The year in review
As December flew by I looked back and wondered where all the time went. It seems like a week or three ago it was January and I was looking forward to a year of painting, modeling and gaming. I had an ok 2017, and knew to have a great 2018 I needed planning and motivation. Mostly because I am a lazy git.
So I set a goal for painting in 2018. A few years back I entered a painting challenge over at Heresy-online.net. In it you had to paint one unit or vehicle for a war game each month. There was a guy in charge, and there was a set of rules to abide by. Everyone posted plans at the beginning of the year. One change in armies per year. One mulligan. Miss 2 months and you were out. The prize? The honor of completion. And a cool graphic for your signature line. The honor was mine. I made it through the most of the year, and painted about 10-12 units. Most were for my Warhammer Fantasy Battles Empire army. A Middenheim army to be exact. But looking back I see that some were from my sons High Elf army. How the memory fails me…
Taking inspiration from that challenge, I set a goal to paint 2 units per month from any army, in any scale. That way I could switch around what I was painting to keep my interest and drive up. No way was I getting burned out again. I started out the year painting 28mm World War Two minis for Bolt Action and Chain of Command. German and U.S infantry and a few armored vehicles. I moved into 15mm Ancients after a few months. Then I ended the year painting 28mm again, Dark Age Vikings and Anglo-Saxons for SAGA. Here is a complete list:
Jan: 10 G.I.s and 8 Grenadiers
Feb: 10 G.I.s and 8 Grenadiers
Mar: 6 Waywatchers and 5 Pulp bad guys
Apr: 8 Grenadiers and 5 Pulp Good Guys, a Wood Elf Lord and a High Elf Mage
May: 8 Grenadiers and 10 G.I.s
June: 7 Swarm bases for WFB Lizardmen and 8 French civilians
July: 15 bases of Romans and 17 bases of Germans
Nov: 4 Berserkers and 12 AS Levy troops plus 3 SdKfz 251 half tracks
Dec: 4 AS Hearth guard and 12 Viking Archer levy troops plus 2 M4 Shermans and a Panzer IV H
As you can see, I wasn’t entirely successful. But, I do feel that I painted more than I would have without a self-imposed challenge. I also built and painted at least one scenery element each month. Those were houses and stores, my first crack at acrylic caulk roads, a fenced garden and a Wood Elf altar.
I already have a lineup of minis to paint for 2019, and I am hoping to better my painting rate while I paint Dark Age and Fantasy models by trying some colored primers for the first time. If I keep up this rate, and don’t buy too many models, Ill finish painting all my models sometime around 2035. Hahaha!
Painting and modeling was only part of what I accomplished in 2018. In my ongoing search for great games, I explored several new board games and a few new rule sets for miniatures gaming. I’m still waiting on those GMT games I ordered through their P500 pre-order system. So I am short one FIW game and my first sailing game. I have no idea when those will show up, but I am anxious to give them a try. I did play 2 new games in 2018.
One was from Worthington Publishing and is an adaptation of the Richard Borg Command and Colors rules set in the American War of Independence. This game is somewhat similar to Battle Cry! in setup and play. It uses the familiar 3 section map board and hex terrain, as well as similar command cards. The British have troops representing regulars, lights and elites, as well as cavalry and artillery units. The American player has regulars and elites, as well as militia troops that have some unique rules. I believe there are a couple of upgrade packs, adding in Hessians and a set of pieces to move the game back into the FIW. I definitely need those to add to the playability and longevity of the game. It played well, and like Battle Cry!, I think it represents linear warfare very well.
The second game I finally played was GMT’s Wilderness War. It is a grand tactical game representing the entirety of the French and Indian War if you care to play the long campaign. We haven’t yet, but will soon. One of the more novel things, in my opinion, was supply. Like many games, you must trace supply from forward units through controlled areas back to the coast, or a city or fortress to allow troops to maintain supply. Additionally, forts and villages on the frontier could only support so many troops in the winter layup. Too many troops and you took casualties from “disease” and “starvation”. I believe we lost more troops to those sources than actual combat. The siege rules really worked and demonstrated the difficulties of sieges at the time. Many forts were raided and burned by the British, and I ran a holding action and concentrated pushes, but in the end came up short. It was a great game, and added in the differences in troop quality that is not present in our favorite FIW game, a Few Acres of Snow.
I looked at many other games in a variety of genres throughout the year. I continued my hunt for GDW’s The Third World War and bid on several offerings on eBay. And I got sniped every time. I’ve decided until I am willing to spend at least $150, I am probably NOT winning an auction for that game. So I settled for Victory Games’ The Next World War, another WWIII strategy game. It was un-punched when I got it, and I am still trying to decide if that is a bad sign! Have read the rules once, and need to read them again before my son comes home for Christmas break. That is one of our must-play games for his time home from university. One rule I did remember was if nukes get used. If they do, there is a 50/50 chance the player that deployed them loses the game. That is a big risk!
In the hunt for a WWIII game and reading blogs and websites and reviews, I kept coming back to Team Yankee by Battlefront. I have a long association with Battlefront, playing their flagship WWII rules since the playtest days. I have watched the rollout of Team Yankee with great interest, and even read Harold Coyle’s Team Yankee book this summer. Heavy main battle tanks? Yes please! A-10 tank busters? I’ll take a pair. Cool anti-air assets, helicopters, armored personnel carriers and modern war have a bit of a draw for me. I even picked up the main rule book to give them a look. But, then I stalled. While I love the size and detail of 15mm models, the scale is just too big for the space I have to do justice to modern combat. In modern war it is the weapon ranges. I wrote about this previously for mortars in WWII. Missile ranges in moderns are even worse. So I am still on the fence for the era and scale. There aren’t any modern tanks or APCs hiding in my lead mountain. Yet.
For most of the year I only bought models I needed for the current emphasis projects I have going. The TY rules were one of only two rule sets added to my bookshelf. Then I went to Fall In!…
As reported in my Fall In! post, I picked up the Lion Rampant and Dragon Rampant rules. I am still looking at them as a replacement for WFB. But the more I work on variant rules, the more I think I’ll just stick with WFB for gaming with all the GW models I have. If I was just starting out and looking for a fantasy set of rules, I’d be all over Dragon Rampant. But, I have largish WFB armies and the skirmish nature of the DR rules makes them unsuitable for mass combat.
The other “rules” I decided to add to everything I have, is Wings of Glory. After playing Peter’s fantastic Balloon Buster’s game at Fall In!, I had to get this game. I ordered the duel pack with the Albatros D.Va and the SPAD XIII from Miniature Market and the No Man’s Land game mat from Noble Knight Games. I’ve already introduced my daughter to the game, and she is a fan. She prefers it to X-Wing as it is simpler to play than X-Wing, and she liked the 3 phase planning. I have been going over a long list of models to buy to play this on a larger scale, with more scenarios, and to ensure that I can play through the 4 years of the war. There are cool campaign rules from the fan base and the increasing capabilities and lethality of the planes begs for campaign play. It is the second must-play for the break.
The last game we will fit in is Triumph! rules from the Washington Grand Company. I am looking forward to teaching both of my kids to play this one, and really looking forward to expanding my armies so all four of us can play together. Romans and Visigoth allies along with Germans and Dacians threatening the Empire should make a great game and campaign.
So what do I have enough painted stuff for at this point? I lack terrain for everything, but do have enough buildings for 15mm and 28mm WWII. I have a couple Dark Age buildings close to being finished, but not enough for a village, yet. What I really lack are roads. They are so expensive to purchase ready-made, and a bit time-consuming to make. So I don’t have enough. I’m going to have to suck it up and build enough dirt and asphalt roads this coming year, and buy some cobblestone streets. I need a solid week of nothing else on my plate to knock out the bocage and fences and roads and tree stands I need. Then I need another week to build the jungle terrain (thanks Mel… Your Burma board has me super jealous) and Lizardmen temples and spawning pools I need for a half-planned WFB campaign involving an island that reappeared off the coast of the Old World and is shrouded in mist and jungle.
What I do have is enough Germans and Americans in 15mm to play any number of scenarios of WWII combat. I have enough Germans and Americans in 28mm now to play almost anything I want in that scale as well. I have two armies for Triumph! all painted up, plus some felt terrain. That needs to be upgraded at some point, but for now we can play. There are four 1,000+ point fantasy armies painted, and a bit of terrain. Before my son went off the college he played WFB with a friend or friends quite regularly. I have 2 points each for Vikings and Anglo-Saxons. Not quite enough to play a game of SAGA. But, 2019 will definitely see more minis gaming along with the board games.
2018 also saw me start blogging. And not do a great job all summer. No excuses. I’ll try to do better. I am amazed at the people that can put out great content month after month. And I understand why some slow their posting. Good ideas are hard to come by! Winter is here, so I have a bit more time to write and post, and hopefully some good short story ideas crawl out of the shadows of my brain.
I was able to attend two Cons through the year. One Comic-Con and one gaming con. I am hoping to fit in at least 2 more gaming cons in 2019 (FlintCon and Historicon) and possibly another Comic-Con. Oh, and I am going to the Star Wars celebration in Chicago in April. I’ll be attending with my friends from over at The Credible Nerds podcast, Justin and Marc. That should be all kinds of awesome.
2019 should be a heck of a year.