It's been a somewhat significant year here at the Cheaphammer Towers, and events have conspired to impact the output of posts on the blog in comparison with last year's record breaking total.
Moving the location of my secret lair opened up new hobby space, bigger gaming opportunities and, crucially, more storage space, as the previous headquarters of the Cheaphammer media empire was bursting at the seams.
Even more significant was the loss of my father, the inspiration for my love of wargaming. Having lost both my parents in the last three years, this new year feels like a bit of a watershed as I start a new phase in my life.
Without getting too maudlin, my thoughts once again turn to both looking back and forward in my now traditional review of the year, specifically how I've done in relation to the arbitrary hobby targets I set myself over this last year, and then set myself some new goals to work towards.
1. Paint more than I acquire - SUCCESS
This one is quite clear. I acquired only 132 new models this year and painted 213. I always use the 'acquired' measurement to better account for the comings and goings more than just looking at what I've bought. I've bought far more that 132, but I've sold and given away a fair chunk of miniatures throughout the year that has kept the balance in my favour.
One thing I have been quite good at this year is actually painting the new things I've bought fairly quickly. The Carnevale miniatures got painted very quickly to facilitate gaming and I think I should remember this and strike while the iron's hot in terms of my motivation.
Some things have been a bit slower, for example my Horus Heresy miniatures (about 30 new models and a bit of tidying up here and there) were a bit of a grind as I find painting Space Marines in numbers above 5 somewhat of a chore. I need to ensure that I don't buy too much for any one project at a time because fatigue can set in and projects can end up being shelved for some time. For example, I finished my War of 1812 Americans for Sharp Practice five years after starting it.
Another aspect that I added to my goal was the Hobby Bingo Challenge from Benji's Hobbies YouTube channel. This has pushed me to do a few things outside of my comfort zone. There's only one box not ticked and that's the display board. I just couldn't find a reason to to take time out from other aspects of the hobby to do this. Maybe next year.
2. Continue telling stories - SUCCESS
I enjoy narrative games and scenarios, and I enjoy campaigns. I much prefer fighting for a reason, with specified and meaningful objectives, rather than just matching points values in a death match. As such, most of my games these days have a narrative slant.
As I intended, I've made headway with the Quest of the Ringbearer, getting the ring from Weathertop to Moria, and Matt, Pete and I started a Battle Companies campaign as well. Although some campaigns are still on hiatus (Breakout, Fortune's Fools, Stalingrad, Lurkers from the Deep), I have played through the Carnevale tutorial campaign, Matt and I have played a few more Bolt Action scenarios from the campaign books.
As ever, my narrative gaming has been at it's most prolific in the weird world of 7TV. I took He-Man and the Disney Princesses to events (and picked up prizes each time), Matt and I have been quietly doing some top secret playtesting of feature packs for Crooked Dice (I could tell you about this, but I'd have to kill you) and I've also managed to play through the whole of Orsa the Fearless (the final episode still needs writing up.
Basically, narrative gaming is my jam and you can expect to see more of it.
3. Just play more games - SUCCESS
This is something that I am trying to do, but real life does get in the way. I'm actually roleplaying much more than I was this time last year. My ongoing WFRP Border Princes campaign continues online, and this year has seen me step back into D&D as the gnomish rogue Waldo 'Nimblefingers' Redcap - although when we last left him he was making death saves at the bottom of a spiked pit trap, so we'll see how that pans out.
Matt and Pete remain my usual tabletop opponents, with Pete being my co-conspirator in returning to grim darkness of the far future in both Warhammer 40k and Horus Heresy. Playing these games when we get the chance is the reason why the struggle for Stalingrad hasn't moved forward this year.
At some point, I hope to actually win a game of either of these.
Matt is my regular opponent and the malleable foil for my severe case of campaignitis with Lord of the Rings and 7TV. I'm really appreciative of his willingness to try new games like Carnevale and we are trying to ensure that games like Bolt Action don't get left behind (a sneak peek of an upcoming report above).
One worrying trend is that both Matt and Pete are singing the siren song of Oldhammer at me and I feel myself being drawn in the direction of their nostalgic return to older editions of 40k and WFB. Given that I have the willpower of a lump of soft cheese, I suspect that my resistance will melt this year.
1. Decrease the Lead Mountain
Yep. Same old, same old. Paint more than I acquire and keep chipping away at the ever decreasing backlog by whatever means necessary. Keeping count remains a good discipline and I'm going to keep an eye out for another hobby bingo card to add to this process.
2. Get things 'finished'
I don't normally share WIP photos, but this photo demonstrates the issue. I don't want things to pile up and drag on. My experience with the War of 1812 has taught me that I need to clear projects to make space, and so I want to commit to the following:
- Finish my Lord of Change for the Tzeentch Daemons,
- Get the Blood Angels to 3000 points (I'm at about 2000 now),
- Finish off the last couple of Masters of the Universe miniatures I own,
- Paint what is necessary for the next stages of Lurkers from the Deep, Vlad's Army, War in Rohan and getting the Fellowship of the Ring through Moria.
3. Stay 'cheap'
This one is a bit vague, but I want to ensure that even though I have more freedom about this than when I started this blog, I continue to find the joy in avoiding the mainstream, hunting for bargains and finding miniatures that work for projects without necessarily feeling forced down official channels.
Projects like Freedom Force are a good example of something that, currently, nobody has their official hooks into (He-Man became less fun when several different official games were released), I don't feel I have to buy anything and when I do it's on my own terms.
This can be trickier when it comes to things like the Horus Heresy, but I still feel that by using my existing collection as a base to build from, I have kept to the essence of cheaphammer.
This will be a hard one to measure.
And so there we have it. 2022 is wrapped up. It's been full of big events for me personally, so I suspect 2023 will be a little calmer. You can expect the blog to continue much as it has done, and a personal log of my hobby journey; don't expect any patreons, giveaways or clickbait any time soon.
Happy New Year!