I’ve spent a few weeks talking about the best games and miniatures of the year at TGN and I thought that I would take some time to discuss the year in gaming from a more personal perspective, my own. So what follows is the year as it unfolded in terms of my own gaming experiences.
Hordes v. Warmachine
While I started out as a fairly hardcore Warmachine player I have not really played that may games of WM this year and have instead moved over to playing my Circle army almost exclusively. I’m not sure when this happened but somewhere between the release of Hordes and the release of Hordes: Evolution I stopped playing my Khador army.
Part of this army be simply that I like the Fury mechanic in Hordes more than I like the Focus mechanic in Warmachine. It may also be that the game is a bit simpler and more focused. That and Warmachine doesn’t have any cool Kev White Bloodtracker sculpts. In any case, my Circle army has grown each month and my Khador army has not seen the light of day for some time.
Goodbye Flames of War
My 2000 point German Grenadier army was traded to a local gamer for a fairly large Epic Imperial Guard army. Was it my lack of interest in the Late War game? Probably not. I think that ultimately for me it came down to two things. First, I think that FoW isn’t the most balanced game. I had a fairly basic Grenadier force that was quite often getting demolished by American mechanised forces or tank heavy forces. Except in the case of the single FoW tournament that I went to where I actually did quite well. Go figure. Secondly, I always found FoW to be very “gamey”. Not a very precise critique but I was always aware of playing a game when I brought out my Germans. I also think that the game is fairly prone to abuse by power gamers. Its really no fun to play a game, get whalloped and then find out that the person in question spent a day trying to determine the maximum number of 30 cal machine guns they could put in their army.
So the army got traded for a large number of Epic Imperial Guard figures. A game that I like a lot more and which I think doesn’t get anywhere near the amount of attention it deserves.
Can I just say that I really like AT-43 and wish I had the opportunity to play it more? I also really want a Karman army but I think that I am not alone in this.
Weird WWII gaming
I’m not sure how or when but at some point I really got bitten badly by the Weird WWII game bug and it hasn’t really left my system. I blame the Lead Adventure forum and White Knight’s Weird WWII Showcase on Frother’s (do watch out for the forum as the language gets a little blue). Not only did I buy loads of minis from Artizan, West Wind, Pulp Figures, Brigade Games, Darkson Designs, East Riding Miniatures, North Star Figures and Copplestone Castings but I actually painted the darned things up and started writing my own rules.
The rules are on hiatus after several playtest games with a rough first draft but I am still eagerly looking forward to AE-WWII and Secrets of the Third Reich. Once I have had a chance to play those games I intend to go back to work on my own rules and try to get another version of those out for testing.
It is, I think, a great example of how you can stumble across a new genre of miniatures and suddenly catch yourself getting involved in something that you hadn’t even been aware of previously. I spent three full months painting figures and playing test games and I suspect that once AE-WWII and SoTR are released I will once again be bugging my friends to come over to help play huge games of “shoot the Nazi zombies”.
The triumph of the small
Epic and Aeronautica Imperialis once again rekindled my love of 6mm scale gaming. I picked up, and again, painted a huge number of AI aircraft and also expanded my collection of Epic figs and terrain. There is, to me, just something special about a table filled with vehicles and troops. I know that 40K Apocalypse gamers think they are playing big games but the last Epic game I had involved three companies of Leman Russ tanks, infantry, artillery and squadrons of Baneblade tanks. That is a big game. I even started assembling figs and bitz to create an Epic Necron army. I have most of the infantry built and now need to just find a good model for a Necron Monolith and I am set. Unfortunately as much as I like both of these games they really don’t currently have the draw of my new favourite 1:285th scale game.
The revenge of BattleTech
At Gen Con Indy I picked up a review copy of the new Classic Battletech Introductory Starter Set and within a month I scoured local stores, Bartertown and eBay and amassed a huge collection of BattleTech books and close to 150 ‘Mechs. And, in what is turning out to be a habit, I painted a huge pile of them and now have close to 80 painted Battletech miniatures. In fact aside from some Darkson Designs miniatures I have done nothing other than paint BattleTech figures since I got back from Gen Con. The review is in the final writing stages but it is safe to say that I have become a big fan of the game and I am currently working on finishing painting the ‘mech needed for the Sword and Dragon campaign. It has to be the best “new” game I have picked up this year and I am eagerly looking forward to more games with it in 2008.
A lot of these new purchases have been funded by offloading a lot of my older figures on eBay or Bartertown. Most of these are painted or unpainted GW figures. This year has seen a huge pile of Iron Warriors, Orks, Lord of the Rings, Tallarn Imperial Guard, Space Marines, Necron, Tyranids, Chaos, WFB Empire and Warmaster figures get sold or traded. With the exception of Epic and BFG (which I am hoping to see an ACTA mod for) I have been clearing out all of my GW miniatures this year. Perhaps a few years ago I would have held on to a 40K force to play the occasional game but now with so many other, and better, games to play I really don’t see the point. So my 40K, WFB and LotR figs are gone, or in the process of going, to fund BattleTech, Epic and Weird War gaming.