Tag Archives: year in review

2016 Year in Review

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.

Hobby Charts

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.

Hobby Spending

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.

Goals

2016 Goals

  • FinishComplete 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.
  • PaintComplete Success – Unquestionably so.
  • CompetePartial Success – I played in a couple of tournaments, but would assert I was only really competitive in one of them.
  • AmiensSuccess – It happened.  I ran it again at Madicon
  • Step it up at NOVAInconclusive – 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.

2017 Goals

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete
  • 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.

2015 Year in Review

Zurraigo - Front (1)

While overall 2014 was the most overall challenging years I’ve encountered, 2015 has given it a run for its money and hit unparalleled heights of stress… but was, for the most part, a pretty good year. Selling our home of ten years felt like it was going to kill me, but I (clearly) made it out alright, and it completely worth it.  Our new home is perfect, and my hobby space is definitely on the list of why.

Hobby Room - After

From a hobby perspective, I was kind of all over the place: some Infinity, a lot of Wrath of Kings assembly, some By Fire & Sword, and then about half an eternity doing 18mm WWI figures. Not much game playing, and all of it pretty scattershot.  In previous years, I Played Warmachine or I Played 40K or I Played Fantasy.  This year, I played a couple games of a lot of different games. Bolt Action probably wins in terms of frequency, but not by much.

I feel like this has been a wash of a year in terms of hobby accomplishment: the house and move were immensely disruptive… but the data disagrees. 2015 was my sixth year of hobby tracking, and just look at that chart. I went from No, Actually Doing Quite Well to Killing It.  This is going to make future years look unproductive by comparison.

2015 PpMbY

Warhammer Fantasy, the models that got me into this hobby, was killed: that understandably has cast a pall of impermanence over everything.  I’m unable to look at the sporatic, sputtering Age of Sigmar releases without thinking ‘Nothing beside remains. Round the decay / of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare / the load and level sands stretch far away.’ Anyway, it’s certainly contributed to my shift into historics.

I got tied up with a couple of other area guys doing scenario-based historical gaming, which has been a lot of fun. It’s been formalized into a club: TGS (Mrs. Rushputin thinks ‘The Girlie Show‘ every time she hears it).  Prep for just such a scenario has dominated the back half of my 2015.

I did very well in terms of painting competitions, I think: two first place awards at Historicon (and a kind, passed-along word from Reaper)

2015-07-21 05.17.57

and an improvement over last year’s showing at Captial Palette: a second and a third place award

Zurraigo Award

(Strangely, no FacebookBrag photo of the Capital Palette awards.)

The death of Warhammer Fantasy Battles wasn’t the only significant loss of 2015 – The Game Parlor, where I really started up my participation in the hobby shut it’s doors after well over two decades. I’m sad to see it go, though if I’m honest with myself for the past six months or so I’ve been driving right past it to get to Huzzah Hobbies.

Another notable achievement: at the top of the year, I set out to track what I spent on models and map it against  what I painted.  The plan wasn’t so much to regulate my hobby spending (can such a thing truly be done?) as it was to achieve a parity between what incoming, unpainted models, and “outgoing” completed models. I immediately hit a challenge with the release of a bunch of new Skaven models, but by May had actually gotten the Δ between bought and painted to below zero.  (Of course, Historicon-born enthusiasm screwed the whole thing up).

Goals

This has been vastly more free-formed than I normally do my Year-in-Reviews, but that doesn’t mean I’ll let goals slip by:

2015 Goals

  • FinishSuccess – I suppose I finished some stuff – I painted all of my Infinity (until I got more over the summer) and am very, very close to finishing the Amiens prep.
  • PaintComplete Success – As above – I’ve unquestionably done this.
  • CompeteSuccess – I played in three tournaments, all of which were pretty non-competitive, structured-play opportunities.  That’s okay, but it’s not exactly what I meant here.
  • GameSuccess – I did do this.  A lot of this, across a million different systems.
  • Dump StuffFailure – I got rid of some stuff before the move, but not enough and I replaced it with even more stuff.  I really need to fix that going forward.
  • Finish a Muskets & Tomahawks WarbandTotal Failure – The really bad thing is there’s actually people who play this game at Huzzah.

2016 Goals

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete
  • Amiens – Successfully execute this game in January, and again at Historicon
  • Step it up at NOVA – I’ve done okay in the Historical categories, but I’m not kidding myself that they’re the least competitive categories there. I need to paint-for-competition some models that are worth the effort for some other categories; more than my usual, “Well, I paid for unlimited entries so I might as well put something in every category…”
  • Game in my basement – My workshop is also intended to be a game room.  It’s great that our sporadic Dark Heresy game goes down in it, but I’d like to put it to work, more.
MacReady

2014 Year in Review

MacReady

Year in Review

As I’ve mentioned before, 2014’s been rough.  Way too much work and not nearly enough Stuff I’d Rather Be Doing.  It absolutely feels like it was a failure in a number of ways.

But, when I look at the numbers and not how beat up I feel: it really wasn’t as grim as I want to say it was.  I mean, I’m going to just cut ahead and put this here:

2014 Overall - Points Per Month

Pretty much from start-to-finish, this was one of, if not the (and by a significant margin) most productive year I’ve ever had.  I realized that that’s the track I was on in early August: just in time for me to hit work exhaustion.  That was a very positive realization; not only did it help keep me motivated, but I pretty much went into overdrive.

  • January through April (and even a on into March) had me working on Deadzone minis.  The Kickstarter stuff showed up mid-December, and I’d gotten to work on it right away.  I pretty much just painted everything I thought I could paint: Plague (since I figured it’d go quickly– it did), then Rebs, and finally Mercs. Enforcers weren’t (and still aren’t) on the table, because most of the faction’s been delayed until recently, and I can’t help but prefer GW Orks to the Marauders.
  • May was “goofy idea month.”  I got a bug up my butt about doing a ghostly Romans warband for Saga, with some pretty clear goals around what I wanted to do with them in terms of focusing on speed and getting them done.  Although they were successful (about a week?), I’ve only had the chance to play with them all of twice.
  • June and July had me primarily doing NoVA Open prep.   My thoughts around getting ready for NoVA Open 2014 are hauntingly similar to those for 2013 – Shortest path to playable, etc.  To get to ready for 2014 involved more models, but they were (generally) less involved.Also, Historicon was good to me:
    19-2014-07-19 16.56.00
  • August hit, and hard. For some tragic reasons, a vacation was cancelled and I hit a wall.  Shut myself up for a bit over a week and didn’t see anyone but the pets. Also, I built a Bolt Action army, which I then almost entirely painted in September.  Like, I painted a test model in August, and had nine bodies that I wrapped up in early October, but I pretty much painted the whole damned thing in a single month.This is more than a smidge significant.  I painted a Saga warband in about a week, but although I think it’s Clever, it’s not Golden Daemon quality.  The USMC starter+ (I added a handful of models to the Warlord starter) was somewhat larger, also (kinda-sorta) painted within a timebox, and is significantly higher quality.  I was satisfied enough with them to decide to drop my first batch into the Capital Palette, with some success.
    2014 Capital Palatte Bronze
  • The second (but regrettably not final) Deadzone wave showed up in October, so that’s how I spent most of the month.  Since the second wave included some more terrain, I’d held off on assembling or painting any of it until the rest showed up… and I no longer had any reason to hold off.  So, the bulk of November was spent painting Deadzone terrain.
  • In December, I wrapped up my first Infinity warband (squad? team?).  I’m pleased with them, and am looking forward to pushing them around.

Hobby Activity

So, like I said: this past year was nuts for getting stuff done. Nuts.  Forget building stuff (which I’m fast starting to consider Uninteresting in terms of progress), I painted:

  • A Saga warband
  • A Bolt Action army
  • An Infinity team

plus a bunch of just other stuff.

I don’t think I’m going to wrap the following chartdump in much text; I think it’s all pretty self-explanatory.  I got a lot done this year.

2014 - Cumulative Points Per Year

2014 - Points Per Year

2014 - Hobby Points by Month

2014 - Models Painted by Year

2014 - Models Built by Year

One thing I did do new this year was track how much I spent on models vs. how much the models I’d painted were worth.  Because this is a hobby that encourages one to have tubs of unpainted minis, the thought was it’d encourage me to 1) paint about as much as I buy (reducing unpainted minis) and 2) spend less on minis (a built-in cheat was that I’d list how much I paid when I bought a model and how much it retailed for when I painted it… ).

This chart shows two things: the relative spend per month (a negative number meant I painted more minis that I bought, a positive number means I bought more minis than I painted, a flat number that I kept an equilibrium) and the overall number from month-to-month.

Numbers have been obscured to hide my shame.

2014 - Overall Spend by Month

I actually think this was pretty effective.  Really, the worst thing that happened was the By Fire & Sword: Deluge Kickstarter.

Also, the need to just move all of this stuff out of a Google Spreadsheet and into an actual database is increasingly pressing. Half the time Google chokes on this thing… and need to update the above graph to be a rolling one: things shouldn’t zero out at the beginning of the year, you know?

GOALS

2014 Goals

  • FinishComplete Success. As I’ve mentioned, I got a lot of stuff Done this year.
  • PaintComplete Success. Hells, yeah.
  • Compete – Failure. I hit NoVA and played in a mini Bolt Action tournament, but that’s it.  I don’t consider that enough: I even missed Dragon Wars this year.
  • GameFailure. According to my sheet, I played 28 games, total, in 2014. This is awful.
  • HIstoricalsSuccess. Like, huge success!
  • Continue Dumping StuffTotal Failure. I don’t think I eBayed anything in 2014.
  • Finish a Deadzone warbandSuccess.  I got two factions fully painted until Wave 2 showed up.
  • Finish a Muskets & Tomahawks warbandFailure. I’ve got one built, but it’s another silly idea. I have the minis for a normal one, I just have to build them.  Oh, and paint them.
  • Post more RPG content – Technical Success. I mean, I posted RPG content. Precious little.  My Rogue Trader NPC generator from, like, a year ago, was the most viewed poste this year.
  • Organize a Charity RTT – Failure.  I didn’t get to game, much less organize.

2015 Goals

The standard:

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete – Though this will be less key to me.  Tournaments matter less than actual gaming at this point.

And:

  • Game – This is going to be my number one goal for 2015.
  • Dump Stuff – And this will be my number two goal.
  • Finish a Muskets & Tomahawks Warband – I have no excuse not to get this done.

I’d love to have some more specific goals, but really: I just want to get my painted : unpainted ratio more sane and roll more dice.

2013 Year in Review

1-2013-09-02 15.34.40

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!

    Historicon 2013 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.

    2013 NoVA 40K Hobby Ace

    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.

    02-2013-08-30 09.51.43

  • 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.

Hobby Activity

Brood Horror

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.

2013 - Points per Year

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.

2013 - Points per Month by Year

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:

2013 - Points by Month

2013 - Points by System

2013 - Points by Army by Month

2013 - Points by Army  

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.  

Site Activity

10-2013-08-03 12.41.28

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.

2013 - Lifetime Unique Pageviews

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.

11-2013-08-03 12.42.38

In terms of my top five individual posts this year:

  1. The aforementioned Marker Drones.
  2. The Brood Horror (also put on Reddit).
  3. My Herald of Devastation (also put on Reddit).
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.

2013 - Posts by Month

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).

2013 - Posts by Month Comparison

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?

Goals

05-2013-08-30 10.10.07

2013’s goals:

  • FinishSuccess.  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.
  • PaintTechnical Success. As usual, I painted, but less than I’d have liked.
  • CompeteTechnical 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.
  • GameFailure. 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 MyselfTechnical 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.
  • HistoricalsSuccess.  Historicon! Saga! Not quite the success I wanted to have (still hungering for ECW), but I definitely got into Historicals this year.
  • Continue Dumping StuffSuccess.  I sold off some stuff and made some room.  I have a lot more work to do here, though.
  • Post More to CMONFailure. I don’t think I posted anything whatsoever to CMON in 2013.

2014’s Goals:

So, we’re going to keep the now-standard…

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete

… 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!

2012 Year In Review

Year In Review

  • January saw a good amount of activity: Empire dude building. I knocked out that Fimir, who stands as probably my favorite mini of the year.
  • February, March, and April were basically spent building and (somewhat less so) painting Empire minis.  Unsurprising but, honestly, probably a little uninteresting. Pics of unpainted, unconverted minis are boring.  Sorry about that!
  • In May, I tried adapting to the new Citadel paints.  I don’t think it’s exaggerating to say that this completely and totally killed any and all momentum I had for my Empire army.  They’re good paints, but something about the transition just deflated my enthusiasm balloon.More significantly, and unmentioned here, I went through tumultuous times in May: with a lot of job-related transition, uncertainty, and stress. It all worked out for the best but, yeesh.  That probably had a hand in it as well.
  • June saw the new edition of 40K!  Despite almost getting killed picking it up, I haven’t hardly done anything with it. I’ve played some desultory games with it over the past six months, but between tournament and Not Being Able To Game, I just haven’t done much with it.It was also when I started going a little bit Kickstarter crazy. More on that later.
  • July was probably the hobby high point of the year for me. For starters, I was lucky enough to make it out to Games Day!  Despite what was the worst Golden Daemon showing I’ve ever had (nothing made Final Cut), I had such a good time, and the GW staff was so above-and-beyond helpful, I hardly noticed!I overspent on Forgeworld resin (which remains unpainted).

    I didn’t paint or build much, but what I did do I’m super-happy with (Warpfire Throwers, the Demigryph).

  • August didn’t see much. I painted an Ork model for the heck of it and had such a good time doing it, now I’m neck-deep in a small Ork army.
  • September – Those Orks I just mentioned? It didn’t take long for me to start drowning in them.  Also, there was the NoVA Open, which was a lot of fun and will likely be even better in 2013.  Traveling for Grand Tournaments just isn’t something the cards for me, so I think it’s safe to call the NoVA the gaming highlight of the year for me.
  • October wasn’t exactly a dead month for me. I built some Orks, but this blog ran silent about it. Bare plastic might be boring, but I really don’t like letting this thing run quiet that long.
  • November saw, as expected, more Ork building. A couple of blog posts, but not much.
  • December was a dead month. No posts and, according to my tracker, no hobby. This isn’t exactly true: I’ve got 10 Boyz mid-painting on my desk, and have been slowly making progress on them since Thanksgiving… but nothing done. This is entirely because this has been an unusually crazy holiday season: a week in Texas, a second Christmas beforehand, preparation for both have left me frazzled and without productive time.
A lot of my hobby steam’s been stolen by scheduling: Mrs. Rushputin’s work schedule’s changed such that the only weekday evening we get to spend together is Tuesday… which is also the the CGL‘s gaming night at Game Parlor.  Since I like my hobby but love my wife, that’s really put a damper on my ability to get out and game.  Not being able to game’s put a damper on my motivation to paintThis year hasn’t been a dud, but it does kinda feel like it? I definitely rolled into 2012 like a motherfething juggernaut… and have definitely crawled out of it, blinking and trying to catch my breath.

Hobby Activity

Hobby’s been down overall… but not quite as hopelessly as it feels sometimes. I might not have painted much, but I’ve certainly built quite a bit.

It’s pretty tough to look at that and feel good about it. I suppose remembering that December-January was an abnormally productive time for me takes the sting out a little bit, but dang.

No unpleasant surprises here! A lot of Empire and a lot of Orks spent time in my workspace in 2012.
Grim as this chart is, it’s not surprising.  In 2012, I did a lot of building, but not much painting. I’m going to have to change that in 2013.  It’s also
Still: now’s probably the best of possible times to revisit the chart I posted in early November to put this year into perspective.

Gaming Activity

Somewhere along the way in early 2012: I fell off of logging my games. I find this interesting, because the only place I see my hobby tracker sheet get used is on Bill’s blog, and it looks to be where he gets the most use out of it. Significantly, no data means no chart.

It’s probably for the best. I really don’t think I want to confront how little I pushed my toy soldiers around this past year. I’ll have to get back on the wagon, though.

Site Activity

It should be immediately obvious to anyone at this point that the blog’s been in a bit of a slump…

Even putting aside the dead months of October and December, I’ve been less active on the blog overall.  So, if you’re reading this, thanks for sticking around!

Traffic peaked over the summer: Games Day and NoVA, I think, were responsible for most of this.

Comparatively, though, traffic’s a little down (14% overall).  I’m too lazy to check, but I expect that if I were to remove all of the YTTH drama traffic from last year, though, it’s probably more or less unchanged.  Given how little I posted this year, I’m delighted to call “more or less unchanged” a Win.

Crowdfunding

I’d done a couple of Kickstarters before (one in 2010, one in 2011) but like many 2012 was the year of crowdfunding. There’s a lot to be said on the phenomenon: but other people will probably say it more cogently and this thing’s gonna run long, so I won’t.   I’ll just touch on my experiences with it over 2012. (I’ll include IndieGoGo campaigns in my reckonings, too.)

  • Total campaigns: 27
  • Campaigns due in 2012: 17
  • Campaigns delivered in 2012: 1
  • Campaigns partially delivered in 2012: 5
  • Campaigns more than 2 months late: 5
  • Campaigns that should have been delivered in 2012 but did not: 12
  • Campaigns that are super late and pissing me off about it: 1
I haven’t actually seen a whole lot delivered from crowdfunding just yet: all of 1 campaign in 2012 has fully closed out with me.  That sounds worse than it is: I’ve got a couple that are shipping in multiple parts, and have seen results from 5 of them, which is great.
Most of them are late, but either haven’t been unreasonably so (I think we all have to expect some schedule flexibility from these), or have been good about communicating what’s going on and adjusting expectations as quickly as possible. Sedition Wars, for example, is over two months late, but they warned us about that pretty early on, so I’m perfectly content.
There only one that really stands out as goddamn unforgivably late.  When I consider the facts, it’s not surprising: there’s a lot of work for them to do and it makes sense for them to start with the small and work to the big… but it’s at six months late and looks to be at least eight. That means their estimate delivery date sucked.In terms of what sort of campaigns I pitched in on in 2012:

  • Board Games: 1
  • Gadgets: 2
  • Miniatures: 10
  • RPGs: 9
  • Video Games: 4

Goals

2012

My goals from last year started general…

  • FinishUtter failure. I don’t think I finished any significant project this year. I built a lot of stuff, but didn’t get much totally done. Boo.
  • Paint Technical Success. I painted. Not enough to feel good about how I painted, though.
  • Compete Technical Success. I played in a few tournaments and NoVA. I had a good time with all of them, but competing once a quarter, again, isn’t enough for me to fist pump about how competitive I was in 2012.

Then, I got more specific:

  • Make Significant Progress on an Empire ArmyFailure. If I’d left out “significant” I’d probably have called it a pass, but I got a couple of months in on it and then dropped it.
  • Avoid DramaSuccess. My low post-rate probably didn’t hurt, but overall I didn’t really get involved in internet screaming.  That hasn’t meant that I haven’t seen it, though.  I’m starting to have some concerns about how toxic the hobby gaming community is or isn’t.
  • Step It UpSuccess. I’m claiming this because I started using rushp.tn has a URL shortener, which I think is hella cool, but that’s it.  All of the card/sign files have been mostly untouched. I probably should get on that.
  • Dump Stuff – Success. I didn’t do as thorough a job of this as I’d have liked, but I did purge a lot of RPG books with Casey‘s help, which is a big step.  I hope to start dumping some boardgames on Craigslist in the next couple of weeks.

2013

I’m going to keep the general goals:

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete

And for specific goals:

  • Game – Similar, but different from “Compete.” I need to figure out how to get out and start rolling dice around toys again.  I’m kind of a homebody who’s only really comfortable with a regular schedule for things, and losing Tuesday night’s knocked me off my stride and I need to get over it already.
  • Pace Myself – I really need to paint more than I buy.  I’ve already dropped out of a high-mini-count Kickstarter, and have vowed to just not buy any damn minis until March (with an exception for the new Dark Angels minis, and only those after I’ve worked up a list).  I’m considering tracking my mini purchases on my hobby sheet to keep me honest.
  • Historicals – My hankering to start doing something with the English Civil War’s done nothing but pick up steam all year; getting a few boxes of Pike & Shotte minis from Warlord for Christmas has only sealed it: I need to do something with it in 2013.
  • Continue Dumping Stuff – I still have too much crap. I’m on the right track: let’s stay on it.
  • Post More to CMON – I’ve posted all of one mini to CMON (with a 7.6 that I’m delighted with).  Time to do more.

2011 Year in Review

This’ll be the the third one of these I’ve done (madness!)

Year in Review

  • January saw me dropping my Hobby Status Spreadsheet into the wild for public consumption.  (There’s no way for me to know how many folks are actually using it, but I still get the occasional ping for input and help with it, so someone out there’s getting use out of it.)  I painted up a Gremlin crew (that, after not touching for nearly a year, sold off) and recommitted myself to finishing my Skaven army.  This was really a year ago?
  • February I painted Skaven.  This was a theme for the year.  Plus, I went back and added some to my Daemon army.
  • March saw me focusing on adding shooting elements to my Khornate Daemon army in hopes of making them a bit more table-viable for our annual Battle for the Cure tournament.
  • April was back to the Skaven: setting a clear painting project plan.  And I picked up a lightbox!  It’s had such a marked improvement on the quality of my (still far-from perfect photography) and was so (relatively) inexpensive, I think everyone who put effort into painting their miniatures should get one so they can better share their work.
  • May was Skaven, Skaven, Skaven.  Plus, we had our first annual Clash for the Cure (which was just like the 40K Battle for the Cure, but for Fantasy).
  • June was Skaven… plus I finally (with some help) picked up the gumption to start selling off unused stuff on eBay, which was quite a success.
  • July – You guessed it: Skaven.  Also, I ran a tournament, partly as NoVA Open prep and mostly because hadn’t had a local tournament in a while.
  • August was a busy month.  We picked up a display case to store minis in, I painted a bunch of Skaven, and played in (and did quite well at, winning Best Overall and Best Army Appearance) the NoVA Open Fantasy GT.
  • September saw, again more Skaven… and I played in the Blob’s Park Fantasy GT.  Started off the month playing in a 40K tournament where I had a really unfortunate math mistake (and won Best Appearance).
  • October saw the last Skaven model I’ve painted in 2011: the Ratwyrm (winning Best Appearance with him). I also started messing around with HDR photos, something I’m likely to continue playing with.  Despite all of that, I spent most of the month too sick to accomplish much.
  • November saw my first true commission painting job.  Although I’d done some before for charity, this was my first “I will give you money to paint these minis for me” job, and it wasn’t too unpleasant.  I’m probably going to look into doing this again in the future, since it solves my problem with enjoying painting for skirmish games (while being unable to enjoy playing them).  I also briefly looked into playing Necrons (an idea abandoned after a few weeks).
  • December was a sweatshop month.  I ground through assembling an unbelievable number of models: over 90.  I was an unstoppable building machine.  Unfortunately, when my hobby waxes my gaming waned, and I didn’t really play many games at all.  

A key takeaway here is that, when I say it takes me three and a half forevers to paint an army, I’m not exaggerating.  I started actively painting my Skaven in January (which seems to be when I commit myself to an army for a year: 2009 was Daemons, 2010 was Skaven, 2011 will be Empire) and then had to actively worked on them almost constantly for eight months before they were ready: and many of those models (particularly the ones that helped me win Best Appearance) were actually converted quite some time before, in late 2009.

Additionally, early in the year, the Iron Fist League, the local gaming club I was a member of, schismed (for lack of a better word).  The two main subgroups went their separate ways: the subgroup that plays at my FLGS (Game Parlor) renamed itself the Chantilly Gaming Legion (CGL, pronounced “seagull”).  Although it wasn’t a clean break (a few folks, in both groups, seemed to go out of their way to make it acrimonious), it appears to have been an extremely healthy one.  There’s almost zero drama around our parts and, from the few times I’ve checked in on the IFL Forums, it looks like there’s precious little drama there, too.  I think both groups are the better for the split.  Furthermore, while I can’t speak for parts South, the break really invigorated things for our local group: more people turn up to the store to play and more events get run.  The club just seems healthier.

Hobby Activity

Here’s a breakdown of what the year looked like:

Some Daemons through the year, a ton of focus on Skaven from March through September, and a huge Empire rampup at the end of the year.  But, hey, we knew that.

Again, zero surprises here.

Or here.

And, because I’ve been doing this for two years, now, I can compare 2011 to 2010:

Gaming Activity

I find this really surprising: I played that many more games with my Daemons this year than with my Skaven? Crazy.

This doesn’t surprise me much, honestly.

Site Activity

I posted considerably less this year (nearly 40 fewer posts).  I’m not sure I can objectively evaluate how the quality compares between the two years: am I posting less frequently, but with higher quality?  Or am I just posting less frequently?

I clearly ad a few traffic spikes, with a good number of peaks in between.

And then, because I can, I’ll compare this year’s site activity to last year’s.  Traffic’s definitely up, overall.

My top two most viewed posts in 2011… were from 2009 and 2010.  Huh.  What’s interesting is that, back in May, I joined the BoLS Network (I’ve been in the FTW Network pretty much since I started the blog) and, although it consistently shows up as a significant referrer… it doesn’t look like it’s had that much of an overall impact.  I’m guessing that’s because it’s simply offsetting a reduction in traffic due to fewer posts.

The five most viewed posts actually written in 2011 were:

  • Necron Test Model – This… is one of the more pointless posts of the year.  “Hey, I tried a thing, and it looks terrible.”  Someone took offense at an aside I made in the post, though, and reposted it to YTTH.  That’s the big spike over there in late October.  So, one of the most useless posts of the year was one of the most viewed.  Blech.
  • Uniforms & Heraldry of the Skaven – Followup – I posted this hot on the heels of the book coming out.  I’m pretty sure that’s where this traffic came from.  Also, Clan Skurvy has a rat-parrot.
  • Dreadstone BlightThis is the sort of post I like seeing getting traffic.  Pure hobby, and something I’m quite pleased with.
  • Uniforms & Heraldry of the Skaven – See my comments above: new release = high traffic.
  • Warlord on a War-Litter – Again: hobby posts are what I’d like to see do well.  And, man, I love how this model came out.
2011 Goals

Last year, I continued with some broad goals while setting some very specific ones as well.  (Here’s a reminder of why.)

  • Finish Success!  I got a lot of stuff done.  A Gremlin crew.  (Broadly) A Skaven army.  (Specifically) three separate Skaven painting goals for three different tournaments.  Boo-ya.
  • Paint Success! Man, I painted a lot. Just shy of 200 models.
  • Compete Success!  I played in a lot of tournaments.  Two RTT-level 40K events, one RTT-level Fantasy event, and two GT-level events.  Even better, I performed fairly well in most of them.
  • Have a Fully Painted Skaven ArmySuccess!  I started painting loathsome ratmen back in ’92-’93.  It took me 18 years to have a fully painted Skaven army.  You can’t imagine how proud I am of this army.
  • Avoid ForumsSuccess!  Though I might not want to claim it as such.  I actually made an active effort to get spun up on Dakka… but couldn’t.  Traffic is… overwhelming over there.  Locally, avoiding the IFL Forum and its tendency to generate drama was made very easy by the club splitting.  (Never mind that the club splitting probably greatly reduced the forum’s ability to generate drama.)  I didn’t work for success here, but I feel like I achieved it.
2012 Goals
  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete
Those first three goals are never going to be inappropriate:  get stuff done, focus on the part of the hobby I get the most pleasure from, and put its out there for people to see.
  • Make Significant Progress on an Empire Army – I think I know better than to commit to having one done.  I know how long it takes me to paint and, at my current rate, it’ll be 2028 before I’m done with it.  Significant progress will be sufficient.
  • Avoid Drama – Avoiding forums to avoid drama went a long way but, as noted above I wasn’t able to escape it entirely.  I need to focus on the aspects of the hobby that bring me happiness and vigorously avoid those that don’t.
  • Step It Up – I own WarpstonePile.com: it’s time to switch the blog over to that (dropping the .blogspot portion).  An ad or two isn’t going to kill the site, might maybe offset the cost of my hobby a bit and, when I’m unable to avoid drama, will ensure that at least something positive comes out of it.  I have clever ideas of using things like my army display sign on business cards.
  • Dump Stuff – This year, I started selling my unwanted, unloved stuff on eBay, with a great deal of success.  I’ve still got a lot of things I need to get out of the house (especially because one of my wider-scope, life resolutions is to declutter), so I’d better keep this up.  If I don’t need it, don’t want it, and aren’t going to use it: it’s gotta go.

2010 Year in Review

I know this is a bit late, but you all forgive me, right?

Year in Review

  • January began with me really finding steam to paint the Khorne-only Chaos Daemons I’d been thinking about since the previous year’s Super Bowl (don’t ask).  Matt H and I ran our second annual Rapid Fire tournament at Game Vault.  Considerably smaller in scale than the first one but, I think, still a success.
  • February saw hardly any gaming: I focused on painting Daemons.  I turned on Google Analytics on this blog, which has really proven interesting.
  • March saw Madicon, as it always does (which reminds me that I really need to get cracking on pulling together this year’s tournament).  After that was the first Battle for the Cure which was an enormous success.  I’m clearly looking forward to 2011’s.
  • In April, I actually played in the IFL RTT; failed to perform well but won Player’s Choice, which vindicated the effort I’d sunk in to the army.
  • I can’t say I did much in May.  Some painting, some gaming, but nothing particularly notable.  I did finish the models for the Battle for the Cure auction, though.
  • June was more of the same.
  • July saw a return to Warhammer Fantasy and, with it, Skaven.
  • August had a lot of Skaven painting.  Helped set up for the NoVA Open, but couldn’t make the actual event.  Ran Rapid Fire at Games Day, which was successful, and entered a number of models into Golden Daemon: with respectable results.
  • September was quiet.  Got to test-drive some missions for next year’s NoVA, did a little painting.
  • In October, I returned to the Daemons.
  • November I stepped away from the mono-God approach with my Daemons and started playing in another Escalation league.
  • December wrapped up my Battle for the Cure minis and started some Malifaux models I’ll likely never use.

I’m going to drop some charts: I won’t dwell on them too much, since I covered a lot of this back in October.

Hobby Activity

The year started out on a great note: it saw a ton of hobby activity at the top the year as a churned through Daemons and then really peaked again in late summer as I found steam with my Skaven.

I remain quite proud of the fact that I knocked out a 2,000 point army in three months.  That’s a big achievement.

This was clearly the year of Khorne.

Gaming Activity

Similarly, most of my games were with the Daemons, with Skaven a somewhat distant second.

Also, I lose a lot.  This isn’t news to me. :)

Site Activity

Things have dropped off here quite a bit: from an average of 14 posts a month at the top of the year and dropping to an average of 7 at the bottom.  Since I did less (thanks, real life!), I posted less.  That’s understandable.

While I won’t post for the sake of posting, I think I’m going to try to bump my posts up above the five or so that they’ve been at.

Visits to the site have slowly and steadily increased.  I’m pleased by that.  I’m not in any blogrings save FTW, so I don’t expect it to rocket up, which is fine.  I actually broke 100 visits a day (often pushing close to 200 when I did) a couple of times: once in March (pictures of the new Tau Stealthsuits), May (Tau thoughts?), July (my Warlord, who went on to do so well in the Golden Daemon), August (a Skaven list and NoVA Open comments?) and October (Khornate Chariots).

High traffic isn’t a goal, here, but it does make me feel good about myself. :)

2010 Goals

This time, last year, I set some broad goals for myself:

  • FinishSuccess!.  Fully painted a 2,000 point army in three months.  Painted models for charity.  Built a new table.
  • Paint Success!  See: above.  I painted nearly 200 models.
  • Compete Success! Achieved, but not as thoroughly as the above.  I played in a couple of tournaments, but not much.

2011 Goals

Last years’s goals were pretty solid; I don’t think I need to change them a whole lot.  I’m adding a couple, though:

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete
  • Have a Fully Painted Skaven Army – As to that last one: I’ve been working towards this over nearly two decades. I’m more than halfway there right now; time to push on and wrap it up.
  • Avoid Forums – I haven’t discussed it much here, but there’s an unbelievable amount of drama rattling around, locally, and it’s very much soured me.  The primary driver of that is forum drama.  This year, I’m going to use forums for game planning & tournament prep, etc, but I’m going to try extremely hard to avoid actual discussion on them.  Unfortunately, this will be a hard one to review in terms of success/failure..