Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2007 Review and 2008 Goals

Happy New Year to all of you and a huge thank you for another year of websites and blogs that have inspired me along with others to doing bigger, better and greater things with their wargaming hobbies.

Paper Miniatures
2007 saw me confront my fear and most procrastination for miniature painting. In my effort to avoid painting, and spending money on huge amounts of figures, I discovered paper miniatures. While I am still struggling in how these can be utilised in my quest for large massed armies in small scales, I have been impressed with what people have done with these. In my articles detailing the evolution of this medium in my wargaming life, I have recieved some great comments. But I still ended up spending a lot of time and effort painting a collection of 6mm Irregular Napoleonics I had on hand from years ago. The result turned out a lot more favourable to me than I orriginally thought they would and certainly turned my eyes away from paper as well as building in me a sense of accomplishment and acceptance for my level of painting skill to date. I have always hated painting miniatures and still do. But I have learnt to appreciate the fact that in a few hours over 2 nights I can punch out a nice brigade of troops. This led to a massive slide away from my paper miniature testing which is only just now returning. What led to this return when all who viewed including myself would much rather see lead formations than paper? The cost! With 1 battalion of infantry costing $8 to purchase let alone the time and effort needed to paint and base, the overall cost to compile multiple large armies for my projects still seemed out of reach. No matter how good they looked or how bad the paper looked. 2008 will see a return to the drawn out process of finding a balance between the cost and painting of lead and the bad detail and on table affect of paper.

Other Periods
I have always had long term goals to expand my area of operations in wargaming from Napoleonics to Moderns and Sci fi. I have always had interests also in Ancient Rome, Crusades, Boer Wars, WWI, WWII and Vietnam. Late 2007 introduced me to the Seven Years War and the War of Spanish Succession. I read a book on the Battle of Blenhiem and participated in the local gaming store demo game of Konigkrieg rules for SYW in 15mm. And so another seed was planted - to join a group of gamers at my local gaming store in their current project to game SYW in 15mm. Even though I decreed a few years ago to concentrate on 1 scale to economise expendature and modelling efforts, 2008 might actually see me painting and compiling a mid 18th century French army in 15mm. Luckily I only need a brigade or 2.

Speaking of 15mm. 2007 saw some great activity in myself and a group of friends from my Military Sims program increase interest in tabletop gaming squad level moderns. This lead to a few terrain making nights with the guys and a set of quick play but relatively realistic rules to pitting current US forces against Iraqi and Afghan insurgents where each player controls 1 or 2 fireteams and the enemy is AI generated and controlled. Some of the combats and results were fantastic and impressed all those involved. Calls for continuation of that 1st Friday of the month session have been coming through to me over the past few weeks and so 2008 will probably see more of the same and a few extra terrain making nights thrown in.

Military Sims
What can I say about Military Sims? It has fulfilled all my wishes for 2007. In 2006 I began a passionate journey with a local Laser Skirmish company and met some great new friends in the process. As my skills increased I became aware of a shortfall of any laser skirmish company, business or local scene in the provision of advanced and simulation based combat experiences. My discussions with these company and business owners fell on deaf ears. Except for Chris at Logan Laser Skirmish. He confirmed that the idea I had was sound and was willing to hire out his equipment and attend as a player for anything I was to arrange. So I packaged it up under the name of Military Sims and launched in March 2007 to create 6 hour advanced gaming sessions with a focus on realistic squad based military and combat experiences rather than gaming emulation. A couple of months saw some small gatherings, but others including the last 2 saw a great group of people including a lot of new poeple who had not even use laser skirmish equipment prior. This was truly in line with my goal of increasing the size of the marketing pie instead of just worrying about your % of the pie. 2008 looks to be a great growth year for MilSims. I had hoped to start a business using this as a tool to train corporate groups but with my own business in Design and Printing not where I want it to be currently, I was advised to focus on 1 business at a time. 2008 I hope will be a growth year for my business in order to release me to work on my new business venture in time for 2009.

Movies & Books & YouTube
2007 has seen some great movies and books. Although a slow reader, I sometimes surprise myself in what I can get through when I regularly dedicate time to it. YouTube has become the source of some of the best TV, docos and movies this year. Some of the movies and books of note viewed or read in 2007:
* 9th Company - russian made movie about a company of young soldiers fighting in Afghanistan
* The Kingdom - US investigators sent to solve bombings in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia
* The Bourne Supremacy - another great episode in the story of spy Jason Bourne
* Transformers
* Combat Missions - TV Series pitting US Special Forces against each other in combat games
* Commando - TV series on British Royal Marines
* Taking on the Taliban - British Grenadier Guards in Afghanistan
* Above Enemy Lines - British Chinooks in Afghanistan
* Blenheim: Battle for Europe
* 1812 - Napoleon in Russia
* 18 Hours - book on Australia SAS assisting in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan
* Sword of Allah - book on Islamic Fundamentalism today
* America's Secret War - backgroung on decision making by US foreign policy makers
* Task Force Dagger - book on ground operations in Afghanistan 2 weeks after 9/11

There are probably more but these are the most impacting that come to mind. Feel free to suggest some you have viewed or read this year on the comments.

Porbably with biggest impact on my gaming time in 2007 would have to be Battlefield 2 and the mod called Project Reality. Although I prefer playing Armed Assault having played VBS1 for a number of years, PR actually runs better on my PC than Arma does. But through these 2 games and their associated forums, I have met some great people and some of them have come out to join in my Military Sims program.

So, 2007 is done and dusted. 2008 is what I want it to be.

I also want to thank you guys, the readers. When I started this blog earlier this year as a test I have had so much fantastic feedback and comments. I always wanted to document something in wargaming that could inspire others as other websites and gamers have inspired me over the years. It's good to know that what I have done has inspired and helped someone else out there so thanks to you all and I look forward to seeing you and hearing from you in 2008.

Stay safe!



Dale said...

I think your comments about paper are spot-on: the detail isn't there (compared to lead) and the 2D aspect puts some off.

It is also true that they are FAR cheaper. Whether that, in the end, is what matters to you only you can decide. I think the fact that you have chosen to represent [b]mass[/b] is what is causing your wavering (as it did with me).

One day I want to do "big battalions" (48+ figures per battalion) in a larger scale and I am sure I will start with paper. The detail is much better, but you still have that flat aspect. What I will do is make all figures (infantry, cavalry, and artillery) with a side view, allowing me to play from the side and still retain the best view of the figures.


Larry said...

A very impressive year David!

I can understand your troubles on the miniature front as I have the same issues. Personally I don't like paper so I would probably never go that direction but I can fully appreciate why others would. For my own part I decided that 1/72 plastics gave me the price point to cover all the periods and armies I would like. They can't convey the same visual mass that 15mm or 6mm can but they are great for me.

Good luck with whatever you choose, and I look forward to reading more posts from you in the future.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the feedback Dale. Yeah the mass thing is the big wavering factor. While I love the lead and I think it looks wonderful for even a mediocre painter such as I, it's just getting too expensive when you start talking about multiple armies of large numbers for multiple periods that I want to game. I still have a couple of ideas for the paper mins and will be testing these out in the next couple of days.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments Larry. I never used to like paper either until I did a price budget up for the entire French army at Waterloo and figured there must be a better alternative.

I love those 1/72 plastics. They were the 1st wargaming figs I ever owned. I used to have tonnes of them mostly Airfix and ESCI. I know the range is a lot bigger these days. They are just too big for what I want to do. No, paper is looking increasingly the way to go for my project but I just have to work out the best looking way of doing it to get the effect I want.

Stay tuned!

blacksoilbill said...

Hi David,

Happened across your blog via TMP. Just wondering which shop you game at, and whether your games group is an open one - am in Brisbane and trying to get some regular wargaming going.

Regards, Bill Colyer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bill.

I don't game at any shops or clubs these as I found most focus on very commercial historical systems if any historical gaming at all. I mostly solo game at home these days but I occassionally head down to Dragonfire Games at Browns Plains. The Modern 15mm gaming I do is 1st Fri night of each month and is almost entirely made up of guys from my Military Sims program that I run monthly in Brisbane.

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