Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2013 in Review and 2014 Plans

This is one of my favorite times of they year for reading blogs.  I love the year end wrap ups and predictions for the new year.  It's great fun to see not only what everyone has accomplished but what they didn't get done.  I also look forward to the preview of the year to come, even if it sometimes (often?) doesn't unfold as predicted.

This is also when I sit back and take stock of my hobby year, another self indulgent exercise.  This blog is all about chronicling my hobby interests, so it is a good thing to examine those, in depth, from time to time.

Roman battle report
Hail Caesar game.  EIR vs Carthage.

The biggest change of the year was that I have almost completely stopped playing LotR/Hobbit.  The prices of the models didn't really bother me as I wasn't buying new stuff anyway.  I just didn't like some of the rules changes and I was always playing the same one or two people.  Given the amount of effort involved in getting down to the store regularly, and the trade offs that made necessary in the rest of the life, it wasn't worth the effort anymore.

Rohan
Erkenbrand rides down the Uruk-Hai.

Having said that, I did get a few games in and still had a great time.  I would still like to play some LotR with Romans and Celts, and I've considered figuring it out for fantasy armies as well, though Fanticide would also be a possibility for that idea.

I played other games as well, though not as much as I had hoped.  The boys and I played a lot of X-Wing.  I also got a few games in against adults, for added challenge.  I've managed to keep up with the releases and have some of everything.  I'm still really enjoying this game.  The more expansions that come out the more depth there is to it.

Star Wars
New ships on the new playing mat.
I've upgraded my personal game in several ways; adding a new playing mat, modifying ships, and a couple of other things that I still need to write about.  This game will still be a staple for the new year, and I will still be picking up the expansions as they come out.

The boys and I have also continued to play their dungeon games, the D&D dungeon crawl games.  They each have one, as Rhys gave Owyn Castle Ravenloft as soon as we bought him the Drizzt game.  These are still their go-to board game.

D&D
The village of Hommlet.  This image immediately transports me back to the 1980s.
The new addition to gaming with the boys this year was D&D.  I haven't played in over twenty years but I recently got a lot of my gaming stuff back from my parents.  Among these treasures from the past were my D&D books.  I took them out, poured over them, took pictures to share with you, then stacked them in the basement.  Rhys found them there, in one of his forays into the dungeon and emerged triumphantly, clutching his treasure.  "What's this?".  "Will you play with me?"  We rolled up some characters mostly playing the red box rules from decades ago as I couldn't be bothered to re-read the rules and figure out how to play again.  We play with modified miniature rules (not bothering too much with things like ranges and movement speeds).  The boys love it.  This should also see some serious play in 2014.

On the whole I got in less gaming this year, though of a greater variety.  I played Hail Caesar, Gruntz, LotR/Hobbit and X-Wing.  I also played quite a few board games, Agricola, Axis and Allies, Settlers of Catan, the afore mentioned D&D games and the old classic dominoes.

I expect that the gaming situation will not improve a lot this year.  I'm just so busy most days that I only have an hour of down time before I have to sleep.  I work one weekend out of four as well.  Gaming time is just hard to fit in, so while I would love to say I'll play more, that doesn't look promising for this year.

Goal 1:  I'll play about the same amount as last year, not nearly enough.

On the painting front I have to admit that 2013 was an epic failure.  My modest goal was to paint twenty figures a month, for a total of 240.  Not only did I miss that by half, I actually painted fewer models than in 2012.  To add insult to injury, I painted nearly a third of my yearly output in the two weeks after the painting challenge started.  My 2012 output was 155 models painted.  In 2013 I only managed to finish 141.

U.S. Marines
The Marines have landed and the situation is well in hand.

The major accomplishments on the painting front were finishing up my EIR army for Hail Caesar and my U.S. Marine company for In Her Majesty's Name.  I have another model to add to this army, as well as options to purchase if I find the models I want.  I'm working on the Celtic adversaries for my Romans and I'll be adding a few units to the EIR as well.  You can never have too many Romans (unless you're a Celt).

The Wild Bunch.

Speaking of painting, I've joined into this year's Analogue Painting Challenge.  Considering my painting output for the rest of the year this seemed like a monumentally stupid act.  My first two and a half weeks have shown that I was correct to go for it though.  My goal, a modest 600 points, was based on doubling my normal goal of twenty models a month.  120 28mm models would net me 600 points.  I didn't factor in the bonus rounds, which will up my score, so when I hit 600 I'll have to adjust upwards.

Goal 2:  I'll paint at least 240 miniatures in 2014.

I did manage to assemble a lot of figures, though many of these were job work for a local painter.  Still, assembly is hobby production so I'll count it.  In 2012 I assembled 535 models.  In 2013 I upped that to 589 models.  I'm not going to set a goal for assembly.  I have plenty of un-painted models to get done and if I don't assemble a single new figure I'll still be set for the year.  Having said that, I'm still going to be keeping track and I'm sure this will be a significant number in 2014.

I'm not planning on any new armies this year.  Sacrilege!  Burn the Traitor!  I know, I hear you and you sound reasonable, torches, pitchforks and all.  I'll continue to flesh out the armies I have, EIR, Celts, three different 15mm armies for Gruntz, Marines for IHMN... you get the picture.  I also have my starter army for Dux Brit that I would like to get painted (hopefully started during the challenge).

I am also considering picking up some Marines from other times, WWI (anniversary and all) WWII, just as painting projects rather than something to play with immediately.  I still have a couple of years before the anniversary of the U.S. entry into the war, so I can decide if it is something I really want to game.

My main focus this year will be on terrain.  I've collected quite a bit, for various periods and scales.  I need to get it all assembled (where appropriate) and painted.  I also need to flesh out the collection so that I can manage a good looking table for each game I play.  I've added a new Page to the blog for terrain (click on the link above) and it will be seeing more posts this year.

The table, in all its potential glory.
Also on the terrain front was the construction, finally, of my gaming table.  The table is in the basement (cold in winter).  It is six foot by eight foot with storage shelves on one end and, in the future, storage for terrain tiles underneath.  It has 2x2 foot terrain tiles that can be rearranged as needed.  The tiles will be the main focus, table wise, for 2014.  This is still the most exciting gaming development of 2013 for me and I look forward to continuing the project in 2014 (after the painting challenge).

I will continue picking up new rule sets.  I want to add Chain of Command from the Lardies.  I was, initially, excited about Bolt Action, but upon reading the rules, and following the battle reports, I think it simplifies things too much.  On the other hand I could see using the orders dice for Gruntz.  I'll have to tinker with that and see how it works.  I also want to get the new rules for Firestorm Armada, as well as a second fleet.  I have ideas for a campaign using FA, X-Wing, Gruntz and Deadzone.  I don't think it will come to fruition this year, but I can put the pieces in place.

Now for a recap of my goals for 2013, a year ago, and successful I was at achieving them.

Just like all of you, I'm hoping to game more this year.  My focus will be on playing Bolt Action, Gruntz (finally), Kings of War, The Hobbit and Hail Caesar.  That seems like a lot but I think it's reasonable.  I have armies for two of the three games (KoW and Hobbit), and have started armies for the other three, Bolt Action will be started in 15mm.
This is a partial success.  I did play Gruntz a few times.  I played some LotR/Hobbit and Hail Caesar.  I decided, at least for now, to do fantasy with HC Fantasy rather than KoW, not that I played though.

ECW Parliament miniatures
My first ECW regiment, and pike block.  Somewhat disappointing.

I plan to buy three new rules sets, with more no doubt coming down the line.  First off will be Pike & Shotte.  I've had an unreasoning need to build pike blocks for almost as long as I wanted to have an EIR army.  I have a ready made opponent in Jonathan, who has started a Scots army for the period.  I'll also be picking up Black Powder and Albion Triumphant, the Peninsular war expansion for it.  Finally, Collectormania has just announced that they will start carrying Drop Zone Commander.  I'll certainly pick up the book.  This will also give me a chance to look at the models in the flesh.
 This was also a mixed result goal.  I bought Pike & Shotte and Black Powder, though not Alibion Triumphant.  I bought, and assembled, a single regiment for the ECW.  I decided to defer this project to several years down the road.  I still intend to get these guys painted up, but they can wait a bit longer since I'm not really hankering for ECW games right now.  I also bought the DZ rule book, but no models.  The price is still putting me off.

Now to the important part, new minis.  I will continue to add to my 15mm sci/fi stuff.  I'll also be adding bits and bobs to my Hobbit armies and buying rather a lot for my EIR.  As far as new armies though, I'm looking at three for the year, though only in small scale for 2013.  I plan on buying a starter Pike & Shotte army to be build as Parliment.  My goal for the year is to have three infantry regiments, one artillery piece and one cavalry unit.  That will be enough for a trial run of the rules and serve as the core of an army to be expanded.

This one was more successful, though, again, not entirely.  I did add quite a bit to my 15mm sci/fi, an entire new faction in fact.  I added a few models for LotR/Hobbit but no new army, as planned.  As stated above, I did not build a brigade for the ECW.  That one will have to wait.

I will also be picking up 28mm WWII models for Bolt Action.  This will follow the start of the year pretty closely.  A platoon of infantry for US and Germans with some heavy weapons and one tank each should be enough to get started.

I did pick up a single box of 28mm GI's, and have ordered some support for them.  They are in the queue for the painting challenge.  I will probably buy some Germans this year and add support for them as well.  I will hope to get in a few games of Chain of Command this year.

The third will be either Napoleonics or American Civil War, I'm torn.  Both projects will have to happen at some point but only one will fit this year.  Whichever way I go the build will look much like the Pike & Shotte TO.

I bought a bunch of boxes of Warlord and Victrix French infantry.  I will be building for Salamanca.   I want to pick up a couple of boxes of Perry infantry as well.  I'll be adding in cavalry and artillery.  This is not a project for 2014.  I'll be making the purchases as things are on sale, but I'll be aiming for this army to be assembled in 2015.  ACW will have to wait even longer.

I'll also be adding to my terrain collection as my current fantasy terrain doesn't work well for any of this new stuff.
This happened.  Not to the extent I wanted, but in a meaningful way.

Finally, the blog itself.  I was not very good about posting most of the year.  That's down to the soul crushing schedule I've been maintaining.  That schedule will change this year, one way or another, though not until the second half of 2014.  At that point I expect that I will have more time and energy for doing something other than reading all of your fine blogs.  Having said that, I will attempt to post at least 120 times.  That's every three days.  I don't post when I don't have anything meaningful to put up.  This goal is more about getting me to  do something worth telling you about than about hitting a number.

Last year I ended with 44 followers.  Right now I have 76.  That means I've added about 32 a year for the last two years.  While those numbers may seem vanishingly small compared to a lot of blogs out there, I appreciate each and every one of you.

2013 was a good hobby year.  My real goal is to make 2014 even better.  Thanks for reading and I hope to keep you coming back in 2014.

12 comments:

  1. Wow! That is some report. It is great to read that you are able to share your hobby with your lads. Look forward to seeing how your table develops.
    Happy New Year,
    Pat.

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    1. I can't believe you read it all Pat. Thanks and have a great new year!

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  2. You had a great year by my reckoning! It's really cool you can share your gaming passion with your sons. Here's to plenty more in 2014.

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    1. Thanks Monty. The only real disappointment was the painting. Otherwise, yes, it was a great year. I do love sharing with the boys, and it will only get better as they get older.

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  3. Great post! I enjoy reading yours and others predictions and recaps as well. Your gaming table is going to be very nice. Looking forward to seeing more great work from you in 2014.

    Jon

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    1. Jon,
      I'm glad you liked it. The table is going to be awesome, I agree. The one game I've played on it made me very happy.

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  4. Great work AHunt. Sounds like it was a very good year for you.

    I'm with you on the failing to paint as much as I should have, though I did get a lot of models done. I'm planning to clear as much as possible before investing anything further. Shame you haven't had time to get into Bolt Action yet as it's a lot of fun but I equally lacked time to try Hail Caesar. Let's see what I can manage in 2014

    Looking forward to your 2014 blogging.

    All the best

    Pete

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    1. Thanks Pete. I hope you get to play HC this year, it's a lot of fun.

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  5. I think its great year you have had Alan. A very good read and it will be interesting to follow your adventures in the year ahead

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    1. It has been a good one. I'm looking forward to giving you something to read about.

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  6. Sounds like a cracking year in store to me, best of luck Sir!

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    1. Thank you Michael. I hope it lives up to its potential.

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