Monday, 7 January 2013

State of My Hobby

The end of a year is always a good moment to reflect on things that went by during the past 12 months, and to make plans for the next. Inspired by Bart's State of the Tiny Tin Men post, I will do the same ;-)

Games played in 2012

I only keep a record of games played at my premises in my designated Moleskine wargaming notebook. As for 2012, the following games are listed:

January 2012: ACW game using our own time-tested house-rules. "Bridgehead Breakout" was based on scenario #21 from the Scenarios for Wargames book by Charles Grant. The flow of the battle of this game can be seen in the first picture of the wargaming notebook post mentioned above.
I think our gaming group is fairly happy with the rules as they are now. We keep fiddling with them now and then, mostly because of specific scenario requirements, but the framework has been unchanged for the past couple of years. I have been planning of writing them up in a decent booklet, but perfect is always the enemy of good.

February 2012: The kick-off game of our Antares 2401 campaign. The philisophy of the campaign has been outlined in a previous blogpost. This first game was a test game, with lots of killed figures, but also already set the tone for the narrative component of the campaign. Heroic deeds were already witnessed, squad's names were established, and the first mission reports were written.

April 2012: Second game of Antares 2401, action an Kalahari V. The rules were refined, but a nice development at the campaign level was that one player suggested that the captured pirate gang should serve in a penal battalion as part of SpecOps. For me, that really triggered the idea that I should go full-speed ahead with allowing players to develop the storyline.

June 2012: Bart and I played an experimental 6mm Napoleonic game. Game mechanics were based on 'Anything but a 6', a ruleset sent to me by American wargamer Otto Schmidt. Some interesting gaming mechanics, notably trying to keep the iniatitive and thereby increasing your movement distances.

October 2012: Another ACW game with our houserules. We tried some new features: playing on 3" hexes instead of the usual 4" hexes, so our battlefield became larger; and instead of using figure removal we used dials to track unit status. I like this latter option a lot, because you keep al the figures on the table (visual appeal!), and since the dials are not always checked correctly by the opposing player, a certain fog-of-war element is introduced.

November 2012: Third game in the Antares campaign, this time set on the ice planet Polaris VII. Mission was to take out an ortillery station.

December 2012: Fourth game in the Antares campaign -- the game is growing stronger.

Painting

Not so much painting done this year, I'm afraid. Several years ago, I made myself a promise not to buy any new unpainted stuff before I worked through my heap of unpainted stuff. Progress is being made, but slowly. My collection of unpainted stuff has for the most part been cleaned out: figures for unwanted projects were either sold or given away. Now it's up to me to paint the things I still want to keep. One of most notably painted set of figures this year were these medieval knights. Nice set for our upcoming fantasy games :-)


The Convention Scene

We set up a game for Crisis based on the battle of Asspern-Esling. Instead of moving troops, you were in control of the currents in the river, trying to navigate boats and debris against the French pontoon-bridges. I think the game went fairly well. Nice touch: Mozart-Kugeln (winners) and Napoleon Bonbons (losers) for all!

Writing

Because Schild&Vriend wants to participate in spreading good wargaming practices and ideas, we set ourselves to writing a number of articles for the wargaming press. Bart got 2 scenarios in Battlegames, Eddy got 2 articles as well, and I have an article in the upcoming issue (issue 33, January 2013) dealing with story-driven wargames.


Plans for 2013


Let's set some realistic goals for a change:

Further games for the Antares 2401 campaign: this will without a doubt happen. I think there's enough energy and drive on part of the players and plumpire right now that we can continue this campaign at least for a few more games. As with all campaigns. we'll see when it runs out of steam. One of the ideas I would like to try is to introduce at least 1 6mm Scifi game in the campaign (in which the player's squads are single stands, able to earn advancements), one Full Thrust game, and perhaps a BattleTech game.

ACW campaign: Our ACW games at my place have become a sort of default setup for playing various types of scenarios. This year, I would like to try a campaign based on one of the Charles Grant campaign books. We tried one last year  (Raid on St Michel, action report on another blog here), but it fizzeld out. In hindsight, we know what we should put into the mix, based on our experiences with the Antares campaign: personalization of units, and a clear progression of units from battle to battle.
My idea is to do the Raid on St Michel once more, but set in the ACW setting. Both sides would draw up their list of units beforehand, including commanders and generals, and units would get an additional ability if they survive a battle, or a disadvantgae if the are routed.
Of course, given that commanders and units would be invented, it would make it more of an alternate ACW setting, but so what? It opens the door for interesting units such as the Sour Mash Tennessee Regiment led by Col. Jack Daniels, or the Southern Comfort Regiment led by Col. Martin Wilkes. If you don;t get the references, you should drink more.

Committee Game: I would like to put up at least one committee game next year. We did a few during the past years, using various formats, but I have a few more ideas up my sleeve. The caveat is that we need at least 4-5 players for some of these, and that might be a problem ...

Fantasy:  I would like to start with developing a fantasy campaign, using our own rules. I have a lot of fantasy figures, and they need to be put to good use. The framework for the rules will probably be Black Powder. Magic Powder sounds like a good name. Perhaps hexification is a good idea, since that would deal with the footprint of units. And the focus on a unit as a basic element is a good solution for the single dragon vs. 100 goblins problem when working on a figure-based basis.

Writing: one more article for Battlegames. Perhaps something based on one of our previous CRISIS games? Attack on Fort Stanley, or An Den Schonen Blauen Donau?

Painting: more figures!

Oh yeah, a wargamey 2013 for everyone!!!

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