Tuesday, December 27, 2011

(War)Gameswipe - Review of 2011

Foriegn readers, no this is not me....

It's been a year that gave with one hand and took away with the other at Toomuchlead towers, we'll get on to the specifically gaming aspects in a bit but during this year I've moved twice, lost my old job, taken a offer just to stay in work at a considerable reduction in pay, but ended the year with a new offer on the table for more than I started the year with!  Aside from that I've split with two women and crashed and burned with several others, been the victim of crime three times, crushed one car and spent over £2k on the other getting the damn thing back on the road (buying an Alfa may make you a petrol head, it also makes you a mechanics favourite customer).  It has in short, been a helluva year.

Gaming and blogging has in some way helped keep me sane; but what in this crazy world of game has gone on, and how did I do on the prediction front last time....


2011 has seen me expanding established armies in force rather than starting anything new; with the exception of a couple of skirmish games.  This wasn't the plan at the start of the year, when in a gaming high I had suggested I would build a new fantasy army and double the size of my Napoleonic French force.  Neither came to pass.

Rather I enlarged my Medieval French, Dogs of War, Undead, Orcs and Goblins, WW2 Americans and Spartans; and built my skirmish forces for Anima Tactic and Freebooters Fate from scratch.

Model purchases for myself were inevitably limited but I did appreciate the Perry Miniatures release (eventually) of the British Hussars - now on the painting queue, Immortal Spartans and Mantic Ghouls and Zombies, which work especially well when mashed-up together.  Also a mention should go to the success of the Plastic Soldier Company, I'm not a fan of all the poses, but they have really made themselves known on the market, similarly the Zvezda range of Art if Tactic miniatures has added further options to those who can see beyond the tyranny of Battlefront's ludicrous pricing of Flames of War models.

Beautiful 1/100 scale military vehicles for 1/3rd the cost of Battlefront

Overall I felt that the pace of plastic releases slowed down this year, though in the last few months it seemed to pick up.  I think I was close to correct in saying at least one of the Plastic 28mm manufacturers would go under as Wargames Factory went close to the wire, and Immortal sold to Warlord Games; but then at least one more manufacturer is entering the fray, so the market may yet expand.  The prices of metal have risen for the premium companies, but not by as much as I feared yet.

Game Systems

Three really stand out as new arrivals in 2011, Hail Caesar, Kampfgruppe Normandy and Anima Tactics.  Ok granted the latter I started with last December, but my games of it began this year and very enjoyable they were too.  Hail Caesar has got me back in to ancients gaming, having cast it aside for a long time due to lack of players of a set of rules I enjoyed; whilst KGN is WW2 gaming the way I remember it from my youth, but with a good solid set of rules to underpin it.  Great!

In the first half of the year I played a lot of Fantasy Battle, but by September or so I was tiring of it, and tried actively to get other games in.  The aggressively tournament style of play that became commonplace whilst the Leeds Wargames Centre was open was not to my tastes either.


Other games I've enjoyed this year were Black Powder, of course, Freebooters Fate and Kings of War.

Next year my main plan, if there is one, is to find or write a set of Rules for Modern Games I like.  A big ask, but there are options on the table.


I went to five shows this year and did three display games, with varying success.  Best to my mind was Poitiers of course, but in general it felt like a lot of effort at times.  Had a lot on my plate this year and in some cases it did feel like I was having my arm twisted to do displays rather than doing it for my own enjoyment.  In terms of event games, the Napoleonics games at the club were again the ones that really stick in the mind.

Blogging and Painting

Getting on for 55,000 hits this year; not in the big leagues, but for a guy who doesn't do a podcast and avoids a lot of the most popular systems, I don't think it's too shabby.  Service has suffered a lot of disruption this year and it has shown in a couple of months, but overall it has been on a gentle upward track since I started getting detailed stats on it.

up to 26 December 2011

I work with statistics and data by day, so yes this is interesting, to me!

As for painting I think the December total will be about 26 points, bringing the approximate total to the year to about 527 points, against a target of 360.  It's actually less than last year, but this year I didn't include terrain, and did aim to do more fine work.  I'm less inclined to do competition standard now, and for 2012 I'm hoping to turn out a few more models.

So the aims for next year?

  • Continue The Pledge to paint 30 points of miniatures per month.
That's it in essence.  I hope to start a new army, to scale up one of the forces I sold in 20mm to 28mm, and this will be a big painting commitment if it comes to pass, but it is still just a loose idea.  Beyond that I still have lots of parts to expand established armies, and I still have items to sell off too; there being a long standing objective to reduce my collection of boxes by a third

This is so the next time I do move there is less puffing and swearing, along the lines of "why do I even have this s**t, I haven't even took it out the box in five f*****g years!"

The Scene

Hmm bit of a one that, locally gaming hit both highs and lows at the LWC, but in the end it was both a damn shame and anything but a surprise to see it go under.  This alongside the move of venue for the old club in February/March saw the Leeds club scene go into a state of uncertainty it is only just coming out of.  In wider terms Fantasy gaming has locally become as stated more competitive, and for me, less fun.  Whilst there is a slowly building community of historical gamers now taking regular space in my favoured haunts.  More gamers are coming in to the hobby with the widespread availability of plastic historical ranges, and this is a great thing.  The rules are now moving towards a peak of development and availability too.

I think the future still bodes well for figure gaming, despite tough times.

Here's to an enjoyable 2012.


  1. Sounds like you had a busy 2011! .. Hope all your plans turn out for the coming year.
    Happy 2012!

  2. Aki,

    Interesting thoughts on the year, I find myself mostly agreement with you! Truly our hobby is in a golden age.

    Thanks for the blogginG, I find your musings very readable. Which probably accounts for your impressive number of pageviews - congratulations.

    I look forward to seeing your 2012 output, especially Napoleonics, my current period of choice!

    All the best,o

  3. Phil: Thanks, I do try to be readable, I have a degree in English and hope to make some use of it!

    Hopefully I can churn out a few more Napoleonics units and arrange some more games soon. I would hate for Warhammer Fantasy to overtake it in the article list ;-)

  4. AKI,

    I have been following you for around two years now and you are probably my favourite gaming blogger. Your combination of frequent updates and diverse gaming always give me the gaming pep-up I want when I check in.