Sunday, 7 January 2018

Changes going into 2018

And so 2018 is up and running. Plague and pestilence, in the form of whatever that flu type bug is that is doing the rounds in the UK, has visited this household and having struggled with it once, it has cruelly decided to embrace me second time! Happily the latest issue of Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy is out, with a focus on tanks, so a good cover-to-cover read.

The latest Wargames, Strategy and Soldiers is now out

So while it has been a bit of a slow start to the year, I thought it worth taking the opportunity to break with my tradition of only doing article based posts and do a follow up on my ‘Reflections of 2017’ item, since there was such serious talk in that post of a change of direction in hobby management. So was all that hot air or did things change and how do those changes look?

Well it was never about a new year resolution thing, the evolution of those ideas had already been gathering pace for a couple of months and it just so happened that the end of year coincided with an acceleration of clear intentions.

The shelves have now been cleared and are now occupied by a more focussed boardgame collection, together with only figures in the scale band of 10 - 12mm, plus supporting terrain. This has reversed a storage problem in which things were spilling onto the floor, to actually now having some empty shelf space! Nothing escaped the ‘ravaging review’, even the paints have been culled to a more sensible limited palette, so that they fit into a single container.

For those of a nervous disposition, look away now ....... some items have gone to the waste recycling centre! Well these are really those items that don’t readily sell or suit the donation line of disposal, but rather, have the bad habit of just hanging around forever and winking annoyingly at me and includes those things kept because one day they may be useful, but in truth, seldom are. So, bin, bin, bin, out of sight, out of mind, good, good, good. It is a bit of a one way street, so once done ..... it is done, it can’t be undone and is actually quite cathartic in its own strange way.

Reading? yes, there is now a book on the go. Still the same one! (Harold the King Who fell at Hastings by Peter Rex). Getting immersed again in the 1066 history is part of this years main project, 1066 Hastings in 12mm on hexes.

Painting? yes, figures are prepped and on sticks and getting daily attention. The Kallistra packs come in blisters of 32 foot and 16 cavalry, so I am doing a blister at a time and really trying to apply ‘speed painting, it’s good enough at 3’ foot’ techniques. I have moved to brush on brown Hammerite special metals primer, followed by a heavy inking with Vallejo wash, which is a very pigmented wash. The idea is just to catch some areas with block painting and then knock it back with a gentle thinned wash - will it look OK? The jury is still out on this. The last time I speed painted, more time was spent putting it right than saved!

Terrain? yes, unpainted buildings and some home made explosion markers are passing across the painting table and two marsh tiles that needed to be dressed for either 10mm or 28mm can now progress via the 10mm look and will become new additions for the 1066 project.

Gaming? well nothing face-to-face at the moment (due to said pestilence and Mike has visitors staying), but I have run a couple of solo games. The Snipers Den scenario from Lock ‘n Load’s Heroes of Normandy module went onto the table for my promised mid-week game, though it continues to puzzle me as to how the British paratroopers can win. That sniper in the steeple has an all commanding position and the two German machine guns have formidable potential, especially when one of them eventually moves to the ground floor of the church, below the steeple.

This weekend I am putting my Invasion 1066: Hastings boardgame on the table for a re-connection with the rules and to start thinking how I might bring this game engine to the 1066 project.

I have been buying a few book titles, with a view to mating them, subject-wise, with various games that I want to play. The idea is that having a bit of theming between a game and related book will produce a richer experience. Of itself, that might mean that around 3 weeks or so are spent with a particular game or system at a time, which will reduce the amount of jumping around that I do between systems and again reinforce the commitment I want to make to doing more reading.

Some wargame shows are getting pencilled into the diary and certainly for one, we will be making a weekend of it, so accommodation is already sorted. There are several shows between February and June that make good candidates. I did three last year and would like to add one or two to that for 2018. It seems that supporting the show circuit and ensuring it survives is taking on a greater importance at least in my mind.

A 1066 project label is going to be started here, as the project is certainly going to generate a number of posts over the next three months or so.

There are quite a few other things that beg to be squeezed into the 1st Quarter calendar, but it will be potentially overloaded. In addition to the 1066 project, I have some plans to demonstrate various aspects of Lock ‘n Load Tactical, which I hope will be interesting and also to return to the first board wargame that started me off (1977) into such a pleasurable part of the hobby. Some early playtesting of a proposed west front ‘44 module for my Tigers at Minsk figures on hexes rules is planned, I just need to decide which army to build up. Though I do like my Churchills, Pendraken have just re-modelled their Shermans, so that may decide things, perhaps it will be best to wait until I see them in the flesh at a show.

Anyway, bottom line is that the things discussed in the ‘Reflections 2017’ post are readily happening and a big part of that comes about by reducing time spent staring into a computer screen and it actually feels good to be liberated even to a small degree from the internet and being generally more productive, even at a low level. Is this a sustainable behavioural change? I suppose the ‘Reflections 2018’ post will be the time to best assess that. 

As always, thanks for taking the time to read and normal services will resume shortly :-)

Resource Section;

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  1. Good to hear that your plans for 2018 have started taking shape. Similar things are happening here, with a more focused approach to my painting already paying dividends, as my ECW for 'The Pikemen's Lament' are making steady progress. Also I have managed 2 games already, playtesting some new rules for Michael Leck and Dan Mersey, using my versatile wooden blocks. Reading has increased and surprisingly less time on the computer, which is great as you mention Norm. Let's hope this continues!

  2. Thanks Steve, I am getting the impression that there are a lot more 'this is what I want from 2018' type posts on the blogosphere this year and a common denominator seems to be to focus on things that can be done and need to be completed, with a common purpose of avoiding the distraction of the next new thing and getting more gaming done, so perhaps a year of consolidation for many gamers, rather than a year of purchasing - or at least for those that write about such things.

    The new Leck / Mersey rules look set to become a winner and funnily enough, I recently bought two packs of the wooden blocks with a view to getting some playtesting done.

    1. The wooden blocks I knocked up at work and are great for using with a wide variety of rules, from skirmish level games through to Bloody Big Battles et al. The other advantage is I can get games in with these during the week and get some painting in as well. So currently I'm one happy bunny:)

  3. Hope you feel better, Norm. Looking forward to 2018! Can't wait to see the TAN material!

    1. Thanks Steve, I am thinking of doing 'TAN' as an open board game, so TAN would be open and TAM would be hex, but the unit data would be fully and equally viable to both.

  4. I always admire those who have the bravery to go with their plan and make the bold changes - I very much hope you feel it works for you.

  5. Thanks, I hope so too. Some things like getting some reading time back, makes me wonder why I allowed it to slip for so long.

  6. Well done. I always find it emotionally painful to get rid of figures etc especially if it comes with unfilled 'dreams', less so if it is "been there done that don't want to go back'. It almost always helps though. I'm good for this year but I can see some deep cuts coming in the years ahead.

    Best of luck with the exploitation of the breakthrough!

    1. Thanks Ross, I know you have reduced collections quite a bit, as you commented upon recently, but I think we are both quite fickle and a plan that seems certain today, might seem less so tomorrow :-)

  7. Good luck as you bushwhack your path into 2018.
    Sounds like you have made a Great Cull already. I am interested in seeing what got jettisoned and what remains of your boardgame collection. Also, what miniatures' projects got the ax and are no longer to be seen?

    Hope you do not pare back internet time too much. I would miss your posts here and your frequent support on the blogs of others.

  8. Thanks Jonathan, the truth is, I still seem to have plenty of internet time to service the things that interest me, which seems to suggest that internet excess was quite a time sink before.

    I have solidified my boardgaming around series rules, area movement games and then individual titles that play well without a large rules overhead, anything sitting outside of that and nearly all of my magazine games got the big heave-ho! Some of the mini sized games that I had collected over a number of years (Such as Swedish Games Production, Task Force Games and Metagaming Microhistory) also went, as have my block games. several boardgame companies have now fallen off my radar. I have some individual games that I would like to play before moving them on, but now games are going to have to justify an existence on the shelves.

    On the figures side significant amounts of 15mm, 20mm and 28mm have moved on and in that regard, they were a distraction to the projects that I had always wanted to invest time in and so those projects are still 'go', with 1066 Hastings now getting prime place .... but I really dislike painting the little chaps compared to the bigger stuff, I just need to learn to change that mindset.

  9. I’m looking forward to the 1066 series as I have my own Hastings project that has started and stalled and started several times.

  10. Thanks Stew, I was painting some General Fyrd yesterday, so this thing still has a pulse :-)

  11. Good for you, Norm! All the best for the year and its projects.

  12. Thanks Aaron, my 12mm figure producer may be starting on ancients once their 1918 line is complete, so there is a potential (with grids in mind) for some posts that may interest you. Cheers Norm



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