It's that time of year, gyms are packed, Nicorette flies off the shelves, and people furiously try to convince themselves that they don't want another drink as their New Year's resolutions kick in and they spend January sticking to them, before giving up and returning to their old habits on about the 6th of February.
I don't see why I should be any different, so let's go through my wargaming plans for 2012. Read on for a thrilling tale of high minded ambition and unrealistic goals!
1) I will get Flashbang to "Triples Standard"
If you've been reading this blog at all, or have been anywhere near me in the last few months, you'll be aware that I've written a skirmish game called Flashbang, and I've been industriously putting models and terrain together for it. The impossible dream is to one day see it published, but this year I'd like to get to the stage where it would "fit in" at a show like Triples. That means having terrain, rules and models that could stand out on a table at a show and draw people in - in the way that we did for last year's Triples with the Vikings vs Saxons Saga board. I don't intend to actually demo Flashbang at a show (this year at least!), but the resolution for 2012 is to reach the point where it would be possible.
2) I will only buy models and books when I need them (or when faced with an offer I can't refuse!)
This is probably the first resolution that will fall by the wayside, but as with all resolutions I'll try to abide by it and see how I get on. In the past, like most wargamers, I've tended to buy things that I like the look of or am interested in at the time, with no real thought to getting them painted. Since Wargamer's Free Company has started up, with a "no unpainted models" rule, I've been forced to be a bit more sensible - there's not really any point in buying scores of models that I can't get painted, as I won't be able to use them at the club, and that's where I do at least 90% of my gaming anyway. Knowing that my opponent will be bringing a fully painted force encourages me to try and bring something that looks pretty good myself, and I've found that playing with painted armies on the very nice tables and terrain at the club really enhances the games.
So, given that I prefer to use only painted models, there's no point in buying models long before I'm likely to be able to paint them, and my resolution is to not do that! However, I'm giving myself the opt-out clause of still being able to buy models that are an exceptionally good deal. This would apply to the 2 M18 Hellcats, copy of Hell's Highway and copy of Fortress Europe that I bought for Flames of War at the weekend! This was after a tipoff from Andrew that Hobbycraft were selling off their Flames of War stock - I bought everything I could find there and got £50 worth of books and models for £30, not bad going at all. This resolution is eminently sensible, so I'm going to counteract it with...
3) I won't be afraid to spend money on wargaming
This one might be a bit controversial! What I mean by this resolution is that I won't be afraid of buying the things I want, provided I can use them in a reasonable time. In the past I've tended to shy away from things like the lovely Warehouse from Sarissa Precision because it seems like a lot of money to spend, even though I know I'd get a lot of use out of it once I painted it up. From now on, I'm planning to get these things when I think they'll get enough use to justify the cost, provided I'll have time to get them ready.
4) I will get my Napoleonics started!
When I first took out a subscription to Wargames Illustrated, I got a box of Victrix Highlanders as a free gift. Since then, I've bought some more bits and pieces, and the Black Powder rules, but painted precisely one highlander and had something like three games of Black Powder. I actually think it's a very good game, and 28mm Napoleonics look extremely nice on the tabletop, so this is a pretty poor show for 2 1/2 years and I intend to finally do something about it! Also, if I do get this army painted, I could finally return Kieron's book of Napoleonic uniforms...
5) I will prepare at least two armies for each of the games I play
There are two reasons for this idea. The first is just to give me some variety in the armies I can use, but the more interesting reason is so I can try to lure more people into playing these games against me! This will mean preparing another army for Saga, Impetus, VBCW and Black Powder, so watch this space.
I'm even hopeful (although perhaps not very) that I can convince one or two "normal" people to start playing wargames if I can provide everything that's needed to get them started. Which leads me into...
6) I will build up a collection of terrain
Since I have limited space at home, and WFC owns some very nice terrain, there's not a great need to have my own terrain, but I have a few pieces already. I need some specifically for Flashbang, and have a few pieces for Flames of War that I haven't yet painted. I want to build these up so that I can add something a bit more unusual to games at the club, and also have some terrain available for games outside the club should they come up.
7) I will keep blogging and setting targets
Maintaining this blog, and having my work marked out of ten every month, has given me a massive productivity boost! I'll definitely carry on with that, but I've decided to slightly alter the format of it. Over December I had a big list of targets because I didn't know quite what I would work on, and I enjoyed having a bit of freedom (even though I mostly worked on the same thing, on which more in a future post), but the targets are a big motivatory. So, I'm going to keep setting targets, but I'll make them slightly easier to allow myself time to include a "wildcard" of some sort so I can vary what I'm doing. So from now on, my target for each month is whatever I say I'm going to do, plus something else...
There we are then - a list of 7 wargaming resolutions that I'll be trying to keep in 2012. Come back on the 6th of February to see which I failed with!