I recently had a hankering to play Mordheim once more, but due to limited space, I didn’t think I’d be able to start a massive terrain project to actually be able to play the game.
After all, traditionally, Mordheim was played on a 4×4 foot area! That’s not easy to populate with terrain and then store.
It was while browsing Etsy for some Warmaster bits that I stumbled across some lovely looking ruined buildings for 10mm.
Then it hit me! What if I played Mordheim at 10mm? It would be easy enough. Just change all measurements to centimetres instead of inches, and hey presto!
But what about the playing area? Instead of a massive 4 foot square area, the conversion downwards meant that it could be played on an area only 20 inches by 20 inches! To set about making and planning my playing area, I purchased a number of 5-inch square mdf boards. These would be built up with foam board and the terrain I had found on Etsy to create Mordheim in miniature.
As you can see, this is a massive reduction in the space required. I also ordered some of the ruined buildings, and these are shown below on some of the tiles.
The buildings are fantastic, and each floor can be magnetised to the one below so that they are able to have models move around inside them.
For the models, I purchased some Forest Dragon Undead miniatures in 10mm. Forest Dragon are great as you can buy them either ranked up on a single base for Warmaster or on individual bases for Minihammer.
These are the first 10 models I painted up, and they took me about an hour and a half to paint all ten. I’ve purchased some magnetic sheeting, which I plan to cut and stick to the bases, and then these can be magnetised to movement trays like the one shown for Minihammer if required.
You’re probably wondering how these compare in scale to the terrain and boards, right?
Pretty darn good, I’d say!
All in all, this project will be much, much cheaper than playing at 28mm. Each building costs roughly £6 depending on its size. I think possibly 2 or 3 buildings would fit on each MDF square. This should allow me to create a truly immersive modular board.
As for the minis, I purchased all I needed for the first Undead warband from Wargamerminis. I bought;
5 Dire Wolves
1 Vampire Lord
All for €18. Not bad! For those in the UK, shipping can be a little pricey, so it’s probably best to put in a larger order if you want to do something similar.
But all in all, I’m really pleased and excited to get started planning out the terrain boards. Yes MiniHammer is also the logical next step…
Rick Priestley grew up in Lincoln and dtart d writing wargames as a teenager with his friend Richard Halliwell. In 1979 the pair wrote their first game Reaper while still in school. Tabletop Games (a small games publishing company with no sales output) printed their rules and they contacted Brian Ansell who worked for Asgard Miniatures at the time before his move to Citadel Miniatures. Brian Ansell put them in contact with Nottingham Toy Soldier Shop who agreed to sell the Reaper rules.
With one rulebook for sale, Halliwell and Priestley collaborated on a second effort, a science fiction miniatures wargame titled Combat 3000, also published by Tabletop, that used 15mm/25mm “space marine” miniatures from Asgard. Around this time Brian Ansell left Asgard Miniatures, and with backing from Games Workshop set up Citadel Miniatures.
Priestley joined Games Workshop in 1982 as part of their subsidiary company Citadel Miniatures. At that time Citadel produced the miniatures for use in Dungeons and Dragons. Brian Ansell the manager of Citadel asked Richard Halliwell to develop Games Workshops’ first in-house game, Warhammer Fantasy Battles and Rick Priestley and Tony Ackland developed the product. Warhammer Fantasy contained many of the core mechanics or Priestley and Halliwell’s earlier game Reaper. Warhammer Fantasy was released in 1983 and was a huge success.
It allowed them a vehicle through which they could sell their own Citadel Miniatures. Earlier miniature wargames were designed to be played using generic models that could be bought from any manufacturer, but Warhammer Fantasy’s setting featured original characters with distinctive visual designs, and their models were produced exclusively by Games Workshop. This paved the way for Games Workshop to become the company it is today – all thanks to the three men who developed that first game.
Since before his time at Games Workshop Priestley had been working on a set of rules of Spaceship Combat called Rogue Trader which mixed Science fiction and fantasy elements. Priestley incorporated many aspects of this setting such as the lore and space travel into Warhammer 40,000 and dropped the ship combat element due to not having enough room in the book.
Games Workshop planned to sell conversion kits for their fantasy line to make them useable in Rogue Trader but eventually decided to instead dedicate an entire production line to the game and in 1987 Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader was born.
During his years with Games Workshop he was involved in the design of virtually all of their top games such as Necromunda, Mordheim, Warmaster, Lord of the Rings, Gorkamorka, Mighty Empires and Warhammer Ancient Battles (affectionately known as WAB by those in Historical gaming circles).
Rick Priestley left Games Workshop in 2009 stating that the corporate culture had grown too focused on sales and no longer cared about innovation in Games Design. He expanded on his view of Games Workshop in an article with Bell of Lost Souls in March 2015. In that, his thoughts on where Games Workshop was heading, was as a manufacturer of collectible miniatures and not games design.
After Games Workshop, Priestley co-founded Warlord Games which after Games Workshop is arguably the next biggest games and miniature manufacturer in Europe.
With Warlord Games, Rick Priestley has continued to develop fantastic wargame rulesets and being no longer held back by Games Workshop, these have included historical as well as Fantasy and Sci-Fi. The biggest games at Warlord such as Bolt Action, Black Powder, Gates of Antares, Hail Caesar, Pike and Shotte and Warlords or Erehwon have all been designed with Priestley’s input.
In 2011 Rick Priestley was elected to the committee of the Society of Ancients. The Society of Ancients is a non-profit organisation that intends to promote interest in Ancient and Medieval history and wargaming.
This man is a true legend of Wargaming, is the father of Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 and has done a lot that Games Workshop fans and historical wargaming fans have to thank him for.
I have tried to give a flavour of the 115+ rules and add-on’s he’s developed below. But as with Jervis’ article, this really does not even scrape the surface as to the lore and depth of his many games. Rick, thank you! I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.
I’m in the process of creating a series of Wargaming Aids which allow players to play their favourite games in a single player format against an AI controlled enemy army. To find out more on this click here.
For as little as £1 a month (the price of a chocolate bar) you can help support me in this endeavour and receive cool perks as a thank you, such as access to our Discord Server as well as downloadable copies of the gaming aids which you can print out and use at home.
Why not pop over to Patreon and sign up and help me in this project? Money raised will go towards making these as physical products.
Following on from the success of my article on Jervis Johnson. I thought I would continue this into a series with another great games designer, Alessio Cavatore.
Alessio who hails from the City of Turin in Italy moved to the UK in 1995 and joined Games Workshop in the same year as a translator.
A year later and Alessio was made a games developer and was set to work writing several supplements for Warhammer Fantasy Battles before heading up the Lord of the Rings Strategy Game.
2004 was the year that saw Alessio made responsible for all the rules published for Warhammer Fantasy Battles, Warhammer 40k and Lord of the Rings. Two years later and he would write the rules for the 7th edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
As well as writing the rules for Mordheim alongside Rick Priestley and Tuomas Pirinen, Alessio has been involved in games for both Warlord Games and Mantic Games. With Bolt Action (Warlord Games) and Kings of War (Mantic) all receiving input from this talented writer.
Out of the 73 games and add-ons that Alessio has worked on to date, that number includes;
Mordheim (Games Workshop)
Warhammer Fantasy Battles – 7th Edition (Games Workshop)
Kings of War (Mantic)
Bolt Action (Warlord Games)
The Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game (Games Workshop)
Conquest: The Last Argument of Kings (Para-Bellum)
Warhammer 40,000 5th Edition (Games Workshop)
As a side note, Alessio, Brian Nelson and the Perry Twins all had cameo appearances in The Return of the King film as Rohirrim at the Battle of Pelennor Fields. They can be seen near the Mumakil when Pippin goes searching for Merry after the battle.
Behindtherules.com conducted an excellent interview with Alessio back in 2010, if you would like to learn more about Alessio and his rules writing you can find the 1st part of the interview here.
Like Jervis, the wargames community owes a lot to Alessio for his contribution to the industry and for what he continues to contribute.
I’m also hoping that articles like this will show that many of the rules sets you may dismiss out of hand have often been worked on by a writer you know and love that has worked for Games Workshop at one time or another.
Why don’t you let us know in the comments below which of Alessio’s games is your favourite, and why not suggest someone to focus a future article on.