We’re moving on towards autumn now, and honestly, I couldn’t be happier. Fall is absolutely my favorite season. I love the cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, the food (cider and donuts? Sign me up), the wardrobe, and of course the autumn holidays.
I’m a big Halloween nerd.
Long about late July or early August my wife and I start talking about Halloween, start discussing what movies we want to start watching, and start having fragrant seasonal candles going in our house. We start getting excited for our favorite spooky events that are held in the area.
I’m not quite sure what it is about fall that gets me so excited, but Halloween is definitely a big part of it. I’ve always reveled in the creepy, the kooky, the mysterious and spooky, and thus fall, with its shorter days, darker nights, impending chill and overall sense of a dying world puts me in just the right mood. (Honestly, though, I’m a very cheerful person)
And, of course, it’s the perfect time to do a little horror-themed wargaming.
It’s not hard to do spooky wargaming, really; indeed, a lot of games are explicitly built around horror themes. Warhammer Age of Sigmar has an entire Death faction made up of ghosts, vampires, zombies and such. Similarly, there are other games that are made for the season: The skirmish game In Her Majesty’s Service has an expansion allowing you to play gothic horror scenarios and warbands. Weird War II games like Dust: 1947 and Konflict ’47 let you battle with zombies, werewolves, Frankenstein (excuse me – Frank Von Stein) and even Cthulhu. Miniatures games like The Others and Fireteam Zero all have horror elements built right in. Perfect games to play while drinking apple cider with only a few candles lit and your favorite Halloween sound effects album playing…
One of the most fun things to do is to set up a creepy gaming table for the event. Include some rocks and fallen trees (GameMats.com has some really nice ones, by the by…) and maybe a deteriorating house and a mausoleum or two and you’re all set.
Probably the most rewarding, though, is when you’ve crafted a really atmospheric and flavorful warband, if you’re playing an autumnal skirmish game.
You don’t have to go stereotypical with it at all – you don’t need Dracula or the Wolfman, for instance. I’m in the process of building three different creepy warbands as of this writing, and each one has a different theme. The one I’m furthest along with has a grave robber theme. It consists (so far) of the gravedigger himself, his monstrous lackey (carrying a coffin on his shoulder), and three guys with picks and shovels. All I need are a few corpses trying to raise themselves out of the ground and I’ll be set.
Another one I’m working on is inspired by a mini and a base I had lying around. The mini is of a scarecrow with a scythe, and the base features several carved Jack-o-lanterns. Seemed like a perfect fit, so I decided that this character would be The Harvest King, and now I need to find some other fall-themed ghouls to join his merry cavalcade. I’ve got a skeletal jester and a small demon to go with him, so it’s just now a matter of finding the right couple of other minis to add, and they’ll all be ready to duke it out in a mist-shrouded churchyard somewhere…
About the Author;
Peter Kuebeck is a writer, gamer and award-winning mini-painter living in the Midwest. He wages a constant battle against the ever-growing tide of unpainted minis in his basement, and occasionally GMs role-playing game sessions with friends. Catch his hobby shenanigans on Twitter at @popculturecube