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Friday, January 4, 2019

Reflections on Gaming, 2018

Time to reflect and reconcile the objectives set out at the beginning of 2018 (see Project Planning 2018) against my actual progress.  Figure painting has already been addressed in an earlier post so I will skip that and dive into the 2018 gaming goals and how those survived the test of time.

Historical Battles to Fight
On the gaming front, my primary plan was to develop and game one "monumental" historical battle per quarter.  Each monument was meant to be fought multiple times before moving on to the next monument.  How did that work out?  Let us see.

2018Q1 - Mollwitz 1741 in 18mm
Following the initial contest in late 2017, the ground at Mollwitz was fought over twice more in 2018.  Frederick managed to go 3-0 in these battles but the victory was within Austrian grasp in two.  An interesting yet tough fight for the poorly trained Austrian infantry.  The Prussians had challenges of their own.  Mollwitz comes down to the Austrian cavalry clearing the flanks of Prussian cavalry and defeating the Prussian infantry juggernaut before the Prussian infantry can reach the outclassed Austrian infantry standing in front of Mollwitz. Some tense moments in each of the three battles but the historical result prevailed.

Mollwitz
2018Q2 - Albuera 1811 in 18mm Combat at Foz d'Arouce in 28mm
The second quarter battle of Albuera was replaced by another Napoleonic Peninsular War battle.  Rather than Albuera, the Combat at Foz d'Arouce was fought.  Instead of 15mm, it was fought in 28mm.  Foz d'Arouce saw action three times on the table.  Wellington was victorious in all three actions.  Again, the historical result prevailed and the battle featured my new church!

Foz d'Arouce
2018Q3 - Zorndorf 1758 in 18mm
Zorndorf was recreated on the gaming table four times.  The decision was split.  Two victories for Frederick  and two victories for Fermor.  Since the historical outcome was inconclusive, a 2-2 record supports the historical outcome.  Zorndorf remained on the table for about four months leaving no time in fourth quarter to stage a fourth monument.
Zorndorf
2018Q4 - Castiglione 1796 or Rivoli 1797 or Trebbia 1799 in 18mm
No monument battle in Q4 due primarily to holidays and scheduling challenges.  Instead, the Assyrian Army took to the field against an Egyptian Kushite Army in a pair of To the Strongest! battles.  Rivoli will be saved and presented another time.

Scenarios to Design and Development
Scenario research, design and development were completed for Zorndorf and Rivoli but that was it.  No new scenarios to go with Norm's Two Flags - One Nation rules.  Over the Winter Break, I did manage to replay my Fox Gap scenario using Norm's latest amendments to TF-ON.  Presentation for that replay is in work.  


Rules to Design, Develop, Test
2018 plans included moving from QRS to codified rules for a couple of works-in-progress.  No movement on this front.


Solo Wargaming
Yes, plenty of solo wargaming including miniatures, blocks, and hex and counter games.


Boardgames to Explore
The wargame collection grew significantly in 2018 due to eBay purchases and several publishers' Black Friday sales.  Not as much time spent on boardgaming as planned but I did get in one, long-term game of GMT's 1914: Offensive a Outrance via VASSAL.
Another highlight of 2018 was the development of a cooperative campaign game on the French & Indian War.  I ran the strategic/operational aspects of the campaign via VASSAL using Markham's Montcalm & Wolfe DTP boardgame while Peter at Grid-Based Wargaming resolved the tactical battles generated by the campaign engine.
Campaign map AUG 1758
That experience was great fun.  I think Peter may have fought out 16 individual battles before the British won the war.  
Other Boardgames Played
Commands & Colors:
A handful of Commands & Colors games using the Ancients, Napoleonics and AWI versions saw action on the table both in block and miniature.  No Samurai Battles but maybe in 2019?







Bey's Jours de Gloire 
Fuentes de Onoro 1811 from Vae Victis saw action and was the inspiration for the Combat at Foz d' Arouce battle.  This series is huge and a number of the early Napoleonic battles look very interesting to replay.

Triumph & Tragedy
Played this a couple of times as a three player game.  I recall being attacked and beaten both times by my ally!

Squad Leader
After roughly a 35 year hiatus, I made a return to the WWII tactical combat game that started it all, Squad Leader.  Only a few games were played (only one FtF) but my interest has been rekindled in this classic. 


In general more games saw action in 2018 than in recent memory.  Likely a few more have been overlooked as memory of games played fades.  A good mix of miniatures vs board, FtF vs PBeM vs solo, two-player vs multiplayer, period, and scale.  Quite a good diversity of gaming and an enjoyable re-entry into boardgaming.

Blogging
I managed to stick to the 2-3 posts per week goal for a total of 135 posts.  Content rotated between games played, units painted, travel, cycling, plus some miscellaneous content.  The average number of comments per post increased which is most welcome.  Reader comments are always appreciated!

No progress on updating the Photo Gallery.  The galleries are even more out of date now than at the beginning of 2018.

Looking Ahead to 2019
With a retrospective completed, the next logical step in this progression is to put plan to paper for 2019.  Those plans are still formulating.  Until next time.

39 comments:

  1. Certainly a good mixed bag of stuff for you last year:). Looking forward to your plans for 2019.

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    1. Hi Steve. Yes, a mixed bag of stuff, for sure, covering a lot of periods. 2019 planning is under consideration.

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  2. What a great mix of games! I liked your big games,but I was really taken by your collaborative with Peter which I found fascinating,we all tend to be students of history so even when it isn't"our" period it's still interesting,having said that I am looking forward to an Italian wars game using your collection!
    Best Iain

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    1. The FIW collaboration was a fun experience. It consumed a lot of time but was well worth the time spent. I really enjoyed Peter's translation of the strategic situation to his game board.

      Italian Wars? Yes! Definitely on the plate for 2019.

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  3. A busy year, especially when you add all the figures you painted as well.

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    1. Busy but fulfilling year, for sure. Our FIW collaboration was one of the highlights of 2018. Thank you so much for participating!

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  4. A very good year and when one throws in the painting, them both production and play have 'had their way'.

    Good to see basic Squad Leader getting time on the table. Last year we enlarged mapboard 1 at the copy shop and had a lot of nostalgic fun out of that.

    All your table games have been well presented .... though, if choosing, I did like Foz d'Arouce, with that rather fine church that painted up this year.

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    1. Thank you, Norm! Your feedback is always most welcome.

      Hopefully, more SL will see the table in 2019 and even ASL made make its way ashore as well.

      Glad you enjoyed the Foz d'Arouce battles. I am fond of that church too!

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  5. That was a great year of gaming, Jon.

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    1. Yes, it was! Here's to an even more enjoyable 2019 at the gaming table!

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  6. I’m astounded by the rate that you post on the blog, you basically did 100 more post than me, and each one was quality.
    I think it’s a great that you played each battle several times: a really good idea! Too often we put time and effort to bring a game to the table to only play it once before moving on to the next project. Playing several times allows for exploring a battle more completely. You’ve had a great year of blogging and gaming! 😀

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Posting once every three days seems to be a good frequency for me. Very pleased to see you find the quality of posts satisfactory. That is great feedback!

      On repeating battles, I find playing a scenario two or three times adds much to the insight and understanding of the battle. Repeated playings also allow the luxury for tactics to develop and different approaches to be tried.

      As always, thanks for your support, Stew!

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  7. You are a credit to the hobby, Jonathan. As I am sure I have often said here, your perseverance and productivity inspire me. I enjoyed he Vassal game last year and hope we can try something again. Very best for the new year.

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    1. Michael, you are too kind, my friend!

      The VASSAL game was a good learning experience on the 1914 series and I could not have successfully tackled that obstacle without your help. I learned a lot about operational WWI combat and the 1914 series. It was a great experience.

      I wish you the very best in 2019, too!

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  8. Nice recap of another impressive year, Jonathan. I must revisit your Foz d'Arouce post.

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    1. Thanks, Dean! Your continued support of the blog is much appreciated!

      Happy New Year!

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  9. Can only echo other's words about the quantity and quality Jonathan, excellent stuff, including the replays of battles idea. And thank you so much for the giveaway too! I must get those Hussars painted... :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Mark!

      Now, get those hussars into your painting queue!

      By the way, your recent Caldiero battle was a magnificent sight.

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  10. Several interesting battles in there, and I was glad to be part of several of them. Mollwitz especially strikes me as akin to the attack on the Deathstar. The plucky Austrian Cavalry trying to hit the Prussians before they come in range to annihilate the Austrian Infantry with a single volley. Perhaps next year we can follow up with Chotusitz?

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    1. I thought all of the battles offered their own challenges to both players. One thing you provide encouragement to do is to produce a scenario that is as much of a tactical problem as a battle refight. I appreciate your encouragements and willingness to take on these challenges greatly.

      Chotusitz would be an interesting battle to recreate since both sides attempted to put into practice lessons learned from the shortcomings surfaced at Mollwitz. Let's do it!

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  11. Similarly, I found Zorndorf to be a wonderful inspiration to tackle a large project in short order. Perhaps we should shoot for Kunersdorf next August to commemorate the 260th anniversary much as we did for Zorndorf?

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    1. Without your determination and discipline to field the entire Russian OB in the first half of 2018, Zorndorf would not have been possible.

      Kunersdorf in August 2019 sounds perfect! We can beginning the planning.

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  12. Thanks for an entertaining 2018 Jonathan - I agree with Iain, I think my highlight was your cooperative campaign of the French and Indian Wars - the way one person determined the strategic situation via a board game whilst the other played out the tactical situations that resulted, was great and must have been good fun for both of you!

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    1. You are most welcome, Keith! The interest and comments from yourself and others provide motivation to keep at this activity.

      The cooperative campaign with Peter was entertaining and fun, for sure. I never knew what twist the tactical battle would add back into the strategic situation. Many times, I expected a result that did not happen. The campaign worked so well due to Peter's rapid battle turn-around. The campaign never had a chance to bog down or lose its appeal It was great fun and I would not hesitate in doing something like that again.

      Thank you for participating through your encouraging comments.

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  13. Well done! Yours has been a highly productive and entertaining hobby year Jonathan, but my goodness that opening diagram looks alarmingly similar to something called the "Virtuous Cycle" that I saw at a presentation a few weeks back - made be shudder.

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    1. Sorry about the work flashback, Mark!
      Thanks for your continued support and here’s to 2019!

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  14. I am most impressed with the amount of gaming you got in this year, and the great variety. That is the area I struggle the most with - actually getting games on the table! I pl;an to decrease my work (nominally) to 4 days a week in about 2 years. Maybe that will help? :-)

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    1. Yes, a lot more gaming than usual in 2018, Peter. Rarely was the large gaming table devoid of a battle. My plan for 2018 was more gaming with a commensurate reduction in painting. Gaming increased but so did the number figures painted!

      When discussing plans for retirement, my wife often asks, "do you expect to game ALL day when you retire? Won't you get bored?" Since I am still in the workforce, I defer the answer to that question for another time...

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  15. Certainly none of us expect to spend retirement gaming full time... do we? I'd say a game a week would be spectacular!

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  16. That's a very busy year Jonathan. Here's to 2019!

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  17. That looks like a very balanced and enjoyable year to me. My wife is happy with the one night per week gaming, but I normally get the "I hope you don't expect to spend all your retirement downstairs painting miniatures".

    To which I reply "Of course not; I'm also hoping to spend more time betting on the horses and catching up with friends down the pub" which, I suspect, is not the answer she is looking for. In truth I can see me doing one final degree for fun and travelling a bit more with the better half, but I'll keep that to myself for the time being.

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    1. Our wives must be related! I hear the same. While not retired, we do a lot of traveling which we both find enjoyable. I often work a battlefield or historical site into the itinerary. My wife has walked more than one battlefield with me although on our trip in May to Bavaria she insisted I visit Eggmuhl without her...

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  18. I do plenty of reflecting and even more planning but I only occasionally act....

    You never cease to amaze me with you ability to stay focused and achieve the results you want.

    Christopher

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