Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Spring Has Sprung ...

Spring has sprung, the grass has ris, 
I wonder where, them wargames is?

Well it's been about a month since my last post, so high time for a bit of an update on what has and hasn't been going on chez moi.

The Tail Wagging The Dog
I'm not alone in feeling that at times, Blogging can become more of a chore than it should be. Norm Smith has put this far more eloquently on his currently paused Blog than I ever could. It certainly became the case for me that, despite enjoying my current BKCII campaign, the weight of expectation to produce another AAR became like an albatross around my neck. So I simply decided to take a break from gaming and re-charge the batteries.

Alongside this the issue of the time taken writing an AAR for only maybe 5 comments led me to question whether or not to continue down this road at all. Again there have been lots of comments, ironically enough, on this issue as a result of Norm's post. Many people have made very valid reasons why they do not or cannot comment on posts, but it had become a somewhat thankless task for me, which I did not want it to.

Then there is the issue of the amount of time spent online, which whilst not excessive, was taking up too much of my time, which needed to be spent on other things. To give you an idea we went away for a day and a bit to visit my Dad for his 85th birthday. I never take my laptop with me so was offline for maybe 36 hours. When I got back and checked in on Blogs I follow, it took me 1 1/2 hours to read and comment on them. That really brought it home to me that something needed to change. So I cut back on the number of Blogs I follow and am consciously spending less time online, to give me time to do other things. So far I feel better for it.

After a very long, cloudy and wet Winter here in Bristol, some recent lovely weather has meant much more time outside doing my gardening and trying to shed some of the Winter padding that accrued whilst being stuck indoors. When the weather is this good my wargaming very much takes a back seat, until such time as it changes with our fickle maritime climate. 

Decorating the house has also consumed much of my time, meaning that by the end of the day I have been physically and mentally pooped and so the last thing that has been on my mind is painting toy soldiers of sorting out a game. On days like these I've really felt my age!

As I've mentioned before, being a full-time carer for our neuro-diverse son, means that I have to deal with our Local Authority on his behalf. This can be at times an exhausting experience as despite the staff wanting to do their best, there simply aren't enough of them and the system is broken. A few times I have been in the mood to do some painting, plan a game etc and then a 'phone call or e-mail will leave me deflated and fed up. It really is a constant battle to get the simplest things done. 

Books & Painting
One benefit of less online time is that I've spent more time reading, which has been a constant pleasure throughout. Each morning I try to spend about half an hour or more reading before the day proper kicks off. That bit of 'me time' is a great boon and much treasured. Painting has been rather erratic due to the above, but I have done a bit, but more on that in another post.

A collection of some of my Patrick Delaforce books. I bought these years ago and have read some, but not all. I recently picked up one on the 11th Armoured Division on a whim and enjoyed it immensely. I'd forgotten how much useful info there is in these books for the wargamer, whether fighting in Normandy, Belgium or Germany in '45. Highly recommended if you haven't read them before. Get the hardbacks if you can as they have better maps than the softbacks.

I hadn't planned on buying any new rules this year, but having read good reviews on these as well as looking at their inspiration, 'Loose Files and American Scramble', I'm glad I did. I aim to do a more detailed review on my Blog soon.

An interesting book, full of info, but not an easy read. I think if I hadn't read all of Sear's books on the ACW I would have really struggled to understand what Paddy Griffith was driving at in his arguments. Worth getting and it does make you question some of the ACW rules out there.

I have been after this book for some time, but each time I have checked, it has been listed at silly prices on Amazon, Abe Books etc. After a comments conversation with Nundanket on his Blog, I checked ebay on a whim and managed to pick this up for just over £20 inc p&p. Result!

What's Next?
Well the DIY is nearly finished, so I should have some more free time soon for gaming and painting. Certainly I feel more in the mood for both after my 'break' and certainly feel more refreshed on the gaming front. Who knows I might even get a game in this weekend!

So until next time, stay safe and keep healthy!


  1. Your comments (along with Norm’s) encapsulates a lot of peoples blogging experiences - including my own. I suspect that 10 years ago a new crop of bloggers would take the place of the old guard as they “burnt out”, these days I’m not so sure that’ll happen since there are other platforms taking up the slack and perhaps a move away front this kind of reportage. The unconscious pressure to continually provide more or better is not sustainable - but eschewing the buzz of other peoples approval - especially when one is relatively isolated (in one sense or another) is a hard thing to do.

    1. I have noticed over the past year or so a change in Blogger's views of the effort involved re: the 'reward'. I can see why people move over to Instagram, Facebook etc but neither are a satisfying read etc IMHO.

      Not having any FtF gaming really for over two years does take its toll, so it's nice to share one's experiences with others and to get feedback etc. Jon Freitag's Blog is a case in point, where often 'conversations' will start as a result of one of his posts.

  2. Hi Steve, 'taking a break' from the screen is obviously something that interests me at the moment and I have noted a couple of blogs that are re-evaluating how much time they spend at the screen.

    I think this is just something about taking control back for those who feel they have either surrendered too much time to the screen or in some cases feeling that the internet tail is wagging the dog ..... or in some cases (me) both of those things.

    Good to see that a short break has put you in the frame of mind of getting something onto the table ..... but on your own terms and to fit with everything that is going on around you. Enjoy.

    1. We and others are obviously in the same boat Norm! The break has done me some good and now the hard bit of the current DIY is over (famous last words), my mind and inclination is moving back towards getting some games in etc.

  3. Hi Steve....last to comment on your previous post, but first this time! I can understand how you would be feeling...your extremely detailed reports on each battle of your campaign are far more extensive than most bloggers, including myself, provide. It's really engaging to be drawn in to the details of each encounter, as well as the pre and post game sitreps, using the campaign map to convey how each battle is linked.....but it's obviously very time consuming....and then to get five or six comments when some blogs get thirty for half a dozen images of recently painted figures and a few descriptive words, could well be somewhat deflating. I do hope you persevere though...but if you need to reduce the detail a bit, please do so, rather than quitting the blog entirely....your contributions would be sorely missed! I hope you get some more decent weather too, even if it may have a negative impact on your gaming!

    1. Thanks Keith and I'm glad you enjoy the level of detail in my reports. I see them as a way of sharing info for others who might fancy putting on the game, whether with BKCII or another set of rules. I will persevere but I just realised that the tail was wagging the dog and the old dog needed a break!!!

  4. Hi Steve...I really do understand your comments on blogging. I try to do a post every four or five days but the number of hits and scarcity of comments can be disheartening. It can make you wonder if it is actually worthwhile. But then of course I get a real nice comment that makes you want to continue. I sure hope I am not one of your unfollowed blogs !!!! This time of year always puts a brake on modelling etc as the outside chores increase, the diy list expands and days out take precedence. As long as you can find time to read a bit that has to be a good thing. Regards.

    1. You are not alone in wondering if it's all worthwhile or not Tony. In the long run it is but sometimes you just need to walk away a bit and take time to re-focus. Have no fear, your Blog is still on my list and I love your woodscrew armies!

  5. Well I for one am really looking forward to the next CYGNET actions, but you must always do blogging for fun, not as work!

    Very much seconded on your Delaforce recommendations, lots of interesting snippets in there. I would really like to design some campaigns around their structure - although I would definitely supplement it with some other stuff for a better view of 'the other side of the hill'. What is stopping me at the moment is that I would really like to do things in order ; i.e. Early War then Mid War then Late War, but my collection is the reverse, and frankly all over the place in terms of different manufacturers and so on. So it has all become a bit paralyzed!

    1. Well hopefully the next game might not be too far away, now the the muse is almost upon me again.

      Reading the latest book and I too thought that it would be good to replicate some of the actions, as there is lots of interesting stuff in terms of materiel used or simply not available etc. Plenty to ponder for sure but something to come back to in the future for a Operation Cygnet style campaign.

  6. Hi Steve. I pretty much relate to what you feel. There’s so many layers to this. It looks like you’ve got your hands full anyway, so some kind of re-prioritisation is inevitable, whether temporary or permanent.
    Also I’d like to echo Keith’s comments about your detailed AARs. Love to read them. You do put more in than most do.
    Mind how you go, and hopefully you’ll stick around this sphere.

    1. Thanks for letting me know you like my AAR's. Comments like this really do help me want to continue in the same vein. We all have things to juggle, most of which are easy to do, but dealing with the Local Authority is frustrating at the best of times. Today was a case in point, but luckily I had got my jobs done for the day before the e-mails caused more Anglo-Saxon expletives (in my head!).

  7. Et tu, Brutè?

    Having last posted about one month passed, I was beginning to wonder if you had fallen victim to circumstances too. I know you are very busy on your Home Front so your long absence was noted but not alarming. Well, not too alarming. I was considering whether or not an email to check in would be warranted.

    Good to see you have returned, rejuvenated. I suppose we may have different reasons or compulsions to blog. If that compulsion and motivation is waning, better to take a break than force the task upon yourself.

    As your situation lends itself to solo gaming, chronicling your exploits whether publicly or privately seems a good way to capture your experience.

    I enjoy your campaigns and detailed battle reports (especially the ones I participate!) and hope to see more as time and motivation permit. Also look forward to seeing your reviews of LFoR and Griffith's book.

    I am beginning to wonder if Norm was the canary in the coal mine.

    1. Norm had dropped me a line as he'd noticed my absence too Jon, so good to know we check in on each other from time to time. Your thoughts are appreciated. Or maybe I was just worrying about the Ides of March and decided to keep my head down;).

      Not sharing a solo game does seem weird now, as for various reasons gaming clubs hold no interest to me, so popping something online is a good way to get feedback that we all need, especially during the trying times that Covid has and continues to bring to all of us.

      I'm glad you too enjoy my AAR's and I have some ideas for another campaign for you and Norm later on in the year, most likely in the Autumn. Details to follow in due course.

      I think you would like the LFoD rules Jon, given they are more up to date in their 'thinking' compared to LF&AS, plus they have 13 detailed scenarios. Then of course there is the added bonus of support for the American Battlefields Trust, which is brilliant IMHO.

      I think Norm's post addressed the elephant in the room that many of us have skirted around or made passing comment on in the past year or two. At least it's good to know we're not alone in how we feel about Blogging etc.

  8. It’s good to see you’re back posting on the blog again Steve. I too was a bit concerned that it had “been a while” since your previous post, but as I could see an occasional post from you on the Pendraken forum, I knew at least you were ok. And I didn’t want to pry in case the “silence” on the blog was because of something private.
    It’s understandable that, as you clearly put a heck of a lot of time & effort into posting things on your blog, it must be a disappointment if there’s little feedback from your readers (I’m sure we all want to be appreciated).
    One thing we all have to realise is that bloggers “blog” for many and varied reasons, but all must be doing it because they want to. If it (blogging) becomes a chore or diverts you from what you really want to do, then don’t do it.
    I’m sure your readers all enjoy your efforts (especially the battle and campaign reports etc) so maybe it is time we readers need to show our appreciation & make sure to leave comments - otherwise blogs will dry up as hobbyists either cease to “comment” or move onto other media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.
    From a personal perspective, I always try to leave some comment (hopefully positive, sometimes asking a question and sometimes just chipping in with my two pen’orth. As you may be aware, Yorkshire folk always have an opinion 😀).
    I’m glad the break has recharged your batteries. Perhaps “more is less” - would, say, 2-3 posts a month feel better than 6-7? It would mean less time sat tapping away at a keyboard and, hopefully, more time spent doing whatever the heck it is that “floats your boat” - whether that’s painting figures, making terrain, playing wargames, gardening etc.
    Personally I’m no big fan of DIY - I can break stuff with a sledgehammer, but putting up wallpaper? Nope, not one of my skills. I’m not a keen gardener - I do it because it has to be done. Grass grows and needs to be cut, but I find it a chore (much like shaving the stubble that grows on my face every day). Hopefully you just need to make sure you strike the right balance. It sounds like you’re already heading in the right direction.

    Take care. Cheers,


    1. Good to hear from you Geoff and nice to know you were 'checking in on me' as it were via the Pendraken forum:). I always appreciate your comments in what ever form they take, as it's nice to get feedback of any sort. I try to comment on the posts of the Blogs I follow, but sometimes miss them, forget to etc. We are all human after all but at least I think I comment over 90% of the time.

      My batteries are re-charged and I did a trial bit of terrain making tonight, more of which to follow on the Blog when completed. I'm certainly feeling more in the mood to do gaming related stuff of any kind now, which is good.

      I love gardening, certainly at this time of year as it's nice to get outside and potter about. But come late Summer and at times it can feel a chore, so my mind then drifts more back to wargaming, certainly when September arrives and the show season re-starts (hopefully).

    2. Gardening? Only because I have to.
      Shows? Well, I went to Hammerhead at Newark on 5 March and that was a decent enough show. I enjoyed it & it’s always good to see lots of shiny toys marching round the tabletop battlefields. Plus it was an opportunity to pick up a good few books I’d had my eye on for a while.
      Conscious of the £££’s I suspect the next show I attend will be http://www.joysofsix.co.uk/ at Sheffield Hallam University - in Sheffield by an odd coincidence 🤣 - on Sunday 3 July. A show for the smaller gaming scales (6mm mostly), it is local to me and I think it’s important to show support else we risk the show circuit just dying away. There’s not much information available about games, traders etc but I could be tempted by Commission Figurines MDF figures for the US/British War of 1812, but there’s nothing suitable to represent the native Americans. Perhaps I should speak to them and see what they suggest…
      At the moment I’m very much into 2mm gaming and the FP3X3PW phenomenon is a strong contender - although, like many gamers, I can easily be tempted by new/different/unusual shiny toys, wars, campaigns etc.
      All the best,


    3. I find gardening very relaxing and a complete change of pace and setting compared to my old job, but like anything else it can at times get a bit much. It would be nice to go to a show just to get that fix, but with the increasing cost of living at present, I think I may have to be choosy about where I go etc. The Joy of Six show I'd love to attend but too far and too expensive with fuel costs at present.

  9. Wise words Steve and as I have posted on other blogs discussing the issue it is all about balance for me. Do what is right for you. As summer comes I know the draw of other activities will increase. I do still try to blog something every couple of days but don’t try to force it. It is as much a personal diary of my hobby. I ignore the numbers etc…. I see it more as a virtual wargaming club and sharing my efforts with a small group is sufficient if a handful of people care or enjoy what I am doing that is enough, I have always been fairly strict in not publicising the blog or trying to increase circulation. As you know I keep my text limited as I would rather be painting than typing ! Glad you are back at what ever levels works for you. I feel your pain over the LA we could no doubt share experiences as my daughter has complex learning difficulties, although we have finally (she is 24 now) reached a quite positive supported position, it wasn’t without a fight !

  10. I think your point about a virtual wargaming club is very valid and certainly puts what we do in a nice perspective. I'll have to bear that in mind moving forward. The break certainly did me some good and I've come back somewhat refreshed.

    I'm sure we could bore people for hours over trying to get support etc from the LA. Our son is nearly 22 and we have re-started the journey towards supported independent living, which will probably take around 5 years to achieve for a variety of reasons. I just wish they'd give you all the info at the start, rather than about 50%, as is the current case. I'ts very hard trying to make informed choices without all the info to hand!

  11. Hello Steve

    Glad to see that you are back, at least if only partly refreshed. I blogged fairly regularly once a fortnight or so for the first seven years of the blog. I played and wrote them up after my children went to bed. And then we started renovating a house...and that, and other associated stresses, went on a lot longer than it was supposed to. Now it has mostly finished I find my interests have diversified even more than when I started blogging. And also I am more tired in the evenings! So I am catching up on TV shows or reading instead of gaming. I am also enjoying tinkering with rules so much I spend more time on that than playing :-) And lastly, I also cannot shake a recent (well, last few years) of solo RPGing that takes up much spare time and I don't post much about.

    It does take a while to put a post together, and yours are a shining example of great thoughtful posts. I can understand how comments are an important feedback mechanism for bloggers. When I started I thought I might one day get 10 followers, 10 hits a post and the rare comment. It is more than that these days and the blogging comradery is simply amazing. But if I only had 10 followers and 10 hits a post and the odd comment I would still be happy as that exceeds the expectations I had (and still have).

    We all have various reasons for blogging, what we blog, the frequency and what we seek from blogging. As long as we are aware of what is is for us personally as sometimes blogging becomes the habit rather than the joy.

    1. Thanks Shaun. I know that feeling about being too tired to put on a game in the evening! Also when SWMBO has had a busy day, it does feel a tad unfair to leave her along, unless she is into some new Netlix programme etc;). These days I tend to game when in the mood, as of late, rather than for any deadline I may have set myself. Ditto painting etc.