Thursday, 31 December 2015

End of Year Review 2015

Well as another year draws to a close, it's time for some reflection on what worked, what didn't and some plans for next year.....

Rules Bought
1870 Grand Tactical Wargames Rules
Spectre:Operation (free download)
Spec Ops modules for Gruntz!
Open Combat (present) 
Skirmish Sangin (free) 
Bloody Big Battles 
Honours of War (free)
Dragon Rampant 

A funny old year on the rules front for me. I've lost my enthusiasm for WWII and Modern skirmish type games and have really bought into rules that cover large scale engagements. 'Honours of War', which I helped playtest, has become a firm favourite for 18thC battles and I doubt it will be supplanted by anything else. 'Bloody Big Battles', a relatively recent purchase, looks to be a very good set of rules and ones that will get a lot of play next year. '1870' was bought mainly as a reference book and is superb on that account. I've never had a go at the rules and doubt I will, given that 'BBB' works for me.

'Dragon Rampant' was a belated Xmas present and I'm yet to receive the rules, but given that I love 'Lion Rampant', which I also helped playtest, I doubt I will be disappointed. 

Wargaming Books Bought
History of the Franco-Prussian War by Michael Howard
Osprey Essential Histories The Russian Civil War 
3 books on the 1st Schleswig-Holstein War 
The Devil's Playground supplement for Pike & Shotte 
The Last Argument of Kings supplement for Black Powder
Rebellion! supplement for Black Powder 
The War of the Triple Alliance Osprey book 
Osprey Essential History of the Seven Years War
The Military Experience in the Age of Reason by Duffy
Blandfords SYW Army Uniforms
Blandfords Peninsular War Armies 
ECW  by P Haythornthwaite
Osprey Polish Armour of the Blitzkreig 
The '45 Rebellion, a Military Perspective by Stuart Reid 
Blandford Napoleonic Uniforms Guide 
'Moving the Guns: Mechanisation of the Royal Artillery, 1854 - 1939' 
Napoleonic Wargames Rules - CS Grant
Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature: War Gamers' Guide to the Napoleonic Wars, 1796-1815 - Bruce quarrie
Osprey Italian Light Tanks 1919 - 1945 
'Too Little, Too Late' by Mike Embree 
'Radtesky's March' by Mike Embree 

Well I am suprised at how many reference books that I've bought over the past year. Quite an ecletic mix and one that shows my attempt to get to grips with some new periods. The standout books for me are by Duffy, Howard, Reid and Quarrie. Great reads and ones that I will return to again and again.

Figures Bought
Armies Army RUSK Militia for Gruntz
Armies Army White Russians for Gruntz
Zvezda Modern AFVs for Gruntz
Empress Miniatures Modern British, USMC & Insurgents
Pendraken 1st Schleswig-Holstein Germans and Danes
Leven Miniatures 6mm Buildings 
Pendraken ECW for 'The Pikeman's Lament'
6mm sample MDF figures from Commission Figurines 
Pendraken additions for my Imagi-Nations forces

A relatively quiet year on the figures front, but given my lead mountain, not too suprising. Most purchases were at the start of the year, with little happening post Salute.

Warbands, Battlegroups or Armies Painted
Extra units for Dux Bellorum Welsh and Sea Raiders
Carrier Platoon for BKCII
Sherman Squadron for BKCII 
Churchill Squadron for BKCII
Kreigspeil style blocks 
28mm SAS unit for modern skirmish games 
Gruntz RUSK Militia Platoon and Support Units 
Extra units for my AVBCW forces 

A very quiet year on the painting front. My painting mojo has been lacking, with work getting in the way a lot so that the last thing I want to do is paint come the evenings or weekends. Being a complete wargames butterfly and the lack of gaming 'deadlines' hasn't helped at all. Next year will hopefully be more focused...

Dux Bellorum Campaign
KR-16 Campaign
Two forces for Gruntz! and/or NEIS
Kreigspiel style blocks for Hail Caeser, Pike & Shotte and Black Powder
Baltic Crusades 
1st Schleswig-Holstein War 

Pretty much a complete failure on the projects front! My two campaigns fizzled out for a variety of reasons, with the Baltic Crusades and 1st Schleswig-Holstein War failing even to get off the ground at all. At least I did complete my Kreigspeil style blocks and finish one force for Gruntz. The lesson learnt is that I'm terrible at finishing or even starting projects. 
Games Played
Dux Bellorum - 9
KR-16 - 2 
Spectre: Operations - 1 
Black Powder - 7
Lion Rampant - 5
Honours of War - 13
Hail Caeser - 2
Skirmish Sangin - 2
The Pikemen's Lament (playtesting) - 7
Volley & Bayonet - 1 
Bloody Big Battles - 2

Quite simply the best year for games that I've ever had. This is largely down to Dave Fielder being able to come over pretty much each week for a game. Not only has this meant that I've had a game nearly once a week, but it has also resulted in the broadening my gaming interests. I've fallen in love with 18thC battles, especially the SYW and have even learnt that Napoleonics can be fun! With 'BBB' I'm really getting into mid 19thC gaming, with the Austro-Prussian  War and Franco-Prussian War of particular interest. Dave promises me that I will also learn to enjoy ACW games as well... 

End of Year Thoughts 
So looking back at the above, quite a funny old year wargaming wise. One that has certainly had a few suprises. So what are the salient points that sum up this year?

  • Currently I simply am not enjoying skirmish games like I used to. For them to work I feel you need to play them as part of a campaign to get the best out of them. Mordheim was the perfect example for me. However I do enjoy 'Lion Rampant' as I like the way Dan Mersey approaches his games, the rules work well for solo play and there is the ability to play them easily as part of a campaign. I'm looking forward to receiving 'Dragon Rampant' so that I can dig out some of my favourite 1970's miniatures.
  • I've completely gone off WWII skirmish games. 'Chain of Command' promised much but in the end the rules just didn't click with me. I found that he who controlled the BUA generally won the game. I will stick with BKCII to give me my WWII gaming 'fix' as I find the Battalion level and above style game gives me more satisfaction.
  • Plenty of games played, mainly during the week, has led to a steep decline in my painting. I need to try and focus more on getting some painting done during the week and try and stick to one project. Well at least that's the aim.
  • A couple of my regular gaming chums have no decamped to the Cotswolds (was it something that I said?) so it is pretty hard for us to meet up these days. Fortunately Dave Fielder has more than filled the gap left by their departure. 
  • I've gone off 28mm miniatures, even for skirmish games. I much prefer 10mm and 6mm for my games, even skirmish ones. I will keep a few sets for those one off games, but most will be off-loaded in the New Year.
Plans for 2016
Well given my complete inability to achieve pretty much anything that I had planned this year, maybe I should set some realistic goals for 2016. 

  • Paint more. Simples. 
  • Pendraken are due to release some WWII Polish troops in the New Year so I hope to be able to get my act together and make 2 forces for use with BKCII. The '39 campaign is one that I've wanted to game for ages, especially having played it with my good friend Keith Flint. Lots of nice kit, no uber powerful tanks, cavalry, nice camo schemes etc. so what's not to like?
  • Play more games of Honours of War and Bloody Big Battles. Given that Dave is still around on his contract this should be quite easy to achieve.
  • Sort out two units and a games board for KR-16, given that I have commited to demo-ing the game at Blast-Tastic.

I think that's it for next year. It will be interesting to see what happens and how my 'plans' worked, or not, as the case may be. Whatever happens I'm sure I'll have fun, which afterall is what it's all about.


  1. That certainly was a busy year Steve, nice to hear you are getting plenty of games under your belt. Poland 39 sounds interesting. I look forward to seeing how 2016 shapes up.

    1. Yep, very happy to have played so many games. Poland '39 has been on my to do list for ages, not only as a historical campaign, but for plenty of 'what ifs?'. I hope this will be my big project of the year...

  2. Exellent summery of the year matey!

    Happy new year!!!

    Best regards Michael

    1. Thanks Michael and a Happy New Year to you too!

  3. Glad to hear you got more games in - that's the spirit!

    I would also point out that I have moved closer to Bristol (by about 20minutes) at immense cost both financially and psychologically. Just don't tell the wife that wargaming with old buddies was the only reason. I hope to pop over whenever I can.

  4. Mum's the word Keith! Looking forward to trying to get some games in with you this year.