Having reviewed 2023, I suppose it is only fair to consider what 2024 might hold wargame-wise. As with most wargamers this is largely unknown territory. After all, we never know when something new and shiny might come along to tempt us away from the path of righteousness which we have been treading with family and credit cards.
Anyway, a few certainties are clear. First, I was rather alarmed to find a lack of naval wargaming in my games for last year. This is, as they say, an oversight. After all, Machiavelli does have fleets, and so I was open to some naval clashes. It is just that they did not happen. I suppose the result here is must try harder.
Thinking about it a little more, it is in fact much easier to conceive of naval actions taking place in campaign contexts. A good number of years ago Paul Hague, I think it was, observed that in a land-based game, it is quite easy to designate that crossroads or hill as being strategically important and to fight over it. At sea, one bit of water looks much like another, and so wider reasons for having a fight need to be sought. Thus, campaign wargaming is a useful additive for making naval games meaningful. This, combined with my penchant recently for campaigns, could be helpful.
On that note, I would quite like to develop some more campaigns. I do not know whether my reader is interested in such things – sometimes it seems you are, sometimes not – but I am fairly sure that I am and that there is a vast quantity of untapped possibilities in running campaign games. As I remarked a couple of times over the last year or so, campaigns can create their own scenarios and battle outcomes. Sometimes what happens on the battlefield is largely irrelevant to the outcome of a campaign, after all (I know that statement would need to be nuanced, by the way…).
There is always the holy grail of campaign gaming, or the apparent one, of some sort of complex imgai-nations type game, along the lines of Tony Bath’s Hyboria. This always seems to get set as the ideal wargame campaign. I am sure that this was not the intention, but that is sometimes how it seems. I think that rougher and readier methods of generating and playing wargame campaigns can be created, and I have tried out a few ideas in the last year or so. The ACW Greeks campaign was one such. Machiavelli and the Siena campaign are more. This needs thinking about, and some naval elements adding.
When we come to painting and acquisitions, there is a bit less to discuss, mercifully. I have demolished most of the unpainted lead pile, and my strategy is not to increase it by very much, if possible, not at all. This resolution has already been undermined, however, by the acquisition of some Warbase Parisian Civilians. These are 25+ mm and are aimed at my Flashing Blades role-playing campaign. Civilians, in any scale, are really quite difficult to find, which is a bit of a nuisance to those of us who do not think that everyone spends all their time fighting battles. Still, I also have about 16 other 25+ mm figures to assemble and paint.
The larger project is the recent (Santa is responsible. It wasn’t my fault, guv) of Chinese, Korean and Japanese fleets. These are aimed at the later Sixteenth Century, of course. Years ago I recall my frustration at being unable to obtain suitable ships for the Japanese invasion of Korea. A couple of years ago I discovered that Tumbling Dice has ranges which fit the bill very nicely, in my favoured 1:2400 scale. This was only slightly mitigated by discovering that I had failed to order any flags, but as the ships are still in their packages this is not going to be a problem any time soon.
Aside from that I am trying to keep the expansion of the forces to a minimum. I might, if they are ever released, obtain some more Italian Wars gendarmes from Baccus. As you might have noted from my Italian Wars campaigns I keep running out of the fellows. While I am about it some more jinites would not go amiss either, but I will try to limit acquisitions. Oh, and there might be some Turkish light cavalry as well, of which stocks are rather limited. And who knows what else.
Alongside this, there has been some writing. I was a bit perturbed to find this on the Helion website:
This is listed for release in the spring. There might be a bit of a problem with it, as it is nowhere near finished yet, and we are awaiting photographs to make it a feast of joy for lovers of the small chaps, and also for those who are willing to be converted. We shall see. If you have any nice pictures of 6 mm figures, from any manufacturer, drop me a comment (I won’t publish them) and we chat.
I have to say that while it has sort of been a labour of love, it has also been blinking hard work and quite frustrating to boot. I am awaiting further information from my co-author – yes, although I am named on the cover, it is actually a collaborative effort betwixt myself and Mr Berry. The Estimable Mrs P and been slightly perturbed on occasion by her husband stomping around the house shouting ‘All collaborators will be shot!’. Mind you, that sort of behaviour is not totally unknown in these parts as it is. It all stems from being in the Academy and trying to cooperate with people separated by time, geography and language.
So, there you are. As I have hinted there may still be some surprises, both in terms of subjects, wargames and even, possibly, more writing projects. In this life, you never quite know what is going to happen next, which does keep things interesting.