And another long year comes to it's conclusion. I hope you had as much fun with your wargaming this year as I did. I never got to write up a "Happy Christmas" post, as my laptop decided not to start itself on Christmas Eve and I finally got it back working after a few days. Since I didn't get to do it then, I hope all you readers out there had a good Christmas and Santa brought you lots of new toys. Here's what he brought me :
I've really enjoyed updating The Hobby Butterfly Effect this year, and I hope all you readers have enjoyed reading it. So I hope you all have a great new year and if you happen to have your own blogs, post a link in the comments section so I can check it out.
Anyhow, I'll move on to the next thing. I'm going to take a look at all the games I currently play and my plans for them in 2014. I'll also talk a little about some other things I'd like to get done this year. Of course, don't hold me to any of this, I'll probably change my mind again like the good Hobby Butterfly I am.
Warmachine & HORDES
I'm going to start with Warmachine & HORDES (Sorry Frank), as it's probably what I'll be spending most of my gaming and painting time on next year. I've gotten back into the game big time in the last year, as I've become unhappy with the competitive direction of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 right now (more on that later). However, with Warmachine & HORDES, I feel like I can play whichever faction I like and still be able to compete with my opponent. I've said for a long time that tournament wargaming is dependent on three factors - luck, skill and army selection. The third one is less important than in other games I've played, where it is often the overwhelming factor. I put this down to two reasons - one is Privateer Press making a strong effort to have all factions and models useful at all times, even if they don't always get it right. The other is the ability to take multiple lists to events. Luck is still an element, it's certainly possible for dice to win or lose you a game, but the mechanics allow you plenty of opportunity for risk management. These factors allow player skill to be the deciding factor in who wins the game the majority of the time, which is exactly how I prefer things.
In 2013, I got back into playing games, painted up all the currently available options for my Blindwater Congregation. I still want to get a few more things, a couple more Croak Hunters and maybe another Blackhide Wrastler or Gatorman Posse. I'm also waiting on my Swamp Shamblers to be released.
As I had run out of Gatormen to paint, I went back to my old Cygnar army. Unhappy with my old paint job (classic Cygnaran blue), I opted for an alternative purple scheme. I'm painting away at them for now.
I plan to play with the Gators until the Irish Masters in March, then to switch over to Cygnar for tournaments after that, although I might play some friendly games before then with Cygnar. Next event up is Sunday's Iron Gauntlet style event, though I'll just be packing Gators in both lists. I really need to work out my Masters lists, time to get to work. Expect a few posts on that topic in the future.
Of all the games I played this year, I probably played more Warhammer 40,000 than any other game this past year. I still love the armies, the background and the 41st millennium. I like the new things that have been introduced, like the Inquisition and supplemental Codexes, Escalation and Stronghold Assault. There's so much fun to be had with these things, but on the flip side, the game balance is absolutely brutal, worse than ever, resulting in horrible spammy armies that are no fun to play against. I know Games Workshop say they're about models and not rules, but they don't need to sacrifice what they already do well to improve the game. As a result, my interest in tournament 40K right now is at an all time low. I still enjoy playing, as long as I play the right opponents for me. I don't mean that as a knock on anyone, I certainly wouldn't tell anyone that there is a "right" or "wrong" way to play 40K, but I think players just need to play the people who want similar things out of the game as they do.
I didn't paint much for any of my 40K armies this year. I did paint half a squad of Chaos Marines, half a squad of Ultramarines and a few bits, but I didn't find myself getting into any sort of real production. I did run the Kallidus IV campaign, which was a real blast.
As for 2014, I would like to paint two armies this year. I have said I will be painting an army to participate in the tournament at NWG this year, although I will be keeping my entry a secret, as I think it will have the most effect if people only see it once it's finished completely. Event organisers Nigel and Darragh, along with Paul, Frank and John (who talked me into actually doing it - I had been joking when I suggested it) know what it is, so they can keep me working. In addition, I would like to paint up my Vostroyan Imperial Guard, including an Inquisition contingent and maybe a Lord of War or two.
Warhammer was my introduction to wargaming, and my favourite for a long time, but I had largely fallen out with 8th edition. I played some games again this year after a break, and it can be fun to play, but you either need to play people with a little common sense and agree not to do certain silly things. I haven't played much in the way of tournaments, as there seems to be a trend towards playing unrestricted Warhammer but I firmly believe that it gets ridiculous very quickly with some of the armies you can field. Does anyone really want to play against my Thorek Ironbrow, 3 Cannon, 3 Grudge Thrower, 2 Organ Gun and as many Quarrellers as I can fit in the remaining points army? That's no fun, and neither are the builds many other armies use. I understand those who say they don't want to restrict choice, but is there much real choice when only 2-3 army books are competitive, and even in those books many units can be safely ignored? If comp really restricts choice, why do we see much more variety at comped events than uncomped?
I didn't really paint much Warhammer this year either. A few Dwarfs, about a dozen Empire soldiers. That was about it.
In 2014, I'd like to paint up a new army. I have no idea which one though. I'd like to get more friendly games in, and after all my complaining above about how I want tournaments to be, I'm going to bite the bullet and run an event of my own, Trollslayer, in the Hobby Shack in Wicklow town. I'm planning for a late April date, but have to confirm time off. I'll let you all know more about that in due course.
I've only played a little bit of SAGA, and it's a game I'd like to get more games of. So simple to learn, but with the battle boards, there's so much you can do with it. I bought three starter 4pt warbands - Scots, Bretons and Skraelings, although I haven't used the Skraelings (in fact they are still in their box) and only painted up 4 Scots Hearthguard. For 2014 I'd like to play more games, and paint up all my models. I'm also going to build up the Scots into a full sized force (maybe 8-10 points) and possibly the others if I have time.
The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings
Ah, yes, the other Games Workshop production. I will be honest with you, I don't like the way this game plays at all, but I do love some of the figures. I bought a copy of Escape from Goblin Town, and would like to paint it up.
This is the game I'd like to pick up this year. I'm a big fan of World War II history, mostly thanks to watching "Band of Brothers" years ago (and the DVDs regularly) and would love to do some WW2 wargames. I've tried Flames of War, but don't think it's for me - I think it's the 15mm scale not appealing to the painter in me. I'd like to pick up the starter set and maybe a US Airborne army (that Band of Brothers thing again). I do like the stuff Warlord Games make.
Well, that's it for me for this year. Might be interesting to go back to this next December and see how much of it I actually stuck to.