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.

Monday, 31 December 2018

Review of 2018

It has been a busy year but I managed to get a reasonable amount of gaming in, all things considered.  It was more irregular than in previous years but that was mainly a function of when I could get time off work and partly due to receiving a couple of injuries. Anyway, I didn't get quite as much gaming in as I managed in 2017, but still managed to play a pretty reasonable number, about 70 I think.  So, comparing what actually happened to what I had planned to happen, how did I get on?

Looking Back: The Plans for 2018

1 - Caesar's Gallic War campaign.
It didn't happen, although I did play a test game just of the basic boardgame to get a feel for both the structure of the game itself and if I had enough troops to play it.

2 - Re-fight of the ECW campaign using the boardgame The King's War.
Successfully completed!  It was an enjoying and absorbing campaign which took up most of my gaming time this year.

3 - The Battlegames' Martinstaadt campaign.
After a long hiatus, I managed to get this re-started, fight another battle and move the campaign forward a few days.

4 - The Scottish Corridor campaign (converting to Nuts!).
Didn't happen.  Partly this was a lack of time, but partly also a problem with the game.  I just don't think Nuts! works as well for platoon fights as it does for squad/section-level combat.  However, the basic campaign mechanics presume a mixture of squad and platoon level fights.  I am sure this will be easy enough to sort out, but I just haven't had the time to spend on doing this yet.
5 - Design and fight an air warfare campaign.
Didn't happen, although I did do a reasonable amount of air warfare.  Because my set-up is nothing very interesting visually these kind of games are least likely to end up on the blog, but I played about two dozen or so games of Achtung! Spitfire & Lacquered Coffins combined, trying to decide which one I like better, or at least, which game I prefer for which type of scenario.

6 - Try out some new rules.
Didn't happen very much.  The only new rules I tried out were:
WRG's Infantry Action rules
Don Featherstone's Skirmish Wargaming rules (for WW2)
Polemos Ruse de Guerre (comments later)
Two sets of experimental WW2 infantry skirmish rules written by John D Salt.  I did write up one of them but that disappeared into the aether and I haven't got around to re-writing it.  As it was a while ago, I may need to play a couple more games to refresh my thoughts. 

7 - Continue to play through old magazine scenarios.
Happened a little bit but basically took a back seat to campaign games.

8 - Look at the Thirty Years War, as an adjunct/extension to my ECW/WotTK gaming.
Yes, I looked at it...I did get some useful recommendations for board games to use as campaign engines.

 9 - Give the War of 1812/FIW/AWI a go, using the Polemos Ruse de Guerre rules.
I did get this to the table a couple of times, which was a success although I could have used getting some more games in.  I really liked this ruleset, it seems the most streamlined and logical of all the Polemos rules.

10 - Get as many boardgames to the table as I can, in particular ones that have hardly had a run out.
I did manage to get a few boardgames played although not as many as I might have liked. There were specific problems about space and time which meant that boardgames were harder to do.  Also, I often turn to a PC game rather than a boardgame.

11 - Be completely and totally lead mountain & plastic pile free by December 20th next year.
It didn't quite happen, although this was more a function of delays in Baccus 6mm's production schedule - the Covenanter Horse did not come out until very late in the year so I didn't have enough time to finish painting them.  I managed to get a fair bit done although perhaps not as much as in previous years and there still remains a stubborn core of stuff to finish!  Maybe next year...

12 - Play lots of THW wargames as a way of playing more games with an emotional investment - normally I try and avoid this in my solitaire games, but THW games positively encourage it.
Didn't happen, partly for reasons of time, partly for the reasons in '4' above.

13 - Develop properly some of my extensive modifications to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, in case anyone else may be interested...
Did some messing around, nothing very structured.  Given that WFRP 4th Edition has just come out, I can't imagine that there will be much interest at present!

14 - I am also toying with the idea of branching out into another theatre - France 1940, Desert War and Eastern Front all suggest themselves.  The Spanish Civil War is also vaguely interesting me here.
This happened to an extent, I did get and paint up a few vehicles appropriate for France 1940.

15 - And I still have some ambitions to begin C19 colonial warfare...
Didn't happen!

So, all-in-all, I acheived a reasonable chunk of what I wanted to achieve this year, although, as ever, there were lots of things that I would have loved to get done but didn't have the time or energy to get around to.  However, doing a full refight of the English Civil War and my recent series of refights of the smaller actions of the 1805 campaign from the Rise of Eagles 1805 scenario book were great, absorbing fun and feel like good gaming achievements. That said, I think some of the problem here is in misperceiving what is actually achievable for me, in terms of games and projects and so on.  Dilution theory is still real, as is the semi-hard limit on how much manual gaming I am realistically going to be able to do. 

Shopping & Painting in 2018:

So far as I remember, I bought and painted:

The Foot for a 6mm Covenanter army (the Horse and Guns are  bought, they are on the painting tray at the moment)
Some extra 6mm ECW Horse and Foot
Some extra 6mm Roman Legionaries
Some 6mm Roman auxiliaries
Some extra 6mm Gallic foot warriors
A small contingent of 6mm Native Americans
Additional 6mm Napoleonic Austrian Infantry
Additional 6mm Napoleonic British Infantry
A number of extra Napoleonic units created from my bits box
A small force (of 40-50) 28mm Medieval Arabs
Some more 15mm WW2 vehicles and artillery, including a Matilda I, a Matilda II, an early StugIII, a couple of Panzer IIs, a Honey, a 25lb field gun, a 6lb and a 17lb anti-tank gun, some 75mm German anto-tank guns, a couple of their little infantry support guns, some Panzer IVs and Panthers, some more Shermans, a Churchill, a Cromwell, a couple of scout cars...probably some more bits and pieces I have missed...
Lots of 6mm buildings

I bought three of the Michael Hopper scenario books, one for 1805 and two for the 1809 campaign.

I also (re-)bought the WW2 air warfare boardgames Achtung! Spitfire and Whistling Death. 

I recently did a post which listed all the wargaming stuff I own.  It was an interesting exercise for me to see just exactly what I had in terms of projects, rulebooks, armies, boardgames and so on.   

General Plans for 2019:

I have four broad plans for this coming year.  The first is to continue my campaigning, starting by completing the Martinstaadt campaign and then moving on, probably to the refight of the Gallic War.  The second is to have a year playing a wider variety of rules and games, so it is back to the magazine scenarios and the rules-hoard across the spread of periods.  The third is to ensure that all the collections have sufficient figures, terrain and a ruleset I enjoy.  The fourth is to get rid of anything that doesn't fit - no orphan collections by the end of 2019 is the basic goal. Hopefully the logic of the second, third and fourth plans is obvious.

I have plenty of things on the go at the moment, including some demanding home, work and educational commitments, so it may be that the number of games will go down a bit.  Hopefully not by too much!

One thing I am not convinced about is having both 15mm and 28mm collections.  I may have been better off using 20mm.  The only thing about 20mm is the lack of fantasy stuff, but how much fantasy/SF do I actually get to the table, other than in self-contained boardgames? Plus, I have never totally conquered flaky paint syndrome on soft plastics! On the other hand, I am aware of the vast wisdom of being very reluctant to get rid of painted collections with supporting terrain, since the time and effort costs of painting make the actual money relatively unimportant.

The other big question mark is about air warfare games.  Models look better, but counters are more flexible.  Getting the complexity level right for the various levels of combat has proven...tricky, because a squadron leader is both a commander and fighter but getting rules to effectively reflect both are not easy, especially with the atmospheric requirement for WW2 air wargames to be (relatively) fast and furious.

Specific Plans for 2019:

So converting those broader plans into more specific stuff:

1.  Try out the following rules with my 6mm Ancients & Medieval armies: Hail Caesar, Practical Wargaming, Lost Battles.

2.  Start my proposed refight of Caesar's Gallic War.

3. Try out DBV and Lion Rampant with my 28mm stuff.

4.  Buy or make some additional terrain suitable for 28mm stuff.  Ideally this should be realtively 'timeless', since it will have to serve across a wide range of periods.

5.  Try out DBR and Practical Wargaming with my 6mm WotTK/ECW armies.  The only problem with this is that my current basing (a battalia of mixed pike and shot on a single base) isn't particularly suitable for these sets.  I am vaguely considering trying to write my own set to combine elements of DBR with Polemos: ECW for the first half of the C17.  On the other hand, the Twilight of Divine Right rules look very interesting and look as if they would be suitable for my current basing.  I don't imagine I will paint up entirely new armies for the Thirty Years War.  What I may do instead is just create lots of command stands and then use them with my existing ECW figures and add in extra stuff (more cuirassiers, Croats etc.) as I need them.

6.  Play the scenarios I haven't tried yet from Wargaming Pike & Shot.

7.  Buy a few 28mm ECW figures to try out Once Upon a Time in theWest Country.

8.  Finish my small 6mm War of 1812 US Army and then play some more games of Polemos Ruse de Guerre.

9.   Try out the following rules with my 6mm Napoleonic armies (with appropriate modifications to work with my basing scheme):Morale Napoleon, Shako, WRG 1685-1845, Shot Stone & Steel, Blucher, Lasalle, Grande Armee, the Grant rules, the Quarrie rules, Practical Wargaming, Black Powder, Napoleonic Wargaming for Fun.

10.  Try out the following rules with my 28mm Napoleonic forces: Sharpe Practice, Flintlock & Ramrod, Skirmish Wargaming.

11.  Finish my Battlegames' "Martinstaadt Land Grab" campaign.

12.  Try out the following rules with my 6mm WW2 armies: Spearhead, Tank Battles in Miniature, WRG 1925-50 2nd edition, Megablitz, Rommel and Combat Command.  This might involve a fair amount of prepatory work for some of the sets.

13.  Try out the following rules with my 15mm WW2 armies: Troops Weapons & Tactics, Bolt Action and Chain of Command.

14.  Play the scenarios from the Hit the Dirt! scenario book.

15.  Consider getting some 15mm and/or 6mm forces for Vietnam for Bodycount and Firefight and maybe The Sharp End.  I might get a copy of FNG, too.  This would also need me to make or buy some appropriate terrain.

16. Play more airwar scenarios and try and determine my favourite way(s) of recreating air war in miniature.

17.  Find a way to get my 1/4800 Napoleonic naval fleets into action.

18.  Fill in some gaps in my existing collections that I have previously identified, in preparation for some things I have in the back of my mind to do in 2020.  These include some more Napoleonic Russians (especially artillery), Austrians and Confederation of the Rhine troops; and some bits and pieces for my 6mm WW2 forces.

19.  My two eldest children are quite into the idea of RPGs at the moment, so I would like to run a few games for them.

Shopping for 2019

So what I am in the market for (and includes a couple of purchases rolled over from last year):

1 - 6mm TYW Cuirassiers and other Horse.

2 - 6mm TYW command stands and flags.

3 - 6mm Montrose / Highlanders (when Baccus 6mm release them).

4 - A copy of Et Sans Resultat.

5 - 6mm WW2 British & Germans: some bits and pieces for early and mid war. I don't mind proxying the infantry, but some more vehicles and some infantry anti-tank rifles may be in order.

6 - Consider some 6mm Colonial stuff.

7 - The Fall of Rome boardgame.

8 - Some other boardgames are vaguely under consideration.

9 - Some figures for ECW skirmish.  Could be 15mm, 20mm or 28mm.

10 - Some 28mm terrain, including some fairly generic farm buildings.

11 - A copy of Twilight of Divine Right.

12 - 6mm Napoleonics, to expand my Russians, Austrians, US & French Allies.

13 - Some additional 1/600 aircraft, or boardgames, or neither, depending upon how my games go.

For personal reasons, a lot of these purchases will have to wait for the latter part of the year, when I get back to the UK.

Many thanks to all who have read this blog this year, especially those who have offered advice and encouragement in the comments section, or on The Wargames Website or on The Miniatures Page - I hope there has at least been something of interest on this blog in return.   I have continued to enjoy the output of the wargaming podcasters too: Meeples & Miniatures, Battlegames, the Veteran Wargamer, Trouble at t'Mill, Wargaming Recon and The Grognard Files.  Being away, I didn't get to any shows except the Joy of Six (a trip to the UK fortuitously coincided!), which I enjoyed immensely. I have particularly found great inspiration on friendly and helpful The Wargaming Website and in the prolific wargaming blogging community.

And a Happy New Year to All!


  1. Spectacular and ambitious lists for both 2018 and 2019, but with 70 games under your belt, the year can only be viewed as successful.

    I particularly enjoyed the posts on the WRG Infantry Actions, simply because that took me back many years to my own 6mm games with WRG, a nostalgic blast really.

    2019 looks interesting from the perspective of rules being compared. I have Grant’s Napoleonic Wargaming and was in fact only reading it last night and it struck me just how prescriptive some of the process are, particularly with regards to movement, compared to todays looser rules such as Black Powder.

    On a final note, your blogging contribution is prolific - thank you for all the hard work that goes into that sharing.

    1. Many thanks Norm. Your own blog is a specific inspiration for me and I can only applaud your efforts on it, and towards the wider blogging community. I hope that some of what I put out next year will be of interest, maybe some more of the old rules revisited.

  2. Seems like you’ve had a pretty successful year of hobbyist. 70 games played is a very respectful number (my goal for the year was only 24). Your goals for 2019 are quite ambitious! That’s a lot to keep track of. 😀
    I’m newly following your blog, so I’ll just go have a look around. 😀

    1. Thanks very much Stew, I appreciate that. I hope that you find at least a few things of interest to you.

  3. First, your output in games played is truly staggering. I do not know how you manage it. Seems I often barely have time to read a battle report before you have a new one up. You turn them over so quickly, I have no time to read, contemplate, and comment before you are on to the next game.

    Second, I enjoy your methodological approach to your campaigns and one-off battles. Your ECW campaign was quite enjoyable as were your journeys through old wargame mag scenarios and more recently Hopper's 1805 scenario book. Great stuff and fascinating scenario explorations.

    Your plans for 2019 are as ambitious and as interesting as they were in 2018. I will be following closely and enjoying every minute of it.

    Thank you so much!

    As Norm states, we all know this is hard work and much appreciated by your audience.

    1. Thanks very much Jonathan for your kind words of encouragement.

      As to my gaming output, I was just thinking much the same about your painting output (as detailed in!
      I think the gaming output is mainly related to me being a solo gamer and having space to leave a table set-up. So when the fit to play takes me, I am in a position to do something about it. It tends to be highly irregular too, it isn't so much that I play a game a week, more that on a few months of the year, I can play nearly every day.
      I hope that you find next year's projects and blogposts interesting, I am looking forward to getting some of them started very soon.