2013 – A year in review

I’ll take this chance to give a brief review of the year. I don’t normally do these kind of posts, but given what a change-up this year has been, I thought I’d take the time to reflect.

What 2013 did for me and my hobby

2013 started out for me on a bit of a low in terms of wargaming – in late 2012, 6th Edition 40k had been released and kicked my Dark Eldar square in the nuts, leaving me reeling and struggling to adapt them to the new direction of 6th compared to the wonderful time they’d had in 5th. Also, the sheer cost of Games Workshop models nowadays (and let’s be fair, they’ve always been crazy-high priced) meant that, now that I live with my partner and have a wedding to save up for, I can’t justify spending lots of money on toy soldiers! In addition to this, our FLGS (Triple Helix Wargames) announced they were closing their gaming hall, which left me without anywhere to game regularly (there was still the option of my old club, Devizes and District Wargames Group, but they were 14 miles away and weekend gaming, especially in the middle of a Sunday, cut in a little too much with family time for my liking.

It was because of these factors that I decided to spread my hobby wings a little and look seriously at other systems. I’d looked but never touched other systems previously, always returning to 40k because it felt familiar and comfortable (and I didn’t like feeling like a newbie among veterans, which was a step I wasn’t too fond of taking again). However, with my interest now lowered because of the above factors, I took a serious look at where my hobby was going. It was a stroke of luck I suppose, that two of my regular 40k opponents (who I’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog) were also looking to fly the nest from 40k, for much the same reasons. I’ve been blessed by the kindest wife-to-be in the world, who suggested that as an early 30th birthday present to me, she’d buy me what I needed for terrain and a board so that I could game at home. Things were starting to fall into place nicely! I guess having being into 40k for nearly 20 years now (I started it when I was a spritely overweight young 11 year old), it’s probably time I move on!

I wasn’t completely done with 40k (and admittedly, still am not), as I was entered into an tournament in April – Vonpocalypso, which was run by the superb Nick Jenkin. This was to be a 2300pt Tournament, and the event itself was a great day for not only me but the guys I went with too. I was able to pick up a couple of wins, leaving me in 5th place overall, and I apparantly placed second-highest in the painting results, which I was more than happy with! Darren (naturally) won Best Painted with his incredible Tyranids, which feature many a fantastic conversion combining the old-school Tyranids with some of the newer models, plus some fantastic Genestealer Hybrid style models to represent his Termagants! He also placed 3rd overall, proving that he’s both a very skilled painter and a formidable opponent! Craig placed 7th with his Daemons, which was definitely a great result, especially knowing how fickle the Warp Storm chart is, and how Craig’s dice luck has been proven to be even worse than mine on many occasions! Sean placed 19th, so missed out on the wooden spoon, but just seeing his fantastic Tyranids on the table is reward enough I would say – they look awesome!

2300 points of Redeemers - click to enlarge
2300 points of Redeemers – click to enlarge

Now that the tournament was over, I was able to concentrate on getting some terrain and a table up together – I picked up some 2’x 4′ MDF sheets and some cheap emulsion from B&Q and set about making my board – dead easy really, as I just rolled the emulsion on in about 3 coats on both sides (to keep the boards from warping), then stippled on some sand-dune type effects using a tester-pot of lighter coloured paint. I then added a few ‘plant’ type splotches using Dark Angels and Snot Green. Terrain was ordered from Dark Sphere, a combination of Micro Art Studio HDF terrain and some Battlefield in a Box pieces from Gale Force Nine. This, along with some pieces of felt which I’d acquired in the past allowed me to actually host games of 40k in my own home – something which I’d always wanted to do but lacked the space/funds to be able to do so in the past. There’s definitely something to be said for having the kettle within easy reach, plus we’re not limited to gaming hall/club opening hours (just last week Darren and I ended up with the same day off work and so we got together for an impromptu day of gaming – you can’t do that at a club!

One thing that 6th Edition 40k has shown (to me at least) is how long and drawn out the games can become these days – given how infrequently I now get to play it, I find myself forgetting rules and having to look them up. This was another factor why a few of us picked up Infinity. Infinity has been a really refreshing change of pace for me – instead of armies consisting of 30+ models plus a few vehicles, Infinity lists tend to number in the 5-15 model range, meaning everyone is character in their own right, and I could spend some real time on each figure to make them look as good as I can. When I started I vowed that I would never end up in the same situation with my Infinity armies as I have done with my 40k armies, where I’ve had models unpainted for over 10 years in some cases. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t buy more than a couple of things at a time and would only buy more once other bits were painted, and I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to keep that promise to myself, which regular readers will have seen in my many posts over the past year.

All of my PanO - click to enlarge
All of my PanO – click to enlarge

With our new found interest in Infinity on the rise, Darren, Adam and I decided to enter a tournament, and as luck would have it, there was one relatively close to us down in Exeter, being run by the ever-knowledgeable Wargaming Trader. He’s a real pillar of the Infinity community, providing tons of advice for new players and veterans alike, on the Infinity Forums, on his own website and on Twitter. He also runs a regular series of events, one of which we attended back in November. You can see more details on the event in the following posts:

Once again, like at Vonpocalypso, I placed second in the painting scores, with Darren taking the top spot again – I certainly don’t mind being placed second when it comes to his models – each and every one of them is a masterpiece! The three of us had a great day down in Exeter, and I’m looking forward to visiting again in March for the next challenge event.

Also this year, I took a real interest in Twitter and what it means for my hobby. I was delighted to find a constanty growing group of like-minded individuals out there, who have adopted the ‘warmongers’ hashtag (can’t say I’m too hot on the name, personally, but the group of us it represents is fantastic) – all hobbyists and gamers from many, many different systems and scales, all sharing their ideas and images of their work – every day there’s something new to see or discuss, and I must say, I’ve been given many a great idea by them, or seen some fantastic, inspirational work from talented painters and sculptors who also use Twitter. I recommend it to any hobbyists out there – Facebook is for the family and friends stuff, but Twitter is fantastic for finding more wargamers to talk hobby with!

In all, 2013 has been a generally positive year for my hobby – the lows of adjusting to 6th edition 40k and losing our local gaming hall were far outweighed by my wonderful fiance and her generosity, and the discovery of Infinity! Also, this blog and the group of readers I seem to have amassed have really helped give me the motivation on to get projects finished and document them, and this blog and Twitter are the perfect outlet for that, so a big thank you to all involved in spurring me on!

So what does the future hold?

As I look back with a sense of satisfaction at the past year, I also realise the need to look at the future of my hobby and where it’ll take me next year. The big one for me is that my wedding is next November, so that’s a big priority. That of course means saving lots of money, and so the amount of stuff I buy will inevitably take a hit, although I’m sure my other half will agree, that’s not a bad thing! It does mean that in order to fund myself, I’ll be downsizing my 40k collection even further. I’ve already sold off quite a big portion of stuff over the past couple of years (6000pts of Orks, a large chunk of Space Marine and Eldar models), and this year I’ll be regrettably selling off my Dark Eldar. I’ve mulled it over quite a lot the past few months, and looking back over my 19-year history of the hobby, I’ve always had Eldar and Space Marines, and the thought of selling either of them is unbearable, so it’s the Dark Eldar that will face the chop – as beautiful as the models are, and as fun as they were to play in 5th Edition, I don’t have as much of a connection with them as I do the other two armies. I’m undecided on whether to paint them all up before selling them though, so that’s something else I’ve got to consider before they go on eBay.

Selling off the Dark Eldar will leave me with my Saim Hann and Redeemers. Some of the models in those armies, as I’ve mentioned before, have been assembled and primed but never painted in all the years I’ve owned them. I was recently listening to an episode of the 40k Global podcast, where they interviewed a chap called Andy Ovel, who’s got his own blog, The Clean Slate Challenge. The interview and his blog have really inspired me, and I plan to undertake a similar challenge in 2014. I’ve been able to follow a similar ideology with my Infinity models, as I mentioned above, but now I feel it’s time my 40k armies got the love and attention (and paint) they deserve. Of course, I’ll have to list everything that’s unpainted first, which I’ll be doing next week when I’ve got some time off work. That should be fun, and probably quite daunting too!

I’ve also got the VonSmallHausen tournament coming up in January. It’s a 1250pt 40k tournament being held at a local club in Bath – Pigmar. 1250pts means that I’ve had to make some really tough choices when it comes to army lists, but with how rusty I am at 40k, and how clunky 6th Edition can feel, smaller games might be the ticket to rekindling a bit of lost love in it. I’ve been to-ing and fro-ing on what to take, but now that I’ve got a swanky new Dice Bag (courtesy of the Dice Bag Lady who I found on Twitter), I’ve just got to take the Redeemers along to show it off!

My custom dice bag made by The Dice Bag Lady - click to enlarge
My custom dice bag made by The Dice Bag Lady – click to enlarge

In terms of Infinity, I’ll be using the funds from selling my Dark Eldar to expand that a little more, although it’ll be a little less focused than it has been this year. Now that I’ve built a sizeable force of PanOceania models, and have just over 300pts of Aleph to complement them, I want to branch out a little. I’m torn between the many, beautiful models from the various factions from Infinity, and so rather than focus solely on one over another, I’ve decided that I’ll pick up various models from across all factions, with the ultimate aim of having many small forces of multiple factions as the year goes on. PanOceania (and its Sectorials) will always be my ‘main’ faction, and Aleph my second, but there are too many wonderful models from other factions which I also want to add to my collection! The beauty of this is that I won’t become bored with a colour scheme too quickly, and can branch out and try mercenary type lists with different models. I also don’t want to suddenly shove the Aleph to the sidelines after only a couple of games, so this way I can keep playing them while I build up other forces.

Corvus Belli recently outlined their plans for the Infinity Tournament System in 2014 – and on the whole I like the sound of some of the changes, and I’m looking forward to the next Challenge event down in Exeter in March. I’ve never really been much of a tournament player in the past – I’ve been to a few, sure, but they’ve never really been my sole focus, but with Infinity I’ve got more of an interest, as the ITS keeps a running total of your score, and it’s a nice way to see how you shape up next to other players in your region.

On a non-competitive note, Darren’s recently picked up the Campaign Paradiso book, and we’re about to begin playing through the campaign – he’ll be taking his Combined Army while I’ll be using my PanO – it’s definitely a great way to change up our games of Infinity – the missions we’ve played so far have been a great laugh as the balance of power has swung wildly back and forth from turn to turn. I also love the way that we’ll see our Spec Ops characters take shape over the course of the campaign (assuming they survive!). We as a group are trying to talk to local clubs to help raise interest in the game a little in our local area. I’ve had some positive feedback from people, both in person and on Twitter for the introductory scenarios I’ve written, so we’re hoping to demo those to people at local clubs. Hopefully that will tie in with Corvus Belli’s Warcors programme which they announced at Gencon this year, and I’ve sent in an application, but it’s a matter of time before I find out if I’ve been accepted (and what it fully entails!).

Also, I’ll be looking at picking up a Dreadball team in the New Year, as I was given an introductory game of it a week or so ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s got quite a low buy-in cost (a team is approximately Β£15 and that’s really all you need unless you want to expand it with additional sculpts or star players), and is perfect for some less serious gaming, although it’s got a lot of support from Mantic, plus some great variations and a lot of depth still, so it should be a laugh.

Right, that’s enough deep thoughts from me for 2013, so barring a couple more hobby updates between now and the new year, I’ll sign off there! If you made it this far; a) Thanks for reading! and b) Get back to work!

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5 thoughts on “2013 – A year in review

  1. 40kterminatus says:

    I hear what your saying. I know so many people including myself who have moved away from Games Workshop due to cost and constant changing, over complicated rules. Yes I still l play 40k and like it but the cost is going through the roof. Thus the WW2 war gaming with simple rules, because at the end of the day we just want to play and not read rules, rules and more rules.

  2. daggerandbrush says:

    Your summary of the last year made me think, as I am also planning to finish everything I have before I aquire anything new. I hope I can stick to it, unfortunately there is at least one cool Kickstarter per year…Did you ever consider getting into 15mm or 28mm historicals? The prices for miniatures are comparatively cheap (e. g. the Perry boxes or Wargames Factory stuff) and you can still field a whole army without having to sell a liver. Corvus Belli makes a nice line of 15mm historicals and with Infinity you are already familiar with their high quality and superb sculpts.

    1. Leeman says:

      Glad my summary was thought provoking! πŸ™‚
      I’ve never been into historical gaming really, but I’m aware of how much cheaper the miniatures can be for them. πŸ™‚

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