Scent of a Gamer

From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.



My gamer’s journey

It all began with Battlecars, a very old board game by Games Workshop. I’d played other games before of course, the usual chess, draughts, Monopoly. I was already a gamer, but Battlecars was the first game I played that resonated this simple fact.

Everything I do today in terms of gaming stems from my first game of Battlecars. This was the first stop on my gamer’s journey.


For those who may not have played this 1983 classic, Battlecars puts you in charge of a vehicle driving around a futuristic wasteland – about as close as you can get to Mad Max 2 without being sued.

You get to choose your car’s layout before the game, and you then drive around the board trying to be the last car driving.

I wasn’t very good. I missed most of my shots misjudged my speed, and my car was soon a bullet-riddled wreck.

My driver was still alive though and this is where the game became memorable for my. The game allowed for this and my driver hoped out and began running across the board. His objective was no longer to win, but to leave the arena alive.

Emergent narrative

This sudden flip in the game, and the new challenge I faced stayed with me, even all these years later. He made it, by the way. This way my first major step on a journey that involves not only an enjoyment of games, but of the stories that can emerge organically from playing them.

I enjoy grand, sweeping stories and so games, whether tabletop or computer, needed to meet this dual requirement to really resonate with me. One computer game that succeeded with a similar vintage to Battlecars was the game Doomdark’s Revenge. Recently re-released, this game gives you a task, but leaves the completion method open to you in a game world where local lords raise armies and fight for their liege lord. On some play throughs the casualty list makes Game of Thrones look like Captain America.

Small models, big stories

The next tabletop game to catch my eye was Games Workshop’s Epic Space Marine. This game featured small scale (6mm I believe) models to achieve games which represented grand sweeping battles involving entire companies of space marines, and assorted titans battle tanks and more.


For me this proved to be short-lived, as Games Workshop in their wisdom decided to change the grand scale of the game and instead make it about squad combat that just happened to use tiny models. I’m still not sure why they thought this was a good idea. I passed, as did most other players, and the game sank with barely a trace.

Pixels or plastic

After the demise of Epic I turned back to the computer and was rewarded with the launch of the Total War series of computer games. These took over for me in terms of grand scale and mighty armies, with space aplenty for stories of the rise and fall of empires. Medieval II remains the high water mark of that series for me.

On the tabletop I turned to Warhammer at army end and Necromunda at the skirmish end for story-based games. I was more successful with Warhammer, but learned slowly that whatever game you play, you will ultimately feel let down. By the early 2000s I was ready to walk away from the tabletop.

Branded play

The Lord of the Rings game kept me around, as the scale and storytelling worked so well together. Eventually, as with all GW games, it changed into something I no longer wanted to play.

At this point I was at the age of being interested in the historical titles I had always snubbed in the past. Along came SAGA, a game of battles set in the Viking times.


Now here was a great game in terms of gameplay and storytelling potential. With an army based around a single Warlord, with his bodyguard and closest warriors and allies, the scenarios made for some intense games and great story opportunities.

I still enjoy painting miniatures, and so you’ll see plenty of updates as I slowly get through my collection – sometimes faster than I add to it!

Playing today

These days I still play a little SAGA, but have migrated back to the computer and board games for most of my gaming.  I will follow the stories though, wherever they are.

This blog is for all my gaming projects, thoughts and more besides. You’ll find:

Painting Projects. These are stored under their own page, The Projects. Miniatures tend to be provided unassembled and unpainted. Which means muggins here as a lot of assembly and painting to do! I always have more than I can handle on my plate.

Board Games. I’ve been playing board games for over 30 years. I only truly began to enjoy them in the past 10 years. This last decade or so has seen the release of some great games. Board games have been one way of sharing my love of gaming with my daughters.

Card Games. I tend to lump these in with board games when I think about gaming, but many people see them as entirely separate. I play these too, often, and so they will feature here.

Miniatures Games. From epic scale battles to skirmishes with half a dozen miniatures per side, there is a lot of variety in the miniatures space. To me it seems that each year oft he last five has been more of a golden year for miniatures than the one before it.

Computer Games. From the Commodore 64 to the gaming PC I’ve done it all, well, quite a lot anyway. I still play computer games and strategy titles are my favourite. Any articles will tend to be in that area.

Retro. The things I label as retro will be games of any of the above types that I want to talk about that happen to be no longer available.

For the curious, this blog is based in Brisbane, Australia.


21 comments on “About

  1. Roslyn Petelin
    September 18, 2015

    David, Your site is phenomenal!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Roslyn Petelin
    March 13, 2016

    If you’re a gamer, an amazing site is David Kay’s Scent of a Gamer. He has a note on his site to say that he updates it each weekend. How reliable is that? HI, DAVID

    Liked by 1 person

    October 13, 2016

    Just discovered your site from the Reader, really enjoying the content,
    really a one stop shop for so many of our overlapping interests!

    Looking forward to diving in. Keep up the great work!


    • davekay
      October 13, 2016

      Thanks, hope you are enjoying all the art!


  4. Editions Caurette
    January 15, 2019

    We are a small publishing house based in France, and we publish comic books and illustration books. Our latest publication – scheduled for the end of January – is a collection of about 400 pages of illustrations by Danish artist Jesper Ejsing, who is mostly known for his work for the card game Magic: the Gathering and for the roleplay game Dungeons & Dragons. The book, which is called Elsewhere: The Fantastic Art of Jesper Ejsing, is full of images of dragons and other magical creatures – such as the famous Demogorgon from Stranger Things! It also contains some explanations by the author himself (the text is both in French and in English).
    I noticed that you have already reviewed some art by Jesper on your blog. If you’re interested in receiving a review copy of his new book, please let me know at !

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Desiree Myers
    May 20, 2020

    i love your graphic for the commander deck do you have something like that for the standard deck?

    Liked by 1 person

    • davekay
      May 20, 2020

      I haven’t seen one for Standard decks, but if you check out the list of commonly played Standard decks at MtG Goldfish that should be helpful.


  6. Will Bailey
    May 30, 2020

    Came here during quarantine to play through The Bard’s Tale trilogy with your posts at my side when needed. Thanks for the time you’ve put into this I appreciate it and enjoy reading along as I play through it. Much better and more folksy than a lot of the guides out there imho. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • davekay
      May 30, 2020

      Thanks Will, I really appreciate those comments and I’m glad you enjoyed the guide!


  7. Henry Chamberlain
    December 3, 2020

    I’m just wondering what you might know about Critical Role. Is that something that you’re interested in at all? It seems that this RPG phenomena is pretty popular. I’m trying to figure out why it’s so popular.

    Liked by 1 person

    • davekay
      December 3, 2020

      I think there’s been a number of factors driving the resurgence of RPGs including the social aspect of the games and that you can reasonably get a group together online. Critical Role and other videos in my mind are both promoting RPGs and benefiting from the resurgence.

      Liked by 1 person

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  9. Karlo Leenhouts
    February 5, 2021

    correction to bardtale III, Gelidia, Black tower, reveal stairs -> MAFL, SHSP, FEAR, SUEL and SPBI. In the original walkthrough SPBI was not mentioned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • davekay
      February 5, 2021

      thanks for picking that up and letting me know, Karlo! Fixed now, cheers.


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  11. Claire McDonald
    October 7, 2021

    Hi David,
    Claire from MyMiniFactory here. I’ve just come across your blog, you seem to have had an exciting journey from Battlecars and Lord of the Rings to where you are today 🙂
    I’m not sure if you’ve heard of MyMiniFactory before, we’re a community-driven platform that hosts creators from all walks of life.
    What is the driver for you to maintain a blog? I’d love to learn more and help connect you with more like-minded people.
    Feel free to email me, I’d love to chat!
    All the best,

    Liked by 1 person

    • davekay
      October 7, 2021

      Thanks Claire, I will send you an email soon, regards, David


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