Tuesday 23 May 2023

On Bloody Ground - Cover art for a new rules series


I've been a bit excited the last couple of weeks as, for the first time, I have one of my paintings as the cover of a glossy book.

Some may be aware that I painted this oil commission of "King Harold at Hastings, 1066" a few years ago for an esteemed senior wargamer who lives not far from me, and it was spotted on my website about 5 months ago by the authors of these rules.  David and Dan Toone are a father and son team from Essex who have big plans to make an impression on the world of Ancient and Medieval wargaming with something a bit different. In these days of fashionable small scale skirmish games with sword, spear  and armour warbands they are offering a "big battle" game. Still designed for a basic 6 foot x 4 foot table and armies manageable by most gamers' resources, they can be ranged up as big as you like.

At this stage it is important to me to point out that the "The Norman Conquest" is merely the first of many in the pipeline and I will say more towards the end of this post - please read on.

In the words of the authors 
"OBG - The Norman Conquest is a 64 page, perfect bound rulebook, with common sense core rules, including brutal combat and a system of orders that makes the game dynamic, exciting, fun and challenging.
The rules are designed for use with individually based 28mm miniatures, but can easily be adapted for use with any scale or basing.
This first book in the series covers the Dark Ages in Britain between the 8th and the 11th centuries and includes army lists for Saxons, Vikings, Normans, Irish, Scottish and Welsh.
If you have any questions regarding the game and it's mechanics, or more specifics on how the game plays, don't hesitate to contact us.
We will be creating more videos on the mechanics of the game, as well as battle reports and information of our newest releases.
On Bloody Ground can be found and bought on our website here:
Also check out or new Facebook group dedicated to WiP Games and Miniatures and everything to do with On Bloody Ground:
That says it all really.
My readers know me as a keen "horse and musket" wargamer with a strong bent towards World War Two as well. Although I've played a lot of Ancient, and a fair bit of Medieval in my time, in no way do I pretend to be any expert in the history and mechanics of the warfare of those eras. So I can't give an opinion on how "good" the rules are, but I can say that if I was not already up to my eyes in a big project (see some forthcoming posts on my Napoleonic 1809 campaign progress) I would be highly stimulated by this book to get some boxes of plastic Saxons  and say, Vikings, and have a go.  Suffice for now for me to present you with photographs of some pages from the book which I hope will be enough to help you to decide to buy a copy at the very reasonable price of £15.  It is A4 size, easy to read text with lots of diagrams, and feels like a durable volume that is good to handle. As you see above it is backed up by lots of information and free downloads elsewhere on the internet. There is also a blog On Bloody Ground

A very comprehensive and useful contents list, and there is also an index
at the back

Your existing base sizes are not a problem, evidently as long as you
can fit figures into a unit footprint base, which remains constant
throughout the game. Not a bad idea to represent the fluid
formations of the period thinning out with losses and exhaustion.
Skirmishers operate as individual figures though.

There are 8 pages of really useful photos of actual units and game-specific vignettes - not just eye candy but a real aid in understanding how to form armies, plus useful stimulation on "uniforms" for beginners

The six nationalities represented in this volume each have three pages
 packed with useful examples of unit types

I'm proud of another little contribution of mine -There are a number of black and
white vignettes of details of the cover painting which have been used as chapter
 endings etc. Hopefully they give a little added stimulation to get on with the wargaming

The Future
David and Dan are being naturally pragmatic in these difficult economic times and future volumes depend to some extent on sales of Part One. But each period has its own devotees so, personally, I am optimistic that they will be successful in more than just "The Norman Conquest" era. They have plans for releases in the following order:
The Reconquista
Rome's Gallic Wars
The Persian Wars
Alexander the Great  (a favourite of mine which I am looking forward to)
They are already working on a series of 28mm white metal figures but the only info I have on those is that it will b Greeks and Achaemenid Persians first
And in answer to my basic question David said:
<<Each book we produce will have the same core rules, with variations in special rules, arms and armour as necessary for the period. So players can buy one book and play to their hearts content with no need for anything else.>>
To finish here is sneak peek of the Cover for Book Two which I have completed, and the expectation is there will be more paintings to come for the following titles.  If you are not already aware of my art work please take a look at my website Chris Gregg Art. If you are already one of my art patrons then I think you might like to start collecting this series as a little sideline to your investment in my art - Thank you. 
The Soldiers of Islam gather to make Holy War c. 1082 
(original acrylic painting by Chris Gregg - COPYRIGHT)


  1. Nice work, Chris. Branching out into book covers is a good move. :-) And I'm sure the authors will be pleased with the publicity here too. I would be tempted by ancient and mediaeval gaming if I did not have my hands full with producing horse and musket era flags and trying to get my own wargame armies sorted out...

  2. Both book covers look really nice, good to see your artwork on a book jacket.

  3. I noticed the book when at yours recently and did wonder if your the cover artwork was yours. I wanted to ask about it but what little concentration I had needed to kept on the thrilling game in hand! Fine work and the second cover looks good too:).

  4. Thank you all for your kind comments. David T has confirmed a longer term commitment to this series of paintings. Yes Steve, I am sorry I did not bring it to your attention - just blame my modesty! Like you, the game needed my full attention.

  5. Cracking cover art Chris, you must be chuffed and rightly so. I don't really game ancients or dark ages but I may have a look at this, don't skirmish game so this is more up my street!

    1. Thanks a lot Donnie. Yes chuffed is the word I think. I'm told sales of the book are going well so it will be interesting to see the progress of this series. If you are at all tempted then £15 is not a lot to speculate on a new period rule set with inspiring info. Let me know how you get on.

  6. Fantastic painting Chris, interesting looking set of rules.


  7. Well done Chris, I missed this post, I love the cover for book 2

    1. Thanks a lot Kerry. I shall watch your medieval armies with more interest now. Give the Welsh a go boyo!

    2. I was missing posts Chris because I hadn't registered as a follower though I thought I had - though I note even on other Blogger posters that I follow like Carlo I never get an email update advising a new post

    3. Kerry you are right, Blogger does not seem to work that way whereas I get every post you make in my email. Put my blog as a link on your own blog and that may give you a reminder to look occasionally