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.