Thursday 31 December 2020

That End Of Year Post - 2020 Edition

   I don't think any of 2020's end of year reviews are going to start with anything but, what a year we had. This year has a lot to answer for.

   This year I have read much much more than ever before (173 books!) and gamed a lot less, I've been to battlefields and Roman forts, all of which has inspired new armies and new projects. I've had a year of trying to buy up models I might want in the next year or so when I am pretty sure I am going to be skint, all the while being distracted by an idea I've had from the last novel I've read or last place I have visited. We've played D&D on Roll20, recorded podcasts on Skype and had a son.

   The stat that threw me the most was blog posts - this is my 2rnd highest year in a year that I didn't think I was keeping up with posts.

Here are the aims I set for myself at the end of 2019 - oh sweet summer child:

1. Play 52 games - of with 26 must be 30k - As I am on a 30k podcast I really need to know what I am talking about and make sure I don't have a dry spell like 2019 - 54 games played but only 9 games of 30k (and 6 of those were two day events in January and February and a bulk of the games played this year have been quick games that you can play 3 or 4 games of in an evening with only 26 of the 54 games being wargames (actually still better than I expected). Not going to beat myself up about this after the year we've all had. 
2. Paint more than I buy - Especially after failing in 2019 and going to add that my bought figures must never go higher than painted numbers - Failed but I sort of failed on purpose. . .
3. Really must not buy into too many more projects - Ultimately this will tie into aim 2 as this is another backlog aim - I started more projects than I planned to but I don't think it was as bad as it could have been. Mostly the problem has been the size of some of the projects.
4. Look to finish some older projects properly - Baggage, non-coms, appropriate scenery etc all make a battle feel more realistic - just painting 24 points of a Lion Rampant army doesn't quite cut it - I think this is something I've gotten better at. More armies are hitting 30 points as a basic instead of 24 and there is more gumpf appearing with them, but next year will be better.
5. Replay (mini versions of) famous battles - 2019 saw us play a mini (and it really was mini) version of Hastings, and this is something I'd like to do with other periods. Get a feel for what each side had and what the conditions were, then replay it, so looking at Agincourt, Nasby, Towton, maybe even Bosworth? - Sadly this was as affected by a lack of games as anything else. We replayed a small version of Agincourt as one of the first games this year, but it went south pretty quickly after that. Even without the weird year we've had, I suspect I was always going to fail this one, going into a aim of playing 4 battles when you only own the figures for 1 is going to make it hard to achieve.

There are a few other interesting stats that I want to share:
  • I only played 3 armies more than once this year - Ultramarines x6, Sons of Horus x3 and Napoleonic British x3. While, my new D&D character was joint first with my Ultras but doesn't have a figure yet.
  • My Top 3 most played games were; 30k x9, D&D x6 with a joint 3rd place of Hey That's My Fish x5 and Ultimate Werewolf x5, with only one other wargame coming in my top 10 (Rebels and Patriots)
  • I painted the most models in a single year than I have before - 1178!
  • 8 of the armies I played with this year were on the table for the first time.

After playing a lot of ACW last year using Rebels and Patriots it became obvious that the rules would work for Napoleonics too, so we played a few games of that this year.

I got my WW2 armies out for the first time in a couple of years. I had planned to play a few games of Bolt Action this year, but that was in Feb . . .
Also, it feels weird looking at a photo of a game played at Wayland Games - not been in the place for almost 9 months at this point.

I got to my first doubles tournament this year and it was as fun as I was told they would be.
Also winning my first physical trophy was a definite bonus.

I got my Ultramarines to their first Tournament and almost got them to a second (with the tournament being postponed twice in one year).

The Dutch Navy saw their first action this year - one of the benefits of the first lockdown was getting time to do those projects that had been put by.

The first planned game of 100 Years War was loosely based on Agincourt, following games fell by the wayside but I aim to pick it back up with the extra figures I've since painted. This project still needs more knights . . .

Getting some ECW on the table was another big highlight of the year - I'd been meaning to play that for a few years now.

My Lancers getting their first charge in was one of my gaming highlights of the year - sorry Neil. . . Hot knife through butter comes to mind.

   The other thing I thought I would do in this round up, simply due to how many books I have read this year, is have a quick bit about what books or series of books I have discovered this year and really enjoyed:
1. Mercy Thompson - Twilight in concept but actually good

2. Honor Harrington - just properly good sci-fi

3. Alan Lewrie - an easy going naval series

4. Shogan - wow, just wow

5. Anything by Ben Kane - good Roman novels

6. Anything by Sam Willis - naval history at its best

   Before this becomes a book blog, my aims for 2021 are going to be somewhat different - for obvious reasons I hope;

1. Play 25 games - I want to keep this low as I would like to spend a bit more time at home early this year. I'd rather set an easy target that I smash than spend the last half of the year chasing numbers when I should be at home.
2. Paint more than I buy - again, for obvious reasons money will be a lot tighter this year, so I'm not really aiming to buy any more than the odd top up for a unit or army if I find I am really missing something. I purposely built up my backlog to make life next year easier.
3. Play a big game - I want my gaming in 2021 to be about quality rather than quantity (he said saying he wants to play a big game). I'd like to go out once in a while and play a really good game and chat with real mates than be rushing out at every opportunity and losing a once in a lifetime chance to watch someone grow up.
4. After saying all that, I would also quite like to see if I can get a non-30k army to the top of my most played this year, but not going to purposely break the spirit of Targets 1 and 3 to achieve it.
5. Add much more gubbins to my projects - I want every project to have at least something in the way of wagons, civilians, camp followers and scenery. I'm getting much better at this but I'm still lacking in a lot of places.

I might as well use this opportunity to get some confessions in too. I've been putting some projects aside (as mentioned earlier) so that I don't need to spend money that I potentially don't have and while I don't want to dedicate myself to getting them finished without knowing what my free time looks like I expect the following to appear on this blog at some point:
  • Scots Covenantors for ECW 
  • Some Royalist Highland Scots (not a whole army - yet)
  • War of the Roses - both sides (big-ish armies) - you've seen the first batch
  • Late Imperial Romans (lots) with Goth allies
  • Early Republic Romans
  • New Kingdom Egyptians
  • Haradrim
  • Thousand Sons for 30k
  • Lizardman Blood Bowl team
  • All the cavalry for my Moorish army
  • Plus extra units for projects including Napoleonics, ECW and others
  • A fair few non-combatant units for older armies inc wagons and scenery - I'll be honest, I got carried away buying stuff for this bullet point
  • And I'm sort of tempted by a little foray into AWI or the Seven Years War
Thanks for reading

Sunday 27 December 2020

The Land Of The Rising Sun

   I'm still not doing much in the way of hobby but I thought I'd go back over some projects that never made it onto the blog for whatever reason.

    One of the books I was encouraged to read during Lockdown 1 was Shogun by James Clavell and this led to an undesirable outcome, a new project in a bit of the world that has never held much fascination for me beyond liking Pokemon.

   I decided to do it as cheaply as I could but still make it worth doing, so I bought a starter warband for Test Of Honour from Footsore Miniatures, an extra pack of figures from Steel Fist Miniatures and a few bits of scenery from Blotz and got going. I've not actually bought the rulebook yet, so that might need to be the next thing I look at. 

   I try not to be negative on this blog as its not the tone I want to go for, but there is something I'd like to get out of the way before I bring the tone back up. I'm really not a fan of the tiny wrist joints on metal models that the newer multipart Footsore Models have started to put out - I think its the bits not sculpted by Bill - so the stuff for Gangs of Rome, Mortal Gods and Test of Honour, it just makes some of the models* a nightmare to build and I doubt they will survive much in the way of gaming, even with pinning. The banner poles particularly worry me but I'm not sure what Footsore could have done about those.

*Not every model but a handful

   The figures in this post are a single Samurai away from a minimum warband - which is just my laziness on show, but I have all the Footsore Ashigaru finished (with just some Wargames Factory ones that came free with Wargames Illustrated to add to my painting list). This is one of those projects where I'm not 100% if it will ever make it onto the table, but as a hobby project it's earnt it's money back, so who really cares.

Thanks for reading

Tuesday 22 December 2020

Welcome To The World

    I try to keep this blog pretty hobby-centric but every now and again I've got a good reason to break that rule and this is one of those posts.

   About a week ago my wife gave birth to our first child, a boy we have called Edward. As you can imagine he is taking up nearly all of our time at the moment so my hobby is definitely suffering, but its been totally worth it so far.

   I've got big plans for my hobby next year and have been buying up armies since we found out (giving fair warning that I have failed at least one of my hobby targets for 2020) but I suspect posts will dry up a bit in the immediate future.

Thanks for reading 

Thursday 10 December 2020

World War Of The Roses

    This post has been written a bit earlier than I planned it to, but I've had a week or so of a complete lack of hobby mojo (not obvious from my posts) so I decided the best thing to do would be to look at something fresh for a bit before going back to my Britannia AD43 project.

   A couple of weeks back, I came across a group of posts on Twitter talking about something called the World War Of The Roses and it intrigued me.

   As you can see from the picture, I helpfully downloaded from Twitter, the aim is to have as many games set during the Wars Of The Roses played over the weekend of May 22-23rd 2021 as possible. While I didn't have anything painted up for it, I did have two armies bought and in line to be next, so why not set myself a deadline - of nearly a full 6 months.

   I've decided to go with my painting plan of doing mixed batches of troops but taking it to the next level and doing the whole of a single retinue in one go - although over a batch or two to keep numbers down. I'm going to mix the size of retinues from 6 up to maybe 16-20 depending on the lord, so some colours and badges will be more common in the army than others.

   This first retinue is Andrew Trollope who I picked because I liked his heraldry and his name - how could you not. He was a Lancastrian which is also the side I am starting with (and also the side that I have bought the most for as I think one of my gaming group plans to do a Yorkist force of their own in the future), although I do plan to continue my normal thing of painting armies for both sides as it always means I have the ability to get a game in.

Sir Andrew Trollope WotR Billhooks

   The aim is to get two side painted as and when time allows - although I suspect it'll be fairly quick as the figures are fairly easy to paint - and then bulk out each side as the deadline gets closer. I'm sort of hoping this might end up being a fairly big project.

Thanks for reading

Saturday 5 December 2020

Building Up The Strength

    I'm on the home stretch with my Ancient Britons now, with the two units in this post being the last full units of their type - although there are another 2 full units of other types and some stragglers left but that's a different problem. It was only as I waited for my laptop to warm up enough to open Chrome that I realised this army has outgrown the boxes I bought for it and will now need extra storage, so the temptation to add more units is overwhelming, something to have a stop and think about I suspect.

   This post is the last unit of regular warriors and the second (also last - for now) unit of horse. I gave the warriors a couple of flaming torches while I was building them as it occurred to me that I would like the option to play an attack on a Roman town as a scenario, as I have Roman buildings for Gangs of Rome already. In hindsight I should probably have made more than 2 with torches. All figures are Warlord Games still and I've included the guy from Boudica's chariot in this unit too.

Thanks for reading

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Last Of The Legion

    I've set myself a bit of a deadline for project Britannia AD43 (or so) that I suspect I am going to fail to achieve but I'm still getting a fair few figures from it moving to do my best. This post is about the last unit of Legionnaires inc the command elements, while I have a few stragglers coming along and I'm not going to rule out another unit one day in the future but we are done with legionaries for now.

   With just a couple of units of Auxilia left to paint for this half of the project, I had better get back to the painting table.

Thanks for reading