So what did 2012 do?
Well for me it was quite a bumper year as it turned out!
The stand out game was clearly Flames of War, which dominated the first 2/3rds of the year in term of gaming and painting output, not to mention terrain.
Carrying on from the 'half track horde' from the painting challenge from a year ago, endless Wehrmacht reinforcements were rushed to the front.
The game itself saw the launch of the V3 rules and this was taken up positively here.
My local group of players also got together to set up a local FoW club, with its own blog presence, over at KapitiFoWGamers, and this blog has grown steadily from humble beginnings.
We also forged connections with the local 'GW' orientated gaming club (Kapiti Wargames Club), introduced them to FoW and WWII, and saw a spark of interest there kindled into life, which bodes well for the future.
With this new interest in FoW gaming I even tried my hand at a couple of tournaments, including FRACAS as Shannon, and CALL TO ARMS at Wellington. I didn't do too bad, and I hope at least didn't disgrace myself!? Plus it was great to meet some of the FoW players from around the country who gathered for these events. It made a fun change back to the 'Tournie-scene' which I had not partaken of for many years, my last outing being WAB at Wello CTA a few years back...
And in simple 'getting a game in' terms, my social hobby life positively exploded into life, often with a couple of games a week, where in previous years it seemed I was lucky to get a game a month...
So thanks to all my gaming buddy's (and their respective 'better-halfs' for permission!) for making yourselves available for gaming!
In amidst all this FoW gaming and painting, other games and models fought for their own share of my time and interest.
One such project that barely got off the ground, was an idea a few local gaming chums came up with which was to try and ride the current in vogue trend of VSF & Steampunk, and this was hoped to be done with the game of GASLIGHT.
The other problem is that whist the game is rather 'all encompassing' its also virtually without stats for anything, (you have to make it up yourself), which again makes getting to grips with it and starting off a lengthy and off putting experience...
And finally, its far from being an off the shelf game. Just about everything has to be scratch built by the gamer. Great for the real enthusiast and skilled modeller, but again another off putting point to the beginner.
As a consequence, after more than a year, this game has yet to see action. I managed to assemble and paint about 30 Prussian troopers. Roly made up some 'Mexican French' and used some Japanese Bandai toys for some contraptions. No idea what Greg managed to achieve as he doesn't run a blog and I rarely catch up with him. Only Joe stayed true to course and churned out a bewildering array of goodies, which oddly enough for me, was almost an off putting exhibition as I knew I had no hope of matching his out put...
So this game has languished...
But I am pleased to say, my 30 odd Prussians will not be without use thanks to...
This is a brilliant little skirmish game, which again rode the in vogue interest in VSF & Steampunk, with a Gothic Horror twist. Any one familiar with LOTR SBG, or indeed its cousins LotHS or LotOW, will adapt to this game like a duck to water....
So my Prussians became Zendarians, and all was well! I have only managed a couple of trial games but they are great fun, though sadly no one else in my gaming group has actively embraced the game. Its only deterrent is the main setting - Victorian Inner City England. Which means terrain of a brick building nature, which is not readily cheaply available, nor the easiest thing to scratch-build...
So I have amassed two basic factions for action plus a whole bunch of 'reinforcements' and back ground figures, and have managed to make a rather nice cemetery as a first piece of themed terrain, but at the moment can only really offer a rural hamlet scene for gaming...
During all this time, was the saga of Maelstrom Games, an online supplier I had long used and to be fair, thanks to them, probably saved $1000's on hobby purchases over the last few years (had I bought the same goods here in NZ instead). Unfortunately they went tits up in the later third of the year, after grabbing a bunch of cash off people through a last minute (should have realized it was too good to be true) sale. I never fully understood the reasons for their demise, but was frustrated they went under with some of my hard earned...
... and yet, phoenix-like, have they risen from the ashes??? I was told, from an email, to sign over my customer details, to a newly formed company, who would honour my outstanding order.... So say hello to Eye of the Storm / Maunsfeld gaming? After a recent email from the new company I was told my orders should be packed and shipped by the end of the week, so we'll wait and see what transpires...
Also during this time, the blogging Liebster award did the rounds. This seemed to add a boost to my blog traffic for which I am grateful, and also introduced me to a huge numbers of great blogs out there. I find I am now following so many great blogs, I simply cannot keep up with viewing them all and commenting on every post. So please if I haven't commented on your blog in a while, I'm still interested! Its just difficult keeping up these days!
And finally for the year, a much longed for return to Middle-Earth, with Tolkien's The Hobbit hitting the silver screen, from director Peter Jackson, ensuring a great continuity with the existing trilogy of Lord of the Rings.
Knowing this was coming had me grabbing the new Warband army list books, again a newbie for this year, for a return to some LOTR SBG gaming, before the release of the new game, rules and figures.
I had a huge 'falling out' with LOTR gaming a couple of years ago, in part due to my frustrations over what was to me a failed game (War of the Ring). This was compounded by GW's draconian stance, on their ban on online suppliers selling goods outside the EU. This meant I could no longer get my hands of reasonably priced GW goods. In this respect they are and will always remain utter soulless bastards to my mind, simply men in grey suits just caring for the corporate bottom line with no passion for the hobby, nor care or consideration for their customer, new or existing. I wish a thrice fold pox on their soft wobbly bits!
I can only hope Loki and Bartleby (DOGMA) pay a visit to their boardroom some day... but I digress...
A mate of mine stated recently there was nothing in British Law that can allow GW to 'enforce such a mandate'... but I guess if they found out a supplier was flouting this agreement, they would just stop supply them with product...?
However through a little effort I have tracked down a supplier. It also helps having family and friends in UK willing to help. Even fellow bloggers, so thanks all for your offers of help.
I will avow again, I'll be damned if I pay NZ prices for GW models again!
So we finally come to, The Hobbit game SBG... a slightly revamped game with a few tweaks, but still fully compliant with the existing game, army/journey books and figures. So that is a huge relief.
Of course GW has found another excuse to rev up their pricing, and this has further frustrated me and many other previously loyal long term GW customers and fans of the game. Some of whom have cried enough is enough, and simply stopped playing or buying new figures. I can certainly empathize.
There are plenty of other great games and miniatures out there for the gamer/hobbyist, GW no longer has the monopoly they did years ago, only their IP, and Tolkien Licence to cling on to...
I have decided to plough on with it as best as I may and can afford. The game remains fun and entertaining, and the on going movie and associated DVD releases will keep me happy in Middle-Earth for several years to come.
I just hope the new movie is enough of a pull to encourage new players to the game, despite the prices, but I doubt it...
I have noted some bloggers have included their win / loss ratio, for their years gaming in their annual review. Well I must admit, my main failing in this hobby is actually winning games, and little changed there this year, so I will refrain from posting any win / loss ration. Lets just say it would probably read 'must try harder'!
I can paint, I can model and make terrain, but I'll be buggered if I can actually win a game! At least that's what it feels like! Oh well...
So what does 2013 hold?
Well my Wehrmacht force for FoW is pretty much complete. Its the sort of game you can endlessly add to but I have most bases covered now, and those I haven't are in the painting/assembling queue and as such already purchased (Tigers and Half track conversion kits, and another Hummel), and if my outstanding Maelstrom/Eye of the Storm order shows up, I'll be able to add those too.
My German forces pretty much cover MidWar and LateWar, and I don't really have an interest in playing the Early War setting, so that means there should not be any major FoW purchases this year.
I have a small British force, but as much as I wouldn't mind doing the Tyne and Tees 50th, I cant see my self getting motivated to do so...
I wouldn't mind trying to make some buildings for EotD, just to try and set the scene and be able to play a few one off fun games here and there.
I have not forgotten my love of Warlord Games; Black Powder and Hail Caesar, and would love to try and get my WSS/SYW army assembled up and painted (Wargames Factory figures), plus not to mention a few boxes of Perry ACW and Perry Nap. Brits. I'd also like to try out their Pike and Shotte supplement rules, and the fan made stats for LOTR gaming with this rules set, after my disillusionment with the GW WOTR rule book. Whilst skirmish gaming is fun, I still feel to do Lord of the Rings justice, it should be with big armies at an 'epic scale'. I sincerely hope GW may do a revamp of these rules, especially with the big Battle of the Five Armies in the not too distant future in the The Hobbit series of movies. Again time will tell on that one... So two possible options there for LOTR.
I still wouldn't mind some more Pirate LotHS gaming as that was great fun too, and I still need to finish that Brig...
And of course, there's simply the Hobbit, and LOTR SBG gaming in general. I have such a backlog of LOTR figures its not funny. There's probably 5-10 years worth of painting stashed away... so some motivation to return to LOTR gaming to get it all painted up will be wonderful!
So I am busy finishing off the figures from the Hobbit starter set. After that I will probably get the set of trolls, though I see these more as a 'collectable', as they are hardly going to feature in any 'armies'.
I do rather fancy some of the new Rivendell cavalry too....
So Middle-Earth fans, stay tuned for more!
All the best to my followers and blog readers for 2013!