Saturday, 30 December 2017

The IWG Christmas Annual 2017 Issue Two

                                                           
                                                               ..... Introduction....

     Welcome to issue Two of the Independent Wargames Group Christmas Annual. I started this idea last New Year and feel its a good way to cast a look over the year's wargaming. There is only one full day left of 2017 and to be honest I will be glad to see the back of it in some respects and yet whilst there were a few personal issues I did manage to complete my ACW project with only a couple of  small units left to paint. 
   Normally I dont ever finish a project and invariably return to it and add something new. With the ACW project I feel there is no need to add to it. I have sufficient units to fight decent sized battles. Granted I dont have enough to refight Gettysburg but then not many wargamers do. Saying that I have a couple of ideas about tackling one of the big battles of the war and would like to carry through these ideas in the New Year.
 I thought it appropriate to finish 2017 with a newly painted unit of figures. I purchased these six heavy cavalryman from Dave Thomas, nearly two years ago when I was scratching through his spares boxes at Claymore. The horses are from my spares box. I think the figures may have been some of Chris Gilder's first attempts at sculpting. I particularly liked the sallet and details on the armour.
 One normally does a quick review of the year and then creates a list of wishes for the New Year that are never achieved. I wont be doing that because there would be no point.I will however attempt to keep the text up beat if possible.
 Last year I wanted to increase the wargamers who visit my three blogs. It seemed to me that wargamers were moving away from blogger and posting their information on alternative digital vehicles.In an effort to locate these itinerant wargamers I entered the world of Facebook reluctantly.In some respects it has paid off and my followers and casual viewers has increased by quite a number. Somehow I am not certain it was a good idea in other respects.
 Its very clear that 'friends' on Facebook is a very loose term and to quote Frederick the Great;
                                         ''The more I see of men. The better I like my dog.''

Unfortunately I have an annoying trait that if I feel something is wrong I will actually say so which is not a great idea if one wants to keep their sanity in this digital age where any attempt at reasoned comment is greeted with either hysteria or threats. Its almost like being back at work, except at least the person who was making the threats was able to be physically chastised. So I'm afraid any 'friends' I have inherited on Facebook will be de friended next year and I will instead concentrate on only wargaming sites in order to spread the word.

Rules;....
 Anyway on to more relevant issues. Wargames rules. In the main John and I re visited some old friends, ie Volley and Bayonet, Black Powder, and Hail Caesar and very enjoyable it was to especially rediscovering the simplicity of Volley and Bayonet which supplied us with some great games. We didn't completely regress and bought and used the excellent Picketts Charge by Dave Brown.We have mastered the nuances of these wonderful rules and can appreciate their play-ability. Dave Brown has done a cracking job of creating a set of rules that capture for me a period feel whilst being fun to play.Well recommended and definitely my wargames rules of the year.

Out of favour for me are Honours of War which I feel need some 'work' to make them more playable.For me, and this is a personal thing, I feel the artillery rules need a lot of work because they seem to dominate a battle well in excess of their historical abilities. I also find the constant rallying a distraction, although it does make one think about the state of your units. So Honour's is a 'nearly'  set of rules which is a shame.

Wargames Shows;....
I enjoy attending wargames shows and 2017 was no different except I missed my favourite show this year through unforseen circumstances. I understand York was extremely busy but that the games were not up to their usual standard. Hopefully I will be able to decide for myself next year.
 Salute 2017 was its usual expensive experience and didn't live up to its hype.Having sat down with a couple of the Warlords committee I fully appreciate their problems.They are victims of their own success and are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the shows standards due to several reasons including a shortage of volunteers to help run the show.It is a massive undertaking and I don't envy them their stress.
 Unfortunately Salute tends to showcase all the current wargames trends which are for smaller skirmish type games, fantasy and sci fi. There have been arguments about whether wargaming actually includes fantasy and the like. Personally I am usually impressed by the beautifully sculpted figures and scenery but wouldnt want to game with them. Its a step too far.But it is very popular and hopefully will allow a crossover of some younger gamers.
  I dont enjoy the spectacle of rows of small games at a show. By small I mean a couple of dozen figures.Big is definitely beautiful and somehow the current trend for tabletop games just doesn't inspire me to take up a brush. They are probably fun but then so is Pictionary. 

I did attend Partizan, twice, Leeds, Gateshead and Battleground which are all medium to large events. Less shows than I intended to go to, but sometimes real life intrudes.
 I think my favourite was Partizan where there were some fine looking games to stand and drool over although I thought Leon who runs Battleground did a cracking job........

Ranges of Figures;...
Well Warlord finally released their plastic landsknects they obtained from Pro Gloria. I was very impressed with them especially the facial detail.Yes they are a little static, but it is a very practical pose. I look forward to the release of their plastic gendarmes sometime soon. Although I dont collect the scale, I was very impressed by Pendrakens ranges which are really well sculpted and great value for money. 
 I think 10mm are the 'new' 15mm phenomena that began in the mid 1980's.Perhaps if I was twenty years younger I would use this scale.
My favourite figures of 2017 are probably the 'new' French SYW by Black Hussar of Germany and the small ACW ranges from FG miniz from France. Both are beautiful sculpts at a reasonable price for 28mm.
 I have yet to see the figures created for Game of Thrones in the flesh, but the images make them look something to consider in the new year. That is, after I finally watch the whole series.

 The New Campaigning Year;.......
  Next year is already penciled in to be a busy year for me with various trips and other little projects including a volunteering job. I am determined to fight even more wargames although John and I have fought quite a number of encounters this year. All have been tense but fun affairs. What more can a wargamer ask for really. Dependent on my stretched finances I have a hankering to start a new project and return to an older one, but that's in the pipeline and may never be started, we will have to see.One thing is certain, my wargaming continues apace.

Trends;....
 I like to record what I see happening in the New Year as regards wargaming, if only to prove just what I dont know.
 Given the constant comments about certain of the wargaming magazines I can see at least one magazine disappearing. This would be sad for wargamers in general, but for me its just not value for money. As regards the next big thing. Certain manufacturers are again pushing The West and Pirates. Again.... And now we are enjoying the delights of a Zombie West! Somehow I dont think these will 'do the business' for them. Hopefully the whole Zombie trend will simply disappear.
 My moneys on the continued resurgence of Games Workshop who clearly have got their act together and will once more dominate things, so I fully expect some 'new' fantasy ranges that will be compatible with the GW new ranges. I wouldnt be surprised if Brettonian like ranges appear alongside other old GW favourites except with new names.
 But for me personally I think ACW and Napoleonics will feature strongly in the New Year with a similar showing from WW2 in all its forms.I expect an increased interest in the Pennisular War which is perfect for smaller historical games. Not exactly a groundbreaking prediction really, but probably a safe bet for figure producers. Anyway enjoy the New Year festivities and always roll high........ 
                               
The two images are how I see wargaming at its best.Probably not very practical nowadays but what can be more inspiring than hundreds of painted toys marching across a nice terrain.For me this is what I want to see at a show, the bigger the better.

19 comments:

  1. Interesting post as always, nice to see the borgias still have some life in them! Salute is impressive but after going to colours this year I think I'll try and get to at least one partizan next year as the display games looked great! Good luck with your predictions, I've got no idea!
    Best Iain

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    1. Iain,
      Dont get me wrong Salute is still an impressive show but for me, it is moving away from what I see as wargaming.It is understandable given the number of new companies that attend the show with their figures and a well presented small game.It appears popular with younger gamers and a lot of European gamers so what can one say really.

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  2. I'd love to play a game or three with you Robbie, if only to show you that not all friends on Facebook are fiends, as you seem to think. 2018 is a year still full of possibilities so let's hope we make it a good one.

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    1. I fully intend to Paul.I have a couple of things flitting around my bonce that I want to do, wargaming wise.

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  3. Robbie,
    Good post and pretty upbeat 😀 All the best for 2018 and hope you achieve your objectives

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    1. Thanks Graham. By the way I hope some of your Saxons appear this year it would be great to get my mits on some.Best of luck.

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  4. Enjoyed the post - Best Wishes for the New Year.

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    1. Thanks Norm, all the best to you and yours...

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  5. Agreed on the table laden with figures in their hundreds (or even thousands). As the saying goes, go BIG, or go home. Happy New Year!

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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    1. Very succinctly put Stokes.Keep up the standards as regards sartorial elegance by the way...

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  6. Interesting post Robbie. Like you I believe in big being the only way to go as far as games are concerned. Hope you have a great new year and catch up sometime I hope. Oh yes, Facebook! Like emails and texts not the best way to have grown up debate.

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    1. Thanks Colin. There is clearly a place for small and smallish games I dont deny that. But if wargaming is about historical re enactments then there is a bit of a problem developing. Unless of course one fights say D-Day one company at a time.Might take a while though.

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  7. Always good in my view to have and express an opinion, civil of course. Agree wholeheartedly on Salute and the trend to ever smaller games.

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    1. Thanks David. Unfortunately its very clear that alternative opinions are something that a lot of people cant handle. It perhaps explains the 'safe' areas that our lovely millennials demand.God knows what they would have made of the infamous Rhompia debates.

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  8. Well done Robbie, I always love reading whatever you blog about and glad we have put Facebook behind us....it's not just the Millennials that take a more inclusive view of mankind :-) Definitely we share the same loves in wargaming and big is beautiful and historical. Thanks for all the work you have done bringing Peter Gilder's story to prominence. That photo reminds me that the Callan movie is being shown on Freeview "Movies4Men" channel at 0050 on Saturday 13 Jan. I daresay most of your readers know that Gilder made the Waterloo and Gettysburg tables for that film. Have a great 2018 and hope to trade blows at Kenilworth, mate.

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    1. Thanks Chris,
      I thought you were aware but Im not going to Kenilworth this year. Sometimes monetary reality intrudes on our wargaming lives.

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    2. So sorry to hear that - you will be missed.

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  9. An interesting view of your wargaming year Robbie. I too am selective about which shows I go to. Ive never been to Salute and have never been tempted too either. I go to WMMS each Spring, Partizan occasionally and a local show called Wargamer in December.
    I put on 28mm Napoleonic games and promote the period and scale whenever possible. Regarding the image from Callan a friend got me a cup with the word Schneider emblazoned upon it. He was the villain in the movie that Callan shot with the gun in his ankle holster. Great stuff!

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  10. Your blog is very nice for sharing on this site.

    Movie Online

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My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating