Sunday 31 December 2017

That end of year post - 2017 edition

   So here we are again, another year over, another about to begin and another chance to look back and work out what went to plan and what didn't. So, it make sense to start with my resolutions from last year;

This year I'm keeping my gaming aims small:
  1. I'd like to try some more rulesets out this year too. The average gamer can only play a limited amount of games in a year and I would like to try out as many as I can so I can settle down onto those few that I enjoy the most. In this list are: Age of Sigmar, Sharp Practice 2, Chain of Command and Dux Britanniarum, all games I have heard great things about. - I managed to play 2/4, Age of Sigmar (much better than I expected) and Chain of Command (as good as I expected).
  2. I also want to play a game of 40K Apocalypse. I've been playing skirmish or platoon sized games for the last 2-3 years and have a real urge to play a properly massive game. - This was in the planning and then 8th edition hit and killed the plan.
  3. Carry on my aim of playing the equivalent of a game a week - only just managed that this year due to a few weekends where I played multiple games on a single day. - 105 games this year, with most due to being part of a few gaming groups - extra thanks to Neil here for inviting me round his house every month for a catch-up and a game or few and really expanding what I was playing.
   2017 ended up being a great year but probably the busiest of my life (I lost count of the amount of times I had to say no to a planned game as I was already doing something that day) with 6 new countries visited (including two Viking ship museums I never thought I would ever get to), 2 new jobs, D&D becoming more regular and expanding my normal gaming opponents. 

I played 105 games using 30 rulesets with my most played games of this year being;
  1. Thunderbirds - 16
  2. BFG - 14
  3. Bolt Action (Last year's winner) - 12
  4. Imperial Assault - 6
  5. (Joint) Dead Man's Hand, Bloodbowl, Thunder Road & Here, Kitty Kitty - 5
   Interestingly, this means that of my top 8 played games, 5 are technically board games, with only 3 being full wargames and all of my top played games have low figure counts, with Bolt Action being the one with the highest number of figures required - usually somewhere in the 30's/40's for most armies.

Carrying on tradition, here are some gaming highlights from this year;

2017 was the year I really discovered board games 

Chain of Command demo - thanks to Chris 

 Poseidon's Warriors - thanks to Neil

 Battlefleet Gothic

Dead Man's Hand Down Under - had to be done after seeing the real armour in Melbourne Library  

One of the best show games of the year 

Also the year I got back into Blood Bowl 

Baby footsteps into Flames of War 

Napoleonic naval warfare - thanks to Neil again 

One of two Bolt Action tournaments I lost at. 

Imperial Assault 

Star Trek Attack Wing - my most played game for two years running then gathering dust for nearly the whole of the next 2

So this year I want to focus on some key resolutions:
  1. Keep my 52 games a year target - as I now work from home making sure I get out of the house at least one day a week is extra important.
  2. Paint more than I buy - I managed this, this year and would like to keep getting my lead pile down, either by painting it, or by selling it off.
  3. Finish some key projects; 15mm armies for Sword and Spear, Napoleonic British for Sharp Practice, Sons of Horus 30k and my 5th company of Space Marines.
  4. Start far far less new armies. Not sure how to quantify this as a pass or fail but if I don't own any models for an army already, I don't want to get carried away with it and keep disrupting my painting queue.
I am also excited to try and play a few key games this year, some of whom tie into painting projects in the list above:
  1. LotR Battle Companies - I picked this book up a couple of weeks ago and it looks to be everything I remember from the White Dwarf version released a good 13-14 years ago. Pure nostalgia and I just can't wait to get it onto the table (plus no painting required as I have the troops).
  2. Sword and Spear - I got the rules for my birthday but I have been coveting them for a lot longer than that, but lacking the (painted) armies it has been on the back burner.
  3. Sharp Practise - this is on the verge of being a sore point. Having started painting the French troops long before the book's release, I am now (finally) the proud owner of a painted French army, however, the same cannot be said of the British army I have sitting on my shelf and in bags next to my desk.
  4. 30K - this is a theme that I have dipped into regularly ever since Black Library started releasing the novels just before I went to uni in 2006. The books are just so well written (on the whole) that it is hard not to be inspired and I have started building an army a few times before getting distracted by one thing or another (mostly price to be honest!). However, 2018 marks the year that both my normal gaming mate, and I, turn 30, so it feels appropriate to get the project finished before then. I own nearly all the models I need for the planned project, so what is stopping me?
  5. Saga 2 - while I still stand by my opinion that Lion Rampant is a far superior game to Saga, my normal gaming group are strongly in the mind set that a set of rules without official figures can't be a good game, so Saga has become the main Dark Ages ruleset. As I have said before, the Dark Ages are my favourite period in history and Saga scratched that itch, while being a low enough model count that you can dip in and out of armies without too big an expense in either time or money and I look forward to trying out it's new edition in the new year.
  6. Lords of Waterdeep - 2017 was very much the year of the boardgame for me and I doubt 2018 will see them go away. One game I got given for Christmas that I am very excited to try out is Lords of Waterdeep, the premise of which is that instead of playing as an adventurer in the D&D world, you are one of the guilds hiring them to do the jobs. Like LotR Battle Companies, this is a game that I own and don't need to paint anything for, so I hope to see it on the table early this year.
Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great 2018.

Friday 29 December 2017

The Fearsome Women's Institute

   As we are near the end of 2017 we are again at that point where we look over the year and plan what we want to do better next year, this post, however, is not about that, but is about one of the things I wanted to make sure was done and out of the way before 2018 reared it's head*.

*Plus I didn't want my last
painting post of 2017 to be
about movement trays

   When I painted up my Women's Federation Toxophilite Club it was my attempt to get a unit to represent what happens when 'ladies who organise'** get involved in conflict, in this case, instead of organising a knitting circle to knit socks for the boys on the front line, they take up arms and show them how it is done. So when Footsore Miniatures released an armed WI unit, it was pretty much a must buy.

**Thinking Sybil Vimes here
of Discworld fame.

Footsore Miniatures VBCW armed women operation sea lion sealion

   I picked up the command pack and 2 packs of regular rifles as this gave me the full 10 woman squad right from go, with no leftovers or scrabbling online to fill in that last spot of two which a lot of packs give and, obviously, the banner was a must have. I painted them to include details like the white rose of York (in their hats) and the odd purple detail to make sure they looked Albertine.
   Next step for this unit has to be some kind of personal transport, I see the leader as the sort of battle axe who could scare up anything she needed, even in a time of low resources.

Thanks for reading

Saturday 16 December 2017

Lion Rampant Movement Trays

   Between work taking over and another quick get away, my hobby time has been MIA for a couple of weeks now, but with a big game of Lion Rampant looming and a mix of not being happy with my current choice of movement tray and needing more to cover both of my dark age armies, I decided to start a fresh. Obviously, this meant a quick trip to Warbases and I picked up the perfect bases to make a shieldwall unit.*
* Although historically it seems
that even the smallest shieldwall
was 3 men deep . . .

 Possibly the least exciting first photo for a blog post ever.

 My current Anglo-Saxon army on their movement trays. This is starting to look a lot like a shieldwall to reckon with.

My current Vikings on their trays.

Because of how I was painting these armies and what I plan to do with them in the future, there are painted models that don't fit into these trays and a few** more left to paint that will then need trays of their own, so this project isn't entirely finished yet.
** Quite a lot

Thanks for reading

Saturday 2 December 2017

Another misguided new project . . .

   With the planned models for my Saxon project finished and packed away waiting for their first proper game (some have been used in Saga already bulked up with my old plastic models to make sure I played with a fully painted army), I wanted to paint some models that are not from the Dark Ages for a bit before I start to paint up the odd new batch from that era. 
   So the last few months have seen me move jobs, again (twice in a single year), and my wife has implemented her '12 in 12 challenge' to go to 12 new countries in 12 months. So between the two my hobby time has changed quite a lot, but I now have monthly doses of new things to inspire me; two of the trips have been to Viking ship museums which explains the sudden invasion of Vikings to this blog, but there are other things simmering in the background, namely a possible Moorish army and a Hungarian WW2 army.

   In September we traveled to Budapest (I had only found this out a week or so before hand) and it was a city that I didn't know what to expect from, but boy did it get some ideas going. The resistance museum, ruins pubs and the history of the city I read in the build up and while there, all got me to a point that they felt like an interesting project for a Bolt Action army. In gaming terms they aren't the cheese fest that some of the smaller nations are, looking at you Finland, nor are they irrelevant like some of the others, they played a big part in their theatre, plus it means that we could play a game where the Axis weren't just German again (we don't have a single Japanese or Italian player in our gaming group).

    The models are from Outpost Wargames and, while they are not the best sculpts in the world, they are reasonably priced, can be bought in whatever number you need (stopping you having to buy multiple boxes to get enough MMG's as Warlord loves to do) and the customer service is great. The figures are a touch on the smaller size, so I don't plan to mix them with any other ranges but as a unit, I think they look the part. One squad down, I had better get on with the rest before I get distracted again.

Thanks for reading