Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Reflections on 2022

 My brother and I had a chance to play a couple of games during our family Christmas visit.  We had agreed that the game this year would be Dragon Rampant, and that the theme would be “No Ral Partha”.  I certainly have nothing against Ral Partha, but we have been playing a lot of Ral Partha Chaos Wars in a demo game context, and we usually feel obliged to stick to Ral Partha figures when we do. We thought it would be nice to allow some of the other figures a chance to shine on the table.

My 1977 Minifig NS spearmen fend off my brother’s Archive wolfriders

1974 vintage Minfig ME Gondorian spearmen face some Adina hobgoblins

As you can see, we were restricted to a small space

We had intended to set up on a larger table at the local games store, but they have not yet re-opened their gaming tables post pandemic, so we made do with a space of about 4’ by 3’ at our parents’ house.  It was good to see all the very vintage figures on the table.  We had each brought two warbands, and, apparently inspired by the same thought, each had a warband of orcs and a warband of humans.  It was a bad day for orcs all around; my humans defeated his orcs, and my orcs were defeated by his humans.

While there are a few days left in the year, and while I do have a Five Leagues from the Borderlands solo skirmish game pending, it is likely that this will have been the final game for the year. (In my counting, I generally count multiple sessions of a single rules set played back to back as a single log entry.) If so, it was number 40 for the year. While short of the 52 games that are my notional goal each year, it is still a respectable total, and one that I am pretty happy with. Similarly, I might get another miniature or two painted, but if I don’t, I finished about 173 figures of 1/72 scale or larger this year, plus a handful of 6mm ancients which can’t be counted in the same way as larger figures.  It’s a few more than I completed in 2021, but it is a number which should prompt me to a bit of caution when it comes to taking on new projects.  

There was a thread on the Lead Adventure Forum recently, and someone was musing about whether the new projects that we are all prone to take on would ever see the table, and, if so, how many times.  I realized that I had some actual data on that.  Being a very Old School gamer, my logs are hand written, and contained in a series of notebooks.  I dug them all out, and was interested to note that I have been doing this for longer that I remembered, with the first year logged being 1999.  So I have 24 years of data (less the balance of December after the 5th when I did the counting) covering 805 games.  With an average of 33+ games per year, this year’s 40 is solidly above average.

Attempting to answer the question of which of my collections of figures had been on the table more frequently, I might be off by a few games here or there.  The results were tallied by hand, and the data was spread across about 15 different notebooks.  Sometimes it’s hard to decide whether a 25mm fantasy game played in 2003, say, had any of my own figures in it.  These counts are divided by the miniatures, and most of them represent the same collection being used with multiple sets of rules.

As you can see, the 25mm fantasy collection takes the top prize with about 96 appearances on the table, followed by the Not Quite Seven Years War collection with 74 appearances.  By the time you get down to a tie for 6th place by 25mm Dark Ages and 40mm Renaissance at about 21 games each, one might note that those projects have been on the table less than once a year on the average, and with a frequency less than a quarter of that of first place. I should note that both of those projects have been in a playable state since before 1999, when the records start.  Two of the most frequently played projects, 1/72 scale fantasy/medieval/ancients and 54mm medieval, are younger than the records, both having been started around 2003.  I was also interested to note that the French and Indian War project is still solidly in 4th place, despite not having been on the table since 2016.  There were a lot of F&IW games early on in the records.

When you put all those numbers together, I think that I am coming to the conclusion that it would make sense to try to concentrate on doing more with the top projects.  I would like to work on one side project which isn’t yet playable, with the main candidates being 54mm medieval/fantasy flats and 40mm 19th century/Franco-Prussian War from Schneider and other vintage German molds.  This is where this year’s painting numbers are a caution flag; even a simple One Hour Wargames pair of armies would amount to 10 units of 2 stands each per side (well, not the artillery), with 4-6 figures per unit, or something like 88 foot, 16 horse, and 4 guns with crew total, which would represent somewhat more than two thirds of the total I painted last year.  That’s not unthinkable, but would be a major commitment.  I suppose it’s time to paint a few of them and see what I really think about working with them.

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