Monday, 31 December 2018

End of Year Review 2018

Well another year is drawing to a close so, as has become customary on many Blogs, it's time to look back over the year on what has, hasn't worked etc. So without further ado...

Rules Bought
Dawns & Departures PDF for Sharp Practice II
For King & Parliament
Bolt Action 2nd Edition
The War Game by CS Grant
Glory Hallelujah supplement for BP
Battlegroup Panzergrenadier
Saga (first edition)

Once again a somewhat varied set of purchases on the rules front. 'The War Game' was bought to fill a hole in my collection of early wargaming books and it was an enjoyable read. I doubt I would ever use the rules, but it is nice to see how different authors approach things. I surprised myself by buying 'Bolt Action 2' as the rules didn't attract me first time around. However I was pleasantly surprised when I read them, being relatively simple but with enough detail for yours truly. I think they will scratch the itch that is skirmish level gaming in and around WWII, something that Battlegroup failed to do, despite being a good set of rules. 'FK&P' I helped proof read early in the year and they are a great set of rules. Sadly I have yet to play a full game with them, but this is something I hope to address in the New Year, given that I have plenty of figures for this period but, failing that, Ican use my wooden blocks.

Wargaming Books Bought
Oliver Wiswell - an AWI novel
The Iliad - theRobert Fagle translation
Warfare in the Classical World by Peter Connolly
Pike & Shot by CS Grant 
Monmouth's Rebels: the Road to Sedgemoor by Peter Earle
The Battle of Killiecrankieand the 1st Jacobite Rebellion
Operation Goodwood - an aerial view
History of British Tank Development by David Fletcher (Father's Day gift)
The Diaries of Horace St Paul
To Hell & Back by Ian Kershaw
Osprey Operation Market Garden series
Osprey Atlantic Wall Defences
Osprey French Revolutionary Wars Campaign book 
Uniforms of the French Revolutionary Wars by Haythornthwaite
Battleground - Juno Beach
Stopping the Panzers

On the surface quite a mixed bag of purchases, but there is method in my madness as it were. Broadly speaking they broke down into:
  • WWII background info for future BKCII campaigns.
  • Some Ancients inspiration.
  • The Glorious Revolution background reading.
  • SYW background reading.
  • AWI inspiration for a future campaign. 
Not all have been read and, as is my want, many are part read and on the go as it were. The 'Stopping the Panzers' and 'Operation Goodwood' books were superb reads and very enlightening and come highly recommmended. Ditto the 'Diaries of Horace St Paul' which really gives you a feel of what it was like to be on campaign in the SYW as well as the general 'fog of war' as to where you enemy was and what they were up to or planned to do.
Miniatures Bought
Pendraken AWI & F&IW for Rebels & Patriots 
League of Augsburg reinforcements for FK&P/Baroque
WWII additions
1859 Italians for BBB & ImagiNations
SYW British
Jacobite '45
Leven Miniatures buildings 

Not too many minatures bought this year, but all were for specific projects that failed to make head way or have yet to be started. 

Miniatures Painted
Scratch built ruined buildings
British Inter-War tanks
British Recce Armoured Cars
German Pz IV's
German Tiger I
Stug III 105mm Assault Gun
Char Saint-Chamond
Pendraken ECW for The Pikemen's Lament rules

At least this year felt like I had painted more miniatures than last year, but still not as many as I would have liked. The very hot Summer didn't help as it was too hot to paint. The perennial problem of not having a dedicated space was ever present, which now our daughter is at Uni, I may be able to address.

Operation-Market Garden for BKCII
Rebels & Patriots Campaign
The Pikemen's Lament Campaign 

Frankly my Market-Garden campaign failed completely, despite my best intentions, ditto the Rebels & Patriots one. I did manage a start on The Pikemen's Lament one, but this then stalled in the run up to Xmas. Campaigns are something I plan to do more of next year, but more on this later.

Games Played
Rebels & Patriots - 5 
To the Strongest - 2
The Pikemen's Lament - 8
Honours of War - 2
Trimsos - 1
Black Powder - 1 

A very funny year, with a flurry of playtesting for Rebels & Patriots in January, followed by the odd game or two until Summer, when all gaming stopped due to the wonderful and rather warm weather. Things picked up in the Autumn, with a late flurry whilst at home on post-op recovery in November & December. Still not bad at two games per month, but could do better.

Wargames Shows Attended
Cotswold Wargaming Day

Only 3 shows this year, with one being the inaugural Cotswold Wargaming Day, which was excellent. Salute was as busy and overwhelming as always, but with better games on display this year. Once again I was helping out with Michael Leck's game, which was good, but is always a long and busy day. Colours was nice as I met up with some friends, but other than that not a lot to attract me as a punter, but more on this later. 

End of Year Thoughts
I think it's always a bit tricky to sum up a wargaming year, but I hope the following give a flavour of my thoughts and feelings this year as well as plans for next year. So in no particular order:

  • It was a very stop-start year, with no real momentum to any of my gaming, projects or painting. A lack of a regular opponent meant there was no real focus either. It's funny how a planned game in a week or so really focuses the mind to get things finished etc. The wonderful Summer certainly meant that all gaming took a back seat for quite some time as frankly I wanted to enjoy being outside as much as possible.
  • The above then had a knock on effect on my painting and gaming. No deadlines meant that projects slipped or were supplanted in the painting queue or my mind wandered onto other projects. Very lax of me I know.
  • Next year I aim to try and restore one night a week as my regular gaming night, coupled with running some narrative campaigns to help maintain focus. This will help on all levels and even though most games will be solo, I think it's the best way to address the issues of this year.
  • This year I tried once again to get into Ancients gaming. Afterall there are so many colourful and exotic armies to choose from, talk less of some excellent rulesets out there. But honestly I just haven't been able to. I don't know why, but that's how it is. So I decided to stick with skirmish level games such as 'Lion Rampant' and to a period I love, namely the 'Dark Ages' and the Vikings and Saxons etc.
  • This year I cancelled my subscription to 'Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy' magazine. Despite being the best out there IMHO, it simply didn't offer enough interest to me. To be honest I find more inspiration in various Blogs I follow and the ever excellent 'Warning Order' e-magazine.
  • Two Blogs I have enjoyed this year are Battlefields & Warriors and Carryings On Up The Dale , both of which have ben consistently excellent and inspirational. Both have run some great campaigns, whether via Boargames of with figures. As various Blogs seem to have withered away, it is nice to see these keeping going and with interesting output.
  • This year I was diagnosed with prostate cancer which, following a successful operation, I am thankfully free of. This has not unsurpisingly focused my mind somewhat on what is and isn't important. On the gaming front this means off loading minatures I know in all honesty I'll never get around to finishing or even starting, as well as focussing on projects and periods I really enjoy. I'm sure the wargames butterfly will flap her wings now and then, but focus is my aim moving forward.
So there we have it, 2018 in review and some plans for 2019. My first project & campaign will be a BKCII one, given that this is a period I love and also have plenty of miniatures already painted for it. More on this in the coming days and weeks.

All that remains therefore is to wish you all a 'Very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!'


  1. Despite your sense of a stop-start year, happily plenty of good stuff made your table, my favourite being the BKCII write-ups, which as well as the subject matter hitting my sweet spot, the games ideally showcased the size of game that I think most of us in the UK at least, with our smaller modern homes, can best relate to. Looking forward to your early views on BKCIV.

    Thanks for the blog shout up and for a year of leaving generous comments. There is a good bit of content going around the world of blogs at the moment - much for us all to enjoy:-)

    Have a great 2019.

  2. Thanks Norm:). It's nice to see that Blogs are still going strong, despite talk of their apparent demise due to social media etc. There are so many excellent ones out there and I try to limit myself to which ones I follow, otherwise I would get even less done than I do already!

  3. Happy New Year Steve.
    Good news on the health front, it looks like an interesting year ahead, much like yourself things fell away in the 2nd half of the year, here's hoping for a more consistant year ahead.
    Best wishes

    1. Thanks Stu. Always hard to maintain gaming momentum when work and family commitments abound.

  4. Excellent annual summary Steve.
    You are too hard on yourself though -
    Anyone getting in about a game a fortnight is not doing too badly!
    Looking forwards to the next game.

    1. Very true Adam. I suppose there is a tendency to think we should be playing games all the time, rather than enjoying our wonderful hobby and gaming when we feel like it.