I don’t have to tell you that 2016 was, as years go, a murderous sack of crap. I’m trying to focus on the positive, though, and fortunately: there was a fair amount of positive things I can look back on.
2016 wasn’t as stressful as 2015: but there was a moment there in the middle, when I made a major career change. A couple strands of grey in my beard became an inch-thick band of white in my beard while working through whether or not I should make it: not exaggerating at all. I’m still settling in at the new job (ie: hanging on by my fingernails) but so far it feels like the worst is over.
Year in Review
- January was spent grinding out the table & finishing up my Amiens TGS game. And, of course, running it. Room for improvement, but it was successful.
- February saw me painting up a bunch of Partisans for a Bolt Action league at Huzzah.
- In March, I built a light arch, which was a very smart move and has helped me a lot.
- In April, I painted up some Stuarts. They placed at Historicon, but let’s face it: they got third because, surely, there was one other entry. They’re notable, though, because they were a huge breakthrough for me in terms of airbrushing tanks. I have miles to go, but I finally get it, because of these tanks.
- May and June were for Flames of War – Great War: Chris ran a Great War tournament, and I’d picked up a bunch of stuff for it the previous year. I painted all of it. It was hugely liberating to blow through so many minis in so little time, and set me up to jump on a bunch of USMC stuff for Flames of War: Pacific when it came out.
- The penultimate Historicon was in July. I ran a game that was poorly attended, played poorly in a By Fire & Sword Tournament, got to play in the League of Augsburg game, and crushed it at the painting competition.
- August was, as is traditional, a lot of NOVA prep.
- September began with NOVA, which was a good time despite me not having any idea what I’d be doing at it, and ended with Arnhem, which was a feat (that I got to contribute to).
- October, November, December were radio silence as I worked on, then ran, then recovered from running 40K Black Ops.
Clearly, I peaked early (with the Flames of War bases), but kept up a solid, excellent pace, and finished 2016 having done more than any previous year.
I also managed to paint more actual models this year than any previous year.
I think I can, unquestionably, thank 15mm and 1/72 models for this.
This is also the first full year I was able track all of my model purchases against my model painting achievements (I’d tried it a few years ago, and failed within weeks). This practice was intended to help me throttle down on buying more crap than I painted by making me aware of how much was coming in vs. going out.
Basically: I’d log how much I’d spend on minis as a positive, then log the MSRP of the minis as a negative (this last part was to cover minis that have been sitting around in my closet, for which I don’t have a record of how much I paid… also to encourage me to get things at less than MSRP). Selling minis (not something I’m especially good at) would also be tracked as a negative. The goal being to get that balance to be zero or even a little negative.
Whoops. Selling my old NIB copy of Mordheim in October and then painting up a metric ton of Deadzone terrain blew my Δ to over a grand ahead of where I wanted to be. That difference is so great as to be unhelpful (by the “keep that number negative” rule I could run out and buy a Forgeworld army and still be good; obviously no good), but the constant awareness of in vs. out was very helpful to me.
Now that I’ve kept it up for a year, I think I’ll be able to persist it into 2017.
- Finish – Complete Success – Man, I did great. I prepped and GM’d two really good games (Amiens, Black Ops), and contributed to another (Arnhem). I painted a ton of complete forces: I finished a ton of 18mm WWI Germans, painted almost the entire gamut available of 15mm FoW WWI Germans, a whole Partisan force for Bolt Action, a platoon of 1/72 Red Devils for Arnhem, a Wrath of Kings Goritsi warband, a ton of stuff for Frostgrave, and thirty models for Black Ops. I built a WWI table and painted enough for a crowded, urban sci-fi table. I got stuff done.
- Paint – Complete Success – Unquestionably so.
- Compete – Partial Success – I played in a couple of tournaments, but would assert I was only really competitive in one of them.
- Amiens – Success – It happened. I ran it again at Madicon
- Step it up at NOVA – Inconclusive – I think I did well in the Captial Palette this year, but with the shifting format I think it’s tough for me to say whether or not I “stepped it up.” I only painted one thing specifically for it, and “paint models for competition” is probably what I really meant to do.
- Game in my basement – Complete Success – Dark Heresy continued to run in the basement. I’ve been running a barely coherent DCC game there. Did some wargaming: Amiens, Frostgrave, Black Ops.
- Step it up for Historicon – Normally, Historicon gets my NOVA entries from the previous year. I didn’t really have those this year. Given that 2017 will be my last Historicon (screw the move to New Jersey), I would like to go out on a high note.
- Step it up at NOVA – Actually paint some competition entries.
- Stay away from Kickstarter – I think I did okay on Kickstarter this year: a little but not a lot. Let’s keep that up.
Not really sure what else I want to do next year. I’d like to keep up the momentum of tackling small, manageable projects and finishing them. In the immediate term: I’d like to experiment with some other Wrath of Kings forces to see if one better fits my playstyle. I’ve got some friends I don’t really wargame with that like Heroes of Normandie: it’d be nice to play that with them. I’ve got Zombicide: Black Plague sitting in my closet, still unplayed. I’d like to expand my ability to run 40K Black Ops with more diverse forces.