VIVAT 2018

Another weekend, another show – that’s the life of the wargaming jet-set! VIVAT, which is hosted near Vienna, is a small and friendly show. It’s an event where historical wargamers from Austria (and from Hungary) come together, chat and play a couple of games.

This year, there were six tables. Additionally, Sigur had his painting station and S-Games had a small table with wares.

I used the opportunity to have another game of What a Tanker! This time, the game was set in boccage country, which made quite a difference from the desert setting I’ve played before. Considering that I’m not at all interested in tanks, I’ve a strange liking of this game – perhaps because I can just enjoy it as a game.


There was also a SAGA game set during the crusades, which looked rather nice.


The Jugula game also looked spiffy. The arena was very effective and the game itself looked like fun.


This one is a large game of The Great War. If I’m not mistaken, it was presented by the Hungarian delegation.


The indefatigable team of Tabletop Wien West presented a game of Blood Red Skies. It’s really admirable how hard those guys work to bring tabletop games to a larger public and to pull new blood into the hobby.


And finally, a wintry Flames of War table.


I really enjoyed my visit to VIVAT. Not only did I have the opportunity to have a fun game, I also reconnected with guys I hadn’t seen for a while and met new people. The Austrian historical miniatures wargaming community is very small and fragmented, so it’s great to have an event to get together and share the passion. Thanks to the organisers for a great job, I’m already looking forward to VIVAT 2019!


After a break of two years, we finally returned to the biggest wargames show in Continental Europe, namely CRISIS in Antwerp. This is going to be long, so for those of you too lazy to read on: We had an absolute blast! For the rest:

The weekend started on Friday, when we met up with Mikko (from Dawn of the Lead fame) and his fiancée Emmi. We had a nice dinner and an even nicer chat about wargaming, history, knitting and all kinds of other stuff. It was a great evening and we are very happy to have made new friends!

The next morning, we were off to CRISIS. I was completely overwhelmed when I entered the hall – after a break of two years, it felt like the first time all over again! There was so much to look at that it took us two hours to even enter the second hall. We saw lots of great games – I think there were more games than the last time I was there – and we even played one: The German trader Worean Shop had an ACW table for Regimental Fire & Fury and I always wanted to try those rules. The game was very enjoyable and convinced me to buy the rules.

We also exchanged hugs and banter with Annie from Bad Squiddo Games – it’s always a joy to see her!

Some disjointed observations before I post images from some of the games: I’m not convinced by printed playing mats. The proportion of WW2 games felt higher than before, but the quality of those games was generally very high. Most games were skirmish games, big battle games were rare. There wasn’t that much ‘hot and new’ stuff, but I saw a Star Wars: Legion game. There was a surprising amount of SAGA games. And of games with waterways. There was a great and varied selection of books available for purchase. There were a lot of gaming tables and some very nice and inspirational games.

With this, on to the games. Unfortunately, for many of them I can’t remember the names of the clubs and the games.

Jon and Diane Sutherland put on one of the few large games with hundreds of miniatures, representing the Battle of Rügen Island in 1715. Jon painted the miniatures and wrote the rules, which will be published by Caliver Books.


Militia Brabantia Wargames Club had this incredible set up based on the computer game Assassins Creed. The level of detail was astonishing!


It was good to see a Sharp Practice game, presented by the Kurpfalz Feldherren (I think) and set during the Jacobite rebellions.


Studio Tomahawk presented the new SAGA fantasy rules, which will be out in 2019.


A nice looking peninsular war game:


A WW2 game with incredible terrain:


Another WW2 game. This is the impressive Crete 1941 game put on by James Morris and featured in Wargames Illustrated 370 & 371.


TooFatLardies had two games: What a Tanker and Chain of Command, the latter showcasing their new Blitzkrieg 1940 handbook. The canal set up looked really good! They also won the price for Best Participation Game.


This is the ACW game we played. The set up is simple but very effective. And it warmed my heart to see 15mm figures in action!


Ships are always cool. This is a game of Blood & Plunder:


And here we have a medieval sea battle, namely Zierikzee 1304 by Murphy’s Heroes. The ships are made of paper and so that the 6mm figure stands fit in perfectly. A clever and effective set up!


Another impressive WW2 game, this time Dunkerque, presented by Dortmund Amateur Wargamers:


This cool looking chariot racing game by a member of the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp was busy all day. The tiny spectators are individually painted grains of rice!


A Firestorm Armada space battle. I like the ring planet!


Two cool-looking medieval games:


And finally some games that caught my eye, but I can’t remember what they represented:


So what did I buy? 


Mainly books, to be honest. I got ACW stuff while K. made me buy the Ospreys. I also bought one pack of Halflings for a small upcoming fantasy project and a pack of Old Glory 15mm ACW infantry, just to try them out. The black box contains coastal forces from Magister Militium – more on that some other time. The big bag contains a narrow river I pre-ordered from Products for Wargamers.

The next day, we had a very nice breakfast with Jon and Diane Sutherland, whom we haven’t seen since we were at their (now sadly defunct) Wargames Holiday Center in Crete. It was great catching up with them!

What a marvellous week-end. CRISIS has a very welcoming atmosphere and the organisational effort of the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp is incredible – everything works smooth and quick and friendly. And the pie was excellent!

Our trip to Antwerp was most enjoyable. It was great to meet old friends and make new ones, to play games, buy stuff  and reconnect with the wider wargaming world.

VIVAT 2017

VIVAT is a local Austrian historical wargames show. I didn’t make it last year due to real life intervening, but I attended this year. Generally, I’m not too happy with the location, as I don’t own a car and it’s difficult to get there by public transport. Thankfully, my mate Sigur picked me up at the train station and drove me back in the afternoon.

The show took place in a restaurant (which, as I discovered, serves quite nice food). There were several tables with games, the stand of a trader and Sigur’s painting stall. The atmosphere was pleasantly busy. Quite a lot of people were browsing, talking and playing, and I saw a couple of families with kids, always a good sign in my opinion.

I was drafted to introduce a new player to Sharp Practice on a spectacular table set up by Annatar. The scenario, which was set during the French and Indian War, came from an old TooFatLardies Special. Even though I was a bit tired and therefore not up to my game when explaining the rules, I think that Daniel had the opportunity to see what a great set of rules Sharp Practice are.

I didn’t have time to participate in any other games, but they looked very nice. Here are some images; more can be found on the VIVAT homepage. I’m pretty sure Sigur will also publish a detailed report on his blog.


Steinhagel, a German ancients rule set.


ACW with Kugelhagel, a rule set from the same designer as Steinhagel.


WW1 naval with Naval Thunder.


Flames of War.


A napoleonic game with General de Brigade.


The Punic Wars with Field of Glory. I really liked the look of those 15mm figures.


And finally the Sharp Practice table.

I enjoyed myself a lot and was happy to meet old and new faces. Thanks to the organisers for making such an event possible!

ZAMspielen Gaming Event in Vienna

The Museumsquartier is a large area of museums, cafés and cultural institutions in the center of Vienna. Three years ago, the group ZAMspielen together with the art communication agency started to host a semi-regular board and video gaming event there. ‘Zamspielen’ is Austrian dialect and means ‘playing together’, so the idea behind the event is to host a low-threshold opportunity for people to drop by and play games.

Last week, I finally had the opportunity to visit and join the fun.

The available board games were mainly family games, some older titles and some new ones. I started with Suleika, a rather nicely made tile placement game – I especially liked the small carpets made from real fibre.


We then had a go at Ice Cool, which recently won the Children’s Game of the Year award. I’m not normally a fan of dexterity games, but this one is quite fun – you have to snip the penguins with your finger, one player taking on the role of the hunter trying to catch the others. It’s quick and simple and I can understand why kids like it.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Anita Landgraf of White Castle, a Viennese company that examines and brokers game ideas – so if you invent a game, you can come to them, they check it and then try to sell it to a publisher. I had the opportunity to test the prototype of a strategy game with an interesting movement mechanics. We also played a round of Elk Fest, another dexterity game that is being re-published by White Castle.

There were also a couple of video games from Viennese publishers on display, one of them a very nice looking adventure game called Old Man’s Journey.


The event was small, but had a very welcoming and friendly atmosphere. It was a bit too much geared towards family games for my taste, but I guess this is easily remedied as everyone can bring what he or she wants to play. Let’s see, perhaps next time, I’ll bring one of my favorites.