Friday, December 31, 2010
In all seriousness, 2010 was a good year for me on both the family front (most important) and the hobby front.
From a hobby perspective, I entered 2010 with the following goals (i) game more, (ii) host some games, (iii) add one new army/period, (iv) flesh out my Napoleonic French force, and (v) use the Black Powder ruleset with 6mm ACW.
I was able to accomplish four out the five goals with an epic fail on (iii) add ONE new army/period. I just couldn't keep to one and seem to have gone on a bit of a naval bender during 2010 adding fairly large fleets for WWI, ACW Ironclads and 1/2400 Napoleonic naval - a total of 67 painted and based ship models.
There were two hobby related events that really standout for me during 2010. The first is helping, in a small way, my friend Ernie launch his new business "Architects of War". Ernie and his wife Barb have done an amazing job getting their business off-the-ground in 2010 - the business started operations in late January, opened selling to the public at Historicon and is ending the year with a large product line of over 50 unique terrain items, a new line of 28mm ACW skirmish figures, and being the sole US distributor for Perry Plastics, Gripping Beast and others. Not a bad showing for a two person operation. If you haven't checked out their stuff please do so - you will not be disappointed. I take no credit for Ernie and Barb's success, my role was essentially to lift heavy things and try not to damage the inventory.
The second big event for me was attending my first convention (Historicon) for three days rather than a quick day trip and run through the vendor area. I had a blast and look forward to returning to future Historicon's. I do blame my little aquatic diversion this year on a Russo Japanese War naval battle I participated in at Historicon put on by Brian DeWitt and the NOVAG gaming club. I played in the game on Friday and by Saturday I had a load of GHQ 1/2400 WWI naval miniatures in my "loot" bag - go figure. I do hope GHQ gave Brian a sales commission. The highlight of the convention was the big Napoleonic game put on by Ernie, the Perry twins and John Stallard - what a game that was!
On the modeling front, outside of the Naval output, I manage to build up a small 28mm Imperial Roman army and finish up my 6mm ACW collection by completing 4 additional divisions (2 confederate and 2 Union) bring my total collection to approximately 3,000 painted figures in 3 Union and 3 Confederate divisions. The numbers seem so much bigger when using 6mm. I have found that Black powder plays extremely well in 6mm (just convert the gauge from inches to centimeters) and it allows for very large battles to be fought easily.
2010 also saw some terrain output, especially for 6mm ACW and 15mm FOW. I find I like making terrain as much as painting figures.
My goals for 2011 are simple
- continue to stress gaming over collecting and host at least 6 games at the house, including running a 6mm ACW campaign game
- revamp my game room to allow for more storage and complete the "man-cave" conversion
- build some modular terrain boards
- finish up the 28mm Imperial Romans and get them on the table
- attend Historicon in July (pending executive spouse approval)
- participate in a tournament style gaming event (likely FOW) to see how I like it
- try focusing on finishing armies rather than adding new ones.
I have high hopes for all of these goals save the last one - ooohhh look there's something shiny over there....
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Uncharted Seas is one of those odd games that is both simple and fun but yet still never seems to get played that much. I'm trying to hold back on jumping into Spartan's new Dystopian Wars game system but it looks awfully tempting.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Overall, the battle went to the French with the following tally:
Sunk: Conqueror (3rd Rate), Orion (3rd Rate), Agamemnon (3rd Rate, small) and the Frigates Phoebe and Macedonian.
Taken as a prize by the French: HMS Victory (oh the shame)
Sunk: Bucentaure (2nd Rate), Orion and Lion (3rd Raters)
As for the Trafalgar ruleset, I liked them but need to get a better grasp of the finer points of fleet movement. The game was really won for the French in the first six moves before contact. The importance of maneuver makes sense from a historical perspective, but all the advantages seem to go the way of the French early on. Once the basics of the rules are understood the game plays very fast and is suitable for larger fleet actions
The use of an iPad for damage tracking was a big success but the spreadsheet tool i was using needs a good bit of refinement.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
As far as practicality, using a electronic tracking form is likely more trouble than it's worth if there are only a handful of ship per side (say 2 or 3 each). It becomes incredibly useful when playing large fleet actions where one can become confused easily. I've also tested a version that sends it data to a third party (game umpire). One of the side benefit of using this approach is that players can send out fleet lists before a battle and allow players to get a good understanding of the forces - that saves time on game day which leads to more game time vs set up time.
I'll be doing some more prototyping over the Christmas holiday and hopefully will refine the tool so it can be used for multiple game formats. I'll be trying Uncharted Seas next.
I would be very interested in anyones thoughts on how to improve the concept of electronic tracking or other ideas for how to use an iPad with gaming.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Joyful Festivus and/or insert politically correct holiday salutation here! Here in the Geek's Lair we are busy with holiday preparations. You know, the preparations where my wife commands me to do "this" and then "encourages me to do "that". We try to make a big deal of this season with lots of baking and weight gaining (perhaps those are somehow related?). Despite a lagging economy, 2010 has turned out to be a pretty good year and we're looking to send it off in a grand way by spending time together. Perhaps a little "over-sentimental" but that's the way it is.
Both I and my family wish all of you and yours a wonderful holiday season. Hopefully, Santa will be good to you and remember to bring me the special dice I asked for - you know the ones that only roll sixes!
To steal a quote from Clement Moore, "Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight"
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Here's a team picture with their plaque, trophy and individual medals. Our team is wearing grey "Craftsman Tools" shirts. My son is the second from the left in the back - curly hair, big muscles and a very large smile. I'm the dorky looking guy in a green sweat shirt and ball cap in the right rear.
There were 34 teams competing at the tournament, one came from as far away as Italy, so the competition was very fierce. Our team placed fourth overall in the qualifying period but managed to win the single elimination championship tournament. This was our third year competing as a team and a marked improvement over our previous performances.
I'm very proud of the Scouts.