Monday, January 30, 2023

Battle Report: Homer's Heroes - Hold the Shrine


Today is a test run of my Work-in-Progress game; Homer's Heroes: Bronze Age Bad Boys. The game is a model vs model skirmish game to represent heroic retinue's fighting against each other in Homeric -inspired combat.  As such, the heroes are the main focus with a retinue of soldiers attracted by their fame.    

The hero Adonis and his faithful friend Butes and their retinue had been travelling near the Bosporus.  Along their journey, they encountered the famous Thracian hero Diomedes and his companion Euryales.  The two squabbled over a sacred spring, before Adonis drove the champion of Athena away.  

After his defeat, Diomedes was eager to repay Adonis and his patron Aphrodite back for their slights.  His troupe shadowed Adonis until his retinue settled in at a local shrine to Aphrodite.  Diomedes prayed to Athena, and decided to strike back at Adonis for his impudence.       


In Homer's Heroes both sides always have 1 Hero, 1 Second, and then 8 soldiers of varying gear.  Some can be traded in for a chariot as well.  Then, each Hero also has a Patron Greek god or goddess that offers them special bonuses.  

Adonis and his retinue have the following composition: 

  • Adonis- Hero
    • Aphrodite
    • Sneaky- The Hero can re-roll a single dice in an Opposed "Hide" test
    • Armor, Shield, Hand Weapon
  • Butes- Second
    • Two-Handed Weapon, Armor
  • 4 Soldiers
    • Spear and Shield
  • 2 Soldiers
    • Javelin, dagger, shield
  • 2 Soldiers
    • Bow, dagger

Diomedes of Thrace and his retinue looks like this: 
  • Diomedes- Hero
    • Athena
    • Glare- The hero can use a "glare" action to freeze an enemy in place with an opposed roll.  The model loses any unused activations.  
    • Spear, Shield, Armor
  • Euryales- Second
    • Spear, armor, shield
  • Chariot
    • Driver- Dagger
    • Soldier- Spear, Shield
  • 4 Soldiers
    • Spear and Shield

Today, Diomedes is looking to settle his old score with Adonis and his patron.  He tracked him to a small shrine to Aphrodite and decided to attack it.  Diomedes intends to destroy the shrine as revenge.  

The shrine will have 8 structure points that Diomedes must remove in order to destroy it before his retinue if forced back or the game ends.  

We also rolled for complications and got the following: 
  • Bad Omens
  • Delayed Troops
  • Glare
That is a lot of complications!  


Today's game will be played on a 36 x 36MU board.  1 MU will be 1 inch.  

The shrine is set up in the center of the board.  We divide the board into 4 sections and determine the following: 
  1. Dangerous terrain
  2. Level 1 hill
  3. Linear difficult terrain
  4. Difficult terrain
This scenario also allows the defender to set-up a special piece of terrain as the shrine per the scenario rules.  It has 8 structure points.    

We then rolled up deployment and got the Scattered result.  In this case, we take turns placing models on the table, as long as they are no more than 8 MU from each other. However, the Delayed Troops complications means some troops may not be available at the start of this battle.  

Adonis has 3 spearmen and an archer delayed.  Diomedes has his second, Euryales and 2 spear armed soldiers delayed. 

When all was said and done, the table looked like this: 

Turn 1: 
Adonis has the most models on the board, so he gains the initiative.  Diomedes' player has 2 passes that they can use.  

Adonis' archer fires at the soldier in the chariot, but he easily swats it away with his shield. 

The rest of Diomedes soldiers rush towards the shrine, but they are met by Butes.  However, the three enemy soldiers are too much for the Second and he is Downed with an Arm Injury!  First blood to Diomedes.  

Diomedes himself moves and attacks a Javelin armed soldier trying to sneak up on the Chariot, and the two are locked in combat.  

As the Chariots rumbles past the grove, one of Adonis' soldiers throw their last Javelin at it.  However, it just sticks harmlessly in the side of the cart.  

Adonis moves to the back of the temple and hides amongst the columns, ready to pounce out at the Chariots when it goes by next turn. 

Butes is downed! 

Turn 2: 
An archer and two soldiers appear on Adonis' board edge, while Euryales and two more soldiers appear on Diomedes board edge.  With his reinforcements, Diomedes can go first, while Adonis has 1 pass.

Diomedes goes first, and eventually slays the soldier he is facing off against.  He then rejoins is troops at the Shrine.  An arrow blasts out of the grove at these troops, but a soldier blocks it with his shield.  

Diomedes soldiers rush the Shrine, and overwhelm the lone soldier standing guard.  He is pushed back from the onslaught and heads for cover.  

The chariot sees one of Adonis' soldiers and tries to ride him down, but the man takes cover behind his shield.  However, Adonis leaps from the shrine and into the chariot, throwing the charioteer to the ground.  He takes over command of the Chariot, and spurs the horses forward!  Adonis' archer runs forward and jumps into the Chariot with his Hero. 

Chariot secured by throwing the driver out!  
Turn 3: 
Adonis' last soldier is still rushing to the sounds of battle.  However, Adonis has 1 more soldier standing and goes first.   

Diomedes troops start despoiling the Shrine, as Euryales and Diomedes join them!  They manage to take off 5 off the shrines 8.  

Adonis' troops rush to stop them, but they are intercepted by Diomedes hoplites, who slay one of the Peltasts.  Adonis' one soldier in the shrine sees the odds are against him and continues to flee out the back of the shrine.  

For his part, Adonis tries to wheel the chariot back to the front of the shrine, but it looks like he will be too far away to stop the interlopers!  With Butes, two soldiers down, and one fleeing, Adonis makes and passes a Runaway test for his retinue.  

Diomedes troops swarm into the shrine to despoil it! 

Turn 4: 
Adonis' last soldier makes it to the battle.  Adonis gets to go first.  No passes.  

A soldier tries to help Butes with First Aid, but fails!  

Diomedes finishes despoiling the temple, knocking over the sacred statue of Aphrodite, swiping the offerings from the altar, and kicking over the sacred fire for offerings.  

Adonis' soldiers try to push back Diomedes troops, but fail.  The one trying to help Butes is swarmed and falls too.  The fleeing soldier from the Shrine also runs off away from the battle.   

Euryales leads a swarm to take down one of Adonis' soldiers

With that, Adonis calls for his men to fall back, the Shrine is lost and desecrated.  

Well, that was a rough day for Adonis and his troops.  Diomedes was able to mass his soldiers together and the piece meal response by Adonis' men was not nearly enough to stop him!  Diomedes basically built a shieldwall early and just plowed his way into the temple.  However, I did get a cinematic moment by commandeering Diomedes' Chariot!

In retrospect, I should have used Adonis and Butes better together to try and break up Diomedes' tactics.  I might have been able to hold him, but at a high cost.  

As it were, no one was permanently lost from either warband and Diomedes got 2 Legends to my 1.  The scattered deployment left me at a disadvantage, and my forces were slower to get on the board.  This left my response unfocused, as I had the shrine splitting them up, and they had a lot of ground to cover to get into combat.  My missile weapons were also profoundly disappointing.  Diomedes' player just got there "the fastest and with the mostest".

Overall, very quick and easy rules to learn.  However, their is enough nuance to make them interesting with what various weapon benefits are, activation order, resolution mechanics, and the out-numbering rules.      

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Monday, January 23, 2023

Battle Report: Poseidon's Warriors- Channel Dash


Getting ready for the Ionian Revolt campaign, we decided to break out Poseidon's Warriors from Osprey to re-familiarize ourselves with the rules. It has been a few years since I had played them, but they are relatively quick and easy to get to grips with.  

A Persian fleet of cataphract Triremes was trying to move through the Hellespont in an attempt to hem in the Ionian rebels and support their operations in the region.  However, the Ionians were also on the move, attempting to recruit aid from the Greeks along the shores of the Black Sea.  A sea battle was imminent, but the question was who would make the first move! 


1 Slow Trireme unit with admiral and elite troops
4 Slow Trireme units     

1 Fast Trireme with Admiral and 
1 Fast Trireme
3 Slow Triremes

The table is 6 foot by 4 foot, with the long edges having the coasts of the channel.  The narrowest channel part of the channel is only about 30 inches wide.  

On the west side is the Persian fleet in line a stern by squadron, led by their flag.  On the opposite corner of the board is the Ionian Fleet led by their fast units.  They are also in line a stern by squadron.  

Persians on the left with red bows, Ionians on the right with blue and turquoise

The two fleets want to inflict casualties on their foes, while forcing their way through the channels to continue on their respective missions. 

This scenario can be found in the main rulebook. 

Turn 1: 
Both sides choose their aggression, but stay in formation.  The Persians win initiative and decide to activate second.  They have to maneuver to get into the channel, and keep from grounding.  

Turn 2: 
Again, both sides keep their aggression in check, and proceed on their routes.  The Ionians win, and decide to go second.  Both sides stay on course, but the Persian van is beginning to bunch up due to maneuvering around a peninsula. 

Turn 3: 
Despite the Persians bidding max aggression, the fleets stay on course along the coasts.  No one is moving to engage yet.  Persians win and go first this time. 

Turn 4: 
The Ionians are low balling their aggression in order to spread out across the board as far as they can, while the Persians are maxing their aggression.  Still not enough to trigger the engagement yet.  Persians activate first again.  

The lack of an engagement puts the vans of both fleets out of position as they move to stay near the coasts.  The lead ships are turned away from the enemy.  In addition, the Persians are starting to get bunched up, while the Ionians are starting to straggle with their mix of ship speeds. 

Turn 5: 
The Ionians again use low aggression to hold of the fight everyone knows is coming!  The lead Ionian ships seem especially far out of position.  

To speed up these maneuver turns, we have been using simultaneous movement.  Once the game gets "real" we will switch to alternate activation as intended.  

Turn 6: 
The Ionians can not hold of the inevitable any longer as both fleets are eager to get stuck in!  The Persians win initiative and elect to go first! 

The Persian 3rd squadron breaks formation and heads towards the Ionians.  In response the third Ionian also  breaks off.  The Persian admiral begins a slow turn to get into position.  The Ionian 4th breaks off and heads towards the Persians 3rd, and barrages them with javelins, arrows, and sling stones.  The last Persian ship loses its marines. First blood to the Ionians! 

The Persian 4th breaks off and fires their missiles at the Ionian 3rd.  Their fire is effective, and three Ionian ships lose their marines.  The Ionian 5th moves up to support the attack in a second wave.  Meanwhile, the Persian 2nd stay still, but turn 180 degrees to face back into the fray.  

The Ionian command squadron moves ahead, content to avoid the fight.  The last Persian squadron moves up to support as a second wave.  The final Ionian fast trireme squadron turns in place to cover the other Ionians flank. 

Turn 7: 
The Ionians win initiative, and decide to go first.

The Ionian 4th squadron surges forward, but comes up short against the Persian 3rd!  They barrage the Persians with arrows and slings, but they fail to cause significant disruption.  

The Persian Admiral rotates his squadron ready to support the flank.  Meanwhile, the Corinthian 5th turns and makes for the Persian 2nd, who are showing their flanks.  The Persian 3rd squadron sees the oncoming Ionians, both squadrons lose a ship as the Ionians manage to make 1 save! However, the Persians manage to grapple and boar the last ship, killing the Greek crew.  

The Ionian 3rd squadron moves across the Persian 4th, and peppers them with arrows and missiles.  Several rowers are killed on the Persian port oar banks, causing them to lose an oar bank on 3 ships.  This reduces their speed in half! The Persians try to split the Greek line, and return fire, killing the archers on 2 of the Ionian vessels.  

The 2nd Fast Trireme squadron goes full speed up the flank of the injured Ionian 3rd squadron.  The Persian admiral flanks the Ionian 5th squadron and let's fly with his archers.  They kill enough rowers to disable an oar bank on two ships.    

The Ionian admiral starts making a break for the Black Sea.  The Persian 5th squadron closes on the Ionian 3rd, and their missile fire kills enough rowers to immobilize two Ionian ships!  

Turn 8: 
Persians win, and decide to go first. 

The Persian 5th squadron manages to ram the Ionian 3rd, and destroy two ships at the cost of 1 of their own.  The few that fail to ram, fire their arrows, and destroy an oar bank on the only mobile ship left.  The Ionian 5th manages to head for the Persian admiral, and sink one of his escorts with a ram.  However, the loss of archers limits their ability to fire as they close.  

The Persian 4th plows into the immobilized Ionian 3rd and sink two more ships.  That leaves one ship with half speed and no marines for the Greeks.  The 2nd Fast trireme squadron skirts the edge of the battle, and fires on the Persian 5th, causing 1 ship to lose its archers.  The remains of the battered Ionian 3rd barely manages to stay on their flank, their arrow fire completely ineffective.  

The Persian 3rd Squadron manages to hit the Ionian 4th, and sink another ship, reducing it to 1 left. The Persian Admiral also skirts away from the Ionian 5th, with his ships exchanging rams, both losing 1 ship.  

After taking a severe beating, the Ionians decide that discretion is the better part of valor and flee.  

Final view of the battle before the Ionians flee

The Ionian manage to get their ambassador tot he Black Sea, but lose two squadrons of ships and several marines, archers, and rowers in the battle.  However, they still have a fleet in being.  The casualties were mostly amongst their slow cataphract triremes.    

The Persians only lost 5 ships, and took much fewer casualties.  They can also continue with their primary mission of supporting the land invasions along the Ionian coast.  Looks like a clear Persian victory.  

The rules are very easy to learn and use.  In previous games, there was a lot of ram and counter-ram.  This one seemed like tactical maneuver played a bigger part as we tried to get to the flanks, instead of settling for bow-on-bow collisions for maximum carnage. Missile weapons played a much bigger role than in past games.  

That being said, I will need to find a better way to keep track of damage from missile weapons going forward.  I had a hard time remember if a squadron had 3 ships with out marines, or 2 without archers, and 3 missing an oar bank.  Next time I will document it better for easier reference.  

Overall, fun was had and I look forward to playing more.  Set-up was quick, the game went fast, and tear down was quick too.  Easily less than two hours.  Writing this report took as long as the game itself!      

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Monday, January 16, 2023

Wargame Design: Wargames as Product


All the rage in wargaming right now is a marketing concept I call "Wargame as Product".  This is a model that I first observed with Games Workshop products, and has quickly spread across the game producing community as THE model for making money off of wargaming.  Now you can see this model being used from Battle Front, to Atomic Mass Games, Warlord Games and beyond.   

Defining the Model

To my eyes, there are two major paradigms for making money off of wargames in play at the moment.  The focus of this post will be the Wargame as Product model.  However, for completeness I will mention them both so we can compare and contrast them as we proceed.  

Wargame as Product
In this model, the wargame rules are simply one component used to drive a revenue stream for the producer.  That means, they also try to create revenue streams from additional rules content publications, models to play the game, terrain to play the game on, boards to play the game, and monetizing components of the game for sale.  Therefore, when consumer purchases the game, they are often given an incomplete product or a product that only allows for basic or entry level game play.  Additional levels of play and components for a "complete" game are additional purchases from the producer.  

Wargame is Product
In this scenario, the producer is selling the game itself.  The components and other elements may not come with the game, but they are also not purchased from the producer themselves.  In this case, the producer is simply selling you a method to play a game, and that is it.  Further components maybe licensed to other producers to "spread" the potential profits for the game across a larger group of producers; but they may also be created independently of the initial producer or not on the market at all.      

A Hybrid Model
In this scenario, the producer may try to monetize some, but not all the components of game play.  These additional components may come from another source, either licensed or independent.  

Examples of The Models in the Wild
I am sure we have all experienced these different models for selling games in the wild at the local game store, and have seen them in action up close.  Below are some examples of the different models in action: 

Wargame as Product
  • Games Workshop
  • Atomic Mass Games
  • Fantasy Flight Games
  • Corvus Belli
  • Privateer Press
  • Warcradle
Wargame is Product
  • Osprey Games
  • Avalon Hill
  • Ambush Alley
  • Various indie wargames publishers
Hybrid Models
  • Catalyst Game Labs- Miniatures are made under license by other providers
  • Warlord Games- They produce miniatures for the games, but do not control the IPs due to their Public domain nature
  • Battlefront- Similar to Warlord Games, as they do not control the scale or IP of the product
I am sure we can all think of other examples as well. 

Why does this Matter? 
This blog is about creating wargames, with one of my core goals to create base and model agnostic wargames.  The very idea of a model and scale agnostic game is anathema to the idea of "Wargame as Product".  This decision has shaped the marketing and revenue streams available to me as I move forward.    

The first step of creating a game is setting your design goals.  The decision of how you want to create a revenue stream will strongly impact your design goals going forward.  For example, if you wish to monetize game components, say dice; you will want to create a mechanic that warrants the custom dice you wish to sell.

A classic example is The Walking Dead game by Mantic.  In this game, there are various colored dice with different faces.  The mechanics are designed to utilize these dice that only come in the boxed starter set, or sold separately.  

When you go into the design, looking to maximize your revenue stream, it is not hard to find many, many areas that you can do that.  However, it is much harder to do the opposite; create a stand-alone game and then go back and find ways to monetize existing mechanics.          

A Word of Warning

If you are reading this blog, and you are interested in wargame design; there is a likelihood that you do not work for a large corporation, or a government think-tank, or a similar organization.  You are most likely a dabbler in game design as a side-hustle.  If you make anything, it will be as an Independent, self-funded wargame designer.  

Speaking from the above perspective, designing a Game as Product is very difficult for any one or even small dedicated group of individuals to do.  It CAN be done, but it requires a capital investment, time dedication, and industry knowledge that very, very few people will have.  It is very difficult for the garage Indie designer to create custom components like dice, measuring tools, and boards.  It is difficult to create a line of miniatures to go with your products.  It is very difficult to get content such as artwork, rules, and fiction produced.  

That does not mean that it can not be done, but the barrier of entry rises considerably.  In today's world. it is easier than it has ever been before!  3D printing, connections via the internet, simplified world wide logistics, means that Game as Product model is easier than ever.  However, I would council that it is not the right fit for a majority of games and game designers.  

You may look around at games like Warhammer 40K, Infinity, Malifaux, and War Machine and think that is the only path to create a "successful game".  However, that is simply not the case.  You can make a very successful game utilizing a different model.  A designer like Nordic Weasel and 5 Parsecs from Home or Joseph A. McCullough's Stargrave are better models for the Indie, part-time game designer.  For every Infinity there is an All Quiet on the Martian Front, AT-43, and Vor: The Maelstrom.  

Final Thoughts
When you set out to create your game, it is important to think about how you plan to generate your revenue stream, and build that directly into your design goals.  If you are going to be a self-published wargame designer, then you may want to lean into the Game Is Product model to establish a baseline first.  Making this decision will likely change the way your mechanics will evolve and the solutions you devise for the 4Ms and Chrome you will want to build into the game later. 

Become a Patron and get access to all the cool stuff, a peak behind the curtain of Blood and Spectacles, and early-access to playtest games!  

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Monday, January 9, 2023

Castles in the Sky - Random Photo Dump and Resources


This thread is just a picture dump for some of the fleets for Castles in the Sky.  My local game group has really expanded their fleets, which have allowed us a lot of great games.  Many of them I have not been personally part of, or was too busy to really document all that was happening.  Therefore, I decided to put up this post to dump some of these photos into!  I will try to elaborate when I can, but sometimes I even I have no idea what is really happening.  

This one is a German Fleet, but the interesting thing is that they printed it all up on MDF/chip board.  They then glues it all together to give it a 3D element.  It is pretty cool, and I was really impressed.  They got measurements from somewhere, and really went to town on the designs! Thanks to the technology, they have a huge fleet for the Germans. 

This one is a Brigade Model.  Pretty sure it was one of their older American ship sculpts and the painted intentionally tried to paint it like the Great White Fleet.  You can see a destroyer to the left in the shot, and a cruiser to the right.  

Here is a French fleet from Brigade Models in a big battle royale between the French, British, Americans, and Germans.  We were using a blue dice for altitude, pink for speed, and black for command dice.  After this battle, we decided to convert much of this book keeping to off-table cards.  

Here we see some close action between the German and American fleets, somewhere in South America?  A German Destroyer accidentally (or was it intentional) crashed into the American cruiser and got totally smashed aside for the trouble.  The heavy fire exchanged between the two sides was spectacular!    

Some British ships from Brigade Models that were painted by Lone Wolf Painting in Rexburg, Idaho.  These guys were taking part in the Book Launch party.  A nice hefty battleship, a cruiser, and an escort.  Nice little St. George's flags from Brigade as well.  At this battle, we were tracking most of the key stats on a white board that all players could see.  

Here is a British Escort and scouting flotilla, with some light cruisers, destroyers, and Battle Cruisers to lead the way!  These and the British above were painted by Misha Hansen of Lone Wolf Painting in Idaho.  You can find his Instagram at #lone_wolf_painting.  He does commission work too.  

The Republic of France takes on an Italian fleet.  The French are Brigade Models, while the Italians are older Dystopian Wars flyers.  I think they were from the FSA range, but the name is escaping me at the moment.  We were tracking our speed and altitude on off-board sheets.  


A Brigade British Battleship takes on an Austro-Hungarian battleship using Spartan's Dystopian Wars range.  I think we were using my white board to track ship details in this one.  Since this has two flying stands, we were using the "mid-point" of the ship for measurements.    

Finally, the British engage further with an Austro-Hungarian fleet somewhere in the Balkans.  The British are again from Brigade Models, while the Dual Monarchy forces are from Spartan's older Prussian line of airships for Dystopian Wars.  I think the smaller Spartan airships were called a Pfecht or something like that?  

A cool shirt my wife made for me to wear!  It is nice when our hobbies intersect beyond the table top sometimes!  

So, there is some Castles in the Sky pictures that were not necessarily linked to any particular battle reports.  However, I wanted to make sure they got shared with you.  It is always great to see some other great looking fleets out there.  

To sign off, I want to provide access to a couple last resources that maybe useful to you in your games: 

Quick Reference Sheet

Ship Templates

Record Sheets

The Tokens, Templates, and Sheets were made by Robert Kurcina from the Delta Vector Google Group.  Thanks to his help, Castles in the Sky was made possible in the first place!

These resources should help you out with your games as you go forward.  Good hunting!  Let me know if you have any questions.  

Become a Patron and get access to all the cool stuff, a peak behind the curtain of Blood and Spectacles, and early-access to playtest games!  

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Monday, January 2, 2023

Random: 2023 Will Go Down in History!


2023 is here!  I won't lie, but it was touch and go there for a while I was not sure it was going to get here.  So much insanity and chaos in 2022!  However, that is all behind us now.  2023 will go down in history as the year everything changed.... or it will go down in history as another year where crazy stuff happened.  That seems more likely.  

Like previous years I will be putting in some goals to act as guard rails so that I do not go wandering down a garden path and not get anything done!  They are more for my protection and safety.  After all, it is easy to get swept away by what is shiny and new in this hobby!  However, I want to keep my goals flexible enough that I can respond to what is happening in the Wargaming world around me too.  

Like most years, I will be breaking this down into the usual categories: 

  • Purchases- Things I plan to buy
  • Painting and Modeling- Things I plan to paint and build
  • Playing- Games that I will put on the table
  • Rules Writing- Old projects to complete, and new ones to start
  • Miscellany- All the boring stuff that doesn't fit someplace else!

So, let's not waste anymore of 2023's precious time and get to the goals! 


I feel it necessary to start this section of the Goals with a huge "Thank You!".  As I have said many times, you make this section possible!  Every time you purchase a product from the Wargame Vault, buy one of my books from Osprey, or become a patreon; you are helping keep Blood and Spectacles Publishing moving forward.  Without your purchases, I could not get the products for me to review, the artwork for post-production, the models for the painting desk, or the terrain in the featured battle reports.  Your support makes this all possible, and allows me to keep making games.  

Thank you! 

Last year, I spent a lot of time focusing on Blood and Spectacles publishing and materials.  When you look at the results from last year, you can see that I put a lot of work into finishing, promoting, painting, and purchasing to support Blood and Spectacles.  2023, I will still be putting a lot of focus on this area, but I need to expand my gaming this year.  For creative reasons, I need to expand my horizons and expose myself to a wider swath of the wargaming community.  Don't worry, I still have plans for things to finish related to Blood and Spectacles too! 

So, here is what I would like to purchase for 2023: 
  1. Stay up-to-date on the Osprey Wargaming Series
  2. Purchase 1 new set of wargame rules
  3. Purchase a new play mat, possibly for Naval or Space base battles
  4. Buy the stuff to expand on an existing Blood and Spectacles ruleset
  5. Buy the models and army I need for the 2023 project.
To expand on my existing Blood and Spectacles rules, I was thinking about another force like Samnites for Wars of the Republic, US Navy for White Star/Red Star, or an Arab army for Fury of the NorthmanThese would all be to supplement rulesets I have all ready wrote and published.   

My next Blood and Spectacles rules projects could be Late Roman/Barbarian Migrations, the New World, Land Ironclads compatible with Castles in the Sky, Space Mecha, or Bronze Age Chariot Wars.  I am really undecided on what project I want to pursue for 2023, and 2023 has started!  Which would you be most interested in seeing more of, following along as I paint, and buy once it hits the wargame vault?  

As you can see, I am much less focused than last year when it comes to purchases! 

Painting and Modeling

The last three years I have been super productive on this front.  The last few years I have managed to paint between 150 to 350 models, so that means I could probably finish two new "armies" or 60-70 models each.  I would even have room to squeeze in a couple of other minis here and there as well.  

  1. Speed paint my Hellboy board game monsters for generic villains in various games.  I am specifically thinking about some solo-play games such as Osprey's Pulp game and for use to test Darkest Knight
  2. Paint the new projects I pick up to work on. 
Well, that section was pretty short and sweet.  However, I intend to start painting more and more of my projects with Speed Paints in 2023 to see if I can increase my production time for projects.  That will be a big change for how I normally paint using a predominantly a "base and wash" technique.  You have to use a quick process when you are trying to paint 60+ model armies! 


Last year, I had a pretty productive year in gaming.  I got to play RPGs, wargames, board games, and even card games!  That was a lot of games to try out and a lot of new people to play against.  Last year I played more games than in the previous year, and I want to keep this trend going!  To help me, I have started to make a lot of connections and in-roads in the local gaming community.  When I first got to my current location there was not much of a wargaming scene.  However, I have been able to slowly build, unite, and grow it and want to continue to do so!  That means I will have to host more events and be an active community member.  With all that said, I am targeting getting in two wargames a month, so about 24 games in a year!  

  • Play 1-4 sci-fi skirmish wargames from Kill Team, to Stargrave, to Xenos Rampant, to Restless Stars.  Perhaps finally get the Operation: Hemlock campaign completed with my Skumgrod!
  • Play 1-4 games of Castles in the Sky
  • Play 1-4 games of an Ancients wargame from Men of Bronze, to Wars of the Republic, to Fury of the Northman or beyond! 
  • Play at least 1 game I have not played before
  • Play at least 1 game from my wargaming collection that is NOT a Blood and Spectacles Publishing game, I am leaning towards All Quiet on the Martian Front
This gives me a nice range of games to play, and hopefully a broad enough range of game types.  This will allow me to try out more games, play games that my local community wants to try, and keep expanding and showcasing the Blood and Spectacles Publishing line here on the blog and across the internet.

In addition, I am committing to doing the following: 
  • Host a quarterly gaming event at a local venue that is open to the public
  • Create a charity game event to support a local Non-profit
  • Continue my weekly RPG night, and run a non-D&D game there
  • Try 2 new board games
That is a lot of gaming right there! 

Twilight Imperium in progress

Rules Writing

Despite all this gaming I plan on doing, I still need to do what I do, and that is write games.  Hopefully, all this gaming will lead me to inspiration on new projects.  There are still a lot of projects in my Game Concept folder, and some of them are further along than others.  On my patreon page. you can even see some of the test rules and the like I have put together for various future projects.

Last year was a bang-up year for publications!  Bad news is, I do not think I have the same level of content creation in me for this one.  Sorry.   

In 2023, I will commit to the following: 
  • Publish 1 new wargame to my Wargame Vault page 
  • Pitch one new game for publication    
The most likely candidates for either of these bullet points is one of my existing designs that have entered the post-production phase.  However, some times new inspiration and interests spring board a game to the top spot!  Here are some contenders that you can give me feedback on below: 

1. Homer's Heroes - Iliad/Greek inspired model-vs-model skirmish
2. In Strife and Conflict- Bronze Age chariot wars
3. Darkest Knights- Solo/co-op modern monster hunting
4. Glittering Void - Space mecha theatre either in miniature or RPG formats.... or both! 
5. Gods, Gold, and Glory - New World battles
6. Barbarians at the Gates - Late Roman/Barbarian Invasion rules
7. Mobile Fortress: Verdun - Land Ironclads in the Castles in the Sky universe

Those are the most likely contenders for actual content to be created.  However, I always have other stuff lurking around in the old concept folder like Mageloque and others.  


Finally, here is some random stuff that doesn't necessarily fall into other categories, but that I do not want to lose sight of either.  

1. Post blog content on a bi-weekly basis, which is a bit slower than I do now.  That gives me a bit of downtime, as my work life maybe picking up a bit this year. 
2. Add Patreon content once a month for my Patreon backers.  Most of this will be WIP type content that is sneak peaks of things to come and a look behind the curtain. 
3. Create more "reel" content for the Blood and Spectacles Instagram account
4. Maybe 1 blog post every two months about a topic related to wargame design theory
5. Update the painting and gaming trackers for 2023.  Hopefully that is easy and may all ready be done! 

I all ready wrote a lot about how I want to expand the local gaming community, so I think I will leave it at that for now.  I would love to go to a local Con, but I just do not think I will have it in me this year.  I would also love to organize a local Con, but ditto.  If I can not attend one, how am I going to organize one?  Pretty low key goals this year in this section. 

Final Thoughts
In previous years, my goals were much better defined and focused.  This year, I am still a bit uncertain on where the year will take me.  There are a lot of transitions going on around me, and the gaming industry is also evolving.  This has left me a little less clear on what I want to accomplish this year, as I want to be realistic in my goals.  Time, money, and capability are all laying heavily on my mind as I try to sketch out goals for 2023.

2022 was a record-breaking year for Blood and Spectacles Publishing, and I frankly do not think I can match it.  Thanks again for all of your support and interest!  2023 will go down in History, but as what exactly is still unclear! 

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