Wargaming Birthday Bashes

I’ve often hosted a Wargaming Birthday Bash on or around my birthday for the last 17 years or so… This has taken different formats - sometimes it’s one big game on the evening of my birthday, other times it’s been an entire gaming weekend on or around a weekend close to my birthday. Many of the weekends have often been a miniature skirmish campaign of some sort, but other times it was just like an invitational mini-con with a mix of games being played over the weekend… 

Below is a brief review of Birthday Bashes Past... 

2005 - Flames of War - Operation Biting (the Bruneval Raid)

The first ever Wargaming Birthday Bash was before this blog was a thing and before I really started taking pictures of games. We'd heard about this new-fangled set of rules called "Flames of War" - which wasn't even available yet, locally, but they had a website and we could download a quick reference sheet - so we played a game using just that and my old Platoon 20 British Paras and Germans. 

The parachute drop was simulated by dropping small pieces of paper from about a metre above the table wherever one landed an element of paras was deployed - any that landed off the table didn't get to deploy on the table at all (I think the german players were allowed to stand at the far end of the table and blow as the papers were dropped...?) Three different groups of paras had three jobs - One had to secure the village of Bruneval - where boats would pick them up for extraction. Another had to secure the radar station and escort an element of technical specialists who had to spend a turn or two dismantling parts of the Radar Station. Another, I think, had to take out a shore battery - so it didn't shoot up their escape boats? 

It was mad. 

Good times were had. 

2006 - Flames of War - France 1940

The Second Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash also before the blog, but I managed to dig up a few pics of the game. By this time we HAD the actual Flames of War rules and genuine 15mm miniatures. 

I think the scenario was German paras had dropped and secured a bridghead. 

Wehrmacht troops had to race to the bridge and help secure it....

Before it was overrun by a French counter attack. 

2007 - Savage Worlds - Pulp Adventure - Mask of Amenakken IV 

For the Third Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash, I ran a large multi-player Savage Worlds Pulp Adventure game involving multiple factions all trying to get to the fabled resting spot of the Mask of Amenakken IV. 

The blog was up and running by this point, so there is a complete game report with lots of pictures of this game... 

Savage Worlds - Pulp Adventure - Mask of Amenakken IV 

2008 - Mini-Con I

The Fourth Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash was the first multi-day, game weekend. Two friends even drove to Saskatoon from Calgary for the weekend! Another who happened to be in town from Edmonton stopped in for one or two of the game. 

Friday Evening - The Battle of Gasen au Damlau

An 18th Century "Imaginations" battle that John Bertolini  ran for me.

More pics and full report here:

Wargames Weekend 08 Part 1: Friday Night 

Saturday Morning I ran a  Blitzkrieg Commander  game of the Counter Attack at Capuzzo.

Again, a full report and more pictures can be found here:

Wargames Weekend 08 Part 2: Saturday Morning

Saturday Afternoon I ran a Savage Worlds Naval Battle - Action off the Coast of Luteland - set in the same world/period as John's land battle on Friday evening. 

Game Report/More Pics here:

Wargames Weekend 08 Part 3: Saturday Afternoon

Saturday Evening I ran a  Savage Worlds Rippers game... The afternoon game had gone on a bit long... then we went out for supper... this one got started a bit late and everyone was pretty tired.  I ran it anyway, because there was an entirely different group that showed up for this game - Guys I was regularly playing Savage Worlds with on Saturday evenings - at the time

Wargames Weekend 08 Part 4: Saturday Evening

Finally, on Sunday afternoon - after a bit of a sleep-in - I ran a Cold War Commander game - The Battle at Dunvegan. 

Wargames Weekend 08 Part 5: Sunday

2009 - Hordes of the Things 

The Fifth Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash  was back to a single evening event - a large, multi-player game of Hordes of the Things. 

The Fifth Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash

(I had thought this was when I ran my first Hordes of the things campaign weekens, but it turns out I ran that later in the summer

(I also ran a Russian Civil War campaign weekend - The Back of Beyond Campaign - in the fall) 

2010 - Mini-Con the Second 

The Sixth Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash was the second Mini-Con Gaming Weekend. 

I think, initially this was supposed to be a Second Annual hordes of the Things Campaign weekend, but at the last minute I dropped that plan and ran a series of other game. (as fun as they were, the previous two campaign weekends turned out to be very stressful affairs, having to adjudicate rules disagreements for people that really should have known better. Players finding and exploiting loopholes in the campaign rules, etc... As this weekend approached my stress levels went through the roof and a overwhelming sense of dread overcame me and that didn't seem like it was adding up for a positive experience... So I said "Fuck 'em... I'm changing the plan...") 

Friday I did run a large, multi-player Hordes of the Things Mega Battle

I think this was the first one Amanda actually participated in! 

2010 Winter Wargaming Weekend Part 1 – Friday Night

Saturday I ran three separate Savage Worlds Tabletop Adventure games, starting with a Pulp Adventure game in the morning. 

In the afternoon there was a World War Two game set in the ruins of Stalingrad. 

Finally, in the evening, I ran a Savage Worlds Sci-Fi Skirmish that a staggering ELEVEN people showed up to play!

It was a bit CrAzY!?


2011 - Contemptible Little Armies
 - Warrior Knights

For the Seventh Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash  I ran a  Contemptible Little Armies
 game set in East Africa during the Great War - Raid on Tantoone Station.

Raid on Tantoone Station – Great War East Africa

On Sunday I hosted a game of Warrior Knights... Still part of the same weekend... so I'd consider that a multi-day event. 

Warrior Knights

2012 - Darks Ages DBA Campaign


For the Eighth Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash I ran a Darks Ages DBA Campaign for EIGHT Players (I'd apparently recovered from my malaise concerning Campaign Weekends... or maybe I'd just forgotten the bad parts - which I am prone to do...) 

It was a lot of fun - so much deal-making and maneuvering between battles. 

Some Epic battles...

and there were shenanigans... so much so that I haven't run this again - despite still having ALL the armies AND the map board... 

Dark Age DBA Campaign - Year One

Dark Age DBA Campaign Year Two

Dark Age DBA Campaign - Year Three

Dark Age DBA Campaign… Some thoughts…

2013 - Bolt Action - Force on Force 

The Ninth Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash was less a gaming weekend or "Mini-Con"as it was just Two Games Over the Weekend... or... not really even "the weekend", it was a Sunday and Monday... 

On Sunday, I ran a game of Bolt Action set in 1941 on the Eastern Front. 

Again With the Bolt Action

On the Monday, my actual birthday, I ran a game of Force on Force - the battle of Top Malo House during the Falklans campaign in 1982...

Top Malo House

2014 - Ronin Campaign 

For the TENTH Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash I was back to running campaign weekends! 

It started with a quick multi-player game to review/teach the rules to everyone 

The way it was run was really more of a tournament than a campaign - swiss-Draw pairing... but deaths and injuries and experience were tallied and warriors that died in earlier games weren't available for later ones... so, in a way, a campaign... 

10th Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash – Ronin Report

On Sunday i had planned a game of Ikusa (previously editions were, I think, called Shogun and Maybe Samurai Swords...?). I figured the game followed the theme of the Ronin campaign 

but then we also ended up playing Smash-Up - which Cory had gotten me for my Birthday. 

And then there was a game of Munchkin with the family... 

And finally Paul tan a game of Star Wars: X-Wing for the family.

10th Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash – Part Two

2015 - Fear and Faith - Zombies

For the Eleventh Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash I kind of just spent the day hanging out with the kids... and we played a game of Fear & Faith - with ZOMBIES! 

11th Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash

A week earlier there had been the Family Day Long Weekend (of GAMING!) - it was a LOT of gaming... we were pretty gamed out... 

2016 - Quest for the Skull Sword - Frostgrave Campaign

Back to running a campaign for the Twelfth Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash!

Six warbands played four games over the weekend. 

The first three games, there were two, three-player games during which the warbands were searching for clues as to the whereabouts of The Skull Sword - in addition to the regular gathering of treasure and gaining experience, 

One had to find a clue to play in the fourth and final battle on Sunday afternoon. 

Quest for the Skull Sword

2017 - Pax Pamir and Race for the Galaxy 

Thirteenth Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash was a relatively low-key affair. I'd planned to run a bigger event in April for the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and was busy with preparations for that (though, in the end, it didn't end up happening...) 

I played a few games of Pax Pamir in the afternoon 

And a game of Race for the Galaxy with the family in the evening. 


2018 - Shadow War Armageddon Campaign

Back to running a weekend campaign for the Fourteenth Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash...

Eight of us played Six games of Shadow War Armageddon between Friday evening and all day Saturday. 

Like the Ronin "Campaign" there was no map or narrative connecting the scenarios (other than they were taking place on Brind's World), but experience and injuries were tracked...

Shadow War: Brind's World Campaign Weekend (Part One)

Shadow War: Brind's World Weekend Campaign (Part Two)

Shadow War: Brind's World Campaign Weekend (Part Three)

On Sunday, just Paul and I played a game of The Pikeman's Lament. 

Pikeman's Lament - The Battle of the Blackdunny Water

2019 - Wrath & Glory Campaign Weekend 

For the Fifteenth Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash I decided to try running a Role-Playing Campaign Weekend using Wrath & Glory! 

I had wanted about 4-5 players and started with inviting just that many... But, initially, there had been pretty lukewarm levels of commitment from a number of those invited, so I ended up inviting more and more! In the week running up to it I thought I might only have ONE PLAYER so I got my family excited about joining in... and then EVERYONE I invited just showed up!? 

It was a bit overwhelming to run a game, I had only just learned (sort of...) for NINE players!? 

I ran it a week earlier, so it would fall on the Family Day Long Weekend. 

Wrath and Glory Gaming Weekend

I had planned on playing a game with the family ON my Birthday... but then that didn't work out... 

2020 - The Return of Karloth Valois

For the Sixtheenth Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash I ran a large, multi-player, semi-cooperative game of  Necromunda

The scenario The Return of Karloth Valois - which I also ran at ToonCon a week or so later - I ran a mob of plague Zombies and Scavvies controlled by Karloth Valois and the players each had a gang that were trying to stop him. 

It played out like a lot of the Savage Worlds games I used to run over a decade ago - which I realize I sorely miss - Which was more like a tabletop role-playing adventure. There was some freindly-ish competition (each group had their own set of objectives and victory points they could gain) and there was nothing stopping them from fighting each other... But the odds they were facing were pretty overwhelming and if they DIDN'T work together it would go badly for all... and I worked it out so that, for the most part, there was no major benefit (in terms of victory points) in turning on each other. 

Definitely one of the Best ones. 

The Return of Karloth Valois - Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash

2021 - A Day of Gaming With the Family 

(and Online Game Night with Friends) 

Seventeenth Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash

The Covid-19 pandemic was still raging, so the family humoured me with a quiet afternoon of playing a few old favourites Splendor, Carcassonne, Dominion.  

In the evening I met with a few friends onling and I tried to kick off an Age of Sigmar: Soulbound campaign.

You can read more about the games here:

February Games... and stuff... (Part The Second)

2022 - 18th Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash - LEVEL FIFTY! 

I had really hoped this would be a BIG EVENT - an in-person event with all my bestest friends running all weekend as this was a BIG ONE - not a big round number for the event, like the 10th or 20th annual... but it was my FIRST HALF-CENTURY celebration! Making it to Level Fifty!

The way things had been here in Saskatchewan in terms of Covid, that didn't seem like a great idea... Which was a bit of a downer. 

And then the whole Russia invading Ukraine thing... ugh... 

Instead I ended up playing a game of Terraforming Mars with Amanda in the afternoon... 

Somehow I got the whole family to play Splendor in the evening!? 

And finished up with a game of Five Tribes with just Finnegan and Amanda. 

Maybe not the epic Weekend of Gaming I'd hoped for, but enjoyable enough under the circumstances. Not sure if this should still be called a Wargaming Birthday Bash... 

2023 - 19th Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash...?
I didn't end up playing anything ON my Birthday this year... Which WAS a Saturday... Not sure what happened...? 

The next day, the Sunday, my friend Jasper came over and he, along with Finnegan and Amanda made characters for Hellboy the Role-playing Game for a campaign I was hoping to run... but then never did... 

does that even count as anything...? 


Who knows... 

It WILL be the 20th Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash. So, I feel like it should be a BIG one... 

So many ideas, so few birthdays... 

The current working plan has been the Under-Carngard Challenge - a Warcry Weekend campaign where everyone is playing Skaven fighting for control of the caverns below the ruins of Carngard. 


Whether for next year, or future years... 

I'd love to do the DBA Dark Ages campaign again some time - I still have all the armies and the map. (I also have enough to do an army of Franks - to give the Normans something to think about...). Some day... I'd have to finish those Franks, and might need to finish second Anglo-Danish and Viking armies (as one of each had been supplied by other players - I have the miniatures, just need to finish painting them) 

I have miniatures for other DBA campaigns: Rome, Greek City-States, Alexander's Successors... Whether I ever do them for a Birthday Bash Weekend or just some other weekend...?

I also LOVE the "tabletop miniatures adventure" format of play I used to run with Savage Worlds. Where all the players are on one side ("the Protagonists"), and I play all of the opposing side. There can be an almost a role-playing game feel to it. There is less whining about or abusing of rules as, for the most part, it isn't as much of a competition. 

As a one-time event it could be the players are allies of convenience that have to work together against a greater common foe, but also have their own agendas. This is what I did in the Necromunda games in 2020 - and it worked really well. 

As a weekend campaign, it would probably work a bit better if the players were a more cohesive team, playing through a number of linked scenarios, building towards an epic climactic battle against their main nemesis at the end of the weekend....? SO MANY games and settings I'd like to try this out with... 

Of course, I wouldn't mind trying a straight up role-playing game weekend (though with not-so-many players as the Wrath & Glory weekend of 2019... and a better campaign...) 

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