One and a half days to go until we can kiss goodbye to another rubbish year from the Covid perspective, I could of course wax lyrical about everything which bugs me about living through this hell but I will not, suffice to say I am a different kind of sick with it all.
My wargaming year got off to a good start when I ran a WWI Naval campaign and one from the American Civil War with the help of commanders who emailed orders and deployments so that I at last got a chance to get the troops back on the battlefield after a prolonged period of R&R for them. I also took to remote gaming with Phil Robinson, Matt Smith and Rob Broom which turned out to be easy to accomplish and gave me some 'face time' with real people and led to some very good games.
With the opening of the club and the end of restrictions I managed some excellent nights covering quite a few different periods, as well as joining in with several of Rob Martin and Dan Johnson's games I pushed my own agenda and brought Bolt Action, Chain of Command, Johnny Reb II, War and Conquest and last but not least Honours of War to the club. I hope to continue this trend in 2022.
On the practical front I added several more SYW battalions to the small collection and took my WWII interests to the Eastern Front with a lot of Russians. I took the latter further than I had wanted to but couldn't stop, I expanded the Germans and Russians to cover 1941 - 1945, then with the gift of a French 1940 army I also added 1940 Germans. I also built a lot of terrain, industrial units, Eastern Front buildings and pushed the boat out on one large project, the port of St. Nazaire.
I also decided not to fold away my large wargame table in the Post Office, so have become a bit of a talking point in the area as the guy who has 'models' in his shop, I do take umbrage to being asked about my trains, as if I am that weird. I have been the subject of a story in a local magazine, the 'Warlord of Warton' and I have several delivery men who pop in if in the area to see what is set up. What I have not garnered during the year is one person to dip their toe into the wargaming pool. Unless you count Duncan of halftrack and armoured car fame, he has joined the club and actually bought figures, but Duncan only needed a small push being half way there already.
The club has done well this year with new blood, two others including Duncan have joined and stayed, all are an asset and cover both fantasy and historical with a willingness to join in whatever is available
It has also been a good year for my cartography having now drawn over 400 maps for over 40 publications to date, I was disappointed the large atlas was not ready for publication as it carries my name along with the author's, when will it be ready, who knows.
I had decided a few months ago to put a halt to my collecting, unlike many wargamers I do not tend to buy things on a whim and once bought said piece or pieces always get painted and based before I move on to other stuff. I decided I had enough and would simply concentrate on improving what I had. This did not last long and I started looking at Byzantines for a new War and Conquest army, I even went so far as making up an army list and seeking suitable figures (800-1000AD), before doing a complete 180 and instead putting my mind to the Italian Wars. The period has always been on my radar and having been involved with Helion's Italian Wars series and seeing the eye candy on the Facebook page for the wars I decided I could not resist. As usual two feet in, I have ordered two volumes from Helion, downloaded the Furioso rules and been looking at figures.
So, upcoming in 2022 (at the moment) is six new SYW battalions to give me three brigades a side, I already have the figures for two of them. I then have a few things to complete, some scatter terrain and the new kits I got for Christmas along with some research before actually buying the first figures for the new project. I am also looking at the possibility of writing up a mini campaign for Chain of Command involving the crossing of the Meuse by 7th Panzer in 1940, I downloaded Hans Von Luck's memoirs to help but he barely mentions the episode, luckily the PDF only cost £2.49. So I am all set for the third year AC (After Covid).
That should have been that, however I was pointed towards an article in Wargames Illustrated entitled 'Rude Health' where the author says "The UK hobby remains doggedly white, male, and over 45. Not healthy for reasons too myriad to mention." I cannot disagree how he describes the hobby, but so what, that has been my experience for over 55 years and I do not feel the need to change it, to chase an impossible utopia of social engineering whose adherents are disappearing daily up their own backsides. Another example "many genres of the hobby are based around small forces of Europeans killing, exploiting, or otherwise subjugating people of colour." I find this a very narrow and unhelpful view of a period of wargaming, In my own periods the Germans subjugated most of Europe, the Union subjugated the Confederacy while my Saxons subjugated the Romano-British and my Romans again subjugated large parts of Europe etc. no guilt trip here. If a half Cherokee, quarter Scots and Irish, one-legged self identifying giraffe in a wheelchair turns up wanting a game I will even provide them with an army, end of.
Almost forgot, Happy New Year everyone, fingers crossed.