Tuesday 30 December 2014

2014 in Review

As we come to the end of another year it is customary to review the annual plan and how we stacked up against it. I suspect it will not make good reading. Here goes:
1 – 15mm Colonial. Sort out those blasted Bashi Basouks and some river boats. Then look to see what we need extra (if anything) for the hinted-at Berkeley Vale campaign.
The Bashi Basouks did indeed get finished, but there was no progress on the river boat front and the Berkeley Vale campaign was stillborn due to various issues. Anyway, I'm claiming some success here :)
2 – Form Line of Battle. A surprise entry, but here because (a) I’ve remembered how much I love the rules and (b) Rodger at the club wants to give them a try. The plan here is to renovate the fleets and complete at least six ships from the “lead pile”

Well we did give them several runs out at the BV club and the chaps certainly seem to like them (and a lot more than Sails of Glory). I started with 1/1200 ships of the line, but for various reasons (in particular fragility) we've ended up playing small ship actions using 1/450 models. I think we'll be doing more of this in 2015. Alas very little fleet renovation was done, and no new ships added, at least not in 1/1200. I did however knock up several bomb vessels and coastal batteries in 1/450 so thats going down as a "tick" :)
3 – Project X. Mysteriously referred to over the last 2 years, PX has three elements to it. I will complete at least 2 of them this year. You’ll know when I do
"Project X" was revealed as my establishing myself as a wargame rule publisher in my own right, covering niche naval subjects. The first element was successfully launched in the summer, this being my rules for WW1 lake steamer battles in 1/600. The rules are indeed now available from Long Face Games (me) via Wargame Vault.

 Element 2 is nearing completion, and #3 may take  acompletely different course (or may diverge into two streams) as a result of an interesting "chat" I had in the latter part of the year. More details as and when I can let you know.

4 – 1/600 Coastal. Resurrecting last year’s objective, I will renovate the existing fleets, finish any odd models that have yet to be completed, sort out soft copies of ship data cards and get some games in! A stretch target will be to do the same for my 1/1200 models.
Not a sausage on this one. Fail

5 – Armada Invencible. Another surprise entry, but 2014 should see the rules for this hit the streets. I have a couple of the ships already and it looks like my stock of old Airfix galleons might work with them at a pinch. The objective here is to get a copy, knock up small English and Spanish squadrons and try them out. And if they don’t work then an Armada variant of FLoB may be on the cards 
Another Fail, although I do now have a set of the rules. Apart from that, no progress at all.
6 – Games. I’m well set up to run a number of games, including Wings of Glory, X Wing, Sails of Glory (of which more in the coming days I hope), War Rocket and a few others so the plan here is to get a number of games of each in. I’ll also try to run a one day campaign, maybe two. These may or may not be connected with Project X.
Here I have been quite successful, and being a member of the Berkeley Vale club has helped. I've averaged a couple of games a month there covering all sorts of subjects including RJW, Napoleonic naval, X Wing, Wings of War, various Bolt Action variants and, in recent weeks, Star Trek using the rather nice "Engage" rules. Definitely more of this in 2015! I've also run or participated in various Wings of Glory events, notably in Penarth, Doncaster, Reading, Devizes and in Thornbury where our game won the award for "best participation".

So in review, not as bad as I thought it was going to be and in part this was due to the various building works going on at home and the unavoidable delay in getting the bespoke wargames "palace" sorted out - for the last 5 months or so my wargames room and table has been filled with junk displaced form the barn whilst that was demolished and rebuilt as a granny annex, and the replacement building delayed until Summer 2015, so there will not be much progress on the wargaming front at home until the weather is very much nicer I think.

So, overall not a bad year, in fact from a wargaming perspective quite jolly. 2015 will be one of upheaval as I sort out the wargames room, but more of "the plan" for 2015 in a couple of days time :)

Saturday 20 December 2014

RIP Jeff Crane

I have just heard the very sad news that Jeff Crane has passed away. Many members of the Naval Wargames Society and, before that, the Battleship Club, will have encountered Jeff at events and shows, where he earned himself a reputation for straight talking and boundless enthusiasm. Jeff introduced the Mortimer regional group to the joys of Games Workshop's "Man o War" fantasy naval rules and his Keshian Civil War ran for many, many years both at regional group meetings and at the Naval Wargames Show. Jeff also took on the leadership of the Basingstoke regional group, running regular games at his home, and regular readers of "All Guns Blazing" will see innumerable battle reports from the wonderful games staged by Jeff there over many years. Jeff was a popular member of the society and one of the more active ones, despite his long term illness to which he eventually succumbed. He was a true friend to many, and often regaled younger wargamers with tales of his time in the Royal Navy – adding invaluable "colour" to many wargames events and Stuart Barnes Watson's wargames weekends in Cornwall. His watch now is over, and we will miss him.