Thank you to all veterans and current service members of the United States of America’s Armed Forces!

May 28, 2012

I play wargames for fun and to use my brain in moving around little plastic and tin soldiers. There are no “lead widows”, the soldiers may fail morale rolls and fall back but there are no real casualties, no lead and plastic psychological traumas and at the end of the game there’s just jokes and story swapping.

Not at all like real life.

I have friends and relatives who are active duty members in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps of the United States of America. The least of them is worth more than my pasty white, soft-bellied carcass on my best day. They could run my butt into the ground in just the first hour of their average day. Those that have “seen the elephant” have endured more grief, horror and fear than I will ever know in my life, all because they chose, they VOLUNTEERED, to be part of something bigger than themselves.

I cannot be grateful enough for that. It is not possible for me to pay back the debt I owe all of them. All I can do is respect their sacrifices and pray for their safety and the well-being of them and their families.

And I do that, not as often as I should but perhaps more often than some.

Members of my family, on both my mother’s and my father’s sides have served in the Armed Forces to at least back to the United States Civil War (or the “War of Northern Agression” if you were to ask some of those ancestors – I was born in New Orleans, Lousiana and my mother’s family comes from south Mississippi).  Not every one in every generation has served but, I believe, some from every generation.  I and my country are here today in part due to their actions.

Thank you all of you who serve, who have served or who will serve to sacrifice valuable time of their lives to stand between my country and its enemies.   Please do not ever think that because I have a hobby of playing with toy soldiers that I ignore or scoff at the service of our REAL soldiers.

God Bless you all!

Mark G. – Walworth County Wargamer and generally worthless civilian


Yes, it has been a while…

December 17, 2011

I am still here, folks. I will have some painting pictures to post soon for one of the forces in the upcoming “Tomorrow’s War” campaign pack I am developing.

Stay tuned!

A little preview for this Sunday’s “Ambush Sunday” at Unique Games and Gifts

October 6, 2011

Also, a preview for one of the “Tomorrow’s War” scenarios I will be running at Rock Con on the first weekend of November in Rockford, Illinois…

The Doom that came to Elkhorn

A “Tomorrow’s War”
Scenario by Mark Gipson

 On a stormy Sunday morning the tremendous flash and bang in the skies over southern Elkhorn,
Wisconsin was not a spectacularly large lightning strike.  Lightning strikes don’t cause low-grade electromagnetic pulses that knock out electronics for half the county.  What followed the
“flash and bang” could only be described as a “hole” that briefly opened up in the sky.  Out of the hole fell several large, organic-looking shapes.  These shapes, if put together, looked like they would form part of a menacing-looking egg – if eggs were the size of office buildings!
These objects crashed into the ground on and around the overpass over Interstate 43.  Before the shocked onlookers in their now silent cars could even grab their now silent cell phones
a flurry of smaller figures started pouring out of the wreckage that fell from the sky.  These figures charged at the watching people.  And then the screaming began…

This is a “Tomorrow’s War” scenario with 4 different armed forces.  One force is the invading
aliens, being played by Khurasan’s “Space Demons”.  The other three forces are members of the
U.S. Army Reserve, stationed in and around Elkhorn, members of the Elkhorn Police Department and groups of Armed Citizens (all courtesy of Rebel Minis purchases).
The goal of the three human forces is to rescue other humans and try to hold back the alien menace.  The goal of the aliens is to feed!  The two possible choices for food are the humans and a small herd of cows, the cows being in town by the fairgrounds for a dairy show.


The game this Sunday will be to playtest this scenario so I can get the balancing worked out.  It should be fun – how many wargames do you play where herding cows is a requirement?  The gaming place is Unique Games and Gifts in Grayslake, Illinois.  Time to start is around 1:00pm.


Mark G.


Quick Friday Night Update from “Recruits”…

September 9, 2011

Hi all,  tired Wargamer here…

Long but uneventful drive to Lee’s Summit, Missouri.  Met with various Ambush Alley folks and headed over to the school.  Helped haul stuff in during a pouring rain that stoped 5 minutes later. Go figure…

Yours truly forgot his cord for his camera, so just a couple of pics will end up here until I can get home for a more intensive AAR.

Happy Walworth County Gamer with his shiney new copy of "Tomorrow's War" and a real, professional "Fog of War" deck for it!

Here are Shawn and Peggy of “Ambush Alley Games” hard at work getting their spot set up at Recruits.

Shawn and Peggy hard at work. I will rotate the picture when I get back home...

Tomorrow will be fun and busy.  I am running “Tomorrow’s War” scenarios in both the morning and afternoon sessions.  Wheee!

Hope to see some of you there!

Mark G.

“In The Emperor’s Name” rules updated – go get ’em!

August 23, 2011

Okay, the guys at the Forge of War Development Group have really outdone themselves here:

They have updated, expanded and revamped their “unofficial” Warhammer 40K skirmish game “In The Emperor’s Name” to Version 2. This contains some great stuff, is split now into 3 parts: Core Rules, Retinues and the Campaign System. Total awesome sauce!

Even better, it is free – aside from the cost of your printer ink. 😉

I am gonna have some fun with this.

Mark G.

Tomorrow’s War “Ork Alley” replay – better this time

December 19, 2010

Greetings everyone!  After much bouncing around of real-life schedules my son Thomas and I finally got to play our “re-run” of our Tomorrow’s War scenario “Ork Alley”.  With the adjustments we made to the forces the game was much more balanced and was a lot of fun to play.

The basic setup:  A Tau recon drone malfunctioned and crashed in an area of the city that was infested with small groups of Orks and Gretchin (Grots).  A Tau platoon consisting of 3 five-person squads was sent to recover the drone and take it out of the area.  They had been inserted “behind the lines” so their way out was forward towards friendly lines. These are not considered to be “frontline” Tau troops and are not armed and structured as such.  The Tau would have initiative for the game.

The Tau are excellent “shooty” forces and excel at ranged combat.  Physically they are not well suited to close assault combat and so don’t do that with the same skill level as their shooting.  The Orks are the polar opposites, being worse are ranged combat (known for shooting guns in the general direction of the enemy just to make the loud “BANG” noise) and being racially VERY good a physical combat.  We set the stats on the forces based on these characteristics.


Confidence Level: Normal

Supply Level: Normal

Tech Level: 2

Body Armor: TL2, Light (1D) – Squad

Body Armor Leader: TL2, Power Armor, Leader, (2D)

Troop Quality/Morale: (D10) – Shooting/(D10) – Morale Shooting (armed with Advanced Combat Rifles)

Troop Quality/Morale in Assault: (D8) – Attacking – (D10 defense -1D) /(D8 for Morale in Asssault)

Tau Hvy Weapon: (2D)

We added a little complexity to the forces to emphasize the Tau reliance/skill on shooting and their lesser ability with hand-to-hand combat. Each 5-man Tau squad had a squad leader wearing basic powered armor.


Confidence Level: Normal

Supply Level: Normal

Tech Level: 1

Tough Hide (Body Armor Equivalent): (1D) – Squad

Tough Hide Leader(Body Armor Equivalent): (2D) – Nob

Troop Quality/Morale: (D8) Shooting (D10 defense)/(D8) – Morale Shooting (Armed with Sluggas)

Troop Quality/Morale in Assault: (D10)+(1D)+(1D per Nob)/(D10) – Morale Assault

Ork Hvy Weapon: (1D)

The Orks in the Warhammer 40K universe are big, touch and hard to kill.  They are not so good at ranged combat but excel at and love close assault. We added a little complexity in giving them a different defense die, a D10 instead of D8, when shooting and being shot at. We gave them an extra attack die in Assault simply to reflect their racial preference to that kind of combat.

Gretchin (Grots):

Confidence Level: Low

Supply Level: Low

Tech Level: 1

Troop Quality/Morale: (D8)/(D6)

Grots are small, weedy, clever and nasty.  While seemingly comical they are still not to be taken lightly.  They may have poor dice but they often come at you in bigger numbers than you expect.

Given the scale we set the standard “cautious” movement to 10 inches and the fast movement to 20 inches.

So, having set up our forces we put a “town” together and started a game.

The forces placed. Tau starting at corner of table at top of picture. Orks scattered around.

The Tau had to pick up the downed Drone in the middle of the map next to the two cargo containers. They then had to exit on the road between the two concrete walls in the lower right corner of the picture.  The Ork squads were scattered through the town, with 5 hot spots set up for reinforcements for the Orks.

An Ork squad behind some buildings. View looks towards the Tau starting point.

A table’s eye view of one of the Ork squads in its starting point.

Another Ork squad in between some buildings.

Another table’s eye view of Orks.

Catzilla (aka: "Ditto") - the bane of gamers everywhere

One of our cats likes to take the role of  “Catzilla” in our wargames.  I’m sure many other gamers have similar problems.  This particular incarnation of “Catzilla” is Ditto, my wife’s cat.  He is amazingly talented at walking through a crowded gaming table without knocking over a single miniature.

Orks determine Line-Of-Sight in order to attempt an Interrupt on moving Tau

A squad of Orks saw a squad of the tau moving and tried to Interrupt them.  Tried and failed.  Sigh…

Exchange of fire with the Tau left the Ork squad pinned behind a building

The Ork squad that failed the Interrupt took 2 casualties and then failed their Morale roll.  They moved behind a building and were pinned.  Bad start to the game for the Orks.

The Grot squad in one of the taller buildings successfully Interrupted a squad of Tau

The squad of Grots in the taller building *did* successfully Interrupt a squad of Tau.  They even caused some casualties.  Yay Grots! However, payback is a mean b…well, you know what.

Incoming fire has Right-of-Way

The return fire from the Tau squad caused 2 casualties in the Grot squad.  The Grots rolled amazingly well on their Morale roll and stayed active.

The fire from the Grots pinned the Tau squad

The Tau squad that received the casualties failed its morale roll and was pinned in the crater.  Some more of that and the Ork’s victory will be assured!

Tau activations complete, the Ork squads advance

The Ork squads who had not performed any interrupts now get to make their moves.  They advance in Move/Fire orders.

Arrgh! The Orks get a nasty "Fog of War" card

The Orks lost a test when they tried shooting at a Tau squad.  A “1” was rolled on a die.  A “Fog of War” card was drawn.  Eeek!  I lose 1D for every attack from now on.  Icky!

Turn 2 - The Tau shoot at the poor Grots working on the Drone

Turn 2 started badly for the Orks.  No reinforcements.  Several casualties were KIA. And the Tau advanced and attacked the poor, downtrodden Grots who were trying to overcome the security protocols on the downed Tau Drone.   An exchange of fire left the Grots with 2 casualties.  Then it got worse…

Tau had line of sight on the Grots

The Tau had line of sight on the Grot position as they did a move and fire maneuver. The Grots *did* cause a Tau casualty in the ensuing exchange but…

"Grots down! Grots Down!"

The whole Grot squad became casualties.  The Tau had a *really* good roll, no number less that 8…ouch.

The Orks try for a close assault

One Ork squad had gotten close enough to declare an Assault.  They won the Troop Quality test for assault and…”WAAAAGH!”  The Tau responded by running away and then being pinned.  A full fast move away.  Out of reach.  Rats!  This left our proud Ork squad perilously close to another Tau squad at the end of the turn.  You know, when the Tau get to go first next turn?  Uh-oh…

The close assault of the Orks ended non-spectacularly

The Orks in the trees are the ones who made the close assault.  The Tau in the distance are the ones who ran away.  The Tau in the crater close by are busy sighting in their Advanced Combat Rifles on the close Orks…

A good FOW card for the Orks...for a change

The beginning of the next turn had some immediate combat occurring.  Of course the Orks failed their reinforcements roll.  The Orks attempted to interrupt a Tau action and failed.  Rolling a “1”.  This time the Fog of War card was good.  However, my random choice was not the unit I wished would have this card attached to it.

The beginning of Turn 3 was...unpleasant...for the Orks

The Tau pumped out a lot of firepower in a short time.  Many Ork casualties ensued.  The squad of Orks who had performed the assault ended up pinned in a crater with three casualties.  The Orks in a building near the downed Drone took some casualties too.  Apparently my defense rolls indicated I was taking cover by putting my hands over my eyes and shouting “Nah, nah!  You can’t see me!”

The Tau did get to receive some casuaties too

The Tau advanced under fire and did receive a couple of more casualties, including one fatality.  The Orks were paying a high price for it.

The only thing worse than incoming fire is incoming "friendly" fire...

Yup, another Ork troop quality test.  Another roll of “1”.  Another Fog of War card.  This time some incoming friendly fire hits a squad of orks and causes another casualty.  Morale test was passed, though.

It's about time the Tau got a little FoW lovin'

The Tau also rolled a “1” in a combat test.  Their prize was a lovely mortar barrage, courtesy of who knows.  Lousy frikken frakkin Tau and their really good armor.  No casualties for them…

This is where the Ork player packed it in...

The Tau advance reached the downed drone.  The orks were mostly dead. The Tau had some walking wounded.  And I had to make dinner before we went to see “Tron: Legacy”.  So the Orks conceded the game at this point.  If the Orks had gotten some reinforcement squads it would have been a little different.  The low ammo Fog of War card was a real killer.

Two Tau teams with some casualties make it to their goal

The two Tau squads who made it to the downed drone.  They had one seriously wounded Fire Warrior and had lost one as well.

The battlefield at the end of the game

So the battlefield at the end of the game had some hurt Tau who were still combat effective and a scattering of Orks who weren’t.

It was a much more fun game than last time and my son enjoyed it a lot more when his troops weren’t casually turning Orks into clouds of red/green mist.  One lesson I learned is that I need to pin enemy troops first before charging them.  Otherwise they are liable to run away.

The balancing we did with the Orks and the Tau seemed to work pretty well.  Our next battle will probably pit some Imperial Guard minis I have against Tom’s Tyranids in a game of “Aliens in the Reactor”.  Tyranids make pretty good “Space Demons”.

Oh, and we really liked “Tron: Legacy”!

Greetings everyone!

November 25, 2010

Hello everyone, my name is Mark Gipson and I am a gamer.  I have been posting my wargaming exploits on my Facebook account for a couple of years now and I decided to share them with the wider world.  This blog will cover my mini painting, modeling, modding and gameplay.

Walworth County, Wisconsin, where I live, is the home county where Dungeons and Dragons was created.  Otherwise it is currently pretty slim on gaming opportunities.  I have recently been hitting the regional gaming conventions like Little Wars, Rock Con and Legends in the Fall and have been having a blast at them.  My 15 year old son, Tom, has been joining me for lot of my gaming exploits and has been developing his modeling and painting talents.  He is a better painter than I am…

Anyway, the next few blog posts will be catching up on previous gaming experiences.  Lots of pictures and some commentary will follow.

Thanks for reading!