Fittingly, these were several games of Heroquest in which we rediscovered the joys of 1980's game design ("Is there anything to stop us just standing by the stairs searching for treasure?"), taking the Barbarian, Dwarf and Elf on quests for gold, hostages, gold, vengeance and gold.
On the journey many lessons were learned, including: 'always search for traps'; 'never be first through a door'; and 'stand close to the injured guy so you can steal his stuff when he dies'.
My favourite part of the whole game was when mercenary behaviour fully kicked. The 'team' inched their way along a corridor towards a single Orc, risking only a square at a time for fear of traps, hoping that the others would take all the risks.
Heroquest remains a good game after all these years. It has some issues, which is to be expected, but I'm really glad I've finally got it painted and played.
Attention now turns to my resolutions from last year. Let's see how I've got on.
1. Paint more than I acquire - SUCCESS
If you read my last post you'll realise I've achieved this with room to spare - Acquired: 165, Painted: 232. I've been helped in no small part by being not allowed out for several months, meaning that I was able to focus on painting.
However, I've also rationalised my purchasing habits; I think I only started one totally new project (the Tzeentch Daemons) this year and turned my attention to working on many older projects I already had miniatures for.
2. Play the games I have been planning - PARTIAL SUCCESS
Being able to get back to gaming eventually has turned my attention to more planned games than previously, with me not only returning to the Bolt Action Stalingrad campaign with Pete, but also getting quite some way into the Quest of the Ringbearer with Matt (and beginning War in Rohan).
Some projects and campaigns, such as Dropzone/Dropfleet, have remained on the back-burner, but these have give way to other campaigns like Lurkers from the Deep for 7TV which is started and will hopefully be followed fairly soon by Orsa the Fearless.
3. Experiment more with solo gaming - PARTIAL SUCCESS
I actually did quite a few solo games during the year. Mainly this was using the excellent Five Parsecs From Home rules. I really enjoyed playing this and it's probably the best solo miniatures game I've ever played.
On top of this I messed about with solo games to teach myself rules, such as with 40k, or to try to create my own rules, such as with Icons. However, my solo playing notably ended when the opportunity to play actual human beings reappeared in the summer.
I'm not sure that I am naturally a solo gamer, clearly preferring more social games, but I do enjoy telling stories, and so I probably will return to the crew of the Fortune's Fool and revisit the Avengers in the Savage Land at some point.
Overall, I'd call 2021 a success. Notably, my gaming has taken a much more narrative turn this year, and it's something I have really enjoyed; probably more than the abstract smackdowns more typical of wargaming.
Turning my attention to the future, I'm going to stick with the three resolution format, as it gives specific goals, without losing focus.
1. Paint more than I acquire
It's tried and tested and keeps me honest in terms of getting painting done and not constantly buying into the next new shiny thing to come along. Also, storage space is really becoming an issue, and so without some sort of limiting factor I might even have to consider the horror of selling painted miniatures...
2. Continue telling stories
I really like narrative games ang so I want to ensure that things like Quest of the Ringbearer, War in Rohan, Stalingrad, Fortune's Fools, Avengers: Breakout, Lurkers from the Deep, and Orsa the Fearless continue to progress. No doubt other stories will join them, but this is where my heart lies in wargaming.
3. Just play more games
The last couple of years have had a severe impact on the amount of games most of us have been able to play. I like playing miniature wargames, especially the social aspect of it, and so I just want to get more games in. This probably means going to events, but also making myself more available to play and putting the effort in to make arrangements with those people who I don't play as much as I'd like to.
And so there we have it. 2021 is done. Bring on 2022.
Happy New Year to you all, and I hope that next year sees even more of a return to pre-pandemic normality, but if it doesn't, at least we're getting used to it. In the wise words of Lord Vetinari of Ankh-Morpork:
"If it continues long enough, even a reign of terror may become a fondly remembered period. People believe they want justice and wise government but, in fact, what they really want is an assurance that tomorrow will be very much like today."