper then the Escort Frigate, but you loose some in squadron command level, which is fine as her role will be long range fire ship rather then fighter support ship.  I then added.....

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Star Trek Attack wing IRW Vorta Vor build

I get to look at one my favourite little ships in the form of the TOS Romulan Bird of Prey.  with one of my favourite Romulan captains to.   Same rules as always 50pts or less and only the in pack cards are used.
Its a cool ship and a great model, yes it does not hit hard like the big ships do like the Galaxy, but this is a TOS era ship, and it can still be useful with the right build... so lets see

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Star Trek Attack Wing USS Equinox unboxing

Today we look at the USS Equinox for Star Trek Attack wing.  A familiar ship to fans of Voyager, but is it any good?

The Nova-class was a type of Federation starship designed for short-term planetary research missions. It was placed in service starting in the mid-to-late 24th century.
In 2370, some Nova-class starships were constructed in the Sol system at the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards, around stardate 47007.1. USS Equinox was constructed and launched at this time.

Schematics of the Nova-class were contained in the 31st century database kept by temporal agent Daniels aboard the Enterprise. They were viewed by Captain Jonathan Archer and Lieutenant Malcolm Reed who accessed his database in 2151.

The Nova-class was designed as a science and scout vessel, intended for short-term planetary research and analysis. It is not typically suitable for combat operations. The Nova design has a maximum speed of warp 8 and approximately eighty crewmembers. One unique feature of the Nova-class is its Waverider shuttle, which is located in a special docking port on the ventral side of the primary hull, similar to that of the Aeroshuttle on the Intrepid-class. 
So whats in the pack.....

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Star Trek Attack Wing Haakona Build

The Romulan Warbird Haakona can be a scary proposition to go against, so using the normal rules of only the cards in the pack and no more then 50points I have put a build together to see how I can use her in battle.
The named Haakona is a tough bird, with 6 hull and four shields, but only a 3 attack.  There is a way around this though, as for each ship in the fleet she gets a plus one to a max of plus four, so if you had her as the lead ship with some scouts and science vessels she would be punching hard.  For captain we have....

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Y-Wing ship build for X-Wing Miniatures game

Today we look at getting a build together for the venerable Y wing, what to take, and what role she can perform in the fleet.  We will as always only be using cards that come in the pack.

 So lets take a look.....

Thursday, 7 September 2017

B-Wing unboxing for X-Wing Miniatures game

The B-wing’s heavy weapons array and resilient shielding quickly solidified it as the Alliance’s most formidable assault fighter.  The B-wing can wield a huge array of upgrades from cannons to torpedoes to make it a brutal ship in combat.
When I first saw the B-wing in the Return of the Jedi I thought it was a great looking ship, and the toy of it was amazing! with the gyroscopic cockpit always staying level it was great.  I wished I had seen more of the ship in the films, but now I can play with it on the tabletop!

Lets see what is in the pack........

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Star Trek Attack Wing IKS Gr'oth ship Build

Welcome to todays ship build! we look at the classic old D7 and see what we can come up with using the cards in the pack, and no more then 50points total.

I took the named Ship of course for some extra protection at range 1, and Koloth for his high skill and again a bit more protection.  Sabotage as his elite talent allows me to.....

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Star Trek Attack Wing Hirogen Alpha Hunter build

The Hirogen can get some very strong builds, so here I play around with them to see what I can come up with.

The ship itself is solid enough with a good dial, and good stats across he board.  Its ability allows you to do a sensor echo as free action meaning this a highly mobile ship.  For captains we take Karr.  He is a beast!, when attacking  you can reroll any one of your attack dice, he has a captain skill of 8 and if he is attacking a ship with a lower skill he gets an extra attack dice! he also has two slots for elite talents. 

For those I took stalking mode, which is amazingly good, you target a ship at range 1-3, drop the captain skill by 2, and get an extra attack dice against it! both of those effects last until the end of the game.  If Karr is stalking you it gets scary as he can roll potentially 7 dice at range one and re roll one of them.  With battlestations as an action he can shred ships

Full reverse allows a surprise manoeuvre when its needed, as it does not cost an action and combined with an upgrade later allows you to really out manoeuvre your foe.

what else is in the build?...

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Dice masters Uncanny Xmen 2 Player Starter set

Today we take a quick look at the cards and dice in the Dicemasters Uncanny Xmen 2 player starter set.  Like all the starters you get 8 characters, each with 3 different versions, and 2 dice each. 10 action cards, plus the usual sidekick and action dice.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Warlord Games Imperial Roman Auxiliaries unboxing and review

Today we get to take a look at Warlord Games Imperial Roman Auxiliaries in 28mm.  Forgive the box, it wasn't the work of Warlord, but the work of a heavy handed postie who decided that yes with enough force this WOULD fit through my letter box.  Luckily the contents where unharmed.
I love the art on the box, like all the Warlord ones I have seen its excellent, evocative and full of action.

You get 24 multipose (I shall comment on that) plastic and metal soldiers in here perfect to add to a fledgling Roman force.

Before we dive in who where the Auxilia?

The Auxilia (Latin, lit. "helps") constituted the standing non-citizen corps of the Imperial Roman army during the Principate era (30 BC–284 AD), alongside the citizen legions. By the 2nd century, the Auxilia contained the same number of infantry as the legions and in addition provided almost all of the Roman army's cavalry and more specialised troops (especially light cavalry and archers). The auxilia thus represented three-fifths of Rome's regular land forces at that time. Like their legionary counterparts, auxiliary recruits were mostly volunteers, not conscripts.

The Auxilia were mainly recruited from the peregrini, i.e. free provincial subjects of the Roman Empire who did not hold Roman citizenship and constituted the vast majority of the empire's population in the 1st and 2nd centuries (c. 90% in the early 1st century). The Auxilia also included some Roman citizens and probably barbarians (barbari, as the Romans called peoples located outside the Empire's borders). This was in contrast to the legions, which admitted Roman citizens only.

Roman auxiliary units developed from the varied contingents of non-Italian troops, especially cavalry, that the Roman Republic used in increasing numbers to support its legions after 200 BC. The Julio-Claudian period (30 BC–68 AD) saw the transformation of these motley temporary levies into a standing corps of regiments with standardised structure, equipment and conditions of service. By the end of this period, there were no significant differences between legionaries and most auxiliaries in terms of training, or thus combat capability.

Auxiliary regiments were often stationed in provinces other than the province in which they were originally raised, both for reasons of imperial security and to foster the process of Romanisation and integration of the provinces. The regimental names of many auxiliary units persisted into the 4th century, but by then the units in question were different in size, structure, and quality from their predecessors.
On the back you get a nice bit of background, an overview of the contents, and some nice painted model pictures.  I have to say Warlord really smash it with their packaging, always enjoy these boxes.

so whats in the box? lets have a look......

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Wings of Glory Spad S.VII Guynemer expansion pack unboxing

Time to take a look at an expansion for Wings of Glory, and see what you get in a pack.  This time we are looking at Guynemers SPAD S.VII for the French.

The SPAD S.VII was the first of a series of highly successful biplane fighter aircraft produced by Société Pour L'Aviation et ses Dérivés (SPAD) during the First World War. Like its successors, the S.VII was renowned as a sturdy and rugged aircraft with good climbing and diving characteristics. It was also a stable gun platform, although pilots used to the more manoeuvrable Nieuport fighters found it heavy on the controls.

New tactics based on speed were developed to take advantage of the SPAD's power, and to compensate for its lack of maneuverability. The aircraft's capacity to dive safely up to 400 km/h (249 mph) permitted the pilot to break from combat when the situation demanded it.
With early problems solved and production shared between several manufacturers, the SPAD VII was finally available in large numbers at the front in early 1917. By mid 1917, some 500 were in front-line service, having largely replaced the Nieuport. It gained a reputation for being stronger than its predecessors. Its principal shortcoming was its one machine gun armament at a time when the opposing Albatros D.III fighters were equipped with two.

The SPAD VII was........

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Star Trek Attack Wing USS Voyager Federation ship Builds

The voyager has some great potential builds, It is a fast ship that can zip around the board.
 I am taking a little bit of a change this time, I will put the standard 50 point builds as always, but here you can really power the ship up. For the mission it needs to be up to 75 points! and you can get there pretty easy as you will see. so our first build........

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Star Trek Attack Wing IRW Algeron ship build

in this ship build we head into the shipyards above Romulus to fit out the Algeron D7 for battle.  As with all the builds I will only use the cards in the pack, and no more than 50 points.
 coming in at 31 points she wont break the bank, so lets take a closer look at what she has got, and how we can use her in battle........

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Y-Wing Unboxing for X-Wing Miniatures game

Known across the galaxy as a rugged and durable starfighter, the Y-wing boasts superior armament, armor, and shielding, and can also be upgraded with an incapacitating ion cannon to disable enemy ships.
The Y wing is one of my favourite looking ships in Star Wars, and a diecast Ywing was one of my favourite toys as a child.  She is big, old and not too nimble, but is built like a tank.

Now we can get her on the Tabletop for Xwing so lets see what she adds.....

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Star Trek Attack Wing Soong Borg Type 03 unboxing

Designated by Starfleet as the Borg Type 03, this class of Borg starship was used by a rogue faction of Borg led by Lore, Datas "Brother".  This unusual design was asymmetrical and totally unlike the previously encountered Borg cube and Borg scout, causing Captain Jean-Luc Picard to speculate whether it was something they constructed or an alien vessel they captured and assimilated. Whatever its origins, the vessel was still heavily armed and massively armoured, capable of great destructive power.
Lets take a look and see what you get in this dual faction Independent/Borg ship

Thursday, 3 August 2017

VT-49 Decimator Ship build Star Wars XWing

To be granted command of a VT-49 Decimator is seen as a significant promotion for a middling officer of the Imperial Navy. A heavily armed transport, the VT-49 Decimator is one of the Empire’s most feared warships, often used to provide long-range reconnaissance or to deploy raiding parties past enemy forces.
Its a big ship, and great looking too, but how to get the best out of it on the tabletop... that's what I will be looking into here.   I have created a couple of builds, only using the cards that come in the pack with it, so you do not have to worry about tracking down those obscure upgrades.  So lets dive in and see what this beast can do.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Star Trek Attack wing Val Jean Maquis Raider build

The Val Jean may not appear to be the most punchy ship, but with the right build it can be a hard to kill little mosquito of a ship, not designed to stand and fight in the line of battle but to dart in, hit and move out ready to do it again.
So following the usual rules, only the cards in the pack and at least one build under 50 points here we go.
Having this many upgrades on the named ship is a bonus, as it allows you to disable them for evades!
Chakotay has the ability to provide extra manoeuvres, alongside tuvoks ability to move after you fire, and evasive pattern omega to provide a sensor echo this ship can really shift around.  Photon Torpedoes provide some much needed punch for the ship, and with Seska to stop a ship attacking you and Dalby to repair the ship, it makes it elusive.  Ramming attack is there as a last ditch weapon, and also a suitable  cheap card for a disable for evades.

Other build options can drop the cost and add more goodies such as....

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Star Trek Attack Wing General Changs Bird of Prey Builds

Today I take a look at some  options for running Chang.  As always I keep the build within 50pts, and faction and ship pure using only the card that came in the pack.

We take the named version of the ship as always, and Chang as our captain.  He has a good skill, a great action which combines well with the manoeuvrability of the ship as well.  Allowing you to position yourself up for the kill.  The ship does have a front and REAR arc for torpedoes meaning its hard for this ship not to have a shot on you
with the....

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Star Wars Xwing YT-2400 Freighter Outrider ship build with Dash

Trying to get the best out of your YT-2400? me too. So I took a look at some build options, then got to test them on the table top as well.  here is the build I settled on as my favourite one, only using cards that came in the pack,so you can run it as soon as you have the ship.

Its a great looking ship, so I wanted it to perform on the table.  Lets take a look and see what we get out of it.

Star Trek Attack wing Bioship Alpha build

The Bioship is a  brutal monster on the table, and keeping it under that 50point limit is hard
Here is the 50pt build, the named ship which throws auxiliary power on enemy's when you hit them hard, which with the firepower of this ship is easy enough.  It has solid hull shields firepower and good agility for its size.  For captain we have the Bioship Alpha pilot.  He allows you to look at your opponents dial at the cost fo not doing an action.  The ship has evade, target lock, scan and regenerate which allows you to get a hul point back at the cost of not attacking.  With the tech Quantum singularity you can stay in the fight, hit things hard, and when it gets a bit scary jump out to safety, regenerate and come back in again.  For a ship of its size and stats it is incredibly manoeuvrable.

Now to look at really tooling this ship up!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Marts Book Corner: Overlord - Max Hastings

For this book corner we look at Overlord, another fine publication by Max Hastings.  I am a great fan of his work as it proves readable, enjoyable, and informative.  A rare combination in a history book.

Overlord was acclaimed on its initial publication in 1984 as a ground-breaking account of the D-Day invasion and subsequent struggle for Normandy, which a servicing general in the US Army recently described as “still by far the most important modern book on the campaign”.  Hastings was....

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Marts Book Corner : Armageddon - Max Hastings

Armageddon is the epic story of the last eight months of World War II in Europe by Max Hastings–one of Britain’s most highly regarded military historians, whose accounts of past battles John Keegan has described as worthy “to stand with that of the best journalists and writers” (New York Times Book Review).

In September 1944, the Allies believed that Hitler’s army was beaten, and expected that the war would be over by Christmas. But the disastrous Allied airborne landing in Holland, American setbacks on the German border and in the Hürtgen Forest, together with the bitter Battle of the Bulge, drastically altered that timetable.

Hastings tells the story of .....

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Airfix Hawker Typhoon 1B 1/72 scale Model kit unboxing

The Hawker Typhoon (Tiffy in RAF slang), was a British single-seat fighter-bomber, produced by Hawker Aircraft. It was intended to be a medium–high altitude interceptor, as a replacement for the Hawker Hurricane but several design problems were encountered and it never completely satisfied this requirement.

The Typhoon was originally designed to mount twelve .303 inch (7.62 mm) Browning machine guns and be powered by the latest 2000 hp engines. Its service introduction in mid-1941 was plagued with problems and for several months the aircraft faced a doubtful future. When the Luftwaffe brought the formidable Focke-Wulf Fw 190 into service in 1941, the Typhoon was the only RAF fighter capable of catching it at low altitudes; as a result it secured a new role as a low-altitude interceptor.

It became established in roles such as night-time intruder and long-range fighter. From late 1942 the Typhoon was equipped with bombs and from late 1943 RP-3 ground attack rockets were added to its armoury. With those weapons and its four 20mm Hispano cannon, the Typhoon became one of the Second World War's most successful ground-attack aircraft.

I love the Typhoon, its a great looking plane.  My Grandfather flew it in WW2 as well, so it has a personal connection.  When the wife picked me up a Typhoon model kit, I knew it needed to be built and looked at.

Lets look in the box....

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Star Trek Attack Wing Tholia One unboxing and review

Tholian starships were small starships of characteristic shape, utilized by the Tholian Assembly during the 23rd century. These vessels were armed with plasma torpedo-like torpedo weaponry. But their most powerful weapon was the so-called "Tholian web". This web was "woven" by two or more Tholian vessels around an enemy ship. This web could be used as a high power immobilization field/tractor beam to pull captured starships back to Tholian territory.
In 2268, a Tholian vessel intercepted the USS Enterprise, demanding that it leave Tholian territory. At the request of First Officer Spock, Tholian Commander Loskene allowed the Enterprise additional time before they were required to withdraw to allow the Enterprise to rescue James T. Kirk from the interphased USS Defiant. The Enterprise crew was unable to rescue Kirk within the Tholians' time limit and the Tholians opened fire, damaging the Enterprise. The Enterprise returned fire, inflicting damage on the Tholian vessel.
Soon after, a second Tholian vessel appeared, and the two ships began constructing a web in an attempt to trap the Enterprise.  This gets touched on again in the mission in the pack.

So lets take a look and see what we get.........

Friday, 16 June 2017

The Passing of a Giant

Good day dear readers, the Garage Gamers' rarely needed support team here for a rather sad post. As some of you who follow the Facebook group may have seen our benevolent, Star Trek-loving Garage Gamer overlord Martin sadly passed away on the 19th of May.
Out of respect for family and friends, some of who also enjoy reading the blog, we figured it best to give it some time before we shared the sad news on here and give Martin a bit of a send off. And, in all honesty, it took us a bit of time ourselves to really come to terms with the loss of a friend and fellow geek.

Naturally our thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends in this difficult time, particular his favorite player in the world: his beloved daughter Olivia. This is a great loss for everybody and we share in their grief and loss.

As a testament to Mart's productivity, our fellow geek had built up a mighty impressive backlog of all sorts of review and hobby content, there is a year's worth of articles set to publish twice a week. To honour our old friend we are going to let these continue to publish as scheduled with our own posts scattered in the mix.

~Morgan, Mike & Willem-Jan~


[Morgan's thoughts]

This blog's About Us page states that it is for the "common man". It's a half-lie, as half of the team was a rather uncommon man. I don't know how to condense him, our friendship, what he meant to those who knew him, into one post.

Martin had a steel trap for a mind. He devoured all kinds of information on history and military history and could spit any number of minutiae back at you with the air of a distinguished university professor giving one of their most well-practiced lectures. He was not limited to book-learning and indulged in quite a bit of urban exploration to chase tangible connections to history. On more than one occasion I received pictures from him of bullet holes in bridges in Plymouth where the Luftwaffe strafed the town, or of the cannons that point into the city (a remnant of the English Civil War), among many other incidents of military history.

He was able to bring this recollection to bear in regards to wargaming and boardgaming even from things well in the early days of his "career" in this hobby of ours. All of this made for seemingly endless stories, tales of old fictional or factual or somewhere in between. Never a dull moment having a "natter" with Mart.

Mart brought a whole other level of charisma to the table. Extremely friendly, loved a good naughty joke, knowledgeable on just damn near about everything, and exceedingly British. This blog grew and grew only so on the back of Martin's efforts to cold contact companies, forums, and legends within the hobby.

Beyond his extensive gaming and history knowledge, Mart was a fantastic friend. He sent miniatures across the sea to be painted, helped me with many a letter, formal email, and tricky situations where I greatly needed his wise council... I am going to miss my friend greatly.

The community as a whole has lost an absolute paragon of what it means to be a gamer: gracious, gregarious, generous, and genuine.

[Willem-Jan's thoughts]

From time to time you hear people talking about making friends online over games or hobbies with people from all across the world. People who somehow always have the time for a quick chat, some friendly advice, an eternal willingness to welcome in new folks to a hobby and just general ability to demonstrate how open and friendly a hobby and community can be. That is exactly the kind of person Martin was in my book.

We met online around a decade ago, and he has since become one of the prime examples that come to my mind when people talk about tabletop gaming and boardgaming leading to long lasting friendships. Back in those day, over on the old Astronomican forums, we mostly dabbled with Games Workshop toys and painting wargaming-related miniatures. To this day it surprised me how a single person could be so passionate about both the Skaven and the Lizardmen. Martin was always 'that guy' though, someone that would always see something cool in every new army or game. Though I doubt he would ever have been able to find a game that grabbed him as much as good, old Mordheim, Frostgrave was really giving it a good go though.

Naturally as time passed a lot of the people from that time drifted in and out of the hobby for various reasons, but we kept in touch over the years while dabbling in all those silly, real life activities like school, work and relationships. Then in late 2013 Martin started this very blog, sharing his continuing hobby antics and even recruiting Morgan, another old friend from the Astronomican forum days, to join in on the fun.

At first the blog mostly focused on Flames of War, a game that never really let go of Martin, but over the following months Star Trek and Star Wars slowly squeezed their ways unto the blog and the content became quite diverse with tons of very useful game reviews becoming a weekly feature. It was so much fun to see the blog grow into a sharing community of all sorts of gamers, with Martin being ever cheerful when new folks, old friends and even some names from the golden days of wargaming design would come by to check out this small corner of the web.

Readers particularly enjoyed his gaming exploration with, and frequent loosing streak to, his daughter Olivia. That unique perspective on gaming turned out to be quite inspirational to a lot of people out there, the 'Sharing your gaming hobby with your family' article in particular has remained a favorite of mine. Seen many a comment pass by thanking the blog for sharing great games that are playable in a family setting and I am certain he helped to further show that 'games' are much more than just a distraction and a great way to connect with children ages 0-100+.
The same goes for the at this point pretty much obligatory 'give your Attack Wings ships a wash to bring out the details', a line that actually got a few people out there to pick up their paintbrushes to do a bit more than just wash a model! Heck he managed to take my mind of things during a rough period in 2012 by 'strong arming' me into painting up a unit of Vespids for his beloved Tau Empire army.
Some of us still more wargaming-centric players out there even managed to tempt Martin back into painting models himself, something he was really enjoying again over the last few months. Not to mention kicking our collective behinds in when it comes to actually finishing projects. Still lagging behind in numbers despite having had a few months' worth of a head start!
On a personal level, though I never got the chance of meeting him face to face, I got to know Martin as a great friend. Somebody with who anything could and would gladly be discussed. Anything from political shenanigans in our respective countries, being 'old, grumpy men' about changes in the Warhammer lore (oh the grumbling we had over Age of Sigmar), new toys and gaming concepts coming out of the massively expanded game design world, general history nerd stuff  to the highs and lows of our personal lives came by. And from all the responses on social media and other blogs over this last weeks  that was very much how Martin was with everybody. Always time for a listening ear, a laugh or a hobby recommendation.

We are all going to miss you man, thanks for all the good times!

[Mike's thoughts] 

Martin had a huge impact on my life and with his passing I’ve been left with a gigantic hole where there was once lively conversation about nerd stuff, dad things, atomic-era strategic bombers, our mutual obsession over Star Trek, and more. However, all too often when a loved one leaves us, we are too tempted to focus solely on what we’ve lost; the empty holes. Sure, that’s important to acknowledge, but we often fail to do is turn that grief into something positive and meaningful. Today I’ve finally chosen to do just that in remembering Martin Bond.

This afternoon I took on the role as healer dad, looking after my five-year-old son, Theo, who’d come down with a bad bout of asthma. I asked him what he wanted to do and through his wheezing and coughing, he said he wanted to play “Star Trek ships”. That’s his go-to playtime activity with daddy. And then it hit me. I have many fond memories about Martin, but the one thing that rises above it all was how he bonded with daughter over gaming. The two had amazing and genuine adventures together as only a father and child could have. He and Olivia gave me such an amazing example to help me to connect with my own son. Without Martin’s and Olivia’s Star Trek Attack Wing after-action reports on this blog, Theo would not have his Star Trek ships.

Martin showed that you can connect games with children. He taught me to have some patience, allow them to make their own rules and let them just have fun. Over the past year we’ve done just that. Theo has dived into Star Trek with both feet, starting with Attack Wing. Since then he’s built lego and mobilo Enterprises, roleplayed Star Trek at his daycare (and now at his school), has had me order specific Attack Wing ships, find second-hand fleets for him, and more. He even had an Original Series birthday party with a bunch of kids who had no idea what was going on. Nevertheless Theo took time to explain what the different badges meant (Command, Science, Engineering) and even helped design the party games, such as repurposing the classic easter egg hunt game for a “Seek Out Strange New Worlds” game with styrofoam planets he helped paint. For a five-year-old, Theo really loves Star Trek.

That is Martin’s gift to me and my son; the hole that is not empty. He scaffolded me so that I could connect with Theo through my love of Star Trek. Simply put, this very close connection with my son would not currently exist had I not known Martin. That’s how I remember him. Thank you Martin, and may I have the courage to share what you've taught me to help dads connect with their children.

In honor of Martin's unequaled love of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I'll close with the final words of Lt. Tasha Yar:

Death is that state in which one exists only in the memory of others. Which is why it is not an end. No goodbyes. Just good memories. Hailing frequencies closed, sir.