Ancient naval rules added

Another set of rules from past issues of Lone Warrior has been added, this one titled “Classis,” a set of rules for ancient naval encounters, played on a hex-based game board.

It’s on the Complete Rule Sets page.

Posted in Naval gaming, Periods - Ancient | Leave a comment

‘Mad Mike’ Hoare, mercenary

By Rob Morgan

I honestly thought he’d died years ago, so the appearance of his obituary in The Times the other day surprised me. He was over a hundred years old, which seems a remarkable age to reach for someone who courted death for decades. The ‘Thunderer’ described him as ‘perhaps the best known mercenary since Xenephon’ which definitely strikes a chord, though he may well have shared the honours with the other Englishman, in Medieval times, Sir John Hawkwood.

Hoare’s ‘Wild Geese,’ named entrancingly “5 Commando,” saw a great deal of action in the Congo following the debacle of Belgian withdrawal. He was employed by the Katangan leader Moise Tshombe, and led raids and fast actions to rescue Europeans held hostage by Simba rebels. Active in the Congo for several years, Hoare defeated the rebels repeatedly, and at one time his opponent , based over the border in Burundi, was Che Guevara.

The obit intriguingly refers to his memoir of the war ‘Congo Mercenary’ as not wholly reliable, which is certainly true. Some of the exploits he claimed were actually undertaken by either UN or Belgian forces. Nevertheless, the mercenary campaigns in Katanga and along the shores of Lake Albert would easily transfer to the wargames table. I think Platoon 20 once produced a small range of ‘mercenary’ figures. His own activities, real and fictitious were the basis of the 1978 film ‘The Wild Geese’ with Richard Burton playing the ‘Mad Mike’ figure.

Hoare’s dislike of Soviet influence led him to undertake a disastrous attempt at overthrowing the government of the Seychelles with a group of 50 mercenaries. It was a serious mistake, which led Hoare’s troop to hijack an Air India jet, and flee to South Africa.  He was tried, appropriately enough as a mercenary, for piracy. Sentenced to 10 years in prison, he was released after three, and undertook (as  far as I’m aware) no further military activity.

I actually bought his book ‘Seychelles Affair’ which dealt with his last raid, as I thought it might have some potential as a wargame. Sadly, Hoare was up against a competent force of well-armed gendarmes and soldiers, with armour, and after putting the book down, I felt the attack was doomed from the outset. So, I think, did he. Perhaps he just wanted to die in arms.

Posted in Wargaming | Leave a comment

Sample article on San Juan Hill added

This month’s sample article from previous issues of Lone Warrior is by LW Editor Rich Barbuto and includes rules, OOBs and a terrain map for recreating the Battle of San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War.

It’s on the Sample Articles page.

Posted in Periods - Nineteenth century | Leave a comment

Team Yankee test

By David Newport

A buddy and I decided to play some Team Yankee, the WWIII miniatures game from Flames of War. Tim had just got the v2 rules, which have minor changes, and we wanted to see if it made much of a difference. We hadn’t had a chance to play in about eight months, given work schedules, so I was a bit rusty at the game. I decided on running a couple of small scenarios from the TY Quick Missions set as a solo exercise to get back up to speed. These are smaller scenarios for smaller forces that give a quick game to try something out or just have a good time. I decided on 50 points, which for my Soviets gives me 7 T-64 tanks and a Motor Rifle Company in 9 BMP-2s. I also own US forces, and 50 points has 5 M-1 Abrams tanks, a mechanized platoon in M-113s and 2 ITOW tracks. Tim uses M-60 tanks rather than M-1s, as he likes having more guns although his tracks are extremely fragile in the face of massed 122mm cannon fire and Spandrel missiles from the Soviets.

In the game shown below, I rolled up a night mission with a quick “seize one objective” victory.  Supposedly, the superior night vision gear on the US tanks would give them the edge to counter the Soviet charge. In actual play, the dice decided that the US could barely see anything, and when they could see the T-64s the heavy frontal armor of the Soviet tanks caused the shots to bounce. On the Soviet side, the tanks kept getting bogged down in the woods and as a result couldn’t return fire well. The Motor Rifle Company got the win, with the BMPs managing to get in close and salvo Spandrel missiles while the dismounts charged the McPizza King restaurant where the objective was, and in the meantime they volleyed RPGs and fired AKs left and right and punched through the middle. Good exercise on speed, mass, and the different matchups in the units.


Posted in Periods - Modern | Leave a comment

Two reviews of Age of Sigmar partwork added

Two contributors have now added reviews of a new offering from Warhammer Age of Sigmar, the first of several planned partworks now on sale in the UK.

The reviews are on the Reviews page.

Posted in Periods - Fantasy | Leave a comment

Rules for solo dungeon quest added

Paul Le Long put together a simple solo game of dungeon quest and shares the rules in this article from an earlier issue of Lone Warrior.

His rules are on the Complete Rule Sets page.

Posted in Board games, Periods - Fantasy | Leave a comment

New year, new sample article

Here’s a sample article from past issues of Lone Warrior to kick off the New Year. It’s by George Arnold and features some thoughts on how to transfer game mechanics from one game to another, even between periods.

It’s on the Sample Articles page.

Posted in Naval gaming, Periods - Ancient, Periods - World War I | Leave a comment

A painting project

By George Arnold

These days, I’m mostly finished with big painting projects. Any projects that come up now are smaller, easier (and much more enjoyable). In that vein, I recently decided to re-do some very old metal figures and give them a different look.

These are some ancient Greek peltasts from a company called Bresica Miniatures that operated out of Burbank, California, in the mid-1970s. They were one of several sets of Bresicas that I bought back then, some of the first metal figures I ever acquired. I’d come across the range in a catalogue when I was in my first job fresh out of grad school and finally had a (small) bit of disposable income to start upgrading the Airfix figures I’d been gaming with until then.

I originally painted these figures with enamels, in either black or white tunics. Years later, I stripped the paint from some of them and touched up others to get a less uniform look. But I was never satisfied with the result, so a few weeks ago, I again stripped the paint from all of them and started a new paint scheme from scratch.

This time, I went with a mix of reds, brown, grays and a few other shades. After a quick dry brush, I then picked out the other details. The detached shields were fiddlier to paint than I remembered, but my hand isn’t as steady as it was years ago either. I can always touch those up later if I decide to.

I mixed up the tunic colors so that each base is different. I also upgraded these fellows from their original javelins to thrusting spears. The figures, static and all the same poses in an old-school kind of way, are clearly based on drawings from the venerable “Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars” books from the Wargames Research Group. These figures represent thureophoroi, or later Greek peltasts, getting the name from the shape of their shield, a thureos. The bigger shield and the spear gave them an advantage over more lightly armed peltasts.

I still have a fair number of Bresica figures. The long-gone company had a good range of 20mm ancients that  fit well with 1/72 plastics like the old Airfix figures, although some of the Bresicas were quite inconsistent about scale, even within the same range.

About a dozen years ago, I added some 150 more Bresicas from a seller who wanted to get rid of them at a cut-rate price. Happy to oblige. A lot of those were Republican Romans and support troops, but I also got some very nice Italian hoplites that I’ve also incorporated into my hodge-podge ancients collection.

As some of my oldest metal ancient figures, these peltasts have taken part in many a battle over the years. It looks like they’ll be doing the same in the future, now in their latest finery.

Posted in Painting, Periods - Ancient | Leave a comment

No. 209 has been mailed, but please read this

To Lone Warrior Subscribers:

Lone Warrior 209 has just been e-mailed to all subscribers.  If you have not received yours, please send me a note at

Please include the e-mail address that you prefer to use to receive your Lone Warrior.

Thanks and Happy New Year,

Rich Barbuto

Posted in From the editor | Leave a comment

Another gamer’s gingerbread houses

By Rich Barbuto

The difference between little girls and little boys. The first photo shows four-year-old granddaughter decorating a few gingerbread houses. The next day, her six-year-old brother used his Star Wars figures to stage an assault on Po Dameron’s village.

Gingerbread Village

Raid on Dengar

Posted in From the editor | Leave a comment