Saturday, 1 January 2022

That Janus Feeling

 The world turns ever onwards, even when it feels like progress is, shall we say, mostly crab like. At this time of year (especially) we like to review the past and make plans. A wargame blog is, surprisingly to some perhaps, part of society and so is no different from other parts of society. So here goes.

The review of the last year is fairly straightforward. I have managed to reduce the lead pile by around a thousand figures. Specifically, I started my painting year in 2020 with over 2500 figures in the unpainted lead pile, and finished it with just over 1500. The painting was mostly odds and ends of early modern armies, such as ECW Scots and Irish, WSS Anglo-Dutch and Bavarian, Polish GNW, Russians from around 1600 and a Russian village and a star fort, with associated guns, gunners and some sappers.

By my reckoning 28 wargames were played, something of an annual record for me, I think. These ranged from several goes at the Marathon (the ancients painting was Persian reinforcements, but they still cannot seem to win) through Caesar’s first invasion of Britain (three games) to a Russian civil war (no, not that one, the wars of the two (or more) Dimitris), a Moghul civil war, some one off ECW battles (St Ouen’s Beach, Braddock Down and Benburb) and, perhaps most spectacular, the whole of the Great Northern War fought in a couple of afternoons. The Poles, incidentally, won.

Rule-wise I have developed the Polemos based Ancients and Wars of the Counter Reformation a bit, mostly for my own clarification. They are available from the rules link on the right. I have also written a scrappy set of early modern siege rules, which seemed quite fun and am working on some generic terrain rules. They are not available yet, because I have not got around to PDF-ing them. Still, they do exist.

Campaign-wise, the Armada Abbeys campaign wound up with the eventual defeat of Don Pedro’s army in the North Yorkshire Moors. There is only the Irish leg of this one to continue. In other campaigns, Infanta Isabella’s forces are maintaining their stranglehold on Bergen. We will have to see what the new campaigning season brings there. Ferdinand has lost most of his heavy cavalry and is biding his time while he considers what to do to be a hero and persuade the queen to grant him some more indulgences. The Aztec campaign, by the way, moved forward another two years with no battles. My luck changed and I am not quite powerful in Central Mexico.

In books I read quite a lot regarding Anglo-Norman warfare, which is not really a period I intend to get into wargaming, but was interesting nevertheless. As with most periods, I suppose, what really happened was rather different from what we think happened and also mostly, we have no idea as to what really happened. Anyway, it was good, interesting stuff. Other than that I have been slowly gravitating back to the English Civil War, aided and abetted by the Estimable Mrs P who has proved to be an adept purchaser or books on said topic: both Providence Lost  and The Making of Oliver Cromwell were gift to me, and very interesting they were too.

So, what of the future?

Well, I have managed to add 288 figures to my unpainted lead pile. These are Baccus ECW foot and will be reinforcements for that period, as I kept running out of pikemen, which is a bit irritating. I also have some more Scottish horse in the pipeline. Aside from them, the focus will be on painting some of the odds and ends of the ancients period I have. When I got them, I was developing the Polemos: SPQR rules, and needed to get 20 base core armies onto the table. Niceties like skirmishers for each army were left by the wayside, and now it is time, I think, to do some atonement and paint some more, particularly as Caesar could really do with some for his next attempt on Britain. A major effort will be needed to add to the Parthian army as well.

For the campaigns, I am pondering something ECW based, but I am not sure what yet. The classic ECW campaign suggestion is to campaign within a single county, but that is a bit limiting (I have done it several times) and you tend to either run into logistical problems (that is, not having any) or simply run out of soldiers. The other option is to try to do the whole war. I do have a couple of boardgames which might be suitable, of I might just narrative campaign it.

I also have hankerings to return to the Sarmatian Nation campaign. The Romans went down a bit easily to the Dacians at the last outing; the Romans were unfortunate, shall we say. There is also the question of the dispute between different Sarmatian tribes to be resolved. I might also try to revive Alexander IV’s fortunes in Italy, after he got thoroughly beaten in Africa and in the seas of Majorca. We shall see.

I the longer term, plans are afoot for something in the region of the Anglo-Dutch Wars. I am still pondering this and steeling myself to paint some ships, which I am not very good at. You might object that these wars were all naval affairs, and you would be right, but there is no reason why a certain amount of land campaigning could not be introduced. There were, after all, various invasion panics during them.

In the even longer term (i.e. not even considered for 2022) is Hannibal and the Punic Wars. In my ancients collection I have some suitable figures (Moors and Spanish, mainly) but I would need Romans and the core Carthaginians, as well as naval forces for both sides. The latter would be the tiny ships I l ready use for the Greeks. At least painting them is not too painful.

So, there you are, a look back at the wargame year, and a look forward. None of the above may happen; expect the unexpected…

And a happy new year to you all.


  1. Good work! All the best for 2022.

  2. Thank you for all your efforts with the blog. It is always an enjoyable read every Sunday morning for me. Have a great 2022.

  3. Well, thank you all for your festive good wishes. Apologies for slow reply - it has been that time of year.

    The encouragement to continue is well received. I shall continue to generate general historical thingies and wargame reports, have no fear...