Friday, January 1, 2016

A Retrospective on 2015

Wow - 2015 is over!  For my family it was a good year but not without it's challenges both personal and hobby wise.  My family and I find ourselves exiting 2015 with a better outlook than we started it so all-in-all we're very grateful and excited for what obstacles and opportunities 2016 will throw at us.

Yes, dear readers, this is yet another of those "annual anthologies" that assault you during this time of year.  There's actually a clause in the Google consumer terms of service that requires us to write these diatribes or relinquish ownership of a kidney to our kind and omnipotent Google overlords.  You should always read the fine print.

It's hard to put the hobby aspect of 2015 into perspective without touching on other aspects of life.  My son is doing well at Carnegie Mellon and recently completed the first semester of his junior year.  He surprised us a bit by electing to major in both Statistics and Computer Science.   I'm not sure where he gets his geeky tendencies from - probably his mother.

Speaking of "The Boss", MB continues to tolerate me and still enjoys teaching people to do horrible things with sharp objects at the University of Maryland Medical/Dental School.  She recently joined the Board of the American Academy of Periodontology so I'm sure there are wild times ahead for us.  As for me, I've had a bit of a career transition and have become a partner in a Venture Capital firm.  The firm is made up of people I've known for almost 20 years when we first met while starting up Capital One.  It's a big transition from being an operator to being an investor but it's a lot of fun and allows me the occasional trip to the UK for "business".

Ok enough of the boring crap, lets get onto to the hobby stuff

In terms of painting productivity 2015 was a bit off from 2014 but that was due to the rather large sectional terrain project.  Here's the tally

                                                      2015      2014     2013
Infantry                                         222        240       411
Cav                                               2             17         2
Artillery                                        8             6           12
Vehicles                                        17           17          7
Ships                                             2             0           0

Infantry                                         132        274        0
Cav                                                0           27           0
Artillery                                         0           13           0
Vehicles                                         11          64          0

1/600 Inronclads                           10           8            0
1/1200 Sailing Ships                      2            7           0
1/6000 WW2 Ships                        0           44          0

Infantry                                          156         0          0
Vehicles                                          139        0          0

2015 was a great year hobby wise but four things stand out for me (in rank order)

(1) Meeting Fellow Gamers and Bloggers in Person

 Last Fall was an an extremely eventful season as I was able to meet up with a number of people I've met via blogging and struck up "electronic" friendships with. In early November, I was able to meet with Tamsin, Ray and Lee for dinner in London and had a wonderful meal with great people.  I was a little worried they would find my colonial table manners a bit off-putting but all three displayed the typical British "stiff-upper lip" and persevered despite my antics.

The following November, I was able to meet Paul (Tasman Cave) and his son at Fall-In and we played A LOT of X-Wing together.  Don't mind the dirty look - its was caused by Paul beginning to realize how much he was about to spend on X-Wing once we had his son "hooked" on the game.  Paul - I promise I used the commission I got from Fantasy Flight Games for good and not evil....

Our hobby may be a bit on the fringe side but when you have an opportunity to meet people in person you find that by and large it attracts quality people who you're proud to call "friend" - At least for me is does.  Do blogging / electronic friendships translate into real ones?  Yes, I think they do.

(2) Finishing the Sectional Terrain Project

The most challenging project for me in 2015 was completing 60 square feet (6ft by 10ft) of sectional terrain panels to use for gaming.  This took 3 months to complete and I'm very happy with the results.  It's also one of those rare hobby projects that can actually bear the name "finished" truthfully.

I use these panels at home and there are very easy to transport to support convention games.

Of course, I'm planning to expand the collection of panels another 24 square feet via an additional 3 2x4 foot panels.

(3) Historicon Games went well

 I ran two game at Historicon in a linked scenario format where the outcome of the first game influenced the set up of the second.  Both went very well - so well I ran them multiple times and each game won and award.  I did learn that I like running convention games much more than playing in them and will organize 2016 Historicon around running games all three days.
Some pictures of the games also got published in Wargame's Illustrated's Historicon report which was very cool and more a testament to the high quality players rather than the GM.

(4) Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge
This event has become my favorite hobby event and really motivates me to reduce the lead pile.  It's run by a chap named Curt who does a fantastic job and keeps us all very busy during the dark winter months here in the Northern Hemisphere.  In 2015, I managed to tie for third place which was a big achievement for me.

Enough of this self congratulatory rambling - how did I do against the goals for 2015?

Here goes....

(1) Attend three cons but not all HMGS - MINOR FAIL
- I did attend three cons but all where HMGS (Cold Wars, Historicon and Fall-In)

(2) Host 2 games at Historicon - MAJOR PASS
I ran two different games twice and really enjoyed doing so.  I had to turn players away.

(3) Play in 6 tournaments and use a different Bolt Action army (retire the Japanese) - MAJOR PASS
I played in 5 tournaments (3 Bolt Action and 2 Flames of War and 1 By Fire and Sword).  I ran a DAK army for the Bolt Action tournaments and managed to win two of them.

(4) Finish the Sectional Terrain Project - MAJOR PASS
Managed to complete all 60 square feet needed for the Historicon games.  I really like making terrain.

(5) Host a Play-by-blog Naval game - MAJOR FAIL (EPIC Fail to be honest)
Didn't even try to get it organized - terrain making took up too much time!

(6) Finish in the top 5 for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge - MAJOR PASS
I ended up tied for third with Millsy with 3,404 points (which is roughly 640 28mm infantry figures at 5 points each).  This is my favorite hobby activity of the year and one which see me get the most of my figure painting done.

(7) Add only armies I have storage for.. - MAJOR FAIL
Since my wife reads this blog (and rolls her eyes while doing so) I am not at liberty to comment further on this objective.

Overall not to bad but I seemed to be at the extreme of achievement either way with 4 major wins, 2 major and one minor fails.  I am a bit chagrined for the Epic fail on the play by blog game

What are the goals for 2016????

This post is already way to long and wordy so you'll just have to wait.


Ray Rousell said...

I'd say that was a pretty successful year, Miles!!! Was great to meet up with you, next time will have to be at Reject HQ!

Martin Cooke said...

Good to hear you've had a good year. The Wargames Illustrated pictures must have been a hobby high.
To be honest since I joined the Blogosphere during the last painting challenge yours has been one of my go to blogs, always interesting and full of smart ideas.
Hope the sailing goes well and a happy new year

Michael Peterson said...

I think you had a very strong year even if you kept bad company. All the best in 2016!

DeanM said...

Great read, Miles. Very nice to see you meeting up with the UK brethren. Your table and games look spectacular, and very worthy of a spotlight in WI. BTW, I also enjoy running games rather than playing in them. Maybe it's the satisfaction of seeing your efforts being enjoyed by others. Happy New Year!

TamsinP said...

I'd judge your year to have been very successful.

It was lovely to meet you when you were in London and your colonial table manners were no worse than ours! ;)

Here's to a great 2016 :)

Paul O'G said...

I for one welcome our omnipotent Google overlords...

Delighted to read of all your successes own both the 'boring crap' and hobby arenas Miles.

I have transitioned a few blog-buddies into true friends (the qualification that we must have beers together on more than a single occasion :-) I'm really delighted the we had the chance to meet up at Fall-In and amply meet that friend 'qualification' while watching my son be seduced by the dark side of X-Wing. Really, a true pleasure. Glad you put that FFG commission to good use - on Armada products too I'll wager!

Overall, I'd say you had a cracking 2015 and I trust 2016 is as interesting and successful for all of you.

PS Perhaps you need to add an Australian convention to a future list! There's always a place for you at my new house in Sydney my friend!

Michael Mills said...

You'd have to be crazy not to be pleased with a year like that! Congrats on everything you've achieved, up to and including such august company in third place last year in the AHPC.

I'll second Paul, if you can weasle a trip down under I'll make up a bed in my bushy castle too and we'll shout you a beer or three to boot...