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.

Saturday 2 January 2021

Review of 2020

 Review of 2020

Obviously this was a difficult year for everyone in various reasons.  I have much to be thankful for - my family hasn't been badly affected by Coronavirus, either directly through illness and death or indirectly by loss of employment and income and suchlike.  My heart goes out to those who have had to struggle far more than I.

The lockdown affected my gaming quite a lot, particularly by having a bunch of young kids around the house a lot more!  So both my time for gaming and my space were drastically reduced and the last nine months have seen me trying to find a suitable place and time within my house to make game playing possible.  The garage was just too cold, the kitchen is just too busy... I am hoping that my latest solution will work.  In addition, I was finishing my Masters, and that, particularly my dissertation did take a lot of time and energy.  Speaking of time and energy, my real job took a lot of both this year.  Past a certain point, that affects my enthusiasm for miniatures gaming, and I tend to choose RPGs and computer games instead.  This happened for a few months towards the end of Summer and throughout Autumn.

However, although my plans for this year were naturally curtailed somewhat, I did get a fair few games played. I also went on my first podcast .  Very many thanks to Sean for inviting me on, and for his gentle introduction to podcasting.  If gaming podcasts and 6mm wargames are your thing (and I guess there is a fair chance of that if you are reading this blog, then his podcast and blog are well worth checking out).


Refighting Brienne a couple of times was a highlight of this year, having first been drawn to it since an article was published about it in one of the first issues of Wargames Illustrated.

Anyway, how did my gaming year pan out?


Specific Plans for 2020

1.  Continue and complete my Gallic War campaign.

 Well begun is half done, I suppose. At least I have managed to get this onto the table and I am seven battles and about four years through - so actually at least halfway I imagine.

2.  Start my Thirty Years War campaign.

 Didn’t happen.

3.  Complete my refights of the actions of the 1805 and 1809 campaigns.

 A couple of actions completed here, Sacile and Caldiero.

4.  Refight the 1805 and 1809 campaigns.

 Not a chance.

5.  Refight the TooFatLardies' pint-sized WW2 campaigns for those which I have suitable figures for.

 No.  Lack of WW2 gaming was perhaps the biggest disappointment of this year to me.

6.  Continue my own Nuts! 1940 campaign.

 No.  Lacked the energy to do the background properly for this, although I did play a few scoping games earlier in the year.

7.  Prepare some of my 6mm stuff for higher-level games: Spearhead, Megablitz, Rommel and so on.

 No.  But I really should do this…

8.  Play more WW2 air games.

 Played a few games, but struggling a bit here (incidentally, these are the games I am most likely to play but not blog about, since they aren’t much to speak of visually and breaking for photos after every move spoils these games in a way that seems worse than for other types of games).  Anyway, there is a trap in WW2 air games that it is so easy to add complexity until you are playing Fighting Wings…and then you strip it out again.  I wish I knew the answer to this one!

9. Do a Five League From The Borderlands campaign.  I have plenty of figures, but I might need to make or buy some additional terrain for this one.

 Didn’t happen since I didn’t get around to making the additional terrain.

10.  Prepare some 6mm and 15mm desert and jungle terrain.

 Nope. This is slightly annoying since I did complete a platoon and a couple of vehicles for the Desert War in 1940.  The equivalent 6mm collections haven’t yet reached maturity though.

11.  Continue my slow progress through old magazine scenarios.

 Yes, it was slow progress but at least there was some: Buena Vista, Dreux, Bicocca, Northallerton, a Roman invasion scenario, a Henry Hyde Waterloo-themed scenario…I consider this to be my ‘base level’ gaming.  Some other bits and pieces were done too: another Thirty Years’ War battle from the ‘Twilight of Divine Right…’ series (White Mountain) and the classic Sittangbad.

12.  Consider boardgames and magazine articles for campaign rules for the following: Fall of Rome, the Viking Invasions, 1066, Wars of the Roses and the Jacobite rebellions.

 Yes, considered, and Britannia actually bought.  So that is officially in the queue for a campaign or two, after the Gallic War is completed and probably the Thirty Years’ War too.

13.  Continue with the Polemos Ruse de Guerre Napoleonic and American Wars refights.

 Again, not as many as I would have liked, but a few good games played: Vauchamps, Montmirail and Brienne, some of which have been on ‘the list’ for ages (in the case of Brienne, decades). These were partly done with Ruse de Guerre and partly with Horse, Foot and Guns, where I couldn’t get a Ruse de Guerre game to fit on my table.


Boardgame-wise, I finished a few more Mansions of Madness investigations – it is a really good game.  My eldest son really enjoys Armchair Cricket, so that got a fair few run outs.  Since computer games feature more heavily in my gaming than usual this year, I guess I may as well mention which ones I played:

Bombing the Reich

War in the Pacific

Operation Flashpoint

SGS Afrika Korps

The Shadowrun games (Returns, Dragonfall & Hong Kong)

Rome Total War

Scourge of War Waterloo

Twilight Struggle

Hearts of Iron II

Blood Bowl

No Man’s Sky

(plus some sports’ games with family)


The SGS Afrika Korps game is worth a look, definitely.  The Twilight Struggle was a reasonably faithful port of the boardgame and was very good.

Shopping & Painting for 2020:

1.  Some additional early war 15mm WW2 stuff, including some French infantry and vehicles, some Africa Korps stuff, a few bits and pieces for the British.

 Partly done: I got some 15mm Desert War Italians and British finished, as well as some Afrika Korps tanks.  I am still waiting for their infantry to turn up.

2.  Some additional 6mm Napoleonic artillery, generals and casualty figures.  Possibly expand my Napoleonic Italian armies.

 This didn’t quite happen to the extent I wanted, primarily as a result of Baccus 6mm’s shopping cart being closed for much of the year.  I did do some random bases of things from my spares’ box and I did do some meaningful additions to my Napoleonic Russian armies, with lots of extra Generals, artillery, jaegers and grenadiers; there were some Wurttemberger and Bavarian reinforcements too.  The Italians and Neapolitans got some Guard Infantry.

3.  Maybe some additional pikemen for early C16 scenarios (Flodden, early Great Italian Wars).


4.  Maybe Wings of the Motherland.

 Still umming and ahhing about this one.  I normally find Fighting Wings to be a bit too complicated to be fun, but on the other hand, perhaps (as I mentioned above) they are what WW2 Air Combat rules have to be.


I did buy some other stuff this year.  I painted up small forces of WW2 Russians in both 15mm and 6mm.  I got some Cold War stuff done too, all in 15mm: Soviets, Americans, Australians and British.  Moving to earlier periods in history, I painted up some additional small command stands for the Thirty Years’ War for when my WotTK troops are being used for that conflict – it helps a little to have some of the correct flags flying, even if there are plenty of crosses of St.George and St.Andrew not too well hidden in the background!  I added some Transylvanian Light Horse too.  Some mounted Arquebusiers and sword-and-buckler men were added to my late C15/early C16 forces.  And my Celts got some more commanders, some fighting women and some non-combatants too.


I also painted up a base of Horse for Per Broden's amazing charity painting project.


Plans for 2021:

 Although practical difficulties and other priorities have reduced gaming this past year, hope springs eternal! So in 2021 I aim to:


1.        Complete the Gallic War refight.


2.       Complete the 1805 & 1809 refights.


3.       Start either the Thirty Years’ War or Fall of Roman Britain campaigns.


4.       Complete at least 3 Too Fat Lardies’ pint-sized campaigns.


5.       Get at least one Vietnam game to the table.


6.       Start a squad-level WW2 campaign.


7.       Start a squad-level Cold War Gone Hot campaign (or similar).


8.       Play more WW2 air wargames.


9.       Play some 28mm fantasy games (of any description).


10.      Play at least one game of 40K.


11.       Find some rules for Age of Sail wargames.


12.      Play at least one game of a WW2 1 vehicle = 1 platoon/company/battalion game.


13.      Play at least one game with all the armies in my collection.


14.      Make some more 28mm terrain.


15.    Play some more RPGs with the bairns.


Shopping in 2021:

Space is now becoming an issue for collecting new stuff.  I haven’t ‘quite’ run out of storage space, especially for 6mm stuff, but I am hitting some limits.  In particular, terrain items for 15mm and 28mm is a problem, space-wise.  So this leaves me with:

1.        Additional 6mm Soviet WW2 stuff.

2.       Additional 6mm WW2 bits and pieces for the Germans and US.

3.       Perhaps some additional 15mm WW2 stuff for Japan, Poland, France and Italy.  And maybe replicate in 6mm.

4.       6mm Pony Wars.

5.       Perhaps some other 6mm colonial stuff.

6.       Another 6mm SF army, so my one army has something to fight against.

7.       Some 28mm ogres for Heroquest and some 28mm Skaven for Advanced Heroquest.

8.       Some additional 6mm Vietnam figures to make my collections viable as armies.

Apart from the Pony Wars stuff, this is largely to finish off, or at least develop, existing forces.



Rules have been a constant bugbear.  I am happy-ish with many sets, completely happy with almost none.  I don’t know if that means I should keep looking, or if I should stop looking! 



Very many thanks to all those who have looked at the blog over the last year.  And special thanks to those who have taken the time to comment on the posts, that is always very much appreciated.  I hope that my blog helps to give back some of the inspiration that I myself find from other bloggers: their ideas are always worth reading, especially on those days when I find myself in a little bit of a rut.  I won’t name them, since I am bound to miss out someone’s blog who I really rate, but they should have a good idea who they are: many thanks to all of them.


And best wishes to everyone for 2021 – let us hope it is a better year for us all!


  1. Thanks for the review of last year and you rplans for this year Peter:). You certainly have a lot of options, which I would struggle with, which is why I'm trying to 'downsize' on periods gamed and rules played. I competely agree about the stop start nature of taking photos and making notes and the effect it has upon the game and your enjoyment of it. Looking forward to your posts this year, no matter what they maybe!

    1. Many thanks Steve - and likewise, I will look forward to your posts over this coming year. I do think I am approaching my limits in terms of periods, even if I would in one sense 'like; to expand, simply by running out of space and time.

      BTW, I am not called Peter...(I am John)

    2. So sorry John! I had just replied on another Blog whose author is Peter, so my poor old brain had obviously failed to make the change:(. Mea culpa!

    3. No worries...for some reason I occasionally get mistakenly called Peter IRL too! I obviously sound/write like a Peter, somehow...

  2. I can totally empathize with computer games eating up time when stressed. I've started to watch some youtubers playing seems quite interesting, if not quite intimidating.

    I very much appreciate the work you put in to documenting your gaming on your blog. A comment here and there is a small price to pay. I'd be quite interested in seeing some advanced heroquest appear! I also had a vague interest via extra material that appeared in white dwarf.

    1. WitP is an interesting game. 'Realistic' in that so many things are modelled, 'unrealistic' in that it allows one person to have operational-level control over the entire Burma-China-Pacific theatre! However, it is just a game...
      It actually becomes a lot less intimidating after maybe 10 turns, not only because by that time you have figured out the mechanics, but also because some things (e.g. supply convoys) take a while to set up but then don't take up so much time.

      Advanced Heroquest *will* happen at some point, just need to find some more Skaven...I have most of the essential bits for AH, but nothing like a complete set or anything.

  3. An interesting review of the year. I remember you saying that space within the household was a problem and that games were on hold and then a short time later, your AAR's returned, so you were obviously back up and running, which was good to see.

    Your plans for 2021 are as ambitious as 2020, but if your studies are now behind you, that liberation of time will seem a a great relief. I find studying hard and each time that I have done it, I have had to put everything for that year to one side, so hopefully more things for you in 2021.

    Like you, I move around the house to game, a garage too cold, a sun lounge too hot etc and I like your blog for the fact that it is one of perseverance in getting the game to a table, whether that means space of=r scale restriction etc, it is an honest reflection of how many of us face gaming in our home settings.

    I also enjoy the back issues of magazines generating the scenarios. A respect and valuing of magazines seems to be slipping in our internet world, so your dipping into back issues is always a delight.

    Good luck with your 2021 plans.

  4. Thank you very much Norm. I never quite give up studying entirely but I am hoping that this year won't be anything like as intense as the last two years of Masters' work have been.

    Yes, the struggle is real to find places to play around the house. It is never ending, because as my children grow up we have to re-configure the house to suit present needs. Typically this will mean a room that has been used for communal purposes being repurposed as a bedroom, when a child becomes a little bit too old to share. I think I am on my fifth or sixth the slightly longer term, the best solution will be either a shed or garage conversion, but I need to have the right resources in place before I tackle that.

    My abiding love of magazine scenarios old and new is well known. There are just so many that I want to have a go at! It think the list is over 1000 now, although it is only practical for me to do perhaps a third of them for one reason or another...

    Best of luck with your own gaming year!

  5. Hello John,

    2020 was busy for me (non-gaming) and Christmas break I hoped for some gaming but ending up doing no gaming :-(

    Your 2020 was busy and your 2021 plans seem to be them same. I am interested in just about all the stuff you have planned. I have enjoyed reading your posts and look forward to reading more in the future.

    Oh, I I did smile on the paragraph on rules. I could have written that for me! And fairly sure there are quite a few that think the same :-)

    1. Thanks very much Shaun. That's too bad about your own lack of gaming. I don't know if you are the same, but I genuinely feel worse if I haven't played a game in a while...

      It is definitely how I feel about rules at the moment. I may get around to writing a separate post about them.

    2. I tinker with my own rules all the time. I find it is a good enough substitute for playing, for me anyway! At least for awhile, then I find I *have* to play a game!

    3. Yes, quite often I do, or have to, settle for "thinking about gaming" as opposed to "playing games"; that is okay, but it sometimes feel it becomes a trap in that my hobby (temporarily) becomes 'thinking' rather than 'playing'.

    4. .and after my previous comment I played a solo game of my modified version of Machinas (Two Hour Wargames post-apocalyptic car racing) and followed that with a game of x-wing with my 12yo son (both never played (well, I played it once in 2013), I have had it since 2014, I mentioned it as we had watched The Empire Strikes Back that day and he wanted to play. First tabletop game with him in 6 months.). So after no gaming for months, I had two games in one day! Just thought you may want to know :-)

    5. Good man! I am hoping to play X-Wing with my friends as soon as the pandemic has run its course, that and Formula De are the games that my non-gamer friends really like.