Its October so it must be time for another wargaming review with the end of my painting ‘year’. Last years review was short because I had done little in the way of wargaming due to my job at the Imperial War Museum, however when this finished in mid October 2012 I decided I had neglected a major interest and threw myself into it.
The Changing of the Guard
It has definitely been a year of change; since last October I have sold over 700 models of varying sizes and types. The majority have been Games Workshop ones as old world of Fantasy/Sci-fi games make way for the Historical ones. The ships of battlefleet gothic and the titans of Epic 40k were followed out of the door by the edges of my Imperial Guard collection, a whole bunch of Chaos Space marines, and my Bretonnians for warhammer. eBay was heavily used throughout, although some pieces were sold at the RGMB as well. This reflected my realisation that there was lots I wanted too do but couldn’t due to lack of funds, and lots I had not taken out of their boxes since we moved to Wrexham at the start of 2009. Surviving the cull were the Skaven and Undead for warhammer, the bulk of the Imperial Guard for 40k, and the Necromunda and Bloodbowl bits.
In reply I took the opportunity to visit wargaming shows in York (Vapnartek, February) and Sheffield (Tripples, May), and blessed by excellent company I used the funds raised to purchase many historical models. A Welsh warband for Saga came out of my trip to York (as did the Saga rules – courtesy of Red’s propaganda, and a particularly good suggestion it was too). Following a very agreeable game of the Wars of the Roses against Aidan some more troops appears for that, and additional finishing pieces for my English Civil War Royalists were also added. An additional period, and a new scale, was begun by the purchase of many little 6mm American Civil War troops, and I decided that my scenery collection had too many holes and needed a revamp with a number of new buildings and roads being added. I also purchased my first Sci-fi models for years when I bought into Dreadball – a third new game this year after Saga and ACW, and a recommendation by Laurent which I have not regretted for a moment. At the last moment I purchased my first Flames of War 15mm Germans for an age when I bought the Open Fire boxed set, and the purchased tally stood at 474. Much less than the sold total, but, sadly after purchases of hobby materials, it cost much more than the amount I had recouped in sales.
In terms of gaming my habits have also changed. When I finished my work in Manchester I decided to start going to the Deeside Defenders club in Broughton regularly, as well as the RGMB in Chester. The latter is on a Tuesday and the former on a Thursday so I could do both with ease. The cost of the two started to mount however, particularly going to Chester with petrol and £2.50 a night, while travelling to Broughton meant I could share a car and the excellent banter on the way there and back, and entry was only £1. In the last few year the RGMB had become inundated with magic card players, and in the last few months it had reached a point where I could no longer find a table at 6pm, or space, or hear myself when I did, and the level of enjoyment (pressured by the knowledge of how much it was costing me) dropped off. I decided to stop going to Chester for a period, but to keep an ear out and if it, and my finances, improved I could rethink. Thursdays are now the gaming night of choice.
A Year of Games
It has been a very varied year of games. Whereas I used to play either Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, or perhaps Necromunda or Bloodbowl, and latterly Flames of War en-masse for long periods I found that often I was playing 3-4 different games (and periods) in a month. This was helped by being at Deeside, where there were much more options in terms of historical gaming. I’ve listed some of the games below:
- Bloodbowl – I made it to the Deeside competition quarter finals with my skaven in late 2012, and I’m now occupying the same spot so far this year, whether I’ll get any further is unlikely!
- Dreadball – Having started this new game I helped Laurent setup, and played in, a one-day tournament, coming a close second to Andy, who’d I’d shown how to play the game the previous Thursday!
- Blackpowder – I dipped into the American civil war a few times, and I am especially grateful to Will at Deeside for giving me the benefit of his time, expertise and 20mm horde to get a feel for the period before I plumbed for 6mm Union troops to face Andy’s Rebels in the future. It was particularly enjoyable to play a game with an umpire (Will again), which added an extra level to the games.
- Flames of War – Several large battles ensued, whole day affairs which were mostly prompted by Phil who’s energy is worth admiration – he tends to start everything we do, and then someone (me?) makes his ideas reality. I also played a few smaller games; fighting in the boccage against James was entertaining and different and worth doing again.
- English Civil War – using Pike & Shotte rules the highlights were an enjoyable campaign run by Aidan, and a spectacular punch-up run by Blue Team Dave over the Gauntlet wargaming show weekend, which was the stimulus behind much of my painting this year.
- Saga – I’ve used the Welsh throughout, with multiplayer games being the most common with normally 3-4 players around.
- Cold War Commander – I had two shots at this, enjoying the entirely armoured introduction more than the combined arms battle a few weeks later.
|The Battle for Chester - from the English Civil War campaign season.|
|A less successful scenario for the Falase Gap in Flames of War.|
|The Gauntlet setup for the epic 'Relief of Hawarden' battle.|
|And again, with my fully painted Royalists pouring out of Chester onto the Holt road.|
|My Dreadball Corporation team - Carbis Bay Buccaneers.|
|All 10 teams from the one-day tournament.|
|Some of Will's excellent (and sizable) 20mm American Civil War collection.|
I also seemed to have ended up playing lots of introductory games; explaining the rules to players who then tended to beat me thoroughly (Andy). I can remember demonstrating Flames of War, Dreadball, and Saga to more than 1 person this year. I’m hoping to play a little less variety and focus a bit more on a few specific games this year coming because I found that due to this jumping between periods I couldn’t get really into, or excited about, any one period/game, which affected my painting volume after July.
In terms of painting 2013 must surely be my most productive year ever. A few major projects are responsible for this, and the majority of the 396 figures I painted in the period were done just for the single large ECW battle at Gauntlet, so I think I’ve much to thank Blue Team Dave for. This focus upon only using painted figures at The Relief of Hawarden battle ensured that I finished entirely my Royalist army, more than 240 figures which were done at a rate of over 50 a month.
Other projects included the painting of my entire Saga warband, 6pts (45 figures done, plenty more could be added in the future), my Dreadball team (11 figures and a ball), and finally my American Civil War 6mm stuff, which I finished 74 models of. Scenery also took a chunk of my time, and Luke and Red were probably sick with my whinging about needing to find a 28mm church in York! I did find a Norman chapel which was almost as good, and was added too by many feet of road, the repair and renovation of several older buildings, and some other extras such as ponds, a farm, and a bridge or two.
|My first Union regiment from Wisconsin.|
|A bit of farm scenery for Flames of War.|
|The horse wing of my Royalist army.|
|The whole Royalist army of Lord Flasheart just before I finished the last few little details.|
|Some Saga, ECW and civilians on the painting table.|
|My initial Welsh Saga warband of 4 points from the Gripping Beast boxed set. Its now expanded to 6 points.|
What does 2014 hold?
Hopefully a new job for starters! The lack of finance is really biting in and without Pete’s very generous lifts almost every Thursday I suspect I’d have to significantly cut down on gaming time. Other than that I have a Flames of War campaign which I’m running in the autumn/winter months, and a Market Garden game in a week or so’s time.
Looking longer term I would like to finish my 6mm American Civil War army to a reasonable size, play in another Dreadball tournament, and play much more Flames of War – possibly revamping my German army for the latter which has had no work done on it in nearly 2 years. Finally I feel there is unfinished English Civil War business to be seen too by my finished Royalist army. Another campaign season would be excellent.
On the painting front – could this be the year my painted defeats my purchased, aiming for it to be so. American Civil War and Flames of War to the fore.