Welcome to Marauder Moments - a chronicle of the Mortimer Street Marauders; the games we play, the rules we use, the figures we play with and the scenery they fight over. Hope you enjoy these pages and maybe call back to catch up with our escapades.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Good bye 2014... the compulsory review.

Saying farewell to 2014 - it was a good year for me.
I know it's nearly the end of January and a little late for this, it has simply taken time to coalesce in my tiny mind. Here goes...

It seems fashionable for wargame bloggers and presumably other bloggers to review the past year and either bare their souls in self-loathing disgust thus “I didn’t play enough games/paint enough”, “Lead Mountain still vast”, or “work life balance wrong”. Others publish terrifyingly precise statistics detailing exactly how many models bought versus last year, how many painted, how many sold, how many painted for friends/commissions finishing with a net gain or loss to the lead mountain! I just read one such post detailing how many books he/she read last year versus the last year! When did all this start? Then there’s those painting challenges to add further anxiety to the tortured soul!
This really isn’t a rant although it sounds like one! I just don’t think about my hobby like this on any level whatsoever. I considered joining in with this for about a nano second, afraid I was missing out on something. The truth is that it’s just not for me at all! I think I get it though, the fastidious marking of progress in a hobby people are passionate about.

Prussian officers oversee the storming of a farmstead - somewhere in Germany 1813. 

What I have really enjoyed is the retrospective and I think more constructive articles which look to play better games this year based on the experiences of last year’s crop. These and some others also have New Year’s Resolutions attached which can also be interesting.

Prussian General staff in conflab.
Last year I resolved to buy no magazines at all, in which I succeeded. I don’t miss them at all, Tony showed me a White Dwarf and a Wargames Illustrated in the autumn for some reason, and neither convinced me to change this for the coming year. I also decided not to buy any unpainted figures last year. This lasted eight months, I bought some 15mm cavalry from Eureka to start my Maurice imaginations army with, this was a mistake as we are happily playing Maurice with 28mm with Napoleonics which I prefer and have tons of. Then in December I bought 16 battalion packs from Elite Miniatures in their excellent Christmas sale plus a cheap bag of Perry Nassauers from Colonel Bills at Warfare in Reading. The Elite Miniatures deal was always planned so I am entirely happy with this. I started no new periods or dalliances in 2014.

Prussian general gazing into the sunshine as hussars dash past. 

Newly Painted figures continued to join the ranks as planned though. These came from Barry Hill, Tony Laughton and Alan at Blue Turkey. I have lined up a busy schedule for the trio this year and have saved some pennies to pay these talented mercenaries. This should get everything Napoleonic I own painted by Christmas 2015. This timetable will inevitably slip as things always do – so be it.
I need to very seriously consider where I want my Napoleonic collection to go beyond 2015. My feelings are that a Conferation of the Rhine Division using those lovely Perry metals would be good. Possibly some Spanish as I enjoyed playing the Peninsula games, Albuera, Vimiero and Vitoria. I also want to add a few regiments which simply appeal, Lancier de Berg and Cleve Berg lancers for example. I want to replace some of my batteries with Elite Minis as I just love them! But at some point I need to call a halt to it really.  

Distorted shot of Jurgass - one of my cavalry generals.
Note enormous Elite Miniatures cavalry behind.
Nearly all my other painted & unpainted models have been sold long ago in batches. The first to help cover redundancy, the next lot paid for my gym membership and latterly to get more nappies bought and painted. This year I will sell some more toys and books to make space and get even more painted. I have no lead mountain save the Eureka 15s which I might sell.

In 2014 I painted nil figures. I just can’t see the buggers anymore! Whinge, whine & whimper. I based loads with Chris though, it’s very therapeutic. In fairness I do often brighten up a plume or pompom to make the colourful bits really "pop" on the tabletop. This sometimes looks cartoony but that's how I like my toys.  

Prussian staff and foot shelter behind this battery.
What surprises me most in these yearly retrospectives is the small amount of games that some people get to play in a year, some get in one, two or three games maybe. This isn’t judgemental at all simply an observation on how different people’s experiences of gaming are, after all I’d like to have sexual congress more often… but don’t expect to be judged about it. I assume this small amount of games is due to geography, lack like minded opponents or simply personal preference. It also reminds me of how lucky I am to have known Chris and Tony for 20 years and Rich for 35 years. We have pretty much played every week for 20 years plus. Some Marauders have come and gone and the venues have sometimes changed but certainly for now we are settled at Marauder HQ and hope to keep the weekly conflicts on course.

Russian Uhlans and Horse artillery.
Atmospheric shot, there's real energy here!
Speaking of the Marauders, in 2014 we purchased even more terrain which alongside the bits I have built should appear on coming posts. We also picked up some painted DUST Warfare kit for fun shooty games with zombies, genetically modified apes and of course massive armoured walkers – childish I know. Our other “pick-up” game has been Maurice which is excellent, totally engrossing and unpredictable with a campaign structure we are keen to explore. Rich continues to amass impressive and vast Renaissance armies which may even grace the table top this year either for Maurice or with some rules of his own devising.

Russian horse guns about to fire.
Note drilled barrels. 
We even attended some wargame shows in 2014. We gave Salute a miss after 2013. Attack in Devizes is a local show so we trundled along and poked about, always good for catching up with old friends, this year Nigel Cox, sporting new shiny young girlfriend, was ambushed by the Marauders – he was mortified. I hope they are still together. Next we managed Warfare in Reading where we walked off with a new pile of sexy trees (sexy trees? Maybe that’s why I don’t get enough sexual congress) plus a fabulous painted farmhouse complex for frankly peanuts, a pretty pre-painted church plus some flotsam & jetsam to scatter about the battlefield. Beers on the way home – happy days. In the far future a trip to some US shows might be fun too, pennies allowing.     

Austrian Uhlans and Hussars.
Very pretty!
This year I’m not that fussed about shows but I do want to book into the Wargames Holiday Centre even if I go alone, something of a dream come true for me. I am slightly cautious about it though, what if it’s not as good as I hoped?

In June I am off the Belgium for Waterloo too – should be good. Time to sample Trappist monk beer too.       

Austrian General vignette.
Grenzers charge down French line. (No it's not a fantasy).
The single most important gaming goal for me this year is to play some big Napoleonic games and share them with you right here. Rich has some cavalry heavy encounter ready so maybe a guest post is in order. I have a big 1814 scenario up my sleeve and the Eckmuhl report is shaping up nicely for you. As and when new toys arrive I will try to post them too. Chris and I are presently basing about 10 new battalions, regiments and batteries with Tony’s help.

Massed Austrian batteries about to deliver some heavy weight damage.
Blogs. I like this blogging malarkey and want to do more, possibly shorter, post as well as the popular mammoth battle reports. I have long since dropped the race for followers although your kind comments are always welcome here, you wouldn’t believe how much we all appreciate them. My fave blog of the year is http://jjwargames.blogspot.com/ . The other JJ is neat and tidy, focussed and thoughtful in his insights. He posts varied material which is always interesting, books, films, travel and day trips but the core Peninsular project is really excellent & exciting to see develop. His Oporto game is simply inspired, the whole concept beautifully executed from scenery to shipping, seminary to soldiery, really top notch. This year he’s tackling Talavera so take a peek. JJ even nominated me for a Lobster Award last year which to my eternal disgrace I did not follow up.   

So that’s my take on 2014, it was a good one for me, here’s hoping 2015 is as good or even better for all of us.

JJ, Jeremy, warpaintjj

PS Please don’t expect a running tally of “congress” in a side bar, there is a damn good reason why I can’t see to paint anymore…  

Goodbye 2014 - it was fun!
Hello 2015, what will you hold in store?