Happy New Year, and time for backward look at the gaming year.
A couple of years ago you may recall I decided to keep a wargames 'diary'. This I hoped would help me focus on getting stuff done rather than flitting between periods. In it I record all my purchases; books, paints and figures bought, painted, sold and also to record all my defeats and the odd notable victory of course. Well the book is closed for another year and so it is time for me to look back again.
If you don't already know, I'm a house husband looking after two kids aged 4 and 2. On the domestic front this year things definately stabilised. My little girl started pre-school a couple of days, and my son one day a week at nursery. By summer things were going so well that they both increased their time by an extra day allowing me to have one full day a week without having to look after them. After three years of hard slog I found I had some quality 'me' time. Obviously being a wargamer this immediately meant more painting time! Both of my kids also still appreciate an afternoon nap (and sometimes their dad too) and this when combined with a wife who has to work at home in the evenings meant that I do have perhaps considerably more painting time than do most of my gaming chums out there.
2010 started with me still working on lots of lovely Peter Pig ACW in an effort to finish 2009's big project. Through January and February I managed to crank out just over 350 figures, before getting what can only be described as painters block. Not surprising considering I'd painted over 1500 figures in four months. Fortunately this problem wasn't to last too long as Too Fat Lardies released 'Bag The Hun 2'. Filled with new enthusiasm for aerial gaming the next five months saw me paint over 400 1/600th scale planes. I added Italian, German, British and US planes to my MTO forces and then Japanese and US planes for the Pacific, finishing off with lots of Liberators and B-17's for ETO, and the defenders of the Reich's skies too. If you've never actually tried aerial gaming I'd highly recommend giving BTH2 a whirl. An awful lot of fun can be had with minimal outlay. Also surely painting 1/600th planes is perhaps the nearest thing to wargame painters therapy. Minimal work, maximum satisfaction guaranteed.
July saw us discover Dadi & Piombi's 'Impetus' set of rules. As a gaming group we had all been well and truly turned off the period by DBM, and had vowed never to return. Impetus changed all that. It really seemed to tick our boxes and its discovery at the same time that Essex Miniatures were running their buy three get the cheapest free DBA armies. Quick as a flash I ordered three Dacian and three Middle Imperial Roman armies. Say what you like about Essex but they are cheap, clean and easy to paint. The long summer evenings saw me paint over 1100 Ancients figures as I added Dacian, Middle Imperial Roman, Alan Sarmatian and Early Ostrogothic Impetus armies to my collection.
The last two months of the year saw me finishing off some ACW regiments that I'd had hanging around and then the beginnings of 2011 new project, The American War Of Independence, in 15mm. This recent range of Peter Pig figures is definately one of Martin (Mr Pig) Goddard's best. Really nicely sculpted, from what I can see historically accurate, (as regards as what is known that is) with typical Peter Pig bags of character and period feel. Again I turned to Don Troiani's excellent artwork for inspiration. I managed to paint up 130 odd of these chaps in December with another few hundred for the next few months. We've been writing our own set of rules for AWI based upon Too Fat Lardies ACW rules 'They Couldn't Hit an Elephant'
Painting Total for 2010
450 x 15mm ACW 1128 x 15mm Ancients 132 x 15mm AWI 439 x 1/600th planes 6 x Buildings painted 40 feet of picket fencing made
A good year of production with just over 1700 figures painted plus 439 planes. This is slightly less than in 2009 but still a total I'm happy with.
The next year will see my AWI take precedence though I have a 400+ figure Late Roman army for Impetus to finish too.
Now for the financial balance sheet...
OK, so lots painted this year. Now for the nitty-gritty, the cost.
All things considered 2010 was an expensive year. I had no plans to at the outset of the year to buy any of the purchases I actually made. I also found myself addicted in some strange way to buying the Axis and Allies 1/1800th scale ships. These are in my opinion lovely and very user friendly for target practice for Bag The Hun. However, I found myself purchasing 79 of them! This from a gamer who really dislikes naval gaming too! How very weird. In my defence I really DID NEED at least one Aircraft Carrier (...well three if you are Japanese that is of course), a couple of Battleships, two or three Cruisers, half a dozen Destroyers, a couple of submarines and loads of merchant ships, per side. Anyhow I now own sizeable fleets of targets for all the nation's planes that are in my collection.
"OK, shut up Kev. How much did you spend?" I can hear you all cry, well a whoppingly painful 2908.18 GBP. How much? How much? God I hope the wife doesn't read this.
Realising that I had overspent massively I decided to reduce my collection somewhat. I know many gamers never sell off their collections but whilst my painting improves I never have qualms about getting rid of stuff I'm not playing with or stuff that just doesn't suit. Storage is always a problem in our current house.
This year had seen my son at last officially move into my old wargames room, as his bedroom. Short on space, my Napoleonics went to live in the loft along with most of my buildings and terrain. This isn't an ideal situation as its too cold in winter and too warm in summer. Time to be very brutal Kev, breathe deep old son....
First I sold off my spare ACW regiments. I had originally planned about a dozen regiments per side but this had grown to over twenty a side, somehow. Next my spare new Ancients (!?!). OK, truth told I was less than impressed with my Roman Legionaries wearing segmented armour as part of Essex's DBA army packs and decided to replace them, and the archers, with more typically looking later Middle Imperial Roman army. The segmented armour is more Severan than Aurelianic so they were sold too.
Then I looked at my Napoleonic collection. If I am honest the Late Prussian army of the Napoleonic Wars suits me down to a tee. The Anglo-Portuguese have never felt right to me and the Austrians are ponderously slow and quirky where I'm more aggressive and rash. The Prussians have everything that appeals to me (poor troops i.e. Landwehr) and I am never happier than when commanding them. I finally sold off all of Wellington's boys and all but a couple of small Division's worth of Kaiserliks. I even managed to downsize my French by a couple of Divisions too, though I still have over a hundred Battalions worth of Crapauds, and 5,000 figures in my total Napoleonic collection.
I then got rid of all my Ospreys for the armies I'd sold, raising 2549.75 GBP, and leaving a net spend of 358.43 GBP. I still have a few Opsreys and some more spare ACW to sell, and some buildings sold to my regular gaming chums which will help fund some AWI Hessians later in the year.
I've sworn that 2011 will be a much more frugal year. There WILL be no new periods. I have already bought most of my AWI, and all of my Ancients, figures for the next year pre VAT rises. The terrain for AWI is basically the same as for ACW so I shouldn't need to buy any more, though I'm planning on scratchbuilding a fort and a couple of covered bridges.
In 2009 a new member, Paul, joined our regular gaming group. 2010 saw another Paul join our erstwhile band of brothers. He's made quite an impact on us already with his tabletop tactical ability and ready wit. So now we are six and manage to play perhaps every ten days or so at someone's house. In previous years I was able to host games more but now I have to reclaim the dining room table in the cause of geekdom from the evil forces of the 'Teacher Wife', plus we can be quite noisy (...apparently!). She's out at the gym (...or at least that's what she says) several nights a week when I'm on 'Dad Duty'.
The big thing for us as a group in 2010 though was discovering Impetus. We have really enjoyed our games thus far and Clive has even been getting his 10mm ECW out for the 'Basic Baroque' version of Impetus.
Anyhow, 2010 saw me umpire 5, and play in 27 games, two short of last year. I even managed about a dozen solo games too. I won 12, drew 1 and lost 14 this year. Not entirely much to brag about but I truly really enjoyed each and every game this year.
'Bag The Hun' WW2 Aerial x 10 'Impetus' Ancients x 9 'They Couldn't Hit an Elephant' ACW x 7 'Basic Impetus' Ancients x 3 'Le Feu Sacre' Napoleonics x 1 'De Bellis Antiquitatis' Ancients x 1 'Times That Try Men Souls" x 1
The last title is the working name of our AWI rules. The coming year should see many more playtests of these plus hopefully lots more Impetus. We have made it our groups' New Year resolution to play more games of LFS particularly as Daz has promised us that there is a new 'A la Baionette' supplement in the offing.
There were several memorable games this year. With the new ships I've bought as targets we played a couple of BTH anti-shipping games with torpedos, which were real eye openers and a lot of fun. We also tried out some great Kamikaze games and a cracking game with rocket firing Me110's and Fw-190's vs B17's and B-24's.
My Middle Imperials fought an interesting, but ultimately unsuccessful, encounter with Paul's Palmyran's. My badly handled Ostrogoths suffered humiliating defeat at the hands of Clivey after deploying their Alan allied horse archers in a wood! My Alans and Middle Imperials inflicted disasters on Nigel's Early Imperial Romans.
There were some really tough, typically gritty, ACW bashes too. In late November I hosted the fictional Maxwell's House game at Wally HQ. Set in 1864, Max was leading the Rebs with a Brigade, with new Paul and myself taking command of a further two Brigades. Paul also commanded our artillery. It was Paul's first game of ACW with us. He managed to get two Gifted commanders in the random character generator so we were feeling pretty confident. Clive and Nige donned their blue as the Union commanders. Essentially, we advanced to a creek then watched in dismay as Clive faced us off with artillery at cannister range. Of course the 'Cawfee' card came up several turns in a row. Max's and Paul's Brigades immobile were shot to shreds, though Paul managed to cross the creek only to be routed by a spirited bayonet charge. My Brigade, unable to intervene, sat there watching Max and Paul lose over 50% casualties in less than an hour. Oh how different from out usual 1862-3 games. Up to that point our Union players had become used to being thrashed by aggressive Confederate tactics. We were all truly shocked just how quickly it went pear shaped for the Confederates.
Perhaps the biggest triumph though was when we tried out our AWI rules for the first time, albeit in a French-Indian Wars setting. We had really tinkered with the musket ranges from 'Elephant', jinked their effectiveness, and added a few random events for good measure, but the whole game felt very 18th century and produced a close run game which was cracking fun. If one game is anything to go by then next year's AWI gaming should be great. I will be adding a page dedicated to AWI gaming in the next couple of weeks with pictures of my new stuff, so watch this space.
This was a bit of a disaster this year with only one show attended, Bovington in July. It is a nice little show, in a great setting to boot, but this year failed to inspire me at all. I even failed to make it to Warfare my favourite show. Real life seemed to get in the way of shows this year and with most of us having young families and commitments we all found it very difficult to arrange our weekends to coincide. Not driving myself means I am limited somewhat. I am going to try and make it this year to Salute, Bovvy, Colours, SELWG and Warfare.
Well some year, all in all. The new year sees our gaming group reinvigorated with new blood and new interests. I can't wait to see how it all turns out.
It just remains me to thank all the guys I game with for being a really top bunch of blokes. For handing out kickings to yours truly and letting me crow when I register the occasional win. Another great gaming year with no arguments.
I would also like to thank everyone for the kind remarks this site continues to get. I am amazed after all these years that I still get on average almost a hundred hits a day. Your continued support means a lot to me and helps keeps me enthused about gaming and sharing my gaming exploits with you all. Hope you all have a great gaming year too.