Posts Tagged ‘Warhammer’


I am once again at a period where the amount of work I have isn’t quite enough  to induce some sort of brain infarcation, so I’ve been topping up my load by posting more frequently, especially as I’m still trying to get the majority of my journalism onto the web. But here’s a new post I’ve been meaning to write, like oh so many others, for some amount of time.

The below are answers to some of the most common questions I’ve had this year about writing. (more…)


I’ll be at Games Day tomorrow, signing some books and hobnobbing with anyone who would like their hobs nobbled. Come and say hi. I don’t know if I’m appearing on any seminars; I was originally down for one, but I asked to be taken off it. Not because I’m scared of crowds or was having a prima donna fit or anything, it’s just that it was about the Horus Heresy. Having written precisely two and a half short pieces of fiction for that setting, and having been to none of the planning meetings, I didn’t feel I’d have much to add (which is exactly what happened the last two times I was on HH seminars). And I couldn’t sit there being a pretty face, as I ain’t that pretty.
But I’ll be there at the tables, and when I’m not I’ll be wandering about, trying very hard not spend all my money on toy soldiers like everyone else. My wife would be most displeased in a “What do you mean? Magic beans?” kind of manner if I blew my cash. Only in this case, if I tossed a handful of Space Marines into the garden, they’d not grown into a giant money tree.
Still, it’s Games Day! I’ve got to get something, haven’t I? I’m getting the nerd sweats thinking about what toys to buy…


I’ve been playing in a mini Warhammer tournament at my local gaming club these last few weeks, and it looks like I’m coming in third! Yeah, that’s right, that’s a zogging exclamation mark right there. I’m proud, proud for bronze, because I’ve been playing with nothing but Night Goblins.

The restrictions of the tournament were few — 1500 points, no special characters. When I told my old opponent Jes Bickham about this, he jokingly scoffed, “What is this, the dark ages?”

The pendulum of opinion both inside and outside GW swings to extremes over time. Sometimes “the hobby” is all about the rules, sometimes it’s all about collections of miniatures. At the moment, it’s on the collection setting. But really, these games, and the restrictions we imposed, were about our collections, not beard-gaming.

We play all kinds of games at the club, and our organiser decided on small-ish armies to make the games quick, and no special characters for no better reason than to make us choose slightly different forces to normal.

In my case, no special characters meant no Skarsnik. Nope, really. Skarsnik has become a mainstay of my army. In fact, I can often be heard to declaim that I am Skarsnik. That’s in between berating my Goblins for running away/not running away/ being the wrong shade of green. You may guess, I am tipsy. Screw tea with my war, I drink!

With no Skarsnik, my army’s leadership is a lamentable low of 7. So there has been a lot of running away, but some surprising successes. Here’s my list:

  • “Tiny” McFearsome – Night Goblin Warboss, Armour of Silvered Steel, Ogre Blade. (So-called as he’s tiny, an ancient but still awesome Marauder-range Goblin hero sculpted by Trish and/or Aly Morrison. They’re Scottish, which explains the “McFearsome” part).
  • Bouncer Zig – Night Goblin Big Boss, Great Cave Squig, Sword of Strife.
  • Tolly Grin Cheek – Night Goblin Battle Standard Bearer, Bad Moon Banner.
  • Fingzap – Night Goblin Level 2 Shaman, Dispel Magic Scroll
  • Da Red Hats – 40 Night Goblins with nets, banner, drummer, champion, three fanatics and spears and shields.
  • Spiny’s Stickers – 30 Night Goblins with shortbows, banner, gong basher, champion, two fanatics and Old Moonhat the Spiny (boss).
  • Gutfurk’s Arrer Boys – 30 Night Goblins with shortbows, banner, gong basher, champion, two fanatics and Boss Gutfurk.
  • Bouncer’s Boyz – 10 Squig Hoppers
  • Da Snappin’ Death Balls – Squig herd, 16 Cave Squigs, 12 Night Goblins.

We all played three games, with the number of victory points scored by each player totted up to give a leader board.

Round One

Tomb Kings, led by Pharoah Ashley. I lost horribly, as I fed my units one at a time through tiny gaps in scenery where they were shot down. Frankly, neither Tiny nor I wish to discuss it.

Round Two

A victory against Count James of the Empire, memorable for Bouncer’s Boys hammering across the board then rolling the entire opposing army up from left flank to right. The squigs died one by one, but hilariously ended the game, one man strong, chasing thirty handgunners down the battlefield.

Round Three

Also a victory, against Evil Lord Charlie’s Dark Elves. A great game this, really close, until victory in the last turn came about due to the panicking of my opponent’s large unit of Executioners by… Goblin shortbow fire. I laugh uproariously to say it. The darkest and best of Har Ganeth ran away like the wet elf-goths they are, right into one of the many, many fanatics whizzing around their position and… Well, they all died, and their general legged it off the board, shrieking like a schoolgirl. Some awful animosity rolls here, though. I failed four tests, and twice I got the dreaded “1″ result on the table, which killed about 15 gobboes off. If you don’t know, “1″ on the animosity chart means d6 strength 3 hits on the nearest animosity-prone unit (2d6 if the unit is a horde), and the same back as your target retaliates. Neither unit, and this is the killer, can do anything for the rest of the turn afterwards, which is awful. It’s the first game I’ve suffered this since the latest Army Book came out. And Ouch. Oucy ouch ouch. My advance was stymied for most of the game, leaving me at the mercy of those damnable machine-gun crossbows Dark Elves tote.

Still, Tiny won the day. He only died once in the tournament, and in true Gobbo fashion, only had to fight one melee. In the narrative I constructed in my head, Skarsnik will be most displeased. Concerned by Tiny’s feisty nature and occasional outbursts of tactical acumen, Skarsnik sent Tiny away on a “speshel mishun”, hoping that the better-than-averagely-competent Goblin would die in the process. Unfortunately for the King of Karak Eight Peaks, Tiny returns in glory.

When I nearly walked out of the pub without my figure case, I explained that Skarsnik told me that, should Tiny survive, I had to leave him behind. The battered Lord Charlie said “I like to think you’re actually that mentally unstable.” Oh how we laughed, like at the end of an episode of Thundercats.

Little does he know, eh Skarsnik? Eh? That’s right.

I am Skarsnik.


Here’s a guest post I wrote for The Black Library Blog, about why I enjoy writing for the Black Library (in case the title didn’t give it away). Click on the link or scroll down to read it.

I’d like to add some more regarding the writing of tie-in fiction rather than the consumption and validity of it as a literary form (for this, dear readers, is the underlying topic of my BL blog). (more…)


Yesterday I posted a calendar of the coming year. It was quite woefully wrong, a consequence of working on my own and never speaking to anyone. Chief among its errors was mention of a couple of short stories that will appear in Hammer and Bolter. They won’t, as the ezine is now defunct, a fact that was revealed at the Black Library Weekender. In its stead, new stories will be available every Monday, to buy individually. My stories, very loosely connected to Skarsnik and Baneblade, will be two of those. When, I dunno, although if I were a betting man I’d say around the time of the books’ releases.

Here’s an updated version of the calendar.

January

My first story for Interzone will be published in issue 243 (not 244).

March

I’ll be at Black Library Live in Nottingham on 3rd March, then the day after at The Scifi Weekender in Pwllheli.

April

I am going to be at Salute with BL, on 20th April in London.

Out this month is the Mark of Calth anthology, in which is my second Horus Heresy story, “The Shards of Erebus”, and this opens the collection. Cool, eh? I was wrong about the date originally as I got it from Amazon. Lesson for the future, always check the BL website first…  Mark of Calth will first be released as a BL/GW exclusive.

May

Baneblade, my first published novel for The Black Library (and the first one I wrote), is out on 7th May.

June

The Crash is out on 25th June. My second original novel for Solaris, it’s about a colony expedition that goes horribly wrong. Published this same month is The Best of Hammer and Bolter II, included therein is my story, “The Rite of Holos”, originally published in Hammer and Bolter 24, and a direct prequel to The Death of Integrity.

July

Skarsnik is out, my second BL book. This hits the shelves on 19th July.

September

My third novel for The Black Library/Games Workshop is released 3rd September. Space Marines galore, Genestealers, and a twist.

November

I’ll be at the Black Library Weekender II.

As I said yesterday, there’s a few more appearances I’ll be making for BL, but they’re yet to be finalised. Other than that, I better sort some more work out, or I’ll be on the street…


This is what I spent most of June and July doing; an SFX Special Edition (or Collector’s Edition, it depends who you ask) on anime! Printed upon its glossy pages you’ll find a figurative ton (because ink don’t weigh that much) of articles about a whole  host of new shows hot from Japan, a peek into Euro anime fandom, a profile of Toei animation, and some tip-top opinion from those who know anime well  – including the likes of Bristol-based hipster Tim Maughan, lady anime guru Helen McCarthy and long-time eastwards-looking  journo Andrew Osmond. Included also, a large number of very fine free gifts.

I don’t edit magazines very often now. To my immense surprise the majority of my income comes from writing books, but it’s extremely nice to actually leave my house and go into an office where there are grown-up people and not just children and animals, adults who are concentrating and being quiet. The chance to focus all my attention on something with no interruption for a couple of hours is so welcome, it’s enough to make me weep over Future’s Apple keyboards.

The magazine was out on 20th July. But I’ve been ill, ill, ill again, away, and have my parents in law here, so that’s why I’m writing about it only now. It’s also why I haven’t blogged for aaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggeeeeeeeeees. And why I’m well behind on my work, which has included:

  • Prepping a new novel for a new publisher’s further consideration – more on this later in the year, I hope.
  • Finishing and handing in my final draft of Skarsnik to The Black Library (whoop!).
  • Waiting to hear if a certain short story has made it past the second selection stage for a certain well-known publisher of short stories.
  • Falling horribly behind on my third book for The Black Library, which is about [REDACTED] fighting the [REDACTED], but I’ve got my gun sights trained on it now and will be blasting that task to completion ASAP. (Cripes, what an unwieldy and poor gun metaphor. I’m playing 40K tonight, maybe that will get me into a proper war head space).

There’s a bunch of other stuff going on, too. You can read as always reviews by me in SFX Magazine. In a few weeks, I’ll have an interesting announcement to make about a new job I’ve landed writing stuff for Australians. Lastly, if I said the words “Hammer”, “Bolter” and “soon”, all entirely unconnected to one another, you understand, would you be excited? You might be…