Monday, December 25, 2023

Random: Recap of 2023


Well, look at the time.  It sure does fly by when you are having fun.... or something.  Another year in the books.  Yikes.  They keep going by faster and faster.  

When the year started, I had no real plan for what I was going to do.  This was a big change from my previous few years when I had very clear goals.  This one I came in a bit unsure where I wanted to go.  It was the first year in several where I did not have a book being published that I had to support.  In a way it was going to be a much more relaxed year!  This led to a rather unproductive year in a few categories, but success in other areas.  

Like most years, I try to break down my focus into a few areas: 
  • Purchases - Things I bought
  • Painting and Modeling - Things I built and finished off
  • Playing - The games that I played
  • Rules Writing - What I wrote
  • Miscellany - The stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else
So, let's get into it shall we?  


Of course, I can not start off this section without giving YOU my loyal customers a big shout out.  Every time you purchase one of my games from Osprey, Wargames Vault, Drive-Thru RPG Page, follow me on Patreon or support me in other ways you help make this all possible.  It is your support that allows me to buy the minis, paints, artwork, web domains, and other supplies needed to keep Blood and Spectacles Publishing operational.  Therefore, I try to keep all the money earned in these endeavors going back into the business of Wargaming. Thank you!  

So, going into this year, I had not even settled on a "Big Project" for 2023.  I had a number of open projects that I could have chosen to complete, but I narrowed it down to two for 2023 and the purchases I would need to support it. This was a tough decision.  Ultimately, I decided that my "big project" for 2023 was going to be..... drumroll please......

Finally by the second half of the year I got my "Big Project for 2023" started.  I picked up two armies for the Battle of Kadesh; Egyptians and Hittites.  I ordered them from Baccus 6mm and also picked up 60mm x 60mm bases to go with them.  That was my "big" purchase for 2023.  

I also picked up something from Games Workshop (Boo-hiss) for Kill Team.  I grabbed the Hand of the Archon box.  I all ready had minis for the Craftworld Eldar, Harlequins, and Corsairs.  I all ready have Aspect Warriors for the future releases too.  I figured I would round out my Eldar collection for Kill Team.  That should give me a decent variety for my local club.  

I purchased two RPG games, the updated Legend of the 5 Rings game and the G.I. Joe RPG.  

A very limited year on purchases.  I didn't even buy any new wargaming rulesets for the year.  That is a big surprise to me, as I was interested in Strength and Honor, Saga, and other Osprey Books.  However, at the end of the day I was too busy and never got around to it.  

Painting and Modeling
I'm not going to recap what I did the first half of the year.  There wasn't that much as I finished off little bits here and there.  I had finished all my 2022 Pile of Shame, so I had nothing left.  Therefore, my chance to paint new stuff was mostly what I managed to print or scrounge up.  As we saw above, I didn't buy that much.  

Most of my work the second half of the year has been focused on the Big Project.  Above you can see some of the progress on my Egyptian 6mm forces.  Looking back, I have painted a lot of 6mm this year.  Perhaps that was an unofficial theme for 2023?    

I also managed to re-paint my old 80's Harlequin models from Citadel.  They also managed to hit the table at the club this year as well! 

Overall, I painted 51 models of 28mm scale, and 34 bases of 6mm models. 

This is the area where I have had the most success in 2023.  I have been growing a local gaming community.  This is a very rural area, and the population is relatively small.  Finding folks who are interested in sharing the miniature wargaming hobby is not easy, but that also makes us a relatively close-knit group.  You can find us at the True Crit Gaming Guild

The most popular miniature game at the local group is Games Workshop's Kill Team. I played over a dozen games of it there, and helped bring in several people to our group.  Kill Team has been great for grabbing eyeballs and bringing people in.  

I also got to play and complete a campaign for the Ionian Revolt.  That was a fun campaign where we used land and sea elements to follow along the historical campaign.  We used Osprey Poseidon's Warriors and Men of Bronze to play the games.  That gave my "historical" wargaming a nice boost for the year.  

The next big element of my gaming was playing more of the Operation: Hemlock campaign.  This is a campaign set in the Warhammer 40K universe, but my Skumgrod and I used a variety of games to play out the campaign.  This year was no exception as we used Aeronautica Imperialis, Restless Sun, Restless Stars, and Aquanautica Imperialis.     

I also was able to wrap-up the Castles in the Sky Indo-China campaign.  This was a campaign that we hit really hard just before the game came out from Osprey.  I played so much of it with the club and others that I burned out on it as it was coming out.  The second half of this year I was happy to come back to it and finish the campaign.  

Finally, I also got to start a loose White Star/Red Star campaign that will slowly cover the course of the Air War in Korea.  We have all ready played out some iconic engagements.  It has tempted me to pick up some more Tumbling Dice aircraft for the Commonwealth forces and for the US Navy.  They are relatively cheap and easy to paint.  However, that will have to wait for next year.    

Of course, there were also a few one-off games through-out the back half of the year as well.  This was a very productive year for me in the gaming space.  Usually, I shoot to play a game a month, but I blew that goal out of the water this year.  I am closer to three games a month.  

I played 20+ sci-fi/fantasy games, 12+ historical games, about 15 of my own games, and 20 games that I did not make.  A good mix for the year! 

Rules Writing
The first half of the year was relatively productive.    

Homer's Heroes: Bronze Age Bad Boys is a model-vs-model skirmish game, and my attempt to solve the problem of Melee Yahtzee with a Homeric veneer.  It has a campaign play mode and solo/co-op options.  You can find this one on the Blood and Spectacles Wargame Vault page.   

The second publication is something a bit different and it can be found on the Blood and Spectacles page on Drive Thru RPG

The second half of the year I also managed to get out something new.  I put out the Castles in the Sky: Addendum.  This work captures all the fleets and rules that I had to cut from the Osprey release of the game, a FAQ, and a Quick Reference Sheet.  

I also put out a free Episode pack for The Princes of the Universe Role-Playing Game.  This provides a 3-4 hour episode for 3-4 players.  It can be found on the Blood and Spectacles Publishing page on Drive Thru RPG.  

I also got a few new rulesets and adventure packs started.  However, nothing over the finish line or ready to show yet.  A lot of grinding and not finishing this year.  Hopefully that will make next year a very productive year in writing with lots of rules and campaigns hitting the shelf.  

Here are some things still in the pipeline: 
  • Late Roman 
  • Aztec Flower Wars 
  • Darkest Knights - Solo- Horror
  • Glittering Void - Space Mecha Combat and RPG
  • G.I. Joe RPG Campaign
  • Module for Flashlight: Tales of Terror
  • Another Year in Rokugan
Who knows what I will actually finish?  

Miscellaneous Stuff
This is assorted stuff I wanted to do, but doesn't fit into another category. 

  • Update Trackers on the blog for painting and playing?  Check
  • Get a game group going and expanding?  Check
  • Quarterly Wargaming events?  Ahhhh....... at least the group has been getting together bi-weekly.
  • Weekly RPG Campaign?  Mostly check! 
  • Charity Game?  Ahhhh....... 
  • Game Design content monthly on the blog?  Check
  • Patreon updates on a regular basis?  Check
  • Work on a local Con?  Hmmmm..... put it off mostly

One of my big challenges this year has been to decide exactly how much I want to lean into this Wargaming Identity?  It sounds weird to say it out loud, but I have to balance Wargaming with other parts of my life too.  I could lean all in, BUT I have held myself back a bit.  I am not 100% sure how much I want to lean in.  

I could do a lot of things differently if I went all in: 
  1. Start hitting the convention circuit
  2. Lean into more Podcasts, Interviews, etc. 
  3. Start doing talks and events about wargame design, publishing, history, etc. 
  4. Write more articles for magazines 
  5. Start a video series/Podcast
  6. Better tables
  7. Start that Con
At the end of the day, wargaming is my hobby.  If I lean into it too much it might become my job.  I have seen others do this, and been close to it myself; and I am not sure I want to make that transition.  Therefore, I have been kind of holding myself back a bit, and uncertain how much I want to lean-in.  Maybe that is something I can tackle a bit further in the coming year? 

So, until next year!  

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  1. 6mm on the 60mm x 60mm bases seems the ideal marriage.

  2. I am all in favor of keeping wargaming a hobby, and not a job.

    It's nice to be able to step back from a project, pivot, or otherwise take a break from a hobby sometimes. It's a lot harder to do for a job.

    1. Oh yeah!

      I got my first game of Killteam in! It's a lot of fun. The core rules are pretty easy to digest, which leaves the room for complexity to rest with all of the faction rules and ploys.

      It does a good job of individual pieces feeling unique, while keeping the overall mental load at medium complexity.