Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Thursday 1 January 2015

A Review of 2014

So what happened in my heretical gaming in 2014?  Well, I had a look back at what I started the year trying to achieve:

(Last year's plans are in italics)

1.  My main project is my ongoing Peninsular War campaign.  I have all the troops I need for this, although I currently have to proxy Neapolitan and Dutch infantry, for example.  But I have the vast majority of what I need for it, so the main problem has been to find time between extensive work and family commitments, and some unfortunate bouts of sickness, to resume it.  Hope springs eternal however and I've managed to get it started again this weekend.

It didn't continue as far or as fast as I would have liked, endless doses of reality interfering as usual!  But it has progressed and it is still enjoyable, so a definite success.  The arrival of a 'playful' kitten in my house has necessitated a delay whilst I sorted out a new place for my campaign map (it had been permanently left on the floor in our box room). However, I've managed to transfer my campaign onto the "Tomb For An Empire" VASSAL module, so hopefully that will help.  It also means I can play through the campaign turns whilst I'm away from my gaming table and so always have the next battle ready to fight.  The Neapolitan infantry and some other odds and sods are part-painted, I'll be looking to finish them during this month.

2.  The next campaign I am lining up is a re-fight of Caesar's Conquest of Gaul and his Invasion of Britain.  I still have a few more chariots to construct and paint, but in the main the armies for this are done.  I shall use Polemos SPQR probably, although DBA and DBM are also possibilities.  The key thing to research and decide here is the boardgame to use as a basis for it.  I'm still looking, so any recommendations would be very useful here!

I've played a few games of Polemos SPQR and DBA...and I'm still undecided as to which one to use.  I've made no progress at all on choosing a boardgame.  I'm tempted to wait a few more months, see how I get on with VASSAL, and then that might influence my decision as to which boardgame to go for.  Almost all of the troops are painted for this: only a few more bases of chariots and a couple of Roman ballistae to go.

3. I'm strongly considering getting rid of all my 20mm and 15mm figures and concentrate only on 28mm (for hybrid games, mainly) and 6mm.  It will make storage and sharing terrain easier and will mean I'm only ever painting for massed effect or individual figures.

Done - at least as regards the 20mm stuff, every single bit has been sold or donated.  I've kept hold of the 15mm WW2 stuff for now.  I'm still thinking about what to do with that, there is a bit of me which thinks that 15mm is the best size for games of about 40-100 figures or so per side.

4.  I feel a strong to desire to thin out the rules and books I have.  I don't think I have a very large collection by wargaming standards, but I don't want to keep rules I'm pretty sure I'm never going to play (again).  Look out for some advertisements on TMP!

Done, by and large.  Lots of rules, old RPGs and books have gone to better homes now!  And I don't miss any of it.  There are still a couple I may yet get rid of, but I've done the lion's share.

5. Play some more WW2 games with the intention of finding the rule set or sets I really like.

I have found that I really still enjoy the old WRG rules.  And I played a really exciting PBEM game this year using them:

6. Finish painting my two 6mm Wars of the Roses armies.

Done (although a couple of units were painted 'too' quickly, even for me and really need a little extra work).

7.  Decide whether to expand my token 6mm ECW forces.  And if so, decide whether to wait for Baccus to re-sculpt them.

I decided to do it and not to wait: I now have two respectable forces, entirely painted with the exception of a few bases of Cuirassiers.  These armies are now *done* - at least until Baccus get round to re-sculpting them, anyway.

8.  Decide whether to collect a 6mm Napoleonic Prussian army (the last of the major combatants I don't have).  On the plus side, it would be great to do a large Waterloo wargame in 2015 with all the 'correct' troops (and not use my Russians or Spanish as proxies for example).  On the negative side, isn't it that the kind of completist thinking which leads people to collect far more than they could ever game with regularly?  And also, the Prussians were the main Napoleonic range which Baccus hasn't re-sculpted yet.  I might kick myself if Baccus get round to doing re-sculpts for them in 2016-7, say.

I decided not to get the Prussians and will wait until the resculpts arrive.  For my Waterloo re-fight I think that I will just use the Allies and the French anyway and make Prussian arrival a rules mechanism (basically I'm going to exclude French units which mainly fought against the Prussians).  I actually think that this will lead to a more Waterloo-like game, as the optimal French strategy will then not be "immediate all-out charge".

9. Decide whether to do moderns or not.  I'm really interested in them, but feel perhaps I should wait until I'm happy with a WW2 set or two, so I know the kind of modern game that I'd like before starting to collect the figures.

I haven't decided yet, as the WW2 stuff is only 'largely done', rather than 'more-or-less finished'.

10. I'm aiming to be in  state of 'finished' by Christmas 2014.  I had aimed to be like that last year, but in the end 2013 ended up being so busy and disrupted it was never going to happen, so I've extended it by a year.  I have more or less decided that I want to stop collecting big armies by the time I'm 40 however - everything after that will be additions or for small games only.

My life is not my own - 2014 was nearly as disrupted as 2013.  I've extended by 'finished' deadline to summer 2015.  I think I will achieve this one, failing major life events gettting in the way.

And Other Stuff:

I ended up playing lots of X-Wing and Lord of the Rings: Card Game this year too.  My brother-in-law is really into the first (I got him it as a Christmas present a couple of years ago) and we have had some decent games of that.  I've enjoyed it so much I got my own copy for Christmas, so we can play some bigger games. Some of my family enjoy the Lord of the Rings card game since it can be played co-operatively, so that has been a bonus and we are all looking forward to playing more than that.

As usual, I wasted a decent chunk of time on TMP and after the infamous bust-up in the summer, on The Wargames Website too.

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