Year in Review
Looking back on 2013, I can’t quite tell if it was a hobby failure or not. So much of the year, looking back, feels like wasted opportunities… and yet I feel like I was hugely successful in a number of places. This should have been the year of 40K for me: the three armies I have painted each got new books (almost) one right after the other. Despite that, I only (and barely) managed to update one of those armies and that by the shorted path possible.
- January: I started the year still working on Orks, which feels like it was a million years ago. I still want to come back to them; I’ve got the army assembled and in transport shelves. I also started doing Wednesday Workbench which, while not necessarily the most useful content, is kind of handy to look back on. Also, they do it on Tale of Painters, so surely there’s something valuable to it, right?
- Not much interesting went down in February.
- In March, work threw me a significant curveball that I’m still riding out and settling into. While this has been great, it’s brought a lot of free-time uncertainty, which in turn has cramped my hobby momentum. Significant to the blog, Google killed off Google Reader; an nefarious act that I remain super-pissed about and motivated me to transition the blog from Blogger into WordPress. Overall I’ve been happy with the move… though I still need to make time to tweak the theme quite a bit more and I’m not entirely pleased with the performance. I also began developing a lot of frustration with Kickstarter… which has persisted through the year.
- Precious little exciting happened through April through June besides some unpleasant health issues.
- I made it out to Historicon in July, and had an amazing time. The Historicon trip began a major shift for me: out of pew-pew and zap-zap land and into historicals, which is something I’d been building up to and looking forward to for a while. Historicals (specifically Saga) would go on to dominate the second half of 2013 for me. Also: I had an excellent showing in the Historicon painting contest. I only entered to help ensure Dave’s contest was a successful one: I certainly didn’t expect to take two awards!
- August was spent traveling a lot and somehow managing to prepare for the NoVA Open: my third time there, my first playing 40K. Although I lost about as many games as I won, I did amazing in terms of hobby competition, placing third for overall army (and out of a field of 200+ competitors that’s a tough field). I’ve been to three NoVA Opens, now, and have walked away with an appearance award from each one; it’s hard for me to not be pumped about the event.
More importantly, I took Silver in one of the painting competition categories (with, let’s face it, the first mini I ever painted specifically for competition). I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of success in a number of competitions, but I account that my greatest achievement yet.
- October and November were spent assembling and painting Normans for Saga and dragons for Dragon Wars.
- December was more of the same, but with the added excitement of what feels like every outstanding Kickstarter starting to finally start delivering.
Also significant: back in early September, I said, “So, I think I’m going to try to see if I can go until 2014 without buying any new minis, period” (and then immediately added a disclaimer that finishing out my Norman Saga warband would be okay), because I had more than enough to paint and was on target to have three major crowdfunding campaigns deliver before the end of the year. In this, I was actually pretty successful: I put in on Reaper Bones II, yes (but had I foreseen it running before 2014, I’d have included it in my disclaimer), and I came pretty close to buying a By Fire & Sword, but ended up not. Besides that, though: nothing. That’s an accomplishment.
You should know, by now, that I log all of this hobby nonsense. I’m glad I do; I was ready to lament how my hobby activity was down this year from 2012 (which was, in turn, down from 2011)… but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
That’s a (slight) uptick from 2012! I have no idea how that happened. My only theory is that a lot of my work over the summer was with conversions, which end up being worth more points.
At this point, after tracking this data for four(!) years, I think it’s safe to say there’s a bit of a pattern: lots of activity with the new year (I suspect this comes is partly due to digging into Black Friday sale loot and partly motivation from this very sort of post), springtime doldrums, renewed, frenetic activity leading up to and coming off of off of the summer’s tournaments and plugging away into the end of the year. Here, have some more charts:
What’s really surprising to me about all of this is exactly how much of my hobby time was spent getting stuff ready for Saga. I know it’d been my focus for a month or three, but I hadn’t anticipated how it had dominated my year.
I always dump this stuff int to charts, furrow my brown and make noises as if I know what I’m looking at. Frankly, I don’t; this might be on the same street as my profession, but it’s not my profession. The numbers are there, and they’re easy to dump into chart, and it’s nice to know someone is looking at my stuff… but I have no idea what these numbers actually mean beyond going up or down. I suppose I’m okay with that.
Anyway, these numbers are going to be weird, I think, due to the big move to WordPress. Some broken links resulting from the move probably didn’t help either. I’ve broken them out into WordPress and Blogger, but that’s not entirely accurate: I stood up the domain in late 2011, not simultaneously with my platform switch. Still, while I was on Blogger the vast amount of my traffic came through the Blogspot address and not the warpstonepile.com address so I think it’s a fair breakdown. It’s distressing to see that I still get hits off of the Blogger address; I suppose/hope that’s primarily due to Spambots.
That spike in activity in August? That’s me doing something I don’t usually do: post stuff (specifically my Marker Drones) to Reddit. Like, that page got more traffic than the root. That’s crazy. I probably should do that more often, but since I haven’t been painting GW stuff, I don’t know where I’d put it.
In terms of my top five individual posts this year:
- The aforementioned Marker Drones.
- The Brood Horror (also put on Reddit).
- My Herald of Devastation (also put on Reddit).
- A non-hobby post about implementing the XKCD Substitutions strip. (I put this in a Newsblur comment in addition to all the ways I usually syndicate out my posts.)
- 2010’s Walkthrough of how I paint my Khornate Daemons.
This is probably the first time the list hasn’t included those Skaven conversions I did a million years ago.
I was fairly consistent in terms of posting, save for a dip in May (when I really wasn’t doing much of anything) and November (when I was too busy doing stuff to post about it).
But I’m clearly down overall, even with those Workbench posts (which, let’s face it, are essentially filler). At least I’m getting more consistent?
- Finish – Success. I got a 40K army updated to 6th Edition in time for a GT. I got several dragons painted in time for Dragon Wars. I got a Saga force 100% painted. I fully expect that I’ll have a Deadzone force 100% painted within a week of posting this.
- Paint – Technical Success. As usual, I painted, but less than I’d have liked.
- Compete – Technical Success. I competed, but just barely. I’d call this a failure except for how successful I was with the few competitions I made it out to.
- Game – Failure. Yes, I rolled dice in 2013, but you’d hardly know it. My wife’s working situation’s changed so that Tuesdays aren’t the only night I get to see her, so I have no excuse for this besides inertia.
- Pace Myself – Technical Failure. I think I did okay overall here, but the stuff for a Tau update hasn’t seen much attention, and Kickstarter starting to produce deliverables has obliterated any chance I might be able to claim to I’ve painted more that I bought.
- Historicals – Success. Historicon! Saga! Not quite the success I wanted to have (still hungering for ECW), but I definitely got into Historicals this year.
- Continue Dumping Stuff – Success. I sold off some stuff and made some room. I have a lot more work to do here, though.
- Post More to CMON – Failure. I don’t think I posted anything whatsoever to CMON in 2013.
So, we’re going to keep the now-standard…
… carry over a few from last year…
- Game – I still need to make “Get out to the FLGS regularly” a priority. It clearly isn’t going to happen on its own.
- Historicals – Gotta keep on keepin’ on!
- Continue Dumping Stuff – When Deadzone showed up, the wonderful and tolerant Mrs. Rush started making noises about the Hobby Closet only being so big, and she’s not wrong. I need to start shaving down on the stuff in there that I’m simply never going to use.
… and add a couple of new/more specific ones:
- Finish a Deadzone warband – This is almost cheating, since I’m 1-2 days away from accomplishing this. I don’t care: low-hanging fruit is still fruit.
- Finish a Muskets & Tomahawks warband – This ties into a bigger picture that I haven’t really gone into great depth on… but it’s something I really, really want to do.
- Post more RPG content – When I moved over from Blogger to WordPress, I conflated my mini hobby blog (that a few people, like yourself, actually read) and my RPG blog (that, as far as I can tell, nobody read); but I don’t really do much RPG posting. I probably should change that.
- Organize a Charity RTT – Or not, and just make sure one happens. Our group used to be badass about this, with a big Toys 4 Tots event every December and one (or more!) Susan G. Komen fundraiser every summer. For the past few years, though, we haven’t been as great. I want to see that change.
I hope all of you had great 2013s and that your 2014s are only better! Happy new year!