The long-awaited 2021 Painting & Gaming Priorities post has arrived! (And just in time as it's the last day of the year for 2020.) Some of you have noted an increase of activity on the blog and for good reason! Since 2014, my blog posts have trended downward from an impressive 110+ posts in 2014, down to a meager 59 posts in 2019. This is due to a number of pretty good reasons including the birth of our son in 2016, a 2017 promotion at work resulting in increased responsibilities (less time and energy to do hobby stuff after work), and life in general.
All good there and no complaints, but one interesting secondary effect of all of this "life living" has been a yearly decrease - since 2014 - of blog posts published. Those of you who have stuck with blogging your gaming adventures know and understand the work that goes into recording games, photographing games, and then blogging about them, and my intention this year was to blog more than in 2019. That was before COVID, which took out roughly a quarter's worth of gaming and blogging. True, I managed some board game activity thanks to Norm's great hex-based rules, but you may as well have "erased" 3 months from the year for me given what was occurring at work.
I know, I know - "Steve - GET ON WITH IT HERE! What's the point of this? I want to read about your hobby plans in 2021!" Well the other day I was blogging about one of the holiday games and I noticed I was at "56" posts for the year with 3 days remaining. If I managed to post on every remaining day of the year, I'd tie with 2020 for blog posts, effectively ending the downward trend of posts for the year!
Yes it sounds silly and pyrrhic but to me it's noteworthy. The first year in the last 6 where I did not trend downwards on blog posts - but rather achieved parity with the previous year. It's not an improvement, but it's a start. Every year on this priorities posting, I pledge to blog a bit more, and for the last 6 years I'd fallen short. Goal achieved? Not exactly, but we're getting there.
So with that in mind, what is on the horizon for the much-anticipated year of 2021? Like 2020, we'll sort these into "tiers". Similar to the 2020 post, I'll highlight almost all of the projects considered (and all of which I have miniatures on-hand for requiring no initial purchases):
ALL THE PROJECTS
- 10mm Napoleonics Project
- 10mm Seven Years War Project
- 10mm World War I Project
- 10mm Fantasy
- 10mm American Civil War
- 15mm Ancients
- 15mm Seven Years War
- 15mm Vietnam
- 15mm World War II
- 15mm Cold War
- 15mm American Civil War
- 15mm American Revolutionary War
- 15mm Seven Years War
- 6mm 1/285 World War II
- 6mm 1/285 Cold War
- 6mm 1/285 Sci Fi
In 2020 as you all know, I did manage to completely finish/close out the 15mm American Revolutionary War project and I can safely say we can call that project done! Completely done! So with that said, what's next?
2021 TIER I PROJECT PRIORITIES
2020 fell short of giving every project attention. There's some good reasons for that including COVID, moth-balling my 15mm Cold War stuff (focusing on the 1/285 projects instead) and not starting some other proejcts (World War I). I have found that prioritizing one project or 2 projects in particular was very effective at giving me focus and so we'll repeat that and here are the upcoming TOP priorities for the new year:
10mm / 15mm Seven Years War Project, which I'm combining into simply "The Seven Years War Project" This project is ripe for completion and I'm 75% done with painting everything I have for the Seven Years War in 10mm, and 90% done with it in 15mm. It seems like madness to have 2 x scales, but I play different games with the different scales, and I'm still holding out hope for Borg's SYW Tricorne game.....
Anyways, SYW is the top painting priority for 2021 with the goal of painting ALL remaining units. That shouldn't be too hard. There are about 12 regiments left unpainted (6 each Prussian and Austrian), 2 to 3 Artillery batteries, and 4 cavalry regiments each in 10mm. With a bit of grit, I can easily push up that hill as I can finish off a single regiment in couple hours' worth of painting.
In 15mm, there really isn't much at all - I purchased some Prussian and Austrian Heavy Cavalry squadrons to supplement my 15mm games, and for the hell of it, I purchased a few more bags of Old Glory infantry. I found with the AWI project that the 15mm guys with tricorns were just a blast to paint up. Anyways, a really easy project to finish if I can find the time.
15mm / 6mm World War II Projects, which I'm combining into simply "The World War II Project". Last year WWII fell off sharply and this year I'm anxious to get it back on the table alot more. Later in the post, you'll see my attempt at a "calendar" of upcoming gaming and painting "themes" for the month, that are all tied to the priorities listed here.
I've realized that regarding the World War II lead pile, I'll probably never in my lifetime paint all of those figures, but I can come close! I want to focus more on specialty units this year (Fallschirmjaegers, Volksturm and Volksgrenadiers, American and British paras, etc) and of course I want to get more World War II GAMES on the table!
Simpler rules will definitely help with that but at a minimum, I want to clear the decks of ALL OF MY GERMAN AND SOVIET VEHICLES! That's alot of modeling, folks, but I can tell you it's less than in previous years. Also, in 2022, Battlefront will be releasing their Berlin books (re-releasing?) and I plan on buying them. 2021 will be a preparatory year for completing all of my late, late war Germans and getting ready for the Gotterdammerung!
There was also the idea that I'd play a bunch of FOW games in 6mm. Even if I have to go at that solo, I'm going to do it this year.
2021 TIER II PROJECT PRIORITIES
10mm Napoleonics - with my push for single-based 10mm stands, I want to get about 10 more Austrian and 10 more French 1809 stands completed for a larger games of Blucher, Volley and Bayonet, or other larger-scale games. I also want to go back to my roots this year with some Peninsular Battles. It's been literally years since I've played a Peninsula Campaign battle and I think it's definitely time to go "over the hills" in Spain and Portugal. If anything, my wife who is Portuguese will appreciate the switch. Looking to play some Blucher games, Commands and Colors games, Black Powder games, and perhaps try out some other tactical Napoleonic rules in the Peninsula. Always good for a hasty pickup game, the simple but effective Neil Thomas Napoleonic or Intro to Wargaming Napoleonic rules will make a comeback in terms of Napoleonics this year.
15mm/10mm American Civil War - With a my HUGE purchase from a few years ago at a convention, I'm STILL basing my 15mm ACW guys and there is still a sizeable contingent of unpainted metal just waiting for their uniform issue. With lots of attention being given to the Black Powder "Glory Hallelujah" supplement, and Norm's "Two Flags-One Nation" rules beckoning, I'm really wanting to get some bigger ACW games on the table. WIth us trying out "Altar of Freedom" this year, I bought enough lead to game out some smaller ACW battles and I still need to finish all of that in time for an upcoming refight of The Battle of Shiloh in February! Additionally, I've been wanting to put the Neil Thomas ACW rules from his Intro to Wargaming book onto the table and really put them through their paces. Expect to see more ACW than previously.
2021 TIER III PROJECT PRIORITIES
15mm Ancients - A big push to get some experimental Ancients units painted up. My decision to go with single-based unit stands though was an expensive one, particularly because while I have way more than enough to play some big DBA games, 16 figure unit stands requires more purchases. While I've got a purchase in, I'm already close to completing ALL of the Romans I currently have in 15mm (blog posts coming up in 2021 I promise!). Then I can start on the barbarbians - but this is alot to paint and while I'm keen on playing Commands and COlors Ancients, Hail Caesar, or Sword and Spear with them, I havent played nearly enough Ancients to even know where I stand with rules.
10mm Fantasy - My daughter and I will occasionally play 10mm games of "Orcs" with my Kallistra and GW 10mm units. Orcs is a variation of Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames which I may tinker with this year. I have LOTS more to paint and it's doubtful the fantasy project will get much traction this year but there needs to be some forward movement!
6mm 1/285 Cold War - I am so very close to completing this project! I have to complete more Soviet COld War Infantry and more West German infantry but I almost have enough for some really big, like 150 point, games of Team Yankee and of course Battlegroup: NORTHAG which I do plan on playing.
So there you have it. Most of my projects "should" see some brush time and table time this year with the intention of seeing progress in each Tier, with the Tier I projects looking for significant progress.
2021 Gaming Priorities - The Year of the Toy Soldier
I've been thinking alot lately about gaming and what I want to get out of it and what I want to play. 2021 for me really needs to be a return to more familiar and comfortable gaming in my opinion, with more well-known rules returning to my table. The whole thing for me - the whole purpose of this blog and this hobby for me - is to literally play with toy soldiers and share those battles with you all.
I do NOT count myself as a "serious" wargamer, nor do I see myself as faithfully, painstakingly recreating or simulating warfare. There are books for that. There are boardgames and computer models and simulations for that.
Rather, I have fun playing with my toys, and I enjoy that the outcomes of those battles are unique and many times out of my complete control. I do like to create scenarios and recreate historical battles when I can, but in the end I want to play with toy soldiers, and I want my gaming to serve that end.
Here is a list of "planned" games for 2021 and themes by month. The themes aren't strict - for instance if my little group of friends wants to play an AWI game then I'll happily play that, but I am going to try monthly "priorities" which should hopefully drive my painting progress. I have also tried to organize my painting activity. Let's see in December of 2021 if we were able to hit these marks and make more progress than usual?
January 2021 - World War II Month! Expect plenty of WWII games hopefully including Flames of War, Tigers at Minsk, and Battlegroup.
Jnauary Painting Priorites ACW getting ready for February.
February 2021 - ACW Month - Preparing for the Shiloh game using Greg Wagman's Altar of Freedom. I'll be playing the US and Ken will be playing the CS forces. Hoping to introduce Dave and others to these great rules.
February Painting Priorities Seven Years War
March 2021 - Seven Years War - I want to play a BIG Seven Years War battle this month, and other SYW battles with Black Powder, and Neil Thomas' modified Napoleonic rules.
March Painting Priorities - World War II
April 2021 - World War II Gaming - since it's a main yearly priority I want to get as much WWII gaming in as I can. That means World War II games! More FOW, Battlegroup, TAM etc.
April Painting Priorities - Cold War
May 2021 - Cold War! Expect Team Yankee games and hopefully LOTS of Battlegroup: NORTHAG and even some experimentation with the CENTAG army lists from the facebook group.
May Painting Priorities - Ancients Push! Finish as many Ancients units as I can.
June 2021 World War II Gaming - Looking for some good World War II Western Front gaming in June with hopefully some D-Day campaign linked games. Hope to put more Battlegroup on the table, as well as FOW.
June Painting Priorities - ACW 15mm and Ancients - trying to get as many Ancients painted as I can!
July 2021 - Gettysburg MEGAGAME. I want to put some big ACW battles on the table with some familiar rules. July 2021 is the time to do it with a long weekend, I'm hoping I can stage a large game with friends.
July Painting Priorities - OPEN MONTH! Catch up on priorities.
August 2021 Commands and Colors Month! Hopefully all of that Ancients painting paid off and I'm ready for a BIG 15mm Commands and Colors Ancients bash! Also expect lots of Commands and Colors games including Napoleonics, BattleCry, and Tricorne.
August Painting Priorities - Napoleonics - here we should see a big push to get as many 10mm Napoleonic units done as I can
September 2021 Napoleonics Month! Hoping to put some large battles on the table using Blucher for bigger games, Neil Thomas Napoleonic, and maybe some Black Powder games on the table.
September Painting Priorities - Fantasy Units - a big push to paint up as many Fantasy 10mm units as I can
October 2021 - Fantasy Gaming Month! Hope to play lots of games of "Orcs" with my daughter. A fantasy-based derivative of Commands and Colors Ancients, and perhaps try out Kings of War?
October Painting Priorities - OPEN MONTH!
November 2021 - MEGAGAME PREP TERRAIN AND FORCES
December 2021 - CHRISTMAS MEGAGAME - open as of right now but some contenders for the 2021 Christmas MEGAGAME include:
Talavera, Gettysburg Cemetery Ridge, Berlin '45, Stalingrad '42, Kasserine Pass '43
That's it - a "hopeful" list of games to play in upcoming 2021, all subject to change of course with the whims of fate. I'm hoping that I can stick to these priorities of painting and gaming, and if so, what a remarkable year it would turn out to be! I hope you all have achieved your aims for 2020, and that you all have a safe, healthy 2021, and hopefully a joyous return to in-person gaming!