Molybdomancy Bleigießen Wargaming Divination

Molybdomancy – Divining the new wargaming year!

I wish all my readers a happy new year and hope you had a good time, either calm and relaxed with some board games, drink and fireworks or  full of partying till the morning comes.

In Germany (and other Nordic countries such as Austria and Finland) we have an old tradition to divine the future using molten metal cast into the still warm blood of a calf….just kidding, we just use plain old water. This we call “Bleigießen” or in English “Molybdomancy”.

Given the prevalence of metal in our beloved hobby I guess you can see where this is going. So what do you need to divine your future and what did the lead tell me about my hopefully glorious wargaming future?

What you need to divine your future:

All pretty simple and you will be pleased to know that you have all the stuff you need already in your household:

  1.  An unwanted miniature. 15mm scale works quite good for this, but if you want to do it with friends cut a 28mm one in pieces. It could be a miscast, it could be a really ugly miniature you just happen to have, but it must be possessed or at least defiled.
  2. A ladle. Could be a spoon or something  a bit more fancy. This one is already 150 years in our family and was forged by my great-great-grandfather using only his bare hands.IMG_8627
  3.  A candle made of the rendered fat of a white wild boar (optional).IMG_8633
  4. A crystal bowl filled with pure spring water, enriched with frankincense (optional).IMG_8631

How you learn about your future:

  1.  Light the candle with an ebony  sprig and force the impure miniature into your ladle, so it may not escape its due demise.IMG_8630
  2.  Heat the miniature, so it may melt and relieve its putrid essence.IMG_8635
  3.  Cast the hot metal into the purified water and say the words: “Flame for miniature so fatal, reveal my future magic ladle!”IMG_8636
  4. Look closely at the shapes, ask friends or your significant other what they see and compare your findings with the list below.

The Book of Divination:

It is the first time in many years that the ancient folio, “The Book of Divination”, supposedly in the possession of Nostradamus, but then lost, can once again be presented to my fellowship. I found it in an antique shop, true story.

Under “Wargaming Molybdomancy” a list of common shapes and their meaning is provided:

  • Dice:  The dice gods are with you this year. You will roll a great many sixes and smite the ones!
  • Brush: A glorious year of productive painting lies before you, ripe for the taking. Not the sad looks of the unpainted miniatures on your work bench will haunt you in your dreams, no the divine light of fully painted, well presented miniatures will fill you with satisfaction.
  • Skull: You fancy to start a new army and decide to go for Undead. You might get caught in some discussion which company’s Undead are best, but in the end you will see the light and just go for the once you like best.
  • Mountain: Your lead mountain will grow further untill it darkens the sun and you can assume your rightful place on the throne on its top, the Iron Throne (made of miscast miniatures).
  • Sword: Adventures await! Only the gods know where and when and what, but it will be glorious! Really!
  • Horse: You made a grave mistake and bought a whole lot of cavalry. You will spent most of  your time painstakingly painting markings.
  • Musket: You will become obsessed with the Seven Years War or the Napoleonic Wars. Because both periods are super interesting and have fancy hats and moustaches. Resistance is futile.
  • Splodge of Paint: While painting you will underestimate the pressure built up in one of your dropper bottles and squeeze a bit too vigorously. The carpet and wall paper will thank you later.
  • Tree: You got inspired by a certain tree enthusiast and begin to build a whole forest of oak trees. You will fasten them to a hat and wear it to all of your games and call yourself treebeard from now on.
  • Staff: You learn about arcane secrets and start a second career as a powerful wizard travelling the multiverse or you just get old.
  • Fire:  You fall in love with a new rule system, burning all bridges behind you and pursue this new path with fiery fervor!
  • Dragon: You buy a dragon miniature. It twists your mind and  greed is making you buy even more miniatures for your hoard. You also emanate a sulphuric smell and growl at people coming too close to your miniatures.
  • Pouch:  You find a hidden treasure under your sofa while cleaning up. You wisely invest the money in more miniatures!
  • Boot: You cannot resist and support even more Kickstarters in the new year. There will be lots of delays and you could kick yourself for again falling for the shiny.

The other entries were unfortunately damaged by water, but hey, you can always make up some yourself!

My future:

So what did I get?

IMG_8638Clearly a diverse selection, but nothing on the list! I think I got a Scutum, a troll face and two elven ears.

Okay, awesome. so I see that 2015 will be the year of the Romans. No surprise, after all the War and Empire Republican Romans will arrive soon and I might even paint up some 28mm Romans for Skirmish games!

I am not so sure about the troll face. Surely devil’s work. The water was not pure enough. This means I might get a lot of ones and failed cohesion or moral tests when it matters the most. Or my opponents will just roll the right number… on a positive note, it could well be a Zombie head. Maybe I will paint more undead then….one can but hope.

The elven ears are really curious. I had no plans to paint many elven kin, but it seems fate has other plans. Maybe Drow are implied, after all I have quite some Bones that might pass as dark elves..

This is my wargaming future for 2015. If you feel like doing some Molybdomancy let me know what the metal has in petto for you below or help me identifying what the future holds for me.

If the thought of melting a miniature is too harsh for you, let me know instead what your wargaming plans for 2015 are.




11 thoughts on “Molybdomancy – Divining the new wargaming year!”

  1. Hmm, I think the ear on the left has a face in it and I think your right about the zombie. Anyway lovely description of an ancient tradition that is totally new to me. Thanks for all your blogs of 2014 and can we have lots more quality stuff for 2015.


    1. Thank you! It is a cool tradition and I really enjoyed it as a child. First time in years I did this again, but I think I make it a reoccuring feature :P. I have quite some plans for 2015, only hope I can put them all into reality.

      I don’t see the face in the ear, but that is what it is all about: Freely associating stuff ;).


      1. The face you cannot see looks Gretchin like to me which smells like trouble or mischief coming either your way or mine😳


  2. Oh, we introduced our Swiss friends to Bleigiessen yesterday, but I never thought of using it to divine my wargaming future – what a great idea!
    I’ve also got quite a lot of plans for 2015… I just hope I keep enough space for spontaneous things.


    1. Excellent idea to introduce friends to this. I thought the bulk standard shapes you get in sets are a bit boring, so why not sacrifice a miniature instead ;). If the metal speaks the truth I might paint a lot more in 2015.


  3. Molybdomancy! Hilarious and very entertaining! I’m sure I have some impure miniatures around here, somewhere. I’m a little light on frankincense and white wild boar tallow, though.


    1. Glad you liked it! What better start in the new year than with a smile ;). No worries about the frankincense and tallow. You can easily replace it with mouthwash and a plastic lighter. You lose some mystery, but as long as the miniature is defiled you are good to go.


  4. Awesome sauce!
    As a lad I melted down some filings and excess flash & sprue (that I have been saving with no clear intention) in a test tube from my chemistry set, and while most of the results were uninteresting, one of the resulting blobs made a great ghost mini.
    I’m sure sacrificing an actual mini is more potent for divination though.


    1. Thank you for your comment mikemonaco. Good to know that there are other people around who value the divining powers of old lead ;). I find it very interesting that you got a ghost mini out of it. Any pictures of that creation?


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