Friday, 30 December 2016

End of Year Review 2106

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. So with out further ado...
Rules Bought
Sword & Spear 2nd Edition.

Horizon Wars 
Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames 
Neil Thomas' Wargaming 19thC Europe 
Neil Thomas' Napoleonic Wargaming 
Neil Thomas' Ancient & Medieval Wargaming
Black Ops
Captain General 
Sharp Practice 2
The Men Who Would Be Kings 
Charles Wesencrafts With Pike & Shotte
Charles Wesencrafts Practical Wargaming  
Charge! or How to Play Wargames by Young and Lawford
D Featherstones War Games
Battlegroup by Warwick Kinrade

In the end I bought way more rulebooks than I had planned. Sword & Spear 2 was as a result of playing a game with my friend Craig. I was very impressed with the simple game mechanics, which frankly appeals to me these days. I had tried 'Hail Caesar!' but found it too complicated compared to 'Black Powder'. I may revisit these rules at some point but S&S 2 ticks all the boxes at present, including free Army Lists which is a rarity these days.

Neil Thomas' OHW book had been on my list for some time so I went ahead and ordered it. It is an interesting book that I think helps you define what you do and don't like in wargames rules. These I found too simple for my tastes, but the author makes his case very well. A perfect set of rules to introduce new gamers to wargaming and the scenarios are a great resource for future games. On the other hand his other books I think are great and fit in with the sort of games Iike to play. I look forward to trying these out in more detail next year.

Sharp Practice 2 was again as a result of a game with Craig. We had both been ultimately disappointed in Chain of Command, which although a great set of rules, didn't give us a game we enjoyed. I was unsure of SP 2 as "once bitten, twice shy", but these rules gave us a really fun game, with lots of action. Again I look forward, with luck, to giving these more of a go next year.

Having grown up in a village with limited access to town and a wargames shop, my early wargaming literature consisted of the Airfix magazine guides, especially Bruce Quarries WWII Wargaming. So this year I decided to buy the early wargames books that I missed out on as a child. An I'm glad that I did. So far they have been a joy to read (I'm still in the early stages of reading them) and I have been impressed with Wesencrafts books in particular. So much so that I may try out some of his rules along with those of Featherstone et al. 

Wargaming Books Bought
Bloody Big European Battles scenario book

Osprey Essential History of the American Civil War (belated Xmas present)
Osprey History of the American War of Independence
Scenarios for Wargames by CS Grant
The Road to Koniggratz by Q Barry
Osprey Pike & Shotte Tactics 
War Games Through the Ages: Volume Two 1420 to 1783  by D Featherstone
War Games Through the Ages: Volume One 3000BC to 1500AD  by D Featherstone 
Battle Notes for Wargamers by Featherstone 
Featherstone's Complete Wargaming
The Decisive Battle of the Western World, volume 1 by JFC Fuller
Colonial Wars Sourcebook by Haythornthwaite
Queen Victoria's Little Wars by Byron Farwell
Fight for the Throne: the '45 Reconsidered by Duffy 
Napoleonic Source Book  by Haythornthwaite
Tony Bath's Setting Up a Wargames Campaign

As with the wargames rules above, I bought way more than planned. Most as a result of wanting to read up on new periods to help fill in gaps in my general knowledge. Some, such as the Colonial Wars, to act as background reading for a future campaign using 'The Men Who Would Be Kings' rules. 
Figures Bought
Leven Miniatures buildings

Pendraken Goblins for Dragon Rampant 
Pendraken WWII Polish 
Zvezda 1/144th I -16 plane 
Imagi-Nations Ancients from Pendraken

Susprisingly little this year, but then given the size of my lead mountain, I really didn' need to buy anything! The release of the Pendraken WWII Polish range was a highlight, as I have been wanting to game this period for a few years now.

Warbands, Battlegroups or Armies Painted

Juraped Riders for KR -16 
RDF Force for KR -16
Additions to AVBCW Battlegroups  for BKCII
Leven Miniatures North European & Italian buildings
Additions to British WWII Battlegroup for BKCII 
Fallschirmjager Battalion for BKCII 

Once again my painting output has been rather low again this year. Depsite wanting to paint more this year my mojo just hasn't been there. When it has it always seems as if work will suddenly get in the way and then my enthusiasm wanes or else, in typical wargames butterfly mode, my attention wanders to another project or period. For example I started two forces for Dragon Rampant and The Pikemen's Lament, only for them to be based and then left in the box for months. All I can say is that I hope the forthcoming year is more productive.
Dragon Rampant Warbands

Poland '39 Battlegroups for BKCII

Failed utterly on these. Enough said.

Games Played 

Bloody Big Battles - 13
Honours of War - 8
Songs of Arthur & Merlin - 1 
Sword & Spear - 5
Lion Rampant - 5
One Hour Wargames - 2
Wargaming 19th C Europe - 1 
Sharp Practice 2 - 1 
KR-16 - 3 
BKCII - 1 
Black Powder - 1

Not a bad year, but more patchy than last year, due to Dave and I not being able to meet up as regularly as before. However BBB and HoW both continued to give challenging and enjoyable games. Next year I hope to get in more games of BKCII as I do really enjoy the rules and getting tanks on the table. Now that I have a Fallschirmjager Battalion completed, I have more options open to me than before.

Wargames Shows Attended
Reveille II  

Certainly a quiet year on the show front. I had wanted to attend Colours, but family commitments prevented me. Also these days I find I'm less drawn to attending shows for a variety of reasons. I'm not alone in this as it has been discussed to varying degrees on the few forums that I visit. Broadly speaking when I go to a show I would like to see:
  • A good mix of games. I know 28mm makes for good eye candy, but it would be nice for the show organisers to try and make sure that there are a broad range of scales on show.
  • Actually see games being played with information on the game and for people to talk to about the game, scenario, rules etc.
  • A good mix of traders, that like the first point above, is not all 28mm and MDF buildings.
  • Personally I like to see some re-enactors at a show as it breaks things up a bit.
  • The ability to park easily. Warfare is a case in point where, frankly, it is a nightmare.
Now I know that I'm in a minority in gaming 10mm and smaller, but others have expressed similar points, so I'm not alone. Next year I may attend Salute if helping out on a table and my friends and I plan to attend the Derby show as we have been meaning to for several years now. Colours is on the list as always, so let's hope family commitments don't get in the way.
End of Year Thoughts
So looking back on the year it seems a bit of a funny one, with my gaming being very stop/start due to the reasons outlined above. Certainly I noticed that I painted very little and somewhat irregularly. Finding the time, talk less of the energy, in the evenings has been hard this year. The one burst of painting I did have was when I had a week off and the house to myself during the day that allowed me to finish off my Fallschirmjagers. Sadly I do not have a dedicated painting space, so have to wait until the kitchen is clear before I can move in.

Next year I want to try and spend more time painting, if at all possible. Most likely on fairly small projects so that I can complete them in a resonable time. I have some planned Imagi-Nations forces in progress for use with Sword & Spear 2 that I hope to have finished fairly quickly, so that I can start a mini-campaign with them. It would be nice to finally get a German Battalion sorted for BKCII so that I can do some Early War games, which then might spur me onto the Poles. As always, so many plans, so little time...

So Happy New Year to one and all and looking forward to 2017.  


  1. I always enjoy these sort of posts, so thanks for taking the time to give a decent read. I absolutely agree about shows being too 28mm centric and this is not helped by the hobby magazines, which are likewise 28mm focussed.

    I hope you get an early play of Sword and spear on your blog. I have the rules and would enjoy your replay andconcluding obdervations.

    Thanks for another year of producing a very interesting blog. Norm.

    1. Glad you enjoyed my End of Year report Norm:). Will you be doing something similar Norm, as I too find these 'reports' an interesting read?

      28mm games do look good at shows and photo well for magazines (I know the Wargames Illustrated photographer and that's pretty much what they want). However I can't help but agree with Rick Priestly in that they always look like a school geography trip outing; "Class 5C would you please advance towards that redoubt?" One of the best games I saw at a show was a 6mm Battle of Cambrai on a simple 'old school' table that was probably 12' long by 3' deep. You could tell what was going on and felt that it was something you could reproduce at home.

      I hope to get a simple game in of Sword & Spear 2 soon, having had a few trial games so far. These have flagged up a few things that I've been doing wrong, but then that's the whole point of the games. The plan is to have a small Viking force raiding into some Anglo-Saxon territory with minimal terrain on a 2'x2' table. If I can reclaim the dining table then it will be fairly soon...

  2. If you have any questions about S&S, the forum is pretty good for quick answers. Mark usually gets to most questions quickly, but if not, one of the other of us regulars will probably be able to help.

    Couldn't agree more on 28mm. I've stopped going to shows and only buy magazines selectively now because of it.

    1. Thanks Nick, I will check the forum out later on:).

  3. Steve
    Happy New Year to you.
    That certainly is a lot of rules, I found the same with Chain of Command it was not a rule set that I could easily grasp without the need to keep checking in the rule book, unlike Sharp Practice which seems to follow alot better. They feel a little like Saga were experienced players, play the rules rather than the scenario..
    Sword & Spear sound interesting, I am being drawn to huns... which is a little worrying as I hate paintig cavalry.... :-)
    Have a great new year, perhaps we can get a couple of games in at Blastastic if I make it down.
    All the best.

    1. The rules purchases were a mix of ones to be played, ones for reference and possible future use and ones for nostalgia. All of them have giving me plenty of food for thought. Whether I ever get to play all of them remains to be seen.

      S&S to me give a great game and fun to boot. Most games are likely to be solo but later on hope to get some games in with Dave & Craig. As for cavalry, I hate painting them too.

      Not sure if I will be at Blast-Tastic this year as we are planning on attending the Derby show which is the same weekend. If I am there it would be great to have a game or tow again, in between general chatting:)

  4. Interesting to see a summary of your year like this. It would take me years to read all those books.
    Sword & Spear are new rules to me this year too and I really like them. As nickthelemming says, the author is very good at answering questions. Not necessarily the same day but he does answer, unlike some recent popular rulesets I could mention which is a shame.

    1. I think it will take me some time to read these Colin and I've got others on the shelf and in stacks still to be read. A nice problem to have though.

  5. Happy New Year Steve. Always a pleasure to read your posts even if I don't get time to comment so often.


    1. Thanks Richard and any comments are always greatfully received:)

  6. Your points regarding shows are very similar to my thoughts, Steve.

    If you need an opponent for Sword and Spear, count me in (now that I'm an expert on the Ancient period...)