Sunday, January 17, 2016

2015 Wargames Review

Some of my figures on location at the Shed for a Pulp Alley game

Here we have my thrilling 2015 wargames review and at least I had enough games this year to qualify me as a wargamer, even if my painting output was tragically small.

Figures Painted

After 2014's score of 114, 2015 was very disappointing indeed.  I painted just 25 figures:

11 North West Frontier British
5 In Her Majesty's Name
4 Pulp
2 Argonauts
1 Pirate
1 Roman
1 Carolingian

This is my lowest amount by far since I started recording my painting in 2007, when I managed 312 figures.  I haven't completed anything since September although I have done some painting.  I just didn't have anything close to being finished.  I'm not quite sure why this is.  I cannot paint under artificial light and I suspect that my eyesight has deteriorated quite a bit this year.  I have spent a lot of time at the eye departments of local hospitals.   Hopefully, 25 is such a miserable number that I can beat it this year.  I will just have to accept I can't paint to the quality I used to.

Wargames played 

Some of my girly pirates at the Shed

Thanks to the generosity of Eric the Shed I have played a record breaking ten wargames this year!

First off there was an epic pirate game, next my first game of Lion Rampant for Robin Hood, a science fiction bug hunt game, a Pulp Alley 1930s Egypt game, two games of Battlecars, a big Lion Rampant Crusades game, a 15mm Black Powder Quatre Bras game and two more Pulp Action games as part of Eric's Scales of Anubis campaign.  Firsts included my first Lion Rampant game (excellent) and my first 15mm game, which was also my first Black Powder game.

Eric's scenery is legendary and I was pleased to field some of my own figures in some of these games.  It makes all the squinting worth while when they can see action on such spectacular boards.


I meant to paint a building or two this year but totally failed and the only scenic item I have been working on is a tree to hold the Golden Fleece for Jason and the Argonauts.  Actually it is now finished but it wasn't in 2015 so can't appear here in it's final form!


I went to Salute, as usual and actually attended the bloggers meet up for once.  I even appeared in the official picture!  In 2014 Salute was my only show as Colours was cancelled.  I tried to get to Colours this year but was defeated by horrific traffic on the M25 and M3.  Fortunately, Eric the Shed gave me a lift to Warfare in Reading (whose one way system scares me to death) so I scored two shows this year.


I have done quite well on reducing the lead (and plastic - more on this soon) pile this year; realising that I am never going to paint all the figures I have got.  I bought just 98 new figures, painted 25 and sold 518 leaving me a minus 446 score for the pile.   New figures were mainly Frostgrave. Lucid Eye Savage Core, First Corps Mexican-American War and Iron Duke Indian Mutiny.  Apart from the Mexicans, I have at least started most of the others.

Kickstarters and pre-orders

Too small!

I've tried to avoid these this year.  I sold all my War and Empire figures on and having committed to the second W&E Kickstarter of Romans I then cancelled it.  I just don't like 15mm and I can't see to paint them any more.  The only one I backed this year was for Miniature Wargaming the Movie, which doesn't involve having to paint anything!  I realise that I still haven't received my Wargods of Olympus figures which I ordered in 2013 because I wanted the rule book at the same time.  Now they want me to pay extra postage to get the figures first, which I will have to because I want them for Jason and the Argonauts.

Wargames Rules

Now as my regular opponents at the Shed know, I seem totally unable to pick up wargames rules; a somewhat fundamental issue.  I like playing the games but just don't have a strategic mind, which makes winning a game a rare event.  I don't play boardgames for the same reason, as they have all the stressful strategy and none of the enjoyable figure painting.  My friend A wondered if I shouldn't just paint 90mm figures for the fun of it and forget about the gaming.  The problem with that being that the quality of finish on most 90mm figures I have seen is so astounding as to make my efforts look embarrassing. It's a lose-lose situation, rather like my gaming.

That said. I have played several rule sets for the first time this year.  Black Powder (in 15mm), Lion Rampant, Battlecars and Pulp Alley.   Pulp Alley is very enjoyable but of these Lion Rampant was my favourite, once we had agreed as a group to abandon the rule whereby if a unit fails to activate the whole side fails to be able to do any actions.  For our larger games where we had 10 or 12 units a side this just didn't work (Eric has also had to modify the rules to allow for multiplayer games).

I bought several new sets myself this year: Black Ops, 7th Voyage (for Argonauts games) and Frostgrave.  Needless to say reading them has given me no clue as to how they will work in practice!  Eric's analysis of magic in Frostgrave scared me to death.  However, now I have realised that I don't care if I win a game or not so long as I can field some nice figures in it.  I assembled some plastic Frostgrave figures last night and they are very nice indeed.

Looking forward I'm quite tempted by the Dragon Rampant fantasy rules, The Men who Would be KingEn Garde and Studio Tomahawk's Congo rules.

Wargames Blogs and...Facebook

Well I actually didn't set any new blogs up this year, although I have expended some to a more widescreen format and increased the font size for my poor eyes. I only did 78 posts on this blog compared with 111 posts in 2014.  The blog now has 203 followers and has just passed 450,000 views.  My post on a bug hunt game at the shed and thoughts on Black Ops got the biggest number of views at 1547.  Could this score (I usually get between 200 and 400 views per post) have anything to do with the picture of Maggie Q and Lyndsey Fonseca in the post?  After all, my girly blog has just passed 12.5 million views! Speaking of which, Blogger threatened to take down all blogs with an "adult" tag this year and so I removed some of my posts from Legatus Wargames Ladies, in order to avoid the blog being closed.  Then of course, they changed their minds but I haven't replaced the deleted posts.  I really, really can't understand many Americans' fear of nudity or sexuality.

The biggest 'social media' (even typing the words makes me feel sick and ashamed) development was my Facebook page, which I initially set up so I could follow figure manufacturers' pages when I realised that they posted about new products on Facebook long before they appeared on their conventional websites.  Guided by my daughter, I set up a page and soon had around 160 "friends".  I then realised that many of these pages had nothing to do with wargaming (fair enough if they are for family purposes).  What I couldn't understand were all the ones full of tedious political cant or regurgitation of ghastly American homilies or so-called humour created by others.  Originate your own stuff, don't just circulate garbage!   Frankly I'd much rather look at pictures of people's cats, holidays or meals than see some cringe-making graphic with Minions in it!  So I unfriended dozens of them and am now down to just over 90.

Plans for the next year

Well, to paint more than 25 figures, obviously.  As regards what I will slightly cant it towards figures I might be able to deploy in the Shed.  This means a lot more for Jason and the Argonauts and, possibly, some English Civil War.  Other than that I will try to finish the units I have on the paint table at present which are my 1864 Danes, Carolingians, Indian Mutiny British and North West Frontier.  On the skirmish side, figures for the Lost World, IHMN, Black Ops and pirates are all on the desk at present.  The Neanderthals next!

Now I really, really shouldn't even be contemplating any new figures but Unfeasibly Miniatures new Empire in Peril range is very tempting!

Musical Accompaniment

While writing this post I have been listening to one of my favourite TV soundtracks ever, The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.  Many British people my age will have seen this series from the time it was shown and repeated on TV between 1965 and 1975.  

The music was the work of two composers: Robert Mellin (1902-1994) and Gian Piero Reverberi (1939-).  It did not feature in the original French and German release in 1963 but was specially composed for the British version in 1965.  Mellin (born Israel Melnikoff) was a Ukrainian born, composer, lyricist and publisher whose family took him from Kiev to Chicago as a baby.  He wrote hundreds of songs and lyrics including words to Acker Bilk's Stranger on the Shore.  He moved to London in the seventies and had music publishing businesses both there and in New York.  Mellin produced some scores for spaghetti westerns and had the publishing rights to a lot of Italian film scores.  He was instrumental in locating the recordings of The Adventure of Robinson Crusoe in Rome for the CD soundtrack release in 1994, dying in Rome shortly afterwards

The much younger, classically trained, Reverberi worked with rock bands and also scored spaghetti westerns and TV series.  He is best known these days as the founder, conductor and composer for the hybrid baroque/pop ensemble Rondò Veneziano which he founded in 1979 and has now produced over 70 albums.


  1. Nice recap of your 2015 gaming. I bet it was great to meet up with all the fellow-bloggers at Salute. You have a fine collection of Colonial figures too.

  2. Sorry to hear about your eyesight, LH. Hopefully your productivity will increase this year. One certainly can't complain about your prolific posting!

    Best wishes


  3. Although output is down on last year, I am very envious of the games in the shed. Like you I struggle with rules and although I've picked up a fair few now when I look through the pages it might as well be written in Greek; it just doesn't make sense! Once guided through a game and given a context to how they relate to the miniatures in front of me I can revisit rules and slowly come to terms with them, but this so rarely happens that I am left just looking at the pretty pictures and thinking - one day. That said, I'm hoping The Men who Would be King will be just what I need to get my much overlooked Victorian armies on the table, any table.

  4. I'm also very envious of your games at the shed! They look spectacular! I shall look forward to following your exploits through've certainly whet my appetite with mentions of the Lost World, NWF and Indian Mutiny (so tempted by those Iron Duke minis), In Her Majesty's Name, Pirates and Argonauts!