Category Archives: Vikings

New Viking Looter Cards

I’m going to run VIKING LOOTERS (the old Viking Raiding game by JIm Birdseye) at game camp next week.  Much of the game’s action is handled through the cards.  The file that I received from Brian Whitaker was great but not formatted for standard business card sized cards– I kept losing alignment during printing.  So to remedy this I recently reformatted the card deck to use a standard business card template originating from Avery.  This is their “Graduation announcement” template which should fit most business cards blanks, including 5571.  I’m very pleased with how these came out.  If you have a use for this kind of game, here are the rules and the cards (the important part).  Cards are in PDF and Word.  Rules are in Word.

Microsoft Word link
Adobe PDF link


(the last sheet is blank in both PDF and Word so you can write some of your own)

I think the end result is worth the effort.

This is a fun time and plays well with younger folks.   The rules aren’t much, maybe a page and a half at most.  The big laughs come with how you handle it as a referee. Enjoy!


Small Wars: Saxon 28mm Warband from Gripping Beast (SAGA)

My Saxon War band

Recently received was a 28mm Saxon Warband for the SAGA project. I won this on Ebay so I’m not sure what the MRP is on this thing, but since I won it from Architects of War’s Ebay store, I’m guessing its’ pretty close to 70 USD. That’s not at all bad for providing value.

At 2.12 a figure, that’s not bad for metal.

You get 33 figures:

  • 1 Warlord wearing chainmail, wielding shield and hand weapon (loose, to be added.. it will be a sword)
  • 4 Hearthguards, also armored at the Warlord level, with shields and mail and helmets. Less animated
  • 16 Warriors.. representing guys that have stood in a shield wall in SAGA terms, but don’t have more armor than a shield and maybe a helmet. All wielding spears.
  • 12 Levy.. these are the reluctant untrained chaps that are here out of feudal obligation. No armor, but they do have spears.

Quality is quite good. Not much of that lumpy bit of metal that makes a figure hard to stand up. No unbalanced figures. Mold lines were very clean. They were all quite sturdy, well sculpted without HUGE amounts of detail. That fits. Historically they wore wool cloaks and tunics, breeches and shoes equivalent to moccasins, maybe a big heavy belt in the middle with some pouches and knives.

The Warlord (left) and his 4 Hearthguard. Chainmail, shield, helmet, and wielding hand weapons. You can also see the spears that come with this pack.

Above you can see the Warlord and his Hearthguard. Click to enlarge.

Here are my dozen reluctant levy fighters. No shields, spears, and in need of enthusiasm.

Here’s my 12 Levy troops.. looking anxiously to their Warlord for some leadership.  Click to enlarge.

A stalwart band of Warriors who have seen the elephant at least one time and are ready to step up to the shield wall. Spears and Shields. One or two wearing a small helmet.

The 16 Warrior figures are the fellows who have stood in the shield wall and know what to expect. They will be the bulk of this Saxon Warband. Click to enlarge.

You get lots of stuff with a warband pack from Gripping Beast. In my case, lots and lots of loose, cast spears, some hand weapons, and their special flat green bases. I might have to buy some more, I don’t have enough for everyone.

Gripping Beast Saxons (Warlord, left, and two Warriors, right) compared to plastic Viking figures I’m using for SAGA.

Lastly, I thought I’d show you have the Gripping Beasts Saxons stack up against other figures I already have based and painted. In the picture above I have a Saxon Warlord facing a Viking Warlord, with two warrior types on either side squaring off. As you can see, they have a similar height, although GB figures are a tad taller foot to crown. You can solve that by using different base types. GB bases are very sturdy, but flat. (Click to enlarge photo)

Summary: I’m quite happy with my Gripping Beast SAGA Warband. This is everything I need to have someone to square off against the Vikings with. The warband is deficient in Archers, so I may make some changes there somewhere. Overall I’m glad I bought this warband and would recommend it enthusiastically. Great value!

What if they had a Norse Apocalypse and nobody came?

According to the Poetic Edda. Ragnorak, the Norse Apocalyptic ending of the world, where all humanity will engage in an end of the world battle to fight the Frost Giants at the end of time, Just happened.. I mean, as in a few minutes ago. Just check out the countdown clock at the York Viking clock in England:



And what was supposed to happen?

Let’s go to the source:

Brœðr muno beriaz
ok at bǫnom verða[z]
muno systrungar
sifiom spilla.
Hart er í heimi,
hórdómr mikill
—skeggǫld, skálmǫld
—skildir ro klofnir—
vindǫld, vargǫld—
áðr verǫld steypiz.
Mun engi maðr
ǫðrom þyrma.
Brothers will fight
and kill each other,
sisters’ children
will defile kinship.
It is harsh in the world,
whoredom rife
—an axe age, a sword age
—shields are riven—
a wind age, a wolf age—
before the world goes headlong.
No man will have
mercy on another.

So I’ve been sitting here all day in my chain mail, with my broadsword unsheathed, and I’m starting to feel just a little silly. What a letdown.The postman gave me such a look this morning.

I’m building a Viking Ship tonight.

My son Gar knows better than to ask too many questions.

“Why are we stopping at Staples, Dad?”
“We’re out of glue”
“Why do we need glue?”
“I’m going to build a Viking Ship tonight”

(Gar nods as if this is the most reasonable response in the world)

Last night, I did receive a package from LASER DREAMWORKS, a one man band operation that makes beautiful 28mm ship kits as well as game tokens and other items. Laser Dreamworks appears to be a one man band with a limited line of kits mostly designed for the Age of Sail era (19th century). I spoke with that one man band (Matthew Green) recently and he commented on expanding the line for Greek and Roman galleys, cogs and ironclads.

We are finishing up a few other projects related to our Kickstarter Project that resulted in our new range of cannon. We expect to have all that wrapped up by the end of the year and I will be able to turn my attention back to some new designs.

I have had several folks ask for both galleys and ironclads and tramp steamers seem to be high on the list as well. I would certainly like to get to all of them eventually. I will probably do a galley first, followed by some kind of modification kit that could turn one of my existing sailing ships into a ACW varient. But if you have something specific in mind, please send me photos! I like to do actuall ships rather than just make something up.

If you do facebook, you can follow Laser Dream Works there and get a glimse of what I am up to at any given time.

The ship kit I ordered was the Viking Long Ship, the LDW kit that appears to be easiest, cheapest and least complex.   It was everything that I wanted it to be.

Viking Longship LDW

Assembled and Painted, from the LDW website

The kit is laser cut bass wood, and already punched so there’s nothing to trim with a knife. The parts have an adhesive film on the back of all four sheets to keep everything in place on the template. The kit comes with one sheet of instructions, which is ample for assembling the Viking Long ship.

Using, really, only a few dabs of white PV glue, construction time was less than a half hour all told.  I went from one template sheet (which you can see punched out in the photos below) to a three dimensional Viking Longship in no time flat.

And the finished product is really beautiful.

I’m going to have to stain it at some point, but I just love the simplicity of the ships’ lines at this point.  See below.



Suggestion: Get the small square bases for your 28mm Vikings.  It’s a little tight across the middle.


The kit I received had like two extra prows and a selection of decorated shields. I could go with the plain ones included in the kit (which you see loose in the photos above), or use the ones with the fancy patterns. I’m going with the fancy patterned ones, but I’m holding off gluing them on so I can paint them properly. Likewise I’m not going to mount the mast permanently, it fits in the hole in the bench snugly enough to be detachable for easy stowage. I suggest that anyone buying this keep it in bubble wrap as the for and aft Dragon head and tail look to be kind of fragile when packed. I think the whole ship with masts down could fit into a shoe box with some padding.

At a piddling 20 USD for this kit, I MORE than feel I have my money’s worth. I bought this as a prop for my SAGA and Viking Looters games, but if the guy from LDW is going to make more in this price and complexity range, I may have to come up with a scenario for fighting Longships or something. WHAT A BARGAIN!

So, in the end, yes, I built a Viking Ship in less than an hour. I’m impressed with the work of Laser Dream Works and hope to get more of their ships.