Friday, 13 July 2012

The predictable Friday the 13th article

Even though I'm not around to check out for sure, I bet there has been a flurry of Friday the 13th posts. Hasn't there? If not I'll be highly surprised! Well who am I to judge, or indeed to buck the trend / break with convention? I considered doing an article highlighting some of the scariest miniatures around. Or maybe I could do an article about scary games? Nope. I've decided to tell you a few short tales from my gaming past that are truly horrific!!! I warn you though, each one is a horrible tale in it's own right...

The disintegrating Dwarfs

This is a tale of 7th Edition Fantasy woe that has been logged in the Book of Grudges. This was a game that wasn't meant to happen. It just sort of did. I had recently painted up most of my Dwarf army and had taken it for a spin round a friends house. On the way back I stopped off at the Birmingham Games Workshop to pick up another unit of handguns... you can never have too much shooty can you? In the store was a sad looking High Elf player who had turned up with his newly painted army and had no one to play with, as all the others had brought 40k with them. I was tired and had managed to grind out a close fought victory earlier on that day against a very tough opponent. But, I was convinced to give him a game. I thought I was in luck when he informed me he had lots of chariots and no Teclis. I tried not to be rude about his army but did ask why he hadn't taken Teclis. His answer was he didn't really like spending that many points on him. I smiled and prepared to crush him...

What followed was a hideous game for my opponent. I massacred him brutally. Silver Helms gone. Spearmen gone. Tirnoc Chariots gone. He had one battered unit of Sword Masters left, a handful of shadow warriors and some other incosequencial crap. The victory was an inevitability. Except for the greatest capitulation and collapse in the history of wargaming. He eventually got his unit of about 9 or 10ish Sword Masters with Prince to get a charge off against my unit of Iron Breakers. What followed was an impressive display of dice rolling. He hit and killed with every single attack he made. For my part I made not a single armour save. I laughed it off as even so I only lost combat by two, such was my numerical superiority to him. I'd most likely pass my leadersh... oh bugger... 11. Not to worry, battle satndar... oh crap... 12. With a deep and hearty sign I prepared to run my cowardly Ironbreakers away from the Sword Masters. But, these were the only loses I'd suffered, I was fine. I'd still win comfortably. I rolled a 3 for my flee distance. Crap. Obviously he pursued them and cut them down to a Dwarf. As annoying as that was, I knew that in my next round of shooting I'd more than likely wipe him out. But first I needed to make some 'panic' tests...

You know where this is going don't you? The sight of my hardy Iron Breakers being cut to ribbons by only 10 pointy eared Elves caused my entire fricking army to flee the field of battle as one panic test after another was failed in an absolutely pathetic attempt at rolling dice. I was utterly stunned. I hadn't looked like losing the game. I hadn't even looked like being troubled. Yet here I was losing a game in such a bizarre and thoroughly weird way. All I could do was laugh as much as my opponent who couldn't believe his luck. I bumped into the guy about 18 months later and he informed me that his victory against me remains his only Warhammer Fantasy battle victory to that day. Funnily enough that didn't make me feel any better about it. Trust me I've marked his card and made a note of his devious trickery in my book of grudges, I'll get payback someday... when he's least expecting it... if either of us ever play Warhammer again as he's now playing HoMachine!

Death of a Blood Bowl team

In my first year at University I entered a Blood Bowl league with a human team that became well feared, and rightly so. Twenty games won on the trot had honed my team into a truly horrific team to face. I had won the previous Blood Bowl league with gas to spare. I was all ready to pick a new team and start afresh for the second league, but for some reason the league convener had decided to carry on with the team sheets we had. While this was an unorthodox move, I was of course exceedingly pleased, no one could touch my team. It was I might add the very definition of awesome. My first game was against an Orc team that wasn't that good. An easy win I thought. We rolled on the kick off table and as I was receiving I was hoping for a good roll. It wasn't. We rolled for the kicking team to get a rush. Meaning my carefully lined up team was about to recive some pain from the off. Not to worry though because all my linesmen had Block and Dodge, of course. I mean, why wouldn't you?

How wrong was I? Very wrong! The first 3 blocks came in and his weedy Orc Linesmen smashed all of them. Seriously? They were all on their ass, looking as stunned as I no doubt did. But... it got worse. He beat the armour on all three. But, that's not all, oh no, he managed to kill two of them with rolls of double 6 and seriously injured the third on a roll of 10. Frack. Not to worry though I had plenty more qualified linesmen where they came from. He declared a Blitz against my superstar Blitzer, a player who had become so feared that I'm told people had nightmares about him. The silly boy though didn't know he was strength four. Sucker. WTF!!! Two dice I choose and he rolls two explosions, for the love of God what next? So he ended up down and on his ass, and... oh no... he rolled a 9 to go through the armour. Oh come on another double 6!!! Those dice are loaded. let me check them. Damn it no they're not loaded. By now a crowd had gathered to watch my teams destruction.

The ball was perilously close to the line of scrimmage on his side of the field after a Orc linesmen fumbled picking the ball up. My closest best bet for picking it up was my splendid thrower who never let me down. I did all the safe things first and got myself ready to make two go for it sprints. Those of you who have played the game will know where this travesty is going right? Yeah I failed the second one... with a re-roll. Landed on the ball. Fortunately it bobbled and bounced into the hands on one of my best catchers who caught it. Result! Time to see what happened to that thrower. Oh who am I kidding, you know what happened. Yep he fell over and broke his neck. Dead. Four players dead at the end of my first turn. This was not going to plan. The rest of the game didn't go that well either... oh don't worry I won it 2 - 1 somehow, but that wasn't the problem. At the end of the game I'd lost 7 players to premature death and a further 4 were seriously injured. It also appeared my cadre of medical staff were all on vacation too as they failed to heal those players... and trust me they did heal a fair few others. It was hideous, horrible and has left me mentally scred. I had to retire the team after all. Truly horrific!!!

The case of the missing case

Sometimes I can do really, really dumb things. I know you can't believe that for one second, that a being as masterful and superior as I could ever do something really, really dumb. But, I did. I was on my way home from Milton Keynes, a place so dull and soporific that it seemed to have put me in a stupor. I had been down their on work and had visited a work colleague after the day had finished (honest boss) for a quick game or two. I fell asleep on the train back, I was awoken as we neared Coventry. It was late and I was tired, but I got my coat on and went to pick up my figure case. Bugger. Where did I put my figure case? I looked around the entire train carriage and asked any passengers I could if they'd seen it. None of them had. I quickly got my phone out and phoned my friend to see if I'd left it at his house. I hadn't. The only place I could've left it was at Milton Keynes train station, but it wasn't there. I was resigned to my fate and picked my work bag up, disturbed I'd lost an expensive case and more importantly my miniatures. I might have even sulked. I got back to my home in a bit of a state and went upstairs to my gaming room to clean an pin some miniatures. Something that has strangely always calmed me down. There in the middle of the room in plain view was my missing figure case. Was I hallucinating? No it was there. What the hell was going on here? I thought back to the game I'd played that night... and I remembered I didn't take my bag as we were playing a skirmish game. I opened my work bag, and sure enough sitting in the middle of the bag was my small skirmish game carry case. As I said, really, really dumb! Didn't stop the fear and terror gripping me on the train though, I nearly dies of a heart attack.

Warning. Potential death trap... for High Elves
Table of doom!!!

Have you ever seen a table fold in half? I have. Have you ever seen a table fold in half because some dimwit leaned on it during a game with your High Elf army on it? I have. This tale was so horrific it actually made me cry at the time. My first full real army was my High Elves. My dad had helped me assemble them, but the paint job was all mine, and I was proud of them like no other. I was playing across the table from a guy who clearly didn't have the same levels of pride in his Goblin army. They weren't even properly undercoated, but the bases were painted Goblin Green so he was good to go. We had been warned countless times never, and I mean NEVER to lean on the tables. Now, I'll be honest sometimes it was hard to obey that mandate when playing games. However, my opponent was told several times during our game to stop doing it, but he didn't heed the warnings. I wasn't myself sure as to why they were being so insistent, however I did think they must have had good reasons, and I too asked him not too. He told me to lighten up and they were only saying it to cover themselves for insurance. In the third turn, of our game, which I was winning I might add, he leaned quite hard on the middle of the table to try and move his Grom the Paunch Chariot out of the way of what was going to be an inevitable devastating charge from a full unit of Silver Helms.

There was a strange creaking and a momentary look of panic on the boys face as the table gave way right down the middle and tipped him into the center of two equal sides on the floor, as the table folded in half... and totally smashed my Elves to bits. The manager of the store was kind enough to stop me compounding my misery by restraining me from committing homicide. My High Elves were never quite the same again, but at least everyone learned why we were told not to lean on tables, right? As for my stupid opponent? He got a life time ban and I genuinely never saw the idiot again. I've often wandered what happened to him, what ever it was I hope it was slow and painful. Thing is, I doubt whatever happened to him would have brought him as much misery as trying to repair my High Elves brought me. I still don't think I'm fully over the trauma of that incident, typing this made me well up a bit, and even now when I see people leaning on tables I get flashbacks to that horrendous scene or utter destruction.

Display cabinet massacre

Have you ever painted anything so brilliantly well that your local Games Workshop store manager has asked if he could display it? Well I have, and at the time my local store was full of staff who were excellent painters, two of which, I believe went on to paint for the Games Workshop studio team. My army may only have been my Eldar Epic army, but I had taken a very long time to paint them, and paint them well. I was very happy to have my army on display next to the works of the staff, which as I say were very impressive and put my own efforts to shame. Until the Display Cabinte Massacre incident. I wasn't actually in the shop at the time of the aforementioned moment of brutal terror. Although I was in town on the day. I walked into the store to a scene of shattered glass, glum faces and total silence. I looked to where my army was supposed to be displayed. The cabinet was totally wrecked, my army was nowhere to be seen. The manager looked at me sheepishly and simply said "sorry". He recounted a tale of how two young children had been messing around while the Saturday game was being played, and for some reason one of the children had thrown his figure case or rucksack at the other kid, who had annoyingly moved out of the way (take one for the team kid!) and it had gone crashing into the cabinet. None of my Eldar troops had survived and I was crestfallen. Store credit, did not make up for it.

Man o' WTF

Anyone who ever remembers playing Man o' War will remember how devastating the Dragon Ship for the High Elves was, if it managed to ram an opponent. It could truly sail straight through many ships like a hot knife through butter. In this game though it actually failed in spectacular fashion and seemed to trigger the fall of a fleet and a total reversal of fortunes that still to this day brings a terrifying shudder down my spy. My screams of anguish that day were truly blood curdling... because my humiliating loss was against the High Elves mortal enemy, the Dark Elves... and they were led by a complete ass hat nobody in the shop liked that much. Seriously he was a dick, and it takes a lot for me to call somebody that. It had all started so well. My quicker more nimble ships had held the Dark Elves at arms length and had managed to slowly but surely whittle them down without taking hardly any damage. It was a slow but sure death of a thousand cuts. The way most victories for the High Elves went in Man o' War. It was inevitable, and Plan A was working wonderfully well, it was going to draw to a predictable conclusion. My victory.

That is until I got a little cocky. At the heart of my opponents fleet was a very badly wounded Black Ark. A beast of a ship. It had been shot to pieces and had about 2 or 3 below the waterline hits left (a small amount for this behemoth). My opponent had made and error with it though, he had moved it in close to some Hawk ships in the hope he could wipe them out and stop the harrying his various Drakes. It failed. More importantly it placed it right in the way of my Dragon Ship. My head said keep doing what you're doing, you are winning, you will win. Stick with plan A. My heart said ram the damn thing and get it over with quicker. Plus you'll look cool doing it! So off I set to ram it. As I say I can't remember the exact below the waterline points left, but I'm sure it was 2. So in effect I had to roll 2+ on a D6 and the Black Ark was gone, and I would be able to claim my victory a lot sooner. It didn't go that well though, as all I could roll was a 1. Not to worry though the crew on the Black Ark were severely depleted and my Dragon Ship crew would cut them down and scuttle the foul floating rock. Except it didn't work like that. For some reason I kept losing the combat. It was horrible!!!

I eventually lost the Dragon Ship in a brutal war of attrition it should never have got itself into. All in the name of vanity. What made it worse was that I lost many of my other ships as well to silly tactical decisions, as I was angry with myself for being stupid, I wasn't paying attention. With my Dragon ship tied up I sent my Eagle Ships in closer than I ought to, and failed miserably to do any damage for the rest of the game. The Hawk Ships too were picked off with a series of flukey critical rolls that just sucked ass. Nothing seemed to be going right for me, but I was still in charge. I'd sailed against the wind to get past my opponents fleet taking some pain in the process but safely knowing that pretty much for the rest of the game I'd have the upper hand and be able to grind out the win. Then the bloody wind changed direction dramatically on me and I was screwed and caught in a corner unable to do anything. So the unthinkable happened, I lost my game of Man o' War to the ass hat who nobody liked. I tried shaking his hand, but he wasn't interested. He began to regale people of his masterful win, and of his tactical brilliance. When he left the shop I saw he'd left his Fleet list behind... the son of a *bleep* had played with 500 points more than me the cheating git!!! The moral of the story? Don't trust a Dark elf to fight fair.

Bomb scare mayhem

This is a story that isn't necessarily about me directly, although I was there when it happened... and it happened to a friend, who never lived this one down. I'm sure he still wakes up in a cold sweat thinking about it. My friend who we shall call Johnny Nincompoop had amassed and painted a rather splendid looking Empire army. It was his pride and joy and he had spent a significant amount of time doing a really nice job of it. So fearful was he that something might happen to his army he even brought a large metal case to store it all in, and he never let it out of his sight. One day we turned up to our local Games Workshop to play a game, but the tables had been claimed early, and I wanted to grab a CD as well. We decided to let the store manager know that we were popping out, and asked if he'd hold a table for us. As he was a terribly nice chap he said he would and that he'd look after our cases too if we wanted. I took him up on the offer... Johnny, was fearful that if he let his miniatures out of his sight some terrible mishap would befall them. and refused this kind offer.

So off we set across town to the large HMV so I could search out the CD of my desires. We got to the shop to discover they had a massive sale on! The shop was packed with bargain hunters just after the Christmas period. I however found my CD in double quick time and wanted to get the hell out of there. Johnny however wanted to look through the sale CDs. He eventually brought a Whigfield CD (now that's truly diabolical!!!) or something equally crap. We set off back across town to our local Games Workshop to play our game of Warhammer. We still had to wait nearly an hour to get onto the table. The manager went to get my case and Johnny Nincompoop went paler than a Goth on Halloween. A panicked look spread across his face and I could see a cold sweat grip his very soul. His case of esquisitely painted Empire miniatures was missing? What could have happened? What foul desoicable plot had separated him from his precious cargo? We rapidly decided he must have left it at the HMV somewhere, and off we set at a fair old lick of pace, as if the very hounds of hell were themselves snapping at our heels.

As we rounded the corner on the High Street we saw a massive Police presence and sniffer dogs every where. They were cordoning off the street. This was in the early to mid 90's and bombs were commonplace here in the UK, as the IRA were still continuing their campaign of terror. We asked a nearby Policeman what was going on. Apparently a suspect package had been discovered in HMV of all places. Johnny looked at me and said "my God we were just in there, how lucky are we?"... Johnny wasn't the sharpest tool in the box. I asked the Police officer if he knew what the package looked like because my friend had lost a metal case somewhere and we thought it might be in HMV. The Police officer made a call on his radio. A few minutes later a very intense looking bomb disposal expert came over to us to ask "exactly" what the case looked like as they were about to perform a controlled explosion on the suspect package.

Johnny, tears now in his eyes described his case and what was in it in minute detail. He was whisked behind the Police cordon and taken away. While I stood there waiting. 10 minutes later I heard that he had been taken to a nearby Police station where his parents had been called to pick him up. The suspect package was his Empire army case, and they'd come within minutes of being 'disposed' by a contolled explosion. While I found it amusing, Johnny almost certainly did not and he was grounded for 6 months. The moral of this tale? Do not let your miniatures case out of your sight for a split second for fear some explosion happy bomb disposal expert thinks all their Christmases have come at once... or don't collect Empire maybe? Or perhaps it was don't buy Whigfield CDs. I'm not too sure it matters either way, they can all be morals for this story. I never did get to play that game of Warhammer Fatasy against his Empire army. Oh well.


This hobby can be a cruel and scary place at times. Mercilessly punishing us with crushing defeat... or just crushing our miniatures as seems to be the sodding case. But, we love it to death because it is so much fun... well when tables aren't foldong, cabinets being destroid and dice not playing up. These tales are my gaming horror stories, although there are more where they came from. Including a large pot of airbrush cleaner being knocked off onto my painting desk onto a potential Golden Daemon entry I'd spent nearly 6 months working on... but that is still too raw to talk about more than 10 years later. Or the infamous Battlefoam car incident that nearly gave me a heart attack, but turned out alright in the end. However, what I want to read about when I get back is all your horror stories. What has happened to you in your gaming career that has made your blood run cold, brought a chill to your bones and utterly horrified you? What foul misfortune has befallen your armies? Come are share your misery so everyone can laugh at you as well. Peace out!

Please remember I'm not around at the moment to respond to any questions or points you might have. So could I ask you to be patient and bear with me, I'll get round to it eventually I'm sure. Thanks!


  1. I laughed out loud at the bomb disposal story- I can't believe that actually happened! Great collection here sir!

    1. If you lived in the UK at the time trust me, you'd believe it. This sort of scare was quite common. I remember sections of cities being cordoned off as bomb disposal experts had to sweep entire areas to ensure there weren't any explosive devices. Shortly after this incident this happened in another UK city:

      The Police rightly took all of these threats seriously.

  2. Really good post all old war stories or woe are worth hearing (and again and again and again)

    1. Like all good warriors we should all have good war stories and tales of terror. I once won a game against Vampire Counts in WFB with one round of shooting in the first turn before my opponent got the chance to move. Massed Wood Elf bow fire into the unit with the general precipitated a huge glut of crumbling failures that left my opponents army with nothing left on the table... I was chuffed... he was not.

  3. Dude....

    I feel sick after reading some of those stories.

    A horrendous loss is one thing, watching your whole army being destroyed is quite another....

    I know these things happened quite a while ago, but you have my deepest condolences.

    I need to go lie down now.

    1. My High Elf army was utterly heart breaking for me. I was only about 13 at the time and it was the first army I had glued, cleaned, pinned and painted all on my own without any help from my dad... and they actually looked really, really good. I took ages painting them, and they got a lot of compliments... mainly for the basing, because my dad was very keen on basing miniatures properly with model rail supplies. As I said in the article, that incident clearly still affects me. Horrible.

  4. The worst thing is, the Dragon Ship has *two* blades...

    1. Please don't remind me. It was bad enough writing that story out, I knew there was something my brain was blocking out about my failed ramming attempt. Honestly that's one of those games that you just know you'll never forget.

  5. Dammit, Frontline...
    Y U not around for me to pester?

  6. I've had some horrible things happen to me (like 9 seperate mechs in my Trinary taking ERPPC head hits on turn 1....) but the worst thing that happened that I am aware of happened to one of my best friends.

    His shed was broken into. "His" shed. Not "the shed", the one just for him and his man barbies etc. Was the TV taken? The fine collection of Vintage Nintendo consoles right up to the most recent? How about some Sony offerings? A nice stereo system? A bike, go on, have a bike!

    No. What was taken was his Iyanden Wraithguard army, with all the fancy Forgeworld tanks and fliers. And worst of all? His bits box.

    That's how we know it was an inside job. Someone somewhere in the Dublin 40k community is a person who knew that army and where my friend lives and was able to do such a thing and keep showing his face.

    1. Oh now that is just sickening about your friends Wraithguard Army. What sort of asshole would do that sort of thing? Complete and utter gits. Some people are beyond scum. Your friend has my sympathies. I once had all my paints stolen as somebody mistook my cases for tool boxes. I'm sure when they got home and realised they'd just nicked a load of Vallejo Model Colour paints they were gutted.

    2. It's one of those things... the more I think about it the worse it gets. It basically killed all pretense of us painting nice armies for about five years, "just in case it happens again". Total paranoia, but all the crappy teenage-era space marine and orc armies lying around the place were untouched.