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.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

Review of 2021

First of all, a Happy New Year to everyone - many thanks to all those who have read this blog and even more so, those who have left a comment or two.  I very much appreciate both. Equally, my appreciation goes out to all the bloggers and podcasters who produce so much interesting stuff for the wider gaming community, to the enjoyment and benefit of all.

And secondly, this has been another very difficult year for everyone - here's hoping that 2022 is kinder to us all, and our various communities.

How did my gaming year work out?  Well, not as brilliantly as I had hoped, but perhaps a little better than my blog reflects.  The reason for that is that I blog nearly all the miniatures games I play, but not all the boardgames I play: often the latter just don't make interesting blog posts, either visually or for comments on the rules or scenarios.  And this year has seen me play a lot more boardgames than in recent years, mostly for space and set-up reasons: I am more confident of setting up, playing and taking down a boardgame in a reasonable time than I am for most miniatures games.  By changing how and where my miniatures are organized and stored, I am looking to improve that, but that is an ongoing process.  On the other hand, it partly wasn't a brilliant year simply because I did play less games, and that in turn was partly from experiencing a few particularly busy and stressful periods of work this year and partly from suffering from a couple of nasty health issues, especially in the first half of the year.  Thankfully, these mainly seem to be behind me

Anyway, I finished my Gallic War campaign off.  That was fun enough and gave some interesting battles, although it ended a little early with a bit of a whimper, as I realized that Caesar could not possibly win from the position he was in.  Since Caesar had won a substantial majority of the battles, one can deduce it was because of my ineptitude in handling the Roman side of the campaign rules.  Simply put, I wasn't doing the correct things in terms of handling the occupation side of the boardgame.  So good fun, but with a slightly unsatisfying element to it: no worries though, what better excuse do I need to have another go at some point?

Partly due to COVID and partly to my own space restrictions, I only got one game in with the Toronto group this year: the Polemos Ruse de Guerre refight of Trebbia.  It was a really good one mind!  I still have some hopes of getting a version of their Auerstadt game to the table too at some point.  I did adapt an old Black Powder scenario 'El Perez' to RdG on a gaming Sunday when I couldn't do their big battle, which was nice enough.  I only got one game in of Polemos General de Division this year too: a refight of Medina de Rio Seco (prompted by a scenario in Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy), which was great - it is a battle I find almost endlessly fascinating.

Taking up a challenge thrown out on the Polemarch blog, I played through a few battles from the Anarchy period of England's history, which was quite a surprise but one must go where the gaming muse takes you!  They were very interesting conflicts too, although it did bring home that I really need to get hold of some castle walls for my 6mm stuff. I continued my replay of some of the British Isles other wars, with battles from the Anglo-Scots conflict (Flodden), the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (Knocknanuss) and the Jacobite Wars (Prestonpans, Killiecrankie, Falkirk).  And lastly on the miniatures side, I got some 28mm fantasy gaming in too, with a few games played of a Five Leagues From the Borderlands campaign, which was a good, fun, change of pace.

Compared to previous years, I think the big absence is WW2: I didn't get a single WW2 miniatures game to the table this year.  That was disappointing but I am not quite sure why that is...must do better!

As I mentioned earlier, there were a lot more boardgames this year.  Achtung Spitfire! and my conversion of the Portable Air Wargame were probably the majority in terms of number of games, but Firepower, Squad Leader and Europe in Agony all got a look in too.  I did get some RPGs played too with the children, primarily Shadowrun.

2021 was a moderately successful year on the painting and modelling front.  I painted up a small warband of 28mm shieldmaidens from Gripping Beast for Five Leagues... and similar games.  I also made a selection of 28mm terrain and buildings for Fantasy and Sci-Fi using the old Games Workshop How to Make Wargames Terrain guide.  I finished a couple of platoons' worth of Battlefront DAK Schutzen - I really should get an actual game played with them!!!  And in 6mm, I finished a reasonably-sized contingent of Grumbler Miniatures Napoleonic Prussians, a WW2 British Para force and two WSS armies from Baccus and a few other odds-and-ends (mainly from Baccus too: Congreve rockets, TYW Commanded Shot).

Plans - 2021:

The only plans I really fulfilled this year were the finishing of the Gallic War campaign, playing more WW2 air wargames, palying a few 28mm fantasy games and making some terrain, and playing some RPGs.  On the metric of actually fulfilling plans, this was one of my worst years!  I hardly even fulfilled any of the buying plans, which I guess should have been the easiest bit. Oh well!

Plans - 2022:

I am slightly 'off' detailed plans for this year. Currently there are some big transitions going on in my life and I am not sure how they are going to play out, so I am trying to be very careful to minimize even the slight amounts of self-induced pressure that such plans can bring.  All that I have as priority plans are to play more games, of whatever kind - gaming does me a lot of good, I think - and keep the lead mountains and plastic piles under control (which they largely are at the moment).  I might add that the rules shelf needs a bit of pruning too and if I add some new stuff in, then some old stuff has to make way for it.  That will be a useful thing in itself anyway and I might get round to it sooner rather than later. An implied task from all of the above is to make my collections more 'deployable' - organized in terms of both figures and terrain in a fashion that is more portable and quicker to actually get down onto the table.  That applies equally, or even more so, to having more scenarios in a ready-to-play state.  It is surprising to me still just how many published scenarios still need a fair bit of work to get them really table ready, especially if they are explicitly or implicitly designed for another set of rules.

One thing that I am interested in is converting more full-blooded RPGs into tactical games with an RPG element, since RPGs can be a struggle to learn and get to the table - plus I am beginning to really question whether any of the detail in RPGs is really that worth it.  What am I on about, in concrete terms?  Well, for example, I am thinking of converting a couple of old MERP and WFRP scenarios for Five Leagues...for example, and Twilight 2000 scenarios for use with any suitable set of Modern rules.  But we will see how I get on...



  1. A review of 2021 that many of us can relate to I'm sure. I too have not bothered with any real plans this year, other than to play narrative campaigns, due to the on going uncertainty with Covid. I just go with the flow and see what the Muse gets me to do. It works for me!

    As for figure and terrain storage, I wish mine was not spread all over the house. The plan is to redecorate this year and some new storage may alleviate this issue, assuming Covid allows us out and about more safely.

    All the best for 2022 and looking forward to seeing what graces your table:)

  2. Good round up, if you only got one game with the group, the Trebbia is a very good one to have. Interesting that you got the Squad Leader game, I have just met someone who also got a good Squad Leader copy a few weeks ago, amazing that this 1977 title keeps on grabbing our attention.

    It feels a little odd making plans at the moments when the start of 2022 looks exactly like a lot of 2021, but I’m sure it will come good, but I think the cry of ‘more games’ will be echoed through many blog ‘review of the year articles’.

    1. Thanks Norm.

      Squad Leader is a funny one...I find the basic structure of it quite hard to dislike, although I appreciate its weaknesses in terms of command structures and orders and so on...and I remember eventually finding the mapboard structure limiting for tactical battles, compared to the functionally almost limitless possibilities of model terrain. But the core of it is *really* good...

  3. Twilight 2000 mercenaries has a few scenarios that I think would port to the table pretty well. They'd be especially great if you can rope in some unsuspecting friend to make some plans about the approach and give you vague orders/guidance.

  4. All the best for 2022. Your blog is a near endless source of inspiration. Keep up the great work.

    1. Cheers Sean, appreciate that - and all the best for your year too.